You haven’t heard of And The Giraffe yet, I’m sure, but their music is building buzz around the Internet, and it’s thanks in no small part to the elegant textures of “Underground Love,” their latest single. Opening with a distorted drone which soon blends with mild, evocative acoustic picking and vocals which remind this listener immediately of Griffin House’s magnificent “Amsterdam” meeting up with Alexi Murdoch’s brand of understated vocal touches. You’ll know what I’m talking about the moment you hear it. The band’s two members, Nick Roberts and Josh Morris, filmed the video on virtually no budget, and their EP Something for Someone has been reviewed by more than sixty publications, including the blog Michigan Review, which called the EP “frustratingly short but attention grabbing.” Hey, that’s what repeatedly hitting the play button is for!
Upon first listen, there seems to be little out of the ordinary about Washington D.C. pop-rock artist G’ra Asim, but subsequent repeats of “Speak Too Soon” reveal a sunny pop song which will quietly take over the space between your ears and leave you ready for more. He recently released a video for the song (below) which definitely takes the middle ground between the pop-punk of the All American Rejects and the more adventurous pop of Ben Kweller. Though there’s nothing here which immediately screams out “G’ra!” there’s plenty of time for him to make his more unique sound-stamp a part of his music. Here’s hoping he releases a lot more soon!
I’ve been following Jon Hainstock since we were both enrolled at Ball State University back in ’06, and he’s continued to astound me with his elemental songwriting style. He’s laid back but forceful, and though it’s been a gradual shift, he now feels firmly in control as he launches songs of a more contemporary Christian nature. “Hallelujah … God, you alone are the one I love,” he sings plaintively, twisting the word hallelujah in such a beautiful manner, the word alone will be on the tip of your tongue endlessly as you hit repeat.
This unassuming song shows Hainstock can craft a hook like the best of them, while staying true to himself as a songwriter and a man of God:
I’m not a good person. I do not always have the best intentions. When I really examine my heart, I am a selfish sinner that blames others for my problems.
Jesus says that I have a plank in my eye that needs to be dealt with. He says that deep down I am a murderer, and an adulterer. He says that we all need His grace, His forgiveness and His love to desire Him and care for others. He says that it’s not about me and that it’s always been about who He is and what He has done.
‘Plank’ will be a collection of songs that will guide my heart back home. It is an effort to direct my thoughts, feelings, and motives towards glorifying God and loving others. I will be giving away music from this site hoping that the songs you hear will help you know the one true and living God.
Here’s hoping there’s a bigger audience for music like this — hopeful, unpretentious, shining brightly in its honest portrayal of faith. I, for one, look forward to hearing more from Plank as he continues to explore these subjects with such open introspection. You can view the video for “You Alone” below.
A little more than four months ago I featured the All Ways as an “Under Cover” featured artist with their insane cover of “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele. I wrote at the time:
The jury’s still out on whether they’ve got enough material of their own to be more than just a solid cover band. With a voice like that, Massirman and company need to find material worthy of the voice, and they could go places.
The time has come for that new material, and I’ve got to say I like the video for “Where I Belong,” which, while it’s a by the numbers pop-punk affair for the most part, does provide Austin Massirman with the platform to use his big voice to win over one viewer at a time, hopefully creating dedicated long-term fans in the process. The video, which you can watch below, has earned more than 1,000 views since they launched it yesterday. Lyrically cheesy, it’s the perfect pop song for those dreary days of winter when you just need something upbeat and snappy to keep you in the right frame of mind. For a full album they’ll want to try out a few more styles to see what sticks, but for an initial single this definitely has potential. Consider this critic won over.
Those of you who have been long-time readers of Hear! Hear! know I’m a huge fan of Only Son, the solo front for Jack Dishel, formerly of Mouldy Peaches fame. His album Searchlight, which came out back in January, remains among my picks for the top albums of 2011, but he’s still bubbling under the radar. Below you can read previous articles from this site regarding the album and its various video singles, but you may also behold his latest video, this time for “You Stayed At Home,” one of the album’s least assuming tracks. It’s a beautiful melody-based acoustic track featuring the lyrics / vocals up front in a way which makes one wonder how huge a hit this could have been in the 60s if covered by a duo like Simon and Garfunkel. That’s Searchlight in a nutshell; this is an album which covers so many genres and moments in time it becomes all but timeless itself. Too bad so few people have had the chance to fall under its spell.
But it’s never too late …
Here’s a song for the nomad in all of us, courtesy of Hume, New York’s Barry. The band recently released its debut album, Yawnin’ in the Dawnin’, which I may still review down the road. But this video shows firsthand a folk-rock band worthy of further exploration; “Carnival(e)” is one of those tracks which will stick in your head far longer than you spent listening to it.
And the music’s being made in the true DIY aesthetic, by a band led by Ben Barry, who also happens to handle press for the band’s record label, 100% Records. They’re building a name for themselves the right way, by getting out there and touring the music, letting fans decide what rocks. And trust me, readers, this band’s got music which rocks. You may know next to nothing about them when you first listen, but by God you’ll want to call yourself a fan by the time you’re done!
Can this Only Son upcoming album release for Searchlight get any more tantalizing before the world gets to hear it in full? Short answer: “Hell yes!” With “It’s A Boy,” his second single off the album (which isn’t even out until January 18, 2011, former Moldy Peaches guitarist Jack Dishel rocks things into a whole new dimension by taking on … eugenics? Again: “Hell yes!” In one of the creepiest videos I’ve seen in a long time, played completely straight by Dishel, with Aleksa Palladino (of Boardwalk Empire) and her EXITMUSIC bandmate Devon Church providing able support, is a (not so distant) future where the perfect child can be built from scratch … for a price. And those who can’t pay … well, it’s best not to think about it.
Check out the video before it goes super-viral, so you can say you saw it first! (Lyrics below). And as soon as I can get a full-length review copy of the album, I’ll run a review by you all to further draw out the anticipation.
Let’s start with the baby’s gender … do you know what you both want?
Well, we’ve discussed it, and we’re pretty sure we’d like to have a boy.
Okay … that’s fine.
Six-two with perfect vision, good teeth and perfect skin.
Block the addiction gene and quarrantine his temper if you can.
Okay … we’ll see.
He needs a homing chip put deep inside his wrist,
In case somebody tries to steal our “little Prince.”
You’re not the first in line, and I don’t have a lot of time.
And if you’ll look I’m sure you wouldn’t mind
To pick one of our stock designs.
I’ll leave it with you.
He shouldn’t have to go to school like all those people off the grid.
He needs a good head start, like every single normal other kid.
I’m sure we’ll find a way to pay …
He needs a humor chip – put it second on the list,
For when he’s old enough to realize where he is.
And if we can’t afford to give him what he’s worth,
Just make sure that he’s strong enough to work.
You’re not the first in line, and I’m running out of time.
I can recommend a friend of mine who deals with our “low budget” line.
But if you want to make him right, so he has a better life
You can sign us back his human rights and get him now for half the price.
It’s a pretty good deal …
Don’t wait for Tom, he’s already moved on . . . to Cleveland’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame! In honor of Tom Waits’ long-awaited (no pun intended) entry into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, here’s a great Letterman performance, and a wonderous homage by Cincinnati’s Over The Rhine Enjoy!