Slug Comparison, Auri, mouth

Everyone loves Fridays. It’s the thrill of anticipation of the weekend that makes Fridays special. But for us music freaks, Friday is also the day all new music is usually released. Whether you are awaiting a pre-ordered album to arrive at your doorstep, or you’re checking out the newest jams online, we can all agree on the fact that Friday is the most fun day for music fans.

Because writing a separate review for all the releases I want to discuss is not feasible for me, I decided to make use of the fact that most releases see the light of day on Fridays. So here I am, starting a new series yet again. “Release Friday” is going to be a series that presents albums released the very day the post goes online. That way, you can immediately check out all the lovely music I am discussing and I don’t have to bother about writing 800 word reviews or thinking about rankings, as every album I will be covering in this series is Musicality Unlimited-approved and recommended. Look at me, being all time-efficient and productive. Studying economics did teach me something after all. Alright, I’m rambling again, you are here for the music. Grab your headphones and let’s start.

This morning at around 4 a.m., I woke up to the blinking and buzzing of my phone: notifications of some kind of group chat on Facebook I was added to. Hours later, I found out that it was my friend Doug Harrison who let people know that he released some new music. So I cut short my study session and checked out his solo project Slug Comparison‘s two new EPs. “IIc” is compiled of three energetic rock tracks, while “IId” contains two “fluffy” tracks, as Doug himself likes to call them. “So Ya Got A Great Guitar” off “IIc” is a straight-up hard rock song, while Slug Comparison usually goes into a proggier direction. Off the same EP, the track “Thoughts” got stuck in my head immediately. Last but not least, “Hold Of You” off “IId” is a beautiful gloomy acoustic track with subtle synthesizer sounds in the background. One can always expect great music from Doug, and I love how one can always recognize his distinct writing style and be surprised at the same time. Additionally, his vocals will never cease to amaze me; I could listen to Doug singing on and on. Of course, you can’t have a new Slug Comparison release without an undertone of humor and self-irony, which is most noticeable at the end of “So Ya Got A Great Guitar”. You’ll have to listen for yourself to find out what I’m talking about, though, which you should. Trust me.

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But actually, it is quite rare that I like everything a band releases. It is the case for Slug Comparison, luckily, but it’s no secret that I didn’t like the last Nightwish album. It felt uninspired, and that’s basically the worst one could attribute this band to.

I probably wouldn’t have bothered about Auri if it wasn’t for my friend Sophie ( who told me about this new project. Besides, Tuomas Holopainen’s solo album “The Life And Times Of Scrooge” turned out so great, so why not give it a go.
I am very glad that I checked out this new trio composed of Tuomas Holopainen and Troy Donockley of Nightwish and Finnish artist Johanna Kurkela. One can definitely identify Holopainen’s songwriting style here, yet this debut sounds like a fresh breeze of air. It is not only beautifully written, but also bubbling over with different influences and styles – world music, oriental vibes, all kinds of different instruments like viola, pipes and percussion, all that wrapped in a wistful-romantic and cinematic atmosphere and topped off with sprinklings of modern tunes. I love how it reminds me of Anette-era Nightwish at times. Moreover, Kurkela’s delicate and crystal clear voice adds a very dreamy feel to the record. In the end, not everything Tuomas Holopainen touches turns to gold, but to be fair, it does most of the time, and Auri’s self-titled debut is no exception. This album is bound to fill a void in my soul I didn’t know even existed. Go check out Auri and dream away.

Another example of a great mix of genres is the prog band mouth. The band aroused my curiosity mainly because of their style description. The Cologne based trio plays a mix of retro prog, krautrock and hard rock with glam and psychedelic rock influences. You can’t really imagine how that could sound like until you listen to their music. Mixing up genres and styles often goes south very quickly, but not this time.

“Floating” is mouth’s third full-length and it’s more enjoyable than I initially thought. There are chill instrumental tracks on here like “homagotago” and “sunrise” as well as glam rock-y songs like “reversed” or “madbeth”, while the overall feel is somehow laid-back and sarcastic at the same time. I immediately had to check out mouth’s second record “Vortex” just because I find their music so intriguing, which was a lot more psychedelic and basically sends you to outer space. “Floating” is a nice trip to the 1970s, at least in music terms. Not sure if retro rock is still marketable these days, but I certainly like it. Now it’s up to you to check out all this great music that has hopefully made your Friday even better.

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