While I am usually a huge proponent of complex musical genius, it’s hard to ignore the brilliance of a simple (and kick-ass) punk song. Portland, OR’s indie rock scene is doing a fantastic job of giving us just that; and in the case of Honey Bucket,
it’s coming at us in a sardonically playful, utterly catchy package. Their self-titled EP sounds as if it was
recorded on an 8-track in the basement of your parents’ house senior year
(which is fitting since that’s how this EP was
recorded) – complete with the twangy, distorted power chords and a few layers
of fuzz carpeting the drums and vocals.
And despite the lo-fi film covering all sound, each instrument manages
to stand out from the rest, playing its important role in the development of each
(albeit simple) song. Their sound
doesn’t vary much within their EP, and to magical results: 8 tracks of
three-chord garage-punk masterpieces, each one wackier than the last.
If the basic catchiness of Honey Bucket’s musical abilities
reels you in, their off-beat sense of humor keeps you hooked. Honey Bucket stole their name from the
Pacific Northwest’s favorite port-a-potty company, characteristic of their
unique sense of humor. Their lyrics
follow suit, playing up somewhat disturbing scenarios with injections of biting
sarcasm to round out the off-kilter vibes.
The opening track “Dumpster Dive” chronicles a day of pointless teenage
activities, including a trip to a dumpster, a graveyard, and other random places
to search for buddies to get stoned with.
“Spot Me” is a slower, groovy track highlighting a classic slacker teen’s
woe of dealing with that one friend who is constantly asking to borrow money,
summed up in a lighthearted, sarcastic tone.
“Hairspray” is the standout track of the
EP. Not only does its three-chord earworm
riff make its home in your head for days, its brilliantly biting lyrics about
eating razorblades, drinking hairspray, and spending nice days under the
freeway pinpoint the sentiment of outsider-dom that all punks/teenagers in general feel at some
point in their ‘slacker’ careers. Perhaps
my favorite part of the short track is the perfectly placed “um”s that define
the musical groove while also increasing the sarcastic humor to its full
All in all, while this
particular EP may not be the most interesting piece musically speaking, its
clever storytelling coupled with its raging simplicity is certainly setting the
stage for Honey Bucket’s sound to blow up the circuit.
Be sure to keep a lookout for more music on their Bandcamp and for upcoming tour dates/other information on their Facebook page!
An audience member stares wistfully at a television screen, modified to display “Evening Bell”
Above the restless crowd, Evening Bell entered the stage. Each of them brandishing their instrument of expertise, duo Hart Kingsbery and Caitlin Sherman stood confidently in front of drummer Jason Merculief and bassist Aaron Harmonson. The band picked up as the lights came on, harmonies ringing out over the Crocodile’s killer sound system!
Simple and sweet, the singers took turns leading us in song. Kingsbery’s guitar pierced through the air like jet streams in a clear blue sky while Sherman’s voice blended into the tone of her keyboard. The combination of her instrument and vocals created a clear contrast to the guitar’s distinct wavy-ness. Meanwhile, the keyboard’s piano-like tone generated a Jazzy demeanor above the Country-Western vibe.
Each song would begin with a guitar or piano riff, the sound of which would result in a cheer from the audience as they recognized their favorite tracks from this local band. While we sang and danced along to the frontmen, Merculief and Harmonson rocked out subtly from behind. Harmonson sported a cowboy hat and a big red bow tie, he smiled as his rhythms echoed through the small concert venue. Throughout the set, Merculief moved us through the various styles of music. His most amazing moments, however, stood out during keyboard and guitar solos. His beats reverberated below the dynamic synths and riffs, providing a solid basis for Sherman and her voice. Long instrumental moments also showcased the drums as they shifted in and out of focus.
Evening Bell plays another hometown country duet
“Thank you so much for listening,” Sherman closed the show through a smile. “That was fun!” Kingsbury added. We cheered as they grabbed their television and left the stage.
