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RIYL: The Ravonettes, Best Coast
When I heard of the Dum Dum Girls I automatically thought angsty girl band, but I was disappointed when their first track started playing. I was hoping for a No Doubt, Fiona Apple and The Cranberries vibe. Maybe it was my fault for putting this band on such a high pedestal before even wafting in their sound.
Instead of bra-burning music that I could jump around my room feeling my girl power, I was met with breathy vocals and a mystical Gothic sound with light airy tones. When listening closely I could almost hear a slight similarity to the band Metric, but I did say almost. If you can't tell, this band was not my cup of tea. Their instrumentals were generic and made you feel you were in a bad 80’s Gothic music video. Not to mention that I couldn’t get past the lyrics that sounded like some chick whimpering about a guy that was “Too True to Be Good”.
Emerson Jay- T H E E P
RIYL: Foster the People, Passion Pit
Recommended Tracks: Track 2: Young Svn, Track 5: LZY Me
T H E E P is the first release from the Pittsburgh-native four-piece band, Emerson Jay. Jared Gulden is a twenty-one year old musician and the brains behind the entire operation of Emerson Jay. T H E E P is a six song EP, filled to the brim with electronic synth-soaked happiness.
The band draws its influences from groups like Foster the People and Passion Pit, but still manage to harvest their own unique sound. It’s relaxing, yet exciting and catchy. Track two, “Young Svn”, starts with an infectious guitar riff that leads into a burst of sound and energy that holds strong for the remainder of the song. Jared Gulden is young and new to the music scene, but that doesn’t stop him from delivering some insightful lyrics that add to the quality of the EP. On “Young Svn” he sings, “It's too much to take, how far can you go until you'll have to break?And how will we break? cause it hurts to say that the end isn't far away.” On track 5, “LZY Me”, he questions “May I make up my mind if I change i?, cause I change a lot.” In Gulden’s lyrics, it’s obvious to read that he is nervous of the future. As any musician trying to break in to the industry has probably felt before, Gulden and the rest of Emerson Jay have questions about their future and their music.
Let’s just say that this EP is a step in the right direction. Their sound is something relatively new to the music industry, and will most likely grow in popularity in the near future. Fueled by raw talent, passion and a little bit of luck, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Emerson Jay. T H E E P is a breath of fresh air to music.
RIYL: Queens of the Stone Age, Biffy Clyro, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Track 4- My Kite
Track 5- Amusement Park
Four Italian kids under the mantras E-King, Penguinsane, litteladle and ThEdOg team up with a Grammy-award-winning producer and release a great funk-rock EP. That’s the story of newly Austin-based band Piqued Jacks.
The Jacks take the highly syncopated funk feel of bands like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and infuse some good old rock & roll on their EP, “Just a Machine.” It doesn’t take long to see just how talented the Italian boys are. “Blackie” is a blazing fast, funky rock track infused with a machine-gun-like bass riff and an infectious poppy chorus featuring some really tight harmonies.
“My Kite” is a gorgeous piano driven song that crescendos into a full-on power ballad that sounds destined for a movie soundtrack, especially during the unforgettable chorus that shouts the cadence “The Ocean is Wide” over bright, cutting guitar sounds.
The band has been making a lot of noise in the Austin, Texas area, and it’s easy to see why after listening to the EP. These guys have some serious potential.
RIYL: The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Japandroids, White Stripes
Track 1- Dreamer
Track 2- Wicker Man
Track 5- Fires
New Mexico-based, blues/funk-rock duo The Lymbs have the same unique gift that made the White Stripes famous: to create an absolutely huge sound with just guitar and drums. The duo combine elements of blues and funk rock with harder, garage rock, mashing up guitar tones that sound straight from a Chili Peppers record with huge, fuzzed out moments that sound like Japandroids on steroids.
Gage Bickerstaff’s seducing tenor sounds like something straight out of the early blues-rock movement— say Cream or Muddy Waters. Plus, he can absolutely shred on the guitar. On the opening track his clean, laid back riffing explodes into a huge sounding, overdriven guitar blitz that will have you wanting to bash your head off the nearest wall and shout for joy at the same time.
