Posts Tagged ‘Blog’

Eaddy and TheOGM of Ho99o9

Cut to a chilly Saturday night at Bowery Ballroom. The stores are closed, but whole street glistens with spray-painted names and signs. A young *somebody* in a hand-altered hoodie is having his photo and video taken by onlookers. A clown-faced goth waits for her friends in front of a tequila bar. Randoms donned in black get their last burn of rolled flower before getting their wristbands. Some fresh-faced kid tries to take a piss in the waning daylight while his friend stands guard. New York City.

I’m mostly a stranger to the many worlds of hip hop. Until recently I hadn’t found that band that gave me an “in” to start really looking around the alternative hip hop universe. Then M-S-G OG Soda invited me to a free show one Halloween night to see Ho99o9, a band he saw open for Korn. Holy fucking shit. I got to watch TheOGM tear a wedding dress off of his body while being assaulted with the most guttural cyber-queer industrial noise I have ever heard. It was glorious and terrifying at the same time. So when Soda told me they were coming around again, I knew I had to be there.

The show starts with Baseville, a duo of New Jersey locals known as The General and Hoddy the Young Jedi. It didn’t take long until the crowd jumped into a frenzy and a pit opened up. Baseville’s beats are deep and deliberate and throbbing with noise, and it suddenly occurs to me how close punk and hip-hop really are in terms of attitude and rage. “Never Nothing No More” sticks in my head as a song with a kind of frustrated gravity, while one of their other tunes held a repetitious refrain of “I’m working” that that caught me as a little mischievous. The songs rang quick and short and burned with noisy undertones. The set ends, and Soda comments about already seeing a bloodied face in the men’s room. “He’s like, ‘do I need stitches? Do I need them yet?,'” quoting a stage diver worried about the impact of his head wound on his viewing experience. That kind of night.

I had no idea what to expect from N8NOFACE, only knowing that my friends heard good things. I’m burning up the last sips of a vodka double when up on stage comes this man with a glorious moustache and crazed expression. He simply declares “I’m N8NOFACE and this is synth punk.” Seconds later this man is shouting his stories of drugs and sobriety, murder and suicide, all over fast-paced darkwave synths. Who the fuck brings Xymox to the hip hop kids? N8NOFACE does, with an austere DIY setup and his own devilish madness. He pulls his shirt up over his own head and beats his own face while screaming in a kind of excited rage, as if reveling in his self punishment. He switches between devil horns and post-punk shimmying. His gruff facade fits right in with the gangster genre, but he’s got a sense of humor about himself, too. There’s also something nougaty he’s trying to show you in his mentions of lost friends, or his request for kindness at his sole acoustic number. I immediately swarmed his table and bought the good shit. N8 is one to watch.

N8NOFACE

Then came 999. Past mixtures of punk and hip-hop were never my flavor, but the two genres become blood brothers here. Eaddy ironically sports an L.A.P.D. tee to poke at the law, a favorite song topic. The cacophony is noisy and rhythmic, and the crowd pumps in time. Someone jumps on stage at the start, brandishing a shirt that says “God is Gay” to “a roar of enthusiasm,” as Olivia Cieri of Invisible Oranges writes. Stage jumpers make OGM and Eaddy light up. “Motherfucking Action Bronson” they call one tattooed fella who jumps into the crowd. I worry that the crowd parted for his landing. Dark thumping beats vibrate the brain stem during fan favorites like “Bone Collector” and “Battery Not Included.” At one point, Hoddy sits on the side of the stage watching the show, still in his orange jumper, before using his Young Jedi mind tricks to make eye contact with the pit and launch himself into the crowd. I swallow my last double so I can free my hands to pump with the crowd.

