Sunday, April 28, 2024

Ardent Reviews of New Singles and Video Releases

As the opening third of this year moves into its next phase wrapped in a springtime hue, recent singles become the inspiration for a quality listen and subsequent review analysis. Along with this site’s frequent penchant for dreamgaze audio coupled with ethereal vocals, intriguing videos that add insight to the song’s story will receive descriptive notice as well. With three new artists garnering initial attention for their inspiring work here, an old favorite returns with a welcome new release.

New discoveries continue to find their way onto the DaveCromwellWrites soundscape. An artists personal motivation has a lot to do with that, as is the case of currently active Glasswing Butterfly. Primarily the solo project of Tunisian musician Hsin Trabelsi, who is an accomplished bassist with other musical projects, recently released a single and video for his song “Faded Dreamscape.” A focused review of both elements follow below.

Coming out of the gate in full flight motion, the track quickly powers along a rising chord progression, throbbing bass and sharp cymbal/snare drum percussive beats. Chiming guitar melody lines enter the mix, adding musical hooks to the proceedings. Quick moving images of trees passing by (from cameras shot in rear view mirrors), city street images overlaid along with an intriguing gray cat all make appearances. As skateboarders and shoreline images come into view, vocals commence with classic dreamgaze stylings. “I wish I stayed young-to feel the highs under the stars-days rushed away,” presented in an elongated cadence. The mood is reflective and nostalgic, in search of recapturing a feeling you once experienced. Campers, flotation tubes, game screens, flowers and starry skies all make an appearance against the backdrop of this shearing, hyper-drive audio force.

A dual direction pair of guitar melodies add both a rising and descending hook while images of escalators, camera film and moving clouds continue this surreal sonic exposure. As the track continues to buzz along its pleasurable impulses, vocals imploring “take me again to what felt good” runs parallel with views of mysterious locals and the ever present camera. A bright light in the sky and it’s reflection in the water below suggests almost religious or spiritual elements in this story. While a lone figure spinning inside a spiral staircase cuts to pathways walked in other (equally) exotic locales. The music never falters, continuing it’s relentless forward motion of low rumble bass, soothing vocals and clanging percussion until the final roll to conclusion.

Check out this amazing track and video here:

Follow Glasswing Butterfly on Social Media here and here.

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Another new band making their presence felt here at DCW are the Britpop-inspired grungegazers Square Wave. Their recently released single “Too Far” has the trio emphasizing their skills in an impressive way. Self-proclaimed influences of Nirvana’s “Nevermind,” Primal Scream’s “Screamadelica” and MBV’s “Loveless” can never steer you wrong. Other name-checked 90’s-through-present-times icons like The Smashing Pumpkins and Ride complete the need to take a serious listen and attempt to unravel it’s creative elements.

Fuzzy bass guitar kicks off the proceedings. marking out a deep wobble groove till a snare drum shot hits as both vocals and buzz guitar commence simultaneously. Singing out the title line in an elongated cadence (“tooooo toooooo faaaarrr”) the three instruments lock together with precision, laying out a rumbling rise and fall progression. The lyrics are sharp and biting against churning rhythms “I see the freedom in your eyes, as you cross the divide – are you an angel in disguise, or just a trick” while a snaking singular guitar line runs parallel alongside.

Intuitive use of brief, less-intense plateau instrumental breaks keep everything from devolving into one single level of sound. The sharp rhythms and snaking buzz-guitar lines continue as vocals state “there’s the bug inside my brain, and he’s driving me insane – wish I could tell him to stop – but I don’t speak bug!” (Clever). All throughout are powerful instrumental elements occurring simultaneously, like quick percussive bursts on cymbals, those aforementioned slither-buzz guitar lines and the ever present lockdown bass. Two minutes in to this densely layers, very compact 2:52 in length track the chorus hook is revisited once more with dynamic punch, ultimately leading out to its explosive conclusion.

Follow Square Wave on their Instagram here.

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Another impressive new-to-this-site musical collective are the Filipino dream pop duo based in Dubai called WYWY. Having recently released their latest album "Whispers of Existence," the band states how it came about through six years of hard work and dedication. As one might expect over that length of time, it reflects a variety of experiences had along the way. One element of their impeccable sound is the employment of Slowdive’s Simon Scott for the album’s mastering process. A detailed breakdown on one particular creative audio track and associated video follows below.

Recently released video for their track “Disconnected” pairs minimalist audio dream-like ambiance with stark black and white imagery. Deep thump percussion is matched by sleigh-bell chimes amid a slow-moving David Lynchian atmosphere. Cars moving along city streets slowly reveal a bridge where the vocalist begins her tale. “It’s not easy” she begins in an ethereal, reverberated style that recalls Julie Cruise and her contributions to those essential Twin Peaks moments. There’s also an extended quality to her vocals, where end of lines sung have an emotional vibrato effect. Those pleasing vocal stylings were prominent with legendary singers like Harriet Wheeler of The Sundays and bands like LoveSpiralsDownwards on the indie Project label.

