Friday Night Free-For-All: prchr., Nora Kelly Band, Dave Barber, Inconsideration, Roselit Bone, Ayna Errboe, modern-day machines, dipper, and Sam Saunders

As the golden hues of sunset give way to the enigmatic allure of night, there’s no better place to be than right here, with us, at the Friday Night Free-for-All on A time-honored tradition for music aficionados and curious explorers alike, our weekly rendezvous promises a medley of tunes that defy categorization. Here, genres blend, artists collide, and the only rule is that there are no rules. Whether you’re winding down after a hectic week or gearing up for the weekend’s adventures, let us be your musical compass, guiding you through the unpredictable and exhilarating landscape of sound. Buckle up, it’s going to be a wild ride!

prchr. – “Ghost/Chicago”

From Australia’s sun-soaked Gold Coast, prchr. surges forward with a tantalizing amalgamation of ear-thrumming instrumentation and introspective lyricism in “GHOST / CHICAGO.” With a timbre that’s evocative of the garage’s gritty floors and the alternative scene’s sweeping emotions, prchr. paints a canvas smeared with nostalgia, self-doubt, and the relentless pursuit of self-identity. “GHOST” resonates with the aching pulse of inner turmoil, as lines like “Ghost! I can’t take this anymore” interweave with stark confessions, delivering a gut-punch of raw emotion. On the other hand, “CHICAGO” parades as an anthemic escape track. With its charged refrains and a pulsating beat, the song unravels the longing for a new start, free from past entanglements. Lyrics like “All I ever want to do make it down to Chicago” capture a universal yearning for respite and new horizons, making the track both deeply personal and universally relatable.

Delving into the depths of his musical lineage, prchr.’s distinctive soundscape showcases an artist matured, but not mellowed, by his experiences. The sonic shift from his previous endeavors with Shane Barry and the Distractions is palpable. Here, he’s infused more than just the vintage echoes of McCartney and Costello; there’s a taste of present-day angst and ennui, drawn from a well that’s both personal and generational. Amidst the bedlam of jarring guitars and resonant drums, prchr.’s lyrics emerge as the beating heart, setting a rhythm of confession, confrontation, and ultimately, catharsis. As he chronicles his journey of self-discovery, listeners can’t help but be drawn into the maelstrom, eagerly awaiting the next twist in the tale. “GHOST / CHICAGO” is not just a double-single; it’s an invitation to traverse the tumultuous terrains of a soul seeking solace.

Nora Kelly Band – “Roswell”

As enigmatic as the myths surrounding Area 51, Nora Kelly Band delves into an extraterrestrial realm with their recent single, “Roswell.” This track, which stands as an intriguing prelude to their forthcoming debut album, “Rodeo Clown,” harnesses the group’s unique concoction of Americana, Indie Folk, and Alt Country. From the quaint environs of Montreal’s Mile End, where impromptu jams echoed through the alleys, this quintet transports listeners to the eeriness of Roswell, juxtaposing the terrestrial comfort of familiar train tracks with the cosmic uncertainties of far-off galaxies. The melancholy ambience, tinted with the outfit’s characteristic wry lyrics and twang, underscores this journey of seeking answers beyond the stars.

Drawing parallels to artists like knitting and Dresser, Nora Kelly Band captures the zeitgeist of indie-folk’s yearning, yet with their distinct alt-country signature. Their sound, anchored in Nora Kelly’s leadership—which saw her spearheading the post-punk arena with DISHPIT—and transition to the organic, raw cadences of rock’s origins, offers both a fresh perspective and a throwback nod to classic tales of heartbreak and introspection. With lines laden in introspection and revelations, “Roswell” serves as a poignant reminder of humankind’s eternal quest for the unknown and uncharted, bridging the gap between the terrestrial and the cosmic. As the calendar counts down to “Rodeo Clown,” one can’t help but anticipate more narratives and melodies that resonate deep, reminding us of our shared fragilities and curiosities.

Dave Barber – “Cowpoke”

In “Cowpoke,” an instrumental gem off the newly released “Molly’s Eyes,” Dave Barber takes listeners on a genre-bending expedition, seamlessly merging the warm familiarity of Americana with the improvisational flair of jazz. As the track progresses, it becomes a masterclass of melding, where rustic folk roots and traditional tunes coalesce with avant-garde jazz strokes, crafting a landscape that feels both familiar and exploratory. Throughout this excursion, Barber’s impeccable craftsmanship shines—every pluck, strum, and chord rings with purpose, painting an auditory tableau that transports one to open fields and smoky jazz clubs in the same breath.

