Showing posts with label "Beat Radio". Show all posts
Showing posts with label "Beat Radio". Show all posts


Beat Radio: Real Love, A Lifeline to Healing


Beat Radio's Real Love album is a cohesive and vulnerable look into psychological patterns that inform behavior with the urgency to change that only a wise punk rock dad could create. 

Brian Sendowitz, the singer-songwriter behind Beat Radio, has a passion for writing songs that have been a twenty-year quest while working and raising a large family. His openness to express himself through music and choice to revisit a collaboration with multiinstrumentalist producer Phil A Jimenez made this album stand out in a considerable discography.

Real Love is broken into three distinct movements: realization, awareness, and action toward healing, with the order of song titles supporting that assumption. His breakthrough emotionally opened the door to vulnerability while diving deep to heal and face narratives amassed in a lifetime without awareness. The end result is a moving journal-like entry in an album format. 

The music production and details are well-placed, creating a steady awareness, just the right amount of reflection, and a hopeful resonance. The thoughtful placement of harmonies, moody accents, and orchestrated layering of violins, horns, guitar, bass, banjo, and synth form a continuous pulse of percussion that overlaps with adept drumming. Sendowitz's earnest vocals have an emotional reach, especially highlighted in choruses, while emulating a mantra of change and self-actualization. Each repetition becomes a nuanced way to see faults, regrets, and shame and grapple with unsettling emotions. No longer are those emotions veiled but raw and tenderly articulated, unfolding to the listener.

The subject of familial trauma with the terms; prodigal son, family name, and blood in my veins describes the expectations and projections from others. Our DNA is predetermined, but narratives we internalize are coping mechanisms designed and imprinted as our own, questioning; who is the authentic self shaped within a family dynamic? 

Sendowitz writes about this schism in the first three songs using urgent percussion-heavy beats. "Projection Spells" portrays the rote strategies devised to cope /and I've been conjuring protection spells/ to keep the ghosts away/. Kicking it up with a high-speed and vibrant rock in "Disassociation Blues," where the manic moment and truth collide with confusion. The pace slows down in "Radioactive," the muffled snare drums and layered horns, thick with an eerie atmosphere, wheel him metaphorically radioactive; he reacts without intention while repelling himself to those he loves to his detriment. / You're radioactive / You're out of control /.

The following group of songs grapples with concern about long-term marriage and the steady foundation of love; can it withstand change and grow? Fluctuating between a slower, more acoustic mix of strings and haunting synths. The violins and banjo move forward in "Real Love" with a repetitive mantra of hope / we got a real love / sometimes it's not enough / no matter what it takes / I'm never giving up/. A continuous drumbeat and folk guitar strum unfold in "Weightless" about surrendering to the damage done. The beautiful chorus of aspirations grows to bring it home / It's so hard to let things go / maybe we can take it slow / I miss all the dreams we had / maybe we can take it slow / I can't make it on my own /. "Family Name" is a contemplative reminder to pause, breathe, and forgive oneself during the refrain of soft harmonies /Oh O Ohoo / conjuring a self-regulating sigh of healing. With a steady upward thrashing drumbeat, the moody pop "Harder to Pretend" employs dense synth instrumentals and guitar melody hooks woven into a slew of lyrical questions / do you think we're going to make it through /?

The final movement is an effort at healing with a supporting cast highlighting that "it takes a village" to heal. Sendowitz refers to his creation myth in "Solid Ground," which portrays cognitive dissonance, an altering of reality to cope. In it, Katherine's Froggots' vocals gently mimic Sendowitz's proclamations. / I was afraid if I let go of the story that I knew/. "Lowland" beautifully stages his vocals with gorgeous music and the full-bodied sound of love affirmations. The finale, "We Rise From The Fire," is a rousing uplighting sequence of distorted, fuzzy guitar riffs to mark the birth of self-motivation and actualization / I lost my way/ I tried so hard to not become the thing I hate /, but It's not too late / and I can show you / that I can see you / The elongated note at the song's end reflects the continuing path to move forward to heal. 


CMJ Rants and observations

Many criteria for judging performances at CMJ are not authentic if you are a music listener. The controversy about the application process is equally troubling.

1. To be fair to the bands, the sound checks are almost non-existent, and the amount of time to play is very short. There is little time to get into the groove.

2. Seeing a band with an audience of fifteen or less is not the greatest way to judge their ability, musicians often feed off the energy of an audience and play off that dynamic.

