BEALBY POINT – Single Review: “America”

One of my favorite indie bands I’ve gotten to know over the past few years is Vancouver, British Columbia-based four-piece Bealby Point. Named after a local beachside vacation spot, they’re comprised of four childhood friends, Jack Armstrong (lead vocals), Clayton Dewar (lead guitar), Jordan Studer (bass), and Zack Yeager (drums). I love their buoyant, high-energy alternative/garage rock they cheekily call “music to fold laundry to“, which has earned them favorable comparisons to such bands as The Strokes. Their description of themselves as “approachable guys making cool music” is genuine, based on the mutual respect, camaraderie, and joy of spending time together that’s so evident in all their photos and little acoustic performance sessions they frequently post on TikTok and Instagram.

Beginning with the release of their debut single “I’m So Bummed Out Right Now” in February 2021 (which I featured in an installment of Fresh New Tracks, and has been streamed over half a million times on Spotify) the engaging four-piece continued dropping a series of excellent singles, including the brilliant “Talk To Me”, which I also reviewed and earned a spot on my Top 100 Songs of 2021 list. They released an EP Fridays in July 2022, and on May 10th, dropped their latest single “America“, a song they say is about falling in love, then falling out of love in tragedy. When I asked the band why they used “America” as the title and the subject of a romantic relationship, drummer Zack told me “The idea to personify America as a girl is tied to the idea of the American dream, [with] living a happy successful life basically culminated into a relationship. All of your hopes and dreams, ambitions and expectations, crushed by falling out of love.”

Like all their music, “America” was recorded and produced by Matt Di Pomponio, however, the song is a bit of a departure from their previous work, with a more serious, introspective vibe. I love how it opens with a gentle fuzz-coated riff, then launches right into the anthemic chorus. As always, the guys’ instrumentation and musicianship are outstanding, with Jack and Clay’s vibrant guitars accompanied by Jordan’s sturdy bassline and Zack’s spirited drums. I really like Jack’s warm, plaintive vocals as he sings of the joys of a new love in the opening chorus: “America, she loves me. I thought it couldn’t be I get down on my knees and scream America. Her shoulder rests on mine, I’ll be here for a lifetime“, then turn emotionally-wrought in the final chorus as he laments about how their love now lies in ruins: “America, I’m a human being. The faults that lie in fate that I don’t want to make. Fuck sakes America. Her shoulder rests on mine. Now let me drift away and wallow desperately again.”

“America” is yet another superb track by this talented and wonderful group of guys, and I remain a loyal fan!

Connect with Bealby Point:  Facebook / Twitter / InstagramTikTok

Find their music on  Spotify / Apple Music / Soundcloud / YouTube / BandcampAmazon

BECK BLACK – Single & Video Review: “Puppet Show”

Artwork by Royce Richmond

Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Beck Black is a veritable dynamo, possessing immense quantities of imagination and creativity, with a colorful persona to match. She’s been releasing music since 2014 (including a terrific album Hollywood Blvd in 2021), both as a solo artist and as a band under the Beck Black moniker, with the help of drummer Adam Alt and guitarist Mo Matatquin. Her music spans across multiple genres ranging from alternative, rock’n’roll and punk to country and pop, and everything in between. Listening to her music catalog, I’m struck by the fact that no two songs of hers sound alike (I adore her 2019 country song “Don’t Call Me Darlin'”). In addition, with her love of make-up and dressing up, she’s continually changing her style, such that she looks vastly different from one photo to the next, and I love it!

Beck has recorded songs with Ringo Starr (“Who’s Gonna Save Rock & Roll” in 2020) and Tony Valentine of The Standells (“Another Dimension” and “You’re Never Gonna Stop Me!” in 2021), and is also is part of the duo JYNX, with two songs licensed to the Netflix film Dumplin. She and her band have played some of L.A.’s most iconic venues like the Troubadour, The Echo, Whisky a Go Go, The Viper Room, and The Satellite. Besides making music, she has appeared on TV, films and many online shows including S.W.A.T., Grey’s Anatomy, and Ruth & Lori.

Photo, makeup and styling by Robert Hayman Flores

I first learned about Beck last month when I heard her marvelous cover of David Bowie’s song “Aladdin Sane”, which she recorded for the album Forget That I’m 50, a magnificent cover of Bowie’s entire album Aladdin Sane, produced by Julian Shah-Tayler. Now she’s back with a delicious new single “Puppet Show“, accompanied by a delightful video. Written and produced by Beck, the song is originally from the album Hollywood Blvd, but has now been released as a single. Beck sang vocals and played keyboards, Mo Matatquin played guitar and Adam Alt played drums. The track was mastered by Magic Garden Mastering.

It’s a lively banger, with an emphatic foot-stomping groove overlain with swirling cinematic synths, intricate edgy guitars and thunderous percussion. The infectious synth-driven melody reminds me a bit of the great 1982 song “Wishing” by A Flock of Seagulls. Beck’s vibrant lilting vocals are wonderful as she sings the lyrics that seem to be telling us that life is like a puppet show, with some people trying to control or influence our thoughts and actions, but we can choose to cast off those strings and life on our own terms: “Telegram the words to me, a puppet sings. People pulling at your strings and other things. Dancing with a back and forth motion, to and fro. Wearing shiny, sequin clothing a puppet show. Chances are interesting a puppet dreams. Reality is what you make it wearing strings.

The brilliant video for the song, created and produced by Beck, co-directed with Justin L. Smith, and filmed by Eli Wallace Johansson, is utterly charming. It features Beck as a human marionette, along with a marionette miniature of her, created by Rasputin Marionettes. Both Beck and her marionette doppelgänger are dressed in matching hot pink sequined dresses and wigs. Beck is shown singing the song and playing her keytar in a vast outdoor field while the marionette acts out the lyrics. Eventually freed from their strings, they both jump into a lake, where they savor their newfound independence “Swimming in a deep blue ocea, ebb and flow. Life can be your pearly oyster, a puppet show.”

To learn more about Beck, check out her Website

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WE ARE AERIALS – Album Review: “Every Architect of Ruin”

We Are Aerials are a rather enigmatic indie rock collective from Donegal, Ireland who, like a few other artists and bands I’ve written about, choose to remain fairly anonymous. Fronted by a man identified simply as ‘Me’ on their Bandcamp page (though I know him as ‘C’ through his Twitter messages to me), who sings lead vocals and plays electric and acoustic guitars, keys, programming, and chime bars, We Are Aerials also includes Paul Casey on bass, electric and acoustic guitars, ukulele, keys, and programming, and Liam Bradley on drums and percussion. Lauren Doherty sings additional vocals and John McCullough plays piano and keys on selected tracks. C told me they do not perform live or post photos of themselves anywhere, as they “love making music and found a while back that the self-publicity side of things was killing that passion for it. There are a lot of artists posting pictures of their haircuts; it’s not for us.” Also, the only social media platforms they use are Twitter and YouTube. and they do not use music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music because they’re a terrible deal for artists.

