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.
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.
Josh Farrow‘s “Who’s Gonna Love You When I’m Gone” carries itself with an aura of impermeable coolness, suave organ and killer bassline as smooth as silk. Its looseness belies the expert skill of the musicians behind it, a relaxed piece which achieves that laxness through a tight arrangement and a band which gels incredibly well. Farrow’s cocksure drawl is accentuated by the world-class vocals of Ruby Amanfu—if there’s anything wrong with this song, it’s that she’s relegated to backup vocals, but even those she kills. This one’s a good’un.
PIG‘s “The Diamond Sinners” has got everything a classic industrial song should have. Guitars splinter and crash, accessories instead of the backbone of the piece. Chugging synth bass props everything up, lifted into place by a sluggish beat. The anti-religious lyrics correspond with a found-footage-heavy video, unsettling images syncing with Raymond Watts’ unsettling lyrics. In short, “The Diamond Sinners” is exactly what you might expect from a man who’s been making industrial for 30 years, and that’s a very good thing.
// Moving Pixels
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