Author Archives: Jasmine Wariboko

Coasts: Oceans EP

Coasts- Oceans EP

Coasts, a five-piece band from Bristol, England, first got together in 2011. Two years later, they released their EP Paradise. Since then, the band has gained some recognition, including being one of fourteen artists to be featured on iTunes’ “Ones to Watch” in the UK for summer 2014. The band is able to further showcase their talents with their latest EP, Oceans .

The first track, ‘Oceans’, is a great way to start off the EP. It steadily pulls you in and leaves you immersed in empathy. The song starts off with a simple yet sweet guitar riff and the lyrics “We fell in love right by the ocean”.  As the chorus kicks in, like waves crashing onto the shore, the song seems to take on a different form.  It truly is an astonishing track of epic proportions.

The second track, ‘Tonight’, sounds kind like the previous song, ‘Oceans’, but what makes the track stand out is the use of the synthesizer, which makes the song more upbeat.

The song ‘Golden City’ is an absorbing track.  In the beginning, it sounds like it could be a slow song, especially considering the use of the piano, but then the song takes a different turn. It soon becomes more of a dance track that could perhaps be played at a nightclub. The lyrics, “If we play this right/ we can take the world/but I left my heart in London/ with the girl in the golden city”, makes the song quite intriguing.

The track, ‘See How’, is all about heartbreak. The lyrics “You broke my heart a thousand times or more” seem to make that pretty clear. Some other lyrics that stuck out to me were “wandering the aisles of your vacant mind”. The drums on this track make for a great beat that is consistent throughout the song.

The EP also includes two remixes of the song ‘Oceans’. The first remix, by Toyboy and Robin, makes the song faster, but not completely danceable. The second remix, by Kastle, is a rather distinct. It starts off slow and repeats the muffled lyric, “Is that the devil in your eyes?”, which kind of confused me a little.  Then out of nowhere, the song is brought to life with hip-hop and R&B melodies. It’s a unique twist on the indie rock song that I found utterly refreshing.

Listening to Coasts’ EP, Oceans , is like a fun day at the beach filled with tuneful guitar sounds and lyrics that flow. That being said, feel free to put on some cool shades and enjoy every minute.

7/10

The Heartbreaks: We May Yet Stand A Chance

The Heartbreaks- We May Yet Stand A Chance

Have you ever had the feeling of being disillusioned with life?  At first, you feel awful, like How could I not have seen this before? But then you realize, with open eyes and a clear heart, that you are better off knowing the truth and that you should keep moving forward.

The nature of this idea is captured on The Heartbreaks‘  second album,  We May Yet Stand A Chance . The English band is comprised of singer Matthew Whitehouse, songwriter/drummer Joseph Kondras, guitarist Ryan Wallace and bassist Chris Deakin.

Since their formation in 2009, The Heartbreaks have seen some success, especially with the release of their debut album Funtimes in 2012. However, with their album We May Yet Stand A Chance , the band is able to express their views about life and love in a way that is both poetic and honest.

The album starts off with the track, ‘Paint the Town Beige’, a song that has certain elements of the Blues genre woven into it. There are other songs on the album that have the ability to sweep you up and pull you in. The track, ‘Absolved’, is quite cheery and upbeat. Another song , ‘Hey, Hey Lover’, has a bit of a psychedelic vibe, yet it’s the kind of song that you could jam out to on a road trip with your friends, singing the lyrics, “Hey, Hey Lover, we may yet stand a chance” , with every fiber of your being, intense facial expressions and all. It’s definitely a song that deserves to be played on repeat.

The track, ‘Bittersweet’, is another psychedelic ‘60s type of song, but it’s a bit more mellow and laid-back. The smoothness of the track also allows you to actually enjoy the song’s clever lyrics like, “I have all the time in the world for you/ just not right now” and “So, now the stage is set/ for you and I to both get upset”.

The fun continues with other upbeat songs such as  ‘¡No Pasarán!’,  a lively one filled with trumpets, violins and guitar; and ‘Man Overboard’, a particularly rockabilly track with a nice beat that makes you want to move.

