Posts Tagged ‘examiner’

deardarkhead at Examiner

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Eureka California at Examiner

Other than the name, Eureka California holds no association to the town of Eureka nor the state of California. It is a band from Athens, GA (by way of NC) known for its raw blustery sound built around crunchy guitar riffs and the right amount of fuzziness. Head honcho Jake Ward is the brains, heart, lungs, liver and colon of the group penning songs that express a modicum of disdain towards our dysfunctional society, people that just “don’t get it” and over all life in general. The latest record – Versus – due out at the end of March is another fine collection of sardonic songs that find Ward letting everyone know just how he feels about things.

The brooding “Another Song About TV” gnaws at listener’s ears with grinding guitars and Ward’s piercing vocals as he sings about people substituting social interaction with an increasing amount of time in front of the idiot box. The rat-a-tat-tat of a snare explodes into a sonic wonderland on “Sober Sister” and Ward’s warble is at the forefront on “Caffeine” before being covered with layers of fuzz infested guitars. The songs “Everyone Had a Hard Year”,“Eureka California’s Night In” and “Sign My Name With an X” are short sweet and offer up Ward’s pessimistic view on the world. The album comes to a close with the epic tune “I Will Write Mine Over Potomac”. A gentle beginning escalates into chaos before Ward wrangles things back under his control. It is the perfect cross section of everything that is good about Eureka California’s music.

Versus fits perfectly within Eureka California’s collection of albums. The band’s music is raw, opinionated and in your face which is what makes it so intriguing. The songs question the status quo and encourage listeners to think about what Ward is saying. If you want music that is more substance that flash the Eureka California’s Versus is what you need to be listening to.

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Great Lakes at Examiner

After emerging from the Athens, GA psychedelic pop world of the 90’s Great Lakes relocated to Brooklyn New York leaving their whimsical pop tunes behind. With a new home, Ben Crum made the decision to take his music into a darker direction writing songs that were a bit more substantial and personable. Once again enlisting the services of peers Suzanne Nienaber, Kevin Shea, David Lerner and Joe McGinty Great Lakes set out on a course that would lead to Wild Vision.

The songs on Wild Vision find Crum and friends at a place in life that seems comfortable. Crum’s writing has evolved and the songs resonate this. The soothing “Kin to the Mountain”blends beautiful melodies paired with the vocal harmonies of Crum & Nienaber as they sing about life. Each song on the record stands out because of something different. “Nature Is Always True” is an enjoyable track loaded with jaunty guitars and sweet pedal steel that swirl around Crum’s haunting vocals. The up tempo “Beauties of the Way” provides a 70’s vibe vacant of the soothing country flavors of many of the tunes. On “Swim the River” Great Lakes delivers a soothing soundscape built with multiple layers of sound that all complement each other. A song that really catches listener’s ears is “Wild Again”. This track builds with intensity before exploding into a wild guitar orgy at the end. It encompasses all that is good about Great Lakes music.

Wild Vision is an album that seems simple with songs about relationships and complications of life but when you peel back the surface it is obvious there is much more there. Crum’s words sometimes take a back seat to the marvelous arrangements that flow around and through them so be sure to absorb what he has to say. Great Lakes is an entity that has evolved from a band playing music that was fun to a band playing music with meaning and substance. Hit play, turn up the volume and get lost in the music.

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Great Lakes at Examiner

After emerging from the Athens, GA psychedelic pop world of the 90’s Great Lakes relocated to Brooklyn New York leaving their whimsical pop tunes behind. With a new home, Ben Crum made the decision to take his music into a darker direction writing songs that were a bit more substantial and personable. Once again enlisting the services of peers Suzanne Nienaber, Kevin Shea, David Lerner and Joe McGinty Great Lakes set out on a course that would lead toWild Vision.

The songs on Wild Vision find Crum and friends at a place in life that seems comfortable. Crum’s writing has evolved and the songs resonate this. The soothing “Kin to the Mountain”blends beautiful melodies paired with the vocal harmonies of Crum & Nienaber as they sing about life. Each song on the record stands out because of something different. “Nature Is Always True” is an enjoyable track loaded with jaunty guitars and sweet pedal steel that swirl around Crum’s haunting vocals. The up tempo “Beauties of the Way” provides a 70’s vibe vacant of the soothing country flavors of many of the tunes. On “Swim the River” Great Lakes delivers a soothing soundscape built with multiple layers of sound that all complement each other. A song that really catches listener’s ears is “Wild Again”. This track builds with intensity before exploding into a wild guitar orgy at the end. It encompasses all that is good about Great Lakes music.

Wild Vision is an album that seems simple with songs about relationships and complications of life but when you peel back the surface it is obvious there is much more there. Crum’s words sometimes take a back seat to the marvelous arrangements that flow around and through them so be sure to absorb what he has to say. Great Lakes is an entity that has evolved from a band playing music that was fun to a band playing music with meaning and substance. Hit play, turn up the volume and get lost in the music.

