Today, Dallas-based rock collective The 40 Acre Mule releases their latest full-length, a 10-track album titled Goodnight & Good Luck. Filled to the brim with incredible chord progressions, guitar riffs that will melt your face down to your teeth and cheekbones, and an undeniable energy that just simply will not quit. Their musical prowess has them dipping the journey into a smooth, natural slow roll a couple of times – how else can you do bluesy ballads like “Be with Me” and “Hat in Hand”? – but for the majority of this release, we spend our time checking our increasing heart rates.
The band – comprised of J. Isaiah Evans (Vocals/Guitar), John Pedigo (Guitar), Tim Cooper (Bass/Backing Vocals), Robert Anderson (Drums), Chris Evetts (Bari Sax/Percussion), and Chad Stockslager (Keys/Backing Vocals) – effortlessly blends the sounds of their great predecessors (Chuck Barry, Little Richard) and modern influences (J.D. McPherson, Nathaniel Rateliff) to create a sound that is simply undeniable, and truly one all their own.
If you’re looking for album favorites, we’re very into the clear nostalgia that rolls through us while listening to “Shake Hands with the Devil”, and are thoroughly drawn to the title and danceability of “Bathroom Walls”. Perhaps both songs present the sense of a thrill for a moment, thematically tying us to the album as a whole as it takes us on a thrilling ride.
Peep Goodnight & Good Luck below, and be sure to nab your copy soon!
Keep up with 40 Acre Mule here.
On Friday, lo-fi garage pop musician Balue is set to release his new album Suburban Bliss. We’re lucky enough to have your first listen to the release in its entirety, starting with the sound bites that intro the title track. Jam packed with leisurely tunes perfect for your next road trip, Suburban Bliss leads you on a sonic journey that both urges you to open your mind and keeps a moderate tempo that tends to keep your emotions at bay. Moments of 70’s-inspired, glittery soundscapes are nestled amongst futuristic chord progressions and reverb for miles. It’s beautiful and fun and quirky, all wrapped into one wonderful collection that will easily make the “summer to autumn” transition with you.
Get your first listen below, and keep your eyes peeled for that album release on the 23rd!
Keep up with Balue here.
On Friday, Americana rock musician Beth Bombara released her new 10-track full-length, titled Evergreen. With robust vocals that float around the Sarah Mclachlin range more often than not, we’re captivated by her well-developed sound. “I Only Cry When I’m Alone” sheds some uncomfortable light on covering up our metaphorical bruises when we are in pain. It lays out the propensity to make things seem perfect, and the truth that many of us face: We hide our hurt from others when support is much more important. And the emotion doesn’t run cold with the first track, either. “Upside Down” presents a feeling of dark nostalgia on hard times, a hard topic masked a bit by the upbeat tempo. “Anymore” slows it down considerably for us, but brings a sense of empowerment with the existence of newly-induced boundaries.
“Tenderhearted” definitely has more of your run-of-the-mill country love track flare to it, while “Growing Wings” presents a bittersweet view on change. “Does It Echo?” is interestingly composed, the strings played in a way that brings the instrumentals to the forefront of the track for the first time since we pressed “play” on Evergreen. That’s not to say we don’t hold her vocals in very high regard, but there is so much beauty in the composition that it seems to have been the driving force in the writing of this particular song. “Good News” picks the momentum back up, leading us into the title track, freeing percussion and a vivid descriptors giving life to the lyrics.
While “Criminal Tongue” does its best to blend some incredibly sassy blues instrumentals in, we can’t help but wonder if the track is a proper nod to modern day politics, or if the song tells of a more specific tale. If that’s the case, we’re clambering to find the inspiration for this one! Bombara rounds out the album with “All Good Things”, a proper tempo slowdown that has quite sincere and introspective lyrics. The way the melody plays out makes it feel like a traditional ballad, with all of the energy and emotion that Pink has provided in recent releases. Wouldn’t you agree?
Try the album on for size below!
Keep up with Beth Bombara here.
