It’s been a while since our buddy Keeplove? came to us with a new release. You might recall we released a freebie by him on our label as DaveSamano with his contagious brand of “Folkstep”.
Not a lot of people got it back then and I’m surprised they are still not getting it!!!!! I think it’s just a matter of time before this stuff blows up in a massive way in the USA.
Keeplove? and his unique brand of “Folkstep” is what you get when you cross Eddie Vedder, Fleet Foxes and Steve Earle with some low-end Dubsteppy vybz. He has been paving this unique and altogether new direction for singer/songwriters and Dubstep headz for a while. It presents new possibilities for artists in the Rock/Country/Folk/Americana genres to mix it up with underground dance sounds. Plus he was doing this way before the more commercial EDM-Country House bastardization by Avicii.
Well, since I last heard him, a few years back, he has now really progressed this sound. He is coming much closer to the sound that could take the US and other places by storm. He gives us a flavour of what’s coming with his new “11.11” EP.
It kicks off in haunting fashion with “Hurt Somehow” whose dreamesque intro is like a combination of Jeff Buckley’s “Dream Brother” and Eddie Vedder and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan’s songs from the “Dead Man Walking” soundtrack. It is also strangely reminiscent to the other-worldly intro of the Rush classic “Xanadu” and has the dreamy atmospherics of Sparklehorse too and then the vocal and chorus kicks in which reminds you of the best of the Crash Test Dummies.
What differentiates this from all of that however is that low-end Dubsteppy vibe throughtout the song that underpins the whole soundscape. A gorgeous start.
It’s also very interesting to hear how much of his heart and soul went into this EP and the liner notes on his soundcloud that accompany each song tell us a part of that story:
“I wrote this song on a park bench in Denver, looking across a park onto the mountains. I was heart broken, defeated, I had about $30 to my name, no where to stay, no where to go. I felt lost but I knew Im not only one who’s been in a position of doubt. I had a feeling which I hope is conveyed thru the music, of peace, hope, patience, grace and love and a future. I hope that feeling and understanding for all. Shortly after a friend id recently met, let me stay at their studio while they were gone for a holiday. I took advantage of the space and time and recorded and produced “Hurt Somehow”. We’ve all got our own tribulations but if we come along side each other with grace and understanding we can live a little more purposefully and peacefully.”
Next up is “After Dark”, an acoustic guitar-led track and straight-away you feel like you’re in Led Zeppelin III territory or Exile On Main Street, Stones circa. It’s a lovely country boy love song in the spirit of Gram Parsons, Neil Young’s “Harvest” and of course John Denver. Once again, the Electronic touches add something totally fresh to the track making you fall in love with it even more.
The third track is “Burned Out” and maybe it’s the kind of track that Pearl Jam or The Stone Temple Pilots should be making today if they wished to stay relevant and interesting. Here’s what he says about it:
“I started writing this song about two years ago when I first began producing #Folkstep but my production levels were no where near where I felt they needed to be, to do the song justice. Turns out I was no where near where I needed to be to understand the song anyways. Sometimes that happens. Ill write a song and I wont actually know why until much later.
Needless to say, after a few years of preparation, I finally finished writing it and gained more of an understanding of what I was trying to reach in the first place. How important home is. How important having a home, a community, loved ones, support ect. Id always dreamed of leaving but it wasnt until I was somewhat unable to return that I fully realized the value. So over the Christmas time this year I worked feverishly at recording/producing this track. It felt good and right.”
The final track “One Eleven One” gives an overview of his summer travels in the past year and the heartaches and irony he encountered and the lyrics are very telling.
This EP is really a great example of how many singer/songwriters could start to become a lot more relevant and interesting to a bunch of new people with a tremendous new fusion sound.
I think what this EP also best showcases is that Keeplove? is really genuine with regards to his love for music and his experimenations with genres and sounds, both acoustic and electronic.
He understands both and he has tried to express his love for both through his music and the melancholia of his real life experiences has also been captured which makes the music even more intriguing. This is story-telling and it’s also brutally honest.
The whole EP sounds so natural and authentic as opposed to some dross cash in. I’m seriously impressed and wowed with the songs, the sounds, the concept and also learning about this man’s (1st World) artistic struggles and pain. This EP is full of great material that combines real musicianship with heartbreaking stories and it is underpinned with the vibe of the latest underground dance sounds!
It is free, open your mind and expore it!