#Writing #Music Monday: Adventures by madelyniris

Adventures CoverYou’re writing a Young Adult book, and need lyrics to a song that’s at least a little bit like Lorde or some singer or artist who sounds contemporary.

Meet madelyniris. You’re welcome.

It’s entirely professional, to my ear it sounds exactly of a piece with today’s pop music.

And this might mark the change of everything. Why? Because it was:

Recorded in the closets of sorority houses and wintered piano rooms at a midwestern university with a broken macbook…

I’ve heard professional-sounding amateur recordings for years, in the Creative Commons and elsewhere. But usually, there’s some element that’s off, a little or a lot, purposely or due to lack of experience by the artist. There is nothing off here. At all. Everything it aims for, it hits, and each hit is a bullseye.

You can do that, now, in closets, with a broken laptop. Now the only thing the recording industry has as an advantage is marketing.

So you’ve got five completely legitimate contemporary pop songs under a straight Attribution license. Quote away, give the artist attribution, and you’re set.

Download Adventures free from Jamendo.

Creative Commons License
Adventures by madelyniris is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

Music Monday: Nevertheless by Pur:Pur, 2013

Nevertheless coverPur:Pur is one of my favorite musical discoveries of the past several years. They’re a Russian/Ukrainian band (no political overtones at all to their music, at least not English songs, which are most of it), they give their albums away for free, the lead singer is utterly entrancing while being just a bit too “off” in some indefinable way for her to be immediately beautiful. And they expand and explore their range in lots of interesting ways, including musically.

Even if you liked their earlier works, Pur:Pur’s Nevertheless might not work for you. I am an unabashed nut for them, and it took me several months of listening to warm up to this one. Now, of course, I love it. But it takes some getting used to. You have been warned. (And promised, because it is worth the effort.)

Previously they were a trio; beginning with this album they are a quintet. But that’s just the most superficial change they have made. Each track on this album is an experiment, looking for, finding, and expanding the boundaries of what the band had previously done, musically, lyrically, structurally. As I said, they go so far afield that it takes some getting used to. It’s experimental, but in a good way, in my opinion.

Here’s what they say about it:

The album Nevertheless — is the result of months of searching, testing the durability of friendship, experiments with sound and a dynamic creative team.

All of the complexity, magic and creativity were absorbed by the nine tracks on this record. Some of them were performed during Jazz Koktebel festival last fall. Some of them were played some time ago acoustically and some of the songs are seeing daylight for the first time.

Nevertheless — is the second full-fledged album of Pur:Pur. The first one named Pure was created two years ago. The pause between the two albums was filled with a search for the new sound which in time the band found themselves recording several mini-albums. The acoustic soul of Pur:Pur was changing and eventually morphed towards a new rock ‘experience’. Insinuating tones transformed into mysterious post-rock and electronic paraphrasing. As a result of these transformations, the chamber trio became a full-blown developed electronic band.

If you’re not sure whether it will grow on you or not, try this: Go and listen to one track, just one: “Little by Little“, track 2. Listen to it two or three times straight through. If you get to the end of that thinking that they might be on to something, download the album and listen to it once a week or so. It will almost certainly grow on you, too. If not, well, you gave it a chance, at least.

(Ideally, of course, you should listen to the entire album.)

You can download Nevertheless by Pur:Pur from Russian site Kroogi (page is [mostly] in English) in MP3 or WAV formats.

You can also download it in lossless WAV format from SoundCloud.


I can’t find it now, but there used to be a page on Pur:Pur’s site saying that they were totally cool with people doing just about anything with their music, they just wanted to get heard as widely as they possibly could. They have not, to date, formally adopted Creative Commons licensing, however, so if you want to use it in your Youtube videos or movie or whatever, you should make every effort to contact them through their site or social media feeds to arrange that. (For what it’s worth, I have sent multiple emails over time seeking clarification, and/or asking if they will adopt CC licensing, and never gotten a response. Possibly I got spam filtered, I don’t know.)

Pur:Pur’s official website.

Their Twitter feed: @purpurpeople.

Their Facebook page.

Their Youtube channel.

Music Monday: Bring Me Down by Fresh Body Shop

[cover] Fresh Body Shop - Bring Me DownFresh Body Shop is a French band that does songs almost exclusively in English. They are incredibly prolific, putting out thirteen full albums or EPs since 2007. Some of their work doesn’t appeal to me, but some is amazing.

And Bring Me Down is the best of the best.

It’s a very odd melange of hard pop, ’90s alternative, and early 80s New Wave (mostly due to the brilliant way most of the tracks incorporate a synthesizer).

If you don’t want to give the whole album a listen, do this: listen to “Wawawawa”, “Spaceship”, and “Mr. Sunday”. If you don’t run away screaming, then download it and listen to the whole thing.

My only problem with Fresh Body Shop is that they choose the most restrictive Creative Commons license available. Their choice, of course, but keeping people from even making Youtube videos? That doesn’t strike me as the smartest way to go, especially when you have such a rich catalog to work through.

That said, it’s totally worth downloading. (And as a guide, none of the tracks in this album are among FBS’s top ten on Jamendo. I happen not to agree with that, but do keep it in mind.)

Bring Me Down by Fresh Body Shop is available for free download via Jamendo.

