Weekly Digs: Ted Lucas: The Om Album

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Ted Lucas got his start as a studio musician and member of various folk/rock bands around the Midwest. A classically trained guitar player, Lucas also studied blues, country, jazz, and contemporary music and drew inspiration from the likes of Ravi Shankar to develop a beautiful sound of his own. In 1974 he released his only album, a self titled effort recorded largely in his attic studio that has come to be known as “The Om Album”.

The two sides of the album are quite distinct from each other. Side A consists of a gorgeous medley of six folk songs, while Side B contains three longer, more instrumental jams. In the first six tracks, Lucas develops beautiful and familiar melodies with his perfectly soft guitar playing and warm, open voice. In a way that makes you think Bon Iver must be a fan, Lucas crafts intricate harmonies with himself that settle themselves in your head all day but never wear on you; his music is comfortable.

Get a taste of the music by listening to a track from Lucas’ self-titled album:

The lyrics of his songs are simple and direct, smiling out of the songs at you. In the album’s opener he sings “It’s a plain and sane and simple melody/brings a song to you, brings some joy to me”, setting the tone for the album as a whole. The next three tracks, “It’s So Easy”, “Now That I Know”, and “I’ll Find A Way” are all intricate and touching in their own way and as you’re listening you keep expecting a let down, like how can it stay this good??

Then Lucas comes at you with “Baby Where You Are” and “It’s So Nice To Get Stoned”, tracks that are irresistibly excellent. Side B showcases Lucas’ guitar talent, especially on “Sonny Boy Blues”, a seven minute long rail against over drinking, and the closer “Love & Peace Raga”. The raga is played in a traditional Indian style; intricately picking it’s way along for nearly eight minutes, weaving together melodies, and creating a gorgeous tapestry of sound.

This album is an absolute gem from start to finish, and while it sadly never got the attention it deserved, I get the sense that Ted Lucas was not a man concerned with material gains. So take a few minutes and give it a listen, you won’t be disappointed. Yoga Records put out a reissue in 2010 which can be found on iTunes or Amazon.

Here’s another track from the reissue to keep you company:

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Jamie Coughlin

A solid find: Hollow Coves (New Artist Update)

I was recently just doodling around on the internet like we like to do when paper proposals should really be written, and I stumbled across these two beautiful gentlemen who, quote, “have that chilled vibe about [them].”

Such truth.

I’m a fan of acoustic sets and I’m even more of a fan of acoustic duos. Pretty clean, pure stuff to me, and I find that if you just have a guitar in hand and your voice, there are no real opportunities to BS your music.

Hollow Coves do not disappoint.

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Meet Ryan Henderson and Matt Carins, two dudes from Brisbane, Australia. Recently just releasing their debut EP, Drifting, indie-folk duo Hollow Coves keep it simple and keep it classy.

Just listening to the first song on Drifting, “The Woods,” is beautifully simple with an intro of a slowly building beat that develops into simple guitar melodies and soft piano chords, vaguely giving a Kris Allen feel to the song. The two boys picked each other well as both their voices truly complement each other as they bring the song alive with their relaxed tone and lyrics of “And we all sit around the fire/ We feel a little warmer now/And we all sit around the fire/ We feel so much better now.”

Drifting – EP by Hollow Coves

Take a listen, and if just chilling around the fire and feeling better and warmer doesn’t give you a “chilled” vibe then I don’t know what will.

In “Home,” the second song on Drifting¸ simple subtle guitar melodies combined with the duo’s intertwined voices also just brings you home as they sing “Take me home/To the friends I’ve always known/Take me home/Back to the place where I belong.”

Such simple lyrics right? I mean, yes, don’t get me wrong here, these pieces of music are not the most complex musically and lyrically, but the overall vibe these two have is what I think they’re both trying to achieve: simple, clean and beautiful. And hey, indie folk isn’t Bach.

I think in the last song, “Heatwave,” is actually the song that is the most complex of the three on the EP with more complicated instrumentals, but at the same time, it’s also my least favorite.  Why? 1) There’s only one person doing vocals on this song, which for me, causes the song to lose depth, and 2) The last half of the song is guitar strumming and humming which gets boring. Nonetheless, the one guy doing the vocals on this song, either Ryan or Matt (I can’t tell), does show a wider range of vocal capability, so cool to know for the future if they decide to release a full album.

Where to listen?! http://hollowcoves.bandcamp.com/releases 

Overall? I like them. I like this. I like indie folk and I like their simplicity and the beauty that comes with it. If they keep to the simple melodies of both their instrumentals and their voices, then Hollow Coves will be a duo that makes it to the top.

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Ariana Rivera

Show Preview: James Vincent McMorrow, Neptune Theatre 11/16

I’m a simple girl. I like some tunes with a guitar, a piano, and some solid vocals. I’m not too fancy, I don’t always appreciate all the extras that go into a record, especially when it takes away from the vocals.

Not with James Vincent McMorrow. It’s a whole new ball game.

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Let’s back up. When I heard James Vincent McMorrow was coming to town this Sunday, I became much, much too excited. An Irish singer-songwriter, McMorrow is one of my favorites. Just releasing his second album Post Tropical last winter in January, McMorrow’s sound is indescribable. Compared to his debut album of 2011, Early in the Morning¸ which had a stereotypical folk sound of straight guitar and voice, Post Tropical mixes different sounds to create this unique, cohesive juxtaposition of R&B, soul, folk, and hip hop. It helps that McMorrow’s surreal songwriting and ability to play practically every instrument is demonstrated within the album.

