To borrow a line: “I rarely listen to experimental ambient abstract noise rock.” But, after listening to Cassiopeia, I think I should more often. This self-produced, three track EP is loaded with, you guessed it, noise. The good kind. “An Abstract Will” starts off with an ambient vibe, but as you are lulled into a false sense of chill-out, the sonic guitars and drums pretty much wake you from your trance and get your head moving up and down. Just as fast as it ramped up, it falls gracefully to the ground, and then – BAM! Hello! – finishes with a roar and a thump. The other two tracks, “Arborea”, and “Æolus”, another track that sneaks up on you and I liked a lot, follow suit. If you’re looking for a journey down the experimental shoegaze distortion noise path, your ears are in for a treat.
I really like this record. It’s got alternative, rock, blues, folk, and electrified slide guitar, and that’s why I’m so torn. Phantastic Pigeon-Holes by The Upper Strata is from duo Jonathon Sanchez and Regula Sancheza. They definitely have a sound. Believe me, each track from the opening “All about yours” (an Incubus-inspired acoustasonic tune), to the “Manifest” are wonderfully produced and the musicianship is there(just listened to the album again), but there are just so many genres represented here, and such crazy potential, I just wish they landed on a direction and honed in their talent there. My absolute favorite track is “Puzzles Pieces” which features a great hook, and more of a folk/country alt feel – the songwriting is really good. Take a listen for yourself, you will not be disappointed. I promise.
All I can say about O’Henry, well, I can say a lot, but from the very first note of their latest disc, By Hook or by Crook, I was hooked. “Hangman” roars out of the gate with a blazing banjo and terrific harmonies and sets the tone for the rest of the album. The title track, “By Hook or by Crook”, is pure Folk Americana, but in my opinion, re-imagined with a more contemporary sound. “Freedom” is a melancholy tune of longing love. “Weary Crown” finishes off the record – and if you’re not tapping your foot by now – please check your pulse. This is the shot in the arm folk music, which suffering from a Mumford et al infection, definitely needs right now. Anyone know where I can pick-up a banjo?
by Frank Ippolito