Song Review: Routine Fuss – “Headass”

Routine Fuss’ latest track, “Headass,” from their upcoming album ‘Live, Laugh, Fuss,’ is a dynamic and introspective journey through the complexities of self-expectation and the sobering realization that sobriety alone isn’t a panacea for life’s challenges. Originating from Chicago, IL, Routine Fuss brings an unapologetic rawness to the alternative rock scene, blending elements of math rock to create a sound that’s both familiar and refreshingly original.

“Headass” kicks off with a burst of energy – its instrumentation is both intricate and aggressive, setting the stage for a narrative that’s as emotionally charged as it is rhythmically compelling. The band has a knack for crafting hooky riffs that are not only catchy but convey the song’s underlying tension and frustration. There’s a palpable sense of grappling with internal demons, a theme that resonates deeply in the lyrics “struggling with the idea of living up to expectations.”

What makes “Headass” stand out is its unflinching honesty. The song doesn’t shy away from the gritty reality of facing life head-on, post-sobriety. It acknowledges that while removing a vice can be transformative, it isn’t a cure-all solution. This realization is poignantly encapsulated in lines like “even after getting sober all your problems aren’t magically solved.” It’s a mature, reflective take on self-improvement and personal accountability, themes that are often glossed over in more superficial narratives.

Instrumentally, the song is a rollercoaster. From the frenetic opening to the big, bold ender, there’s a sense of constant motion, mirroring the emotional ups and downs of the song’s protagonist. The band’s ability to weave complex time signatures and rhythms typical of math rock into their sound adds an extra layer of sophistication to the track, engaging listeners who appreciate technical prowess alongside lyrical depth.

In conclusion, “Headass” by Routine Fuss is more than just an alt-rock track; it’s a candid, introspective look at the challenges of personal growth and the often overlooked complexities of sobriety. With its energetic instrumentals, hooky riffs, and emotionally charged lyrics, the song is a powerful addition to Routine Fuss’ repertoire and a promising glimpse of what their new record ‘Live, Laugh, Fuss’ will offer.

Song Review: Samantha Clemons – “Colored”

In her profoundly moving track “Colored,” Samantha Clemons delves deep into the exploration of identity and self-perception, set against the backdrop of a neo-soul soundscape. The song is a testament to Clemons’ journey as an artist, a reflection of her life experiences that have been both diverse and challenging. Born into a military family and constantly on the move, Clemons’ narrative in “Colored” resonates with the feeling of being an outsider, an ‘outline’ that is colored in by the perceptions and expectations of others.

“Colored” begins with the hauntingly beautiful lines, “I’m on the outside / I’m just an outline / You colored me in.” Here, Clemons’ voice, rich and emotive, brings a sense of vulnerability and introspection. The song progresses through various emotional landscapes, using colors as metaphors for feelings and experiences. The lyrics, “Why did you choose, such somber blues / See I’m sad but these laughs keep breaking through,” illustrate the complex interplay of emotions that define her journey – the sadness tinged with moments of joy and resilience.

Musically, “Colored” is a soulful blend of Clemons’ influences, with hints of folk and blues adding depth to the neo-soul foundation. The composition is minimalistic yet powerful, allowing Clemons’ voice to take center stage and carry the emotional weight of the song. The use of metaphors like “A little highlight / A bit of lilac / Amidst the black” further emphasizes the song’s theme of searching for light and color in the darkness of life’s challenges.

The chorus, “But I’m on the outside, I’m just an outline / You’ve colored me in, as you deem fit,” speaks to the universal human experience of being defined by others and the struggle to assert one’s true identity. Clemons’ lyrics are a poetic and insightful reflection on how external influences shape our sense of self, often at odds with our internal perceptions and desires.

In summary, “Colored” is not just a song but a poignant narrative that showcases Samantha Clemons’ exceptional songwriting and vocal talent. It is a deeply personal yet universally relatable piece that challenges listeners to contemplate their own identities and the colors with which they have been painted by the world around them. With “Colored,” Clemons cements her place as a formidable voice in contemporary music, capable of weaving complex emotional themes into compelling and beautiful melodies.

Song Review: Vanderzee – “Take the Leap”

“Take the Leap” by Vanderzee is an audacious track from his debut album “Divergent,” an experimental fusion of folk punk and psychedelia that challenges the listener to live in the moment. Vanderzee, a classical guitarist turned experimental producer, infuses his music with an eclectic blend of hyper-pop, hip-hop, rock, and jazz influences. This track, in particular, is a bold declaration of seizing the day, wrapped in a soundscape that defies genre conventions.

