Band/Artist Profile

Nordista Freeze: Artist Profile

Nordista Freeze is a psychedelic pop rock project and persona by singer, songwriter and tambourinist– Freeze.

His discography is defined by whimsical love songs and smooth ballads reminiscent of 60s pop tunes. However behind these gentle songs is a dramatic, high energy performer made for the stage.


Taking a look at his recorded discography, his most recent album “Big Sky Pipe Dream” is refreshingly sweet.

“Wysteria” is one of my favorite tracks off the album. Nordista Freeze creates a feeling of weightlessness in his songs. “Wysteria” in particular is a great example of the vocal and musical style Freeze has accomplished– airy, light and mystical.

The characteristics of 60s pop unite “Big Sky Pipe Dream”. However, this influence is relatively new in his work.

In his 2017 album “Cosmis Haus”, there is a greater presence of 90s pop-rock influences.

Track “Florida” off “Cosmis Haus” is bolder and a little more rustic– and captures the energy of his early work.

Something that is missing from “Big Sky Pipe Dream” is a slower, more sentimental track. “Good Time” demonstrates Freeze’s ability to slow it down and reflect beautifully.

I really admire Freeze’s ability to tie together high and low energy into his work– while still maintaining a bit of goofiness and otherworldly pop energy.

With each release his persona and sound continues to get more confident and bold.

The Narrative

One aspect that really pulled me into his music is the narrative he have built around his music.

In his artist bio on Spotify, this story is outlined best:

“A flaming blue orb came flying out of the sky and smashed into the earth, and there, lying sprawled in the crater, was a man wearing only his underwear with a tambourine in his hand. He rose to his knees and took off running over the rim of the crater and into the distance yelling ‘Na Na’. Where did he come from?”

Freeze has created a narrative of supernatural, time warping events that creates his music. It’s silly, goofy and set the foundation to his on-stage and off-stage presence.

Music has the power to redefine and reinvent the creators. In may ways Nordista Freeze and his music are one entity– and the two come alive in live performance.

Live Shows

I had the pleasure of seeing Nordista Freeze open for flipturn during their 2022 Shadowglow tour.

I was so excited to see flipturn and did not expect much from an opener– but I walked away that night amazed most by Nordista Freeze.

In my experience, openers typically give a solid performance but nothing over the top. The audience may dance a little and get warmed up, but I have never seen an audience mosh to an opener until Nordista Freeze.

What makes this even more remarkable is that his recorded work does not allude to his remarkable, chaotic stage energy at all.

Nordista Freeze opened as if he was the main event– and succeeded brilliantly.

It is clear he cares deeply about connecting with the audience, and Freeze goes above and beyond to ensure everyone walks away associating his music with a good time.

In an interview with SCAD Radio, Freeze elaborates on his goals as a performer,

 “There are two goals, the internal one to make the art I want to make, which can be dissonant or cooperative with my secondary goal of interacting with a crowd and creating an engagement where people leave with good memories”

Freeze provides an infectiously excited energy to his shows. His recorded work simply does not convey the same level of radiating adrenaline and unbridled passion in comparison to live performance.

One of the elements I loved about his performance is the live vocal mixing and editing. As seen in this recorded performance, Freeze amplifies and adds to his songs throughout his live performances.

This love for live performance is prevalent in his booking history. As outlined in his artist bio:

“The Nashville psych-pop artist is such a prolific performer that, as of the beginning of May 2021, he boasted 516 live shows since 2016 — a rate of one every three nights for almost five years”

Concluding Thoughts

Nordista Freeze is a talented performer how brings a refreshing silliness and sweetness to the music industry.

I am excited to see how his work grows and matures through his career– and I’m looking forward to where his live performances take him next.

Band/Artist Profile Concert Preview

Phoneboy Concert Preview

Phoneboy is a three piece indie pop band from New Jersey. 

Their discography is toe tapping and inescapably danceable. High energy and radiantly positive, this band provide a youthful optimism to the music world. 

With much enthusiasm, Phoneboy is currently on tour and is coming to North Carolina on Tuesday Mar. 28 at Cat’s Cradle Back Room. Tickets are currently being sold for $18. For more show information and tickets, you can visit the Cat’s Cradle website.

