[Indie] Conner Youngblood – Confidence

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Conner Youngblood
Confidence

There’s something undeniably charming about Conner Youngblood’s music. It could be the understated, calming vocals. It could be the intricate, yet subtle instrumentals. It could be the laid-back nature that is always unassuming and overwhelmingly pleasing. Whatever it is, we’re into what he’s doing, and quite frankly, can’t understand why he’s not playing festivals near and wide.

While we wait for that day to come, we’ll gladly keep sharing his music, as we know there are so many of you out there who will enjoy what he’s doing. Take “Confidence” for example. This larger than life cinematic tune displays all of the aforementioned talents from this Texas based independent artist. Combining simple hand clapping, a booming bass drum kick, some down-south style strings, and his echoing vocals, we’re immediately taken to another place.

Press play and get lost with us. We promise you won’t be disappointed.

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[Sweet] Zella Day – Sweet Ophelia

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Zella Day
Sweet Ophelia

You know those beautiful stories of artists? I’m talking about ones where the artist has had music embodied in them since they were young?

Well, Arizona artist Zella Day is one of those musicians. Growing up in small Pinetop Arizona, this artist was inspired by a vast backdrop of natural beauty. Her family owned a small coffee shop where Zella was surrounded by other musicians and where she first began her musical endeavors performing sets of Elvis and Bob Dylan with just her guitar accompanying her. From there, Zella began writing songs, which we are all so thankful. Today, Zella released her song ‘Sweet Ophelia’, the A-side off her forthcoming debut 7” slated for release this coming spring. Zella has a rugged sound, with a twist of sweet sophistication in her voice. Her lyrics are rugged and truthful while being perfectly matched with instruments. Enjoy this beauty and much more to come.

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Dog in the Snow – Factory

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Dog In The Snow
Factory

Black pepper on watermelon, and Sriracha on mangoes. Who would have ever thought that many of us would have a palette for combinations like that? Sometimes the coming together of unconventional things can create something new and frankly, quite pleasant – And that’s exactly how I felt about “Factory” after my first listen. The track immediately kicks off with an unusual introduction of eclectic sounds, which carry on in a nomadic fashion. Mildly outlandish? Yes. But it is exactly this eccentric composition that encouraged me to listen further, and made me a fan of “Factory”.

Dog In The Snow is UK native Helen Ganya Brown, with the support from Marie-Eve de Gaultier.

Grab a copy of Factory, out on Tidal Wave on March 3rd. And if you fancy their distinctive sound as I do, you’ll be happy to know we have linked you to their music video below.

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East of Ely – Waterfalls [TMN PREMIERE]

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East of Ely
Waterfalls

One in eight people are over 65 years old in Sydney.You might be asking yourself, “Why the hell is The Music Ninja googling random facts about Sydney?”

With good reason, ninjas. While trying to make some sense out of the plethora of great music that comes out of Australia day by day, it only made sense to take a deeper look into what was going on over there. We stumbled across this factoid in our research, and it all clicked. Young people = good music.

Sydney-born synth-pop five piece East of Ely is the most current of our musical discoveries. Hailing from the land down Under, Moeaki, Nic, Daniel, Chris, Michael have us ready to shout out “Aussie Aussie Aussie, Oi Oi Oi,” with this first listen to “Waterfalls,” which is the first single off of their upcoming EP.

Stabbing attempts at cultural references aside, these guys have an infectious sound that calls on association of some of our favorite synth-popsters like Pet Shop Boys, CHVRCHES, and Carousel. This tune in particular boasts a lovelorne tune message carried through by glorious falsetto work, classic 80′s guitar riffs and an upbeat tempo worthy of some foot-tappin and head noddin’.

Put these guys on your radar by following them on facebook. It won’t be long before this EP is out, and it’s one you won’t want to miss.

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Bad Suns on The Cure, Tycho and Never Used BBQ Sauce [TMN EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW]

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Bad Suns
Cardiac Arrest (WoodysProduce Remix)

There’s no denying that Woodland Hills four piece Bad Suns are on the up and up. With gaining radio love and backing from Vagrant records, these fellas are taking their post-punk sounds to the masses. With that in mind, we wanted to get a few quick questions answered by frontman Christo. Check out what he had to say about being influenced by The Cure, who their dream collaboration would be, and the always present but never use BBQ sauce.

