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Top Five Fridays: The Brothers Kaschak

January 31, 2014

Hey Folks,

Well hello there!  Thanks for meandering into All The Day Sounds for another exciting installment of “Top Five Fridays” the part of the week where I let someone with far more wisdom and chutzpah than myself hook you up with some of their most favorite of favorite recent musical listenings.  Before we get started though, I have to say THANK YOU ALL.  Yesterday, was our record breaking, biggest day ever for people visiting this crazy lil’ music blog, and I have all of you to thank for that.  Thanks for the support and for poking around the internet!  Keep coming back! Anyway, today we have a freaking out of control guest, in the form of the esteemed Mr. Sean Kaschak, half of the esteemed Indie-Folk/Americana duo The Brothers Kaschak.

The Brothers Kaschak

The Brothers Kaschak…Sean is the bearded one.

Now the slightly more jaded of the musical listeners amongst you probably already started running for the EXIT the second you heard that dreaded phrase, “Indie-Folk/Americana” on account of the fact that it conjured up visions of that semi-drunken wanna be musical hipster dorfus (a combination of “dork” and “doofus” which prior to this moment when I made it up did not exist) slurring out a bizarre medley of “Wagon Wheel” and “Little Lion Man” at that open mike you went to last weekend.  Well folks, let your concerns melt away in the sweet summer breeze of the tasty musical amazing that IS The Brothers Kaschak.  Also, for the record, that dorfus was PROBABLY me, I had a rough week ok?  Playing shows on the same bill as rightous acts such as Ha Ha Tonka, Joe Pug, and Samantha Crain, The Brothers Kaschak are a wondrous combination of quality quotable lyrics, toe tapping beats, and the occasional searing moment of face melting rock of the sort that you write to Jack Black about.  Their 2013 EP “Marching On” (which you can get for freezies right here) lives in this bizarre menage a toi with Icona Pop’s “Iconic EP” and Ryan Adam’s “7 Minutes in Heaven” for my all time favorite short release of 2013. FAVORITE.  So with out further ado, I want you all to stand, salute the flag, and greet Mr. Sean Kaschak….

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Caitlin Rose-The Stand-In (2013)

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Essential Track: “Only a Clown

Hidden Gem: “Everywhere I Go

Caitlin Rose…oh boy.  With a name like that and Nashville to call home, good things are bound to happen.  Now, before I go any further, let me clarify something…”Country Music.”  I make a clear distinction between “pop with a southern accent” and “music for people who live in the country.”  I wouldn’t be surprised if Johnny Cash would’ve hated Keith Urban as much as I do.  Caitlin Rose is the good kind of “country” and I’m only using that word once to avoid scaring off those who’d be inclined to write it off otherwise.  From here on out, we’ll call a spade a spade…Caitlin Rose writes good music.  Her 2013 release, The Stand-In, is a monster album.  Not (I repeat…NOT) content to follow in her mother’s footsteps (her mom co-wrote several Taylor Swift songs), Caitlin blazes a new path that flirts with the Wallflowers and Ryan Adams but never forgets that it all started in Nashville.  “Only a Clown” is perhaps the highlight for me.  The video shows Caitlin getting arrested for a DUI and as she sits in the back of the cruiser, ashing a cigarette out of the window in handcuffs, you get the full sense of how she is both badass and vulnerable but couldn’t give two either way.  There is a reckless nonchalance to her songs that really captivates me.  In “Menagerie,” (speaking to some former love interest) she sings that she’s “…having it out with this old glass house…” and that she’s “…going to dance over broken glass and destroy all of these beautiful things.”  I also love how she captures very nuanced emotional experiences.  Two weeks ago, I went to be with family in San Antonio after my grandmother passed.  I had a beautiful time with family and friends not to mention the 78º weather.  As I sat on the plane in Dallas headed back to 11º Cleveland, I couldn’t help but call to mind her song named for the Texas city…”The runway is set, let’s move this fucking jet.  I have to go despite all sleet and snow.” ♦

 

Lisa HanniganSea Sew (2008) & Passenger (2011)

