The Magic of Music: Honors

Watch out for this name in the works!

Honors is a rising alternative/rock band from Toronto, ON in Canada that is making its way through its musical path. With only two songs out on display, they are still bound to find success. They have approximately 428,000 monthly listeners on Spotify, originally listeners from Manhattan, NY, so that definitely sounds like the right path!

I remember hearing their top hit, “Over”, in San Francisco back in February at a friend’s apartment and I instantly fell in love. I thought, “this is no ordinary rock band”. I felt the synths and the vibrations running through my body throughout the song and I knew that they were going to be big one day (hell, I thought they were already well-known).

I saw their set at this year’s Bonanza Campout out in Rivers Edge this past weekend and it was the best band that could start off this weekend of incredible memories. The crowd wasn’t the largest, but I loved the intimate setting that I was in when I was seeing this amazing band. That being said, I had an incredible opportunity to conduct an interview with the loving members of Honors.

K-Ute: Back in Toronto, how did all of you get together and become the band you are today? 

Honors: We all grew up in the same neighborhood and met each other in high school. That’s when we started making music together!

K-Ute: When listening to your songs, I can hear some electronic beats and synths, even through an alternative feel. What made you guys decide to use these types of genres within your tunes?

Honors: We all share so much music with each other that we all make. If all four of us like it, that’s how we decide. We got together and wrote the songs that we wrote and we were like, “We really like this and it sounds cool!”. That’s how we keep doing it!

K-Ute: With all the songs you all have written, how did you find the meanings within them? 

Honors: Through life! Different songs get written on different days and these happen to be the ones that we liked the most.

K-Ute: Where and when was your first big gig together as a band? 

Honors: Funny you should ask, we’re not that known! This is all still very new to us. For example, we released our first song six months ago! Bonanza Campout is only our fourth show, including our first time playing at a festival together. Everything is a first right now.

K-Ute: How do you see yourself as a band in the future? Any goals, inspirations, etc.?

Honors: We just want to keep making songs that we all love and records that we stand behind and ideally play at many places as humanly possible. Anyone who is in music wants to play at all of the festivals and all we can do is write and make the best music that we can!

K-Ute: Since all of you from Canada, what is your favorite thing about Canada?

Honors: Healthcare! Let’s say I break my leg, I can go to the hospital and not have to pay anything! No one asks for any money, it’s amazing! Another thing about Canada is the Canadian government subsidizes artists with funding for their career, which is pretty cool for any artist that is starting out and ends up making a demo or an album without having to empty out their savings. Also, if you ever go to Toronto, you have to try the Burger’s Priest!

Check out Honors‘ top hit, “Over”, and their newest hit, “Say Yes” on their Spotify and check them out on Facebook!

 

Die Antwoord – Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid

The first time listening to a song by the South African rap-rave group, Die Antwoord, I was appalled, shocked, and even offended. Apparently I wasn’t the only one considering the mostly negative reviews of Die Antwoord’s fourth studio album Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid. However, while it’s easy to dismiss the group for their crude and audacious persona’s, there’s much more to Die Antwoord than meets the eye.

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The group’s aesthetic stems from the South African counter-culture movement called “zef” which roughly translates to “common” in English. For Die Antwoord, the style is most often characterized by bold colors, gaudy outfits, and flashy jewelry. However, in an interview, Yo-landi Visser says “Zef’s kind of like you don’t give a f*ck and you have your own flavor and you’re on your own mission”; a mentality that’s ingrained in all of Die Antwoord’s work, especially in their newest album Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid. 

The opening track “We Have Candy” is a surreal and theatrical invitation to the rest of the album. A combination of comedic dialogue and soaring operatics leaves the listener confused yet wanting more; a description that can be applied to most songs from Die Antwoord. “We Have Candy” was the group’s original name for the album because of it’s random and playful tracks, but the name was soon changed to Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid once the group added more dark and vulnerable songs to the album.

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The song “Banana Brain” is a perfect example of the more random and playful songs Die Antwoord began writing the album with. The track begins with Yo-landi’s high-pitched and eerie vocals which then lead into a roller coaster of pulsing beats and EDM rhythms. The music video for “Banana Brain” depicts a crazy house party with fast cars, psychedelics, and neon lights; a setting most appropriate for the song’s wild/rave attitude.

Even though Die Antwoord’s music shouldn’t be taken too seriously, some of the songs take it too far to the point where they become immature and no longer amusing. The songs “Wings on my Penis” and “U Like Boobies?” are just as cringe-worthy as they sound. The songs feature an unknown six year old named Lil Tommy Terror rapping about exactly what the song’s names suggest. Along with being inappropriate in nature, the songs also lack musical substance and make me question why they were considered official tracks on the album in the first place.

