Matthew Alpaugh, Chris Peterson, and Angel Santana makeup the band These Are A Fisherman's Favorite Dreams. According to Alpaugh the band initially started off as something of joke in college that eventually mutated into what you hear today.The band wrote material, played live shows and released an EP Buffalo which was quickly followed by their debut full length entitled toil. Last February they released their most accomplished album called Whale Tales which is a rich, acoustic based album that revolves around seven songs that spew with emotion that feel genuine and very human.
The songs on the album aren't breaking any barriers and don’t try to. Alpaugh and friends are perfectly content refining traditional songwriting by injecting inventive lyrics and catchy melodies into the songs. Alpaugh has a deep voice that covers the music in an earnest, melancholy sort of way. I couldn’t but think of the character in the movies whose eyes have seen too much and only talks when he needs to. Alpaugh’s no nonsense tone fits the music which douses the songs in an Americana like nostalgia.
The album kicks off with “untitled” which has a slow “Heart Of Gold” type of vibe. It omits a warm concoction of sounds that come from acoustic guitars, bass and drums. The song is well written but is coated with melancholy and thought that is was an odd choice for an opener. “The Storm” continues with the same type of vibe but has more energy and momentum. The chorus is infectious and might have you singing along by the second time you hear it. Alpaugh sings “Cause the will is weak and I'm waiting on theses rainy streets for the voices in my head to all go to sleep”. The highlight of the album for me was the bluegrass inspired “diminished tune”. It combines a walking bass with a lead guitar that contains the perfect amount of reverb and crunch while the drums and acoustic guitar create the foundation of the song.
“The Legend” is another solid song that introduces banjo and harmonica into the mix while “Soul to Save” amps up the energy level as well as BPM. The album concludes with “Interstate” which is sparse song with acoustic guitars and vocals. The vocals as well as the guitar picking is well done and is an emotionally resonant song that was a good closer.
These Are A Fisherman's Favorite Dreams have a good thing going. Whales Tales isn’t perfect but has a couple well put together songs that showcases the talent of the band. Do yourself a favor and give the album a spin.
The trio of Joey Enthoven, Matt Lopez and Noah Donnelly make up the California indie pop/rock Easy Bear.They released a five-song EP simply titled EP that showcases songs that that will undoubtedly feel familiar but the at the same time are crafted with an indie rock precision. You can't deny the songs’ innate appeal. The band has all the right ingredients; it's really as simple as that. Joey Enthoven has a near perfect indie rock voice lying somewhere between Stephen Malkmus and Brandon Flowers.
Musically, they're not the fanciest band in the world but they know what works. The guitar parts are creative but mostly consisting of chords while the rhythm section provides a hefty low end to support the melodies. At the heart of it these songs are pop smothered nuggets with a glaze of indie rock that are easily accessible and prone to get stuck in your head after the first listen.
The band kicks with a rocker called “Give Me Your Love.” It’s arguably the highlight of the album and I was converted to a fan of the band as soon as I heard the 50’s inspired vocal harmonies. The verse is a solid combination of heavy tom work, distorted bass and infectious vocals. It’s three minutes and twenty seconds of tightly organized indie rock goodness that feels really good going down. “My Girl” open with a riff straight out of indie rock 101 and I didn’t mind it one bit because the band pulls it off to a tee while “Already Mine” has an upbeat, triumphant vibe that one can add to your party playlist right now. The last two songs “Run Virginia Run” and “Stole My Heart” are two more of above average indie rock tunes that your ears will want to hear.
There isn't much you need to know about Easy Bear other that if you like indie rock you won't want to miss this EP . Although the songs stick to tried and true Indie rock format and the band is by no means reinventing the wheel they seem to have perfected the formula and there isn’t anything wrong with that.
State to State are a four piece consisting of Shea Stratton (vocals, guitar) Andrew Orvis (guitar) Mike Schneider (drummer) and Patrick MOrgan (bass) who recently released their debut album entitled No Bounds.
The bands debut is an impressive batch of songs that is a sonic onslaught of sounds that should make most fans of indie rock giddy with excitement. State to State tip their hats to bands like Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, Local Natives, U2, and Sigur Ros to bring you an eclectic variety of songs and textures. With that being said the band does a decent job at establishing their own sound which is isn't completely apparent at first but does come through with repeated listens.
The band opens up the album with “The Fool” which combines a slick guitar riff with an inventive drum beat and bass. RIght off the bat you spot some of the similarities in the music with Radiohead but once the vocals enter it won’t be too hard to separate. Stratton has a confident voice the feels conducive for rock as the band delivers a pumping chorus.
