Jamie Comeau & The Crooked Teeth are from Saint John, New Brunswick in Canada. With an alternative blues/indie folk sound, the band combines style and originality with personality and stage presence to bring forth an unfamiliar sound that attracts attention from their audience. The Crooked Teeth rose quickly from basement jam sessions to popular maritime stages in just a few months. After participating in the Harvest Jazz & Blues Stingray Music Rising Star Competition in 2017, the band was awarded first place and since then have gained serious momentum in the Canadian East Coast music scene. They have shared the stage with other such acclaimed acts as Interpol, Matthew Good, Wintersleep, Paper Lions and Sloan to name a few. Their self-titled debut Jamie Comeau & the Crooked Teeth came out this past summer and includes some friends on the album, upping their number to a whopping eight. McKayla Arsenault sings backup on "Animals" & "Tall Pine,” Drew Smooth plays keys on "Plenty of Ground" and Kelly Waterhouse plays saxophone on the closing track "Hold My Own." Drake Adams, Hunter Wilson and Aidan Bullock all take turns on the bass, while Jamie Comeau sings and plays guitar and Nick LeBlanc likewise is on the guitar. Mastered at The Recordery by Brad Perry and Evan Hansen it features a mix of blues, folk, rock and rockabilly.
“Left Behind” beings with some classic rockabilly guitar and a shuffling beat, which sounds excellent coming from drummer Drake Adams. The band teases styles of alternative rock and rock’s vintages days. Next is “Animals” which starts off with a smooth, clean, unfiltered bass and funky beat. The words profess that “I am nothing but an animal.” The backing vocals are soulful and cool as the guitar solo cuts through with a biting edge. “Plenty of Ground” has a breakout single quality about it – the right arrangements, catchy guitar licks, a fantastic guitar solo and an overall danceable, blues-ish groove.
“Fortune” features more of the band’s style of rockabilly and perhaps a twinge of dusty, outlaw country a la Hank Williams III. “Tall Pine” tones things down just a bit in the beginning, then picks ups speed with rhythm as the guitars add more twangy melodies. Drums dart in and out keeping time, as Comeau’s vocals take more center stage and are accompanied by sweet backup singing. Towards the end, the drums kick it up several notches into a danceable frenzy – a well textured song all around.
Next is “Seed,” one of the shorter songs on the album, and it features an energized blues style that sounds fantastic. The band switches into a short funky groove after a few verses and then goes back into the main rhythm. The band’s grittiness and raw sound really shines well in this number – it would be great to see this one live! “Dog on a Leash” is another blues flavored tune with a style that’s sultry and low down. I loved the ticking sounds of the drummer’s hi-hat and the infectious guitar licks. Comeau sings his heart out on this one, too. Overall, I thought the song’s biggest feature was how the band worked together in sync with the rhythms and breaks in between. It kept me engaged.
Lastly, there’s “Hold my Own” a jumpy little ditty on the guitar with Comeau at the helm. The keys really added a spirited sound to this song, which made me think of an ‘80s Johnny Cash and Marty Stuart teaming up with the rest of the gang from The Highwaymen. Additionally, the sax added something really special and unique to the mix. After coming to the album’s end, it finally hit me – for what it’s worth, Jamie Comeau’s vocals remind me a little of Martin Zellar, the native-born Minnesotan who fronts the Gear Daddies and Martin Zellar & The Hardways. If you enjoy tapping into the modern, livelier styles of blues, rockabilly with an alternative twist, Jamie Comeau & The Crooked Teeth should supply your needs.
Sometimes bands like to name their music. They give the songs their own specific genre. In the case of the band Noble Hobo they decided to go with “spooky-folk.” In all honesty I’m not sure I found the music all that “spooky” but I know what they are going for here. Some of the bluegrass inspired southern folk sounded somewhere between Tom Waits and the slow burn of a band you might have heard from True Detective Season 1. Other times it sounded more traditional.
They further explain that, “this is a collection of songs that were mostly inspired by a deep sadness. Longing for something more real, but discovering only a deeper internal struggle.” That’s definitely a bummer but I wish I knew a little more about why this “deep sadness” was occurring.
They open with “Sorrow” which is definitely a slow burn. A number of instrumental elements like banjo and warm strings sort of do their own thing before coalescing with some percussion. This song definitely has sad overtones which are reinforced with deep, heartfelt singing. The vocal harmonies sound great and as the song progresses there are crescendos based on the intensity of the playing.
Up next is “Work” where the band brings up the energy. The walking bass line was great as were the additional percussion elements. This is a song you could do a dance to. It’s like a hoedown with some good old fashioned boot slapping. I loved it. As the song progresses it speeds up. Congrats to the banjo player.
