Ruby Friedman came up with an intriguing concept for her new album Gem: “What would it sound like if a band from 200 years in the future wanted to do music from the 20th century? What would that sound like? So that’s what it sounds like: It’s an orchestra from the future, doing the past.” The 20th century sound she represents is roots rock, bluesy soul, which suits her deep, textured, rich voice to a tee. Friedman really is one hell of a frontwoman, with a completely unique and transfixing voice laden with passion. Meanwhile, her band storms through a song like “I’m Not Your Friend” with monster riffs and exciting guitar lines that totally make Gem a necessary addition to your music collection.
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Pryor Stroud: Marrying the high-intensity sensuality of FKA Twigs with the ambient-soul minimalism of Movement, “Flatline” is an agonized indie-R&B pulse-racer that drops a miniature apocalypse between two lovers’ bodies. This is a high-stakes romantic drama; someone’s life is in jeopardy, a kind of sexually-fraught destruction looms. With economy and great expressiveness, Oyinda’s voice communicates this drama through vivid notes of desire and heart-rent desperation, climbing in the chorus to a reverberating zenith that seems to teeter closer to collapse than recovery. [8/10]
Pryor Stroud: When handled correctly, heartache is one of the most powerful tools in a singer’s arsenal. It can sear words—char, torque, and brutalize them until they are just ground-up streaks of sorrow and sound—or purify them, turn them into vocalized bursts of unalloyed honesty and emotional directness. On “Move Me”, Sara Watkins opts for the former. “I want you to move me / I want you move me,” Watkins pleads, and each word she enunciates feels like a shred of her heart ripped out, held between her palms, and thrust forward in an attempt to grab her lover’s attention. On the whole, the track is a melodically ambitious roots-folk stomper that injects a singer-songwriter moodiness into the straightforward vigor of ‘60s rock ‘n’ roll. [6/10]
Describing his new single, “These American Blues”, Oklahoma singer/songwriter Levi Parham admits the song is a play on words: “It came about one day while talking with my dad. He had just gotten a smart phone and had proclaimed to me that ‘there weren’t nothin’ left to find out’. I laughed so hard at that, but there was truth to it. Half the fun of dreaming is searching the whole thing out, figuring out what your dream is and how you get there. I know nothing about cars, but from one YouTube video I could take the whole engine apart and put it back together. I didn’t earn that knowledge. I didn’t spend my high school nights in the garage trying to figure that stuff out. There’s something lost there, and that’s where ‘These American Blues’ came from.”
Chris Ingalls: The attitude and the roots are punk, but the music is too clever and sophisticated for such a simple label. The song’s relatively uncomplicated nature is adorned with a minor sheen of producer’s fuss, upping the ante to where the song has the ability to become a small classic. Mish Barber-Way has a terrific voice, the guitar recalls classic Pixies, and everything seems to click. [7/10]
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"The show serves up an Avengers-esque character round-up, but the plot is powerless.READ the article