Friday, April 19, 2019

Lyman Ellerman -- "Alabama Way"

Lyman Ellerman is the living embodiment of redemption through music. We featured music from his last album, If I Was a Train, a few episodes back on the podcast. That album teased apart Ellerman's experiences with addiction and recovery. Next up for Ellerman, though, is an emphasis on recovery -- and thriving.

"I'm still a firm believer that music should be used for good - inspiration, action, acceptance, healing, laughter", says Ellerman, and his new music does just that. It's possible even to have upbeat songs that are sincere -- and pack a punch. That's what we see here in "Alabama Way."

"My wife was born in Alabama and it started life as a song about her and how I perceive her," says Ellerman. "But I wanted it to be more universally free so to speak. It felt good. It took a while to find that 'feel good' vibe. But when we did, and started recording it, I was finally able to write the last verse. And playing the song live, we've had probably the best reception of any new song I've ever brought out."



Lyman Ellerman -- Official, Facebook

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 59

Busking brass bands and Jason Isbell’s star turn.
Von’s star turn: 4/19 (TONIGHT!) Badass Cafe, Bradenton, FL
Storytellers Session: Micah Schnabel
  1. Meanlife -- “Let Me No” (Fuckable)
  2. Mike Mains & The Branches - “Live Forever” (When We Were In Love)
  3. Anna Tivel -- “Minneapolis” AND “Homeless Child” (The Question)
  4. Will Kimbrough -- “I’m Not Running Away” (I Like It Down Here)
  5. Big Daddy -- “Ain’t Got No Money” (Deep In My Soul)
  6. John Fusco & The X-Road Riders - “A Stone’s Throw” (John Fusco & The X-Road Riders)
  7. Izzy Heltai -- “Marching Song” (Single)
  8. Hayes Carll -- “American Dream” (What It Is)
  9. Dave Vargo -- “Battle Burns” (Single)
  10. Whitey Morgan & The 78’s -- “Just Got Paid” (Hard Time & White Lines)

Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The Graylings -- Tell Me How It Ends

 You never know what kind of mark you'll leave on other people. I just ran into a student I taught four years ago. He gave me a big hug. I'm not saying I had a large part in his decision to go to law school, but considering I made him write a paper defending the Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning's convictions under the Espionage Act (the position was all his, I assure you) I'm not saying I didn't play a part in it.


 That's how I feel when listening to Los-Angeles-based band The Graylings. The folk influence is clearly there, though a deep dive into their debut album, Tell Me How It Ends, reveals a unique pastiche of sounds. First off, The Graylings' strong sense of melody and ethereal, layered harmonies will feel a bit otherworldly. It doesn't hurt that the album's first half has a strong goth-folk tinge. It may all be a bit baroque for some listeners -- particularly Bridget Galanis' operatic vocals -- but you shouldn't let any of this turn you off. The band's unabashed sincerity is what sells it here.

But there's another layer. Or, perhaps, Slayer. As Tell me How It Ends winds down into its second half, we also see the band fitting into a sound that feels more natural: grounding themselves in 90s alt-rock, songs like "Honey Bee" display The Graylings' edgier side while sticking true to their flights of fancy. "Slayer on Cassette" sports a gentle midtempo deep and showcases Galanis' serious pipes, though the seemingly autobiographical song captures the rage and frustration of isolation -- and the things that help bring us back to ourselves. And if it wasn't music, none of us would be here.  


The Graylings -- Official, Facebook

PREMIERE: Meanlife -- "Fuckable"

Toronto's Meanlife really leans into their name. You'll hear a few of their songs on tomorrow's episode of Adobe & Teardrops, but you can see here on "Fuckable" that the band really leans into all of the spite and bile they collectively contain, using witty indie rock and punk to vent it.



As far as outlets go, there are worse! And Meanlife makes sure to add some humorous honey to the vinegar of their broader themes. "Fuckable" hits me right in the feels -- those moments where you feel so isolated and disconnected in spite of the many, shallow opportunities to connect (or "connect") with people. For me, Meanlife is all about letting yourself wallow in those emotions for a bit before returning to the rest of your day -- not to mention a broader emotional palette. Their first album, BAD VIBES, will drop July 1st.

Meanlife -- Instagram

You can hear tomorrow's podcast episode today when you subscribe to our Patreon! Want to wait 'til Friday? Find us on your favorite podcast app or check back here tomorrow!

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Q&A: Thin Lear -- "Death In a Field"

What do you get when you combine steel guitar and meditations on death and reincarnation? Why, Thin Lear's "Death In a Field" of course. It's an incredible character study and seemingly light interpretation on one of the most terrifying -- or joyful -- experiences in life. Thin Lear was generous enough to answer some questions about the song.

