Sav Buist of the Accidentals has very nearly famously described North Carolinan piano-rock artist Ian Ridenhour’s music as “like Jack White and Ben Folds had a baby”. Humor and spectacle aside, the reason why this endorsement has rung like a bell as much as it has for the bespectacled, Asheville-centered rising alt. rocker is because it’s true. There is a certain melodic flair to the man’s music that comes across as very pop-sensible, but without sacrificing any of the darkly, sometimes Burtonesque gloom of his overall musical persona. Even still, there’s a warmth and a kindness, there, too, and it all blends together to develop what is easily one of the more diverse piano-centered rock acts of modern times to uncover.
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It may still be August, but Darkher‘s “Moths” is ice-cold. It’s frigidly minimalist in an oppressive way, lilting acoustic guitar growing into a monstrosity of down-tuned guitars and crushing cymbals. It starts pitched downwards and slides even further, gothic folk that plunges headlong into doom territory. Darkher does a lot with a little—there’s not much more here than a couple guitars, some strings, and soft drums—and the result is magnificent in its bleakness.
Chris Ingalls: Lorde co-wrote this song for fellow New Zealanders Broods (siblings Georgia and Caleb Nott), and it’s a pleasant enough dance track, with a nice electronic beat pulsing throughout. Lorde’s involvement will certainly help—the song is a bit generic and unspectacular without her name recognition, sadly. [6/10]
Pryor Stroud: Lasting a mere minute and a half, Rihanna’s “Goodnight Gotham” is closer to a burst of fizzy alt-pop experimentation than a conventional song. Across its duration, Rihanna and a deep-voiced interlocutor—maybe a male co-star, maybe a pitched-down incarnation of Rihanna herself, maybe neither—converse across a widening sonic chasm, each articulating “goodnight”, not as a farewell, but as a wish for this “good” night to go on a little bit longer. It’s unclear what the track would sound like if it were extended into a longer composition, but perhaps that’s the point: “Goodnight Gotham” is a fragment, a vignette, a half-told story that isn’t meant to deliver a satisfying ending or supply any coherent answers. [7/10]
Starover Blue‘s Spacegeist is a cold album. This is a sentiment the band seems to be going for, hence the black-and-blue cover art and the “space” in the album’s name. The chilliness holds over to the music as well, though — the guitars are crystalline and static and the synthesizers are robotic, swiveling between hypnotic organ and futuristic drones. Beat the summer heat by putting on this album — the temperature’s guaranteed to drop ten degrees while it’s pulsing from your speakers.
// Moving Pixels
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