Alex Vans “DJ Booth”
Alex Vans starts DJ Booth with a synth bass beat on “Good Enough,” as guitar hooks bring to mind T.Rex or Bowie with a danceable melody worthy of Abba. The next song “Chase The Night” is another perfect example of this, the mixing of old influences skillfully into something fresh.
It veers into alt. country on “Saints” and Vans proves he’s a skilled composer of mood and lyric on the albums best track “Hideaway.” Parts reminded me of The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s early stuff, with a better, slicker pop surface. Highly recommended and a great new LP for 2013.
Rachel Brown “Building Castles” EP
Brown has an soft voice, along the lines of Zooey Deschanel or Norah Jones and knows her way around a pop hook. “Bumblebee” is a hummable pop confection, sweet as honey. Then a subtle hip hop beat is used for “Four Leaf Clover” that’ll stick in your head. “Rockstar” uses unusual percussion that builds to its bouncy chorus.
These first 3 tracks are the most impressive, and then the instrumentation nearly vanishes on “Your Little Act” and “On Your Side” to focus on Rachel’s voice. She is a major talent in the making, so catch her now before the inevitable indie superstardom (along the lines of Nataly Dawn).