Mr. Lane 8 Rising

lane8-headshot

Be sure to follow Lane 8 and see what this talented producer/musiican will do next as this promising debut is just the start!

For Blurt Magazine:
Label: Anjunadeep
Release Date: July 15, 2015

The Upshot: House and downtempo electronica with memorable hooks on a promising debut.

Daniel Goldstein, aka Lane 8, is a producer garnering attention for his electronica that blends house and chill dance music. For his debut album,Rise, Lane 8 has created laid back, airy, danceable sounds that prove catchy and entrancing. Some of the tracks blend together as the ethereal production does not differ greatly from each other and Lane 8 doesn’t stray far from the ‘four to the floor’ pattern that is typical from the genre. Yet this is where all of the fantastic guest vocalists on Rise add a layer of variety on the album.

From British electronic duo Solomon Grey to upcoming artists such as Patrick Baker and Ara Scott their light vocal stylings melds perfectly to the gentle sounds Lane 8 creates. “Undercover” features Matthew Dear whose deep, slow-paced voice provides a nice juxtaposition to the tracks’ weightless beats. One of the best tracks on the album, “Loving You,” includes British Lulu James’s powerful, soulful voice; the song slowly builds over organ like synths before taking off with heavy drum and bass and James’ echoey vocals soaring above it all. Instrumental “Cosi” is a fun track whose reverbed synths float over quieted drums and ambient noises. Continuing the heavenly vibe setup by “Cosi,” both “Sunlight” and “The Great Divide” feature female vocalists whose genteel voices accentuate the soft sounds.

Rise is a promising debut full of strong songs that are enjoyable and memorable; having all of the songs housed together on one album might prove monotonous for some or a perfect quiet escape for others.

DOWNLOAD: “Loving You,” “Sunlight,” “Undercover,” “Diamonds”

Check out my favorite track on the album “Loving You.”

Interpol Paints…

OK! I couldn’t go through with an El Pintor-Spanish for The Painter-metaphor as an opener. Just trust me when I say: Interpol is back and they sound amazing! The gents are in form with their latest, El Pintor, and–if I don’t say so myself–have out-shined their last release, 2010’s Interpol. Where I walked away pocketing a few favorite songs from Interpol (2010) I find myself enjoying this whole album, rarely skipping ahead to the next track, a rare feat in this mp3 age.

Press Photo: Matador Records

For Blurt Magazine:

Album: El Pintor
Label: Matador Records
Release Date: September 9, 2014

Four years have passed since 2010’s Interpol and the departure of bassist Carlos Dengler; for their fifth LP Interpol simultaneously maintain their charged, melancholic rock and tread new grounds. El Pintor is the first album without Dengler’s contribution and the first time lead singer Paul Banks plays both guitar and bass; despite the loss of a band member the post-punk sounds remain as beefy, loud and moody as ever.

El Pintor is not Antics or Turn on the Bright Lights, there are not as many immediate hooks and riffs that were present on these earlier releases; instead, the solid music on El Pintor unveils a nuanced mellowing that has taken over the last two releases from Interpol. Thankfully Banks, Daniel Kessler and Samuel Fogarino have perked up since their 2010 album and have created a louder, more upbeat soundscape for listeners…as upbeat as our melancholic trio will allow, this is Interpol after all.

Kessler continues to create a separate landscape with his piercing lead guitar that adds a detailed accent to each track, “Same Town, New Story,”“My Desire,”“Tidal Wave”and “Twice As Hard”are prime examples. Fogarino’s skilled drumming is best heard on “Anywhere”as he changes the fast pace of the song ever so slightly and leads us to a smoother chorus that booms with his drum rolls. The bass heavy “Everything Is Wrong”is one of the catchiest tracks on the album and the words “Everything is wrong, truly wrong”never sounded so appealing. The one downfall to the piercingly loud executed music, Banks’vocals are drowned out but the themes of love, longing, sadness and a sense of foreboding are not lost.

