Author Archives: A Servant

[Indie] Me Like Bees – The Ides

Indie rock bands are a dime a dozen now-a-days, and that’s great. The grass roots music reviewer (eh hem, yours truly) is enthusiastic about this as it gives him something to do and also contributes to the diversity of music available for the consumer.

But the wading through new bands can be a tedious task as bands fine tune their sound, experiment, flop, fail, rework and finally succeed. I’m not sure what stage of the game Me Like Bees is in, but their album The Ides is an indie album that stands out. With asymmetrical song structures that can abruptly go from bouncy and light, to slow and heavy and back again, the listener is rewarded with an experience that is anything but dull. The vocals are also notable in their…strangeness? Lead vocalist Luke Sheafer has emotionally loaded and often cryptic lyrics that are sung in a strained fashion, as if the lead singer is about to burst into manic screams at any moment: and in some moments, he does just that! It works extremely well with the sharp changes in virtually all the songs on the album.

The first track, “Brand New Fall,” gives a suitable introduction to the album with a slow and measured opening. Just when the listener is convinced he/she’s in for a lilting lullaby, the drums begin a slow build up to a pop beat that explodes at the end with Sheafers fevered exclamations.

“Naked Trees” starts off with a bouncy baseline and top shelf drumming, accented by charged vocals. The tune hops along (the chorus is something like “Le-lu, le-lu, le-lu-lelu”) and then suddenly bursts into a stomping, crunchy rock song, then with the flip of a switch, goes back into the bouncy chorus.

“Pneumonia” starts slowly with simple strumming and softly sung vocals that pick up to another bouncing indie pop song–then suddenly switches to a slow, throbbing tune–then back to the slow origins of the song.

Me Like Bees isn’t a band for everyone, but it’s a band for me. There’s some solid, thoughtful and creative songwriting going on here that is a great change of pace (no pun intended). Check out their stuff here and enjoy something that will keep you guessing.

’Brand New Fall’
’Naked Trees’
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[Electronica] Talal Qureshi – x1988

I love this gig. I really do. There’s a secret satisfaction in hearing something that you know will catch on way before the masses are aware of it, and x1988 is one of those albums that is bound to hit it big. With an interesting blend of down tempo beats, ambient sound, piano overlays and haunting melodies, Pakistani artist Talal Qureshi creates an album that is moody, atmospheric and sometimes dark, but not without enthusiasm and energy.

The first track “Leave My Hand” opens with broken down piano chords over a simple down tempo beat. When I first listened to this track I was in a desert during a monsoon. The track matched the scenery perfectly–dark desert skies,bleak landscape and torrential rain. “Juicy#2” follows in spirit, staying on the darker side of the spectrum with a simple beat, atmospherics, the signature piano riffs and a sitar sample, which I found fitting.

In contrast to the slower tracks “Blinds and Sheets,” and “Clubbing in Multan” provides the listner with more up tempo, driving electro songs. I’m not much of a dancer, but these songs had me bobbing along as I listened and never passed into the frenzied feel that accompanies some styles of electro.

The album is a good one for download, and with a 5 dollar suggested price tag, it’s definitely worth skipping that Starbucks run and downloading this album instead. The first two tracks are gratis and can be listened to here.

ps. We’ve also included a trapstep release from Quershi available on soundcloud for your consumption!

’Talal Qureshi – x2x2x’
’Talal Qureshi – Embrace’
’Talal Qureshi – Inertia’
’Talal Qureshi – Energy’
’Talal Qureshi – Clubbing in Multan’
’Talal Qureshi
Blinds and Sheets’
’Talal Qureshi x Meesha Shafi – Dhol Bajay Ga (Official Remix)’
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[LP Review] Bob Marley – Legend Remixed

I’ve never polled this, but I bet it would be an interesting one for Gallup: how many people in the world own Bob Marley’s Legend greatest hits album? How many people in the world can sing along to “Stir it Up?” or “Is This Love?”

I bet it would be almost half the world! Seriously!

Bob Marley is an icon. In the annals of music history, Marley shares company with artists like The Beatles and Led Zeppelin. And like any iconic artist, Marley has had a fair share of good intentioned artists make terrible remakes of his songs in a misguided attempt to honor his legacy. Fortunately, Legend Remixed is an album that not only pays homage to the hero, but is absolutely perfect for your summer patio party!

