OH MINNOWS: For Shadows: CD

Oh Minnows is a person by the name of Chris Steele-Nicholson formerly of the group Semifinalists, and For Shadows represents his debut solo album. Chris began working as Oh Minnows in 2009, following the break-up of Semifinalists.

Album opener and lead single “Another Volunteer” has fast stuttering guitar work, and then chills a little bit and becomes one of the album’s most melodic and catchy songs. “At The Rehearsal” gets things moving a bit more with echoed, distorted vocals and then going into a euphoric chorus. “A Performance” has the tempo going in and out of slower and faster parts before the soaring harmonic vocals kick in. “Trade” has a sharp electronic pulse that works well in with the laid back vocals. “Some Reasons Why” is a shorter more minimal track that has a great sound. “Everyday” has a gorgeously languid guitar and infectious, shuffling rhythm and is a very romantic and confessional song. Final song “By The Sea” is a blissful and thrilling end to the album.

There’s not really a weak track on For Shadows, it gives the listener a trip that takes you outside of the doldrums and brings you to a calmer, more fun place. The album is definitely recommended and while be something that you will come back to time and time again.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Oh-Minnows/240980610045

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Young-and-Lost-Club/30450048616

http://www.youngandlostclub.com/

ELEPHANT: Sky Swimming: CD

This London, England duo have been together for three years after the two met at a house party in 2010. They released their first single “Shapeshifter,” in 2013, and now they’ve put out their full-length album.

“Assembly” starts the album with its upbeat percussion and Rivas’ keyboard and sweet vocals. “Skyscraper” follows and the fantastic drumming and bass line makes this a definite highlight. “Allured” has Rivas’ singing over solo piano before the percussion.starts. “Elusive Youth” has great keyboard playing and as with the rest of the songs on here, has a great ’80s vibe that just grabs me and takes me away. “Shipwrecked” is a beautiful ballad with a soulful vocal and slow beat. “Sky Swimming” is a stunning song with the mellow feel and Rivas’ melodic vocals. “Shapeshifter” is a great song to finish the album with Rivas showcasing her vocal range.

Elephant has released a debut album that will send shivers up the back of your neck and give you goose bumps with its beauty. It’s rare that an album hits me this hard and I simply love it.

https://www.facebook.com/elephanttheband

http://www.thisiselephant.com/

https://www.facebook.com/memphisindustries

http://www.memphis-industries.com/

pacificUV: After The Dream You Are Awake: CD

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pacificUV is an indie-rock band from Athens, Georgia and were originally formed in 1998 by Clay Jordan. Across four albums, they’ve mapped out an expansive sonic terrain that includes dream-pop, space-rock, shoegaze and post-rock elements. The band also includes multi-talented musician and producer Suny Lyons (PHOSPHORESCENT, THE LOW LOWS), drummer Lemuel Hayes and poet Laura Solomon who composed, recorded and produced the album in six months.

“24 Frames” starts the album off with a song that would have sounded perfectly placed on an early ’80s synth album with the ghostly and haunting keyboards and quiet vocals that are cold sounding and evoke the feeling of winter and iciness, and a very interesting start to the album. “Christine” is more upbeat with the kind of sound that faded out around 1983 at the latest, with quiet vocals and the band playing very tightly, the song was very catchy and really impressed me. “Russians” has a great mixture of male and female vocals that are soft, but have a lot of depth to them and the swirling keyboards mixed with the faster beat would make a really cool remix. “Eyes Without A Face” is the BILLY IDOL song that keeps the soft vocals and the band keeps the song going with the all synth playing and is a very interesting and subtle take on the original. Being a teenager in the early ’80s gives me a chance to reminisce about the music from that era and hear a lot of the sounds on this album. It is a definite treat to hear a band take the music of that era and update it enough to sound fresh and not make it cheesy sounding because a lot of it was really interesting synth-based, and not all poppy crap like you hear on lousy radio stations. “Wolves Again” has the dual male and female vocals again and it’s nice to hear Solomon’s terrific vocals a lot higher and stronger in this song with the male vocals really low in the mix of this upbeat song. The next two songs are super mellow and quiet, but very cool and atmospheric with “I Think It’s Coming” being another showcase of Solomon singing and “Run” being a very cold sounding, but interesting instrumental. “American Lovers” is another more upbeat song that has the quiet male vocals and the keyboards kind of reminded me a bit of “The Promise” by WHEN IN ROME. Finally the last song “I Wanna Be You” ends the album with a very mellow dual vocal song with enough wintry atmosphere and incredible keyboard playing that I needed to go get my headphones to let it wash over me like falling snow.

This was one of the most incredible albums that I’ve heard in a long time with the emotions and soundscapes that they have created. This is a true rare find, a band that can evoke the sense of being alone in the winter and being cold and icy, but still wrapped in the warm love of the music that they’ve created.

https://www.facebook.com/pacificUV  http://pacificuv.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/mazarinerecords  http://www.mazarinerecords.com/