Can TikTok Create Talent?

You’ve definitely seen them: The teens (and even some adults) dancing and lip-syncing their way through fifteen seconds on an app that sprung up in the wake of Vine’s death. If you live under a rock and don’t know, I’m talking about TikTok.

In a short time, TikTok has become the new It app for a strong majority of today’s teens and young adults. Of course, this means there’s a whole new genre of influencer, one that, essentially, seems to have even less substance than the infamous YouTuber, or even an Instagram star.

So, why is it that musicians are using TikTok (and other questionable forms of social media) to launch music careers? Why are there so many articles out there telling them how to do so (really, Google it!)?

Obviously, transmedia has always had opportunities when used in a traditional marketing sense: Post some pictures and short videos on Instagram, put concert dates on Facebook’s events, and Tweet a few snarky comments to make yourself seem more relatable, and you’ll have fans. But apps like TikTok are an anomaly. What do fans get out of watching their favorite artists flossing (The dance kind, not the tooth kind. I’d be even more confused by the latter.)?

Before finding the answer in the present, we have to dig into the past.

If you’re around my age (21), you’ll likely remember when YouTube and Vine were the main sources of entertainment, and, as a result, the influencers that came from them. Yes, I’m talking about MAGCon.

I’m not here to make fun of the people who enjoyed MAGCon culture (or TikTok, or anything, really). In fact, I’ll admit it: I attended DigiTour, and I had fun! Yeah, some of the influencers didn’t really have a talent, and they just jumped around onstage, but there were some acts that I really enjoyed thanks to their charisma, comedy, or musical talent.

But, many people were there because they wanted to see those seemingly talentless influencers, the ones jumping around onstage. Why?

The answer is simple: They felt connected.

This could be the key to the TikTok phenomenon, too. When someone—especially a young, impressionable person—feels like they know someone’s personality online, they will want to know them in person, too. They will want to support this person, to feel like the relationship goes two ways. For many of these lucky fans, it can. For others, a “concert” is enough of an illusion to mask the true distance between creator and consumer.

So, we can understand this: People will support a creator with whom they feel a connection. But what about musicians on these apps? Would people still enjoy their music if the social media connection was severed? Should these performers stick to the apps, or expand their brand and play live?

From my own experience, and in my personal opinion, no—unless they’re extremely well-practiced and prepared to put on a show, not just a performance. The thing that breaks many social media-based artists in my mind is a lack of differentiation between a performance on an app, and a live show.

The perfect example is Brothers Page, a popular Instagram/TikTok team of brothers. Please take my critiques with a grain of salt, and remember that they are just that: critiques. As a music reviewer, this is my job, and it doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy someone’s music.

And I do enjoy Brothers Page’s music! I think they have great voices and a lot of talent within the mashups they create on social media. Their vocals are very well-blended, trained, and suit the songs they choose to sing. I can definitely understand why they have (at this moment) almost forty thousand followers on TikTok and over a million on Instagram. I think it would be fair to say that they are, objectively, talented people.

That being said, I would not think so if I was only exposed to their live show. When I was first introduced to Brothers Page, it was via their opening act for Hot Chelle Rae’s Burlington, Vermont show on December 5, 2019. While it was mentioned that it was Brothers Page’s first live show, it was also completely obvious (at least to the trained eye) that they were completely unprepared. I can understand nerves and a lack of polishing for a first show. Heck, I can even sympathize with a train wreck. But it is my strong belief that bands who are not ready to play live should not do so until they are as bulletproof as possible, at least in rehearsal.

That’s not to say Brothers Page was a train wreck: Their vocals sounded very much similar to their social media videos, and nothing went explicitly wrong. But—and this is the Big But—they appeared as if they were performing for a phone camera, not a ballroom full of people. Marching in place and swaying back and forth may give videos a great sense of movement and presence, but it does the opposite on a large stage. Unless a social media musician understands this, their show will likely feel staged and small, much like this one.

That’s not to say that musicians who get their start online shouldn’t perform live. They should, but they should also keep in mind that live music is a whole new ball game.

In some ways, TikTok and other forms of social media can also truly benefit beginning artists, and this should be acknowledged. In fact, many artists that we know and love (Justin Bieber, Shawn Mendes, and Alessia Cara, the list goes on) gained fame because of social media. In fact, without TikTok, Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road” might have never gained popularity: Its viral success as part of the “Yeehaw Challenge” is what put him on the map as an artist. It will likely do the same thing for countless others before a new app replaces its fame.