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While most of the songs from Mount Ninji contain a similar sentiment, it’s clear that the group tried to balance the album out with more vulnerable and stripped down songs like “Alien,” “Darkling,” and “I Don’t Care.” The songs discuss what it’s like to be considered an outsider and not caring what others think. Even though the message of these tracks are more heartfelt and genuine, their stripped down nature makes the songs dull and repetitive.

Mount Ninji and Da Nice Time Kid may not be the most musically substantial album out there, but it’s certainly exciting and different. It also contains bizarre guest appearances like “Rats Rule” featuring Jack Black and “Gucci Coochie” featuring Dita Von Teese. Overall, the album’s avant-garde character and catchy rave beats definitely makes it an album worth listening to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Door Cinema Club – Gameshow

Fans of Two Door Cinema Club, myself included, have patiently waited for new material to be released. At times, it was uncertain as to whether or not they would come back as the band members were dealing with their own problems and projects. After 4 years of waiting, Two Door Cinema Club are back and sounding more confident than ever.

Produced by the infamous Jacknife Lee (Crystal Castles, Silversun Pickups, Weezer), Two Door Cinema Club’s newest album Gameshow is a modern take on classic rock music. Singer Alex Trimble names David Bowie and Prince as major inspirations for this album and it is evident, especially in songs like “Bad Decisions” and “Surgery”. The band has experimented a bit to add more of an electronic sound to their songs while still keeping their alternative sound that drew so many fans to listen to them. Yes, Two Door Cinema Club have followed in the path many other bands are taking with the 80s music revival, however, they do it in such a way that is refreshing and pleasurable.

The first track “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” reinforces the idea that Two Door Cinema Club has returned stronger than ever. Trimble makes some brazen statements as the song opens to the lyrics, “We are the sacred cow/Stand up, take a bow, you’re wonderful/You should be comfortable, don’t think at all”. Steady choir chants and handclaps kept my foot tapping throughout the entirety of the song.

The album’s title track “Gameshow” is one that is bound to be a crowd pleaser during concerts. It’s one of the most spirited songs on the album that gave me some LCD Soundsystem vibes. Trimble sings with a furiosity that I have not heard from him before. In it, Trimble is taking back control from the record companies and finally standing up for himself.

Many people have criticized Gameshow as falling short of expectations, but I say differently. The album is not revolutionary nor is it a giant leap forward for the band, but it is a fun and funky collection of songs that is bound to get a crowd thrilled. Trimble’s vocal ability impressed me because I did not know his voice was capable of such range. Guitarist Sam Halliday also deserves recognition with his outstanding guitar solos that are more prominently featured in this album. While not all of the tracks on Gameshow are my favorite, that doesn’t detract from the fact that I think this is a wonderful album filled with creativity and ambition. After 4 years, it was definitely worth the wait.

Ivouries – EP

Ivouries is the solo project of singer and multi-instrumentalist Jaxon Garrick. A Sandy native, Garrick has dreamed of being a musician since he was 12 years old. Music plays such a big role in his life he practically considers it a religious feeling. “Music is something that is so much a part of me that I guess I use it cathartically almost,” he said.

With the release of his new EP, Garrick is setting himself apart from other artists by infusing mellow vocals with hypnotic experimental beats. He mainly plays the guitar, but is not afraid to pick up another instrument as long as it can contribute to what he’s working on. Lately, Garrick has been captivated by synthesizers. “The possibilities and sounds you can create with analog and digital synthesizers are endless and I wish they were more appreciated!” During the writing process of his EP, Garrick’s life was changing and he found solace in his music. He said he found inspiration in Bon Iver and the way he isolated himself to make a record.

The EP starts off with the song “I Just Want It”, which chronicles the complicated relationship between two people. He sounds frustrated with the relationship he is in and doesn’t know what to do. The song sounds almost dreamlike through the verses when he ponders the actions of the other person.

Another track that deserves recognition is “Regret It”.  It almost transports you back to the 80s with heavy synths that play throughout the song. Garrick revisits his themes of relationships and heartbreak as he sings about the heavy burden of a breakup. Towards the end of the song, he truly shows off his guitar skills by playing an impressive solo.

Listening to the EP, a song that really stood out to me is “Run Rill” because of the softer, acoustic rhythm it has that differs from the rest of the tracks. The soft ballad tells the story of two people wanting to get away from everything and starting over.  It was refreshing to hear this track because of how stripped down it sounded compared to his other songs.

Ivouries definitely has a unique blend of sound mixing together hip-hop, indie rock, and electronic. It’s no surprise considering Garrick names artists like Lorde, Kanye West, Frank Ocean, and Grimes as his influences to name a few. “I really respect artists who have somewhat of an anxiety to always be thinking about how they can reinvent themselves. Never really settling or zoning in on one sound.”

To check out more of Ivories, visit https://soundcloud.com/ivouries.