EW: Love Songs
Released July 2016
Recorded at Black Bear Studios
Sounds like Ty Segall, The Ramones
Key tracks Delivery Boy, Rice Cakes
Where to get it Bandcamp
Vocals, Drums Brooke Chekofsky
Vocals, Bass Zo Beast
A dirty purple wig, a slime green baby costume and a pair of wicked smiles. The cover of EW’s album, “LOVE SONGS,” smacks you in the face with relentless madness. Their music is no faÇade, for EW plays unapologetically from the first angry bend of the bass note to the last howl in a drunken finale. “LOVE SONGS” compresses authenticity, rage, food and humor into an incendiary, warped package.
The orchestrators of the concoction, Zo Beast and Brooke Chekofsky, follow a garage punk theme, but their sound is hard to ultimately label. Ranging in influences from the Ramones to doo-wop, EW successfully piles their eclectic influences into a fat taco and serves it hot. “I never really think, ‘I wanna sound like this!’ It just comes out,” Chekofsky said. “Our influences are whatever is happening at a time in our lives.”
A distorted bassline plays over a maddening blaze of the drums. These instruments alone whirl your eardrums through a gauntlet of food adoration and man-hatred, but it is the singing and songwriting which solidifies EW among the noise.
By the second track, “Delivery Boy,” the duo’s surprisingly complex melody and harmonic structure emerges, giving the genre a refreshing spin. Blending subversive lyrics with nuanced harmonizations, every song is laced with not just rage but ecstatic vibrancy.
The underlying motor of this mean machine is humor and the truth — the truth being to just be yourself. “I want to empower people to be themselves and not be scared to be their inner freak, who they have been their whole entire lives but have just been made fun of for being,” Beast said.
Their onstage persona and hysteric compositions can pigeonhole them as tawdry artists seeking shock value, but underneath the makeup lies a genuine proclamation for freedom. Their third song, “Rice Cakes,” does exactly that: Instead of having to live a boring and rigid life eating rice cakes, EW reminds you to eat voraciously and throw inhibitive customs in the garbage.
“People try to control how you eat your whole life, and food is this weird thing that’s attached to your identity and your value as a person. [Rice Cakes] is about reclaiming your ability to be whoever the fuck you want,” Chekofsky said.
Chekofsky and Beast do not always dress up like a pair of siblings from an acid-wrecked Tim Burton movie. They often look like your average young adults. But when the sun goes down and the amp is plugged in, EW is their refuge, offering a space free from stern parents, social norms and the emotional trek of everyday life.
“This band has been an outlet for me and how I’ve dealt with [my problems]. It’s like the veil is being taken off,” Beast said.
“Life is a joke,” Chekofsky said, “and you have to get that joke to survive.”
By Alcino Donadel
Jordan Burchel: Vowel Sounds
Released Dec.16, 2016
Recorded at Home studio
Sounds like Radical Face, James Bay
Inspiration Tame Impala, The War On Drugs, Kanye West, St. Vincent, Kendrick Lamar
Key tracks Paper Face, Blesh, Kulterator
Where to get it iTunes, Spotify, possibly CDs in stores
Vocals, Guitars Jordan Burchel
After a year of tireless work, what was intended to be a small EP evolved into Jordan Burchel’s second full-length album, “Vowel Sounds.” The album expands on Burchel’s impressive musical talents — evident in his 2014 debut — and introduces him to other local artists who were vital in its creation.
“The approach was the same, which was that we’re going to do everything ourselves, but I learned so much in the time between the first album and the second one,” said Burchel.
A host of other artists were involved in the project. Zach Totta, a friend of Burchel’s, helped mix and produce the music and also played drums on most of the tracks. Sam Moss, Burchel’s girlfriend, provided vocals on “Why They Call You Blue” and “Blesh.” The saxophone, played by Paul Johnson, is one of Burchel’s favorite elements of the album.
Despite the extra hands, “Vowel Sounds” remains a DIY album. Burchel recorded the songs at his home studio, which he and his friends painstakingly built, taking the time to locate constructive and destructive sound wave interference for the best acoustics.
