Five State Drive

Five State Drive an indie-rock band from Orlando in the USA is Mike Battista (Drums), Jeff Borer (Guitar), Tae Kim (Guitar / Vocals), Branden Wycuff (Bass) and James Aspinall (Vocals).

Five State Drive - indie rock from the USA

Five State Drive

Formed in late summer ’13 Five State Drive have a limited amount of material to hear, but of what there is, has plenty to keep the ears occupied. The percussion scrambles across tracks like a crab making a dash for the sea alongside which the guitars ripple melodics and roar riffs giving the outfit an intense urgency, whilst simultaneously a sense of self-containment and calmness.


Amongst the few pieces of music lay some acoustic renditions and it is when taking a listen to this that the sympathetic nature of the players comes to the fore and listeners are provided with the evidence that these are decent composers who can temper their sounds, which gives the immediate impression that given the right commitment the quintet could travel some considerable distance inside the vagaries of the music industry.

They have started life with enthusiasm and ability, time and confidence will be the final arbiters of the potential of Five State Drive, they thus far seem to be doing all the right things and I wish them the best for 2014 and beyond.

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Lumerians

Lumerians is Tyler Green, Marc Melzer, Jason Miller, Christopher Musgrave and Tony Peluso a prog rock band from Oakland in the USA.

Lumerians - prog rock from the USA

Lumerians

Lumerians offer a nostalgic trip into psychedelia as the music floats above the head in a kaleidoscope of colours to entrance (as in the verb not the noun – completely different enunciation and meaning – but as a regular reader you will already know this) the mind.

The structures formed by the quintet extend ever upwards and on each occasion that the listener thinks they have met the edge, so it disappears once again into the distance. Whilst resonating of earlier years Lumerians is a band cognisant of their time and capture the tracks within six minutes, giving extended play to those of a mind, but not extending it beyond the bearable. They are even more impressive with tracks running at less than three minutes as they encapsulate the whole atmosphere of a fractals.

I have seen comments that the band is somewhat experimental, but to my ears this is following a well trodden path of progressive psychedelic rock, though bringing it to a currency and a place in which the listener can comfortably lay in the knowledge that there is a definitive direction of travel.

With delightful use of instrumentation and current technology Lumerians is a band who nestle very comfortably on my – must do this again – playlist and I would suggest should also sit on yours.

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The High Frontier – Lumerians is available on iTunes*.

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Parquet Courts

From Brooklyn in the USA we find Andrew Savage (Vocals / Guitar), Austin Brown (Guitar), Sean Yeaton (Bass) and Max Savage (Drums) also know as the new wave band Parquet Courts.

Parquet Courts - new wave from the USA

Parquet Courts

Harking back to the ’60s Parquet Courts seek to explore how the blocks fit together and more than that emerge with different patterns. I am sort of reminded of a Rubik’s Cube having been spliced and replaced – no matter how hard you try – there is no perfect settlement. A delight of discordance challenges the ears as guitars and vocals out of tune proffer a sound which for no reason makes perfect sense.

Wrapped up inside shiny wrappers you will find Parquet Courts as they throw out barbs to the world around them. This is music, challenging social mores in brief snippets, which hook or miss as they dart out. For me the wild guitars snarling across the landscape make for a paragraph which makes perfect sense. Around it all sits a vocal diatribe of invective, incised with percussion and bass, that drive the sounds to move the body of the audience in to a pogo – well I am knocking everything over as I attempt to write the review.

Music which tries to do nothing more than challenge the listener to take a look at their positioning always wins my vote. When it does in the concise format of a band who wrap much of it inside three minutes. Well, is it any surprise I recommend you take a moment or two to listen.

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Borrowed Time – Single – Parquet Courts is available on iTunes*

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Grapefruit

Grapefruit is a solo project from highly motivated musician Charlie Salas-Humara. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, in the USA, Salas-Humara is also known for his dance/math hybrid The Planet The, chaotic pop creation Panthers, the experimental Regular Music and hyperactive trio Sun Angle. There is an EP and three albums on the artist’s Bandcamp page, all under the Grapefruit moniker for the exception of one – Pinks Quieter, a name which functions both as an artist and album title. Salas-Humara explains this distinction is due to the Pinks Quieter material being so different from Grapefruit, which it most definitely is. Anyway, enough of the boring stuff – let’s get down to business.

