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The Appetizer Radio Show

Serving up your connection to new and emerging artists along with established legends each week.

Connect with us using these platforms to discover fresh flavors of music from the known as well as the unknown.

Hear the show online by clicking on the Listen-Now link on the Play Button.

Phillip LaRue Keeps it Personal in “You”

As you may be aware, most pop artists don’t compose their own tracks. With all of the work that goes into making mass-produced albums, a lot of major studio artists use songwriters to do this for them. And if this results in album after similar-sounding album, then that’s just fine by the studio, which thrives on the popularity (and profitability) of a consistent business model. In short, give the people what they want, and crank out more for as long as it’ll sell.

It’s important to acknowledge the work of singer-songwriters, that special breed of artist. If they’re going to be singing lyrics that will be forever attributed to their careers, these musicians want it known that those words actually meant something personal to them. Nashville’s Phillip LaRue takes this pretty seriously in his upcoming release, You. After an accident that nearly cost him the ability to make music ever again, he set out to make a solo album that would mirror something of his life story. “Memories,” arguably the most mainstream-pop track on the album, is actually a great example of this.

“I try to keep my eyes and ears open. I try to hold on to moments before they pass,” he says on his Facebook page. “Life is short, but it’s sweet.”

And You certainly captures something of this feeling, that everything in our lives deserve appreciation. LaRue’s consistent personality really comes across in tracks like “Diane” and “Carry You” later in the album, where he seeks “songs that put a smile on your face and stir your heart.” It’s especially helpful that LaRue isn’t overly confined by genre boundaries. He seems to be adept at traversing the fine lines that separate folk, Americana, Christian, country, and acoustic pop. Though he may be most well-known as a collaborative Christian artist, he neither squelches this image nor solely relies on it to propel his music as a solo performer.

At ten songs clocking in around forty minutes of music, You is both a fairly quick listen and a rather involved one. There aren’t really any weak tracks, and the best ones pull the listener back in to be heard at least once or twice again. And while the instrumentation itself is fairly simple, LaRue’s emphasis as a lyricist shines through across the whole work. It’s not an album that demands to be heard, true. But it is one that extends a compelling listening invitation and an appealing request to share stories.



Commonalities Playlist

Screen Shot 2015-10-07 at 8.08.12 AM We’ve explored a little history last week (Alternative Early Days) and this week we’re going to spend our time enjoying similarities in some recently released music from artists who are more known like Brandi Carlile, Van Morrison,Noah Gundersen and Ben Folds, as well as those who are lesser known like Oh Wonder, The Ballroom Thieves, David Ramirez and Timothy Palmer. As usual, I have 2 cuts from each album to give you a more full and complete musical experience. This is about experiencing similarities between songwriters that you might not consider on first listen, but if you’ll savor each song’s flavors similar to the way you’ll let a fine wine or culinary dish linger on your tongue a little longer to process each type of flavor, you’ll find new commonalities you didn’t hear before. Enjoy!

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Hour 1 Playlist

(Show Theme) Lindsay Katt. “Heart Place (Instrumental)” Picking Out Boxes. Lindsay Katt, 2008. 01:45

Timothy Palmer. “Welcome Home” The Half-Boy. Timothy Palmer, 2015. 04:24
Timothy Palmer. “Tryin'” The Half-Boy. Timothy Palmer, 2015. 03:42

JJ Grey & Mofro. “Light A Candle” Ol’ Glory. Mascot Music Productions, 2015. 04:21
JJ Grey & Mofro. “Ol’ Glory” Ol’ Glory. Mascot Music Productions, 2015. 07:32

Van Morrison. “Rough God Goes Riding” Essential Van Morrison. Exile Productions, 2015. 06:16
Van Morrison. “And The Healing Has Begun” The Essential Van Morrison. Exile Productions, 2015. 08:00

Brandi Carlile. “The Eye” The Firewatcher’s Daughter. ATO Records, 2015. 03:32
Brandi Carlile. “The Things I Regret” The Firewatcher’s Daughter. ATO Records, 2015. 03:26

Oh Wonder. “Heart Hope” Oh Wonder. Josephine Vander Ducht and Anthony West, 2015. 04:09
Oh Wonder. “Lose It” Oh Wonder. Josephine Vander Ducht and Anthony West, 2015. 03:50

Ben Folds. “Yes Man” So There. New West Records, 2015. 03:59
Ben Folds. “So There” So There. New West Records, 2015. 04:21