A brief interlude as we approach the end of the show and TheOGM lights a joint and sways softly to Crystal Waters’ legendary house track, “Gypsy Woman.” I see his head and shoulders hanging backward in a cloud of smoky ecstasy, thick dreads falling down his back, *feefeefeeling* it. The lyrics thicken now that they’re nestled between Ho99o9’s biting assaults on police brutality, politics, and dystopia. He then smiles and then flirts at Eaddy, who strips off his teeshirt to reveal a tattooed musculature. Eaddy responds with a grin. TheOGM is repulsive and divine… and terrifyingly sexy.

Ho99o9 is just full of these wild juxtapositions, sometimes darkly comedic, causing them to pull up a really diverse crowd. “Punks, goths, queers and queens,” Soda says, noting the sprawl, a melting pot of subcultures others would think too insular to meld like this. In front of me, a duo of elder punks make space to avoid of the clutches of the pit. Across the floor, rave kids in bunnies and rainbows talk to hip-hop kids in all black streetwear. Kids in Los-Angelean baseball jerseys share the floor with platform-boot goth girls and genderfuckers, all united by the horror and political rage and dirt of lives lived in America’s economic taint. It seems it’s the one thing we all have in common.

Hoddy & Baseville BandcampBaseheadTV Youtube

N8NOFACE BandcampN8NOFACE Linktree

Ho99o9 InstagramHo99o9 Website

Conduit of Humanity is less of a band and more of a collective. Spearheaded by alt-popper Fred Jeske and engineer Joe Maydak, Conduit of Humanity is a vehicle for 90s-style alt and prog collaborations with various artists through the magic of COVID-era dropbox technology. Their newest project, Siren Songs from Another World, is a lamentation on the grim state of the environment, healing from disasters, and our fears for the future.

Siren Songs starts with “Shine Out,” an alt-rock flavor reminiscent of Veruca Salt thanks to Candice Latimer’s vocals. “Shine Out” is replete with drum flourishes and a bit of discord to keep you on your toes. Female vocals seem to take center stage on Siren Songs. The third track, “Hoaxes,” features Latimer again, also remixed in a downtempo style to great effect by Lexi Stern later in the album. The sixth track, “Another World,” is beautiful and mellow in its lamentations, adding a bit of organ and another gorgeous female vocal contribution from Stern.

Themes of environmental disaster travel through the album. “Our Saving Grace” is a pretty but despairing piano and guitar number lamenting humanity’s penchant for self-destruction, a theme that continues into epic “Sirens Sing.” Moments of this one sound like Heavy Metal soundtrack classic, “All Of You.” It seems appropriate considering Heavy Metal’s dystopian themes, and considering that Conduits of Humanity started as a result of a Todd Rundgren festival in California’s ever-at-risk Redwood Forests.

Mellow and proggy, Siren Songs From Another World is good for curling up on a gray day to ruminate on the big picture.

Conduit of Humanity BandcampConduit of Humanity InstagramRescord Recordings

I was doing some tourism in Oaxaca last February. Oaxaca is a punk town, painted in street art and radical graffiti. It’s not without reason – Oaxaca is a locus for economic and racial inequality in Mexico. Music and art posters are wet-glued to the same walls where spraypaint scrawls decry the harms of capitalism, femicide, and state violence. While I ate up the daytime’s offerings of street art, punk, and culture, I couldn’t get out to see much of the musical nightlife. Nonetheless, I snapped pics of these two posters of bands coming through town that would help me savor some of what Oaxacan music kids might listen to between making rad art and bucking the system. These two posters go back to a small party scene called the Gothic Oaxaca Underground, who seems to host all these dope little shows with bands mostly hailing from Mexico City. So I decided to dig into some flavors of the Mexican goth scene (bands only) and see what’s shaking en la discotheque.

Leonora Post-Punk

Leonora Post-Punk was touring behind the release of their new EP, Polvo. It’s very stripped down monotone goth descendent of Joy Division. It’s just enough for a stomp and a bob if you’re in that kind of mood. The EP’s sexy third track “El Contraluz” was recorded at Mexico City’s “Hipnotize Festival” in 2021. The fourth track of Polvo, “Torpe” grew on me most.

