Motel Neon Fauna Leather
“Pinned Butterfly” the opening track and first single from Neon Fauna’s second full-length album Leather motel set the energetic mood right away with this experimental album. When I say experimental, it’s not just about the genre in the rock/punk sense, but also experimental in the way it’s produced.
The band had written almost the entire album before March 2020 – Covid-nation. When hopes of getting into a studio to record in April of that year were dashed by the lockout, they came up with an idea to continue recording, but in a more remote way. After some experimentation, each band member decided to record their entire album separately, each in their own DIY home studio. “This ‘guerrilla-style’ approach and lack of professional equipment or a producer gave the album its raw and unorthodox sound,” the band said.
I would recommend playing this album on your headphones… it’s intense. The amount of layers in each song, from each instrument and the mixed experimental sounds makes it almost hard to believe that it was made by five musicians in five different places, all at different times, then put together. A work of art that came out of such a terrible time in recent history.
“Chemical Spill” makes me want to go to a play. It keeps that energetic feeling going. Good luck listening to this album sitting or standing.
I’m a huge fan of all poetic song titles, but “Moth Goth” got me. I want to adopt a cat with black eyes and a gray and white body and name him Moth Goth. This track has an electric, hair-raising feel to it. I imagine that moth dancing on dust-filled pulsating light trails, flapping its wings to the beat of the track. Ignite my new obsession / One way flight / New blind sailing / I lean on your light.
“Drippy Rainbow” feels like it should be an anthem song. You’re giving me zero / I know the answers / I think I’m just a dripping rainbow / With many heroes / Yes you made that metal / Now bow to your god / And every new pulse it takes is / a man-made disaster / give zero.
Psychedelic influences are very distinct throughout. Each song has its own visuals that are projected by whatever device you’re listening to. “Pigeon Kill” reminds me of a song that should be in a triangular horror movie where the soundtrack is better than the movie, but there are still some notable scenes.
Otherworldly visages in “Candy Shell”. At 02:05, that guitar solo got me thinking. The insane amount of sound layers in this one is creatively executed. It’s like… “it’s like a jack being dragged up the guitar strings; it’s that rain hitting a metal roof; is that part of the Twin Peaks intro on that last note?” The imagination runs wild on this track.
You can hear the colors in Bleach on the Reef, like a kaleidoscope. It is also the longest track on the album at 6:23 minutes. It’s a continuous, psychedelic adventure. The title and closing track, “Leather Motel” is a perfect way to close out this masterful album. You can hear singer/songwriter Tony DeNucce’s vocals more clearly, standing out from the other instruments.
Their mission statement for the album is “Leather Motel’s music lives on as a testament to artistry and its healing power, even in the darkest of times.”
Leather motel available on CD and download at neonfauna.com. You can catch them live on Friday, October 28 at 8pm at Hutghi’s At The Nook, 8 Franklin St., Westfield.
The debut album from the duo Brother Lemur is a nostalgic rock album. If this came out in the mid-late 90s, it would fit right in with The Flaming Lips, Blur, Pixies and Radiohead, touching on many shades of different rock styles – indie, alternative and even some classic rock vibes. through.
Written about 10 years ago by Jay Dorval, the songs went through multiple musicians over the years trying to bring it to life, but nothing worked. He had originally asked Eric Cunha earlier in the process to mix the album when it was finalized, but when the latter musician was released, they decided to do the project with just the two of them.
“This turned out to be the best songwriting decision I’ve ever made,” Dorval said. “He gave them bright colors and animation because of Eric’s ability to listen to what they needed.”
Dorval sang and played rhythm guitar while Cunha was the backing band. “He had six songs he wanted me to mix, and eventually we decided eh, let’s scrap it and start over,” Cunha said. “Six songs turned into 12 within a few months. I would record it at his apartment, then take the tracks home and add them around.”
Opening track “Bumblebee” kicks off the album with an interesting ringing beat. Cunha had told me it was an empty WB Mason box that gets hit on the lid by a roll of duct tape. Which holds the rank of dozens of artistic songs.
The album as a whole includes songs of “intense love, anger, a lifelong history of bad decision-making and a dose of trying to be normal in the midst of absolute dysfunction,” Dorval added.
“Gumdrop or Different Dog’s” is about a horrible person they both knew from their hometown of Chicopee. It’s also such an upbeat, happy song. It’s almost like that old saying, kill them with kindness, the last blow.
Just after the middle of the album comes “Nadia”, which is a short-lived track at just under two minutes. The voice is distorted and muffled, adding to this sense of ominousness that is almost nightmarish. Lyrics I will never be afraid again it just adds to it. I wish it was longer, a circus like obstacle with those scary mirrors, but it took a little longer trying to find your way out.
“Grizzly Days” was a song Dorval came across on his handheld recorder nearly four months after recording it. “I recorded it so drunk I couldn’t remember it,” he said, “but it was full vocals that worked and all in a drunken stream of consciousness.” It’s a really sad song that has a strong harmony that makes it less sad and more comforting.
One of my favorite songs on the album is “Purple Flowers.” Starting slowly and quietly, the text Never change who you are become like a mantra. The layered guitar sounds on this one and the vocals blend seamlessly together leading to a heavier ending.
The final single “DBF” was recorded on a roll on Dorval’s phone, then Cunha took it and added some magic. Up all night again talking to my dead best friend. Background crickets were recorded along the Connecticut River from the boat ramp to Nash Park. The inspiration was from Neil Young’s Will to Love. Listen to these songs back to back and they complement each other very well.
They’re in the process of finding a live band to perform the songs, but in the meantime you can check them out on Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube and Apple.