Review: Malatese EP

Well, today was rather interesting. As you’ll recall, I recently reviewed the Gypsy Death and You EP. WHO, by the way, made it on the newest NWShoegazing compilation! Congratulations to Alex and Emily! Excellent cover, excellent band. Again, if you haven’t checked them out, do it! They’re on muxtape.

Malatese is Jon Reed (drums), Graham Brouder (bass, vocals), Travis Legg (vocals), and George Dodson (guitar). They’re from Harrisonburg, Virginia.

So apparently Gypsy Death and You are friends with the guys from Malatese. I’m assuming they read my review of the GDaY EP because they very kindly sent me a link to their music to check out. Here are my thoughts.

My wife is with me, listening to their stuff as well. Her first reaction to “Time Mask,” the first song on the EP, was that they have a somewhat similar sound to really early U2 from about 34 seconds in. I mean, we’re talking Boy-era U2–not The Joshua Tree type material. So, you know … that’s a pretty good thing. I think it is, anyway. She also compared their sound to Weezer. I didn’t get that from their sound, but to each their own, right? I think they have a much more aggressive sound than either of those two band. Not violently aggressive … just aggressive. As in, “Hey guitar … I’m gonna pwn you. Just get used to it.” Or “You are *my* drum kit. You *will* obey me!” You know … stuff like that.

The first thing that strikes me is how well balanced the mixing is, even though it’s obvious this wasn’t recorded in a professional studio. Despite that, the drums sound as raw as if you were sitting right in front of them; the bass comes through with a very prominent distinction. I’m pretty sure I’m hearing two guitars here. Now … I don’t know if this is on purpose or not, but one of them sounds a hair out of tune. If that was on accident, whoops. If it was on purpose, congratulations–you’ve stumbled on some kind of sonic dissonance that doesn’t suck–in fact, it’s actually pretty damn cool. Edit: Uneless I’m mis-reading their email, there is but one guitar. Guess I need to break out the headphones instead of listening on iTunes.

“Heaven Would Melt” has me scratching my head. During the chorus, there’s some kind of squawking falsetto screaming that I can’t quite … get. It just doesn’t seem to fit the song. Now … to be fair, in the interest of full disclosure, with the kind of muted vocals and over-emphasized distorted guitars, it’s a bit hard to make out all the lyrics, so the squawk shrieking might very well be completely relevant. However, I have no idea.

Remember The Misfits? Ever heard of Samhain? Yah … there’s a very Glenn-Danzig-meets-Jim-Morrison kind of quality to the singer’s voice and style. For the music, it totally fits. I’m liking it.

One thing the band told me when they wrote and said, “Let us know of any comments you have, for we did everything ourselves and won’t turn down any kind of feedback.” I have one suggestion: find a way to get some funding for a professional studio because I would *love* to hear what you guys can do with some better recording equipment. I mean that with all the respect I have for what you’ve accomplished so far. Your sound is raw and raging, and I like that. I really do. But you owe it to yourselves to see what would happen in a professional studio. Hey … ya never know what you can pull off!

So I’m filing this one under “bands to watch.” I don’t know if they’ll ever score a radio hit with their sound, but ya know what? These days, that’s probably a *very* good thing. 🙂 Actually, let me amend that: I can see them becoming a college radio circuit phenomenon. That would be very, very cool cuz most college radio stations don’t play crap, so if they hit that stream, good things will happen.

Online Malatese hang-outs:

Her are some music vids they sent along as well.

Thanks for the music, gentlemen!

Review: Gypsy Death and You – e.p. no. 1

Well, it showed up today. I’ve ordered and won literally hundreds of CDs over the last month. Far and away, this has been the most anticipated one. I have, in my hands, the first EP from Gypsy Death and You. That’s THE BAND–not the song by The Kills.

This is why I’m a big fan of sites like Feed the Muse and Kickstarter. These guys *need* a site like that, if they don’t already have one. If they do, I’m not aware of it, but a search of both those sites reveals nothing, so … hmm.

First off, a big thanks to the band for sending this. I couldn’t imagine working or communicating with a nicer couple.

Gypsy Death and You are Alex Wilson and Emily Cahill. They’re from the Philadelphia area. If they’re any indication of the music scene in Philly, then the City of Brotherly Love is in most excellent musical hands.

The overall sound is amazing,–very raw and un-refined. I consider this to be a beautiful, beautiful thing. Here’s why.

What you hear is what you get. This music is precisely what you would hear if they decided to drop by and perform an impromptu concert in your front yard. It sounds like there is very little, if any, processing or “cleansing.” It’s real. There’s nothing other than the instruments and the band. In baking, raw, unrefined sugar is preferred to processed, white, refined sugar. Unrefined sugar has nutritional properties that are flat-out missing in refined sugars. Processed sugar is useless. I feel the same would be true if GDaY were to run their sound through a bunch of “refinement.” Their energy comes through with all the nuance and precision of a seasoned band, yet this is just their first EP. They’re not bogged down with all the baggage of someone like Bob Rock mucking up their sound (think what Metallica *could* have been if he hadn’t produced the black album. I’m just saying.)

The only exception to this is the beginning of “Capitol Jump,” where the intro is this wonderfully cacophonous noise barrage, filled with pounding drums, raging guitars, and a mix that leaves you shocked when they move beyond. They grab you with this infectious “Ah-ah-ah-ahhhh-ahhhh …” I like. A lot. Then we’re treated to the only song on the EP where Alex performs the primary vocals. On ReverbNation, they’ve uploaded a new version that has a more harmonic intro. Personally, I like the original! At least, I think that’s the original intro. Actually, I don’t know which is new version. Guess I should find out!