The song begins with a haunting melody, setting a contemplative mood that immediately draws the listener into Vanderzee’s introspective world. The lyrics, “I been sittin here / Chillin for way too long / Gotta do what I can / ‘fore the moment’s gone,” reflect a universal struggle against complacency and the fear of missing out on life’s opportunities. Vanderzee’s vocals, raw and earnest, convey a sense of urgency and vulnerability, inviting the listener to join him on this journey of self-discovery and action.

Instrumentally, “Take the Leap” is a kaleidoscope of sound, blending traditional folk elements with a psychedelic edge. The guitar work is intricate yet accessible, creating a rhythmic foundation that propels the song forward. The production is inventive, with layers of sound that build and recede, mirroring the song’s theme of fluctuating between hesitation and action. The chorus, “All I gotta do is jump / All I gotta do is take the leap,” serves as a rallying cry, encouraging listeners to embrace the unknown and leap into their dreams.

Lyrically, Vanderzee weaves a narrative that is both personal and universal. Lines like “They always say that you should live in the moment / Whatever the fuck that means / But am I really ever out of the moment?” challenge the listener to reconsider their own perceptions of time and presence. The song’s introspective nature is balanced by its energetic delivery, creating a dynamic tension that captures the essence of taking risks and embracing life.

In summary, “Take the Leap” is a standout track that showcases Vanderzee’s talent as a songwriter and producer. The song’s experimental nature, combined with its thoughtful lyrics and compelling melody, makes it a unique addition to the folk punk genre. It’s a song that not only entertains but also inspires, encouraging listeners to step out of their comfort zones and embrace the beauty of the present moment.

Song Review: Tall Teeth – “Lonely Dove”

“Lonely Dove” by Tall Teeth is a poignant reflection on love, loss, and the painful yet necessary act of letting go. Bradley Price, the creative force behind Tall Teeth, brings to life a hauntingly beautiful narrative with his delicate instrumentation and introspective songwriting. The song resonates with a melancholic beauty, echoing the influences of artists like Fionn Regan and Iron & Wine, while carving out its unique space in the realm of acoustic folk.

The track opens with an evocative scene: “Late night / Under the stars / At the same time / Waiting to drown in the moonshine.” These lines immediately immerse the listener in a contemplative mood, setting the stage for a journey through memory and emotion. Price’s voice, reminiscent of Jeff Buckley in its emotive delivery, adds a layer of depth to the lyrics. The chorus, “Goodbye, lonely dove,” repeated with a haunting refrain, symbolizes the act of releasing something cherished yet unattainable. It’s a universal sentiment, capturing the essence of moving on from a love that was never meant to be.

Instrumentally, “Lonely Dove” is understated yet profound. The ukelele provides a gentle, flowing backdrop to the vocals, creating an intimate atmosphere that allows the listener to fully absorb the emotional weight of the song. The simplicity of the arrangement is its strength, focusing on the raw emotion conveyed through Price’s voice and lyrics. This minimalistic approach underscores the song’s theme of finding beauty in sadness and peace in acceptance.

Lyrically, the song weaves a tale of reminiscence and reflection. The line “This valley’s in low light / And there’s you / Carved up the world in your shoes” suggests a deep connection with someone who has left an indelible mark on the narrator’s life. The imagery of carving up the world implies a shared journey, a path walked together but now diverging. The song’s bridge, with its repeated “Goodbye, lonely dove,” serves as both a farewell and an acknowledgment of the inevitable – a graceful acceptance of the end of a chapter.

In summary, “Lonely Dove” is a masterfully crafted song that speaks to the heart. It’s a testament to Tall Teeth’s ability to create music that is both haunting and healing, offering a cathartic experience for anyone who has ever had to let go of something or someone dear. With its blend of melancholic lyrics, emotive vocals, and minimalistic instrumentation, “Lonely Dove” is a standout track that showcases Tall Teeth’s unique voice in the folk genre.

Song Review: Blue Beam – “Zodiac Chiller”

Blue Beam’s “Zodiac Chiller,” the electrifying opener for their album “No More Dinosaurs,” is a riveting journey through the heart of slacker and alternative rock with a progressive edge. Hailing from Chicago, Blue Beam has crafted a track that pulses with the city’s dynamic energy, blending rock’s raw power with funk’s rhythmic nuances. “Zodiac Chiller” is not just a song; it’s an auditory adventure that captures the band’s essence, characterized by moodiness, energy, and a dash of darkness.

Lyrically, the song dives into themes of emotional exhaustion and the necessity of letting go, encapsulated in lines like “I’ve had enough / Enough your reasons / Your asking too much / I’m gone with the seasons.” This sense of weariness is contrasted with a determination to rise above, as seen in “I’ll rise through my feelings / I’ll settle my scores / On something worth bleeding.” The chorus, “I must let go,” becomes a mantra, reinforcing the song’s message of breaking free from the constraints of the past and moving forward. The powerful imagery of breaking stone and changing worries to something of greater value adds depth to the narrative, illustrating the transformative journey the protagonist is undergoing.

