Music for the masses: Cramebroolay and Killstreak Katie
By Rory Noble
Stepping out of one’s comfort zone and experiencing new things in life can be difficult, especially with music. Musical taste is something often ingrained from childhood. However, experiencing new music can be an interesting and exciting experience.
Two more local artists have made their music available on CD and online recently. Cramebroolay mixes and creates different beats to highlight his raps about life as a college student and human being. Local punk/metalcore band Killstreak Katie recently released five new tracks online. Their first demo highlights rapid-fire rhythm guitar work with solid vocals about love, insecurity and life as they see it.
I’ll be the first to admit that I am not a huge hip-hop fan. There are some songs I like, but far too often, I just hear sampled music from some old 1970’s hit. The words have nothing to do with the original and are often censored every few words. Where is the imagination and creativity in that?
Steven Cramer is the mastermind behind Cramebroolay. The music on his first offering isn’t quite the kind of stuff you would play at a family reunion, but it also doesn’t cross the censorship line too often.
The beats are catchy and the mixes sound good. Cramer doesn’t just slap together random music with a beat and then try to fit his words in. He pieces together each component to find just the sound he wants. This project has taken him more than a year to complete, and his production values show in the finished product. I’ve heard worse production from professionals.
“So Be It” is a song about not caring about what others think of you, regardless of mistakes you have made. “Chillin’” is all about relaxing with friends and doing whatever it is your do to relax. These seem to be underlying themes for Cramebroolay; just relax, be yourself and enjoy the moment.
My favorite track on the CD is “Bottom Shelf.” It’s all about wanting to live the “top shelf” life and buy the best things you can, but having a budget that only allows you to buy the cheaper things. Cramer said this is about trying to live on a college student’s budget, but most people out there in the world of the working stiff can relate to this song as well. The line “I’m nommin’ on Top Ramen” hits home for more than just college students.
The title track is probably the heaviest produced track here, but it is well worth the effort put into it. To me it sounds like a mix between garage band practice and recording studio sessions. There’s a lot going on in this one, so take the time to listen to it more than once.
Listen at http://www.reverbnation.com/cramebroolay.
Killstreak Katie-Inventing the Third Wheel
Closer to my musical tastes is heavy metal, hard rock and punk. I’ve been listening to bands like Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin, The Clash and Devo since I was a teenager. Killstreak Katie has elements of punk, heavy metal, thrash and electronica in just the right proportions to make things interesting musically.
Don’t let the opening track “A Proper Introduction” fool you; the band really takes off with the second track, “Rolling Stop,” and doesn’t really let up off the gas pedal until the final notes of “Mildly Wine’d.”
The CD would probably come with a mild parental advisory from a few “f-bombs” here and there, but they fit with the emotion of the other lyrics and the music so well that they don’t seem gratuitous in any way. Overall, the lyrics are what you would expect from punk/metal: kind of raw, emotional and straight to the point.
“Rolling Stop” is more punk/pop than metal. The piece might be considered the showcase for Liam Macauley as he does vocal work, plays guitar, bass and creates the drum loops as well. At the core of it all, this is a relationship song, as are so many songs. “I’m out of breath, I’m out of step, I can’t get used to open endings” is definitely relatable to some people as they enter into new relationships and are unsure of where it all might be heading.
“Mildly Wine’d” closes out the demo and is probably the best mixture of punk/pop/metalcore from the band. Macauley’s soft lead vocals juxtaposed with guttural yells throughout the song make it an interesting and enjoyable experience. If anything, the guitars could have been louder to make it sound even more raw and punk-like.
As odd as the title seems, “Banana Chocolate Smoothie” is a beautiful acoustic balled reminiscent of Green Day’s “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life).” It carries some interesting lyrical phrases, such as “I long to hold you in a pillow fort made for two” and “I feel like slush, but some people are worth melting for.” This song more than any of the others makes me believe that Griffin Fleming and the rest of the band are ones to watch in the La Grande music scene.
Listen at http://killstreakkatie.bandcamp.com/.