Month: November 2015

Album Review: ‘How Strange It Is To See’ by Adeline Hotel

Adeline Hotel is the musical appellation of singer/songwriter, Daniel Knishkowy. Adeline Hotel introduced his sound to the world back in 2014 with the release of his first full length, Leave the Lights On which came out on Pittsburgh’s Future Oak Record Co. With musical influences and interests like The Field Report, The Weather Machine, Hiss Golden Messenger and Jason Molina, Knishkowy has blended together folk, low-fi, and country into a style all his own. In early August, Adeline Hotel released his newest EP titled, How Strange It Is To See which includes bonus covers of Magnolia Electric Co. and Field Report tracks.

Knishkowy’s gentle guitar plucking and peaceful vocals make the EP I truly soothing listen. Mellow rises and falls in volume give the EP just enough build and contrast in soundscape. The track that stole the show for me was the title track, “How Strange It Is To See” and in this one two and a half minute song, you experience all of my favorite aspects of Knishkowy’s style.

“Everything is Going to Be Fine” presents the sleepy, thoughtful nature of the EP. However, under the sleepy, thoughtful instrumentals lie gritty guitar lines that keep the listener alert and aware.

According to Knishkowy:

“The EP touches on the bittersweet feelings of moving on; the thrill of betting on yourself and nostalgia for what’s left behind.”

This beautifully reflective music, is sure to find a place in listeners’ hearts and minds. You can find How Strange It Is To See and Adeline Hotel’s other music on Bandcamp.

Album Review: ‘Too Far Gone’ by Joe Mansman and The Midnight Revival Band

Too Far Gone is the work of Joe Mansmann and The Midnight Revival a band from upstate New York. As their debut piece of work, Too Far Gone is a true display of the band’s abilities as rock n’ rollers, blues musicians and storytellers. It’s clear each and every member of the band is a skilled and zealous musician and all of their contributions are necessary to make Too Far Gone what it is, a wild ride. This sophomore EP was released November 17th.

The top of the EP starts with the sound of smashing bottles, and immediately throws the listener into archetypal blues instrumentation and riffs make the opening cut a great first handshake with Joe Mansman and The Midnight Revival Band. “Dead as it Gets” features the classic back and forth between guitar and lead vocals, giving it a conversational feel that blends in with the smooth rock n’ blues style.

Following “Dead as it Gets” is “Hell or High Water.” You can’t help but tap your toes and bob your head. The piano is fantastic – it’s familiar, some may call it cliché but sometimes our ears need that. They need those proverbial guitar licks, bass thumpers and piano melodies. With music changing and advancing so quickly, it’s refreshing to hear someone do something recognizable but still individualized to the band’s own style. Joe Mansman and his Midnight Revival Band has nailed it.

“Long Rope” is irrefutably loveable. You can’t deny the need to clap along at the start and that liveliness and vitality holds through the track. This is one of those songs that is a sure to make anyone at the bar, pool table or playing Buck Hunter to stop what they’re doing and listen. It’s easily my favorite track on the EP.

The tempo changes more in the latter half of the EP, showcasing versatility in the band’s abilities. The title track and over 6 minute journey, “Too Far Gone”, closes the EP. Powerful lyrics and a full chorus of voices, make for a strong finish to the band’s first EP.

Congratulations to Joe Mansmann and The Midnight Revival. You can find their EP on iTunes now.

Live video of Steven A. Clark’s, “Lonely Roller” and more

Right this second, Steven A. Clark is touring with the one and only Sinkane. The tour began in NYC at CMJ including live performances at WNYC Soundcheck and WFUV. Check out the live version of the title track from Clark’s debut record, Lonely Roller. 

 

In addition to touring with Sinkane, Clark has been creating a handful of mixes all representations of Clark’s fervor and lust for music. The latest installment is, “The Drought.”

Album Review: ‘Above Club’ by We Are the City

Above Club is an enthusiastically unconventional record and is all the more beautiful because of this. This not We Are the City’s first record or experience in the creative and artistic scene. In fact, the trio of fellows Cayne McKenzie (keys and vocals), Andrew Huculiak (drums), and David Menzel (guitar) are not only musicians but are simultaneously script writers, film makers and directors. Having these talents allows the group to take hold of their music in every way possible and portray it visually to the world with 100% control. They directed an accompanying film for their last album, Violent and have directed both evocative and fantastical videos for “Keep on Dancing” and “Kiss Me, Honey.” Both tracks are equally as exceptional but completely separate entities, like each track on Above Club. Another noteworthy detail regarding the new record is that it was recorded via a live stream during October. This allowed fans to observe the band in their natural habitat and attain greater insight into the world of Above Club.

