Hello everyone, and welcome once again to my column Music Discoveries. Let me say that this time we have 4 huge albums, and probably it’s going to be one of the best discoveries since the beginning of the blog. So, enjoy the reading…and the listening, of course!
Pocket Size Universe – Still Life (Italy, 2015)
It’s always a good surprise when you discover a young new band, and when this band turns out to be impressive it’s even more exciting. I’m talking about Pocket Size Universe (from Italy) and their debut EP Still Life. This power duo from Modena has unleashed three outstanding tracks. Honestly I think that it couldn’t be a better way to introduce themselves to the music “world”. In fact Still Life sounds technical, cool, powerful and well-blended. I don’t know how to describe the uniqueness of this record, probably to make you understand just a little what we’re talking about I’d say that is a kinda mixture of fusion and prog metal. The only weakness I was able to find in this one is the lack of real “epic” melody. You know, the one that stays stuck in your head for days. Standout track: it’s hard to choose, but I’d pick Portrait. Why? Because it’s my favourite one…isn’t it enough! 😉
Evergreen Refuge – Earthborn (USA, 2015)
Introspective album alert! Indeed it is. Earthborn is a single-track album; a lonely, 45 minutes long, journey to discover the undisclosed soul of the forest. A long epic, all-acoustic, composition crafted by Evergreen. This work starts with a slow and “warm” synth crescendo which it slowly turns into a progression of several acoustic guitar riffs, filled with mandolins melodies. Everything is delivered and held together by a slow and perpetual beat of a drum. Definitely an album you have to FEEL instead of hear…
Addaura – …and the Lamps Expire (USA, 2015)
Addaura quickly became a “leader band” in this strange black metal environment that lays in the north-west of the USA. This one is just the 2nd official release they put out so far, but man, they hit very hard. The music, in my opinion, is very (and something even too much) inspired by Wolves In The Throne Room but they had a more, let’s say, heavy approach to their compositions and also the screaming style is very exasperated and suffering, which is good, of course. I think that if they did good with their first full length, with this EP they kinda elevated themselves. Engaging and embracing …and the Lamps Expire could be definitely become a masterpiece of today’s black metal. Standout track: The Sun Shines Today Also (On the Oaks of that Bird Hill) a massive title for an epic track. The clean-acoustic bridge (sustained by claps and stomps) blows me away every time.
The Stray Birds – Best Medicine (USA, 2014)
One day at work I got caught by the super-catchy title track listening to it on Spotify and “Well, well, well all I see is all I tell…” poof! It’s stuck in my brain. Seriously I’m listening to a lot of folk/bluegrass records in these days but this one hit me! This acoustic trio from Pennsylvania has a great potential, a good taste for nice melodies and definitely a great way to mix bluegrass with American folk music. We find here 12 songs to cherish and enjoy. For me it has been very difficult to find a weak song amongst the others…probably there’s none, actually. Anyway my stand-out tracks (and yes, it’s plural) are: Best Medicine, San Antonio and Who’s Gonna Shoe. Lately I’ve been quite in harmony with this last one. But really, the nicest thing about this record is that every time you listen to it you have a new favourite song, and every time you find a detail that you didn’t notice the time before…even if the overall album stays quite “simple” and catchy. What else to say…definitely recommended.