There are also many songs on the album that are truly profound. The song, ‘Fair Stood the Wind’, is one of sweet melancholy that depicts a fleeting romance by using the wind as a metaphor for love. This is based on the lyrics, “Fair stood the wind/now it’s blowing again” and the use of the phrase about being in “the obsession of the moment” with someone throughout the song.  It’s a refreshing interpretation of love. To me, listening to this song is like going to the beach on a gloomy day, when you can appreciate the beauty of the ocean, despite the lack of sunshine.

While some songs reflect on love, others tend to act as a wakeup call to those who need to be aware of social issues in today’s society.

The song, ‘Robert Jordan’, is a tale about the singer’s interaction with a man named Robert Jordan, who he meets at a bar. Here’s the catch, Robert Jordan has come from the year 1937 and provides some interesting observations about how people act today, saying “This strikes me as a very strange place/ No politics, no passions or empathy for the human race/You have fun but the sadness never really goes away.”

Another track, ‘This Is Not Entertainment’, reveals frustrations regarding the quality of content in the entertainment industry, while the song, ‘Rome’, focuses on the idea of false hope and accepting when  unfortunate things come to pass.

The album finishes off with the song ‘Dying Sun’. With heavy lyrics such as, “We no longer live/ merely exist/ Do you fear the loneliness of freedom more than the chill from the dying sun?” This track gives you plenty to think about. It’s an interesting way to end the album, with such deep thoughts. These insightful songs truly make you think about the current state of affairs in society, to the point where it makes us ask the question: “Where do our priorities lie?”

We May Yet Stand A Chance, is a great listen for those of you who enjoy a 60’s blues-rock sound. In addition, lead singer Matthew Whitehouse has an amazingly rich, deep and mature voice that is actually quite reminiscent of the late Joe Strummer, the lead singer of The Clash.

For me, listening to this album can be described as waking up from a daze, being surrounded by the rubble that Chaos has left in its path of destruction. With clear eyes, you look off into the distance where Hope awaits and think to yourself, “We may yet stand a chance”. With earnest lyrics and an important message, this album is definitely worth a listen

9.5/10

First Aid Kit: Stay Gold

staygold
First Aid Kit: Stay Gold – The Swedish duo First Aid Kit, comprised of sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg ,  gained some recognition in 2008 after they uploaded their cover of Fleet Foxes’ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ onto YouTube. Two years later, the sisters released their debut album The Big Black and the Blue in 2010. Now, with the release of their third studio album Stay Gold , First Aid Kit is continuing to make music with sweet harmonies and great melodies . The duo’s honeyed vocals and  skilled songwriting help get through the hardships life throws our way by putting things into perspective with their enchanting and inspiring songs.

This 10-track album features many songs that are sure to awaken your spirits. The first track, ‘My Silver Lining,’ is like a beautiful daydream. The sounds of the violin and cello are so uplifting that listening to them practically makes my heart flutter. In addition, the song features encouraging lyrics such as, “Time races on/ And you’ve just gotta keep on keeping on”. The tambourine on the song seems to represent the sound of feet moving forward despite what lies ahead; It helps to add more meaning to the song.

Another song, ‘Master Pretender’, is an interesting listen as well. Even though the song is inherently folk, it seems to have an island vibe which is likely to put you in a relaxed mood.

The track ‘Waitress Song’ is one filled with many scenarios. The title of the song comes from the first verse: “I could move to a small town/ And become a waitress/ Say my name was Stacy/And I was figuring things out”. The song is filled with a bunch of “I could be” scenarios which all allude to the idea that “anything is possible”.  It’s a song that lets you know that there is nothing wrong with reinventing yourself, just as long as you believe in yourself.

The song ‘Heaven Knows’ is more of an upbeat song that exemplifies the essence of the folk sound. With lyrics like, “You’ve lost yourself in others’/ Expectations of you/ Now you prefer this caricature before being true/ But you’re better than that/ You’re so much better than that/ I know you better than that”, the song explores the idea of how important it is to remain true to yourself.

