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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Slim Wray

Slim Wray a Garage Rock band from New York in the USA centres around the duo of Howzr (Guitar / Vocals) and Chris Moran (Drums / Vocals).

Slim Wray - Garage Rock from the USA

Slim Wray

A scintillating scythe of percussion cleaves the air to announce the arrival of Slim Wray, this is rock as it should be played. Reflecting on relationships, the lyrics take the classic angsts of boy meets girl and delivers them inside a resounding maelstrom of well delivered riffs and rattles.


The energy palpably hammers against the walls and the tracks deliver everything you could want for an evening of rock and roll. Slim Wray also manage to deliver it without the sound distorting levels which takes much away from many new bands and the delightful fuzzed guitar work layers in all the nuances required to emit both the power and the glory of it all.

I wonder whether they will end up with a full time bass guitarist as without it the sounds would be too tinny, so it is good to find that all the material currently around does include that all important four stringed instrument – time will tell.

The tracks work superbly well as they don’t try to reinvent the wheel, rather concentrating on what they know and enjoy and Slim Wray ably define why working to a bands strengths and not attempting to stretch skills beyond the limits works so well, providing the ears with a delightful moment in time.

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