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?
I recently attended a De La Sol set at a festival in Queens. I enjoyed an interlude in which a voice from the trio said that sometimes you just need to let the beat play. It’s always nice to hear how artists feel about the things they make and how they make them. It’s also nice to see how artists whose styles vary greatly can agree on certain sentiments. Such is the case with Crow Quilled Confessions. Their track A Human Being on the Planet Earth perfectly demonstrates a group who know how to let the beat play when it needs to.
For the first half of the song, there are several elements introduced that seem to orbit around the catchy, strongly-mixed beat. You might miss some details along the way if you aren’t careful, but one thing is for certain, you will feel that beat. It doesn’t seem like a drum part that needs much elaboration. It may not have much to say. This doesn’t stop Crow Quilled Confessions from letting it lead the charge into the second half, which quickly but organically reinvents its status quo with fuzzy guitars and a bass that triumphantly makes its presence known.
From here, the track becomes a ride. Suddenly the beat has taken a backseat for the exploration of all the other themes that had previously been allowing it to lead. For such a dramatic change in priority to occur while holding onto the mood and tone of the song is a major challenge. Even as the song fades out in its last 30 seconds, you can’t help but feel the beat play on in your mind. This is a song that leaves the speakers and really does affect your mind for moments at a time. It’s not overly complicated, but it’s certainly a fascinating track.
As soon as I saw the cover artwork for “Catch Me” by Blissful Red, I know exactly that I was going to really enjoy this song. The album cover depicts some iconic records by some artists who happen to be among my all-time favourite acts: Iggy & The Stooges, Nirvana, Elliott Smith and more.
These influences can infect easily be traced by in this single. The whispered, soft-spoken vocals create a stunning mellow vibe that echoes the work of artists such as Nick Drake or Elliott Smith himself, but the sound production is a bit more upfront and upbeat, echoing the work of artists such as The Pixes, just to mention a few.
This song is based on stunning layers of beautiful vocal harmonies, strummed acoustic guitars, as well as a steady rhythm section that adds a nice edge to the music.
The song nears the 5-minutes mark, creating a low-key, yet rich sonic atmosphere. This track is actually a perfect example of how artists can actually create really far reaching works by using simple elements and seamless arrangements. In this particular case, Blissful Red managed to build a song based on some truly minimalistic elements, such as guitar, drums and vocals – you don’t need much else to make a good song if you have the right vision!
Hailing from San Diego, multi-talented musician Ross Nicol has been actively at work in Nashville this past year. A classically-trained guitarist who began writing music at 14, Nicol has created a musical style that solidifies his place in the alternative spectrum.
Inspired by the creative story-telling and musical arrangements of Radiohead and Vampire Weekend, while drawing influence from David Bowie and The Beatles, Nicol fuses the analog sounds of the past with a modern, alternative twist. Under the guidance and label imprint of producer Jason Hill (Louis XIV, The Killers), Nicol has two huge releases planned for the year: an EP due for the end of May and a full-length album set for later this summer.
He is in good company, working with the creative minds behind Alabama Shakes, MGMT and Of Montreal, so we are confident this will be a successful summer for the new artist.