Tiger High

Tiger High took me a little bit longer to find than most of the bands I write about from Memphis, but what a treasure! These guys are making really great music. All of these guys (Jake Vest, Greg Roberson, Toby Vest, and Greg Faison) are Memphis natives who’ve been in their share of other bands. They make their records at High/Low Recording studio owned by Toby Vest, and they sound amazing.

Myth Is This is Tiger High’s first full length album, and it’s available as a cassette order or limited edition hand assembled compact disc. This album might my personal favorite of all the things I’ve heard from Memphis. I don’t know if they recorded this to tape or not, but it’s certainly got that organic tape warmth. Excellent job, Tiger High.

You can download the first track on the album, “Why Oh Why”, for free on Bandcamp, and I really have absolutely nothing bad to say about this song. The drum sounds are perfect, the vocals are amazing, and the guitar arrangements are great.

If you click over to the Special Edition version of Myth Is This you can find four extra tracks, and they’re really just as solid. In fact, “Riding The Wave” might be my favorite of all these tracks. It’s a bit more upbeat and sort of 50s rock-esque.

These guys’ experience absolutely shows, and this band is one of the most memorable that I’ve heard. Head over to their Bandcamp page and see what I’m talking about!

Bean

Is there as much blues rock in Memphis as Bandcamp makes it seem? Pretty much every other band on here is blues rock. It’s pretty much either that or rappers who include nudity on their album covers and thus prevent me from comfortably posting them here.

 

Ah! Something different emerges! There’s a band in Memphis simply called Bean whose Bandcamp tags include “happy”, “hot dog”, and “sandwiches”. Boy, do I love sandwiches. Their picture is a bean with sunglasses and a gun. Their album title is Bean. This is simplicity I can get behind.

These vocals seem too good, but I like the arrangements and it’s working for them. They say this is a band that got started from an impromptu roof jam, so that seems to make sense. I can imagine conversations like this:

“Oh, you can sing? Go for it then!”

“Sweet man. Oh hey, I can also do sick guitar solos. Let’s go for it!”

“Alright, but what in the world should we call ourselves?”

“Bean!”

“Check out this picture of a bean with a gun!!!”

Forgive me if that was one hundred percent inaccurate. That’s just where my brain meanders to as I listen to the music of Bean. That guitar solo in “Get That Close” is indeed pretty sick. “If Only For A Little While” is probably my favorite on the album. It’s sort of similar to a band I love called Murder By Death. Excellent work, Bean. Keep it going strong without those Memphis blues.

Fast Planet - 'These Hills'

Fast Planet's Jes LP, a nine-song collection of dense, soulful electro-pop, will officially drop on Tuesday. You can currently download the whole thing for whatever you'd like, though. 

The Heavy Eyes

Memphis Blues Rock

If somebody said, “Hey man, want to go listen to some Mississippi psychadelic blues rock in this bar I found in outer Memphis?” The Heavy Eyes are exactly what I would expect to hear. They’re nailing it for their genre. I could see them playing in any bar in Memphis, Mississippi, or Louisiana. This music is obviously guitar driven, and they do it true to their style.

The artwork for their self-titled album on Bandcamp is pretty great too. I love it when bands use landscapes and art to sort of hide words. It’s a river eroding out “The Heavy Eyes” from the banks.

The first song on the album is called “5%”, and I have no idea why. There are hints of Priestess, Wolfmother, and The Black Keys in there. This is even more true on their second son, “Pinwheels” and throughout the rest of the eleven track album.

“In Need” is my favorite track on the album, and fortunately, it’s also the free one. This is very Black Keys influenced. I’ve never been a fan of Dan Auerbach’s voice though, and it’s refreshing to hear what his style of songs sound like with somebody else singing. Granted, this man does sound relatively similar, but I like it better.

If you get the chance, go check out The Heavy Eyes somewhere in Memphis or elsewhere. If you can check out any of the rest of Emil Orth’s artwork, it’s all very interesting as well. At the very least, go check out this Bandcamp page.

Poppy Red - 'Keep Your Heart'

Currently split between Tennessee and France, this collaborative project between Molly Long and Jimmy Spice will transport the insides of your head to a warmer, cloudier world. You'll feel like you've been floating for at least a thousand years.

Whispers Of Dead Gods

Whispers of Dead Gods is making really great ambient tracks. I happened across this on SoundCloud, and I’m impressed. Usually finds like this with no recommendations aren’t this good.

“Oblivion Bliss” is arranged really, really well. There are essentially no mid-range sounds going on. So it starts out all bass and then when the highs come in you’re genuinely surprised. I was listening with headphones, and I thought that the first high frequency sound was coming from another speaker somewhere else in the room. That’s tasteful.

I’m not really an expert on the different genres of ambient music, but he calls “See How I Think About You” industrial ambience, and I can see that. It’s a bit more distorted and machine feeling.

“Tabernacle Of The Worm” is my favorite. It’s definitely the harshest. It’s got more distortion, and it’s sort of creepy. He categorized it as purely industrial without the ambience tag. When that percussion kicks in, you will agree that this one is much more of a machine song than the others. There’s also this really eerie swelling sound that goes on for a long time that really adds to the atmosphere.

