Rare Monk: Sleep/Attack

Lawn mowers are my least favorite sound to wake up to. It’s that reminder before my alarm goes off that it’s another workday, and I should probably get my ass out of bed before I drown in another round of sleep. But then I remember, just before I’m about to fight the snooze button, that I can be productive and still remain in bed for a few minutes longer if I put Rare Monk’s, Sleep/Attack, on rotate.

My room soon echoed the sounds of “Death By Proxy,” a tune that was slightly reminiscent of that California, Mamas and the Papas sound. Needless to say, it was the perfect opener – warm and sunny – just like the Los Angeles sky.  And while I waited for the album to continue to move in a similar direction, the air became a little heavier with “Timebreakers,” where violinist, Isaac Thelin, wails behind lead vocalist Dorian Aites, who is merely “searching for a signal.” Most may be familiar with the string stylings of Yellowcard, Sean Mackin, but you won’t find Ocean Avenue on this record.

With each track, I entered a new realm of musicianship. “Dreadnaught” and “Mama Bear” are completely instrumental tracks, and are entirely different experiences. As a fan of Explosions in the Sky, I was greatly pleased to be lead into a world where I could conjure my own words against passionate instruments. Somewhere in the mix, “Center” and “Underground” blend electronics against melodic violins, reflecting the ambiance of M83. Minimal lyrics harmonize and hush into the speakers, forming a trance between musician and listener.

Rare Monk becomes a band that is hard to categorize. Sleep/Attack is comprised of some of the most influential sounds of alternative and electronic rock, interwoven and made personal – a sound-clash of eloquence. The album is worth listening to a thousand times over because of its complex layers of vocals and instruments.

Sleep/Attack is OUT NOW, and while you’re at it, catch Rare Monk on tour instead of staying in bed and listening to the drone of lawn mowers.

The Venetia Fair: Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain

the-venetia-fair-Sick-disgusting-reviewGood Charlotte was on the cover of the first AP I ever bought from Hot Topic back in the day. Since then I’ve subscribed and have stacks of them that have traveled with me from college to various apartments over the years. While I have friends who have since forgotten those pages can contain the makings of greatness when it comes to music, I have not. Every year the “100 Bands You Need to Know” continues to be my favorite issue and I use it as a guide (I like to see how accurate they are). This year I can say they have at least one right with The Venetia Fair. When I read they sounded like My Chemical Romance and Panic! At The Disco, I made a face and listened to Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain and went, well shit, they do!

It’s not hard to blend MCR and Panic though, both have a theatrical element to their music that comes across strong. Their live shows are testaments to the showmen they are, and it’s clear that The Venetia Fair on that same path. “The Dirt Won’t Keep Your Secrets” is what you loved best about The Black Parade and A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out; over the top drama put to music. “We Used To Worship The Moon” sounds like a manic breakdown, but only the best kind (is that a thing…it is now). If The Pink Spiders were still on the radar, they might have created the most fun song on Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain, “Pride Alone Won’t Put This Fire Out.”

At this point I feel like I’m listing every song because I really did attach myself to this record, but I’ll just say listen to their single “The Day I Set Them Free,” and “Too Late To Dream” and “Only In The Morning” are great for much of the same reasons I’ve already said. I’ll end by saying that “Go On, Paint Me A Picture” is that moment you take with you after the music stops playing. The performance on that track is stellar and I’ll stop gushing now.

Okay, just one more note. AP’s named them one of the bands you need to know, I say The Venetia Fair is a band you will know by the end of 2013. Every Sick, Disgusting Thought We’ve Got In Our Brain is out March 1st, so if you had plans, make sure to add getting this record to them. If you’re a fan of MCR and Panic; you won’t be disappointed.

Lewis Watson: Sad Songs, Beyonce and Observations

lewis-watson-interview-golden-mixtapeLiving in the desert for 18 years of my existence, I’m pretty used to the idea of the wild. Coyotes howling at night and killing off every pet rabbit I ever had, tumbleweeds chasing me from bus stops and climbing mountains in the middle of summer with no water bottles (horrible idea by the way). Okay, none of that happened for 18 years because I only enjoyed the outdoors from about ages 5-10. It was about that time that we got real cable and I turned to music. So now the only wild I’m experiencing these days happens to be from Lewis Watson thanks to his EP that drops in a couple months, The Wild.

Lewis is a singer songwriter that has been able to captivate fans, and build his fanbase steadily over the past couple years. This kid, well young adult, is a force that’s has already given some big names a run for their money on the charts; of course, more on that later. If you haven’t heard of this UK gem, then I have the great pleasure of introducing the two of you. Yes, just you. Don’t you feel special? You should. Read on to learn more about the newest talent to win over your ears and heart; Lewis Watson and find out who he’d spend time in the woods with, his thoughts on Bieber and of course his music.

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