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Review of ‘Nothing is Always’ album by The Hunted Hare on Verses Records — August 24, 2020

Review of ‘Nothing is Always’ album by The Hunted Hare on Verses Records

Not quite sure how this review didn’t get published at the time, it somehow slipped through.

The album was released in 2017 and there have been a few releases since so it’s a great way to discover the music of The Hunted Hare.

The Hunted Hare is the guitar oriented recording project of Dennis Kane, a Washington DC based composer, musician and audio engineer.

Nothing is Always is a superb album. I love how the arrangements are minimal but expertly done so that everything has its own place. It’s a captivating sound, contemplative and reflective with a cinematic feel at times.

Intro

There’s a slightly ominous feel to the opening leading into a minimal / sparse feel with a tolling bell and strings.

The Holy Warriors of Spain

Bassline gives momentum which contrasts against the sparser strings. A brilliant arrangement, it’s a pensive, reflective song.

Restraint and Then Relapse

A lovely opening guitar arpeggio and riff, a great interplay between the two creating a reflective and captivating song with an edge of tension to end.

My Blind Empire

A beautiful soundscape from delayed guitar and an evolving string / pad sound.

Anchorite

Solemn deep strings and bass to open, this is another contemplative song with a great flow and just an edge of tension at times.

A Lullaby (Of Sorts)

Another reflective song, a superb arrangement of sparse bass accompanied by a melody.

Magic Circle

An edgy feel to the opening with delayed guitar riff and lead line which creates a great tension. The song has a lonesome feel at times, an edgy vibe.

Mild Horses

Another reflective song, a contemplative feel from bass and slow strings.

Just Beneath The Surface

Delayed guitar to open, I really like the interplay between guitar parts creating a feeling of hope and anticipation.

Malleus

A synth arp to open contrasts against emerging background strings. As the arp fades, a guitar enters and the song takes on a soundscape quality, its an excellent ambience.

Review of Level One compilation by Various Artists on Arcade Audio — September 1, 2019

Review of Level One compilation by Various Artists on Arcade Audio

I’m delighted to be a part of this compilation, it highlights the talents of a number of members of the Arcade Collective.  If you like any of the artists I’d highly recommend checking out their other material and also the Arcade Collective itself for more information and how to join in. 

It’s a superb compilation that covers a range of styles from synth pop, ambient soundscapes, trance vibes to glitch idm sounds. 

Androgyne – Ain’t Nobody

A superb slice of synth pop, it’s a very catchy song with singalong qualities. I love the range of synth sounds, everything from string chords, sparkling leads, twinkly sound effects to arpeggio basslines backed by excellent vocals. 

Digital Horizons – Wild Life

This is an excellent soundscape, an evolving ambience with plucked chords, pads and synth leads, it’s multi-textured with a slow growing tension with a final release. 

A J Hellenbach – Forbidden Pleasure

Plucked synth and evolving basslines propelled by drumming, its an uptempo synth sound with a trance vibe. Excellent layering of sounds to build and release tension, the vocals add a great element. 

Digital Horizons – Silver Slipper

Atmospheric swirling sound to open is complimented by a delayed synth lead line, complex rhythms from delayed elements weave around a synth pad. Drumming gives a more defined momentum. 

One Vista – We Just Got it Wrong

Slow synth groove from synth, bass and drums with dreamy vocals. A solid upbeat pop vibe, piano adds a superb element. 

Andrulian – Reflecting on the Passing Days

This is mine so I’ll let you leave your own comments! 

Dallok – Perpetual State

Sound effects and sparse riff to open builds tension to a bassline groove propelled by drumming and percussive sounds. Distorted riff adds a great element. Riffs and bassline compliment each other really well, building tension to a final release. 

Blume – Odyssey Two Movements 3 & 4

Contrasting ambience with plucked string riff and excellent subtle reversed background sounds, the song has an excellent building momentum with contrasting slower parts, an excellent soundscape. 

Bispatial – Lifeline (Poptronik Mix)

A solid synth pop groove from synth, bass and drums, the vocals are smooth and have a laid back vibe. There’s just an edge of angst that contrasts really well with the more upbeat elements. 

Muesk – On Second Thought

Superbly atmospheric opening, contrasts really well with the glitchy / idm vibe from lead and percussive sounds. It’s superbly arranged, great contrast between ambient and the harsher / glitchier sounds. 

Jupiter Jaxon – Voices

Sparse drumming pattern with pad leads to into a solid 80s R&B / pop / soul vibe, funky bassline, superb synths, keys and excellent vocals. 

