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Artist of the Month
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August 2015
LOUDS
"If More People Bought Art More People Would Buy Art
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With their debut EP If More People Bought Art More People Would Buy Art, LOUDS hits the nail on the head with its appealing out of the gates energy. Released via Color Theory Records, the Brett Boucher-produced EP instantly grabs a hold of the body’s desire to let loose. 
 
The group leads with its best foot forward with its debut single and album opener, “Ways.” The standout track has a warm, vamping synth and those dare-you-to-keep-your-hands-still claps, which are melded with the sugary, chiptune sonic blasts. That bubbly, dance-inspiring vibe is cut through and juxtaposed by lyrics that form the picture of a hot and cold relationship. “The love you’ve known sailed from you one evening, months have gone now you don’t feel the same.”
 
Wisps of light guitar, keys, and gentle percussion converge in the narrative of  “Lying in the Middle” with its upbeat Paul Simon-Graceland vibes. The rolling hills that are ready to break out with exasperations chronicling the fickle courtship. “It’s the wrong way to approach it, but I know that your heartaches after months of feeling kind of confused. One day I’ll be lying in the middle with you.” The song concludes whimsically with Beatles-esque harmonies:  “My arms are tired, I’m half awake, but finally there with you.”
 
From the alarm bell, to the to the approaching bass and organ tone leading into those sinister strings, anticipation rapidly builds in “Driving Us Together.”Once again, the band dives into the complexity of relationships. Amid that layered fluid instrumentation, which creeps and momentarily bursts, underlies a sincere thought: “I’ve been trying to forget you but I don’t know how. Driving us together don’t erase your doubt.” The song simplifies down to a strumming guitar as echoes of “goodbye” come through before meeting up with the heartbroken chorus.
 
Strumming sets off into the echo of menacing tumbling keys in the chest-thumping, never-tell tale “It Takes Two.” “We’re alone in your best friend’s basement. You’re the one who brought me down... As we talking my hearts raising, I hope you don’t figure out” leading into the smoothed chorus: “Cause everybody knows it takes two…” That weaving in and out creates a lively yet personal sense.
 
If More People Bought Art More People Would Buy Art threads a layered vibrant in-motion musicality with a relatable multifaceted tug and pull aspect of intimacy, zooming in on all sides while never sitting still. The EP is an impressive debut from the fledgling electropop outfit that ends way sooner than you’d like it to conclude. - Michael Colavita

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Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

Album Review: Exorcism - Power Animal

The words of Power Animal may be obscured by a boatload of studio manipulation, but what they’re communicating is always clear: This is Feel-Good Music. Evident from Power Animal’s major-key synth hooks and disco percussions is a love of the kind of nostalgic sentimentality bands like M83 and Passion Pit maximize with unrelenting waves of keyboard and second-wave British invasion bands like The Kooks channel into plain-spoken love narratives. But unlike these late-aught champions of electronic-indie, Power Animal don’t do “pleasant” by blending every pleasant thing they could think of into an overwhelming pastiche. Instead of indulging dream-pop’s natural affinity for cheese and excess, Power Animal strip it down into the grimy, humble Exorcism, an EP that, with its bare-bones approach and subtle use of hooks, aims to reclaim the genre’s humanity. 
 
There’s no denying that Exorcism presents itself as “quirky.” The jerky keyboard lines and garbled vocals sound as if they’re culled from records warped by years of sitting in an attic (an image also brought to you by the record’s hazy, Mono production), and the wonky structure of its opening suite “Better Water” suggests the hippie-warbling excess Exorcism could’ve easily devolved into. But as the EP progresses, these cracks begin to reveal the sincere, very real character hiding underneath the saccharine signifiers. The little winks that pepper Exorcism’s excellent second half make it practically interactive. “Mold Spores” was already assured its place as the album’s best tune before the chuckle that slips through its second verse makes its glee infectious, as if we’re being let in on whatever great time Power Animal are scoring. By Exorcism’s eponymous closer, we’re sharing the record’s smile.
 
It could be a more “conventionally” pretty record, but it’d be worse for it. This ambitious kind of pop has a tendency to become weightless in its nostalgia-bating, and while Power Animal certainly capture the comfort nostalgia offers, they also capture its insubstantiality. Built from bits and fragments of pop-eras past, Exorcism sounds as if it could break apart at any moment. It holds together, of course, but as music that sounds like it wants to save the world through sheer positivity goes, Exorcism accomplishes something far more impressive: It actually manages to inspire the feelings it evokes.
 
You can purchase the album HERE, and all profits from digital sales will be donated to Philabundance, a local charity organization that provides food to the needy in the Philly area. - Adam Downer
 

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