There’s a long list of Dirtnap Records acts that I adore, and Steve Adamyk Band is just one of those in that list. So, when they announce a new album, I’m here to tell you about it. It’s an energetic pop punk blaster, furiously pumping along and best consumed at loud volumes. I dig the way the vocals have a gang vocal backing up the main vocal, giving this anthemic punch to the lyrical content. It’s good to see Steve circling back to what he and his band do best; I expect I’ll enjoy Paradise quite a bit when it drops on March 15th.
The ten tracks that make up the debut album from Exasperation show a band confident in their craft, willing to wear their various influences openly. Album opener “Pyre” has this almost spastic punctuated vocal, before it twists into a crunchier blasting riff ride. It’s matched by songs such as “Devil’s Gate,” which has the faintest smell of Les Savy Fav in the angular guitars and vocal delivery. Still, while things often seem sharp and treacherous throughout Paradise, a soft underbelly exists within that only reveals itself when one pulls back layer after layer, song after song…like on “Sludge Plow.” It’s a power ballad of sorts, calm in its appearance, emphatic in its chorus. Venture forth listener, peel back the layers and uncover the secrets of Paradise.
White Lung are on the way to releasing a new album in May, and while they’re in the lead up to said album, they’ve given us two new singles. The second of which, I am glad to share with you today, is called “Kiss Me When I Bleed” and is a little over two minutes of high-energy pop punk. The song features such excellent lyrics as “I will give birth in a trailer/huffing the gas in the air” and the vocals are this twisted and distorted mix of sinister edge, adding the perfect compliment to the screaming guitars and bombastic percussion. Their upcoming record, Paradise, is out May 6th via Domino Records.
There’s a spot in my music rotation for music that’s got a beatastic drive to it, yet wrapped tightly around an operatic voice. For a long while, that spot was held for Patrick Wolf, but it looks like Wolf Colony is going to try and take up those reins quite soon. He’s structured his latest single with dominant beats, albeit infectious ones, and then that voice just soars throughout the track. It might not be my everyday fare, but I’m definitely feeling it today. If it’s your bag, then look for his debut, Unmasked, on March 3rd.
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Perhaps one of the greatest things about listening to Wild Nothing is being aware that the project began as an intimate bedroom affair, possibly not even meant for mass consumption. But, as with all good things, it’s made its way to our ears, and with Nocturne the sounds have become more fleshed out, creating a more dynamic sound that bodes well for Jack and friends.
With a title like Nocturne, you immediately get a darker image than what you might have gotten from the early works such as Gemini. “Shadow” works with that meaning, both in title and in its emotional pull. Sure, there’s still a bit of an angular guitar chiming in, but the lush string arrangements bring out an undercurrent of heavier sentiment. Similarly, the title of “Midnight Song” implies the exact sentiment, but there’s something more energetic lurking here. I’m not sure if it’s the guitar sounds, or Jack’s vocals, but I feel as if there’s more emphasis in this tune; it’s a personal standout for me.
But, one of the things I like from this new recording by Wild Nothing is the smallest of tweaks that demonstrate a branching out of sorts for the group. If you skip through the album to “Paradise” you’re going to find an entirely different guitar line than what you’re used to from the band. It’s almost as if Jack switched up his homage to C86 bands, trading it in for some Northern Soul guitar licks. That being said, the electronic wash present on the track, and the deeper vocal tones still tie it nicely into the thematic darkness of the entire album. It’s a good song to contrast with earlier numbers like “Only Heather,” which gains its energy from the frenetic pace of the drumming here. I can see how the vocals have a similar weight to them, but the guitars are much brighter, and your toes won’t be able to avoid a bit of tapping as you listen to the record at your desk.
Personally, I think there’s sort of a magical quality to Nocturne, and I don’t mean in the sense that it’s going to possess your soul, though it just might. Lyrically and emotionally it seems to carry with it an other-worldly quality that combines bits and pieces of the group’s earlier works with touchstones of its contemporaries. Yet, with all those bits and pieces, something inevitably captures you, pushing your thoughts beyond the mundane. Perhaps wistful is a fitting term to use here, as the title and the mood are affected by a feeling of sadness; I honestly don’t know how to put my finger on it, but I think listeners will completely understand the sentiment after a few runs through.
For those that expected Nocturne to be a complete return to where Wild Nothing left off with Gemini, you might be disappointed. It’s definitely an album consumed by the nature of the title, offering a fair balance between beauty and the vague hints of darkness. Light splashes of energy come and go, but what you’re left with is a record that immediately transports you beyond your status quo; such is the quality of truly great music that can consume us wholly, yet still maintain its intimate qualities.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/08-Paradise.mp3]
Download:Wild Nothing – Paradise [MP3]
Slow Club is one of those bands that I always seem to forget about, but when I return to them, I find myself swept away for several days. For instance, I neglected to review Paradise, their latest LP, and I’m pretty disappointed in myself; I can’t tell you how much I’ve gotten from this record. Luckily, the band just sent out a reminder that their second single from the record, “The Dog”, will be out in stores this week (with a remix from Tom Vek). If you haven’t been introduced to the band as of this point in time, just give a listen here. Those ringing guitars, soaring vocals and pounding rhythms will ahve you rushing to hit repeat.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/1-09-The-Dog.mp3]
Download:Slow Club – The Dog [MP3]