Social media is becoming a bigger and bigger part of the music industry, to the point where, in coming years, I could see apps like TikTok becoming the place for fans to discover new music, and for artists to primarily create it. We’ll all just have to wait and see.

In the meantime, check out Brothers Page and decide for yourself:

Instagram
TikTok

 

Best of 2019!

The new year is approaching, and with it comes new music. But how can we celebrate all of this year’s awesome releases while making room for next year’s?

By discussing the best overall singles, EPs, and albums of 2019!

In order to be eligible for any of the below categories, the piece must have been previously featured or reviewed on this blog during 2019, and have qualified for one of the quarterly “best of” prizes. One artist may not win multiple categories, even if they qualify,  but will be bumped up to win the higher-ranked category.

Without further ado, here are my best of 2019!

Best Music Video of 2019: “Tunnelvision” by Marley Wildthing

The music video for “Tunnelvision” is one that I would want for my own music! It is the perfect aesthetic match for the audio, too: “The song and video for “Tunnelvision” serve to “describe depression,” but also to show others who may be struggling that “There is always [a] light at the end of the tunnel!

The music video was produced by a team of Czech and Slovak professionals, [and] the visual mind and organizing force [behind the] video was David Dougles, who developed the script, directed, designed the sets,” and edited the final video.”

See the original review of “Tunnelvision” here!

Catchiest Song of 2019: “Kill Yourself” by The Cold Year

I just couldn’t stop listening to this one, even after finishing the original review! “Scratchy, swinging delivery makes the track incredibly catchy within just the first round of listens. Funky percussion and perfectly-executed phrasing are combined with just the right amount of guitar and bass in the mix to make “Kill Yourself” unforgettable even without the lyrics coming into play, although they add just as much to the track: “Take me from the people / Take me, break me / I ain’t worthy of your time / Waiting, laying / Thinking ’bout wonderful ways to die.” When the tongue-in-cheek lyrics are combined with the impossibly funny video, the track is somehow improved even further! “Kill Yourself” is not a track you want to miss.”

See the original review of Prey for Me here!

Best Bassline of 2019: Temporary Cemetery by Raid the Quarry

Raid the Quarry’s entire album is full of bass parts to be proud of. Their bassist proves that the talent is in the details, and definitely knows what he’s doing around a bass. The basslines of tracks like  “Liars and Thieves” and “The Return” enhance the tracks tenfold, making Temporary Cemetery an album that wouldn’t be the same without the low end.

“‘Liars and Thieves” keeps the momentum of “Swing for the Fence” while incorporating the clear, clean guitar tones Raid the Quarry specializes in. The bouncy, fresh guitar lines married perfectly with impressively steady basslines in a way that reminded me of Gaelic rock’s pressing force, particularly at the four minute mark until the final few bars. In terms of basslines alone, this song is technically striking. Although the part may sound simple at first listen, each note in the swinging rhythm is perfectly defined, unfaltering. Even with the addition of a few classy fills, I never lost sight of the bassist’s intentions for the piece. Hats off to you for this one, Mr. Farnsworth!”

See the original review of Temporary Cemetery here!

Most Creative Artist of 2019: Bishop LaVey

When I first saw Bishop LaVey perform at Jim’s Basement in Burlington, Vermont, I had no clue what “Doom Folk” meant, but I was rightfully intrigued. Bishop’s creativity in his songwriting, persona development, and performances is unparalleled.

“The guitar picking at the beginning of “Romulus” brings a flighty feel to the song before it quickly deepens and slows through plodding, resonating notes as the vocals enter. The heaviness of the instrumentals brings extra emphasis and focus to the lyrics and the dynamic storyline within them: “Well, I was born up on the mountain / And they’ll drown me in the lake / Well, I breathe in Armageddon / And they’ll die for my mistakes / If my body is a temple / Well, then it’s seen some better days / So you can throw me from this hilltop / I see no sacrifice in vain / Now I am coming home / You’ve seen how I / I stand alone….” The character that Bishop takes on is one that we get to know well through the lyrics’ twists and turns, and it is a sonic pleasure to do so—In fact, “Romulus” is one of my favorite songs of the album.”

See the original review of Bishop LaVey’s latest album here!

Most Impactful Artist of 2019: A Sunday Fire

In terms of social media presence, A Sunday Fire is hard to beat! Besides the usual promotion of their shows, merchandise, and music, A Sunday Fire uses their Twitter account to spread a sense of community and acceptance in the DIY scene as well as in marginalized groups. Just like in their music, A Sunday Fire strives to make a difference via reaching out to their listeners and fellow musicians on social media to encourage them and make the community stronger.  Don’t believe me? Check out their Twitter or listen to their music to let them brighten your day!

