Most any competent music listener will tell you to look beyond the United States for inspirational artists. Here are three bands proving those people right.
Maamentum – “Hands Tied”
Maamentum present music that, at first listen, jumps out as accessible but still maintains a remarkably thick complexion. They work with a beautiful palette of instrumentals spanning the range from tradition to modern electronics, but rather than getting bogged down in a drive to be “modern” (considering the electronics), Maamentum hangs onto some important substance both musically and vibe-wise. Their unique and personal but huge take on modern rock and pop can be heard on their track, “Hands Tied.” The music delivers a deep dive into smooth rock melody just as easily as it skips across the surface of glimmering electronics.
Thematically, the band presents a message that is itself accessible but still “huge,” with “Hands Tied” relaying the dark tale of someone begging to be freed and let back to their loved ones. In that light, the vocal work on the song also alternates between soaring and personal, pretty much presenting both elements at the same time, actually. This aspect remains important to the band’s work because of how in the forefront the vocals are. In the vein of modern genre-bending and building rock acts, the vocals on “Hands Tied” soar while leaving the listener with a gritty aftertaste.
The band treads a remarkable line, really. Their music could likely appeal to fans of artists ranging from rock icons like Dave Grohl to electronic music producers. They’ve taken up residence in a sweet spot between these stylistic pushes and presented something that’s welcoming and fresh.
Check out “Hands Tied” below, via YouTube.
Maïak – A Very Pleasant Way To Die
Maïak quickly proves deeply, deeply meditative on their 2015 release, A Very Pleasant Way To Die — the title itself might suggest as much. The beauty of the band goes much deeper than an aesthetic though. They present a form of post-rock that relates a huge swath of emotion that washes over the listener. Their riffs evoke images of the contortions of someone in deep — no doubt emotional and/or mental — pain. They’re unafraid to be slow and steady when the occasion demands it. In just the same way, feeling like they’ve tapped into and are spreading human emotion like they are, they know when and how to spike, too.
If you’ve ever wished to feel like you’re walking through a rainstorm but your face is wet with your own tears as much as it’s been affected by the weather, this record begs for your attention. Yes, that’s dour, but sometimes there’s a place for that. It takes somber moments for some of the most intense ones to have their impact — which Maïak proves too. The band rockets the listener into a frenzy all in the space of the first track on their 2015 release, proving their compelling ability to manipulate sound in a way to evoke emotional responses, which is made all the more striking considering the fact that there are no vocals on A Very Pleasant Way To Die. This record proves simply the most emotionally driving soundtrack you’ve no doubt heard in awhile.
Listen below, via Bandcamp
Hypnos Mx – Sala de Espera Sesión en Vivo
Hypnos Mx presents a unique post-rock-ish sound with their music. While maintaining the lengthy riff driven structure associated with some artists who work in the style, they insert a welcome, more obvious beat-driven element into their music, veering off into new territory. The beats turn the mood from the somber reflection associated with music that goes on and on to one of experimentation and adventure, letting the listener imagine themselves where they wish while carried along by the band’s work, one might say.
There’s a sense, thanks to the place the band lets the drums and even non-traditional instrumentation have in the band’s work, that one’s listening in on a “jam session” when they push play. There’s a certain illusory aspect that comes with that, letting the band shine as technically proficient while still attuned to the workings of music and the emotions of us humans listening to the music. They certainly do not drop the ball in their presentation of music that’s so unique and off the beaten path, instead maintaining substance — in part through their unique, almost dance-able at times instrumentals — that lets the listener in on an experience they might not find anywhere else. There’s a sense, listening to the music, that only those musicians playing in the outfit could have presented this interpretation of sound, which demands, in a sense, that they be attended to.
Listen below, via Spotify