Watching Evolution recently, and it’s possibly one of David Duchovny’s funnier moments on screen. I haven’t followed his career, although I was once fanatical with the X-Files series. His last appearance in the 2020 reboot, The Craft: Legacy, wasn’t appealing so it was avoided. But that was his first screen presence in three years as he’s focused much of his time to his music, which again, I avoided as well, not because I didn’t believe in Duchovny but just to avoid disappointment. Maybe I was too hasty in my approach because his new album, GESTURELAND (Westbound Kyd) literally rocks. His approach is direct; from the opener “Nights Are Harder These Days,” he moves with a musical language we’ve all become familiar with but it’s not without its merits. Filled with heavy-handed distorted guitars, shimmering melodies, and harmonies bouncing back and forth. It’s extremely well-crafted showing Duchovny’s prowess as a musician. He’s not the greatest vocalist but he surely utilizes it well within the context of the music. The slower “Stay Until” is a great example as he hits the melodies as instruments swirl around him. Yes, Duchovny is an extremely gifted musician.
I mean really though, can you ever go wrong with Coltrane? But before he was John Coltrane, he was also John Coltrane, the sideman. It’s hard to imagine but considering he’s performed with jazz greats like Art Taylor, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and Miles Davis, well, we could all swing with that. Collaborations with the artists I’ve just mentioned are hare on Another Side Of John Coltrane (Craft Recordings). There’s no disputing his greatness, and the fact that many music enthusiasts have at least one Coltrane recording, speaks volumes, just the way his sax would. Here we can find the 12-minute plus of “Tenor Madness” with the Sonny Rollins Quartet which just breezes on by. You forget the length of the track and just ride its current. The immediacy of the dark noir of “‘Round Midnight” lets you know here, he’s working with Miles Davis and the Modern Jazz Giants, that is if Davis’ horn didn’t give it away. But it’s the three tracks here with Thelonious Monk that will probably have enthusiasts tripping over themselves. The duet on “Monk’s Mood” is astonishing, while the grandiose “Epistrophy” evokes the era it was recorded in, which is long gone and missed. Now that’s not to say that any of the other collaborations should be looked over, nope. They all offer something spectacular.
Hip-Hop runs the gamut with such diversity across the board, occasionally the music is so different you’d think it was a different genre altogether. The fact of the matter is, Hip-Hop itself is filled with so many subgenres I’ve lost track of them all. Then of course, there’s the variety of indie and major labels, something that’s become blurred throughout the years as artists have figured out there’s more bang for your buck with independence. But I digress.
eyenine is that emcee out of Dover, New Hampshire, and while he began writing and delving into music when he was 16, he released his first full-length, dropping it back in 2009, the insomnia sessions. That album was followed by afraid to dream, and later Dissembler in 2013. After a 6 years hiatus, eyenine jumped back into it with A Reason For Departure. Now that we’re all caught up, he’s returned with the new A Little Above Low Key (Real Hood Music) produced by El Shupacabra, which was held back by delays the past year. The album zig-zags quickly from track to track, all the while keeping your attention, and its grip is tight.
The album opens with the brief “ALALK,” an obvious acronym for the album’s title. The track’s infectious melody is only enhanced by eyenine’s quick-tongued lyricism. With a catchy rhythm, a cheery disposition, the song gets its point across quickly, and it’s out! To be quite frank, the songs throughout punch with a fervor encased in clear-cut melodies and bouncy beats. You won’t find anything you can’t bounce your head to. One track in particular, “Kentucky Derby (feat. Christopher Beggars),” strikes oddly. The juxtaposition of eyenine’s fast-paced vocal delivery and the slower musical dirge shouldn’t work, but the song is fitted with a thick drum beat that makes it seamless. It’s fascinating how the song is wrapped like a Twizzler and just is. But it’s the 90s feel of “Treasure Chest Pains (feat. Witness)” that urges back to west coast vibes with an east coast feel. Keys sway left, right, up, down, and always end up at the same meeting point. Beastie samples are fitted within as both Witness & eyenine trade verses.
