Elvira Kalnik – Press Release – 3-27 – ‘Chemical Reaction’

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS RELEASE – MARCH 27, 2015

Elvira Kalnik, a singer songwriter and producer, is preparing a new single to be released on April 21. Kalnik focuses her talents into a variety of styles, in particular, EDM and dubstep. The track is ‘Chemical Reaction,’ a vocal mix by Kalnik and Hooki-Sonic Recordings.

Kalnik is a European crossover artist who sings and produces an array of musical styles including electronic dance, contemporary pop, dubstep, jungle music, and gentle rock. Born in the Ukraine, she has received high music and vocal education from both Ukrainian and German conservatories. She self-produced her first album when she was fifteen years old, just one year after writing her first song. Kalnik’s breakout album, ‘Peach Pink,’ boasts a broad mixture of melodic styles. ‘Magical Child,’ her next endeavor, is in the works.

‘Chemical Reaction’ was recently placed on a notable list of the best dubstep songs, a spot that has earned Kalnik significant recognition. Limited edition apparel for Chemical Reaction is currently available, though the shirts are only available through the end of today. (March 27 – See link below for apparel.)

For more information on Elvira Kalnik, her releases, and to snap up one of those sharp t-shirts before they’re gone, check out the links below. ‘Chemical Reaction’ will be made globally available on April 21.

Relevant Links:

www.elvirakalnik.com

http://teespring.com/elvirakalnik

Chancius – ‘Bando’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight, we’re going to take a good hard look at Chancius, an indie rocker based out of Brooklyn, New York. The record is a rock-dream pop concept album with a sci-fi twist called ‘Bando.’ Chancius describes the album as an “alternative rock opera about one man’s journey beyond death and the ramifications of blending humanity with technology, all brought to life in sound.” The collection of songs is already receiving significant airplay, charting on a few of those stations as well. Let’s learn a bit about Chancius to give some context to his new music.

‘Bando’ is the second release from Chancius, on which he performs a number of duties alongside several other musicians. I Shit Music described the single for the album, ‘A Piece of You Wherever I Go,’ as the “hidden alt-pop gem of the year.” Positive critical reviews have streamed in past that as well, some of which claim that Bando is a beautiful “experimental quest to the recesses of new wave bliss.” ‘Bando’ certainly has a tall claim to the quality of its music. How do these exceptional reviews hold up, though?

‘Bando’ is eleven tracks long, most of which have longer run times than your typical album. That’s expected with a concept album, however, since these kind of endeavors are best listened to as one coherent piece of art rather than fragmented songs. ‘Hold On’ introduces the album in a remarkably unique way, boasting new wave-esque production that certainly does embody a ‘sci-fi’ sound.

The strengths of ‘Bando’ lie within its exploration of experimental sounds. There isn’t one track on the album that sounds like one of the others and each occupies a radically different sonic soundscape. The title track is one of the best songs in the collection. ‘A Piece of You Wherever I Go’ is also a highlight of the album with its cascading and intriguing synthesizers and droning guitars. ‘Chrysalis’ is another unexpected high point for the album. It’s only a midwa electronic prelude, but it’s compellingly beautiful in its simplicity, especially as it leads into one of the most atmospheric tracks on the album, ‘Time and Space Died Yesterday.’

There is some difficulty for the listener in ‘Bando,’ though, mostly due to the droning nature of the record. I imagine this album would be difficult for a casual music listener to get into. It’s complex and fairly avant garde, perhaps even to the point that it’s difficult to pinpoint specific moments on the record since they all seem to blend together by the end of it. Chancius’ vocal style gets a bit stale after eight or nine tracks, too. (Though most indiscretions are saved by ‘You’re Not One In A Million, You’re One Of A Million – an insanely good track.)

In terms of being a coherent concept record, ‘Bando’ does succeed on its mission. This album is far better consumed as one piece of art rather than fragmented songs shuffled through a playlist. Since some of the best moments on the record the likes of ‘Hologram King’ appear towards the tail end of the album, it makes the experience even more of a treat since it doesn’t fall apart towards the finish like many records do.

