synth

Inspector 34 - Don't Worry This Is Ok Review

Music you’ve heard for the very first time, but takes you to a place where everyone knows your name? That’s precisely where you’re going from the very first strum, the opening note of Lowell Massachusetts powerhouse Inspector 34.

This isn’t your typical EP either, Don’t Worry This Is OK, dropped with a transformative music video for their lead track “Fed Up.” Talk about hearing your guitar and seeing it in action, too! A band, who aren’t strangers to tremendous talent, are showcased front and center as the collective vision of Jim Warren, Pat Auclair, Silas Price, Ben Kaplowitz, and Alexandra Derderian! At just under 15 minutes (but you’ll wish for 5x that length in the end) this quartet of songs will leave you hungry for more! It’s all highs and no lows from here on out!

Your guide for the ride, check out the tracklist below!

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Don’t Worry This Is Ok:
1. Fed up
2. Hurts
3. Try So Hard
4. That Charming Man

If you gave this a listen before continuing, then welcome back! If not, then buckle in because you’re headed to transcendent places.

Have you ever wanted a soundtrack for your life? Needed something better than words to describe a feeling? Well look no further my friends. The opening track encapsulates you with a magnetic ambience, you are transfixed by the swelling of passion around you. Every track feels like the crest and fall of a wave, blending perfectly together. Sometimes we need more than words and other times we need outstanding voices! If I could sing, I would sing the praises of the vocals throughout this EP. What are a completely spellbinding incantation that takes you to the epicenter that is raw emotion.

In the mood for sexy baselines? Prepare to be seduced. Need a little bit of folk twang to start your day? Then look no further! Inspector 34 delivers on every front you’ve thought of and probably some you haven’t and that’s just four songs. Imagine what they have in store for you next!

Picking a favorite song here is difficult but we’re going with Track 3, ‘Try So Hard,’ and it does. I wish this track was longer, it’s the first song I played over again, and again, the attitude is infectious, the perfect illustration of what this band is capable of. This is the song you want headlining your life and playing in the background every time you do something “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” type worthy.

I have been in and around the music scene a very long time, and I struggle to imagine a more consistent, powerful band for my first formal review here for The Hook. You heard it hear first before you no doubt here it everywhere, you are going to want more, if you ever need a formula on how to do it right, this is it.

Let’s listen together, soon, and take a deeper inspection into Inspector 34 using their social media links down below!

Inspector 34: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram //Spotify

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

Bucolic - Rope's Wing Review

We're really into dreampop sounds right now. Ok, we were never not into dreampop sounds, sue us. Bucolic is one of our most recent listens, and by recent we mean September - and we're sorry, we're trying to catch up!

Based out of New Jersey, Bucolic (aka Seth Carpenter) has been working hard in the tri-state area to share their sounds, and with play time in both Philly and NYC, Bucolic is already making stellar progress. The Debut EP, Rope's Wing is what we've got our eyes (and ears) on as of late. The dreamy, lo-fi EP is one that reminds me of afternoons in summer. It's the dead of winter, but listening to this EP has got me feeling warm all over.

Check out the tracklist below!

Rope's Wing Tracklist:
1. Daisy
2. Rope's Wing
3. Ice Bugs
4. Blissfully Unaware
5. Great Miles Old

 

 

 

 

At five tracks, Rope's Wing is on the longer side of EP's, but honestly I couldn't get enough of it. Each track it's own, unique journey in the splendor that is Bucolic or maybe what Bucolic wants you to be.

With an interwoven collection of sounds that bridge on the cusp of a blended genre, Bucolic uses electronic noise in a way to make music feel distorted - bridging on psychedelic in some tracks, or folktronic (the blend of folk and electronic). The overall vibe of lyricism and sound is indie, with hints of dreamy-pop in certain tracks. Of course, we don't want to get too bogged down in logistics, because that doesn't always matter so much.

