nostalgia

KEEP YOUR INTAGRAM PHOTOS WITH CHATBOOKS
September 2, 2016 10:50 am

A taste of nostalgia seems to be something that everyone loves. It is why we spend so much money on instant cameras, typewriters and record players. We all love the feel and the look of the analog, there is just something about the digital that loses the panache of things. This is exactly what Chatbooks is about.

Chatbooks tries to capture the magic of the photo album, in an era where the concept seems archaic. The way they revitalize this idea is in an ingenious manner. Chatbooks uses its app to link up with your Instagram or your Facebook account. After it is linked up, it gives you the option to scroll through your photos and find the ones that you want to add to your photo book.

The service is a simple one but it is one that has real potential. Many of us feel that even though our photos are up on a social media platform, that there is something about them that is just not as special. It might be that they are not physically there, not tangible objects that we can see with our eyes and touch.

When the inevitable zombie/ecorp/mayan/skynet apocalypse happens and the machines attack, you’ll be happy to know that you can still look at those memories of you, your friends and family. The product is one that will attract people of all ages, it provides you with a great idea for a gift, for anyone and at $8 per album, why wouldn’t you?

THE MUSICAL CAVITIES OF EVAN VOYTAS
May 18, 2016 12:46 pm

Evan Voytas is a musician originally from Pennsylvania, but who now resides in the L.A. area. If you have ever wanted someone who could sing like Passion Pit combined with obviously simplified synthesized drum beats and snares, you’ve found your man.

The on again, off again pop musician should know better. After having studied classical composition and atonalism in New York, the city built on cacophony, Voytas picks a candy cane swirled voice that is diabetically sweet. Vocals ethereal and distant, his production can be groovy in a minimalistic, 80’s nostalgic vibe kind of way. Which is fine as the sounds of the 80s have come back en vogue over the last few music cycles. The problems only begin to arise a few listens into his 10 odd tracklist: the same rhythms, the same motifs abound over and over. This isn’t nostalgia, it’s monotony.

Granted, the track “Tomorrow Night We’ll Go Anywhere,” off of his LP Feel Me came out more than five years ago. But still, there is little excuse for your professional music sounding like you whipped it up on Garageband. Crappy synths, nauseatingly sweeping violins, the whole album sounds as if Voytas is whispering at full volume. Most of the five track album leaves me uninspired, with little exception. A few seconds of saving grace on each track, the rest is overdone or underdone or simply tacky.

It feels lazy; a little too simplified. Like giving the people what they want when you know that you can give them something better: what they need. I know I’m sitting here in my armchair and lambasting someone who is putting himself out on the line for the world to judge. But I have to judge fairly, and in my opinion Voytas is settling for less. It sounds like he has an idea of what can work musically, and can theoretically create a piece that does sound good. The disconnect happens in the depth of the material and the implementation. The tunes make me want to bob my head, but more often than not into the wall or keyboard.

When listening to “Lite Conversations” and “Disappear Into The Stars,” two of his more recent works, it feels as if he is trying to put together tunes he heard while a child and misremembering just enough to make it fall puzzlingly flat. “Lite Conversations” in particular had me snoozing in a matter of moments. Three minutes too long, this is the type of music that I imagine makes great music videos. Gorgeous blonde hair flowing in the breeze, as the drop top convertible spins down the road into the sunshine. Unless you’re in that fantastical moment, I cannot in full honesty recommend Voytas as a musician.

With no new songs in the last year, give or take, and no tour dates currently on-going, it appears if Voytas is snoozing on his career. Which honestly, might be in everyone’s best interest unless he settles on something more tangible. Give the people some brussel sprouts; something to chew on that won’t rot us from the inside out.

GOOD AFTERNOON (MEN)
January 13, 2016 3:47 pm

New Yorkers, feast your ears on the new kids (excuse me, men) on the block. They’re called the Afternoon Men, and they rock. They rock with a sound that is equal parts nostalgia and freshness. Their music bounces seamlessly between genres, touching on influences from Springsteen, The Hold Steady, Counting Crows, The Decemberists, Titus Andronicus, and more.

The five-piece stepped on the scene back in October of last year, releasing their first single, “Parking Lots and Basements.” The music is catchy, with that oh-so-pleasurable balance of 90s Alt-rock, 00s Pop-punk, and contemporary Indie-rock. The lyrics are painstakingly truthful, as the singer navigates the trials and tribulations of trying to land himself a lady as a broke musician in the country’s most expensive city. The song’s overall force is only magnified by the clever lyric video accompanying it.

