Hand-Kraphted – Birthday Edition 2013
It has been quite the ride over the last year, and pulling our Birthday Edition of Hand-Kraphted together has been a whirlwind. After going through all of the submissions and letting a committee of writers vote for which tracks would make it, I noticed something interesting.
Each one of these projects takes more hours than you realize to pull together. As such, they all become intensely personal to me, like children as I release them to the public. As I was uploading the tracks to Bandcamp, I started to notice a few trends. This group of twenty tracks is a perfect mix of artists I have found along the way, ones that other Wordkrapht writers have brought to the site, and some who have found us along the way.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have. It’s a great group of people, and a good mix of genres and locations around the world. Ladies and gentlemen, your Hand-Kraphted Birthday Edition artists:
Molly Contogeorge – “Bang, Bang!”
Location: Sydney, Australia
Genre: Indie Pop
Members: Molly Contogeorge
“Bang, Bang!” is not your standard pop tune, and Molly Contogeorge is not your average pop artist. The top rated track by the Wordkrapht voting committee takes you back to a different era. The running piano and jazzy horns conjure up images of zoot suits and men named Bugsy. Contogeorge’s eccentric voice is the icing on the cake in this infectious track. With a tune like this, it can only make you want to hear more.
To download the entire sampler, please click here.
Great Divide – “Holiday”
Location: Chicago, IL
Genre: Rock, Soul
Band Members: Teddy Grossman, Jeff Burke, Jeff Leibovich, Josh Kahle, Josh Teitelbaum
We can’t lie. This is the third Great Divide track that we have featured on Hand-Kraphted. It’s gotten to the point where we really must tell the boys from Chicago to let somebody else get in on the fun. It’s hard to argue with the soulful lead vocals, gospel choir-like backing and horns. If you want great soul music today, there is an album released by Great Divide with at least three killer tracks on it.
The Koniac Net – “Once, I Ruled By Myself”
Genre: Alternative, Indie Rock
Location: Bombay, India
Band Members: David Abraham – Lead Vocals/ Guitar, Jason D’Souza – Guitar/Vocals, Ishaan Krishna – Guitar/Vocals, Adil Kurwa – Bass, Karun Kannampilly – Drums
The Koniac Net is another HK multiple offender, with their track “This Time Around” featured back in May. Front man David Abraham and crew have found their sweet spot combining a surf rock-like guitar riff with slight grunge undertones and smooth lyrics.
Traditions – “Wax & Wane”
Location: Westfield, MA
Genre: Alternative, Pop-Punk
Members: Randy Burlingame – Vocals/Guitar, Matt Cyphers – Guitar/Vocals
Jack Dunphy – Bass/Vocals, Mike Gelinas – Drums
The boys from Massachusetts hit all the requirements of strong pop-punk: heavy guitars, pounding drums, vocals that alternate between singing and yelling, and the hook that sinks deep in the recesses of your brain. This may be the one track you find yourself singing at weird moments, like in a crowded elevator or on line at the DMV.
The Enemies – “Perfect Stranger”
Genre: Pop Rock
Band Members: Ronan McQuillan, Johnny Crean, Dazzy Oglesby, Jonathan Berkley
Irish band The Enemies is a pop rock quartet, and their track “Perfect Stranger” is the perfect soundtrack for the genre. Smooth vocals, hooky guitar riffs and a backline that pulls it all together without stepping into the limelight are the ingredients for this “classic” power pop track. Fans of the ABC show “Once Upon a Time” may even be familiar with the band, as founding member Colin O’Donoghue plays the character of Captain Hook.
Eliza Hull – “Christopher”
Location: Melbourne, Australia
Who is Christopher and why can’t we be him? With vocals like that, we all want to be. Eliza Hull uses soft, ambient tones and melodies to back that beautiful voice of hers. Imagine Sarah McLachlan and Kate Bush coming together to sing in one voice and you find Eliza Hull standing there.
The Lift Up – “Everybody Tells Her That”
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Genre: Garage Rock, Punk
Members: Joe Castro, John Paul Travis, Larry Zappaterrini
The Lift Up, a trio “caught somewhere between Philadelphia and Delaware,” go old school with melodies of old school rock and punk that bands like Gaslight Anthem have made a living off of. Go get a beer in a dirty old bar and find a jukebox from yesterday. Somewhere between Buddy Holly, The Ramones and early Springsteen you’ll find The Lift Up’s “Everybody Tells Her That.”
Alice Rose – “Mistakes”
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Genre: Indie dream / pop electronic
Alice Rose reminds us that none of us are perfect. We all make “Mistakes” but checking out this song isn’t one of them (although this horrible line may be one of them). Her quirky vocals, ukulele and what sounds like an old school Casio create the image of a commercial with young adults wearing trendy clothes walking in the rain while flowers grow out of their footprints. Yes, it sounds that sweet.
ACIDIC – “Drive Thru”
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Rock, Alternative
Band Members: Mike Gossard – Guitar/Lead Vocals, Ted Dubrawski – Electric Thunder, Matt Whitaker – Drums, Josh Bennett – Guitar/Backing Vocals
Acidic brings the pain with most likely the heaviest track on the sampler. The guitar work is low down and dirty, and the vocals reminiscent of what Perry Farrell might sound like in a hard rock band. With over 50,000 Facebook fans, and touring credits with bands like Hinder, Fuel and Alien Ant Farm, this may also be one of the biggest names to be a part of the Hand-Kraphted sampler.
Jay Pinto – “Whoa”
Location: Issaquah, WA
Genre: Indie Pop, Rock
Jay Pinto is one of those musicians that spends much of his time writing and collaborating with other artists, helping them in the studio and even mentoring younger artists. All the while, his ability to write what may be close to a perfect pop song goes unnoticed. “Whoa” is the perfect example of why a website like Wordkrapht is so important. A talented musician like Jay Pinto should not go unheard.
