Single Review: “darkgreenspirits”

“darkgreenspirits” is the self-released debut single from twomoonsaway, a band from Hillsborough Township, NJ, released last September 27th as the first song off their upcoming EP.

The track begins with a desolate guitar line, followed by frontman’s David Panarese whispered contemplative lyrics, setting the way for the rest of the band to kick through the door in the next verse, starting a punchy yet balanced set of verses complemented with David’s strong melodic vocals, only to return to introspection in the last verse with the lone guitar line.

The song is about pain, the pain of being in what appears to be a toxic relationship, and the further pain, rather than relief, of getting out of it while you can, only to expect even more pain facing the hardships that surely will follow, as reflected in the lyrics:


i know you fucked up

don’t try n fix it i’ve had enuf

cold hands to match your heart

ill fuckin try my best not to fall apart

The song is a fine Indie Rock effort, with marked Post-Punk influences, the band, which is comprised of Carlee Ahart, Brandon Chu, and Justin Tanis in addition to David, sounds tight and precise, the production is more than adequate, letting David’s vocals be heard clearly while blending with the music.

A great debut, which will keep us wanting for more with high anticipation for the EP.

EP Review: “Not What You Want It To Be”

“Not What You Want It To Be” is the latest release by Kind of Like Paris, a one man musical project of a musician who goes by the name of Nolan in Lansing, MI.

In a sharp contrast with the individual effort in creating the EP, it was issued by a collaboration of different labels:

The EP was recorded using analog equipment, mainly the legendary TASCAM Portastudio 244, the tape hiss, flat sounding drums and fuzzy guitar sound give the record the aura of an unearthed lo-fi and slowcore relic from the early 90’s.

Musically, the EP is very consistent in its simplicity, each song in introduced by a 1-2-3-4 hit from a closed hi-hat or snare, followed with unassuming guitar lines and chords with not a single solo in sight, setting the stage for Nolan’s songs about alienation, despair and apathy.

The opening track, “Coping” provides us a gloomy glimpse of the writer’s mind:

…Rub some dirt on that wound

It doesn’t help my head

I’ll always be in this mood

A constant state of sad…

My Highlight is the 2nd track, “Pardon”, which portrays the writer’s desperate struggle with love-shyness and loneliness.

…It’s so silly to ask

But I just need to know

I’ve been through so much

I need to be told…

The EP is a stark reminder of the painful times many of us go through in our lives, the main thing that I took from this record is the feeling that no matter how low can our lives get, there’s always someone, anywhere in this world, who will listen, and understand.

“Blue Moon” BY Permanent Vacation (Italy)

Stream or buy the EP on Bandcamp.

Permanent Vacation, the British / American duo based in Rome are back with a self-released EP named “Blue Moon”

The EP is a lo-fi ode to minimalism, minimalist indie-pop songs with minimal instrumentation and production, soft vocals, almost hushed, with their style of incorporating surrounding sounds blending slowly with the music.

The main elements of the songs are acoustic guitar and vocals, recorded with noises and imperfections, warts and all, but these imperfections are what makes their music stand from the crowd, they give an intimate and spontaneous ambience to the whole affair.

The EP seems, lyrically at least, like a low-key concept piece centered around the theme of dreams, the opening track’s title, “Fever Dream” gives little doubt of that, and the following track, “Olive Tree” contains the lines:

…I put down my bags and unlaced my boots by the olive tree

You said close your eyes and I’ll be there when you dream…

The 3rd track (and my Highlight of the EP), “Volcano Song” looks at first glance like a kind of love song to a volcano, which are relatively common in their adopted home of Italy, but piecing it with the preceding songs it can also describe a dream, like the one mentioned in the previous song, in any case, this is the most uplifting song in the record.

The eponymous last track “Blue Moon”, has a vibe of slowly drifting in and out of hypnagogia, with its vocals that sound low on purpose in order to become a part of the textures, the atmospheric synths, and the sounds of the environment at the end, waking up slowly from the experience.

Permanent Vacation provided us with a unique record, defiantly showing us their own special way of creating music, my personal gain is the different perspective I received from their process.

HALLOWEEN SPECIAL: “The Halloween Special” BY Ghost Orange & drmgrl (UK)

Stream or buy the album on Bandcamp.

First, I have to come clean, Halloween is not celebrated around these parts (Israel) so I was a little worried when I was tasked with writing a review for this split EP, but I pressed forward anyway, and was I surprised.

The EP is a common effort between two British musical projects, Ghost Orange, and drmgrl, the basic arrangement is as follows: the former with the tracks 1,2,4,6, and 8, and the latter with tracks 3,5,7,and 9, it’s released today on drmgrl’s own perfect world recordings label.

Usually, when I think of Halloween, I think of tv specials, little kids going door to door, and the like, but this EP is having none of that, the music can be described as a mix between Goth and Folk, all nicely wrapped in a Lo-Fi package.

The whole atmosphere brings forward the darker sides of Halloween, the lyrics range from bleak, through vindictive, to downright existential, with a backing of sparse acoustic guitars playing mostly minor chords, with small parts of piano and keyboards.