(Closing Music Bed) The Royal Punisher. “Blood” Bullets For Breakfast. Peterson Entertainment, 2015. 01:00

Hour 2 Playlist

(Show theme) Lindsay Katt. “Heart Place (Instrumental)” Picking Out Boxes. Lindsay Katt, 2008. 01:45

William Fitzsimmons. “Pittsbu” Pittsburgh. Nettwerk Productions, 2015. 03:48
William Fitzsimmons. “Matter” Pittsburgh. Nettwerk Productions, 2015. 03:28

Noah Gundersen. “Twenty Something” Carry The Ghost. Dualtone Music, 2015. 03:54
Noah Gundersen. “Bag Of Glass” Carry The Ghost. Dualtone Music, 2015. 04:22

Joe Holt. “Jarness Kiss” Brighter Moons. Joe Holt, 2015. 03:17
Joe Holt. “Carry Me Along” Brighter Moons. Joe Holt, 2015. 06:52

Chris Ford. “Say Nothing” (Single). Track 37 Recordings, 2014. 04:00
Chris Ford. “In The Summer Of” June Session (Exclusive). Track 37 Recordings, 2015. 05:01

The Ballroom Thieves. “Anchors” A Wolf In the Doorway. Blue Corn Music, 2015. 03:58
The Ballroom Thieves. “Archers” A Wolf In the Doorway. Blue Corn Music, 2015. 02:37

David Ramirez. “Rock And A Hard Place” Fables. Sweetworld, 2015. 04:05
David Ramirez. “Hold On” Fables. Sweetworld, 2015. 03:40

Tony Lucca. “Delilah” Tony Lucca. Off The Record, 2015. 03:16
Tony Lucca. “Right On Time” Tony Lucca. Off The Record, 2015. 04:07
(Closing music bed) Lilly Hiatt. “Heart Attack” Royal Blue. New West Records, 2015. 01:00

Anilore in the Shoegaze Shadows

Counterintuitively, some artists thrive best by making us uncomfortable. I’ve written about how musical silence can be jarring, especially in contexts like film scores when we expect noise. But what about when musicians reverse our expectations for an entire genre of music?

Anilore, a trio from New York, is far from your typical rock band – if they can be called one at all. They practice one of the strangest subgenres out there, itself a subcategory of alternative rock. Shoegaze rose to popularity in the late 80s and early 90s in the UK. Originally, the press devised the term “shoegazing” to make fun of the way that these bands behaved on stage. Rather than the stereotypical loud, brash persona associated with rock-‘n’-roll, they had an introspective, detached, almost shy presence. This, combined with their extensive use of foot pedals to create distorted sounds, led to the stereotype of the bands constantly looking down at their shoes.

For a point of reference, here’s Anilore performing the song “Nine” off their latest album, Dead Love’s Grave.

Sometimes overlapping with the related genre of dream pop, shoegaze lies somewhere between ambient atmospheric music, noise rock, post rock, and pop music. Anilore and bands like them rely on blurry, unclear vocals that feel deliberately hard to understand. Albums revolve around somber, sometimes melancholy, existential themes – vague, complex, or unusual titles are common in the naming of bands, their songs, and their albums.

Dead Love's Grave

Since the beginnings of shoegaze, the general trend seems to have been a movement away from rock elements, exchanging them for more atmospheric or ambient sounds. Eighteen years ago, Anilore released Still Awake, which was much more driven by guitar and percussion in a way similar to generic alt rock. In the intervening years, however, shoegaze has evolved to allow its sounds to become more aligned with the overall themes and emotions that it seeks to express. Instead of being alt rock with a certain mood, the genre has become more definitely outlined as its own niche for dreamlike, imaginative, low-key music.

Although Anilore’s music does not necessarily comfortably fit into our tastes or expectations, part of their appeal may come precisely from that dissonance. Much like the way great novels challenge societal norms and morals, groups like Anilore have a unique opportunity to confront us with emotional experiences and musical sensations we would otherwise not come across – or particularly desire. But if we are willing to engage with them, even if we don’t fully understand or like what we hear, we have the benefit of appreciating the unexpected. And it’s in those encounters that inspiration is able to break through, allowing unfamiliar creative energies to captivate us. Like a road not often travelled, we don’t know what we’re missing unless we wander a little further outside our usual boundaries.

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