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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 A Thousand Horses', "A Thousand Horses"

Review of A Thousand Horses', "A Thousand Horses"

Tyler Durden (Fight Club) once said, “You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake.” A Thousand Horses seems to be cool with that. Instead of molding to the pretensions of rock, they pay homage to their predecessors in their Southern-rock infused self-titled debut EP. This, ironically, makes them pretty unique.
Frontman Michael Hobby looks the part of the “long haired hippie” he sings about in “Travelin’ Man” and personifies the rock n roll stereotypes that exist because it’s rock n roll, damn it. With a voice that sounds like a younger Chris Robinson (The Black Crowes), he has a raspy, bluesy lilt that is evident on every track.


The rest of the band consists of Bill Satcher on lead guitar, Graham DeLoach on bass, Zach Brown (no, not that one) on guitar and Shane Lenzen on drums. Their five-track EP was recorded with the help of producer Dave Cobb in Silver Lake, CA. They recorded in one room as a full band, which is perhaps why the album has the spontaneous and eager feel of a live show.


Each track seems to channel a different ghost of rock past, most notably Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin. The lyrics of many of the songs on the EP solidify their “been there, done that” attitude of touring musicians, who both mock and adore the lifestyle they’ve chosen. The music, however, is the actual proof that these guys know what they’re doing. The natural harmony of the electric guitar, bass and drums make it evident that this band has been doing more than jamming in a garage.
The stand out track is hands-down “A Thousand Horses,” which fittingly features The Black Crowes guitarist Rich Robinson. The band plays so seamlessly together on this track, I kept hoping for a Slash-inspired extended guitar solo. The rest of the album is exactly what a rock album should be: simple, fun and catchy enough to remember the lyrics after your seventh PBR.


There’s nothing trendy about this EP and it doesn’t take any gimmick lessons from Ke$ha (the dollar sign still perplexes me). It’s a jam-til-4-a.m.-don’t-take-your-shoes-off-at-the-door-buy-someone-a-drink-and-make-some-bad-decisions kind of album. And that is definitely rock n roll. – Krystal Wallace

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