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The Formalist // Cara Louise // Manon // Gamma Dog // Sarah Elizabeth Haines

Kristen McGeehan

The Formalist – Tricks

Off of the self titled LP, ‘Tricks’ is the first track that gets the juices flowing. Erik Laroi (vocals, guitar) and Stephen Krieger (beats, sampling) are the owners of this decadent sound that they have offered up. Back in the day, Laroi was drumming for shoegazing band Closer and Krieger was in the experimental outfit The Freight Elevator Quartet. Elements of dream pop, new wave, and electronica brings you ‘to your knees’ at the right time and right angles. The sultry and expansive lyrical exercise of ‘Tricks’ is ol’ school in word construction, and it stands with unfurled attitude and gumption. With a stripped-down palate and refined approach, The Formalist combines Laroi’s catchy melancholic vocals with brittle guitars, looped sound collages, and atmospheric harmonies. Formed in 2006, The Formalist, never quits and surprises at every turn of the new LP. Guided by the understated effervescent suggestions of the songs, you grip with both hands, tight and for the long haul.

Cara Louise – Fragile Heart

Cara Louise introduces her latest EP with new single and title track, Fragile Heart—a dance worthy pop tune that uniquely resists genre and era casings much like the rest of the five song collection. “Fragile Heart is a song about giving up on worthless, late night arguments between lovers to look towards a bright and clear-headed tomorrow.” Cara Louise is a singer songwriter from St. Louis, MO. And she’s very much special, when she starts singing. You fall in love instantly with her vivacious vocals and ‘let’s go forth’ hither of her lyrics, delivering with fun and pride to the floor of our hearts. Backed by her band Adam Donald (guitar, steel), Simon Chervitz (bass), and Scotti Iman (drums), these human beings deliver with expert beauty in Americana that just shines. In 2013, she formed Cara Louise Band and self-released her first set of recordings, To Be Dead Is To Be Known, recorded at Sherpa Studios. The six-song EP, inspired by 1960s Nashville, includes a Patsy Cline-esque ballad, a political satire, and a progressive title track about artistry and death. Cara’s work is a fabulous, and her audience knows so. Let’s add Cara to our rotation and let’s live vicariously and then some. See her perform next @ The Johnson Bar, Paducah, Kentucky on November 22nd.

Manon – Fragile

Manon paints landscapes for your ears. The palette of the singer-songwriter is full of contrasting tone colors: light and shadow collide in a universe that is as alien as it is earthbound. “Sometimes the work floats slightly, the next moment it erupts like a volcano. Delicate melodies flow into menacing abysses.” Out of the depths of Manon, the sliver of hope and tranquility surges out of the malted boundaries of the heart, piercing the negativities and injecting the harrowingly necessary winters days gone by, positivities. Pulsing and remorseful, ‘Fragile’ shines like flakes of snow, in an impending show-craft of a movie. The silver screen excites with color and declarations. Is this the life that was to be? In frame, and never out of it? Composed in Zurich, Streams was subsequently recorded in the Greenhouse Studios in Reykjavik and produced with Francesco Fabris. See this delectable composer next @ Streams & Currents (Atelier Esther Rieser) November 16th in Zürich, Switzerland.

Gamma Dog – Designer Love

Gamma Dog’s embryonic first steps date back to 2004 when two high-schoolers – lead vocalist and guitarist Matt Blackwell and bassist Trey McKinley – discovered similar interests in music and began hanging and playing music together. Formerly as Empire Machines, in November of 2011 the band self-released their eponymous debut EP, a six track EP that clearly demonstrated their remarkable talents. Like Radiohead, The Beatles and Modest Mouse, the band experiments more with their instruments and lyrics, and introducing darker and more minimalistic elements in their songs, Gamma Dog continues to forge ahead. Matt Blackwell, Trey McKinley, Kevin Garcia, Kyle Garcia, and Shawn Gallivan had taken a short hiatus and now with a return to touring and recording, the band delivers with the energy of what you’d expect from pent up adults who need ways of expending such creative highlights. Gamma Dog is that motivation, and the gazy outcrops of song, sings with new colors and hues.

Sarah Elizabeth Haines – Losing Game

Trained as a classical violinist and violist and influenced by a wide range of music and her journey into the world of contemporary sounds has been equal parts exploratory and inevitable. Putting hand on hand, experiencing the other; the feeling of skin to skin, we deactivate the hate of jealousy and ignorance. Sarah’s beautifully theatrical rendition, preserves the sanity that we, as humans, lose in the thickets of the tall grass blades of life. Up to our hips, the winds of change and solidarity pushes us to drive further into the wild fields of life, without ever knowing fully where it will lead. Under our feet, the mud and rock and mixtures of emotions, clamor up to our ankles to get a better look-see. We try our best to keep going, as the weight of such mud, makes it harder everyday. Little by little. But we trudge forward, because there’s not going back. The past time, is, in fact, the past, and the Universe can’t get it back for us. We get one shot at the present. ‘Losing Game’ is beautifully and selectively analyzed by Sarah’s earthy vocals to fabulous perfection. Her vocals express, without really expressing – caressing, with just a glimpse. The NYC originating artist brings many angles to her craft. We’re all the beneficiaries for that offering.

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