Three brothers Nathan, James and John Cox decided to form a band called Indecisive? The band is still in the embryonic stage of their development but on their self-titled EP Indecisive? play three-chord style rock n’ roll for the most part whether it veers towards punk, metal or alternative,
The band at this point doesn’t quite have a signature sound and they wear their influences on their sleeves. They open with “Don't Buy Into The Idea Of Continuity” which revolves around a couple of distorted power chords, distorted vocals and driving bass and drums. It’s an adrenaline pumping punk song.
Up next is “Undertaker” which again revolves around basic major and minor chords but veers more towards grunge. The hooks are far and In between and it sounded like one of my favorite Nirvana songs entitled "Aneurysm" at points.
"Pastor Bedtime" mixes grunge with what sounds like early Tool. The vocalist throws in a couple of demon-like growls. "Meat" sounds like another Nirvana inspired tune with the best bass line on the album while "Iron Cage" fits more into the ’90s alternative pop category. They close with "Obsolete Rotation" which is noticeably softer than the other tracks.
On the band's Bandcamp page they mention that the album was an experiment to discover the music they want to play. That's how the songs felt to me. More than anything if they are serious about music they are going to have to dig a little deeper to figure how they can stick out from the crowd. At this point they sound like a typical garage band influenced by ’90s music. The other thing is the timing. It may seem marginal but getting noticeably off time is the difference between pros and amateurs.
I hope the band takes their first album as a stepping stone to greater things. They show some potential and inspired moments and fall in a category of wait and see for now.
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Decorative Branch was recorded in November 2015 in upstate New York. It’s the debut self-titled project from (mostly) Philly-based indie rock band, Decorative Branch.
Songwriter Guy Gibeau says that some songs are seven or eight years old, encompassing a variety of events and emotions that the artist was experiencing when he wrote them.
The project begins with a hit of energy. Acoustic and distorted electric guitars contrast each other on “The Kitchen” where banging drums and complementing vocals really bring the track together. I guessed that the remainder of the album would sound like a mid-00s Broken Social Scene project after this track, but I was pretty off with my prediction.These songs fall under the indie rock umbrella, but a couple acoustic tracks stand as chill outliers. “Collingswood In Wintertime” could fit wonderfully on a Kings Of Convenience project with it’s slow, beautiful illustration of some serene moments of winter.
One of my favorite aspects of this album came on “Great Depression” when Guy and Megan Gouda harmonize every line, but while singing different words. I was surprised to see how well the lyrics meshed together, which goes to show how well this group can evoke emotion through sound, alone, as the lyrics don’t do all the storytelling on Decorative Branch.
“Big Fire” is the boldest track here. I love that the band isn’t afraid to sound like a crowd. The backing vocals that come halfway through the song are goosebump-inducing. I imagined what this would look like in a live performance throughout the entirety of this track. Fans of The Mowglis and Arcade Fire will appreciate this one the most.
There are two elements of Decorative Branch’s sound that characterize this record the most; grace and energy. For me, there was really no predicting what the next song was going to be like. I could listen to some of these on a dark, rainy afternoon, while I could blast others with the top down in the middle of the summer.
Decorative Branch’s indie character is exemplified on this album. The project took only five days to record front-to-back, but the songwriting took years of refining. Perhaps another album will come, whether it be in the near future or far away, to complement this ambitious first record from Decorative Branch.
Sometimes a band has to stick it out for many years of trying to figure out their sound, burn through countless lineup changes and then take their licks playing to crowds of the same three people night after night.
At least that seems like the generic hard luck band story that I’ve heard more times than I can count, and I can count pretty high. Then on the other side of the coin you’ve got those bands for which everything seems to click, the stars align and things just fall into place. Well and having talent doesn’t hurt your chances either.
The Boston five piece garage rockers The Gala have talent going for them most definitely and this talent is all over their latest release, the banging three song EP Pucker UP. The band came to some prominence in the Boston area late last year when their debut single, “November” premiered on the radio show Boston Emissions with Anngelle Wood. The tune is fueled by high energy fuzzy guitar riffs and piercing and powerfully vicious vocals delivered via Emily Doran.
