Monday, May 19, 2014

McKenna Loren

A quick show of hands out there: Who is a fan of country music? For those of you who didn't raise a hand, let me do my best to convince you otherwise.

Sometime around October/November of last year, I was busying myself helping to promote David Gielan and his nominations for the 2014 Artists in Music Awards. In the process, I came across the music of one McKenna Loren, who was nominated as Best Country Artist. It took all of about 1 minute of listening to her EP Dive In for me to be hooked.

So tonight, I give to you, my fellow lovers of all things indie, Buckeye, Arizona, USAs very own country starlet, the 2014 Artists in Music Awards Best Country Artist, McKenna Loren!

One listen and you know that McKenna isn't your run of the mill country pop artist. There's an honesty in her music and an emotional depth missing from a lot of country artists these days. The familiar storytelling is there. The formulaic music is there. What brings it all together though is McKenna herself.

Where so many country artists and labels are so hell bent on having mainstream or pop radio crossover appeal, it would serve the majority of them well to check out McKenna Loren to see where they've mostly gone wrong!

The official McKenna Loren website

Follow McKenna Loren on Twitter

Like McKenna Loren on Facebook

Download Dive In on iTunes

Download Dive In on Amazon

Subscribe to the McKenna Loren YouTube channel

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Simpleton & Cityfolk - Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken

It is with great pleasure that I bring Simpleton & Cityfolk back to MY Indie Music Blog with their new EP, Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken!

Regular readers will remember the band from their first introduction here back in September of 2012 (Simpleton & Cityfolk). Steeped  in Americana/folk/blues/rock, Geoff Glenn, lead vocals/rhythm guitar; Chris Bennett, lead guitar/vocals; Chris Williams, upright bass/vocals and Mike Skowronski, drums/vocals are at it again with their highly anticipated follow up to 2013's No Man is an Island. Hearts is a quick hitting 5 song EP packed full of the sound we've come to know and love.

I couldn't wait to treat my ears to this as soon as it was released. I was on their BandCamp page buying it the morning it was released and was instantly blown away! There's a reason No Man is an Island was on my list of 2013's top albums (2013 Top 10 Indie Albums/EPs) and the guys have made one helluva case for returning to that list again this year with Hearts. The guys wanted to know what track was making an impact on me. After having a few weeks with the EP, I can safely say that it's impossible to pick a favorite. It's like asking me which of my kids I love more. Can't be done! From the opening track, Spokane, to the closing notes of See You Today, every track is a gem. Story after story, song after song, the guys are on top of their game. And it's the fans of Simpleton & Cityfolk that come out on top!

Head over to the bands BandCamp page today to download Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken. Your ears and music soul will thank you.

Download Wild Hearts Can't Be Broken here 

The official Simpleton & Cityfolk website 

Follow Simpleton & Cityfolk on Twitter 

Like Simpleton & Cityfolk on Facebook 

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.

Friday, May 9, 2014

The Chaser Eight experience

May 3, 2014. For me, this is the day that the live indie music experience took on a whole new meaning.

May 3, 2014, is the day that I decided to drive 586 miles (give or take a few) in 10 hours (give or take an hour or so) to New Haven, Connecticut, to see a live Chaser Eight show. This turned out to be one of the best decisions I've ever made. Period.

I first introduced you to Chaser Eight just over a year ago in March 2013 (Chaser Eight ft *AUDRA*).
(Editor's note: This was actually the second time that lead singer *AUDRA* made it onto MY Indie Music Blog. She was originally featured in my January 2013 post The Women of Indie Music.) At the time, I had been digging into their sound for just a couple of months, but in all honesty, I was already hooked on them. I was already the proud owner of their debut EP Late Night Companions, and had started to throw support their way thru Twitter. By the time their next EP, Up and Up came onto the scene, I was well on my way to becoming the #Crazy8 that I am today.

Now that we've had 6 months or so of At the 426 under our belts, I figured it was about damn time that I made my way down to their neck of the woods to experience Chaser Eight live and in person. To say that I was impressed is the understatement of the century. My buddy and I got to the bar, Stella Blues, a bit early. I finally got to meet the band before the night's festivities began. First was *AUDRA* and their manager, Doug Grabowski, then guitarist Pat Walsh, bass player Billy Wang and drummer Pete Giannini (keyboardist/guitarist Aaron Tagliamonte showed up later. I unfortunately didn't get a chance to be introduced to him.). One of the things that sets most indie artists that I've met apart from their mainstream contemporaries is their accessibility. They are always grateful for the support that is shown to them. They truly appreciate you coming out to see them and are genuinely happy to meet their fans. Chaser Eight lived up to this and then some! We had a nice chat with both Pat and Pete before their set began, then I had a good talk with Audra afterwards. She was interested in my take on their set. So let me share it with you as well!

I've heard the band explain their sound on more than one occasion. What they hope to accomplish in their recordings is to capture the energy of their live show. After seeing them, I finally get it. Several weeks ago, I was invited by the band to have somewhat of a hand in the recording of their new album (which they are currently in the studio recording). This was a first for me and I am more than honored to have them regard me in such a way that they let me listen to their recorded demos to see what I would like to hear on the new album. Songs such as 8 AM, On Top, Major and Minor and Just Ride are going to turn the world of indie music over on its collective ear! Hearing polished live versions of these songs has me amped for the new album!!! Throw those in with songs like Never Enough and Run, Run and I was given the ride of my life at Stella Blues! I told Audra after their set that what impressed me the most was the power of their performance. Most artists, indie and mainstream alike, put everything they have into their recordings. When it comes to their stage performance, the energy doesn't translate the same. I don't know if it's a producer slicking up the sound in the editing room that sets us up for a mild disappointment with the live product, or if they're just not capable of reproducing what they did in the studio, but there is absolutely NO drop off with Chaser Eight! From start to finish, this was one of the most genuine sets I've ever had the pleasure to witness. I was surprised when Audra admitted to me that she lost her voice halfway thru their set. I damn sure didn't pick up on it! Musically, there isn't a band out there that can touch them. Pat Walsh is a monster on the strings. Billy and Pete know how to bring the thunder and Aaron tickling the ivories adds a unique mix to a true rock n roll vibe. Audra is the ultimate front woman. Her vocals were spot on with her full (and rather impressive) range on display.

Way back in 1993, I had the pleasure of seeing Pearl Jam live in Dallas. While their styles are quite different (and while I almost NEVER compare indie artists to manistream acts), Chaser Eight is right on par with Pearl Jam when it comes to their stage performance. Their collective hearts and souls were left right there on the Stella Blues stage for all of our listening pleasure that night. For this, I want to say thank you Chaser Eight. You officially rock my ever loving rock n roll soul... and I'll see you again real soon!

This is a bootleg recording of a full set Chaser Eight performed in April of 2013 opening for London Souls. It's pretty damn close to just as awesome as my first experience. Enjoy!!!

The official Chaser Eight website

Are you a Crazy 8?

*Crazy 8: n. 1. A person that is extremely enthusiastic about the music Chaser Eight produces and is invested or committed to their success.

2. You're a fan.

I am. For life.

Support unsigned artists... give indie music a chance.