Brief History and Successes

Emerging in 2018, this band was an instant internet success. In an interview with The Stute Magazine, band member Ricky Dana recalls the release day of their first single “Acid Girl”,

“I remember looking at my Instagram stories and seeing the whole thing was the color of pink and red because everyone was posting it. It was crazy. Friends from home, people from our fraternity. If we didn’t have that support, it wouldn’t have gone anywhere or gotten that exposure at all,”

gloss red mannequin in white sweatshirt with red background
“Acid Girl” single cover art by Phoneboy

From their immediate success, they have continued to gain traction. Their 2021 self-titled album “Phoneboy” greatly contributed to their momentum.

Tracks “1987”, “Hey, Kid!” and “Nevermind (feat. Justin Magnaye)” are just three of the many popular songs off the release. It is easy to hear why Phoneboy is such an immediate success– from one listen there is an instant feeling of positivity.

Phoneboy makes music that sounds like candy. It is sweet, stark and begs for another listen. This is especially apparent in track “1987”, it’s incredibly wholesome and bright. From backing guitar, drums and lyrics, this song effortlessly evokes a feeling of a happy summer day.

The positive energy heard throughout their discography will undoubtedly seep onto the stage.

Latest Releases

In their latest singles, “Ferrari” and “Runaway”, they hold onto a childlike, careless energy.

In an interview with Sweety High Magazine Phoneboy elaborates on the inspiration for the newest releases:

“‘Ferrari’ represents the lack of responsibility we had when we were teenagers, and how much we took that freedom for granted. We hope any kids that are transitioning into adulthood and feel like they’re drowning can listen to this track and feel a little bit less alone.”

In many ways this theme of childhood and freedom connects their entire discography. To be in the moment without impeding responsibilities.

“Ferrari” Music Video by Phoneboy

Although much of their discography has genuine themes and deeper meanings– It’s clear they don’t take themselves too seriously and they have a good time making their music.

They make music to evoke a good time away from the stress and screens of daily life, and they succeed in this goal without any bells or whistles.

“Runaway” Music Video by Phoneboy

This carefree energy is very clear in their newest music videos and cover art. I’m excited to see how the personalities seen in the videos and heard in the music translate to a live stage.

Concluding Thoughts

It goes without saying the Phoneboy concert will have fun, positive energy.

The core purpose of their music is to encourage the listener to be in the moment and live a little more carefree– I am excited to see and hear how they promote this purpose on stage.

Regardless, it will be a great event to get away from attention hording phones and dance the night away. See you at the show.

Band/Artist Profile

Wombo: Artist Profile

Wombo is a psychedelic and indie rock band from Louisville Kentucky.

The trio, Sydney Chadwick, Cameron Lowe and Joel Taylor, take inspiration from rural and agricultural landscapes of their hometown. Their music is liminal, mystic and fluid.

Vocals by Sydney Chadwick are understated and mellow, bringing a relaxed continuity to all of their releases.

Fairy Rust & Selected Demos

Their newest release, “Fairy Rust & Selected Demos” focuses on a theme of escapism– from rural landscapes to distant fairy tales. There is a fantastic balance of mundane and unreal in this release both in theme and execution.

The explorative nature of their discography is really enjoyable to experience. They have some really solid rock tracks but actively dip into unknown genres with success.

“Jazz Wombo” is one of my favorites off the release. It’s classy, mellow and zesty. It holds to the escapism theme through a clear shift in technique compared to the rest of the album.

A great staple of the album is track “Backflip.” The backbone is a rhythmic guitar line– smoothly building to a whimsical vocals and bass line.

There are lots of tracks that play with the element of layering and time. “Backflip” is very successful bringing different techniques and themes seen throughout the album together.

There are so many gems in this release. When listening to past work it amplifies the strength of “Fairy Rust”.

“Staring at Trees” cover art by Wombo

Staring at Trees

In their debut album “Staring at Trees”, it has a much bolder application of Sydney Chadwick’s vocals. With this boldness there is corresponding heavier guitar and drum lines.

“Hex” is a joy to listen to after hearing the vocal work in “Fairy Rust & Selected Demos”. The adaptation in sound from 2017 to 2023 is quite astonishing. I find both approaches to be pleasant, but create quite the juxtaposition.

“Staring at Trees” has a fond place in my heart. It’s rustic, unapologetic and contradicts the lightness in their most recent releases.

However, one aspect I really love about their current sound is it’s understated, simple and humble tone.

In an interview with Melted Magazine, Sydney Chadwick elaborated on her simplistic approach in the latest album,

“I really enjoy songs from childhood and fairy tales, the melodies, there’s something so simple about them but so impactful. I really like when something can be so simple and seem like somebody didn’t really try… there’s something touching and simple about it. I really like to approach melodies in that way”.

