Friday, April 9, 2021

Music Review //
GETTERS
"Blindsided"


While GETTERS have created a music video for the song "Blindsided" which should be in the Music Video Hall of Fame, that shouldn't distract from the fact that this song is also easy on the ears.  "Blindsided" treats the listener to that blend of pop and rock which comes out sounding like What Made Milwaukee Famous and to some extent AJR.   This is a song which I could easily hear on the radio and not just on the rock station but crossing over to the pop stations as well, much like that AJR song "Bang" does.

Along with this song- which will get stuck in your head- comes a music video which is an animated work of art.  The video takes us through several different stages of what looks like a video game, though if this was actually made as an app I would definitely download and play it.  There is something modern about the animation in the way which Cartoon Network shows look after a certain period (When they switched from the Cartoon Cartoons era of "Johnny Bravo", for example, to "Regular Show") but there is also something a little bit twisted within the animation as well, making me think of "Liquid Television".

As someone who has watched every episode of shows like "Adventure Time" and "Steven Universe" this video is perfect to me.   It has a video game theme, sure, but if it also somehow became an animated series I would be into it.  There are also these odd bits the longer the video goes on- like a fish with a chainsaw mouth- which make me think of "Monty Python".   What I think perhaps most importantly needs to be stated about this video though is that it is created in a time when a lot of artists either don't make music videos (or don't try) because there isn't what I remember as being an MTV growing up.

When I think of animated music videos of course I think of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" first and that was really groundbreaking stuff back in 1997, but in some way you have to think that it was also done for the attention as music videos were so abundant.   If I simply heard "Blindsided" on the radio, I would instantly become a fan of the song and want to know more about GETTERS.   But then, to find out that their music video for this song was also this masterpiece, it just makes me love them that much more.  

Music Review //
Ava Della Pietra
"Home"


"Home" can be heard through an exclusive premiere with Parade Magazine by clicking here.

More information on Ava Della Pietra can be found at: https://www.avadellapietra.com/


There is a slight chance that since the start of Disney+ I've been watching entirely too many Disney animated movies, but "Home" by Ava Della Pietra really reminds me of what I will refer to as Disney Pop.   The thing is, I grew up with a lot of great movies which had equally great soundtracks ("Aladdin" comes to mind) but this particular song reminds me more of something along the lines of the movie "Lilo & Stitch", partly because of the way the music sounds compared with that soundtrack and partly because the lyrics fit it so well.  (I will also accept this as part of the "Moana" soundtrack, so maybe it's a tropical island thing)

While I fully realize that there was in fact an animated film called "Home" (Though Dreamworks, not Disney) I somehow just don't see this song as part of that soundtrack as much because Ava Della Pietra just has that Disney magic.   It's a type of pop which gets in your head, but also has a certain amount of depth to it because you can really picture the song as it plays.  There would be clips of someone (whether it be a talking dog or just an animated human who is lost like Nemo) who is trying to find their home as a montage throughout this song, though they would also serve as reminders of the happy times and, hey, home is where you have been all along.  

It seems like the plot to many different movies but right now I'm unable to place just one of them.   Someone gets stuck somewhere by some circumstances, spends the whole movie trying to get home (or somewhere they feel is better) and then at the end come to the conclusion that their friends and family are where they are and they don't want to leave.  I feel that in this song.  I feel like it is a good way to help you find your home, but also it is a good way to just realize that wherever you are you might very well be where you are supposed to be right now.

I'm not sure there has ever been a time when I've so clearly seen a series of animated scenes play out before my eyes while listening to an upbeat song such as this.   The message within here is about reuniting children with their homes because of what I will call a "mess" (to keep it simple) at the border, but I do believe this song addresses it in a friendly way which makes it more open for discussion rather than people hearing an angry song and just dismissing it.  This also might somehow end up on a Disney movie soundtrack some day and if it does I would not be the least bit surprised.  I'd actually be quite pleased.  


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Music Review //
Thorin Loeks
"In This Place"


https://thorinloeks.bandcamp.com/album/in-this-place


Through a short intro comes the titular track on "In This Place"  I've read a lot about how people say that you shouldn't use "singer/songwriter" as a genre for various reasons but whenever I hear what can be broken down as a voice + acoustic guitar that will always be how I think of it.  Maybe you could think of this album by Thorin Loeks as being like the early days of Dashboard Confessional (before the full band) but with a bit more bass in the vocals.  It's a little less emo than that too and I would say leans more towards folk if anything.

