Regarding instrumentality, I feel like the execution of the horns is perfect. Tonally, Hanoi Ragmen are adventurous without being "extra." At times, I find myself thinking I am hearing completely different instruments, but alas, it is simply a wonderful, creative job with the horns in the song and mix. This song seems right at home on stage, with infinite spacing for solos or "rides" as they are often referred to. There is almost a thematic quality to the progressions the Hanoi Ragmen employ, representative of a mature collective that has an understanding that songwriting is and should be comprised of more than one fun element. Hanoi Ragmen provide us with a layered insightful piece. Isaac Adhoot, Kostia Howard and Marian Morton deliver strong horn parts, which, alongside a solid rhythm section, give a certain swagger that you just can't fake.
"Creatures" is a track, recently released via 72RPM Records, with Rachael Dunn (SirenSong) providing vocals. Beginning with a driving rock beat and crunchy guitar, Joy adds spacey layers to the composition as Dunn's bright vocals make their entrance. The song starts out sonically sweet, but the lyrics create a creepy gotta-get-outta-here vibe, becoming more and more haunting as the atmospherics expand and float into outer space.
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Tomorrow we will see the full release of his new album, Abloom, on Shore Dive Records. For today, we'll enjoy the single, "Joab." The song begins with a twangy pop-rock guitar riff that instantly generates a nostalgic 90s atmosphere and sets an upbeat pace. A steady rock beat, playful bass line, and Phil's vocals arrive to propel the track forward. Additional acoustic and electronic elements come in and out of the track, pushing and pulling to accentuate lush sonic layers. "Joab" is a song to listen to on a rainy summer day, when rays of sunlight sparkle through parting clouds. The Raft will leave you with a feeling of nostalgia and the urge to take a road trip.
The audio aesthetic, matching tones, timbre, the development of the groove throughout the song - all these variables play into what makes a groove legit. Tiger Mimic approaches grooves with a focus and swagger that only maturing musicians can achieve. It's about picking spots, biding time and knowing when to "open up." The guitarist's tone selections through out the lead lines show attitude without blowing the spot up. "I Took Off My Body" is dripping with sensuality without being transparent, giving the song depth. These are hallmarks of a song that will leave your ears happy as it plays on repeat. Bravo.
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The track begins with a stripped down rock beat, then introduces a deep bass and sparkling keys. The electronic elements inform the listener that the song is more than it appears, and finally a playful electric guitar chimes in. The instrumentation composes the stage for an atmospheric alt-pop song - much more chill than what you'd imagine if asked to listen to a new K-Pop song. "Disappearing Ways" is an anthem for the change of the seasons, for moments that slip between your fingertips. Sit back, relax, and let it all fade away.
Your debut Album "No Mood" was released last month, what influenced the sound and songwriting for the tracks?
Blake Mills’ first record, Break Mirrors, set me on the path of this project more than anything. I’d come back to it again and again, for the songwriting, arrangements, production… I find every minute of that album so inspiring.
What's your songwriting process?
I pounce on different instruments and try to start writing something before the judge-y part of my brain can get in the way. I also go for lots of walks. I'm not sure how productive they are, but the walks are my favorite part.
Is there a hidden meaning in any of your music?
Sure. There are a lot of unintended meanings at least, that I find buried in there later. I almost always like what they end up being.
What are your future plans for your music?
We'll be playing shows through the rest of the year — follow us online to stay in the loop! And already at work on the next record, more news on that soon.
What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
I went to a theater and saw this movie, where the picture kept cutting to black random moments. I thought it was supposed to be experimental and I was pretty into it. But it turned out the theater was just having trouble with the projector.
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The drummer does a wonderful job of adding to the intimacy of the track by not doing too much too soon, yielding a long, intimate build that's classy, sexy, and very psychedelic. I'm impressed by the additional guitar work as well; there are some really intriguing sounds that the guitarist generates that shouldn't be overlooked.
Another pleasant surprise from Kosher Green is the use of woodwinds about two-thirds into the track. The use of these instruments somehow creates an even more introspective and diverse sound without leaving the energy of the vibe established at the beginning of the track - it's a great step. This leads to the closing of the song, which is started by the band opening up a bit in terms of the groove, with the drummer showing his snap while still occupying a non-intrusive place in the ensemble. I'm left wondering how some of the tones of the strings were made.
"BLU DRM" by Kosher Green is the type of song you listen to while staring in the eyes of your love in the afterglow of intimacy. One of the most delicate moments two people can share together.
The track is a dark and angsty bit of folk noir, shown in both the melancholic undulation of the instrumentation and the lyrics, which explore themes of poverty, gambling, and isolation. Regarding the inspiration behind the song, Gemma states, “Nursing hangovers on a Saturday morning we shared our saddest stories and came up with the opening line “I’m never going back”; from there the song wrote itself.”
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Rock music can be difficult to execute. The nature of the genre demands navigating a fine line between complexity and simplicity. Light and Heavy. Soft and Hard. The best master the balance of these opposing forces and Artificial Flavors, the debut EP from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania quartet screamcloud gives me the impression the band takes mastering this balance seriously.
My listening began with the EP's namesake, "Artificial Flavors." The band wasted no time falling into a somehow lazy, yet snappy groove that got my attention early. I believe this song was listed second on the track-list, but understand why It played first if it wasn't user error. There is an apathetic tone established with the groove that Vocalist Emily Daly perfectly harnesses the power of with both her voice and lyrics "is my heart still beating?" The culmination of all these elements set the stage for a refreshingly early, perfectly executed guitar solo. This is the type of song that gets you through a long day. I found myself listening multiple times before moving on. I tend to like material that's a little catchy; I feel like this EP satiated me in that regard.
I enjoy the feeling of remembering and experiencing songs that strike a chord in my mind. The band did a solid job executing their material in the studio. Their takes sound organic and heartfelt. I could care less about the production techniques used, I simply want to relate to the feelings an artist is communicating. "In Real Life" struck me as a road trip song, the kind you listen to in the middle of a 8-hour trek after being up (maybe a few days?) as you contemplate your place in life. The steady rhythm section establishes itself without fanfare and hums along much like a car on cruise control. Charles McQuiggan and Danielle Lovier play with control, giving Emily Daly and guitarist Joshua Curry (I assume) time to work respectively, before blooming into a short, but classy psychedelic jam. As I gave it a second and third listen, "In Real Life" struck me as a lullaby too. My 7-week old son passing out in my lap as we listened probably influenced my perception there.
"Routine" begins with gnarly guitar riffage before a slick drum beat drives things forward. The baritone was a great choice for any "grunge" or "garage" band. It has the versatility to either thicken the rhythm section or be a solo instrument. I wish it was a bit longer, which is a compliment, and I hope the band takes their time with it on stage.
screamcloud did a great job on their first offering, at times reminding me of Sweethead, other times Garbage, and sometimes Warpaint, all for different reasons. If they keep this up, I may have a new band to follow.
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