philly music

Fallow - Self Titled EP Review

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Bryan Patrick & Tess Eileen have partnered together in more ways than one recently, especially with their latest put-out, Fallow. The sweet little bedroom pop duo have created a space to get lost in the sweetness of Eileen's voice and lyricism. Patrick's gentle touch on the synthetic sound, drums, and guitar give way to a dreamlike sequence of a listen.

Four tracks to get lost in, check out the tracklist for the Self Titled release below.

Fallow Tracklist:
1. Don't Board
2. Burn Barrel
3. Say We're OK
4. Evergreen

Opening track "Don't Board" is a sweet track full of longing and wonder. It follows suit with "Burn Barrel" and "Say We're Ok," where Eileen explores the essence of tender love, of want and emotion. Patrick, of We Have Ghosts, adds that special touch to create for listeners a world that feels layered and soft to touch. Closing track "Evergreen" is especially delicate not only in lyricism but instrumental performance.

Overall, a fantastic output of sound for the duo, one that feels important & meaningful, and I'd be damn sure happy to hear more of. Check out the tracks above to hear what Fallow is all about, and in the meantime, stay tuned, maybe we'll hear more from them soon!

Brother Martin - Led-Son Review

Photo:  Laura Jane Brubake

Photo:  Laura Jane Brubake

Jazz Fusion meets Indie Pop in Brother Martin's debut EP, Led-Son. The five track EP is a sweetheart of a release, one that will capture your heart from the moment you turn it on, so we suggest you turn that on.

With Led-Son being released back in January, the project includes Maria Mirenzi (vocals, baritone saxophone), Dan Espie (keyboard, vocals) , Jacob Kelberman (guitar), Jon Gruver (bass), and Austin Wagner (drums). Tracks 1-4 were recorded/mixed by Luke Shefski of Shefski Productions, and "Martin" was recorded/mastered live at Rittenhouse Soundworks by Michael Cumming, audio engineer. All of this hard work and effort has created an EP that often speaks for itself, whether that be in lyricism, performance, instrumentalism, or style. 

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Artwork: Margot Gatenby

Artwork: Margot Gatenby

Led-Son Tracklist:
1. Led-Son    
2. Describing Time
3. On Top of a Mountain
4. For Tomorrow
5. Martin

 

 

 

 

Opening title track is one that extends an open hand to the listener, it says "come in, you're safe here," and that is the only way I can explain my experience listening to Led-Son by Brother Martin. The entire EP is witty, light, soft and easy to listen to. Not once did I feel off put by any track on the EP, and I really dug Brother Martin's ability to change up their range and style while still staying in a sound vein that felt familiar and productive.

"Describing Time" slows us down from opening track "Led-Son" and let's you sink into the warmth that is Brother Martin. The use of the saxophone to follow the vocals is smart, well placed, and quite frankly makes me melt a little every time I listen to it. "On Top Of A Mountain" is a fantastic little diddy that brings back a euphoric joy and carelessness to Led-Son that makes it feel ethereal, thank you piano.

"For Tomorrow" dials down the theatrics and brings you back into orbit, and closing track "Martin" sweeps up the whole experience that Led-Son was and packs it back up neatly where it came from. This sweet lil EP knows exactly what it's doing the whole way through, and it is a truly impressive put out for Brother Martin, seeing as the debut EP feels solid and put together. 

Honestly, this is just some good jams to simmer out too, and we recommend you do so. To follow Brother Martin and what they're up to, we've got their social media down below so you don't miss a single moment!

Brother Martin: Facebook // Instagram // Website

My Home is the Sea - Self Titled Review

March has begun, and we're finally catching up. Today on our radar is Philadelphia's own My Home is the Sea, a bedroom pop duo that exists in the sub-reality of your consciousness - and goddamnit we're in love. The dreamy duo consists of Marc Neibauer and Natalie Wimberg, the masterminds behind the June release of their self-titled EP.

The five track EP is a stellar beginning for the group, and I can't stop listening. While the release is nearly a year old, I was most impressed by the variety of electronic techniques and sounds the group used to create it. These techniques really hold up the EP on a higher standard and make it feel flexible in it's fluctuation in ideology and sound.

Check out the tracklist below!

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Self Titled Tracklist:
1. Chase Something
2. Do As You're Told
3. No One's Daughter
4. Fuse  
5. Passenger

 

 

 

 

Of course, an EP like this takes more than just two characters to create brilliance, and luckily for Wimberg and Neibauer they had some help thanks to Chiemena Ukazim (guitar, solos "Fuse" and "Passenger"), and Robert Rouse (drums "Fuse" and "Passenger"). Of course, the two are incredibly impressive on their own, with a multitude of vocal performance and instrumental backing between them, you're sure to be impressed by this Self Titled EP.