“Staring at Trees” in contrast does not have this simple quality. The album sounds a little bit like they are throwing paint at the wall and seeing what works. There is nothing wrong with exploration and boldness– but it held insecurity in their sound.

Seeing the evolution of Wombo through their releases is fulfilling, fun and highly enjoyable.

“Dreamsickle” Single cover art by Wombo


Their most popular track, “Dreamsickle” is a great taste of the lyrical style of Wombo.

“And if you could see inside my mind there’s nothing there
But the images from the night give me no words
Looking back on when I thought I was a bird
I was looking at the ground to find a worm”

The writing through their releases is strong and surreal.

The dreamlike qualities of their music in both lyrics and sound make their entire discography extremely digestible.

Wombo simply makes great music to decompress to while holding interest. Both dreamlike and bold– this band has a lot of creative power and potential.

Concert Preview Local Music

Upcoming Local Shows for March

Chatham County Line

When: Friday Mar. 3. Doors open 7pm, Show 8pm

Where: Cat’s Cradle, Carrboro, NC

Price: $20/$25

Chatham County Line is a local North Carolinian bluegrass band. This group blends characteristic native North Carolina bluegrass with soothing song writing and honest lyrics. Their sound is greatly inspired by the work of Neil Young and Gram Parsons– melding sweet guitar, mellow vocals, and rustic notes of harmonica and banjo picking.

Soul Glo

When: Saturday Mar. 4. Doors open 7pm, Show 8pm

Where: Cat’s Cradle Backroom, Carrboro, NC

Price: $17

Soul Glo is a hardcore punk and screamo band from Philadelphia. High energy, loud, and infused with political frustration, this band will undoubtedly put on an entertaining, heavy show. Soul Glo blends elements from screamo, punk, hip-hop and rap. Tracks such as “Driponomics” and “Coming Correct Is Cheaper” are great examples of the versatility and power this trio brings to their music.

Included in the show are performances from three openers: Cloud Rat, Backslider and Overgrown Throne.

The French Cassettes

When: Monday Mar. 6. Doors open 7pm. Show 8pm.

Where: The Pour House Music Hall and Record Shop, Raliegh NC

Price: $12-$15

The French Cassettes are an indie pop band from San Francisco. Their discography is filled with high energy tracks that evoke positivity and movement. Songs such as “Santa Cruz Tomorrow” and “Utah” demonstrate the richness this band brings to the indie pop genre. Their songs are anything but flat. The care and consideration that went into layering and building each track is prominent. The richness and high energy of their songs will provide for a great show.

Opener, Tino Drima, will add to the fun and light energy of this show. Tino Drima brings a dash of retro funk into the pop-rock genre. Together these bands will perform a fun, funky, crowd-pleasing show.

Sweet Pill

When: Saturday Mar.11. Doors 8pm, Show 9pm

Where: Local 506 Chapel Hill, NC

Price: $15

Sweet Pill is an emo punk band from Philadelphia. Their most recent album, “Where the Heart Is”, is characterized by bold vocals, complex guitar lines and unapologetically emo lyrics. Lead singer, Zayna Youssef, has a powerful voice that resonates energy from fellow emo-punk singer, Haley Williams. Sweet Pill is upbeat and bold– their performance will be energizing.

Opener Their / They’re / There holds a similar emo energy but takes a more indie rock approach. This is a great pairing of bands. Their / They’re / There will be an exciting, energetic opener and will transition beautifully to the heavier notes of Sweet Pill.


When: Monday Mar. 13. Doors open 7pm, Show 8pm

Where: Cat’s Cradle Backroom Carrboro, NC

Price: $15/$18

Runnner is a folk, indie project by singer-songwriter Noah Weinmann. In his discography he has a collection of soft hits including “Ur Name on a Grain of Rice” and “Vines to Make it All Worth It”. His sound is gentle, refreshing and pleasant. The show will most certainly bring a meditative mood to Cat’s Cradle Stage.

Opener, waveform*, follows suit with a soft, pleasant indie sound with more of a moody and melancholy tone. Tracks “Favorite Song” and “makeup” by waveform* are great examples of the types of sound that may be heard at the concert.

New Album Review

“Norm” by Andy Shauf Album Review

Andy Shauf is a Canadian singer, songwriter who is known for his storytelling-oriented discography.

In his past work he has fabricated a world of his own, following a list of different characters, social situations and stories. If you are interested in reading more about his past discography, read my Artist Profile of him.

His newest album “Norm” follows the morally questionable actions and intentions of Norm as his pursues his love.