Leonora Post Punk BandcampLeonora Post Punk Instagram

Stockhaussen

Stockhaussen is the composer Angel Kauff, who composes dark electric music. I listened to their latest release, “Musica Electronica Oscura,” with some enthusiasm. It’s minimalist synth travels at fast pace, creating an energetic series of songs, but without too many vocals. “Let’s dance Tonight” probably pounds the floor into a sweat frenzy. Kauff does well to build atmospheric tension. Moments feel like twilight in the batcave – just the way I like it.

Stockhaussen BandcampStockhaussen Instagram

Werner Karloff

Werner Karloff’s Atemporal EP just came out in March. Even a passing knowledge of Werner Karloff’s two namesakes is enough to pin the tail on this artist. Danceable and darkly monotone, Karloff’s beats are just upbeat and accessible, and the vocals are nice in that German art-rock kind of way. Fifth track “Visitas” builds such good atmosphere and instantly sticks out to me.

Werner Karloff’s BandcampWerner Karloff’s Instagram

Schrödinger

Schrödinger keeps up the post punk tempos but is more a grandchild of Bauhaus than anyone else. Their debut, Last Days on Earth, is solid start to finish. “Visions” is a track that one could play for a goth fashion show, while “Murder” hits like an early Cure remix. To be fair, it’s because the vocals do sound faintly of a young and very distant Robert Smith. “Dying Sun,” the album’s tenth track, plays a lot more with guitar tones and is pretty gorgeous on its own, evoking lots of emotions, and should not be missed.

Schrödinger vis SwissDarkNights BandcampSchrödinger Instagram

P.R.E.Y.

P.R.E.Y. is a Oaxaca-based darkwave artist who makes some interesting and engaging keyboard choices on their self-titled Demo. It has an arty fashion flavor that has me seeing them play behind models stomping in black dresses. The vocals have a smooth chocolatey element that sticks out. “Knees Pain” is a standout track.

P.R.E.Y. BandcampP.R.E.Y. Instagram

Fledgling but upwardly mobile, Mexican goth is developing an interesting scene with new vamps who are adding some creative new entries to today’s worldwide Goth Revival. Spare some pennies for the up and comers via Bandcamp if you’re feeling sassy. But if what you’re looking for is some goth playlist clout, you’re sure to find some in the Mexican goth scene.

Now this crew puts on a one-of-a-kind show. Hailing from Los Angeles, this five piece has a cult following for their raucous combination of punk and funk, and for good reason – behind the space-punk aesthetic and DIY ethic is otherworldly musicianship. Being that the critical mass of the band is educated in jazz and are prone to inventiveness, their new live album Live at the Echo becomes a whirlwind of genre-bending talent and high energy fun. They know how to yank a person out of their head and onto the Space Barn, where all that matters is sweat, dance, and joy.

Live at the Echo captures their lunacy from the get. Compared to album versions, songs take on faster speeds and add unique musical elements that ensure no live show is ever just “playing the album.” They remind me of the phrase “tight but loose” from Led Zeppelin’s canon. Thump shows give you the sensation that anything can happen. Maybe it’s an otherworldly sax solo on “Alien” that saxophonist Henry Solomon thought of in the moment. Or it could be keyboardist Paul Cornish adding a random classical undercurrent in the middle of “Flamingo Song.” Maybe it’s Logan Kane’s utterly ridiculous bass skills that make me wonder where he’s hiding his extra fingers, because there’s no way he’s doing all that with just the ten. You don’t know what you’re going to get, and sometimes the mix is so brash and unexpected you go the fuck? but only long enough to realize it’s working, and boy aren’t you glad you just experienced something you never experienced before?

And what is life but a series of moments – as a culture of humans watching our own mortality slowly decline on devices that eat away at our consciousness, wouldn’t it be gnarly to be able to experience the unexpected with awesome results for a change? We are a people that desperately need to start living to the beat of Henry Was and his drum kit and his slick kshhhhk kshhhhk bounce. There’s this part on “Space Barn,” you can hear it, where he does this *tibbytibbytap* and it palpates my brain stem. There’s an endless number of spicy little flourishes.

