Thursday, March 15, 2012

Marty’s Invasion

Hailing from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Marty’s Invasion is the brainchild of multi-instrumentalist Daniel Martin. MI offers a purposeful assortment of indie pop/instrumental tracks that crackle with solid musicianship, accomplished vocals and polished production. Martin has an interesting vocal style that reminded me a bit of XTC lead singer Andy Partridge. The subject matter of the material may not be deep or life altering, but MI has a knack for some catchy melodies and makes fine use the Theremin quite often which I feel is underused these days. "Deep Rooted", an acoustic guitar instrumental, struck me as an accomplished piece with some fine finger work. "Somebody else" offered some great harmonies and cool guitar work. I really dug this upbeat pop tune. "Pretenders waltz" , a pretty solo piano piece, left me a little bored with the repetitive melody in all honesty. "Face" presented some fine guitar work, driving percussion and a super Theremin sound throughout. It was a fun track and I dug Martin’s falsetto. "Post office", with its driving percussion and bass and effective vocals lit up the playlist. I thought the electric piano was well placed and the harmonies really shined. "Cross country runner" had an impressive piano intro before moving into a solid melody. This ballad had Bryan Ferry like vocals and felt like the most personal track on the EP. "Hometown" offered a decent guitar intro, solid bass work and a driving percussion. I felt Martin was approaching pop perfection on this track. "Waiting for a word" was a little departure into a "Rare gothic ballad" according to Martin and I would agree. It was effective in its moodiness, melody and harmonies. "Moments in the sun" ,a full band effort, made me think that a live show from MI would really open up a lot of his music and breath more life into his tracks. Overall though, I enjoyed a lot of aspects in these tracks. A driving rhythm section, solid melodies, great harmonies and of course the Theremin were common recurrences.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Shadows in the Basement

Holland’s Shadows in the Basement impresses with their Swept Away EP demos. Dreamy, ambitious and dramatic best describe SITB’s music. Siddhartha Barnhoorn creates the sweeping, atmospheric music with a wide range of instruments along with Dennis Binnekade contributing vocals. Together they create a cinematic, expansive brand of rock not dissimilar to early 4AD bands such as Dead Can Dance with a touch of Peter Murphy style vocals. "Mesmerized" kicks off the EP as a pretty, broody piece enhanced with sweeping synths and effective builds throughout. Impressive, emotion laded vocals and some fine guitar work standout on this track. "Magic Vale" makes good use of some rarely used instruments in rock such as the Skakuhachi and Melodica in the intro of the track before morphing into a mid-tempo piece with some progressive style guitar tangents. Effective, open lyrics really drew this writer into the song. "Driftwood" begins with melodic guitar,crashing waves and a vocal reminiscent of Peter Murphy. As the song builds to the chorus a strong melody carries the song forward to a really pleasant, uplifting place. Nice use of dynamics on "Driftwood". Overall I was impressed with this set of demos as they present only a taste of the enlightening, dramatic style of SITB. I am looking forward to their full length LP.