As we waited for the headliner, the fog grew thicker and thicker. Seen through the haze, Jessica Lea Mayfield grabbed one of her five guitars and plugged it into her smorgasbord of pedals. Reverberating and intense, her guitar joined in with the bass until the entire band built to intensity. All the while, drummer Matt Martin, wearing a tattered collared shirt and drums, remained relaxed yet determined.
As the instrument turned up, Jesse Newport’s bass became distorted under Mayfield’s ever present guitar – her arpeggios ringing out between lamenting lyrics. They drew us in with inconsistent rhythm, possessing the presence of a poetry slam and the power of an arena show. Beneath her echoing voice, the three musicians rocked out to every chord progression under the sun.
Their tone and musical expertise fit Seattle’s sound like an old glass slipper – their presentation like Nirvana if Kurt Cobain owned a pair of sparkly boots.
Jessica Lea Mayfield “and band” start off with a bang!
They played three songs in a row, each leading straight into the next. As a song would end the drums and bass would slow down on Mayfield’s cue. Turning around, she would play in tandem with her band – all three of them looking intensely at one another. As the last song fell to a silence, Martin and Newport quietly exited the stage.
“I’m gonna do a song by myself. It’s called ‘Party Drugs.’ It’s off my new record.” After explaining the origin to the song, she started back into the entrancing mix of guitar and vocals – sans bass and drums. A little more controlled, the solo song showed off Mayfield’s artistic control, manipulating the reverberation of her voice and guitar, relying on every resonating note to carry into the next.
After that song, the band joined Mayfield back on stage. She complimented the gentleman in the front for being so polite and, taking off her jacket and adorning another guitar, she amazed us as the lights reflected off her guitar strap and bright green eyes. Looking towards the audience, she saw through us all as we watched her emotions fly out above us.
After playing a new song called, “Seeing Stars,” Mayfield introduced Jesse Newport as her husband. As we cooed and Jesse picked up his guitar, Jessica lifted her head slightly to introduce the next song, “this is the first screwed up love song I wrote about him.” We laughed and cheered as we breathed the whiffs of red bull and vodka – a staple scent of the Crocodile dance floor. The lighting changed and Jessica’s melancholy lyrics picked up again with a song she couldn’t help but smile about. The two guitars layered themselves perfectly as Mayfield’s slow strokes accented Newport’s quick and rhythmic strums. “You’ve got a stranglehold on my heart,” she sang as she cleverly depicted the hardships of new relationships and their unforeseeable potential.
Grunge rock and sparkles. Jessica’s studded strap shines brightly through the haze
In the front row, Jessica pointed out a couple who she thought was being particularly cute. “Looks like you had a good valentines day,” she said. “I’m gonna ruin that,” she quickly added. After our laughs subsided, she explained the meaning of her next song. “I spent some time trying to plan my death but then I wondered if I had enough time to do all the things I needed to do around the house first.” We laughed. “And that was enough time to write down a song about how ridiculous that was”
The music grew louder and the audience’s smiling and blushing diminished to head bobbing. The husband and wife stepped closer to one another, their instruments almost touching as they continued to play some “bummer shit,” as Mayfield later described. She played “I Can’t Lie To You” with her distorted black guitar. The guitar and bass shouted every note as each doubled the melody. The band broke into our consciousness with their impeccable song writing ability – each moment providing a dramatic contrast in sound from the last. The drums provided a segue between these distinct moments with their ability to move from loud to quiet with just one gradual cymbal.
After the song appeared to end – a short applause had followed – Jessica’s guitar tears through the speakers. The music picks up and continues until we’re begging for more. Unfortunately, there was only time for one more. The band played their last song, “No Fun” – their musical ability never faltering. The guitar seemed to have control over bass and drums, as each remained in sync with the Mayfield’s rhythm. The song ended cutely and cleanly as the musical married couple kissed during the last guitar solo.
