SKINNY WIZARD – Single Review: “Phantom Pain”

Skinny Wizard builds houses by day, but come nightfall his musician alter-ego takes over. Based in Phoenix, Arizona, Skinny Wizard – whose given name is Bill Cherry – is a singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who began playing guitar at the age of six.  As he tells in his bio “I took it seriously during my high school years, but then I moved away from home and life took over. I didn’t really understand how the music industry worked and it was easier to make money building houses to make someone else rich.” It’s a sentiment I’m sure a lot of musicians can attest to.

Now that he and his wife are empty-nesters, Skinny has taken up his six-string again, and gotten back to expressing himself through his music. He plays mostly folk and blues-rock, genres he seems most comfortable with as a solo artist. He’s just released a new single “Phantom Pain,” a moving song he felt he had to write to honor the death of a friend from suicide.

The track starts out with sounds like being in a thunderstorm or possibly a subway train, then he begins strumming his acoustic guitar and singing the honest, heartfelt lyrics expressing bittersweet feelings of pain over the loss of a good friend:

I woke last night and I thought I heard you talking
But that’s absurd ’cause you’ve been gone over a year
And I remember all the good things we done together
A new definition for a thing called Phantom Pain
And that’s the way it goes sometimes you don’t know what life brings
You just keep pressing on in spite of all the odds
I hope to see you again someday

He has a casual, pleasing style of guitar playing, and though not overly strong, his vocals are well-suited for a gentle folk ballad like “Phantom Pain.” Check it out:

Connect with Skinny Wizard:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Purchase “Phantom Pain” on cdbaby

DRAFT EVADER – Single Review: “The Devil’s Disguise”

One of my objectives in writing this blog is giving exposure to indie artists and bands, many of whom are struggling to get their music heard by a wider audience. Today I feature the young singer/songwriter Ryan Loree, who goes by the artistic name Draft Evader. Following up on his debut single “Blue Lies,” which he released in June 2017, he dropped a new single “The Devil’s Disguise” in October.

Draft Evader

Based in Chicago, Draft Evader plays straight-up rock’n’roll with a hint of punk. When I asked him about his moniker, he explained the he was not happy about our current President (neither am I) and “the name ‘Draft Evader’ was kind of like a middle finger to the whole system, kind of like ‘you can’t tell me what to do.’ So in a sense it means freedom. Freedom to be who you are and do what you love, no matter what anyone says.

He writes his songs and records them with his good friend Joe Scaletta. He explained their process in developing songs: “I write all the songs by myself at home, so I’ll come into the studio with lyrics and rhythm guitars done and from that we’ll lay down the base of the song. Then we start working on the drums together (there’s a shortage of drummers around here so unfortunately we write them together using the computer). Next we’ll take care of the bass, and Joe happens to be a bassist so I let him take the reigns on that unless I know exactly what I want the bass to do. After that we’ll add some guitar leads or maybe I’ll improvise a solo in the bridge of the song. Then I’ll jump in the vocal booth and try to sing/scream to the best of my ability. Very simple stuff until I get a full band going.

“The Devil’s Disguise” is a hard-hitting rock song with biting lyrics about suffering from personal turmoil and demons that have caused him to commit violence, and wanting an escape from the environment he inhabits, hoping it might help him change:

I’m turning my back on sweet home Chicago
Packed up too fast and blew out my ankle
I’m letting go of all the get to know
I’m stuck in place staring out the window
There’s blood on the streets of downtown Chicago
There’s death in the air and holes in the windows
There’s ghosts in my head digging a deep hole
There’s demons inside slowing my blood blow

The devil’s disguise hiding in plain site
Seein’ through evil eyes
Live my life in disguise
Pushin’ through trying times
Shedding my disguise

Musically, the track is well-crafted, with some excellent riffs of shredded guitars, anchored by a solid buzzing bass line and crisp percussion. Draft Evader’s vocals are earnest, with a hint of melancholia that befits the dark lyrics. All in all, a fine effort from a young artist who I believe has a lot of promise. He writes thoughtful and compelling lyrics, has a good grasp on song structure and production, and plays a mean guitar.