The Second song “To Err IS Human” introduces long, hall like reverbs on the vocals as well as guitars which adds an ethereal element to the music. You can’t but help but reminded of Pink FLoyd during the exceptional guitar solo. “Comprehension Headache” has a great drum beat which carries the verse. The chorus on this song felt the most accessible in some ways as it soars and sounding like something you might hear on a radio. Statton sounds like Bono on the chorus, Wait for it, it’s in there. “Relief” rocks out in a slow, dramatic fashion while “SadRobot” is an epic instrumental number that was actually one of the highlights on the album. The band closes with “Bring Out Your Dead” which is a rocker that has some dance elements to it.
The only thing holding back this album is that band still seems to be discovering their sound. Their music lies somewhere between sounding like indie rock and popular rock. The band attempts a lot of styles and usually has satisfying results but at times is a bit confusing as to what direction they are shooting for. Overall, the album delivers a number of songs that are good anyway you look at it and is something worth getting acquainted with.
Motherfolk is a 4-piece indie rock band located in Cincinnati, OH who recently their debut album entitled MotherFolk. The music on the album is unequivocally indie rock with a tinge of folk but what separates the songs from the masses is the raw emotion that is conveyed. In some ways I was reminded of the already classic album Funeral by Arcade Fire. Motherfolk has similar type of vibe that is immediate, visceral, and even cathartic. The music is excellent throughout but what really makes this album take off are the vocals. Throughout the band delivers catchy vocal melodies and harmonies that spew with emotion that feels all to real. It's the exact opposite of the over produced, auto-tuned vocals that are much to prominent in todays musical landscape.
The album doesn't start off with a bang but rather a soft acoustic song called "Hiccups". You are introduced to a couple of vocalists who have distinct tones and delivery that when combined work surprisingly well. The lyrics explore grace, melancholy, and god. They sing together "What's that about grace that burns me up? Unfailing love, it's not quite enough I've heard my whisper, now where's my touch you promised me Father Heavenly".
The second song "Hiccups" is the song that made me a certified fan. It has a cathartic quality and explodes with electric guitars, bass and background harmonies. This is the song that got me thinking about how they had a similar energy to Arcade Fire. The energy is something that is hard to ignore.
"Defining Me" is another good song that introduces other elements like bells, banjo and organ. The song ebbs and flows with momentum. "I Know" is a love song that never feels trite but instead makes you want to fight of the love that you know should be in your life. He sings "I know that I don't know you that well But I know I've been missing you like hell I know I know, I know I know". "Goldie Hawn" is the best rocker on the album full of waves of white noise while "Tired" is an exceptionally catchy song.
They close with "Thank You's" which may be the best song on the album. The song pulls out all the stops and has horns, fantastic vocal harmonies and so much emotion pouring out from it.
Any album that has this much feeling running through its vein is bound to make an impact on some level. Do yourself a favor and listen to this now.
The backstory to Endless Loop’s Names is really cool – the band did a Kickstarter to fund the album, and people who contributed a set amount of money got a song dedicated to them. You guessed it – most of these (except the last song, a cover) were written for those Kickstarter donors. What a sweet way for a band to honor its fans!
The entire album is cloaked with pop synth backgrounds and sweet male and female vocals that harmonize beautifully. You can tell that the songs would be missing something if either one of those parts were missing. Once you get into the meat of the album, you discover that each song has an intriguing story that lies between catchy choruses and featured instruments. I wonder if each winner was interviewed before the corresponding song was written; the topics are so personal, yet so easily identifiable, that it’s hard to imagine they just pulled the themes out of thin air for each person.
Take a listen to “Nicole In Vegas.” The title pretty much describes what this song is about. I did love the addition of piano here; it isn’t present in any of the other songs and it does give a nice touch. Admittedly, “Found In NYC” is an energetic and fun way to start the album, and likely holds a lot of nostalgia for anybody from New York City.
I loved the esoteric beginning to “Jason’s Dream;” it perfectly captured the musical beginning of a dream sequence. Of all the songs, I identified most with this story. It tells the tale of a man who lives a ‘normal’ life, doing everything he’s supposed to, but still yearning to break free of the constraints of life and pretty much live on his own terms. Who can’t identify with that at some point in their lives?
“Forget Instantly” is a really cool song to end this EP, even if it is a cover; the subject is very fitting to the title of the album, and it sounds great to boot. I wasn’t able to find the original, but I enjoyed listening to this regardless.
At face value, this is a nice compilation of songs detailing the human experience, a composition where a person could relate to at least one song if not many of them. Since I knew about the backstory, I found an even deeper appreciation for the stories within the songs; it gave them a sense of realism that I couldn’t have found otherwise (kind of like the “based on a true story” effect used in movies). I really admire what the band chose to do here, and I liked listening to the fruits of that labor.
