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CD Reviews

Tony Memmel – “Yours and Mine”

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Tony Memmel’s new EP, “Yours and Mine” is a dreamy six song journey through human emotion and faith. He and wife, Lesleigh harmonize so well that sometimes it’s difficult to separate their voices into two, and other times the impeccable production makes them sound impossibly like a whole chorus. While the vocals and gorgeous lyrics are certainly the focus here, the instrumentation is brilliant, as well. Simple – bordering on minimal, the music is produced with the restraint that comes with maturity and confidence. Tony Memmel knows what he is doing, and he does it well.
He plays with such clarity and beauty that it doesn’t seem to matter that Tony is missing the lower part of his left arm. He plays left handed, and picks and strums with pieces of gaffer’s tape attached to his arm. On further consideration, it absolutely matters that he is overcoming something that most would consider a complete impediment to his playing guitar – or any other instrument requiring two hands, for that matter. It matters because he is so good. It seems impossible, but his impeccable guitar work compliments his slightly gruff, beautiful voice perfectly. Tony is an inspiration.
Lesleigh’s piano work is also lovely. Quietly layered in the background, her keyboards add a welcome dimension; when Lesleigh is featured, it’s absolutely beautiful. Brian Farvour rounds out the band with his percussion, but he is so good at his job that he almost disappears. Again, I believe such restraint only comes with experience and skill. Too many drummers don’t know how to disappear, but Brian seems a master at that difficult job. His drums only add to the songs – they never detract.
“Yours and Mine” is a lovely EP, and my only complaint with it is that it was over too soon. The Memmels transported me to beautiful, loving musical landscape for all of the nineteen minutes of the EP, and at the end, I was somewhat sorry to be dumped back into my living room. I look forward to a new full-length album from Tony in (I hope) the near future.
“Yours and Mine” as well as Tony Memmel’s (excellent) previous album “Here We Go” can be purchased through links on his website HERE.

We had the pleasure of chatting with Tony and Lesleigh this month! Check out their TBB exclusive live performance of “Control” off of “Here We Go”

If this inspired you, please check out one of Tony’s favorite charities, The Lucky Fin Project!

CD Reviews

Transistor-on Takes “The Way Back Down” on EP

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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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Muse “Drones” Review

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Emily Hearn Saves Time in a Bottle on “Hourglass”

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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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