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Manchester’s Plato are quick to impress with this distinctly emotional and creatively fascinating new song. Showcasing a touch of influence from the likes of Half Moon Run, the band drive with uniquely interesting lyrics, organic and expressive musicianship, and stunning vocals.
What allows this song to captivate so intensely is the unexpected manner in which the soundscape progresses and evolves. What begins as a musically satisfying and refreshing alternative pop track, soon grows to become something of an indie-rock anthem – and later even veers off into the ambient instrumental territories of dreamlike, meditative sound design.
There’s a clear purpose and intention to the entire release – the underlying concept and the feelings associated with it are highlighted by everything from the lyrics to the set-up to the rising passion in the performances. The lead singer’s vocal in particular moves skillfully from intimate delicacy to intense and somewhat Thom Yorke-like levels of grit and soul. In the same instance, the whole thing gathers momentum with each few seconds that pass by. Where the introduction is beautiful in itself, the finished piece is on another level altogether.
A stunning new track, thoughtful and beautifully crafted – a pleasure to stumble upon and I look forward to hearing more.
As the genre of rock has grown and matured, it’s lost a lot of that brazen, in-your-face attitude that helped make it something free and fun. Zero Frequency, however, stands as a bold testament to the tried and true adage of sex, drugs, & rock’n’roll. They’re an act that lives and breathes this simple yet powerful ideology, and it permeates every aspect of their art, making for a raw and visceral experience.
Their latest record, and the first part of their epic trilogy of concept albums, The Ocean’s End (Vol. 1) is a surreal exploration of euphoria, wanderlust, and carnal desires that must be felt firsthand to truly understand.
Zero Frequency manages to straggle the line between a gritty lo-fi sound and a full-blown studio production, in such a mesmerizingly unique way that hasn’t been done since The Strokes. The cacophony of grungy guitars is somehow beautifully balanced by the often tender and provocative vocals. All of this is held together by an undeniably infectious and criminally underrated rhythm section that begs its audience to let go of their inhibitions to feel the music and just groove.
It’s also worth noting that The Ocean’s End (Vol. 1) is strengthened by the fact that this is only the beginning of this story – Zero Frequency makes sure you are keenly aware of that. Despite the fact that it’s an awe inspiring start to what is sure to be an unforgettable work of art, it’s also an ingenious bit of marketing that is as integral to the feeling of the album as the music itself.
The Ocean’s End (Vol. 1) not only serves as the perfect foundation on which to begin the monumental journey of these albums over the next few months, but it’s also a great place to get acquainted with everything Zero Frequency. The album hits the ground running and doesn’t let up for a single moment throughout its 11 tracks, yet it still has a deliberate pace that allows the listener to appreciate each track for what it is.
The lead-off track, Artemis Descends is as fitting an opener as I’ve ever heard. It cements the idea of this album, and by extension this trilogy of albums, in an incredibly clear and concise way – without ever sounding too obvious. Right off the bat we know that we’re going to experience an album about women, and more specifically – women coming to grips with their own ever-evolving sexuality.
Thus the odyssey begins.
Bondage Swan serves as a complete tonal shift from the first song and is a bluesy, riff-based tune that brings about strong Jack White vibes, while Black Light Stage picks up the pace with an alternative 90’s sounding rhythmic explosion.
Zero Frequency realizes the layered intricacies of the subject matter they are dealing with and it affords them the opportunity to explore a plethora of different genres along the way. One of my favorite tracks, Euphoria, Euphoria, is an LSD-inspired rock song about a sexual re-birthing that manages to encompass all of the feelings of a crazy night out. This leads into the psychedelic/funk track Take it Deeper in an incredibly organic yet unexpected way – almost as if that crazy night out is coming to a grand conclusion.
The rest of the album sees this character pursue their new found freedom in incredibly liberating ways. West Coast Refrain has a sort of anthemic, gospel feel to it that touches on the ideas of travel, while Heavy Steady Grip narrows its focus in a classic rock sounding way to simply have a song about making love. This carefree attitude is not without its consequences, however, as we learn in tracks like Beneath the Sea and Radio Love Rampage.
Zero Frequency is attempting what few other artists have ever attempted, and they aren’t taking any shortcuts. Although The Ocean’s End (Vol. 1) is only the first of 3 albums, it’s exceptional enough to stand firmly on its own as a lo-fi masterpiece. Everything from the narrative, to the music and vocals has been meticulously crafted to enhance the storytelling in an invigoratingly novel way. It’s a triumphant beginning and one that makes me excited for things to come.
As Winter officially comes to an end and Spring takes root, there’s an undeniable breath of life that seems to invigorate people in an incredibly special way – that only happens once a year. Luckily for us, indie-pop sensation Life As Mary has captured lightning in a bottle with their new single, as they encapsulate this rejuvenating feeling in an incredibly short yet sweet song.
