With all the musical revivals arriving lately, especially sounds from the 90s, it was only a matter of time before the decade’s more varied sounds were adapted as well. With a rollicking piano line that runs up and down with a sense of hope, Ivan Beecroft’s new track “Believe” puts the brightness at the forefront, leaving the darker undertones for Beecroft’s lyrics. His heavy but uplifting verses, push the song forward but never outstay their welcome thanks to the pop sensibilities he brings, arguably his best strength as an artist. Some production hold-backs aside his abilities as a musician are strong as he lays down all the instrumentation himself impressively. His discordant chorus vocals while possibly abrasive to some make his chorus a lot more memorable and oddly catchy because of it. Bringing parts Collective Soul and The Church, he brings a lot of the spirit of the 90s through his delivery.
In his DIY video for the track Beecroft mixes a lyric video, with performance and a collage of effects the struggles of daily life. His slice-of-life shots come off the best as they pus the mood of the track further, although his zoom in style lyric focus is a clever low-budget work around to time consuming effects.
Mixing a lo-fi synth pop into hip hop, Erich Mrak has an intimately digital sound thanks to the production styles of collaborator Bento. The cutting synth notes, mixed with the subdued drum machine and softer background keys make for a great layered blend of sounds for Mrak to rap over. The Macklemore and Watsky-esque style that Mrak puts into his rapping feel much more earnest and genuine, making listeners feel almost like the special someone Mrak is talking to. The pain in the love that Mrak sings about is all too clear as he flip flops on his feelings within the same sentence.
Moving from detached to attached, and then in love to hurt but in need, it tells a story all too familiar of loves that burn out suddenly after being all too strong in the first place. The suddenly bursting synth in the last half of the song takes the sound further before the dynamic drop that kicks off the last chorus. Hopefully the continued set of releases from Mrak means we’ll be getting a longer releases sometime in the near future.
It’s not too often you hear the stellar blend of Latin-music with punk-rock. Windsor’s Autumn Kings manage to bridge this gap to powerful effect on their new single, getting all the grooves and bounce of Latin guitar mixed with the tone and attitude of punk. Scratchy distortion and overpowering chants bring catchy punk gusto to the track, the pop-punk vocals also managing to land somewhere between the smooth glide of Spanish vocalists and the endless hooks and lyrical styling of bands like Billy Talent. Somehow between all their thrashing they manage a sound somewhere between Maroon 5, the aforementioned Billy Talent, Santana, and even some of Muse’s more Latin-infused tracks.
Throughout Autumn Kings‘ new video for the track, the band rocks wholeheartedly in a loft to a rowdy crowd of drinking fans. Bouncing between the full speed electricity of their live churn, they also move into some slow motion moments to capture every second of exhilaration on the band and crowd’s face. Between the track’s lyrics about the illusions caused by lovers who say one thing and while wanting to leave it’s also interesting that a singular member of the crowd is focused on, going from rocking onlooker to phone-checking and mysteriously disappears at the video’s close.
Modernizing indie guitar pop isn’t easy, but someone has to do it. In his new single, LA indie-rocker Eddy Yang blends a parts of electronic dance, with his guitar tones to make something uniquely forward sounding. With layers of clanging guitars ringing over the pumping drum machine it sounds oddly like a new take on a natural sound, thanks to the warm feeling of the guitars pushed into the future by the drum machine. While there’s definitely emotion behind Yang’s vocals, the more relaxed delivery does feel at times to hold the true emotion of the track back, except in the choruses where it soars a lot more. Overall mixing parts REM with some influence from The Kills, and even The Velvet Underground, the sound takes some avant-garde style on what would normally be a straightforward sound.
Going for a classic love song, Yang brings tones of Snow Patrol in his lyrical content, shouting out about not wanting to lose himself for love, or wasting his youth. Self-confident in his declarations of reliability, he manages to write a song that while very derivative lyrically works like a song you’ve missed and wanted to hear again, integrating his lyrics into his melodies extremely effectively.
If you’ve ever heard something from the late 80s or early 90s and can’t quite put your finger on the feel of the era, Ed Roman has an album for you. On the cleverly titled Red Omen, Roman mixes the styles of Barenaked Ladies, Paul Simon, and even a touch of July Talk, along with metal and some gypsy jazz for an album with more genre hopping than a Weird Al record, that’s only funny until it’s impressive.
Starting with a knowing laugh, the album opens on the bright and hopeful “Red Omen” full of Graceland funk and life. The solo pulls the grinning feeling to a peak, and carries the song to its final choruses. With vocables and vicious drum section Roman brings the thought-provoking “Tough Cookie” with a sense of musicality that moots any of the cheesy moments it carries with it.
With howls “I Wish The Wolfman Was Back” goes into a horror infused groove, feeling more like an homage to “The Hilarious House of Frightenstein” than the legendary DJ. Bass is purring on “I Am Love” bringing a satisfying tone to a slightly repetitive jam track with a great positive message.
The swinging duet of “The Way She Goes” takes the album on a pleasantly relaxed detour, bouncing on piano and guitar for a delightfully harmonious break. The rush and echo of “Think I’m Just A Fool” has a powerful melodic sensibility along with its unique sonic quality. The addition of strings and the overall shift in tone make this a stand out, made even better by some of the strongest and boldest writing on the record.
“Time Itself” goes into slow-build with Roman taking his vocal rhythms to new heights. The track’s acceleration is a fun shift that builds excitement to the song’s climax that sonically delivers. Roman decides to switch to a metal sound strangely on “Clone The Sheep” working in hefty cries of “ONE, ONE, ONE” in this intense track. While it’s cool to see him stretching his legs on this 80s inspired track it does feel notably out of place.
The European gypsy sounds of “ETA” are a surprisingly great sounding turn, with great harmonies and the hooks needed for the genre while putting a spin that is uniquely, for the sake of wordplay, Roman-y. “Nothing More To Say” ends up feeling very descriptive pulling in a July Talk level of growl with some fun alt-folk darkness, that ultimately doesn’t explore beyond its groove.
Returning to the soft rock “Lay One Down” is an intimate guitar and vocals track with Roman giving an earnest track that feels a lot closer to heart after a handful of interesting genre moves. In his more comfortable genres the moves to play with the writing feel a lot more exciting as the level of comfort to do so is audible. “I Wanna Be Free” is the album’s peak 90s feeling, switching feels frantically from a funk to vocoder-infused opera. The break downs are a cool departure and there’s a true sense of fun when the guitar solo rips in and the band plays around more loosely.