San Fermin reveals ‘Jackrabbit’ live on StageOne

Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin Composer / Bandleader / Keyboard
Ellis Ludwig-Leone, San Fermin Composer / Bandleader / Keyboard

San Fermin / Thursday Jan. 29 / on StageOne / $20 / Doors: 7:00 P.M.

Brooklyn-based San Fermin hit the road in full force after their Jan. 20 release of  “Jackrabbit”. The single track is a mere glimpse of what is to come for the band’s second studio album, to be released April 21.

Backed by brilliant composer Ellis Ludwig-Leone, the eight piece rock band will take the stage at Fairfield Theatre Company, ready to reveal the rest of the albums unheard tracks.

“Jackrabbit” seamlessly weaves Ludwig-Leone’s composed melody and lyrics with the band’s  indie rock persona and gigantic wall of sound. The tune borders mainstream pop with an aggressive edge, appealing to musicians and music lovers of all genres.

Charlene Kaye (vocals) brings a strong feminine breath behind the microphone that gives “Jackrabbit” a refreshing, yet familiar sound after each listen. “Jackrabbit” is a beautiful landscape painted across your ear as the band crescendos into a rock anthem as Kaye passionately sings “Run for the hills, Run.”

San Fermin’s December 2014 single release of “Parasites” will also be featured on the upcoming album. “Parasites” includes Ludwig-Leone’s longtime friend and bandmate, Allen Tate, on vocals along with Raye. Together Raye’s croon lines paired with Tate’s low-bass range spread the entire sonic spectrum. Harmonious vocal breaks and choral chants contrast the saxophone lines of Stephen Chen.

“Parasites” contrast the overwhelming force of “Jackrabbit” with an honest and wholesome rhythm section in addition to the sweeping violin lines of Rebekah Durham. Dissonance and immense creativity lie behind this track; proof that Ellis Ludwig-Leone has an acute attention to detail when it comes to music.

Ludwig-Leone studied music at Yale University in New Haven, Conn. and set off to work on his debut album after graduating in 2011. Ellis transformed San Fermin from the produced compositions on his laptop to include a road proven ensemble comprised of  Ludwig-Leone, Allen Tate, Charlene Kaye, Rebekah Durham, John Brandon, Stephen Chen, Tyler McDiarmid, and Mike Hanf.

After their debut release, The New York Times and Pitchfork hailed San Fermin as one of the most ambitious debuts of 2013. In  its overwhelming success,  San Fermin fans eagerly await the release of a second jaw-dropping album, “Jackrabbit.”

Ellis Ludwig-Leone can attribute this success to “sensibility.” When you’re writing music “you have to let the song take you somewhere,” and the same goes when performing and listening.

With such a diverse background, Ludwig-Leone is influenced from all types of music stemming back to his childhood, including the years he was trained in classical music.

“This [San Fermin] is a mixture of a lot of stuff; the music I listened to at 10 years old and the music in the last few months,” said the Brooklyn Composer. “You have to add your own take and  find your own voice. The more I do this, the more influences that come into the music.”

Likewise, for young musicians Ellis stated “while your learning, be as open to as much as you can because it can be handy later on  down the line.” More importantly you must “write the music you want to write!”

When San Fermin takes the stage at FTC all of their life experiences will squeeze into the intimate 225 seat venue.

“If people in Fairfield come to see San Fermin it will an experience they won’t forget because it its the first time new music is being played,” Said Ellis Ludwig-Leone.

San Fermin’s StageOne appearance is one of the few tour dates to reach New England with guest artist, White Hinterland. After heading down to The Barns at Wolf Trap (Vienna, VA) and Gild Hall (Arden, DE) San Fermin will be at The Appel Room (New York, Ny) on Feb. 12. After the Savannah Stopover Music Festival the band will tour overseas through the beginning of May 2015.

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Guster’s ‘Evermotion’ redefines sonic sound

'Evermotion' was released   Jan. 6, 2015
‘Evermotion’ was released Jan. 6, 2015

Guster’s seventh studio album, “Evermotion,” is the result of unexpected perfection, hearty percussion and ambient keyboard textures that redefine sonic sound.

The album’s first single, “Simple Machine,” sweeps listeners into a dancing frenzy, opening with a pop-throwback drum beat and moving synthesiser leads, reminiscent of a 1980’s rave. It’s hard not to find yourself screaming the catchy lyrics, “I’ll never find my way back / I’ll never find my way back home” at the top of your lungs.

“Simple Machine” is exactly what I want to hear while my hands wave frantically in the air, on the verge of a break-out dance party. It features a driving blend of drums, keys and conga textures, which TIME Magazine has dubbed as “Frantic beats and crawling synthesisers.”

Soothing xylophones chime on tracks such as “Long Night,” with ambient guitars weeping in the background. The raw, profound drum mix brings me back to my high-school garage-band days. It’s an organic and simplistic approach that gives “Long Night” it honest sound. The band takes their time adding each instrument in layers, including steady shakers and fluid bass lines, underneath the motif of shimmering chimes.

Gusters’ minimalistic approach when it comes recording and editing transcends the studio. In result, a medley, texture and gigantic body of sound gives you an overwhelming presence; as if you were standing dead-center in their rehearsal space.

Tunes like “Doing It By Myself” reveal Guster’s alter-ego, a halftime island vibe with shimmering steel drums, as well as “Lazy Love,” an infectious symphony of vocal harmonies in an airy breath that reverberates throughout the track’s entirety.

“Never Coming Down” is another track that sets Guster apart from the rest. A straight ahead drum and tom-tom groove give hints of Latin origin with layered vocals and percussive ostinatos. The guitars, vocals and ambient effects float around the rooted rhythm section allowing the music to sway from ear to ear as the band seamlessly transitions the melody into a harmonious whistle.