Even though the album features songs that inspire others to be fulfilled, it also contains songs that are filled with hardships one must endure through life. The track ‘Stay Gold’ is a song that reinforces an important sentiment expressed in the poem “Nothing Gold Can Stay” by Robert Frost – “All good things come to an end.” Some lyrics that help express these thoughts are: “All of my dreams/ they fall and form a bridge /Of memories where I can’t get back to you”.

Another track that expresses a similar idea is ‘Cedar Lane,’ a song that reminds us of how time goes by so quickly and how some things never remain the same. The melancholy of the album rolls on with ‘Shattered & Hollow,’ which includes lyrics such as “I’d rather be broken than empty.”

The song, ‘The Bell,’ is a compelling track about mustering up the courage to walk away from a particular situation when you know it would be detrimental if you stayed. When First Aid Kit sings “How could I turn around?/Face the sound of the bell that chimes?/Ringing out, shrill and loud/To drag me back down,” they reveal that in order to remain honest to yourself, sometimes you need to cancel out the unwanted noise in your life.

The last track, ‘A Long Time Ago’ is one that speaks to your heart .The piano is absolutely beautiful. “I was the one/ You counted on/ But I was never the one for you/ Now I know/ I lost you a long time ago” – this line in particular makes the song quite touching. It definitely finishes off the album in a lovely way.

Stay Gold is a reflective album that has a personal way of relating to the ups and downs of life. Each song is nestled with enchanting harmonies, delightful melodies, and great life- lessons woven in asl well. These components make the whole album an absolute gem. First Aid Kit is a duo whose music seems to come from a place of sincerity, exploring various themes about life; Time goes on, the world keeps turning and life moves on. And, all of those things should be more of a reason for you to remain loyal to yourself and keep moving forward. It’s music that emphasizes the importance of perseverance. It’s music with a positive message, which is quite refreshing…9.2/10

A Long Time Ago

 

TV Girl: French Exit

TV Girl: French Exit -Have you ever experienced the appeal that one might have had while watching static on a television? You are irritated that the TV isn’t working, yet you find the static to be kind of intriguing as it slowly draws you in, leaving you in a daze. This feeling could also be used to describe the album French Exit by TV Girl. The Los Angeles-based band includes current members Brad Petering, Jason Wyman and Wyatt Harmon. TV Girl was formed in 2010 by Petering and former band member Trung Ngo, who left the band in 2013. Despite Ngo’s amicable departure, TV Girl is still able to create beauty with their 12-track album French Exit.

The song ‘Pantyhose’ kicks off the album in an interesting way. The track has a nice melody along with some “ lalala’s” and a tambourine makes for a weird swirl of amazingness. This however seems to contrast the vocals, which contain a pinch of melancholy. The vocals combined with the melody makes for dazed kind of happy.

On the song, ‘Birds Don’t Sing’, the melody seems kind of muffled at first, but is soon joined with fun beats and sounds throughout the song.  Listening to this song reminds me of that feeling of delirium that sets in after you’ve pulled an all-nighter studying for an exam.  The caffeine you’ve drank hasn’t completely worn off and your mind is still going, while the rest of your body is trying to catch up.

Not all of the songs on the album have that kind of effect. The song, ‘Louise’, is a nice song about a not-so nice person which features lyrics such as, “Louise, you can’t be anybody’s friend”. The track has a dreamy ‘60s pop vibe that is delightful and somewhat sunnier than the other tracks on the album.

Another song on the album that I found interesting was, ‘Talk to Strangers’, a word-to-the-wise kind of song that features the type of lessons that you would learn by watching an After School Special. For example, the song contains lyrics such as, “Don’t take candy/Don’t get in someone’s car/Don’t let anybody touch you, no matter who they are”. The eerie whistling heard throughout the song makes it quite foreboding. If anything, this song is a reminder that is important to be cautious around people you don’t really know.

On a lighter note, the song, ‘The Blonde’, is a psychedelic song that gives the idea that being blonde is both a blessing and a curse. It alludes to the idea that by having blonde hair, you get a lot of attention, but sometimes it can be unwanted attention. Listening to this song makes me want to talk to people with blonde hair and ask for their opinion on that the matter.