Our favorite track off of My Home is the Sea is "No One's Daughter" because it really capitalizes on the sound that My Home is the Sea seems to be going for. A healthy dose between anthemic and ethereal - bedroom pop vs. pop rock. However, it is interesting to note that the EP does slowly dissolve from one being into another from first track to last, with "No One's Daughter" the middle of the sound sandwich. Tracks 1 & 2 are defined more in areas of shoegaze, bedroom pop. while 4 & 5 descend into that more anthemic rock pop we mentioned earlier. 

Either way, for a debut EP this is pretty stellar work. I mean, we're impressed. And sure, we sometimes are easily impressed, but this stuff is good so maybe you should check it out and hear it for yourselves! That's the only real way to gauge, so do that, we've got it streaming below for you!

As always, thanks for reading and definitely check out My Home is the Sea and pray they put something new out soon (we sure are). Until then, keep up with them via their social media down below!

My Home is the Sea: Facebook

Elephant Fire - Natural Heart Review

Photographer:  Melissa Lucciola

Photographer: Melissa Lucciola

To write an album is an undertaking, anyone will tell you this. Different bands have different processes to make albums happen - and Elephant Fire had their own, unique way of creating their most recent release, too.

Natural Heart is the September release from New Jersey band Elephant Fire. A rebirth since their last release back in 2014, a total of three years in between the two. The new album is a self proclaimed result of "a six month pilgrimage into the hearts of North America's national parks for this album. Guitar slung on my shoulder, the way of the coined “Natural Heart Tour" provided resonant rebirth in the desert vortices of red rock mountains, the great joys of the giant sequoia’s, and trillions of stars of the Milky Way galaxy fireside on the Rio Grande," says singer, Adam Wall.

Clearly an innovative, different process than most bands we've listened to. And what better way to inspire art than nature? We aren't sure. Either way, we've got the track list below so check that out before we delve into the belly of the beast that is Natural Heart.

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Natural Heart Tracklist:
1. Natural Heart
2.
Come With Me
3.
Lover's In The Bike Lane
4.
Burn Me Up
5.
It's Alright
6.  It's Rising
7. Karmic Siege 06:45

 

 

 

The 7-track LP is a psychedelic pop renaissance that came together with the help of Elephant Fire's four members. Adam Wall (Singer/Songwriter/Guitar/Synth/Percussion), Steve Wall (Guitar/Vocals/Synth/Misc. Instr.), Zac Colwell (Bass/Vocals), and Dave Heilman (Drums). In comparison to their 2014 EP, there are slight but important difference that Elephant Fire bring to the table in Natural Heart, and that's something to be excited about.

While they maintain their groovy, fun flare for psychedelic, indie instrumental sound, the band upgrades in technicality and emotional moments. Natural Heart is grown up Elephant Fire that is to be expected from a later release, and we're diggin' it. Normally we'd pull apart each track, but Natural Heart is pretty streamlined. Each track feels familiar and solid, nothing really stuck out to me which makes this album a nice background listen.

I do wonder what Elephant Fire's goal is. While the background information is interesting and helps make the listen more meaningful, I wanted more emotion in Natural Heart. I feel like a nearly 4 year difference between releases could've meant a growth - and while it's clear the technical aspect of this album feels better, more well done and fuller, it isn't satisfying the part of me that wants to connect to it. 

At it's base, Natural Heart is a good vibe. It's easy to listen to, has good intentions and is well versed instrumentally. I like Elephant Fire and what they're doing - and if making feel good music is where they're at, then I'm right there with them listening to this album while I sweat out whiskey at the gym. Definitely check out this album, and take a peek at their social media to never miss an update!

Elephant Fire: Facebook

CJ Dunleavy - If You Were Me Review

Photography: Dave Lisowski

Photography: Dave Lisowski

Now on our radar is CJ Dunleavy.

Dunleavy is a Doylestown native who made it a point to jump into the alternative music scene early: releasing his first instrumental song when he was just 17, starting out on SoundCloud, a path many young artists find themselves on. Since, Dunleavy has released four more instrumental tracks, taken voice lessons, and become a songwriter. He’s played at venues like Peddler’s Village, Chaplin’s, and the notable Trocadero Theatre in Philly. Dunleavy’s new EP, If You Were Me, was recently released in 2017 and is the most recent accomplishment on his growing list!

Check out the tracklist for If You Were Me below!

 

 

 

 

With four songs on it, If You Were Me is short and sweet.

