Power Pop // Electro Sci-Fi Pop
Self-Released – September 30, 2016
One of my favorite things about Lexington’s music scene is the way that so many musicians are determined to work together. They play in each other’s bands, they record on each other’s albums, and in the case of Signal Delayed, they put out albums together. In preparing for this write-up, I spoke to Scott Whiddon of Palisades, who said: ‘For me, this project represents everything I wanted Palisades to be: community, collaboration, creativity.’ Make no mistake, I wont pretend that Lexington is the only city where musicians are nice to each another – I’m just grateful, because I imagine that not every city is so lucky.
The first side of Signal Delayed is a pair of power pop songs from Palisades. The first of which, “Pretty Thief,” is familiar sounding (if you’ve listened to Palisades previously) – it’s full of bright guitars, a super quick and catchy chorus, and uses every bit of its runtime for something a little different than what came before it. “Tough Shakes” is a fair bit grungier and moodier than the more sugary pop that Palisades have produced in the past. Most of the lyrics of are more spoken than sung, the guitars are weightier than usual, and the lyrics have a little more bite than usual. That said, the production on these songs is at a place I haven’t heard from Palisades before – all the instruments are rich, well-balanced, and crystal clear (plus, the organ sounds on “Pretty Thief” adds a nice bit of light-hearted texture).
As far as I know, this is the first new recorded music from Big Fresh in a good while (since Moneychasers came out in 2011, maybe?) In case you’re not familiar with Big Fresh, it’s a long-running collective of musicians fronted by John Ferguson that has been around since 1998. The songs on the second side of Signal Delayed are funky, synth-heavy, and sci-fi flavored. “Atlantis” is quick, but punchy and in your face with a buzzing synth in the front of the texture and echoey vocals singing things like “we launched a rocket in space, we blast a hole in your face.” “Night Driving” is the perfect foil to the song preceding it – the quiet, low-key groove of the chorus is much more mellow and has the perfect feel for a song about driving at night. The many members of Big Fresh are orchestrated richly on this track, with horns and keyboards imitating vocals, a very well-chosen soundbyte, and drums helping to direct the song through its course.
If you’re a lover of Lexington music, it’s a no-brainer to find yourself a copy of Signal Delayed. It’s two great bands (whose collective members are likely in ten or more bands between them), four great songs, and I hear it’ll even be available on red vinyl! You can pick it up when you see both bands this Friday at The Green Lantern, or grab a copy the next time you stop by your favorite local record store.
Tracks I Liked: Pretty Thief!!, Tough Shakes!, Atlantis!, Night Driving!!
Ben Southworth – September 24, 2016 – Kenwick Place
For the first chunk of time as a record collector, I had a tough time finding the novelty of 7″ records – it ran parallel to my preference for albums over songs. But recently I’ve seen the light: there’s a special charm to them when they’re produced right, and the folks at Gubbey Records are making sure to do just that.
Upon opening the package that I found in my mail last week (getting packages is another favorite thing of mine,) I found a multitude of things included in the plastic sleeve. Other than the bubble-gum pink vinyl (we’ll talk more about that later,) there were inserts that gave information about the artists, the songs on the forty-five, a mini-poster for the release party, and a download card that granted access to another five songs, digitally. Not a bad deal for the five dollars they’re asking for their last two split 7″ records on their online store.
The music and the vinyl itself are both great too – the poppy sounds of Iamis and Tamara Dearing make a good pairing for the opposite sides of the candy-colored record. Both songs remind me a bit of fellow Kentuckians, Big Fresh, and Dearing’s voice shares some quality with Fiona Apple at times. Where I’m a fan of the limited edition pressings that folks like Soul Step and Third Man put out, this one fits right along – it explores a totally different genre than Volume 2 (some super noisy jazz was involved,) but keeps some common elements involved, placing the artists at the forefront of attention.
Ben Southworth – September 10th, 2013 – Maxwell and Hagerman