Delicate Tremors (Diaspora Vibe Cultural Arts Incubator)
There is something very delicate and ephemeral about the Hongs. Their music sounds like something that reverberates in hallways in those moments before sleep hits. I'm talking about serenity -- because there is something very serene about this EP. It somehow manages to guide a slow dance that still boasts moments of unrestrained energy. Stylistically, it dips into the wells of New Wave, shoegaze, and sugary pop.
Gordon Myers plays a casual bass that allows his bandmates, guitarist Aaron Lebos on guitar and drummer Rodolfo Zuñiga, to soar while allowing his voice to hit impressive ranges. There is something sultry about his vocals; you almost believe it in "Charade" when he tells you he'll be "the only love you'll need tonight." (That track, incidentally, also features Didi Gutman from Brazilian Girls.) "Huh" is airy and atmospheric, slightly robotic with appropriate Casio-tones peppered throughout. "Under Standing" features Afrobeta's Smurphio, and his influence is clear here, with almost light electro sound melded with the band's usual slightly Gothic approach. All in all this EP is 15 minutes of syrupy bliss that engage and soothe.
Radar Vs. Wolf
This EP is Legit (Self-released)
Tom Gorrio (the "Radar" of this group) continues appearing as different entities. His output remains so prolific that in writing and trying to track it all, I've consistently remained in the realms of mid-to-top shelf liquor. What's more, all of the music he releases is good.
Here he's paired with his buddy James Bratton ("Wolf") from California on this five-song EP. Gorrio revisits his previous song "Reggae Samba Jam," adding Bratton's percussive treatments and vocals for great effect. "If You Shoot Me, I'll Shoot You," besides boasting a very fair song title, has a nice Tilly and the Wall kind of sound to it. (Hmm, I'd like to hear some tap dancing in there in the future.)
"Here We Are" kicks it up a little bit with some flights of whimsy and fun, while "Introducing You" tones down the mood, becoming the most reflective of the tracks here. The closer "Always Something Missing," meanwhile, stays true to its title: It takes close listening, because each play reveals additional percussive gems in the background. Tap dancing suggestion aside, I'd like to see some more collaborative efforts between these two.