Friday, March 19, 2021

Immersive Reviews of New Music and Video Productivity

The evolution of how we use Social Media to connect with others over the last decade has been a curious one. For those of us who are musically driven, the early aughts gave us MySpace as a place to interact. That morphed over to YouTube, Facebook (still hanging in there as far as topic specific groups go) and ultimately over to Instagram. Although aware now of other emerging platforms, for this writer - FB and IG for the most part remain more than sufficient. Not particularly interested in perfecting “dance moves” or being a product-hawking “influencer,” most of the new “take silly videos of yourself” outlets are of little interest. What does that have to do with this sites current crop of music reviews? Quite simply, you never know who you will eventually run into again a decade later. With that cryptic aside, we now commence with the March 2021 DCW Feature.

It's easy to see the appeal of Queens, NY-based edgy power-pop duo Yo Kinky. Having only established themselves a year ago, the duo of Laura Wight and Tom Unish have created an enticing five song EP that is accompanied by a number of attractive, cleverly realized videos. While guitars, keyboards and drum machines provide the musical foundation for each excellent song, it is the confident intelligence, charm and determined energy of front-woman Laura that sets them apart from many other male/female duos.

However the recorded music is more than just an individuals stylistic image, as EP opening track “Wire” attests to. With a minimal percussive beat setting things in motion, an angular, descending guitar progression takes over with rich tonal quality. Laura immediately establishes a distinct personality with soft-to-forceful vocal phrasings (often within one line) while busier bass-guitar patterns emerge underneath (“anyone can tell I'm in love with you.”) Bubbling keyboard effects soon join in adding one more sonic element. Repeating the same lines throughout a song can become static if the vocalist lacks expression. Fortunately that is not the case with Laura who finds multiple ways to recite them (“the last thing I wanna do is fight with you,”) capping it all off with the universal “Ooh, Ooh, Oooh!”  A brand new video for this song has just emerged and can be viewed via this link.

First single and video “Someone I used to know” shows the band putting their best foot forward in every way. Kicking off with long-view nighttime city lights, buzzing synth-bass and drums have a near-techno-house feel. Quick cuts to a glamorous face, form-fitting gloves and jacket (with punk-rock skull and crossbones pattern) has the voluminously coiffed Laura delivering come-hither lines while strutting seductively-fun down the street. With each line carefully delivered “I know you, and I are gonna have a rad time - Full of bad taste, of neat humor - We'll kick the rat race, enjoy the rumors”- credit goes to the performer and director for this perfect synchronicity. As deep tom-tom drums lead into the title-line chorus, an amusing (to me, anyway) overlay of Tom's head provides a “gazey” background vocal face while Laura continues the flirtatious pull with lines “all there's left is you” (pointing her blue-leathered glove right at you).

All of the lyrics and vocal line deliveries are most-enticing, coming on with a street-smart lingo and attitude. However, this writer is particularly fond of the line “I'm a glutton for typeface boys and girls.” Two minutes in (on this three-and-a-quarter minute song) Tom gets his “rock star” moment, standing solo in the street with guitar in hand, dropping that heavy hook riff. The final near-rap-like boastful lyric “I've heard the gunshots right below my window panes-I've always spit out: one day I'll make it rain” sound more believable coming from the casually-confident person delivering them. One video commenter said Laura reminded them of Anna Kendrick, and I can see that. Big personality and pretty face in a diminutive frame. We all have our points of reference. Since I'm presently binge-watching every season of “The Americans” (a show I continually planned to see but conflicts always prevented it), I can see similarities with Keri Russell – a much younger version.

Check out this super cool video here:

At under two minutes long, “Lonely Love” gets to the point right away in classic punk-rock fashion. Hard charging distorted electric guitar with pummel thumping drums and bass set the way for Laura's crisp vocals over top. Laying out a story where rhyming couplets “the might is right” are paired with “the dark goes light” soon spins into a double-time prison yarn (didn't see that coming). With mentions of “sing sing,” “rikers” and potential breakouts, images from Escape At Dannemora come flooding back into view.

