Death and Daddy Issues: O//X//Y//G//E//N

The 90’s was a great time for music. Okay we say that, but we don’t really mean it. For all the 90’s babies nostalgia porn that’s plastered all over the internet, you’d think that 90’s influenced music would sound like the 90’s. Well that’s where you’re wrong, my friend. What everybody got from the 90’s was “Everybody was depressed so let’s put together some atonal keyboards, randomly placed hi hat triplets, and pop xanax.”

People memory-holed why 90’s music was so great. Yes you can look at the subject matter, fashion, aesthetic, and whatever. But let’s be real there was one sub-genre that took the world by storm–Grunge. And what made Grunge, Grunge? The Grungy guitars!

If there is one thing I keep harping on is how an excellent guitar tone can make or break a song. And Death and Daddy Issues’ guitars encapsulate so much of what made Grunge great.  Immediately the track starts off with this wet reverb bass. Which in and of itself is such a joy to hear. When you start off a track with an excellent sounding bass–the most underutilized instrument in rock–you’re off to a great song.

And then you hear it. The guitar. Which wails, screams, growls, and trudges along. Grunge guitar playing always took the best of both worlds. They used the slow heavy sound of heavy metal, and the out of control simplicity of punk to create this new concoction. Where virtuosity wasn’t center stage; rather it was passion that stole the show, and made every guitar solo before it sound dated. When you listen to tracks like this you’re not blown away by the fact the guitarist infused Jazz chords, and Bach. You’re blown away by the passion and the music.

Which brings me to my next point. The vocals. Now it’s no secret that usually grunge vocals, or even alternative rock vocals sounds like nothing that preceded it. Punk is too raw and unprofessional. And metal was either too polished, or brutal to have mass appeal. So new types of vocal styles emerged, that were either hit or miss.

The vocals in this track are absolutely phenomenal. It’s got the energy and rawness of punk, while maintaining a degree of tenderness that wouldn’t be found in most rock tracks. Which allows this emotional rollercoaster of a song to commence.

We’ve been 20 years plus of without the 90’s, and it’s a shame that most of the musical innovation that was accomplished during that time is being forgotten, simplified, and outright bastardized. Luckily for you and me there are bands like Death and Daddy Issues that are keeping the spirit of the 90’s alive. And with that I give this song my full recc. Please check it out!

 

Lunar Femmes: Mar de Sueños

There’s a reason why “Enjoys long walks on the beach” is such a common phrase in the dating market. There’s something about peering out to that vast deep blue sea that stirs the heart of every romantic. Whether it’s the tranquility of the waves, the endless possibilities out on the horizon, or the fun of just being able to jump in and swim in the ocean. There’s something about the beach that resonates with us on such a deep and profound level.

So when a song is able to capture all of these individualized emotional moments it’s an incredible feat. Especially when the song is less than 4 minutes long. So let’s dive right in, and see why this song deserves your listen.

Immediately we’re greeted with these shimmering synths, and this almost tape loop kind of effect in the background. Which does a great job setting up the rest of the track. Right off the bat, you hear the main motif that will be played throughout the track, but more importantly you become enveloped in the atmosphere of this track. Which is further compounded on by the sample of waves on the beach.

It’s important to note how impactful a sample can be to a song. A lot of artists will spend hours upon hours tinkering with different synth setups, effects, chord progressions, etc. to achieve a certain kind of feel. Yet they don’t look outside of music for inspiration.

Now this isn’t to downplay the rest of the track, the instrumentation is incredibly nuanced, complex, and beautiful. Yet it’s the atmosphere that reels you in. You can have the greatest melody, yet if you don’t have a great atmosphere for that melody to grow and flourish, then it’s all a waste. It’s like having a gigantic luxurious bed, with purple silk sheets, purple drapes, and with a golden head and foot board in an empty room. Yeah it’s a nice bed; but imagine how much nicer it would be next to a roaring fire, with a bear rug, Renaissance portrait, or whatever (I’m not the best at interior design). The atmosphere is what sells the luxury of the bed. Just as the atmosphere sells the melody of the music.

So now that we have the atmosphere of the track out of the way, let’s dive into the rest of the track. Every synth in this track just screams relaxation. Yet it’s not the kind of relaxation where you just cuddle up in bed, and watch netflix. Due to the upbeat tempo, and the 80’s lo-fi sounding drums it provides an energy to the track. That coupled with the luscious calming synths provides inertia to your relaxation. Like when it’s a Friday, and you want to let loose so you go for a swim at the beach. It’s an active sort of relaxation.

So for anybody who enjoys some nice relaxation, and a sound that truly transports you to a nice day at the beach. This is the track for you. I give it my full recc and would encourage anybody to check out the rest of Lunar Femmes catalog.

 

James 3K: You Make Me Want To Talk About It

Who doesn’t like a song with a nice groove? Nobody. That’s the answer to that rhetorical question.

Immediately the track starts off with this amazing guitar. The kind of guitar that if you were to listen to it on the street, you’d immediately start walking with a swagger. That’s how cool it is. Yet I said this track had a groove, and I’ll be getting to that, but you gotta recognize style when you see it. After all if you wear the flashiest suit on earth, but don’t have the confidence to back it up, then you turn cool to cringe. And nobody likes to cringe.

Nobody can deny the coolness of a track that’s got some groove. Yet it’s how you present it that matters. From the funky bass lines, the heavy synths, the amazing vocals, the gunshot samples–everything just works. Even the guitar at the end with that pitch perfect funky tone. And if you follow this blog you know how much I love a good guitar tone. All of these elements combine with a drum beat in this kaleidoscopic manner–where everything shifts and morphs–while retaining the core funkiness that’s needed for a track to have a nice groove.

