Tag Archives: the justin wayne show

Reviewed: Mahri Autumn – ri-solv

10 Aug

Mahri Autumn released ri-solv in March 2010

The track ‘High Time’ is available to download for FREE on the Insomnia Radio Daily Dose (11 August 2010)

Review also published on thejustinwayneshow.com

Australian musician Marianthe Loucataris has set the bar high on her first solo endeavor with the sweeping, emotive sounds of ambient-folk record ri-solv. The album is a revealing collection of ten songs that float over your ears on a breeze of acoustic delicacy which underpins a most soulful voice that is full of quiet passion and deep yearning.

The album begins tentatively, introducing the record’s underpinning elements with the accordion-rich strains of ‘High Time’ – a flowing, folksy piece peppered with acoustic guitar, piano and Egyptian percussion (of which more will be said later on). But what really catches you is your first introduction to Loucataris’ voice, which is a beautiful, overlayed harmonic experience; she sings with purpose, but with an utterly charming reserved undertone that permeates each song with a sense of intrigue. It can at times make you feel a little voyeuristic, as if by listening to her songs you become privy to a very private form of expression, but that only serves to make the album more touching and personal. The record ebbs and flows between confidence and reservedness, but always with a delicate touch from the vocals.

As well as her strong vocal talents, what sets this record in a very interesting and rather unique light is Loucataris’ use of Egyptian percussion techniques, which reflect both her cultural heritage and her time spent studying under an Egyptian drumming master. Setting these traditional percussive sounds in a very modern soundscape makes listening all the more pleasurable, as you will hear curious sounds that fit perfectly into the context of these ambient, enveloping tracks that, honestly, can’t really be pinned onto any genre. She creates ethereal soundscapes, with overlapping vocal melodies and layer upon layer of carefully-placed instrumental and electronic elements.

I’ve spun this album many times, and it is one from which you can garner something new from each listen. From twinkling piano and gorgeous accordion drones, to the delicately plucked acoustic guitar and unique percussive elements, and of course, that astounding emotionally exposed voice, Mahri Autum’s ri-solv is a beautiful cluster of deeply heartfelt songs that are wonderful in their subtle complexity.

The album is available to download for whatever price you choose.

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Reviewed: Gold Motel – Summer House

5 Jul

Gold Motel released their full length album Summerhouse on 1 June 2010

Reviewed for The Justin Wayne Show and Insomnia Radio: Chicago

Well this is a little embarrassing. I was sent Gold Motel’s EP a couple of months back kindly by their lead vocalist Greta, formally of  The Hush Sound. But in the time that it’s taken me to get my act together to review the EP, they’ve gone and released a full length! Honestly, these indie bands and their organisational skills. So to try and keep up with the times, I’ve decided to forego the EP and dive straight in to writing some very nice things about their album, Summer House. And nice writing it does indeed deserve, being a lovely, sunshine-tinged jaunty escapade of a record.

Summerhouse is one of those gorgeous, jumpy boppy indie albums that will be spinning on your mp3 player all summer long just because it makes you smile. Vocals and keys are provided by Greta Morgan, who uses the former to coat the album in a golden honeyed shine, and the latter to ground it firmly in the territory of classically uplifting pop music. These combined with a duo of guitars with a surf’s-up-sounding twang and a solid rhythm section, make Gold Motel’s sound one that invokes images of California summers, floaty dresses, melted ice cream and diving into lakes in the blazing sun.

There is happiness seeping from almost every wave of this album; from Morgan’s crystal clear, lilting vocals to the close vocal harmonies with guitarist Dan, and the keyboard sounds dotting in and out of each song, Summerhouse is bursting with songs that are just dying to get stuck in your head – and they will succeed. There are a few tracks that really shine through on Summer House, like ‘Perfect in my Mind’ during which I defy anyone to resist singing along to some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ by the end, ‘Safe in LA’ which will have you dancing like an idiot all over the shop, and ‘The Cruel One’ with its jolly piano track and heavily punctuated rhythms beneath cool and sweet vocals.

But in the end, all you really need to know is that if you need a good happy soundtrack for anything you do during this summer, just spend a while in Gold Motel’s beautifully decorated, multi-coloured Summer House.

Reviewed: Hot Fiction – Dark Room

7 Jun

Hot Fiction released their debut album on 7 June 2010

Reviewed for The Justin Wayne Show

Hot Fiction

UK two-piece garage rockers Hot Fiction released their crunching, lo-fi debut album ‘Dark Room’ today, which, whilst sparse in instrumentation, is rich in riffage and chock full of bluesy soul. Comprised of school friends Andy Yeoh (vocals and drums) and Simon Miller (guitar), Hot Fiction’s sound paints a picture of two lads who, upon discovering their dads’ record collections, fell in love with the great masters of rock and roll and made it their lives’ ambitions to build upon that legacy. There are flickers and glimmers all over their music that point towards their influences, from classic rock and blues as well as the more contemporary heralds of back-to-basics lo-fi rock, but none so much that they come off as easily pigeon-holed. Some might delight in reeling off a comprehensive list here of those influential flickers and glimmers, but not me – I’d rather leave the comparisons up to you, dear reader, when you listen to the record, that’s much more fun.

The album kicks off with an a cappella wail that sounds borne of the banks of the Mississippi, then settles into the steady, fuzzed up groove of Start it Off; this track sets the tone for the rest of the record – sparse, riff-orientated, heavily punctuated rock that’s steeped in blues, with a modern edge that sets it off down a road of its own. From there, the record undulates through fields of upbeat 12-bar blues jams (My Girl Dances), dark and slightly sinister down-tempo grooves (All My Love in Vain), riffs that make you want to strut you way down the street (I Just Want Your Body), driving rock and roll (Truly Dark), and ends with a shockingly catchy number, considering how musically scant the track is, in the form of Creepy Disco – it will keep spinning in your head like a stuck vinyl for days. And in between all them lay many more delights to find for yourself.

All of this is overseen by Yeoh’s raspy, fuzzy vocals, which nestle in the songs next to the guitar like a third instrument, and are dripping with vaguely melancholic cool. Yeoh and Miller create an interesting sound for a two-piece, getting driving rhythms and distorted licks fully down and locked, and although I usually have issues with singing drummers (see: Phil Collins), these lads have nothing to worry about as they definitely pull it off.

One thing that shines through from this album is how well Hot Fiction’s songs would transfer to a live setting; the rough-edged recording does do justice to the DIY feel of the band, but I can’t help feeling that I need to hear these tunes in a scummy pub’s back room where my feet stick to the floor. In that vein, keep an eye on their website as they’re playing the hell out of London and a few others over the next few months.

Dark Room is imbued with just the right kind of nostalgia that will have you reaching fondly for your old LPs after listening, but not before a thoroughly enjoyable listen to a record that is in equal parts an homage to the band’s heroes, and a rough and ready, fresh take on garage rock.