And then there’s Lucas Tamaren. Lucas is a maestro of the crowd’s energy, leading the Space Barn passengers through the highs and lows of the journey through his vocals and guitar. It’s Lucas that is the chief songwriter, so lots of these lyrics and melodies are infused with his comedic sensibility while also being so easy to grasp and relate with emotionally. Songs have this disarming honesty that’s wrapped in self-affirmation and even optimism. And then he fucking screams into the microphone. Because why not? Don’t you just want to scream sometimes, too? His screaming is not abrasive, it’s cathartic, and it’s inflected just right between his speech-singing and random scatting and the occasionally very lovely singing.

If I had to choose, I would suggest music-lovers watch the live video. Firstly, the video allows sixth Thump Ben Benjamin to showcase his essential contributions to the Thump aesthetic in the form of visuals. The show is reframed as a rebellion against the digital lobotomization we’re experiencing as un/willing participants in the soul-deadening metaverse (she says, after losing an hour to useless yet hypnotizing Facebook reels). It turns out rebellion looks a lot like dancing your jiggly ass off and shaking the numbness that bogs us down in the blue screen light. It’s this aspect of the Thumpaverse canon that gets me, because having universal worldwide super-villains lets me see Thumpasaurus as heroic underdogs. Secondly, Lucas is an absolute madman and he never stops. As a front man he is charismatic as hell, and his drag is giving constant face every time he twiddles something glorious on his guitar or delivers a lyric in character. You can also catch members of the band giving each other glances as they whip out new skills, perpetually impressed with each other, as if to say “check this shit out… no check this shit out.” Director Oliver Salk captured all of that electricity.

Keep ears (and eyes) open for a uniquely beautiful version of “Beta Lupi” with Paul Cornish giving it a baroque (the fuck?) accompaniment, and a surprise version of “Lovin’ You” you might otherwise only find if you peruse the deep corners of their Youtube. (That said, go peruse the corners of their YouTube). Live at the Echo is worth 90 minutes of your loosest socks-on-a-hardwood-floor dance energy, and is a proper analogue until the Space Barn sets down in your own neck of the woods.

Live at the Echo (Youtube)Thumpasaurus InstagramLive at the Echo (Spotify)

Even though New York is still coated in a late-March sheet of ice, I keep trying to find the push to yank my gravitationally-enhanced behind out of my hovel and go live inside some lights and music for a few hours. So I rolled out of my house, said goodbye to my sweet little doggo, and headed out to legendary Long Island rock spot Mr. Beery’s for the release of Coventry Carols’ self-titled first album. Supported by New Haven’s He Was A God and Richmond’s Sadartha, the show was a solid three hours of guitar shredding, screaming, and rock ‘n’ roll camaraderie. These three bands vibrated the walls into Saturday morning to welcome debut album Coventry Carols into the world.

First was Sadartha. The Virginia-based duo of guitarist/vocalist Johnny Noxious and bassist Mello Cefola displayed a collection of new grunge tunes. Sadartha’s fat guitar vibrations have that dark energy that remind me of how Alice in Chains used to feel. You know, the feeling that grabs you by the back of your sinuses and pumps rage into your brain. Sadartha set the stage for an evening of heavy flavors with just a touch of vocal pomp, inspired by “the ghost of Billy Corgan’s hair” that permeated their song “Eclipsing Binaries.” Although it’s fair to say, Noxious has enough glorious-enough hair of his own. Their latest album, Sad Art, came out in October.

The show raged on with pure personality metal/prog act He Was A God. Hailing from Connecticut, this fivesome melds prog sensibilities with metal sounds. Their drummer (Chris Densky of Genitorturers fame) is an absolute beast. This group dazzles with sonic Maiden-esque solos of alternating guitarists Ray Zvovushe and Tony Pellino. With bassist Dan Perrone bringing the heavy, and the charisma of Man In Black vocalist Ben Curns, He Was A God positively melted my face into goop. With politically biting lyrics and megaphone-using showmanship, I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Their new EP The Smile & The Scar came out in December. Check out “Two New Stars” – it was sick.

