Bear in Heaven»Beast Rest Fourth Mouth
Bear in Heaven is a band based out of Brooklyn who dabbles in sounds that could be characterized as experimental (or Krautrock). They have been putting their musical minds together since 2003, but have now created an album that surpasses the past seven years, and that album is Beast Rest Fourth Mouth. The album is not what you would expect from an “experimental” band, it is an endeavor to create relaxing sounds rather than explosive ones for your listening pleasure. Bear in Heaven’s Beast Rest Fourth Mouth is not an album that resonates in your ears from the big banging, but rather from the soothing melodies of the guitar and synth, and the vocals without the memorable lyrics.
The album opens with “Beast in Peace,” a song that starts out with rally drums and supple vocals. Jon Philpot is the man responsible for these hushed vocals, and as the drums keep the tempo, Jon continues to belt out from his lungs. The vocals become louder as more instruments are added and the song is overall accompanied by a hammering sound similar to what you would hear coming from your high school’s football game. And although the drums set the listener up for a volatile breakdown, the breakdown in the song is quite the opposite. The opening song is a bit dragged on, but it gives a clear insight into what you should expect from the rest of the album—vocal wise. “Wholehearted Mess”, on the other hand, has a twang sort of guitar sound in the beginning, and yet again, the vocals are light and hardly audible. It is difficult to make out what the vocals are attempting to articulate, but the song is completely overturned within the first minute where the sound takes an Animal Collective, “Grass,” sound. This is the only song on the album that really does turn to that thunderous middle, but the country sound is diminished by the end of the song where it ends with an abrupt fade-out. “Lovesick Teenagers” is the most distinctive song on the record. Philpot’s voice is almost sensual as he sings atop coated synth motions, with the phrase “Love sick teenagers don’t ever die, they will live forever,” it is the most contemporary love-song to date as the synthesizer chugs along with a sound alike a beating heart.
The album is what could be considered current day rock. With guitar sounds comparable to bands of the 1960’s and vocals similar to MGMT, the album is not necessarily what you would want to listen to on a daily basis. With that said, it is what you would want to listen as you’re attempting to relax in your living room as you unwind from the daily grind and settle into your comfort zone. It is an album that needs to be played with air as it escapes the combines of the speakers. Philpot’s voice was made to translate from sound as aromas translate from a burning candle—they are both therapeutic in a calming sense. Albeit, some may not connote “calming” with “constant drum beats,” but Bear in Heaven seems to put all of those elements together to compose a sound that indicates those two essentials belong together. In the end, after each song has carried over and after each beat has continuously been compressed, the record in and of itself just seems to work out the way it should.
I interviewed Small Leaks Sink Ships from Tempe, Arizona on October 23rd, 2010! They talked to me about where they came from, where they are now, and where they are heading. I’ll have the manuscript up very soon!
Check out their myspace or their website www.smallleaks.com.
Caribou»Live @ The Clubhouse in Tempe, Arizona
The concert was scheduled to commence at 8:00pm on October 9th, but in true live-performance fashion, the show began at 9:45pm with Emerald. The set-up was sluggish and the band was the opposite of fascinating from the start. The group was a collection of three young guys (who did not even introduce themselves), and the only possible good quality about them was their guitar player. The songs were monotonous, supplying the crowd with a cyclic serenade which could also be known as a headache. The least to say is that the concert started out almost two hours behind schedule with a particularly poor opening act.
The audience portrayed loyalty though, sticking through the struggling opening band to see the main men perform. And dedicated as they were, Caribou took stage with gracious smiles as a, “thank you for waiting” commemoration. Dressed in all white and accompanied by their psychedelic background stood Dan Snaith, Ryan Smith, Brad Weber, and John Schmersal. Snaith settled with his drum set and his keyboard at the front of the stage while the other members became acclimated with their instruments as well.
The band based out of Ontario began their musical presentation with song “Kaili.” Snaith’s voice was profound in this first piece, and it essentially set the tone for the entire presentation. It was a melodic masterpiece compared to the opening band as Snaith crooned to the listeners, “She has kept a lookout over what is left of their love.” The interaction with the crowd from there on out was minimal, yet the music was anything but. Throughout the set, the band performed songs from a few previous albums, but a large portion of the tunes played were from the 2010 album Swim.
Snaith shared the duty of vocals with guitarist John Schmersal, as he sang on multiple tunes while strumming along. The majority of the audience seemed to be nothing but steadfast devotees as a group of them started a dance circle in the middle of The Clubhouse. While Snaith focused on switching between his instruments, he acknowledged the crowd with incessant grins.
The group did not do a lot of dancing, but their main source of on-stage presence was their visual background show and drummer Brad Weber. Although the unorthodox visuals made for a stimulating vision, Weber made the show interesting with his determination to point his drum stick to the ceiling every chance he had. Combining the two strange, yet very entrancing illustrations with the musical talents of the four men that make up Caribou and the audience received a show that could have made an epileptic experience the most outrageous act of seizure—which is a good thing in this case.
The show launched at a turtle’s pace with an opening band whose sound was as good as nails on a chalkboard, but gradually caught up as Caribou entered the scene. Caribou is not just a culturally trendy band, but is also an exceedingly talented act better seen live. Their performance was a blow to the mind in every positive way possible as they took peculiar sounds and produced them in a way that was pleasantly perceptible to all.
