Review:: Drifting by Design | BRAEVES

For fans of: Sleepaway, Grizzly Bear, and Local Natives

After experimenting with different sounds and genres for a couple years, Braeves came to a mixture of folk, indie rock, dream pop, and other sounds that make up what became Braeves’ debut EP Drifting by Design. This Mike Watts (The Dear Hunter, As Tall As Lions) produced release glides listeners through the 5 songs, in which singer Ryan Colt Levy’s voice drifts over each track. Closing out the quartet is bassist Derek Tramont, Thomas Killian McPhillips IIV on the drums, and Nick LaFalce on guitar and keys, who together create songs that are as well-crafted lyrically as they are musically.

The songs fit together beautifully, kicking off with “Guest of the Gun,” whose strong structure is echoed in the final track, “While Your Body Sleeps,” in pauses and builds between the verses and chorus. “Talk Like Strangers” is much moodier than “Guest of the Gun,” painting a picture of two people who were once close, falling apart. “We talk like strangers in empty storylines,” Levy sings. The chorus describes an unrest in a relationship, but the song itself sounds much like a goodbye. The mellow sounds continue in “Souls in Transit,” but build back up in “Iron Hands,” which lends the EP’s title in the chorus.

Fans of Local Natives, Grizzly Bear, As Tall As Lions, and The Shins will likely find a song that tickles their fancy in this EP.

Release Date: September 9, 2014
Rating: 5/5
Runtime: ~21 minutes
Check Out: “Talk Like Strangers”

Track listing:
1. Guest of the Gun
2. Talk Like Strangers
3. Souls in Transit
4. Iron Hands
5. While Your Body Sleeps

Written by Carina Browder

Review:: Nothing Ordinary | East of Eli


Nothing Ordinary by East of Eli really is nothing ordinary at all. Nathan Wests debut album under his project, East of Eli, is asalute to all those folk heroes before him. It really has been the most soothing album I have listened to in the longest time. This is the perfect album for winding down after a stressful day or falling asleep to. Sitting here and writing this late at nightit sounds amazing, but in my opinion, listening to this in the middle of the day or while driving to work would be a very different experience, and possibly a boring one.

Listeners of Christian alternative music will immediately notice the similarities with Nathan West and well-known songwriter and musician Chris Tomlin. Not in the lyrics, but in the rhythms and studio work. However, at points the studio and digital sounds really do become too much.

The catchiest song, and the one that I can see blowing up, is the 4th song, “Riptide”. It begins with the question, “What’s the point in living if everyone dies?” and continues to explore the questions that don’t have an answer or are to scary to even ask. This is the song from the album that will stick with me and that I will have on repeat for the next week. If this song doesn’t show up on the Coffee House XM station, I will be shocked.

The closer to the album is “Start Again” and the best possible song to end with. This song starts off slow and builds up to an explosion in a musically layered harmony of guitars, overlapping voice, and beat similar to something from a Death Cab for Cutie or The Shins single. After the song finishes, you are left with an emptiness and hunger for more and that’s what a great EP should aim to do. If you are even slightly curious, take a listen because it will only take you about 18 minutes to see how much potential East of Eli has.

Release Date:  30 March 2014
Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: 18:64

Track Listing:
1.Nothing Ordinary
2.The Silent Kind
5.Start Again

Written By: Chase Causey