Sonic Reducer: Saintseneca • Protomartyr • Daphne Lee Martin

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The newest album from Saintseneca, Such Things is a surprising and unorthodox mix of music styles. On the first track you hear the hollow sound of a piano. Then, a smoky, crooning voice belonging to the Americana movement makes you sure this will be another in an endless string of hipster bands. But then—as if another band is playing under them—you hear a rock beat straight from the alternative movement of the ‘90s. Heavy drums and bass tell you to pay attention. The songs continue, almost indistinguishable from one another. A break from this happens in the middle of the record, when a purely acoustic and very heartfelt song, “How Many Blankets Are In The World,” comes on. When that is over, Saintseneca gives listeners back the style of the first half, but with more dramatic synthesizers. Here, variety is the spice of life. (Cerridwen Stucky)

Daphne Lee Martin Fall on Your Sword (Telegraph Recording Company)

Fall On Your Sword may be Daphne Lee Martin’s fourth album but it is the first album she has produced herself. Laying jazz, R&B and Latin tones over her mesmerizing, folky lyrics, Martin is able to achieve a relaxed, sophisticated vibe. Listen to this album and you’ll be transported to hot summer in the late afternoon in Brooklyn, sipping on summer ale in your rooftop garden, watching the sunset over the city. The album is well produced; each instrument is clear yet complimentary and Martin’s voice nicely accentuates the music. Martin was able to get the full sound on this album by playing with 25 musicians she had met while on tour. Each song gives way to the next seamlessly; listeners will get lost inside her jazzy world. (Taylor Grabowsky)

Protomartyr The Agent Intellect (Hardly Art)

Protomartyr’s third album, The Agent Intellect addresses a relationship between a boy (the Devil) and his family. This theme is reflected by chill, sustained melodies that dive into harsh, unforgiving stanzas. These quick transitions are mockingly devout but honest. This album is a narrative about growing up. Some lyrics are spoken, almost chant-like. Occasionally an angry outburst happens, but an outward collectedness exudes throughout; an allusion to disassociation is achieved through much repeated one-line lyrics. The Agent Intellect seeks to understand change. Lyrics such as “That fall from grace/knocked me on my knees/Don’t tell anyone/that’s what I wanted/That god of change/knocked me on my knees/Don’t tell anyone/that’s what I wanted” speak to how we don’t like change but know it’s necessary. (Megan Reneau)

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