Sacred Bones is a label mostly derived of different styles of near-droning, but engaged artists that range anywhere from new and genre defining, to the familiar but substantial. The Soft Moon is a band that flies under a relatively similar style of being familiar, and one that draws inspiration from a band like Nine Inch Nails that was at one time; genre creating.
The newest release, Criminal is similar to the way that the harsh noise and eventual computer-esque instrumentation files under the similarities of Nine Inch Nails. It feels as though it draws attention to the band and constructs the sound to fit a more modern mold. It does not do anything that is immensely groundbreaking, but it does feel as a solid representation of how The Soft Moon can form its own backbone and fill in the cracks of where their previous release, Deeper left off.
“Burn” is an attack within the first moments and the bitcrushing bass that is combined with the rigid guitar feels more as a stadium anthem than anything coming from a dark wave band. It stays consistent in the punch of the bass drum that pounds on a one, two, three, and four before letting the wall of sound come with Luis Vasquez and his rough, almost violent voice. It is grief-stricken, but matches for his own description that was written for Criminal, “Guilt is my biggest demon and has been following me since childhood, everything I do strengthens the narrative that I am guilty.” Criminal is a monster that is both intriguing and emotionally draining, without showing much hope for the redemption of Vasquez.
Criminal is at most points incredibly industrial and showcases the sense of the metallic overcoat that is present on “Choke”. The warping instrumentation provides a deeper attachment to the backstory of the record, giving insight to where the lugubrious style takes form. It continues to twist and contort, while revolving around the central theme of abuse and the inability to receive self-redemption. Vasquez describes, “Take your time, crush me right. Take your time, crush me fine. So long time, try these lies. Take your time, crush me right. Take your time, crush me fine.” The self-destructive is near masochistic and relies on the ability to showcase a downfall that is almost relatable in a sense.
This is how Criminal captures the listener and brings them down to a more personal level. As most of the tracks and lyrics involve an incredibly violent nature that lurks behind Vasquez. While nothing that The Soft Moon does is groundbreaking in any sort, or truly inspiring; it does the job well and feels fulfilling to the ear. In a sense that is almost personal, Criminal confides in the listener almost as a therapist as Vasquez pours his emotional weight through his microphone.
It is unfit to be showcased as a hero, but Criminal is just as the titled supposes. The record is a fit of wrongdoings that oppose the ability to become forgiven. It lurks in the shadows and consistently feels broken, the sheer veracity and strength behind Criminal is shocking, but something that is comforting in an odd, almost twisted sense.
The Long Awaited Album is coming… // Listen Here – BandCamp
100K in an Hour // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed By: MaxDotBam // Max Beck
The Only Way Down… // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
A Striking Visual // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
Directed By: Gerard Victor
Written & Co-Directed: Black Milk, Sudie, Rosalinda Ruiz,
Cast: Mia Carruci, BeeLee
Mass Appeal Records, Computer Ugly
Few are regarded so highly by critics and artists alike as Jimi Hendrix. For his graceful, audacious standings and social movements through his music; Hendrix was a living legend that spanned a healthy career through the mid to late 1960’s that would catapult him into becoming one of the most respected guitarists of a generation.
His 1967 release, Axis: Bold as Love was the second endeavor from his Jimi Hendrix Experience project that worked with Mitch Mitchell on backing vocals and percussion and Noel Redding on backing vocals and bass which included a four and eight-stringed. It was adventurous for the time and reflected heavily on the influence of the peaceful movements of the era. The style of the Jimi Hendrix Experience had the colorful clothing, the experimentation behind the instruments, and an ear to the skies approach that reached beyond what was being done at that time. It was a psychedelic masterpiece and lived on through its bold, but moving boundaries.
From the short, but engaging introduction “EXP,” the Experience makes for a discussion about the conceptualization of UFO’s or flying saucers in the skies. It is a dialogue focused track that features some distortion which leads into the gentle, tapping of “Up From The Skies” which has Hendrix speaking softly over the thumping, but comforting bass lines and percussion. “I just want to talk to you, I wont do you no harm. I just want to know about your different lives, on this here people farm… I have lived her before, the days of ice. And of course this why I’m so concerned.” It fades out in such a graceful fashion that embodies most of Axis: Bold as Love.
It is gentle and inviting, but also showcases a heavier and more forefront attacking focus like on “Spanish Castle Magic” or “Ain’t No Telling” where the record starts to take shape and showcase just how incredible the musicians were present and how the true manipulation of the sound came about. But it is truly where “Little Wing” allows for Hendrix Experience to spread their arms and embrace the listener with the slick guitar and percussion heavy abrasiveness that is nowhere near aggressive, but it is eye and ear catching. The transposition of their lyrics and real flow is what makes the Jimi Hendrix Experience stand out, the backing and the foreground instrumentation is such a pivotal part of any musician. But, Hendrix and his band make the sound appear to transition incredibly well and flow through each track in a manner of self-expression that continues to impress.
The touching movement that follows along with “Castles Made of Sand” is another example of how the smooth, but still energetic style of the Experience is important to the progression of the record. It is a moving piece that feels as a wave that overtakes the listener in a strong sense of flow and ability. There is such a wide variety of aspects that change and shift in Axis: Bold as Love to where the music stays consistently memorable and always something that generations will want to gravitate toward for its relevance style to this day.
Finally, with “Bold as Love,” Axis: Bold as Love comes to a final, impactful close that strikes a personal chord of emotion and showcases the gripping power of Hendrix. The final movement can move even the boldest to tears as the sheer beauty that Jimi and company captures through the impressive guitar solos. There is something special about Axis: Bold as Love as the Jimi Hendrix Experience was one of the first to capture something so impactful and so everlasting at the time.