take a gander… er… listen to these! [single reviews]
Words from Brandon Hughes, photo credit to GOOD PALS
Michigander – Live In Chicago
It takes a special act to make as much noise as Michigander has with only two tracks. With less than a year since his debut, Michigander has got a lot of ears listening for what’s next from the project. Today, he unveiled a pair of live tracks to satisfy fans who have been longing for more music.
First is “Falling (Live)’”which you could only hear performed live or by watching the live session Reel Feels released last year. Jason Singer’s vocals on the song are reminiscent of early offerings from The Killers’ frontman Brandon Flowers, but presented in a more reserved fashion. Lyrically the song addresses themes of uncertainty about the future but also the present. The delicate tune lifts with a vibrant sing-a-long bridge then concludes with a resounding full on chorus that brings the song out of its shell into its full glory.
The second half of the live pairing is a rendition of “Mexico”, Michigander’s second single. The song stays true to its roots with simple instrumentation that varies from the studio version by the addition of a clean electric guitar and some light piano. Lacking a chorus makes “Mexico” interesting to digest yet doesn’t make the song any less engaging. Not overtly happy or sad, the track’s melancholy only adds to the charm of what is a genuinely enjoyable release.
Bonelang – Mushroom Moon
When you think of Chicago hip-hop, the first thing you think of probably isn’t fusion jazz-rap. Bonelang, the brainchild of Sammy Language and Matt Bones, combines elements of both genres. The duo followed up their 2016 debut album ‘Set Theory’ with their most recent single “Mushroom Moon”
The track develops in a cinematic fashion. A raw open of a choppy rap that paves the way for the first refrain, a tribute to the band’s urban roots – “I like my city dirty and I like my thoughts deep. I like my sky scraped and I like the concrete”. The true beauty of the song is the stark contrast of Sammy and Matt’s parts, as harsh and elegant as the city that inspired the the track.
Ember Oceans – Caught Up
Ember Oceans, Illinois premier electro-rock quartet, kicked off 2017 with a brand new track – their first new music since 2015’s self-titled EP. The band, known for slick synthy tunes, expands its brand with “Caught Up!”, a reggae infused bop to warm your mood in the January cold. Intentional vocals contrast the lackadaisical vibes of the song. “Caught Up!” is memorable not only for its groovy rhythms but also infectious melodies and vibrant summery vibes.
Phangs – One and Lonely
The eighties-esque synth pop revival has created a major shift in alternative music thanks to stellar acts like The 1975 and LANY. A gem that has emerged from this movement is Phangs, the creation of Nashville’s Jake Germany. ‘Culdesac’ created quite a buzz about Phangs when it released last year, and just a few weeks into 2017 we have the follow up single.
“One and Lonely” feels like the song that would play during the credits of film you would have originally purchased on VHS (in a good way). Phangs knows how to write a hook, and then follow it up with an even better hook. I would be lying if I told you that this song hadn’t been stuck in my head at least once a day since I first heard it. “One and Lonely” stands out from it’s indie-pop peers with a vibrant sound and annoyingly memorable collection of melodies.