The Study Band | A Review of the Suns Single

The Study Band is a relatively new act currently based out of Portland Oregon. This duo, made up of Eric Morelli and Jack Roberts, has already produced and toured with their debut album From a Limb. More recently, The Study Band released a new single, entitled simply as Suns. The three tracks of the Single, Suns I, II and III, are meant to mirror the movements of the sun itself, but we will get into that in a minute.

Eric Morelli who handles the lead vocals and guitar for The Study Band also released an EP last Halloween under the band name Neon Death Ranger.  The contrast between Neon Death Ranger and The Study Band’s tone and content is a testament to either Morelli’s versatility as a musician or the influence Jack Roberts has over The Study Band. Morelli may have been good in Neon Death Ranger EP but his star really shines in The Study Band’s Suns.

Suns I is a mostly instrumental track.  Piano, guitar and some light background synth make up the majority of Suns I, it’s calm and pristine like any good dawn should be. And if you ever wanted to know what a sunrise sounds like for the duo that constitutes this band, this track would be it. Suns II has a distinct quality to it, whenever you have sleigh bells permeating an entire song you might think its Christmas, but they fit well with the song none the less and the tracks vocal are reminiscent of Keane’s Tom Chaplin. The final track, Suns III moves back and forth from spoken word to more of a pop-centric refrain powered by a hip-hop loop. 

The Study Band’s Suns Single is worth a listen for anyone who is interesting in new and emerging musicians.               


John Blaze | Taking a Look at Album 3

John Blaze is an up and coming artist who hails from the San Francisco Bay Area in California. His style of music ranges from synth riddle instrumental numbers that can have a somewhat electronic funk vibe,   but they can also be more abstract and include various home brood samples. Blaze also dips into the rare human effect on Album 3 with a song that has actual lyrics. Album 3 is a collection of all of Blaze’s previous musical offerings and out of the 12 tracks there are a few standouts. The track White Lightning is more traditional with its piano portions and deep echoing vocals; it has a jazz style quality to it.  3927 – John Blaze is one of the more abstract instrumental pieces on Album 3. It’s a quirky original song that was born from an eccentric young man, his keyboard and several samples of nursery rhymes.

A Single off of John Blaze’s Album 3 may not find its way to the top 40 countdown anytime soon but for people who have a taste in his style, they may find a new source of pleasure with Album 3.  You listen to the whole album from his bandcamp page here.   


Trend Fox & The Tenants | A Review of the Mess Around EP

Trend Fox & The Tenants are set to release their debut EP Mess Around on February 22nd courtesy of Kind Turkey Records. The band which definitely draws stylistic influences from the 50s and early 60s, have been working their way through local venues in Milwaukee. You can almost imagine Dick Clark introducing them on American Bandstand, they have that sort of analog sound to them, with their fast pace guitar riffs and great background vocals Trend Fox & The Tenants are a taste of an era gone by. Make no mistake though; this is not a group of Baby-boomers trying to rekindle childhood dreams. The group is full of 20 somethings that bring an energy and excitement to the music they play.  The lead singer can sound like a less raspy and more enthusiastic version of Deer Tick’s John McCauley. Don’t be worried, there is no country influences to shuffle your feet to when Trend Fox & The Tenants are concerned.

The Mess Around EP has a raw and unpolished quality to it that should draw in any garage band aficionados.  You can listen to all five of the tracks from this EP at kindturkeyrecords.com


PJ Harvey | Let England Shake A Review

PJ Harvey 8th Studio Album entitled Let England Shake is set to drop later this month. The English singer/songwriter Polly Jean Harvey has been putting out notable music for well over two decades now and judging by the quality of her latest work as no signs of slowing down. She has had a long and colourful career receiving critical praise from across the board, from being voted artist of the year by Rolling Stone to topping a list of greatest women in rock music according to Q Magazine. Her latest album Let England Shake may have been recorded in a church but its subject matter is far from peaceful. Let England Shake delivers a sense of newness and exploration in terms of musical composition. While still being recognizable as rock album Let England Shake also takes stylistic detours into less familiar territory. The lyrics are deeply associated with war and its complex nature, often describing the cheers of war stained by the loss and suffering. The album has an experimental feel to it, from the vocal styling to places certain tracks and their melodies take you.


Bright Eyes | The People’s Key Review

The People's KeyBright Eyes is set to release their tenth and reportedly final album called The People’s Key.  Bright Eyes front man Conor Oberst has been splitting his time lately between Bright Eyes and Monsters of Folk. Both bands have a similar style to them with their folk inspired melodies with a slightly modern twist. A little synth here and there is always a useful commodity when trying to maintain the “indie” in your band’s description these days.  As for The People’s Key, Oberst has put together one of the more interesting albums to be released, in this still very new year.

The album begins with the track Firewall which at first is a spoken word discourse on reptile aliens in Sumerian tablets. You know the ones; they interbred with humans, lived in the Garden of Eden and could shape shift, yeah those ones.  Well, after this profoundly entertaining introduction, which included many different elements including Hitler, the direction the universe spins, and of course nature of love, the song begins. Firewall goes from a crazy person rant to a slow burn rock number. It always hints at that moment when the bottom would just drop out in the song but Firewall is a big tease and never really gives it up, in a good way.  The album as a whole has many memorable lyrics and has a rather eclectic sense about it; with synth portions mixed with folksy instrumentals make this album great.  

Intermittently, the wild ramblings of same man who spoke of the reptile aliens pop in at the end of tracks throughout this album. They are often broken thoughts peppered with grandiose ideas of love and harmony, vibrations that universally recognizable. As a final act for Bright Eyes these spoken portions of the album are perhaps meant to be a reflection of what music is without a tune. Maybe the kinship between a mad man and a musician is measured in how well one can play an instrument.

The People’s Key is one of the best new albums to come out so far this year. And who knows maybe it will bring to light the reptile alien agenda once and for all.

The People’s Key due out February 15th.         

The End of The White Stripes – A Sad Day For Concert Goers

After a number of years and a hand full of hit songs The White Stripes have called it quits. Front man Jack White and ex-wife Meg White are no longer going to be making music together. This is not a big surprise given Jack White has been getting involved in more and more side project such as The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and others. It isn’t really the fact that the band will no long record albums; it’s that they will no long be performing live.

Anyone who has seen a live performances of The White Stripes knows that they were a must see live act. The energy generated from the two on stage was incredible. On the tour for the Icky Thump album the stage was all dressed in black and red as were the performers which gave the performance a distinctive character.  Whenever watching them you couldn’t help but think, all of this music coming from just two people. Jack’s massive vocals rained onto the crowed and the ever present deep seeded bead provided by Meg seemed to log right in your sternum and just hum.  It was incredible, and the greatest loss of this break up will be of those who will never have the chance to experience that for themselves.