Great Indie Gem Revealed
Friends have appointed me 'revealer of the underground' so I'm always on the hunt for new indie music. I scour the internet, keep tabs on XM radio, and hang with the FM stations who know what's up. I am extremely picky in my search. Having past been a producer, engineer, and recording artist with a little success of my own, I listen to everything with a very critical ear. I place importance not only on the quality of song writing; style, energy, and allure of the performance; but also in the creative vision of the musical arrangements. I don't stop there either because I want solid production values too! Covering all these bases is quite the challenge for a "do it yourself" artist.>>
I'm happy to report that Emily Zuzik's new release, "You Had Me at Goodbye", authoritatively kicked the daylights out of my criteria. This is a fully realized project, and easily one the best indie CDs I've ever bought. Joshua Kessler works with Zuzik in the producer role and it's a fortunate pairing. The rich sonic atmosphere they have created lilts through several moods. To comment on overall style, think soul/funk/rock hybrid, happily tipping to rock energy peaks, filtered through the most delicious psychedelic twinge.>>
Zuzik's voice is a high in itself. Uniquely expressive, with smoldering, sultry, sex appeal. Since that's the way she sounds, I suppose it doesn't hurt that she has some modeling cred under her belt as well. Not going for vocal acrobatics or screaming, you are being sung to by an evolved woman. But don't get too comfortable, she will smack some attitude out on you!>>
One of the most surprising things about the record is the songwriting. Zuzik does have some 'acoustic guitar indie girl' background, yet it is not the obvious root on this effort. She is currently in a very creative space and the aural imagery is well developed. She soars, floats, and stings, equally well. Examining the entanglements of romantic disappointment (long one of my favorite rock and roll topics) she strikes a nice balance between the literary and poetic, setting the scene yet letting the listener paint plenty of the colors themselves. The lyrics have a pleasing introspective feel. I now have a serious addiction problem with the song "Subtraction". "Potential", "True to Yourself", and "It Don't Matter to Jesus" are also good places to start.>>
Naturally, there are things I could pick on if I wanted to go that route. Had Zuzik the production budget of Virgin, Sony, or any of the other blood-sucking conglomerates, she could have spent countless studio hours tracking, mixing, and mastering. But on an artistic and technical level, this is a proud achievement for an indie record. Any inconsistencies are superceded by the overall effect. This release is a unique and beautiful soundscape that is addictive and gives up new things on repeated listening.>>
Oh, and by the way, this music can get incendiary played loud on a hot system! Definitely five stars.