Opening track "Daisy" lulls you into the EP and it's rhythmic beating. Carpenter's voice overlays itself and electronic noise to create the sensation of cascading sound. Title track "Rope's Wing" is a bit more upbeat, the electronic sound makes this song especially feel more psych-rock to me. Something interesting also stuck out to me: none of the tracks falling under 3.5 minutes, you can tell a lot of care and decision went into making the EP which makes for a more enjoyable listen.

"Ice Bugs" is a fantastic middle track, giving way for a bit of a different sound, a transition that takes hold for the latter half of the EP. The overall feel of the track is indie, with a catchy chord progression and a retrospective ideology in the lyrics. "Blissfully Unaware" stuck out to me because that opening sound is like one you'd hear from an old record player, the slight lapse in noise to create a really vintage vibe.

Closing tracks "Great Miles Old" is probably my favorite off of the EP. It brings together the entirety of Rope's Wing and reworks it. This album is one that feels poised, elegant and exciting to listen too. It's easy to put on after a long day and zone out too, or write toon (in our case). Either way, you should be checking this out - so do that.

In the meantime, check out Bucolic on their social media down below! As always thanks for reading!

Bucolic: Facebook // SoundCloud // YouTube

Overwinter - Condor Review

Photographer: Richard Sanders

Photographer: Richard Sanders

We've been sitting on this review for a long time - and we're not proud of it, ok? This artist and this album, however, are near and dear to our hearts. Having played multiple Hook Showcases, as well as being a dynamic, outgoing and interesting performer, Overwinter is a seasoned Hook Veteran

Their debut EP, Condor, is what's been on our minds for (we're ashamed to say) the last three months. It's about damn time we're giving it the credit it's due. The 5-track EP was created in sensible DIY fashion in North Philadelphia, a bluesy, somber look into love and hate and loneliness - all of this with the quirky addition of electro-pop synth to tie it all together.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Art: Jordyn Lyric

Album Art: Jordyn Lyric

Condor Tracklist:
1. Colours
2. Not Mine
3. Condor
4. Apostle
5. Let Go

 

 

 

 

Considering that Condor is Overwinter's first, official release we were highly impressed. It exerts itself into the heads of listeners in a sonically unique way. Francis' (aka Overwinter) voice lays over the tracks, melting in and out of moments while you listen. The use of track samples to enable new, creative ideas make Condor feel familiar and exciting all in one. As far as consistency, Condor shows an intermediate level of planning and coordination in track selection - something that not a lot of DIY artists can say when they're first starting out.

We know, we know we're a little late to the party. So late to the party that Overwinter is already planning new releases for 2018, some of which already in the works, and thanks to Condor and Overwinter's persistent energy and presence in the DIY Philadelphia scene, that release is heavily anticipated. 

Let's get back to the point, though.

"Apostle" is by far my favorite track off of the EP. It's sultry, sexy, dark, brooding, exciting and using all of it's elements in an important way. "Apostle" really gathers up all of Condor and says THIS IS WHAT I'VE GOT - and Overwinter isn't joking around. The EP's tightness grows in the last three tracks, and we're interested in seeing the progression Overwinter has made in their upcoming releases.

The Philadelphia native plays shows constantly, so we'll be leaving Overwinter's social media links down below so you can always stay up to date. And we'll make a promise, too. Next time they release something, we'll be on top of that as soon as humanly possible (we're one human so, it might be 3-5 business days).

As always, much love to Overwinter, and thanks for reading!

Overwinter: Facebook

Retroglyphs - Self Titled Review

Philadelphia has a habit of bringing together all kinds of people. It is the city of brotherly love after all. So, why should it be any different in music? If you've ever heard "Nightcall" by Kavinsky, and you dig it, you're gonna like this. Retroglyphs are an 80's inspired synth band that transforms electronic music into something that feels familiar and new all in one. 

The band was started by Frank Cervantes and his friend Josh Dowiak. The pair used to be in a band called The Once Was, until a few months when they discovered their passion for making 80's inspired music. Since then they've decided to go all in on Retroglyphs, and lately they've been seeing really great results! The band began by leaking tracks on Soundcloud and submitting their single "The Noose" to New Retro Wave Records, and to their surprise they released it on the We Rule Nation platform, which is a pretty big deal. 

