Here’s the first blog entry (and newsletter!) featuring Other People’s Music! I hope you enjoy, and if you have suggestions of how I might improve it, please let me know.

Vampire Tree – Self-titled

Oh my goth, this pushes some pleasant buttons. Just like his primary project Limnetic Villains, Vampire Tree draws on the legacy of some of the best bands to blend rock guitars with esoteric electronics. Radiohead, TV on the Radio, Liars, maybe a bit of Yeasayer – elements of all of that can be heard within, with an added dash of shoegaze and goth spicing things up in Vampire Tree land. Understated vocals deliver some clever and biting lyrics in the best post-punk tradition. All of this put together with incredible bombast and a dismissive sneer, just like the finest bands of yore. 

Standouts include “Run Away” which sounds like Liars covering a lost Jesus and Mary Chain track that riffs on the Cure; the not-so-subtle message of “Tell You,” which injects a tiny bit of jangle into those brooding guitar tones and hammers away at a chorus imploring someone to “fuck off.” Meanwhile “Devil” is a creepy post punk gem with cavernous, echoing guitar lines crashing around everywhere, and if “Indie Ticket Inspector” isn’t channeling the Fall, I’ll wear my pants backward for a week.


Jonny Fallout – Concentric Circles

Most of the new Jonny Fallout album Concentric Circles seems aimed straight at the dance floor, but that doesn’t mean he’s ignoring the after party. Tracks like “Ice Cream Sandwich,” a tech house banger with an intriguing vocal sample and real peak time energy, or “Nothing Short of a Miracle” a darker, dubbier, just slightly slower track that dips into deep house territory, yearn to be unleashed by a DJ. 

Once you’re ready to take the dancing shoes off and unwind, tracks like “Point Of Origin,” shift things into downtempo breaks territory, anchoring the synth washes with another nice vocal sample. The album closer “Fade from View” closes things out with more atmosphere-soaked downtempo breaks hung with pretty synth pads and shot thru with mellow wubs and bright, arpeggiated synth lines.


Midnight Reveries – “Clairvoyant” 

Clocking in at just over four minutes, “Clairvoyant” is a tight little slice of metal-leaning progressive rock. A powerful, rolling bassline, some solid drumming and just a touch of swirling atmospherics anchor the track, but it’s the guitar work that really shines here. The first half of the track actually has a moody, almost gothic post-punk vibe until the incendiary guitar solo blows the sky open, revealing it as full on prog metal. Honestly, this could have worked at twice as long, so let’s hope there’s more coming soon.

(No embed available for this one; click the title link, which will take you to the page to hear it.)


Alien Anomaly – “Postcards from Waco (Witness)”

It’s not every day you’re going to find a classic heavy rock protest/story song about a lynching in Waco, Texas from a band in Singapore, is it? That’s what we get in “Postcard from Waco (Witness)” and that’s an accurate title in every respect. The highlight here is the powerful vocal and the heavy message, but the traditional guitars, bass, and drums arrangement does its part to bring it all home.

Speaking of postcards, this really sounds a lot like a postcard from somewhere in the temporal region of 1989 to 1993, when grunge was starting to stir but power ballads and stomping rockers still ruled the airwaves and MTV. Rare birds all around, at least in this era, so if this is your bag, grab it and hold on tight.  


Nixienoise – Telemetry

Moody instrumental electronica steeped in interesting timbres is the order of the day on Telemetry. Tracks such as “Monument” open on a buzzy drone, like bees and guitar had a baby, before blooming into a pleasant mix of slow, muted breaks; moody synths; and understated melody. “Differential” layers a four on the floor kick pattern under its breakbeats and turns up the tempo just a touch, while an infectious and sinuous synth melody slides thru the track.

“Around the Next” slips into synthwave territory, sounding for all the world like a lost John Carpenter soundtrack tuned to modern sensibilities; eerie arpeggios cutting thru layers of warm but mysterious synth pads, driven by a steady, metronomic beat. If those tickle your fancy, good news – there are eight more in a similar vein to feed your earholes. 


Bay Mud – Mental Clutter

An intriguing idea – using old, discarded recordings and a single instrument, the Novation Circuit, to create an EP – fuels the latest Bay Mud release, Mental Clutter. The two tracks available thus far, “Wake Up Pollinators” and “A Simple Celebration” show that the idea might be limited but the possibilities sure aren’t. “Wake Up” chops up an old guitar recording into a loopy, delirious lofi workout, while “Celebration” works gods know what kind of original sample into a bright, chipper synth track that manages to channel the infamous intro to “Baba O’Riley” into a pretty damn good take on the title. Promising stuff already, with three more tracks coming May 5.  (And it includes the original samples, in case you’re curious or want to tackle your own remix!)

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