Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Individualized Review Appreciation for Recent Single and Video Releases

The summer season is in full bloom with block parties, beach adventures and live show shenanigans. Gatherings with old friends inevitably lead to new contacts, which more often than not present fresh music review opportunities. Four separate recording artists become the recipients of these recent connections, motivated by an attentive listening (and viewing) of their current output.

Meeting creative new bands in personal, casual settings through mutual friends has become a preferred method of discovery. Spotting Singer, Songwriter and Record Producer Vanessa Silberman at a number of recent live events presented by like-minded artists led to some lively chats. Further investigations has now provided ample opportunity for discovery of her duo project LOVECOLOR. Collaborating with Musician, Drummer (and Actor) Ryan Carnes, the two member band strike the same kind of attractive visual imagery of acts like The Kills, The White Stripes and The Raveonettes.

The band themselves namecheck Sinead O’Connor, The 1975, Chvrches, Lana Del Ray, St. Vincent and M83 as guideposts. Having toured considerably over the last few years, Vanessa is also an accomplished studio engineer, producer, shredding guitarist and runs her own record label Diamond Heart Productions. Ryan is a well-known actor who also seeks an outlet for his musical passion. Playing drums live with this band allows for a different kind of artistic expression. LOVECOLOR has two singles out so far, written and produced by Vanessa, with capable assistance by Ryan. A detailed exploration of these two tracks now follow.

The current single “Pure Love” emerges out of a deep buzzing synth texture before kicking in fully with driving melody and percussive beat. Vanessa's vocals are ambient, reverberated and floating on the initial verse. Intentionally structured to pop criteria, a bridge is reached under the first minute with descending melody and echo keyboard line. That leads to the payoff hook chorus that lavishly states “Oh-wah-oh – can you feel it – can you see it – can you taste my pure love,” and “can you touch my pure love.” Returning to that 80's darkwave synth rise from the intro (bringing to mind classic albums like Human LeagueDare” and their more ominous tracks like “I Am The Law”).

Vanessa's vocals are powerful and yet ethereal in that Liz Fraser Cocteau Twins way. There are multiple overlays of distant backing voices to go along with a steady percussive thump. At 2:45 in, everything drops back leaving open space for a single keyboard line. That sets the table for backward run voices, creating a pleasant yet slightly unsettling textural mix. Like all great pop songs it closes out with a big, grand finale chorus (with the word “love” frequently pronounced as “lo-E-ove”). Crunchy guitar chords emerge at the very end for good measure. The band has been quoted as stating this track is meant to be “sultry,” while being about “a relational dynamic and see someone truly and purely for who they are rather than what we’re projecting onto them via our past experiences.”

Check out this brilliant track HERE

A music video for this song is promised to be coming soon.

In the meantime, we DO have a video for the bands previously released single “Dangerous.” Opening to the sound of a telephone ringing, the track bubbles to life as the image of a glittery, glamorous, neon-lit Vanessa descends the staircase to a club. “Taste the scene, make me weak – Dangerous,” she coos into a microphone as images of Ryan behind a clear drum-kit bathed in blue lighting emerges. Starkly lite in neon shades of purple and blue, Vanessa's face is enhanced by reflective jewels. We then see Ryan walking down the club's staircase like a secret agent in long leather coat. The bridge is again reached in under a minute with close-ups of Vanessa singing against keyboard rhythms and finger-snap percussion. Reaching the chorus, visual clues continue to emerge, specifically in the form of an origami crane which symbolizes hope, healing and wishes to come true. Ryan's video character is given this symbol in a drink glass from the bartender.

The musical rhythms are pulsating, with deep bassy synths driving a rough edge underneath. Vanessa exudes a sultry presence at the microphone, calling out to “set me on fire” and “you're all I desire” inbetween the singular repeated songtitle. With a minute to go we're treated to a brilliant blusey guitar solo that adds a perfect rock and roll element to it all. Deep saxophone style horns enter the mix as Ryan continues to ponder the origami symbol in his hand. The video ends with him dropping the crane down as audio pivots to the opening phone line, seemingly now gone unanswered. The band has explained how this song and video “is about a few things.” Like “being so drawn to someone that it's almost dangerous” - and how you should strive to “ being free and open with your sensuality.” About “being fully aware, alive and sharp in the world” where one can “fully embrace their whole true selves.”

Check out this awesome track and video here:

Follow LoveColor on their Social Media  -  Instagram  -  Facebook  -  Twitter  -  YouTube

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It's been a year since the ambient duo Cielo Oceano has provided this site with new material to dig in to. The Philadelphia and Baltimore based collective are now back with a brand new track “Cycle Eternal.” Released on Andres Alfonso Lugo's Jak Jonson Tapes label, the collaborative artists recorded this new composition at Laboratorio Soniko Studio Middletown, PA and Where Are We Going Studio Lab in Baltimore, MD. This synergistic process features Andres on guitars, and Tom Lugo on bass, guitars, synth, voice as well as composing the lyrics.

