Featured Listens is a weekly column which highlights three songs by artists from around the Grand Strand in an effort to help promote local music.
Electric Bird Noise “Onward (too)”
This track comes to us from local music scene pioneer and producer Brian McKenzie (SAVAS, Dead Cut Tree, Vlor, etc.) who is set to release his fifth studio album as Electric Bird Noise this week. The solo project — started back in 1997 — is a mostly-instrumental, electronic affair that experiments with lush soundscapes.
The album, “The Silber Sessions,” is a group of songs McKenzie previously recorded with Raleigh, N.C.-based Silber Records, as well as a few new compositions. Though he has been collaborating with Silber on compilations and shows for more than 10 years, this album will be McKenzie’s first official release with the indie label, which specializes in atmospheric and experimental tunes.
Though there are a number of vibes elicited by the 14 tracks on “Silber Sessions” — such as the slightly-creepy “Proti Village-Meteora-Odeon of Herodes Atticus”, the curiously-country “Brian’s Theme” and the deafeningly-minimal “Fall of The World Trade Center” — “Onward (too)” is likely the most well-rounded effort, with its beautifully-layered guitars and steady pace.
McKenzie will host a CD Release party for the album Friday upstairs at For What It’s Worth at 10 p.m. The show will also feature fellow Silber act Remora, M Is We and Claudia vs. The Queen of Hearts. Admission is $5 and also gets you a copy of the album. Details on Facebook.
Stella By Starlight “Julie”
This track comes to us from DJ Nathan Fowler, a Myrtle Beach native who attended Socastee High School, before heading off to Duke University and forming what would become Stella by Starlight in 2006. In 2007, the electropop group gained some national notoriety in 2007 winning MTVU’s Woodie Award for “Best Music on Campus” which led to a booking and management deal which allowed Fowler to tour the country DJing.
Throughout the life of the project, Fowler has worked with various collaborators such as Mike Posner and has opened for national acts such as OK Go, Mutemath, 3OH!3, Jason Mraz and Common.
Currently, Fowler is recording and producing music in Charleston — both as Stella by Starlight and one half of the duo Bobby & Suzy — while also working to develop a promotional platform for artists called Panda Push that he’s been hatching since 2009.
“I wanted to start an alternative music service/promotional label that gave artists the tools and resources I wish I had when starting out in the industry,” said Fowler. “I want to help artists make money and grow in ways that they might not realize, because they simply don't have enough time to devote to growing their brand.”
Fowler says that with Panda Push he’s striving to provide the tools artists need from a musician’s perspective.
“I wanted the flexibility to promote and reach out to my fans that was not tied down by all the other forms of social media,” he said.
The site launched last fall and was tested on Fowler’s own music projects but he says it’s ready to expand the service to serve about 10 more artists.
“The goal is to expand Panda Push to encompass all genres and all mediums, but for now it is mainly for popular music and DJs,” says Fowler.
Lance C. Todd “All I Need”
This song is a collaboration between longtime local musician Lance Todd and Zach “Weazelpunk” Williams, recorded recently in Williams home studio.
Todd, who has been playing guitar and writing songs since age 13, started out playing locally with a band called Either which also featured Kain Roberts, Garrett Suggs (Beatholes, Attalaya) and Kelly Anderson (Those Darlins) before becoming a founding member of the Beatholes along with Ian Carter, Micheal Wood and Bradley Suggs in the late 90s.
“I had great times playing with those guys back in the day and I have wrote a number of songs for them and with them,” says Todd. “There is no mistaking their poppy rock melodies that just have a way of sticking in your head.”
In 2000, Todd broke away from the Beatholes and started another project, indie rock band Hilarious Fatigue, which gained some notoriety/radio play locally with songs such a “Video Game” (Listen here on Myspace).
From there Todd also recorded with a project called Imagine Imagination, before eventually just evolving into a solo act.
“I would have to say that I am more of a solo artist but I could never make my songs come to life without the help of my friends,” says Todd. “Zack has his own studio set up at his house which makes it easy for us to get together and work on tunes.”
The track, “All I need” is one of many songs Todd has up his sleeve, which he says he hopes to record into an album in coming months.
“I got my inspiration from my father who has worked very hard to give his family the best he could and always had a way of fixing problems and from a past relationship that i was never able to fix,” says Todd. “It’s just a real way of explaining a guy that doesn’t need all the material things in life to make him happy because he already found what brought him closer to his soul and heart.”
For more check out WeazelPunk Music on Facebook, or Under The Covers MB which is a collaboration between Todd and Carver Soles.