Tag Archives: northwest

New Release Watch: Made in Heights

The West Coast duo consisting of former wedding singer, Kelsey Bulkin, and local Seattle-based producer of Blue Scholars, Sabzi, released the single “Slow Burn” on Tuesday.  It’s the second single off their upcoming album (out May 26th) Without My Enemy What Would I Do. And I’m a little disappointed.  

I want to start off by saying Made in Heights is an amazing group. Attempting to label their sound as a whole proves difficult, seeing as they have yet to accept any one genre themselves.  Continuously welcoming suggestions from fans, the current official description includes: mythical filth, pop fiction, beauty slap, goon lit, artisanal (c/t)rap, and west coast gothic. To put it as simply as I can, they are known for pairing soulful vocals with crisp electronic beats and atmospheric soundscapes.  At times even incorporating elements of rap into their bright and ethereal sound, Made in Heights weaves an intricate and special sound under the ever-growing umbrella of synth-pop. The only way to truly experience the sound is to hear it for your self, something I highly recommend.

Slow Burn turns its back on this complexity of genres and heads straight for the dance floor.  Let me get one thing straight – this track is completely infectious and a solid dancy-synth-poppy song.  The track begins with a catchy synthesized staccato baseline with Kelsey’s simmering vocals drifting atop. By the end, snapping and groovy instrumentals layer in, creating an intoxicating, sparkly-smooth pop track. I would be lying if I said I didn’t bob my head to “you give me that burn, burn, burn, burn, burn”.  It’s received good reviews from several sources and is now one of their most-listened to songs on Spotify, it just isn’t what I was hoping for.

Listen for yourself in the stream below:

It might be a personal taste issue that turned me off the new single, seeing as the airy female vocals and snappy dance beat of Slow Burn kicked in some post-traumatic stress from my days working in retail.  Once you imagine a song bursting from the cheap speakers of a former employer at the mall, it’s hard to listen to it without feeling a little bit guilty.

It also could be the high expectations I hold for the duo, set by their stunning previous work. Ever since first hearing "All the Places” and “Wildflowers” off of their 2012 self-titled album, I’ve been craving more.  Even their opening act for TOKiMONSTA I attended in LA last October reflected their original aesthetic I adore, the pair performing synchronized 60’s backup singer dance moves throughout the set. I just hold them up to a higher creative standard than what this newest track has produced. With sporadic releases and no single website to find their collective work (scattered throughout Soundcloud, Spotify, Bandcamp and their website), I was overjoyed to hear about the new album coming out in late May.

Now I’m just hoping that this single follows the rule of singles, and is the lone shamelessly-dancey track of the album; the rest hopefully following more in suit with the innovative sounds I’ve come to expect from Made in Heights.

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Cassie Lynch

Rad Report–come with me and join the Manatee Commune

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The music created by Manatee Commune is like a gust of wind that breathes life and energy into you as you walk down the street on a cold winter day  (similar to the ones we’ve been having in Seattle this last week). It’s the kind of music that exhales only positive vibes into anybody who takes a listen. When I first heard these beats I felt myself inhale a rush of emotions, which cannot be produced by anyone other than the incredible Grant Eadie—the creator and member of Manatee Commune. 

Described by Eadie himself as “chillwave, bedroom electronic, [and] rainy goodness,” Manatee Commune’s music is really unlike any other. There aren’t many artists producing such relaxing, yet intriguing types of music that can induce such an intense experience. The ethereal sounds within Eadie’s music bring out this feeling of awe that’s hard to describe, but is similar to the sensation of having climbed a mountain and having meditated on the summit. The idea of “the sublime” comes to mind, the concept of something completely awe-inspiring and stupendous—this is exactly how I feel when I play a song by Manatee Commune.

While definitely fitting into an electronic genre, I think of Eadie’s music as mostly experimental and trancelike. The most interesting and coolest part of many of these songs is that natural sounds are incorporated into them, which are definitely a reminder of the Pacific Northwest and Seattle specifically (where Eadie is from and currently resides). This gives the music a very relatable and homey feel to it that is applicable whether you’re on that grind studying for finals next week, or whether you’re trying to ease your mind and get some good sleep.

Although I feel like it’s remarkably easy to connect to Manatee Commune’s music through soundcloud and bandcamp, I’m really excited to be able to experience these rad rhythms live on December 3rd (tomorrow)! The show is actually FREE and is presented by our very own Rainy Dawg Radio in UW’s Ethnic Cultural Theater. I, myself, have yet to experience Manatee Commune live, and have heard that it’s an unbelievable experience. I hope to see you all there so we can enjoy the breathtaking work of this fantastic artist together. 

Outlander in the Emerald City: Lync – These Are Not Fall Colors (Flashback Album Review)

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Formed in 1992, Lync was one of the pioneers of the indie rock scene that grew out of Olympia and Seattle in the early- to mid-1990s.  Comprised of vocalist/guitarist Sam Jayne, bassist/vocalist James Bertram, and drummer Dave Schneider, Lync’s strengths encompass discordant riffs, intertwining guitar and bass melodies and a heavy, driving beat to keep the ground solid underneath.  Jayne’s vocals are beautifully indistinct while maintaining a screechiness that is bound to make your head ache delightfully.  With only one full album under their belt, These Are Not Fall Colors showcases the band in a head-bang worthy package, drawing comparisons to hardcore favorites such as Fugazi and Unwound.

Where to listen: The full album can be found on YouTube (streaming after the jump)

Where to buy: Check out Lync’s bandcamp (http://lync1994.bandcamp.com/album/these-are-not-fall-colors) if you like what you hear!

The album opens with “B”, beginning with a bombardment of feedback extending into a melodically brooding riff and rolling drumbeat, wasting no time in showcasing Lync’s talents in the post-hardcore vein.  The song takes off into a soaring barrage of distortion and chunky rhythms, with Jayne double-tracking his screaming vocals over the chorus.  Although the lyrics maintain an ambiguous quality throughout the song (and most of the album for that matter), a few profound lines shine through, including the repeated “You only need your own air to breathe.”  Lync’s influences can be easily traced back to classics like Pixies and Sonic Youth with their use of the (now almost-clichéd) alt-rock loud/soft dynamic; however, they implement it differently, often giving breathing room in the chorus while still never losing intensity in the verses.  “Silverspoon Glasses” is no exception to this rule, featuring swelling walls of distortion that collapse into haunting yet beautiful melodies.  The album continues with the supremely catchy “Cue Cards”, featuring the classic off-kilter arpeggio and rolling drumbeat combination, with a bass-line to guide the major melodies, a trick peers Modest Mouse picked up (and perfected) in their first few records.  The last track, “Uberrima Fides,” allows the album to close out with a bang, climaxing to a kick-ass buildup before the reverb-drenched outro jam (which takes its guitar effects from space-rock gods Caustic Resin and Built to Spill).  The feedback at the end of the track allows the album to fade out as it began, ready to be replayed and re-appreciated by its fans.  Although twenty years have passed since its release, These Are Not Fall Colors remains a highly influential record in the indie rock scene that has grown to such great heights in our alt-loving society of today

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Katie Hanford