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Ty Richards – Zillion

Zillion by Ty Richards is a well-executed Rock record with a focus on the theme of space. The album starts of strong with the song Spaceman that opens with a trippy accelerating synth line that drops into a head-nodding grove. Then the lead guitar comes in with a very bright and distorted tone. The vocals come in very airy and smooth and the lyrics introduce the theme of space with the chorus repeating, “You’re a Spaceman waking up a zillion miles away”. As the song progresses the synth builds back up creating a thicker atmosphere and continues building until the climax of the song were there are cool abrupt cut outs that almost sound like a record skipping but are rhythmic and very attention grabbing.

The second song, Shoulda Coulda Woulda, features a more prominent vocal and more driving drum beat. The groove between the bass and drums is rock solid and the bass tone is great. The guitar tone is straight garage rock and sounds right out of the 70’s. Overall the song evokes the feeling of being on a psychedelic space beach and this is pretty much the feeling of the whole album.

Uncle Ben has a bluesier feel than the previous tracks, with straightforward lyrics and then breaks into an unexpected chorus of ahh’s. The vocals during the chorus can be slightly annoying but it quickly moves back into the funky blues feel of the verse and ends with a funny outro.

Kiss With the Lights Out continues on with great bass tone that locks in just right with drums. The guitar tone is consistent through the album at this point but it is a great crunchy tone that doesn’t get old. The vocal hook in the chorus is one of the strongest in the album. The synth is also reintroduced here which helps maintain interest.

Naked Girls is the first song on the album whose lyrics really jump out at you as it starts out with the repetition of the title. The synth design is really good in this one it is a nice change of pace to have a synth driven song. On first listen the lyrics are comical but after repeated listens they become less entertaining and reveal themselves as some of the weakest on the album, still the humor is refreshing when so often indie rock can take itself to seriously.

You Are A Star is another keyboard driven song and my favorite of the album. It has the mellowest vibe of all the tracks and the smoothest vocal. After this point the album returns to the space beach vibe and is mostly guitar driven with three strong tracks even if none of them particularly stand out or are occasionally weighed down with annoying backing vocals.  The closing track is another highlight and features the best guitar tone on the album. When the solo comes in it sounds like a distorted needle scratching melodically.

Zillion is solid album without any real duds and several highlights including the opener and closer, which helps make for a memorable listen. The space theme is definitely audible in the timbres of the guitars and vocals and in the incorporation of synths even if it isn’t concrete in the lyrics throughout. There is nice ebb and flow between the tracks in terms of style, tempo, arrangements and tone. The whole record is locked down by great bass tones. Overall it is very reminiscent of 70’s rock and will surely be enjoyed by fans of The Black Keys and Tame Impala.

By: Brandon McKie

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Thundercat – Drunk

Stephen Bruner a.k.a Thundercat is one of the hottest producers in the field of R&B with collaborations with notable artists such as Erykah Badu and Kendrick Lamar. However while Thundercat works behind the scene for many predominant names, his personal repertoire of albums has recently grown by one. “Drunk” is Cat’s 4th studio album and likely his biggest commercial hit yet with strong features from Kenny Loggins, Michael McDonald, Kendrick Lamar, and Wiz Khalifa.

Thundercat’s musical style becomes apparent from early in the album; as he layers smooth, drawn out bass lines with low tempo, hip-hop beats. However his skill as a bassist is proven in the variation of sounds from extremely groovy funk tunes to laid back bedroom vibes. One will also notice quite suddenly his lack of seriousness. In the second song of the album, “Captain Stupido” Thundercat playfully jaunts about his drunken routine, “I feel weird, comb your beard, brush your teeth, I feel weird, beat your meat, go to sleep, I think I left my wallet at the club.” In a later track, “Tokyo” Thundercat uses noticeably goofy vocals to discuss his obsession with Japanese culture; everything from anime to seafood. Songs like these give a very parodical While the tracklist runs at 23 songs, it only runs at about an hour with many songs only lasting for one to two minutes a piece.

Thundercat breaks away from the traditional album composition of a shorter tracklist with longer songs for a more experimental approach of sonic variation using similar production styles on multiple songs. Rather than creating a single consistent vibe throughout the album Thundercat develops songs that jump from feeling to feeling where one track might come off as goofy and playful, the next will feel more dark and moody. What I think is most interesting is the literal intoxication of his album’s layout; upon listening one would think about their own night of drinking and the thoughts and emotions that progress through that night.

Drunk is a very appropriate name for this conceptual record. Upon first listen I was a bit thrown off by the helter skelter order of tracks, but as the album develops, Thundercat’s concept became more clear and I was able to enjoy his pristine production and smooth sounds. Great for a laugh, a dance, a cry, and especially a drink.

By: Diego Cardoso

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The Regrettes – Feel Your Feelings Fool!

It is hard to believe that this LA based group of teens, who describe themselves as “babies playing rock n roll”, created such a golden debut album;”Feel Your Feeling Fool!” The Regrettes lead singer, Lydia Night is only 16 and already tearing it up with her brutally honest lyrics and raw 90’s grunge sound.  The Regrettes focus on mature topics such as female empowerment and ending harmful, dead-end relationships. The best part of all of this is they manage to do it in a comical way that hooks you in and make you laugh and sing along. This album represents the views and ideals of our generation, displays the importance of social issues, and ultimately shows the overall push towards less judgment and more love.

A previously released single, “A Living Human Girl” explores the perceived societal flaws of young girls through surf punk electrical guitar riffs and “f*ck you” lyrics. Night even makes fun of herself due to her lack of ladylike traits and rapid change of feelings/emotions. The down to earth vibe is critical to their sound and reminds me of bands such as No Doubt and TACOCAT. It is not shocking that The Regrettes are grabbing a mass amount of attention in the LA music scene.

Tracks like “Hot” and “Ladylike/ WHATTABITCH” show the spunky, I don’t care adolescent vibes that any age indie rock lovers can jam to. Feel Your Feelings Fool is an album that cuts the fluff; it’s about upfront, basic ideals minus the “fake bullshit”. Both tracks prove that simplicity is catchy and relatable.

Similar to Best Coast, The Regrettes have that iconic So-cal, beachy, garage band feel and sound that creates immediate obsession and earns a number 1 spot on your summer playlist. Seriously though, this album rocks.

By: Elizabeth Face

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