The EP starts with an instrumental piece which gives the EP its title, it sets the tone with a lightly distorted synth sound and a ghostly whistle sound, this track and the other instrumental track, “Ghosts Gather Round” are the only ones where the keyboards take center stage.

If the opening track set the tone sonically, the following track “Catacombs” does it lyrically:

I forget I’m not like the sun

I’m more like the bones in the catacombs

This makes it perfectly clear that this is not a holiday record.

In the 3rd track, “I Love you Octobers”, drmgrl make their entrance in a similar fashion:

Why do birds

Sing their love songs to the sky

That we both know

Will turn cold

And let summer flowers die

While listening the EP, I’ve noticed that although the tracks are split, the musical style is quite similar, the most notable difference I could find is in drmgrl’s more whisper-like vocals.

The light point of the EP, if there ever was one, is the 5th track “Charlie”, which serves as a twisted homage of sorts to “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown”, it even ends with a sample of Sally’s rant to Linus.

My highlight of the EP is the 8th track, “Pigeon”, a gentle tune with nice harmonies and soft piano flourishes, masking the resentful message at the end:

But of course you don’t know

What you don’t know

You only have pigeon thoughts

Thinking pigeon things

The final result is a fine effort, and the fact that it goes against the festive and commercialized spirit of the holiday makes for a very refreshing approach, which appeals to me even more.

So, er…Happy Halloween everyone?

PRE-RELEASE EXCLUSIVE: “Memento Mori” BY Postrich Bear (USA)

Preorder the album on Bandcamp.

“Memento Mori” is the upcoming album of Postrich Bear, the musical project of Andy Alvarez from Salem, OR, and it’ll be released this October 30th, we (ok, me) at Qneydl had an exclusive access to the upcoming album.

The album is a very personal affair, Alvarez, a singer-songwriter, wrote, composed, sang (with Megan Blankenship featuring in a couple of tunes), played all instruments on it (except the Trumpet in another couple, courtesy of Matthew Mischke), and self-released it.

The personal effort reflects on the music, a collection of Indie-Rock songs contemplating feelings of love, loneliness, longing for a simpler time, and mourning (2 of the songs are dedicated to his grandmothers) giving the album a melancholic and autobiographical feel.

The 4th track “Dejame” tells a story of a separation, and keeping us in the dark about the person and the circumstances of it, leaving only what appears to be a open-ended clue in the lyrics:

Do you remember how we felt back in that summer?

Anoche soñé contigo y esta mañana no me quiero despertar

(Last night I dreamt about you and this morning I don’t want to wake up)

The lyrics in Spanish and the trumpet solo give the track a subtle Mexican vibe, without falling into clichés.

The 9th track “40 Miles with Wade” explores the feelings of sadness even further, a slow and sorrowful ballad, where the acoustic guitar serves as the main rhythmic component, the opening proclamation “Take 1” at the beginning is a perfect indication of its lo-fi spontaneity.

The closing track “Veritas Vincit” serves at a 2 part suite, the first part is a purging of personal demons and feelings of self-hate in what is likely the darkest point of the album, while the 2nd part is a calmer, gentler half, where the writer doesn’t give up on the possibility of hope for a better tomorrow.

My highlight of the album is the 2nd track “Cute” a charming love song with a self-deprecating twist, the jazzy trumpet flourishes throughout the song gives it an air of timelessness, of a tune that can feel comfortable in different decades, including this one.

The album ends with the spoken phrase “That’s really good, not bad”, in my opinion, the feeling is justified, as well as mutual.

“Know Now” BY magictoy* (USA)

Listen to the song on Spotify

“Know Now” is the latest single by magictoy*, a producer / musician based in New York.

The song is a gentle Indietronica piece with elements of Dream Pop and brief outbursts of Glitch in a few moments.

The key principle of the piece is Minimalism, the beat is minimal and steady save for a short interlude in the bridge, followed by distorted sounds and a short distorted second bassline, which felt a bit out of place, and the main instrument is a synth pad providing the chords.

The atmospheric synth pad, the Casio-like lead that appears at times, the soft vocals and the wordless vocal parts at the edges of the song give a dreamy and childlike vibe, while masking the pain in the lyrics, which is an heartfelt plea to a significant other to stay, warning about the unavoidable loneliness that will surely follow.

My main issue with the tune is, as usual, the muffling of the vocals under the mix, the synth pad might give the right atmosphere, but they also impose themselves in the verses and choruses, and googling for the lyrics was futile.

All in all, it’s a very pleasant and sweet tune.

“Gusty” BY Birdspotter (USA)

Stream or buy the album on Bandcamp

Philadelphia, PA band Birdspotter released this month their 3rd album “Gusty” on the Z Tapes label.

The album is a collection of short stories in form of poetry, of snapshots of life skilfully put to music and words, capturing unassuming moments before they fade away never to return, and finding the beauty of it while looking back.

