Under the Wire releases Everything Haunts Me

Band: Under the Wire

Album: Everything Haunts Me.

Songs: I am nothing/Oceans are none/Drifter now/Down/Black out/Melancholy/Self Medicated.

What you can expect from every Under the Wired releases is the electricity that flows through each song. There is the freshness yet the nostalgic not to the great bands of the 80s. I like to imagine them as a band that continue to carry the torch of great music without sacrificing their credibility to the evil of mainstream pop.

Everything Haunts Me is the new EP, which is their second, and contains 7 tracks. I am nothing has a mellow style with chilled beats. The fullness of the music is done by layering. Under the Wire is comprised of two people: Tom Lugo and Jason Ellis. I am nothing reminds me of old This Mortal Coil. Remember the 4AD project headed by Ivo Watts-Russell in the 80s? I am not sure if UTW have embraced the 4AD credo but I can sense a bit of that in this EP.

Oceans are None is explosively beautiful. I haven’t heard something like this in ages. The only artists that come to mind are Peter Gabriel and early Sarah McLachlan. The beats are seductive. The vocals are really awesome. Like the first EP, the tunes from Everything Haunts Me showcase a distinct guitar style that shows its loyalty to the dream pop genre.

Either it’s The Cure or Fiction Factory, Drifter now nods on these bands. Two thumbs up to the keyboards. And since I am not a lyrics guy I paid more attention to the sound effects than the stories behind the songs. But if you want to know what they are all about then I will tell you. They deal with either unrequited love, despair, loneliness, inner conflict-the stuff of Gothic rock. For some reason, Under the Wire makes depressing themes sound like Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

There’s Down-a kind of suspense and moody tune in the vein of Siouxsie and the Banshees.  Blackout behind jangles with Bauhaus inspired chords and distorted drums. Melancholy has an ethereal style that reminds me of early Dead Can Dance and at times it’s Joy Division. Self medicated closes the EP and I think it is the most cinematic track in this EP.

Under the Wire continues to challenge the status quo of music, as these
two musicians write and record tunes that you can never -and will never-hear again in alternative rock.


Being in Music: Heyward Howkins (Interview)



After listening two fantastic albums by Philadelphia based singer/songwriter Heyward Howkins I think it is time to hear what this artist has to say. If you aren’t  aware yet, Be Frank,Furness is his second album and it is out in several formats including vinyl. Yes I know you vinyl lovers will love this one.

Feel good melodies and intellectual lyrics are the stuff his albums are made of. Let us welcome our featured artist Heyward Howkins.

1. After two albums out, what did you learn so far in terms of writing and recording songs?
The writing part is still a mystery to me. I can never predict that aspect of it. I did learn about recording during the sessions for Be Frank, Furness. We did many of the tracks live or with just a few takes. We forced ourselves to make decisions quickly. I think that captured a real natural vibe–it also took half as long as recording the first record. I am really happy with both of my records but they are very different sonically and philosophically. The new one is the carefree pop record in a lot of ways.

2. What are your memorable experiences recording Be Frank, Furness?
It was a whirlwind. The studio was being constructed around my feet as we recorded. You never knew where things were gonna be when you returned. It was slightly chaotic but I think it helped impart a playfulness and unpredictability into the record.

3. Can you give us a background as to the choice of the album title?
I came up with song idea and was looking for a name that sounded stuffy in order to convey the message of the opening of the song. Frank Furness just popped into my head. He was a famous Philadelphia architect and I have been inside several of his buildings. The name sounds great and I was able to use it to my advantage.

4. Your songs are brilliant and they are ‘cheerful’ compared to the last album. Was it a conscious decision on your part to create songs with that mood?
No actually. I don’t think about songs in those terms. This batch of songs just sort of fell in my lap from the ether. It just happened that they were more upbeat than the last album. Having a full rhythm section this time definitely added to the upbeatness.

5. Before releasing two brilliant albums, what were the struggles you went through that shaped your soul as an artist?
Haha, those struggles continue today. It is difficult to make really good music with no label and no money. I really struggled with the notion of making a second album at all. In hindsight I am glad I did and I am very proud of it. I also hope people with agree and be tempted to pick up the vinyl so I can hopefully continue to record music.

6. You record songs in an interesting way using the analogue method and even releasing an album through vinyl. Why?

I love the sound of vocal and instruments that have passed through a tape machine and I wanted to try it this time around. I also always wanted to have my music on vinyl and since we tracked to tape vinyl seemed like the way to go. Plus nobody likes CDs in my experience and I wanted a physical relic that looked and sounded great.

7. What’s next for you?
I have a bunch of new songs. I wanna get on some good shows with my new awesome live band and hopefully I will be lucky enough to record again.

8. Where can listeners buy your albums?

Right now the new record is available on 12″ vinyl at http://heywardhowkins.bandcamp.com/album/be-frank-furness. I am also on itunes, Amazon, etc.

9. What were you doing before doing this interview?
Ugh, staring at a computer and wishing I was in a recording studio.

10. Why do you think people need music?
Music is like food in my opinion. It is required in order to enjoy life and be happy and healthy. It is a global language that everyone can become enriched by.

11. Are there upcoming shows you want to promote?
I am playing a record release show on December 12th at Johhny Brenda’s in Philadelphia. We have a five piece band with bass, drums, keys, horns and a few other surprises.

12. What is the best thing being in music?
I still like how I can surprise people. Some people I know will be unfamiliar with my music and it’s always fun to see their reaction after hearing me sing. It’s usually like, “I didn’t know you could sing.” My speaking voice is really different from my singing voice so sometimes folks don’t believe me at first.


Links: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Heyward-Howkins/135648793142252?fref=ts





Heyward Howkins


Dream while drowning by Drowning Dreams


When stress hits, I just want to lie down and listen to a dreamy kind of music. I am perhaps a bit Gothic so I don’t really go for fluffy and happy sounds with the exception of Cocteau Twins. Drowning Dreams sound like a cool answer to one’s thirst for unique music. The guitars remind me a bit of old Cure, The Smiths and Bauhaus-and yes Cocteau Twins. There’s that jangly feel. But there’s also that laid back effects that tell you this is not a tired 80s dark wave rip off, but rather a style of its own that’s ever evolving. The music of Dream while drowning is a seascape of infinite bliss.

Upon few listens, you get that impression of swimming in cerulean seas of sonic meditation that remains unbroken until the last track. The seamless, diaphanous meshing and cavorting of sounds create that effect of being inside a womb. Drowning Dreams are a band emerging from Philadelphia’s burgeoning collective of independent artists called Patetico Recordings. The guys behind specialize  in lo-fi post rock, dreampop, shoegazer, electro-dreampop, nu-gaze, electropop, dreamy, psychedelic, slocore, indie rock, post rock, post punk, DIY, ethereal-name it, they got it.

You can tell that the tracks in Dream while drowning have undergone laser-like production technique. Such meticulous attention to sonic detail can be found in songs like Leave it All Behind where there’s this lengthy guitar instrumental at the end of the song(two and a half minutes). I like Sirens of Io because of the title and the arrangement. Man, the guitar style is enough to drive any Robin Guthrie and Liz Fraser fan drool.

I usually listen to this album late at night when I am trying to tone down the mood and imagine the ethereal guitars create light patterns on the ceiling. Yes, I listen to this to let the time pass until lids become heavy and Morpheus calls. There are more yummy tracks like To hell you opened the gates, Ipotane, Mephistopheles and a whole bunch. The titles just dance around my brain.

So if it is a Saturday night and you are staying home, push the time with this album. Who knows? Your subconscious might inspire you to do works of genius!