“‘A Mexican Love Story” is a wildly appropriate song for today’s political climate at the United State’s borders. With aggressive instrumentals and undeniable energy, the track really makes a statement even without the lyrics. With the addition of words, “A Mexican Love Story” doesn’t pull punches from the first line: “Lock all the kids in a cage / Maybe throw away the key / Maybe you can build a wall / Build up insecurities / We walk the streets and we don’t feel safe / Land of the free, the USA.” In a time where many people don’t have the common decency to care about human rights issues, songs like “A Mexican Love Story” are essential to help turn the tide.”

See the original review of A Sunday Fire’s album, An Open Letter, here!

Best Single of 2019: “No Place for People Like Us” by Opposite Box

“No Place for People Like Us” was one of my earliest reviews, but the track has really stuck with me despite all of the other music I have listened to in the interim.

“I loved the mix of styles showcased throughout the song; nothing felt out of place despite the wide range it covers. In the first four minutes, I felt the seventies come to life in a burst of jazz, but when this faded into a more stylistic progressive portion, I was equally as intrigued. I loved the heavier, swaying tones of the bass guitar that faded into the wide, sweeping synthetic tones towards the halfway point of the track as well.

When “No Place for People Like Us” picks back up after its intergalactic interlude, the tones blend seamlessly once more and the energy somehow increases, like a boost button was pushed. I didn’t want the song to ever end.

I would truly love to witness this being played live.”

See the original review of “No Place for People Like Us” here!

Best EP of 2019: Haven’t Found It by Elizabeth P.W.

Elizabeth P.W. blew me away with her sweet vocals and clear emotion in every track of her debut EP, Haven’t Found It. Elizabeth’s commitment to helping others makes her music even more powerful.

“In 2018, Elizabeth decided to turn her debut single, “Anyway” into a “fundraising and awareness campaign to fight rare mutations of Cystic Fibrosis” with Emily’s Entourage, a non-profit.  “‘Anyway’ is performed by two-time Tony nominee Laura Osnes (Grease, Cinderella, Bandstand), Gideon Glick (Spring Awakening, Significant Other), Christy Altomare (Mamma Mia, Anastasia), Javier Muñoz (In The Heights, Hamilton) and Sarah Levy (Netflix’s Schitt’s Creek).”

Between all of her other endeavors, Elizabeth still actively freelances as a trombonist, ukulele player, and music educator.

Clearly, Elizabeth is no stranger to the music industry, and it shows with her debut EP, Haven’t Found It….

“Emily Waits” showcases Elizabeth’s array of musical abilities, especially her knack for storytelling as she takes us on an adventure through Emily’s life: “Emily wants to feel free / To travel out west to where she’s meant to be / If she just had time….” The lyrics roll off of Elizabeth’s tongue with silky smooth intonation, gliding above the masterful instrumental parts in a way that leaves them pleasantly separate enough to be enjoyed as a package, or even individually. Although “Emily Waits” has a certain sadness to it, Elizabeth manages to give all of her songs a hopefulness, even as they describe situations that should be without hope.”

See the original review of Elizabeth P.W.’s EP here!

Best Album of 2019: Gibberish by Flagman

Flagman was definitely one of my favorite artists of 2019 thanks to their debut album, Gibberish. Everything about the record was impressive, particularly its Les Claypool-level basslines, which were some of the best I have heard in my time as a musician or music writer.

“As a whole, Gibberish is an extremely professional, well-recorded first album. If I had not known it was a debut, I wouldn’t have been able to guess. I am thoroughly impressed with this record, and if you don’t listen to it, you’re definitely missing out!

The first track of the album, “Headache Talking,” is like the powerful thrust of a rocketship lifting off to space. It leaves no room for gentle introductions; we’re all-in right away. The driving drum lines work to effectively drive the guitar and basslines forward underneath strapping vocals.”

See the original review of Gibberish here!

Artist to Watch Out For in 2020: RAGS AND RICHES

I was thoroughly impressed by both records I reviewed for RAGS AND RICHES, but also by their other releases, particularly their 2019 debut, “Speed of Sound,” which racked up some unsurprisingly impressive stats on Spotify and YouTube.

