What you really think Accidental Allies are all about depends upon which thread you pick at first. Start one end and they are a synth-pop act doing a spot of avant gardening, start somewhere else and they are an acoustic act building electronic platforms underneath deft, classical guitar lines. Others might think of them more as a dance band heading off into more progressive territory, or a soul band having embraced a futuristic vision of what the genre might become.
The reality is that they are all of those things or none of them, they might be a wide-ranging eclectic mix or a very singular roadmap towards their own musical destination. Not that it really matters, it is only when you try to write things down, to turn music into words that you come up against the limitations of language. Until they invent the right words to properly describe what is going on here you will just have to access their world via your ears and imagination. It is a world of interesting musical choices, mercurial stylistic blends, genre hopping and genre splicing, why would you try to capture that in word form?
Chris Avetta is a singer and songwriter with a passion for haunting indie-folk melodies. Her recent track, Sway, makes me think of artists such as Fleet Foxes or First Aid Kit, just to mention a few. Her sound is versatile, direct and forward-thinking, often showcasing a really unique personality and an ability to create outstanding arrangements starting from the sheer simplicity of the core elements in a song.
Sway is a perfect example of that: the arrangement is relatively sparse, but there are many incredible production characteristics that really add space and texture to the mix. For instance, the stunning reverb tones really do a great job at adding textures and depth to the track.
The Woodshedders is a band whose formula falls somewhere in between the energetic edge of rock music and the intimacy of folk. Their recent album release, Talisman, makes me think of the work of artists such as Fleet Foxes or My Morning Jacket: their atmospheres are bright and mellow, yet the song has a spark to it, bursting with warmth and vibe.
“Diamond Rings” blinks an eye to Celtic folk, while “House On Fire” has an amazing big band blues sound that almost reminds me of the mighty Rolling Stones! These are only two of my favorite tracks on the album.
The arrangement of these songs is particularly amazing because it balances a more traditional approach with something more unique and experimental. The vocal sound, for example, never falls short and sits on top of the mix beautifully, with a silky smooth tones. The drums are airy, yet energetic and present, truly cutting through the song and allowing the overall tone to really gel together. This song clocks in at 5 minutes, and its structure is refreshingly dynamic, taking the listener along for an amazing ride and making for a very compelling musical journey.
“Diamond Rings” blinks an eye to Celtic folk, while “House On Fire” has an amazing big band blues sound that almost reminds me of the mighty Rolling Stones!
Ethan Cole is quickly building a great reputation for himself within the local music scene and beyond due to his earnest sound and passionate approach. His music blurs the barriers between genres such as country, folk and indie-pop, while his unmistakable vocals reign over the songs arrangements seamlessly.
On his recent release, Supermoon Eclipse, Ethan set out to create a charming sonic tapestry where great melodies blend in with stunning harmonies and upbeat energy in equal doses. This is one of those songs that couple listeners to stick around and pay attention from start to finish, due to the sheer power of the arrangement and the unique strength of the musicianship displayed within the track.
This song echoes the work of artists such as Wilco, Ryan Adams or Fleet Foxes, going for a simple, yet lush and far-reaching sound.
Illustrada is a project with a very understated and intimate way to combine indie-folk with pop. Their recent single, Wide Eyed Tigress, is a track that blends in lush shoegaze textures with earnest folky guitars and beautiful vocals that remind me of the work of artists such as The Tallest Man On Earth, Ben Howard or Fleet Foxes, just to mention but a few. While the acoustics strum gently, electric guitars create beautiful textures that make me think of the work of artists such as Sigur Ros.
The arrangement of this song is simple and not too cluttered, yet the tune has a rich and deep sound, full of beautiful ambiance. The vocals are present, seamlessly cutting through the mix without overpowering. Wide Eyed Tigress certainly stands out for its simplicity: the song is elegant, classy and understated: this simple formula goes a long way, serving the project well. I love the playfulness of this song, as well as it’s sweet and delicate overtones.