The songs from The Thick Blue Glass by Limbo Face aka Dylan Brazauskas was inspired by his experiences while waiting for his fiancé to get a heart transplant. I read about this and was very interested to hear the lyrics. To my surprise this is an instrumental album so it was next to impossible to decipher any type of concrete message or meaning that he was trying to convey.
His music is diverse and ambitious. I thought his best moments were the most experimental. Some of those moments are heard on the first track “Rose’s Heart.” The song starts off strong with dissonant chords and a sense of escalation. It’s very repetitive and becomes an atmospheric track that turns light and pretty. I didn’t think the song needed to go on as long as it did which is an issue that surfaces on a couple of other songs as well.
“Eternivator” has a very different vibe which veers towards prog and psychedelic rock. The lo-fi quality of the songs starts to emerge. I can’t say that I was a fan of the programmed drum sound but distortion of the guitar sounded solid.
“You'll Wake Up (Tomorrow)” is a slow moving ambient guitar piece with spaced out silence while “Up and Down” is a fairly straight rock track with wonky guitar effects. “Ghost Mantis” is the centerpiece which is a ten-plus-minutes song. It ranges from metal to moments that sound inspired by Pink Floyd. The other notable tracks are “The Thick Blue Glass” and “Home's Not the Same (But it's Home).”
There is no denying that The Thick Blue Glass has a bedroom DIY type feel to it. A step up in production and recording quality could have taken it to the next level. That being said the songs are ambitious and I was impressed by his creativity as well as the technical talent on the guitar.
There are different shades of emotion throughout the album that showcase a talented songwriter with potential. Recommended.
Logan’s Ferry is a pop punk band from Pittsburg, PA consisting of Dave MacMurchy, Wil Ren, Joel Warchol and Tom Obusek. Come What May is their second EP and draws influences from bands like Green Day and Blink 182. Their sound is fun and upbeat with punk beats and intense vocals.
The album started with “Convinced” which instantly conjured up memories of the late ’90s hits of Blink 182. They definitely have the pop punk vibe on point with fast paced fun beats and singing/talking vocals. The song is full of angst and invoked images of party scenes from teen movies. The vocal harmonies on the very catchy chorus worked really well and hinted at some pretty creative writing talent.
“Jr” was a little more intense and chaotic and super short at only a little over a minute long. It was a little harder to understand the lyrics on this one and the vocals sounded a little muffled. “Breath” was slower and more intimate. The vocals were much more subdued and focused. I enjoyed the sweet and endearing lyrics about young love. The song had a very youthful feel. It reminded me of summer in high school where every emotion is raw and intense and your whole world is wrapped up in your feelings for one person.
“No Good” picked up the pace again with quick rhythmic drum beats and lots of rock guitar. The vibe was fun and contagious and again reminded me of the pop punk glory days of the late ‘90s. The final song “Neighborhoods” was a nice blend of the intensity of the first couple of songs and the slower nostalgic feel of “Breath” which made it my favorite track on the album.
Come What May is an entertaining album. Logan’s Ferry is obviously a group of talented young musicians with a passion for what they do. They’ve definitely found their sound, although I do think a little more originality as far as vocal melodies and arrangement would go a long way in distinguishing themselves from other similar bands. The youthful innocent vibe that comes across so strongly in their tracks is definitely something I hope they keep, even as their sound evolves.
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NeRV is a rock/blues/folk duo based in Melbourne, Australia that happen to brothers and just released a self-titled album NeRV. Neil and Tim Robertson are long time musicians but also accomplished a lot more in different fields. Neil has worked as a mine geologist, environmental scientist, project manager, audio engineer and high school physics teacher.
He currently runs the Decibels Youth Music Studio. Tim has spent a large portion of his life working in global conflict zones. He spent his early career with the military serving throughout Middle East, Afghanistan, Asia and Africa. The reason I bring this up is because I was trying to see how these life experiences reflected in their music. The answer is not as much as I thought.
Some songs like “KEEP THE PRESSURE ON” had a feeling of revolution, almost political. On this song the spirit of Neil Young and The Who came to mind. Other songs almost felt like the complete opposite. The most contrasting juxtaposition was “RICHARD BRANSON'S HAIR" which felt down right silly from a lyrical perspective and had the same levity of song like “Penny Lane.” I liked both songs for different reasons but the overall vibe and feel did not make the songs feel connected to a singular vision. That's really as divided as the album becomes. There are other songs with less obvious degrees of separation.
“CONSPIRACY THEORY” is another song that has a bit of the revolutionary ’60s vibe. The lyrics predictably bring up major events that many conspiracists have been talking about for decades. He sings, “I can’t help wondering when JFK was attacked / How a bullet from above and behind blew his head front to back / And I ate in a diner in Roswell where aliens go / And the Apollo moon landing was filmed in a lot studio.”
