Frank Gutch Jr: Amy van Keeken & Timeloop Touring Western Canada; Spotify: The Boil On the Ass of the Music Industry; Plus Notes

Frank Gutch young

Lots of good stuff happening out there and it’s time we plugged in to some of it if only to counter the “real” musical happenings being covered by all of the sites who think that Kanye West canceling (or postponing) a show is news.  I get it.  No fun finding out your wife is being held at gunpoint.  Just not headline news in my part of the world.

vankeekenallthetimeWhat is headline news is that Amy van Keeken is finally heading out on a tour, as short as it is, to support her new (and excellent, I might add) EP,  All the Time.  She so seldom leaves her lair in Edmonton that leaving just the city is news, but to head west  for five dates after the obvious CD release gig at The Buckingham, October 12th,  in her hometown (she is from Edmonton, you know) is more than just news.  It is a chance for people to catch van Keeken not only at what seems to be her peak (though I believe that will come sometimes on the far future) but to hear what I believe would have swept Canada and the USA had it been at any other point in time.  (To read further notes on her new EP, click here)  From Edmonton, she heads west to play Wine-Oh’s in Calgary on October 14th, Record City in Vernon on the 15th, The Lido in Vancouver on the 17th, The Copper Owl in Victoria on the 20th, and on the return trip will stop by The Valley Zoo in Hinton, Alberta on the 22nd.

Seriously, sports fans.  If you have even the slightest leaning toward Pop you owe it to yourself to catch one of the shows if only to hear van Keeken’s voice.  There is a purity to it which is mostly missing in todays music.  You can here it on her bandcamp page.  For those too lazy to actually visit a bandcamp page, here is a sample.

That show at Wine-Oh’s on the 14th will also feature Skye Wallace, who I discovered maybe a year or so ago.  In case you’ve never heard her….

van Keeken is not the only musician twisting my knots lately.  Down Under’s Angharad Drake also has me dancing a jig or two.  During one of our recent hit-and-miss communications, Drake announced  the impending release of a… gasp… single!  I almost spewed coffee at the chutzpah!  A single?!!!  You have to understand that Drake has three albums under her belt and reportedly has another in the can from which Baby has been chosen as the spearhead.

Ostensibly a folkie, Drake is showing tremendous growth over the past year or so.  She always had a gift for melody and for pop music and it seems that she is ready to throw caution to the winds.  I foresee a bright future for her and a world of musical styles in which she will make her mark.  Just the sensitivity of Meddling, a track from 2014’s Swing album, has me looking forward.

Compare that with this track from 2015’s Sword.

Every time I hear these songs, my head spins with possibilities.  I wonder if I could talk van Keeken and Drake to invite the other to their respective countries for a groundbreaking tour.  Probably too much to ask.  But if it could happen…  a dream bill.

By the way, you can check out music of both van Keeken (click here) and Drake (click here) on Bandcamp.  I recommend that you do.

Doug Hammond of Daisy House is readying a campaign for the duo’s new album.  Truth be told, finding the band was pure fluke and I am astounded that the music can remain underwater.  Not for long, anyway.  When I found them, there were three albums worth, though, so maybe I am wrong.  Hammond brings a sixties aesthetic to his songwriting which is an axe to the forehead.  I have heard it here and there, but to have one after another embrace the time and sound so thoroughly is amazing.  The thing is, the songs do not mimic one another as so many did back in the days of AM radio when writers and bands were trying to bleed all of the blood they could out of a turnip.  Each song stands on its own and Hammond says that that is what he is going for now.  Unique songs coming from unique angles.  We will see how successful he is, but let me tell you that I have heard three and I get it.  All three outstanding, by the way.  Like this one, the only one released at this time.

This is the song which kicked it all off.  From here it was a frantic search and rescue mission— search fore the music to rescue my constantly flagging attitude toward the music business.  Man, there is some amazing music buried there, and this is just the Daisy House treasure chest.

