Willverine, Music Like Dirt
Colchester-based producer Will Andrews is an outlier in the local music scene. Originally a trumpet player with Burlington jazz-jam outfit Japhy Ryder, Andrews has since reinvented himself as an electronic music producer, attempting to become, in his own words to Seven Days in 2021, "the Damon Albarn of Vermont."
For Andrews, emulating the Blur and Gorillaz mastermind has meant collaborating with some of the area's most talented singers and musicians. The excellent 2022 album Who Can Wave Me to the Way Out featured Sam DuPont, aka singer-songwriter Blackmer, while 2018's Save Some included cameos from singers Francesca Blanchard and Maryse Smith.
Andrews' latest, the sprawling, 20-track Music Like Dirt, changes up the formula. There are still collaborators, such as ambient guitar wizard Tom Pearo and Madaila's Mark Daly, but there's nary a vocal to be heard. The record is pure instrumental goodness, a tome of Andrews' nastiest, funkiest beats and digitally created jams.
The lack of human voices doesn't take away from the album's vibrancy. Andrews is an eloquent, inventive producer and songwriter, and each song on Music Like Dirt manages to hold its own space.
The break beats on "Wild Oats" are offset against a bass line that swings like a pendulum, conveying a sense of impending doom. "Make It Sing" rides a vintage-sounding synth melody and Andrews' mournful trumpet over a stop-start rhythm, creating a sort of retro-space funk.
Whether this serves as a new direction for Andrews or he returns to working with vocalists on his next album, Music Like Dirt is an engaging, vibe-heavy collection of jams that is not to be missed. It's streaming on Spotify now.
Kitbash, Future Perfect/Jigsaw People
When a band says in a press release that its sound "pushes into uncharted sonic territory," it's almost always thinly veiled code for "jam band." This is the promise of Burlington's Kitbash, who are relatively new to the local music scene, with their two-song EP Future Perfect/Jigsaw People serving as their debut.
Kitbash are true to their word, however. The EP boasts elements of jangly indie rock, sprawling math rock and, yes, a little crunchy jam. Overall, though, the band seems laser-focused on serving its songs even as it harnesses an array of styles.
"Future Perfect" kicks off the EP with an off-kilter, almost krautrock rhythm framed by guitar and piano figures. Vocalist Megan McAvoy eases into the track, singing of dashed hopes and futility: "I'm following the footsteps, a lonesome satellite / Stuck in the pull of something / The picture fades to white."
On "Jigsaw People," the band edges a little more into southern rock, with guitarists Simon Mauck and Andrew Waterhouse trading solos. Kitbash bring a vast array of sounds to bear on their songs, but they manage to coordinate their space well, avoiding the cacophony that less detail-oriented (read: jammier) bands might offer in a similar setting.
Check out the EP now at kitbash.bandcamp.com.
Lauren Soares, aka laur, honed her skills as a singer and performer in her hometown of Randolph, graduating from Randolph Union High School in 2009 before moving to New York City, where she currently works at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music.
Soares returned home in October for an album release show at the Underground, presenting her new record, Nightbloom. Evoking the album's ethereal, cosmic pop, the singer transformed the venue into a dreamlike setting, full of black lights and glow-in-the-dark art, along with tarot card readings and a heavy dose of vibes. It was the perfect backdrop to celebrate her debut album, a dark slice of synth pop in the vein of Kate Bush and FKA twigs.
With gentle synths and heavy longing, "she/her" kicks off the album. "Hide so sweet, turn your eyes / Quivering when you sit by my side," Soares sings, her voice half a whisper. There's a sugary feel to her delivery, with just the hint of a pop ingénue, but that sweetness is overtaken by her inventive melodies, atmospheric production and tasteful use of space.
An underlying sense of lust gives the songs the perfect edge. The title track brims with heat and sexual desire set against a backdrop of midnight romance, evoking the scenario of seeking a partner for a tryst in a moonlit garden.
Nightbloom is available at laur.bandcamp.com.