Connect with Draft Evader:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

His songs may be streamed on Spotify and purchased on Bandcamp or itunes

HOUNDWOLF – Album Review: “Beware of the Dog”

Houndwolf album cover

I turn my spotlight back to Germany, this time on HOUNDWOLF, an outstanding hard rock/metal band based in Witten. Influenced by some of their favorite rock and metal bands like Metallica, Motörhead, Pantera, Slayer, Black Stone Cherry, Trivium and Black Label Society, they play melodic and aggressive metal rock’n’roll, with some of the best guitar work I’ve heard any band play. Comprising the band are Milan Schloßmacher (Lead Vocals & Guitars), Tobias Maienschein (Guitar & Backings), Daniel Teuchert (Bass & Backings) and Thomas Neuhaus (Drums).

Houndwolf

In early 2016 HOUNDWOLF released a debut 3-track EP Fast and Loose, then dropped their first studio album Beware of the Dog that November. The album includes the original three tracks that were on the EP, plus seven new tracks. It’s a real tour-de-force, with seven tracks running more than five minutes in length. Three of them clock in at over eight minutes, with impressive extended riffs that will satisfy even the pickiest lovers of metal guitar.

The album kicks off with the rousing “The Banner of Rock’n’Roll,” establishing right up-front that this band means business about carrying the banner for rock’n’roll. To an onslaught of blazing guitars, buzzing bass and pummeling drums, Milan snarls “We have come to kick your ass, to blow your mind today! With a sound that’s razor sharp, as a steely knife” – and do they ever! Milan and Tobias lay down some formidable riffs that make for an exhilarating rock’n’roll song.

Metallica’s influence is strongly evident on many of their songs, especially the title track “Beware of the Dog,” “Paintheatre” and “Fast and Loose” – all down and dirty high-energy rock’n’roll tracks with frenetic metal guitar riffs, heavy bass lines and rapid-fire drums. “Crematories of Hell” is a moody heavy metal ballad with stunning intricate guitars that shred and wail. Milan’s smoldering, gritty vocals add to the dark feel of the track as he bitterly sings: “So you laid me down into the crematories of hell. You drained all my joy, I’m pain in a human shell.”

Die Laughin‘” is fantastic hard-driving rock at its finest, opening with a blistering extended guitar riff, backed by pounding drums and throbbing bass. After about a minute, Milan’s powerful vocals enter the proceedings as he growls: “I wanna die laughin’, with a smile on my lips,” though it sounds like he’s singing “I wanna die lovin.'” Double meaning perhaps? At four minutes, the song slows to a ballad-like interlude with beautiful guitar, then ramps back up with a return to the frenzied tempo for the remainder of the track. (HOUNDWOLF does this on several of their longer songs, giving them a monumental quality.) Milan reaffirms his intentions: “I wanna die with a smile on my face.” It’s an awesome song with stellar guitar work, and one of my favorites on the album.

Sweet Goddess of Fire” is a great hard rock song, with more amazing guitar work. Milan sings about a woman who’s definitely caught his attention: “Pretty smile, she’s not that tall. But she really is the opposite of small.

It seems the guys are saving the best for last, as the tracks get better and better as the album progresses. Another favorite of mine is the gorgeous but melancholy rock ballad “Goldminer’s Dream,” a powerful song about feeling like a failure despite working so hard, but vowing to never give up trying to achieve your dreams:

I’ve been working all day and all night long
Searching every mountain’s mine for gold
Hoping to have my work, and money making it tenfold
Cause I like the dust and I like the dirt
For I desire the end of all my indefatigable work
I have to go on as it seems
But I won’t give up, I won’t bury a goldminer’s dream
Sorry that none I brought to you was gold
Glittering emptiness is all that I hold with these shattered hands
Again I lost, Again I commit a blunder
Again I feel this pain trying to pull me under

The track starts off slowly, with beautiful strummed guitars over a solid bass line and gently tapping drums. At about 3:30 the music intensifies with stronger electric guitar and heavier drums. Milan’s vocals also rise in emotion to a grittier delivery, in tandem with the music, then all settles down at 4:50 for around 45 seconds. Everything ramps back up again to a powerful crescendo before calming back down at the end. It’s an amazing song.