Pucker Up opens with high energy psych-rocker “Touch Me.” The guitars are razor sharp and the hand claps interspersed with the “boots on the march” drums give it some punch, which is rounded out nicely and oh so grooveilly by keyboardist Rebecca Frank.
Overall, a very enjoyable, single-worthy track that is catchy yet has a fine bit of attitude attached it. I was looking forward to the remaining two songs.
Next up comes the pop rock bop of “Control” that builds into an all-out assault of rock and it winds its way past the four minute mark. The juxtaposition between the organ and guitar works out quite well and the vocalist puts just enjoy hyperbolic inflection within her voice to make it work in her favor.
The band take it home with scratchy and fast paced fuzz of “Faker” by far the punkiest song on the album but also the most danceable. It’s frenzied and fun at the same time.
With its fast paced riffs, mellow grooves, powerfully singular vocals stylings, Pucker Up has arrived just in time for cruising the streets with the windows rolled down, which is exactly what The Gala intended.
Since the late ‘80s Denmark native Aamer Khan has been writing and performing his own songs. On his latest entitled album entitled Play Khan takes on most of the instrumentation himself besides the drums. He plays rock music through and through. I felt the style of rock he played was pretty broad, spanning multiple decades. That being said you could make an argument for his music being most rooted in ’70s style Bowie rock.
He opens the album with “Find A Way Out” which has a good amount of energy. The song revolves around crunchy guitar, bass, drums and vocals. It’s a basic setup and Khan keeps the recordings free of effects.
Lyrically, he jumps around talking about a number of different topics but the main topic was quite uplifting and motivating. He sings, “All along I found a way /To escape all things people say / When you’re down when you’re stuck /Keep on trying / You’ll find your way out.
The theme of motivation continues with “Inspiration Walks In.” I really enjoyed the initial guitar riff that opens the song as well as the vocal performance. There is perhaps an ’80s rock vibe on the chorus. That what came to mind the first time I heard it. “Neurotic Me” changes topics. On this song he analyzes some of his own self-neurosis.
Kahn has more success on garage rock inspired “Once Again” in line with artists like Iggy Pop or The Strokes. It’’s arguably the catchiest song on the album. “I Can Wait” on the other hand has more of a classic rock feel. The guitar parts on this song are also quite notable especially towards the beginning.
As the album progresses the songwriting is pretty consistent but I thought “In The Loop” and “All I Want Is You” were standouts.
Truth be told Khan is not breaking barriers here and not introducing much that hasn't been heard before. That being said the songwriting and delivery is solid. Any fan of rock/pop songs should give this a shot. Recommended.
Jacob DeBilio is an artist from California who just started playing music around three years ago. That’s not very long in music years. I’m approaching my twenty-fifth year playing music and still feel like I’m learning new things fairly regularly.
DeBilio is off to a solid start with his DIY effort entitled Face First,. The music on this album is pretty mixed ranging from folk to ambient landscapes. Suffice it to say he may still be searching for his signature sound but that is part of the process.
The production is about what you expect from typical DIY bedroom albums these days. There is still a lot to be desired in this department but the music shines through and you can hear the talent and potential.
I thought with this effort he was most successful keeping it simple but that's not something I’m used to saying. Nine times out of ten straight up strummed chords and vocals have a hard time working for me but DeBilio’s vocals and delivery were solid.
You can hear this on a clear highlight which opens up the album entitled “Love In Times Of Contest.” The lyrics have a classic love sentiment that is sincere. There is just enough melancholy to make the song really work. Additionally, the second guitar was subtle but really effective in creating the mood of the song. He sings, “Sweetheart, be true I'll never love one but you / Keep me close to your heart / Never be far apart.”
He has more success on “Cancel Christmas.” The song revolves around bass, guitar and vocals. I enjoyed the classical strumming pattern and occasional white noise. “Meander” is a song that just felt out of place. It’s a very synth based instrumental that I wasn’t expecting.
