By: Stephanie Konarski
Dinowalrus is an experimental art-rock band. On first listen, their sound is like a spontaneous improvisation of inharmonious instruments with reverb. There are little vocals and when they do appear in a song they are distorted and seem to simply meld into the rest of the instrumentation rather than serve a concrete lyrical purpose. Utilizing a lo-fi sound, Dinowalrus combines freaked out synths, lots of percussion and sounds in discordance with each other to create a very interesting and definitely far from boring listening experience. “Electric Car Gas Guitar,” leaves me feeling like I’m floating in a glam rock galaxy somewhere in outer space.
The sound will go from dance-able to total dissonance in 5.2 seconds. They are an intriguingly psychedelic and enigmatic listening experience. With many layers of sound floating on top of one another, Dinowalrus could easily deceive you into thinking they are more than simply a 3-piece band. They seem to transcend the boundaries of experimental improvisation that most small bands like this bump into. Every song is different from the last, yet they all retain the swirling sound of notes floating outside of the atmosphere. The music is light and fluffy, but yet coarse in their random rhythms and chord breaks, while their echoey vocals add a nice, spacey quality.
By: Becky Firesheets
Pretty piano melodies and intriguingly distorted guitar chords start off Lima Charlie’s collections of songs. Their lead singer’s voice adds a slightly raw touch and the piano solos take on a jazzy feel, yet it all combines to create a very folk mood. Then “Menopause Graduate” begins with a funky keyboard riff that turns into a chilled-out rock chorus with multiple backing vocals. The rest of their tunes maintain the funk groove while experimenting with hilariously bad falsettos, country-esque banjos and straight up rock-n-roll. Blunt lyrics about blue balls and hangovers are sometimes funny and other times too frat-boy, but overall, Lima Charlie’s sense of humor is silly and contagious. “Ice Cream Man” is their best musically, combining a groovin’ bass line and vintage vocals that croon about everyone’s love for the ice cream man. A few more serious tunes might be of interest, however, to balance out the jokey vibe.
By: William Giron
Not Waving But Drowning combines indie rockability with the eclectic sounds of folk music and catchy pop vocals that have an interesting touch of cabaret flavor. A Brooklyn-based band formed by Pinky Weitzman and Mason Brown, the four-piece use their multi-instrumental abilities to create an experimental experience, especially to fans of folk rock groups. The vocal harmonies and provocative lyrics are similar to Weimar culture cabaret and bring an old time feel to their music.
Listening to some of their online tracks, “The Drowned Man’s Ball,” an almost nine minute long epic mixing gypsy and rock sensibility, strong violin work, and catchy vocal harmonies, was the most appealing, sounding similar to rock band Mago De Oz. Their second tune, “Maypole,” is a shorter balled that brings some of Pinky’s vocals center stage and follows a more traditional format than their other works. Their final track, “Let’s go Dancing,” is less cabaret, sounding more like a southern dance mixed with ukulele.
Not Waving but Drowning has an interesting and diverse body of music, but their best songs follow the gypsy-esque folk style compositions.
By: Becky Firesheets
Ben Sadock’s glass is definitely half full. His catchy, happy melodies, sweet voice and feel good vibe reminds one of a less cheesy and more talented Jack Johnson. Accompanied by drums and guitar, Sadock sings in a smooth, pretty voice while playing jazzy riffs on keys. His collection opens with a very Belle and Sebastian tune entitled, “Pity the Fool,” demonstrating his mastery of delightful pop music. Then he switches vibes for a straight-up funk groove in “No More Loving,” showing off his keyboard skills while still singing a delicious melody. With other songs deeply rooted in jazz and yet others combining all the above, Ben Sadock makes each tune sound different while still maintaining his own, gleeful lilt throughout.
By: William Giron
Listening to the Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues is an experience similar to traveling back to the early years of the delta blues. Those of you familiar with early Robert Johnson or Skip James recordings will definitely notice the bluesy feel the tracks evoke and the group’s powerful influences. While it may not be similar to the jug bands of the past, the music is a fresh take on a more traditional sound, and one that will capture the modern listeners’ attention and interest in roots music.
“Jalapeno Witchie” is the group’s strongest song and the most reminiscent of old time jug bands and blues recordings of the 20’s - 30’s. The up tempo music and strong vocals mixed with the jug band concept helps bring out the group’s signature sound. “Miss Rockaway Armada” is a bit slower, but the soulful harmonica played over a soft 12 bar and the interesting lyrics are enough to make the song shine on its own. “Play With Yer Poodle” combines humorous lyrics, the upbeat tempo of the former track, the strong harmonica of the latter, and a cool jug solo as one of the main attractions of the piece. “El Hombre” (the man) is sung in Spanish and sounds more like a mixture of blues with Mexican Ranchero music. Its unusual and catchy sound is a perfect combination that makes this track stick out.
Those of you wanting a more eclectic or a traditional choice of music will enjoy the Brotherhood of the Jug Band Blues and the interesting music they offer.