Jacki manages to infuse colorful pop melodies with just enough indie-rock pluck to give the tune a massive appeal to fans of either genre; and everyone in between. The composition is as simple as they come, but in a huge way that’s part of the appeal of the song. Life As Mary don’t rely on overtly complicated songwriting, but rather – they let their years of experience shine through in their performances, creating truly cohesive compositions; this is especially true for Jacki.
Clocking in just over two and a half minutes, Jacki wastes absolutely no time in establishing its tone and feel. The verses pulsate with heartbeat-like rhythms that serve as the perfect foundation for Life As Mary’s mesmerizingly raw yet refined vocals. Melodic instruments are layered throughout and are used to great effect to establish a real sense of minimalism without ever sounding empty.
Jacki is a song you’ll want to blast in your car on a sunny day with the windows rolled down. Life As Mary have crafted a wonderfully fun song – one that’s over before you know it, but that quickly creates a lasting impression.
Whatever the genre or style of a piece of music, something that always rings true is the fact that effective use of contrast is always valuable if you want to create something striking. Alternative and unique soundscapes also tend to intrigue and captivate the most, and what you get with this EP from Stockholm alt-rockers a truth called nothing is a fine mash-up of all of this.
Beginning with the evolutionary journey of Passing Between Inquiries, the band utilize creative freedom to drive with absolute unpredictability. What begins as a reverb-soaked, lo-fi, near-shoe-gaze synth-pop offering, later grows to become a much grittier, more crisp and hard-hitting bit of alternative rock. There are threads involved, but they’re far less common or familiar than you tend to find in most music.
As the project continues, the voices become a definite thread – though eclectic throughout, you start to recognise the style and tone. It’s OK leads on with this now noticeable trait. The song itself fuses a hint of Bowie with something far more Depeche Mode-like. It builds up and up, the passion is immense, and that rising strength and again the band’s superb use of contrast lets the journey really engage and captivate the listener. Fascinating lyrics and a complex, genuinely new melody work in unison to keep a level of relatable, poetic humanity at the forefront of the song. A definite highlight from the EP in full – emotionally loaded, musically intense and mesmerizing.
Mental Darkness pours through with lyrics first and an industrial-style beat. This march of a song presents a clear-cut selection of ideas and an initially less melodic ambiance that lets the thoughts hit hard. A hint of Muse emerges, the rising hook section again contrasts heavily with what came before. Long-form melody-lines once more create a theatrical sense of development – as does the fall away to an acoustic, string-led moment of quiet; and the subsequent rise back to the full-throttle weight of the song’s peak.
Core sees the band settle into a distinctly melodic, thoughtful ambiance, undoubtedly lo-fi once more but with swirls of softly psychedelic detail to help make this a distinctly calming and later uplifting experience. Clarity comes through during the latter half and the vocal melody reaches a mesmerizing peak. Occasionally you wish the voice was a little closer – a live show would almost certainly let these lyrics and the passion connect in a whole new way. The final moments are awesome and give the song a huge anthem feel, quickly propelling it to become yet another definite highlight.
a truth called nothing are a collection of creatives who undoubtedly craft their tracks with a certain sense of freedom and a desire to simply express the inexpressible. While there are hints of influence throughout, the journey in full is unlike anything else you’re likely to have witnessed. Massi encapsulates this essence well and brings the project to a close with a bang. Delicate moments are juxtaposed brilliantly by infectious, energizing hits of rhythm and weight. Another lyrically hypnotic piece with a great energy about it.
A second listen to the EP in full actually finds you shifting around between favourites. There’s a lot to appreciate about this writing and this creative freedom, and the more you revisit the playlist, the more you notice. A refreshing change in direction, well worth exploring.
SO’s On The Mic is a track that can’t easily be pigeonholed. Creativity drives and that brings with it a sense of freedom as this dreamlike instrumental and a series of contrasting vocals pour out into the room.
Featuring the whispered vocal delicacies of Rosemarry Moreau, On The Mic introduces somewhat fragmented lyrical ideas that seem to suit well the cinematic, distant and colourful nature of the soundscape. At the same time, the rap vocal, equally fragmented, offers short bursts of ideas and a little more coherence in terms of the track’s intention and direction. Alongside all of this, that key line and title concept repeats in the forefront of the experience – On The Mic reaches out from the smoothness of the ambiance, recapturing any wandering minds with a definite rhythm and pulse to its appearance.
Alternative, experimental music often makes and breaks its own rules, and this release seems to encapsulate that intention. At the same time, you could expect to find this within a classic trip hop playlist, or even something a little grittier and less predictable – Aphex Twin came to mind on occasion. In essence, On The Mic underlines the very nature of artistry – the term itself implies, to most of us, a performance, and this track in full is precisely that. The artistic threads run deep, and still there are enough moments of melody and rhythm, along with intriguing, bizarre and memorable ideas, to keep it entertaining and holding tight to your attention right through to the end.