The record commences with the curious track which owns up to its lengthy title, “Take Your Picture With Me While You Still Can.” A song the perfectly captures and utilizes Cayne’s distinct and powerful voice and describes the realization that we change as humans. We’re often times not who we thought we were going to be. To me, “Take Your Picture With Me While You Still Can” is saying something along the lines of ‘capture me before I change again.’

An underlying theme in this record is maintaining optimism and confidence in the face of trying times throughout life. We Are the City harness the attitudes and sentiments that are the origin of this optimism and confidence and deliver it song form. “Keep on Dancing” an obvious favorite of mine for many reasons displays the theme of the record in crystal clear form. This depth and complexity of this song becomes more apparent when paired with the video:

 

 

Cayne touches on all the distracting moments in life, the overwhelming feeling and anxiety, claustrophobia that comes with life sometimes. Being tugged and stretched in so many different directions, being bombarded by the media, family and friends telling you what’s right, wrong, just or unfair. The mind can become a thorny, tangled and dense place very quickly:

Worse and worse until my head’s filled up with advice

 

 Gotta keep on dancing

 

Other tracks like “Club Music” are more abstract on the ear. Interesting and intricate almost warlike or tribal rhythms are the backdrop for Cayne’s commanding vocals. The intensity and strength build during the song until near the end, he’s shouting with a sense of desperation:
Please let dance music start after we have time to get messed up

And if you let it, tears will still come

 

The album closes with “Lovers in All Things” followed by the magnificent “Kiss Me, Honey.” Quirky and with peculiar cadence and rhythm “Lovers in All Things” leads dreamily into “Kiss Me, Honey” another track that blossoms when taken in conjunction with the video. Cayne sings while his head ticks almost unctrollably of undeniable love that befuddles, confuses and consumes:

Kiss me, Honey like you mean and repeat it and repeat it

 Here and now, I can’t figure it out

 

 

This song is a beautiful and triumphant close to the masterpiece that is, Above Club.

You can buy Above Club and other music by We Are the City on iTunes.

 

Review: The Van T’s EP, “Laguna Babe”

The EP starts with the fiery title track “Laguna Babe” which is quite perfectly accompanied by a music video that features three young people wreaking havoc at a carnival, restaurant and club until one teen ends up in a bit of trouble with some interesting folks at the club. The commanding vocals paired with the raucous guitars n’ drums and punky sing speaking makes for an excellent, high speed rock track.

The track “Growler”features beachy guitar riffs which err more on the dark side, punching female vocals and an altogether surf rock feel giving excellent contrast to “Laguna Babe” while simultaneously meshing seamlessly with the rest of the EP.

On this EP, Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson tell stories of their lives as their teenage years began to disappear and their twenties came on hard and fast.

Some they say are not so bright, 

I like you more on a drunken night.

the sisters sing about some poor chap from their past in “Growler”, a song about all the kinds of boys you might encounter and how you might deal with them as a teenager.

“Feel Touch Feel” starts quick right out of the gate. Forceful and energetic instrumentation carry the track  while Chloe and Hannah’s voices dance over the top, creating a true rock song fully armed with gnarly guitar solos and smashing percussion.

The EP closes with a lesson learned from their teen years. There are other fish in the sea, other fellows out there, there’s another sun; however you like to put it.

Waiting for another sun, I know you are not the only one. 

The four tracks blend together superbly and showcase The Van T’s fine tuned garage punk rock and roll skills. Everyone’s musical repertoire has and/or needs to make room for Laguna Babe. 

The EP is out now on Bloc+Music and you can find it on iTunes and Bandcamp.

Fake Guns remixes “Belly” by SWIMM

SWIMM is a longstanding favorite of MFL, and Fake Guns, becoming a favorite remixer of MFL favorites! Brooklyn producer Fake Guns is gaining momentum with the release of “Outcast” by Mainland and now the track “Belly” by LA band, SWIMM.

Fake Guns tacks on fuzzy buzzin’ synths, twinkling harp-like sounds, and an insanely catchy rhythm and percussion layer to SWIMM’s already catchy track. Fake Guns adds an air of lightness to “Belly.” The track wants to just float away! SWIMM said this about the Fake Guns remix:

“Every once in a while, someone does more of a reimagining of a song than a remix and you kind of wish you had imagined it that way the first time. This is one of those times”.

 

Gorgeous and sinister video for “Passion” by Xan Young

The details captured in this video are striking, as are the colors and intensity of the mood. A woman moves in slow motion through a dense forest, hooded figures in rich red capes appear and disappear.  The stark contrast between the ominous atmosphere of the video and the uptempo track creates something altogether provocative.

“Passion” is off of Xan Young’s recent EP which came out on Astro Nautico. You can find it on iTunes and Bandcamp now.