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Monthly Archives: April 2013

Aussie popstar Jacob Butler is another regular on the blog and I have recently been sent an interview he did for Grapevine TV in Australia. Talking about his time in Europe and his recent musical ventures, it seems that Jacob is getting it all pretty sorted. The video includes a pretty awesome acoustic performance of his latest single Mind Waltz too, which I reviewed on its release. Dip into the mind of a talented musician!

 

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A lot of Vasco Da Gama promotion has graced this blog recently and here is just a little bit more. The video for their incredibly catchy track Brigadiers is here and it’s guaranteed to put a smile on your face. A touch of Footloose, some zany Michael Jackson-esque kaleidoscope effects and a lot of serious cool dance moves make it a truly awesome watch. Check it out!

Long-term pop-rockers Matchbox Twenty released their fourth album North last year and Our Song was a Sound Out track that came to me this week. It is an awesome catchy track that will see you right through the spring. The Floridian band rose to fame in 1996 with their debut album Yourself Or Someone Like You and have continued to produce successful albums in the States. Although they’ve never had as much luck in the UK, you can’t help but love this one.

I’ve long been an Avril fan and she was one of my heroines during my teen years and her more edgy phase. Her sound has got more and more poppy in recent times and her new single Here’s To Never Growing Up is a young, carefree anthem that will no doubt be doing the rounds at this summer’s school leavers’ parties everywhere.

fondlytrulyTITLE: Fondly Truly
BAND: Wayne Szalinski
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: April 26th 2013

After my promotion of Vasco Da Gama, I was contacted by another math-rock band who go by the name of Wayne Szalinski. A four-piece from Michigan who have opened shows for bands such as Frontier Ruckus and Mansions On The Moon, they have drummed up a reputation for emotional songs. Their self-titled debut EP was released in September and their second Fondly Truly is now upon us.

Starting with Deerling, the swaying riff introduces some resonating, haunting vocals. The guitars create a smokey air of mystery around the track but it kicks up a gear when the drums come in. Riffs come in arpeggios as it dies down into a chilled, laid-back state. The relaxing tone continues in A Study In Perspective with a repetitive riff that calms the listener and soothes away any stresses. A melodic indie vocal style with long-held notes shows off the voice to perfection. Towards the end, it takes on a more 80s-esque dream pop turn and melts away.

wayneszalinskiSweetness is perhaps a little different in that it has much more of the indie influence in it. The vocal has a very quirky delivery and a whole vintage theme to it in general. Another chilled riff tells us that Wayne Szalinski are all about forgetting worries and creating music that you can simply relax to. The ghostly wail at the end is almost like the singer floating off into oblivion and leaving the cares of planet Earth behind.

Perhaps the most touching track on the EP is Two and Two. The signature gentle riff at the introduction is eventually accompanied by soft indie vocals that speak of keeping secrets from friends. The possible meanings of the track are plentiful and I love that everyone could possibly read something different into it. It certainly focuses on the lyrics which are sung with an impressive vocal range before the instrumental complete with a rather funky riff takes us to the end. It’s a confessional song with so many complexities behind it. Intriguing and brilliant.

Ending on Some Collagist with its dreamy indie vocals and retro tone brings it back around to the simplistic and gentle beginning. The riff sings, the vocals are passionate and the drums are barely heard, which altogether makes it another perfect lullaby song.

Fondly Truly is an EP in which you have to just kick back and relax with. Indeed, Wayne Szalinski are a band who are genius songwriters with a lot of stories floating around their pretty, dreamy songs. Put it on while your in the bath and see if you don’t get out feeling ready and refreshed for anything life throws at you.

modernchemistryepTITLE: We’ll Grow Out Of This
BAND: Modern Chemistry
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: April 28th 2013

New Jersey foursome Modern Chemistry first grabbed my attention when their request for an EP review came with the subject heading “EP review (and free baked goods)”. Naturally, there were no free baked goods attached but I’m hoping that by listening and reviewing the EP, I may earn myself some of said baked goods should they ever make it over here or I ever make it over there… maybe!