All at once natural, manmade, and the product of a dream: With Fuwa Fuwa Music, Miki Moondrops guides listeners through an ethereal world that hums, glitters, and bleeds with vivid watercolors. The allure of Fuwa Fuwa Music lies in its fantastical nature – this album breezily transports listeners to an enchanted forest that is part organic, part machine, and always breathtaking.
The second studio release from Miki Moondrops, the finely layered production of Fuwa Fuwa Musicbubbles over with enthusiasm and curiosity. The group is comprised of Miki Masuda Jarvis, on bass and vocals, and David Lord on guitar, synths, and glockenspiel (for this record, they are joined by William Erickson on drums and Ben Snook on electronic percussion). The work as a whole is peppered with clicks, whistles, and cartoonish bounciness that serve as markers for the passing of time, as they weave in and out of earshot, brightly punctuating spells of haziness. Airy synths paint a permanent sunset as the backdrop for hearty drums, psychedelic guitar loops, and unrolling spools of abstract lyricism. While each track carries an individual theme all its own, the zeitgeist provided by Fuwa Fuwa Music is consistently sunny – even through spasms of chaos or harsher distortion.
Listening to Fuwa Fuwa Music feels brand new and yet somehow deeply instinctual. For example, characterizing features of track “Bumblebee House” include the faint buzzing of honeybees alongside a fuzzy distortion, reminiscent of the stuttering twitch of insects’ wings. On “Ants”, Miki Moondrops shrinks us down to microscopic size and into a glittery, glitching realm that could only thrive hidden beneath the earth. Rapid, perforating melodies from vocals and guitar plucking alike read like an ancient language, paired with more “known” elements of electronica. “Dragonfly Wings” is another play at perspective: listening to it inspires contemplation of whether we are watching a dragonfly as it flickers and jerks in and out of the sonic frame; or if we are the creature itself, ascending ceremonially before lilting back down to earth, settling like fog.
Woven snippets of found sound and electronically produced noise are essential to Fuwa Fuwa Music. At times, these elements drive the song’s direction, like on “Orange to Pink, Mushroom to Turtle”; while at other points, they flit in and out of the mix and of frontal attention, providing space to appreciate Jarvis’s drifty vocals humming with reverb – see “When You See the Eyebrow, You Will See the Gnome”. At the top of opening track “Shells”, at least three psychedelic guitar loops and reverses take the stage, weaving through each other and the Jarvis’s vocal melody like ribbons in the wind.
The last two tracks from Fuwa Fuwa Music serve more as mood suggestions than as landscapes. In just a fleeting 1 minute 19 seconds, “Glassy Eyes” wisps the faint chirping of birds and gentle harmonies knit together by the melody of a lullaby. Final track “It Is Glowing” feels more anthemic than illustrative or inviting. Its undulating electronic percussion, ensnared by subtle guitar strokes, provides a groove that satisfies Miki Moondrops’ quota for psychedelic rock.
- Orange to Pink, Mushroom to Turtle
- When You See the Eyebrow, You Will See the Gnome
- Dragonfly Wings
- Bumblebee House
- Glassy Eyes
- It Is Glowing
You can follow Miki Moondrops here.
’s newest EP Barely Put Together
hones in on young adulthood, deftly blending moods colored with snug optimism, taut despondence, and wistful recollection. The five-track EP exhibits Harper’s talent for constructing songs that deliver the immediacy of a live performance; some with the resounding power of a stadium anthem, and others, the gentle intimacy of an acoustic set.
Opening track “Blind” is warm, woody, and feels hopeful despite the fretting lyrics, dealing with the questionable aspects of an unstable relationship. Minute details produce an endearing familiarity, as well as contribute to the feel of a live performance: A close listen reveals the clicks and scratches of Harper’s fingers along the acoustic as he plays, and the generous reverb on his vocals ghost behind as if echoing across a stadium.
Moody, syncopated chords on second song “Don’t Hate Me” are reminiscent of the biggest hits of Justin Bieber and Shawn Mendes, as Harper evokes vulnerability following a tenuous relationship. He begs his significant other for a diplomatic split: “If we’re breaking up, we’re breaking up, just don’t hate me / That’s the only thing I couldn’t live with, baby”. A resounding anthemic club beat punctuates the severity of the chorus here, emphasizing the lyrics’ unabashed heartache. After the first chorus, a hidden gem in the form of a bluesy electric riff sneaks by, a segue to Harper’s bare vocals bolstered by a deeply funky bass line. His mercury-smooth vocal runs contribute the perfect dash of R&B freshness. Of all the tracks on the EP, this song welcomes the widest range of elements spanning several genres.