“Angel” actually reminded me of “Teen Angel” while “Money Ain't Funny” is a catchy song where he plays upon his strengths. “(This Is)(What Goes)(On In)(Your Mind)” is a one off experimental effort while “The Death Cry Of A Fly” is more or less straight up folk.
Overall, DeBilio has a lot of things going for him. Face First, is far from perfect but the songwriting and delivery is on its way.
1800Entity is a solo project that just released an album entitled entity EP. The album was done in a dorm implementing ubiquitous digital software. Truth be told it’s easier than ever to get good sounding music out there.
You can buy or make beats in countless DAW’s that are perfectly EQ’d and compressed and layer those of top of the guitar that you recorded with a Presonus interface, then make it sound decent running through plugins.
As far as I can hear the instrumental songs on this album fall in line with that method. The beats on this album are the most prevalent thing. There is no bass guitar and the kick drum takes up almost all the low-end. The guitars are clean with reverb.
Entity flirts with post-rock but for the most part these songs are ambient. There really isn’t a focal center. Instead the songs are treated like repeated mantras which are great for putting on as mood music. The songs run into each other which isn’t a bad thing but I can’t say the album has any songs that could be singles.
The album starts with “Until The Time Is Right” which is indicative of what else you can expect. It’s a pleasant song that's very chill but ultimately it felt like more of a passive experience. The same could be said about “Stop it” which very much felt like a post-rock song with a heavy hip-hop beat. There is a dip in volume on “Never Been Good Enough” while “Please Don’t Go” is a highlight. As the album continues the songs feel like extensions of the previous material in a number of ways.
The album is certainly cohesive and very well thought out. Just start from the first track and let the album ride. In my opinion that's how this music show be listened to.
Twenty years ago entity may have been groundbreaking but times have changed. Making a beat in a DAW that is layered with reverb guitar is a lot easier than it used to be. That being said entity has some serious talent and an ear and I encourage him to try and take it a bit further. Change time signatures, BPM, experiment with nontraditional scale structure and take the song into unusual territory. Listen to bands like Auburn Lull and Fennesz and hear what else can be done outside the restraints of a DAW. As of right now Entity falls into a case of wait and see with a lot of potential. I'm sure we will be hearing more from him soon.
Christy Scott is a young, independent folk artist with her first album being Amaranthine. The album is an honest look at life through her eyes with lyrics strong in both a folk undertone and with nods to her Scottish heritage.
The true highlight of the entire set is Scott's vocals. Her voice is mature and full of feeling. The lyrics comes from a place of sadness but also learning. You can hear the struggle between love and life lessons we all learn as we age.
“Hearts Collide” starts the journey of lost love for the album. While the subject seems to be expected, the interesting Scottish undertones set the album apart. “Another Song About Another” is simply breathtaking. I enjoyed the pure feeling in the song and also the supporting musical dramatics. It all melted together to create something much more than just a song.
The music tells an interesting story and seems to have a special element that would make it great for the theater or a movie perhaps. The subject and vocals produce enough feelings that I can almost see how this song would play out on a stage. The fire is there to support something far beyond a simple track.
“Flaws to Uncover” was the most upbeat of the collection. It seemed to be that point where lost love doesn't quite hurt anymore, and it was hopeful beyond the current state. The musical arrangement of this song played a wonderful tribute to the artist’s heritage.
This album was interesting and almost magical. I enjoyed getting to know the artist via her creativity and heartfelt lyrics. I look forward to hearing and perhaps seeing more from this artist.
Chris Bartels of the band Bora York is releasing a five-song EP entitled Myths and Molds. I went into the EP not knowing what to expect not being familiar with Bora York. His music is ethereal, atmospheric and often hopeful. He often covers his vocals in enough reverb to make them sound like a pad. The same thing could be said about the instrumentation.
Suffice it to say that the music falls in line with like minded bands such as Local Natives, Bon Iver and arguably Sigur Ros. Although at this point I’m not convinced his music is as esoteric.
