An EP Review
Eastwestwhy is an indie/dance/pop rock band from Hyattsville, Maryland. With as many genre labels as they do have, at the same time Eastwesthwy has crafted a completely new sound in this EP. The guitar is flowing throughout every song. Heavily delayed, playing as a melody flowing with the vocals instead of reacting to them. Every track on this EP is very well composed, this band really knows how to make their music sound incredible. Not only that, with all of the pop influence in this band, they are very accessible. Most people I think would have a hard time not jamming along to these songs. Everything, the drumbeat, the bass lines, and more than anything the vocals are full of hooks that will stay rooted in your mind long after the EP has ended.
This has become a very popular style of music in DC in the past few years. I wasn’t really sure what to think of this style of music at all for a while, but the more I’ve moved away from listening to anything but local music, I’ve started to really get it. If you’re not sure if you like Indie Pop music, this album is a great way to decide. There’s a lot of depth to these songs. That’s the most appealing thing about Eastwesthwy, the complexity of every song hidden underneath some of the catchiest lead riffs I’ve ever heard. This EP will put you in a good mood.
Surround is my favorite track off this EP. Very synth heavy, my favorite song most for the groove of that bass line. The way the guitar solo slides on top of that, the breaks, the way the vocals are mixed, this is such a well crafted song. Even if this was on the only song on the EP, I would recommend it based on this track. I’m reminded a lot of other acts like…well I don’t really know this genre well, but this is the best indie pop band that I know of. I can say that honestly. Seriously though, check this album out. These guys are really talented and so good at what they do.
Listen here: https://eastwesthwy.bandcamp.com/
An EP review
Electric Temple is a stoner/progressive/psychedelic rock band from Alexandria, Virginia. Wild guitar solos, complex bass lines, technical drumming, nothing is held back at all. From the first track to the last, this album has hard rock sound with some intricate songwriting. Anyone that’s a fan of classic rock, 80’s metal, thrash or stoner rock will definitely enjoy first flight. The layered soloing on Haze Daze is great to hear, and every member of this band is capable of stealing the show in any of these tracks.
Forgotten Low is my favorite song. There’s something very dark about the composition here. The descending chords, the low pitched chanting in background, it’s all very atmospheric. Electric Temple is a band that’s capable of using their sound to create so much varying and unique tracks. Each song is full of slick leads, the bassist keeps the rhythm but also takes them to anywhere he wants on the fretboard. Not to be left behind on anything, often the bass will follow the guitar through even the most complex riffs. I’m reminded a lot of bands like Sleep, Electric Wizard, Black Sabbath, Clutch, and Wolfmother.
Blood Eagle is my favorite track of this EP. Starts out with a drum solo, which is always a great way to open any song. The verses are bass heavy, the chanting comes back in the chorus, and there’s a lot of crazy shredding throughout. The bass and drums work together so well. The guitar can drift in and out as it pleases, this is a tight band. All of the members work together so well, it’s very clear on listening that this band has great chemistry. Although there’s only five tracks on First Flight, the shortest track clocks in at 4:41. There’s a lot to hear on this EP, and it’s clear to me that Electric Temple will have a lot of great music coming out in the future that I’m excited to hear.
Listen here: https://electrictempleband.bandcamp.com/releases/
An Album Review
From Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Absolute Sky is one of most upbeat indie bands I’ve ever heard. Every song has this sense of wholeness, or happiness that’s embedded into words that aren’t necessarily so reflective of the positive tone in the sound. As a matter of fact, a lot of these songs are full of despair, loneliness, and fear. The Absolute Sky has found a way to write about self doubt in a positive way. To me, this kind of music is very cathartic. The problems and issues are universal, and that leads to this entire album written as something everyone can relate to. I’m reminded a lot of Ben Folds, The Shins, The Strokes, and at the same time nothing will ever quite fit. The Absolute Sky just has to be heard to be understood.
One thing that really stands out in RURALA is the vocal work. Harmonies, whistling, and many other complex ways of writing the vocal lines as not just words, but an instrument producing a melody that can carry a song. It takes a lot of care and patience to be able to implement them so well.