Bleepeater – White 2

Superb glitchy rhythms, its a bit bonkers and sounds all the better for it. Extremely well produced, its bleepy, glitchy and harsh at times. If a dial up modem took speed and acid, this is probably what it would sound like. 

Review of Kiss Yr Frenemies album by Illuminati Hotties — October 8, 2018

Review of Kiss Yr Frenemies album by Illuminati Hotties

This is a superb album, the sound is hard to describe but it’s somewhere between indie, power pop and shoegaze.

There’s a great range of styles from slower, melodic ambient sounds to a more upfront power pop / indie sound often with excellent changes of feel in a song. The vocals are outstanding, they have a dreamy, floaty quality at times, at others more upfront and kick ass. They always convey a great depth of emotion, their vulnerability makes a superb connection with the listener.

Kiss Yr Frenemies
Jazzy guitar chords and soft vocals create a sultry, captivating song.

(You’re Better) Than Ever

Sound effects, feedback and energetic drumming create an uptempo groove that contrasts really well against the more laid back vocals.

Shape of My Hands
Feedback and plucked bassline contrast really well with strummed chords, drumming and bass give a great momentum. The song has an excellent guitar hook, also nice changes in feel and a great energy. Vocals have a laid back feel again, a kind of indie / power pop sound.

Cuff
Evolving synth drone, ethereal spoken vocals like an answerphone message or voice recording to open. There’s a laid back drumming pattern and feedback with laid back vocals giving a slow shoegaze kind of feel with an excellent contrast with distorted guitar and more upfront vocals.

For Cheez (My friend, not the food)
Strummed chords and chord riff create an atmospheric opening with floaty vocals that compliment the style really well. Bass and delayed riff give a great momentum. Edgy distortion / feedback gives a superb contrast returning to the more laid back sound to end.

Paying Off the Happiness
Uptempo drumming, percussion, bass and guitar riff give a solid groove. Excellent vocals again, kind of hope tinged with angst. Some excellent layered background sounds and nice changes in feel to a more upfront sound at times.

Patience
Atmospheric opening, strummed guitar and dreamy vocals develop the sound which is given momentum by kick drum. Excellent build and release of tension with distorted guitar riff.

The Rules
Sound effects to open and strummed chords create a longing or lonely feel, dreamy vocals give a great contrast. Strings add a great element.

Boi
Strummed guitar chords and processed vocals create a tension and great emotion.

Pressed 2 Death
Uptempo guitar riff and drumming create a high energy indie punk kind of sound with great changes in momentum. Love the irreverence of the vocals.

Declutter
Piano Chords to open, soft vocals create a heartfelt song full of emotion.

Illuminati Hotties have a number of upcoming shows:
Nov 1st Biltmore Cabaret, Vancouver, Canada
Nov 2nd Neumos, Seattle, WA
Nov 3rd Revolution Hall, Portland, OR
Nov 5th August Hall, San Francisco, CA
Nov 6th Echoplex, Los Angeles, CA
Nov 7th Velvet Jones, Santa Barbara, CA
Nov 8th House of Blues San Diego presented by Cricket Wireless, San Diego, CA
Nov 9th Troubadour (Doug Weston’s Troubador Tavern), Los Angeles, CA
Nov 10th The Rebel Lounge, Phoenix, AZ
Nov 12th Barracuda, Austin, TX
Nov 13th Dada Dallas, Dallas, TX
Nov 15th Soundbar, Orlando, FL
Nov 16th The Drunken Unicorn, Atlanta, GA
Nov 17th High Watt, Nashville, TN
Nov 17th Motorco Music Hall, Durham, NC

Review of Dub Time album by Tender H on Cold Tear Records — September 12, 2018

Review of Dub Time album by Tender H on Cold Tear Records

Cold Tear Records is a Lithuanian label that specialises in dub techno, deep techno and ambient music. They currently have 105 releases on their Bandcamp page and tend to release an album a month.

Dub Time was released in September 2017 and is an excellent album, it hits a sweet spot by creating ambient soundscapes that are accompanied by a dub vibe. There’s great use of delay effects and some excellent synth sounds too.

Dubby Time
Opens with a wind / rain type of sound, a chilled ambient groove with evolving synth, stab chords, excellent delay effects and sparse percussion. The percussion takes on a more defined feel and the kick gives a real momentum. Processed vocal elements add a great element.

