The Sunday Funday Playlist – December 11, 2011

Yeah, I know.  Long overdue.  What can I say … life’s been crazy and it’s all I can do to keep up with breathing, let alone music.  But, I do have a couple of tracks that have been burning up the old music machines around chez Krissie.  And here they are, for your listening enjoyment.

1.  Ruby Soho (Rancid Cover) – Jimmy Cliff

If there is any one person that I should thank for my love of music, it’s my Dad.  He was my earliest influencer, and Santa gave me tapes as gifts when I was as young as 7 (point in case, Springsteen’s Born to Run). When I was about 10 years old, Dad, who I think was probably meant to live in the Caribbean, came back from a trip with Jimmy Cliff.  He dubbed me a tape copy of Hanging Fire, and I must have listened to “Brown Eyes” a million times on my boom box.  Since then, I’ve had a fascination with Jimmy, and was stoked to see him release a little EP of covers a few weeks ago.  This fun, upbeat reggae twist on one of my favorite cult 90s classics is my favorite.

2. ‘Til My Heart Gives Out (Mountain Song) – The Lusitania

My friends over at Alternative Addiction gave me a heads up about this San Antonio, Texas band a couple of weeks ago and their 2010 album, Rain and Rivers, has been in rotation ever since.  If you’re a fan of The Avett Brothers, OAR, or The Grand Magnolias, you’re going to like this band.  Got a little country-bluegrass-pop-punk thing happening.  As the temperatures drop, this is the kinda music that keeps me rolling down the river in mid-summer in my mind.

3.  Bumps in the Night – The Ruse

Also putting out an EP within the last few weeks is my favorite little LA rock outfit, The Ruse.  These fellas know how to put together a rock song, and the Rebellion EP is no exception.  Two tracks, in particular, have reinvigorated my craving for guitar-driven rock n’ roll, and this is one of them (for the other, In Defense of the Rebellion, visit here).  And I’ve said it already, but I’ll say it again…Jason Young, their drummer, is my hero.

4. The Heyday – Somebody to Someone

There is no denying my love for infectious little pop songs, and no band writes more ear wormy, hand clapping ditties than The Heyday out of Colorado.  The fellas put out a new single this week, and it is full of hooky goodness … Bonus:  the god of production and songwriting that is Christopher Jak had a hand in it.  If this song doesn’t make you wish for being 17 and taking a roadtrip with your best friends, I don’t know what will.

5.  Holy Ghost – Flagship
This is actually an older song that’s been redone.  I wrote awhile ago about two of Charlotte’s young, promising acts – Flagship and Campbell the Band – merging.  They decided to ditch a new name and stick with Flagship.  This weekend, they put up a video of them performing an older Flagship song, “Holy Ghost” … wow.  Forget that every video they put up is outstanding in its production… I am so in love with Drake Margolnick’s voice.  It’s just intoxicating. Mesh an already tremendous song with the players’ from Campbell the Band’s ability to write some melancholic little melodies, you have a hit just waiting to happen.  Telling you now, watch these kids.  They’re going to do big things.

New Stuff from Margolnick

Over the past year and a half or so, I’ve become an “in the wings” watcher of a local Charlotte band called Flagship – or more appropriately, the lead singer, Drake Margolnick.  He quietly put out a solo EP late last year…so quietly that I didn’t even know about it until January.  I picked it up immediately, and Taylorsville got some serious spinnage on the ol’ iPod.  I swear, I could listen to this kid sing all day – his voice is so unique.  It’s haunting and intense, and there’s something about it that reminds me of old school Cure/Robert Smith, but that’s not really an accurate comparison.  That’s the thing – he’s doing something really different than anything I’ve heard.  Love it.

Recently, Drake’s spent some time in the studio and yesterday, he posted a “sneak peak” video.  New album, coming soon, will be called “Silver & Gold.”  If this is any indication of what’s to come from Margolnick…well, color me happy.

More Margolnick:  Bandcamp | Facebook

Why aren’t you listening to this band?

