Archive for August 4th, 2022

August 4, 2022

Thursdays With J.R. – Near Beer

Thursdays with J.R. is our new weekly column from lifelong musician and lifelong-er music fan J.R. McIntire, drummer of Arctic Char and multi-instrumentalist on more projects than we have bandwidth to list.

When you see the submission for the week is titled “Dead Drummers” you may not expect the first thing you hear to be drums.  Just like the beverage the group is named after, this tight yet poppy jam by Los Angeles’ NEAR BEER may not be what you expected.  Almost distorted drums come in hard and fast droning and driving the tune immediately.  We’re then hit with a memorable guitar line that sounds theme song worthy.  The bass crawls around the four and the six to lay a foundation that’s pleasing to the ear.  Really good use of effects here, doesn’t sound too washed out yet there is a lot going on.  The vocals are upbeat and sang with conviction.  They have a hope to them that leaves you saying “WE DID IT!” whether you did, or not.  The chorus washes in with great backup vocals, sounds like doubles from the lead singer, one of my favorite things when done correctly.  The open chords late in the song, remind me of older Americana artists in the best way.  The chorus comes back at the end to bring us home.  This song leaves you feeling hopeful and full of life.  Interesting how it is titled Dead Drummers because it woke this drummer right up and gave me life.

August 4, 2022

The B-Side: Bobby JaGGer Jack

We’re pretty simple when it comes to hip-hop. Lyrics and flow. That’s it. Yes, a dope beat and samples are always nice, but if you can’t flow and got nothing original and/or authentic to say we’re not interested (see almost all of emo/cloud hop). Bobby JaGGer Jack has bars and he knows how to spit them. His flow is fast and his declaration of being “built different than the people who say they’re built different” comes off less as bravado and posturing than it does as part self-love and objective fact. Comparing one’s self to greats like Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole in a song is not uncommon in hip-hop, but doing it in a song that backs up that statement is.

August 4, 2022

The Midweekly – Helms Alee

The Midweekly is our column from Mike Jeffers; lead singer of Chicago punk stalwarts SCRAMmusic junkie and all around righteous dude.

There’s a rumbling coming from the depths of the alt metal sea. It is a leviathan of an album called Keep This Be The Way, and there is a ship ready to do battle. Helms Alee, hailing from Seattle, is its crew of sludge rockers. KTBTW is the trio’s sixth, and most recent release. Saber sharp guitars, and hammer heavy bass lend the riffs that drone on and reverb out. But the drums, like cannon fire, are what give this record its life. Vocals from all three members will lure you out with dark melodies, then crash you against the rocks when the screaming starts. The pacing journeys from full on metal to folksy ballad. Helms Alee are flying an adventurous flag in this particular genre.

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