Album Roundup

Music by Craig Graziano
Issue 49 • March 2017

Featured in this roundup:
Savage Remains • Brand New Disease
Tra Williams • D.R.E.A.M.S.
Ira and the Perspective Duck • Ira and the Perspective Duck
MattandtheJays • Haiku Project
Dazeases • C R U M B S

Savage Remains
Brand New Disease

Fredericksburg • January 13, 2017

It’s looking pretty grim out there. Bloodsucking vampires and festering zombies are approaching. If you’re Savage Remains, the only reasonable solution is to turn this planet-sized dumpster fire into one big punk rock party. Sophomore album Brand New Disease is ripe with tales of chaos and death, but damn if the band doesn’t revel in the destruction.

Sixteen songs blow by in under half an hour with only one track reaching the three-minute mark, a badge of pride I’m sure. Why waste any time when the world is ending? There’s understandably a strong theme of disaffected male youth, too. Both the Lost Boys of Peter Pan and the Warboys of Mad Max are name checked. The musical influences are clear and distinct. There are Misfits-inspired “whoas,” as well as hints of Henry Rollins’s borderline hilarious vocal anguish, all filtered through the band’s intense yet melodic aesthetic. All parties involved play as tight as possible and singer Matt Alive’s voice is a gravel-packed renegade dump truck bearing down on you. The vocal mix is clearer than on their previous effort, important since live shows inevitably become rollicking singalongs. You better learn your part… before it’s too late. Available on CD with bonus digital download.

Tra Williams
D.R.E.A.M.S.

Woodbridge • January 20, 2017

This Tra Williams mixtape best exhibits his quietly confident delivery. He feels little need to raise his voice over relaxed jazz and soul samples. D.R.E.A.M.S. is also a poignant selfie of an artist as a young man. On skits, he deepens his voice to play a smooth radio DJ, later speeding it up to portray his mom who just wants him to clean. Not yet twenty, Williams exhibits an affinity with groups that first made their mark a decade before he was born, specifically De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest. Williams is just getting started.

Ira and the Perspective Duck
Ira and the Perspective Duck

Roanoke • January 28, 2017

Ukuleles, slide whistles, and kazoos are often stigmatized as harbingers of novelty music, but folk duo Ira and the Perspective Duck use each with elegant aplomb on their self-titled EP. The lo-fi production is charmingly shaggy, allowing these instruments to hold their own with the mellifluous voices of Bettina Sack-Gallup and Lilly Carr. Though mostly short and sweet, the track listing culminates with the longer cautionary tale of “A Song for Jimbo Collins.” Highlighting the act’s ability to shift toward melancholic moods, it pays weighty homage to the Appalachian disaster song and murder ballad tradition of the early twentieth century.

MattandtheJays
Haiku Project

Alexandria • February 13, 2017

MattandtheJays, Matthew Jakielaszek’s prog-pop experiment, deals heavily in Japanese lyrical imagery, particularly scenes regarding nature. The music speaks in equal parts to both Brian Eno’s ambient work as well as mid-to-late Nineties emo. There is a constant presence of high-pitched synthesizers, sometimes droning a single tone, other times maniacally jolting up and down the scale. Haiku Project truly hits its stride a few songs in, beginning with the deceptively simple yet entrancing piano cascade of “Further Down the River.” One track, “Noah’s Lullaby” is a family effort. The soothing acoustic instrumental was co-written by Jakielaszek’s brother and his father.

Dazeases
C R U M B S

Richmond • November 5, 2016

The main event of Dazeases is London Perry’s breathy vocalization, reminiscent of Billie Holiday, but ultimately a whole other creature. “Woke up with a death wish. Woke up with the same old itch,” she belts, backed by pulsing electronic reverberations that occasionally stretch to the point of distortion. The jarring concoction makes for a darkly mesmerizing sonic journey. Lyrics of relationship woes drift towards the occult, the carnal intermingling with mortality and beyond. C R U M B S is a Creative Commons work and may be used in any non-commercial project that includes artist attribution and similar remixing rights.

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