This band is doing everything right. Between their unapologetically powerful sound, uniform aesthetic, and skilled marketing and branding, RAGS AND RICHES should be held up an an example for modern-day bands everywhere. Many artists don’t take promotion or aesthetics seriously, but RAGS AND RICHES brings both to the next level. Their business-savvy nature and musical talent make RAGS AND RICHES a band to keep an eye on in 2020 and beyond, because they definitely have the momentum to go far in the industry.

Check out my reviews of RAGS AND RICHES’ Arrival and “Not a Stranger“!

Best Artist of 2019: Tie Goes to the Runner

From my very first listen, I knew Tie Goes to the Runner would be one of those bands that just stole my heart. Their music has that special something that demands to be felt with every listen, and that is why they are my Best Artist of 2019!

“Overall, I am beyond impressed by Tie Goes to the Runner’s self-titled collection. In fact (and I don’t say this lightly), they have become one of my new favorite bands just from listening to their music for this review. Their sound reminds me of a lot of other groups that I love—From Indian Lakes, Boston Manor, Glass Lungs—but at the same time, they remain utterly unique. I listen to a lot of music, so it takes a lot for a band to really stand out in a way that makes me add them to my daily listening. If you try out just a few artists from reading my reviews, you won’t regret it if Tie Goes to the Runner is among them….

“Thru” comes with the inspiration of preparations for a trip on the Appalachian Trail. “While the band was writing and recording TGTTR: A Self Titled Collection of Songs…CJ and Keith were preparing to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Thru-hiking [involves hiking] an established end-to-end long-distance trail with continuous footsteps, completing it within one calendar year. The 2,200 mile trail starts at Springer Mountain in Georgia and ends at Katahdin in Maine. The band released the album and played their [pre-hiatus] show on February 23,2019, and CJ and Keith began the thru hike in Georgia about three days after that.”  To celebrate the end of their hike, “the final video for…’Thru’ will be released on August 1st, right before they come back home.”

Besides its incredible origins, “Thru” is an incredible ending to Tie Goes to the Runner’s self-titled collection. The instrumentals are fun and crunchy, but still utilize the spaces between notes to create a sense of movement within every measure. The vocals are pushed more into the forefront in this track, but there are still an abundance of little details within each instrumental part that the song would still be interesting without lyrics. With the lyrics, a whole other level of depth is added to the song. Phrased beautifully, the words describe elements of CJ and Keith’s coming journey: “I don’t love all that I see / A world filled with hate / With dogs who have acquired a taste for only other dogs to eat /I think I’ll make like a leaf / And go live in the trees / At walking speeds I’ll be running from society / Look at me now.” While the lyrics discuss the serious problems of today’s world, they have a sense of humor about them that makes the track palatable at any level of analysis.”

See my full review of Tie Goes to the Runner’s self-titled record here!

Interested in seeing more of this year’s talent? Check out some of my seasonal Best Of lists below!

Best Albums of Winter 2019!
Best Singles of Fall 2019!
Best Singles of Summer 2019!
Best Albums of Summer 2019!
Best EPs of Summer 2019!
Best Albums of Spring 2019!

 

 

 

 

Best Albums of Fall 2019!

It’s that time again! I’m excited to announce my favorite music of the season, highlighting some of the musicians that deserve recognition the most.

While I can only include my top three albums, please know that if your band/your favorite band wasn’t included, it does NOT mean they lack in any way, it just means that the field is so competitive that only the best of the best (in my opinion) can be considered.

Everything about these submissions was analyzed, from the production of the song as a whole to the quality of each instrument and vocal part. Without further ado, these are my top three Albums from Fall 2019 submissions from September-December, excluding singles:

3. Prey for Me by The Cold Year

“The introduction to “Kill Yourself” features light, classic rock-inspired guitar picking and boomy, deep bass parts that aren’t afraid of moving to the forefront. In this track, the group’s jazz roots really come into play within the vocals. Scratchy, swinging delivery makes the track incredibly catchy within just the first round of listens. The combination of funky percussion and perfectly-executed phrasing are combined with just the right amount of guitar and bass in the mix to make “Kill Yourself” unforgettable even without the lyrics coming into play, although they add just as much to the track: “Take me from the people / Take me, break me / I ain’t worthy of your time / Waiting, laying / Thinking ’bout wonderful ways to die.” When the tongue-in-cheek lyrics are combined with the impossibly funny video, the track is somehow improved even further! “Kill Yourself” is not a track you want to miss.”–Pray for Listeners of The Cold Year: Their Latest Album is Killer!

