We’ve been lucky enough to have explored the talents of Jealous of the Birds in the past, but today we’re thrilled to share one of our favorite new EPs. Jealous of the Birds has released a vintage-tinged bevy of gorgeous work for our ears to soak up in the quiet moments, and to truly enjoy. Starting with “Marrow”, Naomi Hamilton weaves a wonderful sonic adventure for us, storytelling with the best of them. “New York Has A Lump In Her Throat” has a bit of a melancholic feel to it, as the title would suggest. “Blue Eyes” is the standout rock track, energetically pulling you from your seat. Even with brown eyes, we can’t stop dancing.
“Kosiskelu” imposes upon its surroundings a cocoon of comfort, a feeling of calm that is unique to Hamilton’s voice. “Clementina” is how Hamilton has chosen to complete the release, a meandering and delicately layered song that is somehow intensely heart-wrenching. Perhaps it’s the tranquil soundscape, the hint of hope in the vocals, or the palpable feelings of puppy love. Either way, Wisdom Teeth is required listening.
Keep up with Jealous of the Birds here.
Through almost 15 years of intricate, involved lyricism – the crazy involved titles of the early days, the lineup rotations, the bevy of music videos and the expansion of Brendon’s vocal range – we’ve held on to our deep appreciation for Panic! @ The Disco. So to be asked to photograph Brendon Urie and his team of bandits at Sprint Center on Saturday night, there was zero hesitation. The performance itself was the most involved we’ve ever witnessed from the musical project, Urie’s energy palpable from the first jump out from the hole in the middle of the stage, to his last round of bows and high fives with the audience. The man absolutely thrives off of this life, and you can tell.
What, perhaps, is most notable about his show when comparing it to his performances of yesteryear – think ten years back – is that they have, somehow, become even more theatrical. That was what was so outstanding about Panic! @ The Disco when they emerged on the scene about 14 years ago, they existed as a beacon for the outcasts. The theatre kids, the gamers, the anti-socialites. And now here he is, all this time later, continuing to provide that entertaining escape for other generations, and leveling up with each step. (Just ask whoever he hired as his vocal coach in the past ten years, if you don’t believe us.)
In fact, he even took a moment during his set to bless an unborn child “in the state of Panic” which, to his credit, is a clever saying to have up his sleeve. (Or up his bare arm, depending on if he decides to keep his shirt on or not.)
Either way, here are some fun photos from the inclusive and beautiful evening.
Indie Psych trio Lost Cousins – comprised of Cam Duffin, Thomas Dashney, and Lloyd McArton – has released their full-length, an album titled In Scenery. There is not a moment of disappointment with this album, as they make sure to ignite it in its entirety with an undeniable energy, starting with the establishment freeing, intense reverb in “Stay”. Crashing cymbals and whirring guitars lead us through “Mindmaker” and “City Escape”, while “Seajets” is presented as far calmer, perhaps a hint of Coldplay playing at its core.
“Trails” is an absolute ballad, slow and steady compared to – but just as powerful as – its predecessors. “Montreal” really gets your hips moving again, with instrumentals that make you feel like actual glitter. “Forest Floor” is the most ambience-inducing track, the pace picking back up with the incredibly danceable “Shores”, Beginning with simplistic piano chords, “Nothing” rounds the album out with the most melancholic song – sonically and lyrically – of the collection.
Lost Cousins has proven their chops, and we’re all in.
Keep up with Lost Cousins here.
The Moth & The Flame have returned to the forefront of alt-pop with the release of their new album Ruthless. The Provo, Utah natives have channeled immense depression and anxiety into their new release, and it comes through in waves of pop synths and harrowing vocals. Brandon Robbins (vocals, guitar), Mark Garbett (keyboards/vocals), and Andrew Tolman (drums) have been together since 2011, pushing their sound further and further with each release. With the release of Young & Afraid in 2016, which defined the trio by NPR Music as “channeling a pop sound, the group shows its resilience” while maintaining “a wonderful moodiness to the music that always lands right in the sweet spot”, the fans clamored for more from the musicians from Utah.
After a successful kidney transplant in 2016 between Robbins and Corey Fox (founder of Provo’s all-ages music venue, Velour) the band felt at the top of their game and began to release single after to single. All these releases led to the culmination of Ruthless, which embodies the fighting spirit of the group. The ebbs and flows of the album are intriguing to say the least. The opening track, “The New Great Depression”, has a lot more poppy feel than the title would suggest, but the lyrics behind said pop sound suggest otherwise. It is rare these days to listen to music that constantly forces you into contemplation and in-depth thought, and Ruthless is chock full of this thought provoking music. The use of voice distortion is used perfectly on the track “What Do I Do”, catching you off guard about half-way into the song, but it is a pleasant surprise. “Lullaby IV”, the closing track, is reminiscent of punk, but with a dash of voice distortion and a soft-pop outro.
Robbins had this to say about how the album came together through so much strife: “What we wanted to show people was the journey through anxiety and depression,” he says, “not just the lows but the highs as well.”
Ruthless is out now! You can also get more information about The Moth & The Flame here.
February 2019 is off to a wild start, especially with today’s release of You Found Me, the full-length from Cody Votolato’s latest project JR Slayer. “JR Slayer in its current form is a sacred home for me,” admits Votolato. “It is a safe space to start new conversations with art and music and understand how I relate not only to it, but myself. Not one where I am trying to receive as much as I give to it, but one that allows me to fully realize myself while being able to step out of my comfort zone.”
Starting with the meandering pace – but huge impact – of “I’ll Never Leave You” featuring Jenny Lee, the album rolls into the slower, more delicate harmonies of “There is Nothing Else Around Me” before picking up for the slightly quirkier and more danceable “Half Lyfe”.
“Nothing & Nowhere to Hide” brings a more polished, pop sound with a vulnerable bed of lyrics, while “This Is Alone” really simplifies – and induces melancholy into – the soundscape. “I Think I Might Die” has, perhaps, the most directly morbid of titles in the collection, though at its core it is a simply beautiful love song. “In A Sea Of Anonymity” slowly layers itself, as the lyrics address fate and hope in a very wonderful way.
By this time, it’s clear that JR Slayer has a way of taking things that seem joyful, and sprinkling them with melancholy. On the flip side, he is fully capable of taking something seemingly negative and brutal (like the titles), and adding a flare for the positive. Either way, he’s managed a very tactical balancing act across the whole of the work, and we’re very impressed that it carries into “How Could Love B So Cruel?” with its lush and trudging instrumentals, and straight into the last track, “40 Extra Minutes in Heaven”.
If you don’t believe us, try it on for size. Either way, let us know what you think in the Facebook comments!
Keep up with JR Slayer here.
On Saturday, January 26th, Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear took their hometown by storm with an incredible performance at The Truman in Kansas City, Missouri. Their opening act – Me Like Bees – was sure to entertain to the max, and to thank MW&MB for their kindness over the years. The night was incredible, and everyone seemed to be absolutely glowing. Get your peek into the event below!
Keep up with Madisen Ward & The Mama Bear here.