In a true Valentine’s Day spirit, Jessica invited the cute couple she had previously called out up onto the stage. Nervously, the drunk audience members pulled themselves out of the crowed and joined Mayfield in the spotlight. She asked if they knew the words and the women nodded furiously in response. As the song began, however, it became obvious that her date may have forgotten a few lyrics. Mouth closed, he danced silently around the stage – at one point approaching the drums with a smirk, only to walk away sheepishly as the song subsided.
Two excited audience members dance and sing along on stage for the encore performance
Through our laughs, Jessica closed the show. She even stayed around for a bit to drink with the crowd! Be sure to check out her website for new music, tour updates, and more!
okay, so first off a little about Marian Hill. the electronic/pop/alternative/other cliche genre names for “i don’t quite know what to call them” duo consists of Jeremy Lloyd (production and writing) and Samantha Gongol (vocals and writing). the two are from Philadelphia, and have strong ties to Brooklyn. the two have a purely platonic history together; they’re 24 years old, and have been friends since 7th grade. even so, Marian Hill just started making music together last year.
their music is cool/interesting to me, because its got a bit of a blues/jazz influence, while having a some R&B-sounding vocals, electronic beats, a lot of clapping, and a fair amount of catchy repetition. i got addicted to their music after listening to my *current* fave song by them, “Got It”, which i’ve provided for your listening pleasure:
anyways, back to the reason for this post: the two just released a new song, called “Wasted”. it was released exclusively to Interview, so click here to listen.
i really like this song already. to be completely honest, I’ve had it on repeat for the past hour or so. her voice is sweet but seductive; the beat is heavy at times, and at other times minimal. the lyrics are dope. “You would make my dreams come true/ I’ve already got em” … “Now you’re tripping over me/ I’m not here to hold you”. it’s definitely worth a listen.
however, WARNING: you might fall in love with their music. this is encouraged. if this is the case, keep your eye out for their EP coming out next week, Sway, and check out the stuff they already have out on bandcamp and soundcloud.
just in case you really catch the Marian Hill fever, here’s their facebook and twitter. (10/10, would recommend catching)
On February 10 Alabama Shakes released the first single on their new album called Sound & Color, out on April 21. As a follow up to their 2012 album Boys and Girls, I’m expecting really good things from the Shakes’ new material. I already love what I’ve heard in “Don’t Wanna Fight,” but I’m excited to see what else they’re going to bring to the table.
Here’s the “Don’t Wanna Fight” animation video, check it out–
This funky, soulful song revolves around lead singer/guitarist Brittany Howard’s mesmerizing voice. The power of the lyrics in “Don’t Wanna Fight” is upheld by the depth in Howard’s voice and the surrounding instrumentals.
The Alabama Shakes have been working on Sound & Color for the past year. Since teaming up with Blake Mills, a California-based songwriter/producer, the band has produced and recorded 12 tracks for this new album that will be released this spring. Sound & Color will be full of genre-bending songs, showing how the band digs into music history, touching on psychedelia and punk, gospel and classic rock, while maintaining the originality that attracted so many listeners when the group emerged from Athens, Alabama in 2011.
The group is planning an international tour upon the album’s release and will be playing at music festivals like Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well. The band will also appear on an upcoming episode of Live from the Artist Den, premiering on public television stations this week.
You can preorder this album on iTunes, Amazon or the band’s website. Prepare yourselves for the release of Sound & Color this spring and keep your eyes peeled for the Alabama Shakes’ upcoming tour dates, too.
With the Grammys taking place this past weekend, it seems like an appropriate week to take a stroll down memory lane to Grammys past.
In 2011, Arcade Fire beat out Lady Gaga, Lady Antebellum, Katy Perry, and Eminem for Album of the Year with The Suburbs. They were the first ever indie artist to win this category, and the internet was not thrilled.
For fans of indie music who favor an eclectic/often unconventional sound, Arcade Fire is the greatest thing your ears will ever experience. They’ve been around since 2001, fronted by husband and wife Win Butler and Régine Chassagne. Arcade Fire has it all: bass, piano, drums, cello, French horn, glockenspiel, harp, cello, and many, many more.
