silence with the hustle and bustle of a gorgeous piano melody, the rhythm of
“Lovers Lament” pulls us ever so closely so that singer Julia King can season
the music with her erotic crooning. King is no stranger to gracious grooves of
this nature, but in this latest single she takes the jazzy timbre of her vocal
to an entirely new level, pushing us into the core of her backing band’s sizzle
and adorning it with a unique tonality that belongs to her alone. The drums
pitter-patter in the foreground alongside her, and with a swing as hot and
heavy as they come, it crushes us with its hungry, uncompromising heart.
“Lovers Lament” isn’t your average dirge; it’s a celebration of loneliness that
will heal the deepest of wounds in a way that only good music of its caliber
The world around us
is constantly changing and adapting to meet the needs of the people who call it
home, but one constant in all of the progress is the everlasting tradition of
making strong vocal pop music in the style that Julia King does in this track.
What’s special about this song isn’t just the way that she tackles such an
incredibly difficult chapter of the international songbook, but more so that
she contributes a flexibility that hasn’t been utilized very much in this
modern wave of surreal pop yet – for whatever reason, I don’t know. Her dynamic
isn’t limited to the microphone alone here; she’s commanding every element with
her vocal, and casting a spell over us through her harmonies and not just the
substance of the lyrics they mount before us.
There’s no denying
that Julia King is very much a student of music history, and that’s more than
demonstrated in “Lovers Lament,” both in the way that she executes the material
and in the manner she conceived and styled the song to begin with. She’s
wearing her influences on her sleeve here and connecting the dots between
vintage jazz, midcentury blues and a more contemporary rock-fashioned
equalization, but I don’t think it was necessarily meant as a sacrificial
offering to the pop gods of old. If anything, she’s being herself more in this
single than she ever has in the past, and I really hope that her direction
doesn’t shift far from this present sound.
King’s backing band
is almost as stirring as King is on her own here, and that says a lot about how
balanced this master mix is. Anytime King steps into the spotlight, she brings
all of the eyes and ears in the room to attention the very moment that she
starts to sing, and feeling the presence of her fellow players in this track is
a real testament to how beautifully produced it is. She’s close to reaching the
pinnacle of her aesthetical journey, and considering just how fast she’s risen
to the position that she’s in now, it’s no wonder why critics have become as
enamored with her product as we have. “Lovers Lament” could present her with a
window for her big break, and I for one sincerely hope that it does.
Front Line Assembly is working with Jimmy Urine during their cover of the Falco classic, Rock Me Amadeus. The track is given additional complexity over the original with booming synth lines, a robust production that ramps both vocals and instrumentation to 10, and instrumental section that showcases precisely how deep this composition runs. The 3:25 mark is a nice switch in sound with a set of vocals adding a higher register to the composition. This single is one that one should become intimately familiar with, owing to its multi-layer approach and flawless refreshing of a classic track.
Front Line Assembly – Rock Me Amadeus (feat. Jimmy Urine) / Facebook / Twitter
Crucified is an effort that has supersonic vocals that work in hints of Sebastian Bach and Voltaire alongside an unrepentantly intense hard rock sound. SHIM’s latest is impressive because of the sheer vocal range that is presented here. Paralleling these vocals are assertive, heavy guitar lines, haunting synths, and a thick, bassy section that will bury its melodies deep into fans’ minds. Shaking up what is expected from rock music (touching upon a performing / musical style at points), SHIM adds to the overall corpus of the genre with his new song. Visit the video for Crucified below.
Quietest Friend is a fuzzy, guitar-driven track that contains some heady stuff. The dynamic established between the emotive guitars, splashy drum line, and worldly vocals make Quietest Friend catchy as all get out. The shift in Quietest Friend’s instrumentation occurs at the two-minute mark. With the band slowing things down for a minute, the vocals are able to reinvigorate fans. The gradual chaos of the guitars and drums ebbs and flows until the band closes up shop. The track easily could have been released 20 years back and hung with the rest of the PtL disco, but there is a vibrancy here that portends good happenings as well.
