Posts filed under ‘indie’

Colour Revolt, A New Recipe for Melancholy Entertainment.

colour revolt check ’em out on mySpace and amazon

First, get yourself a big iron skillet. Turn the heat up to medium and grab a heaping spoonful of Radiohead. After the pan gets hot, cut off a generous slab of Pearl Jam throw it in the pan sautéing it until golden brown and crispy. Season with a pinch 80’s pop style vocals – making sure to include just a hint of David Byrne when you do. When finished cooking, plate the entrée on a bed of Arcade Fire with a small garnish of Rush style bass lines and viola! Colour Revolt!

The band’s first full-length release is called “Plunder, Beg, and Curse”, and if you’re looking for something brand new that oddly feels like you’ve heard it before you should pick it up. Not saying it’s “bad”, in fact some bits are quite interesting (yes, I used the word “interesting” – read into that what you will.)

The album has been in my regular rotation for the past couple weeks, but I’m not certain how long it will stay there. In fact, I think it’s just about worn out it’s welcome. On first listen the work is edgy, moody, and emphatic. Driving guitars combined with brooding synths and lyrics create a strong initial draw, but after time feel somewhat tiresome. I mean how long can you really stay so pissed or so sullen?

Bottom line… Colour Revolt, good band? Not bad – quite tight, focused, technically sharp – give ‘em a shot. Just make sure to have your happy pills handy afterwards, or if you’re already in a down state when you hit play, don’t do anything stupid. 

 

June 23, 2008 at 3:34 pm Leave a comment

Breaking Laces – My Best Kept Secret

Breaking Laces

Breaking Laces holds the place of number 1 or 2 among my list of top 5 indie acts. In fact, I’m such a fan I found it difficult to write this review. Writing a review (in my opinion) demands an honest and fair view of both the highpoints and low points of the subject, and as lame as this sounds, I have a hard time coming up with low points for Breaking Laces.

So here’s the quick summary…

Poppy? Sometimes.

Acoustic? Yup, but more-so in the older albums.

Electric? Definitely. Great hooks. Willem kicks the distortion up on that acoustic and things get loud. Rob’s bass-lines add just the right amount of punch and groove without forcing the issue. Seth’s beats are clean, solid, and provide just the right motivation, and the rhythm section in general is solid as granite.

Heartfelt? I like “honest” better (see below.)

Amusing? From time to time.

Buy it? Definitely. ‘Lemonade’ and ‘Sohcahtoa’ are my favorites. Must listen tracks include: “Call You Home”, “Shack Up SOS”, “Get Up Today”, “God In Training”, “Plain Jane”, “Meagan”, “Where’s Her Mind”, “Global Warming Day”, and “One Way Out.” Generally speaking, ‘Operation Income’ and ‘Astronomy is my life, but I love you’ lack some of the energy in the other two releases, but still quite good in their own rites. For the most part their music leans towards the lighter side, I just happen to like when they turn up the groove and the distortion.

More Rambling…

Three words continually came to mind as I thought about how to possibly describe this act… The first was “natural”, the second was “honest”, and the third was “clean.”
Natural because these guys are, in every way, natural muscians. I’ve been able to catch ‘em live several times and own all of their releases. Every aspect of the band – from the music, the lyrics, the performance, and even their demeanor, is just natural. It’s easy and unforced. These guys are talented, creative, have something to say and simply go about saying it.

Honest because the band simply strikes you as 3 guys who love playing music – their music, and they’re not trying to be anything but who they are. The lyrics feel like pages lifted from every twist and turn of their own lives. If you listen across all of the albums you’ll know exactly what I mean.

And clean mostly referring to playing style. All of the music ignores extra ‘ornamentation.’ What’s there are only the bits that should be – the bits that matter – the pieces or the accents that are purposeful and that’s it. Clean also referrs to playing style. These guys are very talented, professional muscians. Their performances feel like clockwork and convey a feeling of dedication to what they’re doing.

Ok… No more rambling. Go listen, come up with your own opinion, and tell me if I’m wrong.

May 14, 2008 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Apollo Sunshine – This band hits like an axe through a stained glass window!

Two thumbs up for an indie group that takes inspiration from a thousand sources ranging from the Beatles, Yes, The Grateful Dead, Neil Young, Wilco, and a laundry list of others. This group of technically talented musicians seems to have taken some of the best bits from all of these musical mega-influences and absolutely crafted it’s own uniquely molded sound. From sweetly simple little ditties to deeply soulful chants to chest pounding, feedback driven blues, these guys are exploring it all. The only thing they seem to be missing is entertaining stage banter – which I think they’re working on… 

apollo sunshine latest album cover - from amazon.com  – Or hit the official Apollo Sunshine Site

I’d like to say that Apollo Sunshine hit the stage Friday night (3/29/2008) at the Somerville Playhouse (Somerville, MA) like a grenade – wildly explosive and spewing musical shrapnel everywhere. Unfortunately. I can’t say that. What I can say is that while it didn’t happen during the first – or maybe even the second tune of the set, that grenade definitely blew-up later – and oh boy was it good!

I, like a few hundred others, had come to Somerville to spend the evening visiting with “They Might be Giants.” (While not the subject of this review, TMbG was great as per usual – nothing surprising there.) After hearing the first song I was betting this 3 piece was probably a more mellow, slightly quirky, appropriate opening warm-up act with a similar feel to TMbG. But by the end of the show, Apollo Sunshine had moved well past ‘typical’ in my mind and had become one of the most exciting, talented, and creative indie acts I’ve seen in a long time.

3 guys that look like they’ve spent the past couple years in a dimly lit, forgotten room agonizing for hours over musical progressions, fifths, cleffs, and other highly technical musical terms, quietly took the stage.  Appropriately decorated with wild unwashed hair, longer scraggly beards, and each looking like they could desperately use a sandwich, they set off on their mission to warm up the crowd.

There I was… Beer in hand and expecting the same level of experience I would with any other opening act (specifically meaning being sufficiently underwhelmed.) I assumed they would somewhere between competent and ok, and I would find myself patiently waiting for the next 40-60 minutes to be over so I could basically get to see the band that actually brought me there. I am so happy to report that watching Apollo Sunshine was absolutely NOTHING like that whatsoever.

The first couple tunes were fairly upbeat and pleasurable… Kind of a more raw, appropriately modern, stripped down sound that is fairly popular at the moment. Still – there was something different about these guys… First of all, the bass player who was also (most of the time) singing lead had a decidedly different sound. He stepped out into the front not only with his voice, but with his bass. A bass that sounded, in a word, awesome. That guy had obviously spent forever tweaking those settings to be exactly the way he wanted them to be – no more and no less.

Remember that grenade I mentioned earlier… The first couple tunes pulled the pin, then by the middle of the set it went off!

The band started to play tunes that were loud, large, and refreshingly complex …a fairly rarely seen combination of musicianship, raw energy, and significant creativity. Not only did these guys fully embrace the ad-libbed facets and opportunities of a live show, but they also appreciated the highly planned choreography that makes the show and the music flow. Their regularly running around in-between songs and in the middle of songs, rapidly changing instruments while simultaneously changing feels was very impressive.

Huge bass lines – wild guitar riffs  – crazy breakbeats and full-on rhythm section break-downs really set these guys apart…

They had obviously put a lot of time into the stage show, the set list, and the general choreography of the act. Equally impressive was the general level of energy these guys put out. They were fully engrossed in that music – it was flowing out of every pore – they were living it, loving it, and definitely made me an instant fan.

Go buy their latest album… You will not regret it.

April 7, 2008 at 4:00 am Leave a comment


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