Pelican’s Forever Becoming is the band’s fifth studio album, and their newest release since 2009’s What We All Come To Need. It’s also the first album with new guitarist Dallas Thomas, as founding member of the band Laurent Schroeder-Lebec left the group last year.
From the album’s first track, it’s clear that Schroeder-Lebec’ departure led to at least a slight departure from the sound found on the band’s last few albums. Pounding drums on the album opener suggest heaviness, but its jangling guitars dictate its lighter tone, appearing as if the new album is set up to be an expansion of the group’s lighter, more post-rock-oriented work. The crushing chords and relentless riffage of “Deny The Absolute” immediately prove that idea to be inaccurate.
I usually give a song 45 seconds to a minute. If it doesn’t hit me, I hit next. If it does, I click to see what else I can listen to. In Greenleaf’s case, their song “Jack Staff” hit me instantaneously and didn’t let go. As I clicked on their release, Nest of Vipers, I could tell after three tracks that I needed to listen to the whole album. I don’t know about you but something I simply can’t resist is the blend of bad ass with catchy. It’s like if you got to be the popular kid and the Breakfast Club bad ass at the same time. Greenleaf is that blend. Indie rock in bed with hard rock ; dirty grunge mixed with sharp punkish attitude ; infectious melodies on top of crunchy guitars and creatively catchy riffs. Tastefully distorted bass that’s anything but stuck-up sounding. Straight ahead vocals that weave over and under the mixes from song to song.
Eso Tre is one-half of the hip hop powerhouse, Substance Abuse
If you were a rapper who lived in or around the 510 area code in the ‘90’s, you knew what it was like to gaze at the beautiful east bay hills with a sense of hope, knowing that being fiercely lyrical and unwilling to “grow up” (a euphemism for when rappers put out boring stuff) was not an impediment to a major label deal and stardom that transcended what rapper Encore referred to as “street buzz”. As an L.A. transplant living in Oakland I only caught the tail end of this period of optimism, but such were the times and geographic setting that produced one of the Left Coast’s most enigmatic and underrated lyricists, an emcee known as Motion Man.
by Steph Rodriguez
Chris Zukowski may be an environment artist for the video game industry first and foremost, creating backgrounds and scenery to fulfill his day job, but he’s also dedicated the last six years fine tuning an alternative career choice under the moniker Z4.
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An electronic and house music artist based in Chicago, Z4 recently released his debut EP Dance Around the World, on March 2 available for free download on Z4-music.com.
Three Of Swords, by Mimi, an eclectic Singer-Songwriter from Toronto, begins with a song called “Goodbye Heartbeat.” The track contains soft-spoken, airy vocals with varying rhythms and melodies over a frantically pulsating bass line. An acoustic guitar plucks along steadily. The song has a dreamy, ethereal quality that’s consistent throughout it’s nearly 4-minute run-time.
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That pleasant tone is maintained throughout the rest of the album, although the ways in which Mimi delivers her songs greatly vary in style and arrangement. The second track on the album, for instance, is rife with Latin flair— propelled by a cornet part played by Patric McGroarty and spot-on use of Spanish-language vocals. The song is entitled “Porque Te Vas,” and it’s a cover of José Luis Perales’ 1972 song of the same name (originally performed by Jeanette).
Be Brave Bold Robot’s album Under A Thin Veil Of Madness begins with a track dedicated to the narrator (presumably lead vocalist Dean Haakenson)’s mother. The song, aptly titled “Mamasong,” includes lines that demonstrate appreciation for parents like “I do everything I do, cuz I watched you do it first / and growing up is never easy, but it could’ve been far worse.”
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While the song is a charming and lovely tribute to the way Haakenson’s mother raised him, listeners of Be Brave Robot should thank the lady, too. After all she’s the woman responsible for birthing an immensely talented and delightfully strange folk singer from Sacramento, CA.
I find myself being rude but can’t help it.
He’s come back from the kitchen with more wine and my thumbs move as quickly as one bottle down will allow, hurriedly taking note of the conversation highlights. There are many. Philosophical musings bounce around like a coked out game of pong in my brain, intermingling with political discussion, movie quotes and the awesomeness of wine. I get enough shorthand into my phone to feel satisfied and gladly take another glass. It’s probably been upwards of three hours, noted only by the kink in my back from the wooden folding chair.
FIDLAR’s self-titled debut begins with a thesis statement of sorts: “I drink cheap beer / so what / fuck you!” That’s the chorus for “Cheep Beer,” an angry surf-punk anthem that decries those that have a penchant for expensive craft brews. The song also consists of regionally-focused lyricism and a surf-rock-style guitar solo that rapidly plummets down a chromatic scale.
Malkovich, Malkovich, Malkovich Malkovich. Unlike “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo,” that’s not a grammatically correct English sentence. It is, rather, a quote from the 1999 Spike Jonze film Being John Malkovich, during a scene in which actor John Malkovich gets sucked into a portal where everyone looks like him and the only word they can say is his last name. In that scene, and throughout the movie in general, that word and its repetitive use becomes more and more alluring, a fun-to-say yet somehow-powerful mantra.