From what I saw on their Bandcamp page, they’ve been releasing music for nearly three years, beginning in October 2020 with their debut album Maps, which features a beautiful cover of Bruce Springsteen’s haunting masterpiece “Streets of Philadelphia”. They followed in March 2022 with their second album Silences and on May 5, dropped their latest album Every Architect of Ruin. Featuring ten outstanding tracks, the album was written by C, recorded by C and Paul Casey, and also mixed and mastered by Paul. The artwork featuring two hands that was used for the album cover was drawn by Rebecca Foster.

The album had somewhat serendipitous origins resulting from the discovery of an old battered guitar in the attic of a house C had recently purchased. After commenting to friends that he’d never been up to his attic, joking it was probably haunted, they goaded him for months to go up there and check it out. Finally relenting, he entered his attic one night and discovered a beat-up Mexican-made Fender Telecaster electric guitar in a worn-out acoustic guitar soft case. He recalls “I became obsessed with reviving the thing and brought it to a luthier. Got a new pick up and replaced the switch. Did his best with the neck but it still wasn’t right. Brought it to another luthier and he fixed it up good. It’s not the best guitar in the world; not well made, not well looked after, but once the luthiers were done with it, it sang. Some instruments just have a feel to them. Tim Henson of Polyphia calls it mojo. I don’t know if it’s a sentimental thing, or because I spent time and money on it, but this guitar has mojo. It started giving me songs almost the moment it was fixed. First ‘Echo’, then ‘Theft’, then ‘Empire’. Six months later, we have a new album. Attics are weird. And magic. And sometimes haunted.”

Though many of the songs on Every Architect of Ruin touch on darker themes like depression, duplicitous political leaders who prey on us, and the negative aspects of social media, the album is sonically arresting and beautiful. It opens with “Echo“, a gorgeous six and a half minute-long fantasia of reverb-drenched chiming guitars and thumping drumbeats. C’s soft, ethereal vocals, which register in the higher octaves, are enchanting as he croons “You know all I hear, oh… You know all I hear is echo, echo, echo.” At 2:45, the music expands with more dramatic guitars, then abruptly slows at the four-minute mark to a languid tempo, with fuzzy riffs accompanied by a spoken-word monologue by Yasmin that was recorded for an art project called “London is Lonely”.

Next up is “Theft“, a compelling rock song calling out people and forces who take from us until we’re bled dry: “Greed and brazen theft until there’s nothing left. Leave us all bereft, forever in your debt. Repelled, I cannot express myself.” Fueled by a galloping bassline, the song features shimmery psychedelic guitars, sweeping synths and crackling percussion. On the lovely piano-driven “Christopher“, C reaches out to a friend who’s going through a difficult time emotionally: “Hey Chris, reach out. Alleviate the doubt. The amber warning sounds for you, and I know something’s wrong here.”

Tuar na hAimsire” is a sweet and gentle song about just wanting to be with a loved one while a storm rages outside, with lyrics sung both in English and Gaelic: “A rumble of thunder, a flashing of light I watch from my bedroom. Tá an aimsir go yikes. Tá sé an-scamallach. Is dorcha an spéir. Ach níl eagla orm. I am not scared. Not a night to go outside. I’ll stay inside with you.” “Song With No Name” seems to speak of society’s struggle to make sense of the plethora of conflicting information and ‘facts’ found on TV and the internet: “The machine, a ruse to get you seen. Oh, balanced views, is nothing particularly true? Oh, what a time, devoid of reason and of rhyme.” The song has a bit of a late 60s/early 70s pop vibe, with gnarly psychedelic guitars and pleasing piano keys set to a sunny melody.

Everyone’s Unique Except You” is about not fitting in with the crowd and feeling insecure and inferior about yourself, when the truth is, you don’t really want to be like them anyway: “You’re not good enough to join that club. (You’re not enough) You’re not good enough to win their love love love love. (You’re not real enough) You’re not good enough to join their club.” Musically, the song is a pleasing blend of dream pop and folk, with a beautiful mix of acoustic and reverb-soaked jangly guitars.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Geese Teeth“, an enchanting piano ballad about an unpleasant encounter with a gaggle of aggressive geese. The lyrics are wonderful, so I’ll quote a fair amount of them: “Out to the wetlands to see the geese. Found a gaggle in the marshes. Edged closer for a better view./ A sudden honk I look up to see an angry bird. It stares. I give it a curious glance. And the thing puffs out its chest and spreads its wings, making itself big in attempt to warn me off. But as if I’d be intimidated by a stupid goose. I’m bigger than him. I glare back, puff out my chest and spread my arms out in imitation of his own gesture. And he charges me. I hadn’t banked on that. Next thing I know I’m being chased, by a whole load of waterbirds. Pecking and biting me with their geese teeth as I retreat, feet slipping everywhere on their filth. I reach the car, get in. I beep the horn. The geese scatter in a cloud of feathers.” The instrumentation on this song is really stunning, especially the piano, strings, guitar and what I’m guessing are chime bars played by C, and I love his spoken vocals where his Irish brogue really shines through.

Empire” continues on the theme introduced by the earlier track “Theft”, calling out duplicitous political and business leaders whose greed and avarice cause great harm to their citizens and countries. The lyrics include the album’s title: “Got a hand in every pocket and a knife for every throat. (You think we don’t see through you) Every architect of ruin with excuses and their scapegoats. I can see that our time has long expired. Failed in your fallen empire.” The song is a dream rock gem, as is the following track “Tides“, with its bouncy melody and more of those stunning reverby guitars. The lyrics seem to be addressing someone who’s toxic behavior and actions have left damage in their wake: “This is your glass house. These are the shards. This is your poisoned heart. These are your scars. Here are your ocean’s tumbling waves.”

Another favorite of mine is the final track “Ghostlight, a darkly beautiful song with breathtaking cinematic orchestration and gorgeous guitar work. I have no idea what the song’s about, but I love how it sounds. The fascinating video for the song was filmed and directed by Paul Casey, with footage of the mysterious woman applying her garish make-up by Pam Ede.

Folks, Every Architect of Ruin is an exquisite album filled with beautiful, meticulously-crafted songs that make for a pleasurable listening experience. I can safely state that We Are Aerials’ music most definitely speaks for itself.

Connect with We Are Aerials on Twitter

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PYLON POETS – Single Review: “In The End”

Pylon Poets are an alternative indie rock band from the southwestern England town of Torquay, Devon. Consisting of brothers Dan (lead vocals, guitars & synths) and Nathan Hughes (bass, backing vocals), and Sam McIver (drums), Pylon Poets have been putting out high-energy melodic rock for several years, with relatable lyrics touching on such issues as pop culture, love and politics. They’ve toured extensively and have played several music festivals throughout the UK, sharing the stage with such artists as Reef, Fun Lovin’ Criminals, Scouting For Girls, Republica and ASH.