As seen in some of his other releases, Andy Shauf ties in themes of high powers. Past releases such as “Satan” and “Alexander All Alone” have placed God and the devil as passive players in the stories of each character. However, in “Norm” this theme takes root at the core of the album.

Typically throughout Andy Shauf’s work each character has represented an internal struggle, memory of emotion within the singer songwriter himself.

When I attended Andy Shauf’s concert at the Cat’s Cradle early 2022, one of the fellow audience members yelled out between sets: “Who’s Judy?”, one of the most prominent characters in Andy’s past albums “Wilds” and “The Neon Skyline”. In response Andy replied simply with “Me”.

“Norm” takes a different approach. The story unfolds through the perspectives of Norm and God himself. In an interview with Vanity Fair Andy Shauf states:

“There’s multiple perspectives to the story. There’s the God perspective, there’s Norm, there’s another character. It’s a bit of a puzzle, but there’s still a lot of space in it where I don’t really spell out what happens. In the end, I think if you listen closely, you’re gonna get pretty close to an understanding. If you are purely listening to it for the enjoyment of the music, you’re not gonna catch any of that.”

One component I love about his music is the whimsical, indirect, mysterious nature of his lyrics. There are many interpretations to be made. “Norm” provides music that is deeply driven my storytelling with variety and mystery that begs for another listen.

Song and Lyric Highlights

“Norm”, the namesake track off the album is subtle, melodic, and introduces a new thematic boldness to his discography. Andy Shauf has so much control over his lyrics. He adds the perfect amount of description to create a vivid story without overwhelming the listener.

Particularly in the dialog between Norm and the Godlike voice in this track, there is so much beautiful subtly:

“And when the television’s silent
I speak into his dream
‘Stop these wicked ways
And I will lead you to
The promised land”

Following with “Halloween Store”, this song combines joyful pop with eerie illusion. Andy gives us some of his best lycris yet. Andy molds the awkwardness and minutia of daily life into compelling, graceful music:

“I wondered if I’d locked the house
Walked back and found that I hadn’t
But now my keys were in the car
Walked to the car, pulled the handle
And it snapped back, at least I’d locked one door”

This song is one of the best examples of character building within his discography. The back track gives the song such innocent optimism, but the lyrics and vocal work gives the song an underlying darkness. It is a great demonstration of Norm as a character and the world he lives in.

“Sunset” continues some of the innocence heard in “Halloween Store”, but slowly reveals the true intentions of Norm under a sweet and loving musical facade.

“You get quiet, you are scared
Just watching the sunset
And I’m letting you know
Just how long I’ve loved you for”

Each and every song off this album has such depth. If you are interested in learning more about some of Andy’s intentions and stories behind each track, Andy Shuaf had an interview with Sterogum that perfectly walks through each track.

I’m looking forward to hearing more from Andy Shauf. If you are interested in seeing him live, he will be touring to the Haw River Ballroom in Saxapahaw, NC. Tickets and show information can be found here.


Omori: Soundtrack Review

Omori is an astounding visual and listening experience. Released in 2020 after over six years of development, this sweet and dark role-playing video game quickly won the hearts of players.

The game follows the story of a young boy named Sunny and his dreamworld counterpart Omori. Throughout the game it reveals childhood memories between him and his friends, and the dark histories that lead them to the current day.

This game presents its story with elegance and care with a stunning and diverse soundtrack to match.

Game Overview and Themes

The game opens up in the world of whitespace– the divide between Sunny and Omori’s worlds. Blank and isolated, whitespace gives the player a moment of reflection and pause before entering and reentering the story.

The player is then introduced to the world of Omori. Which is bright, colorful and surrounded by loving friends and cute enemies. Throughout this side of the game, Omori faces his greatest fears with his friends by his side.

Omori’s soundtrack is light, airy and playful. It really leans into childhood nostalgia and curiosity.

Meanwhile Sunny’s world is grim, lonely, and lost. In the real world the divide between his friends is great. This side of the game is spent trying to mend the connections between him and his friends before Sunny moves away from his childhood home in three days.

Sunny’s soundtrack is mundane and grey. Both the sound and graphic design in this world captures emotions of uncertainty, fear, and regret unlike any other content I have experienced.

Went growing up, there is often times a wish to go back to the simpler days of childhood. Omori is a game that captures this unspoken emotion beautifully.

The juxtaposition between Sunny in the current world and Omori in a childhood state is the foundation of the game– the soundtrack follows suit with explorative, dynamic contrast.