“CRAWLIN'” seems to be a tip of the hat directly to Neil Young. I even thought he sounded like Neil Young on this track when he sang. “LIVE IT” is a fun rock/pop song with some lyrical platitudes that were forgivable because of the way they were delivered. He sings, “And we don’t live too long so lock it in and bring it on Life is just a moment, nothing more so take it on.”
There is no arguing that NeRV wear their influence on their sleeves. The songs on this album are heavily glazed in inspirational rock and folk legends from the ’60s and the ’70s. Luckily, they can also write a song and know how to deliver it.
Overall, the good outweighed the questionable and I can give this album two thumbs up. If you have been reading this, the album will obviously be a no brainer for fans of some of the aforementioned bands.
The Hard Way Road EP by Young James is a stellar set of lyrically dense and meaningful songs by a well-rounded songwriting duo. Their latest release is a long awaited one reprising Young James from a recent hiatus. Strong hooky melodies and short catchy tunes are what this band’s sound is about.
Young James takes imagery from their home, Saskatoon, Canada and incorporates vivid imagery that gives any listen an instant visual of what home is like for them. Song writing duo T.C. Young and Davy James take us all down a long road of prairies and what it is like living in the center of North America.
Notable tracks off this EP would have to begin with my favorite tune “O Lost Soul” which features drumming from Tallus Scott, the group’s longtime drummer. This song really has a great REM feel to it whilst also reflecting upon sounds by bands like Fleetwood Mac. There is just great movement in this track, a constant shaking rhythm to accompany the song’s rather dreary and dark lyrical tone.
The drums are produced and mixed well and really have a punch to them prompting the songs ever constant timbre and dynamic. “All Things Change” is another notable track. I would go as far as to say this song leads the album although it’s not the title track. I could see this song really working almost anywhere it is played with really catchy hooks and a chorus that has you shaking your head along the entire time.
The Hard Way Road EP is a wonderful collection of very visual songs representing aspects of what the writers in Young James have encountered in their home. I give the album high marks and recommend anybody reading this to check out some nicely well-written songs by a good band back from hiatus.
The globetrotting Americana artist Sonofmel has released Springtime in a Foreign City. The music takes a very traditional route to its sound. He has quite a story to tell having traveled across the United States and around the world more than a few times. He has met and performed with countless talents. From the sound of it, this album has been brewing within him for some time. I can tell he has been restless to tell his stories.
I found it interesting that someone who seems to have been everywhere and tasted and seen so many different things would go for an Americana sounding album. I figured I would get some foreign flavors mixed into the genre given the name of the album. You get a hint of French in the sixth track “Grand Marais” which was appreciated. The strongest track for me musically was number three “Tarlabashi Shuffle” where there was a lively and curious rhythm and unique instrument choices. Some of the other tracks sounded a bit dated and derivative of music I have heard before.
The lyrics are undoubtedly poetry. There are some very elaborate stories and strong metaphors in his words. You get a mix of life lessons, drinking tales and the occasional verbalization of whimsical daydreams. The words on this album are a very strong anchor. Storytelling is everything in this genre and he nails that.
It is VERY rare that I ever mention another artist in any of my reviews. My reason being that I don’t want the reader to get anyone else’s sound in their head before listening to the artist I am reviewing. However, in this case I have to say it, Sonofmel appears to make a conscious effort to sound like Johnny Cash which was somewhat distracting. It is possible I am mistaken and this is how his voice naturally works. If that is the case I would suggest augmenting his style to create any sort of distance between him and the man in black.
Sonfomel tells wonderful winding stories and that’s a good foundation to build on. I am jealous of how much of the world this artist has gotten to see. I wish more of it could have been conveyed in the music.
I have no doubt that the artist enjoyed the hell out of making it. I cannot deny there is passion woven into this work and that’s something always worthy of note and respect.
Flip-Book Oscilloscope is an instrumental post-rock/art-rock band based out of the Lehigh Valley, PA. They’re comprised of Bruce Klipple (guitarist), Brock Fenstermaker (bassist) and Kevin Werkheiser (drummer). This self-titled EP Flip-Book Oscilloscope is their first release and it’s definitely an impressive one. The band has existed for close to three years, and they’ve got a lot to show for it. At this point in time, their live performances have mainly been based in their local area, but they’re definitely keen on spreading their wings and playing in new locations in the future.
The EP opens with “We Caught You Sleeping.” A twisted and haunting title for a twisted and haunting piece. It isn’t often that I’m so captivated by instrumental music, but this opener creates such a brooding and dark atmosphere that it’s hard not to feel enchanted by its infectious energy. The slowly throbbing drums and building guitars lead to an explosive climax of heavily distorted, grungy, chaotic and incredible guitar madness. There’s a melody behind this smokescreen of electrifying chaos, but I like the way it’s packaged. It’s haunting, but emotive at the same time. I could imagine Flip-Book Oscilloscope creating soundtracks for apocalyptic films with an ominous sound such as this.
