We are coming for your soul! At least that’s what you might think with a few of April’s tracks dealing with haunted houses, sharp daggers, and spooky ghosts. But it’s got a soft side too. This month’s edition also includes booming world music, dripping wet synths, and even a little discussion on porn. Also, we have two groups which we were lucky enough to film while at South By Southwest. Enjoy the tunes on the Back of the Rack.
Arkells – Never Thought That This Would Happen
Hometown: Hamilton, Ontario
Genre: Indie, Pop-Rock, Alternative
The first thing I hear from “Never Thought That This Would Happen” is a playfulness quickly paralleled with sorrow violins, maybe adding to the bittersweetness of the story being told. Arkells, a Canadian based group as well as a Juno Award recipient, build this song like a lego-set; higher and higher until in crashes down into a wonderful mess. The lyrics are so acutely straight forward (‘…sometimes you make out with an old friend/ and i’m rounding first and sliding into second..’) They’re like a re-capping story of someone’s weekend. The song also has this epicness to it that can not be ignored. The chorus is a winner with unified guitar and bass riffs that still accompanies big-time violins. The vocal is strong and stands on its own. The song just never lets up. Lyrically, describing a night he finally gets on base with an old friend, he puts a rare moment of victory like this into what can sometimes be the only way to describe it: ‘…I never thought that this would happen…’.
Billy Moon – Video Girls
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
Genre: Indie Rock, Garage, Doo-Wop
Billy Moon’s “Video Girls” is not quite as sexually subtle as other doo-wop songs that you might have heard before. It does very little to hide its naughty theme which is, you guessed it, porn! (I’ve only watched it once before Grandma. It was a complete accident.) The group has described this song as a ‘love/hate relationship’. The gainy tube riff and laxed strumming gels with the percussion like a dancing poodle-skirt with one of the T-Birds at a burger joint. The words come off as an honest approach to how we use (and possibly abuse) ‘video girls’ to fill some sort of void. It’s a strange topic musically but comedians, an underrated form of art, have discussed this very thing feverishly for decades. Best of luck in Billy Moon’s adult years with his right hand… man. The drummer. I’m referring to the drummer. Not his – you know what – forget it.
Daysdeaf – Giving Life To Greys
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Genre: Electronic, Synth, Ambient
This spaced-out-sit-and-stare-at-the-ceiling sandwich created by Daysdeaf is put together very much like its music video for “Giving Life to Greys”; flawless motion of colors dripping into one another. No wasted movement. It’s an effortless vibe. The starting playful piano reminds me of the keyboard scene in “Big” – only playing a Ludwig Van Beethoven inspired intro piece instead. The drop of the main beat with the descending Super Mario keys and water soaked echo synth is effervescent. It wakes you up from a daydream and drops you into their world. The strummed notes glide over the track. This song lyrically has a theme of provoking past memories and breathing some new color into the experience, which adds to the title. Wholesome violin add subtle eeriness to carry out the track into a canvas that is exhausted with paint.
The Dead Strange – Dead House
Hometown: London, Britain
Genre: Rock, Alternative, Indie Rock
Jittery pops of lurking piano chords with a twangy guitar snap fill the empty space in this very alive yet dead themed track by The Dead Strange called “Dead House”, of course. The percussion keeps the listener looking around the corner of every beat and occasionally gives them something to chew on. The British duo, this being their debut EP, have already captured that distinctive European rock’n’roll hook ability that will keep people interested. In the song’s chorus, the menacing harmonies make the track easy to remember, but the piano in the verse is what will bring people back. Bandmates Josh Rogers and Callum Hawes keep a grooving rock-forward tune eerie while reminding me of the Munsters; they are a bit strange, indeed. We look forward to hearing more from these two gentlemen, possibly even from here or the afterlife…. Muhahahaha.
Fly Golden Eagle – Psyche’s Dagger
Hometown: Nashville, TN
Genre: Indie Pop, Psychedelic, Rock
“Psyche’s Dagger” by Fly Golden Eagle is sharp, literally and figuratively. The beginning is a grinding bread knife over bones, sharp daggers of piercing high fret plucks gather is your ear before slicing symbols at the stop-go climatic chorus bring everything together. The lyrics are a conversational tale of young love at a house, maybe a house show, maybe a deck party, coulda’ been a tupperware party. This song sounds like a coastal beach being stirred in a glass bottle. There is a very deep and dark turn at the bridge where all this questioning comes into place: ‘..would you go down down down to the depths of Hades / lookin’ for me’? But the ever trustworthy Fly Golden Eagle swoops us back to our happy place, where we would rather want those sharpened daggers of sunshine than a drooping bottomless Hades, am I right? Go see these guys if they come your way.
