Back in May 2016, we decided to steer away from dedicating a page in our magazine’s music section to reviewing major label albums for a couple reasons. One, because you can find album reviews for all that stuff online already, and two, because if you really want to know if an album is good … well just go listen to it for yourself and decide. From then on, the section of the mag was dedicated to highlighting awesome new local/regional releases and attempting to promote good music you might not have known about.
Here’s a recap of the last several months since we started the section. Enjoy some fresh local music, and hey, maybe you could even buy some of it and support these people. If you or someone you know would like to have their music featured in a future issue of Void, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See you in 2017!
May 2016 Album Spotlights
Peyote Coyote – Peyote Coyote
This group based out of Pompano Beach is comprised of lead guitarist and vocalist Ryan Huseman, bassist Jake Stuart and drummer and vocalist Cari Gee. The trio describe their sound as, “psychedelic garage bop,” which befits both the name of their band and their self-titled first EP. The EP starts with a fast-paced revival of ‘60s psychedelic rock that’s then mixed in with elements of modern indie rock and wrapped in a grungy lo-fi sound that goes down smooth. If this all piques your interest, you can find their music on their tumblr page.
Weekend Atlas – Vacant
Jacksonville locals Weekend Atlas have plans to release this new EP titled, Vacant, on August 13, but that doesn’t mean you’ll need to wait four months to hear it. Thankfully, the group (made up of guitarist Nick Garcia, vocalist and guitarist Brennan Hinck, trumpeter Carter Hess, keyboardist Mike Pruitt, bassist Jacob Casey and drummer John Stribling) will be giving away the single “Ghost” for free to fans looking to get a little sneak peek. Having heard the full EP already (perks of the job), I can guarantee you that you’ll want to jot down a reminder to get Vacant when it comes out in August.
The Young Step – El Classico
Another local indie rock group from St. Augustine has also released an album this year. The Young Step is made up by lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Whitson, vocalist, guitarist and bassist Micah Gilliam and guitarist, vocalist and bassist Lauren Gilliam. The group’s debut album is titled, El Clásico, and features eight tracks of groovy indie rock to get you up on your feet. El Clásico was recorded at the Gilliam’s home studio and was mixed and mastered by The Magic Shop Recording Studio in SoHo, New York City by engineer Matt Boynton who’s worked with acclaimed acts such as MGMT and Kurt Vile. To hear the album, check out their site at theyoungstep.com.
June 2016 Album Spotlights
Rhythm of Fear – Maze of Confusion
Local hardcore band Rhythm of Fear have finally released their debut, full-length album titled, Maze of Confusion. The 13-track LP was mixed and mastered by John Howard and delves into aliens, government corruption, conspiracy theories, magic and the struggles of life — so there’s probably something you can find relatable in here. The goal for Rhythm with Maze of Confusion is to make listeners question what they hear and believe, hoping to provoke thought and make people ask questions and demand answers. The group will be performing this month on the 3rd at Jack Rabbits, or next month on 7/2 for Burro Bar’s final show. You can check out the record on their Bandcamp — I suggest you do so.
Bells and Robes – How Could We Have Known
Gainesville-based indie electronic duo Bells and Robes are set to release their third EP this month. The album, titled, How Could We Have Known, was recorded in a number of various places with other bands from surrounding cities, such as Flat Land who are also from G-ville. This record takes the duo in a new direction from previous works, and focuses on the two extremes of emotion — the ultimate highs and lows. “The message is that we think a lot of people are afraid to feel the lows. The sadness, the heartbreak, the deaths,” the band said about the album’s concept. “We’re also afraid of the real highs. The absolute joys that we can experience. The vulnerable moments that could end up leaving us happier than we’ve ever been.” Those looking to hear this intriguing new release should visit the group’s website or Soundcloud, and the singles can also be found on Spotify.
The Hip Abduction – Gold Under the Glow
This five-man indie group out of St. Petersburg have been around for awhile now, and have recently put out their third studio album. The record, titled, Gold Under the Glow, sticks with the previous influences of West African and Jamaican reggae elements, mixed in with some indie rock flair. The result is a solid piece of work that emulates the feelings of warm summer days and good times. When asked about the record and what they hope fans get out of it, the group said they hope it’ll be a soundtrack for all the wanderlusters out there. After a listen through the album, you’ll definitely been feeling a draw to get out and explore this summer. Look for Gold Under the Glow on Spotify or iTunes.
