Outstanding soul release from Alecia Renece

Alecia Renece's Matter EP is simply superb. Renece has a tremendous voice, commitment to poetic lyricism, songwriting versatility, a sweet, sweet penchant for harmonizing with herself, and, to top it all off, professional quality mixing and mastering on her tracks.

The voice is probably what makes this release so satisfying. The voice is good. Like, really good. Renece moves seamlessly through notes, mostly hitting them spot on, giving them love and attention. And really, the voice says it all about what's going with the release in general; it's saying, very simply, Alecia Renece's “The Artist” LLC is not the real estate equivalent of some dirty groundfloor unit with paper thin walls in a building built before they discovered lead was bad; rather it's a woven vinyl floored penthouse with marble countertops right next to that Italian place I went to on Valentine's day at Waterfront.

And let's talk about the poetry here, can we talk about the poetry? There are some great lines, like, “Premium cut, you're favorite slice, I break myself to pieces baby baby so that you can have whatever you like.” And the diversity of songwriting styles, Renece brings the energy up on the eminently pleasing track, “You're Welcome,” and brings it back down to feature those sweet vocal harmonies on “Longest End”. That's all to say nothing of the opening track itself. Seriously folks, clench your bowels before listening, it's that good.

This reviewer wasn't hot on every track, but overall a great release, plain and simple.

Notable tracks: "Why you gotta go", "You're Welcome", "Longest End".  

-Mike Dranove


Beers in your face on Cal Rifkin's "Sleeper Hold"

The Replacements, $3 malt liquor, summer vacation, Cal Rifkin's music conjurs sounds and memories, a commendable accomplishment. All the ingredients for success are there and are intuitively executed. The driving, lo-fi rock sound, the sentimental lyrics, the secretly sick guitar solo, oh the fond memories that I'm sure it would evoke in me if I had any fond memories of high school and college parties. Rifkin has the basics down, and the result is music made with passion; music that can satisfy the short-attention spans of the inebriated; music that can engage you while also secretly helping you to achieve catharsis. To this I say well done sir!

-Mike Dranove


No Beyond by Bound is legit post-rock

I didn't know it was possible to make good music with even more reverb than Mogwai, but Bound does it, quite well I might add. Nuthin like a good ol fashioned post-rock buildup into climax to make an impact on your overloaded senses.  As Ronald Reagan once said, “One thing 'bout music when it hits you feel no pain.” And you gotta appreciate the thought and effort they are putting into the tracks; this is some primo sound design, expense not spared here. Seriously, I listened with headphones and I was basking in the tone quality. Even if you don't love post-rock, check this out.

Stand out tracks: Current, Hold

-Mike Dranove



Gina Biver's “Mirror” is 2spooky

The Fuse Ensemble achieves full spookiness on “Mirror” from The Music of Gina Biver. The track features a discordant string/piano thing with Gina Biver intoning, “something looks back each time I move, oh demon mask, sad, turned down mouth” from American poet Colette Inez's poem “Empress in the Mirror.” In all, the creative mixing and pleasantly random improvisation is able to get the spooky sound, or as the liner notes put it, “awakening new shapes and realities while the repetitive nature of the Biver’s electric guitar maintains an underlying continuing, eternal presence.”

I could see some cool audio/visual collab on this one.

-Mike Dranove


Moon by Moon's self-titled: “I want to lay and die on the floor”

Sorry, but I had to put that in the title. Singer Gabby Franks sings it on “Baltimore” from Moon by Moon's self-titled and I thought it was really charming and funny.  The track has another hilarious moment when in the middle of it after Franks has been complaining about life in Baltimore for a solid two minutes she all of sudden says, “and i've only really been here for like 3 weeks.”  In all, this isn't the most technically impressive release I've ever listened to, but it has moments like those that make it appealing.

Anyway, looks like the group is gigging around pretty regularly, you can check out their Facebook to learn more.

-Mike Dranove