Man Mountain - JC Brooks Band - Elliott Heath

Man Mountain - Memory Trace.

Background -  There is power in the repetition. When stretched across an infinite plane, even the smallest elements become transformatively integrated into the greater picture. Tones to spectrums. Feathers to flight. Molecules to mountains. Spartan Records proudly welcomes Man Mountain to the family — a melodic, instrumental post-rock outfit from Southeast Michigan. In the honorable lineage of bands like The Appleseed Cast, Sigur Ros, and American Football, Man Mountain's debut record Infinity Mirror is a journey of emotive dynamics set against a swirling dreamlike ferocity.

“With Infinity Mirror, we wanted to capture the sonic intensity of our live set,” says guitarist Mike Reaume, “that feeling when everything kicks in and your are entirely immersed in the sound.” Song by song, the album progresses with an intentionality that allows delicate melodies, motifs, and nuances to build into quaking full-band aggression. “We didn’t want any two songs to sound like different versions of the same idea,” says Reaume, describing the albums play between fragmentation and cohesion. “We wanted each song to explore a different facet of musical influence for us both individually and collectively.”

Intentionally avoiding a traditional studio recording path, Infinity Mirror was tracked in a variety of unconventional locations. With ultimate attention paid to sonic integrity, gear selection, and reckless experimentation, the record took shape over the course of many months. “The overall tonality of Infinity Mirror is much different from anything we’ve done before,” says Reaume. “The clean tones are much more pristine and shimmering, and the heavy bass parts just get amazingly filthy.” Once tracking and mixing were complete, final mastering details were handled by Mike Kalajian (Circa Survive, Prawn, Moving Mountains).

Thematically, the album presents a constant duality. Aptly titled Infinity Mirror, it is hard to ignore the unending and cycling conflict associated with any type of prolonged reflection. Sonically translated, this pondering plays as understated notes and moments reverberating into upheaval and dissonance. While the catalyst for much of this direction can be traced to the internal, the band also acknowledges the influential power of their surrounding physical environment. “Michigan is a beautiful state that really inspires a sense of adventure and exploration,” says Reaume. “It also can be somber and brutal in the winter. I think that definitely can be heard in the contrasting vibe of a lot of the songs we write. Even the way the album flows is from more upbeat ‘summer’ songs to more melancholic ‘winter’ songs — like the cycle of the seasons." FACEBOOK, TWITTER.

I have mentioned before that we do not receive many instrumental based bands at Beehive Candy. Man Mountain are therefore very welcome, especially as their post rock musical material is both refreshing and atmospheric as is the case with 'Memory Trace' one of six tracks on this much recommended album.


JC Brooks Band - Anywhere But America, Part 1.

Background - “Anywhere But America, Part One” was created to satisfy the need for the JC Brooks Band to return to their soul roots. What was not known was that the song would be a scrupulous break up letter to America that would stab any lover in the heart. The music lays out visuals of a ghostly platform for JC to write his ode to America. The choir and use of the church organ throughout the song, played by renowned recording artist Frank McComb, continues to paint a backdrop of a funeral held in a black church.

JC cleverly entangles lyrical ideas from M.L.K’s “I Have a Dream” speech with the Star Spangled Banner. “Anywhere But America, Part One” is a witty villanelle expressing Black America’s disdain for the country’s actions of the past and present.   

The band’s percussionist JoVia Armstrong composed “Anywhere But America, Part One” and lead vocalist JC Brooks wrote its lyrics. Armstrong focused on creating simple chords for a simple song that will guide attention to JC’s lyrics and vocal delivery. The studio production of the song took it to another level of intensity. The band recorded the song in just two takes. Adding male and female choir-like vocals to the background made it a bit more Gospel. A dark and haunting reverb was added to the kick drum in the verses.

Renowned recording artist Frank McComb was in Chicago during the production of the song and the band was able to grab him to play organ, which really took us to church. The lyrics are compelling and JoVia’s composition and production create a solid, powerful vessel to carry their message. Red Black & Blue, Vol 1 is an EP about the evergreen frustration of being gas-lit by someone who's only slick enough to trick himself but not you. WEBSITE, FACEBOOK.

Soulful, bluesy and rich in emotion 'Anywhere But America, Part 1' is a timeless and fabulous song. The vocals and harmonies are pure roots and gorgeous, the musical arrangement pristine, love it!


Elliott Heath - Foaming Floor.

Background - Stepping out from behind his Minotawr mask, Elliott Heath has just released the new album Metropolitan.

Previous musical excursions have been both challenging, intriguing, exciting and sometimes almost mainstream and commercial in nature. The rule of thumb is to expect the unexpected, it's the one consistent theme throughout his musical explorations. 

Elliott is not seeking great acclaim, rather just developing his own ideas and looking for new boundaries to cross. 

With the new album 'Metropolitan' the eight songs are concise, the creative ideas are there in abundance, however there is a sense of order, ensuring each song stands out as an individual work, increasing the sense of variety.

The reality that this is assessable, and even compulsive listening at times, is perhaps why the only quote from Elliott was "I'm not even that keen on it really".. BANDCAMP.

It's very difficult to pick just one song from the new 'Metropolitan' album that can be described as typical or representative such are the twists and turns Elliott Heath takes with his music. 'Foaming Floor' is one of my favourites and it's for that reason alone I share it. It is because Elliott tests musical boundaries without any sense of self indulgence, rather with a "well why not?" attitude that I find myself drawn back to his material time and again. Different? Yes, Challenging? Sometimes, Refreshingly Different? Consistently!