A while back musician Maks, from The Netherlands, sent me a message via the Alternative Airwaves Facebook page. He was letting me know of a new release, 3FT NO DIVING, a solo effort after years acting as drummer in another band.
I have been playing as a drummer in rock bands for a big part of my life.
After the splitting up of my most recent band in 2012, I went on a small tour through the USA as a stand-in drummer in a blues-rock band. During this trip I decided I was going to write my own material and see where this could lead to…
The learning curve was pretty steep, I must say. Besides learning how to play a bit of decent guitar and keyboards, I also had to cope with my vocals. Perhaps my greatest challenge was to find my singing voice.
He passed the album my way (which you can pick up over at http://www.maksagency.com), and I listened to it a few times. I’ll start off with saying that I liked it! Maks’ voice reminds me a lot of a less rough Peter Dreimanis (July Talk). I didn’t find anything especially unique on my first pass through, but I found that I enjoyed the different elements Maks added to differentiate his sound.
He uses many different instruments on his tracks, and some of the tracks make use of sound effects to create mood and atmosphere. Technically speaking the album sounds very good, and I can tell that Maks is a very capable guitar & keyboard player. If I’m reading his messages correctly he recorded and mixed everything on his own, without a backing band, so that is quite impressive.
One especially prominent through-line I heard for the entire album was a lot of classic rock influences. I reached out to Maks to ask him about this, and he let me know that I wasn’t wrong:
My biggest influences are a band called Magazine, Japan, Ultravox, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Alice Cooper and of course a bunch of bands from the late 1970s punk era
I sort of combined all of them and gave it a swirl in my head and this CD was the result. Mind you, this swirling process took years…!
I’m listening back to 3FT No Diving as I type up this review, and now that I think of it, I can sort of hear a Bowie-like quality in his voice. And at the last minute I’m adding perhaps a little bit of Pearl Jam sneaking in there. Despite all the influences, it doesn’t sound to me like he’s merely copying styles, but has created his own sound.
For kicks, I decided to listen to a few songs from Maks’ influences, starting with Magazine. Fun to hear where his blended sound came from!
Once again you can check out the album at www.maksagency.com. Enjoy!
Artist: Jordan Max
Album: Only One Is King
“Only One Is King”, an EP by Jordan Max released 2 years ago, is an artist/album that has shot up my personal charts.
Some background on Max – he’s a British artist and recently signed to Danger Mouse for publishing. He’s got a new single out (“War” – check out the video here), but Only One Is King was released independently.
Actually, the story behind the album is kind of cool. From a press release for his single “War”:
Jordan Max made his debut in 2016 with his EP Only One Is King, written and recorded in the bedroom of his childhood home. Lead single “Hell” showcased his unique sound and earned him a spot on Complex’s “10 British R&B/Soul Artists To Watch in 2017,” in addition to praise from Consequence of Sound, i-D, Pigeons & Planes, Fader and more.
His sound reminds me a lot of Alt-J, but a bit more on the bluesier side than rock. There’s quite a bit of darkness in his music as well, which at times seem to follow what I see as a bit of a trend in the alt-rock scene. Still, blues & soul permeate through the tracks to make a unique sound.
Keep your ears open for more from Jordan Max, it’s worth a listen. I give this EP 4/5.
I received this email submission back in June 2017; so right off the bat, a slap on the hand to me for not getting to the review until now, nearly a year later.
Yesteryear by Anela & The Early Hours
Anela & The Early Hours is an indie pop group out of London, Ontario. Yesteryear is their debut album; here are some of my thoughts about it.
Right off the top, I have to be honest and say that this album did not “wow” me. I feel that it is a solid, well-produced album, but it doesn’t stand out as something special to me. That said, I would still recommend giving this album a listen.
Like I said, it sounds well-produced. It’s “radio ready”, in the sense that it sounds good over my speakers and headphones – the sound isn’t too flat or anything like that. Guitar work in the 7 tracks is delicate but has a presence, and the drums have a certain “pop” to it. I like lead singer Anela Navarro’s voice, though it doesn’t fluctuate through very much range (however it sounds like she potentially has a wide vocal range in her if she chose to use it).
Singles from the album include “Space” and “All Alone”, for which there are some YouTube videos you can watch: here and here. The stand-out track for me though was “Stuck With You” – I liked that one the best.
Overall, “Yesteryear” is a good album and I recommend it. 3/5. You can purchase it from iTunes, or stream it on Spotify/Soundcloud/Bandcamp (link above).
Just thought I’d throw out a quick recommendation! I found this on Jamendo the other day, and thought it was a great folk/pop album. Some of the tracks are a little dreamy, which is great. I didn’t like Those Were The Days too much; Nowhere to Hide and Little Birds were definitely standout tracks for me.
I was listening to The Decemberists’ new album before dropping into this one, and the transition worked well for me. If you have some time, take a listen to Daniel Robinson’s Little Birds.