Thanks to Jack Cochran (DJ Spooky), for submitting these new music reviews to the blog. Get to know a few awesome artists that sent their tunes to KWVA!
The Slaps – A EP
The Slaps, a beach-blues band based in Chicago, have just released A, their latest EP. A follows a singles EP released in 2018 and The Slaps’ debut album, Susan’s Room, released in 2017. A is five tracks of lo-fi, bedroom pop at its most upbeat and carefree. The EP’s opener, “Cheers”, feels like the kind of daydream one would have the day before school gets out for summer break, yet its vocals are tinged with the melancholy of knowing summer never lasts. “Where Were You Where They Were Also” is a driving, bright song with guitars reminiscent of waves on a beach, constantly pushing forwards and then pulling back, only to go further with the next chord. The Slaps have curated an effortless luminosity with their blend of surf guitar, buoyant pop melodies and atmospheric vocal harmonies, making A an essential listen for your next weekend getaway.
For Fans Of: The Buttertones, Summer Salt, Her’s, Peach Pit, Boyscott, Surf Curse, The Fratellis
Dreadlight – Limbo EP
Dreadlight is an alternative, hard-rocking, female duo from Portland, Oregon. The band is comprised of Kandra Tolvstad (bass and vocals) and Toria Beck (guitar and vocals). Their latest EP, Limbo, was both recorded and produced by the band while attending the Clackamas Community College Music Technology program. Limbo is the first EP in a three-EP series focused on coming of age and mental health, with Limbo’s thematic focus being on losing control and spiraling. In the band’s words, “It is the product of our struggles where they intersect, and where they clash”, and clash it does. Limbo is a divine balance between sweet, floating, Heart-esque vocal harmonies and the dirt and grime of grunge pioneers such as Alice and Chains and Nirvana. Tracks like “Grenadine” and “Crossout” may as well have been kept in a vault since 1994, as they channel the same pent-up emotions Courtney Love addresses on Hole’s Live Through This. With the raw energy and emotional authenticity they are emanating, it seems unlikely that Dreadlight will be stuck in the limbo of being unknown for very long.
For Fans Of: Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Hole, Bikini Kill, Queens of the Stone Age, Paramore
The Brels – “House on the Hill” and “Horse,” double A-side
Hailing from Adelaide, South Australia, The Brels are the solo recording project of Goose Lashchuk. Having just released double A-side “House on the Hill” with “Horse”, The Brels are revealing a new, softer side of their sound. “House on the Hill” and “Horse” evoke a much more rustic and introspective atmosphere than their debut album Parasites, Poptarts, which was released in 2007. “Horse” opens with a folky acoustic guitar so soft and sweet that it feels like coming across a fairy in the woods; you can’t help but follow it deeper into its surroundings. Lyrically, though, “Horse” tells a bittersweet tale about saying goodbye to a lover for the last time. “House on the Hill” is another song about change; about letting go and moving on. While “House on the Hill” sounds a lot brighter, sonically, it still has a hidden, darker side. Lashchuk’s wafting vocal harmonies combined with his dissonant guitar tone during the track’s solo prove that there is more to The Brels than just thoughtful folk songs.
For Fans Of: Simon and Garfunkel, Sufjan Stevens, The Smiths, Tim Presley, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Elliott Smith, Big Star