spotlight: kyle andrews


Kyle Andrews.

Category: alternative, acoustic, electronica
Members: Kyle Andrews (and others for live shows, obviously)
Albums of note: Amos in Ohio, Find Love Let Go, Real Blasty
Downloads: Sushi, Amos in Ohio, Naked in New York

Kyle Andrews is the most ridiculously talented musician you have never heard of.  There, I said it.  And I’ll stand by it, no matter what I hear back.  I’m a fervent believer.

Andrews completes a trio of artists that have been on most of my playlists since my freshman year of college.  The other two?  Electric President and Bear Colony.  But Andrews is by far my favorite.  You know those artists you like so much that you’ll excuse a track or two that may not be the greatest in the world?  I convince myself that those tracks are the greatest in the world.  Literally, I have listened to either Amos in Ohio or Real Blasty at least once per week for the past year, and I’ll never get bored with either album.

But what makes Andrews so great?  First, the work that goes into this stuff.  Andrews is widely regarded on the indie scene as a pop music maestro.  Amos in Ohio was quite literally cut in his bedroom before eventually being (somewhat) re-mastered in a local studio.  Yet Andrews is such a genius with the keyboard and guitar that you would never know, or at least if you did, you’d write it off as intentionally sloppy, part of the hand-clapping wackiness that abounds in his albums.  Andrews can frame songs in such a way that I know they should be sad or reflective or bursting at the seams with melancholy, yet they always make you feel just so damn good about things.  His debut album, Amos in Ohio, is the perfect example.  It’s essentially a breakup album, but it never feels like one because it’s crafted so well, so deep in the “things might just be alright” mindset that it’s hard to give into some of the pain that resounds with the lyrics.  The lyrics, by the way, are constantly great.  I’ve rarely seen an artist who can state something as simply as Andrews does, yet still make it seem so profound.  There aren’t lyrics for the sake of lyrics or rhymes for the sake of rhymes.  There are brilliantly understated lines, catchy choruses and more than a few verses you probably won’t get on a first listen, or even a third (”Moon Tea” is a great example.)  But the riffs and synths are just excellent.

Andrews released a six-track EP entitled Find Love, Let Go about two years after Amos in Ohio was finally released by Badman, and it was tonally opposite Amos in Ohio.  Also steeped much more in acoustics and much less on drumloops and electronic effects.  Nice as the EP was, though, it was really just a holdover for…

Real Blasty.  Which I think is Andrews’ first crack at something approaching rock.  The lead track “Sushi” is obviously Andrews in top pop form, with a keyboard melody you won’t be able to get out of your head for a while.  “Naked in New York” shifts to a more guitar-heavy track with a complete orchestral meltdown roughly halfway through.  “Polar Bear” kicks off the third track with an arresting synthline on the chorus.  Probably the most interesting track outside of these three is “A Constant Wavering Between the Real and the Abstract” though, with a full guitar breakdown toward the end that sounds straight out of a (good) battle of the bands.  Radiohead-esque lyrics just serve to feed into the breakdown, and it’s a whole ‘nother show from there.

I’m not just going to recommend you listen to Andrews, I’m going to recommend you buy his albums.  Not one album, but both.  Even the six-track EP if you’re digging it.  He’s too good to remain a secret much longer.  The man is almost singlehandedly orchestrating music that is re-defining the indie scene.  It doesnt have to be confined to any one genre or instrument when you have a guy like Andrews who is willing to run the gamet and take on an entire orchestra by himself.  I can’t even imagine what his studio looks like, just some flood of wires and mics and too many keyboards to count.  The end result, though, is unlike anything you’ve heard before.

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