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Langan, Frost & Wane Run the Gamut on New Album

           Folk rock trio Langan, Frost & Wane combine psychedelia and world music elements in their new single, King Laughter. The song shows off melodic acoustic guitar, polished vocal harmonies and exotic percussion sounds. Though they could easily be dubbed as folk-revivalists, the variety of instrumentation and textures opens the door for them to be categorized in many different ways. After listening to King Laughter, you can tell that the trio is rooted in tradition, but it’s clear that they also have found their own sound, thus placing them in their own unique sector of contemporary music. 

A few songs come to mind immediately as the song progresses. The rhythm section is reminiscent of the 2011 mega-hit Somebody That I Used to Know by Gotye, as well as Long Gone Day by the 90s supergroup Mad Season. The vocal harmonies draw similarities to the classic band, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and the psychedelic overdubs slightly remind me of the Houston-based trio, Khruangbin. I assume that dabbling in musical styles on this broad of a spectrum was unintentional for Langan, Frost, and Wane, but that’s precisely why they’re so unique. Their sound includes Appalachian Folk, Middle-Eastern flavors and a touch of rock n’ roll. Yet their style remains defined, coherent, and grounded. Folky would probably be the quickest and simplest way to describe King Laughter, but it would be a disservice to stop there because the song consists of many complexities and subtleties that make it much more than just a folk song. 

One of the things I admire about the group’s lyricism is something that contributes to all great writing, that being the use of vivid sensory details. With lyrics like “King Laughter, who will come after/He pranced like a dandee and drank like a fisherman,” we’re immediately able to visualize this story that appears to take place in older times. Additionally, lines such as “White bowl and blueberry wine/Over-flamed all the cock and swine” highlight the use specificity, enabling the listener to formulate distinct images in their minds. Not only do Langan, Frost, and Wane provide something to hear, but they also stimulate sensations of taste, smell, and sight. The poetic nature of King Laughter certainly adds to their artistry and allows for creative visualization to occur. 

A lot of artists who pay homage to older influences, I believe, struggle to obtain freshness and originality so that they can find success in today’s world of music. This issue doesn’t appear to exist for Langan, Frost, & Wane. They have elements to their sound that very well could have made them a popular act during medieval times, but they also incorporate many modern flavors, impressively tying everything together. This trio of musicians have cultivated something that is unlike anything else, and we should all be eager to check out their soon to be released LP.

 

-- Quinn Donoghue


 





Dead Tooth head on down to the "Hell Shack"

We here at DeliCorp Enterprises would like to wish a happy two-week songaversary to “Hell Shack,” Dead Tooth's latest single and their disquieting but not at all quiet answer to the B-52's "Love Shack." And since two-week anniversaries are known as the aluminum foil anniversary (editor's note: there is no known evidence this is true) we hope that they enjoy the tin foil hats we just dropped in the mail for all the band members because judging from their latest song it seems they've maybe been receiving some alien transmissions lately.

On "Hell Shack" the Dead Toothers continue to refine their post-punky trailer-parky electric blues psychedelic electro-rock sound and no I don’t get paid by the word. Speaking of words, band frontman Zach James describes the song as an “almost dumb and brutish voice of a self deprecating ephemera addict who's trying to find words for indescribable feelings of anger, hurt, mistrust, doubt and shame [and] it’s about setting fire to what was and being at war with the id [and] it’s the destructive and creative forces working together to build my heaven like I built my Hell Shack” and well hell he took the words right out of my mouth.

But damn if "Hell Shack" doesn’t live up to this hype because it's a pretty epic piece of music squeezed into three minutes and seventeen seconds--starting with a minimalist guitar/keyboard backing which sounds kinda like the B-52s in a rare funk (see what I mean) but then vocally you've got more of a “Subterranean Homesick Blues” vibe with stacatto verbiage and mashed-up imagery and rhyme-schemery (opening lines: “a terse versed vulgar purse snatching witch / I’m on the back of the bottom of your itch”) that hooks the listener from the get go (editor's note: no listeners were consulted for this write-up) and builds in intensity before a runaway Beastie Boys riff enters the picture about a minute in and then it’s straight into some techno-phallic guitar riffage and lyrics about “fight[ing] fire with fury and full choir” and “tell[ing] that fat headed pig we want out tomorrow.”

So you're thinking "OK Dylan meets Zeppelin it's been done before" but halfway through the song drops into an ambient "Kid A" style K-hole for a short spell before launching into an extended outro over a groovy syncopated beat and ghostly reverb slow-motion melody with a vocal line that becomes increasingly chant-like unleashing who knows what malevolent forces with lines like “the idol kills, the idol grows.” But in the end its Dead Tooth who kills it with a nicely vibey final minute that builds in intensity riding off into the sunset or would that be the sulpheric flames of Hell? Needless to say wherever you end up it was a journey getting there.

 

Oh and there’s a video too which you may have noticed up top, but if you prefer your music remain unvisualized check it out directly above. In the music video for "Hell Shack" people chase each other around a lot (mostly members of the band I think) but it's definitely not the screaming teens of A Hard Day's Night chasing after Dead Tooth's limo. There’s a kidnapping or something involved and maybe some gangsters and definitely a skateboard theft. So hey maybe it doesn't set a very good example for the children but it’s fun and there's some slow motion parts but be forewarned it gets a bit violent at times—like when Zach gets bashed across the face apparently right after he just ingested a bunch of tator tots because he spits ketchup everywhere all over the pavement. It happens. And while I'm forced to dock the video one star for not including any Trans Am sports cars (plus no cameo by Nathan Wind) it's still a fairly entertaining piece of work. (Jason Lee)





Kitty Coen Cultivates a Holy Sound in New Single

 Kitty Coen encapsulates a slew of sounds in her latest single, Holy. She proves that she has no barriers, displaying an ability to induce dancing, headbanging and hypnotic swaying all within a three-and-a-half minute stretch. Though many artists and genres come to mind when listening to Kitty Coen, she has undeniably formed her own musical identity and we should all be extremely excited about what the future holds for her. 