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Essential Track: “Lille

Hidden Gem: “Paper House

I really can’t help but write about both of these albums.  I discovered them at the same time and have a hard time separating them emotionally.  Lisa Hannigan has been a part of my life for a very long time but I was unaware until fairly recently.  Miss Hannigan began her career as a musician singing for fellow Irish musician Damien Rice.  In many ways, the talents that she lent to O (2002) are what made that album for me.  Certainly I don’t mean to take anything from Damien but rather to say that Lisa completes the work.  The two, who may or may have not been involved romantically (we can speculate with 99% certainty) split in the mid aughts at which point Hannigan began to pursue a solo career.  Sorry Damien, but I’m not.  I can’t quite describe how Lisa Hannigan’s music makes me feel without sounding crazy and/or obsessed.  Were I ever to find myself standing in front of her, I would:
a.              Make a series of guttural noises in an attempt to speak

b.              Wet myself

c.              Spontaneously combust

d.              All of the above (in no particular order)

Passenger sits first alphabetically in my library so I am greeted with “Home” when I double click her name.  What a greeting!  She slays me, ugh!  She has such control over her voice and drives a tremendous amount of power out of such a small frame.  Most often, I listen straight through both albums closing with “Lille.”  It is such a juxtaposition of “Home.”  She is soft and beautiful and there is such a delicate construction to the song that, out of respect, I stop what I am doing and shhh…listen.  I’m taken the moment she begins to sing.  It’s not just the music or her voice…her lyrics resonate just as strongly.  “I went to war every morning.  I lost my way but now I’m following.”  That line speaks so perfectly to the human condition.  She also has a good (and dark) sense of humour.  She sings “please eat your greens and don’t sit close to screens..and a gasoline pump’s not a toy” in “Safe Travels (Don’t Die).”  All throughout, she remains completely adorable ever feeding my irrational daydream that, one day, I’ll waltz into an Irish pub in Ireland where she’ll be sitting and the rest will be history (without bursting into flame or wetting my pants). ♦

The Vespers

The-Vespers

A few weeks ago, I was wandering about on Youtube watching nothing in particular when I glanced at the related videos in the right-hand column.  Now and then, I’ll click on a video if it catches my eye on the off chance that it’s good.  Some people find copies of the Declaration of Independence behind thrift store paintings…I found The Vespers.  I was talking to a good friend when I clicked the link for “Railroad Boy.”  I sent her the link 30 seconds into the song and, for the next two hours, we sent each other link after link until we must have exhausted all of The Vespers that Youtube had to offer.  A band made of a set of brothers and a set of sisters from Nashville, The Vespers know the power that comes being on the same page in a way that only siblings can.  The members are passionate and spiritual.  They sing with their souls and turn themselves out like pockets pouring all they have onto the table and inviting us to share.  Honesty and innocence have faded from music and the Vespers are returning them.  Listening to “Better Now” will move you to inspiration whether you believe in some divine benevolent being or otherwise.  Those quick to label them quaint should sooner watch their cover of Son House’s “Grinnin’ in Your Face.”  They wail, the weep, they are, by all measures, incredible.  They are currently working on their 3rd record and, judging by the 6 song preview they released to their Kickstarter backers, it will dominate.♦

Third Eye Blind-Third Eye Blind (1997)

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Essential Track: “Semi-Charmed Life

Hidden Gem: “The Background

WHAM!  Curveball!  Deal with it!  Prompted by a recent comment by some fool, I’ve decided to write about one of my all-time super favourites; Third Eye Blind-Third Eye Blind.  The fool, by the way, is quoted here as having said “…uh, didn’t they have like that one song like 20 years ago?”  To kind of their kind of credit…(kind of)…this album came out 17 years ago (holy mac, I’m getting old).  To their not at all credit, this album spawned three top ten singles and a total of fourteen unbelievable songs.  So, where do I begin?  Looking at the track listing, there’s not really a dud on the album which is impressive considering that the album clocks in at just under an hour.  The album comes out of the gate with two heavy hitters; “Losing a Whole Year” and “Narcolepsy” which is one of my favourites on the album.  It’s kind of funny to look back at how the singles worked out from the album as tracks 3, 4, 5, and 6 are the most famous ones on the album.  I’d call the album frontloaded if it didn’t end with “The Background”, “Motorcycle Drive-By”, and “God of Wine”.  As I’ve grown more mature, both as a person and as a musician, I’ve fallen in love with this album all over again.  The construction of the songs is so meticulous and intricate.  Sure, “that one song” opens as simply as possible…”doo doo doo doo da doo doo”…but pay attention to the instrumentation.  If that doesn’t convince you, try “The Background.”  Kevin Cadogan, the group’s guitarist for Third Eye Blind and Blue, said in an interview that he laid down 16 guitar tracks for that song…not 16 takes…16 layers of sonic birthday cake…topped with the creamiest bass frosting on the planet.  It’s clear from one listen to the album that these aren’t simple pop stars slamming power chords and pounding out tired drum beats.  “Motorcycle Drive-By” illustrates every bit of 3eb’s skill musically and lyrically.  It’s introspective then furious…quick then calm…it ebbs and flows like the relationship that brought about its creation.  I was fortunate enough to see them live after a Pittsburgh Pirates game in August.  It was awesome to see Stephan Jenkins addressing 50,000+ people with complete and sincere gratitude still in awe that we were there for them.  Nearing the end of the show, he polled the crowd…new song or an old one?  “Ok then, this is called ‘Motorcycle Drive-By’”…and I’ve never been so alive.♦