Speaking of amazing, next up is “Deathtiny,” an epic work featuring jaw-dropping guitars worthy of Metallica or Slayer. It’s ironic how riffs this scorching hot can bring such chills. Milan and Tobias shred their guitars nearly to the breaking point, while Daniel lays down a mammoth bass line. Thomas attacks his drum kit like a pile driver, crashing his cymbals with all the force he can muster. The track is almost nine minutes long, but so fucking good it seems over in an instant.

Here’s a video of Daniel doing a wicked bass playthrough of the track:

The guys pull out all the stops on the autobiographical album closer “Houndwolf.” It’s a rock’n’roll head-banger, delivering a barrage of frantic metal guitar riffs, crushing bass and thunderous percussion. Milan’s gruff vocals are fierce as he sings about what they’re gonna do with their music: ” We’re Houndwolf! We’re gonna take the stage! We’re gonna bring ya into eternal rage. We’re Houndwolf! Give us your hand! We’re gonna bring ya into  a fallen land.” Take me, I’m ready to go!

Here’s a video of Milan doing a guitar playthrough of “Houndwolf.”

HOUNDWOLF play hard rock’n’roll that’s every bit as good as many of the big-name heavy metal bands, and Beware of the Dog is a superb, monumental album. They’re writing and recording new music, which should be gracing our ears in 2018.

Connect with Houndwolf:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

Purchase Beware of the the Dog on itunes and other sites offering music for download or purchase.

CANDID – Single Review: “Breathless”

UK alt-rock band Candid is on a roll. In little more than a year, the Coventry, England foursome has released a total of four singles, beginning with “Moving On” in the fall of 2016. They followed up with the fantastic “Rumours” in May, which I reviewed, then dropped their third single “Lay Me Down,” in August, a superb song I also reviewed. Today they released a fourth single “Breathless” and, as we like to say here in the U.S., they’ve hit another one out of the park. It’s so stunning that it leaves me breathless!

candid new
Photo by Ruby Nixon

Candid consists of brothers Rob (rhythm guitar and vocals) and Dan Latimer (lead guitar), Sam Baines (bass) and Ben Williams (drums). Their dynamic sound features arresting melodies, outstanding layered guitar work and wicked percussion, all of which are on full display on “Breathless.” The exuberant jangly and chiming guitars are magnificent, soaring to great heights and creating a full, sweeping soundscape that’s truly breathtaking.

Their lyrics are always thoughtful and intelligent, and on “Breathless” they address feelings of losing one’s grip on reality, and wanting a return to sanity by moving on to a better place mentally.  Rob’s vocals are captivating as he plaintively sings:

I feel there’s something on my mind I’ve got a lot to say
Guess I can stay and fight the fire or I could walk away
I feel there’s something creeping up I got no place to hide
From the corners of my mind
So let me up for air I, cause I don’t understand why
All these things in my mind leave me breathless

Follow Candid:  Facebook  /  Twitter /  Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify /  Soundcloud /  YouTube
Purchase:   iTunes

FROM THE CAVE Release a Gorgeous Video for their new single “Halloween”

From the Cave

From the Cave is an alternative indie rock band based in London, UK, and on 31 October they appropriately released a stunning new single “Halloween,” along with an equally stunning video. I’m only getting around to featuring it now, as I just discovered it a few days ago. I was instantly blown away by both song and video, which is quite honestly one of the most interesting and visually captivating videos I’ve seen in a long while.

The five-member band consists of Kristian Møller-Munar on vocals and guitar, Mikaela Lindgren on vocals, keys and percussion, Josh Scriven on guitar and vocals, Johan Crondahl on bass, and Anton Vysotsky on drums. They released their self-titled debut EP From the Cave in 2016, and in 2017 have followed up with a series of singles, the fourth of which is “Halloween.” They plan to released a full album in early 2018.

