Review:: Little Machines | LIGHTS


Ever since my first time hearing The Listening, I have always been a part of Team LIGHTS. That being said, it is always an anxious thing to explore one of your favorite artists’ newest work. With a few years and a handful of lifetime milestones between 2011’s Siberia and now, change was to be expected.

Luckily, what we’ve grown to love and enjoy from LIGHTS continues here, made stronger over these last few years while bringing together elements of both previous releases, as well as a few of the chances she took on the pacifying Siberia acoustic rerelease.

Admittedly, I couldn’t jump right into Little Machines in the same way I could with Siberia. Where the title track on the previous release energetically kickstarted the album with bright synth, “Portal” leans more towards “Saviour,” The Listening’s softer introduction. On first listen, the song feels better suited as a closer, but with each listen (and with “Don’t Go Home Without Me” already filling that spot, but we’ll get to that) it fits better and better, swiftly revealing LIGHTS’ growth as a musician rather than holding back.

Where “Portal” slowly starts the wheels spinning, “Running With the Boys” quickly picks up the pace while lead single “Up We Go” follows as a perfect addition to LIGHTS’ catalog. As the track’s final chorus cuts into the first notes of “Same Sea,” we’re carried between two of Little Machines’ brightest highlights. A standout up to this point, “Same Sea” has everything you’d want from a LIGHTS song – her soft, yet strong voice set to eerie synth and thumping drums, crafted together into a three-minute dance window.

There has always been a balanced tempo with the music she releases, and Little Machines is no exception. Along with the introductory “Portal,” which clocks in at nearly 4 and a half minutes, both “Oil and Water” and “Speeding” compliment one another, slowing things down to showcase her vocal range. Much like we heard on the cleaner renditions of her songs that Siberia: Acoustic gave us, we hear how successfully and strongly she uses her voice itself as an instrument.

A select few songs find a median between the darker, ethereal side and the energetic, electronic side. “How We Do It” stands out later in the album, and while its verses are calm and quiet, “Slow Down” packs a huge chorus.

Though I could probably add it into that previous category, closer “Don’t Go Home Without Me” is one that stands on its own. In every aspect, an argument could be made that this is one of her strongest tracks. Lyrically, musically, and vocally, LIGHTS shines bright here and caps off her album in grand fashion.

Like I confessed earlier, Little Machines took a play or two for me to fully digest. But by giving it the patience it deserves, it quickly grew. LIGHTS’ growth and maturation are heavily felt yet subtly present, leaving their mark without trying to fix something that wasn’t broken.  

Release Date: September 23rd, 2014
Runtime: 38:33
Rating: 4/5
Check Out: “Up We Go, “Same Sea,” “Don’t Go Home Without Me”

01. “Portal”
02. “Running with the Boys”
03. “Up We Go”
04. "Same Sea”
05. “Speeding”
06. “Muscle Memory”
07. "Oil and Water”
08. “Slow Down”
09. “Meteorites”
10. "How We Do It”
11. “Don’t Go Home Without Me”

Written by Eric Riley

Review:: Fathoms | Vinyl Thief

Ever since the 2012 release of Rebel Hill – EP, the wait for Vinyl Thief’s first album release has been tantalizing, and it is finally here. Based in Nashville, Tennessee, Vinyl Thief is a group of self-taught musicians storming the indie-rock and electronica community. Their debut album Fathoms showcases a beautiful blend of lead singer Grayson Proctor’s edgy vocals fused with electrifying synth beats.  The band has put together ten songs that add a little bit of rock and little bit of EDM to everyone’s library.

After listening to Fathoms, it’s hard to believe the quartet started out in an old church sanctuary.  Fathoms is like an intimate concert between you and Vinyl Thief.   Every song starts off with its own signature electronic beat pulling you into Proctor’s trance-like voice, then soars into a loud and edgy chorus.  The album has an incredible flow as you transition from track to track, coming together to form a dynamic electro-rock story.

From slow, dreamy to upbeat, edgy tunes, Fathoms gives you an eclectic number of options to listen to. The instant hit “Middle of the Night” makes you feel like you’re about to embark on an adventure as the grittiness in Proctor’s vocals launches you into unexpected bass drop. The acoustic driven “London”plays with the lead singer’s killer wide range, and makes you want to visit London, England for real. The first verse of the song depicts the relaxing and mellow aura of taking in your first sight of London. Then an unexpected chorus expresses the liveliness and excitement that washes over when you get to the heart of the city.  Another track worth mentioning is “Rebel Hill” where the band experiments with their Nashville roots by adding a flair of blues to it.  While it is subtly mixed into song, it actually ties the whole song together and gives it a more rock n’ roll vibe.

