Though the offseason is undoubtedly a slow time for music on the beach, it’s also traditionally a time when the talented folks who spend six nights a week in the summer entertaining tourists get to retreat to home studios to record and show up at open mics to bang out new material.
As the scene begins to shake out of its winter hibernation and jump full force into 2013, a number of new releases have been popping up.
This month’s Locals Listens features plenty worth listening to including tunes in a variety of genres from Hip-Hop to Country and Blues to Dubstep.
Thanks for listening and continuing to spread the word that "Myrtle Beach Music is not dead!" Don't forget to take the time to support the artists featured here by attending their shows and buying, downloading and sharing their music on online.
1. The Fam “Airstream Cypher”
The trio of JC Penny, Justin Atwood and Jordan “Jordy Vader” Forcier have done their best to make a name for themselves over the past few years with a stream of releases and mixtapes that show plenty of potential but at times lack the polish of more established artists.
But even though their latest release “Airstream Cypher” may be just that — a cypher — it’s a very impressive leap forward that shows the group is really starting to come into its own as a cohesive unit.
Behind a solid beat from Nick “Khaki” Sedota of Right Eye Labs and a video produced by Allied Arts, the boys go hard on each verse showing both the gained wisdom of a few more years under their belts without losing the reckless abandon and youthful exuberance that makes them fun to listen to.
Check out more from The Fam by subscribing on Youtube.
2. Greg Bowman “I Jam Therefore I Am”
Released in January “I Jam Therefore I Am” is a collection of modern Blues from Greg Bowman.
As a singer-songwriter who specializes in “progressive Blues with lots of Blue-eyed soul” Bowman has performed solo locally for a number of years and formerly played with the Smokehouse Brown Band as well as having toured with a number of great musicians over the years.
Recorded at his own Extra Mile Studios in Murrells Inlet, Bowman’s third solo release is complete with brand-new tracks as well as reworked versions of songs from his 2006 album “A Little Sexy’s Alright.”
Amongst the offerings “Empty” stands out as the bluest of Blues with a lovelorn chorus of “Sometimes I get so empty I can’t even sing the Blues,” while “Kindred Spirit” brings home a much more groovy, progressive take on the genre.
The album also features contributions from a number of noted locals including Terry Harper, Grady Avery, Mark Chesanow, Mark Grillo, Tony Torrie, Kevin White and Javier Vegas Jr.
Download the free track “Easy on the Eyes” here or follow Bowman on Facebook.
3. Jeffrey Allen Edwards “Popcorn”
The latest from Myrtle Beach’s own “Son of the South” Jeffrey Allen Edwards is a ramblin’ little tune about infamous Appalachian moonshiner Marvin “Popcorn” Sutton.
Sutton, who passed away in 2009 at age 62, began bootlegging in the 1970s in Maggie Valley, N.C. Later, through his self-published autobiography and video guide to moonshing, Sutton became known to many on the hit Dicovery Channel TV series “Moonshiners” which profiled his work using clips from his original videos.
Written and performed by Edwards and his bandmate Michael Lynch the song “Popcorn” will be featured in an upcoming documentary film.
4. Brink of Sanity
“Contaminate of Reason”
After coming together throughout 2010-11 and coming into their own as a group in 2012, the deathcore quartet of Aaron Gruber (Drums/Backup Vocals), Ryan Shaver (guitars), Steve Duvall (Lead Vocals) and Wes Deloach (guitars) have shown they’re serious about expanding their fanbase in 2013 with the release of their first EP.
“Contaminate of Reason” is a four-track effort of in-your-face metal that rarely stops to slow down before hitting you with a steady combination of double bass pedal drumming, screaming and growling vocals and brutal guitar riffs.
When the intensity does step back, such as in the middle of the album’s title track or at the beginning of “Why Does Glass Taste Like Blood?” it only works to amplify the hard-hitting chaos that follows.
Having featured the lead track “With Clarity Comes Psychotic Jealousy” back in 2011, we’d say it still holds up as the best of the bunch, but there’s plenty here for Metal fans to enjoy.
5. Below The Bassline “Time Moves On”
Gearing up for another run in the regional Hard Rock Calling contest, the quartet of McKinley Devilbiss, Andrew McDermott, Sam Goodwin and Wade McMillian recently released its latest offering off its upcoming album “Different Perspective.”
The track, an upbeat number about getting older and moving away from home, was released to coincide with the band’s entry in this year’s competition. Accompanying it is a cool little “road trip”-themed video put together by friend of the band Adam Craig, showing footage of the band’s travels across the east coast and Midwest.
While a release date for an album, which the group says will feature a broader style of Reggae Rock, has yet to be announced Devilbiss says its still in the works.
