The EP Be Free by Corelix is emotional while pulling at your heart. The title song “Be Free” is inspirational in a number of ways. The lyrics “Battling the clocks, to be put in a box" are words I think we can all relate to. An unnatural rhythm can dictate so much of our life to human existence. This song exemplifies our innate need to feel free. This song is beautifully dotted with starry, dusty drums and an acoustic guitar. There is a part of the song where the organ is brought in. It brings a bell like sound to the song resembling a tapping on a crystal cavern with a fork. A male and female sing together bringing the feminine and masculine energy to the song. The main singers voice is a bit nasally and unique while the woman’s voice is choir/gospel like. The conjunction of the two meeting in this album is definitely a treat.
The next song “Cadence of Roman” feels like an ode to candelabra. I imagine many dripping lit candelabras and crushed red velvet walls. The female vocalist reveals her soul and it is magical. The lyrics are stunning and cut deep. This song is a wound that is felt within all of us that is brought to surface.
It makes the listener feel vulnerable and susceptible to perhaps even shedding a couple of tears. If I was in a small club with this one, I don’t know if I would make it out of there with a dry face. Subtle hints of brassy horns, are just enough to bring an uplifting energy to the otherwise deeply set underworldly vibe. “Cadence of Roman” feels like something you would want to have with a rare steak and a glass of red wine on a winter night. It’s powerful, primal and magical.
The next song” Live Today” is unlike any other song on the EP. The main male vocalist sounds almost like Gene Ween from the band Ween. The slight hand of bass mixed in with the dusty drums sit in the front of the song. The lyrics are deep. He sings “ Everyday is very much the same. Tell myself to break away. Forget the past and live today. All is broken. Everything is in pieces. All I had was just a dream.“ I think it is very human and brave to bring these thoughts that we all have cycling in our heads on a daily basis to the surface. The song breaks into a surf/garage rock,Pixies vibe toward the end, which feels like a great release and explosion of this suppression.
Overall, Be Free is eclectic, the content is deep and important, and all of the instrumentals are on point. I think the vocalists are very enjoyable and left me wanting more. Recommended.
You don't hear enough improvisation in electronic music. The medium lends itself to hyperclean and fastidiously arranged elements that emerge in a linear fashion, thanks to the arrangement view of most DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), used by almost every producer working today.
Thanks to the predictability of most mainstream electronica, a lot of underground producers are turning to the rough-and-ready style of recording "straight to tape", in a style reminiscent of classic proto-techno and live electronic styles from the '60s to the early '80s, from early Detroit techno to the technoid soundscapes of Vangelis and the "Berlin School" of Tangerine Dream related keyboard wizards.
Prouktiaunen, from Austrian producer Jane Fox, was realized using the software Reason, from the company Propellerheads, which is notable in and of itself. Reason was top-of-the-line software around the turn of the century, but is often overlooked in favor of more powerful, performance-based software such as Ableton Live and Logic. Reason is not the easiest to work with, with wonky sequencing, making many producers overlook the fact that it has almost unparalleled levels of sonic control and sounds flipping awesome!
Fox uses Reason as an updated version of early electronic tools - a digital equivalent of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, those Alchemists Of Sound who conjured the 'Doctor Who' theme song using morphed and modulated champagne corks and bottle sounds, and the synth and drum machine hacking of Detroit's Carl Craig, at his most experimental. This makes Fox's compositions more organic and unpredictable - like walking around alien vistas instead of dancing to 8-bar loops.
"Prod 3" starts things off with a strobing sequencer, like The Who's "Baba O'Riley" with the teenage angst stripped out, leaving only a halogen landscape of hollow doorways to crash in. Church bells ring out in the night, as flying saucer oscillators gradually emerge, like the onset of a drug trip. All forward momentum and sense of narrative gradually dissolves, leaving only an industrial atonal keyboard drone, like floating in the inky nothingness of space. Soundtrack for an abduction?
"Produkt 1" is like some modern production music, that would be an appropriate soundtrack for the manufacture of motherboards and microchips. Here is the only point where Fox's production suffers, as the skiffling beat sounds canned and out-of-the-box. This is one of the perils of working with presets, as they come across as something you've heard before. I'd like to see Jane Fox spend some extra time and focus on the drum sound and programming, to really bring his music to life and make it uniquely his own.
The drums liven up on "Produkt 2 version", one of the most contemporary tracks on here, with a loping, arrhythmic kick drum and the barely-there outline of a synthesizer. Jane Fox may not think his music sounds like anybody, but it is in line with some of the electronic avant-garde leaking out of the underground, most notably the anonymous techno constructions of Aught Records, and the on-going live electronic meditation, The Colundi Sequence, by Finnish producer Aleksi Perala. "Produkt 2 version" is like walking through some midnight bog, with will-o-the-wisps luring you off into the distance. The weightless, ethereal keyboard and playful percussion makes it seem that these sprites may be more playful than malevolent, leading you off to a faerie adventure rather than a drowning death.
