Weymouth is a three-piece indie/garage rock band from Southern Pines, NC, that consists of Brenden Sheard, Dustin Burrell and Brandon Falbo. The band members have each played in different bands but they thought it was finally time to get together and form a band. Having formed just recently (April 2020 to be exact), the band is finally settling into a groove with their sound and their debut self-titled EP Weymouth is their decision to finally get their music out there. The band has worked hard to hone their sound and all this is evident on their new album. A five-track collection that sees the band exploring riffs into alternative, emo, garage rock, indie and punk territory, the record takes you on a journey through the minds and souls of a band constantly on the precipice of rocking out. Their revved energy and impassioned delivery drive at a hard-hitting sound you’d be sorry to miss.
Weymouth EP begins with “AMB,” where the band starts out to some jaunty rhythms that gradually grow in mode to become something that is even more compelling. Once the vocals come in, you can definitely hear the band’s influences in emo, punk and indie. The band really packs a punch with their energized sound. Right off the get-go, the music starts right in on “Dear John.” The vibes feel melodious with a free flowing feel to the music. In a stop-and-go motion, the vibe feels very centered on rhythms. The vocals in the background are shouted out in the punk rock spirit, adding an edgy feel to the sounds. This felt like a great punk rock anthem to rock out to. On “Fade Away,” guitar and percussions make this a dynamic-sounding track. The rhythms grow in groove. I loved how the guitars sounded here. Some whistling adds a catchy vibe to the tune.
On “Ghost,” sparse guitars are eventually joined with the inclusion of vocals that soar with emotional effect. The sauntering groove to this song makes it a definite slow burn. Without wasting any time, the music starts right off on “Open Letter.” Brimming with a dynamic vibe, the energy coming from the vocals and the music feel very driven and amped. The band ups the ante with jaunty drumming rhythms. I thought this was a great way to close the album.
Sounding very much in the vein of emo and punk rock outfits like Green Day and Blink-182, Weymouth’s sound carries the torch of such like-minded bands into a new era of rock history. Though these acts were popularized in the ’90s and ’00s, you can see a recent resurgence of these genres in bands that see fit to keep the flame alive. Weymouth is one such band and they do so with successful results. The energy coming from each section makes this band sound bigger and badder than their three-piece counterparts. Yet what stands out even more is how synchronized the band feels as they each play on each other’s strengths. This release showed a whole lot of potential and I look forward to seeing more great things from this band.
Located in Huntington, West Virginia the artist who started The Long Lost Somethins is currently working on getting a full band together. The third full album Jacob was written, recorded, performed and mixed by the current one-man band, but this time around, it is the first to really emphasize the sound he was looking for. Using a Studio One Pro with some edited built-in plugins with a Tascam interface andRode NT1 mic, the album has an indie rock/noise style. The artist states that there are a lot of quieter moments, but also a lot of noise. Lyrically, song themes deal with suicide attempts, love, figuring out life and struggles with alcohol. Ya know – the normal early ‘20s-something stuff.
Starting things off is “The Ladder” a fuzz infused ride, filled with tense noise, great guitar, vocal effects and feedback, too. Experimental is how I would describe the sound – something along the lines of early Velvet Underground – although perhaps without the trippy psychedelic stuff. “Jacob Held High” features a somber melody, that’s actually quite lovely. But the lyrics are dark, suggesting suicide. The dampened snare sound, drowning guitar riffs and washy cymbals has that sludgy / emo sound. A menacing sound overall but I liked it. Going deeper into more menacing sounds is “Track 8.” This one has a quicker rhythm with a low tuned bass drum and acoustic, along with a heavily distorted electric guitar. The overlap of vocals – one much lower and “sinister” than the other – reminded me of one of Beck’s songs. “All Treasure” sounded fantastic – with its dampened drums, repeated melody and drowning guitar riffs – it reminded me of the Velvet Underground a lot. You can hear the artist’s voice much better on this tune as well.
Next is “The Great Bottom Lake” and this one felt like it had a punk style to it, along with a bit of an old school rock-pop feel, too. I think it may have been due to the “standard” structure of the lyrics and how they were delivered. Lyrically, I think this song is about reaching some dark hell or bottom in your life and coming to realize that “there’s a whole lot of fire” present. “Misstep” offers a lighter touch on the guitar, bass and drums with less distortion but still that great “muddy” sound which seems to be the hallmark on this album. I loved the sound of the guitar on this one – a classy garage surf band sound. The words seem to suggest taking a wrong turn in a relationship. “My Salvation/Hard Liquor” goes way deep into a dark place – between being tempted by alcohol (aka the hard stuff) and your “brothers” doubting your salvation.
