BandWagon Magazine Greeley’s live music and entertainment magazine August 2012
ALBUM REVIEWS The Bright Silence Self-Titled
Joe Lee Parker BandWagon Magazine The debut self-titled release by Brooklyn-based The Bright Silence is like a lot of good records, one that gets better with each listen. Perhaps their goal was not to break new ground or to launch their particular brand of indie-pop upon the nation but, rather, to make a good record and have a lot of fun. From this perspective, they’re a group of four talented guys with a highly developed sense of what works when it comes to producing quality music with taste and flair. Centered on the confident lyrics and highly accessible vocal melodies of singer/songwriter Kevin Johnston, the four-piece band has crafted a cohesive ten-song album of straightforward pop rock songs that are sonically interesting and aurally pleasing. They kick things off with the catchy
“Arbiter” and follow it up with an even catchier “Cut to the Quick.” Both demonstrate a formula that allows them to express their unique take on life within well-crafted pieces of art. Each song stands well enough alone; but, taken as a whole, everything gels together in the classic album format. This is most evident where the twominute instrumental “Circle Out” bleeds masterfully into the melancholy “Shed Some Light” on tracks seven and eight, respectively. Kevin’s voice (and occasional guitar) is supported by bandmates Kirk Schoenherr on guitars, vocals, and keyboard, Spencer Zahn on bass, vocals, and organ, and Adam Christgau on percussion. The entire project is expertly recorded and mixed by Bob Mallory (who has produced for the likes of Paul Simon and Kings of Leon,) while the whole cast shares credit on production. The record is worth a serious
listen. It’s well-crafted and wellproduced. Even the cover art, created by Johnston, is vivid and unique. Check them out at TheBrightSilence. BandCamp.com or watch one of their many equally well-produced videos at YouTube.com/TheBrightSilence. The band’s online presence, like their album, is a fine example of how to do it right.
Huff N Keen 7th Scrolls
Mariah Foster BandWagon Magazine Dustin Huff and Joaquin Gonzales have loved hip-hop for as long as they can remember. Having both grown up in small Northern Colorado towns, the two were lucky enough to discover their shared passion when they met as kids, and they have been making music together ever since. Their latest album, 7th Scrolls, is yet another quality production to come out of Greeley’s Deliberate Collaborationz Recordings (DELCO), the company supporting many local rappers. Huff N Keen describe their music as “Soul-Hop,” a term they created a few years ago to accurately differentiate their musical stylings from their mainstream counterparts. As Huff explains, “It’s basically hip hop that tries to uplift the soul and speak for truth and being real. Lying about what you don’t have, whether it be women, cars, clothes...does not make me want to listen to your music.” Soul-Hop is Huff N Keen’s way of expressing their feelings about the spiritual struggles
Left: Dustin Huff Right: Joaquin Gonzales
of every day, and religious undertones run subtly but strong throughout the entirety of 7th Scrolls. In “Lonely and Cold,” the eighth track on the album, they rap, “If I had a million dollars, I’d buy every alcoholic a bible so he could find hope and fill himself with knowledge.” Huff N Keen claims that people are either taking part in processes of creation or destruction, and music, specifically lyrics, have the power to do both. “Soul-Hop,” Huff says, “is the essence of love and creation in the soul through lyrics on a hip-hop beat.” The pair raps over electronic samples blended with bits of classic blues songs and other instrumentals, having a propensity to use the work of producers who incorporate live horns and guitars with hip-hop basses, turntables, and dubstep. This allows the duo to utilize a variety of rhythmic styles to fit the exact right sound with the message they are trying to convey. The team believes in the power of collaboration, and they are always welcoming artists who would like to work together to create meaningful art. “If I didn’t give a fuck I would I would stay home/
Never write any songs/ But that ain’t the case / And obviously I’ll be working til I change your taste in music” - lyrics from “Unstoppable,” echoing a truth found throughout the album. 7th Scrolls returns to the purity of rap and hiphop, giving listeners an uplifting and inspiring outlook in the face of life’s hardships. Huff N Keen will continue taking their message to venues all over Colorado, and they will be performing at A.F. Ray’s on August 4th. Their music can be found on Facebook, Soundcloud, Reverbnation, and at DelcoRecordings. com.