Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.
There’s a reason every post on this website has that disclaimer above. Every week, I get artists angry that I wrote critically about their music. I stress that it is my job, though, but many see the Independent Spotlight as a place to publicize. That may be true, to an extent, but it’s first and foremost a place to grow and improve, and thus, I was so refreshed when Weapons of Minor Disruption approached me with the right mentality, requesting an honest review, not a sales pitch. I love that. Fortunately, his new effort, ‘The Shoreline Sessions,’ is worth a fair share of praise. Let’s get into it.
Weapons of Minor Disruption, an effort that’s clearly a moniker for a one-man endeavor, is an acoustic singer-songwriter type deal, one that a supporting a fan describes as “a challenging listen - in a good way.” I think that analysis is fairly apt, but I do think the opening of ‘The Shoreline Sessions’ is very accessible, the slow-moving, monotone ‘Along the Spiral.’ Weapons of Minor Disruption, whom I will refer to as WoMD from here on out, croons in a fairly flat voice. Typically, I’d cringe at it. But, it’s part of his personality here, and I dig it.
‘A Live One’ exhibits some interesting back and forth between some acoustic percussion, reverberated sound effects, and an acoustic guitar. It’s a tad grungy, actually, and WoMD’s monotonous vocals are, again, effective. This is really the territory that becomes ‘challenging.’ It’s not as accessible as its predecessor, but ‘A Live One’ does exude potential if you sit down and really absorb what WoMD is crafting throughout. It reminds me a bit of the demos we heard earlier this year in the HBO documentary, ‘Montage of Heck.’ (The film on Kurt Cobain. He had an affinity for soft, flat droning, too.)
‘Anthem’ sheds that soft-spoken croon for a more angsty vocal endeavor. The instrumentation is the defining highlight of the song, with the new vocal style somewhat harsh and unwelcoming. “One long chorus we will not obey,” WoMD proclaims over a building soundscape. I would have loved to have seen this track truly explode - it rises and builds throughout, but never seems to deliver that notion. It continues to hint at it and fades back instead of reaching that final level.
‘Ash’ plays with some panning to varied success - the bass on the right side of the mix is far too loud. The vocal style, however, is a wonderful medium between the two established styles on the record. The furthered experimentation with sound effects and a synthesizer is immensely rewarding, too, creating one of the most captivating experiences on the album. ‘The Safe Notes’ continues WoMD’s descent into madness, truly capitalizing on the acoustic musings of the record. It’s an excellent tune.
This isn’t the easiest music to immediately pick up and listen to, but as that fan accurately analyzed, it is content that is worthwhile once you do sit down with it. It’s a fantastical effort chock-full of potential; go listen to it below and it’ll be available everywhere January 8.