My Nguyen, over at Stars And Celebs, reviewed Soft Bomb Jangle:
Velcro Mary returns with brand new album release 'Soft Bomb Jangle'
A couple of months ago, Stars and Celebs featured solo musician Jason Erb, who goes by the band name Velcro Mary on his single release of “Molly.” Now Erb returns with his latest album release, entitled, Soft Bomb Jangle, a startling release that captures the DIY spirit as he executes each instrumental himself.
A throw-back to the 90s, Soft Bomb Jangle, walks the delicate line of past and present, modernizing the sounds he is so influenced by into a more contemporary cadence.
The album opens up with soothing and relaxing alternative indie track, “Getting Smaller” that is jumpstarted by a melodic piano tune. The piano melody is beatific and peaceful with vocals that are ensconced in reverb. The sounds of synths oscillate throughout this song. The cacophony of guitars creates a wall of melodious cadences.
The sun-soaked “Chair” creates an upbeat ambiance as well as a catchy acoustic sound. With a stripped down feel, the vocals are simply adorned with the acoustic guitar and percussions. Carrying a bright and whimsical cadence, a bluesy harmonica trails this track.
On “Pale Green Horse,” bluesy guitar licks start off this song, bouncing off some upbeat rhythms, pervading with a soaring sound. The percussions provide for a more charged and upbeat energy.
“Molly” is a dynamic acoustic track that traces a deeply cathartic cadence. With a sharp nostalgic focus on the 90s, the song simmers with a deep treading vibe. Erb’s vocals are at once hard and soft, giving off a smoldering approach.
“Flight Risk” incorporates a more upbeat and catchy vibe than the previous tracks, highlighting reverberating guitars and an infectious drumming beat.
Deft strumming on the acoustic guitar fills the start of “Love Letter On A Dollar Bill.” The numerating on the guitar is pretty dynamic. The acoustic song is haunting and somber-sounding. A stripped down affair, this acoustic arrangement is paved with a warm and effusive vibe.
The ebb and flow of Soft Bomb Jangle hinges on infectious rhythms and beats and an unrelenting alternative style that recalls the best of the 90s. Reverb-drenched vocals are backed up by the cavernous layers of instrumentals, giving a multi-layered sound.
Velcro Mary has created a ridiculously good album that you will be putting on repeat. This record will definitely leave its stamp onto listeners.
My only complaint is that these gems are fast listens. With the shortest track ranging around 1:22 minutes. Yet just enough to spark an interest on these mesmerizing set of songs that don’t just sparkle, they captivate, enthralling old and new fans alike with Jason Erb’s grunge and indie rock spirit.
Click here to read the full review on Stars And Celebs.
I got interviewed by GigRadar. Here it is:
DISCOVER THIS: VELCRO MARY
If you like your music eclectic in style, then you’re in the right place with North Carolina singer/songwriter Velcro Mary. His – yeah, we don’t think Mary’s his real name – music sees a mixture of unusual instruments, homemade instruments and high-tech modern electronics, with songs ranging from indie and alternative rock all the way to folk ballads.
Velcro Mary sent us Getting Smaller, the opening track from his new album Soft Bomb Jangle, which was released at the end of last month.
It opens up with piano under cool laid-back vocals “Getting smaller all the time” with flickering synth coming in over the top. Guitars come in for the second verse, with a lingering synth in the background, then big synth sounds, supported by flickering synths, come in as it bursts into a chorus.
A low synth sound continues then shimmering sounds take over through the second verse, which builds up with the introduction of new sounds under repeats of “Getting smaller all the time.” Give it a listen below.
As suggested above, the EP is full of eclectic nuances, including a little harmonica solo on the cool, laid-back Chair, the more upbeat and bluesy Pale Green Horse, and the rocky Flight Risk.
We had a chat with the man behind the music to find out more. Read on below…
GR: Who are Velcro Mary? And where are you from?
VM: Velcro Mary is a weathered gunslinger, wandering the barren desert wasteland, steadfastly searching for a cool drink of water from a rumored mountain oasis. A solitary shaman samurai on a suicide mission, surrendering wholeheartedly to the siren song of destiny. A man who does everything, except when he does nothing. Velcro Mary might as well be from anywhere, but is simultaneously nowhere and everywhere.
GR: You just released Getting Smaller. What should people be expecting from the song?
