screams, whispers and songs from planet earth

Month: April 2016

Lainey Schooltree’s Heterotopia Rock Opera — Kickstarter Ending Soon!

We’re rather slow reacting to this exciting new rock opera from Boston-based art rock ensemble Schooltree. Their Kickstarter campaign ends in just a few days, so please check this out and help them make their goal.

Here’s the info, direct from the press release because we’re lazy here tonight (and not too proud to admit it):

“Boston-based art rock band Schooltree has written and recorded an ambitious rock opera called Heterotopia. At an hour and forty minutes long, it’s an epic, carefully crafted piece that takes the listener on a symphonic odyssey through a dystopian dreamworld. The opera follows Suzi, existential everygirl and underachiever extraordinaire, who loses her body and must journey through a parallel world of the collective unconscious to get it back. But something is wrong in otherspace; it has been overtaken by shadows and chaos. In order to become whole again, Suzi must delve into the origins of this world’s darkness, where the fate of otherspace and her own are inextricably linked. The story and music are inspired by the work of fantasy writers like Tolkien and rock artists like Genesis.”

Schooltree: web | facebook | twitter | instagram
Heterotopia: facebook | kickstarter campaign

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Introducing… Shapes on Tape

This is some fun ’80s-style synthpop, yes? Or is it politically incorrect to call something “inspired by the shiny dance clubs and sniffy stuff of the 1980s” these days? Shapes on Tape are based in Brooklyn, a collaborative effort of multi-instrumentalist and producer Adam Kruckenberg (Vibralux) and guitarist/songwriter Jason Matuskiewicz (Candidate), aided and abetted by their producer Justin Craig (Hedwig and the Angry Inch). In amongst all the poppy, dancy goodness of their latest song, “Fountain Of Youth,” is some good old-fashioned angst and regret.

“Big mistakes are all that I’m doing
never thought that I would be the ruinous kind
can you help me change my mind?
falling forward over my own feet
tripping backward into my memories
can you help me change my mindset, please?

– Fountain Of Youth

Their debut EP, released in March of 2015, was Motivational Speakers, which was followed up by their “No Bummers” EP in February of this year and the “My One and Only True Love” single earlier this month, which was dreamier and more upbeat, for those of you who like that sort of thing.

web | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud

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Introducing… Mice On Stilts, ‘Khandallah’ and Hope for a Mourning

Adam Von Penfold - Photographer / Videographer

Adam Von Penfold - Photographer / Videographer

Anyone who says that intriguing prog rock is a thing of the past has not yet heard New Zealand’s Mice On Stilts. “Khandallah” is the lead single from their second album Hope for a Mourning, which is released on April 15 (on Aeroplane Music Records). The song is as exotic as its name. Both ethereal and complex at the same time, it is described as being “a universal love song about finding a space where two individuals exist without anxiety or expectation of each other, romantic or otherwise.”

Take an elegant dive into this intricately layered music that will wash over you with cinematic drama. You’ll be treated to entrancing kaleidoscopic soundscapes — and that’s just one song (“Orca”). As the album continues, it feels like you’re drifting, trance-like, through a surrealistic dream. With titles such as “And We Saw His Needs Through The Casket,” “Hope For A Mourning” and “Funeral,” you’re not going to find fluffy inconsequential pop music here. Instead, count on a proper haunting, with contemplative storytelling, a compelling voice that draws you immediately into the scene, delicate strings, tinkling piano and, at times, a chorus of dark angels.

Mice on Stilts hails from Tāmaki Makaurau, Aotearoa. Formed in 2011, their debut EP was An Ocean Held Me (2013). They blend violin and horns to classic guitar, bass, drums and piano. The band features Guy Harrison (piano), Tim Burrows (bass), Rob Sanders (drums), Sam Loveridge (voilin, guitar), Charlie Isdale (violin, sax) and Benjamin Morley (guitars, vocals).

This glorious new album can be purchased on iTunes. Physical CDs and special edition art books (with accompanying digital download) are also available from New Zealand’s Flying Out record store.

web | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud | instagram

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Introducing… Gillian Nicola

On her second EP, No Place To Call, Gillian Nicola explores the idea of having everything one needs in life but still grappling with a feeling of emptiness. In “Oh Marie,” her protagonist decides to abandon her current reality for a new one. The immense courage it takes to do this too much for some, keeping us forever locked away in our comfortable prisons. Here is a live version of that song. It begins as a gentle, laid-back alt-country tale and slowly develops, as does its story, into bold self-determination and a passionate resolve, propelled by Nicola’s powerful vocals.

Classically trained as a vocalist, Gillian Nicola hails from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Her 2013 EP Chasing the Wind received nominations for two Hamilton Music Awards (Best New Artist/Group, Alt-Country Recording of the Year) and the Toronto Independent Music Awards (Best Folk). She has had high profile appearances such as the JUNO Concert Series.

On No Place To Call, Nicola creates emotionally resonant music that brings forth the inner commotion that’s churning underneath the deceptively calm surface. She’s joined by Dan Hosh, Ben Alexander, Andrew Ivens, Bruce Savuzzo and Timon Wientzek (acoustic guitar, lead guitar, piano, keyboards, organ, pedal steel, bass, drums and backing vocals). It was recorded at Catherine North Studios with producer Dan Hosh (Whitehorse, City & Colour, Rose Cousins), and is set for release on April 15.

“The title, No Place to Call, refers to a lack of being able to call anyone, or any place, home — a theme that is highly present throughout the recording.”

web | facebook | twitter | bandcamp | soundcloud | instagram | youtube

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