Sometimes, I feel like there’s this very distinct divide in the music world – between “pop” music and the experimental, indie stuff. Between what the masses listen to and what the “cool kids” and critics are listening to. I love reading the magazines, articles and blogs that talk about the music that falls on the latter side of the line (for example, RSL, which is one of the best music blogs out there), but I consistently fall on the pop side. I totally don’t get the “outside the box” stuff. Maybe this is just representative of my limited mental capacity; perhaps I really know nothing about music at all. For example, I’m totally not ashamed to admit that I just don’t hear what everyone else loves about The Arcade Fire (bring on the critics!). Not one single thing about them appeals to me. Here’s a confession: There’s something about music with melodies that get stuck in your head and lyrics that you can sing along and relate to that grabs me. Pop, ladies and gentleman, is NOT a dirty word to me.

Despite my tendency to love the pop crack…on occasion, there’s an unusual band that grabs me from the very first note I hear them play.

Flagship is one of these bands.

These kids are flipping amazing. The first time I saw them live, they played a late show after one of my favorite little rock singers. I stuck around, more to hang out with my friends than to hear the late show band. But damn. Pull out the old-school microphone a la Robert Smith, and you’re gonna get my attention, no matter WHAT kind of music you’re playing. Add to that that this band that I’d NEVER EVEN HEARD OF before packed out The Evening Muse, and you can color me intrigued.

So I started listening. Closely.

I don’t have the music education background to talk in “lingo” about what this band does that appeals to me. I can’t tell you what time they’re playing in. Couldn’t tell you for the life of me what kind of guitar tones they pull out of their instruments or why it’s cool that Drake plays a Rickenbacker. I just know that it is. And that that I love their music. And that I want to play it. All the time.

Flagship bridges the very divide that I think exists in music. They’re creative and experimental, but their music is totally relatable for me. They’ve got those “earworm” type lyrics – the kind that you find yourself singing all throughout the day – layered on top of really complex melodies and flipping brilliant instrumentation. It’s “indie” music sans pretentiousness. One minute, they’re playing songs that are reminiscent of 80s new age, the next minute they’re channeling classic rockers like Tom Petty, and then to completely throw you for a loop, they play a song that sounds like it’s straight out of Americana. It’s incredible.

And I don’t know if I’m more impressed with lead singer Drake Margolnick with his cut-through-you wailing and haunting refrains or Logan Fincher’s little bursts of disgustingly creative guitar parts. It KILLS me that these kids are so young and they’re playing at this level.

Okay, and I might love, just a little bit that Drake pulls in a little Springsteen “Tunnel of Love,” whether he knows it or not, in their song “Enemies of the State” when he sings “Na na na na, hey…”

Tonight, I watched them play to a crowd of about fifty indie kids at a small bar in Charlotte – the kind of kids that wear Activision t-shirts when they’re too young to know what it was, and dresses and flowers in their hair when the venue attire is obviously jeans and t-shirt fare – and the only thing that kept running through my head was what Samantha from Sex in the City said, when she was talking to Smith about his career as an actor.

“First the girls, then the gays, then everyone else will follow.”

Their fans LOVE them. Rabid, Jersey Shore fist-pumping love them. You look around the crowd and everyone is singing along. People are filling in the parts from the recorded versions of the songs that don’t make it to the live show – hand claps, background vocals, the works. It’s kind of inspiring to see a crowd of young people be this stoked about music (and how old am I that I’m referring to a crowd at a live show as “young people?”).

Another way I know this band has “it” – whatever that “it” is? I was inspired to come home and write this blog. I haven’t been inspired to write much of anything lately, but their show left me buzzing. I’m talking punch-drunk, toe tapping, want to bring all of my friends to their next show buzz.

Glad I’m catching Flagship on the way up. Why aren’t you listening to them already?

Flagship online: Twitter | Facebook | MySpace

3/5 of Flagship

3/5 of Flagship

Charlotte Hot Ticket: Flagship

I know there are a glut of little pop-rock-emo-indie bands vying for your attention. Flagship, formerly known as Flagship Brigade, out of Charlotte is worthy of a few minutes of your time to get to know. This quintent out of Charlotte definitely has chops – channeling a little old school Cure, but with some modern flair. And Drake’s voice is just sick – I love it. I’ve been watching them quietly for the past six months or so and grow more impressed by them every time I see them live. They’re obviously talented kids, they bring out the crowds, and they’ve got the dramatic flair they need to get noticed.

If you get the Krissie Mix, you’ll hear their song “Oil Field” on the latest edition. If you don’t get the Spring Mix (and even if you do), you can download my favorite of their songs – “Holy Ghost” – for free right now. (They put it up for download after I’d already burned all the mixes – drat!)

Check ’em out wherever you social media: Twitter | Facebook | MySpace