Their four albums–2004’s Funeral, 2007’s Neon Bible, 2010’s The Suburbs, and 2014’s Reflektor–have all received critical acclaim. Their lyrics are lovely and many of their songs feature Chassagne singing in French, which is probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. On top of all this, Arcade Fire has done social justice work to raise money for Haiti, Chassagne’s country of origin, and recently scored the Spike Jonze movie, Her.
Who the hell is Arcade Fire? Your new favorite band, that’s who.
I’ve been listening to a lot of South Korean pop lately, and as anyone who follows K-pop can tell you, things move pretty quickly in that world. You could say this is the case with pop music in general, but it’s especially true for K-pop because the field is so crowded—to give you an idea, in 2014, 47 new boy groups and 56 new girl groups made their debuts on the K-pop scene. I have absolutely no idea about how many groups or solo acts are currently active in total, but judging by those figures, I’m sure it’s an impressive number. So, if a release doesn’t immediately attract the listening public’s attention, chances aren’t good that it will make much of an impression at all. There are, of course, exceptions to this rule—take EXID, for example.
EXID were formed in 2011 as a six-member girl group, and their debut single, the glossy electropop track “Whoz That Girl,” charted at a respectable position of 36 on Korea’s national Gaon Singles Chart. Following the departure of three original members in 2012 (who would later go on to form BESTie, another solid girl group), two new members were added to create EXID’s final five-member lineup: vocalists Hani, Solji, and Hyerin, and rappers LE and Junghwa (as with many groups, these roles aren’t strict). Two more singles released in 2012, the dancefloor-ready “I Feel Good” and the mellower “Every Night,” charted at numbers 56 and 43, respectively. Again, these are pretty good positions, considering the thick competition in K-pop. And their first mini-album, Hippity Hop, even peaked at a position as high as number 13.
The latest single, “Up & Down,” seemed to be a bit of disappointment upon its initial release in August 2014; it entered the Gaon Chart at number 94 before quietly slipping off it. Such a fate isn’t surprising for many K-pop releases, but as it turns out, the story of “Up & Down” didn’t end there. In October, a fan-recorded video of EXID performing the track went viral in Korea, garnering millions of views. As is usually the case on the internet, no one knows exactly what caused the video’s spike in popularity—it could’ve been the members’ sexy dancing, stylish outfits, or impressive live performance abilities, to name a few reasons that were thrown around. Personally, I think it most has to do with people realizing that “Up & Down” is just a killer song. The rap lines, delivered with attitude by LE, are contrasted by singing lines that resemble schoolyard chants in their simplistic melodies. The addition of a brassy sax intro, a propulsive chorus, and a finale that combines all of this makes “Up & Down” an insanely catchy song. And it finally got its due attention: “Up & Down” climbed back into the charts, eventually hitting number one in the last week of 2014. Not bad for a months-old track, to say the least.
EXID opened 2015 with a victory lap, performing “Up & Down” on Korea’s competitive TV music shows and picking up six #1 awards, their first wins since debuting. To top these successes off, they also won the Hot Trend of the Year Award at the Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards that took place a couple weeks ago. The whirlwind of activity is starting to cool down now, and with no new releases on the horizon, it looks like EXID are going to take a well-deserved break for a while. They probably won’t be away for that long, though—a lengthy hiatus increases a K-pop artist’s chances of falling off the radar, after all. But I don’t think EXID have to worry too much about that, given that “Up & Down” has established them as major players in the K-pop world. In the meantime, you can check out their other music (along with dance practices and interviews, if you know Korean) on YouTube.
Last weekend, I waited in line for two hours – playing guitar, drawing with strangers, and even taking a picture with “sasquatch”:
Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of using one of my (two!) free tickets to see a collection of chaotic, clever, and comedic acts. This was the Sasquatch Launch party – a random pageant of madness and fun that resulted in the release of the all-anticipated line-up!