The first track, “Please Don’t Go,” has soft instrumentals that give the listener a nice, mellow vibe. It sounds summery and warm. While Dunleavy’s vocals fall flat in certain places, the instrumentals are where this album really shines. Track two, “The Player, And the Played” has a distinct difference from the track that precedes it, with a funkier sound and more adventurous instrumental choices. It comes off as a bit harsher, with sharper edges, where the first track was smooth.

However, track three, “Hold on to Me,” melts back into the softer feel of the first song. “Hold on to Me” is my favorite song off the album. The lyrics are sweet, and the guitar/keyboard/string (violin? Viola?) combination in the background instrumentals gives it a dreamy feel that I really enjoyed. The crescendos towards the end of the song give it an impact that hits in all the right places. “Here We Go Now” rounds off the album with a really pretty melody and heartfelt lyrics. This song sounds kind of like a fairytale, and the guitar melody reminds me of one of my favorite songs, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer.

If You Were Me gets four out of five stars from me for this album, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in the future. Listen to If You Were Me for free on Spotify, and be sure to keep an eye out for Dunleavy on social media, links down below!

CJ Dunleavy: Facebook // Bandcamp

Curtis Cooper - Messy Review

Photographer:  Stavi Xinou

Photographer: Stavi Xinou

It's been almost two years since we first met Curtis Cooper in a coffee shop on the corner of 13th and Pine Street in Philadelphia, PA. Our friendship with Curtis has only gotten stronger since that first interview over hot chocolate and tea, and Curtis has grown in innumerable ways that only make us feel proud to know them.

Their latest achievement being Messy, an 11-track deluge of emotional outpouring that breaks out from Curtis' Laughing In Line in a way that remains, at it's core, everything that we already loved, but more bruised and bleeding and ready to give. Released on November 13th, Messy has been ruminating in our minds since, a daily listen on the car ride home or while writing - and we're pretty sure you'll feel the same after taking a listen.

But first, semantics.

All songs were written and arranged by Curtis Cooper, engineered by Scott Stitzer and Nick Barnes, produced by Scott Stitzer, and mastered by Ryan Schwabe. Curtis Cooper (vox, guitar, synth, drums track 11, whistle), Jack Zaferes (bass), and Scott Stitzer (drums, synth, percussion, mad scientist) put together Cooper's ideas to create Messy & with all of that tandem effort, you have an impressionable, inescapable album to get lost in.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Art: Erik Savage

Album Art: Erik Savage

Messy Tracklist:
1. Freak Out
2. Philly Jelly
3. Crazy
4. Interlude 1
5. Percs of Life
6. Yeah, No
7. JKayla
8. Everyone Loves You
9. Everybody's Dying
10. Interlude 2
11. Is It Real


Messy has taken Curtis a step further, if we're allowed to say so. In comparison to Laughing In Line, Messy's realness leaves listeners feeling connected to Cooper in a way that Laughing In Line always kept at arm's length - while that isn't to discredit the debut album in anyway, as it's still one of our favorites, it seems more so to do with the fact that Curtis Cooper is growing as an artist and Messy is just that - messy and trying to figure that out with the poise and grace that only Curtis knows how to show.

Opening track 'Freak Out' is unlike anything we've heard before from the artist, a stellar opening track as it jumpstarts the rabbit hole that Messy cultivates, fall into the spaces of mind you haven't been dealing with. With obvious rock influence, this track maintains a tone that feels comfortable for the album to begin with. 'Philly Jelly' and 'Crazy' are going to be staples of the album, reminiscent of Laughing In Line in sound and form, with important lyrical content that we feel also really makes up a huge chunk of this album. 'Percs of Life' and 'Yeah, No' follow suit, are easy to listen and relate to.

The two interludes are really interesting to me because the only successful interludes I've ever heard are in more conceptual albums and usually flow casually in between tracks. However, the interludes here feel more weighted and exciting as they not only flow between tracks, but they also offer up feeling whether that be via whistling in 'Interlude 1' or the pure instrumental of 'Interlude 2,' honestly I was just really blown away by the cohesiveness of these two tracks because at first glance it can be a bit off putting. 

Stand out tracks for us are 'Everyone Loves You,' 'Everyone's Dying,' and 'Is It Real.' These tracks stand out because they feel new, fresh and exciting for Curtis. Maybe it's just where our head is at right now, but we really connected to these three tracks on every level they experience - especially 'Is It Real' the closing tracks of all closing tracks, seriously what the heck listen to it right now. Honestly, though, we could be here forever talking about how much we love Curtis Cooper. Their sound is ambitious and addictive. They take what we love about the Philadelphia music scene, that guttural, instinctual, clenched feeling of emotional expression and put it into one place. This album is easy to listen to, it ebbs & flows against itself in a way that feels familiar but also new. 