Shifting rhythms and design is “Shine,” with its upbeat, happy-go-lucky feel, bouncing like a sitcom theme and catchy AF. This is the cleverness of the album, as eyenine moves from track to track without missing a beat, as he then moves to the jazzy & soulful experience of “Patience.” Here is where eyenine could chill & relax which he seems to do but never slowing down his words, with full expressions, searching for a way to accomplish everything he does while avoiding potholes. And when you think it couldn’t go any quicker, we’re directed to “Old Bitter (feat. Ceschi, Seth On Gray, and Adeem).” The slinking bassline is fitting, as is the humming keyboard as the wordy lyricists volley those vocal tracks to one another.
The collection of tracks on A Little Above Low Key is here to attack your senses with unforgettable melodies that are snappy at every turn. That’s the point in the case of eyenine. We’re always going to remember those hooks, verses, and choruses. eyenine fills his songs with an abundance of goodness from start to finish.
Why bother referring to the history of a group when we’re all so accustomed to receiving all of our information, social statuses, and such, right now? We’ve become so eager to get daily doses of uninformative subjects that aren’t so important. We need an immediate fix. Many are always scrolling through the miniature computers of handheld devices, whether it’s a phone or tablet because again, it’s what we’ve all become accustomed to.
I’ll allow this though: LUNG the band – and I capitalize every letter because it should be a requirement – has been fascinating listeners since the release of 2017’s Bottom Of The Barrel. Why is this important? Because it’s gotten us to this point, releasing its third full-length album (or fourth, if you count the SKRT split release), Come Clean Right Now (Sofaburn Records). But what is it about LUNG that’s of any importance? That my friends is the right question. The two-member band is comprised of classically trained opera singer and cellist Kate Wakefield, along with drummer Daisy Caplan (ex-Foxy Shazam, Babe Rage, Ayin). Daisy provides the heavy bottom, with his technical prowess surrounding every part of his drum kit. As he controls his instrument, it allows Kate the fluidity to contort hers. She runs her cello through a number of effects, giving it the semblance of multiple stringed instruments played at once. You may hear guitars filtering in but Bushwick Bill isn’t here, and your mind’s playing tricks on you (but I still had to double-check as if Willie D is hiding in my backseat). I’m getting ahead of myself here and for that, I apologize.
The band confronts listeners first and foremost with its ravaging title track that’s all-encompassing, running rampant even over the empty spaces of the composition with Kate’s haunting voice. At almost 2 and a half minutes, you’ll want the track to go on forever but it does come to an eventual close, leading directly into “Sorry” as Kate’s lyrics lament… to no one. At first, it almost seems an extension of the title track before realizing it’s a separate entity altogether. LUNG plays with dynamics and Kate doubles up on her vocals, with fitting harmonies and melodies that are insane. You may have to suspend your disbelief that LUNG is only a two-piece but yes, it is. Every song on this album hits with a ferocity unheard since, well, we’ll get to that. “I’m Nervous” will leave you wondering if it is in fact my, I mean, ‘your,’ favorite track with its soaring harmonies, reconfigured instrumentation, Daisy’s pummeling rhythms and Kate’s witty lyricism.
“Sugar Pill” is reminiscent of something I can’t put my finger on, which is fine. It evokes nostalgia while remaining contemporary. The rhythm is frantic, and the band truly stands on its own merit, filling the space between rock, punk & classical, or whatever genre you throw at them. LUNG takes such a different approach to music that allows them to blend in anywhere they go. “Tick Tock” is heavy. That’s it, heavy in its approach, heavy with the sludgy sounds it emits but we always know it’s LUNG through and through. Listening to “Sun God” and it seems to have so many layers running through it. Daisy hits that beat, keeps it steady, allowing Kate to meld in vocals & cello, both seemingly hitting the same notes at one point. And “Green”? I’m hard-pressed to make sense of this song as it opens with harmonies and a choral backing(?) before it explodes into a beast of a track. The band’s point is to floor listeners as they hover above them all with the magnificence of its music. The group closes with “Arrow,” which focuses much of the song on unblemished cello work, adapting distortion effects and loud drums for dynamic changes. Again, we have Kate’s vocals, which are nothing short of stunning.
There isn’t anything really left to say about Come Clean Right Now because LUNG will leave you speechless. The songs are like nothing we’ve ever come across before; the songwriting between Daisy & Kate is impeccable, daring, and challenging. If you take a listen and disagree, well, then you’re the problem with an assortment of flaws. This is flawless.