Pop punk has been experiencing a renaissance of sorts with the new blink-182 lineup including Matt Skiba. Additionally Green Day has released a timely new record that sends all kinds of nostalgia towards the generation that cut their teeth on Warning and American Idiot.
It is perhaps this nostalgia that first drew me in when I listened to Nothing to Write Home About, an EP from Boston-based Last Letters. Last Letters is the brainchild of Charles Iwuc; a veteran of the New England pop/punk scene. As he put it to me, “my album tends to fall into the emo/pop/rock genre… These songs are completely self-produced and were recorded in my home studio in Boston.”
The songs on Nothing to Write Home About are infectious, melodious, and honestly beautiful. I felt like a teenager again listening to this record; back when Brand New was singing about their ex-girlfriend leaving America for an English boy, and Yellowcard talked about being 18, sleeping all day, staying up all night.
Everything that made bands like the aforementioned great is present here. Make no mistake, Last Letters has a sound of all its own. The music on this EP isn’t formulaic and it has its own identity within such a beloved genre.
Honestly, to get a little personal here, I was having a really awful day when I went to write this review. Doing this review brought me to a better mental state. It brought me back to the good old days, and it felt amazing. THAT is the power of music that matters.
I truly urge you not to miss out on experiencing Nothing to Write Home About for yourself.
Nothing to Write Home About by Last Letters can be found on iTunes and Spotify.
When you compose electronic music, bravery is a key component to standing out. You have to be willing to take risks that some may consider too experimental or “far-out.” If done right, you will be duly rewarded with a finished product that communicates your artistic vision.
Ven by Dan Tapper in many ways does just this. The album is, according to the artist, “the result of combining my interest and recording collection of sound from space, alongside speculative and imagined compositions – breaking it into little pieces and smashing it together through my improvisations.”
The music in Ven challenges your perception of music. It constantly keeps you on the edge of your seat and never allows you to push the sounds to the back of your mind. Often times there is no central melody, but rather an amalgamation of sonic experiments that take you into an entirely different dimension.
Ven is a record for those tired of formulaic music, who wish for a massive challenge in what they experience while listening to songs. These are sound collages, not for the faint of heart, but absolutely worth every second if you stick with it.
Just as John Cage and others attempted to shift the public’s understanding of music, Dan Tapper is following Cage’s lead and pushing sound forward through “unheard worlds of the Very Low Frequency (VLF) natural radio band.”
Give Ven a chance. You won’t regret it.
Get your copy at https://elmrecords.bandcamp.com/album/ven-ep
mothdrops describes their music as “echo park indie-kraut-psych-post-garage-glam-gaze.” In their debut single release it is easy to see all of these dimensions to their music. Consisting of two tracks from an upcoming EP, “veal fiction//sexi maharishi” is as pure as art can get. What I mean by this is that the group (formed by my fellow UCLA Ethnomusicology classmate Jaiq Styne and his pals Andrew Giurgiun, Brendan Snyder, Keveen Baudouin, Shane Graham) is constantly exploring the realms of multi-genre, heavily improvisation-based music. It’s like a manic jazz, psychedelic, indie and punk fantasy.
And it’s fucking awesome.
Check it out for yourself.
We live in completely insane times. It seems like hope is hard to find, and a good future is nothing but a pipe-dream. It doesn’t hurt to dream, however, and music is a great vehicle for such dreams. The infectious electropop sound of Astronauts of Antiquity, for instance, accomplishes this with ease. In their new single “Future Back,” AoA “advocates a future of harmony and a future that prevents corrupt leaders from destroying the planet.”
The song itself is catchy, with the video providing an even better visual portrayal of the song’s message.
Craig B. Epps Jr., stage name “STYNE”, is a rapper from East Saint Louis, Illinois. His music was recently sent to me and I really dug what he was saying. I’m linking his official website because I think you ought to hear this guy for yourself. If I can recommend one track specifically it’d be (OTB) On The Block.
I’ve featured Suffolk-based rapper and R&B artist Jake Aldridge before on this site. He’s got a new track out that is a solid bet for the radio or the clubs. The verses are crisp and the hook has a memorable melody. I highly recommend you check it out.