Comedian, Chris Gethard, opened the show with an enthusiastic display of his tattoos and mental health issues. We laughed and he smiled, and we waited – through the sounds of Star Wars cantina music – for The Young Evils to perform.
Adorned in a Macklemore “My City’s Filthy” shirt, The Young Evils’ Mackenzie Mercer entered the stage, followed by Troy Nelson, Michael Lee,and Scott and Brendon Helgason. Slow at first, Lee’s guitar put us all into a trance – the band’s Black Sabbath-like breakdowns providing an outlet for us to rock out!
The Young Evils start off the show with a bang!
Their next few songs sounded like a surfer-pop weekend playlist with some Ramones thrown in. Mercer and Nelson stared at each other occasionally before turning to their mics to sing their teenage indie-gaze pop songs. “We keep running in circles,” they wailed over the wavy bass line.
Throughout their performance, The Young Evils maintained this surfer rock vibe. Mercer’s hands clapped to the innocuous rhythm. Buzzy and popping, Brendon’s bass led the rhythm – Scott’s drums keeping up with its dramatic kicks and snares. All the while, Mackenzie Mercer and Michael Lee enticed us with their solos as they sang and danced around the stage.
They played a brand new song to the audience’s enjoyment. Mercer came closer to the edge of the stage, the front row girls bobbing their heads to the rhythm. As the song continued to build, it would quickly move into The Young Evil’s characteristic breakdowns – hard and heavy chords breaking through deadly drums with electric guitar riffs thrown in haphazardly.
After thanking us, the band began a duet between the two frontmen. "Dearly beloved,“ Nelson announced, "we are gathered here today to see the Tacocat, Ty Segall, and to see the rise of the scorch”
As we cheered in slight confusion, we picked up right back to where we left off. Bass shaking the floor, the frontmen sang in unison above crowd while short and sweet solos weaved in and out of the fluid verses.
Taking the maraca from the drummer, Mercer strutted to the front of the stage. She danced to the rhythm and her right hand joined in. While Michael Lee ooh-ed and aah-ed in the distance, the band sang in chorus until a quick switch sent the guitarist shredding as the song faded away.
Warped guitar and a reminiscent summer-time vibe filled the rest of the performance. After a quick announcement about what was coming up in the show, a melancholy guitar entered the mix. Despite lyrics like, “dead animals is what we’ll become,” the music brought us to life – the crowd moving their bodies with the tide of the music.
After a final song and a bit of cantina music (again), a Sasquatch montage video appeared before us. A distorted voice announced how amazing the festival was going to be before advertising ziibra.com/sasquatch – a media subscription that gives people a behind-the-scenes look at the building of Sasquatch!
Chris returned to the stage for another comedic break. He was astounded by how excited we get about free things. So, he “gave away free shit!” In response, one member of the audience screamed, “free stuff rules!”
Cue more cantina music (seriously, the same song), then along came Tacocat! Struggling to find their things in the dark, the band began to mic check and drink their beers. After the band tuned their instruments, bassist Bree McKenna described their first song to the applause of the audience.
The foursome did nothing but enthuse as they danced and sang in tandem
We all swung our hips and moved our lips in unison – oohs and ahhs echoing throughout the room. In a t-shirt and jeans, guitarist Eric Randall casually played until technical difficulties stopped him from doing so.
“We think the Neptune is haunted,” frontman Emily Nokes explained as Randall attempted to fix his amplifier. The awkward empty air provided a great time for stage banter as drummer LelahMaupin recalled her favorite story about a cat that didn’t die. “The only lesson we have to learn from Bartok the Miracle Cat,” she concluded, “is that it proves that pet cemetery is real!”
