“Morning Dew Ft. Negar Nick On Persian Kamanche In 432Hz” is a recent track from Art Tawanghar. I was reading that, “The ancients considered dew to be traces of a subtle substance left by Eos, goddess of the dawn. At other times Diana was often called "The Dewy One." In the dry warm climate of southern Europe, dew was essential to plant life.
The song does have the feeling of morning dew. If you ever had the pleasure to go camping and wake up after a night of raining with the sun out it can be a beautiful scene. There is a warmth and comfort between plants, water and sun that’s a little hard to explain the experiential nature of.
The song starts with not much more than piano and orchestral strings. There is a mix of melancholy and a meditative type of stillness. As the song progresses there are circular and hypnotic piano melodies which intensify but only briefly before the song simmers down.
There is again another rise about half way through where the song sounds thematic and regal. I felt like it could be music you might hear playing during a ceremony on the TV show Game of Thrones. It should also be noted how technical yet graceful these performances were. Every note feels like it is where it is supposed to be.
This is definitely one of the more minimal tracks I have heard from Art Tawanghar. There is no percussion and the orchestral strings and piano give more breathing room than I remember from other tracks I’ve heard. Although this song is not a complete departure from his previous material, it displays a side of his composition skills I wasn’t fully aware of. Recommended.
The Portland, Oregon band Withered Winds comes in hot with their self-titled debut EP Withered Winds. The duo, consisting of Andy Ramirez (guitar) and Ruben Bustillos (drums), is right at home in the post-rock genre, while influences like metal and noise rock give their music an energetic edge. These influences allow for the typical post-rock dynamic highs and lows to be even more intense. And there are plenty of highs and lows on this three-track EP, due to an average song length of nine minutes. Despite a minor issue with song structure, Withered Winds' EP is an engaging work of post-rock music.
The roughly eight-minute opener “At This Very Moment” is high energy right out of the gate. Feedback screeches as mid-tempo head banging drums and guitar play. The song’s second movement highlights their metal influences with heavily distorted palm-muting. The drums are off the charts here, as Bustillos is working in most of the kit in his beat. The song moves then into a more typical, quieter, post-rock groove. This pattern continues, with slight variations, throughout the remainder of “At This Very Moment.”
“Wait For the Cold” is a much more subdued track, spending much of its nine-minute run time in a chilled-out guitar groove, heavy on the reverb and delay. This one does pick up eventually, with a wall of distortion and feedback that leads into a guitar lick that is satisfyingly repetitious. A sprawling tremolo picking guitar drives the song to its conclusion.
The closer “Death Gives Meaning to Life” is Withered Winds most metal, rock-your-socks-off, sludgy, disgusting song. The rhythm guitar’s distortion is sharp as a knife while the lead guitar plays a thrash-like tremolo picking solo. The song’s outro uniquely features an eerie acoustic piano that works perfectly with the dark atmosphere of the track.
It is easy to get enthralled by the songs on this EP because they are continually shifting. While it’s not this simple, these shifts are mostly the songs getting louder then quieter and repeating that cycle. By only the middle of the first song, it was a predictable pattern, and I had a growing desire for something more.
With that note aside, Withered Winds self-titled EP is technically engaging and full of emotional energy, which is heightened by noise rock and metal influences.
Originally from Columbus, OH, Maisie Kappler is a singer/songwriter who is currently based in Denver, CO. She previously played keyboards in a band called Kneeling In Piss. After the move to Denver in August 2019, she began to actively dive into recording her solo material and went on to make her latest album entitled Three Years.
Filled with a familiar folk and acoustic vibe, Three Years is a quiet album layered with Kappler’s sweetly rendered vocals and dynamic noodling on the acoustic guitar. Kappler keeps it simple by layering acoustic guitar with overlapping vocals and the occasional piano. The album has a soft, nearly eerie sound. Kappler draws inspiration from artists like Vashti Bunyan and early Angel Olsen while also integrating a sound that is solely her own. Tying into the simplicity of these songs, many of these tracks also utilize harmony parts to add a bit of a more depth to them.
Three Years opens with “Handle Myself” that starts off to the evocative sound of numerating on the acoustic guitar. A piano tune courses in. The vocal layers add in a more complex flavoring to the overall simplicity of the music. This gives off an intricate detailing to the sound. A quiet and sweetly rendered track.
“Housewife” is another acoustic guitar-centered song. The vocals are calming and quiet. The combined vocal harmonies create a dynamic forecast. This is a soft lilting track that is like a lullaby. Simply rendered with vocals alone accompanied by the deft strumming from the acoustic guitar, light and blithe cadences are evoked.