This short-and-oh-so-sweet EP rounds out with a straight version of "Produkt 2", which embellishes "Produkt 2 Version"' looping heart rhythm with a carnival-like Salsa rhythm, bringing a Brazilian celebration to the heart of the swamp. Weren't expecting that, were you? Prouktiaunen is full of surprises, which is something that can't be said for much 4/4 club bangers.
Jane Fox may not aspire to make money with his homemade tone sculptures, but he easily could. His production instincts are top-notch, indicating a lifelong lover of dancefloor constructions, and his experimental edge and urge to push things forward help him to stand out from the anonymous chaff vying for meaningless spots on the Beatport charts.
For those that like daring electronic music, help this man get discovered now!
Nashville Demons by OJR is much more then a traditional blues rock album. I don’t want to simply compartmentalize this album and this band into that because the album is a such a magical blend of many styles that are produced extremely well. There are hints of Americana, an undeniably Indie- rock sound and that Bluesy Johnny Cash almost country sound and much more.
This album breaches between at least 6 genres at once and it is very mentally stimulating. On the opener"Numb" I enjoyed his Lou Reed-esque talk/sing type delivery. Lines like “She said, “Aw, boy, you’re so young! Why don’t you go travel some? made me think that this band knows about that kind of growth you might experience when you are young and traveling and this song is an ode to that growth. The bass reminds of something Les Claypool or Buckethead would conjur up. The drums are rocktastic and filled with energy. They are pulsating and driving. The guitar and bass and drums are so in sync they seem to be the same instrument. There is not a lot of deviation in character between the instruments.
The next track "Running from the Law" brings that country, outlaw vibe that is a good dose of Spaghetti Western that would sound good in a Quentin Tarantino flick. You know these days everyone wants to be a gangster with all of the gangster music and whatnot, but what is more gangster than being an outlaw cowboy/cowgirl? Prob not much. This is great saloon music and also just great square dancing music.
Moving through the album "In Love with a Bowler" is a tip of the hat to 50's doo-wop. There is a chorus of voices that are very succinct and imaginative. I love the love in this song. The vocalist is dynamic and showcases his range. He sings, "Please shout me your sweet name across this polished wooden lane, I wish you’d come and dance with me, Aw, but I’m just a big old turkey, Gobble gobble, mama!." I enjoyed the piano/organ fusion. The organ walks itself up and down the track. It makes me want to sway back and forth. It is important to put a spin on love songs because they can start to sound very similar in content. This is great.
"Fisher of Men" is a gorgeous song that is revolves around a fantastic vocal performance and orchestral strings while the closer "Front-Door Man" is fine mix of multiple genres under the umbrella of rock from surf to garage.
The most misleading thing about Nashville Demos are that they are pretty far from sounding like demos. Nashville Demos contains a eclectic mix of a lot of good and a couple of great songs. This is fantastic mix of styles and inspiration. Highly Recommended.
Season For Beings by The Melters has a 90's sound. You can hear traces of bands like Dinosaur Jr., Weezer and Pavement. The nonchalant vocals are visceral and ethereal while the guitar is simple but not elementary. It is also reminiscent of Modest Mouse with the way the vocals are delivered and steady moving guitar and drums.
On the opener "Dagger" the drums are sprinkled on top of screechy guitar riffs as they weave in and out. The song is sloppy but in a good Slanted and Enchanted type of way. The early 90's indie rock vibes continue with "Season for Being." I would go as far to sat that the lyrics are even similar to that of Stephen Malkmus.
"Sail away" contains heart beat drumming that is warming, steady and comforting . The vocals sit in the foreground of the song as the distant guitar noodles out into outer space. The main vocals are like a spoken dissonance. The selected off notes of the vocalist match the equally off note guitar. Somehow all of the instrumentation and vocals interweave to create a consolidated song. "Züm Out" seems psychedelic and garage band like. It has a punk "I eat old pizza" and "sleep on my friends moms basements pull out couch" vibe. I appreciate the dinginess and almost cruddy sound of the music especially because I live in the Punk capital of the west coast in Portland Oregon.
This music is severely anti-establishment, mohawk and studded denim vest. The guitar continues its unruly earth shattering unexpected turns. Progressing into the meat of the album, Falling is emotional and seductive for a hard edged musical battle. The vocalist sounds slightly drunk on Pabst beer. I appreciate it.
The Melters sound like a culmination of some of your favorite indie rock bands from the early 90''s expect they were all fairly intoxicated before they hit the studio. The drunken delivery on Season for Beings is unequivocally apparent to the point of humour. Overall the album is a good solid library of DIY offerings.
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Every week we mention a couple of artists that are worth your time to check out that were not featured in our weekly reviews.