Continuing the theme of sleeping, the second track is called “My Tinnitus Puts Me To Sleep” and it’s just as electrifying as the opener. While the darkness and crushing guitar-drum combination is still there, there’s something a little more uplifting about this track. Perhaps uplifting is the wrong word… What I mean is that, if this were the soundtrack to a movie, it’d probably be a more action-based affair than something which slipped into the more horrifying depths of the opener.
I think it’s worth noting that the bass rhythm adds a really nice touch to this track too; it keeps the whole thing moving melodically. It turns chaos into controlled chaos. Everything here feels planned; it doesn’t sound like three guys jamming in a garage. There wasn’t as much variety in the second track as the opener, admittedly, and I think it’s important that Flip-Book Oscilloscope remember to keep things fresh within the confines of an individual song. Without vocals, people want more instrumental variety to sink their teeth into.
“Echodrift” opens with the most clarity and definition of any track so far. A catchy bass riff leads the listener into the track, along with gently crashing drums and sliding, clean electric guitar. There are dark qualities to this track, but it’s definitely a far more serene and tempered experience than the first two songs on the EP. I liked this switch-up. It adds some variety and depth to Flip-Book Oscilloscope’s sound. They play around with a loud-quiet dynamic on this track rather than playing at 100% from start to finish (both styles work in their own ways, of course). I liked the heavier riffs and explosive drums which emerge later into the track, but these are all the more powerful because of the softer build-up.
This is definitely a great listen. If you like experimental guitars that verge on being ambient while still having a raw, metallic sound then you’ll like this instrumental piece. I hope these three guys go places in the future.
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Kaichi Fujita (vocals/guitar), Josh Jerin (guitar), Dick Welch (bass) and Trevor Brooks (drums) are The Dimly Lit. The band released The Paradise which is four-song demo quality release. Grizzly Bear and Modest Mouse as influences. The band is a little more aggressive to my ears and in most cases tend to use a good amount of distortion.
Up first is “Child Of The Night” which is a fairly straightforward yet versatile rock song. It’s dynamic and I thought Fujita was an engaging vocalist. There are a good amount of transitions and the band keeps the energy flowing at a good pace.
“Deep The Knife” has some inspired moments which include an anthemic chorus and aggressive ending. I thought “Night Soil” was a step above mainly due to the vocal harmonies and hooks. “Paradise” was an instrumental effort that has some post-rock inspired moments but was hard to fully appreciate because of how lo-fi the recording was.
On that note In order to be in a similar league with those bands they are going to have get a significant step up in the production and recording quality. On this EP the songs sound like a decently recorded rehearsal session not something you expect from even a mid tier studio.
On top of that I would like to hear the band push a little more as to where the songs can go (especially sonically). One of the reasons Grizzly Bear found success is because they were pushing boundaries. I’d like to hear if The Dimly Lit can do that as well but in their own way. Mix in unconventional timing like 7/8, make the guitars sound less like guitars at times and so forth.
I get the feeling that they haven't been playing together for too long. As of right now I think they clearly fall into a case of wait and see. There is a lot of potential here as the songs were well written, dynamic and quite infectious. That being said they have a couple hurdles to cross before being on even soil with their influences.
Overall, I found the EP enjoyable in numerous ways. I hope to hear more soon.
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Roundhouse is a funk and blues heavy rock band operating out of the old and new school punk environs of Nashville, Tennessee. The quartet features Curran Goad who takes turns playing guitar bass and singing alongside Max Devaney.
Baritone and alto saxophonist Adam Johnson and drummer and percussionist Anthony Rich round out Roundhouse’s unique sound which along with the aforementioned tones of funk and blues also sprinkle this eponymous offering with odes to grunge and even some jazz, naturally provided by the addition of the saxophone, which holds its own among these heavier sounds much in the way English ska-rockers Madness were able to do so awesomely way back when.
Roundhouse opens with a swift kick of rock and funky blues on “Cadillac.” Its lo-fi and filthy with shredding guitars and tomahawk drumbeats and then there is the aforementioned siren sound of saxophone which provides some depth and character. The vocals are sparse and grumbling and reminded me of Alice Cooper’s scowling screams in his heyday.
Next up comes the even thicker blues rock of “Five Finger Discount” which is a refreshing bit of story-telling lyricism from the point of view of an expert shoplifter. It’s also pretty damn catchy and reminded me a bit of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Things get a little out of hand in a good way on the loose and loud rocker “Cheap Thrills” a balls out rocker that seems like it could fall apart at any time as though it’s being held together by scotch tape. Next up “Pills, Mom” with its thick bass lines dripping with ‘90s grunge residue sounds like it could have come off an early demo tape of Bleach.