DOWNLOAD: “Everything is Wrong,” “Anywhere,” “My Desire”

Elbow’s Latest Triumph Lands

I am a biased fan and lover of all things Elbow! I think everyone on this blue and green planet should listen to their lovely music, instantly fall in love with the beautiful soundwaves they produce, and play their music at their wedding. So again, not impartial! But with good reason, Elbow continually makes quality music that stands the test of time.  My fine words about this fine band can be found at Blurt Magazine but here it is for quick access:

elbow-band

The British quartet continues their upward flight into the sublime with the emotive lyrics and beautiful music of their sixth release, The Take Off and Landing of Everything. Over the years Elbow have polished their unique, raw and solemn rock all the while channeling the same ethereal energy on their 2001 debut Asleep in the Back. Guy Garvey’s calm, semi-raspy vocals continue to sooth listeners as his airy harmonies complement the well orchestrated music (included are horns and strings) as crafted by Pete Turner’s bass, Richard Jupp’s drums, Mark Potter’s guitar and Craig Potter’s keyboards and effects—who doubled as producer on Take Off.

There are moments when these two elements, harmony and melody, are quite prominent and balance each other, as with “My Sad Captains” or the 7 minute title track. Meanwhile, “The Take Off” includes a sea of effects, piano, charging drums, plucky guitar and backing vocals that fill every lush minute. Yet there are quiet moments during which Garvey’s voice is at the forefront and wholly carries the song, as in closer “The Blanket of Night”; this genteel song only includes a rim shot, light acoustic strumming, unobtrusive bass lines and a soft keyboard that give way to lush, pulsing keys that suggest a dreamscape.

Of course beautiful music will only hold its weight when accompanied by quality lyrics and Elbow does not fall short here either. Known for their ability to poetically touch on everything from loss and love in profound simplicity, they can express the depth of love. In “Real Life (Angel),” for instance, Garvey sings: “You never need for a thing in this world/While I have a breath in me, blood in my veins.”

With every release Elbow sharpen their craft by polishing their sound.The Take Off and Landing of Everything is another fine release from a band that has yet to steer wrong.

DOWNLOAD: “Charge,” “Sad Captains,” “Colour Fields”

And if you find yourself on this side of the Atlantic, take advantage of the opportunity of seeing the UK group during their North American tour! Having seen them live before it will surely be a great show:

2014 North American Tour

05/11 – Washington, DC – 9:30 Club
05/12 – Boston, MA – Royale NightClub
05/13 – Philadelphia, PA – Electric Factory
05/16 – New York, NY – Webster Hall
05/17 – Toronto, ON – Danforth Music Hall
05/19 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues
05/20 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue
05/23 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
05/24 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
05/25 – Quincy, WA – Sasquatch Music Festival
05/27 – Oakland, CA – The Fox Theatre
05/28 Los Angeles, CA – The Wiltern

Menomena’s Ode To Family

Menomena is back and still kicking! The creative trio lost a member but the Portland band’s unique angle on music remains…in fact it might be slightly more askew…in the best possible way! Read the Blurt Magazine review below:

Menomena
Moms
(Barsuk Records)

 www.barsuk.com

Always brutally honest with their words and creative with their music, Portland trio Menomena has returned anew after Brent Knopf left the band after their 2010 release, #mines#.  This Menomena fan was saddened to learn of the dismantling of the trio and mourned the loss of future music. Luckily my mourning dress can be torched as Justin Harris and Danny Seim regrouped and released #Moms#.
moms
A sonic evaluation of the impact their family had—and continues to have—on their lives, Harris and Seim continue their unique crafting of music with their fifth album. Though as lyrically pensive and jarring as 2010s #Mines,# #Moms# manages to dance the waves of the normative melancholic sea that is Menomena and not drown in it. “Plummage,” “Capsule” and even “Pique” commences the album on a musical upbeat and lighter note. Even with the latter’s lyrics: “Now you made me/With no clue as how to raise me…You’re in my bones and you’re in my teeth/Imperfect form from imperfect seeds” you can’t help but sway to the beat and heavy bass.

Mid-way through the album, #Moms# slows in it’s pace but is just as hypnotic; “Tantalas’” mesmerizing melody and rhythms and while “Latexas” evokes images of the Old West with its horns, galloping drums and the rattle of a guiro. A great return for this reinvented band, Menomena continues to sonically astound.

DOWNLOAD: “Tantalas,” “Don’t Mess With Latexas” APRIL S. ENGRAM

Be sure to keep Menomena on your radar at all times, you will not be disappointed!

