Throughout her time with Azure Ray and over the course of her solo career, Orenda Fink has never shied from exploring the darker edges of spirituality and the human condition. On her latest album, Blue Dream, she looks closely at death, reflecting upon a year-long meditation on the subject. That year she found herself on a deeply personal search for the meaning of death. Pieces of answers, coded in riddle, came to her in dreams. Her dreams began to tell a story-about life and death and the afterlife, reality, and the fine line between the conscious and subconscious world. She then spent the next year understanding the experience and filtering it through the musical inspirations of Smog, Violetta Parra, and Kate Bush to craft Blue Dream. The album truly came together at ARC in Omaha, NE with the help of producers Ben Brodin and Todd Fink (The Faint), along with drummer Bill Rieflin (Ministry, Swans, R.E.M., King Crimson).
CD/LP/Digital - 5/12/15
For the new album Icky Blossoms continue with their study of synthesizers and drum machines, finding new focus by exploring the space between their background in basement rock shows and their new-found fluency in electronic music. They spent a year crafting the next evolution of their sound, maintaining their core of throbbing electronic grooves, but working to blend it with the drums, bass, and screaming guitars of their chaotic live show.
GENERALS is both a protest record and concept album. It's fueled by a full decade of Burhenn's political frustration and aimed at finding a revolutionary yet pacifist way in a world where, these days, it seems warring comes quick. Musically you can hear echoes of early PJ Harvey, politically-charged Nina Simone and Low-era David Bowie. It gets down and hip hop dirty, flirts with African melodies and rhythms, goes four-on-the-floor for all out dance jams and has plenty of percussion. Burhenn even plays drums herself on a couple of songs, and a 5-gallon bucket in homage to DC street Go-Go on another.
Examining well-worn subjects like love, death, authenticity, identity, alienation and society, Pujol applies a filter completely his own and brings these ideas to a place they've never existed before. His words examine the world with his signature brand of skepticism, humor, idealism, and an unmistakable earnestness and sincerity. PUJOL delivers a sophomore record that pushes the intellectual boundaries of songwriting, while at the same time creating a superb, audacious punk rock record filled with moments of delicate beauty. To do just one of these things is rare, but to do all of that is a true feat... or just a crock that works.
CD/LP/Digital - 5/5/15
Alligator Years expands upon the charming surfy haze of Twinsmith's 2013 eponymous album and "Honestly" single, with the band pushing themselves musically while moving toward a more dynamic pop sound. There's a youthful sense of longing and exploration that permeates the album, which reflects on the highs and lows, advantages and disadvantages, hopes and fears of 20-something life with crafty, unassuming depth. Not just any band can examine anxiety, uncertainty, and commitment through tales of homicidal girlfriends and zombie apocalypses with such aplomb.