Finally, Coventry Carols’ themselves brought the house down with a warm welcome from a nearly packed Beery’s crowd.  Singer/songwriter Soda Survive reunites with fellow (e)motion picture alumnus Terry “T.T.” Taylor to produce another series of hard but core-smacking tunes. With the addition of bassist Cliff “Sugarbear” Catropa, the three produce an emo-type sound with a little extra metal rage added for good measure. If Sadartha was inspired by the ghost of Billy Corgan’s hair, Soda was positively choked by it, feeling his 90s grunge fantasy with his stage antics and some healthy banter with T.T. and an audience member who was gifted with a dedication for their tune, “This Serenade.”

The losers for the night? The drummers. T.T.’s lead foot broke the last working pedal, Sadartha’s be-hated drummer Manny the Mannequin passed out after two songs (FUCK YOU, MANNY!), and HWAG’s drummer lost a stick to a joyful buffoon in the crowd that now has a prized souvenir (mind my jealousy). Still, a raucous show, and just the kind of energy a girl needs to emerge from winter frost. Gotta love a $10 show!

Sadartha’s BandcampSadartha’s Instagram

He Was A God BandcampHe Was A God Instagram

Coventry Carols BandcampCoventry Carols Instagram

Ben Sefton is a fresh singer-songwriter from Saskatchewan. Stepping off the success of alienation diary entry “Humans,” Sefton has released his third tune and attached short film, Harrison. The sound is theatrical and layered, bringing up flavors of Queen or even Jellyfish in its evolving structure as it travels though different channels of pop and rock. Harrison’s narrative is an archetype of the isolated high school geek, with lyrical hints towards suicidal ideation (that I prefer to ignore). Though awkward teen narratives are often cliche, it’s important to see a story of an isolated kid that doesn’t put on a trench coat and blow away the lunch room. It’s a reminder that some kids just need to be heard. Keep an eye out for the guitar-shredding bear.

Ben Sefton Instagram

Ben Sefton Bandcamp

Fingathing are an English electronica duo of Sneaky (bass) and Peter Parker (turntable) that have been at it in the English underground for twenty or so years. Their mostly-instrumental electro-meets-hip hop sound is given further character by driving percussion and vocal sampling. The result is a groove like no other – spacey but dramatic, heady but body rocking at the same time. Their new 4-track EP Where You At? carries their deep red energy into a new era.

Where You At starts with “Devil Banger,” a smash of heavy metal guitar and turntable scratch that I could foresee devolving into a pit at a show, if their crowd were so inclined. It’s an introduction to a zombie dance party that continues into “Man Made Monster,” where the bass feels like cartoon monsters having the best basement rave. The monsters rise from the dead, possibly to feed on the brains that make up the cover of the EP. These visuals aren’t present in the songs themselves, but Fingathing’s album covers and art paint a NickToon panorama of characters and aesthetic details that make me, as a visualizer, so intensely engaged. I only hope they swing around NYC again, because visuals (by third Finga Chris Drury) are apparently a major part of their live show, and I missed my last opportunity.

May 26th 2015 Fingathing in Berlin Photo: Pablo Castagnola

The next tune is the titular track, “Where You At?” which brings that drama and suspense that feels much like an action scene. “Where you at?” the vocal loop asks, among sirens and steel pan drum over a vaguely Caribbean beat, that lends the notion of apocalypse, danger, and need to escape and find one’s people. This exemplifies Fingathing’s creativity at their best – layers of careful percussion paint so much flavor into a four minute masterpiece. Where You At? ends with “Disco Grande,” another simply delicious groove with claps and strings. Disco has always had a way of bowing heartstrings for aural drama, but Fingathing’s style makes “Disco Grande” feel devastating – like we’ve been listening to a groovy tragedy. The fates of the protagonists in my visuals are unknown, but damn is my body moving.