Frogs
Opens with a similar wind / rain effect and slow evolving synth, sparse percussion and delayed effects. Drumming patterns give a more defined momentum. An excellent groove from the bass and Stab type chords.

Sun and Shadow
Ambient, evolving opening with swirling synth sounds and rain / wind effect. Subtle delayed background sounds create an excellent atmosphere. Kick enters to give a solid momentum accompanied by percussion and some great sound effects.

Symbiosis
An evolving opening with subtle chords, wind / rain effect and background bird sounds. Excellent ambience from delayed sound effects. Percussion and kick give a more defined momentum.

Review of Chutes and Ladders EP by ahem on Forged Artifacts — June 19, 2018

Review of Chutes and Ladders EP by ahem on Forged Artifacts

Chutes and Ladders will be released on Forged Artifacts on 22nd June on limited edition 100 cassette (with digital download) and digital download.

It’s a high energy, infectious EP full of solid grooves, high tempo riffing and brilliant vocals. There’s a great vibe to this release which has superb spirit and an excellent sound, it’s got that kind of punk attitude that captures the energy and cohesion of ahem without being too polished.

Air Supply
An infectious hook and groove propelled by solid drumming and bass, a more laid back feel to the verse with great vocal harmonies building momentum to the chorus maintaining the high energy to round out the song.

Snow Day
A strummed riff and chords to open creates a simmering tension with great vocals bursting into an uptempo groove propelled by drumming and bass that maintains a great energy with a release and building tension to the end of the song.

Blue Bird
Another great groove propelled by bass and drumming to open, it’s a high energy song with subtle but very effective changes in feel. There’s a solo towards the end of the song that builds tension, releasing to a subdued, strummed chorus before bursting back into a high energy finish.

The Lake
Another solid groove to open with more of a laid back feel, there’s a great momentum maintained throughout with an excellent vibe. Superb vocal harmonies again.

Anybody
Heavy distorted guitar to open, verses have a more stripped back feel building to more distorted riffing for the chorus. An excellent brooding quality to the song with great changes in feel.

Review of Damaged Good by Bettie Serveert on Schoolkids Records — June 26, 2017

Review of Damaged Good by Bettie Serveert on Schoolkids Records

Dutch indie legends Bettie Serveert have released their 11th studio album, Damaged Good. It was released by North Carolina based indie retail store and label Schoolkids Records as an exclusive limited-edition vinyl title, timed to sync with the Tenth Annual Record Store Day event held on April 22nd, 2017.

This limited edition exclusive transparent magenta Vinyl LP (with beautiful gatefold packaging) also includes a digital download and full CD. This is the only version of the LP or CD available in North America, and apparently the only Dutch release to be approved by the USA Record Store Day commission on Schoolkids Records.

 
There’s an excellent sound to this album, great grooves and a range of clean and distorted guitars in songs ranging from 60 seconds to 8 minutes. The songs often have a change in feel which creates a great tension or movement in the sound. The vocals are superb, they have an angst, a brooding quality at times.

B-Cuz
A distorted riff and uptempo drumming to open leads into a more acoustic feel with strummed chords and kick drum. A great change of feel into the chorus. The vocals are excellent.

Brickwall
A song comprised of an acoustic strummed guitar with distorted lead and lovely vocals.

Brother (in loins)
Riff and drumming to open creates a great tension leading into a more uptempo feel. There are nice changes in feel and a solo too.

Damaged Good
Distorted guitar to open leading into a chord vamp feel with vocals and distorted riffing. It’s a great groove with a change to a more open sound which gives great changes in feel.

Whatever Happens
This song opens with an acoustic riff with vocals and a great change to a distorted sound propelled by drumming. It’s quite a sad feel to the acoustic parts with a positive feel to the distorted parts which creates a great contrast.

Unsane
Uptempo drumming to open with a funky riff and distorted guitar. Excellent vocals again, nice change to a more uptempo feel in the chorus.

Digital Sin (Nr 7)
Excellent drumming with distorted delayed guitar creates a kind of brooding feel. The vocals are spoken with some excellent distorted guitar. A great build and release of tension to a section with vocals and a surf guitar type riff building tension into a heavy distorted riff.

Mouth of Age
This is a very short song comprising of a picked riff and vocals.

Love Sick (feat Peter Te Bos)
A superb opening groove from distorted guitar, drumming and bass. The vocals have a great passion. It’s a high tempo song with nice releases of tension. The male vocals add a contrast and great harmonies too.