July 2016 Album Spotlights
Flat Land – Arrow to the Sun
Gainesville-based band Flat Land are finally releasing their debut album titled, Arrow to the Sun — and this new record should be on everyone’s watch list. Founded by five UF alumni (guitarist Christopher Storey, drummer Grant McLeod, keyboardist Ian McLeod, bassist Brandon Miller and lead vocalist and violinist Fae Nageon De Lestang), Flat Land formed from a passion for good music over the last four years. The culmination of several years spent perfecting their sound shines through brilliantly with Arrow to the Sun, creating a funky 10-track album that has something for just about any music taste, ranging from blues influences like Jack White, to Florence + the Machine and even Stevie Wonder. The album drops July 7, so check it out and give it a listen.
Katie Grace Helow – Past Lives
Katie Grace Helow is a singer and songwriter born and raised right here in Jacksonville. Having been active as a musician for numerous years (writing, recording and performing around the area), Helow has now released her second full-length album titled Past Lives to eager fans. The album has already been picked up by several local and national publishments, and for good reason. Her sound can be described as alt-country, mixing in elements of folk and rock that give her an alluring blend of popular indie styles. If you’re a Sharon Van Etten fan or simply looking for something a little more local in your indie music, visit her website at katiegracehelow.com for more info on her latest release.
Vices – Volume None
By Justin Belichis | Emptiness, trepidation and indignation are a few words that come to mind when jamming Jacksonville hardcore bluesers Vices’ newest release Volume None. The band’s second LP feels like the soundtrack of a post-apocalyptic world that a cowboy trying to close the gates of Hell is cursed to live in. It makes sense, especially because Vices released it on June 6, 2016 (6/6/16). Volume None blends distraught vocals with clout, meaningful melodies, gloomy instrumentation and samples — including an eerie organ — to get its point across. Guitarist Shane Kelley’s outstanding riffs on the album may save humanity if the devil himself challenged someone in this realm to a duel.
August 2016 Album Spotlights
Jeremiah Daly – Chicago Tapes
Jeremiah Daly is a Jacksonville singer and songwriter who was born, raised and lives in Jacksonville. Recently, he released his EP titled, Chicago Tapes. This new five-track EP should be on everyone’s radar. Chicago Tapes is a collection of new songs and B-Sides from The Darkness Will Be Over Soon (Daly’s previous release) that were recorded live to tape in Chicago at Audiotree Studios. The songs cover a range of topics, including friendship, faith and belonging. The first song off the EP, titled, “Without Wear,” is about how to be friends with a person you share a past with, despite doubts that you have don’t have anything to offer them. Daly said, “I think love transcends a lot of the definitions we use to describe it. This song is me trying to move forward despite those doubts.”
Glazed – You’ve Changed
Local hardcore group Glazed is kicking off their tour after releasing their debut album, You’ve Changed, last month. Released under the independent Florida label Ooze Records, You’ve Changed is a 10-track record that ranges between influences from Taking Back Sunday, Saves The Day, The Early November and Dashboard Confessional — but with their own unique elements of alt, emo and hardcore, resulting in a genre-bending album that looks to be a convincing start for the young quartet. Those looking to check out Glazed when they perform in town should catch them at their show when they open for Sorority Noise at 1904 Music Hall (see the next page). You can get the record from their Bandcamp page at glazedfl.bandcamp.com.
The Nixon Tapes – Better Days
By Justin Belichis | Jacksonville musicians know the Bold City is bursting at the seams with talent and a DIY ethos. The Nixon Tapes are proving that sentiment to be true — seriously they recorded this album in their drummer’s living room. Crunchy guitars, sporadically synchronized rhythm and raw, heartfelt melodies and harmonies are what you can expect to hear listening to the band’s debut full-length album, Better Days. Vocalist and guitarist Carson Hall told Void, “For this album, I wanted to express my feelings toward friendships, relationships and how they both have such weight in my life.”
September 2016 Album Spotlights
Drew Bond – Sitting in The Falls
Jacksonville singer and songwriter Drew Bond released his latest solo album at the beginning of August, expanding his impressive discography even further. Bond is also a member of other local groups, such as Opiate Eyes, so odds are you’ve heard a song or two by him, even if you don’t recognize his name right off the bat. The record, titled, Sitting in The Falls, is a similar work to previous albums, taking the listener across a gentle journey of illustrative lyrics that are perfect for anything from relaxing at home to spending some intimate time outdoors. Sitting in The Falls was written and performed by Bond. For those interested in checking out his latest release, you can find his music via his Bandcamp page, where you can also see the rest of his extensive catalogue.