Fingathing produce story-laden soundscapes coupled with narrative concepts that make it completely unique. Add to that the sci-fi visuals, one might be tempted to make a comparison to Gorillaz except without Damon’s presence constantly pulling you out of the fantasy. Fingathing is one of my favorite bands to just lay back and feel – Sneaky’s double-bass has its own gravitational pull. Where You At marks another entry into a brilliant catalog. Don’t sleep on them.

Fingathing Bandcamp

Fingathing.co.uk Website

Fingathing Instathing

Finally! After years of wait, our own Soda Survive has finally brought his newest project into the daylight. Coventry Carols is a reunion of (e)motion picture’s Soda and drummer Terry Taylor, along with bassist Clifford “Sugarbear” Catropa. Together, the trio have emerged victorious from their first gig in nearby Connecticut, and have released their premiere track “The Well,” due to hit virtual airwaves on Friday (but purchasable from bandcamp at this very moment).

“The Well” is a alt-rock bopper, or as was recently noted during an interview on Bitten Apple TV, “a 90s throwback to the future.” The Well starts with a jaunty guitar riff over Terry’s tip-taps, that sound much like a rock-and-roll kid’s jaunt in a playground. Soda’s vocals come in, bringing in a little Billy Corgan flavor along with the lyrics that make me wonder if “The Well” is a metaphor for the darkness of the pandemic (Will we ever see the light again?/These times they are so cruel). Alternatively they might reference Soda’s recent years of medical challenges, a well from which he has emerged victorious. All in all, The Well is a 90s-ey, garage-y, grunge-y rock tune that will woo a few of the emo kids to boot.

The well single has four tracks, including an instrumental, and a remix by Coventry Carols album producer Joey Zampella (Life of Agony). Long Island can find Coventry Carols playing at Mr. Beery’s at the end of the month. Keep an eye open for their forthcoming cassette and CD, too – Coventry Carols has just joined the roster at Rescord!

coventrycarols.com

Coventry Carols on Bandcamp

Cover art by Graeme James

This one comes from New Zealand by way of Amsterdam. Graeme James, multi-instrumentalist and composer, is releasing a new album called Seasons on Nettwork Records. Inspired by his relocation from New Zealand to Amsterdam, the album is rich in layers of strings and delicate vocals. All together, James is a one-man band. He wrote, produced, and plucked nearly everything on this record, sans a few guest vocals, percussion, and brass. For the most part, James is as self-made as it comes, even drawing the album’s covers himself. James’s complex and earthy tunes capture cycles of life and weather with masterful precision. All in all, it’s a great flavor of indie folk that recalls shades of Villagers and perhaps Mumford and Sons (with better vocals and more optimism).

Seasons is a thoughtful and reflective set of tunes. Using the changing of seasons as larger metaphors for changes of life, he paints portraits of love and growth. Summertime sweet “Field Notes on an Endless Day” has tonal shades of Zeppelin’s “Going to California” amid its joyful ease. Single “Everlasting Love” is a straight-up country toe-tapper rejoicing one’s long-term affections: “If all that I had was you, I’d be the richest man on earth.” To use the lingo of the kids, that’s relationship goals right there. Autumnal ballad “All the Lives We Ever Lived” reflects on youthful exuberance, lamenting “We only wanted to live forever – was that too much to ask?” The whole album is a gorgeous mid-afternoon listen, curled up with a long term lover or a sleepy dog, warm like the cup of cocoa you’ll crave during “The Weight of Many Winters.”

