ambient

Brushstroke - One vs. One Review

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Debut album from Southwest Philadelphia multi-instrumentalist Eoin Murphy is like a well crafted mixed drink; icy sweet from the first sip with a lingering tension at the end of each gulp. Released under the pseudonym “Brushstroke,” this album paints a masterpiece from ear to ear. 

Ten songs come together to make up One vs. One, and they can be enjoyed on all major streaming platforms. If you consider yourself a listener who is hip to the artist-centric music streaming site Bandcamp, then you may have spotted One vs. One in their January edition of Bandcamp Weekly, where the website features new releases everyone should be hearing; otherwise a digital tip of the hat to Murphy from the Bandcamp family.

Check out the tracklist down below!

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One vs. One Tracklist:
1. Welcome
2. Tapestries
3. Tongue Tied
4. S.T.C.
5. Fall In Love (w J Dilla)
6. Mindgames
7. Fever Dreams
8. Sun Lens
9. Tomorrow
10. Thanks & Goodbye
 



It was the catchy single “Tapestries” that caught their attention, a song that has any listener singing along by the time the second chorus hits. The hook’s lyrics are filled with imagery and transport you to a hazy, blissful atmosphere layered with wispy guitar leads...

“Waitin on that dotted time
Drivin through the candlelight
Watching as the sun fades on the hill
I can feel this passin through
Maybe I’ll get back to you
Only after I see that blue
Tapestries of me and you”


Murphy’s voice tiptoes throughout the track, the longing for something he once had evident in his swooning vocal melodies. The lyricism feels impeccable, especially with lines like, “Drivin through the candlelight,” and, “Tapestries of me and you.”

Can you see it? The blurred horizon of driving through candlelight and two people weaving their relationship with each strand like a woven tapestry.

Tucked in the middle of One Vs. One, "Brushstroke" pays a homage to one of the most worshipped producers of our time, J Dilla. Murphy serves up his own rendition of the beloved tune “Fall In Love” and decides to strip the song of the beat entirely. This is a bold move to cover a Dilla tune, but he pulls it off gracefully. The cover starts out with simple guitar strums, eventually blooming into a multilayered masterpiece. The riff continues over and over again, trying to lull the listener into a peaceful dream.This record is a mature and powerful debut release from Brushstroke.

Not only are the songs catchy, but they highlight Murphy’s prowess as a guitarist, singer, and producer.

I cannot wait to hear what Brushstroke has in store for the future. In the meantime, of course, at least we have an entire album to jam to while we wait!Catch Brushstroke’s updates on their social media, or today, March 22nd at Bourbon & Branch right here in Philadelphia!

Brushstroke: Facebook // Instagram

Seldom Family - Self-Titled Review

Chris Caulder and Patrick Norris have been working on creating music that allows a being to have a space to think. Self-Titled is a 7-track album devoted to just that.

Between Caulder & Norris, they play five different instruments excluding vocals. According to the band, "Seldom Family conjures up the glory days of 80s post-punk while being inspired by the slowcore and shoegaze movements of the early 90s. The lyrical themes and accompanying videos are purely symbolist in meaning and are meant to put the listener in a state of constant introspection. Music made by two sad men."

A lot of Seldom Family's recent work is purely ambient and without lyrical effort. Albums like Audrey & Laura, which came out in April 2017, boasts 10-tracks, some of which averaging more than 10-minutes in length. But, Self-Titled harps on lyricism and ambience. Tracks aren't longer than 5-minutes, and exist solely in their own escape. Side projects like Audrey & Laura only bring part of the magic that Seldom Family has to offer, and you should check out the tracklist for Self-Titled below!

Self-Titled Tracklist:
1. White Eyes
2. Speedway
3. True Blue 05:08
4. The Dogs 05:03
5. Mine Forever, Mine Alone 03:02
6. Not A Singer 04:32
7. It's Never Needless 02:38

 

 

 

The album came out almost a year ago, but honestly I haven't had the opportunity to listen to something much like it in a long time, and it makes me excited about Seldom Family. Typically, I like to pick out tracks that stick out to me, but this album feels as though there is no separation, like you would see in a more "conventional" album breakdown. Each track flows effortlessly into the next, bringing the listener into the highs and lows of an, almost, cinematic experience. 

The majority of this album feels dissonant and indifferent. Often the tracks are persuading a mood or emotion in the blank space they inherently take up, the vocals from Norris are a howling in the wind. This entire collection is easy to listen to, especially if you're trying to do other things, or if you're just trying to be. The music offers up a nice background emotion to pivot your own against. Not to mention, instrumentally the textures of each of these tracks is exciting and fresh. 