Musically, “Zodiac Chiller” is an amalgamation of Blue Beam’s diverse influences. The song starts with a laid-back groove, typical of slacker rock, but gradually builds into a more energetic and complex arrangement, reflecting the band’s progressive rock inclinations. The guitar work is both intricate and catchy, creating a tapestry of sound that perfectly complements the song’s thematic content. The rhythm section, with its funk-infused beats, adds a groovy undercurrent that makes “Zodiac Chiller” irresistibly danceable, despite its moody undertones.

In summary, “Zodiac Chiller” is a standout track that showcases Blue Beam’s ability to weave together different genres into a cohesive and compelling narrative. The song’s exploration of emotional resilience, coupled with its engaging musicality, makes it a must-listen for fans of alternative and progressive rock. As the lead single of “No More Dinosaurs,” it sets a high bar for the rest of the album and solidifies Blue Beam’s place in the contemporary rock landscape.

Song Review: Small Victory – “Afraid of Change”

Small Victory’s “Afraid of Change” is a striking testament to the band’s burgeoning potential in the realms of psychedelic and indie rock. This song, recorded at Polychrome Ranch with Jared Corder of *repeat repeat, marks the Nashville-based duo’s studio debut, plunging into the depths of introspection and emotional turbulence. Echoing the vibes of Briston Maroney and Peach Pit, with a hint of Beach Fossils’ dreamy aesthetic, “Afraid of Change” is a blend of moody lyricism and energetic rhythms, encapsulating the complex dance of clinging to the familiar amid the inexorable tides of change.

The song’s narrative dwells on the difficulty of transformation and the tendency to cling to old habits and memories, even when they’re painful or self-destructive. The lyrics, “You’re so afraid of change / Still buying packs of cigarettes with your iced tea,” illustrate a vivid picture of someone caught in the inertia of their ways, unwilling or unable to break free. The imagery of “that cold, winter air, it pierced your skin just like a memory,” further adds to the song’s emotional depth, portraying how past experiences can linger and affect one’s present. The poignant lines, “And every word was filled with the hatred of a hundred men, it’s so absurd,” delve into the frustration and disbelief at seeing someone trapped in their own cycles.

Musically, “Afraid of Change” showcases Small Victory’s flair for crafting songs that are both introspective and sonically vibrant. The blend of psychedelic undertones with indie rock energy creates a soundscape that is as thought-provoking as it is engaging. The track demonstrates the duo’s capacity for nuanced storytelling, weaving a narrative that is relatable and deeply human. “Afraid of Change” stands as a compelling entry in Small Victory’s discography, promising a bright future for the duo as they continue to explore the intricate layers of human emotions and experiences through their music.

Song Review: Oona – “Satellite”

“Satellite” by Oona is a stirring ode to the complexities of grief and the uncharted territories of faith. This track from her album “Ruin” released in April 2021, envelops listeners in a hauntingly beautiful narrative that grapples with the loss of loved ones and the search for a spiritual connection beyond the mortal realm. The song’s melancholic yet epic aura echoes the styles of boygenius and Phoebe Bridgers, with a touch of Snail Mail’s introspection and Soccer Mommy’s raw emotionality.

The profound lyrics of “Satellite” navigate the visceral process of coming to terms with mortality, blending the physical and metaphysical realms. “Living with no way of knowing where you go when you die / Left a body bruised and broken, heading for the light,” Oona sings, encapsulating the universal struggle with the unknown that follows the passing of a loved one. The metaphor of a satellite serves as a poignant symbol of staying connected across dimensions, resonating with anyone who has yearned for a sign from those who have departed. This sentiment is beautifully illustrated in the lines, “But now I lose you to the ether / Won’t you be my Satellite?” The accompanying instrumentation, with its blend of indie rock and alternative pop elements, creates an ethereal soundscape that perfectly complements the song’s thematic depth.

Produced by Avi Vinocur and recorded by Scott McDowell at Studio C, “Satellite” showcases Oona’s talent for weaving complex emotions into her music. The inclusion of other talented artists like Suzanne Galal on bass and Andrew Laubacher on drums enriches the song’s texture. The masterful combination of poignant lyrics and evocative melodies in “Satellite” demonstrates Oona Garthwaite’s ability to articulate profound emotional experiences through music, offering listeners a cathartic journey through loss, longing, and the beauty of enduring connections.

Song Review: Leah Tash – “Defenseless”

Leah Tash’s latest single, “Defenseless,” released on November 17th, 2023, is a soul-stirring addition to her repertoire, further establishing her as a distinctive voice in the Americana genre. Tash’s roots in traditional folk and blues, coupled with her passion for rock ‘n’ roll, jazz, and country music, create a soundscape that is both familiar and refreshingly unique. The song resonates with the timeless quality of Americana music, evoking images of long-lost eras and distant places, despite Tash’s contemporary New York City upbringing.

