Skip to main content

INDEPENDENT ALBUM RELEASE: Robertas Semeniukas, "Backstage Stories"


Robertas Semeniukas’ new album Backstage Stories is a 20-track tour de force of grandiose, crunching guitars occasionally accented by his Lithuanian vocals, delivered rapid-fire on the opening track, “Kai nieko nebelieka,” as if he’s rapping. During certain points he snarls his lyrics with such emotion that not being able to understand him is actually a little frustrating. You have no idea what he’s singing, but he certainly seems to mean it. 

Google Translate helps with the titles at least. The second track is a pleasing, softer standout number that includes (as many do) a duet with a female singer. It’s entitled “Nesustok,” which means “Don’t Stop.” “Kai Tu Sugrisi I Namus,” another melody-heavy duet, is translated into “When I Return You Home.” The songs titled in English are predictably instrumentals. The best of these is “Flying High (S.V.J.S.),” a showcase for Semeniukas’ nimble fret-hammering. (To be exact, only 8 of the songs have vocals.) 

An album titled Backstage Stories might bring to mind the depraved misadventures of a drugged-out rock star, but these songs are too well-crafted to come from anything so chaotic. The best of the bunch are the thrusting “Per bangas” (“Through the Waves”), the forlorn “Journey Home,” and the thunder-stomp of “Eat My Dust” (featuring Mr. Jumbo.) The kaleidoscopic music video of dueling electric guitars superimposed over flames and abstract graphics is included below.     

Semeniukas considers himself a composer, producer, arranger, guitarist and singer all-in-one. Listening to the ambitiously polished jams on Backstage Stories makes this more than believable. He’s collaborated with numerous other famous musicians, composers, and producers, both Lithuanian and otherwise. Apart from performing in large arenas in his native country, he’s also frequently takes part in musical projects for television. He’s performed at music festivals across North America, Scandinavia, and even Russia.

However, stepping out into your own spotlight can still be the scariest place to find yourself. Semeniukas takes inspiration from many while attempting to remain unique. He elaborates: “As a musician and guitarist I used to play and record with the different bands and artists for many years…It took me many years to finally pursue recording a solo album, which would have plenty of guitar compositions and my vocals could be heard. For this album I was inspired by my guitar heroes: Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Jeff Beck, Slash, Guns N'Roses, Queen, Metallica, Van Halen, Led Zeppelin and many others.”  

Living up to that roster should be no problem at all. Backstage Stories is a good place to start.

BUY THE ALBUM BY CLICKING BELOW:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

INDEPENDENT EP RELEASE: CarnyMusic, “CarnyMusic”

Mike Carnahan’s “CarnyMusic” is a solo project from the lead singer of The Green Door, which also happens to be the name of a cannabis store in San Francisco, Carnahan’s hometown. Not sure why I’m pointing this out, except that it just seems to fit. The Green Door are one of those trippy, Cali groove bands, same as Swell or even The Grateful Dead, whose tunes go best with bong hits. I love heady music, so I’m excited to hear Carnahan’s new EP, expecting the same sonic experimentation and strong lyrics.
The release begins with the sad acoustic number “Riptide,” which lets me know right away this going to be a more mournful and contemplative endeavor from what Carnahan has released previously. “It’s hard to stay long,” he sings, “when I’m just hanging on.” Uh-oh, what happened? However, the slow-strummed acoustic guitar does make a nice compliment to Carnahan’s sometimes unsteady voice. 
The folk feeling continues with “Beetle in the Sand,” my favorite. It's about wanting protection f…

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Elise Hayes, “Giving Up”

“You never wanted me to get that tattoo,” sings Nashville recording artist Elise Hayes. “I’m going to get that tattoo.”
This the start to her new single “Giving Up,” (co-written with Johnny Mo) which is about not giving up, an ode to post-relationship defiance. There is freedom in being your own person again, even if you were the one dumped.
The music itself is a tapestry of sorts: sonic styles patchworked together into a compact yet pleasing mix. Pounding drums and sitar give way to softer guitar, then back to drums, which sometimes beat rapidly as a door knock. A wake up call. The song often stops and starts as if her thoughts are coming to her in jagged fits as she’s singing them.
“You never wanted me to have that haircut / Well, now I do…”  
It’s a hard style to pull off but Hayes does it effortlessly. She is a strong singer/songwriter, doubtlessly helped in her confidence from being featured in TV shows, such as “Grey’s Anatomy,” MTV’s “Siesta Key,” and others  She has also written s…

INDEPENDENT SONG RELEASE: Ethos, “V: Parents”

Ethos is the stage name for Alex Hlavna, a 19-year veteran of the Cleveland, Ohio music scene where he played guitar, bass, and drums on numerous recordings. He has now released his own song entitled “V: Parents” from his new album Ten Commandments. The V is the Roman numeral for 5, as in the 5th Commandment: “Honor thy father and thy mother.” 

Each track on the album is titled this way, named after a commandment. Is this some type of “religious rap” or is Ethos being metaphoric? The actual definition of “ethos” is “the characteristic spirit of a culture, era, or community as manifested in its beliefs and aspirations.” Judging from such a moniker and from statements he’s made in interviews, it seems his goal is more about making observations, rather than instructing us that “thou shalt not whatever.” It’s a more provocative approach.

The song is a funk-bassline over an electronic beat and soft synths. Meanwhile Ethos’ voice is anything but soft as he raps about honoring your parent, yet…