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deardarkhead / Animal Daydream at Examiner

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Try the Pie, Antlered Auntlord, SPC ECO at Examiner

Try the Pie

Try The Pie is Bean Tupou’s labor of love. With the highly regarded Domestication under her belt Tupou has released – Rest – a collection of songs from 2005 – 2008. The 13 self-recorded tracks allow listeners to partake in Tupou’s music at the embryonic level. The tunes are stripped down to just her voice and a guitar as she sings about things that are on her mind. The songs on Rest weave in and out of relationship issues, love and living life with Tupou using hot days, trains and bunkbeds as metaphors. The raw sound lends to the frailty of this collection of songs. They are imperfect just like life. Tupou’s voice is at the forefront of this album baring its naked soul for all to judge and it is her wispy vocals that give each track its strength. Try The Pie demonstrates that a catchy melody and strong lyrics make a great song. Big productions have their place, luckily for listeners it is not on this record.

Antlered Aunt Lord

The debut record from Antlered Aunt Lord – Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and On Fire) – is a wild trip through the mind of Jesse Stinnard (Tunnabunny). The record suffers from multiple personality disorder as Stinnard gives us songs that range from brilliance to what the hell was that. The tracks “Monopilot” and “Questions From Our Publicist” utilize catchy pop melodies and jangly guitars allowing Stinnard’s vocals to flow freely over this incredible soundscape into listener’s ears. Stinnard refuses to be safe and many times wanders into an area that walks the thin line between noise and music. A wall of noise rushes from the speakers on “Abandoned Car”, “Classic Nu New Uncomfortable Bumblebee Dub” is a weird jazz infused tune and “Sciatica” is a chunky punk infused track the rattles the brain. It is this inconsistency in Antlered Aunt Lord’s tunes that makes this different and worth listening to. With each listen something different is discovered as Stinnard mixes a plethora of instruments, sounds and noises throughout the album. The 19 songs keep listeners wondering what comes next as they progress through each track. Ostensibly Formerly Stunted (and On Fire) draws comparisons to the eclectic albums by Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices). There is no set pattern nor plan to the music it is just there to enjoy.

SPC ECO 

Consisting of Rose Berlin, Dean Garcia and a group of collaborators that could take all day to list make up SPC ECO. In 2015 SPC ECO released Dark Matter, a collection of esoteric music built around haunting melodies, synthesized sounds and Berlin’s soothing vocals. Listeners are sucked into SPC ECO’s soundscape on a journey that seems to slow down time. Songs such as “Creep In The Shadows”, “Under My Skin” and “Breathe” are beautiful demonstrations in music showing how delicate it can be. With “The Whole World Shines” and “Let It Always Be” things get a bit more experimental. The music has an edge but Berlin’s vocals keep it from careening out of control. Dark Matter is an album that requires a bit of investment from the listeners. The traditional song structure is not there but Berlin’s & Garcia’s ability to stray from the musical norm is what makes this worth the listen.

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Fireworks at Examiner

Catchy guitar hooks, pop infused melodies vocal harmonies and a punk attitude are all on the menu as the Fireworks introduce listeners to their debut record Switch Me On. Taking listeners on a fast paced romp through their musical world, the young band from England is the real deal backing up its punk attitude with raw unfiltered guitars, overpowering rhythms and a healthy dose of good old fashioned angst.

Switch Me On opens with a bit of anger on “With My Heart”. Emma Hall unleashes a tirade towards the guy that has done her wrong creating an instant bond with anyone that has gone through this. At the end of the song Matthew Rimmel’s vocals come in over top of Hall’s giving the song an extra layer of goodness. The track “On and On” finds Hall’s vocals weaving through Rimmel’s blistering guitars and the big bold rhythms care of Isabel Alviol (bass) and Shaun Chairman (drums). Once again she is singing about a relationship gone sour but instead of letting the offending party have a piece of her mind there is regret for letting them leave without saying a word. Rimmel’s static engulfed guitars try to take control of “Runaround” but catchy melodies, well placed tambourines and Hall’s vocals fight through the fuzz keeping it from becoming a muddied mess. On the titular track “Switch Me On” the Fireworks create a sound that is sonically similar to Jesus & Mary Chain while the booming drums and Rimmel’s vocals on “Final Say” remind me of early Iggy Pop. One of the catchier tunes on the record is the jangly “Let You Know”. Opening with a Lemonheads vibe the song quickly evolves into an 80’s post punk sound as Rimmel sings about letting someone know you have feelings for them. The album ends with the bare bones somber “In the Morning”. It seems out of place with the rest of the songs on Switch Me On and at first I had the feeling it was a throw away track until I listened to it a second time and realized it is quite brilliant.

Switch Me On is a nice collection of songs from a band that refuses to fall in line with what is popular. The Firecracker’s music stands out among the throngs of bubble gum pop, electronica and pretend punk groups because they embrace the past in their music instead of thumbing their noses at it. After listening to the 13 tracks on their debut record I conclude that the Firecrackers realize good music is more about the substance than the flair. If you dig kick ass rock music then add Switch Me On to your playlists.