The acoustic guitar struts in underling “Hum Tune.” The vocals flower in with a sweetly rendered feel. The vocal harmony layers provide an evocative scope to the music. The sound is soft and haunting with dream-like layers. The song is soothing and relaxing filled with a mellow and easy-going vibe. The closer “Piano Diddle” shows Kappler’s skills on the instrument. This is a short instrumental outro.
The music overflows with a dreamy vibe. Though only simply rendered from the sole support of acoustic guitar and piano, the layered vocal harmonies provide a more intricate scope to the recording. The combined vocal harmonies harness an added intensity to the overall album.
Oftentimes beatific and lulling, these airy tracks harness a simplified feel that makes them chillingly haunting. These simple acoustic arrangements provide a soothing almost lullaby-like feel. The soft lilting sounds will provide a relaxing backdrop to stimulate your mood or to accompany you with whatever you are doing.
The album was Kappler’s first attempt at recording her own music and this was a solid effort. I look forward to see what the artist has to offer up next.
Mike O'Connor is a singer/songwriter from Middletown, NJ. For the least three to four years he has been working on Pipes. This is an album that sounds like it came from New Jersey. I mean it hits all the perfect Americana influences that came from that region of the country.
The album opens with “Weird” which all things considered is very straightforward Americana. I thought the song was very well delivered and written but there were no surprises emotionally or structurally. There is the combination of nostalgia and solace that comes from the genre with lyrics that also go down the center of the bullseye of expectation.
He has more success with “Hang(Over It)” which is a little more reserved and intimate. O’Connor gives a great vocal performance. There is a good amount of pain and reflection in his delivery.
“Pipes" is a heartfelt song that is laced with personal lyrics related to his grandpa who passed away. I loved the whistling that starts the song off and continues through some of the song. You can’t but appreciate the gratitude in the song.
“The Middle Seat” strives for epic heights and is arguably the most pop oriented song in the batch. On the other end of the spectrum is the intimate “Emma, From Canada” and the sparse “Remain.” There are hints of Pink Floyd on “Ode to Elvis On the Ferry (Out On the Water).” The closer “My Atlantic Sea” was my favorite intimate song on the album. His vocals might sound their best on this song.
My only slight critique would be that it felt like O'Connor was wearing his musical influences on his sleeve. As much as I liked these songs I wanted just a little more of that X-factor that defined a signature sound. On the plus side he is still very young and has all the basics and more covered to be a successful musician.
This is a good album from beginning to end. O'Connor has real talent and I hope this is just the beginning for him. Recommended.
Nearly Sincerely is an indie rock band from Cincinnati, Ohio. They started playing music two years ago with no previous music experience. They recently released Pancakes Taste Better When You're Around.
I remember around eighteen years ago I was in college and was a music major and at the time was listening to a lot of Bright Eyes. Oberst was an amazing lyricist and he has lyrics which were both metaphorical and a stream of consciousness. The main theme was depression and a feeling of hopelessness.
Nearly Sincerely has a lot more of a simple approach to a similar subject. The songs revolve around strummed chords, bass and lyrics which are basically stream of consciousness about how much he doesn't like himself, the things around him and many of other subjects. I thought these songs were better than what I heard on their previous release.
I’m a lot older than I was in college so I have to admit this type of music has a much different effect on me now. There is a big part that just wants to help and say you’re still incredibly young with a world full of potential in front of you. You’re too young to give in.
The songs range from mild suburban depression to darker thoughts. He opens with “The Bathroom Was Too Crowded.” The style is fairly straight emo. He sings, “I know that / Things change fast / My hearts still black / My skins a rash” which is fine. Plenty of artists from Mick Jagger and Trent Reznor have claimed their hearts are black. Lyrics like, “I'll hang myself in the bathroom / Before class starts / Just to prove a point that won't / Make any sense at all” are just dark.
“Life Is Pain (And Other Optimistic World Views)” is a little more chipper sounding at least in terms of the music. The pity party continues “Pancakes Taste Better When You're Around” and “If You're Happy I'm Ok.”
There is a romanticism associated with the tortured musician. We have seen this culturally through artists like Elliott Smith, Kurt Cobain, David Berman and Mark Linkous. Their music creates empathy and they become folk heroes for the depressed and lonely.
The other side of the coin is the artist who creates the music. It’s not only a reflection of thought and emotion but also a vehicle to transcend it. Art imitates life but it also can shine a light so narrowly on the perceived problem that it loses its weight if only for a brief time. I think these songs do that effectively. I'm looking forward to what's next from the duo.
