Automatic Colors

Automatic Colors is the electro-folk creator Justin Walcroft from Philadelphia in the USA.

Automatic Colors

Automatic Colors

An intrigue of washes of synthetics blend with acoustics as Automatic Colors glide around the room filling it with warmth and perspicacity. On genre introduction you could be forgiven for thinking this is a step too far. I assure you it is not as the traditional and present combine to form an engrossing flow of sound which surrounds the ears.

The stark unforgiving tones of folk are imbued with the whimsy of romanticism and the listener is left laying transfixed by the compositions emerging. Automatic Colors is only let down by the American spelling of Colours as that both visually and aurally gives it a harsher  snap that warranted, but when I get to quibbling over a missing ‘u’ it tells you the music is En Pointe.

Music rebounds at different speeds, which is accompanied by switch of emphasis between acoustics and electronics as Automatic Colors seeks to define the sentiment of the track, successfully, through altered layers of sound device input and it is through this creativity of variation that the out-put gains its poignancy.

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Carcajou is available on bandcamp.

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The Very Small

The Very Small is an alt-rock trio from Washington, District of Columbia, in the USA comprising Robin Smith (Lead Vocals / Guitar), Aaron Mann (Backing Vocals / Drums) and Zack Be (Backing Vocals / Bass / Keyboard).

The Very Small - alt-rock from the USA

The Very Small

I am minded of Gilbert & Sullivan Operetta as The Very Small cram and expand lyric inside stanza – there the similarity falls off the cliff-edge as the trio sheer far away from the theatrical to the shorn of adornment. The scantily robed sounds flicker of the elements, which for its very open spaces, gives the material a raw energy that draws in the audience.

Of particular remark are the understated keys, which far from adding sympathy are deployed to create fragility, sitting in syncopation with percussion, the notes act more as an frozen wrap for the bass. That isn’t to say that The Very Small are unable to generate melodic texture, as the guitar shimmers like an electrode betwixt the pillars of ice and it is this very coldness that makes the music so appealing. The voices combine to add a warming candle which serves to add melt water to the contexts.

The listener is left with a sense of absolute pleasure, for the very chill that rattles through the spine. There is a mysterious and icy beauty to the music of The Very Small that finds the brain wanting more.

Zoomed Way Out – the Very Small is available on iTunes.*


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The Motel Beds

The Motel Beds from Dayton in the USA is the garage rock quartet of PJ, Tommy, Derl, Ian and Tod.

The Motel Beds - Garage Rock from the USA

The Motel Beds

Taking British Blues Rock references and adding dashes of Americana The Motel Beds deliver a sound which has a hint of psychedelia inside the rock formulations, giving the music a shimmering cross border appeal.

Relatively well established The Motel Beds have developed the ability to add flourishes to the basic constructs, without heading off into tangents unknown. There is something easy to extract from the compositions, whilst equally, for more cerebral moments there is plenty to keep the head busy. The deft way the quartet put together the music, gives the audience a sense of spaciousness as the notes unhurriedly float past the ears.

There is an instant recognizability to the songs, but The Motel Beds are able to create a space of difference which gives the band the potential to spread their wings across wide genres of listeners.

Not seeking to reinvent the wheel, the quartet nonetheless have something of value to the world of music and although not a collection I will be adding on to my everyday playlist – I can find this fitting into the more considered moments of calmness, where they have an immediate connection.


These Are the Days Gone By (Remastered) – Motel Beds is available on iTunes*

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Surrounded By Thieves

Rich Castro (Drums), Eric Laux (Bass), Brandon Buck (Vocals) and Eric Raleigh (Guitar) from Las Vegas in the USA form the new-wave outfit Surrounded By Thieves.

Surrounded By Thieves - new-wave from the USA

Surrounded By Thieves

Charging through the speakers in a maelstrom of frustration Surrounded By Thieves deliver uncompromising music to accompany the affronted lyric. Songs speak of social injustice, whilst maintaining an equilibrium of self determination, which gives the overall out-put a positivity of making a change within the chaotic surroundings.

In the same vein, the instruments are deployed to deliver ear-splitting confrontation as percussion and bass demoniacally hurtle waves of sound and suddenly out of the blue rises a melodic twist of guitar virtuoso. Surrounded By Thieves are able to balance the walk between abject rage and considered fortitude which gives them an interesting positioning.

Perhaps these seemingly polar contemplatives comes about from personal experiences of life in finding a way to negotiate the barriers along the way as they are equally not offering easy answers to the questions they pose.

An LP their eponymously named eleven track came out last week and is well worth getting hold of as it trammels the incongruence of  life.


Surrounded by Thieves – Surrounded By Thieves is available on iTunes*.

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MINOT from Oakland in the USA is the electro-rock trio of Ben Thorne (Bass), Matthew W. Solberg (Guitar / Sampling / Sequencing) and Shannon Corr (Drums / Drum Synth).



Originally formed as a duo, the band took a while to get down to basics and it wasn’t until MINOT became a trio that things moved forward. Combining instruments and electronics the out-put is resplendent in finery, with sounds that weave their way around the room in flowing sequences of sound.

The compositions are complex and can be stood listening to several times over and on each occasion new dimensions will be caught by the ears. Given the intricate nature of the pieces, it is of little surprise that releases are a little sparse, although a new LP the seven track  EQUAL / OPPOSITE is being released on at the beginning of July.

This is music which demands both time and concentration, but is a worthwhile investment of effort as MINOT create music that contains some very well constructed nuances.


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