The men have released a couple more tracks on their Soundcloud page. While these tracks feature a more toned-down sound and oblique lyrical message, the narrative established in “Parking Lots” continues throughout. The result is an overall cohesiveness to their catalog that serves as a refreshing deviation from today’s pop music landscape dominated by one-off singles.

Having already caught the attention of Deli Magazine and sold out the main stage at Pianos, Afternoon Men are gearing up for an exciting 2016. The men are set to release their fourth single with yet another lyric video, “The Books in Her Closet” in the upcoming weeks. They’re also gearing up to headline The Bowery Electric on January 22nd. You can get tickets here!

Sure, this band is new and they’ve got a lot to prove in a city riddled with fellow newcomers. But if what they’ve released so far is any indication, they’re certainly worth checking out live and keeping on your radar.

IT ALL FEELS RIGHT WITH WASHED OUT
November 18, 2015 1:56 pm

If I were to take a wild guess, you, the reader, having ventured into our wondrous world of ATYPICALSOUNDS, might be into ‘indie’ music, which by that extension means, you might recognize this tune.

Washed Out Band Photo. Ernest Greene pictured.

The creative forces behind Portlandia didn’t randomly select that snippet as the backdrop for their sketch comedy roughly based around the ill-defined ‘hipster’ niche. Washed Out’s “Feel It All Around” was the anthem to a short-lived–yet indispensable–piece of nostalgia-injected ambient-electro dance pop that emerged circa 2009 that is referred to as “Chillwave”, often characterized by heavily distorted lyrics, synthesizers, and sampling.  Think Toro Y Moi Causers of This Neon Indian’s Psychic Chasms or Aerial Pink’s Before Today.

Washed Out is Athens, Georgia native Ernest Greene. He was discovered on, of all places, his MySpace account—which was still the social media mode of choice for most aspiring bedroom musicians at the time. Greene released his first two EPs High Times and Life of Leisure both within a short span in September 2009.  The former of the two was released via exclusively on cassette tape.  The latter saw a much wider release on Mexican Summer, a Brooklyn-based record company that specializes in elaborate vinyl packaging. Life of Leisure served as a major catalyst for Mexican Summer, which, along with Best Coast’s 2010 debut Crazy For You, was a hot commodity indie label at the time–and was certainly a major player in the vinyl craze that started around that time.  Greene next moved to Sub Pop where he released his debut full-length Within and Without in 2011 and followed up with Paracosms in 2013.

Thematically, Washed Out’s music tends to revolve around one central theme.  Look no further than his debut record cover.  That’s right: Love. Washed Out is a desperate romantic chasing after his muse. The titles of Greene’s tunes don’t really beat around the bush either; for example, “The Sound of Creation,” or “It All Feels Right.” His music is sensuous, immersive, and evocative, and at the same time, quite beautiful and dense.  Make-out music on a mild dose of psychedelia.

In The Ambient Abyss With Mariage Blanc
September 27, 2015 11:39 pm

The first day of fall was the perfect day to put the album No Autobiography by Mariage Blanc on repeat.  The band, from Pittsburgh, P.A. (who is now split between Pennsylvania and Sacramento, California) is the perfect soundtrack for a long drive on a slow Sunday afternoon.

While listening to their song “Silent Nations” I can feel the melancholy overtones pulling me into an abyss of sadness.  The vocals have the similarity of singer-song writer Elliott Smith’s paper thin vocals and guitar picking, with a little more calm in the deliverance reminiscent of Indie pop band Silversun pickups vocal style.

 

It’s no wonder Craig Ismaili included the album in his top 10 for 2015.  The band’s main attributes seem to be nostalgia and melancholy in the rawest form.  Recorded at Tree Lady Studios, the ambient white noise in the background of the track “Nowhere Town” to the finger picking and sliding sounds of the acoustic guitars in “Stay With Me” ultimately reminds me of a Figure 8 (Elliott Smith) and Bon Iver self titled love child.

Eventually when you’re able to pay attention to the lyrics, they melt your heart as well.  Mariage Blanc is easy to listen to and to fall in love with. They feel like a reincarnation of Simon and Garfunkel’s clever and perfectly placed chorus and lyrics that draw you in on the first listen. Who could even renounce the pain felt when you heard “did your heart break down in June?”  I can tell you that it tore straight through my soul and I can only imagine the energy they put into their live show, so if they decide to come to your town, you best be there. You know the beasts will!