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Wil Brookhart Drops Smooth Debut EP

 

Multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer Wil Brookhart put out his debut EP “Flight Risk” on June 18th 2020. With seven features, it’s a delicious amalgam of modern genres from R&B to lo-fi hip-hop to pop, even adding in a pinch of math rock. The Austin native, currently residing in Denton while studying double bass at UNT, stirs in his vast array of influences into a savory main course meal of mingled grooves and flavorful melodies. Yet just as each bite of “Flight Risk” tastes unique, it’s crowning achievement is keeping a consistent tone amid the eclecticism. 

 

Any of the individual tracks are strong enough to be singles but “February” and “Summer Bleeding” do stand as out catchy summer morsels. Many voices can be heard on this record but Brookhart allows his music to naturally grow out beyond him, then crafts it to shape his distinct vision. Leila XY, who is featured on four out of the five tracks, consistently exudes clarity, grounding her performances with bright and buoyant vocal melodies. Lucas Wassmer soulfully harmonizes with her on “Prove Me Crazy”, as T.W.I.N. soon comes in rapping an emotional perspective on how one’s mindset is altered when away from loved ones. With help from Katie Butler, Brookhart’s own vocals sustain “Carrie”. While Leila XY and Butler close out the EP on the contemplative title track. As a composer, arranger, and player, Brookhart’s musical abilities are clearly evident but his ability to weave various genres, voices, and ingredients into a cohesive palette make him an even more exciting producer. 

As current situations have made many artists have to drastically change their process, Brookhart and his compatriots were already creating and collaborating virtually. “Flight Risk” came together using the relatively new music streaming platform Quadio, which connects nationwide college students and facilitates artistic collaboration. All the features are university students, and in true college fashion the majority of the EP was written between 11:00 pm and 4:00 am. Polished mixing and mastering from Jamison McMackin, working under the name Glacier City Sound, majorly assist the contemporary and intentional feel, while cover art from Leah Bury (@leah.creative) grounds the work in a tranquil charm. 

 

  Overall, Brookhart’s debut finds itself snuggled somewhere in between Social House, Maggie Rogers, and Frank Ocean. As all these components come together, all I can say is...my compliments to the chef! Stream “Flight Risk” on all your favorite streaming platforms! 

-Hayden Steckel

 

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The Lagoons Drop Soul Soothing Single “So Did I”

 

 

The Lagoons, consisting of brothers Ryan and Joey Selan, put out a peaceful new single “So Did I” on June 5th. The duo craft a romantic track that’s perfect for a relaxing summer day by the pool or an introspective walk in the park. The song floats in your ears like a breeze pushed by the comfort of a devoted lover

  

Airy synths and an acoustic guitar open the track as punchy drum samples and calming vocals begin to fill out the arrangement. Lead vocalist Joey sings “Your mama thinks that you’re so divine. So do I, so do I”, eventually concluding with “She knew the day would come when you were mine. I thought she’d cry, instead she smiled and so did I.” This comparison between maternal love and the love between significant others is both bold and heartwarming. After the first verse, the composition moves into full swing with lush synth pads, a soaring saxophone, detailed percussion, and a fully unravelled drumbeat.  

 

Along with the track, The Lagoons put out a ‘making of’ video showing the intricacies of their production style. Their home studio is shown littered with guitars, synthesizers, samplers, and microphones, practically everything someone would need to professionally produce a track! It’s insightful seeing the brothers in their element as both multi-instrumentalists are able to show off their talents. 

 

This song preludes The Lagoons’ debut LP Midnight Afternoon coming out on June 23rd. It will surely be as breezy and buoyant as “So Did I”. Also catch their virtual album release party on June 25th.

- Hayden Steckel

 

 

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NightFire Offers an Escape on New Single "Cave of Dreams"

 

As the pandemic persists and continues to pervade our lives with fear and anxiety, the next renaissance of artistry is slowly fomenting. Artists and creatives are leveraging their quarantine as a solitudinous period to make art - to make something. 

