MusicalDiscoveriesOfMrReilly Chapter One
I discovered the NBTMusicRadio several years ago while searching for an online station that played a variety of independent and/or obscure music that would satisfy my appetite for new and innovative music equivalent to my musical diet in my days as a college DJ radio host in America.
Now as a producer and recording artist my tastes are just not ordinary and often not conventional. But I value the art of the song, an undeniable and unique vibe, and an authenticity that demands full attention. There are countless elements that must materialize and bond to make an amazing artist, an amazing song, and an amazing experience.
I'm grateful that Martin placed RxGF in the top 20 songs this year, and even more appreciative for the invitation to journal 12 songs (one for each month) that I heard this year on the NBTMusicRadio that inspired me in some way. I've had some fun with distributing a few awards for context.
I hope you will take the time to listen to these independent artists and support the many thousands of hours that have been invested in bringing this music to you.
John Morgan Reilly
Gashunters - What's Goin On
A new favorite artist of mine for sure. Gashunters is what it would sound like if Critters Buggin' went electronic and added vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Hans Geurts. His voice and musical ideas have a character that would make any child of the 80's believe that he is Max Headroom's brother, and convince any Millennial that they accidentally invented a new genre called ElectroProg. They receive the 2015 "Musical Hurricane Award".
Rangleklods - Lost U
Esben Nørskov Andersen and Pernille Smith-Sivertsen have that magical baritone-soprano dynamic that most duos dream of. Their melancholy hooks are addictive and satisfying for all four seasons. Check out the songs, Schoolgirls and Clouds, and juxtapose that against the heavenly sombre of Lost U. Another thing, and it doesn't count toward their music, but the videos for these songs are quite inventive.
Alice Glass - Stillbirth
A force of nature in vocals, lyrics, and musical assault. I can't believe how powerful this song is. Firece and violent, it portrays the void that is left when emptiness overrules helplessness. A digital electronic masterpiece that rightfully lands her the 2015 "Dystopia Award".
Trinity Ward - Mechanical Rhythms Part II
If there were a mind control camp for cinematic sci-fi and dark ambient music Trinity Ward would be the CIA agent working incognito there as the counselor whom everyone loves, and this song would be the anthem. Trinity Ward is prolific and doesn't underestimate the power of song flow and arrangement.
Official Burnt Toast - Money As Debt
. OBT is the very best Alt HipHop artist I've heard in years and probably the most intelligent and important HipHop lyrics of the 21st century. In addition to his counterpoint vocal rhythms you'd better think about what OBT is saying here and dig yourself out of the hole. Adrian Lawerence wordsmiths better than your poet father plus when was the last time you heard "zirconia and quartz" in a great song? Trouble is this song will go over most everyone's head and even if it didn't the masses are already too indoctrinated and lazy to change their behaviour. WORD !! OBT easily grabs both of 2015's "Best Lyrics" and "Best Indie Beats-Influenced Artist" award.
Merry Ellen Kirk - Rise Up Against
. Possibly one of the best produced songs (and album) of this entire lot, I loved hearing this song through the studio playback monitors while I was setting up. The perfectly reinforced octaves, phrasing, and emotive directives made me instantly aware of the amount of talent needed to pull off a song like this. Kirk's driving defiance and attitude is supported with dirge-like drums, icy vocals, and static piano that leaves no other option other than one pulling themselves up by their own bootstraps.
The Dry Season - Travelling Light
. Moody and cinematic as if Van der Graaf Generator joined up with U2 in the Brian Eno years. Prog heads and ambient-prone stoners will enjoy. It's with pleasure that I award them with the "Twilight Xone" award for 2015.
Deerhoof - Paradise Girls
. I've cheated a little bit here. I heard Paradise Girls (I think) but this is really more about broadcasting the fact that I have been both pleased and annoyed by Deerhoof throughout the many years, as I was an early fan. I've always believed that Deerhoof was the result of Robert Fripp luring Ayumi Hamasaki into King Crimson's underground rehearsal dungeon and forcing her to sing something hooky to Larks Tongues In Aspic Part 4.
