Saturday, 2 July 2016

Genre Mix: Suit of Lights - HOO HAs - Stevie

Suit of Lights - Break Open The Head.

Background - Suit of Lights is an American music group founded by Joe Darone, formerly of The Fiendz and The Rosenbergs. Described as genre-defying, Suit of Lights artfully blends elements of 60's pop, punk, progressive rock, metal, jazz, and baroque pop. The group's alumni boasts members of Mr Bungle, Thursday, Streetlight Manifesto and The Tea Club.

At an early age, Joe Darone dedicated his life to making art and music. Darone’s career as a drummer took him everywhere from CBGB’s to The Fillmore, from opening for The Ramones in his punk band, The Fiendz, to touring with Echo & The Bunnymen with The Rosenbergs.

Darone is also a visual artist, creating artwork for the likes of Madonna, Agnostic Front, and Van Halen under the name Zeckle. He continues to create the album artwork for each Suit of Lights release.

In 2003, Darone began focusing on songwriting, and Suit of Lights was born. Not satisfied to stand still creatively, each new Suit of Lights album is a new musical adventure. “Some bands go for 30 years with one sound, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But that’s boring to me,” Darone says. And so, fans have come to expect change from Suit of Lights.

“Amazing,” “Brilliant,” “Beautiful,” and “Truly great” are some of the words critics have used to describe Suit of Lights’ previous releases. Break Open the Head is the follow-up to the band's critically-acclaimed Shine On Forever, which was included in "Top Albums of the Year" lists from Brooklyn's The Big Takeover to the UK's Instrumental. Break Open the Head, produced by Tim 'Rumblefish' Gilles, is a bold, energetic leap forward, at once dense and challenging yet very accessible and insanely catchy. The lyric writing contains the most positive message to date: “honor your higher self.”


'Break Open The Head' opens with nice chunky bass and guitars, providing a suitable soundtrack for the distinct and likable vocals of Joe Darone. However it's the mix of both and a really good melody that makes the song stand out. It's one of many good songs from the sound shifting band, Suit Of Light.

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HOO HAs - This is the New Me.

Background - HOO HAs are an indie-rock quartet hailing from London. Frontman Jamie started off writing poetry which progressed to working alongside his old friend the late Robb Skipper, helping to write lyrics for his post-Holloways projects. After meeting Mark and Adam when they were performing in various musical outfits (including Hares), jamming at parties led to sessions above the Silver Bullet in Finsbury Park and electric late night gigs downstairs followed soon after. Incendiary live shows have always been a big part of HOO HAs heritage and they have since played shows supporting the likes of Gaz Coombes and alongside their good friends in the local scene such as: Francobollo, LA Salami, Mohit, Amaroun and Itchy Teeth.

Combining cocky and powerful guitar hooks with anthemic vocal melodies and memorable shout-along lyrics, tracks such as ‘This is the New Me’ and ‘Hanna’ feel like they have been plucked from golden-era of NME indie. The band cite their influences as everything from “from JJ Cale to J Dilla”, and it shows, there are clear influences in the earlier tracks on the EP from the likes of Blur, whilst also calling to mind the sounds of Babyshambles and at times Art Brut. The latter tracks on the EP such as ‘Tippex Jeans’ display a completely different element of the HOO HAs songwriting technique with hints of Captain Beefheart and more prog-blues infused guitar lines and psych driven bass parts. Similarly the vocals take a beguiling avant-garde tone and melody whilst the lyrics still retain their acuity.

This EP, much like 21st Century life, is a fast one-way play-through, tackling a whole range of emotions and post-millennial topics. It’s a loose narrative of the low-stakes anxiety that prods us throughout our waking lives, touching on topics usually only discovered post ‘coming of age’ along with the realisation that things are only as hard as you make them for yourself. HOO HAs are writing genuine songs about modern living and irreverently having a good time doing it, and as far as introductions go, their uninhibited and refreshingly original debut is as proficient as it is authentic. It’s reflective, percipient and demands multiple listens – It’s not one to be missed.


The song 'This Is The New Me' has London vibes running right through it. It's a classic indie rock song with hooks galore and lyrics that will have folks singing along in no time.

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Stevie - Decay.

Background - Brisbane based altpop duo Stevie have returned spectacularly with their new single ‘Decay’, and have sweetened the deal with a coinciding video.

Stevie is Phoebe Imhoff of Go Violets fame and revered producer Miro Mackie (The John Steel Signers, Major Leagues, Babaganouj). Their combined talents make for a powerful sonic experience, and have led to them sharing the stage with the likes of Philadelphia Grand Jury, Jeremy Neale and Big Strong Brute.

Borrowing from nineties house music, ‘Decay’ is Stevie’s most mature single yet. A bed of lush synth heavy production allows Imhoff’s signature vocals to bloom effortlessly; the song has a sombre vibe but will have its listeners dancing. Sonically ‘Decay’ is enthralling, a co-production by Mackie and Graham Ritchie, legendary bassist for Holy Holy, Airling and Emma Louise. Featuring stunning visuals centred on a stark urban environment, the video captures the essence of ‘Decay’ without overpowering it. The band will be touring in 2016 in celebration of yet more music slated for release in the near future. 


'Decay' merges potent synths and addictive vocals in a genre mix that's part electro, part old school house and part alt pop. If the melody does not get you, theres a good chance the rhythm will.

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