Web Beat: Liver Down the River, Sleep Academy, Charles Arthur, Metafonics, Pan Astral and On Repeat

Published on: June 12th, 2015

Yellow Scene prides itself on being hyper-local, and that includes music. We want to make sure that as many local bands, DJs, MCs, etc as possible get the press that they deserve, so Web Beat will be a weekly online column going forward. Every week, we’ll check into Bandcamp, Soundcloud, and whatever else we can find, and listen to the latest tunes from local artists. If you have hints and tips for us, email editorial@yellowscene.com.Y

Yes, Durango checks in! The six-piece bluegrass ensemble Liver Down the River presents “Shot ‘O ‘Booze” which starts where many a bluegrass jam usually does: furious strumming at an even more furious pace. But, the turn comes quick and surprisingly offers a lot more depth to the recording once the energy dissipates and cool harmonizing sounds take focus. It’s not long before the lazy bridge gives way to killer solos and a truly strong finish in traditional bluegrass fashion. The Liver Down the River EP features a total of five tracks and is set to release later this month; it’s definetely one to watch for.

Self-proclaimed “Doom-Pop / Power-Slop Pioneers” Sleep Academy hail from Colorado Springs with their newly-released EP titled Something Miserable. “Our Photograph” is the first of six songs on the album, and is equal parts high-octane power rock and emotionally-driven alt rock with special attention paid to vocal production. Across the rest of the EP there really is a lot of variation on the formula Sleep Academy have put together, but with stylistic elements which truly brand each song within the confines of the Sleep Academy sound. It’s clear, concise, fun and meaningful – a recipe which comes together into this solid artistic offering without a hitch.

Denver’s Charles Arthur has created something simply undefinable with “Secret”. I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s start with this: the track is absurdly good. How the energy builds, how Charles effortlessly weaves his voice into all stages of music, how the lyrics are deep and meaningful while still being vague and personal… all these and more are reasons why this song needs to be experienced. There truly are no words, the depth and execution are almost beyond critique and the news gets better with the artist’s online description “Just getting started, so stay tuned.” “Secret” leaves a lingering feeling that it wasn’t enough; that you want more. That’s the mark of true musical genius.

Nothing entertains quite like the “genre smashers” of indie outfits which have been taking over the music industry, enter Metafonics. With influence from hip hop, rock, blues, funk, soul and more “Bumble” marries cool background tracks with a myriad of vocal treatments ranging from gospel-inspired to raw rap. Poetically, “Bumble” deals with some pretty heavy topics as shown through the eyes of an abused, impoverished and disheartened woman. Topics touch on spousal and familial abuse, drug addition and the general tired feel which comes alongside years of hardship. What’s most striking about the story here is that as each section of the struggle really does have endings, Metafonics focuses on the cascading effects of issues and how the cycle will endlessly perpetuate itself if left unchecked.

It’s as if The Eagles are alive and well within Pan Astral’s newest release “When Summer Comes”. There’s definitely a modern twist on the sound, but the song is essentially summer personified and begs to be the backdrop of a cool mountain drive or a trip the pool. What’s especially effective are the textured layers which build over the course of the track; Pan Astral successfully builds off the more simplistic summer sound to produce a real, full-featured indie tune. The lyrics are simple, and as such they match up well with what at the heart is a stripped-down ode to summer’s simple life.

Denver-based On Repeat has started taking preorders for their upcoming release of The Mighty Unkind and has teased two of the five total tracks online. The first track on the release, “Fever to Cure” features the duo in a high-energy garage band format with a vocal treatment which is one part Cake, and one part something completely different. While the production seems a little rough around the edges, all the good stuff is still there and the band definitely seems like an experience best served live. On Repeat is on the right track with this one, and the final product available on cassette, CD, or online should continue that trend when it’s released in late July. As a bonus, listen to “All We Know” and you’ll really start to see the versatility these guys bring to the table.

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