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Artist of The Week Comments Off on North of Nine comes to life with their first EP, “Alive”

North of Nine comes to life with their first EP, “Alive”

By: Jimmy Sears

North of Nine came together in late 2014 to bring their latest EP, “Alive.” The band emphasizes that their sound comes from each member’s background. Drummer Rob Ketchum has a punk background. Guitarist Michael O’Grady comes from rock. Bassist Edison Lo is from Hong Kong. Jackson Gunthy is a vocalist and pianist, and Nolan Frank works the keyboard. Needless to say, I found myself hooked on each song because most of them mixed it up for a spicy mix of hearty songs.

“Can It Be You?” brings a swooning piece that feeds on the nostalgia of a previous relationship and the attempts to fill that void. I found this piece to have an interesting procession as pianos dominate the track while the combined vocals, synthesized track and rough riffs remind me of the Back Street Boys while not treading into “boy band” turf. North of Nine’s utilization of the piano serves to complement the rest of the sounds. “Eaten Alive” displays Gunthy’s piano work to carry the song as the lower tones darken the canvas.

North of Nine makes a successful debut with “Alive” to kick off their recording career. The combination of each band member’s background and talents makes this EP a good listen.

4 out of 5 Owls.

Download “Alive” off iTunes. Also check out North of Nine’s website at northofnine.com.

Artist of The Week Comments Off on Migo Lingo releases new mixtape

Migo Lingo releases new mixtape

By: Brittany Menefield

Gwinnett’s very own Migos have blessed their trap following with their first mixtape of the year, “Migo Lingo.” While we know the Migos are working hard to complete their debut studio album, this entire mixtape seems like it’s based around introducing their audience to the future of Quality Control Label, which includes new heavy hitters such as Domingo and Mango, Rich The Kid, Skip Da Flippa and YRN Lingo. There is also appearances from Bobby Shmurda, Pee Wee Longway, Johnny Cinco and Rich Homie Quan.

As a Traplanta fanatic, of course I was filled with excitement when the Migos announced that they were releasing a mixtape. Overall like any other Migos mixtape the production was absolutely crazy; with Zaytoven, DJ Durel and Murda Beatz on the tracks. However, I would have liked to hear more of the Migos, since it’s their mixtape. The flow of some of the newbies like YRN Lingo weren’t as developed as the rest of the features on the mixtape.

Although I understand the label concept for the “Migo Lingo” mixtape, it just seems a little rushed.

3 1/2 out of 5 owls up.

Artist of The Week Comments Off on Chasing December

Chasing December

By: Jimmy Sears

Chasing December has been popping up across Atlanta since late 2011. Earlier this year they released their self-titled and self-produced first album. In February, I had the pleasure of speaking with Chicago native and lead guitarist Dan Koutavas and Washington native and drummer Sebastian Ayers. The band also has Dalton Sisson on lead vocals and recent addition Glenn Stout on bass guitar. Last week Dan entered our dimly-lit cavern at Owl Radio to discuss juicy details concerning the release of their second album and big upcoming shows for the band.

Their next album, entitled “Cliché as Hell,” is said to have a higher audio quality as opposed to the gritty garage-band sound they had in their first album. Dan explained the origins of the album’s title. “We were talking one day and that phrase kept coming up about us trying to not be ‘cliché as hell’” Dan said. “We were like, ‘you know, that would be a perfect name for the songs we’ve got’ because we’ve got a varied album as far as style.” Dan said some songs will have a digital guitar sound and will be varied while maintaining the essence-of-rock sound. Dan also cited Dave Grohl’s recent work as an inspiration for his projects. As a generous holiday gift, Dan said a single from the album is also going to be released for free on iTunes.

Dan also talked about a separate release, which is a cover of the holiday epic, “Carol of the Bells,” which Chasing December performed at a talent show in 2011 for a blizzard that blew the roof off. Dan also mentioned Chasing December has a can’t-miss upcoming show at Smith’s Olde Bar on Dec. 26. For more info, keep posted at www.chasingdecemberband.com.

Artist of The Week Comments Off on Erica Bryan

Erica Bryan

By: Jimmy Sears

Coming from Roswell, Ga., Erica Bryan has had the fervor for theatre ever since she went to her first audition at the age of 8. Bryan is a testament to the phrase “never give up” because after she was passed on for her first audition, she got back in the ring and won the role next year at the same audition. Since then, she has skyrocketed by establishing a background in Broadway in New York City. Despite living in the bustling metropolis, it was clear her career would be cemented in Country singing lore after she moved to Nashville while being inspired by her listening to Reba McEntire among others. Bryan is backed by an ensemble, which contains drummer Billy Gunter, lead guitarist Amy Brown and Katherine Holmgren stroking the viola.

Bryan’s music has an acoustic vibe, which is accompanied by her immaculate voice as she somberly remarks, “this house is haunted,” in her debut single of the same name. “This House is Haunted” refers to a breakup as, at the time Bryan wrote it, elements of her ex still resided in her heart and home.  The keyboard stirs the pot in a melancholy track that provokes a mixture of nostalgic and regrettable emotions.

“Girls Night Out” takes a 180 turn as this track takes all the drama, crumbles it up and throws it out the door by describing “club-hopping, jaw dropping” and “non-stopping” hustles that last until dawn. This is a hard–rocking tune that rocks the joint with rebounding riffs that ricochets off the eardrums for a wild party anthem that, despite its target demographic, is listenable by anyone. Check out Erica Bryan’s website at www.ericabryan.com. Also download Bryan’s debut single, “This House is Haunted” off iTunes.

Artist of The Week Comments Off on Orenda Fink

Orenda Fink

By: Roxanne Anderson

Released under Saddle Creek in 2007, “Set the Woods on Fire” was a one-album wonder for Art in Manila. Orenda Fink, who originally made her musical debut as the leading lady of Azure Ray, was merely on a hiatus when she, along with five others, formed the group in Omaha, Nebraska.

Acoustic based, like Azure Ray, the opening track, “Time Gets Us All,” lures in listeners with its delicate, thrumming piano and Fink’s monotone yet sultry voice. The title track “Set the Woods on Fire” is more climatic than the other ten tracks, due to a relatively driving guitar and percussion set up to aid in the song’s pace. It is the title track; therefore, it should be the bee’s knees, right? Honestly though, it cannot stand on its own. Tracks such as “The Abomination,” “I Thought I Was Free,” and “The Sweat Descends” are what truly give this album heart.

Throughout the entirety of “Set the Woods on Fire” there is not much clarity among the strange harmonies and haunting-graveyard-feel. Yes, Fink is consistently monotone throughout the album (not-so-newsflash, she is monotone in Azure Ray as well. If anything else was expected from her voice put down the album now). No, the choruses are not the blood and guts of the songs. Yes, there is definitely a feeling of heavy fog settling into the eardrums and the brain. The fog disappears though. Maybe not the second time or the third time for that matter, but if fog is allowed to thin itself out it is all good and dandy. Art in Manila’s vagueness produces a curiosity and in turn leaves all of their tracks up for personal interpretation. Without the fog, lack of crazy insane instrumentation, and odd vocal effects, Art in Manila’s “Set the Woods on Fire” would be just another piece of ear art that was spelled out so nobody had to think.