Tag Archives: album release

New Track: Allen Stone – Upside

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I first heard of Allen Stone back in 2013. He was a last moment replacement for headliners Capital Cities at our Dawg Daze concert, Fall Fling. I wasn’t too thrilled about this development. I’d been looking forward to jumping around and screaming “safe and sound!” over and over again.

Nonetheless, I went to the concert. It was free, I had nothing to lose. I’m super glad that I went. Allen Stone did not disappoint at all. He danced around the stage frenetically, channeling his inner funk to put on a hell of a show. He had me non-stop swaying to his swanky tunes. Stone banished all my regrets regarding Safe and Sound.

Stone has come a long way since the fall of 2013. He’s now signed to a major label, Capitol Records, and is about to release his third album, Radius, on May 26th.  

“Upside” is the latest single off of Radius. The song’s funky guitar riffs and sudden keyboard notes pair well with Stone’s pain-filled voice. The Stevie Wonder influence is plain to hear:

The song laments a love lost, “Your love has no alibi/Still I fuel my appetite,” but also kind of celebrates it, “And I forget the pain it caused/It’s better to have loved and lost.”

Musically, “Upside” is deceptively upbeat. I can’t help but bob my head every time I listen to it. And I’ve listened to it plenty. The hook is cleverly catchy and easy to sing along to, “It keeps turning me upside down/It keeps pulling me underground.” I see this song becoming immensely popular at his live shows.

I really dig Stone’s brand of soul music and can’t wait to hear whatever else he has in store.

You can check out “Upside” here or pre-order Radius here.

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Pranav Shivanna

Album Review: COHO – Graves EP

Last quarter, I posted an article on COHO and their efforts to fundraise for their first EP. Needless to say, the IndieGoGo campaign was a success as this weekend, the band released Graves.

Slowly and carefully, the EP begins. Its vocal “oohs” coming in waves over an ever-vibrant guitar. As the introduction to “Orion” comes to a close, the drums commence and a male falsetto rings out over a building set of instruments. This first song sets the mood for the album, introducing COHO’s subtle harmonies and interconnected instrumentation. The song’s lyrics are complicated, yet easy to follow – their meaning pervading the happy Oh’s and Hey’s you can’t help but sing along to!

“Burning Oak” begins with a mix of lyrics and synths so catchy that the passing listener could mistake it for yet another indie-pop song. Yet, upon the entry of guitar riffs eminent of Death Cab for Cutie and a rhythm that carries more than just a dance-beat, the EP’s second song breaks out of the genre’s inherit pitfalls. Instead of relying on an insistent chorus to carry the track, COHO waits until the eventual bridge to make a clear lyrical impact:

All my bones are older in the December

They repeat ad naseum, a series of instrumental and vocal layers adding to the intensity of the climax. A full instrumental breakdown fills the majority of the song’s ending moments, until a final repeat of the chorus cooly ends the first half of the release.

The second half of the EP is calmer than the first – its final tracks, “Disintegrate” and “Graves,” following a slower tempo than that of the first two. Filled with lyrical excellence, “Disintegrate” is a vocal-heavy song. Each instrument and vocal harmony follows the lead of a single female vocalist – the synthesizer carrying the spaces in-between. Simply and succinctly (4:05 is the track length, the shortest on the release), COHO paints a hopeful future for the human cycle of change. “Disintegrate,” the track ends, “if you have lost your love don’t lose your faith / disintegrate and wash away / the memories.”

Chitter-chatter fills the air and a solo bass-line fills the soundscape. The EP’s title track starts out strong – the first minute flying by as each new instrument adds to the last. The two main vocalists work together perfectly, their powerful voices strongly contrasting the easy-going percussion. Repeating their soothingly complex layers of lyrics like those that filled the end of “Burning Oak,” COHO finds synchronicity within their seemingly endless mix of sounds.

The band plays together beautifully and the Graves EP displays this prowess. If you were lucky enough to catch the EP Release show at BARBOZA last weekend, I envy you. Now, more than ever, I am excited to see how this new mix of diverse talent and sound plays out in the future!

Stay up to date by following COHO on Facebook and Twitter. And be sure to check out their Bandcamp, Instagram, and Website (where you can buy the EP for $5)!