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American Culture at Examiner

Sometimes good music needs to be found while searching among the record bins, the internet and intimate live music clubs. For every Fall Out Boy and One Direction there are a dozen bands that do not have massive marketing campaigns, hours of airplay, big production budgets or copious amounts of TV exposure. It is these independent musicians that deliver more creative and better sounding music almost every time out,American Culture is included in this category.

Emerging from the Four Corners Desert, American Culture has delivered an expirament in lo-fi music Pure American Gum. The ten track album takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of the bands orchestrated noise. Always on the verge of careening into utter chaos underlying pop melodies provide the guard rails that preserve order with in the album. Theor songs are short and to the point packing more intrinsic value in two minutes than most bloated musicians can muster in four or five. Songs such as “My Teeth Are Sharp”and “ We Wanna Go To The Movies” are built around rhythms that sludge along with jangly guitars breaking through adding a melodic foundation to hang onto. They follow no set formula which doesn’t matter because that is what makes them good. “Just Driving Around” is one of the more ambitious tunes on the record. American Culture combines a plethora of musical layers creating a big bold sound. The complimentary vocals on “I Wanna Be Your Animal” are the strength that drives the song and you get to see their punk side on the loud and aggressive “About A Friend”. The meat of this record is supplied by a trifecta of songs, “Social Anxiety”, “I Like American Culture” and “And That’s Enough For Me”. Fierce guitar playing leads the way as the nonchalant slacker vocals weave their way through the myriad of rhythms and melodies providing the attitude of the record.

From start to finish Pure American Gum is an entertaining listen. Catchy riffs, infectious melodies and quirky lyrics show American Culture is more worried about substance that style. Pulling from their influences you can hear a bit of Sonic Youth, Guided By Voices and Dinosaur Jr in every song. If you want to listen to rehashed formulaic music then by all means go right ahead, but if you want to jam to music that will stimulate your aural senses give American Culture a spin.

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Black Watch at Examiner

The Black Watch is a long standing labor of love for John Andrew Fredrick. He has consistently churned out quality lo-fi music for god knows how long while building a devout legion of fans in the process. Hanging out below mainstream music’s radar has become Frederick’s home as he treats listeners to songs that fit somewhere between 80’s new wave and Guided By Voices.

On the latest release, Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy, Fredrick is once again the driving force behind The Black Watch writing all the songs and playing most of the instruments. The opening track, “Sugarplum Fairy”, is almost impossible not to like. Fuzz filled guitars chug along as Fredrick’s low melodic voice dancers around the music. It is a perfect first track hooking listeners and getting them to want to travel deeper into the record. With each song on Sugarplum Fairy you are rewarded with something different from the depths of Fredrick’s cranium. On the track “Scream” you get a world built around jangly guitars, on “Quietly Now” Fredrick shows how raw he can take the music and on the sparse “A Major Favor” he demonstrates that the Black Watch is about more than just being loud and fuzzy. The song “There You Were” encompasses everything I like about Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy. Fredrick fills the initial 2 minutes of the song with repetitive static filled noise before the song transforms into something incredible. As if he knew we could only stand 2 minutes of his droning guitar the song explodes into a pop infused wonderland full of catchy melodies, jangly guitars and Fredrick’s vocals.

Sugarplum Fairy, Sugarplum Fairy from the Black Watch may not be innovative but it is definitely captivating due to each song offering up something different. The album never become stagnant as Frederick invites us into his musical world. So slide in under the radar and check out the Black Watch.

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Animal Daydream at Examiner

Sometimes less is more and on Easy Pleasure the Swedish band Animal Daydream proves just that. Their latest release is a four track EP that links 60’s pop rock with the sounds of the present. Haunting vocal harmonies weave their way through a wall of melody that is occasionally disturbed by the well placed synthesizers and guitars.

The opening track “Canyon Road” kicks off with jangly guitars giving it a sound reminiscent of the Byrds before erupting in a plethora of different sounds. Even after the spacey melodies invade the track it still retains that mellow classic sound. The song “I Knew You Would Come Along Before Fall” is a mesmerizing tune loaded with soothing melodies kept afloat by subdued rhythms. The addition of strings adds another layer giving the song an uncanny classic feel. Sandwiched between these two gems are the songs “Glass Ships” and “Easy Pleasures”. They really open up the toy box on this duo of songs showcasing what Animal Daydream can do when they utilize all their musical toys.

Easy Pleasures is a fun listen. Animal Daydream packs a lot of sound on to four songs. The multiple layers of music work in harmony without muddying up the listening experience. The icing on the cake, so to speak, is the vocals. Daniel Fridlund Brandt & Alexander Wahl treat their vocals as part of the overall soundscape of their songs being treated as another instrument. Take the time to listen to Easy Pleasures from Animal Daydream and get lost in the music.

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