We Were Pirates – “Matter”

WhenWe Were Pirates - Matter We Were Pirates puts out new music it gets me excited for a few different reasons. One is that Mike Boggs, the mastermind of We Were Pirates (WWP), is talented yet completely unassuming–the lack of pretense in his approach is refreshing in this day and age when many artists think that since they can record their sounds and have a social media account that they and their music should somehow be magically famous.

Where they miss the point, Boggs totally gets it. He makes the music that he likes, keeps the songwriting tight and puts it all together in a cohesive package. The lack of posturing, irony and whining gets two big thumbs up from this old-school music lover; it’s what also makes me respect him as an artist and musician. The good ones never need to resort to millenial-esque self-infatuation, they realize that the product will either be good enough to stand on its own, or it won’t.

For those unfamiliar with WWP, Boggs is the singular musician behind the band, recording every part of the songs he writes himself. On Matter, Boggs brings indie rock and synth-pop sounds together neatly, hearkening back to a warm and gauzy 80’s feel that smartly pulls off sounding familiar and new at the same time. Not sure what I mean? Try this on for size: when Hollywood gets around to remaking the brat pack movies (Sixteen Candles, Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink, etc), they need look no further than Matter for the soundtrack.

That’s not to say that the strength of this album is limited to pure nostalgia and throwback goodness. For those that like the lyrics in the music they enjoy to have meaning–true, real-life meaning, not insipid catchphrases that pander to the disengaged and simple-minded, Matter delivers strongly in that way. It’s not so much that Boggs weaves ornate tales or comes across too intellectually for some, but it’s the straightforward honesty in his lyrics that grab my attention and hold it there. There is something very refreshing about the reflective nature of the songs on Matter, which I wish more musicians would pay attention to. Truly no single song can solve the woes of our planet, but when real, honest lyrics cut through the mindless clutter surrounding our everyday lives to make us really think, that is when a musician becomes an artist. In my opinion, Boggs was already there with We Were Pirates. Matter just solidifies that feeling, and it makes me relieved to know that Boggs and We Were Pirates exist.

Give Matter a listen to hear what I am talking about. No need to give me credit when you feel these songs in your gut, wondering what personal tempests led Boggs to create them. They’ll make you pause and think, and the album is solid all throughout, cutting through the clutter and noise that make up so much new music to clearly stand out.

Get Matter for yourself:
iTunes: http://apple.co/1QuRrVH
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/219XSlV
Physical CD: http://bit.ly/1SlAEZP

Hari Vasan Premieres Lyric Video for “Silence Comes Easy”

Hari Vasan is a new artist that we just started working with. This song does well to showcase his sincerity, energy and the rocking side of his song writing. And that voice. Hari was meant to sing, that is obvious. More details about his upcoming self-titled EP coming soon, for now dig the lyric video: (please click through to Facebook, we’re having technical difficulties with the video embed feature.

Silence Comes Easy Lyric Video

It's here!! Here's the premiere of the first track of my self-titled EP! It's a lyric video for an original song called "Silence Comes Easy." Please listen and share! Details on how to hear the rest of the music will be announced later this week!! Also, make sure to watch in full screen and HD!!

Posted by Hari Vasan Music on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Album Review: “In Pizza We Crust” by Gingerwolf

In Pizza We CrustThings are going to be much calmer than usual today. And for good reason, too.

Hello readers of SurfRhythm, Henry here, bringing another review for you to read. A little while ago, I received a request from a friend to check out another talent who has an album released. Thinking this was going to be what I usually hear at the local venues, I prepared myself for another review of good local work. But this was something far different than I have heard in a while. Even my tone as an author while writing my thoughts feels relaxed.

That something is the album “In Pizza We Crust” by Gingerwolf.

27 year old Thomas Beall, more popularly known as Gingerwolf to the music community, hails from outside Annapolis and is a regular in the local scene. Accompanied by his collection of quirky hats, and more importantly, his lap steel guitar, Thom takes influence from artists and groups like Pedro the Lion, Kaki King, Dismemberment Plan, Pearl Jam, Sixpence None the Richer, Deaf Scene, and compilations of traditional Hawaiian music. The culmination of his inspiration and talent flows through in his performances, and he truly does a good job in the niche that he has carved himself. In 2008, Thom started making music as The Triceratops, but changed to Cole Cash, and now appears as the artist on the album, Gingerwolf. Not a stranger to professional production either, he played on records by Sawmpcandy, Pompeii Graffiti, Kavoossi, Skribe, and Alexander Peters 2015, and the forthcoming solo debut from Jimi Davies of Jimmie’s Chicken Shack. Obviously a man about town, you can check Thom out every week at different venues.

Now that you know a little more about the man behind the wolf, here is the review:

Smooth ocean waves.

Honestly, I could just stop right there. Centered around lap steel and classified by the man behind the album as “Hawaiian space jazz,” “In Pizza We Crust,” is a fully instrumental album that puts off one of the more calming presences that I have ever reviewed for SR. Don’t let the comedic title fool you, this is a great album for both our surf-oriented friends and anyone looking to unplug and recharge. While the instrumentation changes throughout the different songs, the mood stays the same: like waves of lap steel centered around folk rock and a little bit of alternative style rhythm.

