Review Summary: Alaskan bears that are of the night
The real joy of independent music is that it is one of the most intimate methods of sharing emotion; a single guy playing his own songs in his room is literally what the majority of independent music comprises of, and it is with this that one can truly experience the recorded emotion of another individual. Alaskan Night Bears is one such independent band; formed in Northern California but now based in Texas, Love Songs for Haley and 36,000 ft. is a subtle and smooth piece of music, lo-fi in its execution but instantly accessible in its grasp, its influences more than overtly shining through in a manner which makes the EP both appealing and enjoyable.
It’s not hard to pinpoint the different bands that have influenced Alaskan Night Bears; the melancholic mid-section takes the best from bands like Bon Iver and American Football, while closer ‘Made It Home Safe... a Proposal’ takes a more than noticeable page out of Have a Nice Life’s book. Opening with ‘A Dream... Foresight?’, we’re introduced to Alaskan Night Bears’ brand of placid and rich melody, fluid guitar lines weaving in and out of ethereal vocals; one can immediately notice how natural the music feels, a genuine reflection of the artist’s intentions, void of any artificial flavouring.
‘Song #2’ thematically continues what the opener begun, but introduces us to a more pronounced vocal style that somewhat draws its influence from Bon Iver; layered highs that fit well with the melodies, gracefully placed amongst the weighted atmosphere. It is probably wise to mention that the softly spoken vocals are more effective than these aforementioned highs, but Alaskan Night Bears does make it work. The EP’s highlight comes in the form of ‘Song #3’, a moving song that builds up over five minutes to what is an exemplary climax. Beginning with gentle chords, the song’s avoidance of complexity is further marked by its simple yet poignant lyrics:
it’s the beauty inside you, that attracts me so much
it’s the kindness you hand out, that they don’t deserve
it’s the warmth I get when I talk to you on the phone
i’m not really good at this... was gonna write you a poem
but I went ahead, and wrote you a song instead
with the words "I'll love you, even after I’m dead"
and it's the look in your eyes when there's something wrong
it’s like when we talk about nothing at all
The song then begins its delicate rise, reaching a beautiful crescendo before its conclusion; as the pinnacle of the EP, the song draws its strength from the serenity of the opening two tracks, invoking their calmness into its own grandeur.
A quick turn is then taken in terms of mood, with ‘Made It Home Safe... a Proposal’ completely demolishing the acoustic setting initially lain down by the EP; abruptly beginning with an electronic beat, the song moves into a fuzzy and relentless interpretation of Have A Nice Life’s style, hollow drums and all. The track incorporates a touch more electronic elements than one would expect from the Connecticut duo, but the influence is obviously there. On the first listen, such a difference in style seems to work against the musical flow of the EP, but eventually it all comes together, the harsh melody providing for an interesting juxtaposition with the former lucidity. On a conceptual level, the song is seemingly perfect, the melancholy of the earlier tracks displaying the love and affection of an individual, slowly moving to despair and eventually to the absurdity of it all, and a violent end. The touch of organs at the song’s end is a somewhat tongue-in-cheek resolution to the album’s concept, and does well to show that Alaskan Night Bears haven’t disappeared under the synthetics of the track.
Alaskan Night Bears is just one of many independent artists pushing their music; it’s just another person making music that is a reflection of his own experiences, of his own feelings. On a purely musical level, Love Songs for Haley and 36,000 ft. is simple yet effective composition, not relying on technicality or production in any way, merely on the strength of the artist’s integrity. Add to this the EP’s concept, expressed both in its music and lyrics, and Love Songs for Haley and 36,000 ft. manages to stand on its feet as a short and beautiful piece of music.
a single guy playing his own songs in his room is literally what the majority of independent music comprises of,
I really think you should take that sentence out, because this is a good review otherwise. The sentence is anti-cultural in a musical way, as it ignores the creative processes involved in world-wide independent music that isn't considered 'American/British Indie Rock', to be blatant. Independent music is a vast term that shouldn't be taken lightly. This Message Edited On 01.28.09
No, I am using the word 'independent' in a completely literal way here, as it should be used. Independent means 'without label', and Indie rock was born from this term. The world still hasn't caught up the fact that Indie music isn't actually indie anymore.