 

The pulsating rhythm of NightFire's new single,Cave of Dreams,” recalibrates and validates ones senses. NightFire released her new single as the first track of her latest EP, which is scheduled to be released sometime this fall. A self-produced singer, songwriter out of Houston, TX, Nightfire has been gaining momentum with recent music releases that have become to garner attention. The EP itself was produced before life crystalized under quarantine, but her lyrics provide a beacon in this dark, restless time. For some of us during lockdown, it may feel like we are in, “dreams, a cave of dreams.” Energy feels more potent lately, dreams are more vivid, interactions have become more sacred. If anything can happen overnight, NightFire asks 'Which of your wildest dreams are you bringing into a reality?' 

 

It's not difficult to lose yourself in the bombinating rhythm of "Cave of Dreams". Sweet like a siren, NightFire sings, “Cast your loving spell now….they can’t find us down here because they don’t know how." It's in this private cave, which includes the dreams that light you up, that makes you feel most authentic, and allows you to leave behind what no longer serves you. NightFire’s hypnotic voice will protect you as you descend deeper and deeper into your subconscious. 

 

-Mel Green


 

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Waldo Witt Hits His Stride on New EP

 

  Waldo Witt’s new EP, Inner Paths, beckons listeners to fully immerse themselves in the singer/producer’s psyche. The North Carolinian fuses together synth-pop, psych rock, and R&B to create groovy soundscapes that illicite introspection. It’s easy to get lost in the sauce of the dense arrangements he crafts, but the vocal melodies reach out and guide you back down his path. Recording his last record from his van, Inner Paths also allows Witt to use the studio as an instrument, as intricate production, mixing, and processing seamlessly eb and flow with the palette of a cunning professional.  

 

The five track EP takes the listeners on a fully formed journey of peaks and valleys, expressing a wide range of emotion. It is able to slide right into the rare pocket of stasis between adhering to pop music conventions and simultaneously breaking down those conventions with electronic experimentation. The opening track “For The First Time”, builds a groove into a multi-layered vocal release, swirling from ear to ear. The hooks from “Remember To Forget” and “Umstead Park” are undeniably catchy, while the title track could be heard at the club and “Lost On The Highway” could have been a hidden gem on The Breakfast Club soundtrack. 

 

Overall, Inner Paths carves out the middle ground between Toro y Moi and Peter Gabriel, sentimentally nodding to the 80’s whilst sprinting past them into the world of contemporary production. With this release, Witt is able to actualize what Kevin Parker was trying (emphasis on trying) to do with the last Tame Impala album. The detailed synthesis and drum sequences also hearken back to groups like Yellow Magic Orchestra. One of the most disappointing things about this EP is that it may be a while before these songs can be performed, which is a shame, because they are rife for live experimentation. 

 

-Hayden Steckel


 

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Blood Surge Forward with Debut EP

 

As the world moves closer and closer to chaos and disarray, Blood’s new EP entitled Why Wait Till ‘55, We Might Not Even Be Alive has the energy to match it. The group meanders through genres as a bundle of nomads looking for the brighter future that they know exist. From dense permeating tension to bare-bone melodic release to swift electric motion, the band seems to drive forward as one entity. Blood strikes the equilibrium between the harsh distortion of a rock band and the glistening horns and dynamics of a big jazz band, tranquil 7th chords and exploding drums, and the poetically vulnerable lyrics of a seasoned folk songwriter and the manic screaming delivery of a post-punk ruffian. 

 

Recorded by Erik Wofford at Cacophony Recorders, the four track EP opens with “Intro”, which is not only the perfect preface to the EP, but to the band as a whole. It’s a slow-building descent into madness with layered, unravelling instrumentation paired with cryptic, culturally relevant lyrics reflecting criticisms of masculinity and class struggle. Tracks two and three each display one half of the group’s aptly self-described genre of “jazz-punk”, “Primitive Priest” being the high energy punk and “Genesis” being the more laid back jazz. The closer “Progeny of the Agency” is the longest track and only leaves the listener wanting more. 

The band originated from frontman Tim O’Brien, who fairly quickly was able to amass his team of cohorts. The current lineup consists of bassist Nino Soberon, drummer Tyler Wolff, trumpeter Zach Malett, keyboardist Caleb Parker, guitarist brothers Ben and Julian McCamman-McGinnis, and O’Brien on lead vocals. After a couple of years of local shows, an east coast tour, and opening for some of punk’s biggest names, Blood's debut surges forward, maintaining their position as one of Austin’s coolest bands. 

 

-Hayden Steckel

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