Sometimes a band name makes perfect sense – Stegall is the synth-rock trio of three sisters of the eponymous surname – Clara (vocals), Sydney (guitar) and Liza (keyboards) from London in Canada.
Hitting the ground running, having formed recently, Stegall offer music which resonates of their upbringing which saw them move across swathes of The USA and the music provides an inclusive international quality. Light on the feet, they are not trying to recreate the wheel, rather add embellishments to a genre and this they do with some style.
A delightful bass sweeps along the music and the percussion is thoughtfully programmed allowing the vocals and tonality to hold the attention of the audience as Stegall showcase their compositions which belies the age of the band.
Having spent considerable energy in getting the on-line and visual elements right, they have also recently released their perhaps appropriately named début EP IV, which evidences these are more than glossy marketers. As a template for new bands Stegall are stellar examples.
The next step will be to see how this transposes to a live environment and they are booked for a tour in Eastern Canada later this year. I look forward to catching up with Stegall later in the year to see how it is all developing. For now, well worth catching at the start of what has the foundations for a promising career.
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The Volks an alt-rock band from Mobile in the USA is Brad (Lead Guitar / Vocals), Neill (Rhythm Guitar / Vocals / Keys), Freddie Blache (Drums) and Nick Campbell (Bass).
Bringing sounds from across the Atlantic into Alabama makes for an interesting sound that The Volks produce. I can’t say I didn’t have a sense of trepidation before hitting the music link of a band called The Volks from the White Supremacist heartland of Southern USA, but I was immediately put at ease. The quintet offer music with a broad international appeal as they break out the conundrum of the environs with a welcoming sound.
To try and more closely define the out-put – psychedelic revivalist Mod would serve as a differentiator and on their debut eponymous LP rebounds of analogue 8 track recordings, giving the material an instant authenticity and energy. The American twang adds a piquant of interest to me as a Brit and the coalescence of influences makes for an out-put I would like to keep hearing.
Never seeking to get ahead of themselves, The Volks, have given themselves time to develop songs which flow easily and settle with the audience instantaneously and the time they have afforded for their development has been well spent in defining a smartly pressed stack of songs.
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From Bloomington in the USA emerge Miss Mess, John Dawson, Tyler Damon, Mike Anderson and Will Staler who coalesce to the stoner rock band Thee Open Sex.
Thee Open Sex
Pouring out the material, in the same vein as a bootlegger distils potato skins, Thee Open Sex deliver sounds of cloud which billow to the ceiling prior to descending on the audience.
Ever obfuscated behind claudication, nonetheless the ears capture the evocations. The simple structures are embellished with fractures which demand investigation as the quintet provide a sound-track of ever eviscerating profundity. Thee Open Sex are not seeking to repurpose fire, rather to add the the embers, which they achieve admirably with songs that excoriate the white hot logs in searing tracks which singe the ears.
Whilst striking the heart of the listener with vaguely directed darts, equally Thee Open Sex proffer a helping hand as their material swhirls in an ever unreachable tangents. I am somehow reminded of the legend of Excalibur, the more I listen, the more I hear an aural composite of The Lady Of The Lake.
I look forward to hearing an update to their eponymous seven track release of a year ago.
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Andrea, Chad and Jake from Lafayette in the USA combine to form the garage rock band Popular Ego.
Stamping across the floor Popular Ego announce their arrival into the the room with a confident swagger, which fills the ears with impetuosity. Of particular personal joy and absolutely appropriate for a garage rock band is when the speakers rattle with distortion, though they are equally able to temper the recordings to a more level mix.
The natural delivery of Popular Ego strikes to the heart of the roots of music as a symbolism and tribal gathering. Whilst for sure there are infinite layers of sound along with devices and techniques to fancy it up, it is when the fluff is stripped away and the skeleton of the compositions exposed that the connectivity, which always marks out for me as to whether the musicians are genuine, is defined. The trio make it easy to pare away the extraneous, as there is none, we are left with a sound that has all that is essential.
Their confident arrival is backed up by music which has a heart and soul and the reason I ask you to take a moment out of your day to consider a band you won’t ever find receiving national airplay simply because of its very honesty.
Long may Popular Ego continue to create their take on everyday life and they are a great example of why I never actually listen to the plastic out-put of the mainstream tat which so many people seem to gain some vicarious association in their plastic lives in a plastic world of disposable consumerism dictated by the thickest wallet.
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Holy Wave from El Paso in the USA is the shoegaze quintet of Kyle Hager, Dustin Zozaya, Julian Ruiz, Joey Cook and Ryan Fuson.
Holy Wave deploy reverb with abandon to deliver sounds which are richly layered in textures of gossamer. Were the reverb to be further extended we would still be hearing the echoes in the middle of next week, however their ability to manage the transformative nature of the sounds which emerge to deliver coherence is a testament to their ability as musicians.
The psychotropic sounds snare inside the parietal lobe, distorting the senses, leaving the listener fixated by the floating sonics which seem to have physical characteristics. The music glides effortlessly around the room as refrains bounce into each other much like ripples in still water colliding and shearing off in alternating angles.
Currently on an extensive European tour to support the release of their latest LP, Relax, which came out on the 28th January, my advice for those who don’t often get the opportunity to catch them live, grab the opportunity, just plan to take the following couple of days off to allow the brain to resolve itself.
Relax – Holy Wave is available on iTunes*.
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