Hush Empire – Eyes Closed
If the Arctic Monkeys’ plethora of chart success of their album AM taught modern bands anything is how to camouflage their indie-rock sounds. Next to a convincing electro-groove and with the right set of vocals, even the fuzziest of guitar sounds can get on the radio. It does not always work, but, if tales of mansions plated with gold are to be believed, it is worth the trouble of trying.
Bands like Hush Empire, or their predecessors the Black Keys, may talk all they like about their loyalty to the blues and garage rock. But, in a pleasant, groovy, danceable way, their road to success leads in and out of the indie-disco floors. This is rhythm and blues made on computers, with guitar frosting.
For Hush Empire on Eyes Closed, just as in the days of the groove-rock greats, the vocals are a percussion element. The guitars as well. This is a tune determined not to leave anyone in the house sitting in their seat, staring at their shoes.
Cal Rifkin – Break My Heart
Poor jazz aficionados. First, there was rock n’ roll stealing the youth away from learning the complicated secrets of jazz. Now, its lo-fi bedroom pop getting kids with, otherwise, excellent potential for learning scales, polithyms and add 9 chords, to play fun, silly songs.
Cal Rifkin sounds like that kind of group. They’re the potential honour-students who smoke weed with the burnouts for a reason that nobody can quite explain. Their playing and writing are effortless. In fact, it looks and sounds like it comes suspiciously, too easy for them.
Indie-pop is the new slacker trend of the generation and Cal Rifkin do their very best to play up to these standards. However, it is clear and easy to observe, that the musicians are simplifying their parts here. Out of fear of not having their fans think they’re a jazz band? Perhaps. If they are, then it goes to prove that jazz is the new indie. And, besides, Cal Rifkin are the rare group that seem to be able to play whatever kind of musical style that they want.