“Evermotion” is a special album because it is established as a piece of art, not just a set of music and lyric.

After the band sought out The Black Keys’ bassist, Richard Swift, there was an instant harmony. On the bands website, Guster’s bio quotes Swift as being the type of artist “that’s always standing back and taking in the whole canvas.”

Guster’s Ryan Miller had told Swift that the last two records both took a year to make, but laughed as Swift replied by stating that he had never spent more than nine days on an album (Guster.com).

During Guster’s three week retreat at Swift’s studio in Oregon the obsession and repetition of recording music was washed away by humble dedicated musicians who have unknowingly crossed over into a world of artistry.

With each stroke, the album takes on a different form and has projected the band into a new realm of sound.

Guster’s guitarist, Adam Gardner, attests to the album’s uncharted audio genius. “We had just one microphone over the drum kit, used whole takes and didn’t obsess over vocals or really editing things at all,” Gardner was quoted on Guster.com.

Both perfection and imperfection elevate the organic bliss of “Evermotion,” an album that can only be understood listening from start to finish. Study each note, lyric and rhythmic texture as if it were painted on a blank canvas, then step back and embrace its every detail. This is an audial experience you don’t want to miss.

Also Published @  L4LM.COM: Read Here

Hurray for the Riff Raff “Small Town Heroes” [L4LM LEAK]

Not yet posted to L4LM, but I had too much fun writing this so here you go! I will post direct link asap.

‘Small Town Heroes’ by Hurray for the Riff Raff

Tears fall like water, rocking me back an forth in the small vessel down the Mississippi while Hurray for the Riff Raff’s Alynda Lee Segarra sings me to sleep.

In their February release of “Small Town Heroes,” Segarra sings of wisdom and travels in an Americana medley. At 26 years of age, Segarra has impressed upon the rich culture of New Orleans.

At the age of 17 Segarra broke away from her Bronx roots and ventured out west. After settling in Louisiana, she began playing washboard and singing with a local group of musicians.

According to the bands bio, “It wasn’t until Segarra got to New Orleans that she realized playing music was even possible.”

The underdog grossed international attention with ‘Look Out Mamma’ in 2012, which recieved praise from NPR, New York Times, Mojo and Paste. Likewise, Segarra triumphed after tugging on the heartstrings of fans at the 2013 Newport Folk Festival.

Segarra is not alone in her “Small Town” adventure. Lifelong friend and fiddle player, Yosi Perlstein, keyboardist Casey McAllister, guitarist Sam Doores and bassist Dan Cutler accompany the light strumming of “Crash on the Highway” and the Americana force of “Blue Ridge Mountain.”

“Good Time Blues” is by far one of my favorite tracks for its sheer simplicity and power. Brushes on the snare drum sway with twang of electric steel guitar and a rocking-chair blues chord progression.

Segarra sings “I been hangin’ by a thread / I been losin’ what I had / Now I’m startin’ to believe that the good times are done for me,” spaced with soothing melody rooted in her own soul:“You could move to another town…but there’s a girl in South Louisiana / And she is always on my mind.”

Formula 5: “Edging on Catastrophe [L4LM Review]

DIRECT LINK TO L4LM STORY

When you mix influences like John Mayer, Ray Charles, The Grateful Dead, Aretha Franklin, The Beatles and The Talking Heads, the four-piece funk funk band, Formula 5, is born.

After their latest release, Edging on Catastrophe, Formula 5 is still on the rise. The 13-track album is reminiscent of the band’s roots and influences of upstate New York, ranging from funk and jazz to electronica and blues.

The opening track, “Perch Above the Earth,” misleads listeners with scifi effects that teleport to a driving bass-line and upbeat drums. The band transitions from these feet-stomping grooves to soothing interludes with ambient guitar and piano. Before you can catch them, the band snaps back in the pocket with a screaming guitar solo.

After eight minutes of groovy bliss, the band molds into a classic sounding funk in “Earthbound Tim.” The track features Jeff Nania (saxophone) and Bryan Brundige (trombone); both beautifully compliment the open keys, vocal harmonies and rhythmic melody.

With each track, Formula 5 proves to be something different. Lengthy jams to short spurts, like “Timmy’s Dream,” prove that Edging on Catastrophe will not disappoint.

Tunes like “The Fall” show that Formula 5 can do it all. They combine heavy bass with screaming guitar in perfect balance. Simultaneously, paired vocals and open instrument breaks relaxes listeners with a soothing edge.

The quartet’s organic spin on funk music lures listeners of all genres and leaves them dancing center stage.

It is no wonder Formula 5 has shared the stage with artists such as Twiddle, The Heavy Pets and Goosepimp Orchestra. In addition, Formula 5 has played everywhere from Autamation Indoor Music Festival (Lake George) to Catskill Chill, The Big Up and Strange Creek.

Songs from the album are sprinkled throughout Formula 5’s live shows archive, where the band has streamed full setlist for an unfiltered listening experience.

UPDATE 1/4/2015

WOW! I cannot believe it is 2015 already. I don’t normally do this kind of stuff, but I am blessed with positive vibes on this foggy January evening at home. First, I want to thank any and everyone who visits my page, it is a great honor and I am thankful for reading, sharing and supporting me on my journey.

I have begun a new venture with Live For Live Music (L4LM) and have starting writing reviews for them.Read: FORMULA 5. And i just completed Hurray For the Riff Raff’s “Small Town Heroes” review, which I will post in a new blog and share a link once it post to L4LM.

In search for an intern position writing and blogging, so stay tuned for what’s to come.

Bless,

Charles