#Writing #MusicMonday: noaccordion by noaccordion

Cover [Yes, I crapped out on posting yesterday. But I’ve got albums selected to the middle of next month, at least, and easily can go beyond that, I just have to write them up and prepare the posts. And it’s clearly much better when I do that well ahead of time.]

Though she has been making music for a long time, and releasing as “noaccordion” since 2010, I only chanced across Onah Indigo’s work quite recently.

She seems to be a restless soul, ranging across genres and styles at whim, almost like Miles Davis, needint to finish one thing, then do something completely different, then do something completely different from that.

This first, eponymous, EP has a mix of sounds that’s hard to describe, but if you cross the French grunge girl band UNKNW with Le Tigre, that captures some of it. Toss in a dash of the Raveonettes, too, while you’re at it.

And that’s part of why I’m having a hard time describing this EP. Each song is different. They’re all obviously by the same artist, but they’re all completely distinct.

And they’re all worth listening to, at the very, very least.

Download noaccordion free from the Internet Archive or from Soundcloud.


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noaccordion by noaccordion is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward

CoverI feel like kind of a schmuck.

See, I’ve known about Josh Woodward for pretty much the entire time I’ve listened to Creative Commons music, close to ten years now.

And I kept trying to listen to his music, now and then.

And… I just didn’t care for it. He clearly had musical chops, but something rubbed me wrong about his songs for a long time.

And so, I’ve never really promoted his work. Like, ever. Despite the fact that he’s like the flagship musician for Free Culture (along with Incompetech).

Well, after the Great Laptop Disaster earlier this year, I went and started rebuilding my CC music library, and I revisited a song of Woodward’s that I definitely liked from recently, “Airplane Mode”.

And yeah, it’s fun. And even if it retains a bit of the attitude I disliked in a number of his other songs, it’s well-camouflaged.

Then I listened to the whole album it came from, The Beautiful Machine. And this album, more than any of the previous ones, worked for me. The elements that rubbed me wrong previously do remain, but as with “Airplane Mode”, the songs are fun enough, and bury those elements deep enough, that I can easily ignore them.

And the songs are very fun.

So, finally, I am pushing some of his work. Without reservation. Hie the over and acquire it!

Download The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward free from the artist’s own site.


Creative Commons License
The Beautiful Machine by Josh Woodward is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: So Much So Young by Secret Babies

CoverThis week, I bring you the only Attribution-Share Alike licensed album for Lyrical April 2016, meaning if you use lyrics from this album in your book, you need to also release it under the same license.

Secret Babies have, as far as I can tell, only released this one album, and while it’s a full-length album, clocking in around fifty minutes, it definitely leaves me wanting more. And all I know about the band is that they claim to be from the USA.

The lead singer, an unknown female vocalist, strongly reminds me of Margo Timmins of Cowboy Junkies in her delivery and vocal quality. Some songs could be done by the Junkies, and others are in different styles entirely, but the singer holds it all together.

And it is the strength of that singer on which the album is built. Everything else ranges from good enough to very good, but the singer is amazing.

The Cowboy Junkies comparison, as I indicated, doesn’t really hold up beyond the singer’s vocal qualities. The closest the songs come to sounding like the Junkies’ work are the first two tracks, “Aloof Tops” and “Bicycle Tunes”.

After that, the style of the songs ranges all over the place, but never feels like a strain on either the singer nor the instrumentalists.

“Greatest Start” could be a ’70s singer-songwriter piece, and a good one.

“Knots and Seams” has a slight Mexican influence to it.

“Own This Road” goes ’80s new wave electronic in sound, and works just as well as everything else on the album.

“Russian Wind” stirs up a nostalgic feeling in me, but I can’t even begin to pin down why.

And the final track, “Sugar Pane”, sounds like it might have been a minor hit on alternative radio stations in the early ’90s.

So, basically, this album is a gem, entirely worth downloading and listening to, even if you never intend to make any kind of derivative work from it at all. I want more, but Secret Babies hasn’t been active, even on their Facebook page, in several years. So this might be the last we ever hear of them, or they might suddenly come out with more lovely work like this.

Download So Much So Young by Secret Babies free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
So Much So Young by Secret Babies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #MusicMonday: The Black Hole by lo-fi is sci-fi

cover-blackholeWelcome to Lyrical April 2016. This year, as with last, I’m not only sharing music with vocals that you might like to write to, but deliberately sharing Free Culture music with, for the most part, easy-to-discern lyrics, so that you have four more albums’ worth of lyrics to quote in your books, if any of them catch your fancy. This year, it’s very Free Culture, with only one of the three albums carrying a Share Alike restriction. That’s right, three of the four albums, including today’s, only requires attribution for you to create any kind of derivative work!

This is also an album, and frankly a group, that I personally have saved from vanishing from the internet. That is not an exaggeration.

lo-fi is sci-fi was a duo comprised of Chris Zabriskie and Marc With A C that put out four excellent albums from 2006 to 2008, and appear to have kept planning more projects through at least 2012, though nothing appears to have come of that. They had all four albums available on BandCamp, as well as a website for the project, and all of that is now gone. Vanished. I have no idea what happened, but the two appear to have parted ways for personal reasons, and pulled their collaborative work from availability.

