In Notes from Left of the Dial this week, Nooga.com spends time with new music from Fallow Land, Vincent Colbert, Omega Swan and Date Night With Brian. What have you been listening to lately?
Fallow Land, "Faux"
Sometimes you just have to start over. And that's exactly what happened with Ann Arbor musician Whit Fineberg. After a series of events had left him standing on uncertain ground (a move to a new city, the death of a close friend and the dissolution of a relationship—just to name a few), he was filled with both a desperation and need to express this deep well of emotion. After a move back to his hometown, he met musician Evan Veasey, and the two immediately developed a musical rapport that led him to ask Veasey to produce some songs that he's been working on during this tumultuous period. The resulting collection of songs, "Pinscher," is set to be released on June 30.
On their new single, "Faux," the band wanders through a billowing, fog-enshrouded indie rock landscape where honest emotions lead to bad consequences and experiences that shed the layers of your heart. There's a bit of jangle pop theatricality and atmospheric rock here, enough to sustain these moody and textured sounds without feeling labored. Imagine if Echo & the Bunnymen and Local Natives got together for a jam session and you'd have a good idea of the sound that Fallow Land is peddling. It's a fascinating mixture and dissection of indie rock tropes that feels refreshingly unique in the way that it approaches these familiar rhythms without pandering to stereotypes or indie rock generalities.
Vincent Colbert, "Dark Days"
The work of Denver-based musician Vincent Colbert lives in the small nuances and everyday experiences that we share with one another. There's a longing and wistful nostalgia inherent to his work, but his songs don't wallow in bland platitudes—they evoke specific events and emotions that live the empty spaces in our lives. That being said, his music can also be the bearer of pain and sorrow, resulting in a pastoral ache that successfully burrows beneath our defenses and clings to the deepest parts of our memories. He's currently gearing up for the release of a new EP called "Dark Days," which is due out May 10.
With his latest single, "Dark Days," Colbert continues to mine this well-worn singer-songwriter aesthetic, but he manages to find a distinct and beautifully insular way to make the most ordinary things sound extraordinary. His gentle melodies hide tremendous emotional resonance while his acoustic guitar bends and sighs as the notes fall away from its strings. There's a communal association built within this folk-pop atmosphere, one that shimmers and shakes in its welcoming nature. Colbert isn't looking to pull apart this genre—he's simply trying to find a way to explore these musical ideas in a way that takes on new meaning with each subsequent listen. And to that end, he is very successful.
Omega Swan, "What's Ur Damage?"
Comprised of singer-guitarist Marcus Garceau, bassist Will Burgess and drummer Aaron Westine, Nashville rock outfit Omega Swan has spent a good deal of the last year hitting venues around their hometown and refining their ecstatic rock sound. Evincing both a love of modern and retro production techniques, their aesthetic borrows from a handful of different genres to fuse their collective influences into a coherent ideology. And through their determination to create something completely different, they've developed an elastic and vivid rock reality, one that allows for a drastic deviation from what might ordinarily be thought of as a Nashville sound.
On the recent single, "What's Ur Damage?" they embrace a spastic electro-pop sound that completely bypasses subtlety and fills your eyes and ears with streaks of fluorescent light and beats that shake the deepest parts of your bones. This is a song designed to get you up and moving, adorned with bombastic percussive waves and vocals that threaten to shatter the walls of whatever club you happen to find yourself in. Often these kind of Day-Glo sounds are an attempt to mask the inadequacies of a band's abilities, but with Omega Swan, these same vibrant rhythms are simply one more way they cloud your mind with visions of neon cityscapes at night and offer you a way to explore them without distraction.
Date Night With Brian, "Anywhere"
Built around the musical muscle of three Seattle punk rock veterans, Date Night With Brian is a bass-less trio that evokes the noise of classic punk and indie rock while wading through a wash of fuzzed-out pop theatrics and rambunctious arrangements. With collected musical histories that extend back well over a decade, the band uses this wealth of experience and innate sense of band-centered dynamism to build a fierce and fiery foundation on which to offer their incendiary wares. Their new self-titled EP is out now on Top Drawer Records and is an apoplectic ride through their communal influences.
For the video to their new song, "Anywhere," the band opts for a black and white performance piece, which finds them covered head to toe in reel-to-reel tape. The song possesses a fiery punk spirit, the kind that was thought to have died out in the late '70s. They mix in a bit of noisy pop to create a glowing mass of cross-genre pollination, resulting in a sound that doesn't feel beholden to any one set of rhythmic ideas but revels in its brisk dissemination of influences. The band's punk history shines through with their ability to navigate tremendous speeds without losing any sense of musical cohesion—in fact, through this practiced speed, they discover the gooey and reverberating heart of their extensive inspirations.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.