Lo-Fi Chamber Folk
Gubbey Records – May 19, 2017
Dream Eye Color Wheel is a project based in Louisville // New Albany, Indiana made of many musicians and led by Ben Traughber. Their new album, False Omega opens with the plodding instrumental, “Slow Thundergeist,” a dark, richly orchestrated piece (featuring my favorite woodwind, the bass clarinet) that toes the line between feeling mechanical, even machine-like, but ultimately human and raw. “Saw Teeth” opens as a waltz, led by acoustic guitar before Traughber’s soft vocals enter, eventually giving way to a lovely organ-violin solo. Later is “Flying Erase Head,” a beautiful piece that feels transmitted from a long time ago – everything is whispered and washed-out, like it’s coming from a distant memory. “Gamma” rumbles into focus on a low synthesizer note before acoustic guitar and Traughber’s voice enter, him singing a repeated “gamma, gamma, gamma… rays.” Balanced somewhere between upbeat and psychedelic, “On Arrival” challenges what a bossa nova can be, throwing a noisy guitar solo on top of an already disorienting track. The album closes with “Goodbye (Listen Here),” which starts as an unsettling duet between rewound guitar and an angry voicemail (the caller eventually cools off). Dream Eye Color Wheel is a fascinating, refreshingly creative project of Ben Traugbher – False Omega is a strange, disorienting listen, but a beautiful and enjoyable one at that.
Tracks I Liked: Slow Thundergeist!, Saw Teeth!!, Flying Erase Head!!!, Gamma!, On Arrival!!
Ben Southworth – May 21, 2017 – Kenwick Place
Self-Released December 3, 2016
The Thumps (a great name for a band) are a part of the Louisville music scene, now releasing their first full length album, A Grizzly Scene. The band – made up of piano, accordion, bass, and drums – is orchestrated uniquely for one playing rock music. The omission of guitar here allows the independent parts and vocals to be heard more easily, casting a dark light on timbre and subject matter of many of the songs. From the beginning of the first track, “Doktor,” this mood is present – a certain sinister feel is tangible in the lyrics and minor tonality. “Back to the Future” is a two-part ballad that tells (pretty literally) the story of Marty and Doc. This pair of tracks is perhaps the best indication of how the band’s instrumentation can work well – some tasteful intros and instrumental sections in both parts really work well at pacing and setting this apart. “terrible, terrible” is another ballad and favorite of mine, this time telling a ‘whodunit’ story of a murder investigation, and serves as inspiration for the album’s title. Over the course of the album, the band tells some good stories in their songs, matching them with nice, unique instrumental atmospheres. The Thumps have an interesting sound, and have put together a fun album in A Grizzly Scene – if you’re looking for something that sounds a little different, this is well worth a listen.
Tracks I Liked: Doktor, Back to the Future!!!, Back to the Future Pt. 2! , terrible, terrible!!, Toomai (of the Elephants)
Ben Southworth – December 4, 2016 – Kenwick Place