Alt-J: An Awesome Fuss

This year’s Mercury Prize winners enter into the gray land of love ’em or hate ’em. Some absolutely love Joe Newman’s warbly voice and the spastic beats others…not as impressed. Me, I’m on the fence.  I definitely enjoyed a few songs on the band’s debut, An Awesome Wave but grew weary of the entire package…

Alt-J (∆)

An Awesome Wave

(Infectious Music)

www.infectiousmusicuk.com

The debut album that is quickly building a fan base for this UK quartet, #An Awesome Wave# is a quirky, genre blending album that pulls the majority of its inspiration from world music. The merging of Gus Unger-Hamilton’s keyboards, Gwil Sainsbury’s driving bass, Thom Green’s sporadic drums and Joe Newman’s vexing vocals proves at times well orchestrated and at times ostentatious in their attempt to create an atypical record.altj_album

Once #An Awesome Wave# makes its way to the track it maintains a steady jog and never quite sprints into action. Songs like “Estocada” on the US release, otherwise known as “Something Good,” “Tessellate,” “Taro,” and “Breezeblocks” all magically balance the disjointed, hypnotic beats the band creates with Newman’s flat vocals. Yet, outside these notable numbers, the equation grows wearisome and old, leaving some desiring certain parts of a song; wishing the band didn’t include the an a cappella intro on “Fitzpleasure” or quickened the pace of “Ms” as the slow tempo and inflectionless vocals grew predictable.

Nevertheless a creative effort from this new band, Alt-J shows promise and proves they can create hauntingly catchy melodies from irregular rhythms.

DOWNLOAD: “Tessellate,” “Estocada (Something Good)” APRIL S. ENGRAM

Metric Continues to Charm

Oh Metric, how I continue to heart thee. Though the quartet is straying from their dance-punk roots one cannot help but bop their heads and bounce to the upbeat music Metric creates. The music is fun, light and danceable, what more could you ask for? Blurt review below:
Metric
Synthetica
(Mom + Pop Records)

www.momandpoprecords.com

Metric again utilizes their formula for infectious, pop-rock on their fifth album #Synthetica.# The slightly more subdued cousin to 2009s #Fantasies,# Emily Haines’ sugar coated vocals tenderly delivers lyrics that range from self debasing to tongue-in-cheek wit. Opener “Artificial Nocturne” greets listeners to grinding keyboard and Haines piercing words, “I’m just as fucked up as they say;” thus commences an album that is far from synthetic.

Photo by Brantley Gutierrez
Photo by Brantley Gutierrez

Single “Youth Without Youth” is the forerunner of the album with its rolling drums and catchy, loopy guitar and bass. That high point of “loud rock” found in “Youth” does not return with the same force. In its stead #Synthetica# is full of either calm, pensive intros that grow louder from a buildup of musical layers or tracks that remain at a level plateau.  And when #Synthetica# almost nears its end a familiar, weathered vocal appears on upbeat “The Wanderlust” full of trickling keys, it’s only Lou Reed of course.

Nonetheless, with nearly each track including a mesmerizing hook or chorus that slowly permeates your subconscious—“Clone” and “Breathing Underwater” leap out from the pack in this regard—#Synthetica# is a solid album.

DOWNLOAD: “Youth Without Youth,” “Lost Kitten” APRIL S. ENGRAM

If you are not already, follow Metric and listen to Clone, a quieter number from Synthetica but just as alluring as the louder tracks!

The Horrors Take to the Sky

The Horrors continue to grow as a band and are slowly shifting their sounds from the entrancing, menacing, organ laden, “Addams Family-esque” punk to the great album reviewed below!

Blurt review below:

The once aptly named Horrors has returned with Skying, their third full length release. The UK quartet’s 2007 debut was an eerie, garage rock affair and we were introduced to their goth looks and macabre pseudonyms – Faris Rotter, Coffin Joe, and Spider Webb, to name a few. However, with each album the band has impressively transitioned from the dirty, punk-rock sounds of Strange House to more lush arrangements. This fact may sound like a death wish for early Horrors fans but you need not fear, as Skying merely rests on a different gauge on the same post-punk spectrum.

Opener “Changing The Rain” introduces us to the mellow sounds to come but next track “You Said” is where the album truly takes off. The bass laden, catchy “Still Life” is most reminiscent to previous release Primary Colors. Yet trickery is the pace of Skying as it is not till the end of a track when the Horrors truly explore their sonic terrain. “Endless Blue” greets us with a slow intro before exploding with heavy guitars while the cool choppy keyboard and drums of “Wild Eyed” decrescendo before resurfacing and accompanied by sound effects and horns.

Skying proves a maturing for the band and unveils a new realm of sonic possibilities.

DOWNLOAD: “Still Life,” “You Said”

Check out The Horrors, you won’t be disappointed! No, really!