Friday, September 22, 2023

Music Review // Diane Gentile feat: James Maddock "Lace Up Your Sneakers"

Right away the sound of Diane Gentile comes out in this upbeat rock way.  There is a pop and also disco element to this song where it feels like a dance number without really straying too far from the traditional sounds of rock music.  I find it to be somewhere between Patti Smith and ABBA, which is really just such a fun place to be.

One of the themes in this song is in the chorus and says: "There's never enough, darling / When you want it all" and as this song is called "Lace Up Your Sneakers" it makes me think of that in the sense of shoes.   Some people own enough pairs of shoes where they could wear a different pair every day and not run out for a year.  I felt that I was that way with t-shirts for a while and then I downsized my collection a lot.

But there is something closer to the teachings of Buddha in these words.  It's that idea that as long as you *want* you will never truly *have* because you won't be satisfied.   I also enjoy that there is a part in this song about writing down your thoughts on paper and throwing that paper away.  Whenever I have thoughts I just can't seem to shake (that keep me awake at night) I write them down, rip that paper up, throw it away and they seem to disappear.

On the surface, "Lace Up Your Sneakers" could be a simple dance number, even based on the title.  You can imagine hearing it come on at the club and you put your shoes on and go dance.  I also think about this song in a rollerskating sense, where you'd lace up your skates and get on that circular floor.  But, either way, there's that depth to the lyrics that hopefully people will embrace with the care-free attitude of the music.

Cassette Review // id m theft able "Witch's Voice 1975"

This cassette is a bit unsettling and as it is found audio I'm curious as to if this all ever played out in a sense of who these people are, did they murder each other, etc.   What starts with a man talking about a woman who takes care of her husband, who is 102 years old, and seems almost like a complaint which is going to be filed quickly turns into a woman coming in and screaming while this man is trying to tell his story.

The woman will be calm and just speaking but then start screaming.  At one point the man says "You lost this round you witch!" and I'm not sure if he's saying that as an insult or if he really feels like she could put a curse on him, but as the cassette goes on you can kind of tell he thinks she actually has put spells on him.  She does say "HA HA HA" a lot- especially after making statements- and I don't know if witches do that or not but it seems fitting.

I'm not always sure what this woman is screaming about.  She swears a lot and says the n-word a lot as well.  She calls people thieves and stupid, and also says "Everybody hates you".   At one point I feel like a doctor comes in and she tries kicking him out but she might just be kicking out the man who reminds her she's a witch by asking about his French fries.  She also discusses suffering and hookers, but not together.

There are a lot of troubling parts to this cassette, but I also just kept wondering why this guy kept recording.  You can hear the moments where the tape recorder would pause and then begin to record again and I wondered why.   But as the yelling from the woman goes on, the man eventually comes back and says he has a few more tapes kept "in case... for evidence", so he was very deliberate in his recording because he felt like he was in danger and whether or not he was in any actual danger seems unknown.  

Cassette Review // Abdul Hakim Bilal "Black Boy" (BLIGHT. Records)

The music of Abdul Hakim Bilal is quite interesting and this cassette, "Black Boy", is broken down into three parts.   There are themes to the music throughout the cassette but it also has distinct pieces so you can tell which you're hearing from song to song.   The singing can come out like moans, almost like whining, and there's this deep bass drive rock feeling to it all as well.

One of the biggest musical comparisons I can make with this sound is of the band mewithoutYou who have that sort of trippy / hardcore / post hardcore way about them.   It can feel angelic but also metal at the same time and I'm just not sure who to compare that combination with.  

On "Not Free" there is this cool jazz feeling, the percussion is right on and there is almost a chanting to the rhythm of it all as well.  "Purged (A Comedy)" has big swirling tones with accompanying piano keys and singing.   Those angelic ahh's are in here and it goes into this loop as it comes to an end.   I most like that this cassette has that hardcore / post hardcore / math rock way about it even though it's a different approach from what you're likely used to hearing.

Cassette Review // Everyone Asked About You "Paper Airplanes, Paper Hearts" (Numero Group)

Everyone Asked About You has a math rock sound which can remind me of bands like I Kill Giants, but also there is something else within these punk melodies.   Artists such as The Rocking Horse Winner, The Warren Commission and Discount all come to mind here as well.   The way that these songs move musically is so pleasant but so intimidating at the same time.

There are two vocalists in here as well, which sometimes means trading off on parts of songs and sometimes they sing together.  During one song, one vocalist sings "He was" about what is happening and at the same time the other vocalist sings "I was", which it's fun because you're hearing the same story from two different perspectives all at once.