Some of the tracks such as “Blind” felt more appealing to a broad demographic. The whole song but especially the first minute is undeniably similar to Bon Iver. The tones and textures reminded me of the songs off of Bon Iver’s self-titled album. Once the rhythm section comes in the song goes into an uplifting yet nostalgic wave of sound. Overall, a very enjoyable song from an aesthetic standpoint.
Up next is “Missoula” which is the highlight on the EP. I especially enjoyed the percussive elements on the song and the hook is undeniable when he sings “Give It All Away.” His alchemy skills were strong on this song combining melancholy, beauty and hope.
The remaining songs also has a lot to offer. The opening solo piano on ”Stay” paints the mood of a tranquil landscape. As the song progresses lush landscapes form with a unique juxtaposition again coming from the exceptional percussive elements. The way the guitar and bass slightly alter the mood of the song works. The song gains more energy but still shows some needed restraint. I’m glad the song didn’t go into cliche, melodramatic crescendo.
The title track felt a little more like an introduction to the closer “Counting Hands.” “Counting Hands” is arguably the most original and unique sounding track. That being said it reinforce the signature sound he establishes on the prior tracks.
Myths and Molds is a cohesive, well-produced album that deserves your attention. Recommended.
Israel Sargent (guitar/vocals), Randall Thomas (drums/vocals) and Oscar Ximil (bass) are a new band from North Carolina called Ocracoke. They released Light the way which sounds like a demo of their rehearsal practice.
The band still has a long way to go but they are showing some potential with this release. They get off time on occasion and the singer has trouble staying in key. These are the two aspects they need to iron out before anything else.
They open with “Tether me” which is a short song that is just over a minute long. It’s a relatively catchy song and straight up rock. The same could be said about “Conversational grace.” The song has a ’70s vibe and revolves around distorted power chords, a basic beat and a supporting bass.
“Hay Bird” is a little funky while “Soul umbrella” displays some inspired moments. As the album progresses “Mowgli” and the closer “Hold your tongue” were highlights. "Mowgli" and "“Hold your tongue” were in the same style of the previous songs but I thought the melodies were a little more memorable.
The trio has all the classic signs of a newly formed young band that jams after class in a garage or basement. Besides working on timing and staying in key the band will have to dig a little deeper into finding what makes them stand out from the crowd. That being said they only formed six months ago and it can take years for a band's sound to develop.
All things considered there is some decent songwriting here which gives the guys a chance of at least making some waves locally in the not too distant future.
Rights for Robots is a three-piece band from Cincinnati that recently released Cyborg. Apparently they haven't been playing very long but they show some serious talent and prowess throughout the eight songs.
The production is top notch on this album which really brings the proper energy to the songs. I found my adrenaline pumping from beginning to end. The band is tight and in the pocket throughout the album though the lead singer had an aesthetically pleasing voice even when he was on the verge of screaming.
The open up with “Good Morning” which is a glorious assault of distorted guitar, bass and intense drumming. From the beginning seconds to the end of the song it doesn't let up and I would have felt exhausted but the beginning of the next song ”We’re All On Drugs” gave me another energy burst.
”We’re All On Drugs” is arguably the highlight. The song is mighty catchy and is quite dynamic. I especially enjoyed the breakdown and ramping back up a little after the one-minute-mark. “Don’t Shoot” is another dynamic song. The song initially has an over the top Blood Brothers type intensity and then within a nanosecond the guitars go clean and into a ska type verse. These types of changes happen a couple more times throughout the song.
They continues to flex their creative and technical muscles with “7 is 1.” I wouldn’t miss the bass line on this song. “Debts” felt a little different from what came before. I was actually reminded of the band Tool between the vocals and the more subdued sections. The last two songs “Bonds” and “Life of a March” are further testaments to the band's talent.
Overall, Cyborg was impressive, enjoyable and cohesive. The band melds different styles but never gets too experimental for its own good. This album gets two thumbs up. Recommended.
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