Welcome to the December edition of Back of the Rack, our monthly mixtape featuring the freshest new music on the scene. This month, we have ten tracks from some of excellent up-and-comers from all over the US and the world, with a great variety of genres and styles to be found. If you like what you read and hear, don’t forget to click the button below, or the album artwork at the bottom of the article, to download this month’s Back of the Rack for free.
Tasha The Amazon – Thru The Fire
Hometown: Toronto, Canada
Genre: Hip Hop
Tasha The Amazon seems like the kind of person who can unleash a relentless passion filled verse just as quick as she could sock you in the face. The Toronto based hip hop artist starts the track, “Thru the Fire” with a nod to the reggae gods before diving in with booming rainbow spattered synthesizers and thumping bass. The lyrics read like an apocalyptic testimony being told around a burning trash can covered in rust. Though she is talking about the struggle of dark personal hardships, the song is surprisingly colorful. The hook is a chopped vocal line that is contagious and also ties in the reggae intro with her last note being a Marley’s induced “fire”.
Nevada Color – New Mexico
Hometown: Pittsburgh, PA
Nevada Color is a five man group from Pittsburgh with a playful upbeat sound. This track entitled “New Mexico” is a high energy shake up with optimistic guitar riffs and high tenor vocals that sound like a cross between Caleb Followill and Brandan Urie. The chorus is a huge mixture of echoed cries that seems to drop you off in the open sky of New Mexico and leaves you running through the field chanting the songs ending notes before being whisked back to your computer chair and wanting to have another listen.
Merch – Before You Go Back To Him
Merch’s short and listenable “Before You Go Back to Him” is a conversational grouping of subtle strings, jazzed brushes, and an acoustic Motown guitar line that drives the song (ironically, it is a great song to listen to while driving). The lyrics are the wishful pleas to songwriter Joe Medina’s lost lover asking to save his broken heart “before you go back..” only to have the chorus bring us to reality and come to the understanding of “..how this happened…”. The songwriting is crisp and easily to relate to.
Loves It – The Angels Sing
Hometown: Austin, TX
Loves It’s “The Angels Sing” is a danceable ditty with powerful male and female harmonies. Lead singer Jenny Parrot could be the birth child of Sam Cooke and Janis Joplin. This hybrid of classic country swing, blues, and Motown is as soulful as it is western. This crossing of influences makes perfect sense since both Parrott and Vaughn Walters were already successful solo acts before joining forces. This song in particular by them could be in the Marvin Berry and The Starlighters set at the Enchantment Under The Sea dance. Yes, that indeed was a Back to The Future reference.
Moon Prototype – Expression of Bliss
Hometown: Paris, France
Genre: Electronic, Rock
The electronic and industrial rock influences are prevalent in the 15 year veteran group Moon Prototype’s “Expression of Bliss”. Dark synth and sturdy distorted bass make way for the futuristic and wavy tones before the whispered vocals grab you. The music moves from left to right and gives the effect of a child’s rain-maker being held sideways and slowly swayed back and forth. The middle of the song is the first chance we hear the beautifully haunting piano phrase that, if not prepared, will give you the heebie-jeebies. Listen to this French group in the dark at your own risks.
Roo Panes – Know Me Well
Hometown: London, England
Warm tenor and wood cracking in the backdrop sets the stage for the airy folk track “Know Me Well” by Englishman Roo Panes. Soft piano and provocative strings build to a looping ‘know me well” chant before it takes you full steam with violins, long bass notes, hints of bluegrass in the guitar picking, and then the huge punching piano notes that deliver the sustenance and fill out the crackling that really invites the listener in. This song should come with a blanket and a nice cup of tea.
Elim Bolt – Dingy
Hometown: Charleston, SC
One can’t be sure if Southern Punk is an actual thing, but “Dingy” would be a good example if it is. Charlotte based Elim Bolt’s violent guitars and splashing symbols decorate an underground pop sound. Sections of the songs lyrics have remnants of a 1950’s Halloween special. There is a nonchalant-ness that goes perfect with the line “Feel so dingy in your city”. Dirty crashing drums give the song it’s flare, but the guitar will keep it in your head.
Sour Soul – Undermine
Hometown: Mexico City, Mexico
Sour Soul’s “Undermine” is nothing short of cinematic story telling. Hailing from Mexico City, this band is a balance of relaxed progressive rock and reggae with sparks of Spanish percussion. There is a constant changing of back drop melodies through the slow build up to the eventual “battle scene”. The lyrics are self-reflecting and are pieced together in a very original way. Echoing oh’s swarm your ears like they’re coming from inside an Azteca Temple at dawn. Listening to this song is like reading a good short story. It grows on you. There is much room for improvisation which explains the bands notoriety for exciting high energy performances.
Broken Luxury – Don’t It Feel Right
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Genre: Electronic, Progressive Electro
House and electronic sound engineers Broken Luxury have found a wonderful combination of R&B vocals and daunting synth with “Don’t It Feel Right”. Articulated shaking ambient tones rattle while jerking back beats mix perfectly with simple snapping fingers. The groove grows and then sustains with the smooth looped line “I want it, if you want it…” before all sounds are tossed into the bass dropping void and left there to dissolve momentarily with a pseudo-ending being gone just long enough to lull the listener. Their music has been described as a maze of which the vocals lead the listeners out of. After listening, it’s hard not to agree.
Model Stranger – Stare (I Want You To)
Hometown: Chicago, IL
Heart pumping build up works to raunchy guitar riffs and straight forward rock’ n ’roll drums in Model Stranger‘s “Stare (I Want You Too)”. There are undertones that nod to both past 80’s keys and futuristic space induced grooves. The chorus has a intricate bass line that is easy to remember. This is a rockin’ band with tunes similar to Queens of the Stone Age as well as Muse. The Chicago based trio shine with concise songwriting and great builds and break downs.
Click on the album artwork below if you would like to download this entire issue.
Written by Curtis Ford
OurVinyl | Contributor
Also, all of us at OurVinyl would like to wish everyone a most Happy Holidays and a happy New Year!