The Duskwhales are an indie pop band from Washington, D.C.
Upbeat and full of dynamism, I’ve never heard a band quite so jubilant about feeling dismal. It’s not an unexplored territory in the indie pop scene, but The Duskwhales come across such with a palpable honesty in their writing and composition. The hooks on this album are infectious, and have the potential to stay with the listener for a long time. The songs are well composed musically, with exemplary percussion, keys, and guitar lines in every song. This band just feels so together. It’s clear that The Duskwhales are experienced composers, and this album highlights all of their skill and hard work. The architectural structures of the melodies are dazzling. The vocals are forceful and symphonic. Sorrowful Mysteries also has a really pleasant flow as the album goes on.
The Duskwhales have taken all the good pop and indie sensibilities of the last forty or fifty years and condensed them into an album. It’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone on this album. It’s very easy to get absorbed in this music, spellbound by tenderness and melancholy. If you’re into Alt-J, Passion Pit, countless 80’s new wave, Tame Impala, or just looking for some good party music, look no further.
The Duskwhales are one of the more prominent local acts from the D.C. area. and are quite prolific with both the amount of shows and touring they go through. They have also been around for a long time, putting out their first release back in 2012. If you haven’t heard Sorrowful Mysteries, give it a listen soon. Then listen to it again when you can’t get, “In the Year of Jubilee,” out of your head. Also go see them live, they have many many shows all up and down the east coast and I’m sure they would love to see you there!
Listen here: https://theduskwhales.bandcamp.com/
Review by: J.O.
Little Lungs is an indie rock band from Baltimore, Maryland. There’s something about this release that makes it stand out. It’s all about feeling, and thoughts. The expressions of love, pain, rejection, and hope. The second track, “Parliament,” is one of the most magnificent songs on this release. It really has an exceptional sound. The way the guitar leads flow with the vocals in this song, makes for a stunning composition. There’s a lot to be said about knowing when to step back, the ebb and flow of these songs. I think that can partially be attributed to the fantastic mixing on this release. Little Lungs sounds tremendous from start to end. There’s an impressive amount of variety on this EP, no two songs sound the same. Each track is it’s own story, a chronicle of pain, irritation, and tenderness.
What I’m reminded of most when listening to Little Lungs, if I were to compare it to something mainstream would be a combination of My Morning Jacket and Yeah Yeah Yeahs. They definitely have their own voice though, and the unique resonance that can only come from authentic, passionate songwriting. As remarkable as anything else on this album, the compositions in every song stand out. They are all quite memorable and . All the tracks on this EP have very tight hooks and melodies, while also maintaining that organic feeling of being quite intimate. Every member of this band is extremely capable, proficient, and precise. Little Lungs is the kind of band that you’ll be in the mood to listen to several times. “Parliament,” was my favorite track. Everything from the lyrics, the drums, the bass and the arrangement is so satisfying to listen to. Check out Little Lungs if you haven’t already, and support their talent!
Listen here: https://little-lungs.bandcamp.com/album/little-lungs/
To The Moon is a three piece instrumental band from Baltimore, MD. Travel Music of 2017 will be their second release, and first with the current lineup. The album opens with space and mystery, building to a forward sound driven by the drums and bass. The minimalist sound lends to an atmosphere for clarity; each player is heard unmistakably, and contributes something invaluable to the sound. The songs are curious and experimental, adventurous and bold.
There is something on the edge of heaviness in songs like “Blood Orange,” and in the title track. These march at a steady, driving pace, determined to get some mission accomplished- possibly incognito. Some tracks could be in scenes of a modern day spy or action movie where the characters are definitely wearing sunglasses. Travel Music is goofy at times and very straightforward. But the guitar effects and edgy bass lines contain subtle dark undertones throughout, hinting at something thrilling and dangerous that is just beneath the surface. “Aliceanna” layers that with guitar and bass harmonies, and a screaming guitar solo that is so right.
Listen here: http://tothemoonband.com/
Tristan Welch is an ambient, free jazz drone project from Washington, D.C. I have never heard any kind of music like this before. It’s always an exciting feeling of discovery, to open your ears and mind to a new sound. People sometimes can become jaded, feeling that with all the songs already written, it’s not worth going out of one’s comfort zone. Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima have developed a sound that’s hard to stop listening to. It’s bold, creative and at times mesmerizing. Ron Oshima plays jazz inspired Saxophone over the dark and menacing guitar by Tristan Welch. The languid soundscapes provided by Tristan add more than just a background. He is holding the rhythm, building the foundation of everything boundlessly.
Something that stands out right away, before the music even starts is that this release only has three songs. Not out of the ordinary for an EP, but it’s the length that caught my attention. Each song lasting somewhere between 11-14 minutes. It made me curious, and by the time I had moved from “God,” to “Bless”, I felt very relaxed. “Bless” has a more relaxed feeling than the first track (God). This album is all about movement. The way the songs move in key, the way the saxophone moves in step while being played with professionalism and unreserved skill.