There are many famous concept records that embody a specific style of the art ranging from the Beatles to David Bowie to Johnny Cash, etc. ‘Bando’ occupies a place near the Flaming Lips, I’d say, somewhat more distant from concept landmarks like ‘Ziggy Stardust.’ Wit that said, at the end of the day ‘Bando’ is a remarkably, and surprisingly good album. As I mentioned, it does have the tendency to drone into itself as the tracks blend into one another, but that is remedied with a few repeat listens. For audiences seeking a dose of experimental, alternative new-wave-like music, Chancius is right for you. If you’re seeking a more accessible record that doesn’t require much work on part of the audience, take a pass on ‘Bando.’ It’s intelligently designed and expects similar intellect in return. If you can’t offer that, you’re going to drown in it quickly.

Listen to Chancius and follow him at:

http://www.chancius.com/

www.soundcloud.com/chancius

Underlined Passages – Their New Self-Titled Record

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight, we’ll be taking a look at Underlined Passages and their new self-titled record. The duo that consists of Michael Nestor and Frank Corl, both members of the well-known regional act, The Seldon Plan. Underlined Passages represents a “facet of Baltimore music that has had long, deep roots in the city’s rock scene: good, brainy, indie rock…” How’s their new record? Let’s check it out.

The production quality of ‘Underlined Passages’ is exceptional. Each of the nine tracks are mixed and produced masterfully. This is immediately refreshing amidst an indie scene chock-full of poorly recorded productions. Nestor’s vocals and guitar contrast beautifully with the rest of the ensemble. (I say ‘ensemble’ because the duo employs several colleagues to fill in the missing pieces of the music in order to get a ‘fuller’ sound.)

The first track to really stand-out on the record is ‘Every Night.’ The opening track, ‘Perspective,’ is a great song, but there’s something about ‘Every Night’ that is absolutely infectious. It’s catchy, well-performed, and a sweet number. ‘Hope Springs’ adopts a more morose soundscape, something the band carries excellently.

The songs on this record are essentially smart-witted, well-written pop and love songs set in the context of a powerful indie rock band. They’re difficult to pin down when contrasting them to other acts, though I’d align them somewhere in the space occupied by acts like the Wombats or selections from Modest Mouse’s catalog. Tracks like ‘From Your Books’ employ haunting harmonies and vocal sections reminiscent of the great harmonic acts of the early years of rock and roll. (By that, I mean acts that could hold excellent harmonies – the Everly Brothers, Simon & Garfunkel, etc.)

The instrumental and vocal performances on this record are worth noting, too. The vocals fit the sound elegantly and sound great on each track. The instrumentation is beautiful as well, especially in the softer tracks like ‘Like 2009.’ The band experiments into some unique realms, too, most notably, on the closing number, ‘The Reservoir.’

‘Underlined Passages’ is a superb record. It’s well-produced, masterfully written and performed, and the collection is the perfect length, clocking in at nine tracks. Lately I’ve had a lot of albums sent to me that are just way too long, as if indie musicians are forgetting that brevity can be a useful tool. This album is very much worth your time.

Check out the band at:

https://www.facebook.com/underlinedpassages

Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean – ‘When On Mars’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight, we’ll be delving into a band with quite the peculiar name, Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean. The five-piece English alternative rock group’s new song is called, ‘When On Mars.’ The single is one of two songs they’ve put out since signing with LMC Records. Before that, they put out their debut EP in 2014, titled ‘Bad Llama.’ How does ‘When On Mars’ stack up? Let’s check it out:

The production quality of Wet Lettuce is a bit low-fi. The mix is a tad cluttered, the bass is a bit strong, and the vocals get buried. Vocalist Kyle Jordan is a tad difficult to understand as well. With all of that said, I don’t really care much. It feels like a sound that is supposed to be a bit low-fi, and I dig that. Wet Lettuce and the Magik Bean have a underground, muddy sound that accents their alternative style very well.

‘When On Mars’ is well performed, too. It has a very distinctive banter between the lead guitarist and the drummer, a style that’s very reminiscent of another band who got their start in a little English town, the Arctic Monkeys. The comparison stops and ends at the lead guitarist and drummer, though; Jordan’s vocals are more soulful than someone like Alex Turner. He embodies a Van Morrison-esque style of toying around with the octaves he can reach.