Photo of Sam, Dan & Nathan by Amy Stanford

Beginning with their debut album Spirit, Love & Higher Meanings in 2016, they followed two years later with a five-track self-titled EP, and since then have dropped many more singles, including a second EP Lucid Hallucinations in late 2020. Today, they release their latest single “In The End“, about which they say “focuses on the battles of mental health, and the feelings and thoughts that accompany it whilst keeping an optimistic outlook on the future.” The track was engineered, recorded and produced by Sugar House at Catalyst Studios, and mastered by Fluid Mastering.

Pylon Poets get right down to business, opening “In The End” with a blast of reverb-drenched guitars and shimmery synths. The music then settles into a strong thumping groove, accompanied by some nice guitar noodling in the verses as Dan calmly sings “In the end, there is a new beginning. There is a time for living. In the end, there’s something beautiful. A godsend or something cynical. In the end, it’s all collateral. In the end.” As the song continues, the gentler verses alternate with exuberant choruses, in which Dan’s vocals turn more impassioned as he sings of struggling with his conflicting emotions: “Losing control, taking the reigns, fighting the tide inside my mind. Burning alive, breaking the chains, one by one nothing remains.” It all serves to create a contrasting sense of excitement and tension, making this a terrific rock song.

Pylon Poets have lots of tour dates planned, so click here for details.

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KEVIN ROBERTSON – Album Review: “Magic Spells Abound”

Kevin Robertson is a singer-songwriter and guitarist from Aberdeen, Scotland who makes a very agreeable style of jangle pop. His music is strongly influenced by a range of influences, including 60’s pop, classic and psychedelic rock, 80’s jangle music and 90’s Brit pop. He’s been actively recording and releasing music both as a solo artist and as a member of Aberdonian (I love that word) jangle pop five-piece The Vapour Trails since 2019.

In a short period of time, Kevin has released a sizable amount of music under his own name, beginning in 2021 with his debut album Sundown’s End, followed by Teaspoon of Time in 2022, as well as a number of singles, demos and session recordings. On March 31st, he dropped his latest album Magic Spells Abound, an aptly-titled collection of nine exquisite songs. Recorded by Kevin with the help of musical friends who have appeared on his releases over the years, the album was produced by Nick Bertling, and released by the Subjangle label in conjunction with Futureman Records.

Listening to Magic Spells Abound calls to mind the music of so many great acts of the 60s, 70s and 80s, yet Kevin’s beautifully-crafted songs are thoroughly original. The album opens with “As the Crow Flies“, a charming and hopeful song that immediately makes me think of the beautiful melodies and harmonies of the Traveling Wilburys. In fact, Kevin’s pleasing vocals even remind me of the late George Harrison on this track as he sings “Don’t be afraid of the sunshine. Don’t cause alarm. Don’t be afraid of this darkness. It means you no harm.” So, too, with the mysterious and lovely “Candlestick Morning“, where his vocals and intricate guitar work seemingly pay homage to Harrison, at least to my ears.

On “Make Believe” and “Autumn Brings“, with their captivating melodies and infectious, foot-stomping grooves, both his stunning jangly guitars and vocals seem to channel the Byrds. Kevin’s skill for writing beguiling melodies is beautifully showcased on the winsome “The Crest of a Dream“, highlighted by an enchanting hook and some fine harmonica work. And on the breezy, uptempo “Cloak and Dagger“, Kevin and company nicely capture the glorious harmonies of Crosby, Stills & Nash.

One of my favorite tracks is “Wander On“, with it’s catchy toe-tapping beat, colorful array of jangly and fuzzy psychedelic guitars, and buoyant Beatles-like harmonies. The lovely, folk-tinged “Sunset” is yet another terrific song, with it’s bewitching twangy guitars and sublime harmonies. And on the final track “Equilibrium Blues“, Kevin blends pleasing folk rock with spacey psychedelia to create a fascinating and compelling song that’s part Crosby, Stills & Nash and part Electric Light Orchestra. The lyrics seem to speak of evil forces at work to create uncertainty and chaos around us: “They’re coming from the gutter, to destroy your equilibrium./ There’s not enough love in the sky to bring such a tear to one’s eye.”

I like everything about this album – the masterful arrangements, gorgeous guitar work and myriad instrumental touches – but it’s the marvelous harmonies throughout that really make Magic Spells Abound such a great record for me. Kevin is a very talented singer-songwriter and musician, and has much to be proud of with his latest work.

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NAVE – Interview & Album Review: “God’s Waiting Room”

Though my feelings about social media are conflicted and complicated – a sentiment I’m confident many others share – one of the things I do like about it is that it’s allowed me to connect with a lot of really talented musicians and bands. One I’m happy to know is NAVE, the solo music project of British singer-songwriter, composer and producer Nathan Evans. Incorporating a broad array of genres and styles, including alternative rock, electronica, trip-hop, ambient, orchestral and dark wave, the hyper-talented Bournemouth-based artist creates dramatic, incredibly compelling music that’s often atmospheric and gorgeous, but sometimes also harsh and disturbing. Nathan is a thoughtful guy who’s unafraid to tackle issues relating to social justice and mental health, calling out the incessant bullshit and hypocrisy we seem to be faced with on a daily basis.

A truly prolific songwriter, he’s released a staggering amount of music over the past 10 years, both as NAVE (also sometimes represented as Nave or N.A.V.E.) and as front man of alternative psychedelic rock band Native Tongue. He’s been on a creative tear since 2021, and from what I can tell, he dropped eight singles last year, including “Broken Record”, a hauntingly beautiful song decrying the addictive nature of social media and its negative impacts on our emotional well-being. I love it so much, it went all the way to #1 on my Top 30 chart and ranks #14 on my 100 Best Songs of 2022 list.

He’s continued to release lots of new music in 2023, and on February 19th, he dropped God’s Waiting Room, a monumental work which I believe is his first full-length album. The words “full-length” are a massive understatement, as the album contains a mind-boggling 31 tracks! Because of its daunting length, it was a few days before I was able to give it my full attention, but once I did, I was literally blown away! The word “masterpiece” is often overused and lightly awarded, but I can say with all certainty that in the case of God’s Waiting Room, it’s well-earned. Listening to this brilliant and stunning album is an immersive experience that takes us on a sonic journey through the many moods, ideas and emotions of NAVE’s creative mind.

In order to gain a bit of insight into his inspiration for creating such an epic work, I asked Nathan to answer a few questions, which he was more than eager to do. Here’s what we talked about:

EML: You’re an astonishingly prolific musician and composer Nathan, and I’m truly in awe of your tremendous output. Not only have you released an epic 31-track album, you’ve also recently released a number of other stand-alone songs. Where and how do you find your inspiration for all this music?