Check out Messy, check out Curtis Cooper, their album release show is on January 19th and you definitelty don't want to miss out on that or this album. Below we've got their social media links, and you can check out their bandcamp via the tracklist above! As always thanks for reading and catch up with us next time!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // SoundCloud

HAZYY - BREATHE Review

Another Philadelphia native is up at bat here at The Hook, and we're ready for HAZYY to take a swing! The chillwave, indie pop foursome is celebrating the August 11th release of BREATHE their latest EP.

Comprised of Benjamin Wright (Vocals), Patrick Radecki (Bass, Synths, Beats), Jesse Christaldi (Guitar), and Stephen Jasinski (Drums), the project shared their 5-track EP, BREATHE, over a month ago. It was recorded and mixed by Patrick Radecki, and mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering. BREATHE is a vibin' lil EP that brings out what you like most about a more progressive indie pop sound. 

Check out the tracklist below!

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

BREATHE Tracklist:
1. Gone Cold
2. Wrong
3. Hangin' On
4. Pulse
5. Stay

 

 

 


With hints of R&B influence and also the assurance of a good beat, BREATHE opens up with "Gone Cold" the first of five chilling songs that combine ideas of heartbreak, of loss and longing. The EP moves along in a dreamy, understated way that makes the tracks feel underwhelming at first until they prove themselves. "Wrong" is my favorite off of the album. The sultry beat and vocal combo makes it an instant hit off the EP. I'm also a huge fan of distortion and this track has that which is tight! It also is super catchy. A song you want to grind all up on someone with, passionate might by the word I'm looking for.

"Hangin' On" is a much more typical alt-rock jam, similar to bands like Portugal The Man or Cold War Kids. "Pulse" is a funky, very electronic mid-way song that reverbs hard against those that surround it. This one gave me an 80's new wave vibe for sure. Lastly "Stay" closes out the EP with a sassy beat that dances around the listener. Albeit the lightest track of the album, this one feels like something you'd hear on the radio (and maybe we will one day). 

Overall, HAZYY isn't reinventing the wheel, but they are making good music that you can get hooked on and that is all that matters. You definitely want to check out BREATHE and check out HAZYY's social media to keep up with everything they've got going on down below!

As always thanks for reading.

HAZYY: Website

Juice Wax - Don't Eat Me Review

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I love living in Philadelphia because of the music, let's get that straight from the get-go. It's a never ending stream of soulful, funky euphoria that I want to always be trapped in. That's where our latest music kick comes in, Juice Wax, who have quickly claimed a place in our top 5 listening for the month!

According to the band the group started as Jessie Wexler and Rosalie Swana writing songs and performing acoustic performances, which then evolved into a group that combines a live and electronic setting into one experience. The group quickly included Jonah Christian (guitar), Jake Taenzler (bass), and Spenser Forwood (drums). Juice Wax released their debut EP, Don't Eat Me, in July of this year! The 6-track EP is a collection of tracks that range from short to long, but all embody a disoriented jazz infused manifesto that oozes out of all the spaces it inhabits. The record also features guest horn performances by John Swana, Randy Kapralick, and Chris Farr.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Don't Eat Me Tracklist:
1. This Way I Feel
2. I Think I'm Thinking, Again
3. Dapem Dadio
4. Share 
5. See Far
6. Bluff

 

 

"This Way I Feel" opens up the EP as a disorienting chant - it welcomes the listener in to the escape that Don't Eat Me presents itself as. It is also the shortest track on the album, perhaps preparing you for "I Think I'm Thinking Again" which seems to be one of the heavy weights of the album. It competes with closing track "Bluff" both in length (7+ minutes vs 8+ minutes) and also as two of the most concise tracks on the album. They show off Swana's velveteen voice against the dreamy seascape of instruments. "Share" had been previously released as a single earlier in July, and is a comfortable track that sits nicely in the middle of the album to balance it out.

Otherwise, other tracks are going to be much more instrumentally influenced rather than "sing-song" type. This makes this album perfect to put on while the world falls apart, in my opinion at least.

Juice Wax are melding a few different genres together to create something really cool and exciting. As a listener, I can't wait to hear what's next from them. Where else can they take me with just a soft horn? The possibilities are endless, honestly. If you dig this stuff, which we're hoping you do, you should check out their social media links below to always stay up to date on what Juice Wax is up to!

As always thanks for reading!

Juice Wax: Facebook // Bandcamp