Grayson Wolfgang Gray - Raw - New LP
Green Noise is proud to offer this record as part of our 100% Back to Black program: Green Noise gives 100% of the sale of this item back to the artist. (If you are a black artist who self-released an album, Green Noise will do the same for you. Same goes for labels or bands fronted by any person of color, any artist from any minority group, people of the original tribes and nations of this land, any artist from a third world country, or any immigrant from anywhere).
And in reality, it's you and the artist who are doing us a favor and doing all the giving, the artist giving us the opportunity to share their music, and we can't really say we give any money to the artist because it's your money and we just pass it on to the artist if you buy the record.
While we try to keep this Back-to-Black program simple, it's not so easy for artists to DIY and put out a record, certainly not for artists who didn't get the golden ticket or get handed the key to the city. But artists such as Grayson Wolfgang Gray give us hope, and we're proud to offer his album to the Green Noise community.
On this album, the mix of styles (raw rock, DIY funk, and introspective pop and soul) and focus on short songs drenched in electric guitar sounds sometimes recalls elements of the classic Detroit band Black Merda (aka Black Murder) except while Black Merda's Motor City music from 1970 clearly came out of the previous decades, especially the blues and the 1960s (Hendrix, Sly Stone, and Curtis Mayfield), Gray obviously seems not only keenly aware of the same artists from the 1960s, the music on this album isn't as blues based, he has learned the lessons of pop and punk economy, and seems to glide closely over and pick up pieces from the times and places of the last three decades of the 20th century, from Hendrix to Shuggie Otis, from Richie Havens to Seal, and from the more reflective moments of hip hop and funk artists such as Prince and the Isley Brothers in the late 1970s, these artists providing some reference points but this remaining Grayson Wolfgang Gray's story and music, coming from the heart and experiences of the artist, from what he's experienced himself and what he has witnessed in the faces, on the news, on the streets and in the grooves, the record moving seamlessly between songs and styles, from the individual to the universal, a personal cry expanding to a message about America, pulling you in firmly but friendly and never letting go, going into "These Days" that recalls the more intimate and introspective side of the soul/R&B of the 1980s, leading to a three-song progression on second side, from the raw punk funk refugee story to a vulnerable acoustic number, leaving you with a closing instrumental where the Hendrix (and maybe Black Merda) influence seems especially pronounced, and while this closer could have easily been stretched out into excess considering the side features three songs, but wisely, economy even shows on this acid-rock instrumental, the song clocking in at less than 2 1/2 minutes, the second part of two instrumentals that sandwich the other cuts that explore different styles, Grayson himself tagging his Bandcamp page with words like punk, funk, indie pop, indie rock, and shoegaze, calling it "Raw" and always keeping it real.