Tristan Welch is an ambient, free jazz drone project from Washington, D.C. I have never heard any kind of music like this before. It’s always an exciting feeling of discovery, to open your ears and mind to a new sound. People sometimes can become jaded, feeling that with all the songs already written, it’s not worth going out of one’s comfort zone. Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima have developed a sound that’s hard to stop listening to. It’s bold, creative and at times mesmerizing. Ron Oshima plays jazz inspired Saxophone over the dark and menacing guitar by Tristan Welch. The languid soundscapes provided by Tristan add more than just a background. He is holding the rhythm, building the foundation of everything boundlessly.
Something that stands out right away, before the music even starts is that this release only has three songs. Not out of the ordinary for an EP, but it’s the length that caught my attention. Each song lasting somewhere between 11-14 minutes. It made me curious, and by the time I had moved from “God,” to “Bless”, I felt very relaxed. “Bless” has a more relaxed feeling than the first track (God). This album is all about movement. The way the songs move in key, the way the saxophone moves in step while being played with professionalism and unreserved skill.
As the album closes with the serene aloof patterns only the key of A can give, I realized something else. This music makes me think about my life. About my own creativity, and how to be brave in composition. Tristan Welch & Ron Oshima have made an album that has a broad appeal. God Bless America, by the time I had moved all the way to the end left me feeling halcyon and placid. It’s an experience worth having.
Listen here: https://tristanwelch.bandcamp.com/
Yeah Cool is an indie rock band from Virginia. Sad music with poppy, uplifting hooks have always had a real impact on me. It’s emotional, but in a realistic way. There’s a feeling it brings out in my mind, the empty sort of feeling that comes from knowing exactly what’s wrong in a given situation and being powerless to fix it. Life’s rough, this house is fucked and that’s how it’s going to stay.
In the mainstream, there’s a tendency of ignoring the darker points of life and excessive focus on the positive. It sends the message that we all just need to feel good, ignore the negative aspects of our lives and just live in the moment. That may work for some people, but as I was maturing it just made me feel more isolated. The highs and lows of life, the great successes and damaging failures need to be expressed. The world needs more sincerity, it needs the raucous, unrestrained truth of Yeah Cool.
It’s hard not to admire Yeah Cool in their writing talent. It takes a lot to put the guitar tones, vocals, and song structures together in a way that has a really classic sound while still being new and exciting. If you’re a fan of bands like Dinosaur Jr, Built To Spill, and Sonic Youth, these artists influence and work their way within and throughout both of these tracks. It’s a new sound built on a solid foundation of disillusion and distortion. I’ve been missing this sound. Yeah, Cool is working on a new album and I can’t wait to see what else is in store. Right now their two singles are available as free downloads, so there’s no better time than now to listen for yourself.
Check them out here: https://yeahcool.bandcamp.com/
Fovea is an electronic dream pop psych rock band from New York, New York. A little on the lounge-y side, a little on the jazzy side, Fovea’s summer 2016 release is well composed and a joy to listen to. It’s engaging, with its delicate guitar layers and angelic vocal harmonies. It’s subtle in it’s percussive expression, never stepping out of place but always keeping perfect time. Not to say there isn’t some amazing drum tracking here, there really is. The bass and drums hold the wild keyboards and synth. The back and forth between the male and female singer is refreshingly new and exciting.
This is the kind of pop music sound that I always find myself in admiration of. The catchy, creative melodic flow of Fovea is just on another level than can be found in mainstream music. It’s got all of the fun and happy pop sound without a lack of content, Fear Of is practically bursting with artistic merit. I keep coming back to the word art, I think that’s what this album is to me. The way the sounds layer over each other, especially in the song. “TAIW.” It’s masterful, carried throughout by the skilled guitar and synth playing. Every part of Fovea comes together to create a otherworldly, magical whole.
A statue of sound, a monument of creativity and true expression that will easily stand the test of time. Fovea is different, different from anything I’ve ever heard before. With all the musicians in the world, we must remember that our songs are still unwritten. Only we can write them, and they are still important. You, the musician, artist, creator, whatever it is that drives you is important. The work of your hands and mind is significant, and I am reminded of this more and more with each new amazing band I am fortunate enough to hear. Fovea knows how to make a good album, and I can’t recommend it enough.