Bands who can successfully blend the distinctness of indie rock and electronic music are few and far between. Vinyl Thief helps close the gap with their unique approach in Fathoms.  The band can easily fit in at indie music festivals and giant EDM concerts. Though the album stills needs a little more input of Grayson Proctor’s gritty side, Vinyl Thief has delivered an exceptionally solid first full length album.  As long as Vinyl Thief can keep their indie rockiness in harmony with their electronic style, it won’t be much of a surprise to see them playing sold out shows soon.

Release Date: July 22nd, 2014
Rating: 4/5
Runtime: ~36 minutes
Recommended Tracks: Middle of the Night, London

Track listing:
1. Fathoms
2. Smooth
3. London
4. Faces
5. Slow Down
6. Middle of the Night
7. Compact
8. Rebel Hill
9. Stop Motion
10. Alright


LIGHTS Announces New Album and Fall Tour

LIGHTS will be releasing her new record, Little Machines, on September 23rd! You can check out the pre-order bundles here.

To support the record, LIGHTS will be hitting the road this fall as well. Below you can find the track listing and fall tour dates!

Track listing:
1. Portal
2. Running With the Boys
3. Up We Go
4. Same Sea
5. Speeding
6. Muscle Memory
7. Oil and Water
8. Slow Down
9. Meteorites
10. How We Do It
11. Don’t Go Home Without Me
12. Child (Bonus track for deluxe version)
13. Lucky Ones (Bonus track for deluxe version)
14. From All Sides (Bonus track for deluxe version)

Tour Dates:
10.3 – Hamilton, Ontario @ Hamilton Place
10.4 – London, Ontario @ London Music Hall
10.16 – Ottawa, Ontario @ Algonquin Commons Theatre
10.18 – Montreal, Quebec @ Le National
10.20 – Fredericton, New Brunswick @ Capital Exhibit Centre
10.21 – Moncton, New Brunswick @ Capitol Theatre
10.22 – Halifax, Nova Scotia @ Halifax Forum
10.24 – Portland, Maine @ Port City Music Hall
10.25 – Boston, Massachusetts @ Paradise Rock Club
10.27 – Toronto, Ontario @ Danforth Music Hall
10.29 – New York, New York @ Irving Plaza
10.31 – Asbury Park, New Jersey @ The Stone Pony
11.01 – Baltimore, Maryland @ Rams Head Live!
11.02 – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania @ Theatre Of The Living Arts
11.04 – Detroit, Michigan @ St. Andrews Hall
11.05 – Chicago, Illinois @ House of Blues
11.07 – Denver, Colorado @ The Summit Music Hall
11.08 – Salt Lake City, Utah @ The Complex
11.11 – Los Angeles, California @ The Fonda Theatre
11.13 – San Francisco, California @ Regency Theatre
11.14 – Portland, Oregon @ Aladdin Theatre
11.15 – Seattle, Washington @ Showbox At The Market
11.18 – Vancouver, British Columbia @ Vogue Theatre

Review:: Stop Motion | Vinyl Thief

Tennessee electro-rock quartet Vinyl Thief recently released their new EP titled, Stop Motion. With lyrics like “Come with me / We’ll go as far as we / Can see indefinitely” and “So let’s go / Drive through the night / When darkness is closing in,” the EP encourages listeners to live their lives to the fullest without regrets.

In a recent interview, Vinyl Thief’s lead singer Grayson Proctor stated, “The inspiration behind these songs on the EP is an escape. We tend to run away from the things we don’t want to deal with. We have to really force ourselves to slow down and see the bigger picture." 

It’s a good thing that Grayson Proctor is in an electro-rock band. His vocals have the ability to make you feel calm or instantly excite you, as electronic music should do! Vinyl Thief perfectly pairs the electronic sound of synths and keys with the rock sound of guitar and drums. The result is nothing short of captivating.

I can only imagine how incredible Stop Motion sounds live. Electronic music is always fun to dance to in concert. Vinyl Thief has upcoming performances in New York, Pennsylvania, and Georgia. If you live in those areas and are in the mood to go to a concert, check them out!

Release Date: February 4, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5
Runtime: 15:18

Track Listing:
1. Smooth
2. Faces
3. Slow Down
4. Stop Motion

Written By: Kerianne Wilson