NAVE: First off, thank you for your continued support and kind words. You have been a true rare find in this shallow industry. The lack of camaraderie and true music lovers is scarce and we need more people like yourself who truly care about new music. 

My 31 track album is a collection of songs and ideas spanning over 8 years to now. The majority of those songs were never intended to be released, but after going back and listening, I felt it was important because they carry so much emotion. I tend to release stand-alone songs that I spend a lot of time on and have that feeling of “oh this is a single”. The reason I called the album ‘Gods Waiting Room’ is because most of the songs aren’t singles, but more snapshots of moments in my life. What was going on and how I was feeling. I could imagine them all being played in a waiting room because they are so random and odd. 

In answer to your question though, the honest response is I don’t know where and how I find the inspiration to have such a high output. Maybe I feel I have something to prove to myself and others who never believed in me. I was written off in school for having ADHD, and was medicated for 6 years with Ritalin so I always felt like an outcast. Maybe my subconscious wants to leave behind a large library of work that I feel is important. Maybe I’m on an autistic spectrum and I can’t stop jumping from one idea to the other, constantly trying to outdo myself and find my “smells like teen spirit” banger. Maybe I am trying to refine my tools and become the best I can be, which is very similar to the mentality I had when I was competing in trampolining from the age 5-11 and had to come 1st in all competitions. If I would come in 2nd ever, it would be crushing. I knew I had the magic and that has translated to music today 

EML: Continuing on the theme of inspiration, some of the tracks on ‘God’s Waiting Room’ seem to have titles and/or lyrics dealing with self-assessment, mental health or personal well-being – e.g. “Jealous Little Bitch”, “Passive Aggressive”, “Son of a Rich Man”, “Computer Is My Friend” and “Kiss My Bad Side”. Are any of these songs autobiographical, or a means of addressing some inner demons or conflict?

NAVE: I find my songs either have a personal meaning, a message, or they don’t mean anything to me. Some tracks are blunt, some are cryptic, which means something to me, but to someone else interpreting them, it is completely different (which tends to happen often). Someone will tell me what my song means to them and I’ll be like “whoa, that’s not what I had in mind”. But I love that and it’s become clear from people’s comments that my music/lyrics creates imagery and causes multiple interpretations which I love.

For example, the songs you’ve mentioned. “Jealous Little Bitch” is an instrumental song, but made at a time when I was angry at certain people in my life and patterns of behaviour where I felt jealousy from “friends” or “family” instead of support and love. “Son of a Rich Man” was a dig at certain people that would never know the stress and uncertainty of having no money. They have an easy ride almost in a world where billionaires exist, and shouldn’t. I compare them to cartoon characters in a fairy tale paradise.

My track ‘Rose Tinted Glasses”, which was a stand alone release, was probably the most personal and therapeutic song I’ve ever written, about the loss of my Mum at 26. I put out a music video of it and I would cry every time I’d watch it. I’ve never had that with any song I’ve ever written and it addressed grief, anger and such sadness in me.

Another driving force isn’t so much facing inner demons but a feeling of obligation and duty to spread truth, love and light. Call out corruption, bullshit and lies. I made a tune called “blood thirsty billionaires” and made a video calling out certain people and shone a light on the ridiculous injustice and imbalance. It pisses me off that actors, musicians, sportsmen and whoever don’t use their platform enough to stand up to the lies we are fed everyday. The food we eat is full of harmful pesticides, the water we drink contains high levels of chlorine and the doctors don’t have our best interest at heart. They just read from a script or give us big pharma products. Cancer is 1 in 2 from the water, food and air, yet we freak out over a flu that mainly kills old and vulnerable people. We keep bending over to the government and accepting their lies and obeying without thinking for ourselves and truly questioning. Can you tell I am passionate about all this stuff. Can you see maybe why I make so much music lol?

EML: You certainly have a lot to say! When recording your songs as a solo artist, do you play and record all the music yourself? And besides the piano as your primary instrument, accompanied by what I’m guessing are lots of programmed synths, what other instruments do you play?

NAVE: Yeah, I mostly use the keyboard to write in synths, then programme and edit the drums. Then I finally add vocals. The vocals are always hit and miss. Sometimes they come quick and other times its a slog. I focus on the beat, atmosphere, melody and bass to create a vibe and if it makes me feel something, I quickly know whether to spend more time or move on. There always comes a time when I produce where that moment happens. Its like a magic. A transition occurs when the song comes to life and its amazing. I play drums, piano, guitar, bass and hope to learn the violin one day. I tried once and was terrible. The noise was so bad, I was unable to persist. So big respect to you violin players out there. You truly have to crawl through thorns and stinging nettles to reach the roses.

EML: With 31 amazing tracks, you could have broken them up into two or even three separate albums. Why the decision to include them all in one monumental album?

NAVE: I had considered that, but it felt they were all from a chapter in my life and belonged together. It also shows my progression till now and it was appealing to release a large body of work, particularly under such a poignant album title.

EML: That certainly makes sense. What other musicians or bands do you consider primary influences for your music?

NAVE: I ingested a lot of music as a teenager, but over the years I tend to stay away from listening to music as I find it better to be naive and not influenced by others’ music. The more music I listen to, the more chance I might feel I am copying them or “I cant do that because that sounds like that” if you know what I mean? But obviously Radiohead, Nirvana, Queens Of The Stone Age, Muse, BRMC, UNKLE, Jose Gonzalez, Deftones, Limp Bizkit, Morcheeba, Moby were big influences. Our bass player in my band Native Tongue is a music freak so he shows me a lot of new music and one track in particular that blew me away recently and inspired me to write my track “CONNIFER” is the track “NOT” by Big Thief. Incredible song.

EML: Is there anything I’ve neglected to ask that you’d like people to know about yourself or your music?

NAVE: I have struggled not finding the audience I was hoping to. It hurts when I put my heart and soul into these songs and I can’t reach anyone new or build my fan base, no matter how hard I try. I feel I’m finally coming to peace with that and doing this because I love it, not for people’s validation. My main drive has always been to reach people, and its been a painful road reaching so few people and not building that fan base I hoped for. Obviously there is still time but if it never happens, then fuck it. I still touched you and others, and devoted myself to an outlet which has kept me sane for so many years. Without it, I may not even be here now to answer these questions. 

So my final thing to say is to everyone out there, do what makes you happy and try not to seek happiness externally. Think for yourself and question authority. We have been boxed up like objects and we are still treated like slaves working long hours for no money. It doesn’t have to be this way. Seek the truth within yourself and the world will open up like a flower. Independent thought. Love yourself and be kind to others. 

Thank you Jeff. You are a star. 