“Pizza” is very similar to a lot of the other local albums I have been able to check out, but not in the way that one would think. While it is sonically different from what I am used to, it brings both another great way to disconnect from the pop structures that dominate the airwaves, and another great local style to the forefront. Thanks to the lush soundscape, expert playing, and great production, this album brings the sensation of a tide taking over the senses and giving in to zone of relaxation with a folk based rhythmic background. While this is probably not something you would want to listen to in order to pump yourself up before the gym or a night at a dance club, this album was not made to do so. This is lap steel with moving instrumentation, and it succeeds in the delivering the sonic message that Thom wants to convey.

In short, this another successful album that adds to the many great local works available more readily than you could imagine. If you are a fan of music in general and for something not so in your face, I would check out “In Pizza We Crust” a try. Released in December of 2015, available on streaming music, and ready for a listen, I’m giving this a favorable review and definitely recommending it to our readers.

Thanks again for stopping by, and I hope you like it.

“In Pizza We Crust” Track Listing:

  1. I See You Still
  2. Lullaby
  3. Red Bracelets
  4. Broken Records Lose Their Meanings
  5. Chili, Sweet Monarch
  6. Chipper Jones
  7. Trilingual
  8. Showers Over Seattle

Thomas Beall – Weissenborn, Acoustic, Electric, and Steel Guitars, Bass, Drums, Percussion, Laser gun

Erin Snedecor – Cello

Rory Brennan – Drums

Aaron Lahey – Bass

Marcus Turner – Drums

Mark Mossey – Trumpet

Adam Narimatsu – Keys

Justin Cary – Double bass

“In Pizza We Crust” was produced by Thom Beall and Collin Dunn at Hudson St. Sound in Annapolis, mixed by Steve Wright at Wrightway Studios in Baltimore, MD, and mastered by TW Walsh in Boston, MA.

Check Out Thom’s Facebook Page for any and all updates on future performances and recordings.

Album Review: “Repent to Karma” by Charles Kavoossi

kavoossi art“This trip has taken longer than I had presumed.”

Ah, to be back catching waves at SurfRhythm. It’s been a minute!

For those of you who might not remember me, my name is Henry Pazaryna, and I wrote for SR this past summer. After experiencing one of the single most fun, and sadly last, summer of rock and roll adventures before graduation, I took some time to focus on school and my own music this past semester. But as many of you know, when the waves are calling, you have to answer. And a very friendly wave happened to reach out to me.

That wave was none other than Charles Kavoossi, a Local Waves featured artist from this past summer, and good friend of mine. Charles asked me to review his first album and it sure was a treat to do so. Recorded in Baltimore and featuring a number of talented musicians from other local groups, Charles put together a quality piece of work that can be enjoyed by people of any walk of life. The album, “Repent to Karma” by Charles Kavoossi, makes for one of the most solid pieces of work from a local artist that I have heard in a while. From the different styles to the range of musical motion, this album captures a variety of sounds at both a high level of writing and performance. While many reviewers that I read in magazines are very quick to give works of art a numerical score, I do not plan on doing that myself. I think it is somewhat disingenuous and it ruins the subjectivity of art as a whole. Because of that, I want to use a more black and white style review to make things simple, and give it a favorable grade.

While I listened to this album, I felt confused on how I would label it. Is this folk music? Alternative? Rock? Or something else? After a bit of thinking, I believe that this album is neither and all of them at the same time. It is just plain good. Despite the indie or alternative label one could easily give to this music, I believe that “Beatle-esque” might be a more appropriate way to describe this album. While I will be the first to admit that my knowledge on modern alternative is not up to par with my peers, there was a simplicity that I not only caught, but genuinely enjoyed while listening to the songs. While the complexities of the musical structures exist in Charles’ writing (and are enough to throw any musician trying to strum along for a bit of a loop), everything featured on this album is fun to listen to. My personal favorites include “Blue Eyed Jesus” and “Trip and Fall.” The music, while not only being good and fun to listen to, had very well crafted and high quality audio engineering to go along with it. Thumbs up on every front.

While the pop industrial music machine might be cranking out repeat after boring repeat, local albums just like this really strike a chord with me, and I am sure it would with many other people. Even though the minority of artists that rule the majority of the airwaves don’t take as significant risks with their work, as what was once common, local albums just like these make up for the lack of creativity in the popular scene. When people, myself absolutely included, say “music isn’t creative any more,” they just don’t know where to look. If you are into anything remotely indie, alternative, or just plain music in general, I would highly advise giving this album a listen when it is released later in February.

Congrats Chaz, you did a great job.
Track Listing:

1. Housesound
2. Out of Time
3. Mannequin Girls
4. Pavlovian Dog
5. Brick to Bone
6. Holes in My Heart
7. Trip and Fall
8. Repent to Karma
9. Blue Eyed Jesus
10. Bad News
11. Christine
12. Purple
Recorded at Mobtown Studios, Baltimore MD
Produced by Aaron Wold and Charles Kavoossi
Engineered by Aaron Wold

Guest musicians include: Davis Rowan (Weather the band) on drums, Evan Chapman (Square Peg Round Hole) on drums, Thom Beall (gingerwolf) on lapsteel, Deirdre McAllister on female vox (Minimus The Poet), Jason Roe on banjo, Abby Becker (Haint Blue) on violin, Max Kuzmyak (Astronaut Jones) on horns, and Aaron Wold (Minimus The Poet) on theremin.

Kavoossi Music Facebook Link

Kavoossi Music Single, Out of Time