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by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016


Need a quick boost for a slow Wednesday morning? Check out the Strike’s “Eye for an Eye”, a block of low-poly funk aimed squarely at the dancefloor. Synth squelches and a bulky bassline prop up lead singer Chris Crabb’s pop-punky belt, horns flourishing in the crevices and steady drums carrying the band through. The bridge drops out everything but simple bass and drums alongside the vocals, as smooth a breakdown as there ever was — and then synth, horns, and guitar add in one by one until the climactic final chorus. If you’ve ever said, “Man, do I wish Maroon 5’s pop was good,” this’ll tickle your fancy.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016


Sadler Vaden‘s “Chameleon” is a stoic, powerful track, moving remarkably slowly given that it lasts only three minutes and 15 seconds. In its slowness, it captures a lot of the leverage perfected during the latter days of what we traditionally consider classic rock. Elements are added sparingly, piano dropping in carefully a minute in and ripping distorted guitar only entering two-thirds of the way through. This ensures that everything hits with as much force as possible, laying the groundwork for a bona fide slow-jam anthem.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016


Evening Bell make hard-nosed country with a classic-rock kick, male and female vocals sharing the spotlight under a haze of piano and guitar. “Dead End Friends & Fair Weather Lovers” is all Spaghetti Western, dust swirling around distorted amps and muted slide guitar. It’s a morose song, complaining about misguided romance under honky-tonk piano and splashy drums. It could have come out in the ‘70s, and it could have come out in the early aughts, but its roots-rockin’ sound will always be welcome.

by Will Rivitz

20 Jul 2016


Be Calm Honcho‘s “Kid Go Hard” is a jangly splash of indie pop, cascading forth on waves of guitar and piano. It’s steady, metered; a whimsical yet deeply grounded track. There are the airy verses, floating on high synths, but they nosedive into stomping drums and handclaps as the chorus begins to roar and the guitars begin to wail. The song flows freely and yet is rhythmically precise all at once, a trick of the light that makes it freer or more solid than you might expect. The fact that I can’t tell which way the trick is leaning is a positive for the song, proof of its songwriting excellence.

by Will Rivitz

19 Jul 2016


The Jezabels have rightfully broken through into the pop-rock elite, especially on the strength of this year’s excellent Synthia. “Smile” is proof that their position is warranted, flowing from a deceptive soft rock intro to a chorus that strikes with the force of a gale. It’s latently ferocious, waiting until just the right moment to bite with swirling guitars and crashing percussion operating under lead singer Hayley Mary’s misanthropic howl. The song’s wandering ethos fits in well with the video, featuring Mary’s best “Bittersweet Symphony” impression: she wanders from place to place, not settling down for even a moment, while relishing the music behind her.

//Mixed media
//Blogs

Culture Belongs to the Alien in 'Spirits of Xanadu'

// Moving Pixels

"The symbols that the artifact in Spirits of Xanadu uses are esoteric -- at least for the average Western gamer. It is Chinese culture reflected back at us through the lens of alien understanding.

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