This month I have three EPs that I want to cover, and I like them all equally well. There is some spread as far as genre is concerned, too, from prog rock to art pop/rock to electronic. I hope you find something to like.
Head With Wings is a Connecticut-based band that I feel runs under the radar most of the time. The band includes Andrew Testa on drums, Brandon Cousino and Mike Short on guitars, Steve Hill on bass, and Joshua Corum on vocals. Their sound is a mix of alternative rock, prog rock, and maybe even a little 00s emo. They have the wailing emotions of the latter, the grunginess of alternative, and the complexity of prog.
With this three-song EP, Comfort in Illusion, the band takes their music to another level, I think. The songs are warm, per the usual, but more complicated and interesting, even. Their melodies are on point, too. “Of Uncertainty” throws in a dash of cinema, but guitars and vocal harmonies rule the day here. “Contemplating the Loop” is a rock solid track with plenty of passion. And “In a House Without Clocks” has a great build and a satisfying climax.
One thing that sets this EP apart is its dual release. You can get the 3-track version, or instead get the extended release with instrumental versions and also remixes done by Vikram Shankar of Redemption/Lux Terminus/Silent Skies. These remixes are less a rehash, and more of an evocative instrumental reinterpretation of each track in Vikram’s signature ambient, piano-led style. I really like these versions, and I really like the EP overall.
I first came across California’s Life in 24 Frames with their third album CTRL+Z. That was all the way back in 2017, but they are finally back with a three-song EP called The Dark Triad. The band includes Kris Adams on vocals and guitar, Jason Brown on bass and keys, Joey Strouth on drums, and Tony Caldron and Richie Smith on guitar.
I love this band’s sound. I remember being interested in the first place because the promo likened them to Pink Floyd meets The Beach Boys, and I can certainly hear that. Their music is light, melodious, gentle, and rich. I love the fleeting keyboard and electronic accents, but their unquenchable ability to write tight choruses and melodies is what really makes them standout for me.
This EP also has an interesting premise, each track being based on a dark psychological trait, namely Machiavellianism, narcissism, and psychopathy. There is certainly an air of psychedelia and shadow in each track, so I think the band accomplished what they wanted to do here.
And each of the songs is fantastic, too. “TrippSitter” sees the band slightly more “hard rock” than normal, and those luscious bass lines, energetic beats, and perfect vocal lines sell the experience immediately. “Sorry, But…” is a slower, more subtle track with colorful keys and a gorgeous hovering ambience. It is a beautiful song, certainly. Lastly, “How to Fight a Lie” ends the EP with a drifting, lonely-sounding track that feels hushed. At first, I thought it was building to a climactic finish, but the song floats and perpetuates in what I ultimately find to be a nourishing, temperate way. Overall, this EP is a real gem, and I hope people give it a try.
Michał Wojtas is the guitarist, vocalist, and writer behind one of my favorite Polish bands, Amarok. He, however, also dabbles in writing soundtracks, specifically for collaborations with James Wilton Dance. They worked together on Amarok’s The Storm, which was mostly instrumental music for a dance by that same name, and Michał is at it again with iRobot.
This EP has two songs, and it sounds quite different than Michał’s previous works. It is progressive electronic in nature, with thrilling and satisfying loops and song structures. You will certainly hear cyberpunk underpinnings, and so the overall effect is nostalgic for my favorite films and games of that genre.
“Learning Mode” is the opener, and what a song it is. This sweeping, cinematic, and vast piece is such a fantastic ride, and the illustrious final minutes are exhilarating. “Consciousness Installed” is an unorthodox track, and I haven’t really heard anything else like it. This track contains a robotic voiceover that compares the android to a real human, and it concludes that, because it is better in every way, it is superior at being human. It is a jarring piece, I will admit, and the music that goes along with the voiceover is just as sweeping and filmic as the first song. In the end, my only problem with this EP is that I want more. It leaves me hanging, honestly, but makes me what to go listen to the Deus Ex score or something similar.
Find Head With Wings online:
Find Life in 24 Frames online:
Find Michał Wojtas online: