It’s always nice to hear a band that truly appreciates the bass. This instrument can be so neglected in mixes, but when it’s unleashed in just the right way, it can set a truly powerful foundation that enhances everything around it. State of Ember is a three piece band that knows how to make the most of their rock trio. While alternative rock isn’t what it used to be, it’s honestly refreshing to hear some strong drumming and some dynamic guitar work. Lead by a strong yet relatively reserved vocal, Ghost of You is a song that doesn’t need to scream or fight the listener in order to feel like a commanding presence.
There’s a lot of effort here for a song that honestly won’t break too many rules. The structure is sound, the dynamics have peaks and valleys without whispered or blaring sections, and the overall themes are consistent. This song could sneak onto many a playlist without risking being too anomalous. While some might not be able to recognize edge that isn’t skin deep, State of Ember has composure and control where many fringier bands can only flail and hope they hit their target. Ghost of You is a song that knows what it’s doing and makes me miss some of the fantastic alternative rock songs of days passed. Is there more to come? Can we revive the spirit and bring this back into fashion? With State of Ember, we just might have a chance.
Drag is a wonderfully enticing musical journey. Brooding and dramatic storm clouds of sound gather before electronic pulses, staccato beats and finally scratchy guitar riffs build the songs real structure. It is hypnotic and fun, takes some strange vocally effected detours and seems to blend the sonic experiments of those early-post punks with the vision of a possible new electro-clash future.
It is glitchy and occasionally confrontationally odd, or maybe just oddly confrontational and like all great music it offers a certain predictability but still throws enough leftfield curveballs at the listener, thus satisfying both sides of the musical brain. A betting man would probably put money on the fact that our Hero has a poster of Kraftwerk on his studio wall, right next to one for Fritz Lang’s Metropolis!
While the world of stringed instruments is expansive and can satisfy curiosities and cravings of many types, it’s highly regarded that one of the most expressive accessories since the invention of the pick itself: the slide. They can be glass, brass and a whole lot else in between. Despite how beloved the sound can be, it’s generally reserved for luaus and country ballads, with little else taking advantage of the unique and unmistakable sound. Stranger Things by Hypnova finds featured vocalist DR King enjoying an electric pop song that’s lead by none other than a sliding hook that’s bound to get people moving in a way that they’ve never done before.
Aside from the excellent hook, Hypnova managed to keep a great beat and finds time for finely-mixed piano parts that underscore DR King’s soulful performance. This is a brief track that doesn’t need to spend time exploring or evolving. It knows what it is and it delivers what the people want. This not only provides an excellent addition to our pre-gaming needs, but gives us two great names to follow (if we aren’t already). There’s plenty to look forward to as far as sounds from Hypnova and performances by DR King. Maybe we’ll even see more collaboration in the future. Stranger Things have happened…
With a name like Rumble Skulls, one could gather a pretty clear picture in their mind of what’s to come. Blaring guitars, rough vocals and pounding drums akin to countless bar-scene metal groups are the expectation. Now, meet the reality. Clouds of Darkness is a minimalist track that’s driven by an uplifting piano and a soft vocal. The content of the song is somewhere between expectation and reality, dwelling on harsh and depressing themes with little to no hope injected into the lyrics. Relying on delivery, this song creates something beautiful from sadness, reminding us of how music truly can speak where words fail.
Rumble Skulls is tame and careful in their exploration of themes, never falling to the level of its inspirations. This gives the listener an impression of being on the outside looking in. This type of perspective play makes for a really interesting track comprised of simple elements and simple themes. Something like dark clouds can mean infinitely much and Rumble Skulls is set on exploring that. Whether you need a track to bring you out of an existential funk or even soften the blow as you fall into one, this track acts as a unique stepping stone between impossibly different moods.
Sometimes music can move you. It can touch your soul with the darkest of concepts and creep into your thoughts, consuming your being with a relentless yearning to dwell and implore until you disappear for moments of your life and feel truly at one with the art you’ve witnessed. This is not one of those times. Terry Swan brings impressive rapping to a fun and energetic track with She Textin Me.
She Textin Me populates a simple beat and a captivating sine-wave pattern with layered call and response vocals that are as entertaining as they are carefree. While music can cross into high art, sometimes you just need to let go and enjoy yourself. Terry Swan sets up this track for plenty of good times to be had. It’s light-hearted, it’s silly, it’s catchy, and most importantly, it’s good. This track won’t go out of its way to change your world, but it can give some momentum to a good night out. What more can you ask for?
Soft and strong aren’t always words that you’ll hear next to each other, but it would be harder to find better descriptors of The Answer by Troy Kaszas. This track brings back fond memories of adult alternative at the turn of the century and dips playfully into the more colorful elements of modern pop. Amidst a dense mix that never feels overcrowded, Kaszas displays a penchant for intimate, piano-driven verses that explode into guitar layers that might surprise local rock musicians. Beyond this, there is even time found for filtered electronic touches that really help the song stand out among anyone who would liken it to many groups in the alternative scene
The Answer is more than a sing-along for fans, it’s an emotional expression that shouldn’t be overlooked. In an age where hits can be about anything from what drugs we’re taking to literally describing dance moves in-time with a beat, Kaszas serves as an example of what many aspire to when they think of music as a medium of communicating things that won’t always translate from words alone. The Answer is a track that could grace a shopping mall speaker with its ease of tone one night and then erupt as echoes from a distant arena the night after. Whether you’re looking for something soft or something strong, this song may be The Answer.
Shadow Horse is a heavy metal band hailing from Nashville, Tennessee. Their music immediately stands out for its broad range and for the band’s unique approach to songwriting, denoting a truly special personality and an original twist that bridges the gaps between old school and contemporary metal.
The band’s recent single, “Spear”, is a great example of the well-refined sonic mechanism at the core of the band’s tone. The song has some really great riffs, a dense, heavy beat and more importantly, a smooth vocal flow that sits perfectly on top of the instruments, easily cutting through the mix.
On “Spear”, Shadow Horse showcases a driven attitude, with lots of talent and a unique vision. Their tone could be described as a refreshing blend of doom and heavy metal, echoing the work of influential artists such as Black Sabbath, Judas Priest or Arch Enemy, only to mention a few of the bands that come to mind while listening to this music.
For budding musicians, one of the most consistently overlooked elements of what makes music great is the lower frequency spectrum of a song, also known as the bass. Velour Fog & Angie C know how to put together a house-inspired track, but bring a bit extra in the bass department on Givin’ It Up. This track will get you dancing, assuring the whole club a good time, especially those who may be physically moved if too close to a speaker. Besides a great beat and low end, a strong vocal performance cements this song’s credibility as an EDM hit. But wait, there’s more…
Other than the solid foundations of this song, one of the most standout ingredients to this track would be featured artist Lambert McGaughy. The smooth and dreamy saxophone transitions on Givin’ It Up remind us exactly how nice it can be to see featured artist collaborations in a music scene saturated with people working on tracks together just for networking purposes. This is a clear example of a musician being placed right where something special is needed and seizing that opportunity with style and flare.
Anyone who misses high-energy rock being on top needs to open their ears and join the mayhem that is Generation. Off of their debut EP is I Like It, a track that doesn’t waste time letting you know what you’re in for and pulls you into a wild ride of quick, sloppy rock that sounds fresh out of your neighborhood’s finest garage. With some socio-political overtones borrowed from punk ancestry and just enough transduction on the vocals to add a lo-fi tinge, Generation doesn’t need to reinvent the wheel to know how to get it turning.
I Like It sounds like a leather jacket, and if that description alone doesn’t make you want to listen, you should be looking somewhere else for your music. This isn’t something meant for arenas or ballrooms, but ballroom bashes have made it further from more humble beginnings. It’s always wonderful to know that no matter how much technology changes and the industry evolves, there are always groups like Generation to remind us how fun music can be if we just remember to rock out once in a while. In other words…I like it.
Take your time is a sweet, mellow and soft-spoken single by singer/songwriter Lady Katherine. Her warm voice and mellow production aesthetics make me think of the work of influential performers such as Dido, Imogen Heap or Daughter.
This song gently unfolds, revealing more layers and elements as the track moves forward. Initially, the song creates a nice, minimal texture just by blending piano and vocals – later, however, the fabric of the song is augmented with tasteful electric guitar melodies. There aren’t many notes, but the notes that are there are extremely powerful, with some beautiful reverb and delay effects. I love the sound of the drums, particularly the snare tone, which is fat, powerful and driven, truly helping sustain the rhythm and the groove.
The lyrics to the song are melancholic, romantic and gentle, with a rather introspective touch. I love how this song explores various sonic elements, ranging from pop to rock, alternative and even post rock.
This is a truly interesting single from an artists who reveals a multifaceted personality and a stunning approach to songwriting and production. Can’t wait to hear more!