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These Changing Skies (Awaiting Repress)The five members of Elephant Revival share a deep commitment to certain ideals: community, recognizing one's place in the flow of the natural world, harmony. Holding on to those ideals in the midst of heady career growth and strong individual
creative forces could be difficult, but they weather these storms with aplomb, and in doing so, have produced their best album to date. It is a document about striving for transcendence under These Changing Skies which was recorded at legendary
Bear Creek Studio in Woodinville, WA and was produced and mixed by Ryan Hadlock (The Lumineers, Brandi Carlile, The Walkmen).
Elephant Revival formed on the banks of Spring Creek in Tahlequah, Oklahoma and then relocated to Nederland, Colorado in fall of 2006. They loved one another's sense of shared values and the way that their disparate musical influences began to form a more cohesive tapestry the more they played together.
"It really is a natural confluence of our elemental influences," says bassist/multi-instrumentalist Dango Rose. Those elemental influences extend beyond the musical to a world view that is expressed not only through the music, but in their lyrics.1. Birds and Stars
2. Remembering a Beginning
3. The Obvious
4. The Rakers
7. Down to the Sea
8. The Pasture
9. Willing and Able
10. Over Over And
11. Grace of a Woman
12. Rogue River$17.99180 Gram Audiophile Virgin Vinyl LP - Sealed AWAITING REPRESS Buy Now
$16.99 $12.74 Save $4.25 (25%)
Melbourne (On Sale)It's the original rock n' roll fantasy: to be genius, aloof, deserving. To be instantaneously swept from the wings of obscurity into the arms of acclaim. Well, that's what I've heard at least.
But who does this really happen to? Most successful musicians will tell you it's not enough to make brilliant music. You've got to work it constantly, clawing and hustling to get people to the next show, to finance the next record. How pedestrian. How droll. Why can't it just happen?
No, it would seem there are no rock n' roll fairytales anymore. Or are there?
Ladies and gentlemen, meet Jackson Scott, indie's newest prince charming. At the tender age of 20, Scott is already receiving more attention for his forthcoming debut, Melbourne than many musicians get in a lifetime.
When an artist blows up this quickly it's hard to hear their music from an unbiased position. Questions unfailingly arise: What's the deal? Is he really that f-in' good? Did Daddy pay the promo man (remember The Strokes)? Is this guy for real?
So, before we go on, let me just say, this record is good. Like, really good. Like, "I'm kinda freaked out that a kid who's been making music for a year did this by himself on a 4-track" good.
So, let's ignore the hype for a while.
First, the strength of Scott's songwriting is undeniable. Yea, there are some instrumentals here... but overall these songs stick with you. They have power, and with most of them clocking in at around the two minute mark, you won't get bored. Lyrically, Scott both flirts with and repudiates the kind of adolescent moodiness associated with the mopey 90's. Conversely, his musings also betray a connection to the well-fed and perpetually distracted iPhone generation.
Melbourne also offers plenty of rewards in its production. Scott has the hissy, tape, psych-pop thing down. He's experimental where he needs to be and hooky where it counts. These homespun recordings sound like early Ty Segall as produced by The Elephant 6 Recording Co. While Scott acknowledges Segall as an influence, he claims ignorance of the famed recording collective. That said, his misanthropic use of sped-up vocals suggests otherwise.
Melbourne opens with "Only Eternal", a wash of ambient guitar. This brooding intro slyly transitions into "Evie", with its sludgy, driving rhythm, Twilight Zone guitar hooks, and wavering harmonies. Peppy and short, "Sandy" is a druggy acoustic-pop highlight.
"That Awful Sound" is the song that gained Scott so much attention in the first place. Nothing if not a solid single, its strummed acoustics, booming rhythm, and pseudo-Chipmunk vocals are impossible to hear without thinking of Elephant 6. It's not surprising that the crew at Pitchfork (no doubt approaching middle age and feeling a little nostalgic) picked this track to be "the song". This kind of thing ruled all hell in 1998. If not the best track on the record, it is at least the most classifiable, and by extension the most marketable.