Drew Wardle is currently located in Saratoga Springs, New York. Back in 2017 he released his first EP entitled Suicide Tuesday which we did review. He is back with his sophomore effort entitled Dogs of this century.
This release features seven songs and is fairly diverse in terms of musical instrumentation. His vocals are the focal point and he has some range here as well. Take for instance the impressive opener called “Truth belongs to the deadly killers” where his smooth vocal delivery might remind some people of Jarvis Cocker of Pulp. I happen to love Cocker and really enjoyed this song. The music revolves around guitar, drums, a fuzzy bass, violin and even synth.
He has more success with the infectious “The Mirror.” This whole song is hypnotic but that chorus is just killer. Wardle weaves an interesting story about yearning for love. “New Generation'' felt like it could have been straight from the late ’50s. The vibe here reminded me of early songs from The Beatles mixed with a little spaghetti western. I loved how loose the song felt. The Instrumentation feels like at any any second it could fall apart and the beauty is that it doesn't.
He has a similar approach with “Gone” which is led by a saloon like piano. There are bells and some loose percussion as well and I thought the sparse approach worked really well for the song.
“Dressed in Red” is an interesting mix of elements. At its core is acoustic guitar and vocals but there are these dissonant vocal harmonies which give the song a unique vibe. The guitar picking is often very beautiful in this song. “Black-eyed” might be his best vocal performance yet. This song also makes the organ a prominent feature of the song. He closes with “The Mad men (song for Andrew)” which is a little '50s pop and a little bit Velvet Underground.
This is a raw release where everything felt live and visceral. It comes across as very pure and honest music. Recommended.
Threering is an American progressive metal band from Las Vegas, Nevada. The band recently released My Last Words which is the band's fifth album. They said, “This is our fifth album, and we're trying to make a little bit of a departure from the heavier sound of the last record.” On that note this album is exactly light. There is plenty of rocking out to go around.
I remember hearing their previous release and was impressed. I’ll admit I was a big fan of metal bands in the ’80s and early ‘90s like Guns N' Roses and Mötley Crüe so it was an easy album for me to enjoy. There is just no denying if you are a fan of the era of rock you will most likely be a big fan. The band just has that sound from the vocals to rip roaring guitar solos.
The band gets rolling with “Dying Light.” They play into a dramatic intro with piano, atmosphere and heavy lead guitar. The band starts to rock heavily if you ask me but they bring it down just as quickly. Once the vocals came in I was thinking of those rock operas they used to have back in the day. The vocalist sounds like he’s from a different era.
“Eleven” is a little more straightforward all things considered. The band finds an infectious chorus and thoroughly rock out for most of the songs besides the breakdown towards the end. As the album progresses the band is consistent. The songs don’t disappoint. That being said I thought there were some highlights such as “Black Letter.” I would say there is only one song that felt like a ballad and that was the last song “The Fifteen.”
The band definitely goes for epic rights on this release. There are some soaring peaks here that the band reaches on a musical and emotional level. Take a listen.
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Cafaco is a one person bedroom artist from Dallas, Texas, who released Nice to Meet You. The artist has only been playing instruments like guitar for a couple of years so this is his first effort. His music is distorted and often feels kinetic.
The title track “Nice to Meet You” is a whopping eleven-plus-minutes long. It starts with a fairly simple beat from a drum machine and single note delay guitar. The bass comes in and the timing was off and eventually things start to coalesce to a fairly hopeful sounding garage rock riff. Distorted vocals come into the song and they are in fact so distorted you can’t make out any of the lyrics. The song gets a little experimental and seems to implement effects like a bit crusher as the song ebbs and flows with energy.
Up next is “Sunset.” The song is a slower and he seems to be lamenting most of the time. His vocals are more distorted than ever. At its best there is some resemblance to early TV on the Radio.
“False Start” sounds like the title. You start to notice similarities in his palette by the time you get to “Mellodrama” which is a good thing because it forms a signature sound. “Mellodrama” was an undeniable highlight. The vocals are infectious and I thought the elements in the song worked really well together.
“Omae o Zutto Aishiteiru” is a little too intense for me. It sounded like the whole song was mostly phaser and distortion. “Mirrohead” and “Neptune'' have their moments but the more gothic “Fly on the Wall” is a highlight. He closes with an ambient piece entitled “How it Feels to Drive” but it sounded like it belonged on a different release.
Overall, I thought this was a solid bedroom release. I’m interested to hear where he goes from here.
The Mayfly Scheme is a five-piece band that consists of Matias Kilpiö (vocals/acoustic guitar/ trombone), Aleksi Heino (bass), Ville Lapinsalo (guitar/backing vocals), Timo Antikainen (drums/percussion) and Taisto Väisänen (keys). The band formed in Helsinki, Finland during the summer of 2018. The Mayfly Scheme is releasing their latest EP entitled Welcome To Dada Town.