VM: Expectations are funny things. Sometimes it’s best not to have them. How many times have you seen a movie trailer that gives away the entire plot of the film, or the best jokes? I could tell you to expect a big change around the 1:30 mark, but then you’d be anticipating it the whole time, and the effect would be diminished. Wouldn’t you rather be surprised? Why not discover it for yourself, free of the burden of expectations? Embrace the unknown.
I can tell you what to expect in a broad sense, in terms of its context on the record. Getting Smaller is the first track on Soft Bomb Jangle, an album that focuses on acoustic, homemade, and unusual instruments. There are cigar box guitars, a lap steel I made out of a 2X4, spoons, cardboard boxes, vibraslaps, and all manner of strange oddities in the music. However, there are lots of high tech modern electronic elements as well.
Getting Smaller is a good introduction to the audio blueprint of the record, as the acoustic instruments collide with the electronic ones in a harmonious way. At least, that was my intention. It was inspired by the crushing weight of modern-day existence, unfathomable hopelessness, and the death of a friend.
GR: How would you describe your sound to people that haven’t listened to you yet?
VM: Most of what I do tends to be rooted in indie or alternative rock, but I like to experiment with different styles and genres. Since this is a solo recording project, I have the freedom to do whatever I want, which can lead down some pretty interesting rabbit holes.
It’s probably a little frustrating to be a casual Velcro Mary fan – one single might be grungy punk rock, and the next might be a sensitive fingerpicked folk ballad. Earlier this year I put out a song that was a cross between psychedelic disco and hair metal. I don’t expect everyone to love everything I make but, hopefully, there are some people out there who enjoy the diversity.
GR: What influences you to write music? Any key themes or topics that you write about?
VM: Here’s a single sentence summary for each song on the album, which will give you an idea of recent themes I’ve been writing about:
Things are getting worse faster than they’re getting better, so you might be wasting your time if you stick around. Were things better when life was less comfortable? We’re all going to die and nothing we do means anything in the grand scheme of things. I’m going to die. I’m outta here. Life’s worth living. Give me some money.
GR: Which bands/musicians are/have been your strongest musical influences?
VM: I’ve been thinking about R.E.M. a lot lately. Particularly about how there will never be another band like them ever again. Their trajectory from hard-working bar band, to underground darlings, to one of the biggest bands in the world, and ultimately to a band that I stopped caring about (Up was their last good album, and if you disagree, I’m willing to fight).
They were massively important to me for so many years, but then… they weren’t. So I’ve been exploring that. Falling out of love. Quitting. Questions of legacy and relevancy. It’s all in “Getting Smaller”.
GR: What have you got coming up through the rest of 2019?
VM: A lot of recording. I currently have at least four different albums in progress. I’ll put one of them out in 2020. The next 2019 release will be a cover of a Nine Inch Nails classic, which would have fit nicely on Soft Bomb Jangle, but will be a single due to licensing headaches.
Hammersmith 78 Music Reviews featured Soft Bomb Jangle in their article, NOISETRADE TOP 10 OF THE WEEK 22 JULY 2019 TO 29 JULY 2019. I just squeaked in at number 10. Perhaps most surprising is that "Reason To Live" was called out as being the best track. I've seen the statistics, and it appears that this is the only other person on earth, besides myself, who appreciates that song. Thank you, Peter Stock.
Portuguese music blog, Phonograph Me, posted a lovely review of the Soft Bomb Jangle track "Getting Smaller":
SUNDAY NIGHT DELIGHT, COM OS VELCRO MARY
Domingos à noite são dias para preparar a semana que está aí a aparecer, sem nos esquecermos de gozar o que ainda resta do fim-de-semana. E nada melhor do que falar no mais recente single dos americanos Velcro Mary, este "Getting Smaller" para que isso aconteça e continuemos cheios de energia.
Já não é a primeira vez que falamos aqui nos Velcro Mary, e embora adore o nome da banda, não nos vamos prender em pormenores. Vamos antes perceber porque é que "Getting Smaller" é uma canção tão marcante.
A letra de "Getting Smaller" é muito bem escrita e muito actual, sendo uma espécie de relato do mundo de hoje, mas de uma forma muito concreta, o que me encanta sempre. A própria melodia, embora um tanto densa, cola-se logo, e, a subtileza do piano, em conjugação com a força da voz e com o sintetizadores, a bateria e a guitarra, fazem desta uma canção inesquecível.