Magically, the technical difficulties were resolved! “Fuck you Neptune…” Nokes yelled, “-ghost!” she quickly added with a smile. As the band played their breakout single, “Bridge to Hawaii”, orange lights reflected off of Emily’s watermelon dress and Bree’s bright white and studded guitar. Lelah danced in the rhythm, her head leading her body in waves of intensity.
After a quick break for a drink of beer, Tacocat started to play a more intense set as the song “sk8 or die” caused the audience to start to mosh. Lelah’s commentary broke up the intensity. “The only thing I remember seeing here was Juno…” she said. “Twice!” the Emily quickly added. “Twice,” Lelah responded.
“She has the soundtrack on vinyl,” Eric remembers to announce. With a turn and a smile, Lelah responded with a gleeful, “That’s true!”
With a laugh, the band started playing their next song like before – Bree’s bass moving our muscles and Eric’s guitar blowing our minds. All the while, simple riffs flew right by Emily’s voice as she danced in a ska-like jig.
“Psychedelic Quincerniera,” was announced by Bree through a smile. The whole time, Maupin kicked ass! Throughout the song, she never stopped moving, despite the infrequent discourse of the crackling guitar. Even through the continual technical difficulties, the song ended with with a big, trippy Mexican guitar riff.
Reveling in the awkwardness, The band made a series of jokes including “that signature tacocat sound… Crunch!” said through a Noke’s ear-to-ear smile.
“I have a joke!” Lelah announced, “The busty crustacean joke!” Those who had previously attended the band’s shows cheered – a member of the audience even giving the answer to the drummer’s innocuous riddle.
The set continued and crowd favorite after favorite caused us to reminisce and cheer. Occasionally a crackled guitar would scream out above the mix and we would smile with the lead singer as she commented on “how beautiful the Neptune was.”
Throughout the set, the guitar continued to crackle but Randall played through it, never ceasing his harmonies for Noke’s catchy melodies. Meanwhile, I found myself wondering how Maupin could be so cute yet so menacing! Her sparkles shaking off with every bead of sweat, she smiled maliciously as she sang, “this is anarchy” and other clever one-liners.
For their last song, a man-sized lobster joined the band on stage as he began to dance alongside Emily. The crowd went wild with energy, once again moshing in the center of the floor.
In a surge of energy, the band left the stage and the lineup announcement began. We cheered as familiar names scrolled across the screen and was met with the same enthusiasm as Chris, the comedian, re-entered the stage. In case you missed it yesterday, check out nilorap’s full coverage of the lineup in our Rainy Blawg article.
Chris Gethard presents us with more free stuff!
Ty Segall entered the stage with nothing but a hard-shell acoustic guitar case in his hand. Adjusting the mic to his guitar, he lets us know that he’d be playing an acoustic set. The guitar propped up on his knee, Segall kept his impeccable instrumental skill as he sang along so fluidly. Quieter than the other performers, Segall kept us interested with his unorthodox lyricism and devilishly detailed guitar parts.
Segall commanded the stage with nothing but a guitar and a notebook
He played us a bunch of songs, both new and old. From some that were untitled to favorites like “Crazy,” Segall never let down his Led Zeppelin demeanor and face that might as well be Kurt Cobain’s during Nirvana’s MTV Unplugged set.
“This song is about my girlfriend” he said, before forgetting the chords and starting over. We laughed as he continued to sing the song, “Sleeper.” He moved his capo around his guitar as he decided which songs to play. He played us stories on his guitar, his lyrics bringing us into his universe – where every moment is precious and every person has their own world of importance.
He stopped playing to continue his story, connecting it with yet another song. “she said she wants to buy a couch” he sings. We laugh at his humor which remained interspersed throughout his lyrics.
“I’m gonna keep going with this theme of consumption,” he finally states, “this one is called Manipulators.” We ooed with him between verses and reveled in his relaxed demeanor. At one point, a man in the front row – later to be known as Sean – requested his favorite song and Ty obliged, his casual niceness and cheer flowing out until the end of the event.
