Friday, 25 March 2016

Quality Not Quantity: ARMS - The Heroic Enthusiasts - Hein Cooper

ARMS - Keep It Light.

Background promo - ARMS and Paper Garden Records have teamed up yet again to release the project's second full-length album, Patterns, which is set to be released worldwide in late May. With influences stemming from David Bowie and German rock band, Neu!, Todd Goldstein says the song 'Keep It Light' is "an open letter to the voices in my head that delight in telling me to tone it down, to rein it in, to not frighten or disturb anyone with my behaviours or feelings."

ARMS' Patterns takes the cinematic mood pieces and coy lyricism of previous ARMS records—the noisy, homespun Kids Aflame (2008) and its widescreen sequel Summer Skills (2011)—and cranks the volume: The melodies leap from the speakers, the sound is crackling and urgent. The songs on Patterns are as keenly aware of their place in the continuum of wry, melancholic songwriters (the Cohens, Merritts, Wainwrights, and Stipes that Goldstein likes to cite) as they are willing to twist those conventions into off, intriguing new shapes.

The landscape has changed dramatically since Todd’s mid-2000s stint playing guitar in New York cult heroes Harlem Shakes—guitar-forward, songwriterly indie pop has returned to its niche roots; it’s a contracting field. But rather than closing up shop, Goldstein and his now-10-year-old ARMS project respond to that revelation with their most eclectic, emotionally generous album yet. Patterns is the sound of a songwriter with nothing left to prove, displaying a hard-won lyrical compassion and a sureness of craft born from a lifetime of listening, playing and drinking deep of the music he loves.

The chunky powerful opening riffs lead into equally potent vocals. Add the soaring guitar that occasionally drops in and a relentless beat and the result is pretty special.


The Heroic Enthusiasts - Falling of the Drop (We are One).

Biography - Back in the 16th century, the Catholic friar and astronomer/philosopher Giordano Bruno gazed up at the stars enraptured by the poetry he saw in the elliptical patterns playing out in the sky. For Bruno, math, science, art, and romance were all one and the same ­­ a perspective that resonated so much James Tabbi and Tom Ferrara that they chose to name their band after Bruno's epic work Gli Eroici Furori -- literally "On the Heroic Passion" but commonly known as "The Heroic Enthusiasts." Much as they did for Bruno, numbers for this band function as a window into matters of the heart.

Both math majors and music lovers of Sicilian descent, Ferrara and Tabbi understand that form derives its beauty from a dance between precision and an intangible quality that can't be quantified. Yes, they write songs that stick in your memory and make you want to sing them out loud. But they also add discreet touches of sophistication, leaving a note out of a chord, for example, so that your ear strains to hear it and then introducing contrast by adding the note they've been implying all along. The way their guitar lines mesh together brings to mind the approach of master weavers and designers as much as it does musicianship in the conventional sense.

Numbers and emotion may not seem related, but when you listen to the band's new EP Memory Wheel, you'll hear why the connection makes sense. Or maybe you'll just hum or dance along instead. And that's okay too. These guys wouldn't have it any other way.

The band's new EP 'Memory Wheel', comprises of four really powerful songs. It's hard to pick one out as the best, however as 'Falling of the Drop' is the only one I can share, at least that problem is easily solved. Lyrically intelligent and musically full of hooks, this really is a mathematically sound EP.


Hein Cooper - Overflow.

Background promo - Australian singer-songwriter Hein Cooper dropped new track 'Overflow' this week ahead of debut album The Art of Escape release on April 1.  

Overflow is "a celebration of two bodies coming together in the physical world and transforming into something more spiritual rather than physical. It’s slightly non-sensical and drifts through imagery to capture the imagination rather than reality" explains Cooper.

His debut album The Art of Escape, due out April 1, 2016 via Indica Records (Phantogram, Half Moon Run) is now available for pre-order via iTunes.  The much anticipated recording was produced in Montreal by Marcus Paquin (Local Natives, Arcade Fire, The National) whom Cooper praises for his involvement: "It was a really collaborative process, he had a lot of great ideas that built the songs up in a way that got the ideas out of my head and into the record." Not afraid to mesh acoustic with electronic and equally proficient in both lush and stripped back moments, the album is an accomplished start for the young artist who embraces light and shade in equal measure. The title track "The Art and Escape" and "Rusty" are both immediately available upon purchase.

The last twelve months saw Hein Cooper collect some pretty amazing achievements:  two singles on triple j, spins on the BBC, a slot at Falls Festival, record deals across three continents, the best part of a year crossing the globe playing festivals from the UK and Europe to Canada, and opening slots with James Bay, Sophie Hunger & Half Moon Run.

There is a sparkly feel to the music as the song commences, that is well suited to Hein Coopers vocals. Bright, lively and well produced 'Overflow' is a good song that can't but raise interest in his debut album, due in a week.


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