Volume One by Chad Wolfe

Posted Posted in Gary Reynolds, Music Reviews

Review: Volume One
By: Chad Wolfe

This morning I drove through country gravel roads full of fog and rain to get to a job of clutter and noise, and Gary Reynolds collection Volume One was contemplative, patient, and melancholic enough—it is a sexy record, deliberate and so full of heart that it provided the perfect early morning drive soundtrack to get there. Volume One is anything but cluttered or noisy. There are experimentation’s with electricity for sure— re-verb, pedals, and amps. The scratch and hum of amplification. But it is a controlled chaos—so controlled that at times this listener wishes Reynolds would unleash his demons more heavily, and let the amplification rock to force all of us to run for cover.

Reynolds’s music is like rummaging through Bowie’s basement and finding a box of aborted B-sides; Volume One is a sweet and evil collection of songs borrowing from all over the place for inspiration. Reynolds honors all, though, and creeps them out as he plugs in and turns on amps. As the tubes heat up and prepare to deliver, the ghosts of British pop and rock invade Canada at Neil Young’s ranch where Crazy Horse sits with writer’s block while Bowie gets it on with Jagger out back by the engineered log pile; Richard Thompson is doing the dishes, humming melody after his morning tea; The Pretenders are moaning about hangovers, and Elton John just wants to sleep in. This is the company Gary Reynolds keeps. They will all meet on the ledge at some point in this day during Volume One.

Chad Wolfe lives and works in Southern Iowa where he’s grown a tremendous appreciation for open spaces, red vs. green tractor polemics, porches, and corn on the cob. When not writing about music, sports, and pop culture for the internet, he tries to avoid thinking too much about the future or the past.

Foreign Rooms by Phil Lisotti

Posted Posted in Music Reviews, Transient Songs

Review: Transient Songs “Foreign Rooms”
By: Phil Lisotti

When an artist has a successful album, especially when it’s a debut album, it is never easy to follow up. In this case, Transient Songs have gone from being a solo act headed by lead singer John Frum in to a full collaborative band. Their newest release, Foreign Rooms (released in March of 2013) is the first album to feature its new band members, and the result is, in fact, a different output from the debut album Cave Syndrome.

When an album gets good reviews such as Cave Syndrome, the pressure is always on. It’s hard not to choke under all of the expectations that are put on by fans and media. Most artists feel obligated to release the same album twice, so to speak, to assure the same result in terms of satisfying fans. For Foreign Rooms, this was not the case. The songs are still of a certain indie/alternative rock nature, filled with not heavy and rather slow songs, much like on the debut. However, this time around, John changes his singing style. His delivery of his lyrics sounds more like he is telling it as a story rather than just basically singing them. Similar to that of Bob Dylan, but in most cases it comes across more like Iggy Pop.

The albums first two tracks, Idle Hands and Southern City Saturdays are both of the slower nature, concentrated mostly on the lyrical content, while setting a relaxing mood for its listeners. The song leads to The Vens; not necessarily a slower track than the previous two, thanks to the drum beat, but it is a rather dark and gloomy track that kind of gives a lost while driving at night feeling. The other comparable track to this one on the album is Way Down, which has a very well written instrumental bridge to it, however in terms of the all around song, The Vens is the better of the two tracks.

Golden Eights is a slightly faster sounding track compared to the other songs off of the album. It still maintains the acoustic/clean electric guitar combination and mellow drum background. This leads in to another slower track called Sparrows, which is perhaps the best of the slower tracks off of the album due to it being one of the best vocal performances on the album, while musically being very well written.

Places That Scare You is probably the most upbeat sounding song on the album. It carries a very late 60’s sound and vibe. The lyrics contain the same not too happy yet not melancholy atmosphere, but musically it is a stepping stone for the albums sound. Haywood is another stepping stone for the album. Not sounding quite so much like a 60’s songs, but just like Places That Scare You, it stands out for sounding very different from the rest of the album. This time around, the song is much more upbeat and features the previously mentioned Bob Dylan/Iggy Pop singing style from John.

The album ends off with its title track, Foreign Rooms. Musically, this track has the sound of a 90’s “Grunge” band playing a slower and softer song. Think Nirvana’s All Apologies, which makes this song a highlight for its listeners. It is much more than just another slow track off of the album, while appropriately ending the album off on a not too hard but not too soft note. The track also features a rare guitar solo.

In the end, you have Foreign Rooms; the sophomore effort from Transient Songs. There is an all too obvious sense of maturity in its song writing, and though stylistically it is similar to the bands previous album, musically it is quite superior. The collaboration between band members is all very obvious here, making it more of a band effort than just a solo effort, and a gem for indie rock fans.

Golden Eights” – While it is one of the tracks off the album that doesn’t follow under the category of being one of the albums slower songs, it would still give the listener an idea of the bands slow sound, while showing listeners their more upbeat side at the same time. It has probably the best mix of instruments; a catchy guitar riff with acoustic guitars in the background, consistent bass tracking keeping the songs pace, and the drums on this track stick out more so than on any other track on the album.

7 (Out of 10)

Phil Lisotti writes for Phil’s Rock Reviews which is a site for avid rock fans – http://rockreviewphil.blogspot.ca – Also check out his facebook page.