Artist Album Rating
Velvet Glove Velvet Glove 3.1
HAIKU haiku 3.1
Animal Maps Songs For Yesterday 3.6
The Zero Point Field The Zero Point Field 3.6
Lucy Wentworth Tornado Strong 3.4
Lali Wilde Laliland 3.6
Secret Meetings In The Glorious Light 3.7
Honey Bun Honey Bun 3.5
Sunborn by Chaosmic is an album of hard rock, black metal, punk, and all things in between. Each song is intricately crafted and performed.
The two best songs on the album are "Nadir" and "Communion." Nadir is an intricately composed piece of music that starts with acoustic guitar and a rhythmic pattern on the rims of the drums before an excellent bassline enters to lead the song. The song uses dynamics very effectively, building and dividing by adding a fuzzed out electric guitar and a strong vocal. "Communion" shifts between a stoner rock groove in 4/4 to a heavy ¾ instrumental section with an Alex Lifeson-esque guitar melody. The song uses lots of different contrasting sections well to complete the structure.
Another good example of the band’s capabilities is "Phobic" which is a fury of punk and metal thrown together. The melody and guitar line have a System Of A Down-esque vibe to it, and the the drums alternate between a rapid-fire double-time punk and a more thrashing metal accompaniment. There are some balances of humor and sincerity which is pulled off well, and some interesting stereo effects on the guitar that make for a great headphone experience. The opener, "Desert Grave" is a solid song with harmonized guitars, thundering drums and bass, and vocals that alternate between a cleaner almost Rob Dickinson tone to one of Black Metal growl.
In one of the weaker moments, "Elder Moon" opens with crashing guitar chords while the vocals scream and growl an introduction of the title of the song. The first section borders the line of parody occasionally. The song does really come alive with the chorus, both in vocal delivery, groove, and catchiness of the melody. It’s driving and it contrasts with the rest of the song quite well. The song just tends to sit in the opening moments for a bit too long.
"Glass" opens with an ascending line from a dropped-tuned guitar before the screams and buzzing metal enters. Moving through multiple feel changes, the song packs lots of emotion into a short amount of time, but the transitions are effective and well thought out. The singer’s ability to move between singing cleanly and growling tends to be used more effectively when the growling punctuates sections or even harmonizes with the cleaner vocals. "Forever Feast" employs more of the growling vocals. It fits the elements of the style and genre, but the alternation between the two vocal styles can be jarring, especially when the cleaner vocals are performed so well with great pitch and intensity. There is in the song, a fantastic dueling contrapuntal guitar break in the middle that that feels like Tommy Iommi channeling Bach.
The album closes with "Spoils Of Pyrrhus" which opens with a soft guitar line that is occasionally punctuated by low bass punches. When the vocals and drums enter, the song is a powerful screamed performance with grunged out distortion on the guitars for the chorus, flourishing drums, and a bass that holds the whole song together. There’s a nice interplay between the bass and guitar during the reverbed echoy solo and some good vocal harmonies throughout. The song has a strong ending, but then falls into a gratuitous moment of humming feedback that goes on just a bit too long.
The songwriting of the band is good, the performances stellar, and the production very smart. The band offers lots of great moments that incorporate and fuse together different genres.
I have to admit I didn’t know what to think when I first heard the vocalist from Double Denim. After I spent sometime their debut self-titled EP I admit I started to fall in love with how Chelsea Orme-Williams (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) sounded. The thing about Double Denim is that they have two lead vocalist. Harry Stephenson (Acoustic Guitar, Vocals) is the other vocalist who is quite good. He is expressive, dynamic and has a enjoyable tone. That being said Williams has such an original and unique voice that it gave the songs something special when she sang on them. Double Denim is rounded out with James Marsh (Electric Guitar) Jake Bradshaw (Bass) Jonny Brinson Drums and Gabe Cassidy (Keys)
The band opens with “Love Another Man” which is the highlight of the EP. Williams steals the show with an exceptional vocal performance. The music revolves around a warm acoustic guitar, a clean bass, drums and lead guitar. Towards the end of the song the band thoroughly rocks out in epic fashion. Next up is “Less Than Patient” which is a solid track. The music is reminiscent to Man Man at times. I felt the the lead guitar was technically impressive but almost felt a bit too intense and distracting during the singing.
“Mr. Penguin” is a great, upbeat song that is right up there in terms of quality with the opener. The music is balanced and fleshed out and loved the happy vibe the song had. On top of that the vocal harmonies were a subtle but effective component.
“You Don't Tell Me” contained Stephenson's best vocal performance. In fact the duo sound great when they sing “you don’t ever tell me that” which ends of being the band's most inspired moments. The band closes with back door romp entitled “Close Your Eyes.” It's a mix of blues and country that has the same vibe as “these boots are made for walkin.”
