The Stray Birds make beautiful bluegrass, a lush sound characterized by tight harmonies and all-encompassing instrumentation. “Sabrina” is no exception, three-part vocal harmonies soaring above mandolin, guitars, and fiddle. It’s more upbeat than some of their other work, a dance song extolling Yuengling and living wild. The song’s bright shuffling is a joy, a tightly-wound chunk of down-south cheer and storytelling.
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The Bourgeois’ “Summer of George” rocks like it’s 2007, their form of alt-metal ticking all the boxes which made bands like Evans Blue and Mudvayne so good. Drop-tuned guitars noodle, drums skitter forward, and lead singer Zach Mobley drawls seethingly over it all. It’s an immersive song, bass and guitar enveloping in the verse and overpowering in the chorus. It’s a time-tested style, and if “Summer of George” is any indication, it’ll continue testing well for a while.
The downcast pop of Esh is part Adele, part Tove Lo — mournful and slow while retaining a more nasally inflection and immersive electronic production. Esh makes a strong case for merging these two genres more frequently, spectral synths moaning over unobtrusive drums and impassioned vocals. Esh (Sarai Givaty) casts a dusky pall over her music, looming large above the dull brilliance of the production behind her. Pop is always interesting when it takes a turn for the ominous, and Esh is no exception to that rule.
Andrew Keoghan‘s Every Orchid Offering is a mélange of tangential genres. There’s a touch of baroque chamber pop a la Son Lux, a smattering of off-color indie pop of the Dirty Projectors’ style, and snippets of the hyperprocessed muzak of vaporwave. It’s blocky and pleasantly unwieldy, a definite boon in a style of alt-pop which prides itself on its obtuseness. Weird pop is always intriguing, since there’s so many ways its weirdness can manifest — and the teetering disco of Every Orchid Offering is certainly a satisfying implementation.
Michael Blume’s percussive pop is a listener’s dream, everything perfectly polished and all elements in their proper places. When I Get It Right is part Flume’s processed, pop-savvy electronic, part Sam Smith’s pained gospel falsetto, part James Blake’s soul-flavored downtempo. It’s equally comfortable at higher speeds as lower, bouncing between Casio-heavy blue-eyed soul and upbeat R&B. If When I Get It Right is any indication, Michael Blume’s career can only go up from here — this is a seriously impressive debut.
// Moving Pixels
"Spirits of Xanadu wrings emotion and style out of its low fidelity graphics.READ the article