“It will still come out no matter what happens,” he writes. “The new songs are really cool and we’re paying so much attention to the minor details that really make stuff click. This album almost makes me embarrassed of our demo.”
Follow what the band's up to on Facebook.
6. Nick Gudzan
“Summer Is A State of Mind”
It may be mid-winter, but Nick Gudzan’s doing his part to put listeners in a summer state of mind, with his first release.
“Basically it spurs from the feeling of happiness you get when the summer season is around,” he writes.
At just 18 years old, this young singer-songwriter has already been making music for about six years, playing with a variety of bands. A staple at Fresh Brewed Coffee House’s open mic nights, Gudzan performs regularly with friends Austin Poisson and Josh Panos, though he considers himself a solo artist.
With nothing more than a guitar, a microphone and a copy of Logic, Gudzan provides good vibes aplenty channeling a variety of influences including Matisyahu, Trevor Hall and The Dirty Heads among others.
According to Gudzan, he plans to finalize five more songs in the near future with his sights set on releasing his first EP in March.
Download “Summer Is A State of Mind” on iTunes.
7. R3X0R “Life In Vegas”
Though local artist Chris Hazleton (aka R3X0R) is only a year and a half into pursuit as an EDM producer, his background in music and percussion is evident on the hard-hitting Dubstep release “Life In Vegas.”
Before catching the Electro bug, Hazleton cut his teeth playing various concert instruments including piano, marimba and drums at part of Dr. Tim Peterman’s Carolina Forest Steel and Taiko ensembles.
“If it weren't for him, I wouldn't have taken up any instrument at all,” writes Hazleton.
The track itself is inspired by the hustling, bustling vibe of Sin City or any big metro where folks are always in a rush to get somewhere.
8. Paperwork “Celebrate”
After more than a year of impressing crowds across the Grand Strand with its high-energy live shows, Pawleys Island-based group Paperwork finally spent some time in the studio recently, recording tracks for it’s upcoming debut album at Allied Arts studio in Georgetown.
“Celebrate,” the first of these songs to be released, is funky, upbeat number with a danceable chorus that’s sure to have fans corresponding with it’s cries of “down, down, down, down...”
The track has already helped the group earn a spot in the top nine of this year’s Hard Rock Calling Battle of The Bands, where they will perform in preliminary competition on Feb. 28.
You can also see the band live at Rockin’ Hard Saloon with Dear Blanca and Drew Jacobs & The Sauce on Feb. 23. Click here for details.
9. Sapphire “Book of Reasons”
Combining the pieces of bands both past (The Envelopes, The Typewriters, Imperial Eclipse) and present (Drew Jacobs & The Sauce, Josh Brannon Band) comes this Indie Rock project consisting of multi-instrumentalists A.J. Rownd, Greg Griste, Chip Harrelson and Chad Shepherd.
Though each are longtime locals, they started playing together as Sapphire last fall and recently performed the band’s first live show, opening for The Drag at Pirate’s Cove earlier this month.
The group’s shoegazing, britpop-like style draws from influences such as Swervedriver and Spirtualized, while also paying homage to the pop sensibilities of The Beatles and Beach Boys and wrapping it all up in a nice, hazy Indie Rock package.
The group currently has three tracks including “Book of Reasons” available online and as part of a limited print EP “Sweet Treats” available at live shows. The group also plans to release a full-length album this fall.
Sapphire’s next show will be March 18 at Rockin’ Hard Saloon with Paperwork and King of Prussia. Hear more of the band’s music at Reverbnation.
10. Electric Bird Noise “Desert Jelly”
What started as a “cinematic loop project” spawned from a open jam session in 1997 has grown into a fully-fledged form of artistic expression for local musician/producer Brian McKenzie over the past decade plus.
Over the years, EBN’s music has been featured as the backdrop to various TV shows and movies — and even an imaginary film called “Icarus City” — while also producing a string of releases on Silber Records and the now-defunct No More Stars Records.
But despite EBN’s music being highly-regarded in electronic and experimental circles, albums such as 2007’s “Fragile Hearts … Fragile Minds” and 2011’s “The Silber Sessions” each featured quite a few “out there” moments may have been lost on the average fan.
While one could surely respect the beauty in atmosphere being created, some of the more experimental guitar droning or Noise-influenced elements always seemed like a brilliant symphony of sound that, while you know it’s good, you can’t quite seem to understand.
McKenzie’s latest release “Desert Jelly” feels more accessible to the casual fan without losing any of spaciness or complexity. Its 11 tracks span a variety of styles from ambient Electronic to hard-driving guitar Rock, with compositions that feel more like fully-formed concepts than just pure experimentations in sound.