We’ve reviewed and featured West Of House before and these guys do not disappoint. With 2021 in full force nearing the end of summer, the alt-rockers have put out a subsequent album release that surprised just about everyone that knows them, and intrigued a plethora of new listeners as well. And that release is their newest album ‘Drown The Wind’, which is easily their best effort to date that really brings their signature sound right to the forefront.
Comprised of 11 anthemic and atmospheric songs, ‘Drown The Wind’ is an alt-rock album that encompasses the band’s artistic merit while combining crucial elements from 90s industry heavyweights like REM, Coldplay and Oasis. Anchor single “Entwined” is an excellent example of this and really delivers the production and performance parallels that set the tone for the rest of the album. The song begins with some dynamically executed time signatures, showcasing the band’s driving rhythm section and dueling guitars that bring out the brilliance of the well-written vocal melodies. It’s a very multi layered mix that shines a light on each band member where you can easily hear each of their individual contributions into one precise unit. Another anchor track on this record is “Fall Down”, featuring a glistening mandolin intro that is anthemic, melodic and insatiably versatile. This melody-driven track really showcases the high-range vocals that once again really encapsulate into melody choices that are very next-level. The song is hauntingly ominous, ambient and really adds a layer of magic to the album that puts the band at the top of their game. This is a song that sustains a standout all on its own and will easily be one that people will be talking about.
One more track that needs mentioning is “Where To Begin”, another atmospheric tune with visceral synth parts that implement alongside the chord progressions and add a layer of detail that is crucial and effective. This one is a little more rhythmic and has climactic measures that really serve up a wholesomeness not heard often with independent artists. This track also embraces melodic structures like the previous song, but also diligently blends more atmospheric guitar swells and smooth bass lines. This will easily be a favorite on the album right alongside the sensibility we heard with “Fall Down”. Overall, West Of House have really set the bar higher for themselves and continue to manifest magically with every release. You can hear the evolution of their own signature sound but still get a dose of nostalgia from great callbacks to the 90s alt-rock sound that we’ve come to know and love over many years. ‘Drown The Wind’ from start to finish is brilliantly crafted, melodically visceral and really explores the depths of combining originality and familiarity. You can get your copy of the album now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms.
Denver’s Cory M. Wells began hitting the ground running in the music realm during his early teenage years, diligently mastering his craft in guitar, piano and violin as his weapons of choice. And soon enough, he began writing his own material and also formed his well-known rock outfit Falling Through April. But on top of his band efforts at the time, Wells in 2016 officially launched his solo career and quickly began taking the scene by storm. At age 17 he won the prestigious “Queen City Idol” competition and also began working alongside prominent producers like Rene Moore (Michael Jackson, Jay-Z) as well as performing opening slots for industry heavyweights like Third Eye Blind and many others. Now in 2021, Cory M. Wells has established a promising career for himself after several successful releases, including his track “Change Of Heart” and his most recent single “The River”, two diligently crafted tunes with distinctive flavors that showcase two very effective angles of Cory’s signature sound.
“Change Of Heart” is very atmospheric with multi layered drums, blissful acoustic guitar swells and ambient keyboard leads that tie the anchor melodies together. Cory’s mid-to-high range voice is right out in the forefront of the mix and really delivers passionate measures of melody. His performance value parallels the production value almost perfectly and really captures his biggest strengths as a songwriter and performer. This song serves up quite the visceral journey and you will be instantly impressed with it upon first listen. Which brings us to Cory’s most recent single “The River”, a piano-based anthem that captures the same musical essence as his previous track but also brings a more traditional flavor to the table. This beautiful song really shines light on Cory’s writing ability and really delves deep into his vocal melody structures. This track will easily get stuck in your head, but it isn’t some kind of pretentious Pop sensibility or one-trick method, this song delivers solid hooks that bring out every melodic measure from start to finish. It’s performed with a very natural approach, impressively embracing more traditional production methods as opposed to today’s tendency to have producers throw in overproduced studio theatrics. “The River” truly captures Cory M. Wells’ authenticity and his overall artistic merit – bound to leave a strong impression on anyone who comes into contact with this single.
Both singles are very strong releases that really deliver solid performances from Cory M. Wells’ craft. If this is your first time hearing him, then it definitely won’t be your last either. You can find both singles now on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and several other digital music streaming platforms.
Emerging from the Minneapolis music scene in Minnesota, Alt-Folk recording artist Craig Ball began hitting the ground running in the music world over 20 years ago when he began writing songs and playing local shows. Known for his distinctively catchy signature sound, Craig garnered an insatiable buzz and critical acclaim with his debut single “Kind Things” last year. This year in 2021, he has followed up that single with his debut EP ‘Content In Bed’, a 6-track record of anthemic folk tunes with the wittiness, charm and catchiness that makes Craig Ball the uniquely versatile artist that he is today.
This is an excellent debut EP that really shines a light on several crucial musicianship factors. Craig Ball displays a passionate craft on each song and really plays his heart out in a way where the listener can resonate with the messages he conveys through the power of his music. Opening title track “Content In Bed” and follow up track “I Can’t Quit” brilliantly open this record with anthemic goodness that showcases Craig’s gifted songwriting structures and story-telling lyrics. Both songs have smooth acoustic guitar progressions that parallel beautifully with Craig’s mid-range vocal melodies, delivering a uniquely crisp Alt-Folk flavor in his very own multifaceted style. He has a signature sound that is completely in his own realm, but also diligently balances originality and familiarity in a way that is fresh yet still identifiable. He performs with that classic Folk aura but still manages to implement a modern sensibility that can captivate a younger crowd as well.
Another highlight on this EP is the song “Good On You”. A more upbeat anthem that has a Bad Moon Rising vibe with additional flavors and textures reminiscent of other industry heavyweights like Ireland’s Flogging Molly. This upbeat number is one of the most catchy of the EP and will easily become a favorite from this record. “Everything looks good on you” will definitely stick in your head! One more crucial highlight on this EP is the atmospheric and ambient “All The Way To Mars”. A more innovative track on the record with beautiful piano flutters and a spacey keyboard lead that really sets a modern tone on this song. It’s another additional angle to Craig’s signature sound that showcases his talent in an effective way, just like the other songs on this record. Overall, ‘Content In Bed’ is an EP of classic folk songs that will inspire the ear, soothe the soul and entice you to dive deeper into Craig Ball’s career and subsequent releases. His brilliantly crafted sound has staying power that will satisfy any fan of the folk genre and will easily become one of your favorites in 2021. The EP is available now on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes and several other digital music streaming platforms. You’ll be more than glad you gave this record a spin.