Tag Archives: rock

5 songs I can’t get enough of: April 7, 2014

1. Beat Up Car by Taking Back Sunday

I know I’m totally bias since this band is my favorite band in all the lands, but this song makes me feel things deep inside. Not only do the escapist lyrics appeal to me (So if you’re interested, I’ll take you anywhere. I’ll buy some beat up car, we could get out of here. I’ll take you anywhere that you wanna go), but the vocals are stronger than ever and when the chorus hits, I feel the tunes in my soul. This is the most perfect song for this time of year as it’s beginning to warm up to spring – roll those windows down and blast this song and feel like you’re flying.

 

2. Yellow Paper by Royal Teeth

Since Spotify recommended this band to me a few days ago, I haven’t been able to get enough of them. I’m obsessed with their entire debut full length Glow (listen to this album now before you do anything else), but this song gets me every time. It’s slower than most of its surrounding counterparts, but it’s so sweet and mellow. The two sets of vocals are so smooth in this song that they almost melt completely together. It’s beautiful.

 

3. Haunt On by The Stationary Set

This is the title track from an album that I’ve listened to way too many times to count. Even when I was first jamming to this song, I wanted to sing along so badly that I’d throw in the words I knew and just ad-lib sounds for the rest. I can feel the passion in this song and that is something to take notice of. This song slowly builds on itself and about three minutes in, if you’re not feeling this song on a personal level, I’m worried about you. I love how the build up takes most of the song, then the band goes all out for a bit and then after some heartbeat-ish drumming, it’s over. Just, ah. So good.

 

4. The Boy Who Wouldn’t Hoe Corn from The Broken Circle Breakdown Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

I just want to go ahead and say that this is not my normal style of music. I know I live in a small town in Southwest Virginia, and I know my area is ripe with bluegrass, but I’ve never really gotten into it. If you’ve seen this film, this will make sense to you. I guess that’s what does it for me – having seen the film and knowing the emotional impact this is going to give you in the film, this song is just perfect. The male vocals start it out, with some light banjo picking and after a bit, female vocals work in until everything picks up and you have a howling good time. But for real, all the instruments come together in such a beautiful arc that it’s hard not to at least appreciate it. (Also, I know I’m a music blog and not a movie blog, but this movie is one of the best movies I have ever seen – check it out)

 

5. Memoria by Fairweather

I just discovered this band a couple of days ago and if you’re in need of some new rock tunes, check out this self-titled album that just came out last week. This song in particular is my personal favorite from the album – probably because of the pulsing drums and insanity of the guitar workings. This band isn’t all prim and proper polished kind of rock, so turn away if that’s something you look for. I love the sounds that make me feel like I’m at a rock show – as if I could close my eyes and envision it surrounding me.

 

What are you all listening to right now?

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Interview: The Elephant in the Room

A couple of weeks ago, I reviewed the debut record by The Elephant in the Room. Lead singer and guitar player Joe was nice enough to answer some questions:

Back to the Music: How/when did the band get started?
Joseph Savino Jr., Guitar/Vocals: The band got started about three years ago. Me and Alfred have been in bands together since we were in eighth grade. Mostly metal and one crazy cover band. After getting bored with doing the cover thing, we built a home studio and just started writing.teitr

BTTM: Were you always sure you wanted to be involved with music in some way?
Joe: Music has always been a big part of our lives. Once you start playing music, it’s just something that you fall in love with and always want to do.
BTTM: How was the band name chosen?
Joe: We took a long time to choose a band name. We just never got around to it and already started booking shows. Every promoter would ask us our name and we had nothing to give them. To get them off our back we just threw out the name ThunderLips. That name only stuck for a few shows. We had a hard time finding a name that we thought fit us. Going through a bunch of conspiracy theory books, we came across “The Elephant in the Room.” Knowing the meaning of the saying, it just fit perfectly for the band name. We like to be the band that is hard to not notice.
BTTM: Who were your biggest musical influences growing up? Do you feel you can hear those influences in the album?
Joe: We butt heads sometimes when it comes to music but some that we can all agree on I would say would be Weezer, Muse, Radiohead, Iron Maiden, Metallica, Elvis, The Beatles, Queens of the StoneAge. I think you can hear a little bit of everything that we like in our music.