Karikatura – Horns of Love
Hometown: Brooklyn, New York
Genre: World, Latin, Salsa, Brass
The pelvic-shaking sway of the track “Horns of Love” is a brass fused world turning experience from Karikatura who are based out of Brooklyn, New York. Karikatura, which means “caricature” in over 30 languages (ironically), is a keen story-telling group with pungent and lively songs filled with trombone, saxophone, cowbell, snapping snare, and three part harmonies (‘OOhh NOO!’) The guitar moves with the beat as the bass leads the dance through the twist and turns of lively trombone and sax. The singers voice is both soothing and powerful while it mourns the eyes of the horns which passed through his town. We had the pleasure to meet and film a session with these guys while in Austin, TX for SXSW. Festival goers gathered infectiously hoping to grab a sticker and show their respect with a few bucks for the band. There music has taken them to Brazil, Holland, Europe, and even my hometown of Mobile, Al. Their hard work can be heard in their chops. Look for the upcoming SXSW Session on OurVinyl soon!
Bleeding Rainbow – Phase
Hometown: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Genre: Psychedelic, Ambient, Rock
Bleeding Rainbows is a Philly-based band that mixes ambient rock with loving female vocals over torn shreds of notes and heavy tom thumping drums in “Phase”. The words are close to inaudible but it doesn’t take away from the music. It more so adds to the spliced togetherness and the raw energy. How many great shows have you seen where you could barely make out a word? I bet more than one. It’s the emotion she projects that’s catchy. The song seems to be in a constant state of change, altering itself into new identities with the title helping along the ambiguity. This song is a passing point. It’s wanting to say something but maybe it can’t as powerfully as we would like, a fair analogy to passing through a phase.
Mia Dyson – When The Moment Comes
Hometown: Victoria, Australia
Genre: Songwriter, Indie, Alternative
Australian born Mia Dyson has hit quite a chord with “When the Moment Comes”. It’s such a ferociously optimistic song, it could breathe new life into a sleeping soul. The opening acoustic riff could have been placed in 1916 for the recording, the drumming is beautifully sporadic and Dyson’s voice is a combination of raspy rock’n’roll and gospel. The interesting part of the song is that she is not saying anything that is life-changing, but leaves the power in the hands of those living it. She simply states ‘…you will know what to do / when the moment comes…’. It’s encouraging. Her voice blended with exploding guitar tracks and drums leaves the listener gasping for air from all the motivation the song leaves you with. Mia was another musician we got to film while at SXSW. She did not disappoint playing a broken down set equipped with four part harmony, tambourine, shakers, and good-time hand-clapping to add to her electric vocals. Expect the OurVinyl session to drop later in the summer after her new album Idyllwild is released in June.
Quiet Life – Record Time
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
The opening sequence to Quiet Life’s “Record Time” seems to play off its name a bit. The slow rise in volume has a daybreak feel that sparks the train steady snare that fuels the song. Between verses are sprawling guitar licks that echo with Texas-slide. The words are maybe a bit more self-reflecting than directed at anyone in particular. The lyrics are about the problems the person has caused and is chasing his woman and making it to her in “record time”; noble, certainly. There’s some really nice nods to Bob Dylan’s classic style of singing and slide licks climbing up and down the fretboard that vaguely remind me of “Eleanor Rigby”. Having just played at SXSW, the Portland-based 5-piece are headed to tour alongside Toy Soldiers and Portugal the Man in support of their new LP Wild Pack.
The Vickers – Ghosts
Hometown: Florence, Italy
Genre: Indie, Kaleidoscope Rock, Jam
“Ghosts” is an ambient rock song by the Florence, Italy based group The Vickers. The starting point of a ghostly laugh sounds like Casper floating back and forth between the speakers haunting the listeners, giggling. Soft symbol and snare coincide with bass strums that stay high on the fretboard which seems to add to the out of placement you hear (like a ghost perhaps). There is a psychedelic 60’s vibe that Scooby-Doo and the gang would love to have floating in the background of a scary dark mansion. The song is a maze. You never really know where you are. Even when you think the song is over, it pops back in to remind you that the haunting is persistent. It doesn’t look like you will be able to see them play in the States anytime soon, but be sure to listen to their new album, Ghost, dropping March 28.
Written by Curtis Ford
Our Vinyl | Contributor
Album Cover by Jessica Yohn