Having collaborated with notable artists ranging from Colin James to Aaron Goodvin, Dave’s extensive background in the music scene becomes palpable in “Cowpoke.” There’s an eloquent synergy in his compositions, resonating with both the old-school charm of Django Reinhardt and the contemporary vivacity of modern jazz fusion. Nominated for several illustrious awards, including JUNOs and BCCMA’s, Barber’s work stands as a testament to his prowess and versatility. “Cowpoke” encapsulates the heart of “Molly’s Eyes”—an album that isn’t just an assortment of tracks but an invitation to embark on a melodious journey, transcending boundaries and evoking a myriad of emotions with every note.

Inconsideration – “Kicker”

Blazing forth with an infectious energy reminiscent of the garage rock glory of the mid to late ’90s, Inconsideration’s “Kicker” is a riotous tribute to the golden era of punk-infused indie rock. With its lo-fi aesthetic, the track exudes an unrestrained zeal, fusing the rawness of garage punk with the melodic tendencies of pop-infused rock. The lyrics, seemingly a critique of superficial relationships and a longing for authentic connection, adds layers of depth to the already fervent track. Lines like “Take a trip, take a trip with me / We’ll listen to the radio static” and “Sick of it, sick of all the lies / You make me feel so dumb” echo the disillusionment of a generation bombarded by media, while “Young and naive is all they see / Someone to love me makes me empty” beautifully encapsulates the essence of youthful angst and yearning.

However, it’s not just the poignant lyrics that stand out. The sonic landscape of “Kicker” is a heady blend of gritty guitars, pounding drums, and catchy choruses that inevitably leave listeners bobbing their heads and tapping their feet. The song’s repeated refrain, “Let’s just leave it to fate, girl,” becomes an anthemic call, capturing the sentiment of reckless abandon and liberation from societal constraints. For those who pine for the golden days of alternative rock, “Kicker” offers a modernized take, paying homage to its roots while unmistakably carving out its own identity in the vast world of rock.

Roselit Bone – “Ofrenda”

Emerging from the tumultuous backdrop of personal metamorphoses and societal upheavals, Roselit Bone’s “Ofrenda” stands as a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and its ability to craft beauty amidst chaos. On this track, listeners are thrust into a world that’s both harrowing and exquisitely melodious — a world where anguish and affirmation intertwine, framed by a cacophony of instruments and resonant imagery. “Ofrenda” is a heart-rending paean to the acceptance of mortality, a topic especially poignant given the backdrop of personal losses experienced by the band’s frontwoman, Charlotte McCaslin. The narrative interweaves experiences of grieving with moments of clarity, an ebb and flow that echoes life’s cyclical nature. The line, “The Tower” with its haunting imagery of fleeing war and “angels taking power,” juxtaposed with the almost eerie calmness of mellotrons and fingerpicked guitars, encapsulates the duality of life’s most intense emotions.

Beyond just its lyrical prowess, what sets “Ofrenda” apart is its sonic audacity. The track seamlessly fuses the languid allure of dream-pop synths with fervent flamenco guitars, creating a soundscape that’s as sprawling as it is focused. This is post-punk country taken to new, experimental heights — a unique blend that feels both familiar and utterly novel. The entire album, as hinted by tracks like “Crying In The USA” and “Truth or Consequences”, promises an expansive musical journey. At its core, though, is McCaslin’s indomitable spirit — her evolution and introspection are palpable in every note and lyric, making “Ofrenda” not just a musical masterpiece but also a raw, emotional exposition. As the final notes of the title track dissipate, one can’t help but reflect on the cyclical nature of existence — the darkness before dawn, the rebirth that follows devastation. In “Ofrenda”, Roselit Bone has delivered a work that’s as cathartic as it is captivating, a beacon of hope in an often unforgiving world.

Ayna Errboe – “Just a Woman”

From the windswept coasts of northern Denmark to the rustic bars of southern France, Ayna Errboe has lived, learned, and loved. And in his single “Just a Woman”, all those fragmented experiences seem to coalesce into a poignant tale of love and the piercing ache of its loss. The song itself is a mesmerizing interplay between classic acoustic folk and the dynamism of ’70s folk-rock, weaving a sonic tapestry that’s as vast and varied as the landscapes he’s traversed. Errboe’s lyrics, so deeply entrenched in personal introspection, craft a narrative that’s heartbreakingly familiar: the dissolution of a love once thought immortal.