Have you ever sat in the back seat of a car and wondered what the soundtrack to your thoughts would be? If you haven’t, please take the time to do so. If you have, then rest assured that Grandchildren’s debut album Everlasting is the answer to your question. Everlasting debuts not only a band that came together to form a six-piece orchestra, but the talents that the members contain. The instrumental expansion that is Grandchildren is comprised of an assortment of intense talent. With vocalist Aleksander Martray, bassist and percussionist Russell Brodie, guitarist Adam Katz, drummer Roman Salcic, pianist and synthesizer pro John Vogel and Trsitan Palazzolo on everything and beyond— this sextet is spellbinding.
The album starts out with a hectic drum beat that is then accompanied by a tranquil piano hum. Martray enters with a voice that sounds almost dream-like and similar to Avey Tare of Animal Collective. In the first song of the album, “Cold Warrior,” steel drums are perceptible and repetitive yet still enjoyable. Within the very next song, a profound guitar sound is created. In “Winterlude,” the guitar presents a classic resonance alike Explosions in the Sky, but is made its own when the guitar and synthesizer join in unison and are continually followed with crescendos of all instruments.
The catchiest song on the album is “Heartbreaker.” It is almost as if they took every instrument made and somehow incorporated them into this tune. Martray enters immediately, being followed with clapping hands and a kind guitar plucking away. The sounds of your thoughts appear audible; the song starts out slow and captivating, but within the first minute it becomes a battlefield of marching soldiers whistling through chaos. It is a vision of your thought process, whereas your thoughts start out quiet but gradually grow larger and louder than before. Grandchildren capture this process in the most suitable way possible, hypnotizing the mind as it seeks for a way out.
If you are looking for an answer to your question, Grandchildren deliver an evoking sound throughout the entirety of the album that serves as the perfect explanation. Everlasting could be described as an experimental album, but it is also an embracing sense of what is around you when the calm has emerged after the storm. The album yanks on the chains of every emotion, bringing a sentiment of ambiguity, calamity, and serenity into one through use of clamoring beats, idle guitar bends, mesmerizing synth strums and hazy vocals. With these uses Grandchildren have found their own distinguishing way of presenting themselves through this album. And although bands like Animal Collective and Explosions in the Sky do exist and have generated comparable noise, do not let that steer you away from experiencing the trip that is Everlasting.
Photo Courtesy of Grandchildren’s Myspace
In an age where trends seem to continuously repeat themselves in both fashion and music, Twin Shadow’s 2010 album, “Forget,” is nothing less than an addition to the endless cycle. Reminiscent of the soundtrack in a 1980s John Cusack film, Twin Shadow supplies listeners with an instant flashback to an era that is best known for laced gloves and the Thriller dance.
The album embarks the journey back to the future with the tune “Tyrant Destroyer.” With lyrics such as, “Who was I to think that on a Saturday night you were really back at home alone, and the way that I left you just hanging on Sundays, every fair skinned boy would take you home,” the song makes you want to sit outside of your crush’s house with a boom box on your shoulder confessing your inner infatuation regardless of what a “tyrant destroyer” love truly is.
The album continues in true 80s fashion with tracks such as “Castles in the Snow” and “When We Were Dancing,” which delivers a sound relevant to The Cure’s. With the use of synthesizers and low drums beats, this album is worthy of nothing less than a head nod and a foot tapping the tempo (but is truly worthy of a being background music at a massive dance party). Images of broad shoulder pads and hair tied to the side come to mind when listening to the accompanying beats along with George Lewis Jrs’ seductive voice. With this album, Twin Shadow has markedly joined the bandwagon that is headed back in time, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. In the song, “I Can’t Wait,” the keyboard could be heard as an imitating sound that one would imagine hearing when having a flashback. The same effect is given through the guitar riffs on the track that gave the album its name, “Forget.”
Every trend to this day is everything but original, but we love it all the same. And although Twin Shadow tries to make the sound their own, they are nothing short of Steven Patrick Morrissey while he sang for the Smiths. Yet George Lewis Jr. is crafty in the way that he portrays himself through his lyrics. And although this album could be categorized as yet another attempt to be trendy, Lewis Jr. does not let the attention of the listener go. Twin Shadow provides a sound filled with such retrospective pop and unrefined emotion that within all of the applicable 1980s references, the name of the 2010 Twin Shadow album has the exact opposite effect. With drum beats creditable of moving even the sternest foot, licks responsible for acted upon air guitars, and lines such as “you’re my favorite daydream,” surely do not let the listener forget this album.
Photo Courtesy of Twin Shadow’s Myspace
My name is Sara Kathleen Dalton & I am a journalism student at Walter Cronkite’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication in Phoenix, Arizona. I have consistently enjoyed writing and my passion to do so continues to grow. For me, writing has always been an outlet for my emotions to plug in to, it is the electricity that keeps my fervent light turned on.
Currently, I am attending school and climbing my way up the journalism ladder. My chief interest is in music & I am presently working as an intern for Street Ape and am staying busy with a full schedule filled with attending & reviewing concerts, reviewing albums, and interviewing musicians.
Other interests of mine include photography and music. I own a Canon EOS Digital Rebel t1i, a tenor saxophone and a digital piano. Aside from writing, I enjoy modeling, reading, and traveling in my free time.
Everything portrayed on this blog consists of completely original pieces of writing and photography unless noted otherwise. Please feel free to ask me anything, browse posts that I like, recommend me, and follow me as this blog will showcase the combination of all of my relevant regards to date.