The standout track for M-S-G is “The Voyage of the James Caird.” It is as dramatic a saga of a shipwreck survival as you can get, and as engaging as it sounds. Graeme’s voice takes on a more soulful thickness even than his other tunes as he tells the story of a real ship that near missed at rescuing its inhabitants. The percussion adds a rock beat to the gut-tingling drama of plucked high notes and rolling deeper tones. The cymbals crash like the waves against the resilient boat hull. From where it’s placed on the album, it feels like just the kind of tale you’d tell around a crackling fire on a cold winter evening, when one might need a message of persistence in peril. You know, kind of the way sea shanties became a thing during COVID for the same reason. No wonder Rolling Stone highlighted the track as a “Song[s] You Need to Know.”

If you’re into indie folk, check out Graeme James. Seasons comes in like a lion on April 1st.

Graeme James Website

Graeme James Instagram

Graeme James Bandcamp

Henry Solomon is an accomplished saxophonist who is most known for being The Guy In The Video For “Summer Girl,” being that he recorded three songs on HAIM’s latest album, Women In Music Pt. III. He’s also the saxophonist for Thumpasaurus, a group I admit to being insanely fond of, comparable to the level that Soda loves Jellyfish, or to the level that teen me loved Led Zeppelin. So naturally, I’ve been flavoring my life with their individual accomplishments, and the first I can find the words about is this sweet little eight minute EP Solomon made in partnership with gentle-voiced bedroom popster Allie Kelly.

It starts with “Menthol,” a breathy synthy ambiance that uses the sensation of menthol as imagery for something cutting. I can’t quite figure the lyrics out, other than the sense that the “knife” she mentions is sharp and turned inward. It’s a nice use of imagery, because the feeling of dragging on a menthol (especially for the first time after a long day) matches Kelly’s breezy vocals – it’s a sharp but refreshing discomfort to fill your lungs with minty smoke. The video makes a nice background visual. Both Kelly and Solomon have great hair and earrings and are having a fabulous night on the sidewalk, and it’s kind of amusing to watch them play around with cigarettes despite clearly being non-smokers.

I think the song that nailed it for me was “Salmon of Positive Energy,” which is certainly the background music of a video game I’ve played in my subconscious. On its own, it becomes an upbeat metaphor for some elusive wisdom, like an unformed out-of-grasp thought or the memory of a dream that’s slipping away upon waking. Per Solomon’s Instagram, the actual Salmon is a “mythical creature that protects fishermen from danger, and and brings happiness and good luck.” The song’s imagery invokes nighttime, but the sound feels, to me, like traveling at dawn through a clear sky. It just feels good and floaty. The song itself was inspired by/written for footage of salmon fishermen, which is interesting except that after four and a half minutes of upbeat drum loops and seascapes, a salmon meets his maker with a hearty stabbing. I appreciate the irony. This one stays on the playlist.

The EP ends with a minute-half little tune “Oh Song” that has the softest little sax, and Kelly’s vocal that seems to be reaching out to either keep/discard a lover depending on if you hear “can” or “can’t.” I choose to hear it as a breakup song but that’s because I’m a feminist curmudgeon and never want to hear a woman offering to be whatever someone else wants. Still, it makes what might be an ugly or desperate feeling into a pretty sound, and I wish there were more than a minute and a half of it.

**Update: April 2022

For some reason, “Oh Song” kept bouncing through my inner monologue at least once per day for a while. I felt like I misinterpreted it and it kept bugging me like it sat on my conscience. As I kept hearing it in my mind, it would morph into the song from the Mario 64 water level “Jolly Roger Bay” because my brain free-associates like it’s perpetually writing bad poetry. But somewhere in the mental swirl came the realization that this song is what an orgasm sounds like. It’s not “Oh, Song.” It’s the “O” song, which makes its short length, sound, and words make total sense in a way I didn’t really get when I first reviewed it.**

Overall, the Menthol EP is a good nighttime listen for settling in with some hot tea and a Marlboro Smooth. They’ve also got a limited edition cassette that comes with a bonus remix, and I’ll update this post when I have the goods in hand. In the mean time, check out the Salmon of Positive Energy video here, and links below.

Allie Kelly & Henry Solomon Bandcamp

Allie Kelly Instagram

Henry Solomon Instagram