“Good Will Prevail” Album Review

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Over the last few weeks the sax god himself, Grant Kwiecinski, (better known as GRiZ) has been taunting us by dropping new tunes of his latest album titled “Good Will Prevail” preluding his fall tour that kicks off with his much anticipated headlining slot at the one and only Red Rocks Amphitheater on October 1st.

The album begins slow and easy with “Wicked” featuring Eric Krasno on the vocals. This tune takes you back to sound of Zeds Dead circa 2012 with a brass twist thrown in.

Next, you’re pushed right into the rock n roll funk we all know and love with “Can’t Hold Me Down”. This tune showcases the heart racing drop build up, followed by a dark and dirty bass line we are all used to from an typical EDM tune. But it’s GRiZ, so don’t take the term typical to mean average.

Imbedded with those Detroit, Michigan roots, you can always expect a lil’ rap, a lil’ hip hop. ProbCause lays down the lines on My Friends and I. This dude is not new in live electro scene. You can see him featured on tracks with anyone From Big Gigantic to Gramatik to Chance the Rapper.

With the next two tracks, he brings us back to the familiar. “I Don’t Mind” gives those old school, day one, Grizmatik vibes featuring veteran collaborators iDA Hawk, Susquabi and Artifakts. Lighter on the bass, yet heavy on the funk, placing you in a bright, sunshiny mental state. (FYI: Artifakts is an up and comer, opening for artists like the one and only Pretty Lights check him —> https://soundcloud.com/artifakts )

Then comes the crowd favorite collaboration. This Colorado-based duo will forever make an appearance on any Griz album. Big Gigantic, GRiZ, and Gramatik are the dudes who are turning simply pressing buttons into something uncool. More and more kids are being drawn in this direct because they want more than  a push play set with a non-stop continuous beat. This track gives you that big sound, powerful woman attitude you get from “It’s All good” off Say It Loud.

If you want a feel good, soothing tune that’ll melt your insides like butter, click to track six “Feelin’ Fine”. This song’s influence is definitely the product of being under the influence of that Colorado legality.

I’m not a huge Cherub fan. In my opinion, they’re whack. But that is simply my opinion which holds zero validity. Fun, stanky tune, but not my fav. Not the kind of GRiZ I boogie my ass off too.

Towards the end, comes the track that puts the cherry on top on his latest collection of musical art. Leo Napier’s (Orlando Napier) voice was made to be placed over Grant’s production. It’s soulful, and quietly electrifying. His pipes first sent chills down my spine when I heard him on “Turnin’”.

Overall, YGG GRiZ, you did the absolute most. He brought us soul, hiphop, dubstep, funk. He gave us hype with “Rather Be Free” he gave us peacefulness with “Gotta Push On”. He hit everything he possibly could and then some. To the man himself: we thank you for always keepin’ it real and funky. We all thank you for the insane amount of amazing music you continue to put out. I have no idea how he does it on top of his endless festival dates and non-stop touring, but its the farthest thing from half ass. It’s incredibly well thought out from start to finish. He hasn’t just quit once he reached the top, like many artist who resort to only giving their fans only lame, people pleasing bangers. You remain at the top of my list.

 

To listen for yourself hit that link: https://soundcloud.com/griz/sets/good-will-prevail-1

Pigeons Playing Ping Pong Album Review: Pleasure

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Pigeons Playing Ping Pong is a four-man up-beat psychedelic funk band out of Baltimore, Maryland. With Greg on lead vocals and guitar Jeremy on guitar and vocals, Ben on bass and vocals and last, but not least Alex on drums and electronics, these boys bring an undeniable level of energy and enthusiasm to their live shows. This same positive energy and uplifting enthusiasm shined through on their latest album, Pleasure. Compiled of 11 tracks, it’s seemingly impossible not to have a continuous smile while listen from start to finish.

Pleasure, starts off with “Live It Up”, and that is exactly what this tune makes you want to do. It’s funky, electronic sound makes your body wiggle and warm smile stretch across your face. Most definitely sets the tone for the rest of the tracks.

