Saturday, September 19, 2015

Followed By Ghosts - All Is Lost

Followed By Ghosts is a guitar based rock band that I heard on that I really enjoyed. The band was recommended to me by while I was listening to a long series of songs by Maybeshewill and God is an Astronaut. I believe the band to be in the same vein as those other two mentioned bands, since they are an instrumental band whose focus seems to revolve around the lead and rhythm guitar.

Style and guitars is not the only thing Followed By Ghosts has in common with Maybeshewill and God is an Astronaut, they also have awesome names for their albums and songs. Thus far they have released three albums, each with an awesome name:

- The Entire City Was Silent – 2007
- Dear Monsters, Be Patient – 2008
- Still, Here – 2011

Also with song titles, “Hymn of Twilight,” “A Mirthful Experience,” and my favorite “All is Lost,” give the band an epic feel even before you heard their hypnotic rhythm guitar and bass. Their last activity appears to be a 2014 single named after the band itself “Followed By Ghosts.” I suspect it is easier to give your band, album, and songs super fantastic names when no lyrics or other words get in the way, so instrumentals natural end up having the greatest names of all.

You can listen to every, or almost every, song by Followed By Ghosts at this site: which is good because their primary site does not work.

It is very difficult to find a whole lot of information regarding the band Followed By Ghosts online. When consulting the “all human knowledge in one place device” better known as, other than the bandcamp site mentioned above all I could find was Followed By Ghosts facebook and twitter profiles.



Twitter was the most informative; it has the band synopsis as “We are a band from Iowa,” okay that helps. Also we get this charming tweet from May 2nd of this year:

There was a long gap of time between that humorous tweet and the one prior to it, which I suppose means the boys from Iowa are having a hard time successfully living the rock and roll dream, but still, great respect for staying at it despite whatever is going on.

The first two albums were pretty close together chronologically and their third album “Still, Here” came out three years later, and considering the obscurity of this band, the inactivity on their social networking, and their current lack of output, I suspect the third album title is in reference to Followed By Ghosts continued existence more than anything. Nonetheless I am glad Followed By Ghosts exists, and I hope they continue to exist because I really like their music. Clearly they are an underappreciated band.

The song that has thus far stood out to me the most by Followed By Ghosts is “All is Lost.” The electric guitar speaks to my soul and this is a song that is focused on just that and I just love hearing the way those gentle note become a distorted wave as the song progresses. All of Followed By Ghosts songs are perfect white noise, there is a reason why I listen to so much music of this nature at work and when I am studying as it is the perfect combination of atmospheric and subtly emotional music. There are no words, literally, so the mind has the freedom to wander and invent any sort of connection with the moody sounds. “All Is Lost” seems like a sad song, but it is also an adventure of sorts, an exploration of some unknown wonderment, at least it is for me, that is where my mind goes.

It is hard to say much more, since there is so little to respond to or comment on, and maybe that is all the more reason people should be paying some small amount of attention to Followed By Ghosts. Of all the bands I have ever reviewed Followed By Ghosts may be the most obscure, the most in need of some fan support, and I hope they get it. For a “band from Iowa” and nothing more, they have made some fantastic instrumental songs.

Until next month, keep on rocking in the free world.

- King of Braves

Friday, September 11, 2015

Chaos Chaos - Do You Feel It?

In the year 2000 Smoosh, the Seattle based indie rock band, was created. In 2012 they changed the name of the band to Chaos Chaos. Effectively the Saavedra sisters, Chloe and Asya, have been creating music together for fifteen years, that alone may be impressive, but when you realize they are twenty-three and twenty-one years old, it sort of means a little something extra. Chloe and Asya formed their band and were performing live at the age of twelve and ten respectively; impressive, most impressive.

Chloe and Asya Saavedra,
I don't know which one is which.
Under the Smoosh banner the Saavedra sisters released four studio albums and one EP, but it is their lone 2014 Chaos Chaos album “Committed to the Crime” that thus far impresses me the most, also the Chaos Chaos EP “S” is really winning me over. It often takes a musical group a few albums to refine their skills before they produce a truly great album and I think that is what has happened here with “Committed to the Crime.” This makes extra sense, as I would expect preteens to improve their musical abilities as they enter their twenties.

During live performances Smoosh/Chaos Chaos have covered songs by artists they ended up touring with. Tegan and Sara, the Eels, and the Bloc Party, all of which I own CDs of and have seen live, so it is rather surprising I have not discovered them sooner. Also this reveals something about myself, to myself, as evidently I am deeply entrenched in the indie rock scene.

The last song on this live set at KEXP studio is Tegan and Sara’s “Closer” where they elaborate this point:

Chaos Chaos Live on KEXP:

The sound of Chaos Chaos is described as indie rock, and as far as pinning a sub genre label on them that is likely the best identifier, however their use of the keyboard and synthesizer sounds nearly make them an electronic band, bordering on pop rock. As usual this genre specific definition hardly matters, the final product is a variety of exciting and emotional waves of sounds all of which are surprisingly soothing even when heart wrenching.

Which brings me to the song “Do You Feel It?”

The song “Do You Feel It?” has become my most recent favorite, most played song. It is a song that has great energy but is so powerfully haunting and painful that it grips you like a vice and enslaves you to its sounds.

The story being told to us by the lyrics seem to indicate a collapsing relationship with the narrator slipping further and further away from the intimacy they so desperately need with this unnamed person they love. At first there is this frightful realization their lover may be afraid of them;

“I-I want it real,
Are you afraid of me now?”

A great ending to a great opening verse to capture our attention I think. By the end of the second verse there is a pleading to run away together;

“I-I want it real,
Run away with me now.”

At the end the song they repeat this desperate line;

“Don’t leave me...
Never leave me out....”

Heavy; really heavy stuff.

It is hard to imagine what sort of deep meaningful real life relationship experiences could possibly inspire such lyrics from individuals so young, but heart break and creativity are hardly a monopoly of the old and haggard. Nonetheless, hard hearted, haggard me, deeply appreciates the way in which Chaos Chaos has so perfectly captured the nightmarish sort of emotional and psychological torture someone can feel as the things they love slip away from them, and I particularly love how they incorporate a mix of strength and vulnerability in this verse;

“Some Days I'm built of metal, I can't be broken,
But not when I'm with you.
You love me real, we have it all,
Can't leave me now.”

Strong yet vulnerable, like all humans, just some lean one way more than the other, and it is something both troubling and beautiful to witness the truly strong slip into the state of exposure and vulnerable.

On one last note is the rather unusual moment of discovery of Chaos Chaos for myself, as it did not come from one of the other indie rock bands Chaos Chaos has become friends with, or through indie rock stations and outlets I frequent but something far more unexpected, comedy cartoon “Rick and Morty.” The third episode in the second session of “Rick and Morty” titled “Auto Erotic Assimilation” ends with Rick being dumped by the body snatching multi-bodied entity known as Unity and while the old scientist attempts to hide his pain from his family he secretly contemplates suicide in the garage and collapses into a heap upon the table unable to move or function for a full rotation of the planet, and the credits roll playing the “Do You Feel It?”

Ricky and Morty - "Auto Erotic Assimilation" Ending:

Whoa! Powerful stuff from a cartoon and I doubt it would have been anywhere near as effective if a lesser song had been selected for this turn around moment. I do not appear to be the only individual who was touched by this moment, nor was I the only person who sought out “Do You Feel It?” immediately thereafter, and given the hyper effectiveness of all of this, I am forced to wonder if Chaos Chaos have in fact, just maybe, have written the most emotionally powerful song about breaking up with someone ever.

Anyway, clearly I am impressed, but what do you think?

- King of Braves