Artist Vice’s “Jot It Down Get It Out” Floats on Warm Beats & Mellow Rock in Their Debut Album

In the recent weeks and months riding up to their debut at Charlotte’s The Evening Muse, Artist Vice has hit the ground running. With stops into 106.5’s station to hang out with Divakar and with a spread ready to hit the streets in this week’s Creative Loafing, we’ve gotten to hear much personally from the 3-man ensemble that make up Vice’s cast. We’re currently less than a week from Jan. 6, so before our friends and neighbors head on over on Sunday night, before the opening curtain rises, we’re going to dive into “Jot It Down Get It Out” and give it some well-deserved love.

“First Impressions” is a soft intro in, and one of my favorites from the 6-track album. My interpretation in is the nervousness that comes with someone new. The lyrics hit both sides; the struggle to do all the right things and the inner cry out to whomever the speaker ends up meeting, wanting them not to think the worst. This song, almost ironically, is also our first impression on the band themselves (*wink wink*), and does a good job of introducing their sense of symphonic style for this particular album.

Slower and a bit more melodic, “Cleared For Landing” seems more about how much we wander or move about, but maybe not take enough time to stop and relax. “You’re cleared for landing; but where are you going?” makes me think of the brakes we may not realize are even there in our travels. The slower tempo gives a much more relaxed atmosphere, defining the contemplation in the song over what we may be doing in our own lives.

“Home” is something that could be connected to those brief stops we allow ourselves to have, defining the occasion and feeling. The opening and the follow-up sets of lyrics vibe off of each other, speaking both off of large family gatherings and the idea of being anywhere yet still being in one place of mind, meeting up at the chorus line “Home is where you make it.” When we get older, “home” can define both family and friends as our communities become bigger, going outside one specific location, and this song revels in that fact and feeling. The track plays bigger and louder between Alex Stewart’s vocals, Austin Eller on the drums, and Josh Geddings at the bass riffs, emphasizing the excitement of those moments.

“The Other Side” takes the concept of a life after this one in stride, slowing to a normal pace and steadied tempo. It’s hopeful and thoughtful, a sweet tune filled with the images of what the speaker’s loved one has shown them, vowing to find them once their time is over and the next starts. The exit on the piano feels almost perfect, like a pleasant goodbye. Placing it next to “Our Little One” at the end, this listener feels, gives more meaning to both, embracing both the after and the start of something new. The keyboard replaces the guitars for the most part, bringing in more echoes that reverberate with the lyrics. The expression of the warmth in the expecting feelings of new life glimmer here.

I intentionally saved the middle track for the end because it applies well to the beginning of the new year. “Inspiration” feeds into the impulses and fears that we have collectively, creatively and ambitiously.

Just close your eyes now;
see it in your mind.
Jot it down, Get it out;
Eureka comes in time”

Sometimes its hard to get out what you want, when you want. It gets rough to feel like you can’t create. Artist Vice embodies that feeling and embraces the fight to get to the other side.

You want to give up; 
Nothing’s on your mind.
Follow the impulse; 
and dreams will fall in line.”

I think I love this track most because of the process it symbolizes. It feels like it comes from a well-known and sometimes desperate place, and ends up providing the words needed for listeners to tune in, take that breath, and continue the path toward those goals in mind. We all need it, the goal at the end that provides a track for our often winding journeys. It’s hopeful, and I love it most for what it speaks to.

All in all, “Jot It Down” is an amazing first album from the trio. It’s upbeat messages and mix of pop/rock also reminds me of the early days for Barenaked Ladies in a few of the tracks. Artist Vice will be in town this Saturday at 7pm at The Evening Muse, headlining with Laura Rabell. If you’re still looking for that bit of pick-up into 2018, this is surely the place to be to feel a little inspiration.

As always, thank you for reading. Have a solid start to 2018!!!

Stay Warned, Stay Informed. Reporting live, From 20XX
– D. Sigma


Icon for Hire at The Rabbit Hole in Charlotte, NC – Nov.5th



Last night, Icon For Hire rocked the Rabbit Hole alongside Stitched Up Heart and Crank It Loud. All along the room, the crowd threw their hands as well as their heads, whether tuned into Ariel’s fiery character on vocals, the riffs and keystrokes courtesy of Shawn Jump, or the beats laid down by new face Shawn Wise. All and all, Icon for Hire brought life to a packed out show, laying down the path day by day toward their next album release, You Can’t Kill Us, set to ship on November 25th.

The strongly-named upcoming album might not simply come without it’s own story to tell. “You Can’t Kill Us” is Icon’s first independent album, fresh from the band breaking away from their past label, Tooth & Nail Records. Due to differences ranging from creative to ideological, the band separated themselves from an industry that constantly tries to mold artists to their liking.

Tearing away from their label meant finding a way to fund themselves and continue the work towards their vision. There seemed to be a period in between June 2015, with the simultaneous release of their EP, “Now You Know,” and early 2016 where no news, other than band drummer Adam Kronshagen departed to take more time for his family life.


Icon for Hire at The Rabbit Hole; Charlotte, NC

Beginning on March 14th of this year, however, new life had come from nowhere with Icon’s announcement of a new album and a Kickstarter was created. Only for 30 days was it up and the limit, a mere $2,016 of hopes, was transcended by the love and adoration of fans world-wide, sending their pledges pass $100k. The power the fans can give back to those that truly inspire them is quite amazing to behold.

With the room and backing to better their art, Icon for Hire has been on tour since and releasing to the pledgee’s 3 songs every couple months in a release spanning the whole of 2016. Not only does the band use the title of their next album to highlight their struggles, it is also meant for the fans themselves, in a message of empowerment among the challenges that happen in life.

Their story, and their message is an inspiration to anyone, including this writer, that anything is possible against the greatest of odds. Make sure to check them out at their next few stops, touring with Stitched Up Heart, as well as to give a listen to “You Can’t Kill Us” on November 25th.