Ryan Gibson: Self Titled

Ryan Gibson

Released January 15, 2018.

Ryan Gibson is an eloquent, somber exposition. The intricate guitar work beautifully laces melancholy melodies and cynical lyrics, with a rhythm section that subtly drives and underlines. Songs paint dark vignettes of bitterness and city streets, affected by a reverence for mystery and solitude. The lyrics sometimes contrast the pretty melodies that contain them with their unabashed spite, boldly calling out the state of a world that is cruel and often shallow. But even here there are glimmers of hope and innocence. It is the work of an artist with the depth and resiliency to “transcend hell,” and still have the playfulness to sail the sewer in a paper boat.

The beauty of this album is in its subtlety. Harmonies that bring great depth are sometimes barely audible, where simplicity of sound is an illusory device. Each songs is meticulously crafted; each part is envisioned, played, and layered with the precision made possible by being the work’s sole creative source. This is an album one could listen many times and still continue to uncover nuances.


Listen: https://ryangibson.bandcamp.com/album/ryan-gibson



Ryan Gibson: Self Titled

The Fun Boys: Too Fun


The Fun Boys are an art punk band from Frederick, MD. There’s a strong, almost theatrical aura about this band. Full of melodious sarcastic madness and indignation, there’s something so undeniable about the wild nature of this band. The Fun Boys live up to their namesake on their first release, Too Fun. There’s a volatile insanity in this music that gives it a life of its own. The Fun Boys have tapped into a violent desperation that can only come from years of boredom existentialism and apathy. The entire EP feels like a Victorian madhouse screaming in the mirror. The Fun boys are out to have a good time, and their infectious rhythms and wild performances will stick in the mind of their audiences for years to come. Here’s to The Fun Boys, for being wild and undaunted in the face of pure lunacy.


Listen: https://thefunboys.bandcamp.com/


The Fun Boys: Too Fun

Debrider: Widowed


Debrider is a dream pop band from Richmond, Virginia. Their second release, Widowed, is a powerful one–brutally honest, sincere, and brilliant in its mournful musings. The first track, Last Place, speaks to the difficult pain of relationships. Widowed conveys themes of emotional abuse, and stark reflections on the way people can destroy each other in love. It sings lament to beautiful dreams that could never be. The percussion is incredibly performed and structured, and the vocal harmonies are expertly crafted. The songs are lyrically driven, so reading along on band camp enhances the listening experience. Lia Pisa-Relli is an extremely talented songwriter who knows how to reach into the deepest parts of the human experience.

“Like A Man”, the final track on this EP is my personal favorite. It exemplifies everything that Debrider is: a stunning display of engaging composition and dark destruction. There are so many voices in this song; it’s an excellent way to close the short, memorable release. This fall, the air will be haunted by the echoes of Widowed, and I can’t wait to hear what Debrider does next!

“Who’s in better shape, Who still has a soul?” – Last Place

Listen here: https://debrider.bandcamp.com/

Debrider: Widowed

More AM Than FM: Oh, The Places I Have Been…


More AM than FM is a hard rock band from Washington, D.C. This is something many people had been waiting a very long time for. It’s lives up to and has met expectations and even exceeds them  with their innovative songwriting and forceful vocal work. Oh The Places I Have Been…is my favorite thing I have listened to in years. Anjalee is one of the best drummers I have ever seen live, and she absolutely annihilates every song on this EP. Mel and Selena have the kind of chemistry that comes with years of playing together and forming a mutual understanding. Listening to More AM than FM and playing many shows with them over the years, I am a really huge fan. Some of my favorite live songs are on this EP, it’s been such an honor to share the stage with them.

Pockets, the first track on OTPIHB used to get stuck in my head all the time after shows. It’s a catchy and powerful, but god damn that vocal work is impressive. There’s so much content in every song, it’s a pleasure to listen More AM Than FM show how brilliant and innovative they have become after so much time playing and writing together. The breakdowns and solos throughout are really good, and that’s to be expected. Selena is an absolute monster on the guitar.

Listen to this EP, and if you like it, show your friends. I love More Am Than FM, and can’t wait for them to come back to



Turns out despite the FAKE NEWS of hiatus they will play a benefit for Girls Rock DC on 14 October! If you’re in the area, do not miss out!


