Cedar Sparks – Blood in the River
Cedar Sparks makes a dark, poetic sound where each recited syllable is supposed to hit like a percussive instrument. Or is it a torture instrument? Then again, you may have assumed from the title of the song, Blood on the river, that this was unlikely to be the work of a Swedish-disco unit.
No, Cedar Sparks remind me of the two great Howard S. Rowland records, or, more obviously, of Rowland’s early collaborator, Nick Cave. It’s dignified music meant to stir up the aches and sadness of the heart. It’s music about acting cool while believing that all is lost.
This murder ballad benefits from convincing, commanding vocals that are part poetry recitation, part crime confession. The rest of the instrumentation enters in and out of the tune, careful not to leave any rays of sunshine disturb it. The tune is meant to be an experience, an 8-minute one to be precise, but Cedar Sparks are fully capable of keeping audiences interested.
Rosie Wyse – Train
Before grunge transitioned into something much more fashionable and capable of getting on the radio, the genre’s dark, suffocating Sabbathy riffs resembled a bizarre marriage between sludge and punk rock.
Times have changed. Some are still passionate about the grunge stylings and ready to dip their toe into these deep waters. However, for Rosie Wyse, Tony Iommi riffs have been played to death. She instead carves out her own pulsating, hypnotic, gnarled guitar sound.
Train is either a panic attack disguised as a heavy-rocking nursery rhyme or some incredibly skilled method acting. In a music world where angry music is created by people with the same conviction for their work as Subway clerks making sandwiches, Rosie Wyse sounds positively lost in her struggle and earnestly angry.