Free Association Debuts Their Self-Titled Album

Free Association is a new-ish rock band from Tulsa that began in January 2018. The band formed as an outlet for songs Joshua Ricks had written and grew from there with the addition of the rest of the band.

The name “free association” was picked because it emulates the freedom and lack of instruction in their songwriting. Rather than simply playing the song how it was originally imagined by one member, the layout is introduced and each member adds their own spin.

“I like to just play what I have written and let everyone in the group run with the feelings or impression the song left with them,” says Ricks.

“It [is] incredibly beautiful to see everyone in the group interpret the emotional message and feeling of each song and express that back in their own way.”

Free Association started recording their first album in August of last year, which they finished by the end of September. However, fans still had awhile to wait before any of the songs were ready to stream. It wasn’t until last month that the band officially shared their music on streaming sites.

The first song the band released off the album that unveiled today (August 16) was “Old Man” on July 1st. It was followed shortly after by “Circles” on July 26th. According to Ricks, the singles were chosen for their upbeat sound and ABAB format.

The record itself is apparently a collection of songs that don’t have a traditional format and blend between genres. The first description given to me was “retro psychedelic rock vibe” – a spot on description, in my opinion.

The first on the list is “Groovy Blue.” A light song, “Groovy Blue” comes across as positive and upbeat. The beat is steady and repetitive, the lyrics are relaxed and positive; every instinct while listening is to sway and “groove” along.

Next up is the previously released “Old Man.” Though this one continues a similar sound, the vibe is much different. Rather than coming across as relaxed and upbeat, the song sounds like it just came out of an old-time-y mystery film.

“Hurricanes and Floods” is third on the tracklist. Anxiety is at its highest with this song as the music flutters through, lyrics denoting a blue tale. However, the tone shifts about halfway through this almost-six-minute song from nervous to something akin to resignation.

The next six songs follow similar styles and themes. Each song is carefully crafted. By blending styles, the band achieves a dreamy sound – the kind of sound that lulls you into feelings, good and bad. Whether it’s the slower “First Friday” or the foot-tapping “Omniscient,” there’s a song for everyone in this album.

As if the songs themselves don’t span different styles,”Circles,” “Six Long Years,” and “Loving You” all feature a female singer in stark contrast to the other male-fronted songs. It’s a testament to their “free association” that different vocalists take lead in different songs; each member of the band gets to do their take.

Check out Free Association on all social media and music streaming sites and make sure to listen to their debut album below:

The Odyssey Ends Summer With “Fresh Air”

At the beginning of the summer, The Odyssey unveiled the bop that is “Lately” in the hopes of giving us our summer anthem. So, of course they had to end the summer with yet another bop.

After teasing all summer with the promise of new music, the band will finally make their newest single, “Fresh Air,” available for listening on August 9th. In celebration, The Odyssey will also be headlining at the Vanguard that night with Hoarseman and the Heard, Jaguarundi, and McAllister.

“Fresh Air” is different from past records. This single contains music that perfectly compliments summer heat and fun. Steady beats keep feet tapping as the sound makes you long for summer – a fact that sounds silly considering it’s August, but the feeling is definitely there.

The lyrics paint a desperate and growing need for “fresh air.” They describe a feeling of confinement – and a desire for change. It’s like the melting of summer into fall, the moment just before the weather switches. That’s the feeling rolling off of this song – the exhilarating feeling before a big change occurs, and the excitement and anxiety that comes along with it.

According to the band, the song was written during a big move, corroborating the emotions felt when I heard the song.

“This song was written at a point in my life when big changes were happening. We made a big move, and while I was sitting in my brand new house, I wrote this guitar part,” explained Cobey Brown.

“It was really simple, but it just gave me this feeling… I named this little riff ‘Fresh Air’ because it just literally felt like a breath of fresh air.”

The song itself is a breath of fresh air; so, listen to “Fresh Air” on all music streaming sites on August 9th, and head over to the Vanguard that night at 8pm for an End of Summer Bash to celebrate.

Be sure to check out The Odyssey on all social media and music streaming sites.

Hookup’s “In the Morning” Brings End-of-Summer Blues

Tomorrow, August 2nd, OKC band Hookup will release their new song, “In the Morning” – and with it, a wave of end-of-summer blues.

The song itself is apparently not a sad one. It was written about a trip to New Mexico that one of the members took with a girlfriend. In fact, the lyrics sound almost hopeful.

It’s the music that ushers in a feeling of gray nostalgia. The song brings a mental image of floating in water. Waves are gently rocking – firmly enough to displace but too calm to harm.

It feels like looking back at the beginning of the summer, or last year – just looking back in general – and seeing all of the good and the bad mix together until it’s just a ball of gray and bittersweet memories.

According to the band, the song is about “travelling” and “seeing the world with the people you care about.” It was written about a trip that band member Grayson Hamm took with his girlfriend to New Mexico shortly after they got together. The song developed as a description of the mornings they spent – hence the title, “In the Morning.”

