Tag Archives: review

Tame Impala offshoot POND wants you to feel psychedelic

By Ian Valiente
If you’re a fan of Tame Impala, then you must have heard of Pond. And if you’re going to the Casbah Saturday night, then you’ll get to bask in their complete ingenuity. 
 

Continue reading Tame Impala offshoot POND wants you to feel psychedelic

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A Night with Night Verses

What does Night Verses lead singer Doug Robinson and Ellie Goulding have in common? They both believe that “anything could happen”. Just as Ellie embodies that the-possibilities-are-endless inspiration, Robinson had a similar glint in his eye when he told me, “Everything happens for a reason.” This was the highlight of my time spent with the singer, who exuded a humbling demeanor and a vibrant love for music during our interview at SOMA San Diego.

I arrived at SOMA to speak with Robinson, and I didn’t know what to expect. His internet presence is whimsical and fun-loving — at least a glance at Tumblr will show that. But in person, a very down-to-earth Robinson walked me to a side hallway so that we could get down to music business. To say that I was nervous (and a bit starstruck — I’m admitting it!), would be an understatement. I was already familiar with Robinson’s previous musical enterprise The Sleeping, and he surprisingly opened up a lot about his former band.

When I was first introduced to the music of The Sleeping, I had barely gotten my feet wet in the world of post-hardcore. But I’ve always been easily attracted to music that not only is relatable but can be felt, from the riffs to the lyrics. Robinson has an uncanny ability to pour his heart out in every word, and the same could be said from talking to him in person.

He spoke like a scholar when it came to the Sleeping, as if he knew their time has passed, but it passed for a reason. A series of events, both personal and business related, would lead him up to his new project, Night Verses.

Much like his earlier musical ventures, Night Verses brings a similar attention to detail with powerful rhythm and riffs you can mosh to, while also seeming to offer a cathartic outlet for Robinson’s thoughtful lyrics. Add in the modern acumen and flair of Nick DePirro on guitar, Reilly Herrera on bass, and drummer Aric Improta, and you have a serious contender in the hardcore game.

Though whether or not Night Verses will play the music “game” remains to be seen. Robinson almost laments when he discusses the music industry’s obsession with “mainstream” fare, as he promises that with him, it’s always been about the art. Where a few bands have created what he describes as a “cash crop” experience with their careers, Robinson tells me that he’s in it for the feels.

His use of the term “cash crop” is so smart (and so intuitive of someone who’s been in the music industry for nearly ten years), that I find myself using the term still to this day. Robinson is spot on with his analysis of the music market, whether he’s offering insight or gushing over his influences. Either way, I quickly find that he has truly learned — a lot.

We even share a moment of scholarly clarity when Robinson mentions that reading a certain novel created a catalyst for change in his life. My eyes light up and I fan-girl when he names that novel, a book that also moved me when I first read it — Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist. (And if you haven’t read it, go read it now! It will change your life, much like it did mine, and much like it did Robinson’s.)

Robinson offers a few insights into his personal life, and he dances on the cusp of letting me know exactly what events in his life helped to propel his decisions in his music career. While all the circumstances aren’t clear, it’s almost obvious that Robinson came to a few crossroads in his journey, and he chose the paths that continued to create and spark music worth listening to.

And Night Verses is definitely worth listening to. If there’s anything I have learned about the fans of post-hardcore music, it’s that they can sniff out any artist who isn’t being genuine. They crave sincerity in their music choices and artists, a trait that is pretty noble, if I might add. Night Verses only offers the best, and their debut album  Lift Your Existence will not disappoint any of those detail-oriented fans.

Lift Your Existence, which will be out June 25th via Easy Killer Records, is a hardcore dream, complete with beautifully sculpted melodies and those insightful lyrics that fans have come to love with Robinson’s music. Tracks like “Rage”  paint emotions with finesse instead of bashing them over your head with crude and cliche themes. “Time Erases Time” translates with just the right balance of power and pathos as Robinson screams the word “passionate” over syncopated rhythms. You can hear a bit of The Sleeping as an influence of course, but by the end of the album it’s clear that Night Verses is its own powerful machine with the influences of DePirro, Herrera and Improta keeping that machine very well oiled.

What started as almost a chance meet for Robinson, turned out to be just the right series of events to get him back on track with his creative music outlet. And the product of that encounter, Night Verses, has proved that for some musicians, everything happens for a reason.

Check out this preview for Lift Your Existence below, and let me know your thoughts! Lift Your Existence drops next week on June 25th, but pre-order is available now through the band’s website.

More new music

GP of the Week: Iwan Rheon

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(Gif from khakicocky)

If the last episode of Game of Thrones left an ominous taste in your mouth, maybe this GoT actor and musician will help to lift your spirits again. Enter Iwan Rheon, the cold and calculating Ramsay Snow on-screen, but the gentle acoustic crooner off.

This isn’t Iwan’s first foray into music, as he’s been songwriting since the age of sixteen. He even has a resume that includes lead singer of a band, before he stepped away from music to pursue acting in 2010. Now he’s back in the game, and while he’s not the best, he does offer a uniquely humble and delicate approach to acoustic music.

His latest EP Release, Bang! Bang!, was strategically highlighted during the premiere of the last season of Game of

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Iwan Rheon as Ramsay Snow for HBO’s Game of Thrones

Thrones; however, his ethereal music may have been overshadowed by the brutality of his character on GoT. (Or just by the entire series in general, since that whole show can be pretty brutal.)

Bang! Bang! features whimsical pieces and abstract storytelling that paints a scene rather than creates a hook. His

accent is thick, making the lyrics a little indeterminable to us “Yanks” at times, but I find this characteristic endearing rather than unflattering.

In the hectic music jungle, Iwan is a dainty gazelle; his tunes are graceful and spirited, and they can pack an upbeat punch when necessary, but he does risk getting taken out by the other kings of the entertainment jungle. Still, he gets many points from me for keeping his music about the art, rather than trying to fit himself in a mainstream mold.

 

Check out the title track from Bang! Bang!, and let me know what you think in the comments below!