From the Cave2

“Halloween” starts off with quiet, mysterious synths and plucky guitar, followed by gentle percussion and a soft chorus, then Mikaela’s lovely vocals enter the proceedings. The music swells with added synths and layered jangly guitars, and Kristian’s vocals join in, harmonizing beautifully with Mikaela’s. The guitars, bass and drums become more intense as the song progresses, making for a dramatically sweeping song that raises goosebumps.

I may be off-base, but my take on the song’s meaning is that it’s about a relationship where the partners are hiding behind a mask of sorts, unable to be open or honest with each other – hence the title “Halloween.”

I try to see you from the outside
But you were hiding in my mind
I’m walking over to a brighter light
The door is closed I hear a voice
Do we ever have a choice?
Halloween Halloween

The gorgeous and intensely colorful animated video, which was created by Kristian, shows a vehicle traveling across an ever-changing fantasyland of earth, water and sky. It’s like a psychedelic trip through the Land of Oz with Harry Potter and his friends. I love it!

Connect with From the Cave:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
Purchase: Bandcamp

LOWRY LANE – Single Review: “Find a Way”

Lowry Lane

As I’ve mentioned before on this blog, one of the things I love about Twitter is that every single day I learn about at least a couple of new artists or bands I wasn’t previously aware of. And it’s an added treat when some of them turn out to be really good musicians, as well as nice people. So it was when I got acquainted with the talented young German singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Lowry Lane, who released his debut single “Find a Way” in late September.

Born Paul Friebe, Lowry named his musical project after English painter L. S. Lowry. He’s been writing poetry and music for more than a decade, and states in his bio that he “was inspired by the naive and bold simplicity of Andy Warhol and the sobering and disillusioning insights of Hunter S. Thompson.” He goes on to describe Lowry Lane as “the vehicle for his musical self discovery, which aims to recklessly unfold the inherent conflicts he finds within himself and in the world around him.”

The first thing that comes to mind when listening to “Find a Way” is how much it reminds me of Nirvana. The melodically complex track shifts back and forth from quiet to loud, with grungy guitar riffs over a strong bassline and aggressive percussion. Further, Lowry’s gritty vocals sound strikingly similar to Kurt Cobain. He laments the gloomy lyrics about feeling numb and hopeless about his life:

I haven’t found a way to find a way to live
I haven’t found  a way to finally forgive
I can’t feel it anyway
Maybe I was never meant to be OK

He lays down some scorching hot riffs in the bridge, and I love when at 3:45 he suddenly pauses and shouts “Holiday on the pavement! Fell in love with a vagrant!” as if he’s in a brief manic state of mind. It’s a great song, and Lowry exhibits a dark charismatic quality as he performs the song in the video. And that awesome hair!

Lowry is currently writing and recording more songs and plans to release his first album in Spring 2018, and I can’t wait to hear it!

Connect with Lowry:  WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream “Find a Way”:  Spotify / Google Play
Purchase:  iTunes / Amazon

KNIFEY – Album Review: “beached”

beached cover art

I love musicians with a sense of humor, especially when they also make terrific music. Toronto, Canada-based foursome KNIFEY fills the bill quite nicely. Describing themselves on their Twitter page as ‘drinking and drunk at all the wrong places,’ they play high energy lo-fi surf rock with a healthy dose of punk. Bringing all this joyful noise to our eardrums are Max Trinz (vocals, guitar), Ammar Karam (drums), Kyle Marcovecchio (bass) and Phil Linton (guitar).

KNIFEY
Photos by Mike Mangov

At the end of September, the guys dropped their debut album beached, a collection of eight exuberant tracks that will have you leaping about with abandon while wistfully remembering that summer romance and days spent on the beach. In their press info, KNIFEY explains that beachedis a window into the seemingly endless juggling of relationships and responsibility that is big city living. The songs were meant to be straightforward and honest, and the work’s essence is fun and upbeat. Lyrically, the songs cope with the trials of growing up, the coming and going of relationships, and express a weariness with the city’s hedonistic bar culture. Pervading both the sound and lyrics is a nostalgia for summertime and for the beach, and a reckless optimism that that simpler life might be just around the corner.”