Listen here: https://moreamthanfm.bandcamp.com/

More AM Than FM: Oh, The Places I Have Been…

Elissa Janelle Velveteen: One Sunken Ship


Elissa Janelle Velveteen is a singer-songwriter from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. This is all taken from a live performance, and the sound is very impressive for being live. There are no second chances on stage, but Elissa Janelle Velveteen doesn’t need them. Everything is clear and vibrant from start to finish. It feels like being there, with the audience interaction and a little bit of side banter. This music is brutally, painfully honest and emotional. Every song on this album has a message.

The opening track, Nothing Gold sets the tone for the rest of this performance. The melodious and dreamy verses give out to an explosive chorus. Elissa Janelle Velveteen has a strong voice and uses it to fully engage not only the listener, but the audience as well. In the quiet moments, there is an enraptured silence that seems to cover all who stop to listen.

Doctor Fuller brings the mood back down, but it’s incredible how much power she can give to a kazoo. It’s infectious and proves one thing for certain, given any instrument Elissa Janelle Velveteen will find a way to make it work. Kazoo magic aside, this song also covers drug dependency and the way people sometimes get lost in the haze of pharmaceuticals. With enough pills, anyone may try to take up the Kazoo.

Sugar & Salt, god damn. If there ever was going to be a pop song that could outshine every shitty overproduced pop song on the mainstream market, this would be it. As a multi-instrumentalist/kazoo connoisseur, EJV shows off her piano skills in this song. It’s a little about calling out the way people act dependent on their vices to go do the things they want, and the way the world actually functions. It’s not viable to sit on your ass eating sugar and salt, and the shallow nature of society. It’s easy to be placated by those simple pleasures and be completely enraptured by whisky and pot. At least it will make the day go by a little easier. It’s a really beautiful song, and might be the one that hits on the most personal level.

Take me home is a song about being isolated. Wanting to retreat from the world and find a quiet place to be free of the inconsequential bullshit of the everyday. There’s a lot of really nice percussive guitar and finger-picking.  1963 Chevy C10 is another great track, it’s a little more anger and resentment. It’s one of the best songs on this recording, just go listen to it. I don’t want to set up any expectations, and it will leave quite an impression.

There’s a lot more here to talk about, but like most things it’s better to go in a little blind. Elissa Janelle Velveteen is a talented, insightful singer-songwriter. Take the time to listen to this music, these hooks and melodies will stick with you long after the show is over. It feels somewhat like sitting right there at the bar. Grab a drink or a smoke and climb aboard One Sunken Ship. You’ve got a first class ticket.


Listen here: https://elissajanellevelveteen.bandcamp.com/releases


Elissa Janelle Velveteen: One Sunken Ship




Bottled up is a high energy, surf punk band from D.C. Brilliant and dreamy music with complex vocal and guitar layering over smooth beats. Bottled Up has a great flow, it’s difficult to listen to this EP the first time without immediately putting it on again.

There’s such depth and emotional weight to this music, on top of being exceptionally well written. It’s not so much about the individual songs themselves, it’s about the experience of listening to the EP in full. Bottled Up exists in a very special place. Somewhere between being overwhelmed with the beauty of existence and the crushing weight of the darkness in the world. The duality of good and bad, what we wish could be and what is. This may not at all have been what they were going for, but that’s what it brought out in me.

There is so much disconnection in the modern world, sometimes it’s nice to hear someone sing a song about their mom catching them using LSD. That kind of raw emotion is one of the best things about Bottled Up. They have brought out a lot of new ideas and ingenuity with this EP, and they are just as good live! Go see a show soon, or catch them on their upcoming tour!

Favorite track: Ovenhead

*Listen here!*





Lilac Sun: Shadow

Liliac Sun

Lilac Sun is an experimental bedroom pop band from Harrisonburg, VA. First and foremost, this is a beautiful collection of songs. Brutally honest, brimming with sincerity and sadness, Lilac Sun is unique, and one of the most interesting local acts I’ve had the pleasure of hearing. These songs are complex and layered, full of emotion and a passionate, wistful longing. Lilac Sun delves into the unspoken and ugly truth of life. The frailty of existence, and acknowledging the isolation of modern life. These are my favorite kinds of songs. Written out of necessity, to silence the howling storms that keep us awake at night. There’s also a subtle reassuring quality to Lilac Sun. The vocals work is astounding. The harmonies harken back to the smooth psychedelia of the late ’60s and ’70s, it takes a lot of expertise to compose songs that feel like instant classics on the first listen. Lilac Sun is a band worth admiration, the determination and brutal vulnerability they bring to the local music world will not soon be forgotten.


Listen here: https://lilacsun.bandcamp.com/album/shadow

Lilac Sun: Shadow