Sunday, September 2, 2012

Johnny Music Seed (vol. 1) -- 4 Great Indie Bands with 4 Free Downloads


Johnny Music Seed
Reviews and also Etceteras
"Free Music You & Your Entire Family Should Download Immediately"     -- Volume 1

Ben the Brontosaurus
"When You Were Born" EP Review

Ben the Brontosaurus is one of the most tastefully unique bands I've heard in a long time. The duo is from the suburbs of Philadelphia and consists of Ben Grim (Vocals, Bass, Guitar, Keys, and Programming) and Ryan Berg (Drums). Their sound draws on influences from all over the galaxey (including that one bar in Tatoine).

If you like Rural Alberta Advantage, Ben Folds, Dr Dog, RHCP, Ween, or the Shins... there's a good chance you'll be a fan of "Ben Brontosaurus.

**The 1st song "No!" enters with with a chugging bass and a smooth, dry, vocal melody. A few seconds later the song erupts playfully upon the entry of drums and full instrumentation. At the one minute mark a sparkling microkorg arpegiates and the chorus begins. From start to finish this song is interesting, engaging, fun, and challenging. It's the sonic equivilant of eating strawberry pop-rocks... curious, sweet, and exciting.

**The 2nd song "Conception" is a relaxing, tripped-out instrumental. It has a meditative quality that I really like. The chords change slowly as a whispering acoustic guitar finger picks among a chorus of distant ghosts. With a length of 9 minutes, casual listeners are likely to skip past this meandering soundscape. Others (like myself) may enjoy it while driving down a quiet highway in the rain.

**The 3rd song "When You Were Born" immediately reintroduces the full band and features a bombastic, funk-influenced vocal melody. The groove here is really catchy as Grim once again displays his prowess on multiple instruments. Berg is a fantastic drummer who effortlessly accomplishes the task of making Grim's melodies danceable. The vocal harmonies on this track are truly inspired and quite catchy.

**The 4th and final track "Kindergarden" another relaxing, psychedelic soundscape is offered up. The song is remeniscent of bands like Air, Pink Floyd, Tortoise, and Radiohead. 

**Recording Quality: 5/5  
**Emotion: 15/15  
**Catchiness: 12/15
**Tightness: 10/10
**Creativity: 10/10 
**Lyrics: 8/10 
**Arrangement: 7/10 
**Replayability: 10/10 
**Originality: 10/10  
**Accessibility: 2/5 

Ivy Dye 
"Lyme Times" EP review

Ivy Dye is from Chicago! Meaning we should all go catch their next show. "Lyme Times" has a dark, exotic, 80's sort of theme... and even though I generally don't like 80's music, I felt very hooked by these songs. There also seemed to be a British influence... Talking Heads, Blur, Radiohead, The Foals, Gorillaz... I feel like I can hear it all in there somewhere. But certainly not in a copy-cat way. This is a very original band using their influences to create a sound all their own. Oh yeah, and they're tight as f#ck!

The 1st track "Yankee" has a ghostly and subtle intro before breaking into a triumphant drumbeat with an exotic woodwind (or synth) lead. The vocals on "Yankee" are gritty but melodic. The guitar and bass are appropriately subtle and provide an excellent soundscape to back the vocals and the driving drums. Towards the end of the track the flute-like hook gives way as a warm victorious sounding guitar leads the band to the end of the song.
The 2nd track "Heart" enters with a catchy guitar and synth hook reminiscent of something by the "Cure" or some other edgy 80's band. The drums shine on this track and are explosive the entire way through. The bass is driving and at times even overdriven providing a nice intensity to the instrumental bridges. At around 3:10 an impressive tangent begins as the guitar, bass, and drums go on a bouncy romp of odd but dance-able rhythms. The vocals on this track are quite catchy and within a range that nearly anyone could sing along... somewhat similar to Interpol but with more depth and emotion.
Track 3 "Statue" is the most joyful sounding song of the album. It's got a playful vocal melody that reminds me of Damon Albarn. I could easily see it being used effectively as a single. The instrumentation has a feel similar to something off "The People's Key" by Bright Eyes... marching band rhythms, hooky guitar leads, and punchy bass. Very nicely executed.
Track 4 "Snow Creek" before I even saw the name of this track it made me think of Winter. It bounces in with a minor key and immediately I imagine snowflakes falling and trees blowing in the wind without leaves. It has an introspective feel and the lyrics are quite dark. It's a somber and interesting end to a great EP.

