Mr. Kite (Jacob Beckwith) – Modern Sonata
Genre: Post-grunge, Indie Rock, Alternative Rock
It’s strange how this business of making rock hits and getting rich goes. People who knew Kurt Cobain often recall how he would complain about the clean production of Nevermind. In spite of fearing he’d alienated his once devoted punk-rock following, he did not oppose cleaning up the production for the main singles of In Utero.
Pearl Jam’s Ten sold in immense quantities which, almost immediately, sent the band retreating. Stone Gossard, the man responsible for many of the classic-rock-influenced ditties, of the band’s debut was all but sidelined. The group next charged fearlessly into experimental territory.
Neither of those bands, frankly, made a record as good as their poppiest effort. Grunge was, at its best, pop-punk with grit. This is what Jacob Beckwith of Mr. Kite seems to understand. Modern Sonata is perfectly calibrated to hit the classic alt-rock dynamics, to rock the grunge vocal tone, and to not feel out of place on a compilation of 90s-inspired rock. These are all qualities mind you when executed competently as is, certainly, the case here.
Ian Huschle – Toe
Genre: 90s Rock, Lo-fi Rock, Garage Rock
Rock music has many poets of doom, but few who truly sound as if they’ve decided that the world doesn’t really have much to offer them. Like Zen monks who’ve woken up to the realization that material wealth is not their goal, these people have also accrued true wisdom. Unlike them, you tend to worry for the well-being of these all too sensible souls.
The likes of Mark Linkous or Elliott Smith, the kind of artists that by the sound of it have influenced Ian Huschle’s musical vision, are musicians who built tremendously powerful and long-lasting relationships with their audiences. They did not, however, produce the kind of work that people enjoy while having a few pints, or relaxing in their easy chairs.
This is the kind of music to which you can sigh along, rhythmically preferrably. And, this is not a bad thing. As most texts of classic philosophy tell us that sadness is of greater worth than happiness, Ian Huschle’s Toe, an ode to life’s little losses, puts things into perspective like a nagging friend reminding you to turn early on a Saturday night.
Toe is like a walk through a graveyard. It’s not much of a stroll, but, most certainly you’ll leave the premises with a greater appreciation of life.