- Bryon Harris
Hand Drawn Maps - 'BLACKbeach'
Hand Drawn Maps is an indie-rock group based out of LA. They are a three piece band featuring: Stewart James (guitar and vocals), Greg Schwartz (bass) and Mercedes Cruz (percussion). The three members have created a genre outside the box that combines indie-pop and surf-rock sounds that people can move to. Ever since the band got together, they have had unbelievable chemistry which led to the immediate recording of their first EP, 'Kites.' Since then, the band has taken the stage at LA venues such as The Silverlake Lounge, El Cid and The Study in Hollywood. The bands new single “BLACKbeach” is a great introduction to their unique sound.
"BLACKbeach" kicks off with an exciting melodic and catchy guitar motif accompanied by a steady pulsing drum beat soon followed by the entrance a funky bass line. With the full arrangement of the song, you are immediately drawn in to an insatiable groove that Hand Drawn Maps breaks down for you - you are at once addicted to their one of a kind sound. It's catchy and melodic with a rhythm you will want to dance to. From the very beginning, even though the song has a melodic quality, you can still hear that there is something very different about this sound. There is more than just a groove to hold onto: -the arrangement takes surprising turns, the lyrics have depth, and the lead vocals have an indie edge that is very engaging.
The vocals enter with a distorted effect, fitting seamlessly into the vibe of the song. Stewart sings, "You and I are pushing it through and I don't know who I am. I feel like a dog that's begging for food or an hourglass without sand" With this opening poetic line, delivered by great indie vocals, the listener is invited inside a completely new experience. Yes, there are surf rock elements, but there is also an alternative vibe that gives the song some bite. The lyrics are strong, well-written and far from fluff; there is meaning and message.
On top of the engaging instrumentals and great lyrics, this song tops it all off with a memorable chorus that will have you hooked on Hand Drawn Maps’ musical style. The chorus has a great buildup made up of a progression of staccato chords and hard hitting drums. "Gone away, I can't find the words to say, but I'm so far gone and I'm thinking of the past, but I focus on the blackened sand. My ocean has no sun.I hope that you won't miss me when I'm gone " Below is a video of the song's audio track; take a listen to the combination of musical ideas and artistry of "BLACKbeach."
There is no doubt that Hand Drawn Maps has found their niche, bringing you a one of a kind musical genre and, in a land where there is so much cookie cutter music, this new sound is welcomed and very refreshing. With catchymusic, poetic lyrics, edgy indie vocals and some grit and groove, Hand Drawn Maps in undoubtedly a talented group of musicians with the capability of reaching out to mass audiences and their song “BLACKbeach” is proof of the group’s ability to achieve new levels of originiality. Hand Drawn Map's songs can be purchased on bandcamp. For more information on the band visit their website