AirLands - Ocean Ago
. A wonderful sound with a musical presence that harkens back to the early days of Peter Gabriel when every word counted for something and people still studied lyrics and socialized with one another rather than playing RPG games on their smartphones whilst staring blankly into their friend's face as if they hadn't asked an important question. I thought I heard a little bit of Twilight Singers in them so it wasn't surprising to see that they had played some shows with them live. AirLands is not only believable, but the arrangements and production are spectacular if not inspirational. More please.
Artificial Memory Trace (AMT) - Amfibion
Slavek Kwi's ‘electroacoustic sound-paintings’ (as he calls them) are woven together in a unique tapestry. Don a lab coat and walk into his world where you can hear his natural sound observations on soundcloud. His sample of a longhorn beetle is more captivating than any glitch I've heard in any electro tune. Amfibion creates an VR environment before your very ears, and I swear I began seeing floating Oviraptors levitating above a flowing digital byte waterfall. Kwi snags the "Aural Innovation Award" for 2015.
Angeline - Ghost Dance
. The soulful, intimate folk of London artist, Angéline Morand, is a winter's song worth awakening to on a long holiday weekend prompting moments of reverie and nostalgia. Her lush background vocals create a snow-laden bed of roses for her tale, while other songs such as Owaho and Black Butterflies create an almost tribal folk soul feel. The Back To Pike Place EP is the perfect set of songs for weekend wakeups and 2am wind-downs. Angeline embodies 2015's "Most Inspiring Neo-Folk Artist Award".
Holger Czukay - Echogirl
. Psychedelic Krautrock that keeps changing time signatures and grooves in a way that leaves you disoriented. It's like Revolution 9 with a hypnotic beat. I must admit I was in the right mood to take in the full masterpiece here, which represents a ton of work. It's not for everyone, but if you're in a 'wut?' kind of mood then this one will challenge your senses and idea of what a song can be.
Hello, my musical explorers, fellow artists, and patrons of the dirty diamonds. I bring to you my highlights of the past month as exposed through the fantastic musical lineups play-listed on NBT Music Radio. The brilliant thing about NBT Music Radio is that I frequently hear amazing music broadcasted back to back. Often I'll hear 5 or 6 songs in a row that just blow my mind. This makes it really challenging sometimes to highlight the songs and artists that stand out from the fray. I mean what am I supposed to do here-- perform a play-by-play on nearly every song that is broadcast?
Because NBT Music Radio plays so much exciting music, I try to focus mostly on truly independent artists-- the artists who are NOT signed to major record labels or indie labels that behave and accept funding from parent companies. I am adamantly opposed to the agenda of the music industry in all forms. This opposition has almost nothing to do with big money, but rather has everything to do with the kind of degraded and dumbed-down society that the puppet masters want us to enjoy and embrace. I consider myself a dissident aggressor to these people, and truly support the independent artists whose works I enjoy. However, occasionally there is music released from blood-money labels that I just cannot ignore (for artistic reasons alone), and I concentrate on the artist ideas and performance.
So here are the latest batch of what I'm calling the "Magnificent Spins" on NBT Music Radio. These sounds and songs stood out from the fray and compelled me to share them with you so that you can widen your knowledge of incredible artists and hopefully increase your catalogue of both music and experience.