Alternatively, you can get higher-quality files of the same album from Bandcamp, at the same time giving some well-deserved cash to this French band, but without the Creative Commons license.

Creative Commons License
Bring Me Down by Fresh Body Shop is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.

Music Monday: Elijah Drop Your Gun and From The Mouth Of Paris EP by Mieka Pauley

Elijah album coverYes, I am cheating enormously by giving you two this week, even if one is a four-track EP. And while both are Creative Commons-licensed, you have to pay for them. But the money goes directly to the artist, and she kicks ass, so quit yer complainin’.

Mieka Pauley has been an indie performer for more than a decade, winning a number of contests, and supporting herself solely through her music for all that time.

And if you give her work half a chance, it’s not hard to see how she’s able to do so.

Her lyrics are intelligent, thoughtful, often quite wickedly clever, and always satisfying. Her melodies are pleasing, engage the listener directly, and often anticipate and trump the listener’s expectations by doubling back and doing something much better than expected.

I’m also biased toward her because she has done quite a number of songs that make me feel she’s spent time spelunking in my subconscious and writing out what she found there.

Elijah Drop Your Gun is her first full-length album, yet it’s completely mature work. The third song, “Secret”, is just one example of how her lyrics work at multiple levels, setting up your expectations and then pulling the rug out from under you:

Can you keep a secret and guard it with your life
Can you keep a secret, cross your heart, hope to die
Would it stay between us, just simple words between us
Can you keep a secret this time

Those last two words come out of nowhere and turn the entire verse from an expression of cautious trust into a knife in the back, with a good solid twist added in.

I have many theme songs, and Mieka sings several of them. The one on this album is the kick-ass rocker “Be Like The Man”:

Be like the Man, be like the Mob
Be like the State, be like a God

Get mad, get mad, dress yourself in black
This cannot wait, you gotta take it back
Get mad, get mad, dress yourself in black
And prove it, do you want it back

What’s interesting about this song beyond the adrenaline-pumping tune is, again, the complexity. It is an anthem, but it’s also a challenge and an expression of preemptive contempt. (She tells the story of writing the song in live shows — the chorus is what it is because those are the four things “you do not fuck with”.)

albumThe EP From The Mouth Of Paris was originally done as a release for a band, The Mieka Canon, but that project seems to have fallen by the wayside, and it is now listed as a solo. In any case, it is a group of four great songs and no bad ones.

“Colossal” might well be titled “The Sociopath’s Song”:

Be honest, be straight:
Do you wanna make a colossal mistake
As much as I do?

“We’re All Gonna Die” is blackly funny when you know that it’s written from her own life. Her husband is (or was) a stand-up comedian, and she “got” to hear him work up his material from inspiration onward, which meant that he kept telling her about awful news stories as he was sifting through them, things that most people shrug off, but which left her, as she put it one time, curled up on her bed sobbing.

“Faster”, my favorite song on the release, is simply a brilliant piece of songwriting. It captures perfectly the yearning to be healed when you know you’re broken, the “if I could just have x, things would be better”, and each verse demonstrates how “x” is never what you thought it would be once you get it.

Finally, “That Golden Room” is a piece of quiet beauty, a different take on yearning, this time for that moment in your life when everything was Right, but you didn’t realize it until after it had already changed.

Creative Commons License
Elijah Drop Your Gun by Mieka Pauley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License
From The Mouth Of Paris by Mieka Pauley is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 3.0 Unported License.

Music Monday: Colossus by The Monster Brothers

[cover] The Monster Brothers - ColossusChange of pace this month: Lyrics are now required, rather than frowned upon. I figure not everyone is distracted like me, and I’ve got lots of good CC albums that have English lyrics on them, and and and I’m thinking about putting together a monthly podcast where I will finally enact my initials and DJ various CC music for one and all. (Have not made a final decision on that last, though.) Call it Lyrical April.

I don’t remember what first brought this album to my attention, but I know I downloaded it then didn’t listen right away (which happens quite a lot, in fact). Then I demonstrated my (lack of) character. I went to the band’s Facebook page, was smitten by the super-cute bassist, and made sure to listen to this album a lot.

Yeah. I’m easy.

But it turned out to be a really good thing, because The Monster Brothers are actually very, very good. (With the added bonus that, if you download the album from Jamendo, it’s under a Free Culture license so you can use any of the music and/or lyrics with very little trouble at all.)

It’s mostly hard-rocking, upbeat, fun, and very melodic. Past that, I can’t really say much other than: listen to it. It’s good, and its quality should be evident right off the bat.

From what the band themselves say about it:

Everything started from the need to make music again and perform live.

Some great and original songs were already there from previous experience….

The sound is well crafted, the influences are multiple, perhaps more rock and pop, with some jazz, jungle and reggae on it – surely very original and finally with lyrics to listen to.

The leader is from Austin, Texas, the other members are all originally from Switzerland/Ticino.

Jason sings and plays keyboards, Gionata plays the drums, Alex and Paolo play the guitars, and Nicole plays the bass. Enjoy.

You can download Colossus by The Monster Brothers from Jamendo under a CC BY-SA 3.0 Unported License.

You can also buy it through BandCamp (thus giving money to the band and encouraging them to keep on playing) under a CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 Unported License.

Creative Commons License
Colossus by The Monster Brothers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at https://twitter.com/MonsterBrothers.