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
Night-People Records – December 14th, 2013
I must confess, it’s taken the better part of the year for me to get used to seeing Idiot Glee as a foursome, rather than just James Friley with the multi-keyboard/drum-machine/loop-pedal setup that he started out with. It’s grown on me, though – the band has done an excellent job of fleshing out his tunes, and some of the new stuff they’ve come up with since forming has been fantastic. That said, to receive a notification in my mailbox that a new album, titled The Prairie, had been released was a big surprise, and a good one at that. The album is divided into three major sections, each with three songs a piece – “The Prairie,” “Position,” and three already known Idiot Glee songs, reworked on solo piano. The first portion starts out with piano and electronic bass before adding textures of synth – the entirety of “The Prairie” (parts one through three,) comes in at over twenty-two minutes, but I assure you it’s a beautiful listen the whole way through. “Position” and its three parts is about half the length of the first portion, but is an equally beautiful and mesmerizing piece built with an acoustic guitar at its very base. Sprinkled in are more immediate rhythm from the bass and synthesizers, but it remains a meditative companion to the first third of the album. The final chunk of the album is perhaps the most interesting to Idiot Glee fans – the last three songs (“Swimming Pool,” “Trouble at the Dancehall,” and “Little Berlin”) are live takes of James and a piano, without further accompaniment. They all translate remarkably well to the stripped down sound, and are played with such nuance as to give them their own identity outside of their original iterations. For an album that was released without much notice or hype, The Prairie is an excellent addition to Idiot Glee’s discography (or tape-ography,) and is absolutely worth a listen.
Ben Southworth – January 16th, 2014 – Hagermann and Maxwell