UPDATE: Boy was I wrong. I had it backwards. The ReverbNation version is the original. The one on the EP is the newer version. So, to be clear, prefer the newer, love the older. Capiche?

“Smile” has a very 80’s sounding, Molly Ringwald flavor to it. Odd, cuz as far as I know, she has never released a CD in her life. I don’t know if it’s Emily’s vocals or what, but the first thing I thought of when I heard this song was “Pretty in Pink.” I have no idea why. And it’s catchy. “A smile on you is a smile on me.”

The thing I like about “Sound of the Sun” is the tempo. For some reason, this strikes me as a very Lush sound to the music with a Kim Deal (though muffled through the distortion of the guitars) quality to the vocals, all the while maintaining their own sound.

If you’re a fan of The Jesus and Mary Chain, you’ll love their cover of “Something I Can’t Have.” It sounds like they’ve taken it up an octave to play to Emily’s vocal strengths, and it comes off with an awesome vibe.

In a nutshell, I *highly* recommend finding a way to pick up their CD. They’re good, they’re talented, they have more going on upstairs than most bands. They’re young, they’re inspired, and they have the potential to be around for long, long time.

There is just one small, tiny little nagging issue: the lack of availability. These guys deserve to have their music dispersed through some place like iTunes or Amazon … somewhere. They should be getting paid for their music. I don’t want to see them become another “flash in the pan,” you know?! They sent me the CD on their dime, even though I requested a PayPal address to help fund them. Were they to put their music on iTunes, I would buy it just to support them because they deserve it.

Emily, Alex … if you’re reading this, ya gotta get this out there. You are not just some other band. Your music is danceable. It’s at once up-beat and introspective. This has stratospheric potential. I’m begging you … do not quit. Do not give up. Put it on iTunes! Why not?! I can almost guarantee you you’ll have at least a favorable reviews.

Again, I want to thank these guys for the CD. I’m glad to have it, and I can’t wait to hear what else these guys come up with.

Facebook page

Muxtape page

Interview with

That is all.

It’s Not *ALWAYS* Sunny in Philadelphia …

It’s sleeting in Philly.

I know this not because I am a great meteorlogical prognosticator, nor do I have clairvoyance into the goings on of a particular city 2000 miles away. I know this because I have been having a great email exchange with Emily Cahill and Alex Wilson of Gypsy Death and You.

Here’s my problem. I want their CD. I want a hard, physical, in-hand, touchable copy of their EP. I will admit that I have done my fair share of dabbling in the downloading of tunes, and I don’t mean through Apple almighty. However, I do like to give start-up bands their proper by supporting them with legally obtained copies of their audio offerings. Such is the case with this Philadelphia-based duo.

However, after much searching and prodding, all the ususal channels resulted in nothing. No Amazon, no CDBaby, no band site order form … nothing.

I’m nothing if not persistent. When I have an idea, I like to see it through until it’s done. At least when it comes to things I’m passionate about. Like music! So I sent the band an email, asking how I can get a copy of their CD.

Which brings me to the point of the weather in Eastern PA. Apparently it’s sleeting, the roads are slick, and dangerous driving. I applaud Emily on her caution in waiting to go to the post office until the weather clears up. It’s too bad more people out here don’t implement are more strategic mind-set when it comes to driving conditions. I can’t tell you how many people I see on the side of the road with nothing more than a dusting of snow. It would be comical if it weren’t for the potential death rate. Cuz let’s face it–there’s nothing funny about death. At least, there shouldn’t be.

Anyway, Emily has graciously agreed to send me a signed copy of their EP as soon as the weather breaks and she can get to the post office safely! Of course, there will be an immediate posting of what I’m fairly confident will be a raving review, if their two songs on NewBandDay’s site are anything to be used to gauge potential success.

So Emily and Alex, in advance, I thank you profusely for your graciousness and generosity. May the the weather truly always be sunny in Philadelphia!

Blogs I Like

So I just discovered a couple of new music blogs that I’m really digging.

I discovered these in a Lortab-induced stupor this morning, so I can’t remember how I found them … I just k now that I did. They’re GREAT. I’ve been pouring through their material pretty much all day. Well, up until the Jets/Pats beat-down. Sorry, NE fans. That was ugly. Keep in mind that I’m a Bills fan, so I loathe the Jets and Pats with equal disdain and am strongly pulling for Pittsburgh to put Jets fans out of their misery.

The great thing is that they update really regularly and frequently, so there’s new material almost all the time. AWESOME. I have some local suggestions for NBD; I wonder how they handle stuff like that.

Anyway, these two blogs are great reads. I highly recommend checking them out. Specifically, both blogs mention Gypsy Death and You–a duo shoe-gazer band out of Philly that, to date, have one 5-track EP that is impossible to find. I tweeted and Facebooked them to see if I could get a copy. I’m fairly confident that one will be forthcoming. I hope so, anyway! They asked me to send them an email so we could find a way to get me a copy, so I’m guessing that’s a pretty good sign. Ha–speaking of “sign,” I asked if they’d be willing to sign the CD for me. Hey, it can’t hurt to ask, right? But that would just be icing on the cake. I’d be happier than a pig in slop if they can just get me a CD!

If you want to check out NBD’s page about them, here it is.

So hopefully I’ll have something new to review in the next few weeks … along with the 470+ CDs that are coming in the mail. WHERE am I gonna put all of those!?

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