Find & follow SO (Standing Ovation) on Twitter & Instagram. Visit the Candle Wax Records Website for more information.
On The Mic (feat. Rosemarry Moreau) - SoundCloud (156 secs long, 2051 plays)Play in SoundCloud
Never an act to shy away from having a little fun when it comes to making music, United Duality’s latest single plays out like a short scene from a movie. The Spanish-inspired musicality offers a quickly entertaining sense of rhythm, a crisp and organic finish lets the music work its magic in itself, but then among this you get a series of lyrics – spoken dialogue and otherwise – and an unexpected structural progression that effectively places the composition in its own creative league entirely.
Coming in at over five minutes long, Igual is something of an audio journey for idle minds. The stages of the piece entertain and captivate quite well. The opening moments draw you in with a simple, somewhat retro or vintage presentation, then you get an extended instrumental, and a subsequent evolution to a change in set-up and mood.
The melody and story-line that follows pours through in Spanish – the song was inspired by a friend of the songwriter, a German speaker; someone with an avid interest and belief in conspiracy theories. The chosen language hopefully therefore frees United Duality of any potential upset. There are theatrical elements featured throughout Igual that cleverly highlight the songwriter’s own sense of disconnect from these ideas. There’s humor in the process, the music and the voices work in unison to present this, and when you translate the words – the topics that come up are likely to seem quite familiar to most; thanks to the current volume of online communities who hold on to similar-minded theories. The Earth is a disc is perhaps one of the most recently recognisable.
The entire song takes the form of a seemingly satirical conversation, a back and forth between Me and She/He. The music itself feels much like a rhythmic back and forth between opposing ideas. As unusual as the whole thing is, it’s instrumentally quite brilliant – as is always the way with United Duality. It’s entertaining, unique, and offers a genuinely inspiring approach to creativity – one that’s whole-heartedly free from the confines of contemporary music’s expectations.
A bizarre and incomparable audio experience, but one that’s wonderfully impressive, engaging, and actually – a joy to listen through. Let the groove of the music lift you up as the story plays out. You almost certainly won’t hear anything else quite like this throughout the rest of your day.
Fresh from the EP of the same name, Forging A False Reality is a brilliantly creative, experimental yet musically satisfying composition that makes and breaks its own rules throughout.
Fusing an electronic, somewhat industrial beat with fragments of orchestral strings, topped off with a pair of sleepy vocals and distant hints of intensity and angst, the track is as bizarrely unpredictable as it is cinematically captivating.
Creativity leads the way in every respect, from the evolution of the details, to the structure of the piece, to the final weight of the sound and indeed the concept. These chaotic and colourful layers of audio support and enhance the questioning, intriguing, mysterious lyrics in a brilliantly appropriate manner. The journey is striking, confusing, unsettling, and wonderfully entertaining.
In addition, non of these quirks or outlandish traits take anything away from the musicality of the experience. Where you might turn to EDM or trip hop in order to escape the world – or enhance your perception of it – this style of writing, production and performance, makes for the perfect addition to that catalogue of go-to releases. Emotion and unusual artistry meet effectively, appealing from the offset, and compelling the listener on impressive new levels.
The performance aspect of this best-of collection from Mr. Strange is undoubtedly what gives it such a multi-layered, colourful and unpredictable aura. When you fuse that with the lyrics and stories that lie within, you quite quickly come to understand why the band gave themselves this name.
Wonderful World of Weird opens up the album and offers close to seven minutes of theatrical expression – energy and rhythm, lightness and drama. It’s a piece that moves from the upbeat bounce of something pink elephants-like to the progressive rock weight of something much more conceptually provocative. A perfect way to introduce the nineteen-track universe that follows.
Though the strangeness is inherent in everything they do, the music throughout this album is brilliantly infectious – eclectic, consistently surprising yet notably satisfying at every step. Carousel sees an electronic-rock anthem burst onto the scene, still with those circus-like antics. The effort involved in the making of every song is something that effectively reveals the band as dedicated and naturally connected to this art-form; this is what they have to do, and they’ll be doing it whether you’re listening or not. You get a strong sense that a live performance is where things would really come alive.
As the journey continues, elements of synth-wave and retro EDM emerge – Disco B*tch is all of this, with a hint of distorted angst and chaos. Brain Dead Boogie is something else entirely but the energy and the performance hold true to that now easily recognizable Mr. Strange sound. The lyrics provoke further thought – this collection offers much more in the way of conceptual depth than the initial boost the music gives you might imply. Those alternative threads run throughout everything.
Clockwork Man sees a hypnotic and dark vibe overtake the room, then I Like Girls… explodes into action with its fast pace and simple desire for unspecific togetherness. A great riff and chord progression make this one of the more memorable tracks. Twisted Family afterwards veers off into strangely fascinating and perhaps surprisingly relatable territory.