Your music is really eclectic! Where does that inspiration come from?

Thanks! I try to follow the lead of each song, and not think too much about genre during writing or recording. So much of my recording process is trial and error, building tracks up just to strip them down again. I think I have to go overboard with instrumentation to know where the line is. When the arrangement itself starts overtaking the song, it’s time to chill out.

But then when I strip things back down, the arrangements often have elements that are kind of intriguing combinations, like, with “Death in a Field,” the core instruments ended up being pedal steel, with synth and twinkling piano, in a kind of ethereal mix. And it just felt right, but I never would’ve started with that instrumentation. I had to find my way there.


Could you tell us a little more about "Death In a Field?"

Initially, I just had the opening line of the song: “I’ll survive as a child/All hungry and wild/Life overwhelming is life at the start.” I just really liked the concept of someone nearing the end of their life, and thinking about being reborn, being a baby again, and looking forward to the tremendousness of experiencing life for the first time. Someone at the end of existence feeling the tug of something new, and terrifying, and potentially beautiful. And then the choruses came out of that. Waking in the morning, or “drowning in an evening of lovely black sky,” indicate a kind of serenity in being swallowed up by eternity, and finding some sort of comfort in that.

When I started writing the song, I had recently watched someone I love pass away in a brief, but organic way, and there were moments in their process of dying that seemed to bring revelations to them. The character in the song is of my own invention though. This character isn’t perfect, and is well aware of that, and is simply being honest about what they’ll miss the most, and what they’re looking forward to. And it isn’t always flattering, but it’s true to the character.

What do you hope listeners will take from your music?

This might sound incredibly pretentious, but I hope it connects them to a feeling or a memory of something sad or wonderful from years ago, maybe something they haven’t thought about in a while…a person or a moment. Songs I love really do that for me. Sometimes it’s hard for me to know how I’m actually feeling, so music allows me to dig past any confusion, and really uncover pieces of who I am and what brings me emotion. So, yeah, I hope the song opens a heavy door in someone’s mind.

But, short of that, if it just makes people hum, I’d be completely happy with that as well. I’m not picky.



Thin Lear -- Official, 

Monday, April 15, 2019

HEY! LISTEN: Grace Gillespie -- "Human (Heart)"

Grace Gillespie is a London-based artist and producer originally from Devon, who spent much of 2017 touring as part of the live line-up for 4AD’s Pixx. Her early demo of ‘Restoration’ saw her tipped to Q Magazine by Newton Faulkner and brought her to the attention of Kaleidoscope, who worked with her to produce her first solo releases in 2018. Her sound takes influences from the folk, psych and dream-pop traditions, providing a backdrop to her intriguing vocal melodies, shifting harmonies and introspective lyricism.


Her first two singles found their way onto Spotify’s ‘Fresh Folk’ playlist and received extensive support from Apple Music, appearing on their ‘A-List’ and ‘Best of the Week’ playlists, as well as backing from NME, Crack In The Road and The Wild Honey Pie. In December 2018, Grace was awarded funding from PRS for Music Foundation (Women Make Music Fund) to complete work on her debut EP.



There's a reason Gillespie has been blowing up: as we can hear on "Human (Heart)," Gillespie is able to combine scathing lyrics, catchy hooks, and a deceivingly inoffensive vocal performance into one devastating combo. "Human (Heart)" borders on jazz in its ability to shift tempo in mid-song. "Human (Heart)" is chameleon-like in its ability to turn into anything the eye of the beholder wants it to -- often like the human heart itself.

Grace Gillespie -- Official, Facebook

Friday, April 12, 2019

Adobe & Teardrops: Episode 58

Big news! Plus subways, driving times, and dying music scenes.
See Von’s show heavyheavy -- 4/19, Badass Cafe, Bradenton, FL
  1. The Suitcase Junket - “New York City” (Mean Dog, Trampoline)
  2. Swimming Bell -- “Got Things” (Wild Sight)
  3. The Infamous Stringdusters - “Another Night” And “Thunder” (Rise Sun)
  4. Holy Moly & The Crackers - “Naked In Budapest” (Take A Bite)
  5. TK & The Holy Know-Nothings - “Tunnel Of A Dream” (Arguably OK)
  6. Just Whiskey -- “O Death” (Secondhand Songs) (SH)
  7. Pony Bradshaw - “Van Gogh“ (Sudden Opera)
  8. The Leavelles -- “Wearing Out My Welcome” (The Leavelles)
    No embed today, but click here to listen!
Rachel wrote a comic! Check it out here! Send us music via SubmitHub. Send us money via Ko-fi or Patreon. Contact Von via linktr.ee/vonreviews and say hi to Rachel on Twitter @adobeteardrops