LANNDS – Wide Awake in a Sleepy World
Evoking an entrancing mix of chillwave, ambient electronic music and pop influences, LANNDS is easily one of my new favorite finds. With the release of her album, Wide Awake in a Sleepy World, the timing couldn’t be better for me to share it with Void readers who are seeking some new local tunes. Rania Woodard, the singer and songwriter behind LANNDS, uses her enchanting vocals and deeply emotional lyrics with stunning execution, reminding me a little of artists like Lorde — though obviously unique in her own right. When paired with her captivating songwriting, the ambiance and quality of the album (thanks to Brian Squillance no doubt) feels like something you’d find in a well-established artist’s discography, which certainly has me keeping my eye on LANNDS for future releases. You can find her music online on either her Bandcamp or Soundcloud pages, as well as on Spotify.
November 2016 Album Spotlights
This Frontier Needs Heroes – Real Job
It’s been awhile since This Frontier Needs Heroes has released a new album (three years to be exact), but their fourth full-length album is finally here. Real Job marks the end of this hiatus, and is a return to Brad Lauretti’s (TFNH’s frontman) excellent songwriting ability — though we see more of a slight shift toward the Americana genre. The title makes use of many additional band members, adding in elements of guitar, drums, keys, violin and more, all of which increase the depth of TFNH’s latest work. The 12-track record was recorded in Athens, Georgia, and one could argue that the setting made a distinct impact on the underlying vibe of Real Job. Those looking to pick up some solid local folk music will not be disappointed with Lauretti’s latest endeavor. Find it on the group’s Soundcloud, Bandcamp or other outlets.
Folk is People — The Devil Always Comes
After putting the project on hold two years ago, the folk venture of Stacey Bennett has returned with newfound vigor. The newest album, The Devil Always Comes, is a strong comeback to one of the area’s most beloved folk projects. Bennett’s formidable vocals are simply captivating throughout the record, and “Bury Me In Virginia” is a personal favorite. Bennett said the album is a mixture of revived and completed old tracks, as well as many that are brand new. Bennett, who is the songwriter and frontwoman, gets a little help from Rick Grice on bass, Bob Judalena on drums and Malakai Fisher on guitar. You can find the album and music video for “Bury Me In Virginia” on Folk is People’s Facebook page, Bandcamp or Soundcloud … and I’d highly recommend you check it out.
Geexella – gee things
Geexella, pronounced jee-Eh-LUH, is Graciela Cain’s musical moniker — who you might recognize from our feature on her earlier in this issue. gee things is Cain’s first EP that was released in August, and looks to be a promising start. Drawing from a range of influences including Southern hip-hop and Bachata (a style of romantic music from the Dominican Republic), Cain uses her diverse background to find inspiration in all corners of her being. With her powerful message of “altering the world one microphone at a time,” it seems as though Cain has big plans for her music career. I, for one, will be keeping an eye on the young artist for future releases. Check out more of her music via her Bandcamp page, Facebook or Soundcloud.
December 2016/January 2017 Album Spotlights
N.W. Izzard – No Sleep
It’s difficult to pin N.W. Izzard’s sound into a single music style. Melding elements of blues, reggae/funk and a dash of Southern rock creates something curiously groovy and enjoyable for just about anyone. The drawl of the vocals, the crunchy guitar riffs and the ever-changing style of influences work well for N.W. Izzard in their latest release, titled, No Sleep. The debut album rounds out at a little over 40 minutes, with eight soulful and bluesy tracks. You can snag a physical copy of the album now, or check them out online via their Bandcamp and other online outlets, including their Soundcloud page.
wise river — Window Panes
Much like N.W. Izzard, wise river was also featured in our recent Art & Music Issue, and now, the group has released a little two-track EP dubbed, Window Panes. Featured on the EP is guitarist Jack Mock, keyboardist and vocalist John Shannon, vocalist and guitarist Laura Shannon and drummer Harry Keith. Window Panes builds off previous works by the group, and is another solid addition to the band’s discography … now we just have to patiently wait until the group can get some time to record a proper LP. Get Window Panes via their Bandcamp, Soundcloud or even give it a listen on Spotify.
EASY – CARE
I stumbled into this album awhile back while browsing the “Jacksonville” tag on Bandcamp and was pleasantly surprised to say the least. CARE is local rapper Easy’s second EP, marking another W on the board for the young rapper. With a plethora of solid features and producers on the EP (namely the track with Eddy Braveaux taking the production reins), CARE is EASY’s best work to date, with each track feeling like it’s own little atmosphere. About the album, EASY said, “Compassion and striving to make a positive difference in yourself and your community are the foundation of what CARE is about.” Look for it on his Soundcloud or Bandcamp page.
These were taken directly from previous issues and placed online, so we apologize if the context or dates on some throws you off.