New Indie Rock Song Premieres from Cloud Safari and Pomonasounds; Plus, Norwood, Alx Kawakami & More

Cloud Safari is the moniker of Pennsylvania indie synth pop musician Travis Pierson, a 21-year-old songwriter, singer and musician based out of State College who began writing and recording his own guitar and synth pop songs as a teen. premies

His new single, “Pleasin’ You,” premiering today on IRC, is a watery blend of chilled out, reverb-heavy psych pop rock, swimming in waves of heavily distorted vocals, melodic grooves, swaying rhythms, and a Steely Dan-like electric guitar jam set against a backdrop of warm synths and an understated beat throughout. It’s the perfect lazy summer day track.

“It was a song that I wrote the basic melody to on an acoustic guitar a long time ago,” he says, “but I didn’t fully conceive all the parts until about a year ago. It was one of the first songs I’ve ever written and recorded. It was written to my girlfriend as something of a reassurance when she is upset or something in life goes wrong.”

“Pleasin’ You” is the first single from Cloud Safari’s upcoming EP to be released sometime this fall.

Pierson made a DIY splash on Soundcloud late last summer with a number of singles, including January’s “Sunset Park,” and last fall’s “Wonderer,” amassing an impressive 10,000+ streams and plays online and over 300 likes on Soundcloud.
Pierson played in several bands during high school and has been writing music since his early teens.

He officially launched Cloud Safari in the fall of 2015 after experimenting with another moniker – Oceans – that didn’t work for him because it made it too difficult for his followers to find him, and there were too many existing bands named the same. That’s when Pierson came up with what we think is a creative, non-run-of-the-mill moniker; Cloud Safari. His top musical influences include Pink Floyd, Tame Impala, MGMT, and Marc Demarco.

Listen and like on Soundcloud
Cloud Safari – Facebook

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Pomonasounds – “The Girl (After Midnight)”

As children growing up in London‘s crumbling, post-industrial Southend, the band members of Pomonasounds, know all too well about hard economic and social times and the struggle of the working class in the age of globalism and an increasingly oligarchical world order.

The band’s dark, minimalistic, Velvet Underground-like, lo-fi rock sound, as evident on their premiere debut single, “The Girl (After Midnight),” has a haunting and mysterious allure.

According to PomonaSounds’ guitarist Lee Smith, his band mate, songwriter, guitarist and vocalist Andrew Blake, wrote the song about a broken up relationship that he was having difficulty overcoming.

“For a while he found himself experiencing crippling realistic dreams of her and her presence,” Smith recounts. “So apparently he wrote this song in an effort to combat these dreams, and it worked. The girl after midnight being that of the girl in his dream.”

The other band members, also from the same area of south London, include bassist John Bailey, and a revolving door of drummers recently as the band looks for a permanent replacement.

“The list of our musical Our influences is nearly endless and mainly originate from the punk, new wave, classic rock and the indie/alternative rock scenes, including bands like AC/DC, Jesus & Mary Chain, Nirvana, Joy Division, and The Clash, among others,” according to Smith.

The band named themselves after Alistair McDowall’s play Pomona, in which all roads lead to where journeys end and nightmares begin. Meanwhile, the band continues to work in the studio on their debut EP, expected to drop later this fall, and perform at gigs around London.

Pomonasounds on Soundcloud
Pomonasounds’ official website

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Alx Kawakami – “Count From Ten”

Hawaiian songwriter, producer and musician Alex (or ‘Alx’) Kawakami, has overcome many challenges in his life. One of the most profound has been his struggles musically.

As a child, defying the Hawaiian ukulele masters (including Roy Sakuma) he schooled with, Kawakami would return from lessons and practiced by playing ‘upside down.’

As Grammy nominated songwriter and world-renowned pianist, Jim Brickman, recalls: “The first time Alx grabbed a ukulele, he held it left-handed but kept the strings tuned right handed. That was the start of a very upside down journey into the music world.”

After high school, where he continued his musical pursuits, Kawakami left Hawaii for the University of Colorado at Boulder, where he was soon discovered that he was not allowed to move forward in the music program “because he played upside-down and backward,” according to Kawakami. So, he decided to return home to Hawaii and founded the musical project ManoaDNA.

Since then, ManoaDNA has recorded five albums. In the summer of 2014, Kawakami co-produced a cover of the famous Men at Work’s song, “Land Down Under,” which made it onto the Billboard Top 40 list.

