24 Days of Music- Day 16: The Felice Brothers

I’ve spoken about Brian Fallon on here many times, but this was a band that he recommended several times on social media, and mentioned at shows within the past year.  His musical taste is varied but I always tend to agree with his choices, and The Felice Brothers are no exception.

A little bit country, and a little bit modern folk, The Felice Brothers have a sound that probably best compares to another favourite band of mine, The Avett Brothers.  It’s a sound that can span across multiple generations, but still be considered cool.  There’s something for everyone when it comes to this band.

Their latest album, “Life In The Dark” was released earlier this year.  You can pick it up on iTunes, or give it a listen on Spotify.  You can listen to “Aerosol Ball” from that album below, along with “Frankie’s Gun” from their self-titled 2008 release.

24 Days of Music- Day 15: Noah Gundersen

I’m not totally sure, but I think I first came across Noah Gundersen because he offered a free single on iTunes; I believe the title track from his “Family” EP, released in 2011.  I love his voice, soft but powerful, and he writes his songs with such passion that it’s hard not to get lost in his music.

2014’s “Ledges” is still one of my favourite albums, and “First Defeat” on that album is a gorgeous song.  He really shows his range on that track, moving through the song at times with a near whisper, to almost shouting, and back again.  The lyrics indicate a struggle in a relationship, holding on though you know you’re better off to leave.  It’s heavy but a beautiful example of how good Noah is as a musician.  Clearly I’m not the only one who thinks so- Kurt Sutter, the creator of TV series “Sons of Anarchy” has used Noah’s music several times throughout the series.

Check out a live version of “First Defeat”, as well as “Slow Dancer” from his most recent album “Carry The Ghost” below.  You can listen to Noah Gundersen on Spotify, but you should strongly consider purchasing his albums via iTunes as well!

24 Days of Music- Day 14: Augustines

Disclaimer 1:  Caleigh found this band and made me listen to them so she gets the credit for today’s choice.  I should never doubt her judgement.

Disclaimer 2:  This band is no longer together because 2016 is the year of all things that are bad.  Go and listen to them anyways because they’re great, and know that lead singer Billy McCarthy will be pursuing solo material in the new year.

That being said, Augustines sound familiar for reasons I haven’t been able to pinpoint yet, but fans of bands like The Killers would probably really like this band.  They’ve got a bit of a theatrical sound while maintaining their rock roots, and lyrically, the songs are honest and many times heartbreaking.  Billy McCarthy hasn’t had an easy life, but he certainly doesn’t hide it; instead he embraces the journey he’s been given and allows himself to lay it all on the table for his listeners.

Linked below is the video for “Book of James” from 2011’s “Rise Ye Sunken Ships”.  The song is written about Billy’s younger brother, an individual struggling with mental illness who eventually committed suicide after being held in solitary confinement for 4 years.  It’s dark subject matter, but it’s a real life journey through the mourning, forgiveness and eventual acceptance of Jim’s death.  Give it a listen, check out the Augustine’s discography via Spotify, and consider purchasing “Rise Ye Sunken Ships” and their self-titled 2014 album via their Bandcamp page or via iTunes.

24 Days of Music- Day 13: Thrice

In late spring on this year, Thrice put out their first album comprised of new material since 2011’s “Major/Minor” and despite taking an extended hiatus, they proved that they are back and better than ever.  “To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere” is another amazing Thrice album, maybe slightly more melodic than previous efforts, but the lyrics hit just as hard.

I have fond memories of them playing at the bar I used to work at in Thunder Bay in 2008; I hadn’t really listened to them much beyond a few singles here or there, but I remember being struck by how tight they were as a band, as well as Dustin Kensrue’s vocals (despite him being sick at the time).  Of course, they were extremely kind which is always a bonus, and they definitely converted me as a fan that night.

Listen to “Black Honey” from “To Be Everywhere Is To Be Nowhere”, as well as “Image of the Invisible” from 2005’s “Vheissu”.  You can purchase any of Thrice’s albums via iTunes, and while you’re there, be sure to check out Dustin Kensrue’s solo material!

24 Days of Music- Day 12: Tim Barry

I first saw Tim Barry live when he was opening for The Gaslight Anthem on their 2010 summer tour, in Minneapolis, MN.  I wasn’t familiar with either of the openers at that point, and was pleasantly surprised by Tim’s humble, but ‘no fucks given’ attitude.  He played a solo acoustic set peppered with stories about the songs he was performing, and I still remember feeling like I could have sat there and listened to him all night.

By the end of the night, I had purchased his 2006 album “Rivanna Junction”, as well as his 2010 album “28th and Stonewall”, and they’ve remained two of my favourite albums ever since.   Formerly of punk band Avail, Tim has kept all the fire but softened the delivery somewhat, and I still find myself getting lost in his songs; just listen to “Gabriel’s Prosser” (about real life slavery revolt leader Gabriel Prosser), or “Dog Bumped”, a narrative about a man who is on the outside of his sister’s abusive relationship.  These are true storyteller songs, and he delivers them with such honesty that even if he didn’t personally live through them, you really believe he did.

