The Hated Opinionated One

Posts Tagged ‘Indie Pop’

The Silent Years Makes Us Hold On As They Let Go

Posted by Scotio on July 9, 2009



The term “Let Go” usually is used when facing troubling times. When things have gone to a point that you need to get away. You need to remove yourself from whatever it is that seems to have it’s hold on you. Rarely do you hear such a term used when association with something deemed good. But, Detroit’s The Silent Years have released an EP titled Let Go that has the phrase standing in a very positive light. Main member Josh Epstein calls it their musical piece that helps them move on. Move towards a forward direction in his band’s sonic career. I say that Josh is onto something here.

The lead single of the EP is “Madame Shocking.” It comes in as something that you might feel that Beirut(the musician) might have thought of originally. The opening music is best compared to that of music played at a town fair in the mid to late 1800s. Even Epstein’s vocal melody holds some sort of barring with that time frame. Though, the thing that doesn’t complete the suit of a hommage to the yester century are the lyrics. Filled with the expression of a man nearing the bottom of a bottle and revealing the bottom of himself. Then, in an almost comical fashion, the music does a rapid leap about 100 years. The Silent Years show a very keen sense in the Indie Pop genre, at this point. And, if you’re introduced to them with this song, by this point you get the feeling that these guys(and I use the term not for gender basis but for grouping) deserves a bit more of your time and attention. That, perhaps, you should begin to investigate how the rest of this 6 track plays out.

Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park” is a title that sounds like you walked in on the middle of a sentence. Not hearing the beginning, and lost for the ending. Luckily, this track doesn’t give you that feeling at all. The opening cut for Let Go welcomes all new listeners to the band with open arms and an upbeat smile. Ryan Clancy’s drum work is driven and gives the track an almost pivotal moment feeling. Fabian Halabou’s guitar work is creatively travel between the safe zone in Indie Pop and travels all the way outward towards Noise Rock/Shoegazing territory. A bold move, but it pays off by the truck load. Josh’s vocals coo and beckon you closer, then takes you to great soaring heights. The overly simple chorus of repeating “Da-da-dada”‘s cheats it’s way into getting into your head that much easier. With lyrics like “Sing us a song/ Only don’t sing too long/ You know I would get bored in a while” and “They got in my head and they’re painting my thoughts with the honest answers that offend me” it comes across as being told from the perspective of a twenty-something whom is facing the trueness of reality at an unsettling yet introspective rate.

Every track on this EP plays a valuable position in broadcasting how truly comfortable this band is with themselves. Call it a six staged attack, if you must. But, let it be known that the final stage “Claw Marks” is every bit a closing argument. It brings together everything in a very credits rolling manner. The most reclined of the six tracks, it also packs the most powerful punch. With repeative lyrics and merrily dreary music, there’s no denying the feeling of “it’s over, I’m letting go” that it holds. For almost the last 2 minutes, the track goes completely instrumental and picks up its pace. This is past the point of the climax, this is the part where all the pieces are reviewed and you can see the whole picture. If I’m making this EP seem cinematic, in it’s own charming way, it is. There is no flowing theme going on for it. It’s just fun and raw.

Let Go is for The Silent Years what Good News For People Who Love Bad News was for Modest Mouse. Or, even what Wincing The Night Away was for The Shins. Both of those bands house a similar sound to what The silent Years bring with this release. And, like the bands mentioned, this seems to be their “Hey, man . . . let’s nix intensive planning and just do it” album. If, and I hope they do, The Silent Years continue with this style, it could take them long and far in open relateability with listeners. After releasing 2 LPs, and, now, 2 EPs, The Silent Years have seem to find their proper stride. Now, where they walk from here is anyone’s guess and every one of their fans’ hope.





***Note: Physical Copies available July 14th from SideCho Records. Click the Taking Drugs At The Amusement Park title for a free download of the song.


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Gene Dante Let’s His Romance For The Stage Lead Him

Posted by Scotio on May 29, 2009


So, recently, I moved. And, in the process, I wasn’t able to check out if any new music hit the mark of things that tickled my fancy, or even something that I should be reviewing. Well, once I finally had everything set up at my new spot, I looked to find that I had the album “The Romantic Lead” by Gene Dante & The Future Starlets waiting for me. To say the least, the album seemed promising due to their single.