A mysterious video technique portrays her counterpart figure with an unrecognizable, distorted face. As if a constant moving “scratch out” of their facial features follow them throughout. They ultimately move on to where she is driving a car and her obscured passenger sits in the back. Her voice is quite beautiful in the most soothing and enchanting way. Midway through she sings “I am broken” leading to the title line “I feel disconnected,” as the pair moves on to a beach “I’m disconnected” she sings in the most angelic way. However, one must consider if the “disconnected” individual is actually the one with all that static covering their face. Moments later a break in the music gives way to the actual sound of computer modem having difficulty – well – connecting. Her voice now joins in with this electronic chaos – before the facially obscured person embraces her. The musical end out is lush and glorious, bringing to mind another beautifully retro band Cults.

Check out this wonderful video and song right here:

Follow WYWY for more updates here:

Facebook  -  Instagram  -  Bandcamp  -  Spotify  -  Itunes

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Speaking of the aforementioned band Cults, a somewhat younger version of the writer composing this review feature (13 years, in fact) made sure to catch their live show at the 2011 SXSW Festival in Austin Texas. Their breakthrough music at that time captured the perfect balance of timeless retro with technological proficiency. Developing an instant affinity for their sound and overall look (capably fronted by adorable vocalist Madeline Follin) a determined effort to catch as many of their shows at that time was accomplished. In addition to the above-mentioned SXSW show, additional appearances a few weeks later were caught at The Mercury Lounge in NYC, three months later at The House of Vans in Brooklyn, as well as a memorable casual face-to-face chat with Madeline at the bar in-between other artists appearances (she wasn’t even performing – just hanging out) at this show.  Fast forward to the present, and the exciting news that Cults are back with a brand new single “Crybaby.” DaveCromwellWrites now digs down into this track in an attempt to detail all the wonders it has to offer.

With instruments commencing in full motion, cathedral chime bells, rhythmic bongo-toned percussion and deep twang guitar lay out a rising progression. Madeline begins her vocals with the lines “bad company – is every day the same routine?” Sung now with a more mature quality to her voice, the diction is still clear and alluring. Fellow band cohort Brian Oblivion underscores each vocal line with mysterious instrumental emphasis.  Heavy phased-out drums thunder the next moments, with a forceful ascending guitar stroke behind the vocal line “I’m slowly losing sympathy.” The chorus hits perfectly one minute in on an off-kilter double-clang guitar chord and FX’d drum roll. “Crybaby” she sings out in full now as shaker tambourine highlights the moment. Her voice is harmonized on the title word with a trailing of synthesized extension. 

Photo by Shervin Lainez

The second verse and chorus follow a similar pattern with subtle instrumental features like rat-a-tat snare drum touches.  Forward rhythmic motion comes to a brief slowdown on the bridge section that implores one to “dry your eyes, baby – turn off the scream.”  A buzzing low-tones synth pulses hard underneath as glocken-chimes trade off with single-note guitar tones.  The final run through of this mesmerizing chorus features wobbly synth undercurrents, an emphatic shadow vocal reply after each primary “Crybaby” line and appealing snare drum rolls.  Essential subtext vocal line “so caught up in your misery” points to the bands insight on how the song is a call out to both sides of codependency.

Check out this intoxicating song here:

The band has announced a U.S. Headline Summer Tour, play Lollapalooza in August and will support Vampire Weekend this Fall.

Follow Cults on  -  Instagram  -  Facebook  -  Twitter  -  Official Website

Previous Features and Videos on this band, exclusive to this site follow below.

Cults - Bumper - live @ Mercury Lounge, March 31, 2011 

 A duet between Cults vocalists Madeline Follin and Brian Oblivion - which they announce from stage as "a song you can dance to" (and Madeline dances through every one) - the back-and-forth vocals are appealing on many levels.

Cults - Most Wanted - live @ House of Vans Party - June 30, 2011

The loveliness of Cults is apparent for all to see. I am quite the fan of their retro (yet modern) sound. Despite being sandwiched between wild bands that encourage complete audience mayhem - Cults won the crowd over with their sweet, soulful sound. Here is "Most Wanted"

Cults - You Know What I Mean - live @ Mercury Lounge, March 31, 2011

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Cults - Go Outside - live @ Mercury Lounge, March 31, 2011

Cults performed one of their most recognized songs - "Go Outside" live at The Mercury Lounge. Mixing Motown, 60's girl group and flat-out Diana Ross with The Supremes stylings (all embedded in guitar-and-glockenspiel enhanced layers and tasteful usage of samples) - it's retro with a modern feel.

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Here is that same song  at Day Party @ Emo's - SXSW - Austin, Texas, March 18, 2011. Start the third day of SXSW with a must see show (cause that album is so incredible). Cults did not disappoint. A quick look at the sights and sounds and a minute clip of “Go Outside” (because we all did).

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Cults - Rave On - live @ House of Vans - June 30, 2011

Additional Live Show Coverage can be found below

Cults - The Curse - live @ Mercury Lounge, March 31, 2011

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