Tag Archives: Independent music

Little Red Lung is a Rare Bird

9 Nov


I’m not sure I can sufficiently write words that can compete with the press photo above. Generally, any combination of soldier with an alligator head on his shoulder, braided and bucolic headdress, and suited recreations of the Pale Man, take the perennial eclectic cake and leave me speechless. But that would do Little Red Lung a major disservice, as there is much to talk about concerning this Los Angeles Indie band.

Modern music reviewers – and I’m one of the greatest offenders – often bandy around the genre Indie when describing current bands. We do this because the genre is low-hanging fruit; so many bands fit the encompassing description that it is easy to attach the title to several musicians. The genre itself has been perverted through the years, initially only serving to describe bands who abided by a do-it-yourself approach without the aegis of labels. So, when I describe Little Red Lung as a quintessential example of true Indie music, you must bear with me.

Little Red Lung is everything you want in an Indie band. As the photo above suggests (and the music will suggest when I post it), the band is eccentric and attractive. Each tune is a diverse sampling of innovative instrumentation and esoteric organization. Indie music at its purest is like a Dali, a delicate smattering of surrealism mixed with distorted shapes and emotions. Little Red Lung’s music is art, and it’s absolutely delightful to listen to it.

Little Red Lung grew out of a solo project by singer/keyboardist Zoe-Ruth Erwin, a musical free spirit, who, after a sabbatical in East Tennessee, returned to LA and gathered a trio of local music veterans (Ali Nikou – guitar, Rob Hume – bass, and John Broeckel – drums). Together, this unconventional quartet formed Little Red Lung. In 2012, the band released its self-titled debut and received overnight success. A U.S. Tour, features in Deli Magazine, and a performance at Bonnaroo in 2013 have cemented this band among burgeoning Indie superstars.

“Rare Bird” is a perfect depiction of Little Red Lung’s talent. Erwin’s vocal is flawless; it features a Florence-like passion that projects over the abstruse instrumentation to form a perfect complement. Everything from the unconventional percussion to the eerie marimba to lyrics like “a hairline fracture in the wind” build this song into an odd, tender track, which makes the depressed, grungy drop-down even cooler. The song falls like Alice down the rabbit hole. It’s unsettling and frankly really cool.

“Fangs” is different. An acoustic guitar lets Erwin’s tender vocal harmonies shine. The vocal is a huge strength of Little Red Lung, and I’m glad it is emphasized in the track. The song also features well-placed strings that help create a contradictory warmth, considering the lyric (“I knew you were waiting to die the whole time”).

Conclusion? Get on the Little Red Lung train. More great music to come.

You can check out the Full EP at Bandcamp. Track the band on Facebook or Twitter.


The Bands of Summer – Mind The Gap

19 Jul

Mind The Gap

“A Korean, a Sri Lankan, a Mexican, and a Jew from Cleveland. four musicians from four corners of the world aiming to shotgun blast through the insipid airwaves of current music using acoustic harmonies fused with modern technology.”

The beginning of Los Angeles based Indie band Mind The Gap’s introduction on their short biography page on their website sounds like the premise of a bad joke. But this neat band objective effectively explains the band’s sound in few words. So why I am I needed here? Good question. Just listen to this:

Before I proceed with my flowery praise for Mind The Gap, let’s celebrate the second week of The Bands of Summer. I know I said it was only a week special, but I have decided to make it an every Tuesday post. There are so many great new bands to profile. Today that band is Mind The Gap. I’m sure by now you have listened to the song above.

Mind The Gap has to be one of, if not the most ethnically diverse indie foursomes in the world (as you have read above). The band is a melting pot of diversity and mature rhythms, acoustic and electronic. Put the pot on a stove and after just a few songs on their debut 12-track album the intense laid-back creativity of Mind The Gap begins to boil over.

Mind The Gap’s debut release The Good Fight (released May, 2011) is one of those rare albums where every song is not only enjoyable, but also different. The album is like a good mystery film, there are just so many twists and turns that you are not sure what the next song will bring. The first two tracks are a good example of this. “Fall,” track one of the album, plays like an alt/rock hit with a fast-paced guitar riff carrying the verses with underlying electronic sounds. And then track two, “Smile Back At You” introduces itself with basic chords and manipulative keys and the alt/rock of track one fades away and is replaced by a blissful, effervescent pop song carried by lead vocalist Greg Cahn’s melodic voice and the band’s choral harmonies which are soft like a cool pillow. This is a diverse album. The band is composed of wonderfully talented musicians, each who makes their voice heard in their tremendous instrumentation. Whether it is Cahn’s magical vocal, Ozzy Doniz’s moving bass and rhythm guitar, Ruwanga Samath’s significant keyboard work, or Alex Yang’s skilled lead guitar and piano work, the band works together to create music that knocks down the walled conventions of pop/indie/electronic/acoustic music and blends them together into a high-quality, low calorie shake, one that you just feel good about drinking.

I will leave you all with “Once You Leave” which has a little more fun with modern electronic sounds. But while electronic sounds often seem tasteless and gratuitous in music today, Mind The Gap uses them with precision and they are vital to the advancement of “Once You Leave” which, when completed, is a fine indie/pop track.

Mind The Gap stands true to their band objective. They are skillful mashers of acoustic instrumentation and electronic sounds. They are definitely a band to follow.

Enjoying the music. For another 13 hours you can obtain the whole debut album for $5 on GroopEase where Mind The Gap’s album is being offered at a discount price. I bought it. Here is the link.

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