Welcome to Boss Ladies, a blog series dedicated entirely toward featuring and promoting our talented Lady Brian Members and their creative work. Keeping with our mission of collaboration and service, each article in this series is written by a member about a member. We encourage you to discover and support not only the subject of each review, but also the writer! This week, Jules Stewart reviews Blue Space, the latest EP from Golden Howl (featuring Lady Brain members Marlo Smith and Rachel Riba).
It’s often difficult to appreciate the depth of another person’s experience, to empathize with the extent of either their joy or sorrow. But Golden Howl’s latest EP Blue Space envelops listeners in a whirlwind of emotion, from awe to heartbreak, rolling out an invitation into the band’s heart. The second project from the band in the three years since they formed, Blue Space is a collection of richly-crafted soundscapes that raises an already high bar set by the band’s first EP, Mighty Mighty.
Blue Space starts triumphantly with “CO,” a song that pays just enough homage to the bluegrass and country music Colorado is known for with guitarist Dimitry Zingerman’s ascending riffs and thrumming low end from bassist Jeff Johnson. The band tips its hat to the wild west, never losing touch with the gilded layers of harmony and percussion that define the band’s sound. Horn swells provided by Andy “AG” Geib (Wise Monkey Orchestra, Slightly Stoopid) impart the elation that comes with discovering an unknown place with an expanding heart. When vocalist/guitar player Christopher Balcom admits “you left me thinking about a different life, far from the city lights,” it evokes the surprise of falling in love with a landscape and the compelling need to return felt even before leaving.
Before the first words are heard, heartache is apparent in “Hold Tight.” Here, again, the lyrics and instrumentation communicate a single message, as the song gains solid footing only after vocalist and drummer Marlo Smith strongly ties hope to struggle with a convincing promise that “the cold is where you’ll find your soul.” The complex and soaring harmonies are at once stirring and melancholy, evoking a cathartic palette of sorrow, expectation, and optimism. The refrain “memories that we once had, they turn to sand” relay the almost universal pain of dissolution at the end of a relationship, but assurances of healing are so intertwined with adversity that the listener ends the song feeling restored and hopeful.
Rachel Riba’s percussion carries the momentum of “Waterfall” with a rhythmic nod to the flow of water in the band’s interpretation of a poem by Stephen O’Shea. The glassy, high-motion keys from Shannon O'Shea help create the glistening tapestry that turns the poem into an auditory monument. At the song’s peak, the band harnesses space and simplicity to ramp up the emotional impact to a level rarely achieved, particularly in a studio recording.
Throughout Blue Space Golden Howl imparts energy, authenticity, and emotion that refuse to be ignored. The brilliant musicality and production (by Jeff Berkeley of Berkley Sound) work in tandem with the lyrics to create a nearly endless array of points of connection and empathy from the listener. Blue Space sits comfortably as a spectacular second chapter in Golden Howl’s story.
Find Blue Space:
iTunes - Amazon - Spotify
Meet the Writer: Jules Stewart
Our Lady Brain blog writers work on a volunteer basis in support of their fellow members. If you enjoyed this article, please consider making a small donation to Jules via Venmo, which will help support her creative endeavors.
All Abby Dorsey Alexis Tia Alisandra Del Nero Allegra Duchaine Alyssa Douglas Amanda Lea Amy Day Anna Zinova Art Around Adams Astra Kelly Barbara Rutherford Bar Pink Becca Jay Belly Up Bonnie Nicholls Boss Ladies Brain Candy Busy Buckley Busy LBs Calamity Cardinal Moon Carissa Schroeder Catherine Barnes Cathryn Beeks Celeste Barbier Chloe Lou Chloe Lou And The Liddells Chris Avetta Christina Bernard Cici Artemisia Claudia Russel Community Gathering Corina Rose Creative Process Cristina Cooperr Danielle Angeloni Dawn Mitschele Dixie Maxwell Donna Larsen Emma Byrd Gaby Aparicio Ginger Cowgirl GoFundMe Golden Howl Gretchen DeVault Heather Marie Jacqueline Silva Jean Mann Jessica Lerner Jessie Lark Jill Badonsky Jules Stewart Julia Sage Julie Albright Karen Lindenberg Karina Frost Karina Frost Moreno Karyn Ann KC Deichler Kinnie Dye KishaLynn Elliott Lady Brain Fest Lady Brain Film Fest Lady Brain Lift Up Lady Brain Presents Laura Jane Willcock Laura Payne Lauren Leigh Lillian Lefranc Lindsay White Lisa Brackmann Lisa Sanders Live Music Lizabeth Yandel Lizzie Wann Lori Addis Lorri Sulpizio Marcia Claire Mariah Priddy Marie Haddad Marlo Smith Mary Bee Mary Hamer Mayzie Jean MC Flow Melanie Medina Meraki Cafe Michele Palmer Miki Vale Mona Tavakoli Naiomi New Music New Video Nisha Catron Paige Miller Patric Petrie Podunk Nowhere Press Queen Be Queen Mab Queer Voices Rachel Riba Ramona Ault Rebekkah Darling Ren Daversa Ren Diversa Reviews Rika Rai Rika-Rai Roni Lee Rosa's Cantina Rosy Dawn San Diego Music Awards Sandi King Shannon Oshea Sharisse Coulter Shayna Soulsong.life Stacey Barnett Steph Johnson Support Susan Lipson Sycamore Den Sydney Prather Talking The Talk Thea Tochihara The Banduvloons The Bold Vocal The Holding Company The Resizters The Riviera Supper Club The Spiritual Motels Tori Roze Tricia Lynn Trish Naval Unison Colthurst Veronica May Voxy Whitney Shay Women's March San Diego Workshops
Support Lady Brain Collective
Any contributions or sponsorships are welcome and appreciated!