The introduction of a drum set, among other instruments, provides a fuller backdrop to “Vowel Sounds.” With this came the challenge of properly recording them. The steady, clear drum beat and haunting bass riff on the album’s fourth track, “Blesh,” show that this hard work paid off.
“I didn’t want it to sound good for a DIY project,” Burchel said. “I wanted it to hold its own against something that was made in a great studio by professionals.”
Burchel began playing guitar in middle school. Originally interested in heavy metal, he spent a year taking guitar lessons before teaching himself to play. After learning the solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird,” Burchel received a Sunburst Les Paul from his father. He still uses the guitar today.
Eventually, Burchel adopted an indie rock sound. On “Vowel Sounds,” the music is restrained, with soft drumming and simple, yet powerful, guitar riffs. He cites artists like The War On Drugs as his musical influences. Though his music may not reflect it, he said he also looks up to hip-hop artists such as Kendrick Lamar and Chance the Rapper.
“Hip-hop is an influence more in the mindset and in the approach. Good hip-hop music sounds like someone saying, ‘I’ve just got to get this out and this is my expression,’ so I take that into the creative process,” Burchel said.
In the span from his debut album to “Vowel Sounds,” Burchel has experienced personal along with musical growth. “The making of the album mirrored my personal change,” said Burchel. “It all feels like I was living and then transcribing my life into the album.”
By Cameron Rivera
Kane Pour: Vision Crayon
Released July 2016
Recorded at Home studios in North Carolina and Gainesville
Sounds like Azymuth
Inspiration Jazz electronic music, Ryuichi Sakomoto
Key tracks Crimson Pendulum, Lament of Listening, Coral Crayon
Where to get it Bandcamp
Synth, Guitar, Beat Programming Kane Pour
Soothing instrumentals and lively, vibrant beats promptly draw listeners into “Vision Crayon.” Each song is carefully composed, taking special care to create a cohesive blend in the midst of a wide compilation of sounds.
Kane Aram Mohammad-Pour, a senior Digital Arts and Sciences major at the University of Florida, first picked up the guitar when he was 13 years old.
“I became really obsessed with the guitar and I’ve been playing in bands ever since,” Pour said. “I found a lot of comfort in making my own music.”
Released nearly 2 years after his first album, “Hyper Pollen Temple,” Pour recorded “Vision Crayon” while residing in both North Carolina and Gainesville. While living in North Carolina 3 years ago, he retreated to his recording studio and spent most of his time on the songs “Crimson Pendulum” and “Coral Crayon.”
“I put the most of my own personal style into these two songs. I feel like I reached back into my cavern of melodies and achieved everything I wanted to with them,” he said.
Album opener “Paprika” starts off whimsical and animated. The second half of the album transitions into slower, more intricate melodies. Songs like “Crimson Pendulum” and “Lament of Listening” convey a more pensive, nostalgic mood.
While he was recording the album, Pour said he drew inspiration from an eclectic mix of fusion jazz music, the ‘70s band Azymuth, Ryuichi Sakamoto and music from films and commercials.
The mood of each song is effectively conveyed purely through instrumentals and electronics; without incorporating lyrics or vocals into his music, Pour continuously adds layers to each track. His sound relies heavily on the guitar, synthesizers, and computer programs like Ableton Live.
Rather than basing his songs off of a specific narrative or background story, he likes to express a certain feeling or the state of mind he was in at the time.
“Each song is a separate experience, but it catalogs the extremes of growing up and dying in a short time,” Pour said. “I like to explore more linear narrative concepts.”
Although each track significantly differs from the next, listeners can distinctly hear the playful, yet somber, recurring mood of each song. It’s never conflicting or overpowering, but a compelling balance that defines the album and speaks to Pour’s dynamic narrative.
Pour is mainly focused on completing his senior year, but he is constantly generating ideas and creating new music. “I don’t know where everything is going to fall into place yet, but I’m always thinking about music in some form,” he said.
By Maddie Ngo