This week’s Midweek Music Mix is a mix of Progressive Jazz, Nu Metal, Skate Punk and 80’s Synth Madness.
Into the Woods – Martin Boudreau
An album of music inspired by nature can usually go one of two ways – straight to the tree tops or down to the bottom of the swamp. While you could easily make this argument for any concept album built around a subject instead of an immediate storyline, most nature inspired songs I’ve heard, the kind that attempt to speak to conservation specifically, land a little too on-the-nose in their messaging or delivery to have any deep resonance. So I’ll admit to having a bit of negative bias going into Martin Boudreau’s latest album, Into The Woods. Thankfully, Boudreau’s vision for this project greatly exceeded my expectations.
Having all one word song titles like River, Botany, Waves and Storm, I was expecting Into The Woods to be just another hippy-dippy, smell-the-air, ain’t-it-great collection of mediocre songs. And to be completely honest, the opening track didn’t do much to convince me otherwise. But as the album progressed, things quickly became more impressive, eventually forcing me to stop doing the other things I was doing and focus in on all that was coming through my headphones.
Into The Woods quickly shifts from a surface level appreciation of the forest to a complex combination of prog-rock grooves and jazz instrumentation with the album’s several instrumental tracks taking a commanding presence in shaping the recording’s overall feel and intention. Shifting time signatures above melodies led by acoustic guitar, violin and sax reveal Boudreau’s remarkable musical ability as both a performer and arranger.
For an album I almost overlooked based on my own tastes, preferences and bias, Into The Woods proved to be a great 30+ minute listen and one that will make me question any preconceived ideas I bring to future releases. Thanks Martin. You’ve made me a better person.
Crossing Over – Lazermortis
Back in the 80’s when pop music took a serious turn towards incorporating new technologies into the fold – the awkward drum sounds and primitive tones generated by equally primitive synth gear and digital pianos or basically when pop music became pop music – purists, particularly of the rock and roll era, viewed these changes in tone and production as a passing fad and no substitute for the guitars and drums that helped revolutionize music in the first place. To a certain degree, they were right, but not in the way they may have hoped. Due to the speed at which new technologies replaced the previous industry standards while opening up a limitless palette of tonal variations and possibilities, those initial experiments in sound quickly became archaic and left behind.
Forty years on, nostalgia has helped find many of those once cringe-worthy sounds a new place in pop music composition. Crossing Over, the latest single by Lazermortis, combines arpeggiated synth leads and simple melodic themes to create a serious throwback to the synth’s golden age while also looking ahead towards what new possibilities may be hidden within the tonal characteristics of a very precise and specific time and place. These Stranger Things are not so strange anymore.
Old Habits EP – Old Habits
Here’s a throwback of a different kind. Old Habits’ self-titled EP mixes the familiar sound of 90’s skate punk with the equally familiar sounds of a true basement recording to create an interesting eighty song album that asks the listener, “what year is it anyway?” Add to this the deliberate rough delivery of pre-Fat (Wreck Chords) punk, a label known for it’s highly polished, highly produced recordings, and you end up with an interesting mix of influence and era.
In their own words, Old Habits are “Five dudes drinking way too much and trying to bring skater punk back to its original glory. High energy, catchy melodic riffs, killer drums, and raspy powerful vocals, the kinda music that makes you want to do a kickflip and shotgun a beer.”
That about sums it up. They may not be bringing anything new to the table but hey, sometimes you just want to eat takeout.
Sonic Detour – Sonic Detour
Music is a cyclical beast, by nature. Anytime someone sits down to write music, they are in some way channeling the sounds that inspired them. That’s just an unavoidable fact of all artistic creation. And as a listener, part of what makes hearing new music a fun exercise is trying to pinpoint those influences and identify how they work to shape “the new”. Is there anything better than music? Seriously.
On their debut, self-titled EP, Sonic Detour leave little to the imagination when it comes to their influences. Alternative Metal, Nu Metal and Rap Rock all make their presence known on this seven track collection, giving a definite 90’s feel to what Sonic Detour have created. These contributing factors are accentuated by the EP’s production which places everything upfront and in your face. Manic compression. This may come as a bit of a surprise, but this all sounds fresh and new. Solid concept and delivery. Well done.
Send us your Music!
If you are a New Brunswick artist or group, have new music on the way and would like to be considered for a future edition of Midweek Music Mix, send us the details at gridcitymagazine(at)gmail.com