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Two EP Albums Out of the Northland

It should go without saying that not everything that lands on my desk is a full length album. The EP is typically an album that has around four to six tracks and lands somewhere around 30 minutes in length. If I were to speculate, I’d say it gives something for music fans to listen to while larger things continue to formulate with an artist. In the case of the Minneapolis based band, BNLX, they released multiple EPs and then made an album of the favorite tracks from the EPs. When it comes to putting out albums, there aren’t and shouldn’t be any rules. Releasing an album every two years actually might create complacency within a fan base. Even very good albums can end up getting a little old, unless if it’s Beach Boys “Pet Sounds,” that album will never get old. Regardless of the intension of an EP, I listen to everything that comes across my desk and in most cases, I’ll write something up on it. Here we go.

Breanne Marie: Timothy John EP

Breanne Marie is a musician I’ve had the pleasure to see develop over the past few years. Musically speaking, she was a late bloomer; most find music in their teens for various reasons. At face value, one would not really expect for her to hold on to the past pain that brought her to where she is with music now. This new EP titled “,Timothy John,” continues where the full length“,Six Stings of Peace & Sanity,” left off. The first track “,March 16th,” is actually on the full length album, but it is a great and somewhat haunting song that features Marie’s vocals marvelously. Breanne Marie’s brother, Timothy John, died in a car crash that was caused by another driver and it’s pretty obvious that this is what the album is about.
Overall, I think that Breanne has progressed after playing regularly for awhile and this album has some pretty cool surprises. The track “Victim’s Warning” breaks away from the traditional country feel into what could be considered almost psychobilly (a mix of country and punk) in genre, yet still stays somehow refined.
Instrumentally, the EP is fantastic. John Peterson from the Iron Range Outlaw Brigade lays down absolutely mesmerizing work on the peddle steel. Breanne’s backing band, “The Front Porch Sinners,” also consists of her partner, Evan Tepler on lead guitar, Glenn Maloney on bass and John LaMar on drums.
It’s hard to say why musicians get into playing the music they play. In the case of Breanne Marie, she found music because she wished to tell a story of something in her life. I’m not saying that an artist needs to have something fairly traumatic to happen to make a convincing and good album, but it certainly creates a drive to make something that is meaningful. In the end, there is something real behind this album and it brings out Breanne at her best.  
Breanne Marie will by playing at Canal Park Brewery on Sunday, July 27 and will be officially releasing the new EP at The Underground on Thursday, July 31 with Silverback Colony.

Rob Nelson: Four Scores

It was a while back when I reviewed Rob Nelson’s EP, “My Avatar.” It seems like almost an understatement to say that Nelson is an experimental electronic artist. The new EP titled “Four Scores” is actually more out there than the previous album. The new album still carries that feel of an 80s b-movie action flick sound track. I’m not going to call this necessarily a bad thing. The synth work and use of modulation is quite interesting and pushing sounds that haven’t really been considered for decades.
I’ve tried to stay in the loop with electronic music in this area and have been on a Crystal Castles and The Knife kick for the last month. Nelson’s music is not like anything you’ll likely hear in any kind of widely known genre. It comes down to the question of if you want to hear something that you would expect or listen to something that is unique in how experimental it is. This album is a little out there but is fun to listen to because of that fact. The guitar leads and arrangements are weird but it creates an experience that I can’t really put my finger on from any other artist. There is a lot of intricate things happening in the jumble of electronic mayhem and each part flows in and out of each other. The album is mostly all instrumental except for on the track “The Princess” where there is an abstract spoken word part about space, dreams and an “ivory skinned girl.”
I’d imagine for the regular listener that this is going to be an album where someone will appreciate it for what it is or be turned off. All I can say is that it’s a fascinating listening journey that sets itself apart from more pop applications of electronic music. It is truly a thing of it’s own and those into electronic styles of music should give it a listen. If your music vocabulary consists merely of country and rock, it’s quite possible you’ll find this album too much. Facebook Rob Nelson (musician) to get this and other albums.