What follows exhibits confidence, defiance, and acceptance that life doesn’t always make perfect sense. Track 3 from Barely Put Together is titled “Better”, and carries the easy-breezy swagger of a California boulevard, as the chorus declares: “I like it better knowing I don’t have it all together.” Harper’s soaring falsetto complements the peppered lead guitar riff, giving listeners plenty of sunny texture to look forward to.
Track “Dried Blood” is a dip in atmosphere and stripped down in comparison, the acoustic picking pensive and cautious. This song’s lyrical melody is beautifully melancholy, but the strumming patterns are never dark; offering a versatile intimacy that could flourish within the walls of a solitary bedroom or floating alongside a each breeze. Harper faces the difficulties of healing from past failures, and casts out his doubts about the future in a fluttering falsetto: “Waiting for the waves to crash, [I’m] too far out to make it back.” Comparable to the scratching guitar strings from “Blind” is the slightest rustling noise in the background during the verses of “Dried Blood” – it suggests Harper is shifting positions in his seat as he plays. These “imperfections” cast a spell that is enthralling because it is realistic, as listeners are able to visualize Harper playing the music live.
Harper is at his most raw and desperate for the final track of Barely Put Together: “Best of Me” is an anthem best characterized by its rising anticipation and stadium earnestness. The first chorus offers a head-turning twist, as the muted beat and strumming actually shift to the back of the mix, granting Harper an open stage allow his vocal presence to take precedence. Electronica-style vocals layer behind the clear belting and gripping rasp, weaving a crowd of voices that proclaim Harper’s drift from heartache: “You’ll never get the best of me.”
02. Don’t Hate Me
04. Dried Blood
05. Best of Me
Follow Corey Harper here:
Ann Arbor based indie rock band Fallow Land has recently released their first LP Slow Down, Rockstar dripping with hefty arpeggios flush with reverb and repetition while emotional lyrics slide over the top. A true evolution for the band from their EP Pinscher guitarist/vocalist Whit Fineberg claims a lot of emotional healing in the two years between records. He was even quoted to say, “When I was younger I lived more recklessly, it sometimes felt like every aspect of my life was an extension of the art I was creating.” While this was helpful in creating the band’s early works a fundamental shift was necessary for further production and as they’ve matured emotionally listeners can hear a change between the two albums.
With “The Things You Say” and “The Hope” emerging as the two most popular songs it’s by no coincidence that they’re also two of the most emotional and healing songs on the album. “The Things You Say” offers a total expression of fears and emotional exposure from the band. While in “The Hope” listeners are able to come to a place of complete comfort, similarly to how Fineberg himself was able to find comfort in the relationship he was writing about. With an emotion for everyone expressed on the album, the most unique song is “The Dog Song” featuring a heavy metal vibe unlike anything else on the record, and at third to last it creates a nice change of pace to reinforce the attention of the listener. As the band figured out who and what they wanted to be throughout the course of the work anyone listening in is also able to follow the narrative arc from beginning to end.
Perhaps though one of the most unique features of the album is how every track’s title begins with “The” instantly piquing the interest of anyone reading through the songs. This repetition of “The” also reflects the repetitive nature of a few of the tracks on the album such as “The Boredom” discussing gym class days and a need to feel comfortable in your own skin again. This album contains lyrical warmth felt inside of your bones while also packing a powerful punch from the content of the words being said.
Slow Down, Rockstar is a perfectly complete album with a definitive style created and maintained throughout its entirety. With lines such as, “I was unaware of the space your presence occupied inside of me” and “I wish I could undress your influence” it’s no wonder anyone who sits through the whole thing will feel as if they just traveled along an emotional roller coaster, and came out better because of it.
Fallow Land will be announcing their 2019 tour of the USA soon, so be sure to check out their new LP Slow Down, Rockstar here and stay up to date on their tour here.