Midweek Muse: Doe - He Is Me - If But When - Hannah Telle - The Foreign Resort

Doe - Sincere.

Background promo - Last Friday, September 9, the London-based three piece Doe released their debut album Some Things Last Longer Than You via Old Flame Records. Since their formation in early 2013 after members Nicola Leel (guitar, vocals) and Jake Popyura (drums, vocals) met via a classified ad and bonded over a mutual love of horror films and hatred of sport, Doe have been hard at work cranking out their own infectious brand of emotive, harmony-laden, punk-tinged indie rock to as many people as they can get to listen.

Drawing influences from such 90s stalwarts as Sleater-Kinney, Weezer, Helium and Breeders, the London-based trio have spent the last 3 years furiously honing their live craft and releasing a string of EPs and singles. With later releases on labels including Fierce Panda and Alcopop! Records, their earlier self-released recordings were eventually compiled and re-released as the First Four LP in late 2014, marking the beginning of Doe's relationship with Exeter-based punk label Specialist Subject Records and US indie rock imprint Old Flame Records.

After a lineup change and the addition of Dean Smitten (guitar) in September last year, Doe finally got to work writing material with an album in mind. In March, armed with 10 new songs and bags full of snacks, they ventured to Greenmount Studios in Leeds with producer Matthew Johnson (Hookworms/Suburban Home). The result of that intense 5-day pizza-fueled recording session is the band’s first full-length: Some Things Last Longer than You. Having recorded the majority of their previous output themselves and now with 35 minutes to play with, the album marks a recognisable sonic progression for Doe. 

Can I add Sleeper to the bands mentioned above as an indication of Doe's rock'n'roll sound. 'Sincere' is a powerful two and a half minutes of indie punk for want of a better description. Hooky and raunchy and in fairness with something of a timeless feel.


He Is Me - Drowning Man/Ocean Man.

Background - "He Is Me" is a collaboration between Portland based songwriter and musician/producer Casey Braunger and Calgary, AB based songwriter/vocalist Steve Moore. He Is Me explores the beauty of the void in us all and what lies beneath with vast soundscapes, crushing atmosphere, gripping lyrical content, and pure emotion.

Casey and Steve first collaborated on a 2001 track called "Silencer". Fast forward to 2016, when Casey reached out to Steve about guest vocals on a new song. Steve liked it so much that they decided to form a new project with the intention of covering musical territory they hadn't covered before. This project would be ambient, brooding, unpredictable.

Casey Braunger, a Portland, Oregon based musician/songwriter/producer started playing bass at the age of 13, shortly after that he began learning any instrument he could get his hands on. He’s played in various punk, metal, blues, industrial, and electronic bands in his career. In 1999 he started his solo music project “Textile Arcade," while he was an audio engineer for an advertising agency. Textile Arcade featured many guests as vocalists throughout both the U.S. and Canada.

Steve Moore is a Canadian vocalist/musician. He has worked with prog rock/industrial metal duo The Unravelling (vocals - 2009 - 2015), downtempo electronic project Post Death Soundtrack (vocals, guitar - 2008 - present) industrial/ambient duo He Is Me (vocals - 2016 - present), and hardcore metal group Inner Surge (as the project founder - 2001 - 2008). He Is Me's 1st single is entitled "Let It Drip". The track showcases an ambient, free flowing, non verse-chorus-verse approach, and is meant as a mantra of sorts. The duo is currently working on a full-length album. He Is Me's 2nd single is entitled "Drowning Man/Ocean Man". It is two separate tracks meant to be heard as a single piece.

'Drowning Man/Ocean Man' starts out with something of a sinister darker feel to it, with Steve Moore's dominant vocals adding to the sense of danger or threat. The second part/song is even more ferocious and powerful. For me the atmosphere and musical theatre really works, not exactly easy listening and more compulsive than calming.


If But When - The Franklin Avenue Shuttle.

Background - If But When is a pop/rock band from New York City. Their debut single "Never Change" was featured on Matt Pinfield's morning show on 101.9 RXP, as well as on 107.1 The Peak and other stations.

