Hot Traxx: RJ’s music recommendations

Photo courtesy of Google Images.

By Reece Jamison

Executive Staff

Bundled up behind closed doors, I’ve had plenty of time to reflect and work out my pensive opinions in order to redirect from the meta dialogues concerning music and culture. Let me return to form for you all, my wonderful readers, as I focus this issue on the singles “Movement” by Hozier and “Roses and Sacrifice” by The Avett Brothers.

What is there to say about Hozier? For a start, I will say that having attended a show by the dark and pensive artist, I came to have a better grasp and appreciation for him. Andrew Hozier-Byrne is an Irish singer/songwriter from Newcastle, Ireland who achieved cultural fame in 2013 for his debut single/EP we all have come to know, “Take Me to Church.”

Since then, he has released his self-titled debut album in 2014 and numerous EPs along the way, culminating in a bluesy discography of gospel-infused folk rock.

Now his sound, at least on the record, is not one that I find myself delving into. I find it to be a bit melodramatic, but the success of his 6x platinum self-titled begs to differ. This new single, “Movement,” stands as a continuation of that sort of spiritual concoction that Hozier is going for.

Instrumentally, there is not much nuance, for the track comes forth with a haunting organ accompaniment, hand claps, a mass of vocals, and, of course, Hozier’s distinct dream-like gravitas on the mic. It is an exercise in the pop music single, as the lyrics detail Hozier’s request for a beloved to dance like the spirits and waters of the Earth. If you love Hozier, you’ll love this. If not, maybe wait for the album to perhaps find something new.

The Avett Brothers are a folk collective from Concord, North Carolina, and have been blazing through festival lineups. The brothers Scott and Seth Avett are an undeniably charismatic and enticing duo who have carved out a following of those who crave bluegrass and traditional folk rock sounds. Since they’ve been gallivanting across the country for almost two decades now, I would find it hard to believe that any one person had not heard at least one of their many sentimental ballads.

“Roses and Sacrifice” is the boys’ attempt at writing an ode to their respective wives, as the lyrics center around love, reconciliation, and triumph. So as to not become too sentimental myself, I’ll say that the content is touching, of course. The band instrumentally plucks along to the melody as if the song were written in the 19th century, with the familiar touches of Scott’s banjo, Seth’s acoustic guitar strumming, Bob Crawford’s double bass, and dual vocals by the brothers.

Both of my picks for the week find that the two separate acts seem to be releasing material very reminiscent of their own sound that they have created, although at very different ends of their careers. I don’t take any sort of issue with that, I’m just making an observation. If you find something that works, I suppose, perhaps it is best to stick with it.