Mix that with his beautiful falsetto and you’ve got yourself a solid deal of music.

I’m excited for this brilliant show at Neptune Theatre, Sunday, November 16th, at 8 p.m. and see how it pans out. Personal favorites?

Pretty stoked for “Cavalier,” the opening track on Post Tropical. A beautiful piece of work, it slowly builds from hushed keys and hand claps to soaring sounds of bass, drums, and of course his gorgeous vocals.

Get excited.

Also, hoping to God and crossing my fingers that he pulls out “We Don’t Eat,” from his 2012 EP, because although it’s an oldie, it’s a goodie. Opening the track up with a quiet repetition of one piano key and soft drums, it escalades into this track with incredible depth. 

I like the way this man builds up his jams, because man, it gives me shivers.

Basic point: Go to this show. You don’t need to be a fan of soul or indie or folk to like this man. The mixes on this album are incredibly complex and conversely inspired with different influences that anyone can fall in love with him.

Get yo tickets: http://www.stgpresents.org/tickets/by-month/eventdetail/1537/29/james-vincent-mcmorrow#

Also, it’s not sold out, and it’s at one of the best venues in Seattle, so I’d intensely frown at you if you didn’t go. And I hate frowning.

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Ariana Rivera

Outlander in the Emerald City: “Dance the Gloom Away” with Springtime Carnivore’s New Album

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With Seattle’s rain accumulation on the steady upswing, I think it’s safe to say we could all use a bit of sunshine.  Well, you’re in luck: Springtime Carnivore’s self-titled debut comes in clutch when trying to brighten up a particularly overcast day.  With lofty melodies and a tone that places a warm and fuzzy feeling deep in your bones, Springtime Carnivore provokes a nostalgia for a time that many of us (including Greta Morgan, mastermind behind this project) have never actually experienced.  Head-bopping beats, whistling melodies and bright keys epitomize the best aspects of early ‘60s pop, and Greta’s voice is just distorted enough to give it that lo-fi feel we all love. 

The album begins with the short “Western Pink”, a keyboard-dominated instrumental that flows right into the poppier aspects of her sound.  “Collectors” and “Name on a Matchbook” each showcase SP’s supreme talent for weaving catchy pop sensibilities amongst fuzzy guitars and psychedelic-tinged keys, creating an indie-pop song that will force you to drop what you’re doing and dance around like a teenager at a Sock-Hop.

Things slow down with the ballad-y “Foxtrot Freak (Something in the Atmosphere)”, featuring a beautifully bare vocal track free from effects until her reverb-drenched harmonies flood the chorus.  “Other Side of the Boundary” is even more stripped-down, and is best categorized as a truly melancholy acoustic ballad.  This tune allows SP’s folk side to shine beautifully, and her falsetto in the chorus leaves you with chills running down your spine.

After picking up the tempo a bit in “Last One to Know” and “Two Scars”, Springtime Carnivore ends on a somber note with “Find a New Game”, featuring only Greta and her keyboard. Get a taste by listening to the latest track available for streaming, “Sun Went Black” below:

From full-blown indie-pop songs to simple piano accompaniments, Springtime Carnivore reaches a wide range of appeal, all the while maintaining loyalty to a ‘60s sound that the younger generation wishes we could have experienced the first time around. However, her record brings a modern twist that gives the music much more depth and longevity.  I’m sure we’ll be envied by our grandkids for being able to experience her sound the first time around.  

Check out her full album on iTunes and Amazon, and get a taste on Autumn Tone Record’s Soundcloud

AND if you dig what you hear, catch her with the Generationals at the Crocodile THIS SATURDAY (November 15)!

Katie Hanford

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Katie Hanford

Angus and Julia Stone Live at The Showbox

A throwback post right here guys! A few weeks back (Oct 12th to be exact)(or last month to be more precise), with two tickets, I got to watch Angus and Julia Stone live at The Showbox. We were ushered in at 7pm but it started out with a local opening act who was touring with them. They didn’t come out till 9.30pm so it was quite a wait!

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The four-pieced band came out and immediately started performing “A Heartbreak.” The ambiance of it all suddenly made me feel like I was in a ‘70s rock concert. The voice you listen to on your iTunes or Spotify of Julia’s voice was exactly the same when she performed live. Scratch that, even better! Angus, with his shabby facial hair in a cap and strumming his heart out on his guitar, was looking hella attractive. His voice was a great combination with Julia’s.

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One of the highlights of the night was when they agreed to play “Devil’s Tears” upon one of the audience’s request. Personally, their best performance was when they played their top hit “Big Jet Plane.” It was just goosebumps and feels for me from the start to end. Just when we thought the concert was over, the crowd was cheering for more. They came back on the stage and the siblings did a duet of the haunting lullaby “Santa Monica Dream.”

You would expect to be bored at a concert by a duo who usually sings slow indie rock songs. However, for a huge fan like me, it wasn’t boring at all. The beauty of Angus and Julia’s voices matched together followed by atmospheric background music playing was entertaining. It was everything I expected it to be and more! They’re definitely a duo to spot out for at any upcoming music festivals in Seattle.

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Ellisha “take me for a ride… on a Big Jet Plane” Rosli