The Tom Waits reference earlier applies on “Little Gods.” It has the classic waltz style he is known for. The vocal harmonies are again on point as is the various instrumentation. “Family Tree” is a pretty warm song and also quite festive. They end with perhaps the least “Spooky” song entitled “Going Home.” This song sounds like traditional bluegrass and was great.
My only slight critique is that I wanted a little more clarity from the recording. There was some richness and depth that wasn’t always captured.
This is a great EP. It’s perfect for putting on around a campfire. Take a listen.
Ramey is a band from Columbus, Ohio. I’ve heard of a married couple being in bands before but this might be a first where there are two. The band consists of Steve and Sarah Ramey (lead vocal/guitar; vocal) and Ryan and Sue Hall (banjo/guitar; upright and electric basses). They are joined by good friends Tiberius Shields (organ/ keys) and Paul Meeker (drums).
Their release There Is A Light is a folk, country, bluegrass, rock and roots album. They have a warm, inviting sound that is easy to appreciate and just easy on the ears. It’s music that’s seems like it would sound great on a lazy Sunday morning.
The album starts off with the upbeat and joyous “The Old Road.” There is a steady beat consisting of percussive elements but the handclaps are the most prevalent aspects. I was digging the play between the guitar and banjo. At the center of the song is the vocal melody which felt like a sing-along. It’s catchy but also hopeful and even inspirational sounding.
“There is A Light” is less bright but I liked the hum of melancholy and nostalgia just as much. There are a lot of different elements which your ears can feast on. The guitar is constantly showcasing inventive fills. I loved the more intimate vocals on this song as well as the occasional female harmonies which are added.
“Parker Lee” is an emotionally resonant song that contains orchestral string and a delicate quality. There is a very sweet balance of emotions. It’s sincere, heartfelt and honest sounding with great storytelling. “Pretty Little Reason” might be the most single worthy song in the batch. This song is upbeat in the way that The Steve Miller band is. “My Girl, My Sweet” is indeed very sweet while “Old Stars” had a very classic country feel to the music.
There is a nice mix of bluegrass and country on “Good Love.” The dramatic “Beast of the Field’ and the nostalgic “The Least Man” sounded great next to each other. Last up is “Let It Roll” which is a reflective closer.
I thought this album had a fantastic flow. It really is one of the albums that should be heard from beginning to end. This band sounds great so let’s hope no one get divorced. That was a joke. Make sure to take a listen. Recommended.
Societal siege is a group of students who are also musicians from Montreal, Québec. The band consists of drew m (drums), antoine g (bass/guitar), joseph z and jacob (guitar/vocals). They released a demo quality release entitled Joseph Ziggler.
There are a couple of different styles here. I thought they sounded the best on the opening track “stuff ur fivers in a sack.” It’s a fast, punk song a little like Minutemen. The vocals have just energy behind them. I thought the inflection sounded great. On that note the circular reverb laced guitar was also top notch and sounds a bit like the band Real Estate.
The band goes into a very different energy with “montreal.” This song sounds more like emo, coming of age pop punk made by young people for young people. There is tons of nostalgia on this song as well as a reiteration of the normal thoughts a young person experiences.
“what year is this” has more in common with “montreal.” It’s comprised of hypnotic guitar picking. The lyrics could be interpreted as being about falling in love and also yearning for something better. I liked this song quite a bit. “i dont wanna talk” brings up the energy a little but doesn't do it with drums right away. The guitar strumming as well as the vocal harmonies were used well. As the song progresses it becomes a little chaotic which was done on purpose. They close with the very lo-fi sounding “TERRIFIED DECENT VERSION INTERLUDE (demo).”
I would love to hear some more songs like “stuff ur fivers in a sack” in the future. I liked all the songs but that one stuck with me the most. Overall, this is a solid EP showcasing some talent as well as a foundation for the band. Take a listen.
Soft Sights is a twenty-one-year-old artist who recently released Melancholia. He explains he is “focusing on the line between dreams and reality.” There is a long explanation on his Bandcamp page about what this album is about. It might be easier to explain what it’s not. He says his music is about everything from the state of our country, acceptance, depression, self love and more.
His music is synth heavy bedroom indie pop. You could also throw dream pop in there as well for good measure. Things get going with “Get In Line” which feels a bit like a funeral march. The guitar, textures and tones give off this foreboding feeling of apprehension.
“Losing It” is very different sounding. The vocals are way more hopeful and exuberant. This song takes advantage of an airy synth, percussion elements and white/pink noise. The hook is strong on this song.