“Manhunt” opens with a strong acoustic rhythm and a bit later a steady drumbeat. This one had more of a traditional indie rock style and song structure with a short guitar solo, too. Lyrically, I think the words suggest finding love in “different places” if you get what I’m saying – “I’m whoring myself out of apathy / One step away from the manhunt taking place.” The last track is “Bald” – and life doesn’t get much more real than this. The artist sings about his sister having a kid, having no will to live, your mom not “needing” you anymore since a baby arrived and turning bald (well, that last part may not be true for everyone). This last number was by far the most emotional and “heart on your sleeve” song on the entire album. A lot of feeling here. A nice piano melody to go along with the warm acoustic, as well as some snippets of audio, possibly from a movie or soundtrack.
The narrative themes within the songs on Jacob were well done and didn’t hold anything back. The unique mixing of dark and light sounds, distorted effects and different styles were pretty solid throughout as well. The Long Lost Somethins reached into deep, dark places that probably most of us have felt at one time or another in this very personal album.
Songs For Staring at the Moon is the most recent effort from Cody Lenhard. Divide and Conquer reviewed Ahead Of You last year and well this is certainly a step up in terms of production and songwriting. There are six songs on this release which are atmospheric and gentle. It’s very calming, serene but also quite melancholy.
The first song is called “Juno” and revolves around a couple of strummed chords and pads. It’s emotive, reflective and really sets the stage for the rest of the songs. “Socks'' starts with mellow piano and soft percussion. There’s a touch of R&B with this song on top of the indie bedroom aesthetics.
“Luna” is more folk based. You can hear what sounds like insects. There’s a touch of early Conor Oberst on this song and as the song progresses there are bursts of hope. Lenhard repeats the phrase “My love for you is strong.”
Next up is “Her & The Devil'' which is a sweet tender song. It’s melancholy and a little self-deprecating. He covers “Yellow (Cover)” and I can’t really say I’m a big fan of the original but actually liked this better. Last up is the highlight on the album called “Gravity.” This song is more orchestral and thematic than the previous tracks. It’s a mix of moody and beautiful but also contains some of the best vocal melodies.
I was digging this vibe. The artist pulls it off and most importantly everything seemed to build on each other to create a signature sound for the artist. This is definitely a good trajectory for the young artist and I encourage him to keep going.
On the Shoulders of Giants is the recent release by ELSKA. The album fits under the umbrella of pop. It’s a big album with twelve songs and runs around forty-eight minutes. There are some soft ballad-like moments but mostly songs which are epic in scale, and sound like they would roll at the end credits of a superhero or Disney movie. Some of the songs combine both effectively.
She has a great, classical voice but also has that type of voice you hear in pop frequently or at least on a show like American Idol or The Voice. I think she could definitely win any of those types of mainstream singing competitions. Great range, natural and a lot of emotion but there aren’t many defining characteristics to her vocals which felt distinct enough for me to have it etched in my memory right away like Bjork or Adrianne Lenker.
Lyrically, the album is straightforward. It felt like a simple, understandable language ranging from motivational, politically minded and much more. Some of the songs are undeniable pop goodness if that’s your thing like “Stop Talking, Listen” and the sweet ballad “Caroline.”
There are moments on the album where she flirts with something less pop oriented. You can hear hints of bands like Sigur Rós but she doesn't indulge in this like I was hoping she would. The songs almost always seemed to veer in more of a pop direction when I heard something off-kilter that made me take notice. I think some more out of the box experimentation here and there would have led to more welcome surprises as well as something more singular.
The production is top notch as it should be for pop music. They nailed it here and the songs are certainly radio friendly. Suffice it to say if you’re looking for epic pop music that is sung by a great singer this is your ticket.
Marcus Kihn is a multi-instrumental, solo artist from Toronto, Canada who recently released Head Noise. There are fourteen songs and Kihn explains: “I like to create albums that I won't get bored of listening to and love too many genres to focus on just one.” If you’ve read my reviews before you’ll probably know I’m not too crazy about albums from artists that jump around too much. Personally, I enjoy an album that tries to find a singular sound for the artist. In this case there was some jumping but nothing too far in left field. The majority of the album is rooted in rock but there are certainly deviations into different areas like funk, electronic and folk. To his credit he’s a good enough musician to pull off what he attempts.
One of the highlights was the first track “Reach” which is a killer track that contains a driving groove, some impressive lead guitar and a number of epic crescendos. The darker and moody “Pretend” is a little more melancholy and subdued but also quite beautiful in a Radiohead type of way.
