As if the cover art weren’t enough to draw you in – HELLOOOOO Earle Rock Studios -, Holy White Hounds‘ sophomore full-length release is absolutely extraordinary. Blending in the signature “eff you” style that they established with 2016’s Sparkle, Sparkle, Say It With Your Mouth is an established alt-rock adventure, with high stakes energy from beginning to end. While first track “Thirsty” insists that “I’m not excited,” the intense lead-in would say otherwise, as “Lucid Kid” establishes an energy that we’re ready to bump from now into the summer months. “Perpetrator” feels like the perfect addition to “Guitar Hero,” catchy as all get out with a visual that will keep your mind reeling.
The quirky name of the project can be found in the lines of “No Teeth”, while “Big Heavy” boasts the perfect sound to be played during an NFL game. (Shameless plug.) While Dean struggles with his perspective in “Trifection”, the attitude continues – complete with a whole different level of percussion – in seventh track “Violence”. This one is a real banger, so make sure to allow plenty of space to move around when you press “play” on it.
Dave Keuning joins in on the fun with “What I Am”, and “Burnt Tongue” speeds things up even more than originally anticipated, guitar licks and a beat that doesn’t just pull you in, but drags you in by your shoelaces – or bootstraps, or whatever gets you going – and does not let go. The drums set the scene for “The Void”, coming in with bass that sets one of those “walking like a badass” vibes for the remainder of the track. (AKA add this to your life soundtrack and when you’ve got to raise that confidence, play it and strut your stuff!)
If you are really paying attention to the lyrics instead of just the mood the soundscape sets for you, you’ll notice a variety of emotions, stemming from personal anecdotes that have been woven throughout the work as a whole. Dean’s vocals drag more of that emotion out of us, highlighting moments of darkness and a questioning mentality while we all learn how to feel through it. “Tracy Free” is one of those introspective tracks that really entices you to think, though the title of its follow-up, “Aids Chimp”, kind of detracts from the weight of the words.
But that’s what we’ve come to respect and love about this band. They can sing about some dark, dark shit and keep this weightless feel to it all, and you can tell that they are a ton of fun live simply from listening to a few lines from Say It With Your Mouth, if you haven’t yet been graced by their live performance tactics. “New Blood” will further enforce the theatrical nature of the band, though they may be the last to admit it. With bits of comedy mixed in with self realization and that clear, gorgeous edge, we’re big fans of this album as a journey, and are stoked you get to hear it from beginning clear through “Thirsty Outro”.
Say It With Your Mouth is available now. Keep up with Holy White Hounds here.
When you think you’ve read all the end of year lists you can take, we’re still stringing our (very important) short ones out, to make sure there’s plenty of new music discovery at your fingertips throughout the month! 2018 was a year of insane amounts of music coverage, a bevy of incredible artists to choose from, and a really incredible list of new faces to dive into. While we don’t keep track of new artists vs. veterans, we would like to highlight some of our favorite vocalists of the moment with you. Trust us — this was a really hard decision process, which is why it took us a little longer to get it to post. We wanted to highlight people that both entertain like the most insane, and who we believe truly deserve the spotlight for it as well. You might not agree, but this may lead you on a tangent of music discovery, and we’re all for that. Without further ado, check out our Top 7 Male Vocalists of 2018 below!
by meredith schneider
Holy White Hounds is a group of guys we have been following for a while. Hailing from Des Moines, IA, the foursome emerges more triumphant and in-your-face with each new track, paving the way for their most recent full-length release – Say It With Your Mouth – which will make its debut on December 22nd. And don’t let their gritty attitudes and rough exterior fool you. Ambrose, Brent, James, and Seth are full of heart, a force in motion when they’re together, and really know how to relate to their audience. (While also making fun of them. But it’s charming, and we’re totally into it.) That, coupled with those edgy vocals, and we’ve got a rock band that just won’t quit! (Thankfully. Please don’t? We need you.)
We may have been a little late to the game on this one, but pop/r&b singer/songwriter Dermot Kennedy is the Dubliner of everyone’s dreams. We were wandering SXSW this year when our friends at PlaylistPlay coerced us into popping into a church to listen to one of their favorite musicians. Honestly, we can’t think of a better way to first experience the insanely beautiful vocals Kennedy provides. His soundscapes are freeing, intense and wonderful in their disposition. If you don’t trust us, take a listen to his debut EP Doves & Ravens, or his most recent single “Power Over Me”, which was released in October.
by meredith schneider
Atlanta, Georgia-based Algiers absolutely astonished us at Sasquatch Music Festival this year. Lead singer Franklin James Fisher approached the stage with a Jimi Hendrix flare, and vocals that just do not quit. There is an enticing, soulful energy to their sound, with just a hint of reverb and incredible vintage influence that keeps us coming back for more. We can’t wait to hear their follow-up to 2017’s The Underside of Power, but are totally keen on waiting patiently for their next stunner full-length.
You’ve heard of him. We’re not introducing this powerhouse to anyone, and we feel pretty darn good about that fact. Childish Gambino – aka the triple threat of everyone’s dreams – hits our list this year, if not only for his wildly eye-opening video for “This Is America“. We’ve been super into all of his work over the years, and our hearts swoon with each new line he spins, opening our eyes to an array of important – and often overlooked – issues. The man is an absolute enigma, and perhaps that’s what keeps us coming back for more time and time again.
by meredith schneider
We know we’ve harped on how incredible Judah & The Lion is, and now is not the time to stop. On December 12th, the (now) trio – who is joined by a rotating cast of instrumentalists and backup vocalists for their performances – released two singles, titled “Pep Talk” and “Quarter-Life Crisis”, landing themselves back on our radar. Check it out, and then dive into their catalogue if you haven’t already. Their music will throw you into that good mood you’ve been craving.
Lionman – who we first experienced in May when he released the visual for his single “Don’t You Dare”. His vocals are directly associated with the term “smooth as honey”, and we’re drawn in from the first line. His hair is absolutely divine, His latest single “In My Letter” has a softer sound to it, and a rhythm that reminds us of some of our favorite OG Usher songs. This artist is definitely one to watch.
If you’re into soulful, robust vocals that establish a mood, and somehow manage to get everyone in their vicinity to “feel the same way,” then Michael Kight is the way to go. In May, we had some thoughts on his track “Clear“, and still maintain that he was impressive on every level of musicianship. We count him as one of our favorite discoveries of the year, and look forward to more from him in the future!