Who Should Buy This: Indie Rockers, introverts, thinkers, people who appreciate American classics, southern-influence, and anyone who’s ever felt hurt and hope.
Album: Good Grief EP
Artist: China Gate
Genre: folk, indie, rock
Music Rating: 9/10
Lyrics Rating: 9/10
Sounds Like: Bright Eyes, The Head and The Heart, Wilco
Best thing About this Album: The way that each individual instrumental sound is given its own space to shine without fighting for the spotlight.
One thing I wish was different: The music didn’t initially grip me. I knew it was special, and so I gave it time and it grew on me very quickly. Nonetheless, I do have to acquiesce that the vocals in particular, are not what I’d normally go for.
Website: China Gate bandcamp
With a title like “Good Grief”, you can imagine the depths that are explored with some heavy themes and a pointed juxtaposition of acceptance and hope within moments of despair.
What you probably could not anticipate is the carefully crafted, eclectic combination of interesting instrumentation that is both familiar to modern indie rock and evocative of older American classics. The musical influence on this EP has a wonderfully wide range, and manages to balance several distinct instrumental voices while maintaining cohesion throughout. Furthermore, each musical voicing has depth and diversity. There is not just one piano sound on this EP. There is not one guitar sound. There are horns. There are strings. Each sound is shown respect, and it all comes together quite beautifully.
That being said, the lyrics are not to be overlooked! They mirror the depth of the music and help to guide progression of the EP. Just for fun, here are some of my favorite lines from each track to give you a lyrical sample of the EP:
“Keep me from myself. Cover me in someone else. I’ll be new tomorrow.” — Good Grief
“The worst was over, but it starts over.” — It’s a Wonderful Life
“I’m not alright, but not for long.” — Covered In Flames
“I only feel I’m alive when I remember the day I died.” — Carry It Anyway
Are you hooked? If you want a chance to win a digital copy of this EP, head on over to YouTube and comment for a chance to win! (A random commenter will be selected a week from today, and contacted w/ a link to download the music.)
Alternately, you can support China Gate by purchasing the album from their website or on your favorite digital music store (iTunes, Apple Music, Google Play, Amazon, etc.)