Naurea – New Zombie Generation

Abel Oliva Menendez has recorded and released music under the moniker Naurea and “stage name” Olimann since the early 2000’s and, nearly two decades on, sounds as witless and unconvincing as ever. His latest collection New Zombie Generation deserves the title Variations on a Theme as Menendez dazes listeners with twelve by the numbers cuts that often can pass as alternate takes on other songs. His understanding of what makes for collar-grabbing, hard-hitting metal/industrial rock/house music is obviously limited and frequently imitative. The wont for imitation extends even to his lyrical content as the songs tend to riff on common themes in this musical style, but his focus from one disconnected image to the next – any chance, however remote, for these songs to connect with their intended audience wrecks on the shores of Menendez’s inability to offer much coherent. Continue reading “Naurea – New Zombie Generation”

AV Super Sunshine’s “Time Bomb”

Synthetic stripes of melody drift before our ears, and ticking of a clock reminds us that time is at hand. The pressure is on as the percussion starts to kick in on the club mix of AV Sunshine’s “Time Bomb,” and AV himself doesn’t even have to inform us that we’re going to have to act fast if we’re going to make it to our destination – dance ecstasy – in time. “I’m working on a time bomb, baby” he croons as the song churns and builds towards an anti-climactic release that is reminiscent of neo-mod psychedelia. At once we’re rousted from our seats and pushed into the heat of the volcanic core that is radiating all of these tones, and AV appears to be the conductor of this sinful symphony of noise. Every time it feels like we’re about to go off the rails and into a black oblivion, we’re swung back in the opposite direction whether we’re ready for it or not. This isn’t music for wallflowers – its purpose in life is to remind us that we’re not living if we’re not dancing. Continue reading “AV Super Sunshine’s “Time Bomb””

Morne – To The Night Unknown

Doom metal is usually a miss for me owing to a slew of bands devolving into a formulaic trudge through molasses of mediocrity. But ever so often, there comes a piece of music so gargantuan and animalistic that you cannot help but get excited. The fifth release To The Night Unknown by Boston doomsludgers Morne released on Armageddon Records and the first to be released on the band’s own eponymous Morne Records is one of those works. Continue reading “Morne – To The Night Unknown”

Mika Means – “Single Life”

Mika Means’ “Single Life” has a lush production that builds off the work of Sean Kingston, Nico & Vinz and Jason Derulo. Mika’s own vocals will bury themselves deep into the minds and hearts of listeners, while the bouncy beat provides the perfect counterpoint for these vox. The tempo ensures that listeners will make it out on the dance floor, while there is just enough in the way of differentiation that fans will be as energized on the concluding note as they were when Single Life began. A strong message that listeners tat have just gotten out of a relationship will be able to draw strength from. Continue reading “Mika Means – “Single Life””

Slothrust – “Double Down”

Slothrust’s “Double Down” is a snarky bit of alternative rock that showcases a tremendous amount of instrumental skill with a bit of funkiness. The fuzzy guitar work that starts at about the 1:45 mark is a nice counterpoint for the smoothed-out beginnings of Double Down. As the guitar line continues, the bass and drums are able to add further depth to the composition. A bit of The White Stripes come forth towards the final minute of the effort, further mooring Slothrust to the corpus of alternative rock. Double Down is a track that will bounce around listeners’ ears for months to come. Continue reading “Slothrust – “Double Down””

The Aces “Last One”

The Aces’ “Last One” is a wonderful piece of 1980s power-pop that has just a hint of electro-funk contributed by the bass. The vocals and synths presented on this single weave in bits of Walk The Moon and Paramore. With seems as if with every subsequent single, The Aces are able to make a more engrossing and musically taut effort. Last One is light, airy, and contains enough twists and turns to keep listeners focused on in five or ten spins in. We’ll be playing the song through the beginning of school. Check out the video for Last One below the jump.

We covered The Aces’ previous single Volcanic Love back in March.

The Aces “Last One” / Website

Esteban Alvarez – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman”

A lot of artists who are just starting out often wonder what it takes to create a solid Launchpad for their career, and it really boils down to several pretty basic qualities that can’t necessarily be taught. The first is having a good image for promoters to market, whether that be an image shrouded in mystery, vulnerability, happiness or depression. You’ve got to have some kind of identity. The second is that you’ve got to have an approach to recording that is unique and with that a sound that is stylish and discernable from other artists in your medium. Very few have one of these qualities by nature, and almost none have both. Esteban Alvarez is one of those very rare few in the latter category. Continue reading “Esteban Alvarez – “Have You Ever Really Loved a Woman””

Brendan McMahon – About Joe

“Home” opens Brendan McMahon’s fourth release, About Joe, in slightly audacious fashion. The mass of backing vocals beginning the song with a choral arrangement is a bit of musical sleight of hand before the song shifts into a straight forward singer/acoustic guitar mold. This is brief, however; “Home” soon expands into a widescreen number with great melodic virtues and lyrical content that locks tightly into the musical mood. There’s some melodically appealing lead electric guitar woven into the piece, but it never obscures the song’s other elements and McMahon’s songwriting penchant for keeping a myriad of components well orchestrated separates him from many of his peers. The EP’s second track and longest, by far, is “Gentleman Joe” and showcases McMahon’s stellar talent for crafting memorable characters through his lyric writing. The arrangement, however, isn’t merely a glorified vehicle for McMahon’s writing; instead, the way this song escalates from a muted beginning into About Joe’s most invigorating musical tapestry. The lead guitar takes on a more prominent role here than we heard in the opener, but never at the expense of other elements in the song’s musical attack and makes for an effective adornment. Continue reading “Brendan McMahon – About Joe”

Jon Allen – Blue Flame

Jonah’s Whale is the first track on Jon Allen’s fourth album, Blue Flame. The track links together 1970s soul with hints of funk and rock. The bouncing bass, the horns, everything works together to make a stand-out lead-off track. A cooler, chill sound predominates during the album’s next two tracks – Keep on Walking and Since You Went Away. With a subtle nod to performers like Rod Stewart and Jim Croce, Allen’s able to make a stellar, contemporary sound that is tremendously reverent of previous approaches and genres. It’s Just the End of the World is a bit different from the rest of the fare on Allen’s latest. There’s a bit of hip 1960s surf and psych sound that is weaved into the spirit of this track, where Jon’s gritty vocals stand in bold opposition to the smoothed-out bass line and on-point drums presented in the effort. Continue reading “Jon Allen – Blue Flame”

Andy Sydow – Reasons For Departure

Andy Sydow’s titular composition on his new release Reasons For Departure is a bit Billy Joel, a bit John Denver. A rich set of vocals stand out from the instrumentation (piano / guitar). The narration will keep fans focused on to the track. As Reasons For Departure continues on, the the gradual incorporation of additional instrumental effort transforms the track into a rocking effort that by the three minute mark will be tattooing its melodies deep into listeners’ brains. By hammering home vocal harmonies throughout the track, Sydow is able to make his latest single a must-listen. Continue reading “Andy Sydow – Reasons For Departure”