Guster-Keep it Together (2003)

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Essential Track: “Amsterdam

Hidden Gem: “Keep it Together

Here again, is another super mega ultra favourite album of mine.  My introduction to Guster began in 2003 with this album, most specifically “Amsterdam.”  104.7 The Point in Vermont played “Amsterdam” practically every hour on the hour that year.  Here’s how much I love that song…it has been my tone for when I receive a text message since 2007 and I still love it.  I may have to say that this album is the second strongest album front to back released in my lifetime behind Coldplay­-Parachutes (2000).  Fun fact: Guster’s first album was called Parachute.  Not counting the 30 second track, “[silence],” and yes counting the stupid awesome hidden track “Two at a Time,” Keep it Together is a 13 song masterpiece that I really, honestly, not lying here kiddos, cannot find a ten second stretch of that I dislike let alone an entire song etc.  These songs are fun, they are smart, they are complex…they are perfect.  Whether you are a musician or not, the album just sounds right.  I have seen Guster live many times and they always put on a great show.  This is a band that really likes to distribute duties both on and off stage.  Ryan, Adam and Luke/Joe are constantly switching instruments and vocals and the drummer, Brian Rosenworcel, penned the lyrics for some of my favourite songs on the album; “Amsterdam”, “Homecoming King”, “Keep it Together”, and “Red Oyster Cult.”  In 2009, I had the extreme honour of opening for Guster with my band in college, The Jaywalkers.  Now, I would have cited this early on as a bias except for the fact that Keep it Together had been one of my favourites for six years at that point.  I can say with confidence, from experience, that the members of Guster are some of the coolest people on planet Earth.  I got to hang out with them afterwards at our lead singer’s house (Guster actually asked us if they could come over and party not the other way around) and they were just normal dudes who happen to kick obscene amounts of ass for a living.  Pics or it didn’t happen? … Here’s a clip that I filmed of my friend Tracy explaining to Brian how she got her first ticket listening Guster.  Guster is currently working on their seventh studio album and it’s shaping up to be a good one.  Check out Brian’s ever hilarious studio journal.♦

Other Thoughts on Life, Music, and Whatever…

 

  • I would have written about Hurray for the Riff Raff if I hadn’t just found this super well written article/interview with genius front woman, Alynda Lee Segarra.  Here’s a really good watch/listen for HFTRR.
  • Pond hockey may be my favourite therapy ever.
  • My band, The Brothers Kaschak, is currently running a Kickstarter campaign and we’d love to have you be a part of the album.  There are cool rewards available for your support.
  • I have a cat named Winston Churchill
  • BK Double Stackers have doubled in price, decreased in size, and the sauce has changed for the worst…#crushed

Sean Kaschak is musician, photographer, teacher, graphic-designer, hockey enthusiast and beginning brewmaster.  Born and raised in extreme northeast New York, Sean attended the University of Dayton and currently resides east of Cleveland.

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Thanks Sean! Those are some choice musical suggestions…I love the Caitlin Rose plug.  You gotta love the crazy scene coming out of Nashville right now.  I want to give another shout out for The Brothers Kaschak.  They are currently working on the kickstarter for their album “The Ark and the Amateur” and it’s going to be crazy good.  These fine boys are on the rise folks, catch ’em on the way up!

Follow their Facebook activity here: https://www.facebook.com/thebrotherskaschak

Ok folks, we’ll catch you around! Feel free to comment and all that and keep spreading the word about us!

peace out good people of the world,

Peter Winter

follow me on twitter: @peterwinter38

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