Los Angeles duo ExSage recently released the dark and moody “Tripwire” which will be released on their debut EP, Out of the Blue (due out in October) produced by Alain Johannes who has worked with such artists as Mark Lanegan, Them Crooked Vultures, Brody Dalle and Queens of the Stone Age.
“Tripwire” makes uses of distorted guitars, menacing guitars and great vocal interplay between members Tim Foley and Kate Clover. The interplay between the two extremes create a nice contrast between dark and light.
Take a listen to “Tripwire” and check out ExSage on Facebook and Twitter.
“Everyone’s Talking” the latest song from Los Angeles indie rock outfit contains elements of garage rock, psychedelia and contemporary indie rock. The sparse but cutting chords provide a harsher contrast to the moody vocals and rhythm section.
Take a listen to “Everyone’s Talking” over at Wolf in a Suit and follow the band on Facebook and Twitter.
There’s a a bit of pop classicism in The Blondies’ latest single “Your Eyes”. “Pop” in this sense being more of The Beatle-esque variety than what’s currently on the popular radio. The songwriting here is sharp and crisp, a perfect accompaniment for the sunny vibe of the song. Lead singer and songwriter Simon Lunche’s vocals are affectionate and sentimental without being disgustingly sweet.
“Your Eyes” precedes the group’s newest album, due out June 2016. For more info on the band, check out their site and listen to “Your Eyes” below.
Even on the slower moments, Deaf Rhino’s Dirt Rust Chaos hits hard. At times, it plays like a grunge record from the early ’90s: mid-tempo songs played with aggression supplied with plenty of volume. And like grunge’s influences there are touches of heavy metal time-signatures, met with the unbridled energy of punk. Fluid lead guitar riffs scream over crunchy distorted riffs. Dirt Rust Chaos also seems to take cues from the adventurous moments of early My Morning Jacket. There are several moments where it sounds like a heavier version of the band’s classic, Z.
But make no mistake: this is no retread or ’90’s revival album. Deaf Rhino clearly make their own sound here. The rhythm section composed of Tommy Scerbo (bass) and Jack “Shirtless Savage” Biamonte (drums), provide some funky moments underneath the sludge, particularly on the bouncy “Love “Don’t Matter to Me” and the bluesy-stomp of “Infinity”.
The album’s key is the musical interplay. It’s clear from a few minutes in that Deaf Rhino is a band that not only feeds off each other, but also listens to each other which shouldn’t come as a surprise, since Deaf Rhino are known for their intense live shows. There’s just enough push and shove between guitarists Adam Schlett (who also serves as the band’s lead vocalist) and Bobby Weir. While’s Weir’s leads are definitely noteworthy, it’s Schlepp’s memorable riffs – which range from distorted bursts to icy textures. The two guitarists are at their best when they’re interlocking riffs and playing different versions of the same line.
Modern rock seems to be in good hands with the electrifying Dirt Rust Chaos. If you’re afraid that guitar-based rock is dying, Deaf Rhino just might be the band you need to restore your faith.
Check out a live performance of “Infinity” below:
Church of Betty’s latest album, Swirled World is equal parts Power-Pop, World Music and Radiohead detours in adventurous musical endeavors. Those descriptions might seem a little ridiculous until you actually listen to the record, which is filled with shimmering melodies, and odd-time signatures. The use of the Sitar as the main melodic instrument on the melodic “I Remember You” is particularly riveting.
Too often, bands use a collage of sounds as a crutch, leaning on sounds to make their music sound interesting at the expense of, things called actual songs. Not so on Swirled World. Church of Betty mastermind Chris Rael’s songs are laser-sharp in execution and performance, particularly on the folk-pop gem “Beautiful Vessel”, the psychedelic touches of opener “Wake Up” and the amusing “Brooklyn Soul”, which is a love-letter to the borough in the vein of Walt Whitman.
Like Sufjan Stevens Rael layers even his straight-ahead songs with sonic details that come in and out like violins, horns and various instruments. Like a good painter, these are just extra colors made with broad strokes that add to the over-all experience. The title track and “Brooklyn Soul” particularly benefit from such an approach.
At times it seems like Rael spent a great amount of time listening to latter day Talking Heads records (which isn’t surprisingly since he has worked with David Byrne) trying to emulate the famed band’s explorations into world-pop. Not that that’s a bad thing: who wouldn’t want to try and sound like the Talking Heads?
Check out the video for “Brooklyn Soul” below.
For more information on Chris Rael and Church of Betty, check out his web-site.
