In celebration of acquiring ownership of the masters, Brick + Mortar will be self releasing a fully re-mastered version of their Dropped EP, that was originally released back in 2015, tomorrow, May 19th 2017. The release has been retitled Dropped Again and has been fleshed out to full album length with the addition of two new singles, One Little Pill and Great Escape, and a remix of the song Move To The Ocean. In addition to the release of Dropped Again the band have a current Pledge Music campaign for the debut full length, Dead Moon.
Opening number Train is a gentle introduction with it’s staccato hand clap rhythms and across the whole of Dropped Again Brick + Mortar veer across influences, incorporating electronic elements and skittering beats. For the most part this is a shining upbeat affair but Move To The Ocean and Dark Skies takes the album in a darker direction whilst Brighter Than The Sun brings a strident guitar led element to bear. The new additions to Dropped Again indicate the band have moved forward in the last few years with both One Little Pill and Great Escape bringing a more rounded keyboard led style that hints at what to expect from the band on their forthcoming album, Dead Moon. The final track is the Bauer Remix of Move To The Ocean, I always feel a remix is something of an throwaway option for filling out expanded releases that rarely improve on the original, and this one hasn’t changed my mind on this.
Having not heard the original Dropped EP it’s difficult to assess the impact of the re-mastering process but it does sound like it’s been given a bit of spit and polish. Dropped Again is an album that takes it’s cues from the idiosyncratic side of the Indie and electronic scenes, Brick + Mortar deliver a somewhat unique mix of drum ‘n bass, electronica and indie influences that have a slight punk influence. This isn’t a release that will be to everyone’s tastes but what Dropped Again does showcase is the New Jersey duo’s fluid influences that have led to them sharing stages with a varied array of bands, and as a result they have garnered a widespread and diverse fanbase that reflects the range of influences contained on their recordings.
Brick + Mortar‘s website where you can order the EP and stream One Little Pill is here
You can pre-order Brick + Mortar‘s new album, Dead Moon, via Pledge Music here
Colours are a duo comprised of Kyle Tamo, vocals, and Morgan Alley, drums, they headed in a different musical, and geographical, direction when Kyle relocated from Conneticut to Florida and the duo began to lay the foundations of Colours. Their sound is a significant departure from any of their previous rock oriented endeavours, Colours are described as an electro-R&B rock band, after listening to Ivory I feel that the musical emphasis is firmly on the first two elements of that description. Colours entered the studio last year to record Ivory, their debut album, which is the follow up their 2013 Skin And Bones EP.
Ivory is underpinned by a dark R&B synth backing that conjures up a certain kind of painfully hip nightclub at 1am, over this are multi-layered vocals that drift over the beat. If that description sounds like the soundtrack to your Saturday night on the town, and you appreciate a darker, smokier electronic take on R&B then this is an album you should investigate, however, for me the album just doesn’t display enough variety, it remains in a slow late night electro grind throughout it’s entirety.
I’ll be honest, this really isn’t an album that appeals to me, it comes across as music that you hear whilst you’re wishing you were somewhere else, see my previous reference to painfully hip nightclubs. I prefer music to energise me, to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up or to just grab my attention, and Ivory just doesn’t do that. This is a collection of dark electronica and I can imagine Colours being very successful, they have a clear cross genre appeal with their mix of darkwave and R&B beats, but if it’s all the same I’ll be in the dive bar round the corner until everyone else is ready to go home. I should also point out that calling your band Colours, and naming the album after a colour, means that any google search for this album tends to be heavy on decorating and DIY stores.
Ivory is available direct from Victory Records here
Hotei began his career back in the 1980’s, this is probably the most successful guitarist you’ve never heard of, he has sold in the region of sixty million records, yes you read that correctly, in his native Japan. He clearly feels that now is the time for him to spread his wings as this is his debut international release. Strangers is a collaborative release that features appearances by some heavyweight guest vocalists from the alternative music scene, including Iggy Pop, Richard Z. Kruspe (Rammstein), Matt Tuck (Bullet For My Valentine), Noko (Apollo 440) and Texan singer Shea Seger.
Opening track Medusa eases you into this sixteen track epic with an atmospheric instrumental that conjures up a contemporary spaghetti western. Iggy Pop makes his appearances on How The Cookie Crumbles and Walking Through The Night, his distinctive vocals add gravel to these stampy pieces of light industrial, unsurprisingly the two tracks Iggy makes his appearances on are amongst the best tracks on the album. Shea Seger demonstrates her vocal talents and brings some sultry bluesy attitude to proceedings on Kill Or Kiss and Texas Groove. In contrast to these pieces it probably shouldn’t be a surprise that the tracks featuring Richard Z. Kruspe are the heaviest on the album, these are quite lightweight compared to his work with Rammstein, then again so are most things.
On this album Hotei comes across as a musical chameleon, changing and adapting his style to those around him. This is an unusual album, each of the tracks appears to have been tailored to the person guesting on it, but the overall theme is a hybrid of rock, electronica and industrial. There are high and low points on this, it resembles the soundtrack to a dystopian sci-fi movie and the whole album sounds slightly dated, in places Hotei doesn’t seem to have been able to move away from his 80’s roots, but the inclusion of a varied and laudable collection of guest vocalists makes this a diverse and interesting album
You can order Strangers here