They have opened for such notable acts as Augustana, Marc Cohn, John Nolan (Taking Back Sunday) and Nightmare Of You, and their music was featured on the NY Mets' cable channel SNY. Their albums are hot sellers on iTunes, Amazon, and CD Baby, and they attract large, devoted crowds at such storied NYC venues as The Bitter End and The Rockwood. They have also made appearances at the Pleasantville Music Festival, the East End Greenfest, and the Seaside Music Festival. In May of 2016, they signed with independent Bronx based record label, Evo Music.

Their immensely catchy songs will have you singing along by the time the second chorus rolls around. “The Ghost Picked Me” is available Worldwide September 9th, 2016 on all sites including iTunes / Apple Music / Spotify / Google Play. The new single ‘The Franklin Avenue Shuttle’ on EvoMusic / The Orchard now.

'The Franklin Avenue Shuttle' is a vibrant musical story and the video really does help spell it out. Upbeat alt rock of sorts, If But When really do know how to craft catchy and engaging songs.


Hannah Telle - Hollow Glow.

Background - Hannah Telle grew up in Shelby, North Carolina. After graduating high school from NC School of the Arts, she moved to Los Angeles to study at USC and become an actress. She is best known forher role as the voice of Max Caulfield, the main character in the BAFTA award-winning video game 'Life is Strange’. Hannah learned to play guitar for a role in a film and fell in love with the instrument.

She soon began to write songs, finding the process to be a therapeutic tool for emotional healing. Playing music opened her mind to a creative freedom she had never experienced with acting. She often plays musician roles and wrote several original songs for her character to perform in the feature film ‘I Live For You’, which premiered at the 2016 Dances with Films Festival. In spite of her very public career choice, she struggles with fear of receiving attention and severe performance anxiety.

She began taking guitar lessons to alleviate depression and her teacher, Ben Schwab, helped her record demos of her songs. They eventually decided to turn the songs into her first album, ‘Hollow Glow’, due September 21st.

'Hollow Glow' is a delightful indie folk song, with Hannah Telle's vocals driving the melody and the excellent background music giving her an excellent platform to seemingly fly above. Totally impressed!


The Foreign Resort - Under Bright Neon Stars.

Background - The Foreign Resort will be reissuing CDs for ‘The American Dream’ EP via Texas-based label Moon Sounds Records and have announced dates for their upcoming North American tour. This will be their 11th tour on the continent and will also include 3 Canadian dates. 

‘The American Dream’ consists of five songs with a simpler but more intense expression than ever heard before from the band. Following up their 2014 album ‘New Frontiers’, which was produced and mixed by John Fryer (Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Cocteau Twins) and ranked among top albums of the year in many blogs and stations like WZBC and KDHX, the band first released ‘The American Dream’ in October 2015.

Led by singer and songwriter Mikkel Jakobsen, The Foreign Resort are Denmark's finest musical export of post-punk and dark new wave, combining the shadowy mysticism of The Cure's Pornography era with a driving production aesthetic akin to LCD Soundsystem. Intricate reverb-enveloped guitar lines and Mikkel's taut and sincere vocal delivery glide over Steffan Petersen's motorik bass and Morten Hansen’s powerful drumming.

Having toured with The Raveonettes, A Place to Bury Strangers and Swervedriver, they have also shared bills with bands like DIIV, The Soft Moon, The KVB and Slowdive. This autumn, the band's 2011 EP 'The Foreign Resort' finally gets a much deserved vinyl re-issue though Moon Sounds Records thanks to a successful crowd funding campaign via Pledge Music. This September-October visit to North America is the final tour in support of ‘The American Dream’, after which the band shall return to the studio to record a new full length, set for release in 2017.

'Under Bright Neon Stars' typifies the quality and emotional depth that is found across all five songs on the reissued EP. The band don't sit comfortably in any one genre which is a plus for me, it really is easier on this occasion simply to say, give them a listen.