Over a week without internet service really does hamper your home and work life. I wasn’t even sure if I would be able to get anything done because the worry has me stressing when in reality, it’s not that serious. It’s actually the reverse: less stress, less work to do. So I stopped sweating it because things eventually get done and everything works out in the long run. All I’m missing out on is my friends sending me clever memes. And those constant emails about new music. So I slowly grab a handle of everything I’ve missed. Today a number of new recordings hit the streets so it’s back to basics.
And back to basics is what Club Night seems to do here with the new E.P. the band has released simply entitled Hell Yeah (Tiny Engines.) While only at merely five tracks here, the band is willing to try to make a statement with its debut release. From the get go the band’s rhythms are completely infectious even though singer Bertram’s voice is set to the backdrop. While you can hear her singing, her words are drowned out by the rest of the band as they pummel through loads of melodies. It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have her vocals mixed this way on the opening “Shear” or any other song. It simply adds more depth and melody to track even if the mix makes it inaudible enough not to be able to decipher the words. I’m sure my words here might make you hesitant to listen but the track itself? It smacks you in the face and makes you dance! Well, not you but me. Get it now? Again, on “Rally” you get more of the same but you can just imagine the group literally rallying patrons live to dance on this anthemic little track here. “Well” changes things up though opting to take a more direct approach in songwriting. The difference is the band slows things up enough to showcase what they’re able to do, creating a structure that fits the band’s aesthetic. They’re not playing at monotony, but they’d rather challenge themselves. Yeah, Club Night fits the right amount of energy, dissonance, and melody into their songs. Much respect for Hell Yeah and I can only imagine what they plan on releasing next.
Now Grieves, known to his family and friends as Benjamin Laub, he’s what I like to think is a Hip-Hop anomaly. He hit the national scene with his second long-player 88 Keys & Counting back in 2010 and people started to take notice of this Northwestern rapper signed to a Midwestern label. He didn’t look what you would think a rapper should appear to look like either, or even appropriate a style that isn’t his own. Aesthetically he’s more skater-punk than anything else. And his voice, it seems to far surpass his years. But all this has been to his benefit though, setting him apart from the rest of the pack. He just dropped his new full-length Running Wild (Rhymesayers) and this time he’s taken a different approach, opting to work with Swedish producer Chords (Jens Eric Resch Thomason) for this 15-track album. It was recorded as Grieves bounced between Seattle and Stockholm and the finished result is probably one of the most soulful efforts since the Little Brother’s mixtape The Chittlin’ Circuit. This isn’t a direct comparison because obviously NOTHING each act has even strikingly resembled one another, but the direct soulfulness is the underlying current there. On the opening “Postcards” Grieves bounces right along with the beat Chords concocted. It’s a sexy groove with lots of sugary sweetness littered throughout which makes it quite captivating. Open the album with this track I’m sure wasn’t a mistake because it just reels you right in. The heavy hitting tracks continue right through from one right to the next. “Faded” directly follows and it’s more upbeat and it isn’t difficult to think of Grieves as the next big R&B styled hitmaker. The melody here hits perfectly when Grieves hits that hook out of nowhere. It’s easy to get lost in the majesty of the tracks here because the majority of them never let loose of your senses. “Boop Bop Da Willy Willy feat. Paris Alexa” is my new favorite jam. Alexa’s sugary vocals will have you forgetting this is a Hip-Hop album as you fall under those hypnotic keyboards and groove. “What It Dew” changes the mood up a bit as Grieves showcases his vocal dexterity. His delivery usually ranges at a slower tempo but here he’s putting everyone on notice; he’s not a one-trick pony. One-third of the way through this album and you’re hit with a variety of emotions, and Grieves isn’t afraid to get sexy himself. On “Gutz” he filters it with his words and you get imagery of a love/lust story. Musically, Chords changes the dynamics but it’s subtle, like you’re asleep but waking up in a haze. Perfectly done. This is the point I find myself getting lost in Running Wild. The album is an addictive collection of songs. “Roses feat. Fearce Vill and Davey Jones” has a harder edge which you’ll find yourself nodding your head to while “No Sleep feat. Paris Alexa” is a hard pill to swallow for Grieves as it gives self-reflective insight. “RX” isn’t much different but here pharmaceuticals is more prevalent. BUT! Then there’s “Bonnie And Clyde” which again, makes me think super stardom is closely in sight for this kid from the Evergreen State. The beat is so infectious and his vocal delivery is straight on point on this jam. There’s still more Grieves offers up with the closing “5000 Miles,” which we find him singing over a full band of subtle guitar, keyboards, bass and guitar. When he sings, “I love you/I love you just to death,” you truly believe it. We should all be thankful Grieves has offered up Running Wild because this right here, it’s the culmination of what everyone believed he was capable of. And that’s greatness.
Also released today is Arizona’s own decker. with his latest release Into The Red (Royal Potato Family.) Now this album, while it contains some new songs, there are a few tracks that were culled from previous releases. But regardless, the sound decker. pulls from the depths of his soul and guitar is blues-based in origin but there a lot of good juju filtering out the bad. The opening “Matchstick Man” is a dusty rendering of rock and blues where decker. floats around in psychedelia. It’s heavy and light both at the same time. “The Holy Ghost” originally appeared on Snake River Blues which finds decker. swimming in murky swamps, this time pulling that desert psych into a different direction. You’re surrounded by wailing spirits churned out by the strings of his guitar as each twanging chord battles in light and darkness and he completely revels in its glory. Things get even more bizarre with “I Wanna Be Your Dog” as the repetitive notes that open it crescendo into a mystical beast as decker. completely gives of himself. Creepy beyond words but totally inviting. But it’s on “The Patsy” where you get the feeling that decker. is of a different time and era where you find this much more musically inviting as decker. sings of death. I’m all in. There seems to be more than one side to decker., just listen to “The Phantom” and you’ll get an idea of what I mean. There’s no meandering, just direct and to the point. Whether it’s old or new material, it doesn’t matter. Into The Red is worth it.