Emerson Snowe is the solo project from Brisbane musician Jarrod Mahon, also known as the bassist of The Creases. His debut EP That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll is an inspiring collection of songs spanning across two years, which explores the internal struggles and dealings of his own vices, while also addressing love and romance. The EP is honest in its approach, as Snowe leaves everything on the table with his very personal lyrics.
“Human” is the recent single from the EP, filled with a breezy, summer feel, garnered by the bright guitars, catchy chorus and the repeated phrase “Like a human”. Snowe is talking to his parents in this song as he almost pleads to him how he wants to be better and not let them down. The cheerful and warm tones continue on “Our Home”, with simple strumming guitars and sugary, sweet lyrics, like “Finding one another, learning to care for one another”. “If I Die, Then I Die” from the beginning appears to be a dark and somber song, however, once the chorus comes in, Snowe sounds as if he accepts the inevitable fate of death.
Throughout That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll, upbeat instruments are cleverly juxtaposed with his lyrics to give a sense of uncertainty, while Snowe searches for personal discovery. This is most notable on “Boy In Control”, where Snowe brings back those bright and sweeping guitars, while he describes his mental state and the feeling of losing control. The tone then shifts with “Could You Love Me” with a mellow, unhurried sound accompanied with an organ-like synth. This is a romantically driven song with softly sung vocals to make it sound more dream-like. Snowe explains his favorite dreams about the person he loves and puts forward the rhetoric question “Could you love me like you do / When I am dreaming?”.
The tempo is once again lifted with “Sunlight”. A simple yet effective synth chord progression, matched with a heavy snare that moves the song along to a moderate march, helps make this one of the catchiest songs on That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll. The EP finishes with “You Say”, an optimistic song that leaves you in a state of peacefulness.
That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll allows you to step into the rich mind of Emerson Snowe, as he explores the fundamental ideas of self-reflection, acceptance and personal growth. There is no doubt Snowe is capable of creating memorable and upbeat hooks, but it’s his lyrics, describing the internal battles of life, which will connect with you on a much deeper level. Those who have not seen or heard Emerson Snowe before will be pleasantly surprised with his debut EP.
Emerson Snowe’s That’s Rock ‘n’ Roll is out now via Liberation Records.
Calvin Clone – Machines [single]
Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination
The year is 2040. The war between human vs machine is at the forefront. Is it too late for humans to take back the world from Artificial Intelligence? Are we already outrun by machines? Have no fear, Calvin Clone is here. “Machines” is the first of three singles released by Melbourne artist Calvin Clone. This first track allows listeners to see into the future through song. Setting it simply, according to Calvin Clone, our world is taken over by machines, and I don’t know about you but that doesn’t sound too crazy to me.
Founder and creator of Calvin Clone, Jack Alexandrovics, “combines dance, pop, industrial and rock to create a vision of cyberpunk.” This single shows a great connection music can have between modern and classic interpretation. There is a fantastic guitar riff throughout the song and really stands out when played. Meshed together with the cyber sounds of machines throughout, it’s a weird but working combination.
Alexandrovics’s theatrical voice adds yet another element to the song. He explains that his music is “closer to a theatre production than a conventional gig”. The vocal element in “Machines” exposes an ability to move up and down the scales flawlessly.
It is really exciting to see artists thinking outside of the conventional box. Calvin Clone explores modern and futuristic ideas yet keeps the integrity of a smashing guitar riff and untouched voice. There will be two more singles released by the end of the year which will all be part of his EP Kinetics. Calvin Clone is ambitious with visuals and sonics, and wants the live audience to be fully engaged in all aspects of his live performance. “Machines” has been stuck in my head for days. It’s catchy and engaging and I can’t wait to hear what else may be coming our way. This is only the beginning.
The Ritualists – Painted People
The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music
After listening to Painted People by The Ritualists, I was very surprised to learn that this is their debut album. This band shows a maturity in their music that I would not expect from a first album and provides inspirational sounding tracks with ‘reach for the stars’ type of guitar riffs. I hear a modern version of U2 in The Ritualists, along with an influence of Radiohead. Their songs are full, wholehearted post-punk hooks with a lead singer that has a sizeable range.
“Rattles” opens the album, and it’s the type of song that shows their audience that they are here to stay. It has a great build-up of excitement and intensity. The band explains that this song is “A combination of dark, deep-pocketed verses juxtaposed with big, flashy choruses is a key element to tracks”.
“Ice Flower” and “Worthiest One” welcomes an electronic wave to the album and showcases just how impressive lead singer Christian Dryden’s range is. His ability to hit those high notes with such conviction puts my falsetto abilities to shame. “Worthiest One” brings this sort of nostalgic feeling- it’s a rock ballad with a floaty guitar riff.
“She’s The Sun” is a great follow-on from “Worthiest One” as it transfers the mood upwards and directs the music into more of a hypnotic vision, which conveys “the band’s inner Sixties Love Child”. “I’m With The Painted People” has a really relatable background to the song. Dryden felt a larger than life inspiration from people like David Bowie and Simon Le Bon, these artists felt like soulmates, which can be lonely at times. It wasn’t until he ventured out into the clubs of the lower east side of New York which helped him feel comfortable to express his creative vision freely. The song is all about finding like-minded people.
There are hooks galore and catchy choruses in pretty much every song. “With this record, I’ve specifically tried to be anthemic,” admits Dryden. “I’ve always loved going to shows, where immediately after the performance, and even on the ensuing days after, you just can’t help but remember and sing the songs you’ve just heard. It’s almost like a higher form of communication.” The Ritualists play some determined, strong-willed music and Painted People shows hints of variations with different genres explored throughout. They sound motivated and in return have produced motivating music for their listeners.