- Aaron Anderson
- The Reminders’ first recording project in six years proves well worth the wait for the hip-hop duo’s fans, local, national and international. Close your eyes while you listen and you’ll feel the same energetic chemistry as their best live shows.
Hip-hop duo The Reminders are local favorites for very good reasons. Whether you’re drawn to their heavily soulful, often reggae-tinged sound, their dedication to empowering and unifying messages through their music, or their incredibly dynamic stage presence, it’s hard to leave one of their shows feeling anything other than uplifted — reminded, indeed, of the tangible power and sense of camaraderie live music can foster when it’s at its best.
And now, following a string of Colorado performances by the duo over the last month, including slots at the ARISE Music Festival and Bohemian Nights at NewWestFest, local music fans are in for a treat with the arrival of the Reminders’ new LP, Unstoppable, which dropped on Aug. 30.
While few things compare to catching Aja Black and Big Samir’s onstage chemistry and live energy in person, their first recording project in six years puts their inspired interplay front-and-center, whether on the funky, horn-led rave-up “Dust and Bones,” the impassioned, Latin-flourished “Stranger,” or “Down,” where the pair trade dueling verses amidst an ecstatic soundscape of layered vocals and synths.
The production on the LP is crisp and colorful throughout, becoming fairly elaborate on cuts like the title track and “Foundation,” which manages to weave decidedly retro horn arrangements into something wholly modern. But, impressively, great care is taken to never steal any spotlight from the true centerpiece of the album — the pair’s formidable vocal talents — giving them room to breathe on more minimalist cuts such as “Coming Home” and the delicate acoustic closer “Forever.”
Even if fans have had to wait a while for a new LP, Unstoppable is worth the wait, ably documenting the duo at the height of their powers. The Reminders have an array of shows across the country to close out the year, so hopefully their new LP will help propel them to ever-increasing success, richly deserved.
Talvik’s songwriting is beautiful in its elegant purity and sense of adventurous mystery. Throughout her career, her road-wise songs have always shown a keen eye for poignant imagery — natural and emotional — but, in the vein of the great, late David McComb, equally important are the details she leaves out. Tracks like “Siren Song,” “Pharaohs and Friends” and “Blood Moon” are gripping, and lead single “Take Me Home” has already seen success, charting in the Top 10 on U.S. Folk Radio Charts. Talvik, who has performed at festivals such as Lollapalooza and SXSW, is touring in Europe for the remainder of 2019, but will return to the U.S. in 2020.
Finally, rounding out this week with live music, definitely plan on catching the set by Spokane-based singer-songwriter Vanna Oh! who plays the Triple Nickel Tavern on Monday, Sept. 16.
Calling Vanna Oh! alter-ego Lindsay Johnston a “singer-songwriter” might give you the wrong impression, however, as her sound is a full-tilt, blues-punk assault that draws from a wide spectrum of American rock ’n’ roll traditions and cranks them up to 10 — deriving its power equally from her robust voice and searing guitar leads. Her debut EP, Samples, arrives on Sept. 20, but you can get an advance sampling of her sound on the ferocious lead single “Bear Named Sue,” as well as taking in its eye-popping, teddy bear-abusing music video, which dropped on Sept. 2.
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