Mrs K
A chord vamp, bass and solo guitar lead into a section with vocals, drumming and bass which has a lonesome feel. The strummed shimmery guitar compliments this really well. There’s a great change in feel and build / release of tension.

Never Be Over (feat. Prof Nomad & Co)
Lovely opening from vocals and acoustic guitar, strings and piano compliment these really well. An almost jazz feel at times with a film score sort of feel.

 
Keep up with Bettie Serveert
soundcloud | twitter | facebook | website

 
Keep up with Schoolkids Records
facebook | twitter | soundcloud | Bandcamp | retail network

 
Keep up with Shameless Promotion PR
website | facebook | twitter | soundcloud

Review of The Ghost Position album by Odd Common — May 28, 2017

Review of The Ghost Position album by Odd Common

 
It’s been a little while since the last album Back to the Past, so it’s great to see another release from Odd Common. This is an excellently crafted album, there are some great bass and synth sounds along with some excellent piano and guitar riffs. Odd Common blends these different elements into songs with a subtle movement and great layering of sounds. There’s a very modern feel to the production but equally an excellent 80s synth vibe too.

le petite monde
A wonderfully atmospheric piano song with some really interesting layered background sounds.

insomnia victoria
A sound like a sonar with an excellent percussive rhythm using some unusual sounds. A synth arp and synth chords create a great momentum. Excellent piano playing again.

counting demons
A drone sound to open with a synth riff, strings and percussive rhythm. Very well layered and arranged sounds, great development of the song with excellent piano again.

le grand monde
A drone type of sound to open with, some great percussive sound and excellent piano again. There’s a nice change of feel followed by a return to the piano accompanied by an excellent bass synth and background sounds to end.

spokdans
An atmospheric opening which builds with drone, synths and guitar. The drumming, guitar and bass create a great vibe. I really like the vibrato on the sustained synth.

the darkness between the nights
A glitchy sounding open with excellent bass. Vocals are processed really well and are dark and growly. The song has a kind of Celtic feel at times.

faglar av stal
Excellent synth and guitar to open, an atmospheric song with great layered sounds. The percussive rhythm is excellent and accompanied by a great sounding arp. Nice changes of feel too.

omnipresent ghost
Lovely synth chords to open with layered glitchy background sounds which forms an excellent rhythm. Processed whispered vocals have a kind of eerie presence. Really nice change of feel to a more uptempo rhythm with organ and synth.

il mare sotto Le stelle
Great sound effect to open leading into an arp with swirling background synth. It’s a great soundscape and the guitar adds a great element.

ghost logic
Synths and strings creates an atmospheric opening with an excellent momentum from drumming pattern, bass riff and electric piano.

den sister psalmen
Bells and layered background sounds creates an edgy opening leading into synth riffs which have a kind of church organ feel to them. The piano riff gives a nice change in feel.

above the rain
Lovely piano riff to open, layered background sounds and strings compliment these really well. Vocals are superb. A great change in feel and a great way to round out the album.

 
Odd Common on twitter | facebook

Review of Meat for the Beast compilation on Factory Fast Records — April 5, 2017

Review of Meat for the Beast compilation on Factory Fast Records

 
This compilation features a very heavy rock / metal sound with a range of songs and styles, each of which have a few things in common – high energy, very heavy riffing, superb drumming and intense vocals. Strap yourselves in, it’s a high tempo ride.

Dust – Veil of Faith
Harmonised guitars and brooding drumming to open leads into a speed metal kind of feel with really intense drumming and very heavy riffing. The vocals have a great intensity too. Some really good changes in feel through the song with a great release to end.

S Punk – You Make Me Spew
A brilliant punk vibe to this song with uptempo drumming, bass and riffing with a great solo too. The vocals have a great passion, the lyrics are not very flattering so let’s hope you do not end up in a relationship like this.

Throttlegod – Underlord
A chime type sound to open is followed by an excellent harmonised distorted lead. There’s some great heavy riffing propelled by solid drumming and bass. The vocals are intense.

Terry Dark’s Jameson Raid – Uninvited Guests
Opening with strummed acoustic guitar, this leads into a very chunky, heavy riff propelled by solid drumming and bass. The acoustic riff adds a great element. There’s an excellent groove to this song with great changes between riffing and lead parts. The vocals have a laid back feel which works really well.

God of Death – Proliferation of Death
A very heavy bass and riff to open, there’s a brooding quality to the song which has intense riffing and growly vocals.

Vulgar Speech – Scarred
An excellent uptempo groove to this song with a nice change in feel into the verse. There’s excellent riffing and soloing propelled by very tight drumming and bass.

