Nashville’s *repeat repeat have an amazing sound that’s rooted in garage rock and psychedelic rock, but possesses the energy and attitude of punk alongside some killer harmony singing that artists in Nashville do better than anyone else. The band’s sound is urgent with slashing guitars, waves of synths, yet beautifully melded to a hazy, sunny Calfornia vibe. They are describing themselves as a “surf rockcandy trio”, but their sound is a lot broader than that to my ears. I hear a significant way forward for the guitar and rock music, which have been maligned of late as things of the past. *repeat repeat’s stunning guitar work powers the rhythms and beats, but it also colors each passage and creates multiple voices in the music. The way the guitar effortlessly blends with the electronic elements in the song “Plugged In” that we’re premiering today, is impressive.
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Last year when we reviewed St. Lenox‘s most recent album Ten Hymns From My American Gothic, John Paul said the record was “nothing short of a 21st-century pop masterpiece”. The album also appeared on our best albums of 2016 list. Now St. Lenox has an exciting new project on tap as he is bundling this album with his previous LP Ten Songs About Memory and Hope into a single audio collection as well as releasing a visual album for Ten Hymns From My American Gothic. Each song from St. Lenox’s last album now has an accompanying video and Andrew Choi (a.k.a. St. Lenox) says it is the first individually-made DIY visual album with him creating, playing and recording the music as well as directing the videos. It’s an ambitious and worthy project that could set the stage for more artists to develop these sort of projects given that we now live in a video-driven world.
We are pleased to premiere the new single from KNGDAVD, “Shame”, which possesses raw rock sensibilities with a bit of soul and pop. The band’s bio mentions something about the White Stripes, Black Keys, and Freddie Mercury, but that’s only part of the equation. This is music that breaks at least a small patch of new ground, incorporating contemporary touches with elements that have lasting appeal. Much of the last comes from Tye James’ immediately enchanting voice, one of those that arrives just in the nick of time to remind us that, yes, someone out there can still really sing. Producer/multi-instrumentalist Jon Buscema builds the foundation for James’ church, creating an excellent, hefty base for the song’s soaring, sometimes ethereal melody.
Sweden’s REIN (known in “real” life as Joanna Reinikainen) worries a lot about society’s largest problems, including the return of fascism in the Western world, the continual denigration of women’s rights, and income inequality. We should all be worried about these issues and REIN brings them front and center in her righteous brand of electropunk. REIN’s latest single is “Democracy” and it’s a banger that hits the nail right on the head, calling out those billionaire business figures that control 85% of the world’s wealth. Accompanied by footage of protests from around the world, the video for “Democracy” is powerful and moving as REIN questions whether those of us in so-called First World democracies are actually experiencing anything like real democracy.