The first track I came across from Heavy Metal was “Tongue Tied”, which somewhat resembles 80’s British alternative rock. I played it for my mom in the kitchen while she was cooking dinner one night, and as she ran back and forth between her nearly-finished dishes, she asked, “Isn’t this older?” The news that Miles Nielsen and the Rusted Heart’s album had dropped in the same year came as a slight shock, which is understandable considering the band’s more genuine music, heavily influenced by classic rock. The main vocals are relaxed, with background voices occasionally chirping in to add clean layers of harmony. Miles Nielson and the Rusted hearts have constructed an album with a stripped-down sound, free from any filler noises or pseudo-deep lyrics.
Nielsen lived his post-divorce life on the road with his band, engaging in musical therapy. Rather than bearing all to any counselors or psychologists, he put in in his music – the tumultuous nature of human relationships once again spinning straw into gold for a brokenhearted member of the music industry. The band’s music seems to present an overall a sunny outlook on life with this album placing a slight emphasis on the overcast moments. This album is great for anyone with a gently used heart, happy heart, or just a beating heart.
New Orleans is known for spicy cuisine and soulful music, making it a fitting birthplace for the Revivalists: a seven-member band whose music has a bit of zest and soul itself. Their most recent album, Men Amongst Mountains, is an amalgam of different sounds that falls in the catch-all category of alt rock. Not unlike a pot of Louisiana gumbo, the music has a thick texture packed with guitar, drums, trumpets, and saxophones, simmering in mid-tempo sentiment.
Occasionally, as in “Bulletproof”, the tempo picks up and hits boiling point. I’d say a few secret ingredients (like a tinge of Latin) had been tossed into the mix to keep it interesting. This is a feat surely accomplished as the blues-influenced rock band melds soul with folk and adds a light layer of funk.
No track is too similar to another, emphasizing different elements of the band’s sound. “Need you” is a smooth, slower R&B tune, while they opted for a stress on funk in “Stand Up”. By far the most gritty and bold is “All in the Family”. As well as diversity, the revivalists have mastered slow builds. A prime example of this is “Amber”. Opening mild and soft, it quickly picks up, and the crescendo hits towards the end similar to how I’d imagine the iceberg smacked into the titanic-although, it’s a bit of a more pleasant occurrence. The song spirals into a chaotic cacophony of instruments, the vocals ringing through in an attempt to reassure Amber that she will, in fact, make it through the fight.
The Revivalists deliver an authentic, rootsy sound that can be enjoyed by everyone, from angst-y high school students to their hankie-wielding grandmas.