Deep synth pads and a tinkling sequential keyboard pattern over it are the initial sonics opening this track. Bold wind rushes quickly emerge and usher in layers of ambient guitars along with a timekeeping percussive drum beat. Busy bass guitar patterns join in, adding a melodic force to it all. Tom's vocals begin “I want to break free – get rid of the chains – I may have forgotten, how to play the game.” Synth backing is kept static at this point, with the snare drum shot standing out in the forefront. At this point the “gaze” takes over and a wall of ambient guitars create a driving force behind hook-filled lyrics “there is no beginning, there is no end - into to heavens, we will ascend.”

Soaring guitar notes are laid out in a slow and deliberate manner, while gentle chiming keyboards , hustling bass and strong percussion carry on underneath. The sonic field goes quieter once more as Tom delivers a second verse “lose yourself again, a small price to pay - with your eyes wide open, the illusions all fade.” Those lofty, climbing guitars return once more as the final chorus goes further into an ethereal realm, where bass and percussion become alternately buried in the mix. As those chorus lyrics are repeated over in a mantra-like manner, all the instruments come together for a lift-off into the sky.

Listen to this incredible track here:

Follow the band on their Social Media  -  Facebook  -  Bandcamp

Previous features of Cielo Oceano on this site can be found Here and Here.

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Back in February of 2021, this site did a deep dive track-by-track review of The Crushing Violets album “A Dream Without Color.” That enjoyable experience is now revived with the news of a brand new single from the band “Superflower.” Conceived by songwriters Antanina (vocals) and BP Brooks (guitars, vocals), the track was recorded at Lantern Sound Recording Rig, Manorville, NY.  Engineered and Mixed by Mick Hargreaves (who also played bass on it), co-production is shared between the band and Mick. The big surprise is getting legendary drummer (and local Long Islander) Corky Laing to feature his noteworthy skills on it. Nothing less than a thorough investigation is required.

The band wastes no time getting their special guest star involved with the tracks opening sounds involving tom-tom strokes. The guitars chime in and the percussion shifts to high-hat and snare-drum rim clack. It's an easy chord progression groove that sets the pace before Antanina comes in with her vocals. “Superflower magic finds the sun” she sings, with vibrato emphasis on the end word (“suuu-uuuun.”) The hint of rasp and Patti Smith-stylings in vocal tone provide central focus as this lyrical story unfolds. Visions of “oceans,” “timeless waves,” “the dawn” and “emotions” that show how “we are one” emphasize a metaphysical theme. With Corky high in the mix and delivering an emphatic lead-in, a big vocal passage of continuous “ahhhhh's” in rising progression elevates things further.

A second verse continues the odyssey as “constellations” and an “endless mental journey” can't help you “find salvation,” because “nothing in the world can turn back time.” A crisp snare-drum roll leads into the lyrical existential nature of the superflower's “magic” that “blooms” from a “garden of dreams where we sleep.” Mr. Laing's sensitivity and professional approach to this section is quite noticeable, with focused emphasis on high-hat work, leading the track out to it's coda. This is where guitarist BP Brooks is given room to shine with his tasteful, dominating blues licks.

Check out this soulful track (including how to acquire it here:

Follow The Crushing Violets on their Social Media - Official Website - Facebook - Instagram - Bandcamp

A previous feature of The Crushing Violets on this site can be found Here.

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Having written about the boundlessly energetic Tarra Thiessen's previous musical projects over the last few years, it only makes sense now to delve into her latest incarnation – Tea Eater. The debut single “Double” was recently released and is available everywhere via @adiamondheartproduction / Amethyst Trax (@symphonicdistro) in collaboration with @lafamrecordings & @jasnoswarez. With Tarra writing, singing, playing guitars, keyboards and even some percussion, the previously reviewed above Vanessa Silberman added her engineering and production skills to the vocals. This release also comes with a complimentary video directed by @tinehill that emphasizes amusing madcap imagery.

With the video having been shot in the rural settings of Lake Placid, NY, Tarra's mostly-white rock and roll outfit (complete with guitar) and single amp in the road stand out in stark contrast. The sound of crickets chirping are the first thing heard, before the clatter of sawing guitar chords commence. A variety of characters slowly emerge, such as mysterious individuals in hazmat suits – before the protagonist suddenly runs off to a cabin. There we encounter a “double” figure (also played by Tarra) in black, singing the lyrics. Meanwhile white-suited Tarra is quick-cut in to help the vocals along. Not content with just two looks – a third emerges in the form of a yellow rain slicker complete with mosquito-net covered hat and fishing pole. The instrumentation relies on a heavy fuzz-bass (played by main squeeze VramShabouh) and psychotic synthesizers. An individual dressed as a wine box adds one more level of absurdity, before the hazmat clad crew scoop up yellow-slicker attired Tarra and haul her off. The closing line “what is going on!?” perfectly sums up the farcical nature of this production.

See for yourself:


 The full album 'Obsession' is scheduled for an October 6 release via A Diamond Heart Production/Amethyst Trax and La Fam Recordings.

Follow Tea Eater via their Official Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / YouTube

Also connect with A Diamond Heart Productions / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter  

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