A Deep Dive into the Soundtrack

Starting off with the opening track “White Space”, this is a simple, clean start to the experience. It gives no clues to the musical themes to come. It takes on a very classic 8-bit videogame sound. I think this track is a great, simple start to such a complex web of themes and experiences in Omori.

Dreamworld Soundtrack

Looking at some of the tracks in Omori’s dream world, some of my favorites include “By Your Side.”, “Three Bar Logos” and “Chaos Assembly”.

“By Your Side.” is a sweet, delicate tune played when interacting with Omori’s sister Mari. Without flare or complexity, this song captures emotions of comfort and security.

It is easy to hear and see how much detail and care went into the production of this game. Each track has a purpose and emotion tied to it. The soundtrack holds such a complex variety of feelings in relatively simple sounds.

Another great example of this is “Three Bar Logos”. This one is played in special combat sequences and really captures feelings of fun and teamwork.

Most of the combat in the game is done in a team of four: Omori and his three friends Hero, Aubrey and Kel.

The player has to utilized each of their unique abilities to juggle between three emotion types: happy, sad and angry. I think all of the combat tracks do a great job of making combat interesting and support the theme of teamwork immensely.

“Chaos Assembly” is another great example of this. It ties in themes of upbeat teamwork with the underlying fear of combat. It pulls background from some of the darker tracks in the album that I will discuss more below.

Real World Soundtrack

Taking a look at some of the tracks in Sunny’s Realm, some of my distinct favorites are “Where We Used to Play”, “I Prefer My Pizza 90% Grease” and “Just Leave Me Alone”.

I am simply in love with “Where We Used to Play”. This track plays when walking around the hometown and childhood park of Sunny.

Although this track is just simple piano and delicate recorder, I think it is one of the best tracks on the soundtrack because it brings innate nostalgia to the listener. Especially in the context of Sunny’s world, this track is perfect.

“I Prefer My Pizza 90% Grease” is a joyful pocket in the midst of Sunny’s world. This track plays in Kel’s favorite pizza restaurant. It is a refreshing upbeat tune in the overarching uncertainty of Sunny’s world.

“Just Leave Me Alone” is one of the must distinct on the album.

I would define this 40 second track as a fusion of metal, hard rock and electronic grunge. It is loud and boisterous. It evokes feelings of unbridled frustration and chaotic fear, which is perfect for the context in the game. I won’t go into the context because it contains a minor spoiler, but this is a moment where the soundtrack truly shines. It makes a great moment in the story into something spectacular.

Alone Soundtrack

There are moments in the game where Omori is completely isolated from his friends, whitespace, dreamworld and real world. These moments are when he is confronting great fears or making a profound discovery.

This is where the soundtrack really shines.

“Acrophobia”, “Arachnophobia” and “Fade” are indescribably eerie. All three use simple sound techniques to build an inescapable atmosphere of isolation and fear.

They are each so distinct from any of the other tracks in the game and they appear at unexcepted moments throughout the experience.

These soundtracks are so desolate and dark that it innately makes the player miss the sounds and sights in both the dreamworld and real world.


Omori is an extraordinary video game experience with thoughtful creation and deliberate soundtrack.

In this blog I only mentioned a handful of the extraordinary work and dedication that went into making this soundtrack– They created a total of 179 unique tracks totally in at 3 hours and 45 minutes of listening.

In this blog I only discussed on tracks in part one of the Omori soundtrack. If you would like to listen to tracks off part two and part three, you can find them here.

Another component I really appreciated is there are many endings the player can have. It gives decisions made in the game gravity and an incentive to replay once completed.

Also, there is a wide variety of side quests within the game that add a lot of body and diversity to the game play. Omori has so much content and enriching character.

If you are interested in playing Omori, it is available for both the Nintendo Switch and desktop via Steam.

Band/Artist Profile Miscellaneous

Compelling Composers: Storytelling in Soundtracks

The storytelling ability of movie and video game soundtracks is astonishing.

This goes without saying, but there are so many outstanding stories to be told, and music provides us with a conduit for expressing overwise indescribable emotions.

For folks that have experiences tabletop role playing games, soundtracks extend beyond the story they were originally tailored for. Music becomes a backdrop for new stories to be built and new characters to be born.

I have fallen deeply in love with storytelling through music. Entire worlds, atmospheres and moments are fabricated through thoughtful sound design and music.

This care, consideration, and devotion within musical storytelling is demonstrated beautifully through fantasy composers. To highlight some of my favorite stories and soundtracks, I have compiled favorite tracks from three different composers.

