Archive for July, 2014

THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM ROLLS & TUMBLES

By: Maria Ciezak
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

If you’re a blog junkie or an avid fan of actual music, you will find three words popping up in your search history: The Gaslight Anthem. Yeah, I have reviewed them in the past — a few times to say the least — so you can naturally call me bias. However, I’m not here to plead a case or defend a band that I’m passionate about; I’m simply here to talk with the minds that are interested in their craft.

A few weeks back, New Jersey natives The Gaslight Anthem released their first single off of their soon-to-be-released LP Get Hurt. The track, entitled Rollin’ And Tumblin’, is ironically the exact movements I made when I heard rumors that their new album was done (you’d be surprised what a girl can do after a few glasses of Pinot). They decided to work with Mike Crossey this time around, which is really exciting news for people who analyze producers. If you’re a fan of the Arctic Monkeys you will recognize his art, or even artists that may be somewhat newer in the game to you, like Jake Bugg.

There are few words that I will never say about this band, that their sound is in typical Gaslight fashion. Any article that I read reviewing this single will immediately be passed on if that phrase comes about. No hating here, just stating the facts. This band continues to reinvent themselves as their career progresses, which is how it should be done. However, don’t get it twisted, I don’t think that is what they are setting out to do. It just happens. People grow, things change, and any fan of real music would appreciate that with the utmost respect. In a fan’s world, you’ll naturally see people boasting that they’ve changed or that their sound is different now. Honestly, yes, the only thing that is constant is change, which is portrayed in a band that cares about their work. I think this track leaves a lot to the imagination, which I hope is the theme to the whole record, however, the sound isn’t way out there — there’s still some familiarity for Gaslight diehards.

Rolling Stone recently debuted the title track Get Hurt. This song takes Gaslight fans in a new direction. It left me not wanting to think, but to listen, and that’s when I know a song is true. Let’s be honest, a fan is never going to actually be in tune with what a band is thinking entirely when they’re crafting a record, but there’s one thing for certain: This band is in tune with who they are, and what kind of sound they want to make.

I think Get Hurt is a great lead-off single, for its radio friendly while compiling a ragged howler that any fan of true rock and roll can appreciate.

There is a sincerity and passion in this group of guys that I have not only gotten to experience on an interview level, but through my speakers as well. This time around I hear more nuance, more layers, and of course, some damn well polished tunes.

These two tracks are the perfect appetizers to lead fans on without disappointing anyone or completely blowing minds.

Let’s bask in the ambience of their glory, shall we?

MS MR

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

“Didn’t know what this would be”

I’ve been looking. I’ve been getting bored. It’s become routine tedium: listen, like, review, forget, with little regret, unthreatening pop and riding crops and not enough fantasy.

“I jumped the gun, so sure you’d split and run, ready for the worst before the damage was done”

I need music that breaks and builds me. It has to understand where I’m coming from. I still pine for bouncy, sweet light, but from this point forward, there will be days only Ms Mr will suffice.

“Welcome to the inner workings of my mind”

They are intelligently designed, infinite darkness, subtle (that is, ripping) explosions.

“Keep my eyes open, my lips sealed, my heart closed and my ears peeled”

Music should let you be sober. Music should let you be anything. Sound is a spiritual experience- when done right, at least.

“Dig up her bones but leave the soul alone”
“We found a way to escape the day”

But I’m confused: Ms Mr doesn’t seem like the typical duo I’d like. They’re brand fucking new (Secondhand Rapture, a flood of genius, was released in 2013), they’re music school graduates, clean and tight and signed, New York based with gorgeous faces.

I thought genius was over. I thought music couldn’t be composed if it was mixed. And here I am, so happy to be proven wrong.

“How could you be what I wanna see, when my reality could never live up to the fantasy”

We’ve gotta be open to experience anything worthwhile. Your soul mate may be dressed up in the last persona you’d expect.

“The world is gonna burn as long as we’re going down”
“Baby, you should stick around”

I’m affronted by a strange, cerebral kiss: tribal, indelible, healing, mystic. There are so few bands I think, burn and bathe in. It would take me twenty-six hours of constant exposure to get remotely drained. Even then, as soon as they drop me off, I gotta turn it on again.

