garb – life-alert
Genre: Slowcore, Emo, Dream Pop
Similar artists: waveform*, Milly, spirit of the beehive, Goon, Ridgeway, Roseville, Crisman, Prize Horse
The places where you learn to love music will determine the way in which you’ll appreciate music in the future. Most people learn to enjoy music from in front of their radio, their television set, or standing at the mercy of the modern streaming services. There’s a sound and aesthetic that comes along with these that will be difficult to shake.
There are others, more fortunate ones, that learn to appreciate music from live shows. The experience gives these people an understanding of the need for artists to constantly distort themselves and perform for their audiences. Life’s a stage, and these people have sat beside it a lot.
Then there is an even smaller minority who have learned their appreciation from spending a lot of time in and around rehearsal rooms. I blundered chord, or sped-up tempo will never sound the same to those kinds of people. Just the same, a band that can fully lock into a tight groove will end up sounding like a glorious symphony. garb’s life-alert is a glorious symphony of guitar rock minimalism. This sounds like a group that’s rehearsed their emotional, personal songs with the discipline that Olympic athletes are required to embrace. It’s Eddie van Halen without the double-tapping or the glitter.
Maff – Walking On Fire
Genre: Post-Punk, Shoegaze, Alternative Rock
Similar artists: Editors, Bob Mould, Husker Du, Pavement, Dinosaur Jr, Slowdive
A lot of makes up alternative rock is a never-ending process of reassembling. The greatest of songwriters belonging to this genre are the ones that know where to look for beauty among the trash. Then, just like junkyard artists creating a beautiful sculpture from scrap, their task is to put it all together.
The goal of all of this is also ambitious. Once the glue has dried and the construction can be admired, it should say more about the artist that’s made it than about the pieces that out of which it was made. Alternative rock is another term for recycling.
This is what Chile’s Maff does excellently on Walking on Fire. The group takes sparse, striking elements from their favourite indie and alt-rock artists. However, once those are all assembled into position they tell the full story of the songwriter. Maff crafts a pleasing, high-swinging, anthemic sound here.