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.
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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Built on a great groove, the progressive influences of the production do a great job of throwing some listeners for a loop. I began the song expecting certain turns and actions and after a few bars, it became apparent that we were headed down a different musical path. Lord Dodongo guides the listener through a gauntlet of guitar phrasing and groove turns that in some ways remind me of The Mars Volta, masters at defying sonic expectations. The guitar lead lines are well placed, sharp and well executed. "Red Swine" painted my mind with thoughts of serial killers, violence and debauchery...and I liked it. This song is right at home on a Halloween playlist. Lord Dodongo - you nailed it. I would love to see a video for this.
Bitter Lake is the soundtrack to a movement against fascism, poverty, racism, sexism, homophobia, climate destruction, and the oppressive neoliberal agenda. Their latest track, "Rat Food," is no exception. In a world where everything is decried as "fake news" and the only agenda that finds constant success is that of the one percent, Bitter Lake proclaims the truth of the masses.
"Rat Food" begins with a slow and somber bass line and feedback. A melancholic guitar weaves around the bass, setting the dystopian atmosphere of the track. After almost two minutes, the bottom falls out and the metal begins - an angry response to the first part of the song. Dissonant, loud, yet groovy, Bitter Lake's energy soars as Jason Myles screams. Once the message is delivered, the band deposits the listener back to the first riff, a reminder of the situation and message of the song:
"I want to pivot to A REAL state of emergency in the US. One that doesn’t talk about walls and invaders. Our homeless problem [...] I live across from one of the largest homeless encampments in the city of Oakland. Nestled in the bowels of the lower bottoms of West Oakland, CA. I have seen this thing grow exponentially over the last few years. The camp looks like an outlaw city. Made of rubble filled with mostly older people. The rising tide of gentrification has forced these people out of their homes due to rising housing costs, coupled with an inability to find adequate employment to live on, you have quite a disaster on your hands. People living in burnt out cars and RV’s, graffiti covered tents, pallet houses, shopping cart dwellings, all existing among a rising sea of trash. People are still attempting to exist in this post apocalyptic nightmare of humanity. Forging a life, somehow, by any means necessary. " - Jason Myles
Survive no shelter
Survive the starvation
Survive the poison
We are all poisoned
They got us trapped like
Verse 2 from “Rat Food”
I can't get over how well The Psyatics are able to incorporate the saxophone into their psychedelic rock experience, "Psyatic Nerves." Mark B's drumming is a perfect compliment to Jack Bell's guitar. Together, they put Rob Bell in a position to succeed. They do a great job leaving room for him to weave and work toward a greater, bigger vibe than any one instrument can produce.
Next, I decided to spin the video for "Famous Monsters" and was left impressed by the video idea and execution. I would suggest anyone give it a go. I hardly doubt hearing this band in person disappoints, I'm sure their sound is right at home on a desert summer's night, with the wind in your hair, heading to or from your choice of trouble.
I finished my first impression with "Gonna Prey On It," which reintroduces the sax. Very catchy, the verse rhythm reminds me of the 60s. The track makes me think of The B52s, in all the best ways. Overall, I'm extremely excited to have found this band. The energy in The Psyatic's recordings tells me this band genuinely enjoys playing together. That kind of passion, combined with solid material gives us the recipe for religious experiences.
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