Now everybody needs to be cool every once in awhile. Listening to this track is the equivalent of being the bigshot in town, walking down the street, feeling like a million bucks, looking like a million bucks, and who doesn’t like that?

Yet it’s not just about being cool. After all we’re in the underground here, and perhaps it’s hipsterdom, perhaps we’re a bit too clever. But being cool doesn’t really cut it anymore. As I mentioned before the track has this kaleidoscopic type of sound, the sound you won’t often find in the mainstream. While most songs bludgeon you to death with the same notes over and over and over again. This track, has so much variety, in such a short amount of time. It doesn’t become experimental, yet at the same time, you can see James 3K being fairly adept at experimentation.

So it’s not just cool. After all your older brother going to college and coming back home, seems like the coolest thing ever. Then when you find out that everything he says and does is cliched, he’s not as cool as you thought he was. This track has enough individualism, and artistry that it’s impossible for it to be cliched. So as a result the coolness never feels forced, it just permeates throughout the track. Which really is the basis for being cool–just being yourself.

AToMiC ALiEN x AJ RU$T: LAST OF OUR KIND Prod. AJ RU$T

So when I first started out with this blog, I was an idiot.

Why? Because I was dedicated to writing reviews only on albums, and not singles. Which in hindsight was a terrible idea. The reason I bring this up, is because this track is just begging for more attention.

AToMiC ALiEN doesn’t just drop bars, he drops bombs. Comparing him to most cloud rappers, is like comparing Michael Jordan to a high school basketball team. AToMiC ALiEN is playing a grown man’s game while everybody else is playing “make believe.” Now why do I say this?

Each verse he drops is so expertly crafted. The verses shift in rhythm like a great drummer knows the perfect drum fill. Actually let me shift the comparison AToMiC ALiEN drops bars, like machine gun fire. Which is a lot more filling, listening to this coupled with the heavy distorted soundscape, makes this track sound so vicious. It’s rap with testosterone, and what’s not to like about that?

Now that I got the actual rapping out of the way, the production deserves some praise as well. Everything from the distorted guitar samples, the alarm going off, the heavy distorted 808’s, and the electronic glitches just adds to it’s savagery.

Most rap on the radio talk about going hard, but nothing sounds like it’s going hard. Almost everything on the radio has this weird drugged up feel to it, while the guy is rapping about fucking girls, doing drugs, settling grudges, and shooting guys. So since we’re talking about the music industry, it’s of course not going to sound at all vicious–that would make too much sense.

Another reason I gotta give this track some respect is mainly because I’m a sucker for AMVs. What can I say I’m a weeb at heart.

 

 

Alpha Chrome Yayo: Malediction Boulevard

https://alphachromeyayo.bandcamp.com/album/malediction-boulevard-ep

Let’s be honest here, who doesn’t wish that 80’s music sounded like modern synthwave? As mentioned before, most of synthwave is kind of a wish fulfillment. Like how in 40’s-50’s serials promised a world of adventure, but audiences received a cardboard set and a B-list actor. Then Spielberg and Lucas come along and say, “Hey what if we gave those serials that we loved as kids a bigger budget?”

Great synthwave is the equivalent of seeing a niche B-movie get the A-list treatment. Obviously I say all of this because the cover art reminds me of The Fly. Because after listening to this, I want this to be that movie’s soundtrack. It has that perfect synthy buildup–that unresolved tension–that makes it oh so spooky. Then when you hear the guitar shred–pure heaven.

But it’s not just the leads that make this song great. Hearing that perfect bass groove–with laser like focus–is exactly what makes this track, an A-list track. Then when the tom fills kick in, you know you’re in for a treat. I mean I am biased, but when I hear some good tom fills–I’m already sold.

From the lead synth and guitar, to the drums and bass; nearly everything in this track delivers. It’s the A-list treatment to a B-list music genre. Also let’s be real if 80’s synth music was as good as it was hyped up to be. Then there wouldn’t be an 80’s sound. There would only be an electronic sound. So if you want to hear some good electronic synthwave goodness then check this track out!

Eric C. Powell: Need A Place

There’s nothing more I love when an artist knows how to use the tools given to them. Now there’s a lot of synth/electronic bands out there. Yet what separates the novice from the professional is the execution. What’s there not to like about this track? From the textures of the synths, the clear and precise production, and the amazing vocals. The sound is universally appealing, while at the same time Eric C. Powell creates an electronic soundscape that sounds like no other.

How does he do this? Well my money would be on how well he meshes and fuses different musical influences. Which produces a sound that is both novel, and at the same time familiar. After all isn’t creativity the synthesis between two diametrically opposed opposites? The opposites in this case being experimental electronic music, with the more dance-able EDM influences that pulsate in the background. Kind of like if Gary Numan and DeadMau5 had a child, and that child was a prodigy.

Then let’s get to the vocals, because if I were to skimp out on mentioning the vocals I’d be doing this track a tremendous disservice. Everybody knows that female vocals are generally better than male vocals. You know it, I know it, we all know it to be true. With the vocals lulling you to this meditative state, and the electronic music pulsating in the background–it’s an overall joy to listen to. Even though the electronic music is highly complex, it doesn’t detract from the vocals–far from it. They both work in tandem to create this amazing soundscape that’s worth repeat listens.

This is just a tidbit, of music to come, and album that will so be released. So keep your eyes peeled for when Eric C. Powell releases his album, because I’m sure it will be a joy to listen to!