"Any Way"... is the high-water mark for Scott's pitch-shifted vocals. It's the kind of song Jackson Scott really sells. It's quick, melody driven, and vaguely flippant. With its toy marimba solo, it also exposes the childlike undercurrent running throughout this record.
"Together Forever" is one of my favorite songs on Melbourne. If you listen closely you can hear the famous background vocals from "Where is My Mind?" at the beginning. To me this is Jackson Scott playing it straight. His voice sounds like a real person and his noisy guitar swells are just as mind-bending as anything coming out of the current psych-revival.
"In The Sun" is reminiscent of the late Scott Miller's more stripped-down moments with Game Theory. The song's chorus reminds us of how much an inspiration Kurt Cobain is to Scott.
Notwithstanding the strength, charisma, and raw talent exhibited on Melbourne, it feels like Jackson Scott has skipped a few levels. Although Cinderella sometimes does well in sports and American Idol, Jackson Scott is going for something much weightier, much deeper. Dare we call it, legitimacy?
-Jacob Sides1. Only Eternal
3. Never Ever
5. That Awful Sound
7. Wish Upon
8. Any Way
9. Together Forever
10. In the Sun
11. Doctor Mad
12. Sweet Nothing$16.99 $12.74 Save $4.25 (25%)Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
I'm Glad I'm Not MeCritically acclaimed indie rockers Born Cages will release their debut studio album, I'm Glad I'm Not Me, via Washington Square/Razor & Tie.
I'm Glad I'm Not Me was recorded at Mission Sound (Metric, Arctic Monkeys, Matt & Kim) in Brooklyn, NY and was produced by Jon Kaplan (Cage The Elephant, Walk The Moon) and co-produced by Born Cages' lead singer Vlad Holiday. On the album, Holiday, bassist/keyboardist Matt Maroulakos and drummer Dave Tantao conjure festival-ready, truly modernist modern rock that is every bit as grand as its song titles would predict: "Bigger Than Me." "I Just Want The Truth, Baby." "Don't Look Back." "Finding Beauty in a Broken World."
I'm Glad I'm Not Me touches on rock, electronic, dance, alternative and everything in between, reaching listeners thought to be quarantined from each other. It's a record celebrating togetherness in fractious times, music that finds commonalities rather than chasms. Throughout, Born Cages play with an urgency that posits their music as something essential. I'm Glad I'm Not Me embraces its punchy hooks, economic arranging and distinct kind of New York City disillusionment; it's the despondency of being told your mere existence in the city is a sign of having "made it" and still feeling alone amongst the millions.
The album is the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2013 EP release, The Sidelines EP. Vice Noisey describes the band's music as a "blend of 80s-influenced synth/guitar work and modern pop-rock sounds," and Blackbook raved, "More than a decade after the riff-heavy heyday of The Strokes, The Vines, The White Stripes, The Hives, and many other bands that put the word "the" before a plural noun, we may be ready for another bout of ripping revivalism Born Cages, certainly makes that argument." The Born Cages Daytrotter Session made the Top 50 of 2014 list.
Lead singer and guitarist Vlad Holiday formed Born Cages in 2011 and the group dove head-first into New York City's eclectic indie rock movement. He is joined by Matt Maroulakos on bass/keyboards and Dave Tantao on drums. The band has shared bills with a bevy of acts such as Hockey, Magic Man, X Ambassadors, Gold Fields, Royal Teeth, Said The Whale, Donald Cumming (of The Virgins), Public Access TV, JD Samson (of Le Tigre) and Har Mar Superstar. They were even handpicked by Guns N' Roses to be the sole support band on two sold out GN'R club shows.1. Rolling Down The Hill
2. Bigger Than Me
3. Don't Look Back
4. Moving On
5. I Just Want The Truth, Baby
6. Give Me A Smile
9. Dirty Money
12. Finding Beauty In A Broken World$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now