Big Scary, “The Big Scary Four Seasons”

Big Scary

The Big Scary Four Seasons

Official Website

Release Date : May 17, 2011

Available via iTunes

 

 

 

Indie duo Big Scary (Tom Iansek on guitars and lead vocals, Jo Syme on drums and vocals) latest LP, The Big Scary Four Seasons is a compilation of four previously released EP’s, Spring, Summer, Autumn, and (you guessed it) Winter. If the group were Texan there would be only two EPs, Summer and Winter, but I digress. Concept albums have a tendency for being hit or misses. This one, pun intended, is a hit.

[soundcloud url=”http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/9239578″]

If you’ve read any of my previous album reviews you will notice me stressing the importance for an album to “flow.” Seeing as this is a compilation of four smaller concept pieces some jerkiness should be expected.

The album opens with “Spring,” a soft, sweet, cinematic and simple song. Iansek’s natural vibrato is set loose on the next track, “Hamilton,” a track which is reminiscent of mainstream acts like Coldplay and The Killers. “Gem in the Granite” combines Beatlesque melody with lovely songwriting. Iansek sings “You sent me spinning through the air. You read your books, I’ll read your lips. Gem in the granite, you were from another planet.”

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nldVXDfGF9c[/youtube]

The White Stripes meet Queen on “Tuesday is Rent Day” (video above), another standout track. Iansek and Syme’s duet on “Microwave Pizza” is perhaps one of the most special tracks on the LP. The lyrics mix melancholy and wit. It feels complete and (for lack of a better word or phrase) right. In my opinion, “Thinking about you” is the album’s most successful track. The track has depth and resonates…and works well as the final track before “Deep Freeze,” the albums atmospheric close.

If you are a fan of finely crafted, well executed songs, then Big Scary are worth checking out. The duo are currently in the studio recording their full length debut. Their debut album and U.S. tour dates are planned for 2012.

 

 

 

Bryan Master, “For People Like Us”

Bryan Master

For People Like Us

Bonavox Records

Release Date : March 15, 2011

Available on iTunes

Official Website

Similar Acts : Foo Fighters, Pete Yorn

This morning whilst stirring my sugar blasted coffee I thought to myself, 2011 so far has been a pretty good year for indie music. This trend continues with L.A. (by way of New York) based singer-songwriter Bryan Master, whose third release, For People Like Us, will hit iTunes and select retailers March 15th.

If I were limited to just one adjective to describe this album I would choose “solid.” Singles “Moments Like This” and “Let Me Come In” (featuring indie queen Liz Phair) are sleek and radio/film friendly. Lyrically, “Moments Like This” is poignant with subtle flakes of dark comedy sprinkled in.  Other stand-out tracks include “Karmacide” (an earlier version of this song is available on the album Incommunicado), “Born Out Of The Breakdown,” and “Lost Angeles.” The song “Paddle Out” is also becoming a fast favorite.

Photo by Adam Arnold

Sonically speaking,  the album includes what you would expect from Alternative Rock; lots of guitar and percussion, a piano ballad, and some well placed strings. Master’s voice is both strong and smooth and takes the spotlight on songs “A Pocket Full of Dreams” and “Let Me Come In.”

Master is known for putting on some great live shows, and a quick perusal of his Facebook page will illuminate some Texas connections (he’s shared the stage with both David Garza and Rhett Miller of the Old 97’s). Master’s will be playing a few dates in California in celebration of the album’s release, and hopefully a more lengthy tour will be announced shortly (and if it is, let’s hope there is a stop in Dallas.)