Texas has a remarkably diverse musical heritage that spans from
and Rock to Tejano – making it arguable one of the most brilliantly
disparate musical landscapes this country has to offer. And it seems all
six members of the Dallas-based Vandoliers have soaked up every bit of
those influences over the years.
Their latest release, and first for Bloodshot Records,
Forever, is essentially a love letter to every pocket of Texas
music out there. Cramming in Americana, Punk Rock, Country and Tejano
throughout the 10 tracks here for an exhausting, though remarkably
satisfying tour of everything that makes Lone Star
The band seamlessly slips in and out of a slew of different
rollicking numbers like “Troublemaker” and “All on Black,” perfectly
accentuated by Tex Mex horns and twangy guitars, to the sublime funk of
“Shoshone Rose,” the band turn in a near-perfect album.
Fans of everyone from Doug Sahm and Buddy Holly to Stevie Ray Vaughn and Waylon Jennings can rest assured that their legacy lives on strong in a band like Vandoliers.
Hunt Sales Memorial have released a pair of videos. One Day is a track that has HSM come forth with tremendously touching lyrical content. A lone guitar provides the trappings for the first section of the track, mirroring the narrative that is established perfectly.
Angel of Darkness has a more upbeat feel to it. Hunt Sales Memorial ties together reggae and traditional rock styles. Of particular note has to be the bouncier demeanor of the song, established with a pair of distinct guitar lines. With each adding a further complexity to Angel of Darkness, these contributions provide a look into the diverse array of styles that influence HSM.
Hunt Sales Memorial “One Day” and “Angel of Darkness” / Facebook
Stand Tall has Kim Kline dig deep into the Italo dance of the mid-1990s while hitting the same narrative style of Kelly Clarkson or Christina Aguilera with her latest. The positive message of Stand Tall will impact anyone that has had to go through bullying. The intense piano interacts with twinkling electronic arrangements, especially prevalent when fans get to the 2:40 mark of the track. The wide-open approach of Kline here means that fans of pop, EDM, and traditional dance styles will find something to fall in love with. Stunning visuals put a human face to one of society’s most perplexing problems.
On Diethanasia, Aftermath is able to refine the thrash metal style of M.O.D. and early Metallica into an art form. Every part of the recording – insistent drums, sizzling guitars, and a Ministry-infused set of vocals – contribute to something great. The production of Diethanasia solves a number of the issues from the first generation of thrash metal; everything is audible and is separate enough to allow for listeners to really break apart the taut instrumentation that is contained within. The ferocity of the vocals in the last thirty seconds of the single will indelibly tattoo themselves deep into the psyche of fans.
On Focus, Aspect Zavi is able to craft a rap track that builds upon the frame hung by Migos and Tk N Cash. Haunting vocals that come into the mix just before the two-minute mark imbue Focus with a frenetic energy that Aspect Zavi is able to ride out until the last seconds of the single. The continually shifting sound of this cut ensures that listeners are as amped up as the track concludes as they were when the effort began. With the big splash that Aspect Zavi has with Focus, we’ll be expecting a lot from the act in the future. Check out the video for Focus below.
Carsie Blanton has this chameleon-like ability to be just about everything to everyone. On her latest LP, she flaunts a distinctly original sound and style that can be flirty and dirty on one track (“That Boy”) and just minutes later turn out a beautifully-political and enlightened reflection (“American Kid”) and then transition to a sweet love song (“Harbor). Such is the charm of a Blanton record.
Slipping in and out of genres, from the jazzy opener to the Americana pop of the closing track, there is not a single song on Buck Up
that doesn’t earn a right to be here.
Over the course of the past 15 years or so, Blanton has managed to
carve out a distinctly inventive sound that may draw subtle influences
from folks like Nina Simone and John Prine but is still a remarkably
The record is capped with the charming title track, a duet with Oliver Wood from the Wood Brothers, proving that that Buck Up has something to offer for just about everyone.