EML: Thank YOU Nathan for taking the time to answer my questions, and for all your incredible music. Hopefully, this review and interview will bring you at least a few more fans.

Okay, let’s get to God’s Waiting Room, shall we? Because it contains so many tracks – all of which are outstanding – I won’t be doing my usual track-by-track discussion, as it would take me forever and besides, no one would read it all! Instead, I’ll touch on my favorites, as well as some of the more fascinating and impactful tracks. Of the album’s 31 offerings, 17 are instrumentals, whereas 14 feature lyrics and vocals of some kind or another.

On the unsettling opening track “The Speaker“, NAVE talk-sings in a mysterious whispered voice “Why do you listen to the speaker? Isn’t that, in listening to the speaker, you’re listening to yourself? Is that what is taking place? The speaker is only pointing something out. Acting as a mirror in which you only see yourself. Your own state of mind. Your own consciousness. And if at the end of these talks, you say to yourself ‘I have not changed’, why, it is your fault.” Though I didn’t ask him, my guess is that the song set the overall tone for the album, also serving as a kind of introduction.

As the album unfolds, each new track brings a different mood and vibe, keeping it sounding fresh and holding our attention. The second track “Sleepy Head” is a darkly beautiful instrumental featuring a mesmerizing trip hop groove and rather spooky string synths. And speaking of spooky, “White Witch” is downright chilling as NAVE drones “Never again, will you and I suffer. Never again, will the world go by unnoticed” against a mysterious cinematic backdrop that would make a great opening for a horror film.

Several instrumental tracks, like “Into the Abyss“, “Twilight Zone” and “Watch It Unfold“, are atmospheric and beautiful, with haunting piano movements, sparkling synths and cinematic strings. One of my favorites is the stunning “Linda’s Song“, with its vibrant piano keys, soaring strings and pleasing guitar chords. I also love “Jealous Little Bitch“, with its gorgeous violin notes and eerie synths layered over an assertive skittering beat.

Another favorite (on an album full of favorites) is “Passive Aggressive“, with its trippy hip hop groove, highlighted by menacing industrial synths sprinkled here and there with twinkling little touches that keep the song from sounding too heavy and dark. NAVE does a great job rapping the wonderful lyrics about an encounter with an unpleasant receptionist at a medical appointment: “Walk in the door, time for my appointment. Ignored by a lady unhappy in employment. Making me wait for a good few minutes. Grittin’ my teeth, pushed to the limit. I calm myself, instant reflection dealing with this middle-aged bitch on reception. Stay strong, try not to break. Refrain from explaining, I’m here cuz my balls ache. I’ve come a long way, massive obsessive, passive aggressive.

Swim Away With Me” is so quietly majestic and beautiful, it brings tears to my eyes. Then, abruptly changing the mood with “Millions of Wilfully Ignorant Sleepwalkers“, he skillfully uses a droning melody and rather ghostly, dream-like synths to convey a sense of people moving through life like zombies, seemingly unaware of their surroundings. The darkly beautiful “Breath With Me” has a strong Radiohead vibe, thanks in large part to the beguiling falsetto by appropriately-named guest vocalist Ethereal, which seems to channel Thom Yorke.

The terrific “Son of a Rich Man” is a languid and bluesy, guitar-driven song that NAVE touched on earlier as being a dig at people born with a silver spoon in their mouths. I love the pointed lyrics: “I don’t know who I am anymore. In fact, I don’t think I ever did. I’m indecisive, with hindsight bias. Sure, the grass could always be greener./ But who knows, paradise could just be a fairly tale, only fit for cartoon characters and billionaires. Maybe I should make a plan, or wait to reincarnate as the son of a rich man.”

One of the most beautiful tracks on the album is “Infinite Ground“, where NAVE’s dreamy echoed vocals meld so perfectly with the delicate acoustic guitar notes, it nearly takes my breath away. The unusual “Tashi Delek” is a dark song, featuring a strong trip hop beat, deep bass and harsh industrial synths, punctuated by contrasting delicate xylophone sounds. NAVE’s otherworldly vocals add to the song’s edgy vibe as he wails “I looked at your face. I couldn’t help but stare. I got you on my mind. There ain’t nothing wrong. Just a slip of the tongue. Can you feel my pain? And I miss you.”

The album closes with the contemplative piano piece “My Goodbye“, a beautiful and fitting end to this exquisite work of musical art. I’ve probably listened to God’s Waiting Room more than 15 times, and it manages to reveal new sounds, textures and meanings each time I hear it. I love this album, and hope at least some of my readers will appreciate and enjoy it too.

Connect with NAVE: FacebookTwitterInstagram

Find his music on SpotifyApple MusicBandcampYouTube Soundcloud

Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 26 – Eleanor Collides, Future Theory, THE Q’s

April 7, 2023 seems to be a big day for releasing new music, as scores of artists and bands I follow are dropping new singles, EPs or albums today. Because my time and energy are of limited supply, I’m able to only write about a tiny fraction of it. With that in mind, I’ve chosen three new singles for my latest edition of Fresh New Tracks, all by British acts. They are, in alphabetical order, singer-songwriter Eleanor Collides, psychedelic alt-rock band Future Theory, and indie rock band THE Q’s. I’ve previously written about Future Theory many times, whereas Eleanor Collides and THE Q’s are new to me.

Eleanor Collides – “Pantomime”

Eleanor Collides is the solo music project of London-based singer-songwriter and guitarist Nick Ranga. After having written songs for many years, Nick finally decided during one of the Covid lockdowns in March 2021 to start recording them under the moniker Eleanor Collides, the name of his childhood imaginary friend. Working with a group of like-minded London musicians named The MusiCollective, Nick recorded songs with such acts as Pisgah, Colin Tyler, Corporate Drone and Lucoline. That July, he released a four-track EP How to Make Friends, then followed in March 2022 with his debut album People are Taller in Real Life. Since then, he’s released a series of six singles, the latest of which is “Pantomime“. All six singles will be included in his forthcoming second album, due for release later in the year.

Drawing influences from some of his favorite acts like Depeche Mode, Alice in Chains, Hole and Manic Street Preachers, he melds alternative, indie and dream rock with synth pop to create his distinctly melancholic, yet beautiful sound. A great example of his signature sound can be heard on “Lifeboats”, one of my favorite Eleanor Collides songs. His latest single “Pantomime” is even more enchanting, with dreamy atmospheric synths layered over a throbbing bassline and accompanied by gentle percussion and subtle guitar notes. Nick’s smooth vocals are comforting, but with a quiet vulnerability that’s nicely complemented by his own backing falsetto.

He states the song “started life on acoustic guitar, with a four chord loop in the Dorian mode which lends the track a mysterious, melancholy sound, and is about going through the motions and feeling insignificant.” The lyrics describe a couple being driven apart by unseen forces, unsure of how to fix things: “I can be there if you want me. I can give you space if you need time. Floating away on the breeze. Replaying this old pantomime. What time did love arrive? When did affection slip out of the room? But we’re just two people, and what the hell can we do?