“It was a great experience, but the best days were the ones we got up super early. We’d wake up at like 6:30 and be making coffee in the Airbnb, watching the hummingbirds,” says Hamm

“That’s kind of where the ‘morning’ part of the song came from.”

The song certainly sounds like a travel song, though I must admit that I hear more melancholy emotions than happy, relaxed ones. I can easily picture the song playing on the car radio as a road trip commences – in the evening as the sun goes down, significant other in the passenger seat.

Be sure to catch Hookup on all social media and music streaming sites, and check out “In the Morning” tomorrow.

OKC Band, Westering, Debut Their Talents With Self-Titled EP

Westering, a five-piece indie rock band from OKC, is on the cusp of releasing their debut EP, Westering – and everyone should be excited.

Earlier this month, the band released a single off of the collection called “1976.” The song is soft and riveting with rock elements supporting their self-proclaimed alternative status. Listening to it feels like finally exhaling after holding your breath for a long period – it starts tense, like the buildup to a sob, and then the emotions spill out in a swirling, relieving manner.

The band, Westering, was initially a side project for members Jamie Bramble, Stephen Brand, Andrew Dolman, Bryan English, and Dalton Farr, as most of them are currently involved with other bands (Gall, And In The Darkness, and Chris Jones & the Flycatchers). For the past three years, the group has been writing music for the project, allowing it to “grow organically.” When they appointed Bramble as their singer about a year ago, the course of their songwriting altered and the EP was made.

The upside to this being a pet project for the members is that they have the freedom to experiment and just be creative with the music. It’s because of this that, when I asked them to describe their music, they had a tough time doing so.

According the band, Westering has been flexible with the different genres. Rather than staying in between the lines, they’ve chosen to let the music escape its confinement and color what it wants. This freedom makes for an exciting sound, to say the least.

The upcoming self-titled EP, set to come out on July 27, has five tracks – which is meant to be representational of their five-piece band. It is self-titled because they felt that their band name is their “initial offering” and that it makes sense to stick with it for their initial record.

The collection begins with “Seven-Eight.” To use the band’s words, “it’s an exciting and kinda epic opener, with hints of math-rock and weird time signatures.” You can currently find it on here; unable to wait until July 27, the band posted it on Reverbnation and shared it on their social media on July 15.

Second on the list is “Dark Seas.” Again, to quote the group, the song “is very reminiscent of early 2000s pop punk delights.” Much like the flood of emotions that spins the tone around in “1976,” this track takes a “90 degree turn at the bridge” and almost turns it into a whole new song. The change is nice; it keeps the listener on their toes and makes the experience exciting.

“Spiraling” follows “Dark Seas,” and this one apparently has “nerdy Easter eggs” – and they will be especially evident for musicians. Time signature changes in almost every section makes it a fun play for the group.

The next to last track is “Sound of your name,” and this one supposedly had a whirlwind composition. Earlier demos would be barely recognizable, says the band. Their singer ended up remaking the song into what it is now; a steady buildup to a big ending that eases into the final song, “1976.”

“1976” was intentionally placed as the finale because it was the last song they had written for the EP – and therefore, it is closer to the sound of the songs on their next record, which they are currently demoing.

Westering has recently amped up their self-promotion and activity on social media in preparation for their new music. What was formerly a side project has now been shoved to the forefront of their brains, and they are more than happy to push it to the forefront of our brains as well. It bodes well for the group that the message coming across is one of determination and drive. The very least any of us can do is give the record a complete listen and voice what will undoubtedly be our approval.

Check Westering out on all social media and music streaming sites, and make sure to listen to their EP on July 27.

Trevor McBane Releases New Single, “Blame It On the Rain”

Trevor McBane, former American Idol contestant from Southeastern Oklahoma, released his latest single, “Blame It On the Rain” this morning (July 20), and it definitely showcases his talent.

The song begins with a resonating line that immediately introduces the idea of “blame it on the rain.” The sound bounces around for a moment as he sets up the tone before leading into the first verse. Paying homage to the small town stereotype of “fake faces” and the ever-present desire to “get out of this town,” the song encourages positivity even as the imagery remains dreary and gray.

The song continues with McBane’s low melodious voice staying soft as the song delves into deeper, more serious meanings. Desperation leaks into his vocals, and 2:10 marks the change with a new, pleading tone.

About forty-five seconds before the song ends, McBane’s voice becomes agitated and more desperate. He ends with the same reverberating sound from the beginning, like a brush of a gong with a muffled, cotton-swathed hammer.

The song is a perfect example of the talent that landed him a spot on American Idol and granted him compliments from several high-ranking musicians.

Check out Trevor McBane on all social media and music streaming sites, and make sure to listen to “Blame It On the Rain.” McBane will also be performing at the Vanguard in Tulsa with Guys on a Bus on July 27.