“Daydream” is up next and contains mechanical sounding drums, distorted lead guitar and warm piano. The groove is kinetic and seems like there is some slight auto tune effects on the vocals. “I'm Pretty” is a highlight. It’s warm and fuzzy bedroom pop with great hooks. “Disaster” is another success. His vocals are a little monotone and subdued but it works well with the song. His vocals seem to follow the lead instrument at times.
“Retaliate” felt like the first song in that there is this feeling of a funeral march. “American Made” has its moments but I preferred the airy, upbeat quality of the title track “Melancholia” which is a highlight.
The artist is a young guy with all the time in the world to keep building his foundation. I’d say this is a good start and I hope to hear more soon.
Lightning Hunter is a side project of Charles Scandura from the NewYork based progressive/post-rock band Negativehat. His release Beyond Beyond is a cinematic yet prog rock inspired experience.
I was reminded of Tool or Perfect Circle. The imagery, the lyrics and more which have a serious quality to them as if the music's explaining the universe. Its poetic but also the slight turn in language can make it feel new age. Cosmology, mythology and other concepts like these are explored - it’s ethereal.
The music doesn't feel very earthbound. It’s a little hard to relate in terms of everyday experiences people have. Take for instance the opener “The Role of the Observer” which begins with orchestral elements and feels epic in scope. The song shifts and becomes more rock based. Once the lyrics come in you are greeted with grand concepts. Scandura sings, “We gather at the gates to hear your song / Earths covered in frost another worlds gone / Dimensions time and space they only believe / What they perceive / When your not awake.
A song like “In a Dogs's Dream” is purely orchestral and thematic and juxtaposed against a more formal rock song “Giving All Things Credence” which sounds like a completely different band.
There are some highlights on this album. “Akashic Echoes” is a n epic song mixing elements of white noise from the guitar with distant sounding atmosphere. It’s dark, mystical and contains vocal melodies that are catchy and repeat worthy. "Pale Monolith" is bright and vibrant with a pulsating rhythm. The prog rock type vibes on this song are strong.
“Aeolean Prism” sounds a bit like David Bowie’s material on his last album Blackstar. I loved the driving beat as well as the cosmic guitar. “Fields of Ancient Light” was a pretty yet inventive instrumental song that sounded like a vignette.
Beyond Beyond is unequivocally an intense and epic album. So much so it’s the kind of album that’s often sounds best when listened to in moderation. I feel the same way about Tool. I love their music but man listening to that everyday commuting to work is way too much. Fans of prog, orchestral music and other like minded genres will appreciate this. Take a listen.
Cody Ovans and The Fear is a project from Toronto that recently released Entertaining Aspects. He explains that, “Most of the subject matter it based off of real life experiences of a person entering their 30's trying to get their shit together.” Yes, I sort of remember but also remember that when I turned thirty- five. In fact “getting your shit together” might happen multiple times over a lifetime...more like a roller coaster than some peak you reach and just stay.
His music is rooted in indie rock and I would say the most the most defining aspect of his music are his vocals. It’s not a voice where you think “oh man he needs to sing opera.” It’s unique and sort of a singular baritone which I think is the most important aspect to have as a singer.
The album starts with “Nostalgia” and is one of the highlights. The song is sort of fun and has a vibrant energy not unlike Dropkick Murphys. He sings, “I'm sick with nostalgia / The way that it holds my hand / The way it props me so I can't stand.” I like that the song is about nostalgia but the energy isn’t nostalgic. It’s more forward moving and feels like it's going towards the future.
I loved the lyrics on “Ennui Too.” Cheers to awkward times at the bar lost in confusion and alcohol. On top of that the crunchy guitars and anthemic quality gave this song a winning recipe. Ovans goes deep on “What Holds Us Together.” He sings, “I suppose the extent of our potential is a randomly assigned, finite value.”
“Sixteen Candles” rocks out hard and felt like 90’s alternative songs. Ovans delivers more great lyrics on “Party 'til You Don't!” How could you not like a song that starts with “I should probably call my mother / I could use a glass of water / That's my main concern.” This song had the energy of a Minuteman song.
“The Invisible Girl” has some of the most ear perking guitar riffs while “The Lottery In Babylon” is a drum heavy self reflection of who you are, warts and all. “Counterfeit Rembrandts” is another song that felt planted in ’90s alternative rock with a mighty catchy chorus. Last up is “Where Do We Go? which is one of my favorites. The mood here is a bit of a ballad mixed with Roy Orbison mixed with surf rock.
This album felt emotionally raw and heartfelt. Ovans has a direct way of communicating and the truth is one thing I can appreciate in music. Recommended.