When I left the show, I felt like I had just been to a friend’s house. It was strange since the event was free and there was nothing keeping us there except our love of the music. These artists felt the same vibe and rocked with us throughout the night! If anything, this sort of approach to music performance gives me hope for the beautiful time that will be Sasquatch! 2015.
It’s here! The lineup for Sasquatch! has finally been released! This annual music festival is held at the Gorge Amphitheater in George, Washington every Memorial Day weekend. That’s May 22-May 25; mark your calendars!
Every year thousands of music lovers from all over the world flock to The Gorge for this festival. Known for it’s scenic back drop and diverse lineup, Sasquatch! has become a gathering spot for fans of all types of music.
Check it out-
This year the festival is featuring headliners Kendrick Lamar, Led Zeppelin legacy Robert Plant, Modest Mouse and Lana Del Ray. Personally, though, I’m looking forward to seeing St. Vincent, Sylvan Esso, Thunderpussy and Dan Mangan + Blacksmith.
Still not convinced? Get this: Sasquatch! is also known for its comedy side-shows. This year’s list includes names like Doug Benson, Leslie Jones, Cameron Esposito and more.
Great music and funny people? Sasquatch! 2015 is a no-brainer; count me in.
Looking for the perfect opportunity to submerge yourself into Washington’s beautiful greenery, too? You’re in luck. Considering this venue is pretty remote and there aren’t any huge cities nearby, most of the festival attendees choose to campout in the designated camping ground near the amphitheater.
Tickets will be on sale starting February 7 on the festival website and a regular 4-day pass will cost $350. Grab yours before they sell out!
In this dreary period of somber winter nights, I’ve felt a little melancholy. I’m pining for sunshine, for sweet summertime nights, for nights around the campfire drinking some lemonade. I’m pining for the days of cool relaxation and no stress. Mostly, I’m pining for cool, fresh new music, and I think I found it.
So… we should meet JUNGLE FIRES.
A New York based duo composed of artists Menashé David Israel & Kéren Or-Tayar, JUNGLE FIRES is a brand new artist that puts indie pop and indie soul on the map. With beautiful piano harmonies,some chill electric guitar, and soulful vocals, their debut album Bliss Point is sure to take center
It’s a six-track album with its number one track creating
the perfect interest into their record. Brilliant song, “Nothing Can Be
Changed,” JUNGLE FIRES builds this track up softly, quietly, but very, very
clean. Kéren, one of the artists in the duo, dominates in terms of vocals with Menashé
backseating it. However, the two harmonize well, and Kéren’s voice is beautiful
as she rolls on with excellent control. This track is full of acoustic
harmonies and some nice piano melodies that hints to me of some jazz
influences. This song sounds cool and all, right? Yet, I think what makes it
excellent is its free-flowing rhythm and very distinct lack of catchy “boppiness.”
This is no Alex & Sierra piano pop duo in which you take hold of the
predictable chorus and happily sing along. The melody in this track takes turns
you wouldn’t expect, but the artists do it very masterfully with soft vocals
and strong instrumentals reminiscent of instrumentalist artist Explosions in the Sky. Ending the first
track with some echoing whistles, I got the campfire, classy soul vibe and I
I’m not going to spoil the entire album for you, as you should
take a listen for it yourself. But, we definitely need to talk about my favorite
track off this new record, “It’s Okay.” There are so many reasons I love this
track. It’s a little more fast-paced, and we hear more of Menashé’s vocals and
it’s great. But more than that, the two did something awesome, and added horns into
this track. The trumpet that’s going on gives this Middle Eastern/Spanish vibe,
and it creates this song as jazz, soul, and pop all in one. I think what I love
most of about this track is its ethnic reminiscence and its musical diversity.
They have soft vocals, and they have good vocals, but I could definitely see the two going off in this direction that is
very acoustic guitar pop, very cookie cutter radio style. And the fact they are
doing their completely own sound makes me very happy.
