Critique: Midnight Coast Deserves to be Heard Coast to Coast

Released two years ago, Everything In White by Columbus, OH-based then-quartet Midnight Coast (@MidnightCoast) is a fantastic ride from start to finish. With such a polished recording under their belt, the band’s future looks extremely vivid. Despite the group citing Coldplay and Ben Folds as artists who influence them, the group has put together thirteen unique tracks that stand on their own merit. Some of their songs hint at piano-heavy group Keane as an inspiration, which is certainly a compliment. It is only a matter of time before the foursome’s hard work pays off and they get a brighter spotlight placed upon them along with an opportunity to tour throughout the country.

The instrumental first track ‘Drive’ clocks in at less than two minutes and should be part of an action movie trailer. The short, but sweet work of keyboardist Matt Stephan, drummer Kevin King, and guitarist Kevin Murray is a stroke of genius. If the band elected to add two more minutes to it, ‘Drive’ would be one of the rare instrumentals to become a Top 40 hit. The record’s second tune, ‘Runaway’, is the most reminiscent of Ben Folds’ influence on the group. Lead singer Liam Kirkpatrick’s vocals are on point and fit the song to sheer perfection. If Midnight Coast had a record deal in place, ‘Runaway’ would be one of the album’s standout singles with a chance of peaking high on Alternative charts.

The title track is the type of song that would fit right in on a serious indie film’s soundtrack. ‘The Hunter’ would have a fighting chance on the Adult Top 40 stations with its fusion of Ben Folds, Tori Amos, and Train from beginning to end.  ‘Brain Kicks In’, which is the final tune on the album, is the surefire gem that with the right backing would be the band’s best bet at a mainstream Top 40 hit. Kirkpatrick, King, Murray, and Stephan fire on all cylinders and save the record’s best song for last. It is a brilliant way to cap off a disc that has quality musicianship from start to finish.

Midnight Coast is a band that has been in existence for half a decade and they have paid their dues long enough. In short, the band has demonstrated in recording and in concert they are worthy of larger recognition for their talent. The band released an album that is not the flashiest in the industry, however, it holds up well compared to higher budget albums from their influences. While they would fit in on a bill with the likes of other local groups Truslow and Nick Tolford & Co., this now five-piece act deserves a chance to be heard from one end of America to the other and beyond. Now with bassist Nick Ewan in tow, it is only a matter of time before this unsigned group’s day will come and they have the success Red Wanting Blue, Twenty-One Pilots, and Watershed have had coming out of the capital city.

*Photo courtesy of the band’s Facebook page

Review of Mary Lynn’s “Familiar Things & Places”

Image

Columbus, OH-based singer-songwriter Mary Lynn Gloeckle (@songsbymarylynn) wrote, co-performed on, and co-produced her latest full-length Familiar Things & Places. Mary Lynn put her heart and soul into each of the ten tracks on the record. The types of songs featured on the album should be required listening on a gloomy, rainy day. The music remains positive, even if the subject matter is not. If one is ever in a bad mood, this is the album to turn a frown upside down.

 

“Often” is a brilliant selection as an introduction to the album. It is the shortest song on the record, however, it is the sweetest and would make for a great theme song for a quirky TV series. Another standout track is “Only Human”, perhaps one of the more up-tempo tunes on Familiar Things & Places. If there was a track to make headway on alternative or adult rock radio, this is the one.

 

Mary Lynn is a very unique songwriter and the two artists she might be compared to the most are Ingrid Michaelson and Zooey Deschanel. “Time To Spare” sounds like it could have been written by either one of those established stars, but Mary Lynn beat them to it. This song and “Isn’t It Pretty?” have indie romcom soundtrack written all over them, and that is a good thing. Whether Mary Lynn wants her music to be licensed for such use is up to her as she is clearly making the kind of music she wants to make and it sounds like she is having a good time doing it.

 

Several of the albums tracks might be ballads and that is perfectly fine. That is the beauty of indie music in that an artist can write, perform, and record music on their terms.  For the dancers out there, there is another tune that is a bit more upbeat and has a toe-tapping vibe to it.  “Charlotte & Bob” is a personal favorite and is a must-listen as it bridges the gap between the slower, stripped down tracks and the songs on caffeine.  “Happy” is another sped up song that lives up to its title for sure.  Another point to make about the record as a whole is that it is family-friendly music.  These are the kinds of tracks that can be played during family road trips and youngsters can enjoy the sweet, uplifting sounds of Mary Lynn. There is not much cool music out there that is suitable for minors, but Mary Lynn’s masterpiece is an exception to this.

 

Indie music aficionados need to keep a look out for Mary Lynn and take a chance on “Familiar Things & Places”. She is already gaining a lot of steam this year. She was the winner of a battle of the bands competition for the privilege to perform in front of thousands at a concert headlined by highly regarded major label artists. Remember the name because this is going to be a breakout year. She already has a tremendous LP working in her favor.

Longwave’s Frontman Returns With A New Musical Act

Steve Schiltz now leads @hurricanebells, a group that emerged after the hiatus of ex-RCA group Longwave. The former band released two records under that label and although they were highly regarded, the radio programmers did not show the band much love. To this day, Longwave has yet to yield a Billboard Top 40 hit along any chart.

Hurricane Bells has been active since 2009 and has technically already charted in that Schiltz contributed to The Twilight Saga: New Moon Soundtrack, which reached the Billboard 200 Albums Chart. An EP was released three years ago and more music has been released since then. Schiltz has a bevy of contributors to the act and when on tour the band is a quartet. It is unknown when the group will be back on the road, but from the Facebook buzz regarding the group, attendance is mandatory at their live shows.

From the views of the video above for one of the group’s most notable tracks, Schiltz has surpassed the success of his prior band. Longwave received a raw deal from radio stations, but marched on making respected music on their terms. This is a results-driven business, however. Hurricane Bells appears to be doing quite well and in 2014 the momentum should continue.