All posts by brandon adamson

Love Ghost – 24-7

24-7

24-7 is a new single from Love Ghost, a budding young alternative rock band from Los Angeles. When I say young, I do mean young. A couple of the band members are still just in high school. You wouldn’t necessarily guess it from the music though, which comes across as mature and professional.

24-7 deals with themes of anti-bullying. It has long been something of a paradox for bullied kids in school in that in order to get teachers to punish a bully who is tormenting them, they must have to be physically pummeled by the bully before the school will actually do anything. In order to prevent the bully from hurting you further, you must get hurt more drastically. If you yourself do something violent preemptively to the bully, well then you’ll be the one punished. It really is a no win situation. “There’s no escape from attack…Only after the bloody meat hangs on display will they give you, the time of day.” as the song’s lyric states succinctly. Another interesting line is “An elusive language sets the rules and governs the lunchrooms in school.” There is an entire framework and ecosystem at play in school cafeterias. One could write a whole dissertation on that subject, but what’s important here is that some student’s entire lunch experience revolves around evading bullies and avoiding humiliation. Of course, the teachers and lunchroom supervisors themselves take an elusive tact also. They tend to try to avoid confrontation or the uncomfortable responsibility of disciplining problem students. They map out their own “escape” route by looking the other way.

LG gig 1

Anyway, let’s get to the actual music. 24-7 is a pretty straightforward alternative rock song. The term “alternative” can mean almost anything these days, but Love Ghost actually has captured something close to the authentic original sound of 90′s alternative music. If I were to listen to this song without having any info beforehand, I would have guessed it came out around 1994. It could have easily found its way on to the Reality Bites soundtrack or maybe even one of the “angstier” teen episodes of Party of Five (thinking maybe season 2 with the Julia and Justin drama.) This music still fits with contemporary times as well. The whole emotive vibe here made me think of the show 13 Reasons Why. The singer here (despite complaining about bullies) displays enough charisma to make it work, as if the band is waging a kind of timid revolution.

The award winning video for 24-7 is worth watching. It features some excellent animation in the vein of a-ha’s Take on Me video. I wish more directors would bring back this style of animation instead of the 3-D, annoying filters or live action crap. Anyway, Love Ghost is a young band, but they’ve got a good thing going. I hope they manage to stay together for a while.

LG gig2

For more info:

http://loveghost.com/
https://www.facebook.com/loveghost.official/

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The Blankz – (I Just Want to) Slam

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It was only recently that we wrote about The Blankz’  instant Arizona classic,  White Baby  The impressiveness of that release set the bar pretty high. Bands often change, experiment and grow, which isn’t always a good thing if what they already have is working.  So when I discovered I had something new to review for The Blankz, I was curious if they had retained the magic that was captured in White Baby.

Thankfully, their brand new EP, (I Just Want to) Slam wisely sticks with the same formula of weirdo pop punk + synth, which won them some small scale critical acclaim. The first thing that came to mind when listening was that (I Just Want to) Slam would have been a perfect for one of the obligatory slam section parts of  just about any 90′s skateboard video.  It’s kinda too bad they don’t really make those kinds of skate videos anymore, and it’s all pretty much on youtube now (or maybe they still do, and I’m just too old and out of touch to know about it.)

One thing which defines The Blankz’ songs is how catchy they are. Even after only a single listening sesh, I find myself repeating the choruses in my head over and over. Hell, i’ts been almost a month since I heard White Baby, and that’s still annoyingly stuck in my brain. Time will tell what kind of mental staying power (I Just Want to) Slam has. It’s like they put drugs in these songs or some kind of MK Ultra style, subliminal mind control messaging. Anyway, potential listeners beware: these songs will stay with you.

I suppose I should talk about the actual substance of the music here. The title track (I Just Want to) Slam is fast paced right from the opening bell and maintains the same level of energy throughout. The vocal performance is among the better I’ve heard for this genre of music. Vocals are clear, on key and delivered with balls. What more can you ask for? This is music for moshing, just letting loose and having a blast in the pit….but of course it can be a metaphoric anthem for how to approach other areas of life.

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There is a second song on the album, called Baby’s Turning Blue. It’s a short but punchy jam which gives a brief and peculiar narrative of a punk rock “baby” growing up to fall victim to drug abuse. The guitars in this song are awesome, tonally and technically. The timing here is great, with frequent breaks and pace changes which all go off without a hitch. This band is tight. Everyone is on the same page. If I have one criticism it’s that I wish this song was a bit longer and elaborated more on the interesting lyrical premise. The vibe of Baby’s Turning Blue reminds me of early 90s Orange County or San Diego punk music, even though there is nothing explicitly retro about this music, and I can’t think of any specific examples of bands these guys sound like. It’s more of a feeling.

Listening to The Blankz is like if you were to resurface a fond memory of being at the Warped Tour sometime before it started to suck. The good news is that The Blankz are in the here and now… and continuing to crank out cool stuff. Cover art has a great aesthetic by the way.