“If We’re Done” is the most relaxing and calming break up I’ve possibly heard. It’s on the verge of reggae and is absolutely sing-along worthy. If you want southern rock anthem that is a stomper you need to hear “No Time For You.”
The synth heavy “Endless Night” has more of an ’80s vibe somewhere between New Wave and early U2. As the album progressed there were a number of songs which quickly became my favorites including the funky “Watching You” and “Little Mind.”
This is definitely an album where people will be attracted to specific songs simply based on what genres they enjoy. As I mentioned earlier Kihn really knows how to write a song and always puts melody first so even the genres which aren’t on top of my list were enjoyable. My suggestion is just to spin this one from beginning to end and go from there. Recommended.
Seattle’s Joe Butterfield, notably of QUIIET, has adopted the name Wave Armory for his eponymous debut solo EP Wave Armory. This EP is Butterfield’s from stem to stern: the writing, performing, engineering, mixing and mastering is all his, from his home studio. He describes the album succinctly: “Wave Armory combines all of the elements of hard alternative rock with flavorings of progressive arrangements and strong melodies.” It is a “sonic scape that hits hard.”
He knows his music. Fans of the classic Seattle grunge sound will feel at home here. Butterfield plunges us right in with a burst of distorted guitar on the opener, “Iron Lung”. From there, to put it simply, “Iron Lung” flat-out rocks. It’s hard-hitting drums, tasty riffs (with the requisite flat-5ths and scary modal runs here and there), and a thick soup of electric guitars. Lyrically, he’s discussing living in an iron lung, and draws some parallels from it.
The darker--and maybe a bit scary--lyrics continue throughout the EP. “Queen” tackles a female insect eating her lover (“sealed his fate with poison lips / and her love will carry on”). Vampires star in “Silver Eyes;” “Escape From a Dying World” covers alien abduction. All of the music supports the lyrics well; for instance, “Queen”’s softer approach almost feels like a love song. “Silver Eyes” is appropriately scary, and “Escape” shifts easily between eeriness and optimism.
Butterfield’s vocals are perfectly suited to the songs, and he’s added doublings, harmonies and embellishments throughout to highlight important passages. The vocals on “Silver Eyes” were a particular highlight. There are some spoken-word passages buried in the mix, too, that help obnubliate the mood, adding that little extra edge and tension.
Butterfield is a skilled artist as a writer and performer. The nineteen minutes of Wave Armory all sound great and fit right into your heavy rock and grunge collections. Give it a try!
Terran Vaivars-Szwarc aka Well-Worn is twenty-three years old and currently living in Australia. The artist only picked up the guitar about four years ago which in my opinion is a starting out mode. On his release Songs About Change he strums chords and sings and listening to him reminds me of being at a killer open mic because of the simplicity.
His vocals are somewhere between singing and spoken word. He also has this distinct cadence and sometimes it comes off as sarcastic, or like he is about to laugh or other times simple philosophical insights or daily habits he needs to improve like looking people in the eye while having a conversation.
This is a long album with fourteen songs that runs about forty-six minutes. The songs run together and about halfway through I found myself mostly focusing on the lyrics. Out of the batch there were a couple of highlights such as “Today’s Weather,” “Just Another Number” and “After the Fact.” The vocal harmonies on “Naked and Humble” were the high point.
The recording quality sounded like a standard home recorded demo on audio interface into a laptop. There are some missing warm frequencies from the guitar and the vocals sound thin but overall about average in terms of quality.
I’ve been making music and working with artists for about twenty-five years and this artist definitely seems like he is just beginning his musical journey. He’s ambitious and I was impressed by the amount of songs and their lyrical content. Musically, there is much more to explore as he evolves as a musician and I hope to hear some of that in the future.
I think this was a solid start from an artist who showed some promise and potential.
MoonMaker is located around the Chicago-land area. The four members have been together for around four years playing live original music all over Illinois. They recently released Desert Places which is a ’90s sounding rock album.
Things get going with “Kaleidoscope Thoughts” where there’s a lot of fuzz, reverb and driving rhythm section. Up next is “Rojo” where the band embraces a cleaner sound and is one of the highlights. They reminded me of a mix between Pearl Jam and Rusted Root.
They go into punk mode with a four chord anthem called “Another Wednesday” while “Polar” is a very heavy song that attempts and pulls off some epic crescendo. They strip things back with “Darling.” The instrument which sounds like a flute sounded slightly out of place at times. The rock out hard on “Mind Disease” while the atmospheric and whimsical “Waiting” was an unexpected surprise.