‘When On Mars’ is a really great song. It’s catchy, nicely executed, and quite cool. It’s also a bit muddled on the production end, though, and it’s a bit difficult to get past the vocalist, who is pretty hard to understand. (In honesty, after listening to the song half a dozen times, I couldn’t recall more than a few words of it.) It’s the kind of act that could use much better studio work to really shine on tape. I’m positive their live act would probably be an entirely different story.

Check out Wet Lettuce Below:

https://www.facebook.com/WetLettuceandTheMagicBean

https://twitter.com/kylemagikbean

Shelby Potts – ‘Just Over The Moon’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight, I’ll be taking a look at ‘Just Over The Moon,’ a new single from Shelby Potts. The song is off of a three-track EP Potts recently released, ‘Invention of the Shipwreck.’ Let’s get straight into it:

Immediately, Pott’s production quality is apparent. It’s a well produced sound, boasting a nicely organized band that’s mixed nicely. Swaying electric guitars, plodding acoustic rhythm, simplistic percussion, and brief piano segments create the soundscape of ‘Just Over The Moon’ quite magnificently.

There’s a bit of a surreal, even sublime sound to the Shelby Pott’s music. His voice is smooth and welcoming, padded kindly by complementary instrumentation. The song is pretty simple musically and lyrically, however; it doesn’t take any chances. The word I’m probably looking for is ‘safe.’ ‘Just Over The Moon’ is beautiful, but it does feel a little safe, as if the glimpse we get of Potts as an artist is too brief to envision a musical identity around him.

There’s nothing wrong with having a soft, clean sound that embraces brevity in the performance and production. In that sense, Potts excels. It is important to note that as a professional critiquing Potts, it’s my job to be critical of a ‘safe’ sound. It’s not always about being overly adventurous, though. Sometimes we need a meaningful and peaceful sound to bring us tranquility. Shelby Potts will do that, and ‘Just Over The Moon’ is a terrific track for those introspective evenings of acoustic easy-listening music. 

Check out the single at: https://shelbypottsofficial.bandcamp.com/track/just-over-the-moon-single

Adam Ray – ‘The Clown Parade’

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of Independent Spotlight I’ll be taking a look at Adam Ray and his new record, ‘The Clown Parade.’ The fifteen track album (fourteen without the intro) is nearly an hour long. Ray has given me the opportunity to tackle the album early; it’ll be out on March 10 on iTunes. It’s a bit too long of a record to handle song by song, so we’ll delve into the highlights of the album.

Ray prefaces this record with the information that he’s an openly gay country artist who writes all of his own content. The songs are one hundred percent his, and they’re about two different relationships Ray had in his life. The album, he explains, is a journey of self discovery. He classifies it as ‘progressive country.’ Onto the record:

The production quality of ‘The Clown Parade’ is immediately apparent from the onset of the record at the introduction and stays strong throughout until the title track at the very end. It’s a beautifully composed record chock-full of wondrous instrumentation, excellent musical performances, and solid mixes. The strong production that crafts the soundscape around Ray’s sound on the record is probably the selling point of the collection.

‘Missouri’ introduces Ray as a vocalist and leader of his ensemble. He’s certainly got that Nashville country twang to his voice. His voice is mature and bold, and in honesty, surprised me a bit since it didn’t look like it could come from the man in the album art. ‘Battle’ is a haunting track about wrestling with your inner demons, elegantly composed with sparse piano and orchestration.

The terrific part about ‘The Clown Parade’ is that it doesn’t feel like a stereotypical contemporary country record. The lyrics are stunningly introspective, resulting in meaningful songs like ‘Addison.’ The record has a bit of a pop-kick to it as well, toying around with pop music elements in tracks like ‘The Fall’ and ‘Loaded Gun.’ The latter is actually my personal favorite track of the record. It’s smart, quirky, punchy, and incorporates the perfect amount of gospel-like choirs and profanity. (Yes, some of the songs on the album may merit an explicit label when they go on sale.)

‘The Clown Parade’ is a great record. Ray manages to break free of nearly all of the stereotypical pitfalls of his genre with new and refreshing ideas. He incorporates a very solid studio band with an array of musical styles that build upon the modernized country sound quite well.

The album, available March 10, was reviewed above in its full capacity. The tracks ‘Already Gone’ and ‘Out of the Blue’ will be bonus tracks, making the standard edition of the release 12 tracks plus the introduction.