Grapefruit - dream rock from the USA

Grapefruit

Thanks again to Robbie for the review –

Experimental, infectious, dark and dreamy; these are the first four words that come to mind when describing 2012’s Pinks Quieter, the first album from Salas-Humara available on Bandcamp.


From its exciting sampled drumming and meandering melodies, there’s definitely something special about this release, which manages to be both beautiful and twisted in equal measure. Each song is distinct in its own right, requiring just a few seconds before they work their way into your soul. The percussion in the album is reportedly ripped from YouTube videos, and relate to a genre of music known as “go-go”, which is essentially a highly syncopated form which originated in Washington DC during the mid-1960s.

This material comes across to me as somewhat dub-influenced, and reminds me of De Facto’s hypnotic blend of dub and psychedelia. Equal parts psychedelic, ambient and wistful, Pinks Quieter manages to sound fresh yet somehow familiar. Of note is the opening track Zero Zero, which features psyche guitar licks (at least I think it’s a guitar) and a lovely off-kilter drum beat before layers of droned vocals brings things to a close.

Next up is Twin Reflections, released a mere two months later than the last. Continuing with the electronic vibe but dropping the sampled go-go percussion, the album is not as immediately striking as the last but stands on its own as a quest into the joys of electronica. Synth is the order of the day here; from fluttering melodies and repeating arpeggios there are enough layers here to happily float away to on a warm Summer’s day. At times the music is reminiscent of a soundtrack, with Being and Nothingness giving off that feeling of epic discovery which would go perfectly with a videogame or sci-fi TV series.

There is a lot of emotional depth present in these pieces, with On Her Majesty suggesting an air of loneliness and melancholy with a touch of the futuristic about it, a strangely satisfying combination for me at least.

Finally there’s Escaper, which was released June 2013 and once more eschews the samples of Pinks Quieter in favour of purely electronic escapades. In certain tracks there are more percussive elements as can be witnessed in the  eponymous opening track and Colour of Water, the latter of which features a tribal beat which works well with the overlaid dreamy synths.

Both Twin Reflections and Escaper feel like two halves of the same whole, enjoyable though for me not as distinctive and gritty as Pinks Quieter.

I would recommend Grapefruit to anyone with an interest in dreamy electronic music, this is definitely the kind of material you want to melt away in the background while you write essays or do the washing up. And there’s no excuse for not checking it out as all of the material listed is available for free online. Have fun!

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Huunter

Despite the Scandinavian expectation by the spelling, Huunter, is a solo project by Luke Bourne from New York in The USA.

Huunter - alt rock from the USA

Huunter

For the second time in a few days I find myself writing a review of a band who is releasing material on a track by track basis, on this occasion Huunter is releasing a nine track release over nine months.

With the profundity of the underlying Bass it will come as no surprise that I find this magnetic. Huunter is able to layer in a range of instruments to create the atmosphere of the sounds which billow around the room, echoing like long lost ghosts shackled in the neither-world, with a vocal that suits the mood.


Lloyd draws the listener into the music with an intoxicating mix of vocal and instrumental combinations which weave threads around ears keeping them finely tuned to the experiences on offer. There is no doubt this is creativity and exposition of the highest order.

Sadly I feel this is potentially all we will ever hear of Huunter as it has taken two years to complete the tracks and another nine months to get to hear them all. I am not sure if it is insecurity or just pursuit of perfection that leads to this drawn out process. My preference would be for Lloyd Bourne to let go a little and allow us to hear more of the creativity more frequently as the plugged in versions are sublime to the ears and I am not convinced that the acoustic versions which accompany each release add much, if any, value but then I never have been a fan of the remix and you may feel differently.

Which ever way it turns out, my thoughts, catch the music by Huunter while you can.

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