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Capsule Reviews/Listen to Kim Logan, Violet Machine, What Model Citizen, and Jonestown Revival

Kim Logan makes music with intensity and love as if life depended upon it. For many of us, it does. While it is difficult to adequately explain the power of her voice and the intensity of the band behind her, sometimes it’s just easier to drop intellectual platitudes and listen. Listen hard. Listen loud, sing along, dance, and probably speed when no one is looking. Her music recalls a sound more popular in a distant past, music that originated somewhere in the South, in Memphis, Arkansas, or Texas. But these aren’t covers; they are originals and they are timeless.

Voodoo Man, especially begs for repeated listens, and believe me, I have. Indulge. Your ears and your soul deserve it. It’s been a challenging and interesting year. It needs to be played loud. It would sound lovely played loud with vinyl crackling through speakers, and she has vinyl available!  Go get some.. Her music deserves a limited run that sells like hotcakes. While her band is raucous and the guitar is tight, I’d love to see a live in-store at Third Man Records with Jack jumping in for some fun. I want to see Kim Logan tear up a stage somewhere and hear a crowd beg for an encore.

 

As the stereotype goes, many great Indie bands hail from New York City or Austin. While it is a stereotype, it is true in this case. New York’s Violet Machine is new, but their sound is not something heard by any mainstream radio nerd (I haven’t met any of those for a while. Perhaps they are an endangered species at this point.). I wish I could hear a sample of what becomes their newest album on college radio somewhere, perhaps KEXP in Seattle, or WRAS in Atlanta? They would certainly fit on the playlists of those stations and a few others.

Their sound may have echoes of David Bowie glam, and I may be reading more into the band’s name, Violet Machine, than I should, but my intuition tells me it’s there for everyone to hear, though that Indie vibe is layered thick on top for all to appreciate. What is also evident here is some accomplished writing and a gift for lyrical nuance along with a sound that is more than the demos that they are labeled as. I want to hear what Violet machine can do live if given a chance to explore in front of an accepting audience.

 

What Model Citizen absorbs so many genres that it’s difficult to employ just one descriptor. It is electro, dance, postpunk electro and so many others but I feel as though they are boxing themselves into a corner by allowing the industry to choose the boxes. Sometimes this is necessary for bands to “make it” to the “big time,” but hell, it’s a compromise and not a pretty one. Their music is much more than that and beyond any genres that I could create, even on a good multi-genre day. But if I were to compare their music to any band in memory, it would be to a favorite band of mine, Austin, TX’ ZomZoms.

What they do offer is an intriguing layering of musical sound design that isn’t heard anywhere on the radio and few others besides. While it shares some similarities with the above-mentioned ZomZoms, their music is something completely more. When I hear music, especially What Model Citizen, I see pictures. This embedded album that you are hopefully listening to is cinematic. It music that makes things happen. It is music that motivates me to do good in the world and make a difference. It is music that helps me realize that future generations will fight for humanity the same way that all of us are fighting for it now.

 

Jonestown Revival claims a genre that I rarely listen to, jam band that on other occasions is called experimental jazz-rock. I obviously need to listen to more jam band given my newfound interest in such things, I need to listen to more experimental jazz, and I need to listen to more of this. Layer upon layer of instrumentation, Jonestown Revival, pushes the limits of what anyone would consider experimental jazz-rock. And while labels don’t do much for me, they are much more than experimental jazz and much more than rock. There is space enough between the notes if you listen carefully, and this certainly isn’t anything like Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound, but there is a wall of sonic intensity that I keep returning to listen to when my day’s excitement seems to slow down. Need more? Listen to the album above and please see them live.

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