A Retrospective on The Velvet Underground

The Velvet Underground was an American Rock band from the big apple. It was formed by Lou Reed and featured John Cale, Sterling Morrison and Angus Maclise. The Velvet Underground was managed by Andy Warhol for a spell, and was the house band for some Warhol events from 1966 to 1967.  Warhol insisted that Nico, a German singer, collaborate with TVU at some point, and after a year of working on the album, it was finally released by Verve Records in March of 1967. The album cover is famous for its Warhol flare: a yellow banana sticker with “Peel slowly and see” printed near the tip of the banana. Consumers who peeled the banana skin found a pink, peeled banana beneath.

downloadAlthough they had almost no success during their existence on the shelves and streets, the Velvet Underground is now recognized as one of the most influential bands of the rock era. Their album featuring Nico that debuted in 1967 was called “the most prophetic rock album ever made” by Rolling stone in 2003.

After TVU moved on from Andy Warhol as manager, they made White Light/ White Heat, which was often referred to by the band as an album that reflected, “consciously anti-beauty”velvet

From “Who Loves The Sun”, which sounds like a mix of the Smiths and the Beatles, to “Femme Fatale”, which sounds like a melancholy tune from a coming-of-age comedy-drama movie by John Hughes, The Velvet Underground has a wide span of music. While “Pale Blue Eyes” acts as a quiet lullaby to a lost lover, “Sister Ray” is a 17 minute rock anthem to drugs, violence, and transvestism. In 2013, Velvets fanbase spiked with the death of Lou Reed. Today, The Velvet Underground is an “oldie but a goodie” and is more popular than they ever were in the 1960s. rs-15392-20140519-velvetunderground-x1800-1400535552

Tegan and Sara – Love You to Death

Tegan and Sara are identical twin sisters from Alberta, Canada who were once just teenage girls creating demo tapes in their high school’s recording studio. They created their first professional demo the year they graduated high school after being awarded free studio time in a Garage Warz band competition in Calgary. Tegan and Sara released their first album Under Feet Like Ours independently in 1999 before signing with Neil Young’s Vapor Records.

As they continued making music they gained more and more recognition. The White Stripes covered their song “Walking with a Ghost” from their 2004 album So Jealous. Their 2007 album The Con was co-produced by Jason McGerr of Death Cab for Cutie and Matt Sharp of Weezer. Two years later their album Sainthood sold 24,000 copies its first week and in 2012 Closer sold 49,000 copies its first week reaching number three on the Billboard’s Top 200 Albums.

This year they released their new record Love You to Death that is an 80s style pop album with a modern edge and catchy lyrics. Their featured single is called “Boyfriend” about being best friends with a straight girl, catching feelings and not wanting to keep it a secret anymore. Tegan and Sara are both openly lesbian and have made use of the spotlight to become prominent advocates politically and socially for the LGBT community. In 2014 they were even honored in the Outstanding Music Artist category at the 25th GLAAD Media Awards.

Being an indie pop band they have a more carefree vibe, even in a song like “That Girl” about things getting tough and not being enough there is still a sense of positivity. This type of music has a niche audience because of its throwback style and its glam pop feel. Tegan and Sara’s own fashion sense is a bit androgynous and on the album cover their faces are obscured but their dark short hair gives them a 90s Winona Ryder look except for the bright, bold eye makeup which is seemingly an homage to artists like Boy George or David Bowie.

The song “Faint of Heart” has Madonna-esque vocals and the quintessential 80s hand clap that you might be familiar with. In the music video for this song, kids are at a lip sync battle wearing outfits reminiscent of Prince, Madonna, Michael Jackson and Grace Jones. This album pays tribute to the eccentric and talented artists who have paved the way and are an inspiration to the young people who admire their work.

Tegan and Sara are on the Fall 2016 Tour and will perform at In The Venue 219 S. 600 W. Salt Lake City 84101 on September 22 at 6:30 pm.

https://www.saltlakecityconcerts.net/eventx/tegan-sara/

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.

Westward: The Deadly Rapture of Space

The Deadly Rapture of Space is the first album released by a band that goes by the name of Westward. Studied and experienced musicians in their own right, the band was created by some of our own Salt Lake City locals: Andrew Marshall as lead vocals and guitar, Karl Grimm on bass and Matt Morrison on drums.

The intro to the title track is the static sound of astronauts talking to each other over a radio intercom and an announcer saying, “Most of the world waited 100 miles below, the crew had completed final preparations, the cabin was depressurized and the hatch open.” It immediately sets up the space odyssey that you are about to take part in. I imagined the guitar and drums breaking in as soon as they leave the atmosphere and enter the dark depths of space.

I can tell by the vibrato of the song “Drive’m” that their live shows are not something to miss. The chanting of the chorus, the electric guitar and the way Marshall delivers the lyrics sounds like a very theatrical and lively performance.

To give you an idea of the inspiration behind Westward’s sound, their musical influences are rock artists like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and Jack White. Their fans have coined the term “cowboy space rock” to fondly describe their music and I can hear why. I felt like I was being transported to a distant rock n’ roll western with awesome instrumentals and sexy vocals. Case in point, listen to my favorite song on the album called “When I Give You Control”.