Passions of the Soul is a project from an artist from the south coast of England in Southsea who recently released his eponymous project Passions of the Soul. He mentions that he “never had any formal training but have a fascination with composition and trying new things to bring my songs to life.”
These songs sound like a full band not a solo artist. I was impressed by the composition and how full they sounded. His music is a palatable blend of indie rock, pop and maybe a smidge of folk. The band that came to mind was Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
The album kicks off with “Lines in the Sand” which is indicative of the sort of vibe you will get. After about forty seconds the song launches into an infectious groove. The song boils with an accessible energy that gives you a surge of excitement.
“Lines in the Sand” is a great way to kick off the album but it’s just one of many great songs. Take for instance “Work Zombie” which wrestles with following your passion and leading a more mundane existence revolving around repetition.
As the album progresses I found a number of indie pop gems. “Time Changes Everything” was a great tune and absolute repeat worthy. The mix of piano, drums, guitar and exuberant energy is hard to resist. Some of the more intimate moments are some of the most powerful and emotionally resonant. The song “Disillusion” is a highlight that displays multiple vocal harmonies aligning with crisp guitar playing and warm textures and tones.
There are some other highlights I have to mention. “Lets Face It,” The Things We Take Forgranted,” “The Enemy at the Gates,” “Let The Love In” and “Best Friend” displays some of his most notable melodies.
This is a really good album. The songs are effortlessly enjoyable. Take a listen.
Matthew Barham is the lead singer for Colorado's premier tribute act to The Doors, The Strange Parade. Barham also happens to make his own music. He recently released Rat Chaser which is a four-song EP. And if you are wondering - no his music doesn't sound like The Doors although he does sound like Jim Morrison.
The music does fall under the umbrella of rock but there are a number of different styles. Up first is “No One” which sounds like dirty southern rock with a hint of country. The song is dark and reminded me of something you might hear in the series True Detective Season 1. Although the song didn’t remind me of The Doors I was thinking Morrison in terms of the lyrics. He sings, “He's got liquid eyes / And no telephone / Rides the sidewalk high / Made of skin and bone.”
Up next is “Who's to Blame.” This song really doesn’t have that southern country flavor. The music actually reminded me of Faith No More. I loved the guitar groove on this song. It’s funky, fun and paired with the drums really creates a wicked groove.
“Statue” is up next and is another very different sounding song. I was actually wondering if Barham was singing. It’s as if the affectation on “Who's to Blame” was different. His vocals aren't pushed nearly as hard. There are also some great fuzz on this song. The squealing guitar combined with waves of white noise felt like you were in a chaotic storm in the desert.
Last up is “Love She Cries” which is a bit of a ballad and the song I thought was the highlight.. The music reminded me of Roxy Music mixed with The Smiths. I thought his vocals sounded great when singing baritone. On top of that the chorus was really catchy. When he goes to a higher register he sounds a bit like Freddie Mercury.
Rat Chaser is a diverse EP. There are multiple sides to his music. I can’t say I found much of a signature sound to his music but appreciate how versatile his talent is. Take a listen.
Miles LouLou is a band from Brisbane, Australia that recently released their first EP entitled All The Same. The band states on their Bandcamp page that they have a slightly widening range of styles to offer. That’s definitely true so let's get into it.
The album starts with “SKY2” which is instrumental and largely electronic. It sounds a bit like something you might hear from Jamie xx or to a lesser extent Jon Hopkins. There are smooth, airy synths which sound like crystals that are juxtaposed against an off-kilter snare-esque type sound. The two rhythms going against each other but it works quite well. I really liked it when the distorted guitar came into the picture which gave the song a shoegaze feel. It’s an interesting track and towards the end the darker elements sounded like Burial.
The beginning of “Hats in the Sun” already sounded worlds away from the opener. It revolves around piano, light brushes and vocals The song comes closer to sounding like a ballad. I liked the vocal inflection and the lyrics which are a stream of consciousness. As the song progresses it builds with some light atmosphere. After a couple run-throughs of the song I realized how catchy it was.
Last up is “All The Same” which is arguably the highlight. This song comes closer to sounding like the “Hats in the Sun.” It revolves around piano, atmosphere and light percussion. The vocals are what really hit me. I loved his understated melancholy affectation and the vocal harmonies on the chorus sound especially good.
“Hats in the Sun” and “All The Same” seemed to work really well together. I liked “SKY2” but it felt very different. In my opinion the lyric-based piano pieces is where the band's strength lies. This is a solid EP and I am looking forward to hearing more from them as they evolve.
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