MM3 – In the Moment
Excellent heavy riffing to open leads into a more acoustic and stripped back feel for the verse. The vocals have a great edge of angst to them. Great changes in feel between the heavy riffing, solo and more laid back parts.

 
Factory Fast Records: website | twitter | facebook

Dust: twitter | facebook

S Punk: twitter | kicktone

Throttlegod: twitter | facebook

Terry Dark’s Jameson Raid: twitter | facebook

God of Death: twitter | facebook

Vulgar Speech: twitter | bandcamp

MM3: twitter | facebook

Review of Debasement Tapes album by Unqualified Nurse Band — March 28, 2017

Review of Debasement Tapes album by Unqualified Nurse Band

 
Unqualified Nurse Band are a 3-piece band from Derby, UK. Debasement Tapes is their first album which was released in September 2016 as a digital download, limited edition red vinyl and CD.

This is a very intense and full on album at times, Unqualified Nurse Band have a sound that sits somewhere between sludge, post punk, grunge, metal and indie. There’s excellent use of feedback and distortion often contrasted with a less distorted sound. The drumming is solid and with the bass provides a great foundation. The vocals are superb too, having a great passion and intensity.

100 Beats
This song has distorted guitar and effects to open, a very heavy sound with excellent vocals which have a great intensity. Excellent riffing and solid drumming and bass.

Getting Sweaty
Feedback and distortion to open followed by an excellent heavy riff and surf guitar feel to the lead line. The verses have a more stripped back feel going full distortion in the chorus. Vocals again are excellent.

My Boots are Shaking
Great drumming to open, riffing has slight distortion with some really distorted chords in the chorus. Great vocal harmonies and a surf guitar feel at times too.

Growing Down
A great riff to open propelled by uptempo drumming and bass. Vocals are excellent again. Great change between a more clean and distorted sound.

It’s Inevitable
Feedback to open, a slower riff and drumming with some excellent lead guitar leading into a heavier sound at times.

There’s No Stopping Fate
An acoustic riff to open, drumming gives great momentum leading into a chord vamp type of feel at times. The vocals are great again and the song has an excellent indie vibe at times.

Get out of London
A great groove to open from drumming, bass and riffing. The vocals are excellent again. Another uptempo song with great changes in feel.

Two Black Eyes
Another great opening groove from bass, drumming and vocals leading into a heavy riff. There’s a surf guitar riff too interspersed with the heavier sections.

No Peaks No Troughs
Really uptempo drumming to open with pretty hectic bass, there’s an excellent surf guitar riff which has a call and response feel with the vocals. A great control to the song, keeps from going over the edge. Just.

You Pulled Through
Another uptempo opening from riffing, bass and drumming. Vocals are very intense again. There’s an excellent groove to this song again.

Death Will Stalk You
A crackle type sound to open with improvised drumming leads into a riff with a great groove. There’s some heavy chord riffing and nice contrasts with less distorted guitar riffs building and releasing tension. The vocals are excellent, a great intensity.

Gimme Life
Opening with drumming, the song has a laid back groove propelled by bass and guitar. Excellent change of feel to a really heavy sound.

 
Unqualified Nurse Band: bandcamp | twitter | facebook

Code Red : A benefit compilation for the ACLU on Verses Records — December 2, 2016

Code Red : A benefit compilation for the ACLU on Verses Records

 
CODE RED : An international benefit compilation for the American Civil Liberties Union.

 
Verses Records is a collective comprising of: Monica Stroik, Dave Harris, Douglas Kallmeyer, Dempsey Hamilton and Dennis Kane. It was created to release and promote approaches to music that are not represented in popular, mainstream culture.

They’ve done an outstanding job curating this benefit compilation for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non partisan, non profit organization which protects our rights and the US constitution.

The compilation is comprised of 40 musicians / artists / groups from 6 countries, assembled and released in just 22 days following the U.S. Elections, in reaction to long term and forthcoming US government corruption. All proceeds will be donated to the ACLU. It was released yesterday, December 1st 2016 and the first donation will be transferred to the ACLU on January 20th, Inauguration Day when the new US president takes office.

I’m delighted to have an exclusive track on this compilation which features a diverse range of electronic styles from ambient, experimental, shoegaze, glitch to neo-classical and a few in between. It’s a very worthy cause and for $5 you’ll get around 3 hours of excellent music.

Verses Records:
website | bandcamp | twitter | facebook | soundcloud