Connect with Eleanor Collides:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Future Theory – “Why”

I’ve been following British alternative psychedelic rock band Future Theory since early 2017, and was immediately impressed by their intelligent songwriting and strong musicianship. Blending elements of alternative and progressive rock, psychedelia, grunge, shoegaze and funk, they fearlessly create arresting music characterized by complex melodies and arrangements, and delivered with lavish instrumentation and mesmerizing vocals. Like many bands, the Lincolnshire-based foursome has experienced changes in lineup over time, and now consists of Max Sander on rhythm guitar and vocals, Chris Moore on lead guitar, Jacob Brookes on bass and Rohan Parrett on drums.

Almost exactly six years ago, I reviewed their superb debut EP Fool’s Dream, and have written about them and their outstanding music many times since. It’s been a pleasure watching them mature and grow as artists, and their music keeps getting better and better. One of their singles “One and the Same”, from their 2022 debut album Future Theory, spent 18 weeks on my Weekly Top 30 chart and ended up ranking #42 on my 100 Best Songs of 2022 list.

Future Theory have been hard at work over the past several months recording a new batch of songs with Corsican producer Yves Altana (Peter Hook & The Light, The Chameleons), and will be releasing a series of singles throughout 2023, as well as touring in Northern England and Scotland in June. The first of these singles is “Why“, a dramatic and powerful song about a dysfunctional relationship that’s breaking apart. And what a spectacular song it is! First off, the jangly and chiming guitars by Chris and Max are breathtaking in their beauty and intricacy. Then there’s Jacob’s deep, resonant bassline, keeping the rhythm in perfect time with Rohan’s muscular drumbeats. Topping it all off are Max’s distinctive, emotion-packed vocals I love so much as he plaintively croons “Say, for me and you there’s really no in-between. We either set sail or crash and burn the dream. Get up before I scream. You’re breaking my heart./ Tell me why, would I lie? Tell me why.” The music builds to an electrifying crescendo of gnarly guitars and explosive percussion that continues to the end of the track. I can’t wait to hear their upcoming singles.

Connect with Future Theory:  Facebook /  Twitter /  Instagram


Last, but certainly not least, are THE Q’s, an indie rock band based in Leeds. Formed in 2014 while they were all in secondary school, the five-piece consists of Leo Grace on lead vocals, Freddie Franchi on rhythm guitar, Dexter Burningham on lead guitar, Mattia Paganelli on drums, and Ben Woolford on bass. Apparently possessing a cheeky sense of humor, the guys released their first single “IN NEUTRAL” on New Year’s Eve, December 31, 2021, followed by “TRANQUILO” on Valentine’s Day 2022. Both are really good! Listening to their songs I would generally describe their sound as a happy blend of indie, rock’n’roll, punk and shoegaze.

Now they’re back with their third and latest single “MOVIES“, a sweet, upbeat song about young love, and the trials, tribulations and second-guessing that come with it. I really like the bouncy punk groove, exuberant guitars and snappy drums, and that funky little bass riff in the bridge is terrific. Leo’s vocal are perfect for the song, conveying just the right amount of youthful angst when he sings “But I don’t mind when you make a scene. You make life feel like a movie. And when you’re lying there with me, love life feels like a movie. You’re quite a find. Make life feel like a movie.” But later in the song, he pleads for her to cut him some slack, admitting that he’s partly to blame for their misunderstandings: “Don’t hang up that phone. I know that you’re at home. We’ll sort this out tomorrow, c’mon just let it go. I’m a dickhead, yeah, I know.”

Connect with THE Q’s:  FacebookTwitterInstagram

Fresh New Tracks, Vol. 25 – Au Gres, DeadWax, gimbal.lock

For my latest Fresh New Tracks installment, I’m once again featuring for my readers’ listening enjoyment three great new releases by acts who couldn’t be more different from each other. They are, in alphabetical order, Michigan-based singer-songwriter Au Gres (who I’ve previously featured three times on this blog), British alternative grime rock band DeadWax, and German atmospheric rock band gimbal.lock (with the latter two acts being new to me).

Au Gres – “leaving”

Photo by Bryan Hugo Iglesias

Au Gres is the music project of talented and affable Michigan-based singer-songwriter Joshua Kemp. (He named his act after the small town of Au Gres in rural northern Michigan where he vacationed as a youth with his family, and holds special meaning for him.) Influenced by such acts as Dayglow, COIN and Hippo Campus, he blends elements of indie rock, lo-fi and synth pop to create pleasing songs that he records in his little DIY home studio. I first learned about him in the fall of 2020, when he released his sweet debut single “Nervous”. He followed in February 2021 with the beautiful “At Home in the Dark”, then a year later with “do you think we’re old enough”. I reviewed all three songs, with the one for “Nervous” garnering 1,162 views thus far. In just a year and a half, he’s become quite a successful artist, garnering impressive numbers on many of the streaming platforms; “do you think we’re old enough” has earned more than 365,000 plays on Spotify alone, and “Nervous” over 208,000. He dropped his fourth single “used to be” in November 2022, and on March 29th, he released his fifth and latest single “leaving“.

With its dreamy melody, sparkling synths and exuberant guitars, Dayglow’s influence on “leaving” is strongly evident, and in fact, Au Gres’ vocals even sound like Dayglow front man Sloan Struble here. In an article premiering the song on Atwood Magazine, Au Gres discussed his inspiration behind “leaving”: “I went through a lot of changes this year and I noticed the way I started to feel about myself was changing too. I wasn’t able to identify it at first, but retrospectively, I was putting a lot of my identity in things that actually had very little to do with me. Things like my career or friends or how much money I had saved. I guess the message here is to not define yourself by external, ever-changing things. Instead, figure out who you are at a core level so you’ll be better equipped to deal with change.” It’s a gorgeous song, and just might be my favorite by him yet.

Connect with Au Gres:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

DeadWax – “Northern Behaviour”

I haven’t come across an act that calls their sound ‘alternative grime rock’ before, but after listening to the music of northern English four-piece DeadWax, I think it’s the perfect descriptor. Comprised of frontman Jake Milburn (lead vocals), Solomon Price (bass), Henry Skinner (guitar) and Ben Millington (drums), together they make raw, in-your-face musical mayhem drawn from alternative rock, rap rock, hip hop, funk and hardcore punk, to name but a few of the influences I hear. Their music calls to mind such legendary acts as the Beastie Boys, Limp Bizkit and Rage Against the Machine, though their sound is uniquely their own. They’ve released only a handful of singles, starting with “Heavy Temptation” in 2019, but have gained a reputation for their explosive sound and high-energy live shows.