The guys have been working over the last three years to make a name for themselves, opening for various bands in different states and even went on their own 2015 Deadly Tour. Westward has played gigs at venues like the Utah Arts Festival, the Sundance Film Festival’s Indie Lounge and The House of Blues in Las Vegas.

They are now working on new material as they go on the 2016 West Coast Tour. If you want to check them out live they will be making a stop in Salt Lake City on Saturday August 6, 2016 at The Urban Lounge 241 S. 500 E. 8:00 pm – 11:00 pm.

Earth Tiger

“I had a vision I could fly around the world with a girl with blonde curls who swapped energy for pearls.” To anyone who visits Earth Tiger’s Soundcloud page, this will be the first thing you hear if you play their first track “Holiday.” Earth Tiger is a duo from New Zealand that doesn’t’ sound like your typical hip hop output—combining the flows of traditional rap with beats intertwining pop, rock, and electronic dance music. Their song’s infectious—the melodies will get stuck in your head until you have no choice but to play the songs again. While they only have two tunes available on their Soundcloud it’s more than enough to satisfy for the time being.

Earth Tiger was conceived on Christmas Eve around a campfire by friends Cruz Mathews and Tom Taylor who had a mutual love of old school hip hop. After collaborating with producer Alex Wildwood in a series of week-long recording sessions, the duo set up a home studio in a swamp house in the rainforest of Byron Bay. The natural surroundings of the rainforest invoked songs inspired by the energy it gave off. In their makeshift studio, they funneled their collection of earthly hip hop into an EP entitled Holiday set for release hopefully later this year. It is now in the mixing and mastering process via Nathan Sowter of La Petite Maison Studios.

The title track of the EP alone is an accurate representation of their music with its soothing beats with Mathews’ and Taylor’s smooth flows emulate the feeling of trekking through wilderness of the Down Under. The second track on their soundcloud that was released some months prior to recording the music of Holiday is the song “King Like Jordan.” While it doesn’t contain the same style of earthly ambience that “Holiday” does, it’s still just as catchy and laidback with a hook that goes “This my jam. This my jam. This, right here, my favorite jam.” The rest of the song consists of lyrics that express its listeners to stay motivated in exercising the mind, body, and soul.

To put it blatantly, Earth Tiger is straight up feel good music and as the first hip hop group I’ve heard out of New Zealand I pretty much got what I expected and then some. They may find themselves on the playlist of any outdoorsy types who go on nature hikes and attend the gym regularly.

No Wonder Oh Wonder is Amazing

Oh Wonder released their debut album, Oh Wonder, on September 4th in 2015. Immediately upon release, critics were raving, fans were screaming, and Oh Wonder embarked on a worldwide tour which only increased their ever-growing popularity. Oh Wonder is an upcoming indie-pop band based in London that is grabbing attention everywhere. The band is a duo, Josephine Vander Gucht and Anthony West. This album was made in a very non-traditional way. The two members wrote, produced and mixed each song in their home studio, and then released one song per month, beginning in September 2014. The official album was then released, along with two extra songs. Despite the majority of the songs being available before the album release, it still did extremely well in the charts across several countries including the UK, US, and Canada.
The album begins with Livewire, is a song about love that has passion within every word. The lyrics in the chorus “make me feel like I’m set on fire” is not dark or creepy, but rather entrancing. Technicolor Beat is a chill, electro-pop song that makes you feel calm with its simple piano and synth sounds, mixed with the pair’s vocals. Drive is exactly the song you would want to listen to on a drive as the sun sets with its nice backbeat and smooth strings. Lose It is a simple piano song with a basic beat and snaps, but the unique rhythm and lyrics such as “You got to give yourself a moment, let your body breathe” will make you want to just take a step back from life, and just dance for a moment. The Rain has melody that is reminiscent of old music while seamlessly combining it with newer synth melodies, and makes for a perfect song to listen to on a rainy day. Midnight Moon has a nice melody, some claps, and lyrics that will cheer you up. The album closes with Plans, which talks about times being tough, but yet it still conveys a feeling that everything will be alright and that the journey is worth it. Oh Wonder has a unique style, a unique approach to the music industry, and has a great future for them. If you are looking for a calming album that will make you feel happy, give this album a try. It’ll be worth it.

REVIEW: In The Shade by Aspen Grove

What do you get when you cross Pink FloydGodspeed You! Black Emperor, and Salt Lake City? A fantastic local band called Aspen Grove! Aspen Grove, the band formally known as Archeopteryx makes some dang good music! This album is full of soothing vocals, bad ass instrumentals and radical chord progressions. Only three songs long this album has a soul behind it and you can here the passion in every bar.  It’s not every day that I get blown away by local bands but this one has something special. Even though at times the band has a tendency to vamp for a little to long it moves at a quick enough pace to keep me from having to strain my ears to enjoy it.  Most measures build on the last and it climax’s and melodic restitution’s kept me on the edge of my seat. Very good local album 9/10!

Listen to there album or download it here!

HOLY SMOKES THERE’S SOME GOOD MUSIC BEHIND THIS LINK!