Parking lots is my favorite song. I have never heard a song quite like this. The guitar solos in the song are so good, all of the musicians in this band are very skilled at what they do. This song, to me is about living on the east coast. Growing up and seeing the seasons change, how things were easier and made more sense before the world was too complex. The song spans several months, from the fall to the winter. The cadence of the words in this song really hooked me in. They are very quick and poetic. All of the lyrics to these songs are available to read on their bandcamp page, I recommend taking the time to read along while listening. RURALA has some writing that challenges the music on which is better. After the first few songs, I had to listen to the album in it’s entirety. This is great, honest, well composed indie rock. I’m also reminded a lot of my morning jacket.
The bassist in The Absolute Sky is also very talented. Not only keeping the rhythm but adding to it. The drummer is doing everything right in this band. There’s so much control required to be able to play like this. From slow and smooth to fast and insane, it seems like there’s nothing this band is doing wrong. I am really excited to see them play soon, check this album out if you’re an indie fan, ever lived on the east coast, or have a beating heart.
Listen here: https://theabsolutesky.bandcamp.com/releases/
An Album Review
Hu is a Pop Punk/Indie band from Washington, D.C. I really hesitate to even try to categorize Hu. On their self titled release, every single track in mind blowing. This album is just everything that I adore about music. I am a huge fan of this album, and this band in general. The vocals, the drums, the guitars, the bass, it’s all just so amazing. It’s powerful music.
From the start this band just has these vocal harmonies that create such an interesting atmosphere. The way the instruments play against other, and drone along in a harmonious melody, it’s very interesting. In Before My Eyes, the bass line is very impressive. The tone of every instrument is on point. Hu clearly had a vision for this album, and there’s not any doubt in mind that they were able to accomplish that. The way the various guitar riffs build on each other is very impressive. This is complex music. All the thought and care that went into each song is evident in the sound. There’s a lot of great build ups on the album. That’s where the percussion really shines. The melody is carried by the drumming so well in these sections.
There’s a lot of emotion in these songs. The lyrics are clear and personal, certain songs seem to be clearly written to or about a person. There’s a slight sadness in Hu, not only reflected in the vocals but in the instrumentation as well. In “I Won’t”, the song goes from sad to determined. Just as it follows in life, sadness can be used to fuel determination. From tragedy in our own lives, we can find strength. In this album, Hu has found a way to express this very well.
Hu also has a very far away, spacey, experimental sound in some of their songs. EIAT is a great example of this. It almost blends into instrumental music, but the way the lyircs are effected to match the guitar makes Hu sound larger than life. It’s as though their sound could carry thousands of miles, with nothing impeding the notes as they drift off into our collective conciousness. Writing these I must admit I have had a few drinks, and may be a little goofy due to that, but this is a great album. I really did enjoy every song, and I believe that anyone listening to this one will be able to find something that they enjoy about it. Very unique, creative tracks, with strong hooks and amazing vocal and guitar work. Strongly recommend.
Listen here: https://huband.bandcamp.com/album/hu/
An EP Review
An up and coming Indie/Garage rock band out of North Carolina, Sushi Twin is bringing a really great sound with this EP. Lying somewhere between punk and indie, this a very unique and catchy album. Songwriting can go from simple and fun to complex and thought provoking. Sushi Twin is an extremely versatile group. Their acoustic song, Out of Place really drives this point home. After the poppy sounds of Baby come back, to the Misfits era grind of ‘Nuff Said, Out of Place really stands out as a great folk song. A folk drinking song, if you will. I love songs like this. The pleasant chord structures underneath the most sorrow filled lyrics. I can almost imagine last call at the bar with this song playing over and fitting perfectly.
Sushi Twin is a talented, up and coming group. I really enjoy the vocals, and the harmonies are great too. It’s accessible music. Easy to relate to, easy for the songwriters to convey their emotions. Out of Place ended up not being my favorite song just because of how well written it is, it was more of how I connected to it. I remember being awake a 3am, with a fuzzy mind and loving music like this. This is the blues, in it’s own way. It’s an expression of an unspoken sadness. A struggle in life that is universal. That could be said of this entire EP. Sushi Twin is a universal band, that everyone can enjoy. There’s a lot of different material here, and a lot to offer every individual. Bands like this tend to be successful with such skilled musicians composing tracks with unique sounds. Each song could easily be a single, and each song has that infectious hook that will stick in your mind long after the actual listening is done.