Following that success, the song was then remixed by Damokles, a famous Swedish retrowave producer, and other tracks of theirs were then remixed by artists in Netherlands and Poland. The band also boasts songs featured in Philthy Mag and WXPN, so you'd be silly to not check this one out, you heard it here first.

Retroglyph's took all of their successes and compiled them into a self-titled album. A 10-track collective of differing electronic sounds and synth noises. You can check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Retroglyphs Tracklist:
1. Hyperdrive
2. Wild Road
3. One Last Kiss
4. Imposter
5. Transformation
6. War Torn
7. The Noose
8. No Glory In The Fall
9. Forever Time
10. Two Years

 

 

The self-titled album is an 80's inspired montage of tracks that sound like they could've come straight out of a movie soundtrack. The production and quality of the album is impeccable, if I'm being completely honest. There is very little I dislike about this album. Each track brings it's own personality to the album, creating an atmosphere that is not going to burden you with too much of the same things, and also feel cohesive enough to be a complete album.

The combination of synths, keyboards and drum beats to create the album feel nostalgic and also exciting. Retroglyphs aren't singularly stuck in the past, but have taken notes and are creating something that feels good. Their music is best listened to while driving in the car, sitting, or outside on the beach. I made sure to test all locations for this one!

One thing I wasn't really keen on was accessibility. Besides Spotify (which, if I haven't told anyone yet, is my least favorite way of streaming music), the album is available on iTunes which can make it hard to listen to. You can find the album pieced together with various remixes on soundcloud, which was how I listened. However, in comparison to the gravity of the album's depth, the level of music being played, and the overall tone of the album, this minor inconvenience can be overlooked!

Check out one of our absolute favorites, "The Noose" below.

Keep up with Retroglyphs by checking out their social media below, and definitely do check out their music on their soundcloud! We look forward to what comes next from these guys!

Retroglyphs: Facebook // Soundcloud

Angels - It Only Gets Worse Review

It Only Gets Worse's newest release, Angels, is an album that gives me the definite feeling of an album both wonderful and strange. It Only Gets Worse is a collaboration between Matt Finney and Maurice de Jong from Gnaw Their Tongues. Finney provides the vocals/spoken word on this release while the music was handled by de Jong.

The album is a very dark, very Twin Peaks-inspired concept album about a father and his relationship with his twin daughters and their ultimate fate.

Angels opens with “____,” a short instrumental that sets the mood. Melodramatic, operatic, timber lines rustling through the trees.

“grace,” the second track on the album, starts the story off. The track is seeped in dark synth and eerie bells. Finney's dry and cracked reading of the spoken word is off-putting and surreal. “anna” is the next track. The album's darkness doesn't let up. It just comes in waves of moments, second to second. Finney is reading lines from a female's perspective. It skews the tone and makes the album a whole lot scarier. There are a lot of Twin Peaks vibes and Deadly Premonition choral synth angels during “anna,” and it's one of my favorite pieces from this release.

The next track, “floral print,” shakes things up. After a droning introduction, the song kicks into a high speed beat that gives the album more momentum going forward. This is such a neat song and it is definitely my stand-out selection. The story continues, a hushed whispered intonation of the next spoken word chapter.

A second song called “____” shows up, just a little shorter than the introduction. It's quick and moody and full of reverb guitar groans. “memories” is up next, another instrumental that sounds a little more upbeat than the rest of the album, but it still harbors an incredibly melancholy edge.

There are moments in “sepia toned” that really speak to me, towards the end when soft electronic blips send you into a hypnotic state. The story is getting darker, even during this beautiful array of sounds. The journey reaches a conclusion in the final song, “thaw.” The deed has been done and this song keeps a steady beat until the final words are spoken.

Overall, Angels is an interesting experience that certainly calls Twin Peaks and experimental artists to mind. I'm going to give this a 7.5/10 for its originality and unique take on the spoken word album. Make sure to check out It Only Gets Worse's social media pages to see what else they have cooking up!

It Only Gets Worse: Bandcamp // Facebook