Hot Traxx: RJ’s Music Recommendations

Album art for Martin Frawley’s upcoming album “Undone at 31.” Photo courtesy of Google Images.

By Reece Jamison
Staff Writer

As I guffaw at the prospect of being an adult within a couple of months, I find myself a bit chaotic. The weather provides no stability as it keeps in tradition with Tennessee’s climate, vacillating between the biting cold and sunny 70 degree days. Forgive the cliché, but I can only seem to find solace in my picks for this issue’s Hot Traxx; Martin Frawley’s, “You Want Me?” and Gary Clark’s, “I Walk Alone.”

Martin Frawley is an interesting pick as he was previously a member of the Melbourne four-piece, Twerps. Just as enigmatic as the fact that a 1994 Dinosaur Jr. track is charting in Japan (look it up, I’m not lying), Australian music is seeing a rise in popularity. I personally have been impacted by acts such as Tame Impala and newcomers Camp Cope, but we can discuss those another time. Frawley, it seems, is coming along at just the right time in the music business.

Frawley’s sound is very reminiscent of Tom Petty, as he delivers a love ballad with a laid back, conversational tone. The lyrics center around Frawley’s own life as he comes to terms with love at various points within his development: first as a young man yearning to know it, finding a wonderful woman to share eight years with, and seeing that relationship fall apart.

Instrumentally, the song is held together by a bright acoustic guitar melody, accompanied by a soft, yet full baseline and bittersweet piano harmonies. There is even an interesting choice to insert a synthesized section of arpeggios at the end of the track which creates a cerebral and inward-feeling quality like something off of Mylo Xyloto. An easy listening song that is approachable by anyone with a broken heart or a special love of indie music, “You Want Me?,” is a sweet-sounding ballad about a personal love story. Love is complicated.

Gary Clark Jr. is set to release his fifth studio album, This Land, on February 22, and it is poised to be more of a somber, melancholic, cathartic release. The Austin-based guitarist has performed with the likes of Eric Clapton, B. B. King, and the Rolling Stones, and is more than capable of crafting a modernized blues sound that pleases new and old listeners alike.

“I Walk Alone,” is a melancholic song of yearning, that starts out rather muted, but intense, with a distorted guitar riff, haunting guitar harmony, a vanilla rhythm from a typical sounding indie drum beat, and ghastly synths and keys accenting them.

Clark uses his falsetto to sing about his loneliness following a failed relationship and his wanting to move on. All of these moving parts carry on throughout the song, building toward a distorted, reverbed, and soulful guitar solo that I am sure would make festival crowds lose their minds.