If you should think that you never make an impact, consider this.  I  had not heard of the band until a dude from Germany, one Christian Anger, sent me the link to the video above.  No big hoopla, not expecting anything in return.  Just a simple, hey, you might like this.  It stopped me in my tracks.  A great track, I told him.  An outstanding track.  And then I hid in a cave and researched everything I could find on Daisy House.  I watched the videos and at some point made contact with Hammond, though I could not tell you how it happened.  It was a blur.  I reposted the video.  And I reposted other videos which had so few views I shuddered.  How can a video this good not automatically find fans?  Or these?

And this, a song which carries me away every time I hear it, and I have heard it a lot.

Speaking of stepping outside a sound, Hammond threw this one in which is so far away from what he had done before it caught me by surprise.

Adam Marsland is finding himself in the middle of a hurricane of activity over at Karma Frog Records.  He is not only awaiting the final results of the new Pacific Soul Ltd. album (The Dance Divine— he is a member) but has a number of projects on hand.  For instance, the release of the new Rob Martinez (they are taking pre-orders on both albums right now).  Not only that, rumor has it that Evie Sands is back in the studio finishing up an EP, her first release in a number of years.  Evie is known for her work with The Adam Marsland Chaos Band (Did I get that right?) and of course has a history and a half in the music biz.  Pacific Soul Ltd. sounds a bit like this.

I mean, who doesn’t love a little soul in their music?

Duggy Degs has finally released his four-song EP and it’s a beaut!  Degs has been around for years on the music scene, now working out of Brighton UK, and has come up with four upbeat and, at times, very cinematic tunes— okay, three and the kickoff tune, Another Good Thought, which is just pure Pop.  The man has a touch.  Here is an older track recorded with his ongoing band, The Beachy Head Music Club, just so you understand.

Few people know that Degs spent years recording with some of the real heavyweights on the UK music scene.  Here is a track he recorded with Briant Tuitt of Bad Manners.

Degs has spent a number of years living under the cork, as it were.  I am sure he regrets the time lost to alcoholism but one does not get do-overs in this lifetime and he knows it.  Rather than live for the bottle, Duggy has dedicated himself to his music and wants to use it for good and not evil, so he is giving all proceeds from the sale of the new EP to charity, specifically Recovery Unplugged which works to help alcoholics face the world.

Musically, these four songs are just the latest in the musical career of Duggy Degs.  Besides The Beachy Head Music Club, he has worked on various projects, but this is the one which tells me he is back.  Another Good Thought is an upbeat Pop tune which would have fit well on the Brit TV program Top of the Pops back in the late-sixties.  The vocal background could be a Beach Boys or Jan & Dean work except Degs always keeps things edgy, so he eschews the standard chord progression for one of his own choosing.  Bringing the Family Home steps away from straight pop and substitutes a Disney-esque cinematic layer.  It would work very well as a Christmas tune with a few changed lyrics.  Hake relies on an underlying flash of early-seventies Motown for its base and it comes off very well indeed and Meltdown has that edgy Brit Rock feel, the guitars buried but raw, the lead guitar pure and classy.  Most impressive.

Without the charity, I would be writing equally glowing words, but charity always helps.  I get what Duggy does musically.  Now that I see what he does with it after the music is put to bed, I am more impressed than ever.  I have known people who have struggled with addiction.  It is never easy and, I am sure, harder than I can even imagine, but that just makes successes like this that much more admirable.  I just want to say, I hear you, Duggy, and welcome back.  Here are some samples so you can put a bit of music to my words.

Spotify: The Boil on the Ass of the Music Industry

no_spotifyIf there is any music industry anymore.  It seems to me that it has been co-opted by financiers and lawyers, especially now that asshats like Daniel Ek has stepped in to glean most of the profits from the people who actually worked to perfect what he is selling.  It is a standard ploy used by businessmen to step in with a new model before any regulations are vetted or new rules applied.  They simply take over what was there but outside the framework of what existed.  Do it quick and chances are by the time the law catches up, you will be grandfathered in regardless of how crooked it is.  It is nothing new.  Oil companies and their henchmen do it with pipelines and banks do it with junk bonds, so why am I surprised that Ek and his ilk do it with music?