2. I am the Atom by Bishop LaVey

“The guitar picking at the beginning of “Romulus” brings a flighty feel to the song before it quickly deepens and slows through plodding, resonating notes as the vocals enter. The heaviness of the instrumentals brings extra emphasis and focus to the lyrics and the dynamic storyline within them: “Well, I was born up on the mountain / And they’ll drown me in the lake / Well, I breathe in Armageddon / And they’ll die for my mistakes / If my body is a temple / Well, then it’s seen some better days / So you can throw me from this hilltop / I see no sacrifice in vain / Now I am coming home / You’ve seen how I / I stand alone….” The character that Bishop takes on is one that we get to know well through the lyrics’ twists and turns, and it is a sonic pleasure to do so—In fact, “Romulus” is one of my favorite songs of the album.” —Bishop LaVey is The Atom

1. Escape Route by Through the Motions

“‘Voyeur” was released on September 19, 2019 as Through the Motions’ debut single, but it also appears on Escape Route. The track begins with driving guitar lines and rhythmic percussion that keep everything steady for the drifting vocals. Out of all the songs on Escape Route, “Voyeur” has to be my favorite thanks to its lyrics: “You’re the lighthouse to guide me home / In my head when I’m all alone / You’re the frequency coming in clear / Saying don’t worry baby, I’m right here.” Although the lyricism is there in other songs, there’s something special about “Voyeur’s” writing as well as its phrasing. Combined with flowing-yet-rhythmic instrumentals, the delivery of the lyrics creates something truly special.” —Review: Escape Route by Through the Motions

What were your favorite albums from this quarter?

Best Singles of Fall 2019!

It’s that time again! I’m excited to announce my favorite music of the season, highlighting some of the musicians that deserve recognition the most.

While I can only include my top three singles, please know that if your band/your favorite band wasn’t included, it does NOT mean they lack in any way, it just means that the field is so competitive that only the best of the best (in my opinion) can be considered.

Everything about these songs was analyzed, from the production of the song as a whole to the quality of each instrument and vocal part. Without further ado, these are my top three singles from Fall 2019 submissions from September-December, excluding EPs and albums:

3. “Constellations” by Heavenly Faded

“‘Constellations’ begins with a building of tension in the guitar and percussion lines. Rhythmic, methodical riffs make way for the classically indie-rock vocals, which are perfectly suited to the unassumingly powerhouse instrumentals. The bassline, albeit not at the forefront, is well-suited to the track, working with both the guitars and the drummer to create a balanced mix of rhythm and melody through the track’s twists and turns. Even throughout tempo changes and during less-saturated sections, every beat obviously matters to every member of Heavenly Faded; measures are clearly planned and practiced to create a semblance of effortlessness that makes for easy listening. The work put into the single is clear even to the untrained ear throughout every dip and sway of the song.” —Heavenly Faded’s New Single Shines Bright

2. “Heart Beat” by Marble House

“Overall, “Heart Beat” lives up to its name: A lifeblood-shaker of a song, the track is perfect to dance to. The track was mixed by Aaron Bastinelli in Brooklyn, NY, and mastered by Joe Lambert in Jersey City, NJ. Described by the band as an “epic, fast-paced indie rock critique of modern hookup culture,” it tells a story that many listeners are likely to understand all too well. While the beginning of the song tells a story of “two people who will end up in bed together by the end of the night,” it widens into “commentary on the impersonal blur that is contemporary dating.'” —Brooklyn Band Rocks Down the (Marble) House With Latest Single, “Heart Beat”

1. “Not a Stranger” by RAGS & RICHES

“On their social media, RAGS AND RICHES touts the track as a song “for anyone struggling with self doubt.” Their message is that “you are not alone in this fight” and you need to “push through the negative thoughts holding you back” so you can “just learn how to fly.”  This message echoes the love and positive vibes of their last track, and it’s easy to feel the band’s pure connection to these messages in “Not a Stranger,” too.

“Not a Stranger” begins with the intensity listeners have grown to expect from RAGS AND RICHES. Heartbeat-like pounding and buzzing electronic beats lead us into a quieter, melodic instrumental section before the vocals come in. The waves of intensity matched with calm, xylophone-like rhythms and interesting percussion throughout the track create the perfect party song, but also something that’s fun to listen to when working out or just relaxing.” —RAGS AND RICHES are Far From Strangers to this Blog!

 

What were your favorite tracks this season?

 

 

Bishop LaVey is The Atom

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[All images courtesy of Kane Sweeney]
Ever heard of Doom Folk?