Ori and the Will of the Wisps (Original Soundtrack Recording)” cover art by Gareth Coker

Gareth Coker

Gareth Coker has truly mastered the art of soundscapes. Using mystical strings, woodwinds, piano and vocals he invigorates and redefines video game and fantasy soundtracks.

His music is simply smoothing, pensive and mystical.

Some of his projects include Halo Infinity, ARK Genesis and the Ori series. However, the context of these projects is not necessary to appreciate the peaceful ambiance and atmosphere Gareth Coker creates.

I particularly love his work in the Ori albums. These albums are simply musical bliss.

Moody orchestral lines are the backbone of the project. Combined with angelic vocals by Aeralie Brighton, the soundtrack is dynamic and pensive.

“Ori, Lost In the Storm” is a lovely example of the atmospheres he is able to construct.

“Darkwood (Original Video Game Soundtrack)” cover art by Arthur Kordas

Arthur Kordas

Arthur Kordas is the co-developer and composer of Darkwood, a survival horror video game released in 2020.

Although his discography is limited, his work builds an isolated and eerie world like no other.

His work defined by his command of subtly. The soundtrack creates an ambiance rooted in emotions of loneness and fear, making a perfect backdrop for Darkwood.

A lot of soundtracks attempt to make music that is monumental in sound, however Arthur Kordas recognizes the beauty in ambiance.

“Intro” uses sounds found in nature to bring the listener into the world of Darkwood. The subtle rustling of trees fades into deep rhythmic motions shrouded in an unknown tone. Long, building line are prominent throughout his work.

“Piotrek” and “New Dawn” are an excellent example of the power within stillness. Long orchestral beats bring a sense of caution and fear to the listener. As if scared to make the next move, each line is intentional in the path it takes slowly building to tenser moments.

The stillness, patience and atmosphere heard in Darkwood is unlike the work of any other composer.

“MADE IN ABYSS ORGINAL SOUNDTRACK” cover art by Kevin Penkin

Kevin Penkin

Kevin Pankin is the composer of Made in Abyss series. This is a composer that creates monumental sound with a compelling, abstract approach.

He combines heavy, roaring sounds with delicate lightness. The juxtaposition within his discography is distinct.

He provides the listener with a true experience without the context of Made in Abyss. The personalities and childlike curiosity of the characters are evident within the tracks.

The use of orchestral elements is also very unique in his work. Through thoughtful dynamics, placement and composition, Kevin Penkin turns an orchestral piece into an experiential collage.

“Made in Abyss” and “The First Layer” are excellent introductions to his discography. Light and childlike, these gentle tracks subtlety allude to approaching challenges.

Kevin Penkin loves the use of sudden dynamic leaps. “Encounter the Umbra Hands” makes dynamic movements beautifully. Elegant strings are contrasted by big roaring sounds.

In even bolder tracks Kevin Penkin begins to meld vocals into the composition. “The Rumble of Scienitic Triumph” is characterized by its chant like choral melody with a dynamic, thoughtful backing.

The variety of orchestral movements Kevin Penkin makes is astounding. His work exceeds his genre and becomes a musical collage triumph.

Band/Artist Profile

Full Body 2: Band Profile

Full Body 2 an explorative band from Rochester, N.Y. have found their niche tapping into a bold blend of digital rock, shoegaze, and curated electronic chaos.

Composed of Cassidy Rose Hammond, Dylan Vaisey, and Jack Chaffer, this trio created Full Body 2 in 2020 as a one-off project from their former indie-rock band Full Body.  

Full Body 2 provides us with music that encourages creativity. It is motivating and refreshing. They are defined by their unique use of sound collage and abstract vocal work. Full Body 2 is positive, energetic, and undeniably loud. 

Upon the release of “Demo 01” in 2020, their explosive, curated sound took root and the band quickly shifted gears from Full Body into Full Body 2– the once ephemeral project taking ownership of its permanence.

“EPCOT” cover art by Full Body 2

Just a year later, they released the EP “EPCOT” on Nov. 14 2021. In this release they adopted a new identity in both their sound and in the form of the album art. The cover art on “EPCOT” is confident and chaotic, defined by bright neons, digital collage, and dreamlike visuals. This visual intensity supports the renewed boldness within the music. 

Opening track “Diamond Dallas Page” is fragmented, grungy, and loud– setting the foundation for this unique release. The vocals are distinctly distorted and confident.

Controlled distortion is a true talent of Full Body 2. They have truly mastered the art of collaging sounds without the composition turning muddy. 