The album kicks off with the James James remix of “Waiting in Vain.” It’s a perfect introduction to the album, as it’s a minimalist remix: just a few synth touches, no major reshuffling of the lyrics or melody–just a simple and loving remix. Thievery Corporation takes on “Get Up, Stand Up” (of course!), and the listener can look forward to the Thievery dub/acid approach–but it remains undeniably a Marley song, and strangers to the genre will immediately identify it as such. Among the many notable tracks on the album is Pretty Lights interpretation of “Exodus.” This song explodes out of the speakers with electro synth over hip hop beats with the usual Pretty Lights flair for sampling.

There’s no misses on this album, and there are plenty of other tracks that I could have easily highlighted. At the end of the day, this is one of the best, most noble tribute albums I’ve come across and a perfect summer release. So stir it up with this one and enjoy the hot months!

’Waiting In Vain (Jim James Remix)’
’Get Up Stand Up (Thievery Corporation Remix)’
’Exodus (Pretty Lights Remix)’
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[Post Metal] Palms – Patagonia

I hope I’m not being dramatic here when I say: I died a little when Isis split up. That being said, I found a great little restorative with this release from Palms, led by music workaholic Chino Moreno and a few members from Isis.

The track here is longer, with a slow build up to the climax. The listener will be reminded of Pelican and like bands, but with Moreno’s dreamy vocals floating out over the top. This is a great track to introduce newbies to the post metal genre, as it’s not as heavy and is definitely more accessible than some post metal tracks out there.

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[Fresh] Benin City – Fires in the Park

Ready for something different? Benin City is plenty different, and in all the best ways. The London based band named after the city in Nigeria has a lot to offer for the listener that may be a little bored with the latest trends. Simple yet eloquent, the band’s debut LP “Fires in the Park” offers some accessible and inspiring electro with a heavy hip hop influence.

“People Will Say,” starts with a head nodding bass line and a pleasant synthesized melody. The lyrics are rapped and remind the listener a little of socially conscious, uplifting messages of hip hop artists like K-OS, but without the heavy metaphysical lifting. “Wha Gwan,” is a track for fans of hip hop that delight in a slightly different cadence then he/she would typically hear in the hip hop world. The electronic instrumentals are clever and unpredictable: juxtaposing fuzzy bass lines and horns in between dreamy synth-laden interludes. “My Love” starts with synth notes serving as percussion, setting the tone for deep and poetic lyrical explosion on love–likening that state of being to an alchemical formula but at the same its deeply personal nature. The song erupts into a melodic triumph that inspires immediate respect and awe.

Typically this reviewer passes on hip hop, but this album is worth a listen even for skeptics of the genre. “Fires in the Park” is an interesting, thoughtful and ultimately worthy purchase. I highly recommend it, but taste it for yourself here.

’Benin City – People Will Say’
’Benin City – Wha Gwan’
’Benin City – My Love’
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2Track/Material of My Own.

Simple but not simplistic. Haunting but not dark. Dreamy but grounded. These phrases came to mind while listening to this single by Zacho Fraser. With … Continue reading »

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[Rock] Phoria – Bloodworks EP


Brighton’s Phoria has a very moody, ethereal and chill EP for us here. The band is setting its sights high, drawing influence from champions like Radiohead and Sigur Ros (I love a band with ambition!). Their sophomore EP “Bloodworks” definitely shows off their work ethic: “Bloodworks” is all at once thoughtful and dramatic, but at the same time accessible and easy to enjoy.  With a downtempo electro-pop feel and haunting vocals, this is a perfect album for a rainy day.

The opening song, “Posture,”begins with a slow, smoky, almost jazzy melody with soft vocals, then bursts into intricate and hauntingly emotional song with electro elements that reminded me a bit of Puscifer. The second song, “Red,” is softer with some subtle piano chords.I love piano addition here! As a guy that still tinkers with the instrument, I was pleased to hear it used effectively as both a percussion and string instrument in “Red.” “Set your Mind on It” is the final track on the EP. It’s slow, like most of the album, with the same dreamy vocals and subtle downtempo beats as the rest of the EP.

We’ll look forward to hearing more from these guys from across the pond. Take a listen at the EP here.

’Once Again’
’Set Your Mind On It’
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