Ella Atlas – The Road To Now

Ella Atlas features Stephen Masucci on guitars, bass, and keyboards, and Tarrah Maria on vocals, guitars, and keyboards. Stephen’s name might be a bit familiar to those who follow the indie scene – as a member of The Lost Patrol and The Lovely Tangibles, he has made his mark on the scene with his Twin Peaks worthy musical styles. Tarrah co-wrote some of my favorite songs by The Lovely Tangibles, so I knew this had the potential to be a match made in heaven. The duo have influences ranging from Pink Floyd to Ella Fitzgerald and have a dynamic that is uniquely their own. The Road To Now is their debut album, arriving just a month or so after their 1st single. The band more than delivers on their promise – this is a striking debut album that will reward listeners after repeated spins.

When The Gods Are Fading is the 1st single from the band and fittingly, it opens the album. A slow fade in to an ethereal lament of love & loss. A dreamscape that sets the tone for the entire record. I love these lines “When the war is done / Paradise isn’t safe / Will you believe now?”. Waking Up does the slow fade in trick again with the song announcing its arrival with a glorious wave of white noise, surf guitar, and impassioned vocals. A tone poem dedicated to uncertainty, this is one of my favorite songs on the album. “I used to hear the trumpets / You were right / Nothing’s ever certain”. Horses On The Run 1st appeared on an album by The Lovely Intangibles and was a co-write with Tarrah Maria. Here, Tarrah sings her heart out performing the tune. Again, this is a standout track – an instantly memorable moment on the album. Calm gives way to the storm – an explosive chorus that is begging to be played on the radio. Can’t Go Back is a sad lament to the end of a relationship, the music & words expertly evoking a sense of loss. Shades of Cocteau Twins on this song. Skin And Bones closes the record on a strong note – in some ways, it encapsulates all the band’s strengths. Emotive vocals, strong lyrical content, and music inspired by – but not tied to – the sounds of shoegazing. “If you’re feeling like you’re haunted / Come and dance with your ghost”

You can follow the band on Facebook and buy the album on Bandcamp. It is a debut worth seeking out – enchanting, unique, original. You’ll hear shades of Stephen Masucci’s earlier work with The Lost Patrol and The Lovely Intangibles but it feels like this partnership with Tarrah Maria has brought something different to the mix (not better – different, in my best Eddie and the Cruisers impersonation). Seek out Ella Atlas – follow them, support them. You won’t regret it.

Verdict: promising debut

For Fans of: Cocteau Twins, Mazzy Star, Luna, Slowdive, Lush, Ivy

Tracks:

  1. When The Gods Are Fading
  2. Red Kingdom
  3. Hotel You
  4. Waking Up
  5. Horses On The Run
  6. Breaking Ice
  7. Something To Be Desired
  8. Blindful & Bliss
  9. Can’t Go Back
  10. Leave Me In Blue
  11. Skin And Bones
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The Lovely Intangibles – Air & Numbers

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Seems like just a year ago I was listening to the debut album by The Lovely Intangibles. Actually, it has been just over a year since the band’s debut Tomorrow Is Never was released to great acclaim (including by yours truly). The band features 3/5 members of The Lost Patrol, Jon Camp of Renaissance fame, and Mary Ognibene of Dotsun Moon. The chemistry is natural and the tunes are magnificent. The sophomore album was mixed and mastered by Brian Kehew – known for his work with The Moog Cookbook, Air, Fiona Apple, and The Who (among others). Air & Numbers takes the sounds of the debut to the next level – the shimmering intersection of post-punk and shoegaze.

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The Lovely Intangibles – Tomorrow Is Never

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I once read on the world wide web’s preeminent authority on all things in life – Wikipedia – that film noir is “a cinematic term used primarily to describe stylish Hollywood crime dramas, particularly such that emphasize cynical attitudes and sexual motivations.” The two modern writer / directors that I would associate with that term would be Quentin Tarantino and David Lynch. Both filmmakers are notable for their films’ visual flair, storytelling, and use of music that evokes a visceral reaction from the viewer. What good is a perfect film if it doesn’t have the perfect music? Along those lines, I’ve often sought out artists that sound like they are providing a soundtrack to an imaginary noir film. New York City’s The Lovely Intangibles fit the bill in stunning fashion.

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The Lost Patrol – Chasing Shadows

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It’s been about 18 months since we last heard from New York City’s The Lost Patrol. 2013’s Driven was a masterful record, indebted to 80’s post-punk with a side of noir. It was one of my favorite records of 2013 and I was curious about how the band would follow it up. In 2014 the band still features Mollie Israel on vocals alongside multi-instrumentalists Stephen Masucci and Michael Williams. New to the band is Tony Mann on drums, who lends the new tunes a rawer feel in comparison to previous records. The record is a “grower” in the classic sense of the term – each spin reveals a new layer of beauty. It is the strongest offering by The Lost Patrol to date and pushes the band forward whilst retaining everything that has made them great thus far.

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