Not only does this cassette have a titular track, which has a line about how both paper airplanes and paper hearts "always wind up being torn apart", they also have a song that is the band name and that's fun.   The music has these choruses and parts where it just feels like they're meant to be in group vocals at a live setting and I enjoy that so much.

There is a song on the flip side about going to Boston and it's mostly spoken words over a strong bass line.   An audio clip from the movie "Say Anything" is also in here, about the pen, which has this modern sounding cassette hitting all of the right notes in a nostalgic way.   From the past (early 00's) to the present to the future, Everyone Asked About You is creating some of the best music in this genre right now.

Music Review // Robert Jon & The Wreck "Stone Cold Killer"

Robert Jon & the Wreck are back with a brand new music video for the song "Stone Cold Killer".    At first, this song reminds me a bit of ZZ Top.  It just has that classic and Southern rock n roll way about it.   But as the song goes on, the chorus kicks in with the keys and it just feels like a rock song that you'd hear coming out of a bar in New Orleans.

This music video is particularly special to me.  Right away, I can see the resemblance to Spy vs Spy and as the video goes on it becomes even more apparent.   As it goes with the song itself, this woman is a "Stone Cold Killer" and so you see the animated version of Robert Jon running around during the music video, being killed by her in various ways.  This is a nice throwback to Spy vs Spy as a lot of what they did was under similar circumstances (bombs, pushing off of roofs, etc)

There are also these black dots in the animation which reminds me of older styles of comic books and the whole thing is just so much fun to watch.  And I respect it because on one hand you'll have people who see it and get it but then if people don't get it they can still appreciate the style and learn about it.    Having these cool concepts while keeping the past alive is something every musician should strive to do.

During the chorus, the animated Robert Jon is shown singing with the band and just having the backup vocals of the title being animated into its own scene is such the perfect touch for this music video.   Though this music video is not overly complicated (but not everyone can just have an animated music video) it definitely has layers.  Like the music itself, you must appreciate it for what it is on the surface but then also dive deeper and come to love it a little bit more.  

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Music Review // Ekelle "Baddie"

After listening to "Flo", Ekelle has become one of my favorite artists and that only has become confirmed with this song, "Baddie".   There is just a vibe to this song about being a bad bitch that makes me feel like it could be part of the "Birds of Prey" soundtrack, which is literally one of the best soundtracks that I have heard in years.

Ekelle really has no equal though.  There are other rappers out there and whether you're thinking more mainstream like Doja Cat or Nicki Minaj or maybe less known like CupcakKe, there is just something that Ekelle brings to the table which is genuinely her and so you can't compare it with others because they can't offer it up the same way.   It's just a cross between a style and a mood.  

I must admit that since marijuana is legal in most places now, rappers have to rap about smoking that *good* weed because just smoking weed used to be enough but people aren't as impressed by that so they need to know the quality.  I also like that this song is about making money and just all around not giving a shit.  At one point she says something about dating but only if you'll take her to Miami.   It's refreshing to see someone know their worth and perpetuate that image.

The only problem I really have with Ekelle is that her songs are too short.  Once you really start feeling these beats, the song is over.   But you can always put this on repeat and let it go for as long as you want.  It would also serve as a perfect mantra for just getting out there in the world and taking it to your advantage.  This is a powerful anthem for someone who wants to go out and get something because they deserve it.  

Music Review // Chin Injeti "For Better or For Worse"

Chin Injeti has created a dance rock anthem that has undertones of disco in it.  The song remains mostly upbeat and there are these synth notes that ring through towards the end, making it feel truly out of this world.   "For Better of For Worse" is also groovy enough to sing along with and the lyrical content might not be appreciated by everyone now but it will be one day.

Right away the song mentions that finally being in your 40's means you can understand your 20's.  If you're not yet in your 40's and more so if you're still in your 20's then you might not understand this song and you might not find the lyrics of it appealing to an extent, but the music is still a nice ride to take so you at least have that working for you.

One of the biggest life lessons that this song touches upon is that you don't always realize what you're doing or what a certain time in your life means until it's over.  A lot of people spend their 20's just wandering around trying to find who they thought they were meant to be.  Not everyone sees that though until they're older and they can look back and wish they spent their time differently.

At the end of the day we can't go back in time so we're stuck with the choices we made.  But the path we took brought us to here and that's kind of the point of the song as well- that for better or for worse we are where we are now because of our past and we need to really think about that moving forward.  This song also just has such a great rhythm.