As a preteen, Kawakami went on to study with one of his idols, Jake Shimabukuro (became one of the first YouTube sensations in 2007 for his ukulele cover of George Harrison’s “While My Guitar Gently Weeps”), a ukulele virtuoso and composer known for his fast and complex finger work. In the course of his studies, Shimabukuro encouraged Alx to play the ukulele in whichever way made him most comfortable.

Kamakami’s newest single, “Count From Ten,” is from his solo debut album, Rise & Shine, which dropped officially on August 9th.

Via Soundcloud: Listen to Alx Kawakami’s  Rise & Shine

Alx Kamakami on Facebook

Norwood – “Notes To My Blood”

Based out of Queens, New York, Norwood is an acoustic indie rock band founded and fronted by guitarist and vocalist Chris Norwood. The band’s new single, “Notes To My Blood,” is, according to Norwood, for the ‘middle children of culture.’

“They are the people who are constantly being told what’s cool and how they should think,” he insists. “These songs [on the band’s new release] are for people who take life on a person-by-person basis rather than lumping people into easily marketable groups, cliques, races, social classes, genders…for anyone who feels pinned down by a thousand voices telling them they aren’t good enough for a million bullshit reasons.”

The other band members include Keith Michael Pinault on bass; Max Maples on drums, and Hajnal Pivnick on guitar.

Norwood describes the band’s sound as one “rough and tumble.” He was inspired to pick up a guitar and start writing music after listening to Sublime Acoustic: Bradley Nowell and Friends.

“Music was something outside of everything,” Norwood says. “And the bands I clung to were the bands that couldn’t be clearly defined.”

“Sublime was my first really favorite band,” he says. “They were punk, but not. They were ska, but not. They were even kinda pop sometimes, but definitely not too.” Norwood contends that his mantra became, ‘I am not a genre.’

“That album [Sublime’s Sublime Acoustic] made me want to pick up a guitar and play music,” Norwood says. “That led to all kinds of bands – ska bands, singer-songwriters, classic rock, R&B, and whatever They Might Be Giants would be called.”

Via Bandcamp: Stream Notes To My Blood

Norwood on Facebook

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Beth Marlin – “Railroad”

With a background that includes writing and recording children’s’ music (Bethie; Disney TV, Sesame Street Live), San Francisco songwriter, musician and vocalist Beth Marlin turned a new leaf over a decade ago, dedicating herself to folk music in most recent years, with an particularly recent revivalist Americana roots focus, she says.

Marlin’s new EP, Railroad, is an ode to the traditions of the American folk singer of yesterday, as her own special cover of the title track implies.

Marlin is well aware of the history of the song, with its original late 1800’s racist lyrics. In the folk tradition, Marlin explains, it’s not uncommon to take such a song and reconstitute it to preserve the musical aspects of the song – which is a derivative of an African slave spiritual. In the 1880’s, the original spiritual from slaves was taken and corrupted with disgustingly racist lyrics.

Other songs on the four-song EP include “Juliana Valentine” – written for one of the child victims of 9/11 who was on her way to Disneyland when the plane she was on crashed into one of the Twin Towers in NYC, and “Califor-ni-an,” about Marlin’s falling in love with the Golden State when she first arrived there years ago as a young musician.

Marlin is experiencing positive reviews for her new EP, which includes contributions from many LA musicians and artists.

Via SoundcloudStream Railroad on Soundcloud

Beth Marlin on Facebook

David Jacobson and the Space Wizard

David Jacobson and the Space Wizards – “8 AM”

With heavy melodies, soaring electric guitars and drum-bass jamming, David Jacobson and The Space Wizards, which is really the one-man band of Jacobson, recently let it hang out on the single, “8 A.M.” from the Brooklyn indie psych rock project’s debut album. The band has opened for other local bands like The Main Squeeze, Foxtrax, Best Behavior, The Magic Beans. Their album was released on July 3rd.

Via Soundcloud“8AM”David Jacobson and The Space Wizards

David Jacobson on Facebook

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Mr. Thundder – “I’m The Conquering Lion”

Twenty-five-year veteran musician and award-winning Los Angeles songwriter, Mr. Thundder, recently dropped his new single, “I’m The Conquering Lion,” a follow-up to his last EP, With The Love, which was DIY released in 2014. It’s available on Spotify here.

His breakthrough song from the EP was “Rolling Thundder.” He has performed at L.A. venues such as Amplify and Angel City Cafe.

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  1. Mr. Thundder is by far the best musician today. Has the best vocals, well polished and a fine artist. Thanks for the music! Bought his music.

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