Now Hear This

Reviews of recent albums by Guy Capecelatro III, Superdude, and Mara Flynn

“The Smallest Darkest Things” by Guy Capecelatro III
Burst & Bloom Records

The Smallest Darkest Things by Guy Capecelatro III

It takes a special type of sound to accurately capture the mood of a time period. Guy Capecelatro III’s latest album, “The Smallest Darkest Things,” is a soundtrack for those hours between dusk and the last few minutes before sunrise. The nocturnal vibe of each track on the seven-song album creates a solemnity and sorrow that make it GCIII’s most melancholic effort to date.

Capecelatro sings like a tamer Ben Gibbard, a beautiful melodist with far more reserved annunciations. His touching tales of nighttime scenes carry along the sorrowful melodies, like Raymond Carver short stories set to indie-rock music. “February Rain follows his narration through a damp journey back to an empty apartment where a lover has moved out and he has no idea why. The fourth track, the poignant “Holloway,” sketches the tragic story of a boy the narrator used to know, and the struggle we feel when we want to help people who have it worse than us whenever we are at our most vulnerable.

The final track, a tearjerker titled “How To Begin (for Dave Lamb),” is an ode to a friend who has passed away. Lamb’s presence is felt throughout the album; Capecelatro covers “This Mountain Road,“ by Lamb’s former band Brown Bird, and he is thanked in the liner notes. But the most fitting tribute is the album’s closer, a subtle yet powerfully emotional tune. Layered with both mournfulness and hope, “How To Begin closes this masterful album with the lyrics, “shine the light on the smallest darkest things / with your voice, with words, and with strings / I’ve got to learn how to begin.

This touching tribute — and the last line especially — is immortalized in the way that only universal truths can be. In dark times like these, it’s a line you can sing to yourself and relate to its sadness, and remind yourself that the smallest, darkest things always see the light, in time.

For more on the album, click here.

“Supermoon by Superdude

Supermoon by Superdude

For those looking for something a little more high energy (but still pretty emotional), direct your attention toward the post-punk torchbearers Superdude. The duo released their debut album, “Supermoon, two years after it was all recorded, although nothing about this record sounds discounted or phoned in. Jackson Waldron and Andrew Paolini have joined forces to harness the power of hometown math-rock heros Comma in a more lofty post-hardcore group that fuses highbrow progressive rock with lowbrow punk.

The band’s sound strives to create its identity solely through its instrumentation. Even without words and lyrics, the band’s ability to generate emotion through chord progressions is unmatched by most other local groups, as demonstrated clearly on songs like “King Tide and “Dragonlady.” The album also comes with its fair share of sonic diversity. “Big Blue has the dancy, post-punk feel of the Minutemen if they ever decided to use a distortion pedal. “Scripture bursts with the funky evil of alternative metal, and the album’s title track harnesses ambitious indie rock with just a teardrop of emo.

As the foggy, mysterious cover art suggests, Superdude consistently presents itself as an enigma. Their breakneck time signature flips and broad spectrum of genres blend together to create their unique sound. With any luck, we won’t have to wait until the next supermoon before we get to hear the sequel to “Supermoon.”

Give it a listen here.

“Good Hands by Mara Flynn
Burst & Bloom Records

By now, whichever side of this warped political spectrum you’re on, odds are you’re sick of talking about the recent election. Regardless, the turn of every election season is ripe for a new crop of protest songs. Generally, when one thinks of protest songs, genres like punk, folk, and country come to mind. But Mara Flynn’s vehicle for social commentary hides beneath a soft, singer-songwriter vibe, like something you would play on a first date.

Flynn’s third album, “Good Hands, is a river of smooth, comfortable, indie folk carrying a powerful message: Life is hard. This message lives in songs like the title track, which begs listeners to “open (their) hearts / even when it’s broke,” as well as the album’s top highlight, “Half Mast, which reports on the difficulty of escaping a modern world that seems to offer nothing but bad news.

Although the album touches on what seems like ubiquitous negativity surrounding our society, it’s delivered with music that inspires hope. Flynn conveys her message with a warm, catchy accessibility like that of Norah Jones. While some songs, like “Mother’s Day, come across as emotionally intense, Flynn creates a great balance with fun, folky songs like “Granny Smith,” probably the first apple pie recipe written to a tune.

Flynn’s folkiness toes the line of country, which seems fitting. The album plays as a whole, heavy heart. This could be therapy. We all need it sometimes, after all.

Check out Good Hands here.