That single is “A Madness To His Method”. It’s a track that somehow seems like what David Bowie would be like had he grew up in today’s age and had a strong love for Indie Pop music(see: Modest Mouse, Death Cab For Cutie, The Shins, et al). Mr. Dante possess strong confidence in his delivery, evoking a style and swagger(though I’m growing to detest that word) that has seemed to all but die out of music showmanship since the 70’s. And, just like Bowie of the 70’s, Gene blurs self-sexuality identification with this track(and more tracks to come).

It’s hard not to hear Gene Dante’s former theatrical work inside of his music. Songs tend to take on life as if there should be a full cast moving around in a very animated fashion. You know that the time he spent with the Rocky Horror Picture Show crew as well as the Beauty And The Beast cast has shaped his direction greatly for what he is trying to bring forth.

“Like A Satellite” stands out to me as the most commercially accessible song. There isn’t anything that would drive the censors wild, and all the tongue-in-cheek statements are tuned towards a more mild setting. For an average run-of-the-mill listener, this track would get tremendous replay value. But, they shouldn’t expect the entire album to move as this song does. If they do, they are in for a rude awakening.

Such would be the case with the track “C Star”. The C stands for another word for a rooster or the term for the male sexual appendage. And, just in case you thought that it was only metaphorically mention and not blatantly stated then you should strap yourself in for the shock value of the chorus: “Check out my cock/ Not super long/ but it pounds like a hammer…” Yes, kiddies, this track can not be played at any Church event unless you want to get hosed down by holy water. What’s the funny part of it all is that the song has a very strong Neil Diamond sensibility to it. Coming across like a track that you’d find a performer doing on the Vegas strip. With homage paying lines like “We like girls in Velvet Underground” you know Dante is speaking more for an Andy Warhol tribute than he is for Lou Reed.

One other interesting piece is the Dresden Dolls-esque, “Brian, My Darling.” If you don’t catch the reference in the mentioning of Dresden Dolls and the song title, then you’re not familiar with that band at all. Because, you missed the fact that one half of that group is the male member Brian Viglione. The dynamically brilliant cross-dressing drummer receives his first love letter written in musical form and offered for public release, here. Yes, this song is about Brian Viglione. No, Him & Dante aren’t a couple, but he is paying him a tremendous tribute with this track. It does ring hard as if it is Dresden Dolls + more band members. Not only is this a track for Mr. Viglione, but also a defense, sort of, on the band’s behalf & comforting word to them(Brian more specifically). Due to the fact that, though many people love the duo, a lot of others criticize them unnecessarily. So, now, not only has Brian been honored to have been a studio member of Nine Inch Nails and received his own fame’s claim with Dresden Dolls, now he has a track to play whenever he doubts himself. Shouldn’t we all be so lucky by something so special? The album closer “To A God Unknown” brings this whole show to a close. And, yes, folks, this album is every bit of a show as anything you can see on Broadway. This song is a track of heartbreak. One of a heartbroken person whom has become so shattered that they have to re-evaluate their relationship with God. We’ve all hit such points where we question not only ourselves, but our place in the universe . . . especially after a destructive end to something held high in our hearts. The brilliant addition of asking yourself(the listener/singer)  “Are you Pavlov’s dog?” showcases not only Gene’s intelligence, but also his application of said intelligence with such a small line/question.(Note: Those not known to what that means, I advise you to… Wikipedia that shat!)

The Future Starlets led by Gene Dante is a band with a promising future. This album does have it’s low points and it’s questionable moments. Like the track “Purity Of Intention” which plays out like a some strange mixture of the stage show Grease and a song from Eagles Of Death Metal. Also, the song “The Starlet Hits The Wall” starts off with such a 70’s funk influence, leading the listener into excited anticipation with what the band could do with the song. Only to find that it changes up; switching between a Dub-styled melody and a simple Rock N Roll harmony. Those songs aren’t fully BAD, but it would have felt better if they really went for it. They seem to have some interesting ideas that rested in the safe bet zone. Sometimes the way to get the best results is to let it all ride on red. Though they did instead decided to spread their bet around in hopes of a better cash out, they have somewhat achieved their goal. So, Gene Dante can rejoice in the fact that he will be taking the stage once more, and probably even more often than before. As the name of his backing band states, these people are all Future starlets in the making.


Purchase (Rhapsody)

Current Performance Dates Are As Followed:

06/09 Boston, MA @ Pridelights at BCA
07/17 Boston, MA @ Oliver’s
07/25 Boston, MA @ Provincetown Rocks! Festival

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