This skill is demonstrated remarkably in track two, “ador // ation”. The track is wavelike, morphing back and forth between distant vocals and heavy musical madness. Although chaotic and distinctly loud, this band has complete control over their track composition.

What I love most about this band is they provide listeners with a platform for unbridled creativity.

Their music motivates unlike any other in their genre. When I first heard their newest release “demo 02”, I almost immediately felt an urge to create and draw. Although this motivating energy may not be felt by everyone, it was extremely potent in my scenario. 

“demo 02” cover art by Full Body 2

This energy I showcased best in their newest release, “demo 02”–which succeeds in being a fitting evolution from “Demo 01”. 

Opening track, “2g ether” is a perfect example of their growth from “Demo 01”. There is more confidence behind every component of this piece.

The entire EP is engulfed in radiant positivity. It is easy to tell they love making their music in every song off this track. 

Track two, “mirror spirit” is one of my favorites. I adore their use of vocals. They have evolved from lyrics and carrying the melody to using vocals as a means of building a complex, stunning background to their undeniably strong percussion. The amount of production and layering that went into this entire EP is astounding. 

Full Body 2 is fabricating a musical realm of its own with each and every release.

Especially in “dancer’s theme” off of “demo 02”, they are curating a dreamlike, otherworldly energy that is similar in tone to a video game or movie soundtrack.

They are transforming music from simple songs to a true listening experience.

New Album Review

“ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” by khai dreams Album Review

In my 2010s listening experience— khai dreams has solidified herself as one of the founding fathers of the lofi genre. 

Their discography is filled to the brim with lofi hits including “Sunkissed”, “Lost in You”, and “Through and Through”. Her musical presence, for better or for worse, ignited the worldwide phenomenon of soft voices, relaxed beats, and acoustic ukulele that is the lofi genre.

However, this blog is not about their lofi accomplishments, their newest album “ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” dropped Jan. 2023 and is diverging from her past sound with a mix of success and failures.

This album is undeniably a great step for khai dreams. She is finally breaking out of the restraints of one genre and is dipping into a new energy. “ABSOLUTE HEARTBREAK” is refreshing regardless of its faults. Khai dreams is breaking out of the soft-ukulele-lofi energy and is honing a matured, bold, and blended sound.

Every song on the album had good and bad elements. 

Below is a breakdown of each track in the order presented in the album:


This song is a fun start to the album. It’s high energy and outlines some of the techniques heard throughout the tracks to come.

They have a melancholier approach to their vocal work, which is a nice contrast from the hopeful and loving tone used in her previous releases. This slight transition is a nice change and sets the stage for the bigger musical steps later on.

She is moving away from the lofi energy and moving towards something unique– this song is the departure.


This is one of the darker tracks and provides a little bit of a differnt tone to the album after “Bugs”.

The backing drums are nice but too simple. One gripe I have with this album is some of the backing tracks are too simple to the point they feel additive or excessive. This song is an example of that.

I enjoy the lyricism, but it doesn’t capture the listener due to the weak backing track. I enjoyed the use of different vocal tones in the bridges.

As seen in the next track, I sincerely hope khai dreams lets go of high-pitched vocal harmonies and turns to lower, darker alternatives heard in “Rats”.

“Panic Attack”

I sincerely dislike the high vocals harmonizing throughout the entire track. This song would have been beautiful without that addition.

The addition of the high-pitched vocals turns otherwise elegant lyrics and clean background into something excessive.

When focusing on khai dream’s main vocals, her tone, emotion, and subtle lyrics have so much potential. The addition is trying to be light and fairy-like but just comes off as annoying.


I want to see more of this energy from khai dreams in the future. The vocals are slightly grungy which is very new in respect to their existing discography.

Looking at the background, the drums could have had more flare but I’m just happy they are as prominent as they are.

“Not Enough”

This track is one of my favorites off the album. Although the lyrics are weaker than other tracks off this album, this song is such an excellent blend of all of khai dream’s past work and moving towards the new.

Thematically, khai has really capitalized on songs about falling in love or being in a great relationship– this song finally breaks away from this unwavering theme and introduces the opposite end of the spectrum: self-doubt, mistrust, and heartbreak.

“No Company”

This song might have been more memorable if it was placed differently in the context of the album.

The low energy in this track really interrupts the overarching composition of the album. It doesn’t take any new steps and is a continuation of “Not Enough” by pushing a sadder theme into their discography.


This track is short and sweet. The sound it achieves is extremely reminiscent of work by fellow heart-broken artist Joji. 


