Posts Tagged ‘Chris Lee-Rodriguez’

There really aren’t many bands like Really From, whose of mix emo, math rock, jazz and more is as distinct as it is seamless, and their sound varies from song to song too. This second single from their upcoming self-titled album has more of an ethereal art pop vibe than the first single, and both are great. Drawing on influences of jazz improvisation, minimalist composition, and punk rock ethos, the Boston-based band Really From dismiss traditional genre and formulae in favour of explorative, indie rock amalgamations. Since 2014, their ever-evolving sound has incorporated stylistic touchstones from math rock to ambient, exploring themes of place, self, and culture through a dialect entirely their own. Michi Tassey (keys, synth bass) and Chris Lee-Rodriguez (guitar) exchange vocal leads regularly, shifting perspectives and ranges as their songs cascade through varied musical worlds, refracting their thematic questions concerned with intergenerational trauma, tokenism, and immigrant parenthood. Trumpeter Matt Hull and drummer Sander Bryce often take on lead voices of their own, further reconfiguring traditional notions of genre and songwriting.

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“Try Lingual,” the lead single from Really From’s self-titled and third album, sees the quartet at their most all-encompassing. Thematically, it’s an apt setting for exploring Lee-Rodriguez’s personal struggles with learning Spanish, and Tassey’s with Japanese, in order to better communicate with their families and communities. At first calm and collected, then brassy, chaotic, and disjointed, “Try Lingual” is wrought with the anxiety of struggling to keep up. Tassey and Lee-Rodriguez sing as foils to one another, as if to encourage the other to unlearn their self-blaming habits. Trumpeter Hull’s jazzy sensibility often sings in unison with his melodic counterparts, but when let loose between and around the beats, Hull’s calculated, eruptive wailing mirrors the eureka moments that abound when trying to learn a new language, as well reflecting the less conclusive and more challenging hurdles that come with learning a new tongue. Like a linguistic epiphany, new worlds are revealed. Previously impossible conversations become accessible. Yet the learning persists, and other doors remain to be opened.

Really From are especially adept at bending their somewhat unusual instrumentation of trumpet, keys, guitar, and drumset into both abstract and intentional forms. On the album’s second single, “Quirk,” a warm swell of synth welcomes listeners into a bouncing, odd-timed exploration of inherited trauma, qualities, and laughter. Underscored by JD Beck-like flourishes of drummer Sander Bryce, the opening 5/8 groove builds unpredictably, but with a precise foundation for Lee-Rodriguez’s lyrical unpacking of intergenerational trauma. While “Quirk” might not offer definitive resolution to its raised questions, its lines are punctuated with poetic acceptance—“As you sow your seed / I’ll reap from everything that stays.” “Your father knew this / your mother did too / the fault’s not on them.”

Releases March 12th, 2021

Really From is Chris Lee-Rodriguez, Sander Bryce, Michi Tassey & Matt Hull
Chris Lee-Rodriguez – Vocals, Electric Guitar, Classical Guitar
Sander Bryce – Drum Set
Michi Tassey – Vocals, Piano, Keyboard, Synth Bass (Tracks 1 and 7)
Matt Hull – Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Trombone
Sai Boddupalli – Sound Design, Programming, Synth Bass (Tracks 2, 4-6, 8), Bass Guitar (Track 3)