On March 30th, DeadWax dropped their latest single “Northern Behaviour” a stupendous little blast of dynamite they call “A lil homage to how we grew up together in the North, grafting on building sites n laughing at each other in the pissin rain.” Jake elaborates: “The track is born from our time working as labourers on a derelict building site in Holmfirth. Sol and I worked there for about 2 years, doing anything from putting up scaffolding to moving literally tons and tons of dirt by hand. Doing that job, we always used to say it was ‘character building’ and in fairness, it gave us some serious motivation to get out of it. I wanted to pay homage to where we came from and how we got there, and taking the idea of ‘northern-ness’ and saying, yeah it might be gloomy and rough sometimes, but its fuckin’ great here, and we wouldn’t have changed anything about how and where we grew up together.” Well, I must say the song’s fuckin’ great too, a maelstrom of combustible rhythms, raging riffs and Jake’s furious vocals, fueled by a healthy dose of bravado.

DeadWax have a number of shows scheduled this month, so click on this link for details.

Connect with DeadWax: FacebookTwitterInstagram

gimbal.lock – “Fantasy”

The curiously-named gimbal.lock is a fairly new German atmospheric rock act located near Munich. Comprised of Ralph Bayer (guitar, lead vocals), Tom Geissler (drums) and Zsolt Themes (guitar, backing vocals), all are seasoned musicians who’ve played in various bands for several years. I asked Ralph about their unusual name, and he told me ‘gimbal lock’ is a technical term for the phenomenon that occurs in a three-dimensional rotation system where the rotation axes unexpectedly align, causing the system to lose one degree of freedom. He’s a mechanical engineer working in the field of space robotics, and decided upon the name to reflect their music’s singularly unique and unexpected sound.

On February 24th, they released their debut single “Fantasy“, a beautiful song the band says “is meant to inspire the listener to let their imagination run free and escape reality with all its obstacles for a short time.” The guys recorded, produced and mixed the track themselves, with mastering done by Charles H. Root, III at Electric Owl Works in South Wales, New York. The song opens with soothing sounds of waves gently breaking on a beach, which are soon joined by strummed acoustic guitar notes. The music gradually expands to include a bold bass line, thumping drumbeats and glittery synths as Ralph beckons us to let our minds embrace a sense of euphoria and joy: “Close your eyes and follow me. Use your fantasy and free your mind. Forget your pain and touch the sky.” For me, the musical highlight of the song is its enchanting Middle Eastern flavor, thanks to the use of exotic instruments like the buzuq, a long-necked Arabic fretted lute, and the santoor, a trapezoid-shaped Indian hammered dulcimer. “Fantasy” is a promising debut from gimbal.lock, and I’m eager to hear more music from them!

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MORGENDUST – Album Review: “Morgendust”

Morgendust is an engaging and talented Dutch alt-rock band based in Zwolle, Netherlands. Formed in 2018, the quintet is comprised of Marco de Haan (lead vocals, guitars, drums), Ron van Kruistum (guitars, backing vocals), Iwan Blokzijl (keyboards, backing vocals), Dario Pozderski (bass, backing vocals) and recent new member Patrick Pozderski (drums & percussion). All seasoned and accomplished musicians with years of collective experience playing in other bands and as session musicians, their music has a maturity and worldliness expressed through intelligent, thoughtful lyrics that tell stories everyone can relate to, and packaged with exquisite rock melodies, outstanding instrumentation and beautiful vocals.

They released their stunning debut EP Storm Will Come in September 2019, and since then have dropped a string of excellent singles, as well as their wonderful 2022 album 14, in which they reimagined eight iconic songs from the 70s, 80s, and early 90s that had a major impact on each of the band members when they were 14 years old. I reviewed both the EP and album, as well as several of their singles, some of which you can read by clicking on the links under “Related” at the end of this post.

Now they’re back with the self-titled Morgendust, their first full-length album of all original songs, which dropped March 24th. The guys wrote, recorded, produced and financed the album all by themselves, making it a true DIY indie effort: “We wrote over 30 songs, rented an old school, stuffed it with the best gear and started recording. We had no restrictions with time, budgets or record labels telling us what to do.” Morgendust includes what they’ve deemed the 13 best tracks of the bunch, and after listening to the album, I can’t take issue with any of their selections, as they’re all solid songs that nicely showcase their signature sound and strong storytelling abilities. The album was expertly mixed by Guido Aalbers (Coldplay, Muse, Queens of the Stone Age) and flawlessly mastered by Andy VanDette (David Bowie, Deep Purple, Beastie Boys, Steven Wilson).

Many of the songs on Morgendust have a distinct 80s feel, which makes sense since most of the band members came of age in that decade. (I came of age in the early 70s, but I love a lot of 80s music.) The guys tackle a variety of topics, including oft-covered subjects like life, love and emotional well-being, but also socio-political issues of particular relevance today, as evidenced by the powerful opening track “No Clear View“. The lyrics seem to address the conundrum of social media, namely how addictive it is and how it elevates and rewards those who shout the loudest, or are the most outrageous and selfish, leaving many of us feeling disoriented or alienated: “When there is no clear view, you stumble over your shoes. There’s something out there with the size of Donald’s ego. We all want a piece of fame, and what it can or won’t do. And when our 15 minutes fade, we’ll star in fake news. There’s one thing better than no view at all, and that is no clear view. Heaven holds a place for those who waste.” Musically, the song features a strong guitar hook that instantly grabs our attention, keeping hold of it as the song’s melody and instrumentation ebb and flow.

One of my favorite tracks is “1982“, a beautiful and rousing radio-friendly anthem that Marco wrote to honor the memory of a childhood friend who suddenly disappeared. The story is set against a background of global and national political and cultural issues of that time, some of which are still topical today. Events touched upon in the song include the Falklands war and political demonstrations, the film E.T., and The Clash song “Rock the Casbah”. I love the swirling synths, driving rhythms and gorgeous guitar work, as well as the video of the guys performing the song, which shows their endearing sense of playfulness.

Those 80s vibes are particularly strong on the melodic pop-rock track “Modern Daydream“, while affairs of the heart are explored on “Would it Hurt You?“, in which Marco makes a heartfelt plea to a romantic partner to make more of an effort to salvage a troubled relationship: “Would it hurt you to try a little more?” And on “The Losing End“, the guys employ a grungier, harder rock sound with tortured psychedelic riffs, heavy bass and thunderous percussion to drive home their point about how life seems to be stacked against most of us: “All the sinners here scream away their fears. I hope you won’t forget we’re on the losing end.”

Another favorite of mine is “We Set Sail“, an exuberant anthem with a commanding foot-stomping beat, gorgeous bluesy guitars and soaring vocal harmonies. The lyrics, which Marco delivers with an arresting emotional fervor, speak of setting off on a search for a brighter future: “Grab your belongings. Take hold of your loved ones. Fight for a place in line. Face the adventure and prepare for failure. But hold on to your hearts. Chasing the clouds. If the time is right, and the spirit’s high, we’ll come out of our homes tonight. We set sail. New land is all we hope for.”

