Les Bohem Uncovers A Stagnant Darkness In ‘Moved To Duarte’

A map to Duarte, California might as well be a map to another dimension where regrets and grievances live. Perhaps Duarte has something similar to the hum in Taos where it drives some people crazy, or in this case, causes them to hold court with their demons. With Les Bohem’s Moved To Duarte, we find him moving in and out of a mosaic of motifs and life experiences which only he seems capable of mastering. Continue reading

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Is SideWave’s ‘Glass Giant’ Self-Aware?

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Let’s just go ahead and say what SideWave fans have been wanting this release the whole time since 2009, a full-length album to proclaim that SideWave isn’t just another ninetiestolgic trip into the lush.

Maybe it’s a new thing that bands who release their work online will overtime, create album equivalents in short spurts of creativity. The separation between live SideWave fans and those of us who experience them in the matrix, is great where these guys perform songs they haven’t yet released.

Therefore music listeners will be excited for the release of the full-length Glass Giant for different reasons. For those who are looking for an album that fills aural space with sonic sound from wall to wall, then this is the release you’ve been waiting for!

Release is the word I use for these things because I reserve the world album for something you can hold in your hand, before I decide to apply it to something restricted to a download.

I’m going to start loosening up with that to say that this is an album with thoroughly connects from beginning to end kind of like those car rides with friends where you’re blasting an album and anticipate the next track.

That moment happens between the tracks Supersonic and into Sundrop, the same feeling you have when listening to the first two Smashing Pumpkins albums.

Decades ago a good friend of mine and I went to Lollapalooza where I was first exposed to an amazing band named Failure, during their outstanding and still relevant album Fantastic Planet, which I recall with the first track off of this album, Grounded when they tap into the essence of Heliotropic

In the case of Failure, it’s the last song on the album which still blows me away as another dynamic thrown in my direction where that energy is how SideWave starts this album; I’ve always wondered when someone would do that and so they have.

Their second song Lace is a bit of a stumble, a bit of a yawner for me and not the most exciting part of my drift through space, which makes the album seem like it’s starting over again with the third track Supersonic.

The track Honest To God made this bitter atheist wonder if I didn’t get tricked into listening to a Christian rock band before I remember hearing some of the most amazing music I’d ever listened to on Christian radio, years ago. Of course, how can anyone naturally be dismissive of the idea of a deity when adrift among the stars?

While I’m talking about being adrift, if you can imagine, this music is more deserving of being in orbit around large spacial bodies, such as with the catchy and swerve heavy Pines, a personal favorite for the way the bass swings the rest of the song around.
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Glass Giant is confident and yet still remains in the shadow of those bands which came before with tracks like Romance Is Dead where they seem to run out of steam or as mentioned earlier, the poppy but guarded Lace, which is best pick as a single off of this entire album.

I don’t have a problem that they’re likely in the same key through this whole thing. I could solve the problem by listening to the tracks individuality but I like how refreshing some of these tracks are such as Illusion Of Light. The only real weakness here is how vocally timid Phil Golyshko is through many of these songs. It would be good to hear him pull away from the mundane and experiment a bit as it would make for a far more fascinating album.

If you haven’t picked up on this yet, when it comes to this album, my tastes are nostalgically heavy with the deep cuts against the unnecessary comparison to the gaze rockers before them. And if I were to treat this with the respect a full length album deserves, I’m going to say they aren’t quite there yet.

At a certain point the album starts to drone and have no doubt they could go numb during their set. But space rock fans are multi-aware so they’ll certainly lock right in. For the rest of us though, we need a track like Hearts to bring us right back to the principles the nation of Sidewave are founded on.

This could all be a endurance experiment for them and they can just sort through the tracks that stick to familiarize themselves for future albums. But there is no doubt that with the help of Aaron Harris of Pusifer and ISIS who mixed this album, this debut is the album fans have been waiting for.

My Current Playlist

The Tontons (Houston, TX)

Here’s a 1st world problem you’re definitely familiar with. For normal people, it’s when bands you’ve never heard of, peddle themselves through twitter. For extraordinary people like me, it’s when mediocre bands try to follow me. Not for the fact that I’m extraordinary; it’s a problem because they can’t seem to draw their crowd naturally, they have to go by-the-rock-n-roll-marketing-book to promote themselves and the worst thing about it, is that it works.

This band has left an imprint in my subconscious to where I know they exist and it’s just a matter of time before I heard them. If this were a survey and I were asked if I would ever listen to the tontons, I’d certainly check the box that reads most likely. Well, that happened today.

I hate Houston. There’s not a day that goes by I wished it was under a dome. This Houston band is good enough to seize the opportunity to get out of there, but they’re also flawed enough to seem desperate to do so. Again, I come back to the marketing because they’re hitting all the right circuits for mass distribution, and they’re marketing on that pop angle to make it happen but it seems too polished for me to really get into.

The track “Golden” is one of the few that has originality at all but most of the other stuff is forced formula from beginning to end. It’s kind of like they went to write these songs and they thought about the dynamics and first impressions before the melody. That’s desperate.

But I don’t want to give the impression that I hate them or that they’re not salvageable. They’re doing what they have to do to get their thing going and it will serve them well, the sad thing here is that when you look at their promo pics, you can see that Asli Omar has a better chance at going farther than the rest of the band. I’m pretty certain she’s getting talked into doing so or will very soon.

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