Royal Recommends: Week 3

Royal Holland got tired of people not knowing or seemingly not caring about music from amazing musicians who don't have the marketing power to make you want to get their music. Often times the music being posted is free, it only costs a small amount of your time, and could change the way you look at creativity. Support the ones close to you and they will sprout wings. 

Check out the Soundcloud Playlist that features a track from each artist featured. If you like what you hear, go give a few bucks to the artist and buy their music! 

Lauren Eylise

Lauren Eylise
Nerds & Birds, do I ever have something special for ya'll today. There are times when you accidentally book three local solo gigs on consecutive Thursdays, and you think to yourself. "Self, why did you do that?" There are other times when you get to the third week of this run and think to yourself "Buddy, you gotta perform tonight, you gotta rally."

The last of these nights was a few Thursdays ago at The Listing Loon. I had been asked to play the gig by Joe Holt who is a New Yorker via England. 

My friend and Royal Recommends Alumni, Abiyah, texted me once she saw that I was playing with Lauren. She was very excited as she had just met her in Chicago of all places (Lauren is local to Cincinnati as well) and had also had Lauren on her Artist Residency at The Comet, also a Northside staple.

Knowing that Lauren came highly recommended I was happy to meet her and she was charming from the start. She was humble about her upcoming performance saying she hoped that Abiyah hadn't talked her up too much. 

Let me assure you she had absolutely nothing to worry about. 

She took the stage with her friend, and also phenomenal singer-songwriter in her own right, Marisa Moore and then they began their methodical slaying of the entire room. Not to mention that the room was full of a great crowd, that Lauren had basically single-handedly brought there, to croon sweet tones to, to tap dance through between song banter that was poignant and funny, to perform tremendous covers of 90's hip hop tunes, and then once again shock and awe me with her original music and smooth angelic voice. 

I do not want you to wait to experience this music, and I promise as soon as I can I'm going to book a show with these two phenomenal performers just so I can selfishly listen to them again. If ya'll show up that would be great too. So, go... please and watch a few of these videos. I highly recommend “Loud Afternoon.” Then go and buy her music on iTunes, or listen on Spotify!

Daniel Wayne

Daniel Wayne
Daniel Wayne is one of my favorite people. 

I met Daniel one day while working on the first Royal Holland EP at Brian Olive's now defunct 'The Diamonds' studio in Northside. I have a tendency to take a lot of breaks when recording, because I need to talk about deep things and smoke too much and connect with people in real ways to feel inspired to create. This day, Daniel happened to stop by and so, He, Brian and I went upstairs and chilled and talked about the music business and the universe and other funny things. 

I felt a kinship with this man from the get go. He's a kind and old soul who has seen a great deal of heartache and glory in his days wandering this globe. After living in New York for a good chunk, he moved back to Cincinnati and has become one of my favorite acts to see a set from. I'm so glad he came back here. 

A live Daniel Wayne performance is close to indescribable. He's got a quality that breaks down inhibitions, because it is just so captivating. I'm still trying to figure out how this guy plays the guitar the way he does. He claims it's just because he never learned how to properly play it, but when you hear the sounds he massages out of his instrument, it makes you wonder if the rest of us have been playing them wrong this entire time.

And his voice-- It's unlike any you've heard. Maybe some hints of Neil Young dashed in there, with a side of Paul Simon and some old times ramblin' country music artist who just walked through the mountains and shows up on your doorstep with his guitar and a huge smile on his face, asking if you'd share a beer and a smoke with him. 

His delivery is so vulnerable. His lyrics are gorgeously poetic, honest and meaningful, and will affect you if you allow them to wash over you and wiggle their way deeply in.

I want you to love Daniel Wayne, as I love Daniel Wayne. He's going to surprise you and make you feel like humanity is closer knit than we feel these days. Please have a listen to “Far From Here” if you need to pick one (Oh, did I mention he's also an amazing whistler?), but honestly you'll do yourself a service to listen to all the songs he has up on this page. 

A true gem of the scene, please give him your support. 

Hot For Alice

Hot For Alice
Now onto Hot For Alice, and just to get it out there, I can definitely say that getting to know these folks better and playing their music has truly given me a deeper appreciation for them as people, friends and musicians.

We've been practicing once a week for about a month or a little over, and while I had an admiration for their songs and musicianship previously, now that I am intimately acquainted with them, it's become quite a deeply rooted appreciation. 

Not only do they write some extremely catchy tunes, not only have they truly stepped up their stage show by adding phenomenal guitarist Nick Hill. Not only is their rhythm section locked in to some truly epic grooves, but Alisha Milacki's voice soars high overtop of these foundations, delivering lyrics that are surreal, poignant and often times beautifully heart-rending.

Last night at practice, Terence Bagwell Nelson (Kevin Milacki the bass player and Alisha's SO) and Alisha played me some of their old demos for some songs I hadn't heard (there's a rap that will blow your mind), and also some early versions of HFA songs that were lo-fi, raw and so compelling. Hot For Alice has refined that lo-fi output into something polished and rocking, while still retaining the spirit of those old recordings. (I'm still totally serious about making a tape release of those old recordings though guys) 

Have a listen to these folks. They're a perfect mixture of good people and great musicians and that's not something that you come across every day.

Their most recent release Sirens was recorded with the venerable Mike Montgomery (R. Ringampline) behind the board, and it's a great way to spend an afternoon. Just sink into it and let it help you focus on not being shitty to other human beings. Start with “No Joke” it'll make you feel good, then just stream the whole thing, then 'Name Your Price' to have the whole thing forever.

Rose Hip 

Rose Hip
So now I will talk about Rose Hip. This is Zohair's solo project. I had reached out to him yesterday to see if he might be able to share some music from his project Blakkr, but he said there wasn't any recorded as of yet, so he suggested that I have a listen to Rose Hip instead. I'm very glad that I did. He said that he will have a special Rose Hip recording from a few November's ago that he wrote after one of the various shootings that has taken its toll on our country as of late. 

I do not really know Zohair, but I do hope that we can rectify that in the time ahead. I've seen him around the scene, and witnessed all of the good that he does booking amazing acts on Monday nights at The Comet. (Please make sure to stop by and support those nights. Seriously, I've seen some really amazing acts from both home and abroad). Having listened to some of his music on SoundCloud, though I can definitely say I count him among the most creative and talented folks in our city's sometimes narrow-minded or claustrophobic feeling, but wild enough to include some truly different and varied creators, music scene. 

The track “Are You Through?” is a dream like trip through a foundation of affected strings. They undulate in and out like a warm tide, Zo's voice piercing absolutely over top of them, drenched in reverb, his siren call from said sea. Pleading you to dive in and let the waters cleanse you. This is church. Church out in the middle of a soft, caressing sea. A church that accepts all regardless of race, color, creed, and whom you love or who loves you. I for one want to spend a lot of time in Zo's Sea Church. It's truly beautiful there.