Bom para quem, como eu, continua apaixonada por David Bowie e para quem gosta de canções reais, é a canção perfeita para deixar os sentimentos vir ao de cima e ligar-se ao mundo lá fora.
The only problem is that I don't read or speak Portuguese, so I had to rely on the internet for a translation. I'm sure it is 100% accurate:
SUNDAY NIGHT DELIGHT WITH VELCRO MARY
Sundays at night are days to prepare for the upcoming week, without forgetting to enjoy what remains of the weekend. And nothing better than talking about the latest American single Velcro Mary, this "Getting Smaller" to make it happen and we'll be full of energy.
This is not the first time we have spoken here at the Velcro Mary, and although we love the name of the band, we will not get caught up in the details. Let us first understand why "Getting Smaller" is such a remarkable song.
The lyrics of "Getting Smaller" are very well written and very up to date, being a kind of account of the world today, but in a very concrete way, which always delights me. The melody itself, though somewhat dense, soon sticks, and the subtlety of the piano, in conjunction with the power of the voice and the synthesizers, the drums and the guitar, make it an unforgettable song.
Good for those who, like me, are still in love with David Bowie, and for those who like real songs, it's the perfect song to let feelings come up and connect with the outside world.
Read the full review at Phonograph Me.
Denver based blog, Queen City Sounds And Art wrote an excellent review of "Molly":
“Molly” by Velcro Mary is a Tender Ballad to a Relationship Gone Awry
Velcroy Mary may be “the only band in North Carolina that did not record their last album with Mitch Easter at The Fidelitorium” but maybe it’s single “Molly” was recorded with Chris Schultz at Wavelab Studios in Arizona because it’s melancholic anthem is reminiscent of DeVotchKa circa How It Ends. The doleful accordion melody and the words of resignation and yearning bracketed by gently strummed guitar spells out a message meant to offer comfort and reassurance to someone who might be going through a period in life fraught with insecurity and emotional fragility. Tender and touching it’s simple structure and graceful performance makes what is hinted at by “this time apart’s supposed to help us grow” and “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree” and a troubled relationship that has all but drifted apart for good. Listen below and follow Velcro Mary’s excellent string of singles at the links following.
Click here to read the full review on Queen City Sounds And Art.
My Nguyen over at Stars and Celebs reviewed "Molly":
One man band Jason Erb embraces the DIY attitude on his solo endeavor Velcro Mary. A project that pays tribute to 90’s bands, Erb commandeers all the instruments himself – a feat that would normally be left to the devices of a normally larger operation.
On Erb’s latest single, “Molly,” the contrasts of sound that could be heard on the brand new track culminates in a healthy stew of cadences from the acoustic guitar to the sounds of the accordion, drums, bass, and percussions. These is some order to this madness with Erb singing with dogged passion. This dynamic sounding track resounds with unfaltering melodic guitar riffs and winning vocals.
With a cadence that has an underlining somber sense to the song, due to the seriousness of the track, listeners will be drawn to its overarching grave sense.
The music is simply riveting with energized performances from the acoustic guitar and Erb’s impassioned vocals.
The single showcases Erb’s ability as a guitarist. The numerating over the acoustic guitar demonstrates Erb’s deft finger work. The strumming interplays very well with Erb’s husky vocals.
The song is a strong sample of Velcro Mary’s work. And is a solid indicator of what is to come from the solo musician.
Erb’s enthused musicianship in the DIY spirit demonstrates his passions for classic rock and indie music. His sound that blends in sounds of 90’s grunge and alt rock is a compilation of cadences from the distinct era.
“Molly” is a refreshing listen that brings back the familiar decade to nostalgic fans of the time. Well establishing his unique sound in the single, Erb melds the past into the present, delving into 90’s grunge and alt rock with a more modernized feel. With a foot in both worlds, Erb takes the old and makes it new again with. What you get is an acoustic alt sound that is undeniably Velcro Mary.
Click here to read the full review over at Stars and Celebs.
START-TRACK is a daily music blog out of Bratislava, Slovakia run by Filip Zemčík, head of Z Tapes and United Cassettes. Here's what they had to say about "Molly":
I always find interesting to know the location from where the musicians are coming from. Charlotte, North Carolina. I have been there along time ago. I always wonder whether it has effect on music, whether you can discover the essence of location in the track. Maybe you can, I did not get there yet.
Molly is sweet little track with a simple melody and lyrics. I love that.
Click here to se the full review on START-TRACK.