As the album closes with the serene aloof patterns only the key of A can give, I realized something else. This music makes me think about my life. About my own creativity, and how to be brave in composition. Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima have made an album that has a broad appeal. God Bless America, by the time I had moved all the way to the end left me feeling halcyon and placid. It’s an experience worth having.
Listen here: https://tristanwelch.bandcamp.com/
Yeah Cool is an indie rock band from Virginia. Sad music with poppy, uplifting hooks have always had a real impact on me. It’s emotional, but in a realistic way. There’s a feeling it brings out in my mind, the empty sort of feeling that comes from knowing exactly what’s wrong in a given situation and being powerless to fix it. Life’s rough, this house is fucked and that’s how it’s going to stay.
In the mainstream, there’s a tendency of ignoring the darker points of life and excessive focus on the positive. It sends the message that we all just need to feel good, ignore the negative aspects of our lives and just live in the moment. That may work for some people, but as I was maturing it just made me feel more isolated. The highs and lows of life, the great successes and damaging failures need to be expressed. The world needs more sincerity, it needs the raucous, unrestrained truth of Yeah Cool.
It’s hard not to admire Yeah Cool in their writing talent. It takes a lot to put the guitar tones, vocals, and song structures together in a way that has a really classic sound while still being new and exciting. If you’re a fan of bands like Dinosaur Jr, Built To Spill, and Sonic Youth, these artists influence and work their way within and throughout both of these tracks. It’s a new sound built on a solid foundation of disillusion and distortion. I’ve been missing this sound. Yeah, Cool is working on a new album and I can’t wait to see what else is in store. Right now their two singles are available as free downloads, so there’s no better time than now to listen for yourself.
Check them out here: https://yeahcool.bandcamp.com/
Fovea is an electronic dream pop psych rock band from New York, New York. A little on the lounge-y side, a little on the jazzy side, Fovea’s summer 2016 release is well composed and a joy to listen to. It’s engaging, with its delicate guitar layers and angelic vocal harmonies. It’s subtle in it’s percussive expression, never stepping out of place but always keeping perfect time. Not to say there isn’t some amazing drum tracking here, there really is. The bass and drums hold the wild keyboards and synth. The back and forth between the male and female singer is refreshingly new and exciting.
This is the kind of pop music sound that I always find myself in admiration of. The catchy, creative melodic flow of Fovea is just on another level than can be found in mainstream music. It’s got all of the fun and happy pop sound without a lack of content, Fear Of is practically bursting with artistic merit. I keep coming back to the word art, I think that’s what this album is to me. The way the sounds layer over each other, especially in the song. “TAIW.” It’s masterful, carried throughout by the skilled guitar and synth playing. Every part of Fovea comes together to create a otherworldly, magical whole.
A statue of sound, a monument of creativity and true expression that will easily stand the test of time. Fovea is different, different from anything I’ve ever heard before. With all the musicians in the world, we must remember that our songs are still unwritten. Only we can write them, and they are still important. You, the musician, artist, creator, whatever it is that drives you is important. The work of your hands and mind is significant, and I am reminded of this more and more with each new amazing band I am fortunate enough to hear. Fovea knows how to make a good album, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Check it out here:https://foveaband.bandcamp.com/album/fear-of
Moonflower is a grunge band from Kent County, Delaware. This album starts out strong, not only in the heavy drums and overdriven guitar, but in the direct and confessional content of the lyrics. Moonflower has no pretensions or vague metaphors expressing feelings. It’s very raw, and in that way very relatable. It takes a talented writer to get so personal, it takes a lot of courage to write in such an exposed way. Apologetic, angry, full of regret and amazing lines, this is an experience. “Daze,” is the track that really stood out to me the most.
It’s astonishing the way that Moonflower can capture a moment that I’ve felt in my own life. There’s a certain kind of emotion that this album captures, but I wound’t know the right word for it. It’s some kind of combination between sadness, frustration, longing and melancholy. Not any of those more than another, but all of those feeling simultaneously. It’s kind of like laying awake, or just with your eyes closed, contemplating all of the things you should have said. The way all of your memories cascade around your mind, it can be overwhelming. Moonflower has clearly put a lot of themselves into this release. I have barely talked about the instrumentals, they are incredible on every track.
The album has a fantastic flow, the arrangement of every track blends well, nothing feels out of place. The drumming is tasteful when it needs to be and explosive at the right moments. That’s the thing about this album, it just has all of these amazing moments. Whether it’s a line that hits close to home, an explosive chorus, or an entire song. It’s Over, It’s Under is inspirational, real, and very sad. I love it. There’s power in being sad.
Check it out here:https://moonfloweralt.bandcamp.com/album/its-over-its-under