Double Denim just formed in January of 2015 and managed to pull off a very enjoyable, original sounding debut EP. That being said The band still has some tweaking to do and hope to hear some improvements within the recording quality next time around. Double Denim seem to be on a good trajectory as they built a solid foundation. If they can improve upon that then we will have some awesome music coming our way.
The Stone Fox are a four piece band from Brisbane, Australia who recently released their debut album Roll The Dice. Roll The Dice is a no frills rock album that is gritty and raw.
The singer takes on a number of different inflections ranging from a hyperbolic Eddie Vedder type to a singer like Everlast. There is no doubt that he stresses his voice in way you can trace back his style to a number of American singers. The recording quality while not bad was also not something you would expect from a professional studio. I could hardly hear the bass drum at times and some song were just too muddy in general. Roll The Dice sounded like a solid live recording of the band which I’m sure some people will enjoy.
First up is “Brown Sugar” which is one of the more intense sounding song on the album. On the chorus the singer attempts demon like growls you find in metal. It’s an interesting juxtaposition from the style he uses on the verse. One of the band's best moments is when they make an unexpected turn halfway through the song. The song relies and crawling bassline and subterranean sounds which were quite effective. Their transition back into the verse felt a bit sudden.
Another solid song was “The King's Jester”. I thought the guitar in the beginning sounded great and enjoyed the how the singer treated his voice on the verse. “Epiphany” sounds similar to a lot contemporary mainstream hard rock while “Razor MOuth” is a whiskey fueled bar song that has a good amount of attitude. “Burlesque and Cabaret” was another highlight which revolved around power chords and a fast BPM.
Although The Stone Fox is from Australia their music has it roots in America. Everything from the vocals to the biker bar type attitude screams red, white and blue. Roll The Dice is far from perfect but is nonetheless enjoyable.
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The four piece band Madmartigan have been together since 2011 and have had two releases so far. In 2014 they released Dracula(s) and just recently released Toys & Candy. The music they play is fairly straight forward rock that could fall into the category of pop punk. Madmartigan have a mainstream accessibility while stiff having a slight edge that makes their music engaging.
The EP starts with “Every Star is Gone” which is the most predictable song out of three. It adheres to pop punk 101 aesthetics and does little to establish much more than that. The strongest aspect of the song is the lyrics which is ambiguous, poetic and broad. He sings “And who would've thought we'd be... Escaping so frantically? Like we just pulled a bank job But our pockets are empty.”
“Howl of the Minotaur” is a step up in every aspect from the first song. The guitar riffs are more inventive, there is a symphonic element to the song and the vocalist give a better vocal performance. I loved the way the song started with a jagged guitar and a disjointed beat. As the song progresses there a surplus of changes including one which reminded me of the band Tool. The song doesn’t contain a lot of lyrics but is still prolific. I thought the opening line “We grew apart, it's nothing supernatural. And I never start anything I will finish” was one of the vocalist best lines.
The band has more success with “Paper Thin.” It was a spacious song where you can hear all the elements. The guitar and bass lines work especially well on this song. “Paper Thin” is the longest track on the but also the most dynamic.
Despite a head scratching opener the band goes two for three with Toys & Candy. The band is obviously talented but still could use some work defining a sound. They show some interesting cross blending of genres within the last two songs but seems like it’s not quite perfected yet. Toys & Candy is a solid offering from the band but think their best work probably lies ahead.
Alex Murphy aka Tonewood Sky is a complete DIY artist. On his recent release Thoughts Within he not only played all the instruments but did all the recording, mixing and mastering himself. On top of that he even did the artwork and photography for his album cover. Thoughts Within is an instrumental album that puts the guitar at the focal center of the action.
The music is hard to classify music because it feels so broad at times. There are aspects of everything from alternative to ambient to psychedelic. I have to say a couple of the song reminded me of something I might hear from a myriad of different bands. Thoughts Within contains the type of music that can be listened to both passively and actively. It makes for great ambient music while you are reading or working since it is wordless but also is quite enjoyable when focusing your attention on it.
The first song “Forever In a Day” definitely has its own vibe from the rest of the material which revolves around drums, bass and guitars. Murphy pours some chorus like effects on his guitars which gives the song a 70’s funk vibe. I have to admit there were a couple of sections on this song which seemed like they were begging for vocals.
“Lost for Words” is a beautiful, sparse track that contains exceptional guitar picking. The song feels very open for a number of reasons and also benefits as a segue to “Endless Oceans.” Murphy focuses on the piano as the main instrument on “Endless Oceans” although guitar is still present within the mix. “City of Snow” is dreamy, psychedelic tune while the closer “Sundown” seems to be the track that focuses less on one particular instrument. “Sundown” successfully combines multiple lead parts into an engaging myriad of textures.
Thoughts Within is a solid effort from Murphy. The five songs meld together well despite having different tones and textures.
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