Elements of Music
Manassas • April 18, 2015
I have a tendency to avoid reviewing beatmakers because they have a tendency to put out one track at a time. That’s not the case for Daniel Yerac, the man behind Elements of Music (aka EOM). Yerac orchestrated an entire album’s worth of jazzy boom bap that will remind you of the early 90s. EOM touts the fact that “he makes mad beats” and he certainly knows his way around a sample, but what helps set the sounds of Sunrain apart are the real musicians on keys, horn, guitar, and bass. The strictly instrumental version of the album is a joy all on its own.
Yerac didn’t stop at beats and guest musicians, though. Working with seventeen other MCs and soulful singer Camila Recchio, EOM put out a mixtape so cohesive that you might not be able to guess that they’re from all over the country. EOM drops his own lyrics on “Bump Bump Joint,” a well-rounded résumé for his musical taste. My favorite lyrics belong to ADaD on “I Don’t Know.” Recommended for fans of De La Soul, Digable Planets, and A Tribe Called Quest.
Fredericksburg • July 28, 2015
A six-song EP following on the heels of full-length Saturday 6, Cabin Creek’s Goodbye Home has a more mature sound, focused on longing and loss. The lyrics of the piano-backed “Miss Me” are the most heart-tugging: “I’ve been gettin’ good at leavin’ in the night.” If Bob Dylan had picked up a banjo instead of an electric guitar and Paul Simon teamed up with him instead of Art Garfunkel, you’d be in the same ballpark. There’s no “Just Like A Woman” or “The Sound of Silence” here yet, but there will be if you give these boys some time.
Richmond • July 27, 2015
Collin Thibodeau was probably on the john when it was time to come up a band name and album art, but the music makes up for it. “Cold Turkey” lures you in with a chill vibe yet remains lyrically unsettling like “Monkey Gone to Heaven” by The Pixies. “Nudes” steals some jangle-thunder from Modest Mouse to ruin your day at the beach. The next three songs add falsetto hijinks that evoke The Unicorns at first, but end up more like Beastie Boys when “Get Sum” strips down to skivvies and drums. This is weird slacker surf for go-getters.
The Fireside Season
Norton • January 17, 2015
Norton is a tiny city so far south and west that it might as well be part of Kentucky or Tennessee; Rance Garrison calls it home. The old country and blues influences, like the banjo plucking on “Spies” or the Tom Waits impersonation on “In Heaven,” seem natural enough. Even the religious speech samples creeping on a few tracks weren’t obviously out of place. But when the synths hit (not to mention the auto-tuned vocals on “Die Laughing”), I was floored. The Fireside Season is Virginia’s most secret weapon: a moonshine-swilling, snake-handling, junk-shooting, redemption-seeking opus.
Norfolk • July 30, 2015
Socialize finds the perfect blend of Elliott Smith and Kurt Vile to salve breakup blues. “There’s a box I keep for her,” croons “Corner of My Mind” while “Gouge” asks her, “Would you gouge my eyes out?” and “Paranoid” tells her, “I wanna taste your misery.” I don’t recommend playing Suckoid early in the morning to get your day going (or if you’re suicidal), but used as prescribed, it’s a wheelchair of empathy when you need one most. As “Indian Style” would say: “I don’t wanna be remembered, I just wanna be dismembered.”