Who says you can’t have an original sound in 2014. The Sheffield, UK based band The Goosebumps melds post-punk, guitars, dance and electronics on their inventive debut entitled the Art Of Freedom.The majority of the songs are grounded in dance and burst with an unbridled exuberance. They successfully combine electronic and organic components in a very similar way that Of Montreal does. The sounds they make are fun, quirky and almost feel cartoonish in some ways (that's not a bad thing). At the center of the songs is the female vocalist who carries the songs and has a voice that works very well with the tone of the music.
The album kicks off with one of the most original sounding songs on the album entitled “Love Song - Boys and Girls,” which combines multiple synths, distorted guitars, bass and organic drums. Within the first minute the band packs in a lot of changes that easily grab your attention. When the verse hits the bass bounces and the guitars shred and the vocalist sings “Boys and their toys, Can I squeeze it press it shake it? Does it shine? make a sound? Can I take it to the bedroom? Is it mine for all times now? Can you leave us alone? “ The song is unpretentious fun and doesn't take itself too seriously.
“Robots (In the City)” is a catchy song flirting with electronic elements and a dance vibe. The lyrics are fun to follow along with and talk about surveillance and technology. “A Regular Day” sheds the dance vibe in favor of indie rock that lies somewhere between Saint Etienne and Belle and Sebastian. They continue to switch things up a bit with “Feeling Fine,” which is actually the most melancholy song on the album. It was nice that they injected a song that had a bit more emotional weight into the mix. I really liked what they did with guitars and piano in this song. “Something In Between Us,” ”Come On Sunshine” and “The Happy Years” all contain a similar upbeat energy that the band has made their staple.
The Goosebumps have delivered a professional sounding, impressive debut that feels like a party. If you are looking for a fun, carefree ride you just found your ticket.
Meet Josh Sangster: musician, guitar player extraordinaire, and…paramedic. If you live in the New Brunswick area in Canada, be sure to say hello – and tell him that his four-track album This Is A Demonstration is a rather impressive work of art. Also, we’d like to know when he plans to release his next one.
Listening to his album was an interesting experience. I noticed that like a few people I’ve seen play an instrument and sing at the same time, Sangster often will slow down the instrument for the vocals, allowing the guitar to come back full force to display the melody in periods of vocal silence. This allows the listener to fully appreciate both sides of the equation when listening to the song. It also showcases his strumming skills, which caused me to take double takes on more than one occasion.
“Human Condition” has some blues soul, starting off softly and subtly. I have to say when the song hit rock proportions, I was pleasantly caught off guard – it started off so quietly, I had no idea it would burst into such energy, and as an added bonus, it transitioned very smoothly from one sound to the other.
The influences in “A Man” are much more closely intertwined from the beginning. Sangster’s voice is louder and bolder, which fits well with the subject of the song, and he shows us a broad range of notes. The following song “Tomorrow Never Comes” is much closer to the first song with the trademark folksy bluesy sound, but stays out of the rock territory. Rather, the spinning high notes cascade in spirals throughout and are a key part of this song’s melody.
“Back Of My (Your) Hand” made me realize how talented with the guitar Sangster is. I mentioned his strumming skills earlier – this is the song that really cemented that idea for me. The guitar is so full bodied that it has all of the weight of being played by a full band, though it’s really one person playing.
I initially just enjoyed listening, but by the time I reached the end of the album I was certifiably blown away by what I’d heard. It’s not complex (though some of those guitar riffs are multidimensional), and it doesn’t have a ton of backing instruments to pad out the sound; rather, it’s just a man and his guitar, the culmination of years of experience, and sheer enjoyment of playing, and you can hear it all throughout. If you’re looking for a grounded sound with some surprising melody developments, check this out.
Before I get into formalities, I’d like to say that this is an amazing album.
The biggest strength to me on Split Discs’ album Emar wasn’t the instruments or technicality; rather, it was the adept way that the overall story was still told whether musically or lyrically – so smooth were the transitions, that you often wouldn’t realize a song didn’t have lyrics until after it was over; yet, you could still follow every moment of the story with no problem at all.
I think the super soulful beginning to “Slam Dunk” is a really great way to start the album, as the story begins by describing that very first, strong realization of independence. The song rocks surprisingly hard at certain points and is balanced with a nice amount of pop and very clear lyrics that all help the storytelling along.
“Baby’s Gone” has super eerie undertones at the beginning, with haunting whistling and the sound of a baby’s toy opening the gates to a heavy, smashing chorus; Very artful storytelling without the use of instruments. Coming later in the album, “Paul” ended up being a lot sadder than I expected, though it was very short. That was quite an impactful song. Paul ends up becoming a paramount character, appearing later in the album; listen to this first to have a good foundational understanding of his character.
I have already gotten a melodic earworm from “Get a Job.” This is one of those songs that’s super easy to hum, and the key change midway further cemented my thoughts about it.