KNIFEY3

It’s a short album, clocking in at a mere 21 minutes, but it packs a hell of a punch. Opening track “Beached Lightning” arrives with a burst of explosive percussion and a frenzy of gritty guitars. It’s a rousing head banger tailor made for a psycho beach party, and I loved it at first listen. The high energy level is sustained throughout the entire album, with no let up in the frantic riffs and galloping percussion. “Rio” serves up jangly surf guitars hovering over a bouncy bass line.

Next up is the hard-driving punk gem “Sophie,” the first single released in advance of the album. Max fervently sings to the imaginary Sophie, telling her he misses her and pleading for her to get back together with him:

I want to run to California, I need some energy in my life
I want to feel the beach beat, hear the drums pounding in the night
I’m never gonna make it there when you’re screaming in my ear
I’m falling to pieces baby, help me out here

The delightful video produced for the song features lots of pet reptiles at play, including lizards, iguanas, geckos, snakes and turtles, along with a few bewildered cats, dogs and burros.

Serf” is a play on words, describing both the roiling surf guitar riffs and the singer’s desire to serve his girl. Punk rock grooves are abundant on “Weekend” and “Tanlines,” both of which feature some amazing rapid-fire riffage. “Summer Girl” is a great track about a summer love affair. The song starts off boisterous, but ends at a languid pace as Max sings about how good he feels when he’s with his girl.

Long Lost Dreams” is the most poignant track on the album, with more of a rock vibe, thanks to an abundance of shredded and plucky guitars and heavier bass. The bittersweet lyrics speak to the sad realization that your dream relationship has ended:

You were fuckin’ living, I was out with the boys
Now I’m stumbling home to you with glazed-over eyes
Call me young and stupid, we all know it’s a lie
Are you done with your toy, are you done with your toy?
These are long lost dreams on a Saturday night
They’re all gone, they’re all gone…

The song symbolizes a return to the cold realities of life, and is a fitting close to the album’s theme.

Connect with KNIFEY:  Facebook / Twitter/ Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud
KNIFEY are offering beached as a free download on Bandcamp

BRAD SCHECTER – Album Review: “Live Your Dreams”

Brad Schecter is a creative and talented singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist based in Los Angeles. With a life-long passion for music and performance, he began studying classical piano at age 6, started writing songs at 15, and went on to earn a B.A. in Theatre.  In addition to being a rock tenor, he’s played piano and drums for over 25 years, both as a solo artist and with a number of bands, including Scarred and Blue Embrace, and more recently, a new project Face of Stone with guitarist Marc Palmer.

Brad Schecter

In October 2015, Brad released his debut album Live Your Dreams, a collection of songs that chronicle his life beginning with the death of his father when he was 16, his ongoing struggle with anxiety and depression and, most of all, never giving up. Drawing inspiration from some of his favorite artists and bands like Sixx:A.M., Pink Floyd, Muse, Iron Maiden and RUSH, he fuses powerful, heartfelt lyrics with hard rock and metal to create a sound that can best be described as progressive hard rock with a significant piano presence. Based on influences from those legendary bands known for their magnificent musical output, Brad’s music is as impressive and compelling as I’d imagined it would be.

For the album, Brad wrote all the music and lyrics, including the guitar solos, and played piano, drums, keyboards/synths, and auxiliary percussion, and sang all vocals. Other musicians providing backup instrumentals included Greg Karas on guitars, Drew Allsbrook on bass, and Daniel Balistocky on additional rhythm guitar and bass.

The album opens with the hauntingly beautiful piano instrumental “Bbc,” which really showcases Brad’s skills as a pianist. The track abruptly segues into the high-energy rocker “Blind Eye,” a powerful song about refusing to let someone continue to hurt you. Rapid-fire riffs and hammering drums propel the song forward, while Brad emotionally sings “Why can’t you see what you’ve done to me? I don’t want to live this way again.” An assertive piano later enters the scene as Brad defiantly sings “No more blind eye. I can see now.