“Defenseless” unfolds as a poignant narrative, weaving themes of vulnerability and the complexities of romantic relationships. The emotional depth of Tash’s songwriting is palpable, reflecting her affinity for artists like The Carter Family, Bessie Smith, and Bob Dylan. Her lyrics explore the nuanced feelings of letting one’s guard down in love, with a raw honesty that strikes a chord in the listener’s heart. The melancholic undertones in her voice, paired with the soulful melody, create an ambiance of introspection and longing. The track is a testament to Tash’s ability to blend various musical influences, resulting in a style that is authentically her own.

Leah Tash’s “Defenseless” is not just a showcase of her musical influences but an exploration of the emotional landscapes of love and vulnerability. The song’s ability to connect with listeners on a deep, personal level is a hallmark of Tash’s artistry. Her storytelling, rich in detail and emotion, is underpinned by a musical arrangement that complements the narrative’s ebb and flow. As she continues to carve her niche in the Americana scene, Leah Tash proves to be an artist who can not only pay homage to the greats of folk and blues but also bring her unique perspective to these timeless genres.

Song Review: LeBarons – “Through To You”

LeBarons’ “Through To You,” from their new album “Days Are Mountains,” echoes with the poignant depth and emotional resonance that have become synonymous with the band’s unique brand of folk-punk and alt-country. The Toronto/Hamilton-based group, known for their storytelling prowess, delves into themes of communication breakdown and the struggle to connect, wrapped in a soundscape that transcends the conventional boundaries of alt-country. The collaboration with producers Jason “Cone” McCaslin and John Dinsmore is evident in the track’s polished, yet soulful, production, showcasing a maturation of sound that aligns with lead singer and songwriter Chris MacDonald’s evolving narrative artistry.

The lyrics of “Through To You” speak to the universal human experience of trying to reach someone emotionally distant. The lines “So tired of banging my head against the wall / You’re not listening” set the stage for a narrative filled with desperation and longing. The song’s chorus, “Tell me what I got to do / To get through to you,” is a heartfelt plea, laden with the weight of a one-sided effort to salvage a relationship. Musically, the song combines the earthiness of folk with the raw energy of punk and the soulful undertones of country, creating an atmosphere that is both haunting and deeply reflective. The instrumentation, with its blend of acoustic and electric elements, complements the lyrical narrative, enhancing the song’s emotional gravity.

“Through To You” stands as a testament to LeBarons’ ability to craft songs that not only tell stories but also evoke an array of emotions in their listeners. The song’s exploration of themes like fading passion (“That burning heart don’t burn anymore”) and the relentless pursuit of a connection (“All I got to do is get through to you”) is relatable, making it more than just a track – it’s an experience. The band’s commitment to authenticity and emotional honesty shines through in every chord and verse, solidifying their place as storytellers who can touch hearts and provoke thought through their music.

Song Review: Igden Daledrop – “Contemporary Lovesong”

Igden Daledrop’s “Contemporary Lovesong” immerses listeners into an evocative trip-hop soundscape, a slow burn of emotional intensity and ethereal darkness. The track, nestled comfortably in the realms of Trip-Hop and Slowcore, resonates with the distinct echoes of influences like Radiohead and Portishead, while uniquely carving out its own niche. The song’s experimental backbone, complemented by dense percussion and a moody atmosphere, crafts a sonic environment that is as haunting as it is hypnotic.

The lyrics of “Contemporary Lovesong” offer a poetic exploration of materialism and desire, juxtaposing the coldness of wealth and material pursuits with the warmth of human longing. The repeated lines, “Cold, cold, cold gold,” resonate throughout the song, emphasizing a deep-seated conflict between the allure of material wealth and the inner, emotional world of the individual. The song’s narrative, delivered through Daledrop’s compelling vocal performance, paints a vivid picture of a soul in turmoil, ensnared by the gilded allure of ‘gold’ while yearning for something more profound and meaningful.

Musically, “Contemporary Lovesong” exudes a warm and laid-back atmosphere, despite its dark thematic elements. This contrast adds depth to the track, making it more than just a melodic journey; it’s a contemplative experience. The experimental nature of the backtrack ensures that the song doesn’t just cater to the ears but also stimulates the mind, inviting listeners to delve into the intricate layers of sound and meaning.

“Contemporary Lovesong” stands as a testament to Igden Daledrop’s mastery of blending mood, melody, and message. The song is a complex tapestry of sound that encapsulates the modern human condition – a pursuit of material wealth often overshadowing the need for emotional fulfillment. It’s a track that leaves a lasting impression, not just for its haunting melody and rich percussive elements but for its poignant commentary on the human psyche.