Another track benefitting from an accompanying video release is the bouncy guitar-driven “Resistance.” Chiming, indie-clean chords are matched against machine-driven trap-drumset approximations and appropriately synched bass (sounding like – well, a complete three piece rock band). The sweetly alluring (and frankly, dazzling) smile of Laura (not to mention those cheekbones) come presented in three distinct visual scenarios. The first has her sat at kitchen table wearing a robe and character defining wig (wavy and pyramid shaped) from decades ago. Next is a more modern style – almost go-go-girl-like with white lacy dress and long straight hair – but she's trapped in a box inside a dirty warehouse. Last shows the time-honored 'damsel-in-distress' – tied to railroad tracks – with 1920's-era fingerwave hairstyle – bringing to mind the look in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries.

A subtle buzzing synth joins in behind they lyrics “Everybody's just around the corner now. Everything I need is just a short walk down the street.” A this point the scenarios begin to change, becoming more distressed. We see the 'go-go-girl' is chained at the ankles with water slowly filling the container she's trapped in. Morning coffee and cigarette robe-woman now has flames coming up from underneath – cleverly recreating that popular “this is fine” meme. Damsel on the tracks is already “in distress,” but we get to see more close-ups of that pretty screen-icon face and listen to the sweet vocals. But what is the song actually about? “Sight got back, I feel different, a flicker in the distance. More like you, more like him, more home- sans resistance,” is how the minor-key hook-chorus goes. So - “sans” resistance- that is to say - “no” resistance. As Laura let's loose with impressive vocal range “Oooooh's,” Tom unleashes more aggressive, harsher-toned guitar lines. Clever use of cardboard train coming at the damsel, and all three victims meet their demise (burn, drown and presumably run over by a train) – that is until the coda image of robed breakfast woman lighting up her cigarette from the burning flower on her table.

Watch the whole fun video and listen to the equally great tune here:

Final track “Stretch” kicks off with an angular percussive pattern favoring altered snare and tom-tom tones (oddly bringing to mind Mick Fleetwood's bizarro marching band thumping on the Fmac track “Tusk”). Choppy FX's-free electric guitar and bass engage in a descending progression before Laura commences her extremely-wordy vocal presentation. Morphing between a friendly-sneer street-lingo style and longer held notes, the effect bears similarities to Lene Lovich's delivery on her late 70's/early 80's era alterna-hit “Lucky Number.”

Telling a tale about coming-of-age females growing up in LA, (hitchhiking, etc) – that scene from “One Upon A Time In Hollywood” where Brad Pitt's “Cliff Booth” eventually gives some flirty and forward jailbait a ride to the Spahn Movie Ranch comes to mind. The chorus is one of those “number count” songs where “30 40 50 60 70 80 90” are recited in succession, followed by “Ain’t no way the best year got behind me.” Twisty synth tones join the fray, adding an element of chaos to it all. The second verse acts as one of those “travel log” segments where every notable neighborhood in the area (and eventually other global cites) are mentioned. The songtitle eventually reveals itself with the summation line “You’re gonna bend, you’ll fold, you’ll stretch.”

Find out about everything this band has to offer via their LinkTree here.

On an alternately related note - check out a cool feature on The Raveonettes this site did a few years back.

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A much needed (now more than ever) new organization called Freedom Of Creativity has connected this website with an excellent band out of Austin, TexasThe Dizzy Bangers. Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Jimi Dharma (surely a relative of Blue Oyster Cult's Buck Dharma) the music combines rock and roll with grunge, blues and psychedelica.

One of their recent releases “Under The Sorrow” comes complete with an impressive live-in-the-studio video that is enhanced by animated effects. An initial chugging chord progression is soon joined by bassist and drummer, quickly establishing the off-to-the-races “kick-ass” sound. The visual enhancements are immediate, taking live action players and morphing them in and out of a cartoon-like sheen. Jimi comes into focus, looking somewhat like a bearded Joe Satriani. In between the head-bobbing (and band jumping) hooky signature riff, crystalline vocals lay out an intelligent lyrical storyline. Referencing songtitle in the chorus, Jimi concludes with “I'll be with you at that moment we say – goodbye.”

All three musicians are impressive with chops galore, and who doesn't love a 5 string bass. Drums are delivered with that four-way independence and simultaneous synchronicity of a seasoned pro. Very cool angular guitar line serve as interludes and bridges to subsequent sections. Jimi ultimately lets rip with a killer guitar solo at the songs midpoint, putting just the right amount of emphasis on it, without excessive “J Mascis levels” of noodlery (which would have been ok too!). With that penultimate hooky chorus embedding itself firmly in your head by this point, super slo-mo effects are applied onto the developing cartoon-anime bandmembers.

