Hepcat Dilemma, Art Imitates Life, 2019

hepcat dilemma - art imitates lifeTo the people that are into progressive music, especially when it borders on avant garde, and who miss hearing new ideas coming from Frank Zappa; fear not, because now there is this band whose music is as strange as their name: Hepcat Dilemma!

Built around the songs of Bob Loiselle (guitars and piano),  this trio (with Chris Colpo on bass and vocals and E. Hood on drums) prove they are not afraid to confuse you anyway they can. With songs like The Chauffeur Will Have The Last Word, Night Of The Spiders, Persian Monkey Treatment or What Will Her Kiss Mean Tomorrow? they keep firing idea after thought after break at their listener. All glued together in instrumental unison and with the machismo of scene veterans who play just for the fun of it and do not really think much about how they will be received/ perceived.

In a time where too many acts sound alike, these cats sure are a breath of fresh air. Probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but if you like a challenge, this sure is a collection worth diving into. Kudos gentlemen!

Website

 

Monograf, Nadir, 2019

monograf - nadirIf I am not mistaken, this is the second time a band sends in the vinyl edition of their release. And truth be told, it looks beautiful. And of course, a double lp, with a separate lyric sheet, brings back lots of memories… Another thing of note is that the vinyl edition actually holds a 6th track, where the CD and digital version only has 5 tracks to offer. Pretty sure vinyl adepts will dig that!

Okay on to the music then. I have listened to this a lot the last weeks and think I describe it best when I ask you to picture the highlands, in the morning, with a mist clouding the view and hearing the sea in the distance.
With that I mean this is a somewhat intense experience. Not because of heavy guitars or anything, but because this is all about atmosphere and feel. Even when the music sometimes erupts, overall this is a moody, melancholic and mostly laid back piece of art. The 5 piece band take the time to develop melodies and arrangements, in order to create that bit of magic.

I guess the William Booth quote that features on the inside and the lyric sheet says it all: “…. Perhaps we shall fail with many. Quite likely. But our business is to help them all the same.” To me that translates as even if we are bound to fail, try we must.

Believe me when I say this album does not fail at all. Beautiful.

Website

*Edit; there is no official CD version of this. But you can burn your own if you buy this from their bandcamp page.

 

OH, Synemotion, 2015

oh - synemotionThis is bringing back old memories. And that just because this album comes in a beautiful double fold full colour double LP format. So it’s the first post concerning a new vinyl album! Even if it is vinyl that sparked my interest in music a long time ago.

It must have been a deliberate choice of OH, because the 9 songs (3 on side A, and 2 on the other 3 sides) clock in at about 45 minutes I think. The times as printed on the cover, do not match the actual music, so I am not sure what happened there. OH is responsible for the songs, for all guitars, bass, drums, keyboards and vocals and for the recording and mixing of the album. I do not now many more things, except that the residence is Athens, Greece.

Style wise it is safe to call this progressive rock / metal. And for the larger part it is instrumental. The good side is that OH know that melodies are key and always keeps focus on what the most important part of a certain passage is. So there is a certain flow in the album and not an overkill of ideas and instruments fighting for your attention. Mostly these are haunting themes with keyboards soaring over heavy riffing and wailing solos and pounding drums. Because of the dynamic mastering I need to play it pretty loud, but I do not mind that very much.

I am not sure all the “vocals” qualify as such. Somtimes it is more storytelling and I imagine that is not to everyone’s liking. It is limited though, so it does not interfere much with the overall flow. Not for everyone perhaps, but in my opinion surely original and with a uniqueness that qualifies it as true progressive. So be sure to check it out on the bandcamp page!

Website