Last week, a friend posted a link on my Facebook wall for an EP by a band I had never heard of. I eagerly clicked and downloaded (for FREE!) the 3 song EP Port of St. Oaks by Financier.
Hailing from Nashville, TN, Financier is the brainchild of Seth West and Tom Senter. Harnessing their varied influences from Brian Eno and abstract hip hop deity, Madlib to guitar god, Robert Fripp, Financier is easily one of the more promising new voices emerging on the music scene. Recorded by Jeremy Fergusun at Battle Tapes, Port of St. Oaks is a strong introduction to their sound.
The EP opens with the perfectly titled, “That’s Not Swagger, He’s Crippled,” setting the tone: druggy and disassociated, but still urgent. Riding waves of fuzzy guitar and hushed vocals, the nearly 8 minute track immediately brings to mind Slowdive or My Bloody Valentine. What really sets the song apart though are the vocal melodies. They push through the musical haze, peek out of the fog and echo beautifully through each verse. It’s an otherworldly and wholly satisfying effect.
“It Gets Better” both follows and plays with the established formula a bit. The somewhat melancholy tone from before picks up an edge of menace here. Compelled forward by nearly tribal drum beats, the song chugs along, picking up in pace and intensity before finally disappearing into an uneasy cloud of feedback and drone.
The end comes all too soon with “Live with It”. Here, Financier picks up the tempo with a percolating beat that bubbles up between the layered vocals and guitars. Ending abruptly not even three minutes later, “Live with It” left me tantalized and wanting more.
I am happy to report that there is much, much more on the way. Port of St. Oaks is the first of four projected EPs!
Right now, Financier is making this EP available for free via Bandcamp at financier.bandcamp.com. Click the link, check out the site, and download some great music!
Also, I’m hoping the boys grant me a follow up interview in the next couple of weeks, though they are busy recording the 2nd EP. If you have any questions for them, let me know here in the comments or email them to me. I promise to ask for you!
Transistor-on Takes “The Way Back Down” on EP
Transistor-on calls their goods “fuzzed out reverb music,” and in the spirit of post-rock, EP The Way Back Down is full of that melodious texture and sensation. Recorded at The Cottage with Damon Moon, The Way Back Down is a mere four tracks. But those songs make a satisfying sampling of a band with a big future ahead.
Atlanta duo Joey Piersante and Chris Armistead offer up a hazy fugue state that is the blueprint for this coming summer, showing that they can run with the best of the lo-fi crowd with their unique rhythms and finger-picking. The minimalist use of instruments that whip up the dream poppy wall of sound succeeds in taking the listener in a layered, chill journey.
Tracks like “Calling Out” and “Solar Flare” are so catchy (the former with its title refrain; the latter with its main guitar melody), that they etch onto your brain and trick you into thinking these are songs that have been around for maybe 20 years or so already.
Reviewers are throwing out comparisons—and they’ll continue to—of Transistor-on to Explosions in the Sky. The similarities are there for sure; both bands share a genre, after all. But saying only “they remind me of Explosions in the Sky” overlooks the fact that Transistor-on are stepping out in earnest on this EP, sounding comfortable in their skin without being jaded. Plus, having smoky vocals on the tracks adds to the spacey miasma and mystery that serves as the overarching feel of the record. The singing on “Empty Planet,” for example, highlights the track’s slow burn into its rocking guitar-driven crescendo.
Though the last piece on The Way Back Down is called “Exit,” by no means is that a harbinger of the band’s future. Transistor-on closes with a sure-footed tapestry of distortion and crisp rhythm, wrapping up a consistent and skillful release that definitely marks their arrival.
The Way Back Down is available to stream on SoundCloud or for purchase on iTunes. The gorgeous photo cover by Richard Casteel.
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Emily Hearn Saves Time in a Bottle on “Hourglass”
Emily Hearn’s sonic journey on Hourglass shows that she is a woman coming into her own, figuring out the knots of past heartache, the bliss of newlywed life, and the passage of time.
Time acts as the overarching narrative on the record; Hourglass spans the two years following the Athens, GA native’s debut Red Balloon and 2013 EP Promises. “We fall in or out of love as time moves us,” she explains. “We learn life-changing lessons as time goes on. We figure out how to handle important relationships as time shapes us. We decide who we want to be and what we believe as time reveals our priorities. And ultimately, we grow older as time goes by.”
Hearn sings wistfully “Oh, to be young, and to have time” on the third track “Oak Tree,” longing for the naïve feeling that time would never move forward, or at least not so fast. She frets over seeing her parents age so quickly. The existential worries of a twenty-something come delivered in a package of a catchy, infectious chorus and clap-along-able melody.
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