Thu, Jul 12, 2012

I had just finished reading Sheila Weller’s Vanity Fair Article “Suddenly That Summer" documenting the historical summer of 69’ aka the "Summer of Love" that undoubtedly left it’s mark the musical and political landscape from there on out. As I read about the beginnings of Jefferson Airplane, The Grateful Dead, Janis Joplin, Hendrix and more I increasingly became nostalgic for a decade that I was never part of, but have somehow always felt a kinship with. A decade that has surely shaped the way I listen to music as well as the artists that I hold dear. Then out of nowhere, as these things usually occur Murals fell straight in to my lap. They were the perfect remedy for someone wishing they had been born 30 years earlier.

Everything about Murals debut album from the artwork to the sound screams psych folk-rock which is exactly what the “Summer of Love” was rooted in. All the great bands of the 60’s started as folk groups including Ms. Joplin who exclusively sang folk before she took acid and saw Otis Redding. I’m not claiming that this Murals are drug users, just that their fundamentals are borrowed from an era where LSD seemed to serve as an incubator for psych-rock. A genre of so powerful that it’s influenced generations of musicians and can be fully felt in this debut release of On A Passing Cloud.

The album opener “On A Passing Cloud” borrowing its name fromt he album title is a track that makes you want to lay down on the open grass, close your eyes and float away. The twangy guitar pushes the flighty vocals along complete with a lush three minute conclusion featuring swirling woodwinds, a bit of brass and some recorded bird sounds for good measure. “Eyes Of Love” the lead single is charming little ballad that tricks you into thinking it’s purely folk until a little over a minute when it turns into something that sounds like it could have come right off the spaghetti western inspired album Rome.

If like me you long for the 60’s and love all things psych then this is a album you’ll want in your collection. It might take more then one listen for that “aha moment” but when it hits it will become permanently ingrained on your soul.

On A Passing Cloud was officially released last Friday. It’s available in the format of your choice on their bandcamp page and you can catch them on tour in NYC on July 27th at our favorite local spot Pianos.

On A Passing Cloud
Eyes Of Love
This Years House

Listen to the full album here

Thu, Dec 29, 2011

[Album of the Week] Nerves Junior - As Bright As Your Night Light

It’s hard to believe that this is the first release from Nerves Junior. The album is expansive, collective and masterful. They have seemed to grasp what every rock band dreams of. Accessible pop soaked lyrics, pushed by heavy guitar and vocals, washed repeatedly with layers of sound that move you forward down the path that is As Bright As Your Night Light.

No two songs on the album sound a like, but some how they all come together to tell a comprehensive story. Much like Miami four piece Young Circles, they take the very basic elements rock (guitar, drums, bass, keys, vox) and push them to their creative limits. Their instruments plugged in and running laps through various lines of distortion equipment coming out as champions of a whole new sound.

"Campagne & Peaches," the first track on this album and coincidentally the first track I had ever heard from this group starts out mellow, washed in layers of perfectly executed sound and on the verge of pure psychedelia. It will hook you on that first layer of distortion effectively placed at the two minute mark. Songs like "As Bright As Your Night Light" and "Nails To Scratch With" are much harder and darker then the opener. "As Bright As Your Night Light" utilizes heavy distorted synth while "Nails To Scratch With" proves that these guys do indeed know their way around an electric guitar. The closer "Kale" comes full circle, bringing the tempo back down and making the listener forget the powerful musical assault they have just been privy to. Ending on a a love ballad can be tricky, but it seems that it is just what you’ll need after the long and exciting adventure

These four band members have seemed to twist, mold and distort all that they have ever learned about music in to a new form and come out the other end with an album that will surely be recognized as the one that set the wheels in motion for one of the most promising groups I’ve stumbled upon in years.

Champagne & Peaches
As Bright As Your Night Light
Nails To Scratch With

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