The rest of the album is pretty fantastic for a debut. Their
October 2014 single, “Hold,” is a track that is a bit more folk based, but has a bit
more traditional harmony with Kéren leading the vocals. I like it though, and I’m
glad they put in the record. “Open Eyes” is beautiful as Menashé softly almost
whispers “Shouting as loud as a siren of war/ Just to desperately reach to your
world” over the hints of tambourine, violin, and guitar. “Best of Me” ends the record
on a fantastically high note, with a much more pop vibe, and I’m not complaining.
These guys know what they’re doing.
Agh, have I converted you yet? Hopefully, enough for you to
listen to their album here:
After local artists Crater and Shaprece rocked out with their high energy and expressive vibes, Moses Sumney assumed his position in front of the audience at the Ethnic Cultural Center on Wednesday, January 28th. Just his very presence sent ethereal sensations throughout the venue, creating a kind of piercing silence that is only heardwhen crowds of people are in complete and utter awe of whatever it is they find
themselves collectively part of. “There’s gonna be a lot of surprises tonight,
for both of us,” Moses Sumney said with a laugh as he grabbed the mic and
started to test the waters on the stage. His sly remarks gave the impression that
he may have been a tad nervous, but the moment he started playing music it
became clear that nerves were most certainly not a factor in his phenomenal
performance. Although I might not have plastic wings like Moses Sumney (as
heard in his song “Plastic”), I felt myself float as he began to experiment
with his inspiring soul/folk sounds.
sounds began to develop into loops of his voice, overlapping each other—resulting
in a trancelike, overwhelming foundation for the musical journey he was
beginning to create for the audience. I’ve never been to another show where I
felt like I was watching art being created in front of my eyes and ears, but
Moses Sumney really achieved that with the techniques he used to create his
beautiful compositions. Aside from the use of a guitar, the only other
instrument Moses used on stage was his voice and his looping tool to create a
unique experience unlike any other that I’ve felt at a live show. Each
individual noise coming out of his mouth and guitar somehow developed into
beautiful songs that surrounded the audience in an unearthly bubble that popped
in each audience member’s mind.
opening song—“Dwell in the Dark”—was one of his more upbeat folky songs that
created liveliness throughout the ECT. This and his next song, “Man on the Moon,”
set the tone for the rest of the night as being a soulful and unique one on the
UW campus. As this song came to an end, he held one high note and began looping
his voice into a really interesting mix of sounds. The tones in this mixture
became almost anxiety-inducing in the best possible way—causing listeners to
feel a bit uncomfortable in their seats as they felt the growing sublime energy
swallow and capture their senses. The Ethnic Cultural Center turned into a cave
of creation, full of reverberating sounds including beat boxing, clapping, and
intonations of Moses Sumney’s heavenly voice (as can be seen and heard below).
He later went into playing one of
my favorite songs of the night—“Worth It”—and joked about it being written
about tuition increases (hehe, thanks for keeping a positive attitude about
tuition rises, Mr. Sumney). The biggest crowd pleaser of the night definitely
came when Moses began playing “Plastic,” one of his most played songs on his Soundcloud. He eased into playing this mellow and sexy tune while receiving cheering
from the entire audience to continue his outstanding work. There was one point
during the song that he began to actually whisper, almost teasing listeners to
beg for more of his smooth voice.
the night, I felt myself become emotionally controlled by the powerful hold
that the music had over me; however, the saddest part came when Moses Sumney’s
music had to stop. As he exited with a standing ovation (no surprise there), I
found myself wishing for an encore more than I had ever in my entire life. Unfortunately
there was no encore, but I did get a chance to briefly speak with Moses after
the show and get a picture with this up and coming legend.
Incase you weren’t able to come
around this time to experience this one-of-a-kind musician; I strongly recommend
you check him out the next time he’s in Seattle (which lucky for you is on
February 17th at Neumos)! You won’t regret it—I can speak from experience when I say that it will be an ear-opening performance to remember as last Wednesday’s was at the ECT.
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