- Pure Phase Ensemble 4 - Zostan Na Noc
- When I heard this live version of Zostan Na Noc, by Pure Phase Ensemble 4, I was soooo in the mood for Shoegaze and Spacerock that the music leaped out of my studio monitors and surrounded me like some kind of audio hologram. The 9+ minute improv jam begins with bruising distorted bass-chording chugs that slowly build with dynamic drumming before falling into the camphor and cool of soothing Shoegaze. With enough signal processing on the guitars, sax, keys, and vocals to pull anyone into the fantastic floating dream-state that anaesthesia usually provides, the dynamics of the tune ebb and flow between thoughtful lilting vocals and baritone guitar riffs. If you've ever had dreams where you are 'flying' (I have them frequently), well then this is its soundtrack. After being mesmerized a bit, I did a quick search and found the mp4 video here which is a performance from the collective's record 'Live From Spacefest' and features Mark Gardener (Ride) amongst other hand-selected musicians. Pure Phase Ensemble is a hand-picked super group (and workshop) of international musical talent that assembles each year at Spacefest Festival , which is centered in Gdansk, Poland. Apparently this year's Spacefest is co-curated by the Australian guitarist & producer, Hugo Race, who was an early member of Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds in the mid 80's and has quite a prolific musical career with 31 albums. I really think it's time to take an annual December Weekend Vacation in Gdansk.
- Kid Wave - Honey
- For those who want to come down to earth and enjoy something more nouveau and sweet, I recommend checking out Kid Wave. I'm noticing a trend in these bands I discover where the vocalist is from Sweden and the music resonates in London. Kid Wave is beautifully modern lush pop with the gravitational pull of the Catherine Wheel and even the grit of early Screaming Trees. But the best part of this song (and the band) is the chill and rich vocals of Lea Emmery. Her musical presence makes everything ok, like a gorgeous day in the park without a care in the world.
- Evi Vine - Love Is Gone
- Evi Vine creates the kind of moody downtempo soundscapes that aurally emanate from life experience. This isn't background music. Her music demands that you pay attention and makes you feel ridiculous if you don't. It goes without saying that her soothing soprano phrases that hover over the stereo-driven pads and percussion make Love Is Gone (and for that matter all of her songs) a requirement with a pair of your favorite headphones. Check out the high resolution track from her 2015 release (set your youtube settings to HD) on her playlist here. You'll want to let the playlist continue with the rest of her music-- it's just too epic to ignore.
- Angel Olsen - Forgiven/Forgotten
- We pick things up with a snappy little too-cool-for-school song by Angel Olsen. The song is featured on her 2014 release and you should check out the 8mm style video here. With a rhythm section reminiscent of the Cars' debut record and a 90's Breeders feel, Angel creates something new with her transparent lyrics and vocal deliveries that create a sense of urgency. I also really loved the arrangement and the way the drums invert the backbeat towards the end of the tune, making the song a bit quirky and unique. Artists-- this is why authenticity resonates longer than perfection or form. Angel creates a mighty interesting footprint in the sands of modern music, and at only 2 minutes and 10 seconds, this is the kind of tune you'll replay a few times in a row. Ok, perhaps my attention span is simply longer than the average listener, but that has no bearing on a song that is hooky enough and interesting enough to include in your road trip mix tapes. After all who doesn't want to hear that "all is Forgiven"?
- Fufanu - Now
- Although not truly an independent artist, Fufano caught my ear one day with their linear and droning approach to poetic music with "Now". Much of their newer music is similar in structure and approach (think early Doors in a modern vein with electronic enhancements), this particular song stands out from the collection. Check out the live performance of this song here. Fufanu has come a long way since their debut record on One Little Indian. However, I still think my favorite tune of theirs (and also my favorite video) is "Your Collection".
- The Unthanks - A Great Northern River
- I love The Unthanks in the kind of way that makes me want to pack a picnic and head for the shores of Cornwall. Their video for A Great Northern River is a piece of beautiful (if not gloomy) videography that tells a concurrent story apart from the song. The Unthanks have moved many souls, including many popular artists of our time. Just in the past year they have found time to collaborate with Orbital, Sting, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Martin Green (Lau), Martin Hayes, The Voice Squad, Charles Hazlewood, The Moulettes and German composer Werner Cee. This is in addition to many premier broadcasts and licensing deals (I guess an artist has to eat too, right?). Their blend of folk music is indeed a kind of oral history that resonates in a society that is growing exponentially colder. But certainly the music of The Unthanks would be as welcome to pioneering ears hundreds of years ago.