“Spin me around and around,” Sarah Petrella commands during the bridge of her bluesy new single, “Dancing with the Devil”. It’s not only a command, but a sort of dare. The tension builds as she repeats the line, and it’s only released when a biting guitar solo cuts loose.
If there’s a sense of danger here, it’s because the devil isn’t the demonic character of old. He’s the one with the burning smile, watching “you in the darkness of your slumber.” Petralla’s in full command of her voice here, that’s part country, part blues, but mostly it’s just confident and soaring.
The radio-friendly sheen slightly of underscores the dark-blues vibe, but that’s only a minor quibble. Most listeners will find “Dancing with the Devil” to be a raucous slice of old school rock and roll.
Take a listen to “Dancing with the Devil” below:
For more information on Sarah, check out her web-site here.
Vince Grant has been featured on Leading Us Absurd a couple times before, because his latest album My Depression is Always Trying to Kill Me is highly recommended. Single “Melancholia” is the sound of a singer-songwriter baring his soul out for everyone to hear. Still, there’s a hint of hope in the song’s arrangement and sparse electric guitars and Grant’s voice. Without a doubt, Grant is a singer-songwriter who deserves more attention.
Grant recently released an intimate video for “Melancholia” and you can check it out above.
Indie singer-songwriter Archer Brady (who goes under the moniker Archer Brady & The All Americans) combines elements of the past and the future on his latest single “Hide in Vermont (Find You in Maine)”. At its heart, “Hide In Vermont” is a sentimental acoustic ballad, with a pop audience in mind. To achieve the pop cross-over, Brady coats his song in electronic blurbs and covers his voice in Auto-Tune. The two different approaches together make for an interesting combination.
“Hide in Vermont (Find You in Maine)” can be found on Archer Brady & The All Americans newest release, Truck & Guns due out later this summer.
Some records automatically make you feel cooler just by listening to them. Instrumental rock-trio Big Lazy’s latest release, Don’t Cross Myrtle is one of those records. With dark, jazzy rhythms and fluid, yet fiery guitar work from leader Stephen Ulrich, Don’t Cross Big Myrtle offers a soundtrack for the seedy American underbelly.
The music doesn’t wallop or stray into wild abandon, but you can still feel the heat. This is a heat that is humid where the only solution is to cool off into a dimly lit bar with a shot of Jameson at your fingers. The instrumental tracks present themselves as slightly nerve-wracking: as in you’d better watch your back because you don’t know what’s around the corner or who’s behind you.
The rhythm section from rock veterans drummer Yuval Lion and Andrew Hall provide a steady yet swinging back beat that leaves plenty of room for Ulrich to texture his songs with sounds that range from elements of Calypso, Blues and pre-Beatles Rock and Roll. On “Low Way” he toggles between a dirty and clean rhythm that hangs warmly over the air. The surf-rock inspired “Human Sacrifice” lives up to its name as Ulrich offers some his most impressive playing, soaked in distortion and blues-rock.
Like most of Big Lazy’s discography, Don’t Cross Myrtle is an ideal candidate for television soundtracks. In fact, the band got one of their first breaks when their debut album Amnesia was used in its entirety on Homicide: Life on the Street in 1996. With that in mind, I’m openly suggesting that Don’t Cross Myrtle be used in some capacity for Netflix’s 1920’s British Gangster drama, Peaky Blinders.
Make no mistake though, Big Lazy aren’t ambient music and shouldn’t be classified simply background music. These are fully formed songs and ideas with rich textures that are worth devoting time to sit and digest. Here’s hoping that Big Lazy don’t go another five years in between albums again.
Check out the video for “Avenue X” below:
Hunter and the Bear perform an acoustic version of their song “Wounded”.
British band Hunter & The Bear’s newest EP Wildfire (due out July 28th) is a mix of 90’s melodic post-grunge with elements of country-rock thrown in for good measure. Most of the songs found on this set are acoustic driven mid-tempo numbers with tasteful electric guitars over top. It takes a while for things to really sink in, but the band’s slow-burn melodies pull you in.
Opener “Burn It Up” is Wildfire’s hardest rocking song with its crunchy riffs and fiery solos, but even that fits in with band’s penchant for mid-tempo arrangements. After that little bit of blast, Wildfire comes to life. Hunter and The Bear seem more comfortable in when they pull back. This is especially true of the melancholic “Since September” and “Blood Red Skies”, perhaps Wildfire’s best song. The slow-start builds to a crescendo near the end of the song and concludes with a cathartic guitar solo.
For more info on the band, check out their web-site.