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Muzzle of Dan

Just released! New single and music video

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My band Northern Strangers just released this new single and music video. This is the first track from our new batch of songs. We are thinking of just releasing the new songs as singles, as we get them recorded and then eventually they would add up into a collected work titled Make America Love Again. We are trying out a new sound with these songs. Our last record was straight up psychedelic folk rock - recorded as a band playing all the jams and solos live in the studio, lots of electric guitars and very psychedelic rock oriented. Our new songs are a little less dark and we are trying a songwriting approach based on the Wilco Star Wars/Schmilco model of songwriting, where the songs are short and pop oriented but the parts are put in a different order or the arrangement makes it still progressive/psychedelic, using short verse and chorus to keep the song moving. This track is arranged as chorus/verse/verse/chorus bridge/breakdown/chorus. The instrumentation also is based more around an acoustic guitar/drums/bass and then using more synth and cool environmental sounds (rather than the electric guitar/psychedelic sound of the last album). We are definitely showing some love to our influence of Talking Heads, Belle and Sebastian, Arcade Fire and even some romantic 70's folk ala Gordon Lightfoot or Jim Croce. I'd love to hear what you think of the track. The video was very fun to put together.

 

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The video screams "Decemberists!"

But the music is a lot more Arcade Fire and similar current "indie" bands. I like it. A beautiful arrangement. I have thoughts on the mix, but I'll keep them to myself, unless you want to hear them.

Bottom line: I really like this. You can tell that a lot of care went into the whole thing. Excellent writing, performance, and production.

Nice work!

 

(By the way, I am doing my own album in a similar way.)


Also, I would really appreciate it if you would give a listen to and comment on my 2 new songs:
http://viachicago.org/topic/52691-i-released-2-new-songs/

Thanks!

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Hey! I actually was just checking your songs out the other day. I'll drop a comment about them in the other thread.

 

Thanks for your thoughts. That's great that the video says Decemberists to you - we love them and the kooky nature of their videos/live shows.

 

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the mix. I'm always looking for different viewpoints to help improve perspective on future projects. Using the synth and electronic sounds was also something new for us on this release, but we were definitely going for that Arcade Fire sound you mentioned.

 

We have another LA indie band we are friends with, who are doing a similar style release. I don't think they are going to compile theirs into an album though. They just recorded 5 songs and are looking to put out one every 2 months or so next year. Their drummer mentioned to me that a lot of media is starting to release this way - video games releasing before things are actually finished and then delivering add-on content at a later date, using early versions of things to gauge reaction before the "finished" product is out there, etc. In a sense of trying to get PR continually releasing new content is certainly easier than trying to push something that was already released in another form.

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We received a nice review on the UK based indie music blog Emerging Indie Bands...

 

https://emergingindiebands.com/northern-strangers-the-waiting-song-single-review/

 

"The US alt-folk quartet Northern Strangers released the single The Waiting Song on the 22nd. The Waiting Song is a trippy world-beat, three and almost three quarters of a minutes, multi-vocal song that is weaved inside a multitude of layering of electronica and instrumentation in which the listener can feel the weariness of daily life slip off the shoulders and a sense of well-being rise through the room leaving the audience set fair in a brighter frame of mind than when they arrived.

It has been a few years since Northern Strangers released new material and The Waiting Song (available on bandcamp) marks a welcome return to the studio."

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As far as my thoughts on the mix...

The main thing is the vocal mix. The vocals are great, but I wouldn't have mixed them quite as high. They are explosive vocal parts, which makes them stand out, as they are and, as a matter of the mix, they sound a little too aggressive to my ears. A bit of an assault.

Like I said, they are terrific, performance-wise and they should be as emphatic as they are. They sound like a call to arms and that is great. And they should be up front, of course. I just would have set them a little more comfortably in the overall mix. As I am not an engineer, I am not sure how to do that, exactly, without losing the urgency and a good amount of presence, but an experienced engineer certainly would.

 

And, those are my thoughts on the mix of what is a truly wonderful song.

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Sure thing. And, by the way, the synths and electronic flourishes are seamless. They fit the mood perfectly and added to it all, without really calling attention to themselves. Nicely done.

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