Then there’s “Three Whole Punches (feat. Matt Mariano)”, my absolute favorite song on the album. It reminds me of those super awesome old school metal songs. The energy and exuberance is palpable from the very beginning, though I love the lyrics which describe a scene where the subject does not want to fight but since he’s been provoked, he completely lets loose. This is a very dynamic musical battle to listen to.
“Best Friends” sounds like the 90’s, which gave me instant nostalgia. The autotune only made the nostalgia stronger and was a pretty awesome addition to the song though it was very unexpected (though by this point, I should have learned to expect the unexpected). It also brings the funk, big time.
“10th Grade” – This song seriously messed me up the head. I won’t ruin the surprise by describing what happened; I will just say that it is a must listen on the album for a number of reasons.
“Whoa Dude” is smooth – real smooth – and leads into “My Star,” which is pretty much everything. It combines so many sounds but still when this album ended, I almost gave a standing ovation to the air. As I prefaced earlier, the storytelling was so strong that I got the same satisfaction that I do from reading a really good novel from cover to cover. The wide range of influences, from soul R&B to heavy metal, came together almost as though they were meant to be together, and created a really fantastic sound. I do think it is best enjoyed as one full experience, but either way, Split Discs did a really good job with this album, and I would not hesitate to recommend it to anyone.
It is very important to note that by the time I’d reached the second song on Iron-E’s album Sandwich Express, I was sharing the URL with all of my friends. This is the kind of stuff I love to hear on a regular basis; heavy, fun music that is both serious but fun at the same time, and isn’t afraid to have it’s own personality.
This was an album that was a great time, all the way around. From the moment I started listening to “Entre” I thought oh boy, here we go. I could already tell by the format of this storytelling intro that this is going to be quite an experience.
The following song “Sandwich Express” evolves from a very serious beginning to an extremely fun experience. It has a nice blues beginning but let me tell you, when it got heavy metal I almost lost my mind – no, I certifiably lost my mind. This is the song that made me share, though I still had more album to listen to.
From there, everything became a blur of incredibly good times. The sensory song “Trippin’ on MSG” is awesome, as was “Muzak.” The quick shuffling melody of “Truckers of the Old West” really caught my attention and got great very quickly, while “Infomercial” had me laughing like a maniac. I loved the beat boxing as well.“So I Punched ‘em in the Face” was everything I wanted it to be, high spirited with a nice dose of I don’t give a what, to make it a really fun song to listen to.
“Love to the Top” is such a classically awesome metal song. That’s what gives it the allure, that it’s so classic, while “Scarecrow Noir” is an awesome song that’s also appropriately themed. My cat is also looking at me funny for all of my motion, which is a good sign.
I really had a good time listening to this album, with all of its metal nuances and hilarious undertones. Iron-E takes themselves seriously, but not too much so; this is something I can listen to when I’m in a bad mood and instantly feel better.
This isn’t music with a beginning and end; rather, it’s music that is easily applicable to any situation or mindset. That was an aspect I thoroughly enjoyed. I had a great time listening to this album, and I am fully confident that anyone else who gives it a listen will have a great time as well.
Tarsila is a rock band from Porto Alegre, Brazil and when I was listening to a couple of songs of their 2012 release Está Sobrando Espaço I couldn't but help but think they sounded a bit like a Brazilian version of Spoon. Specifically, the song “Abandono de Tudo” reminded me of “Finer Feelings,” which has a similar bass line and strategically placed hand claps. As the album progresses you realize that Tarsila also contains a lot of influence from alternative acts from the 90’s such as Stone Temple Pilots and Local H. The four-piece consisting of Lucidio Gontan (vocals), Marcelo Reichelt (guitar), Tiago Schmidt (bass) and Luca Gontan (drums) are a tight unit of musicians who don't reinvent the wheel of alternative music by any stretch of the imagination but they do deliver a very consistent album with a solid number of songs.
First up is “Vácuo,” which combines crunchy distorted guitars, bass and drums. I didn’t understand a lick of what the vocalist was singing about but the song was catchy and sounds better the louder you pump it. “Eu não faço força pra ser assim” sounds like it came straight from the 90’s and contained a cowbell and guitar, which reminded me of the one-hit wonder Spin Doctors. I liked their acoustic ditty entitled “Está tudo errado,” which revolved around vocals, an acoustic guitar and bass. The song has a natural warmth to it that makes you feel fuzzy inside. It was a nice change of pace amongst the heavier songs.
“Mágoa, falta, trégua, calma” and “Lástima” are certified rocker while “Já era tarde” takes the energy down a notch. They close with a nostalgic rocker called “Quando você for embora,” which was one of the highlights of the album and contained very effective vocal harmonies.
Está Sobrando Espaço is a solid album that occasionally feels dated. The songs are well written and if you enjoy 90’s alternative music with a Brazilian flavor you will want to check this album out.
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