A standout track is “Another Day,” a hard rock anthem with terrific instrumentals, including some stellar guitar work and piano. The hopeful lyrics speak to not letting life’s problems defeat you:

Maybe it’s not too late, in my hands is my own fate
So much left to do, not too late to start anew
I know I still have time, but it could never be enough
Explain to me the reason why, explain to me the reason why
The moon still rises, the sun still sets
Will my spirit carry on yet?
What if time stood still so we could live on
And I would not have to wait
So please let me see another day

Spring” opens with sounds of children playing outdoors, then suddenly interrupted by a thundershower. A lovely piano movement takes over, and Brad sings bittersweet lyrics that hearken back to his childhood and his father’s death. The music ramps up with added electric guitars, heavier bass and more aggressive piano as he fervently pleads “Father don’t speak, this is easier. Father don’t cry, I will be fine.” The music slows back down, only to ramp back up at the outro. It’s an epic song.

Brad delivers another amazing track with “So Long Sonata,” an emotion-charged song about telling someone that your relationship is irreparably broken. The track features beautiful, dramatic piano, great guitars and percussion. The sublime piano instrumental composition “Reminiscence” follows, providing a nice interlude and transition to the monumental track “Just in Case.” The grandiose orchestration, featuring an arresting interplay between piano and guitar, result in a gorgeous rock song of immense power, befitting of the subject of mental illness.

Next up is “True Selfie” an exuberant rock anthem about staying true to yourself, not being who you think you should be. Closing out the album is the title track “Live Your Dreams.” As always, the song is chock-full of Brad’s beautiful piano playing, accompanied by awesome guitar work and commanding percussion. The inspiring lyrics speak for themselves:

I know it’s easier to fantasize than to really do the task
Spend too much time pondering what if
Not enough time seeing what could be
No point in trying to relive the past
You must move forward never back
Now there’s an obstacle before you
Only one who stands in your way is you

Live Your Dreams is a solid testament to Brad’s expansive songwriting and musicianship, and I’m glad he reached out to me with his wonderful album. I realize the music industry is a tough, highly-competitive business, and that success can seem elusive for many musicians. I sincerely hope he continues writing and recording music, whether it be as a solo artist or in collaboration with other artists as he is now doing with Marc Palmer.

Connect with Brad:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream his music:  Reverbnation / Soundcloud
Purchase:  Bandcamp / iTunes/Apple Music / Amazon

MURKOCET – Single Review: “Hustlin’ Hate”

Hustlin' Hate

Phoenix, Arizona-based heavy metal band MURKOCET is bound and determined to slam you against the wall with their relentlessly intense music. They state they’re named after a substance directly attributed to the aggressive and often times violent actions of it’s user. Listening to their music, I’m certainly not gonna argue with that! Following up on their self-released face-melting debut album Digging Mercy’s Grave, released this past January 2017, they’ve just released a blistering new single “Hustlin’ Hate.”

MURKOCET consists of Richie Jano on vocals, Nate Garrett on guitar, Mike Mays on drums, and newcomer Jared Pettit on bass. Their hard-hitting yet melodic music is heavily influenced by some of their favorite hardcore and death metal bands such as Lamb of God, Slipknot and Hatebreed. They combine those influences with a strong emphasis on engagement with fans though their incredibly dynamic, high energy performances.

Murkocet

“Hustlin’ Hate” starts off with a wailing guitar riff, accompanied by a rib-crunching bass riff and pounding drum, then explodes into an unrelenting four minute long assault of jackhammer bass, pummeling drums and blazing guitars. The interplay between guitar and bass is so good it brings goosebumps. Jano unleashes all the brutal fury he can muster with his raw, guttural vocals, raising those goosebumps to the breaking point. It’s a phenomenally powerful track, and a thing of beauty for those who love death metal.

