In the ruins of Secret Circle… Two kings rise… // Listen/Watch Here – Youtube
From an upcoming EP // Listen Here – SmartURL
In amidst the 1970’s there was an influx of new musical talent, style, and unrelenting force that overtook the wave of the very strict formation of the 1950’s, to the carefree 60’s. With bands like The Velvet Underground, artists like David Bowie, and rampant experimentation in a field of the now sturdy rock n’ roll foundation; Patti Smith rose to the spotlight.
With her debut record stemming from a personal recommendation from friend Lou Reed, Smith released Horses in 1975and captures the freedom behind spoken word over loose instrumentation. Horses has a powerful stance that still even in a modern setting is a description and living painting of the liberation behind musical settings. “Jesus died for somebody’s sins, but not mine. Melting in a pot of thieves, wild card up my sleeve. Thick heart of stone, my sins my own, they belong to me.” Smith explains in “Gloria (In Excelsis Deo)”, the reworked Van Morrison/Them track that would become an iconic opening and setting theme for Horses. The disregard for the legislation on Smith as a free-thinking artist that challenges the common law of the land become a figure for controversy for her thoughts, poetic style, and musical works for years to come.
Even before “Rock n’ Roll Nigger” would even grace the paper, Patti Smith would break the barriers on social commentary through her sound as one of the first punk rock icons in the world. Her incredibly minimal cover art with its black and white film grain became famous for being a testament in juxtaposition to the extremely colorful and vivid musical progression behind the album.
With the dance and rhythm focused nearly doo-wop inspired “Redondo Beach”, Smith acts as a muse behind the sunlight and driven instrumentation. As the guitar plays a cheerful-esque background that includes keys that cling and act as accents, the percussion finds its way to clash on the hi-hats and play small cascades on the toms. Smith was the main vocalist and guitarist that would lead Jay Dee Daugherty on the percussion, Ivan Kral on bass, guitar, and backing vocals, Lenny Kaye on bass, guitar, and vocals, and finally Richard Sohl on keyboards into the journey ahead.
Horses also has the moments of immediate slow down that control the rising action and make for the breaks where Smith acts more as a stand up poet than a rock vocalist. Her style however, does not follow much of a structure as she howls, moans, and whispers her way through “Birdland” which is one of the tracks that show the more experimental side of Horses. It can be strange at moments, hard to follow at others, but Horsesis one of the albums that has a strange appeal behind it. The kind of album that works to produce these large landscapes of sound that becomes more and more unraveled through each listen. Smith constantly adapts to different environments and works to form this never broken style that rekindles at the end or beginning of each incoming track; becoming finally collected and processed.
With one of the final tracks, “Break It Up”, Smith uses one of the more beautiful uses of chord progressions and choruses that back her vocals up to form almost tear-bringing glory. The building action, the falling tone, and the endless wave of empathy that comes from Smith’s smooth voice and piano combination creates one of the more beautiful arrangements on Horses. Not only is there this awe-inspiring sense behind the vocalization, but the instrumentation truly adds to the mood and feeling behind the emotional display from Smith and her band.
Smith takesHorses into so many varying directions and makes an effort to create new boundary-destroying styles on each track. The movement and ability behind Smith always keeps this engaged focus, recreating the 1970’s freedom; where Horsesleaves a trail of smoke and slight confusion at the final silence.
From the first crashing waves of the feedback and distortion bearing guitar and bass, there is an aura behind Monolord. They accompany with the occult, the destructive, and the strange in a musical triangle that becomes more intriguing and more filled with wonder than fear.
On their 2015 release Vænir, thereis the audio embodiment of both pleasure and pain. In a twisted sense, Monolord is heavily reliant on creating these large swoops of sound that form the real direction of each track. While slowed, Monolord moves through as a persuasive batch that is dependent on each others movement to truly prosper. In a way, Væniris more of a jump into the unknown as Monolord begins with “Cursing The One.”
