Metal is full of creative voices. In fact it’s filled with some of the most creative and innovative voices of the generation. Some voices however, carry an extra context. This post is about one of Dan Tompkins’ several projects. You may know him from a little band called Tesseract, or perhaps Skyharbor was more your flavor. It kind of goes without saying that Dan is a obscenely talented and an extremely dynamic vocalist. In particular he performed in largely over looked dream rock band called Absent Hearts and it’s beautiful.
Their debut album August Earth is today’s cut. It’s the product of Dan’s vocals and multi-instrumentalist Scott Kay collaboration. If I we’re to categorize Scott’s instrumentals, it would come across as a mixture of folk music and post-rock. Scott plucks away at his acoustic and electric guitars and it just seems like none of the notes end, they just flow into each other seamlessly, and If you were a fan of Justin Gosnell’s Vestacension then August Earth is the long awaited successor to their work. Sharing similarities in song structure and tone, both bands have reached an uplifting dream rock state, however the comparison doesn’t change the fact that Dan is one of the most talented vocalists of our time. His vocals are evocative and completely pitch perfect.
For example, on the track ‘The Essence Between Us‘, Dan spends the former half of the song developing a whispery and calm vocal line into a powerful and emotional wail. You can almost hear him holding back tears at the climax and right when he is about to snap, his voice goes full falsetto giving way to an ambient outro which allows his performance to really sink in. It’s a remarkable listen through and through and moments like that are plentiful throughout the album. I provided a link to their track ‘Arctic‘ below to give you a taste of album, but you can stream the whole thing on Bandcamp. Enjoy and let us know what you think in the comments section.
Indie-rock is a pretty difficult genre to pin-point, because like djent there are two very strong opinionated sides; one shouting that it’s not a real genre, and that indie just stands for independant (which is a…decent observation), and the other claiming that there is a definitive style of lo-fi, soulful rock music that was popularized in the 70’s and 80’s that harbored that label of “indie” rock, and the alternative and experimental sounds that grew from that are what makes up the modern indie scene. I don’t think many people would argue that what people widely consider as indie rock doesn’t have a distinct sound, so in the end, like with the debate over djent, the indie rock debate is one of semantics (for the record, it’s progressive groove metal, not “djent”).
Which brings me to The Neighbourhood, a brilliantly seductive young indie rock band that has swept me off my feet. Hailing from California, but sporting a very British-throwback sound, this is another band that has been getting a serious amount of praise from the indie scene, and they fucking deserve it. But why? With only one EP to stand on, what makes this band so popular all of sudden, and why should you even be reading about them? Oh you naive little thing, come and let me educate you.
Like the other 2012 breakthrough artist that they are most often compared to, Lana Del Rey, The Neighbourhood draw influences from a collection of various styles, spanning the gamut from R&B, hip-hop, electronic, and pop rock. But whereas the former often comes off sounding stale and repetitive, with an over-abundance of lengthy string flourishes, each and every song on The Neighbourhood’s debut EP, I’m Sorry, bears its own hefty weight of sonic pleasure. With a production style that deceives the listener into thinking it’s of a lo-fi nature, when in reality it’s actually quite pristine, I’m Sorry sports a beautifully rough around the edges approach, and nice sections of humming drone piercing the listeners ear for a few seconds here and there, I’m Sorry is a perfect record for every occasion. Every chord, every note and every instrument is audible and sounds wonderfully somber.
Other immediate comparisons could draw to the more commercial sounds of Maroon 5, or the wonderfully addictive Foster the People, but The Neighbourhood is a much more intimate and personal package, that will undoubtedly draw listeners in for listen after listen. I’ve picked the two singles off of the band’s debut EP for you to listen to below. My personal favorite is ‘Female Robbery’ (the official video has a weird spoken word intro that isn’t on the actual song, so don’t be turned off by that), but both have their own distinct charm and rhythm that has been quite hard to get out of my head. I hope you dig.