The lyrics provide a look into the minds of people caught in the snapshots, expressing thoughts about love or loss, of stories in that particular moment captured in time, of places that are close and yet, can be distant at the same time, and sometimes of surreal musings, like in the 2nd track “Water”:

…But no God would let the railway workers’ union collapse

And I am still fitting both pieces together

Then in the water

I see Cherry,

I see reflected airplanes scatter in her wake and form again…

If the lyrics are reminiscent of snapshots, the 4 instrumental pieces take form of landscapes, like the 5th track “Dispatch From the Last Year With Seasons”:

The music itself feels very adequate and well balanced, no sudden changes and no sound or instrument moves abruptly to the forefront, giving the whole thing an overall pleasant vibe, for the most part.

My Highlight of the album, “Rumi” is an exception, an elegy to a friend, with slow verses, faster passages with loud guitars, mourning mingled with hopes for reunion in a faraway time and place.

This album is a great soundtrack for the autumn, it makes me think of going out and find a nice secluded spot where I can watch the clouds and just think about life.

“Myopic” BY Sewnshut (Norway)

Stream or buy the album on Bandcamp

Sewnshut is a one man project from Molde, Norway, and he released his 2nd album “Myopic”, last July 3rd on his own label, Sluggish Tapes.

The music in the album is a hypnotic concoction of Electronic lo-fi with Ambient elements thrown in for a good measure, all instrumental.

The album takes you on a trip through different moods, all achieved with changes of tempo, aggressive synth lines with minimal rhythms, aggressive rhythms with minimal synth lines, dreamy synths lingering from the background to disappear quickly again, melodies that appear from nowhere in the middle of the track to grab your attention, atmospheric pads to give a short burst of warmth, and so on.

This music is not danceable (to me anyways), this is not music to enjoy in the background or listen with a book, this is a record made to grab your consciousness by the shoulders and make you listen to it with your full attention and think throughout its duration, this is a record that if you listen in a dark room, you might develop synesthesia sooner or later.

If I have to choose a highlight from the album, it would be the opening track, “Rimb”, with a melodic chiptune-like lead synth, it invites you to join the trip with a strange grin in its face.

While I said earlier that the music is not danceable, at times this record somehow gives you the feel that you are dancing even while lying without moving a single muscle, a fascinating experience.

“Ornaments of Affection” BY The Soods (USA)

Stream or buy the album on Bandcamp.

The Soods, a collective of West Michigan musicians gathered around Jason Roy, released this month their latest album “Ornaments of Affection” on GTG Records.

The album is a celebration of jangly and raucous Indie Rock, accomplished by a rotating cast of musicians with Jason being the constant part of the different formations for the different shades of each song.

That variety is key to the album, while the main style is Indie Rock, there are tunes with elements of Power Pop, Dream Pop and so on.

Take the opening track: “Oh, Mersey Days”, for this song, the assembled musicians take the guise of an imaginary forgotten British band from the pre-Britpop days, the jangly acoustic guitar comes to the forefront, with vocalist Shane Tripp’s distinctive lead vocals and harmonies in the choruses, a fitting homage.

Or, in the 4th track “Hard to Conceal”, the fuzzy guitar that goes through the song takes it to a more psych-y direction, without straying too much from the overall line.

The title of highlight of the album, IMO, should go to the 5th track “Morning Harold”, a sunny gem with a Power Pop flavor that exudes fun and joy from beginning to end, from the laughter in the opening seconds.

A more Dreamy direction can be found in the 7th track “Begonias” where slide guitars, beautiful harmonies and piano arpeggios adorn the song.

The last Track “Melancholia” goes even further in that direction, with an atypical 3/4 rhythm and synths, and provided a very creative way to bookend the album.

My main issues with the album can be summed up in 2:

The first one is the mixing, although English is not my native tongue (Hebrew and Spanish are, long story) my English level is relatively above average, and yet I had a hard time understanding the lyrics with the vocals partially buried in the mix.

The second is closely related, as I had a hard time with understanding the lyrics by ear, I couldn’t find any written ones either, it was noticeable especially in the Bandcamp page where it should be first place to go and find them.

Issues aside, the music was wonderful, a great album from start to finish, the variety of styles didn’t felt out of place and felt like a trip through various places instead, I hopped aboard and enjoyed it.

“Aliki” BY Permanent Vacation (Italy)

Permanent Vacation, a British/American project based in Rome, released this week a single which is, essentially, a parting gift for a close friend of the duo, and it sounds accordingly.

The acoustic guitar riff that plays throughout the song gives a bluesy-folk feel, and together with the singer’s wistful vocals, an air of melancholy quickly descends upon the tune.

The track is as Bedroom Pop as you can get, with little background noises before and during the track and a friendly chat at the end, but you cannot help but feel the intimacy of it all, you can almost close your eyes and see the duo singing it to their friend in their final goodbye in a dimly lit room.

The lo-fi recording and the percussion that slightly goes astray in the middle of the song, if anything, only add spontaneity to the overall result.

I’m sure they will miss their friend dearly, and although I’ll never meet the subject of the song, after listening to the song, I’ll miss her too.