Described on their bandcamp as post-punk, I almost wonder if they're "heavy" enough to be post punk. Instrumentally, Self-Titled is reminiscent of more rock & roll-esque sounds, throwing in some definite shoegaze-like elements. Vocally, and lyrically, Seldom Family is pulling from sounds like Foxing, or maybe even an essence of dream pop (in which the music inherently feels dark and far away). Their sound was something I definitely appreciated about Seldom Family - it feels different, it feels hard to pinpoint, it feels good to listen to.

As stated above, Self-Titled is older in comparison to newer, more ambient (void of vocals completely) music that Seldom Family is putting out. That stuff is pretty cool, too, and you should definitely check it out. The duo just recently put out "Androgynous (Replacements Cover)" in April, which you can stream down below!

For more on Seldom Family, definitely check out this ambient bad ass collective, and to keep up with all of their updates, check out their social media!

Seldom Family: Facebook // Tumblr // Instagram

Wheel & Frame - Selachimorpha Review

With a release date of August 12th, Selachimorpha is surprisingly everything I've wanted for my Fall listening playlist. A 6-track EP full of every genre we're into right now - ambient math rock, indie-folk, experimental pop rock. 

If that isn't a mouthful, Selachimorpha is. According to the dictionary, Selachimorpha is "a superorder of cartilaginous fish that includes all sharks." The EP title is not a reflection of the content, a quiet collection of solitude, but more an addition to the beautiful noise that it offers. The EP was put together by a large collection of people, Wheel & Frame a project by NY singer/songwriter Steve Conzo. 

Of course, Steve enlisted some help to complete this EP, including Mike Burkowsky (Bass, Vocals), Allie Chipkin (Vocals), Steve Conzo (Vocals, Guitars, Bass), Eric Gerhardt (Keyboards, Synths, Vocals), Tom Martorano (Slide Guitars), Patt O'Brien (Drums, Vocals), John Tonelli (Vocals), and Devin Wojtanek (Guitars, Bass, Banjo, Vocals).

Once completed and written by Steve, the album was mostly recorded at the Chip Hill House in Queens, New York. Drums were recorded at Patt O'Brien's Apartment in Mahwah, New Jersey. Additional vocal recording done at the Goog Lagoon in Manhattan, New York. It was then produced, engineered, and mixed by Dev, and additional production handled by Eric and Mike, finally mastered by Matt Speno in Brooklyn, New York.

All of that hard work completed the 6-track compilation. And here at The Hook, we're in love.

Check out the track list below!

Artwork by Michelle Serpico

Artwork by Michelle Serpico

Selachimorpha Tracklist:
1. World Martial Arts Tournament
2. Yeah, Whatever.
3. Flashcards
4. Beach House
5. Watercolors
6. Blindspots

 

 


 

Selachimorpha opens up with "World Material Arts Tournament" the perfect setting to enter in with. The track is a quick minute and change of ambient noise, and soothing vocal reverb. This track is the open hand in the dark, "Guess that means we're done, it's done."

"Yeah, Whatever." follows as the second track, another somber song, "Me, it's always me who tries to understand," a sort of tonal shift for Selachimorpha. Also, fun fact, longest track of the EP and also one of my favorites. The most important part of that song was definitely that hidden gem of a banjo around 2:30 - I'm a sucker for some incorporated banjo.

Check it out below!


Third track "Flashcards" definitely has more of a singer/songwriter aspect in it. With the dual male & female vocals, the song creates an ambience that feels sad but has an air of togetherness in it. "Beach House" follows, one of the tracks that Wheel & Frame shared early in anticipation of the album. "Beach House" also hosts a female vocal part, and fits nicely up against "Flashcards" as a sort of duo that share similar qualities. 

"Watercolors" feels more similar to the first two tracks, ambient and slow. These three tracks feel exceptionally dreamy in tone and lyric. While final track "Blindspots" shares qualities of every track on this album - really bringing out the singer/songwriter aspects that Wheel & Frame has developed in Selachimorpha, while also introducing different themes that I, and others, currently value in the underground scene right now. 

Selachimorpha is emotional music. That's easy to say. The lyricism in this is profoundly cathartic and deeply enthralled in matters of the heart. You can tell a great deal of care went into completing this collection of tracks. I appreciate Selachimorpha for just simply being. I am interested in seeing if this project will further itself, and what that will look like; maybe a more focused and concentrated effort in one genre, or tone?

The future is all that we can question, and the present all that we know. I'm here for Selachimoroha and it's exploration of what can happen if you're working in indie, alternative, folk, ambient noise rock. That's all I've got on this. I hope you take a listen, it's a quick EP, and a good one at that. For more on Wheel & Frame, check out their social media below!

Wheel & Frame: Facebook // Bandcamp