Kozie’s new jam “Fly” manages to transcend genre classification. It has elements of EDM, light hip hop, pop and even alternative. I’m especially impressed with the beat, which has a bouncy superball on a summer day kind of vibe. The track is appropriately titled as the upbeat yet lighthearted energy of the song will put an extra spring in your step. The song’s groovy techno-psychedelic backing could actually make it as its own instrumental dance number. Despite the positivity, the lyrics deal with regret, lost time and reluctantly making the unselfish choice to let someone you love fly away, when you know you’re “wings are tied.” I wasn’t sure if I was going to like this music at first, but I was won over. “Fly” is very catchy, and Kozie’s willingness to tap into the vulnerable side of his emotions and explore themes of despair and humility, makes this song approachable and refreshing.
London rock trio “Magazine Gap” has a video out for their new single, “Ran For Cover.” Their style draws from an eclectic variety of influences. This particular track has an overall jazzy feel to it, with some elements of alternative pop and adult contemporary. Basically this is like what pop music made by intelligent people sounds like. “Ran For Cover” is pristine and professional while managing to retain its organic quality. This is much harder to achieve than one might think. There’s no effects “smokescreen” or deficiencies that are being masked here. The production simply accentuates what would already be a solid song, even if it were recorded on 4-track. The horn parts are catchy and memorable, and I found myself looking forward to them on repeated listens. Shoutout to Binker Golding on saxophone and Jeffrey Brown on Trumpet, for contributing what I think is a crucial component to this song.
The video appears to be mostly footage of traveling around the streets of London but edited in a way that somehow manages to create an artistically poignant video. Great ambiance. There’s too much talent associated with this band and their production team to be able to talk about it in a review of this length, but honestly their music pretty much speaks for itself.
A folkish EP / mini album of organ-based, minimalist pop songs, with unassuming vocals and authentically retro vibes.
Available on iTunes
Brandon Adamson – Compare and Contrast
These Young Fools, an alternative rock/pop band from Seattle, have a new EP out titles “Awake.” The production quality is solid, and opts for clarity and precision rather than utilizing a lot of distracting filters and effects. It isn’t surprising to discover that the band was influenced by Jimmy Eat World and other similar groups, as I could detect a faint sort of late 90′s / early 2000 vibe to the music. This is particularly evident in the vocals, which have that distinctive, “elevated pitch” angst to them reminiscent of pop punk and screamo. However, what sets These Young Fools apart from those genres is that there is more of a synth element here. Also, the tone and pacing of the songs is more of a darker and brooding one, having more in common with classic alternative than something cheesy like pop punk. Probably my favorite song on this album is “Playing dead,” which is catchy and well constructed.
Pauline Frechette has a magnificent new single out, titled “Come Away With Me.” It’s an incredibly polished, professionally performed and expertly composed. Others have positively described the sound as “haunting.” Stylistically, the track does have a bit of a “darker” tone and melody, which the song content itself in fact delightfully romantic. This isn’t a contradiction though, as there is more mystery, longing and certainly much more at stake emotionally in any genuine love experience.
It is interesting that the cover art features innocent child-like imagery, because my first impression of this song was that it seemed like it would fit right in on the soundtrack to a Disney film, to be featured in one of the more serious or poignant scenes. This is another testament to the quality of the music, which is in every way top of the line, to the extent that it wouldn’t seem out of place in a big budget, award nominated movie. Even the line “come away with me” appeals to the state of innocence and spontaneity we revert to when we fall in love with someone. We want the person to wake up and come along with us on the journey, and we want to let them know how much we want them with us.
With this track, Pauline has proven once again that she is capable not only of creating musical masterpieces (a difficult achievement enough,) but also of conjuring content which is personally inspiring.
Not many people can create a large body of work that consistently retains the same high quality. That is what makes Gilbert Engle so impressive. Most veteran musicians will have released all kinds of recordings, but much of it would consist of mediocre or terrible stuff they’d rather didn’t exist. In the case of Engle though, he remarkably puts out a high volume of quality material, which even manages to span across genres.
So with that in mind, it’s no surprise that there’s nothing shabby about his “2015 Jazz Fusion One” release. Right off the bat I was prepared to say that the 4th track was my personal favorite. While this isn’t exactly music designed for teenagers, its energetic and laser beam like synth backing would put it right up there with the best video game boss battle music. It’s totally “danceable” as well and would work in an upscale club atmosphere or hotel bar. Upon continued listening though I realized track is the one that really blows me away. While all of the tracks are predominantly carried by the synth and the horn, the 9th track just has a certain articulate clarity about it. It’s just the most cohesive in terms of the different musical elements working well together, and the melody is the most detailed and precise on the album.
That’s what I like about a lot of Engle’s songs. They have crossover appeal and would fit with a wide variety of environments and audiences, even ones that normally wouldn’t be that receptive to jazz. This is another top tier release from Engle. He shows dedication to his craft.
Recently we reviewed Cranky George’s song, “Nighttime” off of their brand new album titled “Fat Lot of Good.” Other memorable tracks include “Perfect Skin,” which has a terrific sort of brooding, almost haunting quality, reminiscent of artists like Chris Isaak. The full album is set for release tomorrow, October 14, and can be purchased here on CD as well as on a limited edition, signed, double vinyl record. The band’s CD release party will actually take place at Molly Malone’s in Los Angeles on Friday, Oct. 15th.
In addition to the release of the full album, Cranky George has also produced a video for the track “Nighttime,” and it definitely does the song justice. The video production and photography are high quality and tasteful, but the interspersed poignant scenes with the female and the fireworks displays help to retain an indie, artistic aesthetic and prevent the whole thing from coming across as “too slick.”
Nighttime Video: https://vimeo.com/182629451