Right from the outset, TART’s “Rabid Dogs” snares you with its hooks of intrigue. Looped drum beats hit like the soundtrack from an ‘80s new wave dance club, albeit one laced with black lights and a purplish noir haze, as Adam Michael Lee Padden’s metallic guitar riffs start churning. When vocalist Zee Bricker belts out her ominous observations, the song suitably assumes the role of its title. Frothing and snarling like a deranged beast, the tune takes on skittery rhythms and handclap percussion before dropping out to sparse key notes. The guitars then get decidedly more melodic and dreamy near the midpoint before the aggressive fretwork flares back with an increased bedlam.
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Following a long and productive career, soul singer/songwriter Paul Kelly has taken to looking back on his musical legacy in the form of his new album The Merri Soul Sessions. Beginning as a series of 7” singles, the sessions find Kelly and a whole host of collaborators re-interpreting many of his well-established tunes. For the track “Keep On Coming Back For More”, Kelly brought vocalist Clairy Brown, who gives the song a palpable injection of vivacity.
Cut from the same cloth as songwriters like Ben Howard, the Floridia singer/songwriter Matthew Fowler is a talent that has been a long time coming. Fowler’s debut album, aptly titled Beginning, contains songs that he had been writing since the age of 14. At 20 years old, Fowler is now six years the wiser, but it’s clear that the songs on Beginnings are just that: a promising start to what is likely to be many more years spent writing songs.
Toledo, Ohio’s Ben Stalets has a time out of mind quality about him, of sidestepping from contemporary musical trends. Rough and rustic, his new single “Lost” is built around a soft chugging rhythm and gritty harmonies. A bit of ragtime piano flares up unexpectedly, setting up the light ivory twinkling and an antique fiddle that winds its way through the dense backdrop. Thick with an Appalachian folksiness, it has that aura of soaking under a grey rain. Despite the autumnal feel, “Lost” still laced with a whimsical perspective.
A whirring, 16-minute drone, “The Windmill Sings” is a bonus track from the new, self-titled album from New York-based guitarist and songwriter Ben Seretan. It was recorded while Seretan was in residence at Flux Factory, a communal arts space in Queens where he lived and rehearsed in early 2014.