“The first release from DIVINATION, the forthcoming album by Emerald Suspension”
“Mildred Pierce / Millard Filmore” is a song from the DIVINATION album. It begins with a cover of Mildred Pierce by Sonic Youth and then continues into Millard Filmore which is an arrangement of the notes in Mildred Pierce in reverse order. The video is a variation on the Alice in Wonderland story with a twist on the relationship between the White Rabbit and Alice.
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.
“Comes a Moment” is a brand new release from Jonathan Cavier’s new album, “Premier.” Both the video and the song itself are highly impressive. Cavier’s music reflect a contemporary sound, influenced by pop and rock of the 80s and 90s. Despite Jonathan’s 80′s influences, “Comes a Moment” doesn’t come off as retro or “gimmicky.” This is a polished and well put together track from a seasoned professional. The theme of the song seems to be how time flies, relayed through a story of two parents’ amazement at how fast their daughter has grown up. It deals with both the struggles of change and the promise of the future.
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.
I’m always pretty stoked when I get the chance to review a metal band. In terms of contemporary music, metal sometimes seems like one of the only authentic genres. The artists tend to be less concerned with hype and superficiality and more passionate about music.
“Judgemetal” is a four piece metal band, based out of Essex, UK. Their new single, “Belong,” was just released on Hydrus Records. It’s a high quality, high energy track that doesn’t disappoint. It captures the ambiance of metal perfectly and the technical aspects of the song are all very solid. Wisely the band keeps with the traditional sound and doesn’t ruin the recording with a lot of obnoxious vocal effects (unlike so many newer artists.) What really impresses me though is the video for the song. It actually has the somewhat vintage aesthetic of a late 80′s-early 90s music video(whether intentional or not) and would not be out of place on an old episode of Headbanger’s Ball. “Belong” is a respectable release from an up and coming metal band. Expect to hear more from them in the future.
Gilbert Engle continues to display his music versatility and technical proficiency, the latest example to come across my desk being his 2016 “Piano Sonatas” release. These tunes maintain a feverish pace throughout and convey a lively, bright and upbeat mood. One can envision a scenario where crowds of people they are moving briskly through the sidewalks of a bustling metropolis, set to this music. “Piano Sonata 8,” one of the best tracks on the album, is an excellent example of this. All of the songs are simply numbered this way rather than given esoteric abstract titles. It gives a certain businesslike and perhaps modernist quality to the overall aesthetic. Engle delivers pure substance and never seems to rely on catchy titles or sloganeering in his work. His focus is entirely on creating the best piece of music possible. This is extremely refreshing when one considers that a good portion of contemporary music is almost entirely based around the marketing and image, with little attention paid to actual songwriting or even the music itself.
Engle’s piano handiwork is meticulously performed with an articulated precision. My favorite track is “Piano Sonata 4″ I listened to several times in a row. It gave off the vibe of a hypnotic roller coaster ride with it’s teeter-totter of highs and lows and ups and downs. Even though the piano is the only instrument being used, this is by no means a somber or light album. The fast forward pacing gives these songs all the heightened energy of a downtown afternoon. It’s a terrific collection of tunes which are yet another representation of both the prolific level of output and quality that Gilbert somehow manages to maintain.
Sunterra is a well known Austrian independent metal band that is making a comeback after a 10 year hiatus. On the surface their appearance resembles that of a standard metal band, but appearances can be deceiving. Their new album, “Reborn,” while retaining the ambiance and aesthetic of old school metal is actually an eclectic mix which incorporates gothic, industrial, electro, and even dubstep elements. These various elements are subtly and meticulously merged together, creating a distinct and cohesive sound (essentially metalstep) while not coming across as a stew of mush by combining all these different ingredients. A lot of metal bands look only to the purity and heroes of the past, so Sunterra’s creative approach and commitment to the future is refreshing.
You can listen to it here:
Charles Luck and Tino Red team up here to create the musical number, “One Love.” It’s one of those light and refreshing summertime pop songs, the kind with a little bit of hip hop flavor thrown in. This actually reminds me of the kind of jam you would hear in the fun romantic scenes of a late 90s or early 2000s teen movie. Or it would work well as music in a commercial for just about anything love oriented. It doesn’t come across as cheesy though, just straightforward and solid quality.
A lot of rappers can’t sing at all and simply rely on style, lyrical ability and flow, but Tino Red sings incredibly well. He shows his range and artistic versatility throughout. He could probably excel as a professional vocalist in almost any musical genre.
The audio quality once again is top notch. It actually sounds better than most of what you’d hear on the radio (from an artistic standpoint as well as content and production wise.) I don’t know how these guys can put out so much material. It’s really coming together for them.