Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite – Electrified



Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite – Electrified


This is a single with a near anthemic quality, but Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite never chooses to go all the way in that direction. “Electrified” is the first single release from their soon to be released debut studio album Canyon Diablo and, if we should consider it representative of the future release in anyway, Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite are poised to jolt an increasingly moribund scene with a song mixing traditional merits of rock/popular song craft with polished and thoroughly modern production. The sonic architecture is helmed by renowned production team the Grand Brothers and the project, as a whole, represents their second collaboration with the song’s vocalist Dee. Dee has release two solo albums, the second produced by the aforementioned brothers, and enjoys a vast YouTube following as well as landing his song “Miles and Miles (Living on the Edge)” with a Super Bowl Ford automotive commercial. The sort of exposure that brings is inestimable.

There’s some female backing vocals scatting along with the arrangement and a smidgen of post production effects applied to the lead vocal, but Dee’s voice and performing presence is definitely enough to sustain the song alone. He handles the verses and refrains alike with equal confidence, but yet seems to have an unerring sense of what the music and lyrics alike require from his talents. The message behind the song is, essentially, a simple one, but that doesn’t stop Dee from delivering it with every ounce of the oomph “Electrified” deserves. Despite the song title, however, Dee notably never goes overboard with his delivery and his voice crackles with just enough emotion to make this a compelling ride for listeners. He latches onto the wide swing achieved by the song’s rhythm section and really makes it come particularly alive during the song’s refrain urging listeners to keep moving on.

There’s plenty of electronic pyrotechnics flashing across the surface of the song’s rhythm section, but the basis of everything for this track is the meaty bottom end attack that gives both Dee and the backing vocalists such a rich foundation to work on top of. As mentioned earlier, the song achieves a real swing and swagger without ever over-exaggerating its qualities and the Grand Brothers’ production keeps everything vivid, but balanced. It’s a tightrope act they pull off with exceptional skill. They have strong instincts, as well, for how the song should be structured and the composition never runs on too long with needless instrumental touches or too much lyrical content. Everything is cut to a focused edge that never relents for the entirety of the song. Patiently Awaiting the Meteorite’s “Electrified” is one of the most impressive singles from 2018, any genre, and definitely makes a case for Canyon Diablo potentially ending up on a lot of year’s best lists when December rolls around. It’s that good and promises more even better to come.


David Beals

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Monsieur Job - Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow


Monsieur Job - Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow


Monsieur Jobs’ single “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” is a powerful release from a quartet joined by guest singer Martin Cintron of the band No Mercy. This release from Basswalk Latino is the end result of a project initially conceived by label head Jose Fernando Holguin and brought to reality by the songwriting talents of Stan Kolev and Toby Holguin, but Kolev and Holguin are not alone.  

The experience and skill Leo Jaramillo and Charlie Illera bring to the recording is unquestionably crucial and their combined studio and live pedigree fuses to form one of the more fiery outings in modern pop and EDM I’ve heard in quite some time. This doesn’t settle merely for pandering to listeners with perfunctory beats and shopworn rhythms. Instead, Monsieur Jobs’ “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” rings out with inspired energy and creativity to burn.    
 
Few tracks in this style will sound as complete as this. Newcomers to the genre will find their preconceptions smashed and longtime devotees of the style will be thrilled to hear an outfit that challenges formulas while still hitting all of the fundamental marks. Citron’s vocals are a perfect fit for the radio edit and the variety of ways Kolev and Holguin’s songwriting presents him for listeners is one of the critical reasons this single proves to be such a success. The length is perfect for the performance and well balanced between Citron’s singing and the music. It is true, however, that the arrangement is primarily focused around the drumming, but Monsieur Job possess a wide vision for what percussion means in their music and it becomes the lead instrument, in some ways, providing the foundation upon which everything else exists.  

It’s a powerful reminder of what re-envisioning a style, even a little, can accomplish for an act rambunctious and ambitious enough to pull that off. Stan Kolev’s accompanying remix of the tune is a radical reinvention of the song that, nevertheless, maintains a clear connection to the aforementioned version.  

Kolev recasts “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” as a much harder, ferociously inclined EDM take on the song with the vocals laid scattershot over the track in a way that transforms Citron’s singing into another powerful instrument for the unit. There’s much less outright musicality here than what we hear in the radio edit, but that doesn’t make it lesser. Instead, “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” packs quite a wallop in both forms, albeit manifested in distinctly different ways. Monsieur Job certainly has unusual origins and a different background than most projects in this vein, but that individualistic lineage produces something unique in a genre where uniformity is too often rewarded. Both versions of “Chow Chow eyyy Pow Pow” are sure to entertain audiences and linger in the memory long after the final notes conclude.  
 

Larry Robertson

Monday, February 5, 2018

Universal Dice - birth, love, hate, death


Universal Dice - birth, love, hate, death


birth, love, hate, death from Universal Dice marks the band’s fourth studio release and definitely their highest reaching effort yet. Lead singer and chief songwriter Gerry Dantone has aspirations going far beyond your typical retro minded rock release. Dantone certainly draws from a recognizable array of influences to make this release fly, longtime rock fans will surely be comforted by his mastery of the style, but the sixteen songs on Universal Dice’s fourth album are definitely modern confections with vibrant and warm sound that doesn’t recall times of yore. There’s a great mix of songwriting and instrumental prowess making this release go and it reaches some truly impressive high points along the way.  

Gerry Dantone’s vocals are traditionally beautiful or musical, but he has an astonishingly engaging emotive sound that’s turned to excellent use on a number of cuts. birth, love, hate, death might initially seem overlong at sixteen songs, but it never really flags and keeps you listening throughout.  
It starts off with a pleasing amount of energy and urgency. “Welcome to the World” brings listeners right into Universal Dice’s imaginative world on the steady shoulders of breezy, confident drumming and well aimed guitars. There’s a much more emotive side brought out with the album’s first ballad styled number, “I Wish I Could Tell You This”, thanks to the lead guitar and a patient, slowly unfolding musical arrangement that nevertheless makes no added demands on listener’s patience. “Your Son” shows off another appealing side of the band’s musical personality with its mix of acoustic and electrified instruments in such a way that they make use of great dynamics and create significant “drama”.  

Dantone’s vocals are strong on every cut and he shows a penchant early on for varying his delivery as the song demands while still promoting himself with a recognizable style. He never feels like the focus, but he’s likewise never far from the heart of each song. That changes some on tunes like “The Prophet” where instrumental excellence is much more pronounced. The drumming on birth, love, hate, death is uniformly awesome, but “The Prophet” is one of those high points on the album where it really stands out from the pack. “Danielle” and the later “I Know What I’m Doin’” is a case study in contrast.  The former tune is an effervescent musical ride, relaxing yet containing some serious undercurrent, while “I Know What I’m Doin’” communicates low key menace in a way nothing else on birth, love, hate, death matches. “I’m No Good for You” is another especially hard hitting rock number, but Universal Dice leavens its effects some with acoustic guitar. The final two tracks “One Day at a Time” and “Forever” ends the album on an acoustic, salutatory note without ever slipping into hamminess and pretension.

This is one of the more impressive, clearly thought out releases from 2017 and it’s difficult to imagine much in this new year vying for the same mantle in the same style.  
 

Daniel Boyer