Later we are treated to the quietest song on Roundhouse. At a little over four minutes the acoustic guitar ballad “6000 Feet” is the record’s odd duck but also I think a nice addition which shows that the band isn’t just loud loutish rockers whose main objective is to write only shocking, ear jarring rock songs. However when they want to, like they do on the balls to the wall rocker “Foxtrot Octagon” they do so with fierce precision.
Roundhouse is a dirty rock record with just enough nuances thrown in to keep them from sinking to the bottom of the pile of other dirty rock bands. There is plenty of stuff out there that falls into this category, so much so that one could waste hours trying to find something that’s worth their attention. I’m here to save you some time sifting through the garbage and telling you Roundhouse is a sure bet.
Harley Broughton aka Galactic Wanderer is back with his latest Galactic Wanderer III. Broughton released previous LP Falling Into Oblivion in November of last year so Galactic Wanderer III which was released on April of this year was a quick turn around. Suffice it to say if you were a fan of Falling Into Oblivion then you will want to check out Galactic Wanderer III.
Broughton plays instrumental prog rock that reaches for grand may be even cosmic proportions. You may have guessed this from the album art and name. Broughton loads the lead guitar with hall reverb that is backed by a supporting cast of drums, bass and more guitar.
Up first is the adrenaline filled “Acceso (Ignited).” The song’s intensity ramps up right away and doesn't let up. There are a couple of notable transitions but the energy doesn't change much. “A Moment in Time” is a little less intense but more atmospheric while “Days Gone By” gets into epic territory because of the dynamic changes he fits into the eight-plus minutes.
“The Choice” is a fast moving song that contains fuzzy distortion and blistering lead guitar. Towards the end it dissipates into sheets of white noise that fizzle into ambience. I would have removed the talking parts at the beginning and end.
The centerpiece is “Undertaker” which is around nine minutes in length. It’s the most ambitious song and is the roller coaster ride on the album and arguably the most ’80s prog influenced of the batch. He goes back into cosmic territory on “Hypnotic Persuasion” and closes with the most atmospheric track entitled “Aftermath.”
Galactic Wanderer III is sonically his best effort. That being said I’ve been mixing music professionally for fifteen years and always hands my music to a pro mastering engineer to get to the next level. There are a myriad of benefits from getting a second pair of ears to the insanely expensive gear they have access to that they know how to use. Broughton maybe getting close to his sonic limits on what is possible for most DIY artists with modest gear which probably consists of plug-ins. He may want to give some thought to this.
Broughton doesn't seem to be slowing down. He continues to impress in technical and creative ways and I look forward to his further evolution.
You ever wake up and go to your job and then come home and sit down and think “why the hell do I do this?” Yeah, me too. But then I think a boys gotta eat and a boys gotta have a roof etc. Art don’t pay the bills now does it. There’s sometimes a price to be paid for art. Some get by, like Picasso, and others like Van Gogh and Modigliani, well they had to die to get famous. As far as musicians are concerned they have their share too. Nick Drake comes to mind as someone who left behind a legacy longer than five leaves.
I’m fascinated by a lot of things but something that I really get into is people who work in multiple artistic mediums. On some level I’m like come on man just pick one and stick to it. That’s probably just jealousy. I can’t sing or play guitar and I couldn’t draw a decent stick figure with a gun to my head. So anyways I was very fascinated by the multi-genre artist Steve Coffey who paints as well as writes songs and records albums. He has ten to date. His latest is Paint Songs.
The record features guest players from Coffey’s longtime band The Lokels but this is the first record which he has recorded under his own name. The inspiration for the songs on Paint Songs are derived from his rural Alberta Canada homeland as well as his travels to Europe. And likely also his paintings.
Paint Songs opens with “In Paint” a wistful alt-country folk tune that has the leanings of an Irish folk song. We are then hit with the slow and intimate “Growing” on which Coffey laments tragically and truthfully “Time waits for no one.” This movement of time pervades the album as a whole even as the record picks up pace on the raucous Irish style drinking tune with a gyspsey flair on “Dust in the Bowl.” Things mellow out again on the folksy “Old Town Square” which has a calming and melancholy air to it.
But just when you think that Coffey is a two trick pony he brings in the tickling and fun melody of “Ghost Farmers Dancing” a raggedy lo-fi romp that takes the record even further than previously thought. Then later he gives us the open air and poetic feeling of “Seeing Reflection,” a welcomed record scratch to what has come before, something which he also does in a fun and different way on “Colours.”
Paint Songs is not a hit record. It’s obtuse and colourful and hard at times to decipher. It asks a lot of its listener. It demands attention, just like any work of art does. It is a record for those who have enough patience and enough know how to realize that after a bit of poring over, the lines will eventually become clear, and the image will manifest, and it will be worth the wait in the end.
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