Their sound integrates a wide variety of styles. From psychedelia to folk revival, jazz, country and much more, the album mixes a broad array of categories that show their penchant to be genre-bending. Their eclectic tastes move the entire record. A four-piece EP Welcome To Dada Town showcases their range when combining their varied signature sound. A cohesive undertaking, The Mayfly Scheme has set a solid foundation with this brand-new recording.
The EP opens up to “The Devil (In The Shape Of A Man)” where a smattering of drums and the energized, amped sounds coming from the keys start off this track. The song has a spiritual revival vibe reverberating with a carefree cadence. Groovy harmonies fill the backdrop of this impressive track bursting with energy.
Following is “The Residents Of The House” where a melodious piano tune paves the way in the beginning of this song. The melody is bright and catchy. The band brings it up a notch with a slow sauntering drumming beat that contains a jazzy undercurrent. The arresting sounds of the piano settles in. The vocals are simmering, brimming with a slow groove. This track is a slow burn. A strong sense of urgency underlines this song. A dramatic cadence unfolds.
A country-bent vibe is ill-contained in the start of “Yours Are The Eyes.” The track has a nice flow to it. Listeners will be swept by the very ebb and flow of this music. A lament for the one who got away, the country-blues ties are vibrant with a slow sauntering groove.
On the closer “Keep Cool And Thank The Skies” an acoustic guitar melody enlivens this song. A simply rendered track with just the sole sound of the acoustic guitar supporting the vocals, this is a sprawling acoustic song that is eventually joined in by drums and background vocals. This is a warm and heartfelt number. Percussions add in an amped appeal. A soulful and groovy concoction that reverberates from deep within, cadences of the organ sounds off on this country-twang track.
Filled with an ill-contained energy, a vibrant and exuberant spirit sets the tone to the start of The Mayfly Scheme’s latest release. Brimming with a wild and carefree vibe, psychedelic undertones with hints of a big banging revival could be heard at the heart of the fully charged track “The Devil (In The Shaped Of A Man).” The remainder of the EP is equally exhilarating and celebratory. Hinging on a singer/songwriter mode, these tracks have been written and composed by Kilpiö and fleshed out by the full support of the whole band. Indicative of their live sound, these performances on the album are bursting with on-point vocals and deft musicianship from the band. The Mayfly Scheme shows they have chemistry on the record as they perform with enthusiasm and gusto. Welcome To Dada Town demonstrates their camaraderie as they jam out with imaginative flair.
There is certainly nothing lackluster about The Mayfly Scheme. They play with tons of panache. And when the track elicits it, they slow it down to provide the slow grooves with their signature showmanship and theatrics. Kilpiö shapes these songs with his evocative songwriting and the band backs him with their full-on sound. Touching base with everything from dream and imagination to urban desperation and how life is a continual search for balance, these tracks are filled with wonder and inspiration. Illuminated by an inner spark, these jazz-infused country-blues rock tracks are alive with a vitality and verve that simmers from deep within. Be sure you have a listen today!
Boulder, Colorado-based Ty Gallaway brings us his debut the EP Unwind, recorded as Ty Himself. He wrote and recorded the music while working in a Wyoming oilfield, and has channeled his day-job frustration and exhaustion into a taut, dark, guitar-laden three-song EP.
Gallaway starts us off with “Blind” an airy, layered track featuring reverb-heavy guitar set off against a big beat with pop sensibilities. He sings, “I’m tired all the time / Please, wake up my mind” which pairs well with the underlying music. The tempo picks up into the end, as if trying to wake up his mind, but we don’t get there: the song finishes with an unresolved conclusion.
The beginning of “Unwind” evokes Edie Brickell, though Ty Himself is murkier. The track is driven by a pulsing bass, offset by spoken, chant-like vocals. The outro features some very nice guitar leads. The last cut “Slow” is the pick of the lot, and offers some rays of redemption.
It’s a minor-key love song, with jazz guitar voicings against a slow rock beat: John Mayer fans will find this familiar. “Slow” feels like it should be in a film, underscoring the candlelit dance before the steamy sex scene. Once again, Gallaway gives us some tasty guitar licks on the way out. Yum.
Unwind is a just-right first release. It’s dark and brooding, and clearly channels his frustration, but Unwind is not overbearing or depressing. He evokes empathy, not a suicide pact. Gallaway says he has another EP ready to release, and I look forward to the next set. In the meantime, enjoy a little time with Unwind.
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