by Daniel Warren Hill
With the leading single “Vampire” from newly-formed DC area rock band Amulet having such strong visual and lyrical familiarity within modern pop culture it might be easy to assume that goth culture is making a comeback (though, to be fair, it never really went away). However, it would be rude to box-in any modern rock band by pigeonholing their entire identity into one single track, especially when that band has fifteen more tracks featured on their debut album, House of Black + White (available now on Bandcamp).
Sure, you will hear influences by Sisters of Mercy, the Cure, and Evanescence, but the band also finds inspiration from Reggae and Funk music – proving that the music an artist enjoys listening to and the music an artist produces may fall into vastly different categories. Amulet is a rock band, and each song provides a different platform for the band to explore their influences and inspirations.
The album, produced by Devin Spear of Exhale Studios and mastered by Conrad Osipowicz of Blue Room Studios, began with principal writers MJ Phoenix (Bass) and Stephanie Stryker (Vocals) writing and collaborating back and forth with drum loops, bass lines, lots of minor chords, and demo vocals; eventually replaced or supplemented with live drums, keys, and multiple guitar layers. Phoenix’s deep rhythmic bass tones become the foundation for Stryker’s smooth vocal performance, having similar feels to Tarja Turunen of Nightwish. The result is a powerful debut album that leaves plenty for fans to discover with every listen, and if the quality of Amulet’s debut music video “Vampire” is any indication, fans can expect an assortment of stunning visual elements in future releases. Amulet expects to release more content and continue to grow their fanbase on multiple platforms while simultaneously preparing to bring all these elements together for future live performances.
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Musician, educator, and activist Marc 2Ray joins the Alchemicast: with Andy Reed talking about how your wordplay, delivery, timing, and cadence are your instrument as a hip-hop artist. Marc uses his music to educate and empower listeners about everyday issues such as social justice, inequality, drug abuse, and tracks like “1915” about the Armenian genocide (of which his grandfather is a survivor) are being used as an educational tool in high school and college curriculums. Marc discusses his songwriting and recording process and his extensive collaboration efforts. He discusses how 9:30 Club holds a special place in his heart through personal experiences with DJ Tommy B, and how his 2020 album, Fresh Air, transformed from being supported through live events to a more digital experience for fans.
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