Yes, American/British Indie rock isn't indie anymore, and Independent can be used to refer to an Independent label that distributes its music without radio-play or television spots, and is not associated with what I like to call a 'Sugar Daddy' corporation.
When you say this is what it literally comprises of, you state that the majority of independent music in the world comes from a dude playing his songs to himself in his room. Its extremely likely thats not true, and if it were, no one person would be able to know it.This Message Edited On 01.28.09
When you say this is what it literally comprises of, you state that the majority of independent music in the world comes from a dude playing his songs to himself in his room. Its extremely likely thats not true, and if it were, no one person would be able to know it.
When it comes to most 'independent' music, it is actually very likely it's one or two individuals recording their own music and distributing it via their own means. That's what I meant by that statement, and that meaning still stands.
Thats not the only way to define independent though, truly independent labels do not intervene in the creative process at all. They are there simply to distribute and market the music as best they can, which is the whole idea behind a label. Bringing music down to its grassroots doesn't make it any purer than music released by more musically influential people, as on an independent label, the quality of the music is determined solely by the artist.
Also you've contradicted yourself, earlier you said that most independent music is a 'single guy' writing music privately, now you say independent music is one or more individuals doing everything themselves. Thats a generalization larger than the Grand Canyon.
Holy shit don't you have anything better to do?
The context in which I'm using independent may or may not be different from the one you're thinking, and I honestly do not care. I am using the word independent to describe musicians with no attachment to labels who make and distribute their music purely on their own. The whole single guy in his room phrase is not to be taken seriously (it was more a reference to this band in particular), I'm sure a lot of independent artists use recording studios or whatnot, and may or may not be individual or in a partnership; you're just nitpicking at the most useless things in world, and I am not in the mood to have to deal with stupid bullshit like this. Gtfo.
the electronic-y bit at the beginning of the fourth track was cool even though it sounded just like so many other electronic-y beats i've heard in my time
this is pretty good overall but more like a 3 idk yet
If it shouldn't be taken seriously, than the phrase shouldn't be deemed 'literal'. If your referring to this band in particular, than SAY that. You can't downplay my argument, when you think your argument should be realized without anything proving it. My problem is that you believe that you can talk about a specific form of independence without naming it. Which is not nit-picking, its critique, if you don't want critique then you shouldn't be writing reviews in the first fucking place. If everybody treated critique and differing opinions the way you do, do you know where the world would be? Absolutely fucking nowhere. So please, get over yourself, realize your literary mistake, and correct it for future readers.
not influenced or controlled by others in matters of opinion, conduct, etc.; thinking or acting for oneself
I don't see where the single guy chillen' in his room, or the multiple people making music come in. This can easily refer to an independent label. You referred to this band in a way that lumps them in with the generalization which we've established is currently incorrect. The critique I'm giving you, whether its about the entire review or a single phrase, should be taken into consideration thoughtfully and peacefully. Its obvious that you made a mistake, and I am trying to help you correct it. The critique given to a reviewer is usually about the review, not the music, which the reviewer probably did not make. If I wanted to critique the band, then I would contact the band.
You can't dismiss something I said that you don't agree with simply by saying 'What the fuck are you talking about' (childish, immature, etc.) If you report me for spam, you officially report me for spam because you refuse to take critical advice. This is a sad day for literature as a whole. And if you think threatening me with that has effected me in any way, you are just the kind of person who would resort to calling the police to solve a problem that if they weren't a fucking twat ass pussy, they could solve themselves. This Message Edited On 01.28.09This Message Edited On 01.28.09
This could be a great review, but I have a problem with the way you've used the word "now" in that first paragraph. I think it should be taken out as it totally ignores the entire concept of "then" and "soon"... and really when will "then" be "now" anyway?
Edit: Ok I have to go to bed, so just in case it wasn't obvious, I was just being stupid and kind of making fun of st4ytrue's first
post. I already pos'd. The review is fine, as usual.This Message Edited On 01.28.09