Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Moons - Ekra

Ekra is a duo rock outfit from New York that's creating circular and layered music with ease. Songs like Intercourse fill the space between ambient Radiohead and dark U2. The track is instrumentally, dark and driving; while the vocal melody is more soothing, anthemic, and reverb-laden.

On Sagittarius A, a dirty trumpet opens the song before a catchy drum sequence drives the song and takes it to something you might expect from Thom Yorke. I love the way they mixed this song. Its spacious and capitalizes on the hooky vocals, while still giving support and tribute to some stellar instrumental musicianship.

Album closer, 49 Days is a mid-tempo piece featuring tight bass and drum work. It has elements as contrasting as NIN and The Postal Service, but seems to pull the angularity off.

If creative ambient-rock is your genre, you'll love Ekra. If not, you'll still appreciate the ride! I would love to see a live show to experience how they pull off the soundscapes as a duo group.

RATING: 4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Naked - Steve Baskin

If its textured Americana alt/pop-rock that you're into, then you'll dig Naked, by Atlanta-based, Steve Baskin. Surrounded by a stellar band, they create soundscapes that accurately articulate each song and Baskin's vocals.

Album opener, Catch Me If You Can, is overly poppy, and lends itself to all listeners. It comes across like a blend of Counting Crows and Blue October. Later track, A Day in My Shoes seductively explodes with a great, soaring lead guitar riff. The melodies aren't quite as singable, but the hooks come at you one after another.

Something Smells Fishy belongs main stage at Bonnaroo. Its jammy and catchy all the same. Clearly, these guys know their way inside a studio. Their sounds are solid, and they all complement each other song after song.

RATING: 3.5 of 5 stars