Free and legal MP3: Louise Burns (ineffably awesome rocker)

“Storms” is at once nothing special and exceptional—a fast-paced backbeater that arrives, through arrangement, voice, vibe, melody, and guitar work at something greater than the sum of its parts.

Louise Burns

“Storms” – Louise Burns

Louise Burns is pretty much why I do this. She writes songs that sound effortless, sings like a hero, and makes such splendid, accessible music (not a crime!) that, at least for the moment that lasts while you’re listening, the labels and the hand-wringing and the punditry baked into this so-called industry of ours seems pointless, all the hipster posturing and tech-centric prognosticating irrelevant. Because this and only this is what it’s about: music that eases your burden, frees your soul, sets your heart on fire, for reasons that no blog post can explain. That Burns named her newest album after a snarky jibe made against her in a review of her previous album, well, consider that icing on the cake. Louise Burns rocks, and I’m happy to be here to say so.

“Storms” is at once nothing special and exceptional—a fast-paced backbeater that arrives, through arrangement, voice, vibe, melody, and guitar work at something greater than the sum of its parts. I can do my best to identify specific moments that I connect with—the sonorous, minor-key guitar lines; the understated but incisive hook of the chorus; the new timber in Burns’ appealing voice in the bridge—but this still doesn’t get near the effect the song has on me. All I know is I heard it and felt moved on the spot to buy the album, without having heard anything else from it. Look at me!: I still buy albums. And look at Louise Burns, a genuine talent, worth supporting.

Burns was previously featured on Fingertips in 2011; there, you can read, if you’re interested, of her now-unlikely back story as an adolescent almost-pop-star. “Storms” is a track from her 2017 album Young Mopes, released on Light Organ Records in February. MP3, again, via KEXP.


photo credit: Jennilee Marigomen

Free and legal MP3: Jay Arner (both pensive & anthemic)

Brisk, concise, and allusive, “Don’t Remind Me” is a fine song for any lingering summer evenings that remain, while hinting at the chill yet to come.

Jay Arner

“Don’t Remind Me” – Jay Arner

Vancouver multi-instrumentalist Jay Arner here performs the estimable trick of creating a pensive anthem. The pensiveness is heard in the song’s continued reliance on both minor and suspended chords, as well as in Arner’s naturally reticent singing voice. Even the title is oddly introspective for a command, as well as ambiguous: when you tell someone “Don’t remind me,” you are typically talking about something you’re already dwelling on; on the other hand, spoken seriously, the sentence can nearly be a threat.

The song’s stellar chorus serves as a pithy distillation of the entire composition, its air of yearning, sing-along-iness at once undermined and enriched by something more slippery and reflective. Arner keeps his voice mixed a little bit further down than we might hear in a typical anthemic rocker, and even in the chorus keeps finishing his melodic lines on top of one of those suspended chords of his. He even buries the power-poppy lead guitar line nearly below audibility, forcing the ear to listen for something it may not even realize is there. Brisk, concise, and allusive, “Don’t Remind Me” is a fine song for any lingering summer evenings that remain, while hinting at the chill yet to come.

Arner has previously made a career from being in bands and/or producing and/or remixing other people’s music. His self-titled solo debut was released in late June on Mint Records. I like that “Don’t Remind Me” is the seventh track of ten; that alone speaks to Arner’s thoughtfulness. You can download the song the usual way, via the link above, or head to SoundCloud and contribute some bandwidth back to Fingertips by downloading over there.