**Recording Quality: 5/5 
**Emotion: 15/15 
**Catchiness: 13/15 
**Tightness: 10/10
**Creativity: 10/10 
**Lyrics: 6/10 
**Arrangement: 9/10 
**Replayability: 10/10 
**Originality: 8/10 
**Accessibility: 3/5 

Nathaniel Noton-Freeman
"Cairn" EP Review
OVERALL RATING : 73/90 (81%)

Nathaniel's new EP is a beautiful collection passionate, intelligent guitar work. And although the songs are extremely technical they don't feel that way. If you prefer pop music, this record probably isn't for you. But those willing to listen deeper will not be disappointed. 
One of the truly impressive things about this record is that it's all done with one guitar. Not only that, but as far as I can tell he played each song in it's entirety with no edits. In a day in age when most musicians don't even play an actual instrument... this EP stands in stark contrast and offers an organic explosion of talent and color. Nathaniel is from Massachusetts... go check out his stuff if you're in the area! 

Track 1 "Green Eyes" may ward-off casual listeners. It's the busiest of the 4 songs and is unbound by traditional tempo and time keeping. Nathaniel is clearly challenging himself on this song... the result is a rainstorm of joyful notes and intricate rhythms reminiscent of Phil Keaggy. Overall it's a great track and one of my favorites of the group because of it's raw creativity.

Track 2 "Gray Eyes" matches the technicality and complexity of "Green Eyes" but in a more controlled and accessible way. It starts off dark and eventually moves towards a more lighthearted and bouncy feel.  The tempo seems to increase as the song moves along which gives it's hooks new life and excitement later in the track.

Track 3 "Blue Eyes" has a curious, introspective feeling about it. For much of the song the melody meanders around in an ambient, atmospheric sort of way. Near the midpoint of the song (around 1:15) the track really starts to shine as a triumphant new guitar hook is introduced. Afterward the song heads back towards it's roots but with new confidence and resolution.

Song 4 "Cairn" is the title track and my favorite of this group. It's dark bending hooks are full of longing and determination. The melodies aren't in a hurry and it's obvious that he is feeling every note he's playing. Of the four tracks, this is Nathaniel's best use of empty space. It feels very organic. The perfect blend of technicality and emotion.

**Recording Quality: 5/5
**Emotion: 13/15
**Catchiness: 10/15
**Tightness: 9/10
**Creativity: 10/10
**Arrangement: 8/10
**Replayability: 9/10
**Originality: 7/10
**Accessibility: 2/5
**Lyrics: NA / 10 (not factored in the rating of instrumental songs)

Matthew Coman
"The Last Setting Sun" (single) REVIEW

Coman's song has a warm, natural feel from start to finish. It's extremely polished and professional but still has a definitive organic, indie vibe.

The song enters with a bluesy over-driven guitar chugging on a simple riff. After a few moments a dirty yet silky-smooth vocal enters that has a tone reminiscent of "Get Back" by the Beatles. The melody is full of soul and the emotion in Matthew's voice come across quite clearly.

Near the 1 minute mark the song evolves as drums and full instrumentation enter. Hooky electric guitars pick out lead lines during the second verse as the playful vocal melody continues. 

Piano, tambourine, and a building tom beat fill out a very strong, determined sounding chorus. The vocal harmony here makes an already likeable song even more memorable.

The final verse features progressive variations of the guitar and vocal melodies... there's also a catchy slide guitar. As the song concludes the final chorus repeats a few times and then leads to a laid-back guitar solo outtro.

**Recording Quality: 5/5
**Emotion: 14/15
**Catchiness: 14/15
**Tightness: 10/10
**Creativity: 7/10
**Lyrics: 8/10
**Arrangement: 10/10
**Replayability: 10/10
**Originality: 7/10
**Accessibility: 5/5 


Thanks for taking the time to listen!! If you liked these artists, make sure to follow up with them online or at a show.

And if you don't have Facing Winter's new EP yet, you can download it for FREE by CLICKING HERE.

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