Album Review – The Tellways “Out To The Cosmos”

The Tellways - Out To The Cosmos
The Tellways – Out To The Cosmos

As I was casting about for new music this week I ended up looking toward Michigan and came upon the recent release by Detroit’s The Tellways which is titled Out To The Cosmos.  I gave it a listen and came away impressed by the composition of the music and the nice way that they weave Motown and R&B influences in with island sounds.   Soul and reggae music have always had a subtle equivalency to me and those parallels are evident within the music on this record.  

The lead-off track is “Anxious” and it is a good listen with a slightly (and appropriately) nervous undertone, simple yet poignant message and some very nice horns 🙂 

The next song is “Keepin’ Me Up” and you can definitely hear those Motown influences within the music.  That call-back to soul and R&B was evident within the first minute and yet was still subtle enough to blend in well with the Caribbean rhythms.   

“Believe Them The First Time” has a slow, soothing flow to it and delivers a direct and simple message.  I really liked how the horns were woven in here also and the way they provided accents to the other instrumentation on this song.  I have listened several times and this remains my favorite on this album.

That is followed by “I Don’t Need To Tell You” and “Cool And Luke” which flow nicely within the album although I did not think they were especially notable other than the beginning to “Cool Hand Luke.”

When I read the title of the next track, “Space Force,” I was not sure what direction it was going to take…and I am still not 100% sure of its underlying intent.  Humor? Sarcasm? It remains a mystery to me but I did find the line, “we brought our own water,” to at least be quite funny.

“Tellway Stomp” is a feel good song celebrating the band’s sound and positive influence and is followed by “You’re Really Something (2020)”, another track where you can really hear the R&B vibes.  The next three songs (“Closer – 2020”, “Let Me In -2020” and “Friendly -2020”) are solid inclusions, with the middle track of the three being the standout.  It runs a close second-place for my favorite song on the album. 

The album closes out with “Bow To Your Sensei (2020)” which is a very good (mostly) instrumental track with solid composition that includes horns, and some great guitar and bass.  It feels a little heavy when listening but puts a nice finishing touch on “Out To The Cosmos” and sent me away feeling good 🙂 

Overall I really like this band and what they bring instrumentally and with their direct lyrics.  When you listen to this record is comes across mostly as a reggae / ska mix but you definitely find yourself with several pleasing,  “Wait, what was that?,” type moments.  And it will certainly get you feeling groovy and dancing! 

You can check out all of The Tellways music and info at their Bandcamp page https://thetellways.bandcamp.com

And please remember to support your local music scene, musicians and artists.  Community is powerful 🙂 

Album Review – The Arches “Abandoned”

The Arches just released  a new album called “Abandoned” – I checked it out and here are my thoughts 🙂 

First of all – that cover art is great and especially eye-catching to me as I am an “urban decay and abandoned industrial things” photographer myself.  Check out their Bandcamp page for a higher resolution photo – It is quite a stark image.  I also think there is a mysterious cat lurking in one of those upstairs portholes…or an extremely large rat…what you do think? 

anyway…

The set starts out with “Just Killing Time” which has a slight haunting quality to it, especially as the lyrical refrain “I know you’re no good, I know you’re no good for me,” floats over the music.  This is probably the most “pop” song on the album although I suspect The Arches may not be aiming for pop notoriety…it just struck me that way when I listened to it.  

There are some good drum beats on the next track “Rise UP” which gives it an “anthem you can dance to” feeling.  That song then bleeds over well into “Mikola.”  It is one of those great transitions that I always try to put into playlists I make…they just fit next to each other.  Now, I have no idea what that word means or what meaning it might have to the band…but do not look it up on Urban Dictionary if you are a PG-rated person! 

The next track, “Baby Face Assassin,” is a music-only number that really caught my attention.   It had me making up my own lyrics, albeit a simple “there’s a baby face assassin coming for me, and I think that it’s time to leave” as I closed my eyes and got a little lost in the composition.  

The next two songs were the toughest part of the record for me.  “Apocalypsing” really had me scratching my head a bit…although that usually means I missed the point so I suspect some of you out there will love it.  The following track “Stuck in a Loop” has a kind of eerie discordance inside of it running alongside a very pleasant keyboard melody.  It left me feeling just a little bit uneasy.

The album finishes up with “Time Will Tell’ (a dreamy atmospheric type song) and “Mikola Outro” which sends you on your way in a contemplative mood, possibly feeling slightly lost and thoughtful.  It had that effect on me anyway.    

Overall, this is an interesting record which delivers a variety of emotions as you listen to it.  It clocks in at a tight and well-composed twenty-one minutes.  On their Bandcamp site for this album The Arches comment that, “There is beauty in loss and abandonment, in everything.” These songs delivered a sense of that beauty while also leaving me just a little bit uneasy.  

You can check out more on The Arches and buy this album and other music at their Bandcamp page https://the-arches.bandcamp.com/music

Support your local music and artists  – community is powerful 🙂 

Slim Dunlap …good sounds here :)

Yes, I know that I am late to the news on this one but I just had the opportunity to listen to the recent release “Thank you, Dancers!” from the Slim Dunlap Band. This epic was recorded April 27, 2002 at the Turf Club (and as you folks know…I do love the Turf Club 🙂 and really presents a good feeling of what it was like to see Slim and the band in concert. A nice, easy familiar feeling that makes you feel good. Go somewhere and listen to this music – it’s on Bandcamp and I am certain other places also. If you want a place to start check out Breeder’s Cannonball or Busted Up.