Transient Songs “Foreign Rooms” Review by TheShrevest

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Early Radiohead + Velvet Underground = Transient Songs “Foreign Rooms”. That’s a compliment. “Foreign Rooms”, the sophomore effort from Seattle-based Transient Songs, is a fun listen from beginning to end. If you haven’t heard of these guys yet, it should only be a matter of time.

“Foreign Rooms” is a nine tracks of jangly down-tempo college rock. In addition to invoking images of Radiohead and Velvet Underground, you’ll get some Joy Division overtones at times. The percussion, crafted by Ian Piña, sets the mood and atmosphere for this record. It’s called “Foreign Rooms”, but it would not be out of place at your summer evening back patio bbq. The guitar work is very clean, and the lead and rhythm sections are in constant communication with one another, almost as though they are having conversations. The basslines, for sake of comparison, are very reminiscent of what you might expect from Interpol, but Transient Sounds is much less moody. The vocals are well done, almost spoken-word at times, but never out of rhythm.

All these comparisons are not meant to suggest that this is a ripoff of other bands – in fact, it’s quite the opposite. “Foreign Rooms” is still a very original effort, and it’s put together in great fashion. The album begs to be played from beginning to end. If you’re a fan of any of the bands mentioned above, I would fathom that you will find something here that you enjoy.

As good as it is, the album isn’t perfect – it features some overdone cliche (“We are the last of a dying breed…”) and some of the songs sound very similar to one another, but these are minor and don’t take away from the enjoyment of the album.

Standout tracks: “Idle Hands”, “Southern City Saturdays”, “Sparrows” (which features a beautiful string arrangement), “Places that Scare You”, “Foreign Rooms”

TheShrevest Official UnScholar “Foreign Rooms” Score: B+. Pick it up and you’re not likely to be disappointed with your purchase.

Visit the official Transient Songs website for more information and to sample the record for yourself.

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Foreign Rooms by Phil Lisotti

Posted on 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.

ALBUM HIGHLIGHT
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.

FINAL RATING
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.

Foreign Rooms by G. Chad Wolfe

Posted on Posted in Music Reviews, Transient Songs

Review: Transient Songs, “Foreign Rooms”
By: G. Chad Wolfe

Sophomore albums can be tricky for a band. Either they get swallowed by the success of a debut and go out with a low roar into oblivion, or they stray from the confines of what brought the band notice in the first place. The second album by any outfit is a treacherous position if sought after with too much gusto, ego, et al the demons. Transient Songs’ Foreign Rooms calls to mind the stand tall, yet dirty and imperfect chords of “Caryatid Easy” off Son Volt’s mighty sophomore record, Straightaways. Not only through its unapologetic gruffness, but by the way the album didn’t seem to hit with a bang—a quiet recording waiting to be discovered by those ready to hear.

It’s in that spirit that Transient Song’s second LP Foreign Rooms sets up shop with real instruments—real music for real people as the saying might go. The kind of music where the band actually plugs into an amplifier and cuts fingers on strings. The ethos on Foreign Rooms is as legit as a high school football coach delivering with blood and guts the clarity of an angel raising half-time speech.

A lush roll of sound and heartbreaking lyrics and vocals make this album a loser’s anthem. The album catches stride and rolls into one when guitar merges with drums on the track Haywood, sounding like what Marquee Moon might’ve if Peter Buck contributed to Tom Verlaine’s seminal album back in 1977. Foreign Rooms feels like the line cook’s soundtrack at the end of the night if one were to walk through the kitchen of Las Manitas in Austin, TX, on a whimsical Friday. And all of this is begging the question “where the hell has Transient Songs been my whole life?” But the answer is in the songs, and the spirit of Television, Alejandro Escovedo, and early Whiskeytown hum through the wires while John Frum declares to whoever is listening: “How is the view from the bottom of the well? / Do you feel the ache in your bones when the winter swells? /We are the last of the dying breed/We’re just what’s left of the demon seed.

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.