I have to admit that as a blogger, there is something about discovering new music and letting the world know about it, and then having others dig what I’ve dug is a unique pleasure – and probably one of the coolest things about running this site.
As i’ve mentioned about a million times before, I receive an increasing amount of emails from PR firms, labels, band management and artists both across the US and other places across the globe with links to singles, albums, videos, interviews, press kits and the like. And normally, as i’m going through as many of these press emails as humanly possible on limited time, I’m multitasking; often i’m eating, tweeting, watching sports, texting, commenting on Facebook or editing photos and usually I wind up going through the entire related artists playlist, as well. However, it does allow for some serendipitous discovery, which I think is probably the best way to find music that really resonates.
Recently, while going though a batch of tracks I stumbled across the Chicago, IL-based band Speck Mountain. Founding members Marie-Claire Balabanian and Karl Briedrick are self-described “musical soul mates,” who apparently lived parallel lives in Los Angeles and Detroit respectively before they met in New York in the early 2000s. The duo share songwriting duties for the material’s formative stages with Balabanian contributing her soulful vocals and Briedrick crafting lushly textured and nuanced music on bass and guitar that fit Balabanian’s vocals perfectly.
The duo of Balabanian and Briedrick recruited Chris Dye, formerly of Chin Up Chin Up and Linda Malonis, a former Pentecostal church pianist turned drone-rock organist to further flesh out the band’s sound for their third full length album, Badwater, which Carrot Top Records released last year. “Lies,” one of the singles off the album reveals a band with a sound that deftly defies genre and yet sounds strangely familiar: you’ll hear elements of soul and blues, thanks to Balabanian’s incredible, soulful vocals; elements of psych rock, thanks to Briedrick’s deeply nuanced, textured painterly strokes on the guitar, compete with feedback and squall.
As a slow-burning, brooding track, the track manages to possess a lingering and eerily haunting presence, while demanding repeated listens – and on repeated listens the track reveals hidden layers of nuance. But it also manages to evoke the sensation of a half-remembered, hazy fever dream in which something seems to be lurking in the shadows and corners.