Lizard Man is a great track, rhythmically on point and offering some mighty riffs and short verse lines that quickly win your affection. Addiction is another stand-out for its again dark yet relatable subject matter. The band tackle it in a funk-driven yet deeply honest and human way. Their take on It’s a Sin also makes for a rather big moment that’s really well-delivered.
Music Box (Redux) is brilliant, the soundscape rains down in a superb fashion – entrancing and energizing. Later on, Playground Twist stands out for its slower-paced, haunting aura. Exile afterwards is another highlight and easily memorable – the organic and electronic worlds collide as the band offer yet another anthem that’s likely to create a powerful crowd moment at a live show.
Mr. Strange lead with a sort of ‘expect the unexpected’ vibe. This collection is impossible to predict, yet everything within fits – perhaps for that very reason, or perhaps because they have their creative ways and they hold close to them in a genuine manner.
There’s Consequences is unlike anything that came before, but still it’s in tune with the underlying journey in terms of the ideas and the colorful elements. A clever way to finish, it leaves you with a surprising sense of calm – and more than a few things to think about.
The album in full makes for a fairly epic experience – you could turn to it piece by piece, as and when you need that alternative escapism, or you could go ahead and let the whole thing surround you for the extent of its play-time. There’s a party-vibe to the multiple layers of music and to the sheer energy the band members put into every single song. Whether it’s gypsy-jazz influenced or something a little more goth-rock, it still makes sense within this arena of organised chaos. A live show is undoubtedly the next destination.
“Pretending that we live doesn’t make us alive.” This is a quote from System of a Down front man Serj Tankian, which prefaces the music video for No/Hugs’ latest single, Your Satisfaction is Fake. What is basically an anthem for self-discovery and individuality, Your Satisfaction is Fake implores all of us to thoughtfully reflect on the contents of our being. It’s an extremely polished, hard-hitting rock song, that isn’t afraid to ask the toughest of questions when it comes down to our happiness.
No/Hugs is a 4-piece alternative-rock band out of Boston, Massachussetts, who have made big name for themselves in a very short amount of time – and it’s not hard to figure out why. Hard-rock music mixes with pop-punk melodic sensibilities to create an undeniably addicting sound that No/Hugs has all but mastered. Seriously, these women are excellent musicians and songwriters.
Often compared to the likes of powerhouse singer Lzzy Hale, the not-so-secret weapon rounding out this all-female band is lead singer, Narcissus A-Ngel. A-Ngel’s voice is something that needs to be experienced to truly understand how special it is. Her soaring vocals can hit just about any note with unwavering aplomb, yet there’s an ever-persistent, vulnerable undertone that ties this thread of connection between her and the audience.
Your Satisfaction is Fake is the culmination of all of these elements and is an absolutely fantastic alternative-rock song. Thumping drums, and alluringly soft-spoken vocals kick things off – until a wall of sound explodes on the track. From there, No/Hugs continue to show just how diverse they can be – with constantly changing rhythms, precise syncopation, and some of the coolest breakdowns and solos in recent memory. Finally, there’s a key change toward the end of the track that showcases A-Ngel hitting some truly superhuman notes.
If you’re not following No/Hugs yet, and still aren’t convinced – take a listen to Your Satisfaction is Fake. It’s an awesome piece of art that’s guaranteed to change your mind.
It’s easy to underestimate the impact a truly great rock band can have on a person’s life. They can help shape their thoughts and ideals, help them discover themselves, and in some cases – even save their lives. It’s a rare and special occasion when you discover such a band, and without a doubt, Another Day Dawns is the next truly great rock band.
Another Day Dawns, the hard-rock quartet out of Leighton Pennsylvania, has proved that their unique brand of hard-rock is of the highest caliber thanks to their latest single, Psycho. The record is hard-hitting yet dynamic, approachable yet progressive, and most importantly – has a wealth of undeniably addicting attitude.
Rife with sludgy guitars and pounding drums, the music of Psycho sounds fantastic. It ebbs and flows, and easily has one of the best breakdowns of 2019. The music also serves as the perfect conduit to convey the all too familiar story of the allure of toxic relationships.
The real star of the show, however, is lead singer Dakota Sean. He has a voice you come across once in a lifetime – something so innately powerful and magnetizing that it just demands an audience’s attention. Sean’s voice is a wonderful blend of Chad Gray of Mudvayne and David Draiman of Disturbed. Even when it’s subdued, his voice is coarse like sandpaper. When Sean lets loose and belts out a scream, his voice rips and roars through just about anything – yet is still disciplined enough to maintain a perfect melody.
Another Day Dawns is at the beginning of what’s sure to be a highly successful career, and if they keep releasing great hard rock tunes like Psycho – they’ll be taking over the world very shortly.