Soft

Fresh Buzz: Alto Palo's is the music of the present

There is a lot of excitement among musicians about the new musical technology brought by a new, powerful generation of synthesizers, audio plugins and guitar effect pedals - we know something about it because this blog is supported by the various music gear expo we organize. And yet, 90% or more of the new music we cover doesn't exploit this new technology to its full potential. If it's true that great songs don't need special effects, it can't be denied that the sound of indie has mostly turned stale, and that the genre is in desperate need of a sonic lift. Rock'n'roll has always been propelled by new technology: the electric guitar's role in the early days, the Beatles's experimental pop, Jimi Hendrix's creative use of feedback, Robert Fripp's tape-based music and Radiohead's sample mangling - just to mention a few - are all proofs that new technologyand experimentation are central to the genre's health.  
NYC's Altopalo is one of the few local artists we've heard this year that's accepting the challenge posed by this new technology. Their latest full length frozenthere is a collection of ambient-soul, experimental tracks seemingly played by an abstract orchestra of camouflaged instruments. The soulful vocals of Rahm Silverglade tie together a record whose BPM is slowed down to downtempo territory to allow and highlight the band's sonic exploration, and that carries on the conversation Tom Yorke and company started in 2000 with Kid A.  

   

Pearla seeks absolution on "Forgive Yourself," plays Zone One 11.28

“Can you forgive yourself for turning your back in fear? Do you understand your friends when they decide to stay at home?”

These are some of the questions Brooklyn singer-songwriter Pearla asks on her recent single, “Forgive Yourself,” a track filled with inquiries that are so disconcerting and difficult to answer that it’s hard to tell if they are experiments in self-examination or merely rhetorical. Regardless, there’s a remarkable amount of introspection evoked over the course of “Forgive Yourself’s” three sparse minutes, all building to an explosive end of featherweight vocal harmonies and thunderous electronic noise. Pearla’s sound is mellifluous and engrossing, but her music resonates so strongly from the sense of unease in what she asks of us as listeners - to take a good hard look at our lives, and ask for forgiveness. It’s a task easier sung than done.

Pearla will play Zone One at Elsewhere on November 28th, supporting Ritual Talk and Stello. Ahead of the show, stream her newest release Forgive Yourself, Pumpkin below. -Connor Beckett McInerney (@b_ck_tt) Photo by Josh Katz

   

Iranian-American songwriter Sam Hale releases LP "Somewhere Between Love & War"

Sam Hale came to Nashville from Los Angeles in order to record and release his third album, titled Somewhere Between Love & War. This collection of songs written and performed by Hale came to life with the production expertise of Sam Kassirer, known for recording with Josh Ritter. The new album showcases Hale's blend of sounds, taking inspiration from standard fare indie rock and mixing in shades of EDM, classical, baroque pop, and emo. The title of the album sounds not just like an observation about the times we live in, but about Hale's own inner turmoil about uprooting his life to chase music in Nashville. But having listened to Somewhere Between Love & War, the end result sounds like it was worth it. Listen to the album below. - Will Sisskind

   

Lebarons - Folk-Rock Release Party 11.10 at Dakota

6 piece band from Toronto named after a legendary vehicle (perhaps once owned by Jon Voight). Lebarons blend together all different kinds of folk, alt-country and Americana into a very pleasant sound. They just released a brand new record “Summer of Death” which they describe as “the sound of highways in the night, and passing cars in the rain; these are the sounds the restless hears when everything else grows quiet.” That description perfectly fits the opening track “Long Highway”. Lebarons host their record release party on Saturday November 10th at the Dakota Tavern alongside The Old Salts and United Snakes. – Kris Gies

   

Rodes Rollins plays up her spaghetti western influences on "Mystery Man"

There aren't too many country singers that wax-poetic about the larger than life figures of our world. It seems like the cultural focus of the genre has shifted toward different stories with different motifs. Yet artists like Rodes Rollins are trying to change that with songs like "Mystery Man." Appearing like a country-pop mirage on the horizon, Rollins' vocals are watery and obscure, detailing a man in a "forsaken land" that cannot be shot dead. The track is less about a character's arc and more about this legendary figure's reputation, and it plays out over haunting instrumentals that border on psychedelic with twangy guitars that become surprisingly soothing. With its soft sonic palette, "Mystery Man" could fool listeners into thinking it's a lullaby, but there's a sense of unease and tension in the air, like a standoff between two gunslingers is imminent. - Tucker Pennington