The creator behind Whispers of Dead Gods got started in the 90s with CSound and still uses it. He uses Linux apps to mix. He says he’s very isolated from the rest of the music world, but you shouldn’t let that stop you from enjoying his music. Check out his SoundCloud for a number of interesting tracks.

Edwards Cates

"This guys voice is so appropriate for all of these songs."

Edward Cates writes far more songs than he has money to produce. That’s according to his Bandcamp description. I won’t challenge Mr. Cates songwriting prolificy, but I think this is exactly the level of production that these songs need.

“You Are Who” is full of beautiful synths and lo-fi guitars.

“The Dream” is solid enough to be played in a coffee shop, record store, the radio, or my bedroom. It’s also got more sweet warbly synths.

“Sell Out” is a bit more pop rock than the previous two. In fact, one of my friends just said, “I like this! It’s sort of like 50s pop.” I’ll have to agree. This is one of my favorite ones on the album.

“Attention Captain Danger” is much smoother. The drums are tasteful, and the keys are, as always, beautiful.

“Friends” is immediately catchy, and the beat is captivating enough to keep you listening for the full three and a half minutes.

“What You’ll Be” is sort of eerie, and the bass tones are the best on the album. It’s got jingle bells, and it’s a meaningful retelling of a childhood memory.

“Friendly Advice” could be in a car insurance commercial. This guys voice is so appropriate for all of these songs.

“Wanderin’ Man” is a good closing song. The electric guitar is particularly interesting. This whole album is worth listening to though, and I’d recommend it to anybody who is a fan of alternative or adult contemporary. I wonder what school this man attends.

Looking For Alaska

I haven’t read the John Green novel from which Looking For Alaska took their name, and after looking at their album art, some people standing around an igloo in the snow, I was disappointed when I found out that Alaska was an individual’s name and not the great state of the north. However, this band is much less disappointing. They call themselves “indie rock”. I really wouldn’t elaborate much farther than that, but they do a better job than the majority of the bands out there that use the word “indie”. They have quite a many likes on Facebook, and seem to be playing lots of shows.

If you’re a fan of marching snares and existential ponderings, check out “A Failure In Logic”. My favorite track on their album There Is Hope on Bandcamp is definitely “Bloody Hands”. The first time I heard this, I sort of imagined this guy as a much more conservative Richard Edwards from Margot & the Nuclear So and So’s (a band I love much more than most), and then I was genuinely, and pleasantly, surprised when everyone else came in a bit past the 1:15 mark.

These guys have been successful at playing at a lot of the classic college venues across the state – Rocketown in Nashville, Longbranch Saloon in Knoxville, and The Warehouse in Chattanooga to name a few other than the classics of their hometown Memphis. Check them out on Bandcamp. If you like it, check them out in person. They’re pretty good at this indie rock and roll thing.

Acid Glasses

Tape, Deported

 A recent contact I’ve made in Memphis recommended that I check out Acid Glasses, and I must say I am very impressed. This is one of the most interesting things I’ve heard in a while, and I’ll be sure to suck out more of the music on Sunday Fir in the future. All of the tracks by Acid Glasses seem to necessitate immediate, multiple listenings. I found myself listening to the first track on the album Tape, Deported quite a few times before moving on at all.

I am lucky enough to have a nice pair of studio monitors, but I unplugged them for some of these tracks and was still impressed at how distinguishable all the details were coming through cheap laptop speakers.

I don’t think “Tonight You Belong To Me” should be listened to any way besides loud enough to understand the lyrics. At that volume, all the other sounds swell in and out in beautifully. The rest of the album is similar. This genre really doesn’t work as well at lower volumes.

“Swirling Rush” is probably the most appropriately titled songs I’ve listened to in years. I can’t even add anything for a description of this song besides telling you that it is a continuous, satisfying, swirling, sonic rush.

Unquestionably, “Vague Bath” is my favorite track on the album. It begins with a sudden, Excitebike-esque rush, drops into a filtered bass cut beat, and then glitches out into the backbeat for the rest of the song. This track brushes up to the border of “too much going on”, but never quite crosses it. That’s perfect, in my opinion.

Liquid Skulls

Need to listen to something that can totally zone you out? Check out Liquid Skulls. Some music is written to take you captive. This definitely accomplishes that. Liquid Skulls has some tracks on BandCamp, a Tumblr, and a Facebook.

The two-song In Lungs section of Liquid Skulls BandCamp states that it was expanded from solo recordings done in a bedroom with a laptop and a guitar using the built in microphone on the laptop. That is impressive. Bedroom bands can do so much nowadays. As a student in an audio production program near Nashville, I’m constantly impressed by the quality people can get out of really low-end equipment. The built-in microphone on a laptop is about as low-end as it gets.

Imagine that you’re walking through the woods and you come upon a cave. It’s a very hot day, but it’s cool in the cave. You stop to take a nap in the cave, and you pull out your ipod. Liquid Skulls would be the most appropriate thing I could think of for that occasion most days.

Liquid Skulls has two other sets of songs on their BandCamp, and they’re all worth a listen. They tag themselves as ambient, drone, noise, psychedelic, and shoegaze, and I can’t say that I disagree.

Go check this stuff out and let your mind drift off onto whatever tangents need more exploration. Make a sandwich and zone out. Play anything by Liquid Skulls loudly, and it will easily take your mind off of whatever problems you’ve been having.

Pages