RILEY HODGES·THURSDAY, MARCH 14, 2019
Riley Hodges is a musician from Long Beach, CA. Having grown up in the bar business, Riley operates Shannon’s bars, restaurant and entertainment venue with his family.
Over the past few years as the Shannon’s businesses have grown, Riley has endeavored to focus more on creating and playing music. His latest project is Life on Mars.
Life on Mars is an eclectic-rock album that was inspired by a journey through Iceland in 2016. The song Live One writes about this experience, asking, “What’s it like to be a stone shot into magma bursting out?” From there the album took shape as a metaphor for life on Earth, what we’ve done here, how we’ve grown, our follies… and if we went to Mars, what would we want to bring and do differently?
The album conjures a utopian dream where virtues like Empathy and Courage are held in high regard. The songs chat an earthly tone with the opening track, Streetwalker, reciting the exclaims of pedestrian life through bouncy beats, clean guitar riffs and a padded saxophone, while Maybelline, a dreamer for equal rights wanting to sleep among the stars, follows a laid-back funk-rhythm that is supported by uplifting vocals and a Hammond B3.
C’est La Vie reminds us that such is life while drawing the listener into a world of psychedelic and bouncy rhythms whereas Coming Home brings us back to solid ground by expressing the simplicities of passionate love with a pedal-steel, rocking solos and female backing vocals to support words like, “That old house feels just like a smile sittin’ on a summer night, and maybe we’ll smile while we’re rockin’ on a ‘lil baby porch swing.”
Next up, Live One takes aim at the god within us all, rooted in the evolving chaos of actual rocks and forms of matter underlying the processes behind life on earth: “If One is a gift to the many, God is manifest in contemplating. Between this and that are those that seek nought in the shackles breaking. Stillness in your mind, it feels just like a loving kiss. I wonder if it’s known that we can be the nothingness…” Expect 2 minutes of soaking and frantic saxophone to convey the messages further sonically as the song finales.
If the first half of the album is dreamlike, the second half shows that reality has finally set in. Let It Go stories the simple wisdoms of attachment as jangly strings quickly turn to screaming guitars, wet vocals and apoplectic lyrics, and Long Couple of Days follows a more balanced path using folk elements and a classic line, “Shoo fly outta my way.”
Finally, High Low culminates in energetic fashion with heavy drums and heavy distortion to make a statement anthemically that given a choice of high or low, “we can go high” and “when you’re ready to come we can light sparks.”
Check out the promotional release of Live One, and full album release in May 2019.
If you like my writing, please check out more where that came from.
Special thanks to Antoine Arvizu at The Compound Studio, and to Eric Stoner for use of the album artwork, APOCALYPTICUS ROMANTICUS.
Leave a Reply