Album Review: “Alone For The First Time” by Ryan Hemsworth

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HAPPY RYAN HEMSWORTH WEEK!

the canadian prince of future vibes and dope remixes dropped a new album November 4th named Alone For The First Time. the album is fairly short, just 7 songs totaling 27 minutes. 

TRACKLIST:

01 “Hurt Me”

02 “Walk Me Home” (Feat. Lontalius)

03 “Snow In Newark” (Feat. Dawn Golden)

04 “Blemish”

05 “Too Long Here” (Feat. Alex G)

06 “Surrounded” (Feat. Kotomi & DOSS)

07 “By Myself” (Feat. the GTW & Little Cloud)

the album is a super chill collection of songs that have great beats accompanied by really pretty and sometimes sad lyrics, a perfect follow up to last years album, Guilt Trips (which you should also check out if you haven’t). Hemsworth told vogue “Maybe it’s[Alone For The First Time] a reaction to all the party music out there now, but I just needed to do something a little quieter — every song I do is in a minor key.” this makes the album really flow together- i think it sounds best just played in order. Check out the stream below:

the first track, “Hurt Me”, is minimalistic with a bubbly electronic beat and simple lyrics (the only words are “don’t you hurt me”). how much more representative of Ryan Hemsworth’s style could that be…

“Walk Me Home” is that classic internal battle between wanting to be with someone but knowing they’re not good for ya. put those lyrics over Hemsworth’s spin on what sounds like a ballerina music box and it’s an amazing song; you’ll find yourself torn between dancing and curling up in a ball of sad- the best kind of sad.

“Snow in Newark” was the album’s first single, released September 22nd, 2014. this track is ESSENTIAL. this song is a sincere and relatable piece, you can’t help but wanna give ryan a big ol’ hug because he’s just so adorably glum. “I call my music happysad, one word, no spaces,” Ryan Hemsworth says, and that’s exactly what this is. 

“Blemish” is an instrumental electronic track, which is very different than the typical, crazy instrumentals that start to sound repetitive and almost aggressive, because Hemsworth’s mellow and unique style is so vibe-able. 

“Too Long Here” opens up with the lyric “Who ever thought of a big train / Going right in your mouth”. it’s a lonely song about feeling lost, but in a really common and not necessarily sad way. i think this is my favorite song on the album because the meaning isn’t really clear, so everyone’s gonna interpret it differently. and Alex G’s voice is dope, so that always helps.

“Surrounded” is great. the voices, one computerized-sounding, one soft and very classic, create a cool contrast with the electronic beat and bass. you really notice Hemsworth’s DJ skills on this track- they’re impossible to ignore.

finally, the last hoorah, “By Myself”.  this is such an amazing song, and i love the way Hemsworth, GTW & Little Cloud worked together, because the song seems accessible. you can relate to the lyrics and the beat, and you can be alone but with someone else, as the song is saying. it’s a cool way to end the album because when it finishes, it winds down to nothing and you do almost feel by yourself. 

overall, the album was a really successful project, and i think Ryan Hemsworth is just on the come up. he’s been touring around the world, doing big festival appearances and college fling concerts, but he’s had time to make this album and be really involved with his fans. he replies to a majority of the tweets he receives, and answers all of his tumblr asks, which reveals how humble and, honestly, timid he is. when a fan complimented his performance at the University of British Columbia, he replied “i felt funny at ubc for some reason.. i dunno if i’m good at like big college spring fling parties? or just 2 self conscious lol.” it’s essentially impossible to dislike Ryan Hemsworth as a person, which makes his music that much more attractive. 

Hemsworth detailed his reasoning for making this album shy away from the typical electronic club music on his tumblr: “i think just a lot of the places i found myself in the past year (big weird EDM festivals, etc) kind of pushed me to make something quieter / separate from that world. and also just the combo of never being home but meeting cute nice people on the road lots added up to a newfound appreciation of a lot of music i’d forgotten about.”

basically, you should totally check out his new album. and his instagram, which is where i pulled this picture from:

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gnovs

Rad Report: Otieno Terry blows the roof off the Vera Project

I’d like you to close your eyes for a moment and imagine that some kind of intangible, energy-like force comes up from behind you and jolts you in a way that makes your body move uncontrollably. Before you realize it, liveliness is radiating out of your body in a way that can only be interpreted as dancing.

The energy that Otieno Terry brought onto the stage last Thursday night (the 23rd) was incomparable to any other artists I’ve seen perform. Although he’s a complete wildcard in the scheme of my music taste, he most obviously has the ability to create the kind of energy-like force I was referring to above. Although his music is a little more on the hip-hop/jazz/R&B end of the spectrum than I usually explore, I found myself captivated by the ambiance that radiated from his stage presence toward the crowd. Between his smooth yet hip-hoppy vocals and his exhilarating dance skills, he was able to get the whole crowd moving to his music in a way that very few artists have the ability to.

