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January 2015
The Goodbye Party
"Silver Blues
"
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The Goodbye Party, a.k.a. Michael Cantor (formerly of The Ambulars), has released a new record Silver Blues via Salinas Records. The album finds Cantor largely in control using a vast arsenal of instruments, while also enlisting Joey Doubek (of Pinkwash) for percussive duties on a series of tracks.
 
“Heavenly Blues” nudges the entrance open to the cathedral of sound. Cantor’s smooth trustworthy vocals deliver a suggestive message amid a chamber of sonic layers, “…you have halos, you have lights, you have ghosts that sing into the night.” There is a well-produced divide, between that enlightening tone fortified by a residual hum, the soft drops and tapping tambourine, and bowed guitar that provides a more ominous dimension.
 
“Crossed Out” shoves that door further open with its optimistic jangly guitar/rolling percussion and bass, illuminating the scenery - “holes in the windows, where the wind slips through…” There’s a balancing point between the coldness of the lyrics and the resounding warmth of Cantor’s delivery and instrumental accompaniment. Taking foreboding tones of thumping percussion and the stirring rings of guitar, “I’m Not Going to Your Heaven” silver-lines them as the ringing morphs into a pleasant cry while the song winds down with a scratchy conclusion.
 
In a flash of joy, “Personal Heavens” is jumpstarted with a groove yet despite this, the lyrics reveal a grey point of view - “Homesick for personal heavens and homes you’ll never see again.” Slipping you back into the cathedral in “27 Times,” the finessed layering of backing vocals wrapping around Cantor’s lead shields it from the cold.
           
“New Decay” has a jaded push behind it, as guitars twist into knots and drums smash a path for Cantor to admit, “I keep breaking what I’ve already fixed/I keep fixing what I’ve already fixed.” Silver Blues closes with the bone chilling solemn string-oriented “White on White” - “the world/burns in the dark/echoed songs, resonations, every night.”
 
The record sweeps through ones mind in what seems like a moment. However, its melding of darkness and light leaves poignant, beautiful moments that makes Silver Blues worth revisiting frequently. - Michael Colavita

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Album Review: Get Disowned - Hop Along

Album Review: Get Disowned - Hop Along

A simple interwoven electric guitar riff accents rough, acoustic guitar strums, and then singer/songwriter Frances Quinlan’s wispy, lilting vocals enter the equation like a glimpse of sunlight parting the clouds of an overcast sky. Thus, begins Hop Along’s latest full-length album Get Disowned.
 
Opener “Some Grace,” a subtle bare-boned introduction, shares a bit of the fragility and vulnerability that can be found in Quinlan’s lyrics. The song morphs into faint electronic bleeps dissolving into a serene calm. However, the pending storm arises with the following track and the album’s lead single “Tibetan Pop Stars,” which cuts through the tranquility with boisterously dirty power chords and rolling thunder drumbeats. Once again, the vocals seem to play peacemaker, a calming force among the turmoil. That is, until the chorus takes flight, then falls to earth with the repeated lines “nobody deserves you the way that I do,” which gradually rises from the ashes of a broken heart. “No Good Al Joad” is paced by steady downhill bursts of acoustic guitar that is pierced by the interloping hammer of a pickaxe electric guitar. Quinlan’s vocals strain in an effect that expresses the emotive tug and pull of the narrative. This all comes to a head after a brief percussive interlude, which captures the ear signaling for audience participation. She reveals, “You are my favorite, because you are a long shot. You are my enemy, because you forgot.” This is just before pulling back into a corner to protect herself as she gathers the strength to share a bit of philosophical wisdom and universal truth: “Everybody is a little hard to love sometimes.”
 
With the precise production work of Algernon Cadwallader’s Joe Reinhart, Get Disowned is a balance between agitated artillery-style rock with intimate, late night confessional vocals that dig their nails into your skin while simultaneously whispering sweet nothings into your ear. Despite the constant presence of distinctly tenacious guitar thrashes, Quinlan’s lyrical message remains a priority. It is often aided by the fact that the vocals are directed at the listener. In this manner, Hop Along invites us into an emotionally turbulent household leaving no curtains drawn or door locked.
 
You can purchase Get Disowned via Hot Green Records. Hop Along will also be celebrating its release tomorrow night at The First Unitarian with Bandname, Little Big League and Mary Lattimore. - Michael Colavita

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