After seeing Kitty perform live for the first time a little over a year ago, I remember thinking of her as a more rock n’ roll version of Mazzy Star. But after listening to more of her music, and with every new single, the scope of artists that I’m reminded of continues to grow, including acts like Billie Eilish, Stevie Nicks, Tame Impala and David Bowie. “Honestly, genre isn’t something I think about when creating my music…I’ve gotten everything from ‘grunge-country' to 'electro-pop', so I try not to think about genre and just make the music that I believe expresses the moment best,” Coen said. In modern music, genre-blending and embodying many influences are more prominent than ever, but finding cohesion and originality can be a struggle. For Coen, finding this balance doesn’t seem to be a challenge at all. 

What makes Holy stand out amongst her other releases is the fact that it leans, perhaps, a bit more heavy on the rock side of things. The song features a prominent guitar part that hooks you in from the beginning, as well as a disco-ish drumbeat that really drives the song forward in the second verse. Of course, as the song’s energy builds, so does the intensity of Kitty’s vocals, showing off her dynamic singing abilities. She provides some backstory into the creative process of Holy, saying “I met up with a friend after months of not playing music with anyone during quarantine and he started laying down a guitar riff. I was just kind of improvising and came up with a melody I liked and the phrase ‘holy with a broken heart.’ From there I used sounds and tones that reflected the feeling of transcending and floating while still making it slap.” Indeed, she makes the song “slap.” One of the things that really makes Holy a great song is that it constantly feels like it’s going somewhere new. The textures, overdubs, and energy continuously build and there isn’t a dull moment throughout the duration of the song. 

The fact that she only has six releases under her belt is mind-boggling. She continues to prove that she has no creative limitations, and it wouldn’t be surprising at all if she is one of the next breakout artists from Austin. Stay tuned for her debut EP to gain even more insight into the Kitty Coen experience.


-- Quinn Donoghue

 

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Drakkar Noir/Heidi Sabertooth seduce you to The Sleep of Reason

The music heard on The Sleep of Reason, a split EP by the DJ/producer/multi-instrumentslist team of Heidi Sabertooth and R Gamble a/k/a “Drakkar Noir” released on Chicago’s Jacktone Records, is both primordial and futuristic—the sound of electronic circuits climbing out of the primordial ooze and becoming self-aware—which seemingly fits perfect for these two artists one of whom is named for a family of prehistoric predators, and the other named after the most primordial cologne of the ‘80s and ‘90s.

These eight tracks of old-school-inspired electro, industrial, acid, and EBM (electronic body music) are raw and spontaneous sounding—qualities that many wouldn’t associate with electronic music—due in no small part to the use of standalone electronic hardware, machines that the user manipulates in real time and which were recorded live here for the most part so that a certain level of improvisation works its way into things. Much like more conventional instruments, these types of electronic instruments don’t always behave as expected or as intended, meaning that it takes skilled and sensitive musicians to improvise around unexpected sonic detours and that’s a big part of what makes this method of music making and this EP compelling.

What also makes Sleep of Reason compelling are the songs themselves—built on minimalistic yet ever-morphing grooves that burrow under your skin and into your grey matter with the insistance of a funky flea circus passing through town. And that’s not even to mention the glitched-out, paranoid android vocals heard in various sonic forms from track to track whispering intimate-yet-oft-indesipherable sweet creepy nothings into your earholes.

 

Elsewhere Ms. Sabertooth has described her four tracks as “a channeling of angst and disenchantment about relationships, technology, and expectations of the modern femme.” And you can can hear the pure, uncut intensity of this angst and disenchantment on, say, “It Says You Read It” that with its clattering beatbox percussion and squelchy sine waves pretty much sounds like a Peaches song on Promethazine; or on “I’m Gaining Weight Again” that with its spiraling and increasingly distorted doomy sonic vortex is something like an obsessive shame spiral rendered in sound.

Drakkar Noir’s four songs mine somewhat similar territory but with significant differences as well—mining slightly more insistent beats and a stronger acid influence, all appropeiate to his nom de parfume alter-ego—like on side-opener “Free Delight” which makes the very notion of free delight sound both enticing and slightly uneasy as if you just know all that free delight is gonna come back to bite you somehow.  Or the next track “Shadow Reel” which is kind of like “Planet Rock” if the planet in question were Jupiter with its cold, windy clouds of ammonia.

Which all fits well with the loose overarching concept and titular inspiration for the EP which is 18th-century Spanish painter/printmaker/iconoclast Francisco Goya’s famous etching entitled The Sleep of Reason Produced Monsters (well it’s famous if you’re an art historian at least) which depicts an artist passed out at his drawing desk surrounded by a sepulchral swarm of bats and owls, with a caption reading: “Imagination abandoned by reason produces impossible monsters; united with her, she is the mother of the arts and source of their wonders". Truer words, etc. etc.

And hey if you’re feeling these retro-futurist electro bats and owls vibes then be sure to keep an ear out for Gamble & Sabertooth’s live DJs sets on Brooklyn’s very own The Lot Radio. And if you’re the greater NYC metro area region, you may also wanna check out the Lost Soul Enterprises collective and record label of which they’re both core members and which currently has a regular bi-weekly residency going at h0L0, a spacious progressive music oasis tucked away in the borderland between Bushwick, BK and Ridgeway, Queens. (Jason Lee)





KITTY COEN

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