hallovved, vinyl tapestries, tarot death card @ kilby court; 12/21/15 show review -
Many people dread Mondays and find they are often best survived by beginning the day slowly while working up to what lies ahead - Onamalkrmfdgds . The show at Kilby Court on Monday, December 21st, 2015 was set up in much this same way: beginning with a more mellow, emotional-filled set before ending with a bang. It allowed the audience to leave with a level of adrenaline and excitement, that although it was the beginning of the week, things were already starting to look up.
The set began with Tarot Death Card. I have to admit, I thought they were going to be some kind of metalcore unit based off their name. My assumptions were incorrect. For the half-hour they were on stage there was nothing coming out of the speakers but beautifully melancholic darkwave-inspired melodies … kind of. Comprised of members Chloe Muse on vocals (and occasional keyboards), Christian Austin on rhythm guitar, Aaron Moura on keyboards, McCormack on bass, and Caity Mullen on lead guitar (and occasional keyboards), the first two songs of their performance were in the vein of 70’s pop-rock. It was fairly upbeat, but not truly indicative of the band’s core sound nor what made me fall in love with them. Starting with the third piece, their music moved toward a darkwave theme with some electronica and gorgeous piano melodies underneath. They reminded me of a more soothing Mira. What really brought it all together was Muse’s vocal delivery; although in a higher registry, her voice often carried the emotional tonalities of a more soulful/jazzy Johnette Napolitano. The song that exemplified their overall package the best was “No H In The End,” a “love song” about heroin. In fact, a majority of their songs were about love, sex, and drugs. The only negative was the lack of a drummer or drum tracking. After the show I spoke with the band and they said that they were currently looking for a drummer as they plan on going into the studio to record an album in a few months. I am hoping they can find someone soon. I think a drummer would only help to fill out their sound and take their already mellifluous package to new heights.
Up next was Vinyl Tapestries. Although this was a band that I had seen previously, due to recent lineup changes, it was the first time I had ever seen it as a completely solo act with the only person on stage being vocalist/keyboardist Samantha Calmes. No specific explanation was given to why the project was now comprised of only one, however Calmes did make various mentions throughout the set about love, being hurt, and how if you follow her on social media, you’d know that things have been “rough lately.” As sad as it was that you could sometimes see the pain in her eyes, I have to admit that these personal crises made this show the most emotionally intense performance I have ever witnessed by her. The set began with a cacophony of various synth and keyboard effects that built to a crescendo that was broken by Calmes’ voice—a voice that is clear, powerful, steeped in jazz, and really has no comparison. From there, the audience was treated to a set of the most breathtakingly ethereal tones ever devised. With the music coupled with background effects, it sounded like one of the more elegantly morose Black Tape For A Blue Girl albums, if it were produced by Devin Townsend. This was exemplified during the song “Jellyfish,” (one of the few “traditional” singer-songwriter tunes with clean piano) which began with the sounds of rain in the background. During the intro to the song, Calmes said that she should play “It’s Raining Men,” followed by her laughing at the thought. Though she didn’t do that cover, she did play a cover of “(Sittin’ On) The Dock Of The Bay” which she would interwove with “Sea Of Love” perfectly. Every song played was filled with intense emotion, and the vocal work was some of the most formidable I have ever heard. If there was only one word that I could give to sum up the performance, it would be: inspired. Calmes stated there will be a new Vinyl Tapestries album out within the next few months, but it would be mostly in the electronica genre. As a fan, it saddens me to see her go through this pain, but it also makes the anticipation for the new release just that much greater.
Finishing off the performance, and kicking the week into high-gear, was Hallovved—pronounced “hallowed.” A progressive, alternative-metal outfit comprised of vocalist/guitarist Olivia Carlisle, bassist Maeve, lead guitarist Brayden Derfler, and drummer Jackson Barlow, they were the most surprising band of the night. They have a stellar amount of talent, especially since they are all still in high school. Their songs are fairly intricate with multiple time changes and musical progressions. A majority of the base of their music is constructed from the sounds of a number of early-90’s bands (during the softer movements they reminded me of Candlebox, and during the heavier parts they held a sound like a more progressive Helmet), yet they never sounded derivative. For being such a young band, they have definitely laid a great foundation for their own sound. One factor that helped me to hold such fondness to the group was their songs about former president George W. Bush (and no, they weren’t all about how amazing he was). There wasn’t a weak link to the musicianship of the group, though I did want to highlight Barlow’s drumming and some of the lead soloing performed by Derfler—both of which were amazing in their own right. The only negative I found about the performance was with a few of Carlisle’s vocals. When it came to the softer, more melodic singing, Carlisle has a good voice which made it evident that she can hold a tune. The issue was during some of the heavier parts where it required a yell or scream. She does have a yell that’s in the punk vein and it worked OK, however, if she could harness that energy and combine it with the tonal qualities of her softer singing, she’d be a powerhouse. A band that has a bright future, and one that will hopefully be releasing an album sooner, rather than later.
Well, Monday has come and gone and the week is in full swing. In the future, if you want to start your week off right—or just want to be treated to some gorgeous (and maybe intense) music, I can’t imagine a better way than seeing the bands listed above.
2015 album you should already own (non-Metal): suburban birds - "suburban birds E.P." feature and interview -
This was an album that I found myself listening to A LOT, and is one that once it permeates your brain, you will find yourself listening to it at the same frequency. Below I have included the link to my original review, followed by a bio piece/interview I did with the band about who they are. Check them both out!