The chorus resonates with a raw, haunting power: “Yeah she used to be just a woman / But she was always a Goddess to me.” Here, Errboe captures the pedestals we place our loved ones upon, and the harrowing descent when reality redefines those perceptions. The repetitive, almost chant-like refrain of “she’s gone” serves as a somber reminder of love’s transient nature. But it’s not all melancholy; there’s a certain solace in Errboe’s acceptance, a stoic embrace of the pain that comes with passionate love. As he recounts tales of street music, encounters with fellow ‘dharmabums,’ and the lessons gleaned from ‘half-drunk street poets,’ it becomes clear that “Just a Woman” isn’t just a song—it’s a snapshot of a journey, a testament to the places love can take us, and a poignant reminder of the places it leaves behind.

modern-day machines – “Inside and Out”

Emerging from the vibrant tapestry of New York City’s music scene, modern-day machines’ latest single “Inside and Out” from their sophomore EP, Resident, plunges listeners into an abyss of emotional tumult. Melding the moody atmospheres of shoegaze with the raw emotional punch of emo and alternative rock, the track is a melancholic voyage through self-reflection and the arduous process of internal confrontation. Its sound pays homage to genre pioneers like Deftones and Thrice while also nodding to the more intricate explorations of Circa Survive and Coheed and Cambria, but modern-day machines inject their own distinct essence, deftly blending the visceral with the ethereal.

“Inside and Out” is awash in waves of reverberating guitar, underpinned by a pensive rhythm section. The lyrics—rife with anguish and introspection—highlight a battle with inner demons: “Swallowed my pride, but I can’t seem to keep it down. Swallowed the truth, but I can’t seem to keep it down.” With every repetition of the phrase “Inside and out,” the band creates a haunting echo of the ceaseless conflict between external perceptions and internal realities. The visceral punch of lines like “I’m swallowing these unmarked pills” speaks to both literal and metaphorical struggles with self-medication, desperate attempts to numb or alter an unbearable reality. But even amid the song’s shadowy depths, there’s a resonant humanity—an intimate glimpse into the universal struggle of grappling with one’s innermost fears, longings, and vulnerabilities. With “Inside and Out,” modern-day machines masterfully remind listeners of the profound power of raw, authentic emotion transmuted into music.

dipper – “lazy bones”

Dipper’s “lazy bones” is a serene jaunt into the lush landscapes of lo-fi folk, expertly serving up an auditory tableau reminiscent of a lazy Sunday afternoon. Set against the backdrop of an acoustic soundscape that embodies the very essence of Americana, “lazy bones” exudes an unpretentious warmth, one that’s easy to bask in and harder still to leave behind. With this offering, dipper—otherwise known as Dylan Patrick Roy from Ottawa—follows in the illustrious footsteps of artists like John Prine, while the nuanced strokes of Field Medic and the indie-folk edge of Slaughter Beach, Dog, make their presence felt throughout the track.

There’s an undeniable romanticism that permeates the very fibers of “lazy bones,” a love song dedicated not to a person but to the sheer act of leisure and introspection. The track feels effortlessly organic, with each strum and lyric flowing in symbiotic harmony, pulling listeners into the intimate universe dipper has cultivated. The song, like the entire “dog park” EP, feels akin to a handwritten letter shared between old friends—deeply personal yet universally relatable. Roy’s delicate storytelling, wrapped in a soft and breezy musical embrace, confirms that there’s profound beauty in simplicity. With “lazy bones,” dipper offers an invitation to momentarily eschew the clamor of the modern world, urging listeners to revel in the romance of a tranquil moment, ensconced in the comforting embrace of indie folk.

Sam Saunders – “The Airport”

Sam Saunders, in “The Airport”, crafts a lustrous soundscape reminiscent of psychedelic rock giants of yesteryears, wrapping listeners in a cocoon of swirling emotions and sonic brilliance. Hailing from the LP Onto-Communication Rescue, the song strikes a chord with its rich narrative of introspection, nostalgia, and an underlying sense of yearning. Saunders, channeling the influential voices of luminaries like John Lennon and David Bowie, carves out a space that’s both deeply rooted in the annals of classic rock and persistently innovative. The meticulous layering of vocals, keyboards, and guitars conjures a dreamy patchwork that is at once evocative of a bygone era and yet deeply resonant with contemporary sensibilities.

Lyrically, “The Airport” is steeped in poignant introspection, capturing moments of vulnerability, discovery, and epiphanies. The lines, “I read your letter and I almost died” and “You’re going to travel so far, to the airport of your thought,” encapsulate the overarching theme of the LP, striking a chord with Saunders’ musings on communication, nostalgia, and personal redemption. His DIY approach to recording, eschewing modern-day digital editing for a raw, organic soundscape, lends the track an authentic texture. The result is a musical piece that feels incredibly personal, as if Saunders is inviting the listener into his own intimate sanctum of memories and emotions. The artist’s ability to intertwine introspective lyrics with a hauntingly beautiful soundscape makes “The Airport” a standout track, ensuring that Onto-Communication Rescue is not merely an album but a journey—one that warrants multiple visits.

Leave a Reply