Each song that he performed had an individual flare to it with vibes pulling from different genres. He joked around about naming one of his songs after one of his band mates, but later got more serious when he revealed that one was about “falling in love and shit.” My personal favorite was his cover of Sweet Dreams (originally by Eurythmics), which he clearly made his own (as seen and heard in the video above).

After an amazing show, I was lucky enough to meet this one-of-a-kind artist with my main girl and fellow blawger Ani Joon (check out her vlog, The Ani Joon Review). I only had the opportunity to speak with him for a few minutes, but discovered that he is actually a really awesome dude. On top of that, he’s a local artist, originally from Central District. This isn’t his first time rocking shows in the Seattle area and his next show is coming up at The Crocodile on November 28th! Check him out next month and don’t miss this awesome opportunity to become enveloped in Otieno Terry’s awe-inspiring music and energy. 

Photo of Otieno Terry and me after the show

Rad Rebs

Check out more music and news from Rainy Dawg Radio @ RainyDawg.org!

Rad Report: Modest Mouse isn’t being too modest!–reissuing of two albums

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Yo all you Rainy Dawgs out there! This is the Rad Report with blogger Rad Rebs, and before we get down and dirty with some awesome new details about Modest Mouse’s reissuing of their first two LPs, we’re about to get slightly philosophical so bare with me. Its been said that “bad news comes, don’t you worry even when it lands good news will work its way to all them plans” (Modest Mouse, “Float On”). This resonates with me as I float into a new world, full of changes and new experiences. On a broader and wider spectrum, it’s only human to wonder when our luck will take a turn for the better—into the utopian-esque world that we tend to imagine. No matter which point we are at in our lives, it seems to be inevitable that we will face a wave of challenges; at any given moment we may experience the “bad news” that Modest Mouse refers to, but just as often we find ourselves in a state of euphoria in the next instant.

We can relate to Modest Mouse in many ways as being their fellow Washingtonians—the lead singer (Isaac Brock) originally grew in Issaquah just east of the UW campus. Although growing up poor, Brock formed the band in the early nineties and received a lot of luck with their first two LPs released in 1996 and 1997 respectively.

We’ll all be considering ourselves pretty lucky starting on October 28th, when Modest Mouse’s This Is a Long Drive for Someone with Nothing to Think About is reissued on vinyl—and AGAIN on November 4th when The Lonesome Crowded West is reissued. In a world where digital has become the norm, there still seems to be an agreement that listening to an album on vinyl has a charming sound unlike anything else. When we step back and take a moment to realize that this is the first time in over ten years that these albums have been available on vinyl, I’m predicting a pretty serious rush on these reissues. Can’t wait to get my Modest Mouse on vinyl–as Isaac Brock might sing, good news is definitely working its way to all them plans.

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Rad Rebs

More info below:

http://www.rollingstone.com/music/artists/modest-mouse/biography

http://impressionofsound.com/index.php/news/490-modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums

http://consequenceofsound.net/2014/09/modest-mouse-to-reissue-first-two-albums-with-unreleased-music/

Artist Profile: Naomi Punk

Naomi Punk is a post-punk band from Olympia, WA. But to classify them as such does not do their music justice, as it doesn’t seem to fit into any particular mold. It has to be listened to be understood, and even then I sometimes notice myself discovering new layers to their sound with each time I play one of their records.

It may be cliché to say that an artist’s music grows on you, but in the case of Naomi Punk it’s just true. When I first listened to their debut The Feeling on a recommendation from a friend, I was unconvinced. The album sounded thrown together, its melodies buried under distortion and its lyrics indiscernible. But as I listened to it again I began to notice myself humming along and my foot tapping more and more enthusiastically.

Once I grew familiar with the sound of the album it became contagious. Naomi Punk had already been playing together and touring for a couple years before The Feeling was recorded, and the live energy of the band can be felt throughout the album. The songs all have a unique character to them, and yet on the whole the album feels very solidly like a singular conception. Apart from two tracks based around a synthesizer, the songs are driven only by two guitars and a set of drums, and sound like they could have all been recorded in the same take. This gives The Feeling a familiar and cohesive sound that you learn to appreciate more with each listen.

The band’s follow up, Television Man, was released in August of this year and has a very similar quality to The Feeling. While not as immediately rewarding as their debut, Television Man has many layers of its own and is at times equally engaging. After two solid releases, Naomi Punk feels like a band with a ton of potential and one that would be an incredible live experience. After all, the band has its roots on stage, not in the studio.

Picking out a standout track is difficult because my favorite from them changes practically every time I hear one of their albums, but a good place to start would be “The Spell” off The Feeling:

Editor’s Note: Naomi Punk’s website can be found here: http://naomipunkmusicgroup.com/
They don’t have any music there, however, so you’re best off just heading to their record label’s page, Captured Tracks, or their Facebook

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Jamie Coughlin