Signs of Iris – “Little More”
Location: Greenville, SC
Genre: Rock, Grunge, Indie Rock
Band Members: Cassie Posey, Johnny Puleo, Jared Burger, James Litzie
Not only did we premiere the release of this single, a full review of SoI’s new release Cyclops was posted on November 13th. In it, we stated that “Little More” combines those powerful Posey chops with a frantic synth vibe that screams of 80’s MTV-meets-The Killers’ “Mr. Brightside.”
Dakota Melin – “By The Drop”
Location: Ontario, Canada
Genre: Alternative, Dreampop
Band Members: Dakota Melin
According to Dakota Melin, “By The Drop” is a song about a coma. While it may be dreamy and trance-like, it’s not putting any of us out. Rumor has it this track will be part of an EP that will be released in early 2014. We will be waiting very impatiently to hear the rest, because we have become big fans.
CLDMKRS – “Never Growing Up”
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Hip Hop
Members KID PRESENTABLE!!!, BESATREE, NOEARTH, JOE MAS, ERAGE, KSERIOUS, THESIS, ADVERSIT.
CLDMKRS, or CloudMakers, are a community of MCs and producers that roll in groups. “Never Growing Up” is the lone hip-hop track on this edition of Hand-Kraphted, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. CLDMKRS deserve their own space and don’t need any other artists in the way. This is a party track, and the boys have already started. Hit play, drop the bass and try to keep up.
The Open Feel – “Wake This Dream”
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Genre: Alternative, Rock
Band Members: Katie Harris, Tom Brayton
Yes, we have covered this band before, and with good reason. Some of us have been fans since the self-titled debut EP back in 2011. And yes, we will continue to bang the drum for a band like The Open Feel because, well after listening to Katie Harris sing, we’d give her our puppy if she asked for it. She and Tom Brayton almost sound like the anti-grunge movement of the 90s, but own the idea instead of trying to rent it from the past.
Farewell Milwaukee – “Can’t Please You, Can’t Please Me”
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Genre: Folk Rock, Americana
Members: Brad Fox, Adam Lamoureux, Ben Lubeck, David Strahan, Aaron Markson, Joey Ryan
I have a confession to make. Farewell Milwaukee is a band I was fortunate enough to cover on another site, and is one of the major reasons I decided to focus entirely on independent and small label artists. Their album “When It Sinks In” absolutely blew me away and I squealed like a schoolgirl when their newest release arrived in my mailbox. This is the title track, and is a great introduction to the band. They are the quintessential folk rock/Americana band. With heartfelt lyrics, guitar riffs you can practically taste, the solid backline and the dancing organ, there is so much to appreciate here. While also top notch, what doesn’t quite come through on this particular track is the way the band harmonizes vocally. Take a moment and dive in to Farewell Milwaukee. It is definitely worth your time.
Brian Carroll – “John Henry Blues”
Location: Boston, MA
Genre: Acoustic, Roots, Americana
Band Members: Brian Carroll..and sometimes friends
Brian Carroll falls on the other end of the Americana spectrum than Farewell Milwaukee. He takes it back to the roots of this music. He is a storyteller the way men with a guitar have been for generations. He writes and plays mountain music. He does it with a northern feel and a bit of a southern twang. “John Henry Blues” is a song that could have been written one hundred years ago, and yet fits in with today’s musical landscape perfectly.
Samuel Gough – “Morning Light”
Band Members: Samuel Gough
Samuel Gough has a raspy vocal that has gotten him comparisons to Joe Cocker, Bruce Springsteen and Tom Waits. Musically, he sounds like a Celtic version of John Butler. “Morning Light” is an upbeat song that is sure to be a crowd pleaser. It’s a soulful jam that has space for long musical interludes that music festival fans would love.
The Shape – “A Flock And Or Murder”
Location: San Francisco, CA
Genre: Psychedelic, Progressive
Members: Matthew Ely, Andrew Jackson, Mark Goodwin
“A Flock And Or Murder” is a psychedelic experience filled with trance-like melodies fused with jazzy grooves and funky drum fills. Lyrically, it is a dark ride; one you may want to get on. However once you’re seated, the track covers you like a warm blanket. Warning: children of the 60’s may experience flashbacks.
Nelly’s Echo – “If I Were The King”
Location: Baltimore, MD
Genre: Soul, Pop, Rock
Members: Nelson Emokpae, Marcin “Samba” Otrebski, Barry Sherard, Tyler Sherard, Daniel Booker, Tony Correlli
Nelson Emokpae made a name for himself on the NBC show The Voice, and hasn’t looked back since. “If I Were The King” mixes pop, funk and world beat grooves to create a tasty treat for your earholes. It’s an upbeat beach tune, so grab a margarita and enjoy!
Nehedar – “This Heart”
Location: New York City, NY
Genre: indie, folk, pop
Members: Emilia Cataldo
In June, Melissa Landrin reviewed the recent release of Nehedar. In it, she said “This Heart speaks the truth when others may stray away from such harsh realities we tend to try and escape from. (Emilia) Cataldo demands that you take on these issues head on. While the lyrics come off as dark and sad, she is only being honest. Honesty is probably something everyone needs in a world where people are afraid to speak what’s on their mind in fear of hurting someone in the process. If you feel as though you’re constantly running away from reality, maybe This Heart is what you need in order to finally buckle down and face your demons.”
It’s been a year of amazing artists. I sincerely hope you have found a few new favorites both on the website and here with our Hand-Kraphted samplers. As always, please give them support or even some exposure with a share or two if you can. They deserve it.