The genre-bending act, Shadowkasters, spearheaded by versatile multi-instrumentalist Bryce Avary, returns with an eighth studio album.
Shadowkasters, which released May 12, comes off the heels of the tenth anniversary of Avary’s debut record Calendar Days. Since 2003, Avary’s one-man band has amassed a wide audience of music obsessives, summoned by the multitude of genres he pulls from. It isn’t easy to ascribe a single label onto the sound of Avary’s body of work. He’s often been described as a “indie rock power pop” star, but as broad as this term is, it still does not fully encapsulate the ever-changing nature of his repertoire.
Take for example Shadowkasters‘ lead single, “Stuck Inside Your Light,” which signaled yet another sonic shift in The Rocket Summer’s discography. A fresh, modern twist on shoegaze-flecked electronic feuls the track’s lyrical content. “Multiple colors. sunbeams and other / Shades of delirium,” points to the kaleidoscopic imagery of the album cover, while “You’ve already took me in / I’m stuck inside your light” feels like a natural evolution from 2019’s Sweet Shivers.
Avary further teased his latest effort with opener “M4U,” which takes the folktronica influence of much of his past work and embraces it completely. The song is powered by the simple repetition of “I was made for you,” implementing slightly distorted vocals set to driving, guitar-infused beats. The track balances desperation and adrenaline, even when its lyricism is relatively straightforward.
Selections like “Sing At The Top” pairs a party-ready backing track with cryptic, oddly worded verses. You likely wouldn’t expect to hear words like “Seven years separating / Unzip your skin / Step out of the old and in the new, step in / Neo neon skeletons” scattered throughout a dance cut about vocalizing with all the might of your lungs. However, here Avary continues to prove his mastery of infectiously-produced songs with zany, unashamedly original lyricism. Such is present on the entirety of the varied, yet cohesive Shadowkasters, and seems headed toward the exploration of even more subgenres and musical lanes in the future.
Find “Sing At The Top” on the Alchemical Records Multigenre Mixture Playlist on Spotify.
Cameron Landry is a former journalism student at The George Washington University, and a current writer for Alchemical Records. He’s shared a passion for music journalism for several years, and focused much of his reporting as an undergraduate on how independent music venues have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Based in Washington, DC, Cameron can often be found at local concerts (and record stores!) in the district.
Flow-bending artist aSanTIS discusses art, culture, and whether sound can solve the world’s problems in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month.
My interview with Amy Santis aka aSanTIS began in the most unexpected way. The Maryland-based flow-bending artist and lyrical storyteller came prepared to engage in conversation around questions I had posed – and she also brought one or two of her own thoughtful prompts based on her curiosities around my view of learning.
This practice of taking in her surroundings deeply through observation and inquiry has come naturally to aSanTIS ever since she was a young child. In terms of her early starts in music, she notes that she began as a discerning listener. “Just listening to music from my mom, on the radio, just being a consumer in the world of sound. But I think mainly, my mom has always loved dancing and listening to music, so that was sort of like second nature. We play music at gatherings, we play music in the car, and these songs are sort of like diaries that take us into a specific place.”
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