I liked this band and spirit but have critiques here. The vocalist sometimes goes for notes he’s having an audibly hard time hitting. I think he should try and stay in his natural range. As an engineer the most important thing would be the recording quality. I enjoyed the song but they often sounded like I was listening to them from another room. One thing you can do is use the correct combination of close mic techniques, less reverb and compression to make it feel a little more visceral and intimate. On that note hitting up a pro studio would do the trick as well.
I thought this was a promising band with a ’90s sound I loved growing up and still love. I’m in Chicago as well so I look forward to seeing them around.
Dylan Rockwell (vocals/guitar) and Pat Gunning (drums/percussion) form the core of Moozy, their Washington D.C. based project. Starting in January 2020, the partners jammed on Rockwell’s songs for a couple months, then workshopped at several open mic performances. Gunning then recorded drums to rough demos, “creating a canvas for the rest of the tune.” After tracking vocals and guitar, the files were sent to Nick Fliakas (bass) and Donovan Duvall (keys/synth) for the final touches. Rockwell mixed the EP in his Pro Tools home studio using an Antelope Audio Orion Studio Interface, though few studio gear emulations were used. The final tracks were mastered by Ben Soldate.
As far as his songwriting, Rockwell explains: “The goal was just to be creative and sincere yet maintain a degree of accessibility. Our influences are stuff along the lines of Wilco, Bonnie Prince Billy, Mark Kozelek, Radiohead, etc. although I know the music we make doesn't exactly sound like that.”
During the pandemic I have been constantly amazed at the high quality of music that’s been created among players at great remove, and Moozy is no exception. Learning how these songs came together, I was surprised at just how polished and even commercial they sound. Rockwell has a sweet higher-pitched voice that lends itself to harmony overdubs, and he lets his reverb-bathed vocals wander freely across his songs.
“Don’t U Need Somebody” has the swagger and confidence of a Prince tune. The lyrics unfold as variations on the words of the title against a lush background of guitars and keys with Rockwell sticking to falsetto throughout. What sounds like a backward-recorded guitar solo ends the tune, quite alien and very cool. (Photojournalists Eric Thayer and Alex Wroblewski shot a music video for this song that can be found on Facebook, though it’s basically just the two guys playing outside.)
“Tru Luv” sounds more traditionally alternative. Rockwell’s lead vocal moves down to mid-range but he again overdubs a downy bed of extended harmonies. The chorus guitars are interesting with some blue notes purposely added to the main chords, followed by a classic hard rock solo. Production-wise this track fills every last inch of sonic space, as did the opening song.
“Calico” for me sounds very much like a Fleet Foxes song, especially in the wall of vocals. Again, Rockwell and company nail every beat and note as if they were polished jewels with yet another splendid guitar solo to bring the set to a close.
My only frustration with this release is its extreme brevity, but the good news is that the group is working on a ten-song album, and I’m very interested to see what kinds of new sounds they come up with.
Rolleston is a solo project from Merseyside, UK who recently released Thoughts. He explains “Thoughts is the first EP in a three-part album I plan to put out over the next year or so. Based on the thoughts, feelings and behaviours cycle from CBT, the lyrical content will shift accordingly (this first one was designed to be less personal and more about the world, generally).”
“Intro” is the first track and this is a very captivating start with warm ambience and what sounds like a computer program talking about emotional response. I really liked the cerebral and pensive quality it had. That being said it really felt different than the mood on the other songs starting with “Forget.” “Forget” is upbeat pop 101. It’s catchy, funky and playful. The hook is solid and revolves around a consistent 4/4 kick drum, clean elements like reverb laced guitar and a number of synths.
“Nothing” is more subdued and lounge-y. The bass runs deep and the word that comes to mind if soulful. It reminded me of a mix between Phoenix and Justin Timberlake.
“Eggshells'' is a stripped back folk song that blossoms into a ballad. It was another unexpected turn but he pulled it off. “Gifted “ goes back into pop more but more of synth pop before with warm atmosphere and more catchy melodies. Last up is a melancholy piano ballad called “Compromise” which contains an emotive vocal performance and additional strings.
My only critique was that the sequencing felt a bit scattered. There are a lot of jumps stylistically that he attempts to cram in eighteen minutes. On that note he pulls off what he attempts and has a range of talent in different areas.
Overall, I thought there was a lot to appreciate about this release. I look forward to hearing the other parts of the album.
We are dedicated to informing the public about the different types of independent music that is available for your listening pleasure as well as giving the artist a professional critique from a seasoned music geek. We critique a wide variety of niche genres like experimental, IDM, electronic, ambient, shoegaze and much more.
Are you one of our faithful visitors who enjoys our website? Like us on Facebook