Listen Local: Music Reviews

Zurich Cloud Motors new lineup
Zurich Cloud Motors new lineup

Chenille oKeel

Big Big - album

If there is only one thing good you can say about the pandemic, it’s that it inspired a lot of people to write and record new music. Many of those who were already musicians decided to take a different route with their music and get experimental, and we are just now really starting to see a lot of those projects bloom — one of which is Chenille oKeel. Having been a part of local acts Ocifer and Valley, Christopher deRome, (under the name Chenille oKeel), set out to create a completely different style of music; and with his second full-length album Big Big, he certainly seems to have accomplished just that. Combining a heavy influence of early 80’s British new wave synth-pop with modern day EDM and trip hop, oKeel creates a unique rhythmic soundscape that is simultaneously nostalgic and psychedelic, yet also fresh and new. oKeel excels in creating well-crafted pop songs that effectively curate different moods, feelings, and visions for the listener; all the while shining a spotlight on oKeel’s distinctively unique vocals and thoughtful, introspective lyrics. There’s a reason why the album and all song titles start with the word Big, these truly are big, big songs here that you’re just going to have to experience for yourself to get a true feel and appreciation for what Chenille oKeel is doing here.


“Drive” - single

When you hear a band like HANNAN, you realize what a shame it is that the music industry has gone to shit. This is a band that is absolutely bursting at the seams with catchy hooks, solid musicianship, and excellent songwriting skills that should be blaring from every rock radio station the world over, along with multi-platinum records and sold out arena tours to boot. Back in the day, major label A&R reps would have been fighting tooth and nail to sign a band half this good. But it certainly does make you proud that Louisville could produce a band with this level of talent. “Drive” is the first single off HANNAN’s upcoming album Last Disguise, and it’s a burner! Produced by 3 Doors Down guitarist Chet Roberts, (who also produced HANNAN’s 2019 Charm Offensive ep), “Drive” is a groove-oriented, riff-driven, modern rock/alt-rock hybrid with a little Southern flare to it. But make no mistake, this is no run-of-the-mill radio rock band; HANNAN has a highly-polished, distinctive sound and style all their own. “Drive” is led by Graham Hannan’s smooth yet soaring vocals, alongside the powerhouse riffs, (not to mention shredding dual guitar solos), of Kris Kerr and Dave Muscutt, all supported by the solid, in-the-pocket rhythm section of Josh Smart (bass) and Dean Dufresne (drums). Having just signed with CB Entertainment and garnered 31,000 views of the “Drive” music video within the first month, those major labels may yet be calling!

Tin Zelkova

“My Addiction” - single

You know what you never hear anymore; straightforward rock music. Not hard rock, not soft rock, not alt-rock, just rock. At some point in the ‘80s, rock started to splinter off into different styles. By the ‘90s, rock music was gone, replaced by hundreds of niche subgenres. What used to be called rock has now been shoved under the banner of classic rock. But every once in a while a new band comes along to keep that torch burning - Louisville’s Tin Zelkova is one such band. “My Addiction” is a straight-up rock song with the kind of thick groove that you can just sink back into. It’s a little bit Rush, a little bit Aerosmith, and even a little bit Blue Oyster Cult (minus the keyboards), but without sounding derivative of any of those bands. Definitely a ‘70s rock vibe here, but without sounding dated. This track is driven by a big, catchy, guitar-driven hook that digs it’s fangs into you almost immediately. It’s one of those songs that you’re definitely not just going to be standing still with folded arms when hearing it; whether you’re dancing, tapping your foot, or nodding your head along to the beat, you’re going to be moving. Prolific as hell, Tin Zelkova has already released a full-length album and six singles since April of 2022, no doubt with plenty more on the way. This is definitely a band that needs to be on your radar!

Zurich Cloud Motors

“Atlas of Your World” - music video

Here’s something different, (for me at least), a video review amongst the local music reviews. And here’s something far more different: Zurich Cloud Motors. As strange as the band name is, it doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface here. The closing track from their latest album Orbital Factory, “Atlas of Your World” is a full-on aural assault of ‘60s garage rock, proto-punk, post-punk and acid jazz thrown at you all at once; yet that is the true beauty of this song - the musical chaos. Because buried in the distorted, fuzzed out guitar, minimalist drums, and squawking sax is an acoustic guitar-driven rhythm and vocal melody that make up an extremely catchy late ‘70s/early ‘80s sounding pop song. And the music video, created and edited by vocalist/saxophonist/band leader Stevie Leszyk and Eric Stevens of Michi Tapes, is certainly befitting of the song. Featuring band clips recorded by Leszyk combined with found VHS and public-domain footage edited by Stevens, then, per Stevens, “Run through a classic ‘dirty video mixer’ circuit, captured onto VHS before being dumped back into the computer for editing,” the video strikes me as a cross between a VHS tape that has been recorded over dozens of times and a scrambled cable channel. Grainy, skewed images flash across the screen in seemingly random order too quickly to comprehend, making the perfect background for this quirky-as-fuck tune. Just get really high and watch this, trust me.