“Black as the Sea” – single
I know people tend to have preconceived notions when it comes to how guitar and drum two-piece rock bands are going to sound. And it’s been my experience that a lot of the time those notions are correct. However, Feral Vices is much different. This is something completely original here. Coming out like a cross between Queens of the Stone Age, The Jesus Lizard, and Refused, Feral Vices is not a band that is easily categorized; with alt-rock, post-hardcore, and punk all being present in their sound. Their latest single “Black as the Sea” even taking on a Nine Inch Nails industrial feel to it. You’d be hard pressed to pull off this sound with a full band, let alone just two people. The band seems to have a penchant for writing catchy, stick-in-your-head hooks, and “Black as the Sea” is no exception. Lyrically “The song kind of rides the moment between the realization that you’re in a bad relationship but also still wanting to be with the other person,” said the band, “but inevitably are pulled into this place of resentment of the relationship.” The band is currently releasing a five-song ep one track at a time through October, (this being the third single). All three singles so far have been bangers, so it’s safe to assume this is going to be a hell of a strong ep.
Wake Up – album
“I’m influenced by artists who really use their music to say something,” says Louisville singer/songwriter Gabe Close in his bio. He continues; “I aim for my music to be more than a catchy tune. I try to write songs that can reach people where they are.” With his latest album Wake Up, his aim is on mark. What you get here is nine solid tracks of indie Americana written and played by an extremely talented cast of musicians. Standout tracks are numerous here; beginning with the opening emotional piano, violin and vocal ballad “How Did We Get Here?”; the smooth flowing title track that brings to mind The Band; the toe-tapping “Only What I Want to Hear”; the bluesy/classic country “Magnolia Inn”; the acoustic-driven “I’ll Still Be Here” in which Close shares vocal duties with Lydia Cox; “Dancing in the Rain”, a track which could easily be mistaken for Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers; and the Dylan-esque acoustic closer “I Can’t Stay”. Coming across as a mix of Tom Petty and Bon Jovi with a tinge of Bob Dylan, Close’s voice shines throughout these tracks. His storytelling is as intense and urgent as it is welcoming and inviting.
Wake Up is an exciting slice of Americana you’re going to need to experience for yourselves.
Don’t Let Your Love Life Get You Down – album
“Jaye Jayle’s music is best suited for those after midnight hours, when the house lights are dim, the air is thick with humidity and tobacco smoke, perceptions are chemically altered, and every note carries far more gravity” reads the bio for Young Widows guitarist/vocalist Evan Patterson’s ever-evolving solo project Jaye Jayle. Listening to his latest album, Don’t Let Your Love Life Get You Down, you quickly gain an understanding of that statement. There is a certain darkness and melancholy that have always set Young Widows apart from the post-hardcore/noise rock crowd. That darkness and melancholy have certainly found a home with Jaye Jayle, albeit stripped of the loud, heavy guitars and drums. Here we find a strange and beautiful mix of trance-like ambient psychedelia, early 80’s post-punk goth, industrial rock and traditional Americana. Calling it an original sound doesn’t even begin to describe what’s going on here. Written following the end of his marriage and a long period of instability and uncertainty, “I found peace in being accepting of the change,” said Patterson. “I wanted the songs to feel ‘devastatingly hopeful’. This is absolutely the most emotionally straightforward album I have made.” Fuzzed out guitars and hollow drums surrounded by hypnotic synth highlights, all punctuated by Patterson’s rich, deep, melancholic vocals combine to pull the listener into a transcendent, immersive, hallucinatory, dream-like soundscape of light and darkness. This is less of an album than it is an experience.
“Angel Wings” – single
Nick Teale seems to be a musician that can not only find his footing in any genre he takes on, but carve his own groove into it as well. Following up on last year’s full-length Still In Limbo, which saw the singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist take on every genre from folk to rap, his latest single “Angel Wings” finds him riding the lines between Americana, folk and R&B, but with a touch of 70’s classic rock mixed in. Sort of a cross between Sturgill Simpson and James Taylor with some elements that certainly bring parts of several different songs from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon to mind. Lyrically “Angel Wings” tells a heartfelt story rooted in isolation, generational cycles of addiction, and the bleak realities of American poverty, yet does so with an underlying uplifting spirituality behind it. Backed by Central KY jamband Fourth Street Station, and featuring Kiana Benhoff and Juliana Rodriguez on backing vocals, the talent level here is tremendous. Still, the star of the show remains Nick Teale’s rich baritone voice, which is just as distinct as it is impossible to ignore. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention yet another incredible production job by Anne Gauthier at La La Land Sound, which is tailor-made for songs like this, creating a huge warm, expansive yet punchy sound. Without a doubt, the “Teale Appeal” is in full effect here!
“Feelings About Feelings” – single
I’ll give Andrew Aebersold a lot of credit; for a man who’s been making music for 30 years now, he just keeps getting better. Aebersold is the man behind the life-long music project Radianation, writing and creating his own material since the early 90’s, and his latest single “Feelings About Feelings” is his most ambitious yet. Written for his wife for their 18th wedding anniversary, “Feelings About Feelings” is “an intimate collection of memories commemorating our beautiful journey that began two decades ago.,” said Aebersold. Falling somewhere in the realm of Radiohead meets Coldplay with an early, more-subdued Nine Inch Nails influence, the song’s verse follows an extremely catchy bass line and punchy drums accented with acoustic guitar and synth, highlighted by Aebersold’s smooth, flowing vocals, all combining to create a serene, peaceful, dream-like soundscape. The chorus kicks it up a notch, taking the song in a more alt-rock direction with the guitar going electric, taking on a heavier tone, and the drums getting even punchier somehow before bringing it all back down. As carefully and masterfully crafted as this song is, it’s not hard to tell this is one very close to his heart. The production here is outstanding as well — crystal clear with each instrument taking on a life of its own while blending perfectly to create this beautiful soundscape. With an anniversary present like this, no doubt there will be at least another 18 years to come! Congratulations!
A La Cart – EP
Like Ed “Big Daddy” Roth’s Rat Fink drawing come to life — a deranged looking monster with bloodshot, bulging eyes and razor-sharp teeth behind the wheel of a comically supped-up hot rod with flames coming out of it tearing up the road — Wiirmz is Rat Fink, their instruments are the hot rod, and their sound is the flames. Wiirmz doesn’t just hit you hard, they plow right through you. Less a modern day proto-punk revival band and more like what a complete reincarnation of the original lineup of MC5 or The Stooges would sound like today if they were just recording Kick Out The Jams or Fun House. This doesn’t sound retro, this sounds fresh and new, but with the spirit and the power of the aforementioned bands in their prime. Somehow, the band seems to have gotten even grittier since their 2020 debut album Faster Cheaper, losing some of the poppier elements of their sound and gaining a rawer, meaner edge; all the while retaining their trademark in-your-face social and political lyrics and penchant for writing big hooks concealed within stripped-down rock n’ roll. This is music that’s meant to be played at full volume, and that’s probably why even though they sound great recorded, these songs sound so much better live. You just can’t contain this kind of energy on tape, this needs to be heard and physically felt in a live show environment to truly get the full effect.