Tagged: indie

Beat Awfuls – Something Happened

a4074177971_164-Track Pop

Self-Released November 30, 2016

Beat Awfuls released their album Nothing Happens in February of 2016 – a collection of twelve lo-fi pop indie songs. The album ended up being one of my favorite local records of 2016, and perhaps the one I listened to the most, too. Something Happened works a little bit like a companion piece to that album – five tracks are demo versions of songs that can be heard on the full-length, and one is new. The tracks are more lo-fi here than on Nothing Happens, subbing in a drum machine and boiled down to Dave Cave and Dr. Paul’s stylings on guitar and bass (with some extra noises here and there). “Come Correct” works well as a quick ‘first track,’ and the vocal melody of “Do It Now” stands out as being even catchier than I remembered it. New to the lineup of songs is “I Will Follow You,” which works in acoustic guitar, a busier bass line, and a shuffling beat. A favorite of mine from Nothing Happens was “No Dice Cold Bones,” a track reworked here with calypso strumming and shakers that somehow seems even dreamier and more melancholic than before. If you liked Nothing Happens, you might just like this too – these poppy melodies will get stuck in your head, but it’s nice hearing it boiled down even further to basics.

Tracks I Liked: Come Correct!, Do it Now!!, I Will Follow You!, No Dice Cold Bones!!!

Ben Southworth – January 8, 2017 – Kenwick Place

S H O Z O – “Death Passes”

1174961_696889580325434_779218778_nSelf-Released: August 18th, 2013

Genre: Fuzzy Electronic Indie-Pop

For an album based on the subject of death, Lexington’s S H O Z O has managed to put together a collection of songs that comes out sounding surprisingly upbeat. Made up of seven songs exploring this central subject, the record manages to address death from a different angle at each track. Be it the loss of a loved one, the forfeit of love, the tragedy of last December’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, or an enfeebling automobile accident for a member of the group (and such for his musical comrades,) the band is perfectly capable of seeing death in nearly every light. The music is heavily electronic, relying much on the keyboarding and programming of Cameron Webster, but is given life from S H O Z O’s remaining members. With distant, but ever-present vocals from Charles Bruin and Justin Miller, and work on the guitar and bass from Miller and Ben Vickers, the band comes together with excellent cohesion. Top it off with a layer of fuzzy distortion, and some additional instrumentation in the form of trombone, cello, and violin and the album comes together with a sense of identity. When the album is over, it’s not just an album about death, but one that tells stories of the band, its members, and the time in which it was written.

Tracks I Liked? (Death Passes listens well as an album, but…) A Certain Terror!, Children of the Night!!, Falling Apart!!!, I Was an Eagle!, Defibrillator!!!, Oh Angel Our Destroyer

Keep up with S H O Z O’s antics on Facebook

Ben Southworth – November 10th, 2013 – Maxwell and Hagermann

Astor Place Riot – “Crossing Lines” EP

a0763246636_2Self-Released October 19, 2012

Genre: Alternative Rock

Astor Place Riot is one of the very first bands that I gave much exploration in my time at WRFL – their album Fine White Line was a collection of songs that featured meticulously crafted contributions from each of the members of the band. This EP, Crossing Lines, is a continuation of this detailed songwriting practice, featuring five songs of well-paced build and rich cohesion between bandmates. These guys also have a knack for creating a dark, swampy atmosphere with their music – they spend plenty of time exploring minor chords, but don’t let this make their music dreary or bogged down. Songs like “Prevail” and “2against3” groove along with active basslines and involved drum fills that propel the music, rather than allowing it to mope around. Coupling this with the tasteful guitar work and the slinky coloring from the violin, Fletcher’s is able to put across the lyrics they’ve worked out – his voice, and the melodies he choose, are often angular, finding just the right tones of dissonance to make things pop. The production on this EP is also very well done – each person’s lines stand out with great clarity, and give room for all parts to be as effective as possible. If you’re a sucker for text-painting, like I am, you might be a fan of the pairing of bass drum thumps with the lyrics “It’s because of you that I get these thumps at night.” All in all, it’s a great EP from one of Lexington’s younger alternative indie-rock bands, and one that pairs very nicely with the sound they created on their debut LP.

Tracks I Liked: Backhand!, In Too Close!!!, Prevail!!, 2against3!!!

Find them on Facebook

– Ben Southworth – June 7th, 2013

Whistle Peak – “Put to Flight”

4116795632-1Self-Released on April 22nd, 2013

Genre: A sedate mix of tracks they’ve accumulated over their last two albums

I was lucky enough to have this Louisville band come and play on WRFL-Live last week, and just as lucky to receive this album in advance from them. For the last week, I’ve been going back and forth from this one and 193 Sound and have had songs from both stuck in my head for days on end. What immediately sticks out to me about this album is the surprising cohesion that it has – for a collection of tracks that didn’t make it on to either of their first two albums, the songs on Put to Flight go together remarkably well. Though the band has done some post-production to fade from one song to the next, most of this unity comes from the fact that Whistle Peak has a sound. That sound, though difficult to sum up in a word or two, finds itself somewhere between indie rock, electronica, pop and even funk. Songs, especially like “Chinese Eyes” – which is the one that has been stuck in my head the most – have a certain groove to them that mixes everything from synths, electronic bass, and background vocals into songs that just feel good. Add in the distinct voice of lead singer Billy Petot, and you’ve got a really fun album from a great band. Sure a lot of the songs are a little goofy in subject matter, and some of the hooks and samples are humorous, but the album is a great listen and if you’re like me, it will lodge itself into your internal jukebox.

Tracks I Liked: Human Division!!, Universal Numbers!, Chinese Eyes!!!, Pocket Knife!, Just Like an Indian!, Stuffed Tiger!

– Ben Southworth

The Brink of Bliss – “The Brink of Bliss”

527241_274859649290148_338986140_nSelf-Released March 1st, 2013

Genre: Poppy Alt-Rock/Indie

Lexington trio, The Brink of Bliss’ self-titled EP is a fast paced pop-flavored indie rock piece. Made up of WRFL alum, Bobby Pinkston (vocals/bass,) Kim Ferguson (guitar) and Andrew May (drums,) the group has the sound that you’d expect a good alt-rock band to have. They keep up their momentum through all four of the four songs that make up this release, even on the couple of songs that have subject matters that might usually be expected in a slower setting. The first track, “Can I Call” – a quick three-minute tune about love – starts with a bass and hi-hat plugging along before the rest of the band enters. The second song, “Don’t Let Me Fall,” is similarly pop-infused, and features a great sounding guitar and nice vocal work from Ferguson and Pinkston, respectively. Track three, “Shot @ The Game” – the grooviest of the EP – does a great job with the crescendos and pacing of the song, allowing the texture to grow just the right way. “Feel the Sound,” the final song of the EP, was mastered by a different studio than was the rest of the album, and it’s evident in the vocals more than anything. Upon my first listen, the vocal mix reminded a little of Snow Patrol’s album, A Hundred Million Suns – now I’m going to have to go listen to it. Overall, if you’re a fan of poppy indie music, you’ll enjoy this album. The lyrics are simple and light in subject matter, but since the music moves along with such great momentum, they make the album really listenable and very catchy.

Tracks I Liked: All of them, especially Shot @ The Game and Can I Call

Hear The Brink of Bliss here.

– Ben Southworth