They may be in North Carolina, but I think there is a connection between the North Carolina scene and the upper east coast. We always seem to want to tour down there, and we have so many cities up here to see bands from all over the country, and even the world. With any luck, Sushi Twin could be playing in a club near us all soon. If you’re a fan of a heavier indie sound, check these guys out.
Listen here: https://sushitwin.bandcamp.com/album/s-t-ep/
A Music Review
Harness Flux, also known as John Masters, is a solo artist out of Washington, D.C. This is more of a collection than an album. More of a representation of time passing. Of the culmination of many different ideas all put together to form a cohesive whole. Harness Flux, with a touch of the 90s garage rock, a touch of indie rock, and above all else a desire to create has a wonderful collection of tracks here.
This is the first solo artist I’ve listened to in a while, and that resonated a lot to me. The difficulty of not only writing all of the pieces of these songs alone, but recording and putting together each track individually takes a great amount of dedication and persistence. Harness Flux is a multi-instrumentalist, and uses that skill to his full advantage here. Each piece of every song is bringing something interesting or unique to this song collection, and with each song I am still impressed. Not only in the composition of the base tracks of each song, but with the layered guitar solos and drum fills. The bass lines are deeper in the mix, but they are all still solid. A little more lo-fi, but still well produced.
The less members a band has, the more isolated the style can become. This is not the case here, as each track on this album has it’s own sound and instrumentation. Sometimes the vocals are clear and up front, on others they are subdued. Heavily with the reverb and pushed deeper into the mix, gives certain songs a very psychedelic sort of sound. Harness Flux has a way of taking something simple and finding ways to improve and build on it until it becomes something huge. Less is more, and this collection is a great example of that. Not doing too much or to little, but just the right amount pushes these songs into greatness.
Harness Flux is a very interesting band. On listening, it made me wonder how it would sound if I decided to strike out on my own. I’ve never been much of a solo artist, always finding comfort in the presence of my band mates on stage. I wonder if I could create such a solid sound alone. Harness Flux is a band that I would difficulty describing to someone I didn’t know well, they just have a very individual sound. This is a great collection, and very worth checking out if you are a fan of independent, creative music.
Listen Here: https://harnessflux.bandcamp.com/album/collected-singles-remastered-ep/
An Album Review
An Alt/Jazz/Indie group consisting of just two members, I love bands like this. Hailing from Alexandria, Virginia, this band could easily pick up steam with this release. There’s nothing quite like two talented people getting together and using all of their combined talent to make something incredible. Ranging from morose songs of lounge act era longing, to mellow guitar grooves, any fan of jazz guitar will want to check out Moon-Scene. The guitar and vocals compliment each other so well, and every single song on this 10 song album has a unique and interesting sound.
There’s something incredibly versatile about bands with just two members. To me, it seems like there must always be a deep musical connection between the two members to be capable of accomplishing so much with just two people. Moon-Scene surprised me constantly, and I found myself floored with such a collection of great music. I love the drumming in these songs. Always on point, every beat is a perfectly timed solid foundation for the jazzy riffs. Some of the best drumming out there just has to be solid. Try do play too much, it can become muddy and clouded. The drumming in Walk With The Sky is the perfect touch of talent and subtlety. Both of the musicians in this band are truly skilled, and raise each other to a higher level.
The vocals on the album are fantastic. The writing in every song uses the chords and drumming to help accent and support the singing. Moon-Scene has such a strong range, going from deep and heavy to bright serenades, the vocals stand out just as much as the drumming and guitar. Every piece of this sound is so vital, and it’s all so well put together. The composition on Walk With The Sky are excellent.
My favorite track has to be the closer, Red Light Green Light. The guitar riff is just so catchy, and the singing really kills it. The riffs on this song as some of their most complex and creative, Moon-Scene really proves that they are talented in every way. There’s something very soothing about this song. The build of it all, the riffs playing off each other, the subdued yet beautiful vocals, it all just works so well. I was blown away by Walk With The Sky, and I highly, highly recommend checking it out . Moon-Scene is one of my favorite bands I’ve reviewed, and they actually have even more great content on their bandcamp site. This is a band that clearly has a bright future.
