Notes from Needle PT. 1
'When I took a listen to "Needle," the opening track of Notes from Needle (Part 1) from L.A. indie-rock outfit Zweng, the first few notes instantly arrested my attention. (That's a good sign.) The thing about indie-rock is not even that it comes in so many styles, but also that it comes on so many levels of experimentation. That's something to celebrate, but the down side is that there are so many bands who are so busy experimenting that a lot of the music is coming out muddled, inaccessible to most people. Too many indie bands just aren't "hitting the pocket," as I like to put it. Make no mistake-Zweng hits the pocket. Dead on. The musical arrangements on this three-song EP are diverse and highly creative, but still very accessible and interesting to listen to. Ryan Zweng's voice, the dominant feature on the EP, reminds me a lot of Brian Gibb of Death Cab for Cutie; but the lyrics are a bit darker, more direct and poignant, and the music itself is more raw. Every one of the three songs sounds quite different from the others, but it's obvious the same band is playing them. With strong songwriting, solid musicianship and melodies that stick in your head, Zweng really hits the mark with this effort. I get that the whole indie thing is supposed to break from the norms and not have any real "rules" to it-but listening to this record, I can't help but think that this sets some sort of standard. If indie-rock is "supposed" to be anything in particular, I'd think it would be this. As the title of the EP suggests, Notes from Needle (Part 1) is the first of three upcoming EP releases that are intended to comprise a full-length record when taken together. In the meantime, while you're waiting for the rest of it to come out, for the time being you can download the EP for free from Zweng's Bandcamp site.' -Oomph Music Blog ' The emotional opening of the Needle EP will immediately catch the minds and hearts of anyone listening in. This is not only due to Zweng's vocals but the arrangements that are present here. There are a multitude of different layers that work to highlight the vocals, and give listeners simultaneously a high replay value for the disc's three tracks. Zweng moves through alternative, pop-rock, and alt-country all in the space of four minutes. With a little bit of piano and choral vocals added into the mix, what results here is an epic track conceived, executed, and finished all in the course of four minutes. "Morning After" is the middle track on the EP, and it allows Zweng to switch into a more funky, trippy type of headspace. While Zweng's vocals are still the defining presence on this part of the Needle EP, I feel that each piece present here unites into a fulfilling and impressive composition. With a set of vocals that approaches that of a Sean Lennon or Conor Oberst, the styles and influences that are touched upon during each of the EP's cuts speak to a decidedly different type of fan base. This EP ends with "City Something", a track that I feel gives listeners the most honest and touching side to Zweng's psyche. "City Something" has a slower and more introspective feel that resounds loudly long after the disc closes up. Taken together, the three tracks on the Needles EP provide listeners with a solid appreciation of who Zweng is, where he has been, and it will only be a matter of time until they are provided with where he will go in the next few years. The only thing that I know is that the Needle EP is solid, and will be a title that stays in the player until new music is released from his side of things.' - NeuFutur Magazine.