- Mesa Jane - Coming Through
- Sometimes simplicity is what makes a song stand out from the white noise of every artist vying for our ears to believe them.Mesa Jane brings us this truth with songs Haunt You and Coming Through. Mesa Jane's style is minimalistic with understated vocals very up front in the mix, and it makes it very easy to forget that you're not living in an 80's dream. But it's the space between the notes and beats that make this song so interesting. Again, this is another tune that is to be enjoyed with your trusty headphones. Coming Through is from her November 2015 release, Level. Go to CD Baby or support her musical evolution and purchase your favorite songs here.
- Martha and the Muffins - You Sold the Cottage
- Martha And The Muffins is early 80's nostalgia & quirky humour galore with brush strokes of musical kitch that placed them right within the ranks of Danny Elfman, Devo, and The Waitresses. For those that don't remember (or know) you can get a glimpse of the kind of recordings that were transitioning from 'dry' to 'wet' production. Back in the day they signed with Virgin Records UK and were produced by Daniel Lanois, including this song. They must have been dancing in the same circles as a very young U2 emerged. The studio release of this tune is marvellously appropriate for a Simpson episode is here. I love their live version of this song where they do a deadpan comic version of this song by the lake.
- The Feel Bad Hit - Asleep In The Driver's Seat
- Long live garage punk bands. The Feel Bad Hit is a band that reminds me of the hey days of Sunny Day Real Estate, and with all the energy that you would expect from thoughtful grinders who actually employ dynamics, chording, and minimalistic old-school effects to draw their musical blinds amidst a mid-winter's sunset. I couldn't find this song anywhere on the web. Maybe their songs are on the Deep Web-- The Dark Web...These guys are so punk that they don't have a website Like them on Facebook here if you think that will help them. Here's their bandcamp page. A band with fantastic energy and organic disregard for all the marketing bullshit. Check out Mind The Monsters, a tune that cops a feel without confusing Weezer with Sunny Day Real Estate.
- Lisa Gerrard & Patrick Cassidy - Elegy
- Seriously. Is there anything more lovely than Lisa Gerrard's voice? I seem to feel more Irish when I hear her siren songs-- you know, the ones that keep appearing in hollywood movies which captivate the dream sequence perfectly. Her cathedral reverb-soaked voice of her invented language transports you back several hundred years to Anglo Isles where heroes strive and lore and song is honoured. She's even better live, if you can ignore the LARPers who often distract the audiences who just want to, well... not be distracted.
- At The Drive-In - Mannequin Republic
- When At The Drive In broke up in 2000 the members went on to form 3 other bands-- Sparta (emocore-ish), Mars Volta (psychedelic-emocore), and Defacto(straight-up dub-reggae). And yes, they were signed to Virgin Records, but their contributions and influence on countless artists is notable. For those of you who don't know, ATDI is what you get when you mix the quirk of Possum Dixon with the precision of QOTSA, and a bat-to-the-head wake up call of the Rollins Band. Relationship Of Command was by far their most well-rounded record and received a number of accolades while being cited by the critics as a landmark of the post-hardcore genre. Mannequin Republic is a tune that merges the intense energy of punk and King Crimson together with hooky vocals and clever riffs. Reunited, this is a band that needs to be experienced live, and if you can't catch them on their 2016 world tour then … well … that's really not my problem, is it?
- Massimo Ruberti - Earth
- Delightfully cosmic and orbital there's no turbulence with Massimo Ruberti's Earth-- a beautiful unfolding ethereal tone supported by NASA public-domain radio transmissions as they orbit over the Americas. Massimo is a Sound & Visions Trafficker. It's these kinds of artists that make this world a beautiful place to experience. He's released 15 projects since 2002 and one of my absolute favorites is his Forgotten Tape of My Private Dance Floor. It's a lo-fi production of 4-Track sounding tunes that remind me of the days when Fostex and Tascam were making little desktop multi-track recorders. He's quite an adventurous sculpter of sound-- evidenced by 2004's Moogin'. If you're interested in hearing Earth check it out here in its full stereo glory. If you download it, then show your thanks by visiting his homepage and enjoy all his musical works.