Tag Archives: Alternative Rock

Riding a Moon Taxi Two High

14 Jan
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Photo Credit: Harper Smith From L to R: Tyler Ritter, Tommy Putnam, Wes Bailey, Trevor Terndrup, and Spencer Thomson

In the category of bands that finally got their due in 2017 is Moon Taxi, a band that existed prior to the original iPhone but has just now signed on with RCA Records. On the heels of the band’s fifth album (and first on RCA) which will be dropped in less than a week, I figure now, albeit a bit late, is the best time to introduce this five-piece Alt/Indie outfit to a growing world of listeners.

Moon Taxi follows a classic band tale, a piecemeal collection of bandmates through high school, college, and the local music scene. Stationed in music hotbed Nashville, Moon Taxi originally played a variety of music closer to jam rock, and this is where they cut their teeth with their first few releases – hence their casting as opening acts for bands like Gov’t Mule and Umphrey’s McGee. The band transformed with the times, taking on a style emulating the trend in alt/rock, a sound most similar to infectious riffs and creative instrumentation. This is where Moon Taxi found a true comfort zone, and this is reflective of the tracks that one will hear when listening to the new album – Let The Record Play. Already festival darlings, Moon Taxi is soaring to the, well, moon, and perhaps the greatest indication of this meteoric rise is “Two High,” a track that reaches the stars with its optimistic lyric and uplifting sound (count the space references in the previous sentence).

First released back in May, “Two High” has amassed more than 70 million streams on Spotify, which is most certainly in the not too shabby category. It’s success is for good reason also. The song begins with a saturated guitar riff – think brighter X Ambassadors. The vocal features that twangy southern charm that one expects from a Nashville band. The song has a couple of stand-out components that have helped propel it to popularity – one the horn fill in the chorus because everyone likes horns in Alt/Rock music (I’m surprised they are not used more) and second the slowed bridge with drowned percussion. Towards the end there is even some subtle Spanish guitar. It’s a strong track from what will most likely be a strong album.

Moon Taxi is a band you want to keep an eye on in 2018 – it’s time for them to touch the sky.

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Crow Eats Man Mixes Metal With The Undertones Of 90s Iconic Rock In Single Jaded

3 Jan

Crow Eats Man brings a mixture of metal with their hard rock vibes within their track Jaded. Hailing from the San Francisco Bay Area, the members of Crow Eats Man drew inspiration from 90s rock, film and video soundtracks, and the masters of jazz. The single Jaded combines the edginess of metal and the grunge of alternative rock to bring you an overall crafted and intentional sound. The lyrics “I’m Jaded, bring me to my knees, can’t bring me down exemplify the overall tone and vibe of the song. Merge the vocal talents of Sebastian Sanchez with the accompanying guitar riffs and drumming at the right points of rage within the track all unite to form nothing short of a brilliant piece off their newly released EP.

For more listening:

It’s a Sin to Live So Well – “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger

16 Jul

The plethora of one-hit wonders that exist in the wide world of 20th and 21st century music is indicative of just how hard it is to hit success twice as a band or musician. It is somewhat analogous to striking gold twice. This makes the multi-level houses of gold that could have been constructed by the Beatles or Michael Jackson all the more impressive. That said, this section is about one-hit wonders, and we are going back to the 1990s, an era that spawned long lists of the one-off greats for this song.

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Before we get into “Flagpole Sitta,” let me clarify that a one-hit wonder does not mean that the band broke up directly after the release of the song. On the contrary, as is the case of Harvey Danger, the band played together for 15 years, released three albums, and performed a large amount of shows. A one-hit wonder indicates that a band/singer found wide-ranging chart success with only one track, and that was “Flagpole Sitta,” the alt/punk classic that exposed the mainstream alt/punk/grunge scene, as impacted by Seattle grunge bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Soundgarden.

“Flagpole Sitta,” and, in larger part, the album it is housed on Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone is a true indie success story. Initially released on an independent label based in Oregon called Arena Rock Recording Company. “Flagpole Sitta” was recognized as the awesome song it is, and it started seeing airplay all over. The band had sent demos of all the songs on the album to music industry professionals, including Slash records, in 1996, and Slash ended up re-releasing the album, cementing the album and its lead track as a 1990s staple and, now, best hits collection item.

What makes the song so good? It’s angry. The song doesn’t let up. It starts with a rising guitar riff that blends into Sean Nelson’s pleading vocals. The chorus is a amalgamation of yelling harmonies and a crashing instrumental. The lyric reflects the potency of the rhythm effectively; it is a catharsis of frustration and candor (“been around the world and found that only stupid people are breeding”). The song also has a timeless quality (even with the reference to ‘zines and Rage Against the Machine). It is a excellent portrayal of societal angst that uses a head-banging, toe-tapping instrumental that pumps the tune on repeat in your head for hours.

Before I end this post, it would be averse if I did not mention the passing of the founding bassist Aaron Huffman who died in March of this year of respiratory failure. Rest in peace.

Native Gold Presents Dualistic Sound In Track Fickle

28 Jun

Native Gold brings their alternative and electronic sound right to the forefront of listener’s ears when listening to their soon to be released EP A Man We All Admire. Fickle sounds very similar to Frou Frou, Menomena, and Radiohead all wrapped in one group. With heavy electronic and static tones to their music, qualities of those groups all seem to find a way through their overall sound to music aficionados. With a progressive and alternative rock feel to the track Fickle, Native Gold presents their sound in a dualistic nature to listeners. Other tracks on their EP, A Man We All Admire, sound equally synthesized, simply highlighting their carved out tone for the continuity among the tracks. An emphasis on the words and meaning of overall fickleness makes the song haunting and intentionally melancholic. Native Gold will bring listeners in another world with their evolving, yet otherworldly sound.

Digit + Stas Carries You In A New Atmospheric World With Doors

24 Jun

Presenting the track Doors off of the soon to be released EP Violet, with upbeat and synthetic sounds, listeners are brought into an atmospheric world of Digit + Stas. Continuing the synthetic sound, the acoustics of Digit + Sound are also paired with symphonic undertones. When reflecting on how one would place Digit+ Stas’s sound, it falls halfway between the spectrum of Lana del Rey and the dark side of Sia. Nastasia Avrutin delivers her strong vocals throughout the duration of the track, clearly showing the emotion and tone within her music. With an eclectic background working in the environments where musicians come to perform in Brooklyn, one can infer that Nastasia has been continuously creatively inspired.

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