I hadn’t until I was fortunate enough to run into Bishop LaVey—AKA Kane Sweeney—at his show with Keep Flying at Jim’s Basement in Burlington, Vermont! Local to the Vermont scene, he is a singer-songwriter who produces music unlike anything I had heard before.

“Bishop LaVey” was originally meant to be just one darker, more aggressive concept album in Kane’s singer-songwriter career, but his new persona took off to have a life of its own. His discography under Bishop has grown to include releases like Light (February 2019, album), Paint Me the Widow (2017 EP), and singles such as “As Much as You Control” and “Trouble for Nothing.”

Now, Bishop LaVey is back with a new release: I Am the Atom, an album due to be released tomorrow, December 7, 2019—or, as Kane mentioned at Jim’s Basement, Pearl Harbor Day.

“I am the Atom” is the title track of the release, as well as the first song of the album. The stage is set for the track’s gritty vocals by light acoustic guitar strumming and a spoken word piece. “I am the Atom” brings a lot of Bishop’s strengths into play: his vocals are emphasized and echo among the steady guitar stream, allowing us to really get into the rhythm he creates and molds throughout the track.

The guitar picking at the beginning of “Romulus” brings a flighty feel to the song before it quickly deepens and slows through plodding, resonating notes as the vocals enter. The heaviness of the instrumentals brings extra emphasis and focus to the lyrics and the dynamic storyline within them: “Well, I was born up on the mountain / And they’ll drown me in the lake / Well, I breathe in Armageddon / And they’ll die for my mistakes / If my body is a temple / Well, then it’s seen some better days / So you can throw me from this hilltop / I see no sacrifice in vain / Now I am coming home / You’ve seen how I / I stand alone….” The character that Bishop takes on is one that we get to know well through the lyrics’ twists and turns, and it is a sonic pleasure to do so—In fact, “Romulus” is one of my favorite songs of the album.

The lightness of the introduction to “Ballad of John Peyton” juxtaposes nicely with the darkness of the previous tracks’ instrumentals. Much like the darkness emphasized the light of Bishop’s vocals in the previous track, the light of “Ballad of John Peyton” really shows off the grit in Bishop LaVey’s voice. Although it isn’t my favorite of the album—its slower pace not only shows the strengths in Bishop’s musicality, but also hints at some of the not-so-strong parts, such as the occasional unintentional shakiness of his longer-held notes—it does provide a bit of relief from the completely saturated, strong-willed tracks surrounding it. “Ballad of John Peyton” is a well-placed track in terms of the album, and I do believe it adds strength to the whole in its unique approach.

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The picking pattern and bassline that launch “The Myth Has Broken” echo the phrasing of the vocals in a way that makes it another one of my favorite songs of this album. Tolling like a bell, Bishop’s vocals are rhythmically mesmerizing, especially when the track picks up around the one and a half minute mark. The sweeping synthesizer adds a lot to the fullness of the track when combined with the other instrumentals, but Bishop also chooses the perfect points to pull back in again, making “The Myth Has Broken” a dynamic, interesting track to listen to no matter how many times you put it on repeat.

“Weaker Man” employs softness in its guitar line to set off Bishop’s sandy tones. This is one of those tracks where the space between notes matters as much as what is there. Every moment feels intentional and well-practiced. The gentle, constant instrumentals allow for the focus to really be on the well-written lyrics and their delivery as the song builds: “Going to a place I’ve never been before / All you give me is a glimpse, I need something more / The crows, they laugh at me through my bedroom wall / All I want is to clip their wings and watch them fall / Burning through my cash and booze and cigarettes / I probably got ten years in me and that’s at best / You keep me grounded someplace I can stand / Cut me off at the knees and you’ll see a weaker man.”

The final track of I Am the Atom is “The Family Curse.” Starting slow, but still measured and dynamic, “The Family Curse” focuses again on the fantastic lyrical storytelling that I have come to expect from Bishop. Even when the track picks up with the unpredictable introduction of electric guitar and percussion, it still retains the elements that make Bishop LaVey’s music so interesting to listen to. In fact, the addition of fuller instrumentals only highlights the strengths of his storytelling and musical ability, and I would love to see things mixed up more like this in the future. “The Family Curse’s” melancholy vocals and dynamically yearning instrumentals echo the themes found throughout the album, wrapping things up in a way that feels fittingly final.

If you’re interested in hearing some Doom Folk for yourself, check out Bishop’s album when it goes live tomorrow, or catch him at one of the upcoming shows of his Atomic Winter Tour:

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Learn more about Bishop LaVey:

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