Although as humans, we not only have the distinction of owning the highest-level of reasoning of any creature on the planet, we are also the most emotionally sensitive to time, places, and events, and how they play a role in shaping our individual existences. The music of the Suburban Birds truly exemplifies capturing a time, a place, and a feeling using nothing more than the collective artistry of four extremely talented musicians.
Comprised of lead vocalist/guitarist Zach Adams, bassist/backup vocalist Ian Kilpatrick, drummer Cameron Cox, and keyboardist/guitarist Chaden Hales, 2015 saw the Suburban Birds release their introductory, critically acclaimed, self-titled E.P. to the world—and it immediately began transporting all that would come in contact with it to a club somewhere in the 1960s. The music played has certain dreamy-psychedelic overtones coupled with heavier pop-rock elements from the same era. A great portion of their musicality stems from Adams and Cox being cousins and both roommates with Kilpatrick. They have been playing together since 2011, officially becoming Suburban Birds in 2014 after they added Hales in 2014.
“Zach will have these ideas with [a] singer-songwriter-almost style with just his acoustic and his vocals. And then, when we bring it to a full band setting, and then we have all these different sounds.” Kilpatrick admits. “We also try to get everybody involved in some way.” Adams adds, continuing, “The [keyboard] on “Goodbye Goodbye,” that keyboard was Chaden’s idea.”
However, what makes the Suburban Birds so much more than a cut-and-paste retro-act is the different influences and elements that each member brings to the band. “My background is definitely more like modern rock, and alternative rock, and stuff. But a lot of that retro feel comes from Zach’s heavy influence in the songwriting,” states Kilpatrick. “I have a background of being into 60’s pop, so I think the melodies are reflective of that,” Adams says.
The remainder of 2015 will see the band performing some live shows here and there, however they will be focused on the completion of their next album: an L.P. set for a 2016 release titled, “The Wild.” Songs written for the L.P. were culled from the same writing sessions as the material on their E.P. However, do NOT expect any of the music from The Wild to be considered “B-roll,” at all. According to Kilpatrick, “We have our best stuff [coming out on the] L.P. pretty soon.” In fact, the quality of the music had very little to do with the song selection for the E.P. Adams confesses that the songs were mostly picked based off of “How ready they were.” Continuing, “Some of the other songs, the lyrics weren’t written, [or] some bridges weren’t done.”
With the forefathers of rock who came before them smiling down at the Suburban Birds at what they have already accomplished, it’s somewhat poetic to think that their future success will be paved from the concrete of the past.
2015 album you should already own (metal): entomb the wicked - "mortem" album feature and interview -
Instead of doing a "Best Of" album edition for the end of 2015 as originally planned, I decided to focus on two albums that have been out long enough, and were amazing enough, to where you should already own them. The first will be in the Metal category and will feature Entomb The Wicked and their self-released album "Mortem."
Released on Halloween, 2015, Mortem is an album that is a complete landscape of brutality punctuated by moments of beauty. It's musically equivalent to the lush green pastures of clovers left in the wake of a nuclear blast. Not only is it brought to fruition by the clarity of every instrument -- heard loud and clear via the expert production techniques of producer Dan Whittaker (High Vibe Recordings, Salt Lake City) -- but also by the skillful use of the "loud/soft" dichotomy in the music itself. The amount of time spent on making the record is further evidence to its overall quality. "We were in the studio for three months straight, just working on [he album]," says vocalist/guitarist Tyler Bromberg. The working process with Whittaker was so productive, they plan on using him in the future. "We're going to be doing future recordings with him too, 'cause he gets us."
It’s good to hear that the band does have future recording plans; almost as soon as it was released, they lost their original vocalist Kelby Blakeslee (something which would cause lesser bands to crumble). “[Blakeslee] did vocals on four songs,” Bromberg states. “But my vocals are on every song already, at least on one part or another. I did all the cleans, all the harsher vocals.”
As for the future, Bromberg wants fan to rest-assured: “Honestly, we have things recorded for things to come out next year. We are planning to release an E.P. next year, this [upcoming] summer. Four or five songs, not sure yet. We have the material for it, we’re just trying to pick through and figure out exactly what songs we want on the E.P. itself.”
If you haven’t purchased the album yet, please look them up or head over to https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/mortem/id1041594891 to stream it. Check it out on YouTube! Below is the original review that was published for the album, to further explain why this album is so necessary.
Entomb The Wicked -- "Mortem"
Self-Released; 10/31/15 -
Sounding like a cross between Strapping Young Lad and Cattle Decapitation, Mortem is a melodic progressive deathcore concept album. The lyrics are about a serial killer whose mind fragments and unleashes a demon within that necessitates an exorcism. I cannot imagine a better soundtrack, as the album is irreproachable. The flawless production, brilliant construction of the songs, as well as guitarist Tyler Bromberg’s tone being one of the sickest I’ve ever heard, made the brutal heavier, more morose, and with the addition of sweeping melodic passages filled with clean guitar, one could also call the album “beautiful.” Those tones and the multiple sonic dynamics of the album bring the lyrics to full, psychotic life. This is an album that will be hard to pass up, as it is one of the best of the year so far. I truly hope that it will make it big nationally.