There are some beats in here, strings too, and on the song "Open Sky" it really kicks in.  I enjoy the power of lyrics such as: "I just made a plan / to love my life / I messed up again / but I'll still try"  Sometimes all we can do is try, so we must continue on.  "Ice Age" makes me think of if that particular film was made by Disney while there are backing vocals on "Tonight" and that song makes me think of Eagle-Eye Cherry for some reason.   The song has beats and it just drives, so even though you might think of this as being a certain way for being acoustic it does tend to move more than what you would think of in terms of folk.

While some of these songs can take a turn for the lighter in some ways ("Let It Rain" for example is a nice one to just put on and zone out during, perhaps while watching it rain) the last two seem to be the most deep of them.  "With You" is a love song about how regardless of what happens, "I'll be there with you".   It sounds like the type of song people would play over a montage of happy photos at their wedding.   It really is quite moving and though I've said this is more folk than emo it doesn't mean that these songs remain free from feelings.

"In This Place" does take a lot out of me when I listen to it.  It's light in the acoustics but it's heavy in the depth of songs.   When you reach that last song, "All That's Left", you hear that voice which has been hypnotizing you for the past thirty or forty minutes and it just feels so final- so much like you have listened through to the end and went on this journey with Thorin Loeks.  But, it was more like you were being told a story throughout these songs and so you're not as affected as a listener but by the end you notice that Thorin Loeks is different than when the album first started and "All That's Left" is the detailed note as to why.  


Music Review //
Nonviolenze
"Matrix"
(Independent/Ahimsa Creations LLC)

 


When I first listened to the song "Matrix" I thought it had some qualities of the blues.  I thought it was along those same lines as Santana.   But then the more I listened to it I began to really hear how much it is just trippy rock n roll.   It has a huge influence of Pink Floyd to it, but when you begin to really break it down it is just vocals and the guitar which somehow makes it more psychedelic.

Thanks to Keanu Reeves we all kind of have an idea of what the Matrix would be like.   So when listening to this song by Nonviolenze it doesn't feel like too hard of a concept to grasp.   This is good because it keeps me grounded during the song as otherwise it could feel as if you might float away.   During this music video, squares of images- usually involving Nonviolenze singing and playing the guitar- appear in patterns across the screen.   This is very likely being done deliberately to enhance the otherwise trippy aspects of this song.   

While I do enjoy that this music video syncs up with the song perfectly- in the same way that you could imagine going to one of those laser light shows for Pink Floyd back in the '80's-  there is also this way about the song where it can be heard differently when on its own.  I suggest giving "Matrix" at least one listen when you are able to block out all distractions, are in the complete dark and can close your eyes and focus only on the sound and nothing else.   Upon doing that, this one just hits in a different way.

Listening to one song, seeing one music video, from an artist often leaves me with questions.   What would more songs like Nonviolenze sound like?  Are they all just voice + guitar or do other songs have the bass and drums in them as well?  Maybe to get really trippy we get some synth.   The way this song leaves everything open just shows how creative it is.  You don't know what to expect next from Nonviolenze, but that's okay because this is an experience enough to be satisfied and always wanting more.  

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Music Review //
BARBERA
"Stay"


https://open.spotify.com/album/56QrPWCd8cyOZG8lbvnk3i?si=smMyx2jkSWGYIlL1BFe6KA&nd=1


When I first listened to "Stay" by BARBERA the thing which immediately jumped out to me was how this song has pianos and beats together.   It has soul, but could it be described as R&B?  Could it simply be reduced to pop?  I'm not sure.  I feel like there are people who will try and place this song in either genre just to make it easier on themselves, but the way this song can have the same sounds to me as a cassette by New Kids On The Block did and at the same time so did Bobby Brown, it just goes to show you that sometimes you can't define something so easily.

The lyrics to "Stay" are about what the opposite of the title might suggest.   Rather than asking someone to stay, this song is about why neither person should stay.   It actually makes a lot of sense if you've ever been in a situation like this and I feel like I have for most of my life.   One of the reasons given for why they shouldn't stay with each other is that they do it "only cause we're scared to run away".   There is a lot of power in that thought.   There is a lot of honesty in the idea of am I doing this because I want to or am I doing it because it's the only way that I know.   These are questions I wish I asked myself more in my youth.

If you've never been in a relationship with another person where you felt like it was time to move on but didn't know how to exactly say it, then you can also relate this to other situations in your life.   Do you live at home with your parents still simply because it's easier than having to pay rent, but yet you constantly complain because your parents don't give you any privacy so you really should leave and go out on your own.   Is this about perhaps you working a job that is "safe" because you're too scared to go out and pursue your dreams?  It's been the plot to many movies, so I feel like everyone will be able to relate with this song somehow.