The moments of building noise that lead the listener into the sudden battlefield of sound is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Monolord takes the listener by the hand and then suddenly subjects them to a surprise assault of sluggish chords, bass growls, and percussion that actually crashes to create these rings throughout the movement. “Cursing The One” is a solid introduction to a six-track dive through warped lyrics, experimental instrumentation, and an approach to creating despair as a sound.
Surprisingly movement orientated, Mika Häkki and Thomas Jäger create whirls of sound through the bass and guitar combination while keeping a tortious-esque shell over the band. Esben Willems handles the percussion that clasps and slams along to the vocal performance from Jäger that sounds distorted but fitting along the path. Through just three members, Monolord is able to capture and play with a sound that is surprisingly punishing even from a metal standpoint. The hydra shifts together and ultimately becomes a driving force to push Monolord into the mid-point with “Nuclear Death”.
Similar in style to what has been previously presented; “Nuclear Death” rides on the wave of heavy bass and rhythm riffs to create a backbone. The sound is engaging and fills the void with a final push to hit the midpoint. As the middle arrives, Monolord stays in a consistent grind to make a cycle of sound. It captures the listener and traps them in a gripping whirlwind of fury that never becomes unrelenting throughout Vænir.
It is this style that ultimately moves into “Died A Million Times” where the cover of Vænir shows a sense of reflection into the sound. The figure stepping into the murky water is similar to how the listener is thrown into the darkness of the album, the real pit of power.
While ultimately feeling as one continuous track, Monolord is intelligent in the way the spacing of the album works. Not only is there a sense of ability behind the band, but the togetherness creates a bond of strength. This bond stays consistent and works in a favor to illustrate Monolord’s bone-breaking crush even into the final darkness that ends Vænir.
Shayna McHayle is part of the forefront of women vocalist that combine a gentle run through on vocalist style, with the gruff rhyming movements of current rap. With discussion topics that cover sex, fame, hook-ups, love, and life in New York City; Junglepussy comes swinging in all directions with her newest work JP3.
There is some strange attraction to Junglepussy as obviously the name stands out and makes the audience do a double take, but then with a closer approach that dives into the music; there is a large amount of substance present as well. JP3 takes certain aspects of boom-bap, soul, jazz, and avant-garde styling’s that really reflect the jungle that is New York and the blend of genres and nationalities that create the tops of the Bronx to the bottoms of Brooklyn.
Junglepussy opens JP3 with “State of the Union” that develops behind these graceful string progressions and start to form with raining percussion and snare pops. McHayle delivers on the vocal aspects where she comments on the social ideas behind race and the power that she holds in a modern society, “Everybody wanna be black, it’s so tragic. Every time I wear clothes, I’m stopping traffic… We play the same sport, I don’t smell like you. Getting the same cheese, I don’t melt like you.”
Then in a quick transition, “Get Down” which holds a feature from Rico Love comes shuffling into frame and feels more as a continuation as the production becomes this cascading club style boom. There is a focus on creating the hook from Love into a forefront instrument that makes the track catchy, and ultimately become quotable as he cries, “You about to make me tear this club up. Somebody tell the DJ that I love her, and I’m willing to die ‘bout this pussy.” JP3in all throughout the lyricism and the production is a fun ride that relies on the different approaches of Junglepussy.
Wiki from the same city comes and delivers a verse on “Ocean Floor” which also has one of the more vibrant displays of production. With the dancing piano, the clasping claps and the horns that play these bravado’s and real grasping sections where the whole band comes together and stands well to develop a mood behind Junglepussy and Wiki’s verse.
“You can swim around, hit the divin’ board all the way down is where I need you most,” Junglepussy explains as Wiki leaps in and describes, “I’m diving in, don’t bother testing the water. Nah gotta climb right in, girl let me find that fin… Don’t know where to start, I ain’t all that smart, a fucking shark having too much fun at the waterpark.” It then reflects on the cheerful production that shines on “Trader Joe” where Junglepussy uses these vocal arpeggios which is one of the final moments on JP3.
“Trader Joe” brings the sunshine and grace to the final frontier where Junglepussy dances into the sunset with one of her best, more well-rounded projects to date. JP3 brings an excitement into pop music that can be relatable to some, but make everyone move.