Posts Tagged ‘EP’

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

The Magus due out March 4th

This mustachioed magician’s new EP has left me spellbound. Peter Cat (Cat Cat) is the mostly solo project of Graham Neil Gillespie, the dapper “sophisti-popster” behind glam-o-rama hit The Saccharine Underground. Peter Cat brings his brand of wry humor and introspection to a new four track EP, entitled The Magus. I was lucky enough to get to listen to the whole shebang before release and it is fan-flipping-tastic.

It starts with “Blue Raspberry,” the second single off the EP. It’s got a dreamy surreal quality over the beat, meant to illustrate the song’s theme of projecting a fantasy and expecting it to be real. The lyrics start with a touch of meta humor and end in a melancholy that I found really easy to connect with. “Blue Raspberry” sets the tone for the rest of the EP in that The Magus balances introspection and darkness with wit and rhythm throughout the four tracks. For every chuckle, there’s an equal tug at the heart. But for every earnest admission, there’s a knife twist, too.

If Peter Cat played Skyrim…

Track two, called “The Magus” (named for the John Fowles novel) is the inspiration for the characterization you’ll hear in this song’s Billie Eilish-adjacent sprechgesang. Here, Gillespie is taking on the role of the magician as he welcomes you to his show, where he plays with both the heads and the hearts of his victims. It grows atmospheric and tense before exploding into delicious baroque pop.

The EP’s biggest star is also its first single – “Melon Dating Simulator.” It is an instant head-bopper with an absurd twist. Again, the speaker is willing to skewer himself for his bad behaviors, but now he has found his other half in the form of fruit, inspired by Gillespie playing (and having high praise for) a dating simulation game called Superstorm Melon Date. Insert a series of puns and a vaguely dystopian atmosphere, and this one is a certified earworm. Listen for the one off-beat Meyers-Briggs joke that makes me cackle every time I hear it. It’s so very sing-able that I have subjected it to dozens of people in my day job who are forced to listen to me (to which I respond “yer welcome.”

Closer “Disappearing Act,” starts with a piano cabaret-type tune that illustrates when the singer is reasoning with a lover versus narrating his actual intentions. It lends itself so beautifully to a theatrical visual (in my mind), complete with 2d urban backdrops backdrops and the depressing glow of a street lamp. The main character is revealed to be just another manipulative bottom-feeder of relationships, who gloats out the side of his mouth about how he patronizes his lovers so he never has to face himself. Behind it reveals the emptiness that causes such a chasm where a decent man would otherwise be. The piano grows moodier as it takes on more finality and the EP is carried to an end.

All in all, it feels like a piece of theater, lends itself to fun mental visuals, and carries an EP-long narrative if you look for it. I keep being struck about my own willingness to empathize with the character speaking in these songs even though it would be misery to be in a relationship with that kind of person. It all makes my brain go tingle, and that makes me happy.

This EP is not to be missed. Peter Cat play shows around Glasgow so definitely check ’em out if you’re lucky enough to be in Europe. I would love to hear how these tunes sound live, but alas, I live across an ocean from where they play, so let’s cross our fingers and hope for a stateside visit one day. The Magus comes out on March 4th – GO GET IT!

I also got the chance to have a brief 1-on-1 with the man himself. We will have that up for you soon!

Peter Cat Cat Cat Instagram

Peter Cat’s Bandcamp

Peter Cat’s Official Website

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

“Similar to social anxiety or social phobia, anthropophobia is the fear of people. Unlike social anxiety, however, which often relates to feeling uncomfortable in crowds or a group context, anthropophobia symptoms can occur when the patient is in the presence of a single person.”

And now that you know the definition of Anthrophobia, can we change it to “absolute badassery”? Man! This new EP, Altered States hits so hard on each track and every single note. Certainly played with conviction, these guys have delivered a great package that’s a bit aggro, a bit punk and a whole lot of shit-kicking rock. These PA vets know exactly how to grab you by the ear and then by the throat. Singer Frank Phobia goes for the final blow with each syllable and the band is so no nonsense that you can’t help but bang thru the EP 3 or 4 times in one sitting. Lead single “Ghosts” is 1:57 of pure fast driving bliss. Anthrophobia is nailing a sound that is sorely missed without sounding dated or desperate.

*For enthusiasts of Corrosion Of Conformity, Clutch and old school White Zombie*

https://anthrophobia.bandcamp.com/music

Order the limited edition vinyl at their Bandcamp page which also features the EP Grind plus bonus tracks!

Growth EP

VA based grunge darlings Sadartha return with new EP, Growth. Although not reinventing the wheel here, the band rather expands on their sound from awesome previous release Eden. With this new installment they certainly play to their strengths. Singer Johnny Noxious continues to sharpen his knifelike vocals while as a unit they remain as chilling, noisy, and loud as ever.

On Growth, Sadartha play in some pretty dark territory, but, center track “Eclipsing Binaries”, sonically lightens the load. Almost makes you wish the boys touched on that side more.

Ultimately, Sadartha does not disappoint. I would however, like to see them step out of their comfort zone on a future release. The band keeps getting better and I think with a bit more confidence they’ll be able to reach that new ground. And I would imagine they are not far off from such an achievement.

Key tracks: “Aconitum” & “Just Skin”

Sample the Sadartha catalog on CDBaby AND purchase your favorite release!

SADARTHA: CD BABY

Dino Malito

Throughout my many adventures of writing and music I have been lucky enough to stumble across treasures. Some I’ve had to dig for and some have been presented to me plainly and simply, as was this new EP from Dino Malito. Quite honestly, there is really nothing plain about it, more close to extraordinary. Getting to know Dino through his music has been a really nice experience for me. First with his band Serum from the late 90’s-early 2000’s to his current band Captain Black Heart and now with this solo offering. Dino and I had only come into contact with each other maybe about a year ago mainly because of Music-Survival-Guide. It’s just one of the cool perks I get from doing this wonderful thing.

On May 4th Dino will release his first solo EP through Domo Music Group. For a debut it is somewhat unusual as it is a collection of covers from Japanese New Age artist Kitaro. Nothing short of a sensation himself (Kitaro) being a Grammy and Golden-Globe winner for his compositions which use a variety of synthesizers and sounds. But for Malito, on this release, he has stripped down the walls and brought something peaceful, something of the earth and soil. Being a master of many a stringed thing he presents this tribute in such a reserved tasteful manner, bordering on perfectionist but pulling back ever so slightly before the true soul of the work becomes compromised or mechanical. This is a recording that makes you want to leave the chaos behind…of the world…of a hectic life. Music in so many ways heals. It’s something we can all relate to universally and that is truly beautiful. And there is plenty of beauty to be found in this small 5 track EP. What Dino set out to accomplish reminds me of a bit of my appreciation for John Wesley Harding who did something similar with his release, Trad Arr Jones, which was a tribute to Nic Jones, a London born folk singer. Harding compiled covers of Jones’ whimsical craft and presented them in such an irresistible way that I had to immediately hook myself on either of their works. And here, with Malito’s new EP, he may just do the same for anyone of us as this recording presents something truly magical. He even has the approval of Kitaro himself, “I was pleasantly surprised by these warm interpretations of my music…” So discover this with me as I peel back more layers of this wonderful release which is clearly from the heart of a truly talented individual. Thank you for sharing this with me…with us, Dino.

Dino at Domo

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Dino at YouTube