October 8, 2014 was a dark day for Crystal Castles fans. Stories with titles such as “Crystal Castles call it quits” saturated our newsfeeds as we sat in a corner wailing along with Not In Love and Vanished while eating copious amounts of ice cream.
No? Just Me? Okay.
Anyway, the pure despair beset upon me by the reports of Crystal Castles’ demise served only to enhance the state of pure bliss I was in the morning of April 16 when I awoke to a passive aggressive message from Ethan Kath accompanied by a Soundcloud link.
The message yielded a response from Alice Glass the next day and Kath later redacted most of the passive aggression, but that drama isn’t what’s important. There’s new Crystal Castles!
The track is called Frail and it’s signature Crystal Castles. It’s heavily distorted and is one of those tracks that melds into the background perfectly when doing anything to a beat, with just enough vocals to give you something to key into without drawing too much away from the instrumentals.
Speaking of the vocals, those on Frail are provided by someone referred to only as “Edith”. Though, they’re virtually indistinguishable from Alice Glass’ due in large part to abundant distortion.
Overall, it’s a solid track, but it doesn’t stand out too much when compared to the rest of their discography. You can listen to it on Crystal Castles’ Soundcloud, linked above.
With Ethan Kath releasing new music under the Crystal Castles moniker and Alice Glass set to release new music in the coming months, it’s an exciting time for Crystal Castles fans. Only time will tell if their split was better for listeners or not.
Y2K nostalgia could be captured in in an artist’s sound, that artist would be LIZ. A valley girl hailing from Tarzana, California, her sound and style
represent the aesthetic of the Y2K R&B generation. Think Sailor Moon
R&B, Hello Kitty aesthetic, kissing on the high school bleachers, unicorns
riding on rainbows, and trying to dance in an over-sized jersey. And that would
to Diplo’s label “Mad Decent,” LIZ has already released a string of singles and
even an EP (“Just Like You”). The latter is a cozy collection of colorful tracks
that range from representing a generation (“Y2K”) to being cautious about a
love (“Do I Like You”), with songs about pondering “what if” situations (“Say
You Would”) strewn in between. Even songs outside of her EP, such as “Hush” and
“You Over Them” all undoubtedly come from the same mentality, one of an R&B
princess cooing vocals wrapped in the warm productions of yesteryear.
It’s been rough lately, and honestly I should be writing a paper, but I’d rather write about music, so let’s just procrastinate together.
I’ve fallen in love, recently. It’s that time of year, you know? And I realize that I fall in love quite often, I’m a romantic, but this guy is worth it, I’m telling you.
Let’s meet Taylor Berrett.
As I write this, I literally can feel myself become giddy,it’s almost unreal. It’s crazy. Is this how love feels?
Okay, so this is actually really strange because I first
discovered Berrett a couple of months ago when I went to an Alex Clare show at Neptune Theatre (remember that show
preview?). He was the opener, and I remember, at the time thinking, “He’s good,
young, but this kid’s got it.” I took a couple photos, swore he was going to go
far, and then just vaguely forgot about him. Here’s a photo of him performing,
he’s a pretty rad guy.
But anyway, then I followed him on Facebook, just for news
updates and slowly Berrett began to come out with more of his own music. When he
performed a couple of months ago, he had a couple of his songs, so I knew he
could write, but I was basing his vocal ability off his Beatles covers.
So I knew this kid has talent.
It’s a little crazy I’m reviewing
this guy so soon because his debut album doesn’t even come out for another two
weeks, but the tracks and the EP that he has out now are just too good to not
talk about, and I expertly assume they will be on his debut album.
But let’s talk about my favorite
tracks first, which aren’t on his 2012 EP Anchor
Chasing. “Those Days,” a track that he just released this year, starts off
just the way I like it: with some finger snaps, simple acoustic harmonies, and a raw,
The rhythm on this track is so brilliant and the lyricism that
this man has is so natural, I am reminded of singer-songwriter (and one of my
favorite musicians) Kris Allen. We
start off easy with “Slow down, turn around/Tell me what’s tearing your heart
out baby,” building up the main chorus “Everybody has, everybody has those
days/ Feeling like an ocean, having trouble making waves.” As we build up to
the chorus, we get a little trumpet and sax into the mix, and my heart drops into
my stomach. Then bam, xylophone, and the world just stops.
It’s this perfect mix of acoustic
folk with jazz and it just feels easy
you know? You get the feel of just chilling on the beach with this guy,
drinking some margaritas, with a guitar and a guy playing saxophone in the
background. When we get to the sax solo, you know Taylor Berrett is a classy
musician and not one to be reckoned with. He knows instrumental composition,
and he knows it well.
