Sandals is the new lo-fi project of Ben Morin from Canada – formulated on the 31st of December.
One of the immense pleasures of being the editor of Emerging Indie Bands is the ability to discover the new and an idea only days old is exactly why this website exists. Of even greater joy is that musicians feel able to send through new ideas, knowing they will not be harangued for being so fresh out of the blocks. Today the only introduction I have replied to with a complete no-no was one by Warner Records with a bureaucracy of PR and Marketing people creating ‘just the right image’ who thought their introduction would be of great excitement. Sandals, however, I do ask you to find time of day to consider.
Dust Bowl (which is available on bandcamp) lasts for two and a half minutes of simultaneously compressed and inflated whisperings of lo-fi haziness as dreamy loops of guitar swoop around the room in billowing clouds of fuzz, whilst a pedantic drum-pad chases the sounds around the ears like a pedagogue only for the echoing vocal to frustrate any such ideas, leaving the listener in a relaxed mood for a multitude of minutes longer than the track lasts.
The duo of Emma Boltz (Guitar / Vocals) and Reilly Shellito (Drums) from Akron in the USA form the dark-rock band The Bijous.
The open spaces of kick-bass, floor tom, snare, hi-hat and crash cymbals in combination with a low slung lead guitar and expansive vocal allow The Bijous to believe you are listening to far much more.
The duo are able to create shrouds of mystery as the upper string of the guitar is allowed to bow in deep resonance whilst bass drum drills across the ears, to which an intense vocal that reminds of Poly Styrene rings around the room. There is absolutely no doubt these are a couple of highly talented songwriters who are able to wring far more than is on hand from their stable, putting long standing multi-personnel bands to shame as The Bijous wrest from the audience an emotional tumult.
The conundrum for The Bijous is balancing live performance with studio time and it will be of interest to see how this fulcrum tips longer term as the material produced, to create its impact, needs some careful consideration on their part. There is an intensity of concentration I hope doesn’t implode as the world needs to hear more of the innate talent of The Bijous.
The one EP to surface thus far Bijoux (available on bandcamp) is an essential addition to the playlist.
Kelly Barnes, Brian Cole, Chris Young, Chris Spencer and Michael Martinez from Austin in the USA form the dark-wave-rock band Darkbird.
I don’t often lead with a comment on the vocal, but, it is sublime and needs a paragraph of its own as it spires Darkbird from ‘of interest’ to ‘must add to the playlist’. The emotional context of the out-put of the quintet is defined by the voice which spirits its way across octaves ebbing and flowing from melodic to spoken commentary. The pointed reference points drive their way to the stirrup prior to massaging the cochlea.
Aside from the vocal Darkbird deliver a delicious bass that melts like a dark chocolate over the steaming water of the synths accompanied by gilded guitar as the percussion deepens the resolution and the audience is left in becalmed wonderment.
Stretching into the second year of their existence, what was initially a duo has become a munificence of creativity with the additional players. A couple of releases behind them, a single and a five track EP – I Remember Feeling My Fingers Slip (available on bandcamp), which surfaced last month, sets up Darkbird for a memorable 2016 and I look forward to future material.