A song that particularly resonates with me from a lyrical standpoint is “The Years“, as it speaks to the inexorable passage of time and how life’s disappointments can add up: “The years will slowly get you. Months of slow decay. Weeks we’ll never see the sun. Days will wash away. The hours will crawl and turn on you. Minutes melt away. Midnight makes a new day.” After the rather bleak introspection of “The Years”, “Red Handed” comes blasting through the speakers with a barrage of roiling guitars and driving rhythms. Marco emphatically sings from the perspective of a Machiavellian figure who envisions himself as a savoir “My philosophy will save the world“, when in actually they’re an opportunistic oppressor: “Who knew my new heresy can chain the world? I’m bad enough, sad enough to blame the world. Caught red handed while I claim the world.” Sounds like some of the vile and nefarious political leaders we’ve had recently…

On the electrifying stomper “Racing the Clouds“, Morgendust sings the praises of the excitement of cities “Lights in the city, shine so bright. Life in the city at night. Clouds keep filling my head with all these sounds.” I really like how the song calms at the end with a beautiful closing piano riff. In sharp contrast, “These Shadows” sweeps in upon an eerie soundscape of menacing industrial synths and edgy distorted guitars, but then brightens with melodic piano chords in the verses, lending an optimistic vibe before the grungy guitars return in the chorus, only to fade out again. Marco passionately sings of his hope for better days ahead: “I hope for us we’ll lose our fear of all these inner storms. I pray our love won’t fade away. I hope my love. I hope for us. I hope for you these shadows disappear.”

The gospel-like “A Way Out” closes the album on a contemplative note, with hopeful lyrics about climbing out of a depressive state of mind: “I’ve tried to fill the days with love and laughs and play. I’m not there, although my heart gave me a warning, shook up my senses… I will find a way out, a way out of here.” It’s a fine ending to a superb, wide-ranging album from this very talented group of men. Morgendust have outdone themselves here, and should be immensely proud of what they’ve achieved.

Morgendust will embark on their upcoming New Land Tour ’23 starting on April 15th. Here’s the schedule:

Connect with Morgendust:  Facebook / Twitter / Instagram
Find their music on Spotify / Soundcloud / Apple Music / YouTube / Bandcamp / Amazon

REBEL TRAMP – EP Review: “Intra Dimensional Frequencies”

Rebel Tramp is the music project of Bob Prince, an imaginative songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist based in Petaluma, California, a bucolic city north of San Francisco. Playing guitar, bass and keyboards, he creates his own unique sound by weaving together elements of blues, hard rock, psychedelic rock and electronic music. In a great interview last August with Marc Schuster for his Abominations blog, Rebel Tramp commented on the vast array of artists who influence his sound: “I’ve played in lots of blues bands and have a huge blues influence. BB king, Albert King, Mike Bloomfield on and on. Also, Hendrix, Jaco Pastorius, John Coltrane, Any Jazz Fusion from the 70’s, Metallica, and Sound Garden are probably my biggest influences.”

In addition to Rebel Tramp, Prince has also collaborated with several other artists, as well as being involved in another music project Amplitude & Frequency, which includes British musician SD Charlton on vocals and Taylor Allum on drums. Together, they put out an EP Urban Frequencies last June.

On February 3rd, Rebel Tramp released his latest EP Intra Dimensional Frequencies, and let me just say that’s it’s a psychedelic trip on steroids! He wrote the EP last year for the Lights And Lines Album Writing Club, a community event in which more than 50 artists signed up for the challenge of writing and recording an album or EP in a month. The brain child of Brighton, UK-based Mike Five, a guitarist, podcaster, and curator of the Off The Record Independent Music Festival, Lights And Lines is a music collective and independent record label whose mission is “to share new and exciting music from the underground with music lovers everywhere.”

Rebel Tramp decided to take part in the competition to – in his own words – “be my weirdest self“, and Intra Dimensional Frequencies was the result. The EP depicts a phantasmagorical songwriting journey, overflowing with wild experimentation and reflecting a strong desire to expand his creative boundaries to their fullest. Well, he achieved that and quite a bit more. Intra Dimensional Frequencies went on to win ‘Best EP’ in the competition, and was later released through the Lights And Lines label.

Most of the tracks are instrumental-only, with sci-fi themed titles like “Deep Space Blues”, “Intergalactic Spies”, “Robotic Fantasy” and “Funky Jupiter”. The lone track with vocals is “Deep Space Blues“, where Rebel Tramp reminds me a bit of Dan Auerbach (of The Black Keys and The Arcs), as he sings “There’s a place in deep space, where the roses are red./ I’m gonna sing my blues away.” Musically, the track is a languid bluesy number highlighted by a dramatic mix of tortured psychedelic riffs, gnarly blues guitar runs, sharp percussion and feedback-infused synths.

Intergalactic Spies” sounds like it was recorded at a jam session in heaven between Albert King, Frank Zappa and Jimi Hendrix. Rebel Tramp’s double-barreled fusillade of wobbly blues and screaming psychedelic guitars are truly a thing of wonder, layered over a bed of crushing bass and accompanied by smashing drumbeats. “Robotic Fantasy” lives up to its title, with droning industrial synths, discordant guitars, electronically-generated and otherworldly robot-like vocal sounds, and an abundance of snappy drums and crashing cymbals.

On “Funky Jupiter“, Rebel Tramp uses a colorful mix of skittering keyboards, wobbly guitar notes, funky bass, assertive percussion and lots of fuzzy reverb to create a somewhat chaotic soundscape, though he ends things on a gentle, atmospheric note in the outro. “Same Channel” is perhaps the most melodic of all the tracks, with a wonderful soulful groove, highlighted by glittery spacy synths and dual funky and bluesy guitars layered over an assertive drumbeat.

The final track “Wavetashia“, which was the first single released in advance of the EP, is described by Rebel Tramp as “a psychedelic, blues rock electronic rollercoaster we must be this tall to ride‘”. The powerful combination of crunchy synths, wailing psychedelic guitars, deep throbbing bass, snappy drums and otherworldly female vocals create a euphoric and trippy soundscape. The video he created for the track, using royalty-free video clips from Cottonbros, Koolshooters and Pavel Danilyuk, shows an array of glamorous people getting lost in the music being spun by a DJ.

Intra Dimensional Frequencies is a superb EP, and a testament to the impressive creativity, imagination and skillful musicianship of Bob Prince – aka Rebel Tramp. I’m confident we’ll be hearing more great, innovative musical creations from him in the future.

Connect with Rebel Tramp: Twitter / FacebookInstagram

Find his music on BandcampSpotifyApple MusicYouTube