I don’t care what the reasons were for ending the project, that’s not my business. What I do care about is that four brilliant albums, albums with Free Culture licenses, were pulled from public availability. One of the main reasons for Free Culture licensing, so far as I am concerned, is to enable works of art to achieve longevity even without popularity or institutional support. A digital release is not something you’ll find used, hanging around old book or CD shops. If it’s not posted somewhere, preferably to a stable place like the Internet Archive, it’s gone. (Insert rant about Jamendo being hideously unreliable and dishonest here.)

Wait, you’re thinking, if these albums vanished, how in hell did Fleming preserve them? And no, the answer is not, alas, that I snagged the lossless FLAC files from BandCamp while they were available. I only discovered lo-fi is sci-fi after their disappearance. How?

Well, the memory-holing of the band’s work was slightly incomplete. Their albums were posted to the Free Music Archive. And at least some effort seems to have been made to pull them from there, but it didn’t take. If you try to find the band’s page, or the album pages, you get kicked to FMA’s main page.

But. If you pull up individual track pages, or search the band name , you can download the MP3s one by one.

And so I did that.

Also, thanks to the Archive’s Wayback Machine, I was able to view the band’s site as it existed in 2013, verify that I got all tracks to all albums, and get copies of all four album covers.

But that’s all background, and you likely don’t care. What about the actual music?

To start with, when I first ran across them, I heard one song that I loved, found the band name, and almost immediately realized I was going to like most everything they did.

Why?

I’m 90% certain that the band’s name is a reference to an album by one of my personal favorite bands, Dramarama, whose last album cut before breaking up (and later re-forming) was hi-fi sci-fi.

And as I’ve been exploring their body of work, that reference is appropriate. They don’t sound much like Dramarama, but they have the same pop cultural, metatextual sensibilities. There are a lot of science-fiction themed tunes, including “The Stars Are Closer Than You” on today’s album, as well as “You’re Assuming the Gravity Wouldn’t Crush You Instantly” on their last one, among others.

As to pop culture, consider that the band’s songs include “Joss Whedon”, “I’m On A Talk Show”, and “The Script You Wrote is Terrible”.

The Black Hole is their first album. And it is as good as any of their others, excepting possibly their last. Possibly.

The recordings manage a complexity of effect despite being produced with relative simplicity. Consider the first track, “You’ve Got The Body + I’ve Got The Brains”. It sounds like a practice session for a Broadway show tune done, at first, with just a piano for backing. It grows more complex as it goes on, but it’s still done relatively simply.

It is entirely satisfying and stands up brilliantly to repeat listens.

And the entire album is like that. It just works, each song, and as a whole.

Download The Black Hole by lo-fi is sci-fi free from the Internet Archive.


Creative Commons License
The Black Hole by lo-fi is sci-fi is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#Writing #Music Monday: Songs From The Lake Air by Bert Jerred

CoverFourteen solid tracks of bluesy, vaguely-’80s-sounding goodness, and lyrics are all on the individual song pages, free to quote under a straight attribution license. What more could you possibly ask for?

Bert Jerred appears to be dedicated to increasing the volume of Free Culture music. He has three albums (at least), split betwen this one on Jamendo, and two others on Bandcamp, and they are all CC BY licensed. Which makes Jerred a mensch, in my book.

It does not hurt that he has chops, and that his music is very, very good.

Shake down the chambers of my skull, maybe;
soaked to my bones, the pain is dull, baby.
I see your Wall Street, and I raise you ninety-nine.

Don’t touch my children or I’ll get you, baby.
Touch my religion and I’ll hit you, maybe.
It’s Dharmapala on the phone and your freedom on the line:

So you say, “I don’t need a name;
I don’t need a name.”

So you say, “I don’t need a name;
I don’t need a name.”

That’s from his song “Anonymous“, the second track on this fourteen-track album.

Download, listen, and use the lyrics for inspiration in your next book.

Download Songs from the Lake Air by Bert Jerred free from Jamendo.


Creative Commons License
Songs From The Lake Air by Bert Jerred is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.

#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.

#Writing #Music Monday: Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson

Pen CoverJeffrey Philip Nelson is a singer-songwriter in the ’70s mold, and I basically mean that as a compliment.

This album of folk-ish songs is quiet, evocative, and entirely appealing. And they’re the product of an interesting life. Nelson didn’t put everything down on “making it” as a musician. He owns a construction business in southern California and has a family. His songs are the result of living life, and his life supports his art.

Isn’t that refreshing?

But back to the actual music. I’m going to say something about it that will be too easily misconstrued, so I’ll try to make clear what I am and am not saying.

The quietness of the songs, the spareness of the arrangements, and the focus on the carefully crafted lyrics put me in mind of Townes Van Zandt.

But I am not suggesting his lyrics and songs are as brilliant as Townes’s work. Nobody’s is, honestly. But Nelson has a bit of the same feel as Van Zandt’s recordings, and some of the soulfulness as well.

This is another treasure trove of lyrics that you can quote freely in your books, with the only requirement being that you give proper attribution for them (Credit and copyright on your copyright page, along with a link to Nelson’s site, and a direct link to the song’s download page would, I think, be appropriate.)

Listen to and download Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson free, from Jamendo, from NoiseTrade, or pay for it on Bandcamp (and still get the same license!).


Creative Commons License
Pen by Jeffrey Philip Nelson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.