TMN: Hey guys! Thank you so much for taking some time to answer a few questions for us. We loved your show in Denver! Let’s kick this off by talking about your journey up until this point. How did you guys start off?

Christo: Gavin and I met in school. Aside from that, we all met through music and jumping around from band to band.

TMN: What were those early times like? What were you guys writing about?

Christo: Miles, Gavin, and I have been playing in a band together for five years now. We’d have band practice every day, after school. From the beginning, it was apparent that we were all people with the same level of passion for playing music. We’ve always kept at it, and we’ve worked at getting better, over the years. By the time we met up with Ray, our friends were applying to colleges, or already in college, and we were set on making this band work.

TMN: One thing that was undeniably apparent was the set of lungs on Christo. Good god. Did those come from years of vocal practice or was god just smiling down on you the day you were born?

Christo: I always get so surprised upon hearing comments like that. In our old bands, my voice was always a lot of what was holding us back. I never really gained full control of it, until recently. I don’t know how to answer the question, but I really appreciate the compliment.

TMN: Let’s fast forward to signing with Vagrant. That’s one label that has to be overwhelming to get an email from. Not only have they carried some massive names in punk music, but tons of notable indie rock acts as well. Talk to us about that moment.

Christo: It was great, as you could imagine. The fact that record labels were reaching out, at all, was surreal. As soon as we met with them to get to know one another and discuss the band, it was clear that we were on the same page.

Continue reading

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[Indie Rock] Cate Le Bon – He’s Leaving

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Cate Le Bon
He's Leaving

Cate Le Bon wasn’t unearthed at a 60’s psych/folk convention. She isn’t French, she didn’t write this track in a black and white Jim Jarmusch montage on the Left Bank of Paris. She isn’t the love child of Simon Le Bon and she didn’t find Nico alive and persuade her to cameo on ‘He’s Leaving’.

Cate Le Bon is in fact Welsh, and was recently quoted in the British press stating: ‘Nico and dead animals. I don’t think I’ll ever hear the end of them’. She probably won’t. Vocally, Cate
Le Bon channels quintessential Nico better than sometimes Nico. This has all the steady tempo and lo-fi charm of The Velvet Underground, circa ‘I’ll Be Your Mirror’. A nod to
one of the most prestigious and defining albums of all time: never a bad thing.

Comparisons shouldn’t detract from what is an ornate and rare talent. Similarity aside, this graceful and uncluttered offering comprises of beautiful authenticity, poise and absolute effortlessness. Cool and composed, Le Bon sings with the most moving of sentiments, but encased in the sound of regretful simplicity.

‘He’s Leaving’ manages to reduce a vastness of emotion and spit it back at you, with the sort of raw and wistful force you just can’t dodge.

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[Indie] Big Scary – Twin Rivers

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Big Scary
Twin Rivers (Not Art LP | 2013)

Let us not debate the irrelevance of time. So, we’re a little late to the party with this one. But if digging up gems isn’t a thing, then they’d be a lot of unemployed archaeologists. Think about that.

A song of the ‘sad ilk’, ‘Twin Rivers’ is the spacious and sparse release from Melbourne duo Big Scary. Reiterating the ‘what’s in a name’ sentiment, Big Scary are actually more maturely morose than large or petrifying.

Subdued and emotive, the male/female alternating vocals commentate on the circulating mundanity of a relationships demise and dailyness. The repetitive nature of the motif is reiterated thematically and cleverly mirrored in the cyclic sound; from opening melancholic piano chords to an utterance of ‘nothing ever happens’, both soundscape and lyricism run in circles. There’s a disjunction evidenced in the vocals, as neither party addresses one another, instead offering isolated narratives on the disintegration of love and the lethargy it produces.

It’s perhaps the underplayed elements and spacious effect, that left room for imaginative re-invention. Indie connoisseurs The Antlers offered a vocally distorted and brass-based re-mix, whilst Dan The Automator, settled on a dreamier soundscape: retaining the delicacy of the original offering.

Adopting a less is more approach, Big Scary demonstrate that complexity can take the most minimalist of forms. With slight reminiscence of early XX releases, Big Scary are in possession of some subtle poetry and understated charms.

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