Listen here: https://moon-scene.bandcamp.com/
An Album Review
Static Scene, coming from McLean, Virgina have released what I can only call a powerful EP. Each song has an energy can full, gigantic sound that makes what is only a four track EP seem like so much more. Static Scene has the ability to make such an impact with every song, I love the dynamics presented here. The way the sound flows, the energy of each riff, drumbeat or bass lick all work together to push into a new song. The lead and rhythm guitars play off each other with a great finesse. This EP is captivating.
An Alt/Post Rock band, to me there’s a touch of the Indie music as well. I would conisder the Static Scene EP guitar driven. The melodies are carried by their rhythm section, but their flows and directions are controlled by the guitar leads. The vocals build around these leads. It makes everything being said in the songs have more emphasis, the guitar pushing each word farther and faster. There is a lot of care and depth to the vocals as well. Ranging from soft spoken to outright screaming, there is so much genuine emotion here. Static Scene will never have to consider whether they should be taken seriously. It takes courage to write like this, to sing from a place deep inside. When the passion comes from the heart to the microphone, the difference is obvious. Eye for an Eye, the opener, is my favorite tracked on the album. I was hooked from the first minute.
Static Scene knows how to write in many different styles. The guitar solos on this EP are amazing, punctuating the rhythms and melodies so well. It’s here that the bass and drums really shine, and prove without any doubt that they are just as important as everyone else. Without the skill and precision of the bass and drums, the guitars would have nothing to support them. Static Scene is a band that does everything right, and I can’t wait to hear what they have next.
Also: This EP comes in a slipcase wallet, which is always nice.
Listen Here: https://staticscene.bandcamp.com/
An Album Review
I didn’t really know what to expect when I first listened to this New York two piece, with just a bass guitar and a drummer. I soon realized that there an incredible things, creative songwriting, amazing instrumentation and a sound, though with only two people not limited to two instruments. With an organ, a bass guitar, a drum kit, and some other percussion instruments, PUNT has made something really unique here.
The album opens heavy and strong with the melodic bass lines reminiscent of the best early 80s punk. First impressions brought back memories of listening to Walk Among Us/Earth A.D. There’s something about the way the vocals are slightly behind the sound of the bass and drums. It gives every song a live feel. Blasting and in your face, you can really taste the sweat of both members here. This is one of the strongest rhythm sections I’ve heard in a long time. Not only are they both playing hard on every song, they both sing too. Singing while drumming to me is one of the most impressive feats for a musician to accomplish well. There’s so much going on physically with these drum parts, BILL and ELI (as they are listed on their site) are both very talented people.
The Locust, Death from above 1979, Lightning Bolt, these are all bands that also come to mind. PUNT is one of those bands that is so talented, you could spend hours thinking of all the other bands that they remind you of. They are however, very much their own sound. I can’t think of a single act that reminds me of them directly, just little similarities. This album is self described as lo-fi, but I’m not sure that I would agree with that. The sound production and quality on OIL is above average, and to me fits perfectly into PUNTS style.
Ghouls is my favorite song on the album, it has that stoner rock feel that can be acheived so well with some overdriven bending and killer drum fills. This song might be more late 70’s than some other songs, but the hooks here are solid. This manages to be an extremely catchy and memorable track, and this album as a whole is great. If you’re looking for something unique, different, bass driven, or love complex drumming, OIL is worth checking out. Checking out twice.
Listen here: https://punt.bandcamp.com/
A music review
Piranha is a hardcore band out of Baltimore, Maryland. With crashing drums, insane guitar and bass riffs, and throat tearing vocals, Piranha has some great tracks out for Old Bay Hardcore.
Passion is really the word that comes to mind. With great writing, not only musically but lyrically each song has a strong message. “I’d rather die than live for nothing.” This line really stuck with me after I was done listening. I’ve had the chance to live for nothing. Doing work for the profit of some faceless person, living in a cold and dispassionate way. Bands like Piranha know how to channel those feelings, and express them with their sound.
Not too many songs out yet, but this band clearly has a bright future ahead of them. I’m looking forward to seeing what they release in the future. If you’re a fan of hardcore, relentless energy, and old bay, check these guys out.
Listen here: http://www.soundcloud.com/piranhaoldbay/