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August 2014
Vinyl Thief
""Fathoms"
"
mp3

In high school, my friend Craig Lee took it upon himself to educate me on what to do when I got high, which was: take a 311 CD and play it through Windows media player, and set the visualization to “Ambience.” With those days behind me (and a few subsequent years lost devil-sticking for tips as I followed 311 tours) I had long forgotten that particular use for Windows until I listened to Vinyl Thief’s debut album, “Fathoms.”

 

Released July 22nd, “Fathoms” listens like an entity. Granted, all albums vary song to song, and this one is no different, but few pluck the same rubber band in your brain and sustain it throughout it the duration. Fewer still can be so closely likened to getting lost watching a pixelated visualization of music on your ’01 Dell, wondering:“Whoa, how did they know to do that?”

 

Vinyl Thief is a synth driven powerhouse of a band that has been gathering acclaim since the release of their “Rebel Hill” EP in 2012. The group has essentially come of age playing together, from their high school inception to logging hours of practice in a church-sanctuary-turned-rehearsal space to perfect the sound and rapport that makes Vinyl Thief extraordinary. There are not many bands with such an expert handle on their sound.

 

There are a few anchors in Vinyl Thief that make them so listenable. Their synthesizers are going to do something beautiful. Grayson Proctor’s vocals are going to run through an impressive range without ever sounding forced or theatrical. And every song is going to reliably blow your mind in some way. It might be on a smaller scale, like when the guitar breaks the silence after the bridge in “London” with what I can only imagine a swoon would sound like. Or it could be big, like when the track “Rebel Hill” finally reaches a crescendo after a series of goosebump-inducing change-ups. The band has a knack for zig-ing when a zag is expected, going soft instead of loud, or even bigger when they’re already turned up.

 

Vinyl Thief is one of the best examples of the modern face of Nashville music, where already talented musicians go through great pains to learn their craft and the business around it. This is a band that is one sync away from national exposure. Be prepared to hear much more Vinyl Thief after Apple or Toyota licenses one of their tracks. Considering that “Fathoms” is a collection of their best material meticulously recorded and lovingly presented like a bowl of all-red jelly beans ready for the grabbing, this is only a matter of time. –Terra James-Jura

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Review of Gabrahm Vitek's, "Soular Flares"

Review of Gabrahm Vitek's, "Soular Flares"

It seems Gabrahm Vitek was hardly resistant to the band of gypsies that captured him in his sleep. Feeding him nothing but soul, Mr. Vitek has been munchin’ on some funky jazz with some jivy cats. Marginally different from anything I remember hearing at Christopher’s Pizza in 2007, I can assure you that soul-tapped and face-lifted, Mr. Vitek has seen the light.

His latest full length album, Soular Flares, flows as smooth as the lively licks it encases. Gabe has put some serious concentration into making an album that transitions flawlessly. Intentionally starting things out on a train ride to the heart of the record, he breaks things up with three instrumental interludes, showcasing his dive into compositional experimentation as he swims around sounds like Radiohead’s MK1 and Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors.

Sandwiching these Radiohead-esque interludes are effortlessly catchy songs like “Your Turn”, “It’s On”, “You Got Fire” and “No Look Dancing”. (Check out the music video for "No Look Dancing" here). Up-beat and full of soul, you can expect to hear some vibrant horn solos, powerhouse backup vocals, and classic Gabrahm Vitek piano riffs. A delightfully interesting match-up, Gabe’s poppy vocals (at times Ben Folds, at times Jamie Cullum, at times straight Vitek) have a way of jumping around on a bed of jazzy instrumentation, yielding some very fresh originality.

Gabe dresses up his thoughts on love, women, and coming of age through his contagiously danceable beats - however, he doesn’t forget to slow things down with intimate and personal tracks like “Needle + Thread”. Despite this healthy combination, it’s obvious that “No Look Dancing” is the core of the album – allowing listeners to kick off their shoes and let go of the reins.

Soular Flares feels like one of those records where one lightbulb led one artist deep into a cave of invention – remaining reclusive until the music baby was ready to be born. Lucky for us, Gabrahm Vitek will be releasing this gem, polished and perfected, October 22nd at The Basement. Not to mention he has roped in a solid A-team of Nashville’s finest rhythm and groove players. I’ll see you there.--Mackenzie Grosser

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