Love is both scary and beautiful when it gets compulsive.

“Hard to believe this could cause me harm”

What I love most about Secondhand Rapture (their first album, in case I’m too euphoric for facts to translate) is how many layers it explores. Music should be psychologically complex. This is!!!

I’ll try to talk human for a bit: What kind of music do they play? No clue. Wikipedia tags them under indie pop, alternative rock, dream pop and dark wave, which is about as useful as any genre explanation. When are people gonna get science is magic, and magic is subjective? I don’t care what you call it; I love it regardless.

“You only picked me up to bring me down”

They remind me where it hurts, and close my wounds by helping me open up.

“It didn’t come easy; I’m glad it was hard”

When I first heard them I thought (among many, many things): “This can’t just be music! Oh wait, music’s everything.”

I’m so lucky they were given to me. Thank you.

AMATUS

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Amatus is a bard for the modern age, accompanying her tales not with lutes, but synthesisers.

She produces, writes, and performs her own vision, with others offering additional instrumentals (such as Nate, Butter, Matt, Jared, Vince, and Mikaal), while Andy Baldwin and Jamie Segal mix the tunage. The result is an act reminiscent of M.I.A; Amatus portrays those same hypnotic, gotta-listen beats with the air-tight seal of poppy persuasion.

A self-proclaimed nerd and music junkie, Amatus has made music studios her natural habitat since age 14, absorbing lessons from either side of the glass. But it was only after Meshell Ndegeocello (a critically acclaimed songwriter and bassist) lent her a sequencing keyboard that Amatus truly began to emerge as an artist.

Now Broken Compass is her first solo step into the music scene: a five-piece party favour, freshly wrapped and crisply orchestrated. It reconciles R&B with electro and breezy hip-hop, any remaining cracks plugged with indie pop.

This Brookyln babe’s gotta good thing going.

RAS XIX

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

Music is meant to bring us together. It is the bridge on which any colliding personalities can meet, and meet in peace.

Ras Xix knows the only way you can master music is by approaching it via different perspectives, and he’s been doing so, travelling to soak in new cultures and funnel them into his production.

Enter his eponymous album, the first accumulation of his efforts, and an overall lush experience. The lyrics are simply refined, with adept guitar and a chilled beat massaging the centre. The production’s neat, the effects sweet. Even when he ups the rock (as in Over), the takeoff is gentle, the landing sleek.

Most compelling for me was Las Arenas de Cartagena, written on the shores of Boca Grande in Colombia. While I can do without the cliche video (wherein a frustrated waitress finds freedom by stripping down to a bikini- blame LA?), the chorus is almost enough to sweep me off to the ocean.

DAMIAN WILDE

By: Caitlin Hoffman
For BiggerThanBeyonce.Com

My first impression of Damian Wilde: Wow.

Regarding his history, character, and music, there’s a lot of Wow-worthy points. Firstly, and perhaps most interesting was his exposure to troubled souls at an early age. He remembers: “My mother was a nurse at Valkenberg Psychiatric Hospital and she used to care for those who were on their way back to the ‘real world’ and had trouble adjusting. They became my carers and my friends.”

Years later, this open-mindedness and sensitivity is clearly reflected in his art. May 20 heralded his first lil’ slice of magic: Nouveau Noir, a five-track EP with enough flicker to burn any heart. He’s been described as alternative R&B, but to me, this is poetry. Poetry transcends labels.

Damian unblinkingly dissects the darker corners of “the fucked up state of being human”. His voice is sexily stripped, lone, sad, and minimalist, aching echoes, curling knuckles. This music is perfect for tears already shed and ones still to come. If you’re in that awful spot (and we’ve all been there) where you’re convinced nobody could understand, listening to Damian Wilde may grant gentle commiseration.

There are these perfect moments when you hear nothing but hungry fingers limping across piano keys, with Damian’s voice swelling air pockets in the skull. By the time percussion is introduced, you’re already paralysed. Damian’s world is one of mistakes and cigarettes, slanted brims, tired eyes, lonely barmaids, crippling honesty.

Sit in the smoke.

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