Jeff Bell tackles the daunting task of giving a backbone on drums to such a versatile, rhythmically complex sound like it’s not even a challenge. He shuffles back and forth between polyrythmic and highly syncopated licks (“Kerosene”) and heavy half-time thrashing (“Dreamer”) with ease— which is no small task.
In a world full of assembly-line-produced, rip-off bands, The Lymbs take a unique, refreshing approach to bringing back rock music. And they do it in a big way
Recommended tracks: 5. Gone Solid Gone Remix, 1. Laziest Girl In Town Remix, 4. You're To Blame Remix
In a remix to Austin-based singer Elizabeth McQueen's The Laziest Girl in Town album, Brothers Lazaroff join forces with McQueen to create a jazzy, electronic, R&B EP. This EP is one of those that you listen to with quality headphones or a great sound system so you can really hear Brothers Lazaroff's amazing instrumentals.
Track 5, "Gone Solid Gone," really sticks out because of featured artist Thelonius Kryptonite. His smoother vocals were preferred over McQueen’s tone on this track. Don't get me wrong, McQueen has a great voice, especially with her old-school singing style, but Thelonius gives the song such a twist by incorporating his rapping talents.
The opening track on this EP, “Laziest Girl in Town,” is just so mellow and relaxing. McQueen’s voice reminds me of real old-school R&B, the kind that you slowly nod to. And of course Brother Lazaroff is just sick at doing what they do—such a smooth track and a great way to introduce Brother Lazaroff and McQueen.
The fourth track, ”You're to blame,” has one of the best instrumentals on this entire EP. Brothers Lazaroff clearly express how crafted they are on this track. That cool kind of electronic melody along with the background singers and McQueen is so fluid.
Overall, a pretty good EP if you're into a modern, jazzy feel.
RIYL- Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes
Track 6- A Moment’s Grace
Track 8- Back Down the Black
Boy and Bear have been dubbed as the Australian Mumford and Son’s. Upon first listen, every amateur music listener would probably think the same thing. After listening through the album a few more times, you’ll be able to tell the two bands apart and recognize their unique sound.
Their sophomore album topped the charts in Australia, and for good reason. Every song on this album tells a story. The work as a whole gives off a warm, fuzzy sound. There are times throughout the album when you can just feel the pressure building. I found myself waiting for the band to explode into heavier rock riffs but as soon as this anticipation builds up, it dies back down again. In some cases, this would be bad for a band, but I think in the case of Boy and Bear, it works quite nicely. On “Back Down the Black,” the lyrics describe a sort of struggle with what I’m guessing to be drugs. The lead singer describes what it’s like to be scared for someone you love. “There'll be change 'cause this one's too big not to see, but brother you're scared and I'm scared when you're scared 'Cause you ain't supposed to be.”
Its witty lyrics like this that make the album worth listening to. Although it may seem, instrumentally, that the album may drag on, the wordplay and lyrics are what distinguish this album as a success and not a failure.
RIYL – Childish Gambino, Drake (Take Care) , LL Cool J
Track 3 - Dreamer
Track 6 - Gone
Track 10 - Lion’s Den
As a hip-hop artist, writer, and co-creator of Morburn, the Montreal MC L.E.S.’ complex lyricism flows well with the combination of southern bounce and rap. After emerging on the scene in 2008, L.E.S. gives more than what you can expect out of an artist.
The laidback feel and smooth flow of “Dreamer” and “Gone” are the Drake songs of the album. As L.E.S. tells the “baby, don’t leave me because I know I messed up” story, the flow of R&B mixed with his insane lyrics will have you in a trance that’s impossible to get out of.
Soon the album rises to his MC status giving us what he is known for. The track “Lion’s Den” shows MC style that L.E.S. is becoming known for. His dope beat with a gangsta, schizophrenic flow creates a latitude higher than what we want out of a rapper.
If you listen to the album here is a tip: DO NOT SKIP AROUND! The Genesis is one album where one track flows into the next. If you like discovering new hip-hop and are down with a freestyle, L.E.S. will not disappoint.