Kera and the Lesbians – “Gypsy Song”

Originally based out of San Diego, Kera and the Lesbians moved to Los Angeles and have since been picking up residencies there. But not afraid of the studio, they released their latest single, “Gypsy Song,” this November.

The song starts with muted horns before the mellow (for Kera) vocals enter, which are punctuated by the guitar, before it builds up to what I consider to be the standard in her music: funky, syncopated guitars and a vocal prowess to be jealous of. Kera’s vocals are what hooked me to her music in the first place. At times straining in volume, her voice is passionate and her emotions ripping out of her throat. Their new single demonstrates this just as well as when I first saw them years ago. As the song continues to its end, the reverb on the guitar is reminiscent of surf rock. In whole, “Gypsy Song” is fun to listen to and has all the qualities that I admire in Kera and the Lesbians.

They will be returning to San Diego to play at Soda Bar on December 15th with Northern Tigers and Bleached. I’m looking forward to it!

You can check out an older single here: “Nailbiter” on BandCamp.

Bulletins – “Can’t Stop” and “Is Love”

At their show in November at the Soda Bar, San Diego-based Bulletins celebrated the release of two singles, available for download through their BandCamp page.

Bass and vocals feature prominently at the start of both songs, although both are joined by the guitar and synth soon after, both instruments showing off a playfulness that accents all of Bulletins’ songs.

My favorite part of “Can’t Stop” is right at the beginning, when Lorelei croons, “I can’t stop wishing it’s not true, it’s not yo-o-o—o-ou,” which sets the theme for the rest of the melody, with more ascending and descending croons coming back over and over throughout the song.

Guitar and synth take more prominent roles in “Is Love” compared to “Can’t Stop.” The lyrics are sweet, describing attempts to fight falling in love. The vocals are dreamy, more poppy. Their pop rock roots come out around 2:30, with the guitar distorted before taking a step back behind the synth and vocals.

The singles show off their sound their very well. Paired with their previously released demos, I anticipate their forthcoming album to be a great listen, with their alternative pop rock sensibilities. The two singles are already in my regular rotation.

pillowconfiguration – Facing

“Brooding” is the first word that comes to mind when listening to this moody song. The acoustic guitar jerks itself around. Each interruption builds on another. Then her voice joins in. It’s emotional, at times cracking. She and her guitar take turns arguing with each other. Sometimes they even try to out-yell each other, but they are arguing the same point: an incredible sense of loss, of dealing with death and not knowing that they both grieve.

The lyrics convey this loss well. She looks around, she rummages through her memories desperately, but the things she sees and remembers are a far cry from the real thing. “an empty chair. an empty room. is this all i have left of you?”

The picture accompanying the song gives a glimpse into the past.

This song is a testament to how many great musicians and songwriters there are out there, hidden away. There is absolutely no information or links on her Soundcloud page. The page is a portal into something too personal to share with the world, yet it lies there, waiting to be found. A message sent to her account went unanswered. I wish I could speak with her.

EDIT: I’ve since talked to pillowconfiguration!  In addition to her SoundCloud, she has a YouTube channel that I’ve subscribed to.  About my writeup, she replied:

that would be me, thank you so much for the review, it is so spot on it brings tears to my eyes

Beta Lion – Tonight at Whisperz

Free download of “Tonight at Whisperz” via BandCamp.

In August, Beta Lion released the first single off their coming EP “Written in Sand.”  There doesn’t seem to be a set release date, but their SoundCloud says “this fall” (which, by my count, should be right now).

The song starts with high-energy, slammin’ guitars, which continue on as the drums and dreamy vocals come in during the first minute (“she’s chasing and dreaming”). Although it starts off more of a jump-up-and-down pop rock anthem, the combination of different guitar and vocal melodies – for example, the backup vocals behind “we drew the line” – plus the drums, creates a song that I can dance and sing along to as it progresses.

“Tonight at Whisperz” showcases the four-piece’s great chemistry. You can tell these guys have been playing and writing songs together for awhile. Everything is tight, their energy is high, and you can feel their enthusiasm through the recording. Their enthusiasm and chemistry come out especially well during their live set, which I highly recommend if you are in the Los Angeles or San Diego areas.

Released on Villains Record, the physical single comes with a simple hand-screened design on the disc itself and on the plain cardboard sleeve.

Along with the single, they have a 3-song demo available on Bandcamp, I Believe in Beta Lion.