The thing is, it has warped any sense of ownership or fairness regarding music out of any recognizable form.  I know many people, including musicians, think it is just the way business works.  I suppose it is, if you include a clause about robbery.  Pure highway robbery.  I see that Spotify has engaged many musicians to legitimize the model, too.  They are now ‘sponsoring’ artists and new releases, featuring their wares, reaching out to fans through the artists themselves.  Well, I’m sorry.  Whether musicians think it’s fine to have their music sold for a fraction of a cent per play. I don’t.  And I don’t want to hear any more bullshit about radio.  That’s like screaming “but back in ’58’ or ‘but Trump.’  If you can’t confront a problem directly, you don’t deserve a say.

There are a few people I will listen to.  This may seem old hat to you.  To me, it is a cry to action.

Thom Yorke, Nigel Godrich Clock Spotify on the Chin— Spotify Responds With a Prepared (gak!) Statement—– 

The argument for and against the digital distribution streaming has heated up, Thom Yorke of Radiohead pulling their product from Spotify with a statement pointing out the pittance artists are paid through this system which is making non-musicians rich.  (click hereSpotify CEO Daniel Ek responded with a prepared statement laying out Spotify‘s goals (click here).  Nowhere in that statement did he state their actual goals which are to piggyback on the backs of talented artists so they can get rich and buy yachts.  Here we go, folks!  Looks like the fight is not as far off as I thought.  Kick Ek’s ass, Yorke!  Guys like him make “entrepreneur” a dirty word.

NotesNotes…..  There is a band out of the UK known as The Soundcarriers I was turned onto by one of the many people I rely on to keep me somewhat up-to-date.  They had a slight psych feel to their music which really appealed to me.  The Sundowners are very Soundcarriers-like.  I’m impressed.

I will take anything by Australia’s Angharad Drake over any song promoted by the Grammys.  This lady is loaded with talent and will become one of the most heard musicians of the future.  You didn’t hear it here first.  Many found her before me.  I am just happy I found her at all.  Her new single— Baby

Nobody— NOBODY— sounds quite The Green Pajamas, as is evidenced in this, their second video from their latest album, To the End of the Sea.  Ladies and Gentlemen, Sea of Secrets.

Here is a new Elephant Revival video which makes a statement regarding humans turning their backs on humans— in this case, immigrants.  With the world as fucked up as it is, we need more than reminding.  We need a good ass kicking.

Lisbee Stainton and I have been communicating since I heard her most excellent Girl On an Unmade Bed album and for good reason.  I am a Pavlov’s Dog (not the band) when it comes to her music.  Well, the good news is that she is releasing her fifth album and I am passing along a chance for you to be on the ground floor.  Check out her music and watch the video below to see what surprises await.  No, I am not her publicist.  I just love her music.

From the impending Rumer release, This Girl’s in Love: a Bacharach & David Songbook.  Trust me.  It is quite exceptional.

I file this under what the hell? because no one ever tells me anything.  This looks intriguing.

This just in.  Sam Wilson is on the road and will be dragging Schuyler Fisk and Carl Anderson along with him.  Sam, for those who may not know him, is lead guitarist for Sons of Bill out of Charlottesville.  He is another one of those guitarists I use to compare to other outstanding guitarists.  Like Dan Phelps.  They are scheduled to play the Hotel Cafe in Los Angeles on October 5th.  Don’t miss it!

Here is a trailer of the Morphine: Journey of Dreams documentary.  I would love to see this.  I know so little of the band.

Man, I love Jam In the Van, especially when they give us stuff like this from the Shook Twins.

and this from Filligar.

Sometimes when you gotta have some cajun, you gotta have some cajun.  Digging Jack Grelle.



Frank’s column appears every Tuesday

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dbawis-button7Frank Gutch Jr. looks like Cary Grant, writes like Hemingway and smells like Pepe Le Pew. He has been thrown out of more hotels than Keith Moon, is only slightly less pompous than Garth Brooks and at Frank bottle capone time got laid at least once a year (one year in a row). He has written for various publications, all of which have threatened to sue if mentioned in any of his columns, and takes pride in the fact that he has never been quoted. Read at your own peril.


One Response to “Frank Gutch Jr: Amy van Keeken & Timeloop Touring Western Canada; Spotify: The Boil On the Ass of the Music Industry; Plus Notes”

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