by Elijah Jarocki
This week, I have two records which are very similar and one record which is completely different from the other two. Check out all three playing on Radio 1190.
Easy-goin’ and stretched out, “Down in Heaven” from Chicago rockers Twin Peaks is a rad new record that sways like a perfect summer afternoon. The album starts out with the country-leaning “Walk to the One You Love”, a track that asks the age-old, honest question “but who is the one you love?” “Down in Heaven” never surprises the listener; expect cutesy guitar lines, plain drum fills, and honest lyrics through its 42 minutes. However, what it lacks in originality it makes up in comfortability. Singer Cadien James carries a simple resolve in his delivery and the songs feel more like little speeches than intellectual poems. The addition of gang vocals helps “Down in Heaven” feel like a drunken good time with your best friends. Track 4 “Butterfly” swings with a heavy blues rhythm and pushes forward with big choruses and hefty guitar solos. Twin Peaks are best when they’re not trying too hard, their grace is in their simplicity. “Keep It Together” maintains the album’s country-tinge while sprinkling in some tasteful rockabilly piano. “Down in Heaven” by Twin Peaks is a definite summer hit for us at Radio 1190.
From Castle Face records comes a surprising debut from Mountains & Rainbows, “Particles”. If you’re searching for a little midwestern weirdness, “Particles” will do you right. Singer Matt Ziolkowski plays guitar and spits out crazed lyrics with a voice that's reminiscent of Jello Biafra. “Particles” plays well with “Down in Heaven”, both have similar tones and instrumentations. However, while “Down in Heaven” is comfortable and predictable, “Particles” has a weirdo edge that kicks in when you least expect it. The guitars are a little out of tune, the vocals are shaky, and some songs (“Treat Your Mind”) just shake apart into noise at the end. “Particles” doesn’t take itself too seriously, “Dying To Meet You” has an extended guitar breakdown in the middle of the track before jumping back into the indie rock groove. The Modern Lovers have a pretty clear influence on the record, although Ziolkowski is definitely more excited than Richman ever lets on. As the second half of the record kicks in, tracks 8 and 9 both last over 7 minutes and take their time to reach their point. “Particles” by Mountains & Rainbows fits right into any outside-rocker’s collection and is a cool record that keeps the listener on their toes.
James Blake’s record “The Colour In Anything” is a far cry from the other two releases this week. This album had been expected for ages but dropped unceremoniously on May 5th. Though Mountains & Rainbows and Twin Peaks are firmly rooted in the summer, “The Colour in Anything” seems more comfortable in Winter than any other season. By now, James Blake’s style is well-established: ethereal electronic beats, jazzy chords, floating R&B vocals, and interesting production techniques. This album fits well with 2013’s smash record “Overgrown” and feels like a continuation of its mood. The album art features Blake standing in a similar manner as the cover of “Overgrown” but is painted in watercolor and the figure stands off-center. “The Colour In Anything” is a bit less accessible than “Overgrown”, Blake dismisses his beloved pop hooks for moody ruminations. Tracks “My Willing Heart”, “Timeless” and “Points” stand as entrance points to “The Colour In Anything”’s dense forest. If you love The Acid, Alt-J,orFKA Twigs, check out James Blake’s “The Colour In Anything” on Radio 1190 this week.