Starting in 2011 when Johnstown, PA artist Jake Dryzal was only 12 years old, Blue Navy was conceived through his love of indie music and surrealism. Crafting fictional stories that dealt with relationship strife or dreamlike circumstances, Blue Navy released several demo EPs between 2011 and 2013. Jake took a hiatus from Blue Navy in 2014 to focus on his post-metal project, Pallor, and later returned to Blue Navy after the breakup with a girlfriend. Influenced by slowcore, dream pop, and shoegazing music, Jake released his debut album, "Mine" in early 2016 to critical acclaim. Another bout of unrequited love hit Jake in early 2017, resulting in the production of his newest album, "Ours," which was released that May.
"Ours" is Blue Navy's sophomore LP - another concept album that covers topics such as heartbreak, loss, and memories following the destruction of a meaningful relationship. Along with introspective, confessional lyrics, "Ours" contains balanced elements of stripped-down acoustic folk, as well as dense layers of lush, ethereal, and reverberated ambient soundscapes.
Athens, Greece's guitar-pop four-piece Melt Mountain will release their full-length debut album "Superfetish" on May 29 via Inner Ear. The record follows their acclaimed self-titled four-song EP (released January 2014 on Inner Ear) which earned them praise from the likes of NME, Indieshuffle and more. "Fascinating Things" is the lead single.
Frontman Dimitris Apostolakidis: says"Fascinating Things" could be considered the essential base of the "Superfetish" idea, both musically and lyrically. This idea involves strong music themes that evolve and change in a dynamic, expressive way and words that try to describe detachment, inner conflicts, obsessions and disbeliefs."
Melt Mountain is one's inner most angst, a gut feeling of a frivolous daily routine, a hopeless bus ride that's only meant to show you how things may seem through a window as you swiftly pass by, with no intention of getting off. This has been the case since 2014 when they released their self-titled EP, carving up a musical landscape in a whimsical sense while also setting up intricate foundations with a narrative that most people can relate to.
"Superfetish" has explored more of the depths that the band was willing to go to. Lyrically it is very much influenced by urban culture, life and conduct, as complex and unforgiving as it gets. It navigates the recluse mind and the misunderstood personality. At the same time their music joins the dots between the abstract thought process captured in words with the same riffing mountain melting power that has come to define them.
On Saturday, May 20, multi-instrumentalist and lauded bass player Erik Kramer released his debut studio endeavor, an EP entitled ‘Missed the Boat.’ The Brooklyn-based musician has an especially eclectic sound, one that employs the talent of a slew of musicians: saxophone, trombone, viola, trumpet, back-up vocalists - they’re all there. An experimental record through and through, ‘Missed the Boat’ is an indie record quite unlike anything else that’s come across my desk in recent months.
The most unique quality ‘Missed the Boat’ boasts is its ability to effortlessly hop between genres, all while maintaining an aura of cohesiveness. It’s very difficult to be an artist that pulls influence from so many sonic avenues and keep your sound organized, and Kramer does this remarkably well. The titular track, which opens the EP, has a very Radiohead-infused sound. The soft vocal croons, funky bass riffs, and erratic brass sections all sound like they’re from a ‘King of Limbs’ session.
The following track has much more of a jazz influence, offering a rather beautiful soundscape of piano noodling accented by a fantastic string section. If New York experimental music was written for a late night jazz club, ‘Seagulls’ would be the song that would result from it. ‘One of Many,’ the track after that, is a tune that really lets the brass section shine. There’s more funk and fusion influence apparent on that song, and the more upbeat nature of the track gives Kramer more room to experiment as a vocalist.
The EP’s most easy-listening track is surely ‘Tell You Otherwise,’ a sublime listening experience that washes over the listener in a surreal fashion. The equally enigmatic lyricism matches the instrumentation beautifully, as does the sparse, but effective female vocal backing. Heavy jazz inspiration then returns for ‘The Way It Goes,’ exhibiting some of the collection’s most excellent musicianship.
The finale of the EP, ‘The Light,’ may be its strongest song, at least, lyrically. The story-like lyricism puts the vocal content at the forefront of the song, whereas the rest of the EP usually reverses that dichotomy. At this point, it’s also very much worth mentioning that the production on ‘Missed the Boat’ is incredibly good, too, and Kramer has a superb hand over such a large soundscape of musicians.
‘Missed the Boat’ is an excellent EP from beginning to end, defying genre by jamming together funk, jazz, and experimental influences. It does it in an unpretentious fashion, too, which is rather vital to success in this arena.
onj. is an instrumental post-rock band that has been playing in and around Asheville, NC for about 4 years now. The four members of onj. are Marklar Klepac and Joel Wolfe on guitar, bassist Sean McAusland, and drummer Dylan Webb. Their first EP, "Opposition," was released at the beginning of 2014.
Over the past 3 years, onj. have been working on material for the new album, "Alone." The album attempts to capture the various feelings of being left alone while dealing with depression, loss, and separation.
The full EP, 'Coping Strategies' just released on & Options (Cassette and digital). It explores erosion of meaning and collective anxiety, and people’s attempts at dealing with those things. People seem to be finding the world an increasingly overwhelming and absurd place. Noticing how they deal with that has been finding its way into my CARES' work.
"I only knew what this EP was about after it was finished. I approach writing with an idea about a sound or a vague feeling or imagery but leave the concepts open ended to try to write in a more abstract and subconscious way. I’m really excited to release something on & Options because I think they're doing something really interesting with the catalog they’re building. The label is Toronto based but a lot of the music they are putting out is from all over the world. There is a really bold mix of ideas from their roster so far and I'm happy to add to it."
Ali Murray is an ethereal folk songwriter/musician from the cold isle of Lewis in the north of Scotland. He writes dark atmospheric folk music with lush sweeping dreamy soundscapes and Celtic-twinged instrumentation. His new album LAND OF EVERGONE strikes a balance that is intimate and soaring, peaceful and haunting, sad and quietly joyful, delicately reverberating with Murray's dreamy voice and guitar playing.
Orellana is a neo-classical/post-rock collective hailing from Bristol, UK. Their new album “52”, released in late December, brought in the new year with it’s explosive and intricate sound. The project’s music transcends genre definitions in order to focus on a broad, diverse concept that is more emotional than tangible. This particular release is full of rich and diverse arrangements, but it is also a powerful exercise in minimalism, one that showcases the strength of very few notes placed in the right spots. The simplicity of the arrangement is actually one of the strongest aspects of this entire release: there’s a palpable stillness created by the long, drone notes in the background, which almost makes you feel like the world is happening in slow motion. When the chords and notes change, it feels quite monumental due to the beautiful contrast between the stillness of the background textures and the expressive sound of the guitar-based melodies.