Toronto-born Scott Lanaway decided to take everything he loved about music, melt it down, and create his own silver bullet. “Mergers & Acquisitions” is the fruit of this labor. Granted this is sophomore release, it still feels like a birth. The songs and sounds contained are so well thought-out, planned, and composed that it feels like it was the work of a debut simply because the majority of songwriter’s best songs are created as their first body of work rather than their second or later efforts. “Oprah, God Wants You to Have a Private Jet” shows Lanaway doesn’t need to be cornered amid the subject matter of his songs that are often mind-wandering noodles and thoughts of love, death, time, the mind, and everything in between. His textures are sprinkled with electronica and acoustic vibes that are just unbelievable and uninhibited. He bares his soul, unafraid to let anyone in to peer in curiosity at what this creature is thinking and doing. Beautiful, please pick it up and tell him I sent you.
Posts tagged indie
Pop-punk rockers The Early Strike armed with their female and male vocal assault are here with a catchy new album called “Ten Outta Ten”. While only their sophomore release, it’s surprisingly well-written and entertaining. “Ten Outta Ten” brings back lots of memories of past pop-punk bands from the turn of the century – gosh that makes it sound old even though we’re talking ten or so years huh? Sugary sweet melodies and entertaining lyrics, producer David J. Holman (Bush, No Doubt) was able to help The Early Strike have flecks of New Found Glory, The Ataris, Saves the Day, and Something Corporate.
Okay pretty much any band can have my immediate attention when they start their album off with huge tom and snare rolls. “The Living Breathing Organ Summer” just gets better from then on, improving on avant-garde indie punk. Boasting a surprise around each corner, Child Bite sucker punches you with a funk-oriented soul that is so quirky you can imagine this being a band that is frequented by the likes of Mike Patton and The Jesus Lizard. Eclectic and freakin’ weird, Child Bite is certainly going to be an acquired taste for many people. The Detroit-based band is yet further proof that a crappy economy can have profoundly good effects sometimes – only unemployed maniacs who are craving the prescription drugs they can no longer afford would put pen to paper and come up with lyrics this fucking maniacal.
Hypnotic guitar-driven emotional rock punctuates “Disappear”, the album by Ojos Rojos, a group that has found it plausible to write even more druggy psychedelic music than we heard in the late ‘60s. Gifted with a knack for writing staunchly well thought-out tunes, Ojos Rojos invites you to be guided on a journey that is both colorful and alliterating. Acid rock for the Internet celebrity age? You betcha. Interesting if not outright special.
Those of you searching for the score to those dreamy indie flicks you’ve seen cinematic unknown geniuses conjure up over the years – well this is it. “About Everything and More” is the sophomore follow-up to the fantastic “Holofon” by Dorena. An outfit based out of Sweden, Dorena carves their niche with superb and intelligent instrumental indie pop music that seems simple but quickly becomes holistically visionary and diverse. Deep Elm Records, once again, has defined the movement of instrumental pop music by having the likes of Moving Mountains, Dorena and Goonies Never Say Die on their roster. Guitars pop and weave like a bantamweight division champ in the middle of the ring. Melodic nuances dance patterns in the icy wintry cold that Dorena evokes. And in case you were wondering – there are lyrics and vocals spotlighted throughout “About Everything and More” but this is certainly an instrumental-first approach as the vocals are just another instrument that helps move along the emotional enormity of each song’s structure. The odd and quirky synth pop of “We’ll Never Meet This Young Again” is just incredible as it then cascades into a bedroom guitar plucking only to be then re-cast as a symphonic journey that lights the way for the downtrodden and misguided. Fantastic songwriting with a strong sense of purpose and a calm wit about it, “About Everything and More” is a definite must-have for any music fan.
This self-titled EP by Phoenix-based Snake! Snake! Snakes! made it to #46 on the CMJ charts. Produced by Bob Hoag (The Format, Joel Plaskett, Dear and the Headlights), the album sparkles with light melodies awash in lush atmospheres, strong vocals, and domineering choruses. “City on Fire” opens the album with a fantastic building chorus armed with huge anthems and vocals stirred with punctuating percussion and moody instrumentation. Precise melodies and dramatic arrangements make it easy for people to mumble words like Bloc Party, Arcade Fire, and Interpol but don’t get caught up in the comparisons because nothing about this dynamic group is stereotypical or expected. Danceable rhythms douse you with knee bouncing mania. The vocals are special as are each fabulously arranged song. This is the future of the college pop music scene.
You wonder if the twin brothers Blaze and Reid Bateh and their longtime friend William Brookshire decided to name their band after the beetle, the groundnut, or the ethnic group in Mali. Well however they were inspired to self-identify as Bambara, the group is certain to inspire some indie noise acts out there. “Dog Ear Days” is a manic EP of creepy compositions made up of feedback, distortion, beats, airiness and noise, and lots of delay. Thrilling and suspenseful, each song seems to build on the last further tightening their grasp around your entire body. While everyone else seems to focus first on melody and then build from the ground up, it seems as if Bambara’s approach is more visceral with an intelligent ear honed to crafting a cinematic and moody backdrop and then Lego-ing the various pieces together unlike most of their fellow Athens, Georgia based bands.
Hands down best press sheet I’ve ever been given. Instead of the usual bullshit discussing who they sound like, what obscure band their members were a part of, and filled to the brim with adjectives and prerogative of music nationalities, this one was a story. A story of a young man who was on the phone with his then-girlfriend, the conversation lasted for over 2 hours and this young man had to piss. Badly. And he tried to hold it not wanting her to hear him and yet somehow unable to simply escape for a quick moment. He rushed to the bathroom finally and was just about to make it, only to pee himself. She says just as he’s doing it that she needed to get off the phone because dinner was ready. What devastation and annoyance must have, excuse the pun, flowed over him. So you probably are glad that this story made its way to you. Now you want to know, “so what, what of the music”? Well let me assure you that’s just as great of a story; this one told through the voice of art-punk and chaotic yet measured angular indie rock. Screamed vocals, hummed melodies, strict breakdowns, and layered filthy guitars, “Teeth Union” by the funnily titled Ice, Sea, Dead People is a fast and violent slap-in-the-face. So many post-hardcore groups are doing this or that, but not focused on truly creating an epic masterpiece. Not so with this British-based group. “Teeth Union” is fucking essential cranium blasts.
You gotta love the thicket of guitars that are wrapped around the axle of melodic and crunchy. Leatherface’s vocalist blends his version of raspy melodic crooning amid the chronically addictive songwriting. While the lyrics can range from bleak to even more dour, the music is typically quite the juxtaposition of very uplifting and spiriting. The renowned British punk band is for fans of Hot Water Music and independent music in general.
Rick Sell’s The Atlantic Manor continues to pave the way for DIY indie rock. While the band has always and unfortunately flown under the radar, the group always seems to be masterful when it comes to crafting the perfect pop gem. They have never sacrificed sound or quality despite being a self-avowed lo-fi artist. Now on their eleventh album, The Atlantic Manor has turned the page with a focus on surreal and cerebral music. Occasionally gravelly voiced, Sell (ironic last name much?) paints his canvases with self-portraits that are introspective and curious. A bevy of noises and oddities saturate each tune without being distracting, instead ladling up the pop feel and serving it to the folks fortunate enough to stumble upon them. I am gracious that I have had the pleasure to not only review the band but hear such terrifically built albums like “The World Beneath This World Is Brightening”.