Category Archives: Tunes

My Top 5 Bands You’ve (probably) Never Heard Of:

It’s one of my favorite moments in life when somebody introduces me to my new favorite band.  I have very clear memories of finding and getting hooked on each of these artists.  Now I preface this article with a ‘probably’ because those of you that know me will already know most of these bands, because that’s mostly what I talk about- my favorite music, and my favorite games.  But I sincerely hope that I can introduce you to some of the best songs ever to enter my ears, and give you a similar life-changing moment.  And if you feel compelled to reciprocate in the comments, let me know what you got!

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Chris Merritt, aka Cruise Elroy- (Piano-driven pop/alt/indie)  I found this monster writer on MySpace, believe it or not, in his early stages of writing.  Even in early demos there was something magical about his melodies and especially harmonies.  This dude has some of the most addicting melodies I’ve ever heard, and is #1 for me in harmonies, counter melodies, rounds, and vocal magic.  Sometimes his songs wander around, and just when you start to think “ehhhh, this songs not that great,” he slaps you in the face with the coolest, catchiest melody or hook.  If you look at my itunes top 25 most played songs, he occupies 1-10.  Oh, and he’s also one of the best keys players around.  Recommended starter tracks: under Cruise Elroy- The Fever, Shorty…..and under Chris Merritt- Avery, Always On My Mind.

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Ohtis- (Quirky folk rock/pop)  Ohtis are 2 guys from my hometown (central Illinois).  They started making music after I had already moved away, and I liked it so much I eventually somehow talked them into moving to where I was living so I could help them get a full band going (and so I could hear them live a bunch more).  Sam does the bulk of the vocals and has such a great vocal range that can go from deep Johnny Cash melodies to high falsetto pretty harmonies.  His voice has a conviction to it that I don’t hear too often and it compels you to believe any weird thing that he decides to sing about.  Adam does the bulk of the production and unique arrangements- which is a huge reason why Ohtis is so fun to listen to.  Here’s a link to their entire library.  Recommendations:  Hatefully In Love, 666, Hollow Body, Getalong.

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Jeremy Larson, aka Violents- (Piano, guitars, strings, melodies)  I’ve been lucky to be in the right place at the right time with Jeremy.  He’s one of my best friends over the past decade, but I’m not just adding him because of that.  We met in ’02 and played in a full time worship band together for years, and he lived across the street from me for the beginning years of his songwriting career.  He gets better as time continues, which is really exciting to watch.  He comes up with some of the prettiest melodies and unique string arrangements that stick in your head for weeks.  He’s also one of the most talented multi-instrumentalists I’ve ever seen, which I think is partially why we never played on each others solo projects- we kind of cancelled each other out.  But when both of us played solo projects out live we got to enjoy playing the parts in that forum.  It’s worth noting that he’s available for hire in several capacities, and has an awesome new studio in his Nashville house.  Also, he was a huge part of the band Sucre- which is also amazing (no surprise).  If you listen to Violents you will hear his melodies, but not his voice- he collaborates with his favorite female singers to have them sing what’s in his head and it’s a brilliant result!  Recommendations:  Violents:  Evergreen, Tempter, Fireflies. Jeremy Larson: Descending, Empire.

david-bazan

David Bazan, aka Pedro the Lion- (indie rock/amazing)  Ok, this man gets the highest rank for songwriting, lyrics, and quality consistency hands down.  I realize this choice is a little borderline because he is sort of known, but not nearly on the level that he deserves, which is a shame.  I could easily write a few paragraphs about why his songs are so moving, but you should just trust me and go listen.  He’s one of the best writers out there and his voice is huge and cuts deep.  I’ll also mention that he’s fantastic at using only what is necessary and not one note or instrument too many.  His arrangements are so efficient.  Recommended: David Bazan: When We Fell, Cold Beer and Cigarettes.  Pedro the Lion: Keep Swinging, Penetration.

the-cardigans

The Cardigans- (alt pop/rock) Annnnd I’m totally breaking my own guidelines by adding these guys, but wait wait, just hear me out.  Here is most conversations I have regarding these guys…. “Do you know The Cardigans?  No?  Yeah you do- do you know the song ‘Lovefool’ from the 90s?  Ok, good, so do you know any other songs by them?  Shame on you- leave me at once.”  So I’m breaking the rule, because I feel like most people haven’t given these geniuses a chance.  I don’t feel the need to describe their music to you, except for the fact that Nina has one of the prettiest voices on the planet.  They have lots of great songs, but just check out the album “Long Gone Before Daylight.”  It’s wonderful, and is one of the best mixed albums in my library- the sounds are perfect.

I hope you find some new favorites!  Before you ask how to find all this great stuff and force me to hyperlink all over the place, I’m pretty sure most of this is online somewhere.  This is a good place to help you out: www.lmgtfy.com

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New tune- “not to a man”

not to a man- master 7-18

So this song isn’t exactly new. The recording is brand new, but I wrote it years ago, and then surprised my bride with it during our wedding ceremony. The recording from that day was pretty minimal, and just okay, so I decided to redo it recently.  If I haven’t mentioned before, the majority of my catalog can be streamed at www.thesixtyone.com/gummerman, including this song.  Itunes also has a chunk of my solo stuff- under Gummerman.  Enjoy!

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Cornbelt Chorus!

 

So I’ve been in a local band for years now, and we finally released our first full length album this year.  I just put it online this week, so for those of you that enjoy seeking out new bands and tunes, check it out:

www.cornbeltchorus.bandcamp.com

If I have to pick a favorite track, I’d pick ‘go home,’ followed by ‘wishing well.’  But I’m really proud of the whole album.  The band is comprised of some of the best talent in Springfield, MO and I’ve always been proud to play alongside them all these years.  I’ll put a pic of the liner notes so you know of whom I speak.

Cheer up yer ears!  -TG

god wars

god wars

So I thought I’d upload another Gman track for folks to soak up.  This is probably my favorite instrumental I’ve made to date and definitely my favorite one to play live.  There’s actually a pretty decent live video of this one from a show back round about ’06 or so.  You can find it if you can figure out how to navigate myspace since the 4 years since you logged in last.

It’s entertaining when I think about the crazy stuff I attempt to add into tracks all the time.  I remember adding to the intro a voicemail that a friend left me and all I could hear was just crazy strong wind gusts happening.  So listen for that.  Not as easy to hear as something like in my track ‘passe’ where I inserted a nextel two-way walkie talkie sound byte as the whole intro.  Anyone remember that feature?

Enjoy!

-Todd

Thoughts of a Dying Athiest

thoughts of a dying athiest- muse- gummerman

Here is a cover I did years ago of a Muse song. It was one of my favorites on the album Absolution, and after hearing it several times I realized, “Hey, this chorus progression is totally like an R&B, smooth, hold me sweetly vibe!” So I wanted to hear it slowed down, and this is where my version ended up going.
I have fond memories of the upright piano in this recording, which I bought at a local thrift store for 75 bucks. The overall tuning of the piano was a half step below pitch so I just decided to leave it there for good, which really made a drastic shock to my brain. I’d sit down and play just a nice solid B chord for example, and all of a sudden that chord sounded completely different to what I was used to- since it was coming out as a B flat sound. That strange feeling on that upright had a huge part in inspiring several of my tunes, like by my side, poison, and further away from you.
I also really like the hammond b3 effect on this track (pictured below)- which had a broken vibrato option on it. And when you flipped it on it ended up skipping the sound, which some have labeled a “motorboat vibrato” feel.
The other pic doesn’t have much to do with the song- except that it’s me as a lil’ lad, preparing my brain for the ability to take a very, very fast song and make it very, very slow.