Released in 2021, this track is not new and does not provide anything compositional to the album. To be honest, it reminded me of a song written and produced by the Disney Channel. It’s high energy but isn’t bold– it’s generic khai dreams with a higher bpm.


This track saves the end of the album. It is confident, a little grungy, and does not sound like the average khai dreams track. It is refreshing.

This is a great example of what additional vocals can truly add to the overall song. The strained vocals in chorus amplifies the lyrics and provides a bolder energy to the song without sounding extra.

“Heartbreaker” truly holds the name of the album proudly. It is a great staple of the album— overall a nice blend of hurt and happy.

“Good Advice”

This final track is the acoustic version of a 2020 release. Although I think the original version is more successful, I don’t believe this track was intended to give anything new to the listeners.

It is simply a public reflection of what khai dreams used to be and what she is becoming. It’s a reflection of genre, the power of subtly, and the humble beginnings of khai dreams.

“I can’t be myself when everyone is needing me to change”– although written three years ago this line perfectly captures the message of this album and subtly highlights all that has changed in khai dream’s music and personal life. 

Although I wish this album ended with more of a bold stroke, this is an anticipated acoustic transition by khai dreams and a sweet end to this melancholy album.


Holiday Season: Locally Owned Stores

As the holiday season quickly approaches, for many it’s time to start thinking about gathering gifts and presents for friends and loved ones.

As a little background, I grew up in Cary, NC and my parents have been living in Cary since the early nineties.

The Triangle Area has gone through a ton of changes in the last few decades. This includes an increased population, more housing developments, tech industries entering the area and more stores.

The rise of online shopping has also severely increased.

These developments have in many ways overshadowed and threatened the existence of locally owned small businesses throughout the area.

If you are looking for some great locally owned stores, I have highlighted some of my favorites in the Raliegh and Cary area. Hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season.

Unlikely Professionals / Edge of Urge

Location: 212 E Franklin St, Raleigh, NC 27604 

If you are looking for gifts that are unique, modern and well made– this duo is perfect when shopping for that person you are unsure what they would like. These stores truly have something for everyone.

This family-owned business has a wide collection of clothing, jewelry, beauty products and oddities. In Unlikely Professionals they also make a collection of handmade leather goods.

They are located right across the street from one another, and their collections complement each other beautifully.

Not to mention, the stores are absolutely stunning. Great decor and friendly staff make the shopping experience that much more enjoyable.

They also have a great online store where you can look at their products in the comfort of your own home.

So & So Books

Location: 719 N Person St, Raleigh, NC 27604

Located right next to the Unlikely Professionals, this lovely little bookstore is a great place for some peaceful reading and shopping.

Airy and open, this store is a breath of fresh air in the shopping experience.

Although it has a relatively small collection of books in-store it has a great range of genres including fantasy, cookbooks, children’s books and poetry.

City Garden Design

Location: 117 W Chatham St, Cary, NC 27511

Nestled in the heart of downtown Cary this plant shop has a great assortment of greenery, pots and accessories for indoor house plants.

I have yet to find a plant shop that is as beautiful and diverse as this one. They have a great selection of plants, from airplants to succulents to large leafy plants.

The other element I love about this shop is that all the plants are very healthy.

A brief disclaimer, I do not have the biggest green thumb. However, I have brought many different types of plants from this shop and all of them have been healthy, happy and have survived for years.

Sometimes you can buy plants that are unknowing already dying and have been mistreated, but that is not the case at this shop.

The shop is run by a mother and son duo– the son has a degree in Horitculture from the University of Georgia. It is clear upon entering this store that the owners deeply care about growing great plants and sharing their passion.

Cary Gallery of Artists

Location: 200 S Academy St, Cary, NC 27511

Also located in downtown Cary, this gallery space is a great opportunity to admire and purchase locally made art and crafts.

Every time I go here, I have been greeted by the sweetest staff. It is a pleasant experience to look at the galleries even if you are not looking to purchase.

They support and showcase dozens of local artists; this shop is yet another unique experience.

Science Safari

Location: 1255 Kildaire Farm Rd, Cary, NC 27511 

Last but certainly not least, has been one of my favorite shops as a kid. This toy story and science education center has been in Cary for decades.

Defined by their friendly staff, science classes and unique toys, this shop is great for finding gifts for the younger relatives and siblings.

They also have live animals in store, including an iguana, chinchilla, turtles, frogs and fish. This shop is extremely unique.

They also offer free giftwrapping and offer personalized shopping closer to the holiday season.