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.
From New Orleans in the USA come Kara Stafford, John St. Cyr and Ian Paine-Jesam who form the fractal-rock band Woozy.
Akin to watching a snake sloughing their outer coat Woozy create music which peels layer after layer of composition each, like a Russian Doll, a perfect formation in itself. The trio are able to transition themselves through each bar to an alternative shape leaving the audience transfixed by the evolving clouds of sound.
Extensive use of flats and sharps enable Woozy to add a further dimension, that captivates the ears, as they collide with each other mid-stroke before becoming subsumed by a further fulcrum of unfurling composition. Whilst there is an air of experimentalism they do not push the envelope beyond the realms of anticipated musical construct allowing the listener to easily latch on to the activity as Woozy test concentration levels.
With a few EPs behind them dating back to 2012 it wasn’t until October of last year that their début LP, the ten track Blistered, surfaced and this will, with fortune, raise their profile as Woozy is best heard in long loping loops of delivery when the audience can hit play once and settle back to listen to the evolution of the creativity.
Kyle Emerson Miller (Guitar / Vocals), Jake Supple (Bass / Drums / Vocals) and Ty Baron (Keys / Guitar) form the psychedelic-garage band Plum from Denver in the USA.
Best to don a kaftan before settling back to trip-out with Plum as they revive the Age Of Aquarius in a kaleidoscope of glazed crystal that shimmers reflections around the walls. The trio are able to harness the elongated thirty plus minute tracks of their forebears and herd them into more manageable slices of between three and a half and six and a half minutes giving the music a more readily attainable accessibility, yet loose none of the luxury of a full blown LSD high.
Quietly delivered vocals submerged to the background of a blurry combination of electronics and strings while the drum slowly ponders of skins to hit, leaving the audience completely relaxed in the unhurried delivery, whilst engrossed by the elongated enunciation of phrases.
Plum are able to fill the time with music that curls around the ears in ever changing shapes of sound keeping the mind entranced by the slowly shifting patterns that feed their way into the brain, slowing the synapses to a syncopated pattern of sparks, as the whole body slows to the pace.
From Kansas City in the USA surface the alt-rock quintet of Jared White (Guitar), Willie Jordan (Bass), Jacob Temeyer ( Guitar / Keys), Joe Wilner (Drums) and Kianna Alarid (Vocals) who form Yes You Are.
Yes You Are
The tempered sounds of Yes You Are stretch across a palette of colours from shiny white to deep aubergine and it is when they step towards the richer colour scheme that I most enjoy their music. Given there are only three songs I have been able to hear, that is quite a range. The quintet are tempted to reach for the mainstream of radio play but underlying the creativity is a soul of rock influences and they are still exploring the avenue to pursue. One can only hope they retain that scruff inside the smartly pressed presentation.
Superbly delivered compositions allow the audience much to engage with as the electronics billow expansive refrains whilst a solid bass insists on keeping all the feet on the ground. The guitar provides the expressive flow of the tracks whilst percussion carefully negotiates the disparate elements. The singular vocal lifts the out-put from ‘interesting’ to ‘must hear’ as Kianna threads between melodic accompaniment and forceful commentary.
I look forward to hearing in which direction of travel Yes You Are head in 2016. It will come as no surprise to regular readers I would have a preference for the gritty rather than the over polished but where ever they journey, I wish them well as they have much to add to the world of music.
Daniel Pujol, Zach Prosser, Brett Rosenberg and Benji Coale from Columbia in the USA form the agit-rock band Pujol.
Whilst the music is steeped in rock ‘n’ roll Pujol deliver a message of commentary in a world where, an office building atrium larger than a housing estate is a signal of success, casting scant regard for the largesse of quantitative easing for corporations but derision of the individuals who comprise society.
Pujol are able to deliver material that tempts the audience to the dance-floor as the good time sounds of even temper grab hold of the feet whilst simultaneously the lyric grumbles of a world in which ownership of glittery-tat is a mark of worth to the world.
The quartet are a delightful dichotomy who are able to conjoin vacuity with perspicacity and not alienate anyone in the process which is perhaps the greatest ironical statement made by a band for many a year, or perhaps the most sharp-eyed mendacious commentary.
Pujol do not cast aspersions on however their audience wishes to partake, trusting their message will surface, though evidently somewhat circumspect of the ability of many to engage without it being of meme, which in itself is yet another disparaging repost by the band and as you know – I have much time for musicians who journey with cynicism.