For more info:
http://theblankzband.com/
https://soundcloud.com/theblankz
https://www.facebook.com/theblankzband/
https://www.instagram.com/theblankzband/

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Console Clone – Rewind Mankind

console_clone_rewind_mankind
Cover Artwork by Leah Davis Art

Console Clone is a synthwave electronic music artist from the United Arab Emirates. The jams from his debut album Rewind Mankind wouldn’t seem out of place on the Cherry 2000 film soundtrack in 1987. What that should tell you is that this guy does synthwave very well. The title track, Rewind Mankind, is the archetypal, action packed synth sound. It’s one of the most straightforward songs on the album, high energy and engaging to the max.

The album features a lot of samples and references to science fiction, which listeners may or may not pick up on. For example, The Video Dead contains well placed samples from the film, Night of the Living Dead. Klendathu is presumably titled after the bugs’ planet in Starship Troopers, while Electric Sheep is a nod to Philip K Dick. You get the idea. Almost all of the songs are fairly fast paced and maintain a consistent level of cinematic intensity. Yet, musically there is a lot of variation in terms of sounds utilized, as well as the often unpredictable structuring. You really are not quite sure what you’re going to get with each track you click on. You just know when you push play that it’s going have that familiar, darkly energetic ambiance in some enticing new form and that it’s going to be good. These recordings are just phenomenal. They sound very 80s but authentically 80s, unlike when a store tries to bring back some old clothing style but everyone who was around then can tell it’s just a tad off. This guy has the genre and aesthetic nailed down and also manages to incorporate some structural originality.

The album can be purchased here:
https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G68JRK7

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Brielle Monique – Hallucinate

Brielle_Monique_artwork

San Diego born singer Brielle Monique’s new single, Hallucinate (scheduled to be released on August 31, 2018) showcases her classically trained and well curated vocal abilities. Her voice certainly doesn’t have anywhere to hide in the mix. Musically, Hallucinate is a very minimalist jam, and Brielle’s vocals really do carry the tune. The track slowly builds from a near acapella beginning and blossoms into a sprightly intricate pop song. It’s a trick to maintain the balance between displaying soft emotion and demonstrating vitality, and Brielle Monique manages to accomplish this both lyrically and musically. What instrumental backing there is does an excellent job at complementing Monique’s voice rather than obscuring it.

For more info:
https://www.instagram.com/brielle.music
https://www.facebook.com/officialbriellemusic

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Phteven Universe – Space Parachute

phtevenuniverse

A while back I reviewed the single, Space Parachute which had initially been released by Francis Nally under the moniker “King Trode.” Well, now the song is officially out in the form a the title track of a new EP, falling under the umbrella of Nally’s Phteven Universe project.

There’s no point in re-reviewing the song Space Parachute, since my original remarks on it still stand:

What a sparkly little synth hook this jam has! It’s as if someone threw something together really quick, chucked it at a wall and it bounced in my direction and stuck in my head like a superball to the brain. Basically, this track is the little orphan Annie of hidden indie pop hits. King Trode’s Space Parachute is exactly what it would sound like if you took Sega Genesis video game music and added vocals that sounded eerily similar in style to those of Dal Winslow of The Trashmen singing the 60′s classic, Surfin Bird (aka “The Bird is the Word” song.)

However, it’s worthwhile to discuss the other content included on the EP. The second track, Ralph Was a Homosexual is an electronic dance jam based around a sample taken from a bizarre 1961 PSA titled Boys Beware, which warns against the dangers of “homosexual predators.” There are no lyrics to speak of other than the voice from the sample saying “Ralph was a homosexual” at various speeds (and sometimes abbreviated.) It reminds me of techno songs from the early 90s, which used samples from old movies during a brief break in the music, followed by the beat kicking back in. L.A Style’s hit, James Brown is Dead is a classic example of this, as well as Euphoria’s I like Noise. However, Nally’s song is more of a laid back, hypnotic space synth than any kind of intense opera techno. My favorite part of the song is the Simon Says / Close Encounters styled synth that makes an appearance at the 1:36 part. I wish it had come earlier in the song, but it’s worth the wait.

The next song, MACH!NEZ is a brief one, clocking in at just less than a minute, but it makes good use of panning and the beat is impressively memorable. I could actually see MACH!NEZ being used as some kind of techno-futurist or transhumanist national anthem, to be played before animatronic basketball games someday.

The EP rounds out with a 9 minute live recording of Phteven Universe performing at The Sound Hole in Philadelphia, PA. For a live venue performance the music comes through surprisingly crystal clear. I was expecting it to sound kind of shitty with a lot of drunk normie voices and feedback in the background. So, even though this EP is technically four tracks, it actually includes several “bonus” songs within the live performance track, each of which are of excellent listening quality.

Space Parachute is a solid EP in its totality, but it is worth it even for just the opening song.

EYES ACUTE, SPACE PARACHUTE,
WAS WONDERING, IF YOU LIKE TO DO IT AGAIN!

Yes, I think I will listen to this again. Don’t mind if I do.

For more info:
https://choamcharity.bandcamp.com/album/space-parachute

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