Nevāda Nevada: Past Life

FTC Statement: Reviewers are frequently provided by the publisher/production company with a copy of the material being reviewed.The opinions published are solely those of the respective reviewers and may not reflect the opinions of or its management.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. (This is a legal requirement, as apparently some sites advertise for Amazon for free. Yes, that's sarcasm.)

Past Life

“Past Life” on Rocks In Your Head Records from Nevāda Nevada was my first foray into the music by this group and the artists that comprise it, although most seem to have been involved with various other bands in the past.

Comprised of Kathryn Musilek, Andrew Gerhan, Adam Arcuragi, David Olson, and Alicia Berbenick, their album here was both an eye and an ear opener.

Not knowing what to expect when listening to a new album from a band I’m unfamiliar with is one of the joys of sitting down and listening to music. I found it quite eye-opening and exciting that when I put the stylus on the grooves of the striking fuchsia colored vinyl LP that the first six words that emanated from my speakers were “Fuck your country, fuck your guns.”

It was instantly apparent this was not going to be some formulaic run-of-the mill album.


Interesting too is that while you would think the opening music that would accompany opening lyrics like that would have been some loud driving sounds, it was in fact a piano with drums that were the dominant instruments being played--very well too, I might add.

Don’t get me wrong; as the song played, the louder and more intense the music (and lyrics) got, and that was the way it was through several of the songs on this album.

Funny thing: if I hadn’t known that this group was from NYC, I would most have assuredly figured out that was the case anyway. There is a certain honesty and passion to their playing and singing that groups from the city have that are not found or heard elsewhere. It’s not so much a “sound” but a vibe in how songs are written, played, and sung.

There are no cliche lyrics on this album. These songs were written with a particular thought in mind, not whether the tune was catchy. They work together, weaving distinctive stories to tell it like it is, how they feel--songs centered around love, anger, angst and sometimes all of the above. Now it may take you a couple of listens to catch all the words, as sometimes they are masked by the guitars and other instruments, but that is not a real problem as you’ll want to listen to them again and again I assure you.

For me the music that accompanies the vocals on this album is the real star (not taking one iota away from the song lyrics). On songs such as “The One About The Sky” there is both screaming rhythm and lead guitars along with piano and drums and they all work together in unison.

This album is very well recorded. While vocals are dead center and lifelike in presentation, what makes this recording special is the fact that when the music is playing loud and fast, no matter how so, you can still discern each individual instrument. This is no mean feat; with this kind of music, if it wasn’t recorded well, the sound would become muddy and almost “one note” in sound. Here you can listen into the complexities of each song, which again solidifies my feeling that these artists made careful choices in the writing and composing of their songs. “Loaded” has driving rhythms throughout that exemplifies this.

My favorite song on the album, “Risky Shit,” has words and flow/pace to it that I just love, and I have listened to it several times already. The guitar work on this song, especially (but throughout the album) has an almost 60’s Acid Rock sound to it. I don’t mean they are Acid Rock, just the sound of the guitar work has a feel to it that I have heard on many of my albums of that period, and I really like how it works on this album.

Most songs here start out low and slow, then build in tempo, which again shows me the care they took in composing these songs. Not every song is loud. ”Fancy Shoes” is a slower paced song, and makes an excellent contrast to the others.

From start to finish I enjoyed this album--especially on vinyl. This type of music, to me, demands to be listened to on physical medium. It would just lose the “humanness” to it to hear songs such as these simply streamed through some cold, non-feeling player of some sort.

Unless you are familiar with these artists, bands or genre per se, this album may not be for you. But, if you like listening to music that conveys both the messages the band wants you to hear the way they want you to hear it on a label that lets them do just that, and you’re open to trying new things, here is a fine example of one such recording, written and recorded well, that will open your eyes and ears to new horizons. I encourage you do listen to it..




  1. We Can Leave
  2. The One About The Sky
  3. Loaded
  5. Promise/Romance/Wine
  6. Trickster
  7. Risky Shit
  8. Wild And Glowing
  9. Fancy Shoes
  10. The Difference