Listen to a live version of “Wait at Milano” below.  I’m sure I’m not the only one who gets chills as his voice gives out while singing, “Give you everything I got, if you need it”!  Also check out “(memento mori)”.  If you like what you’re hearing, visit http://www.timbarry.bigcartel.com/ to pick up some merch, including CDs and coloured vinyl.

24 Days of Music- Day 11: Bear’s Den

I loved the song “Sophie” that Bear’s Den released 3 years ago- it was dark, folky and Andrew Davie’s vocals were somber and beautiful.  However, I didn’t pursue the band further at that point.  Something hadn’t connected with me beyond that song. So when I saw that they released “Red Earth & Pouring Rain” earlier this year, I decided to give it a cursory listen and see if it would hold the same magic that I had heard in “Sophie”.

I’m so glad I gave this album a chance.  It’s a little more stylized, and the entire album plays out in a way that’s more cohesive to me.  An album that I’ve kept returning to over and over, and one that to me seems like a great night driving album.  My absolute standouts are the title track, “Greenwoods Bethlehem” and “Gabriel”, but I really do think that each song stands out on its own.

You can listen to “Red Earth & Pouring Rain” on Spotify, or by purchasing it on iTunes.  Listen to the stunning Still Room version of “Sophie” below, along with “Dew On The Vine” from “Red Earth & Pouring Rain” below.

24 Days of Music- Day 10: Almost People

I found Almost People because they did a cover of “Allnighters” by The Scandals, one of my favourite bands, and released it as part of a 3 song EP titled ‘Tres’.  I purchased the EP on Bandcamp because of that, and I’m so thankful that it pushed me to continue to follow them through the release of their full length album “Songs for Best Friends”, which came out this past October.

“Songs for Best Friends” is a little bit punk, a little bit rock and a little bit tongue in cheek sarcasm.  It’s definitely up there on my mental list of favourites of the year (which will hopefully make it to this blog soon enough).  “Bored With Booze” is one of those anthems that recalls the days of hard partying, back before we all became adults with real responsibilities, and “Fuck Apathy” is definitely one of my favourites overall.  The album was produced by The Bouncing Souls’ Pete Steinkopf, and features guest stars in the form of Jared Hart, Roger Harvey and Anika Pyle.

Check out “Bored With Booze” by Almost People below.  You can visit their Bandcamp page here or purchase “Songs for Best Friends” via iTunes.

24 Days of Music- Day 9: Dave Hause

I honestly don’t think there is anything that Dave Hause can do that I wouldn’t love.  From his band The Loved Ones, to The All Brights, to The Falcon, to his solo stuff, the guy is just so talented it’s hard not to love him.

He dropped a new single today called “With You” and it’s so fun and catchy, I had a mini dance party while getting ready to head into work.  It’s one of those songs that I know is going to be a hit when he tours his new album, “Bury Me in Philly”, which is due to come out on February 3rd.  The link for the new song is below, but the song is also available on iTunes and Spotify for now.  You can also get access to “With You” if you preorder the album- which I did first thing this morning.  You can check out http://merchnow.com/catalogs/dave-hausefor different bundle options, and a beautiful blue and purple vinyl.

Be sure to check out his other albums as well.  “Devour” is a personal favourite.

24 Days of Music- Day 8: Josh Abbott Band

One of the songs from Josh Abbott Band’s 2015 album “Front Row Seat” came on in the car today, and while I haven’t listened to the album as a whole in a bit, it reminded me of how good “Front Row Seat” is.

I have a soft spot for concept albums; there’s a certain level of involvement from the listener to ascertain what is happening from song to song and follow along with the story line.  “Front Row Seat” is divided into four separate ‘acts’, each coinciding with a period of time in front man Josh Abbott’s relationship with his wife.  The listener/viewer gets to live through the beginning when they first meet, and eventually through the dissolution of their marriage, right down to the aftermath of where they go from there.  It’s hauntingly honest, and while the back half of the album is heartbreaking, it contains some of my favourite songs on the album.

Check out “Wasn’t That Drunk” from the ‘Act 2’ portion of the album, as well as “Amnesia” from ‘Act 5’, but definitely make sure you give yourself some time to listen to the album in its entirety.  You can purchase it via iTunes.

24 Days of Music- Day 7: The Menzingers

I feel like a lot of people are still discovering The Menzingers, though they’ve been active in the music scene as a band since at least 2006.  They offer a brand of punk rock that hits hard but with heart; music and melodies that even people who claim to not be fans of punk or heavier rock can enjoy.

The Menzingers are releasing a new album, “After The Party” due out February 3rd and I’m excited to hear what they’ve come up with as I loved their 2014 release “Rented World”.  They’ve released two strong singles in support of “After The Party, which are linked below, and I think they’re fantastic.  “Lookers” in particular has become a favourite, and was something I listened to a lot as I was traveling this summer.

If you like what you hear, you can preorder “After the Party” via iTunes, or by visiting the official Menzingers website at http://www.themenzingers.com