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Album review: “Watch The World” by Three Legged Fox

Three Legged Fox is an indie/rock/reggae fusion band from the great city of Philadelphia. Immediately two things stick out as you listen to their newest release Watch the World. Firstly, it is clear that the band (consisting of Kyle Wareham, John Duxbury, Mark Carson, Kory Kochersperger, and Chris Duddy) are all incredibly skilled at their craft. The musicality present throughout this record is such a strong driving force behind why the music is so great. Every melody has meaning and every rhythm rounds out the songs perfectly.

Secondly, Three Legged Fox are naturals at writing relatable and uplifting music. To take music that is a fusion of multiple styles and create something that is great for the radio but also meaningful is a special gift. So much “mainstream” sounding music these days follow a repetitive formula and Three Legged Fox are a refreshing break from that.

The constant switching of styles isn’t jarring, but rather seems like a natural transition in the overall themes explored in Watch the World. In the words of the band:

“After putting out some darker albums it was important to us to make a big sounding album that felt like a celebration of life. These are strange and chaotic times, but there’s a romance in living through that, and we wanted to make something you can dance and sing to.”

That statement really hones in on what you feel as you listen to Watch the World. You feel joy in a really pure way. As a guy who generally is a massive cynic (or some would say “miserable bastard” lol), even I can say that I felt just a little bit happier for the duration of my listening experience. Music’s greatest, well one of its greatest, gifts is the ability to pull you out of your own head.

Watch the World absolutely accomplishes this, and it is a record I highly recommend. Trust me on this one.

Standout track: Ultraviolet

Get your copy of Watch the World at digital stores like iTunes

Album Review: “English Tapas” by Sleaford Mods

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Sleaford Mods have been, in my opinion, probably the most refreshing act to come out of the U.K. in recent years. Full of working class rage, swagger, minimalist punk arrangements, rapid fire lyrics, and pure political passion; this duo from Nottingham has always been able to cut through bullshit in this dismal world.

The band has a very recognizable sound, with Jason Williamson shouting into his mic while Andrew Fearn creates looping beats and grooves with a stripped-down approach. As the group has gone through various albums, it became clear that they have been looking for a new direction in some ways with regards to their sound.

Enter their newest release English Tapas. The album has trademark Mods style, but you can quickly sense there are new influences at work. You hear not just punk, but glitch, trip-hop, hip-hop, and numerous other elements in their instrumentals. Andrew Fearn has really pushed himself on this record to create sounds that open up new avenues for Williamson to explore his vocals over.

Jason is at his most melodic on this record without a doubt. There is plenty of ranting at the system, and with Westminster fucking everyone over this is justified completely, but there are so many more melodic layers than on previous records.

There is enough for the longtime Sleaford Mods fans like me to love on English Tapas, but there is plenty for the newbies too. This is the record that the working class and poor living in a post-Brexit world need.

 

Album Review: “Starlight” by The Right Now

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The Right Now is a pop/soul band out of Chi-Town consisting of Stefanie Berecz (vocals), Brendan O’Connell (keyboards), Chris Corsale (guitar), Jim Schram (tenor sax), Lucas Gillan (drums), Greg Nergaard (bass) and Caleb Mitchell (trumpet). In their most recent record Starlight they have sought to push “out from their traditional soul-revivalist mode” that they have become known for.

The soul roots are undoubtedly a part of the sound on this record, especially in the vocals of Berecz and the grooves of the rhythm section. There is, however, a contemporary sound that leaves you feeling the need to dance. There is such pure joy coming from the speakers as I write this, and it is great to find bands that have such an uplifting sound.

This is not a naive record, however, as a lot of the lyrical inspiration serves as a counterpoint to the current sociopolitical climate in the United States. As their press release states, The Right Now made songs “of a wider scope” with “politics and social issues, addiction and recovery” all interlocking with the infectious grooves and great melodic hooks.

The key thing to remember when listening to Starlight is that the name is indicitive of, as lead vocalist Stefanie Berecz puts it, “something that connects and unifies everyone on this planet, regardless of all the perceived differences that we may have.”

It helps when you made a great record to bond with your fellow humans over.

Get Starlight at https://www.therightnow.com/store?category=Starlight

Album Review: “The Landing Zone” by Ujjaya

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As music makers we have many different approaches of creating our art. One path that some have opted for is the realm of spiritual practice. Music derived from this path can often be fascinating. Even to those not on a spiritual path there is great value in this music.

Enter the world that is the live recorded album The Landing Zone. Created by Ujjaya (aka Hery Randriambololona), a “French ethno-ambient musician with Malagasy roots,” this record is a calming injection of ambient music as well as ambient natural sounds. The record is a meditative journey through a vast number of instruments and beautiful looping arrangements.

Ujjaya came up with the inspiration for his music via “his yoga practice and of his travel through Asia for spiritual purposes.” I may be on a different spiritual path than Ujjaya, but I felt his music on more than just simply a cerebral level. It is an album that is more of an experience than it is a background music like ambient can sometimes become. I truly think there is something of value here for everyone.

The Landing Zone can be found at https://archive.org/details/eg0_162/04-JungleFever.mp3

 

Album Review: “self-titled” by Seldom Family

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The Philly-based indie group Seldom Family is comprised of Patrick Norris (vocals, guitar) and Chris Caulder (drums, bass, lap steel, guitar). The best way I can described self-titled is that it is a beautiful, grooving, ambient, soaring work of art. The bare-bones nature of the instrumentation with the heavy reverb washing over you gives a very current vibe with a nod to the past.

Every song is powerful lyrically and melodically. The voice of Patrick Norris, who sounds honestly like a mix between Bono and Lou Reed, draws you in with a magnetic pull. It longingly cries out over simple, yet brilliant, instrumentals. The album is subtle and also explosive. In it, there are countless seemingly opposing parts that work in synergy for a common goal. That goal is, quite simply, fantastic music.

Get self-titled at https://seldomfamily.bandcamp.com/album/self-titled

Jake Aldridge – Fireman feat. Lisa Ambrose

I’ve featured Suffolk-based Jake Aldridge’s music numerous times here before. This newest single may very well be his best yet. It’s absolutely brilliant guys, from the melodies to the verses, I mean it :).

Album Review: “NHOVA” by NHOVA

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The way the French electronic artist NHOVA describes their music gives great insight into your eventual listening experience. “Halfway between electro-mystical and delicate atmospheres” with trip-hop, industrial and ambient music shown as prominent influences gives a clear representation of their self-titled record.

The synths are dark, brooding, and also soaring with melody. Each track is meticulously constructed with peaks and valleys that bring you a multi-faceted listening experience. Overall NHOVA isn’t just good music, it is an invitation to explore your own mind as you listen. The range of emotions you feel can be existential dread to wonder, and all are valid responses during the time this record plays. You will never experience the same feeling or though twice when listening to this album, and that is a great achievement.

All in all, any fan of complex electronic music should give this a try.

NHOVA can be found at https://nhovaworld.bandcamp.com/album/nhova