Being a combination of alternative rock and pop-punk, I knew I was going to fundamentally like what I heard. It begins where all things should begin at Part One. A dramatic drum roll mixed with a chilled guitar and a gentle swaying rhythm. Breathy vocals delivered with a great deal of passion make quite an entrance. A successful suspense-building instrumental ensues making it a great addition to a live set.

modernchemistryA slower track, Let’s Talk About The Weather carries on the record. It begins as a chilled number but gets faster and more energetic. Melodic alternative vocals turn into an angsty passion-fuelled chorus. With another catchy rhythm, I am reminded of some of the best work by The Wonder Years. A little bit of a contrast happens when Remember The Bridge begins. The classic alternative guitar sings us in and the drums arrive with a growling fuzz of something heavier. Although the vocals retain some melody, they now have an air of desperation to them. Another catchy instrumental takes place and it becomes clear that honing their craft is what Modern Chemistry are great at.

Returning to the start (kind of) with Part Two, which is a moving and mournful love song. An acoustic guitar leads the way accompanied by squeaks from a scraping guitar string. These squeaks are a little jarring and it does distract slightly from the vocals. However, the chorus is pretty and the song is overall, very relaxing and powerful. A real sense of longing for a lost love comes through, which is beautiful.

Holla Atchya Boi is nothing like what its title suggests. It isn’t some weird hip hop interlude in the middle of a rock album but rather a summer’s drive sound. Pop-punk vocals are the strongest than they have been on the EP so far and it’s a great merging of alternative backing and cheeky pop-punk. It clearly deals with a “you don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone” situation, which is something that everyone understands. The main message “you were never that important to me until I couldn’t have you anymore” is repeated several times, which may sound depressing but the song doesn’t really come across as that.

Ending on Titus (The Waterman) shows Modern Chemistry at their heaviest. It’s a real rock-out, freak-out, moshpit anthem with a singing riff, fiery passionate vocals and a catchy chorus to really belt out, when you’ve finally had enough. I love how the drums at the end resemble gunshots too, which I thought was a very powerful and clever touch to the EP essentially dying.

All in all, We’ll Grow Out Of This is a very intriguing and fierce EP. Dealing with such a wide umbrella of emotions, there is something for everyone on it. Modern Chemistry are indeed masters at provoking reactions from their listeners, which is something I can’t wait to hear more of. Now, where are my baked goods?!

vascodegeogTITLE: Geography
BAND: Vasco Da Gama
LABEL: Unsigned
RELEASED: April 22nd 2013

A couple of weeks ago I featured math-rock band Vasco Da Gama from Liverpool and mentioned their latest EP Geography. As a fan of their quirky demeanour and upbeat music, it was something I simply had to listen to. They’ve already had a lot of praise from the likes of The Fly, Rocksound and Bito Lito!, so this year already looks to be shaping up to be a good one for them.

Math-rock derives from indie but as an experimental genre, it often means that the music that falls under it is quite unpredictable. That is certainly one word I’d use to describe the tracks on Geography. Catchy, sunny and kooky are others. Opening track Brigadiers is a classic indiepop song with juddery riffs and a Californian vibe. The rhythm and chorus are both earworms and as a result, it could easily be a big summer hit, were it released as a single.

vascodagamaThe EP moves on to Powder Post with a trippy electronic riff and another resonating guitar at the intro. The vocals don’t seem to quite sit right on the rhythm, giving it a distorted style. It has a really raw and unpolished quality to it which I really like. A siren continues to sound in the background and the volume seems to go up and down constantly throughout the instrumental in the middle. Lots of strong imagery within the lyrics make it a jerky track that it’s impossible to get bored of.

Tonight We Will Eat Something That Has Two Colours In It has an Americana riff and a sunny, slightly retro sound. The vocals are breathy and a little tired which matches the chilled style of the song. Like its predecessor, it dies down and speeds up again repeatedly making it another unpredictable track with many twists and turns. A rhythmic clicking in the back keeps that quirky edge that Vasco Da Gama have.

Ending on The Greenland Problem, the band go a little bit pop-punk. A catchy singing riff joins the vocals which have a teenage punk feel come the chorus. There is another stark, quiet period where the instruments have their moment in the middle of the song, which appears to be a signature feature of a Vasco Da Gama song. It remains kooky and trippy right until the atmospheric end, which conjures up pictures of awesome live performance.

Geography is perhaps one for the kooks and geeks out there. It is cool but in a hipster fashion. If you like a bit of indie, pop and songs that twist and turn constantly then it’s the EP for you.