Check it out in all it's glory right here:

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Following the success of last years pandemic influenced single “Quarantine Dreams” and subsequent full album release “Masterforce,” the self-described “high gloss rock duo” Turbo Goth have now recently dropped an exciting new track “Crystal Eyes.” Simply speaking the title out loud could easily have you pronouncing it as “Crystallize,” which turns out to be just that after listening in full.

Clocking in at a no-excess only one-minute-and-a-half, the song gets right to the point with Sarah's softly appealing vocals kicking in right away. “If you're waiting for a sign – it ain't that hard to find” she states, as pulsing keyboards and hip-hop percussion create a positive bubbling backbeat. As “it ain't that hard to find” becomes a repeated echo line, alternating imagery of a vinyl record playing is spliced against walking footprints and brief glimpses of the bandmembers.

Delicate vocals continue with the lyrics “within you is Divine – quit wasting your time” as beautiful images of nature (sunsets, sky, sea, birds) are cut together with a protagonist slowly being revealed wearing a spacesuit.

As we get closer looks at the “astronaut” exploring the new landscape they (obviously) have just landed on, the vocal cadence quickens with the lyrics “falling out of control? Getting all mixed up in the fear? Let me take you back to all that's now and here.” Subtle effects and harmonizing are added to each successive line as they emerge. A slight sonic change occurs at this point as darker outer space imagery is joined with (also darker) “inner space” fish-in-tank, with lyrics “hold on to – uninterrupted cosmic – vibration.” A purple color walkway then appears with the lines “you already know: where you will take yourself” - as the backing track momentarily drops out to add emphasis on that last line. “I'm ready to go – if you want to take me too,” continue the lyrics.

Another cadence shift happens with the vocals and lines “and we won't forget what's real – we'll know to turn our sights” (complete with green-hued “office desk” imagery (stapler, paper clips, pencils and computer keyboard) “onto the light.” Vocal overlays commence “with good vibration” now alternating over “onto the light,” and that word “crystallize” making an appearance.

Check out this enchanting song and video here:

Previous Turbo Goth Features can be found on DaveCromwellWrites here, here and here.

Not that long ago, when meeting in person was still a thing.

Find out everything else about Turbo Goth at their Official Website.

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Entering the DCWrites sphere via the most advantageous way (a direct message notify), Rob Clarke and The Wooltones hail from the UK Liverpool suburban village of Woolton. Among other things, the area is noteworthy for John Lennon's childhood home as well as he and Paul McCartney's first meeting place. Rob Clarke incorporates elements of this history into his music, along with a variety of other influences as well. On the bands latest album “Putting The L in Wootones,” a heady mixture of 60's psych, UK/Mersey and American West Coast vibes permeate the album's eclectic tracks.

The album's introductory track “Big Big Bad Bad John,” also comes along with a video treatment presenting numerous famous John's as possible songtitle reference. The descriptive accompanying text states “down in the swamps . . . lived a man they called John . . . Big Big Bad Bad John – but, which John?" Clips of JFK, John Lee Hooker, John Wayne, John Bonham, King John (or maybe that's John The Baptist), Johnny Rotten and the one any only Mr. Lennon himself are all shown in quick succession. The associated instrumental groove is a stomping, bluesy, acid-rock progression, with longer-held psychedelic guitar riffs capped off by a bold guitar-bass+drums accent finish. Coming to a full stop to deliver the lyrics (the way Led Zepplin's “Black Dog” does) the lyrics go “Big bad John, he's been gone too long. Sing 'wah-diddy' with his glasses on. Many things have come and gone – dead and gone but the beat goes on.”

A variety of cool clips from films and live musical performances roll by with a new series of John's including Travolta, Cochran, Voight, Cash, Fogarty, Gielgud, Doe, Southside, Wesley Harding, Elton, Depp, McEnroe, Cleese, Deacon, LBJ and a few assorted English Footballers and Politicians who are unknown to this writer. However, feel free to pick out the one's YOU can spot that were missed here. Meanwhile, the song continues to stomp along like some deep American South jungle-blues with tribal tom-toms, wailing harmonica and chanting vocals.

Check out this clever video and song here:

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