Wednesday, January 17, 2018

“Head on Backwards” by s//p – A Song Review

     Psych-Electronic Rock is a genre with a fanbase that seems to grow every year. We don’t count ourselves as taking residence in that fanbase. Most of the songs we favor from the genre are on the border of being “guilty pleasures.” “Head on Backwards” by s//p qualifies as an exception, because it has a sophistication that sets the track apart from the collective work from the genre.

     The intro of “Head on Backwards” has an ambient vibe that seamlessly transitions into an orchestral theme with an emphasis on the sound of a horn section. At the 0:43 mark, a coup occurs with an infectious energy. A low-frequency rumble establishes the foundation on which the rhythm is built. Initially, the vocals provide another layer in the texturing, but when the vocals step aside, the rumble provides a contrast with the higher register guitar.

     Pinpointing one feature of “Head on Backwards” that is a standout for us, there is a crescendo that begins a slow build at 1:57. Crescendos within a song having the energy of this track typically feel forced. The build in “Head on Backwards,” on the other hand, has a fit so comfortable that the listener may not recognize the ride to a higher energy level until near its point of drop-off.  

     s//p (pronounced “slip”) is the project of Taylor Brown of Los Angeles. He adopted the name s//p partially because of the difficulty of finding an available name in the current Indie environment and, more significantly, because “s//p looks like it’s literally slipping away from itself before course correcting at the end. Also, I like the way it looks,” Taylor explains.

     “Head on Backwards” will appear on s//p’s album “The Cost.” The track was mastered by Howie Weinberg and produced by Taylor Brown & Jules De Gasperis.

      "Head on Backwards” by s//p 


Tuesday, January 16, 2018

“Palm Spring” by Castle Pines – A Song Review

     “Palm Springs” is defined by diverse components that are skillfully performed and intelligently arranged. The vocals in the single by Castle Pines range from near whispers to band shouts, and include what sounds like children on a playground (2:47). Instrumentally, the track is a sequence of different attractive hooks, keeping the track “fresh” for its full four minutes. We recommend listening to “Palm Springs” on repeat and changing the focus each time. The bass drives the song during an early portion, and a crystalline guitar (similar to early The Byrds) carries the vocals during the near-whisper ending.

     Castle Pines describes “Palm Springs” as “a straight forward and uplifting road trip jam about going on family trips in the 90's. Maintains a chill and poolside feeling while still having driving movement and direction with dynamics and guitar work.” Palm Springs, the city, is as diverse as “Palm Springs,” the song. It is considered a retirement area for many, but sits in Coachella Valley, the site of perhaps the most popular U.S. festival. Of interest in music-related history, in 1990 then-mayor Sonny Bono played a role in reducing Palm Springs’ popularity as a spring break destination.

     Castle Pines is an Alt-Rock group from Corona, California. The members are Leandro Barrientos (vocals, guitar), Ricky Garvey (lead guitar, backing vocals), Sterling Fairfield (percussion), and Jesse Briseno (bass).

     “Palm Springs” has had its fans for months. It was on Castle Pines’ May 2017 album “Summer Blood,” and was initially released as a single well before the album. Castle Pines is re-promoting the track as a reboot after a health-imposed hiatus. The life of drummer Sterling Fairfield was a concern last year. He was hospitalized for a significant portion of 2017. After treatment and surgery, Sterling has grabbed his drumsticks again; and Castle Pines is working to release a seven-track album sometime in 2018.

     “Palm Spring” by Castle Pines 


     “Derailed” by Castle Pines 


Lyrics of “Palm Spring” by Castle Pines
Held inside of a tin-can van
No air to breathe in a barren land
Drive up to a painted shell
Neon church on a sidewalk hell

Let’s move to the desert
We can work it out
Miles stretched out before us
We can bring it down
Bring it all back down

Bleak hills
Climbing up just to get outside
Soft kills
No air to breathe in a mountain sky
Yeah, yeah ,yeah, yeah

Growing old and getting grey
In a dried up place that doesn't age
Well, I hear the desert screaming from a cage
Well, I hear the desert scream from a cage

Let’s move to the desert
We can work it out
Miles stretched out before us
We can bring it down
Bring it all back down

Bleak hills
Climbing up just to get outside
Soft kills
No air to breathe in a mountain sky
Sheah, yeah ,yeah, yeah
Sheah, yeah ,yeah, yeah

Bleak hills
Climbing up just to get outside
Soft kills
No air to breathe in a mountain sky

I woke up, with the mountain sky
With the moon held high

I woke up, with the mountain sky

Monday, January 15, 2018

“What Happened To Us?" by B3ar – A Song Review

     B3ar (pronounced “Bear”) are a duo in Nottingham, UK. In 2017, they released a debut 3-track EP. “What Happened To Us?” is the title track.

     B3ar consist of close friends Brandon Hargrave (lead guitar, piano, percussion, Bbacking vocals) and Myles Smith (lead vocals, guitarist). According to their Facebook page, Brandon is known to his friends as “Maurice Amour.”

     “What Happened To Us?" by B3ar