I really feel a deep connection with these lyrics.  I can't go into the full details of how deep it is because that's possibly better left for a therapist to hear.   If I can make one comparison here musically, BARBERA sounds a bit like Alessia Cara to me, which is something I will never mind saying.  "Here" (by Alessia Cara) remains such a huge part of my life, of my mood daily, and I think that in a similar way "Stay" will be the same.  If anything, I just wish I had heard this song twenty years ago, so if you're reading this go and listen to this song now and remember it forever.  


Music Review //
Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz
"Searise"
(Baggage Room Records)

 



The sound of Eric Anders and Mark O'Bitz is on the softer side of rock.   There are pianos more than any other instrument present with the vocals.  This doesn't make for an easy point of comparison but in some ways it does make me think of Josh Groban or what is thought of as "Christian music" in the sense that it's music which church tells you it is okay to listen to.   Granted, "Searise" could have this spiritual way about it but the lyrics themselves don't ever specifically mention anything to do with The Bible so I wouldn't say the song was one of worship.  Calling it Christian music without the Christian makes it feel unholy but this song is all around easy on the ears.

Towards the back end of the song Evelyn Anders appears as singing vocals as well.   This pairing will remind the listener of something like She & Him or Of Monsters and Men.   I hear that "Little Talks" song on the radio a bit and I must admit I do enjoy it.   This also helps take the focus away from my thoughts of this being "Christian rock" and moves it more towards that pop rock and almost folk sound.  (Though you have to imagine a piano in place of acoustic guitar for the folk)  I think the key throughout "Searise" though is just that theme of melody because whether it's singing or piano it just feels so pure.

There is a music video which accompanies "Searise" and I firmly do believe that even if you do not care about this song based on the words which I am writing about it (or what you might have otherwise heard) you at least owe it to yourself to see this music video at least once.   It's animated in the sense that the images aren't real but they look pretty real.  And they move but they don't move all the way.  As an example, there's one image which sticks in my mind of some drowning.  This person is moving because they are falling down under the water, but most of the surrounding scene is still.   It's unique and I really enjoy it.  The music video is in itself a work of art.

One of the greatest things about music is that there is a song for just about any occasion and even more than that sometimes the song you want to hear isn't appropriate.   I think about how sometimes when people are happy they'll listen to angry metal.  So whether you want to just relax or do the opposite if you're that type of person, "Searise" is the perfect song for remaining calm.   But if you're able to, you can put this one on and clean your entire house.  It just depends on your mood but for me I like to think of this as a later a night song used to help me unwind at the end of a long day.  

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Music Review //
Jobbaloon
"The Invitation"


https://jobbaloon.bandcamp.com/album/the-invitation //


I really like the name Jobbaloon because even though it likely has some other meaning I'm not aware of it reminds me of something out of "Alice In Wonderland" and I love "Alice In Wonderland".   These songs are pretty far out too, which makes me think they could be something from that sort of place- Wonderland- as they don't hold to a lot of what you consider to be the common concepts of music right now.

One of the first things you might notice about these songs is that they aren't the standard verse/chorus/verse.   Some of them are closer to it, but for the most part these songs feel more like trips- like going from Point A to Point B- rather than stopping, going back and revisiting somewhere we've already been.   The words, the singing, can also be a lot of sounds but not actual words like "da da da" which is just something which makes it feel less and less traditional.  Though, again, a song such as "Aligned" can have a lot of words and feel more like a verse/chorus/verse song as well.

There are beats and acoustics.   There are spoken words and strings.   There are horns, there are keys.   Sometimes I'm thinking of Radiohead's "Paranoid Android" and other times the closest influence I can get is from The Scattered Pages.  But what is this exactly?  You can listen to it a hundred times and try to pick it apart but not find that answer.   Is it rock? Pop? Electronica? With the instruments involved (like that sweet, sweet guitar) and tempo I think it can be any mix of those at one time, but the way which it is all delivered just brings the sounds on "The Invitation" into a genre all its own.

One thought which stays with me during this album is "Abide in the What-is".   They say that depression is caused by focusing on the past and anxiety comes from focusing on the future.  Too often I feel like we're overwhelmed because we think about what we have to do or what we didn't get to do yesterday rather than just enjoying what's going on right now around us.  I try so hard these days to live in the now.  Jobbaloon has created songs here which feel rather spiritual and at times can seem like more of a mantra than lyrics.  Whether you already are or just need a push in that direction as well, this album should be part of your daily routine.