“Live It Up” seamlessly fades into “Walk Outside”, another high energy tune with reggae, island feel that holds strong guitar riffs and equally strong vocals. If you have ever seen a PPPP show live you know they are some of the most animated, energetic dudes in the jam scene. “Walk Outside” is the tune I cannot wait to see them jam out to live.

When I made it to the fifth track, “Fade Fast” that is when I truly became a fan of Pleasure. It started out all funky, making you bounce. Then the vocals started to get stronger, heavier. Then right back into the funk, right back into the jam. Start to finish, this song had it all.

Track seven, “Bad for You” where you get the chance to mellow out. It is a little groovier, with a slightly less energy, but still holds a killer guitar solo. This flirty tune adds diversity to the album. It shows the boys can be hard hitting, but also get down and really feel the vibe.

The album concludes with “Penguins” a silly, upbeat track. They ended the album in true Pigeons fashion. Funny and free.

With an April release date the boys really had their audience in mind. They knew their fans are longing for the lurking festival season, and waiting for warmth and sunshine to come again. That is exactly what feelings this album brought me. It made me ready to be in a grassy field, with my hoop and these tunes booming in the background. Pleasure could not have been a better title because that it was it brought me.

Charleston Pour House: McLovins Winter Tour

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Winter: the worst thing to happen to Charleston, SC. In a town that revolves around being outside, people lose sight of what they can do (and where they can drink) when the warmth has escaped this beach side city. Thankfully, there’s a little gem nestled right outside downtown called The Charleston Pour House. If you’re anything like me who lives and thrives off live music, no matter what it is, this place will quickly grab your heart. With live music, indoors almost every day, there’s no excuse any night of the week to not be able to go out and enjoy yourself, even when it is chillier than normal.

Since MLK Day means no school on Monday, or work for most people, it was a no brainer to head to my favorite venue to enjoy my extra weekend night. This was my first time seeing the McLovins, a four-man improv jam rock band out of Hartford, Connecticut and I was beyond impressed. Their youthful energy was accompanied by a light and airy sound. Watching them jam was so refreshing. While many jam bands lean towards the older side or have a deep, darker sound, they stuck to the roots of traditional jam ways of playing, but with a more vibrant, colorful sound.

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They opened with “H.T.L”, a smooth, funky tune impossible not to make you smile. Jake, the drummer, is also the lead vocalist. His voice just melts and rolls with the lyrics. It’s rare to ever see this kind of organization. Once again this is refreshing, and gives them a different twist than most other bands.

Playing almost solely originals, the next tune that really struck me was “Thick of It”. This tune was a little more rockin’, but melodic with a genuine flow to it. They go down tempo then rise back up; it forced you to feel the emotion behind it.

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The show was intimate, but connected. The band drew in the audience by making eye contact with the each and every person, not just looking straight back into a mural. It was just a circle of energy between the band and the audience. There was not one member that over shined another. They all carried their own part equally, all shining with the same amount of brightness. Jason, on bass guitar, just slams the bass line on “Gold in the World” an original they played toward the end of the set. Justin makes his guitar sing in a way that’s mesmerizing, impossible to take your eyes off of. Atticus sat back and laid it down on the keys, surrounded with smoke as he frequently chiefs on his vape. Their chemistry was undeniable. Being able to jam goes far beyond just being able to play notes, they are successful at this because of that chemistry with each other.

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I made my way outside to roast under a heat lamp, and take a few drags off a cigarette. I could hear to music carrying on inside. As I am making small talk, I hear something familiar. Immediately, I end my conversation and waltz back inside. For their final song they covered “Ophelia” by The Band.   Anyone who knows me knows there is nothing I love more than a good cover, especially from a band I was born decades to late to experience, but a band whose music I still fill my ears with daily and appreciate immensely. There was no better way to end it than that.

If you ever see the McLovins are passin’ through your city, don’t miss out. They are young, but hold a huge amount of talent. With their full of life energy and genuine youthfulness, there is only room for them to move forward.