Check it out here:https://foveaband.bandcamp.com/album/fear-of
Moonflower is a grunge band from Kent County, Delaware. This album starts out strong, not only in the heavy drums and overdriven guitar, but in the direct and confessional content of the lyrics. Moonflower has no pretensions or vague metaphors expressing feelings. It’s very raw, and in that way very relatable. It takes a talented writer to get so personal, it takes a lot of courage to write in such an exposed way. Apologetic, angry, full of regret and amazing lines, this is an experience. “Daze,” is the track that really stood out to me the most.
It’s astonishing the way that Moonflower can capture a moment that I’ve felt in my own life. There’s a certain kind of emotion that this album captures, but I wound’t know the right word for it. It’s some kind of combination between sadness, frustration, longing and melancholy. Not any of those more than another, but all of those feeling simultaneously. It’s kind of like laying awake, or just with your eyes closed, contemplating all of the things you should have said. The way all of your memories cascade around your mind, it can be overwhelming. Moonflower has clearly put a lot of themselves into this release. I have barely talked about the instrumentals, they are incredible on every track.
The album has a fantastic flow, the arrangement of every track blends well, nothing feels out of place. The drumming is tasteful when it needs to be and explosive at the right moments. That’s the thing about this album, it just has all of these amazing moments. Whether it’s a line that hits close to home, an explosive chorus, or an entire song. It’s Over, It’s Under is inspirational, real, and very sad. I love it. There’s power in being sad.
Check it out here:https://moonfloweralt.bandcamp.com/album/its-over-its-under
VO/ID (pronounced No Void) is a post hardcore band from Washington, D.C. We got a chance to listen to their upcoming release, Ohms/Failures.
It’s coming out in just a few days on the 25th, and it’s an amazing release.
The riffs are heavy and hit hard, but leave lots of space for a more quiet build up. This is a incredibly well orchestrated, well produced release. They have a lot of subtle pieces shaping their songs, and I was still picking up on things I hadn’t noticed before on the third and fourth listen.
For fans of The Mars Volta, The Melvins, Tool, Lightning Bolt, or Circle Takes the Square this is definitely one not to miss. There’s a lot of power in this music, and VO/ID understands the importance of letting a song breathe. Giving the space for the tension to build. The first track on this release, “Mountains,” is phenomenal. The talent everyone in this band has really shines. VO/ID is the kind of band that has a serious energy, and they have a show coming up this Saturday 11/26 @ The Commune in DC! 1605 15th Street NW, if you enjoy OHMS/FAILURES go out and see them! Support local music!
Ohms/Failures will be released this Friday, 11/25/16
Once again we are taking some of the best local bands we’ve been listening to and putting them in our annual fall playlist!
Grandma’s Mini – I thought I hated my shit job.
The Clox – Jules Verne
Social Station – Sky Will Fall
allthebestkids – Time
Echoheart – Attached
For The Fire – Reach For The Stars
For The Fire is an alternative rock band from Indianapolis, Indiana. With the vocals hooks of the pop punk greats, howling guitar and an tight grooving rhythm section, For The Fire knows how to write a damn good EP. There’s something about this band, For The Fire is easy to fall in love with. It’s accessible and catchy while maintaining a dark and hostile undertone. It’s accusatory, unapologetic and so god damn powerful. I believe in Fight The Fire, and this EP makes it hard not to. The synergy of the drums and bass, the way the songs build up makes For The Fire fun to listen to. The lyrics are engaging and intelligent, a lot of love and passion went into writing these songs. Not only that, the lyrics are clever and insightful.
There’s a lot of pain and anger in this EP. Pain caused by the way people treat us, and the way we treat ourselves. How we react and coexist, the burdens of our empathy and self doubt. It’s the courage of For The Fire that resonates with me. As much overdriven guitar and righteous fury featured on this EP, there’s also a more mellow, acoustic song that showcases the range of For The Fire. Reach for the Stars, my favorite track on this EP is a hauntingly beautiful song. The way the violins cascade over the vocals, the militant snare rolls make it an ethereal experience. It’s the kind of song that’s perfect to listen to in the moonlight, as the clouds begin to block out all the stars. The tone and production on Who We Ought To Be is phenomenal. With five tracks it’s the perfect introduction to what could be your favorite new local band, and will definitely leave you wanting more. Fight The Fire tours quite often, and could be coming to your town soon!
For more information, tour dates and more check out their website here: http://www.forthefireband.com