On Our Radar

On Our Radar: The Kickdrums

Posted by Jason Petros on May 11, 2009
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“That beat is raw.” is probably a phrase The Kickdrums hear all the time.  Pounding bass, tight snares, a little bit of electro dance hall and a whole shit load of tight production make up the songs that put the Kickdrums on CIMR’s map.  There’s a little bit of Ratatat influence evident, but only because of pulse pushing nature of the music they choose to make.  Unlike Ratatat, these guys throw some rocking vocals in the mix as well – they’re crate digging workers who’ve risen to the top by sheer force of their own creative ambition.  They are unafraid to mix sweeping strings with hip hop beats and dashes of real guitar, because this has done before to varying degrees of success (or failure) people will sometimes make the comparison to Gym Class Heroes or bands of that ilk.  Although having produced songs for a cache of rappers, including 50 Cent, they stay away from trying to be rappers and when singing, do things that feel comfortable to them and therefore, it sounds more comfortable to the listener as well.   Top notch production and a feel for what is relevant is what’s going to keep the Kickdrums behind some banging tracks for a long time.

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On Our Radar: Drew Danburry

Posted by Jason Petros on March 27, 2009
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I am a longtime believer in the duality of human nature. There are certain songs and certain artists who have the astute ability to personify duality through their craft. One of these people is Drew Danburry.

He dares not let beauty get in the way of his art: insomuch as forcing himself into a strictly pop aesthetic, but, none the less beauty shines through. His songs are intimate and ugly, recordings deceptively lo-fi but polished, his vocals natural, but pulsing. All of these opposites collide with one another and explode into an album that is an all around treat to listen to. Consistently throughout the album, “This Could Mean Trouble, You Don’t Speak for the Club” you can hear friends of Drew laughing, clapping, and having a particularly good time (or at least sounding like it) – normally the recording process is tenuous, slow, and particular – in other words, not a time for friends and family to come around joking and laughing while you are pressing the past year’s hopes and dreams down onto the physical and audible plane of existence. This gives the artist a decidedly human touch – which, along with the excellent lyrics and hooks that disappear before you can grab onto them – create an album rich with language and meaning – that, to use a cliché, stays with you long after you’ve pressed the off button. It’s as if Drew is saying, we don’t need to worry about the production (although it sounds stellar) and pushing his and the listeners concentration onto the songs and their meanings. Now I could sit here and dissect every lyric for you, but I think that would be better left to you all. I will say this: Musicians, as a community, and as a country, are ready to move beyond the perfection of radio pop music – and there is a new crop of pop sensible folk artists who refuse to parlay their identities and sound for the greater audience – Drew Danburry is recreating a truly American sound, and we thank him for it.

Drew is going to be playing in Logan Square at The Whistler April 14th at 9pm (21+) – I’ll be there – and I hope you will too.

In the meantime, I’ll be posting a video of Drew’s newest single, “Artex” later on tonight for you all to enjoy.


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