Catch Murkocet at one of these upcoming concerts:

Nov. 25 –  Silver Spur Saloon, Denver, CO
Nov. 26 –  Rio Rancho, NM
Nov. 27 –  Green Room, Flagstaff, AZ
Nov. 29 –  The Merrow, San Diego, CA
Nov. 30 –  Bricks Restaurant & Sports Bar, Maywood, CA
Dec. 1   –  Dive Bar, Las Vegas, NM
Dec. 8   –  Marquee Theatre, Tempe, AZ
Dec. 22 –  Acadia Bar & Grill, Houston, TX

Connect with Murkocet:  Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Stream their music:  Spotify / Soundcloud/ Google Play / YouTube
Purchase:  iTunes

ANTIPOLE – Album Review: “Northern Flux”

Antipole Album Cover

Antipole is a coldwave/post-punk project from Trondheim, Norway, and the second act from Norway that I’ve featured on this blog (the first being Sherpa, who I featured in July 2016). They just dropped their first full length album Northern Flux. Released through  Unknown Pleasures Records, the ambitious new album contains 14 tracks, including five remastered songs originally featured on their previous EP Getting Frequent Now.

Essentially a solo project of songwriter/guitarist Karl Morten Dahl, Antipole was formed in early 2014, after Karl met Anne-Christel. He had previously written songs and been in other bands, but was inspired by Anne-Christel to write and record more music on his own in an early 80s new wave and post-punk style. In 2014, Antipole released a debut digital-only EP Panoply. Songs for AC, that featured eight instrumental tracks. This was followed with a second EP Getting Frequent Now in early 2017.

The songs on Northern Flux were written by Karl in collaboration with Paris Alexander and Eirene, both of whom are from Brighton, UK, and also provided ethereal vocals for all the tracks. The album was recorded at Lysverkvegen in Trondheim, Norway, and Blue Door Studio in Brighton,UK, and produced, mixed and mastered by Paris.

In an interview with Jeff Haight of the web magazine Overblown (which you can read here), Karl describes Antipole and some of the influences on their sound:

“I’m trying to create addictive, melancholic coldwave/post-punk. When I started Antipole in early 2014 the idea was to write melodies and record them in a way that they sounded like a post-punk band recording from 1982. I started recording songs again after I met Anne-Christel. She’s heavily into obscure post-punk old and new, and listening to that inspired me a lot. Obvious influences were and are New Order, Joy Division and The Cure. Not as obvious influences would be The Chameleons, The Sound and also newer bands like The KBV, Motorama and Mode Moderne. Whether the influences can be heard or not I’m not the one to decide. “Disintegration” by The Cure has been kind of a gold template to me. Very sad and emotional music, yet so beautiful. The songs have gotten more electronic after I started collaborating with Paris Alexander. He has also contributed a lot to song ideas/arrangements/writing and of course vocals plus writing his lyrics. Lately Eirene has also contributed a lot.”

Beginning with album opener “October Novel,” the strong influences of  Joy Division and The Cure can clearly be heard in Antipole’s mesmerizing sound. Hypnotic dance beats, jangly guitar-driven melodies and dreamy synth chords are the distinctive elements of their music.  Paris’ and Eirene’s distant, almost chant-like vocals are strangely seductive, lending an otherworldly feel to most tracks. Each track flows effortlessly into the next, allowing the listener to become swept away by the spellbinding rhythmic beats.

A standout track is “Shadow Lover,” with it’s powerful, throbbing bass line and intricate, jangly guitar work. With a hint of menace in his breathy vocals, Paris sings “You see through me. And I want you. I still want you. Yes I want you.”

Another of my favorites is the captivating 8 1/2 minute-long “Narcissus.” A pulsating beat drives the track forward as mysterious synths and a constant jangly guitar riff play off each other, gradually building in intensity as the song progresses. Paris hauntingly chants “I see you.

Track listing:

1.  October Novel
2.  Shadow Lover
3.  Dans l’entrée
4.  Summer Never Ends
5.  Reflected in You
6.  Magnolia Skies
7.  All Alone
8.  Le Châtelet
9.  Someday 45
10. Narcissus
11. Distant Fall
12. Closer
13. Please Let Me Sleep
14. Insight (Joy Division Cover)

Connect with Antipole:  Facebook / Twitter
Stream their music:  Spotify
Purchase:  Bandcamp