Dough Boi Fresh: Ben Carson – “Melodic Monster”

This installment of Dime Dailies finds itself resting in the progressively nostalgic nook of Nouveau Music, as we listen to the monstrous melodies of Ben Carson:

Ben Carson is a musician, writer, rock n rolla, day dreamer and sweet talker rolled into one human being. Ever since discovering the guitar, his eyes were opened to the alternative world that would rule the rest of his life. Drawn into the world of teen angst and crunching guitar riffs, there has been nothing more interesting than the world of rock.

Carson’s debut EP rolls through this crisp Fall Manhattan Sunday afternoon like a much-welcomed, warm, and hazy Georgia breeze. The six-track sampler tastes a bit like beer-battered Ben and Jerry’s – hops and heartbreak – one part lover and one part lush: all parts rock, and rhythmic southern soul.

There’s Ben the melodic lost lover. “Bringing Me Down” opens with the bluesman crooning, “You say that you love me, but is it a lie; you act like you want me, why can’t you decide?” As the listener hangs on to the audioslave’s lingering lines, the track fades into a sweltering guitar solo. Carson’s axe is an extension of himself; the EP is a delicious dialogue between Carson’s own distinctive smoky tone, and his guitar’s signature spicy licks. “Isabella” is a lo-fi punch drunk love tale, a muted gem with no percussion or piano, just Carson and his guitar chords. “There’s danger in her eyes… I see her in my dreams…” serenades over a metronomic hi-hat, and riding bass in the subtle standout “Temptation.” There’s hints of Sublime, and a slight underscore of Deftones. Vocals fade left to right, with riffs and rhymes rolling ahead like an easy rider, as chords shift from heavy-hearted picking to heavy-handed with a touch of metal. The lover becomes the lush with “Wasted.” Carson infuses indigenous drums and rich acoustics; as he sings “I know it sounds crazy, but it’s how I feel,” it’s impossible to resist shared harmonic lunacy.

If the album is progressive nostalgia, the sound of a soulman with the soul of a rockstar, “Your Face” flips the script, and gives the old feel and new veneer. The track features Corinne Stevie and $$$’s collaborative tones, as their distant layered vocals call “If you want to get high, you should f*ck with me… I’m not easy, I just don’t feel like sleeping low tonight…” The melodic monster returns with melodic mania. The vocoder-laden vocals beneath automated acoustics don’t lose any of Carson’s signature sound, but rather show the versatility in his style: simultaneously dreamlike and nightmarish, just as a melodic monster should be.

As Ben says: “Yep, that’s it. I’m trying to make it short and sweet on that ‘leave them wanting more’ tip.” The Melodic Monster cover art tells the tale: a cloud of sonic vintage billowing from a gold-toothed grill. The album sings the same story: the blues spoken from the mouth of a young man with the sapient soul of a greatest generator.

Watch this space:


1.) Intro (Melodic Monster)
2.) Bringing Me Down
3.) Isabella
4.) Temptation
5.) Wasted
6.) Your Face ft. Corinne Stevie and $$$

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