Jane in Space – “Feel it Alive”
The members of the industrial-rock-inclined Jane in Space may pound the pavement of New York City, but their sound is in the amorphous atmosphere above the Earth. The act’s self-titled debut album is slated for lift-off on August 19th. The trio is composed of Tom Vickers (vocals), a known actor and voice-over artist from Oxford, England, producer Jesse Jensen (electronics, guitar, keyboards), and Josh Stillman (bass).
Lead single and album-ender “Feel it Alive” emanates an ominous, nocturnal vibe and is all about ever-shifting sonic and vocals patterns and textures. Vickers sings in a dusky, David Gahan-like style, modulating his vocals as he flows over the words “feel it alive” repeatedly. A restless flow of fast-ticking percussion, supple bass lines, crispy and twisting electronics, echoed metallic cracks, and propulsive drums follows Vickers’ roving vocal journey.
Mac Gollehon and The Hispanic Mechanics – “No More Drama”
Sporting the far-out name Mac Gollehon and The Hispanic Mechanics for his new music project, veteran trumpet player/arranger Mac Gollehon isn’t resting on his laurels, but pushing forward with a cutting-edge hybrid sound that combines EDM with traditional salsa sounds. Gollehon was nicknamed “Chops” by legend Miles Davis and has played or arranged trumpet compositions on over 500 gold or platinum albums over the years. He’s worked with the best of the best, from David Bowie (on “Let’s Dance”) to Nile Rodgers, Grace Jones, Laurie Anderson, Duran Duran, and more.
His collaborative self-titled album was released this past May on True Groove Records. Lead single and album-opener “No More Drama” is a heady stylistic blend of funk, tribal, and EDM, loping along with a rapid hand drums, bustling shaken percussion, and quick clips of the spoken phrase “no more drama”. Gollehon comes in with soulful exclamatory blasts of horns, adding a bright, sharp, calling “voice” to the music. This track is one to groove to on the dancefloor all night long.
The Departure – “For The Best”
Salt Lake City, Utah’s The Departure released a debut EP, Gateways, this past winter. The 7-song EP mixes metal and punk elements into the band’s alt-rock sound and is the perfect formula for Warped Tour and ‘90s to modern rock-lovin’ audioheads. Ryan DeBlanc (vocals, guitar), Aidan McDonald (guitar), Max Hedding (bass), Dylan Proesch (keyboards, vocals), and Gavin Allein (drums) are all in the their late-teens and early-twenties, but they pull off an accomplished and polished job on the Gateways EP, recalling established bands like Silverstein and a more heartfelt Sum 41.
Whirling pop-punk EP opener “For The Best” is full of thickly-textured guitar conflagration and churning cymbals, all pushed along by an insistently battering drum beat. The turmoil thins out a bit on the verses and chorus sections to allow for DeBlanc’s clear, sincere vocals. He intones plaintively amid the burning guitar scramble, bass line undertow, burbling keyboards, and kinetic drum-work, making the stark admission that, “No one knows me / Because I don’t let them / And I don’t know how.”
Ajay Mathur – “Nothing Really Matters”
The India-born and Switzerland-based Ajay Mathur released his latest album, 9 to 3, last year, but a new video has been unveiled for the potent number “Nothing Really Matters”. The song has been nominated for a Grammy Award and its subject matter explores the need to change or get away from a bad situation in order to make things better. Mathur has made his mark on the music world since the 1970s, starting out by performing in clubs, jamming onstage with legends like Jimmy Page and Don Cherry, and playing with his rock band Mainstreet in the ‘80s and ‘90s. Mathur has since gone (collaboratively) solo, with three acclaimed full-lengths to his name.
An aura of menace hangs over the alt-rocking “Nothing Really Matters” as Mathur takes charge vocally from the start. Wavering guitar notes, restless hand drums, slow shimmering cymbals, and a steady drum beat accompany his urgent, stalking vocals as he exclaims, “So long my love / You had to leave / The end of all our make believe.” By the end of the song, soaring guitar lines fly along with Mathur’s viscerally expressed vocals, before taking off even further. The heavily foreboding vibe continues is given visual representation on the video for “Nothing Really Matters” which was composed by Raffaella Bachmann.