3. Some groups are road veterans and are always relaxed and no big deal, another show of many.

4. Some are locals, so just hopping in a cab and meeting bandmates with their instruments is not too stressful. While others travel to perform at these events, hoping to catapult them into a new category of exposure.

5. Then there are different performers, like bands with local fans. Seeing them in this setting is great but an unfair advantage in judgment.

6. Solo and acoustic performers need an exclusive venue for listening.

7. Finally, some bands have been hyped beyond their current capabilities and are bound to disappoint.

I have read much of the coverage of the anticipated main events and lesser-known acts, only to realize that writers are fast to judge and tear down what they have spent so much time hyping. For instance, an act like Dan Deacon has received a slew of press and many new opportunities. I’m sure he is aware of some of the problems created by his insistence on performing on the venue's floor rather than the stage. It is difficult to change midstream, especially when riding on the success that has been a long effort. Changing what has been working is difficult and takes time and thought. He also has a philosophical bent being both a performance artist and composer.

The band Cut off Your Hands traveled from New Zealand and booked many shows to gain exposure and distribute their recordings in the states. They went for it and took a risk; they certainly got their name out there.

I truly understand the reasoning behind un C. Em. J. Music Fest, 07 alternative events catering to the under-21 crowd with good music taste, who are basically shut out from attending many of the shows offered by CMJ. The curated Blogger shows present another alternative. Many of the Bloggers staged events to give exposure to bands they have seen and enjoyed so that others from across the country have the same opportunity.

I wish I lived in closer proximity to Manhattan. Within the year, that will all change but for now, driving for over an hour and parking present obstacles.
I made my outing to two venues The Gothamist House and The Indaba Loft. Both are low-key free events.

Gothamist House
People might find it strange, but I love the band o’death and I love Peasant. It was nice to see Peasant perform before a small attentive crowd and just hear his beautiful voice without any distractions. He followed o’death and most of the crowd walked out before his set. I think that is too bad. It is difficult for acoustic solo performers without a band because people expect instant gratification and theatrics over substance. His voice and song arrangements are beautiful, sincere, and tender and might seem foreign to an older, cynical listener.

To see o’death while s
itting on a couch sipping sparkling water with a twist of lime presented a predicament. I didn’t sit for long. I loved seeing them play in such an intimate and cozy setting. Instantly their style of Appalachian punk with elements of diverse composition altered the surroundings. They played two new songs that sounded wonderful. It was a nice treat to see a tuba player in the mix adding additional flavor to their original and invigorating sound.

Cut Off Your Hands played very loud power pop punk, with emotive vocals that sounded like a mixture of the Cure and Cursive. Seeing them just felt out of place in a small venue during the day. It was as if they were performing for a stadium. Watching the lead singer posturing and
going through MTV video antics made me chuckle. I still enjoyed their lively 4 song set.

Indaba Loft

Indaba was very friendly and relaxing, it really felt like a party. The crowd was getting too comfortable talking, so when Natalie Prass finally arrived for her set after being delayed in traffic, the audience couldn’t stop. That was unfortunate because I liked what I heard, even with a backing band, it was an acoustic sound, so the outside noise couldn’t be drowned out. She has an interesting vocal range and reminds me of Fiest and alt. country great Patty Griffin. Her song arrangements were also quite nice.
I Look forward to hearing more.

I came to Indaba to see Beat Radio, I like Brian Sendrowitz's songwriting and have seen him solo acoustic once before. I’ve been meaning to see the band for a while. I’m happy I did. The sound is very powerful and rich live. There are no rough edges. The music is not slick, it is real, and the musicianship and collaborative spirit of the group are a pleasure to witness. The smart and memorable lyrics are melded into a sonic mix of finger-picking, electronic echoes with an upbeat pulse. My notes read....................
Powerhouse Phil
Jimenez on keys and Guitar. They’ve got chops!

In both venue
s, I found the CMJ networking annoying, like reading while someone is performing a few feet away or talking really loud and not stopping even when there is a quiet moment on set. I think most of the networking can be done between acts. Maybe my networking is more limited, but I accomplished a lot and received an awesome EP from Jukebox The Ghost. I will see them soon!

I ended the evening at the Pink Pony. They have the best reasonably priced home
cooking, a great atmosphere, and a jukebox. I drove home listening to Peasant’s Three songs promotional recording looped all the way. Ahhhh …….Work the next day. Wake up at 6:00.