Short Takes (Fake Shark, Ships Have Sailed, Paul Doffing & Monks Of Mellonwah)

Fake Shark - "Cheap Thrills"

Fake Shark – “Cheap Thrills”

Fake Shark – “Cheap Thrills”

The best summertime jam of 2015 has arrived in high style with the slinky, infectious dancefloor hijinx of “Cheap Thrills” from Vancouver-situated act Fake Shark.  Formerly known as Fake Shark Real Zombie, the trio of Kevvy (songwriter, vocalist, member of Die Mannequin), Louis Wu (guitarist), and Tony Dallas (bassist) has streamlined its band name and sound, striking while it’s hot with this cool, funky, and fun tune that beats the summer heat.  A new album is currently being finalized for release later this year.

The gritty, twinned rhythm of a deep, pouncing bass line and drum beat hooks from the start, creating a stealthy groove.  Audio clips of dynamic shouts (like the exclaimed “Everybody get up now!” intro) and sporadic cascades of globular notes flit to and fro while Kevvy comes in on the verses with preening falsetto prettiness, sleekly sighing about “cheap thrills”, “casual romance”, and “wild hearts”.  Euphoric delight slides in with the funky strut of the chorus as Kevvy’s airily intones lines like “give me chills” which contrast with spoken word ejaculations such as “opposites attract”.  The restless rhythm of dewdrop notes reverb, grimy electronic patter, a pushy bass line, and drum thump continues through the tune ‘til very end when a guffaw seals the deal.

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Ships Have Sailed - Re: MIX EP

Ships Have Sailed – Re: MIX EP

Ships Have Sailed – Dimond Saints Remix of “Drive”

Ships Have Sailed, the Los Angeles-based, alt-pop/rock act with an electronic edge, released its debut EP, Someday, in 2014 and followed that up this past March with the critically accoladed  concept album  Moodswings.  Will Carpenter (guitars, vocals), Dan Hange (bass), and Mike Odabashian (drums) have now set sail again, this time with a remixes EP titled Re: MIX which came out on July 14th.  It features remixes of select songs from Moodswings by several DJ’s including San Francisco-based bass-masters Dimond Saints and Swedish DJ Goatmilk.

The original song “Drive” off of Moodswings is a low-key, but direct electronic-pop track with a crisply clacking, measured beat, percolating electro-notes, a soft backing of guitar reverb and synth pull, and clear, emotive, rock-style vocals from Will as he exclaims “Nothing can slow us down…”.  Diamond Saints gives the remix version of “Drive” a deeper, slower, and weightier spin, adding a more prominent, sporadically firing drum beat and paring down the other sonics to just a jittery background rhythm and woodwind-tinged reverberating percussion.  A few key phrases stutter and flow through the track, like the pop-attuned, airily-sung “Young enough to feel it.”

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Paul Doffing - Songs from the (quaking) heart

Paul Doffing – Songs From The (Quaking) Heart

Paul Doffing  – “Slow I Go”

Singer-songwriter and environmental activist Paul Doffing hails from Minneapolis, Minnesota and he recently chucked all his possessions and his residence to go on a U.S. musical tour by bicycle.  His new album, Songs From The (Quaking) Heart, which was released this past May, captures his experiences of biking 7K miles and playing gigs at over 100 venues across the United States.  Songs From The (Quaking) Heart is Paul’s second offering as a solo artist, with Blossom Is You, released in 2012, being his first.  He had previously formed the psych-rock act Citizen Sage in 2009.

Paul is influenced by the Miles Davis-driven jazz technique of communing with your instrument (in this case an acoustic guitar) and the spare, but heartfelt tradition of folk music.  He brings those qualities to his lyrically-insightful single “Slow I Go” which swims in limpidly picked acoustic guitar flow and Paul’s gentle vocals.  Paul sings about perceiving the path of your life, clearly and amiably intoning the benevolent words “Feel the newness of your moments / Know the power of an open heart.”  He is joined on the chorus by mellow male and female vocals which bring a communal spirit and add a more pronounced positive vibe to the introspective song.

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Monks Of Mellonwah - "Even When It Burns"

Monks Of Mellonwah – “Even When It Burns”

Monks Of Mellonwah – “Even When It Burns”

Australian alt-rock/electro-pop band Monks Of Mellonwah have been engaging listeners and audiences with their electrifying melding of smooth pop and dynamic rock since its inception in 2009.  Vikram Kaushik, Joseph de la Hoyde, John de la Hoyde, and Joshua Baissari have released 3 EPs and a debut album titled Turn the People in March 2014.  They also supported Scott Stapp (Creed) and Sevendust on a 3-month U.S. tour in 20014.  The Sydney-located quartet is now set to drop a new 7-song EP named Disconnect, which was produced by Joseph, this August.  Catchy lead single “Never Been Good” bowed in April and second single “Even When It Burns” was unleashed this June.

The pop and rock facets of Monks Of Mellonwah’s sound shine darkly bright on “Even When It Burns”.  An unrelenting rhythm of drumstick tick and a prominent drum beat give the feeling of a fast-pace race while the gritty patina of synths and piano notes unfold at a slower pace.  Floating electronic squiggles take the middle ground as Vikram sings the short phrase lyrics in an urgent, emotive tone.  The intensity rises on the chorus with the addition of deep strokes of sizzling electric guitar as Vikram proclaims “The simple things that matter / I have earned.”  There’s even a brief, cool break near the end of the song where a psych-guitar line weaves around the other sonics.

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