Okay, so now for my absolute favorite
track that he has out so far. “The Heat,” a track that he released,also, just a
couple months ago is just a game changer.
It’s a little more upbeat, but it’s probably, and this may be a stretch, a
track that I would say is one of the best new singles I’ve heard this year. He starts drumming out some awesome beats,
leading in with some great vocals that just has excellent rhythm and a sense
of, once again, jazz and blues. Listen to the part when he sings his chorus, “Got
no place that I can go/ Got no money to my name/ Got no scars that I show/ Got no
bad luck I can blame.” The way he weights his vocals rhythmically is not just
catchy. It’s brilliant. The electric guitar mixed with his drummer is all so
cohesively in sync with his vocals, that you would almost expect Berrett to be
someone who’s been in the business for years. Taylor Berrett labels himself as acoustic pop,
and definitely, I can see why he would want to brand himself that way; he wants
to be commercial. But don’t let that fool you, this guy knows solid blues. He
knows solid jazz. He is catchy, but he is skilled and talented. You see it in
the last track I discussed, you see it in the bridge of this track when he
sings “They say man take it easy, enjoy it while you’re free/ I said the heat I
can stand is, is standing still against me.”
And the acoustic version is even
better. Here’s a look.
This voice. Please. There is
control, there is great tone, there is great pitch, and there is just a
When I listen to this guy, a smile
forms on my face. Is this what love feels like?
Maybe it’s the combination of the fact
that I’ve seen this guy start it out live, and then have listened to his more
matured singles, and maybe it’s the fact that I know he is the real deal
because I have seen him sing. I’m not
sure. But this is probably my favorite artist
to review thus far, and I love a lot of musicians.
But anyone, one more, let’s talk.
Let’s take it back two years, to another
track, also not on his EP. I like his EP, and we’ll get there, don’t worry. But,
honestly? I really just dig these tracks that he chooses not to publicize as
much. They’re rad. “Fair Warning,” takes it back a little bit more to his folk
roots, but he still rocks it, like usual.
You get this banjo, tambourine, campy
feel, but once again, his lyricism of, “Call me the wanderer/ Write me away/ I’ll
be the mountain you cannot escape,” never fails. This a track I’m pointing out
just to emphasize Berrett’s versatility as an artist. I’m sorry, but I don’t
care how campfire folk he gets, the man has vocals and the man can write. And
why is it surprising? This 22-year old singer from Virginia started writing songs at age 13,
so he’s had plenty of practice.
Quick note on his EP, Anchor Chasing, because I feel like I
should comment. It’s alright; I’m not trying to disregard his first published
accomplishment. Style wise, it’s more lowkey than the other tracks I’ve talked
about, simple. When you listen to it, you can hear in his voice that he still
very much new, and hey this is an EP from two years ago, so it’s
understandable. We all mature as artists.
Of the five tracks on the EP,
there are only two that I truly love and know will make it to his full length
album. “Whole Heart” is definitely a track I love best and a song I think
Berrett is exceptionally proud of especially since he keeps promoting it. It’s
full of those beautiful piano melodies that you all know I love, so points
right there. It’s two years old, but I think this is a solid original
composition of his, and personally, I’m proud. “Pomegranate Sky,” another great
one on his EP is dreamy and acoustic, but solid with some violin and piano in
the background. You feel relaxed listening to this. You have to let his voice just
take you away, and he does, successfully.
By the way, please, please, check out all his music on his soundcloud here!
All in all, this man is going to
top charts. I’m not predicting that, I’m guaranteeing it. He knows what he’s doing,
and seeing as he is already signed to Warner Brothers, and seeing as his album is
about to be released mighty soon, it’s only a matter of time.
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)
In some ways, “Ghosts” is an appropriate name for the newest track by L.A. artists Carol Rhyu and Keil Corcoran, otherwise known as prints_. Rhyu’s whispery voice floats above ethereal synth lines, singing about being “lost inside this moment/no past, no future.” The dreamy keyboard textures are undergirded by a steady bass and skittering drums, keeping the track from drifting off into the spirit realm entirely. Still, it’s a fine track for those times when you feel like escaping from the real world for a few minutes.
“Ghosts” is the first new prints_ song in nearly two years, but that doesn’t mean the project’s members haven’t kept busy. Rhyu also makes music as White Blush, producing dark dream pop similar to that of prints_, and Corcoran is a member of the band STRFKR, who of course graced UW with their presence at last year’s ASUW Spring Show. You can listen to the rest of their collaborative tracks on Soundcloud (which are, sadly, limited in number) and check out the new video for their song “Wish” on YouTube.