Another song, ‘Daughter of a Cop’, is a cautionary tale of being with a cop’s daughter, claiming that she knows how to have fun because she knows “where the cops won’t go”, but at the same time you might want to steer clear of her  because “if you were to get caught/she’ll  get a slap on the wrist and leave you in a cell to rot”. The last track ‘Anjela’ is a nice song that sounds more acoustic than the other songs on the album.

After listening to the album, I believe that it doesn’t really fit into a certain mold, which makes me appreciate it even more. There were times on the album when I was reminded of 60’s French pop music. At the same time, I was also reminded me of present- day artists such as California Wives and Mac DeMarco. The music has a way of being laidback, yet a bit frenzied at the same time.

There are also plenty of fun sound bites(most likely taken  from old films). The sound bites don’t seem to be completely random. In fact, they actually help weave the song s together. Each song tells a story and the sound bites contribute to the song by adding emphasis to the story.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to this album. To be honest, you have to be in a certain type of mood to be able to enjoy this kind of music. Your mind should be free to wander without fear. You might want to play this album when you’re alone in your room, trying to mellow out or collect your thoughts in a journal entry. It might even help spark your creativity… 8.0/10.

‘Talk to Strangers’

 

Lust For Youth: International

LFY_International

Lust For Youth: International –With dreamy sound bites, exhilarating beats, and an ‘80s vibe, the band Lust For Youth has created something wonderful with their album International. The band, from Copenhagen, Denmark, includes members Hannes Norrvide, Loke Rahbek and Malthe Fischer. With just ten tracks on the album, Lust For Youth is able bring back the sounds of ‘80s bands such as Depeche Mode, Pet Shop Boys and New Order while featuring their own unique talents.

The track, ‘Epoetin Alfa’ is the kind of song you listen to when you’re driving around with a group of friends at nighttime, trying to find something to do. In fact, the song sounds like it could be on the soundtrack to 2011 film Drive. ‘Illume’ is an upbeat track that definitely brightens up the album. However, there are times when the song sounds like a default ringtone on your cell phone. That being said, I probably wouldn’t want it for a ringtone because I would be so busy enjoying the song, I’d might actually forget to answer my phone, regardless of who was calling me.

In contrast to ‘Illume’, the song ‘New Boys’ contains a sort of stifled cheeriness which makes it kind of mysterious. ‘Ultras’, an instrumental, slowly fades in, like something majestic from the great depths of the ocean is emerging into view, with a nice touch of chimes heard at the end of the track.

One of the most especially intriguing tracks on International was ‘Lungomare’. At first, I wasn’t quite sure what to make of it, but I liked it. It’s mainly spoken word in a different language that could possibly be Italian (the title of the song is the name of a seafront promenade in Naples, Italy) with subtle music in the background. The nice, soothing voice and the music in the background was cool. With children yelling and playing around in the background, it’s definitely a song that you’d have to hear for yourself. ‘After Touch’’s electronic doo-wop sound easily reminded me of The Flamingos version of ‘I Only Have Eyes for You’ from the late 1950s.

‘Basorexia’ is an instrumental that simulates the feeling of lights swirling around above your head at a dance club. Part of you can’t stop looking at them, but another part of you wants to close your eyes and take it all in, getting lost in the moment. It includes various sound bites echoing in the background on a loop, some in different languages, but the ones in English sounded like they were saying “A couple of kisses and we’re there” and “but you have to want it though”. After searching online for the word “basorexia”, I found out that it is an informal term used to describe “a strong craving or hunger for kissing”. Interesting…

Overall, I find it fascinating when a band takes something that has already been created and recycles it in order to create something new. That being said, Lust For Youth has done something spectacular with this album. The various sound bites on the album are in different languages from French to Italian to English. It’s a cool concept for them to be incorporated in this kind of music. Sure you may not understand it all, but then again maybe that’s the point. It’s a way of bringing people from a myriad of cultural backgrounds together through music, and is most likely why the band’s album is called International. Either way, if you’re a fan of music that includes the creative use of dreamy sound bites, then this is an album that you should own…9.5/10

After Touch

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