Hot off the presses: new music! Better said, new music that is worth your time.
Old Sea Brigade – Ode to a Friend – 11 songs / 40 minutes
Mellow music that is far, far from boring – this is an artist to watch, and more importantly, a record to hear.
After releasing a veritable shit-ton of EPs and singles over the last three years under the OSB moniker, Ben Cramer has finally put out his first proper studio LP. I had never even heard of this guy, which means I am late to the party, but read a positive review and was frankly desperate for any new music to listen to after a few weeks of diddly-squat being released. I find myself more than pleased that I gave this a shot, as it is well-written and thoughtful, but also has that “comforting and familiar at first listen” quality and has only grown on me with repeated experiences.
Much of the album is slow in tempo and quiet in instrumentation, focusing on acoustic guitars, piano, and subtle basslines, but there are exceptions. While not a favorite of mine, “Resistance” has a seriously 80s pop vibe, and the bass on the terrific opener “Sinkhole” makes the woofers in my truck rock the block. The latter track seems to lament a flawed relationship and finds Ben singing “I’ve been drowning, you’ve been laughin’… I, I was wrong about you, was wrong about you”.
The prettiest song here is the lush and engulfing “Seen a Ghost”, which is the loveliest thing I have heard in 2019 (yes, I am aware that it’s only January). “Stay Up” has a far from organic sound but is electro-pop at its quietest, and works really well. Ben’s voice is easy listening but has just a faint hint of rasp that gives the lyrics a little extra heft, and that is most evident here.
This is a worthy debut and leads me to believe there is more goodness coming from this guy – and finds me eager to check out the handful of smaller releases that I missed out on the first time.
Key Tracks: “Seen a Ghost”, “Sinkhole”, “Stay Up”
Spotify album link:
Marshall Poole – Pasadena
Local psych-rockers bring some funk, and some fun – but not enough songs that had the ability to hook me or interest me enough for repeated listens. Having said that, I wouldn’t be surprised if this was a fun live show.
Neyla Pekarek – Rattlesnake
The one-time Lumineer debuts her solo career with an ode to a historical snake killer with mixed results. This is certainly not bad, but it is also definitely not for me.
Band of Osiris – The Simulation