It couldn’t be any worse of a year to be part of the graduating class, could it? Can you even imagine attending your graduation via Zoom? Eesh. A video call is probably the exact same way many youngins are going to be seeing their prom dates in a couple of weeks.
If that’s got you all bummed out, well, don’t feel so bad, we’ve got something to cheer you up! Thanks to the efforts of The Graduating Class, the band is debuting their spiffy new single, “Girl (Like The Summertime),” a poppy, sunny and upbeat tune that perfectly arrives at that time of year when you can finally leave your jacket at home. The Portland indie-pop crew is the perfect medicine for the spring blues with their fun, summery sound that’s somehow always good mood-inducing.
Despite its upbeat tone, “Girl (Like The Summertime)” is a reflective and more fragile song for the band as well as lead songwriter John Queant than you’d expect. As he explains, “‘Girl’ reflects on a major transition period in my life. I had just gotten out of a long term relationship, my previous band had fallen apart, and I was trying to use songwriting as a way to express feelings I didn’t quite understand. The lyrics are semi- autobiographical, but the song isn’t about any specific person, but rather how someone makes you feel. In the same way middle school students stare out the window, longing to be outside when it starts to warm up, I was writing about a person with that same sense of spontaneity and passion. The song feels even more fitting in our current state of social distancing. As the days get warmer, we’re all looking for someone like the summertime.”
The transition period that Queant just mentioned occurred two years ago, after some unfortunate events like the ending of a long-term relationship and pulling the plug on working with his longtime collaborator. In reaction to all of this, Queant decided to buy himself a synthesizer and he immediately went on a weekend binge with the thing, punching out three songs, including “Girl (Like the Summertime).” It was the most productive weekend of Queant’s life as a songwriter and it motivated him to form a band. Singer Natty Burmeister also just happened to reach out to him about collaborating that weekend and Queant’s life was suddenly turned upside down. Now after adding guitarist Keenan Dorn, keyboardist August King, and drummer Nate Hansen, The Graduating Class became settled.
With their songwriting confidence at a high, The Graduating Class couldn’t be any happier to be offering you some easy June listening. Drawing you in with groove and atmosphere, the band is thrilled to have you joining in on the class.
The Western Civilization – ‘Fractions of a Whole’ [Album Review]
The Western Civilization delivers expressive vocals and a wealth of stylistic aromas with an existential richness on ‘Fractions of a Whole.’
It was the Greek philosopher Aristotle who said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Applied to Texas-based indie-rock outfit The Western Civilization, the adage refers to the chemistry between Rachel Hansbro and Reggie O’Farrell, a chemistry on display in their recently released album, Fractions of a Whole.
Speaking about the album, Hansbro says, “The new songs were inspired by the amazing people who are part of my chosen family. Reggie has always been good at reminding me of the positive things. (He is) another voice saying, ‘Hey, it’s going to be okay.’”
Reggie O’Farrell and Rachel Hansbro first met while playing in separate bands. A friendship developed, resulting in two albums and performances at the Vans Warped Tour, SXSW, Halifax Pop Explosion, and, most importantly, an artistic alliance that survived a variety of obstacles.
Revolving around Hansbro and O’Farrell, The Western Civilization is a collaborative project with a rotating cast of musicians and collaborators who expose the actuality of Aristotle’s dictum.
The album opens with “Noctambulism,” a floating, folk-rock song with hints of Americana flowing through it. Driven by a sparkling piano topped by the voices of Hansbro and O’Farrell merging, the melody wafts and undulates like drifting clouds across the sky.
High points embrace “Bible Verses for Kids,” which reveals elusive Celtic flavors, a bit like The Cranberries. A rolling snare gives the rhythm a galloping motion as layered harmonies infuse the lyrics with choir-like textures verging on grandness.
A personal favorite because of Hansbro’s deliciously casual vocals, “Fool” resembles a child’s nursery rhyme reimagined as indie-rock – dreamy, drawling, almost discordant vocals riding over loose, garage rock harmonics. The imperfect, raggedy feel of the tune makes it wondrously genuine and gratifying.
“Proselytism,” the closing track, travels on light, migrant surfaces as Hansbro’s soft, breathy vocals imbue the lyrics with subtle, eccentric whimsy, a kind of didactic reflection.
Expressive vocals, along with a wealth of stylistic aromas, invest Fractions of a Whole with an existential richness.
Fractions of a Whole Track Listing:
2. Stitches (read our song review)
3. Bible Verses for Kids
4. She’s by the Sea
5. If You’re Lucky
7. My Mess
8. The Snake and The Saint
9. The Ocean’s on the Rise
Run Time: 42:18
Release Date: February 16, 2024
Record Label: Independent
Lovin’ Life Music Fest Drops First Year Lineup
Lovin’ Life Music Fest dropped their official lineup this week, and it is exceptional. The festival’s will occur on May 3-5th, 2024, in North Carolina.
Lovin’ Life Music Fest dropped their official lineup this week, and it is exceptional. The festival’s first-ever installment will occur on May 3-5th, 2024, in Uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. The star-studded lineup includes headline sets from Post Malone, Noah Kahan, and Stevie Nicks. From headliners alone, we can tell this festival has something for everyone.
The festival will showcase many popular acts spanning various genres and generations. Supporting acts include Maggie Rogers, Dominic Fike, The Fray, The Chainsmokers, Quinn XCII, Mt. Joy, Young the Giant, and NC’s DaBaby and The Avett Brothers. There will also be a local stage to highlight Charlotte’s own artists throughout the weekend. This is one of the most stacked lineups we’ve seen for the 2024 festival season.
Tickets to Lovin’ Life are on sale now! Grab them while you can; this is sure to be an epic weekend!
George Alley Shares Single & Video for “Just Leave Me Dreaming”
George Alley shares his latest single, “Just Leave Me Dreaming,” and it is accompanied by a stunning music video to support.
George Alley is a Philadelphia-based multi-media artist whose music has been the center of his work as a composer, performer, professor, journalist podcaster, choreographer and curator. He is sharing his latest drop single, “Just Leave Me Dreaming,” and it is accompanied by a stunning music video.
First forming a band in high school with Frank Musarra of Hearts of Darknesses, whom he continues to collaborate with on this upcoming album, Alley has been releasing singles, performing and using his original music for performance and dance pieces as part of his company Alley Ink. Performance has informed his work either in his music video collaborations with Adam Peditto or as a curator for 5 years of the Philadelphia Multimedia Arts Festival Collage.
He is a frequent music contributor for the UK-based LGBT pop culture Loverboy Magazine. Interviewing a variety of notable musicians. As well as a podcaster for the top-ten iTunes comedy podcast “I’m Going to Kill You!” And The pandemic cast “Queerona.”
As a professor, he teaches courses on punk and creativity. This work informs his music through an emphasis on the DIY ethos and the philosophies of chance, spontaneity and assemblage.
After the release of a digital-only remade version of his 2017 single, Just Leave Me Dreaming, this February. Alley will be releasing his self-titled debut album, George Alley, this spring. Produced by Ian Romer with additional production from Frank Musarra, it also features musical contributions from Norma Alley (vocals), Eric Coyne (cello), Sasha Ki (violin, viola), Russel Kotchner (violin), Jack Reilly (drums), Alec Spiegelman (saxophone), and Branson Yeast (cello).
To accompany this release, a 5-song concert has been filmed and will be released along with 3 promotional music videos. A collectible run of 500 albums will be available on “transparent root beer” vinyl pressed by Gottagroove Records. Find more information and performance dates on George’s official website.
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