BTTM: How did you come up with the idea to do a KickStarter for the record?
Joe: We came up with the KickStarter idea after we found out Casey was going to work with us. We knew we had to do it, and knew the only way to make it happen was with the help of a KickStarter

BTTM: Why did you feel that was the right venue compared to the other fundraising sites?
Joe: Honestly, it was the only site that we knew about at the time.
BTTM: How did it feel when your goal was met and you knew this album would become a reality?
Joe: It was an amazing feeling when we hit that $5k mark. For people that have never even met us to put their own hard earned money to back us made us feel really good. We owe it all to our backers.

BTTM: Was there a backup plan in case the Kickstarter didn’t go as predicted?
Joe: We did not have a backup plan. We knew if we worked hard enough to get the word out we would make our goal.

BTTM: How was it working with Casey? What insights did he offer that may have changed your perception of the music or the album?
Joe: Working with Casey was such an amazing experience, he made it very easy and comfortable. Within the first hour, you would think we were friends for years. He was just that easy to get along with. He opened up our minds a lot when it came to suggestions with the music. He would have ideas that we would never have thought of and it would make a good part into a great part.

BTTM: How did the chance to work with Casey come about?
Joe: Alfred managed to book an Acoustic show at 10th Street Live in Kenilworth, NJ with Casey and us both on the bill. We talked a lot that night with Casey and were able to stay in contact with him. Going out on a limb, Alfred asked him and he said he was totally down to do it. 

BTTM: How long did it take to record the album?
Joe: It took about a month to record the record.

BTTM: What’s the song that you’re most proud of off of it?
Joe: We worked so hard on this record that every song is something we are proud of.

BTTM: Where will you be going from here? Is there a tour planned?
Joe: We plan to promote the album a lot. We will be booking as many shows as possible and hope to plan a tour in the near future.

 

Keep up with The Elephant in the Room on Facebook and Twitter. Their debut CD The Collective and The Individual is available now!

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The Elephant in the Room: The Collective and The Individual

Remember a while ago when I made that post about supporting bands that you love and believe in? Tonight’s review is a direct result of that KickStarter that I supported – and proof that it counts for something!

Through a KickStarter program,cover The Elephant In The Room were successfully able to fund the manifestation of their debut album, produced by Casey Crescenzo of The Dear Hunter. The result of a lot of hard work is an eleven-track disc that will leave you reeling when when you realize this is their debut CD.

The Collective and The Individual  begins with Left In The Dark, a song that instantly reminded me of The Mars Volta. The guitar work is so on point in this song, it will blow your mind.  Besides the beginning that left me with chill bumps, there’s a great breakdown with about a minute left in the song that deserves a cheer on its own.

Monsters follows this powerful first track with plenty of steam. The rhythm of this song reminds me of early AFI mixed with with The Mars Volta and that’s a mix I’ve never considered before this song. The vocals and the guitar heavily play off each other in this jam, each growing more and more frantic with energy until the chorus hits and breaks the spell.

Ghosts stands as my favorite song on the record. The guitar work has such a bouncy feel to it until the chorus comes down and then it’s time for everyone to jam together. I’ll walk through walls and I’ll talk to you in your sleep. I’ll keep you cold when the sun’s beating on your face. I’ll make you believe when I’m a ghost. The breakdown and subsequent group sing-along near the end practically makes me giddy. This is a jam you’re not going to be able to listen to on low volume. Trust me and go ahead and turn it up before it even comes on.

What You Don’t Know Won’t Hurt You is a close second for favorite song on the album. This one stays at a faster tempo the whole way through, differing from the songs directly encasing it and keeping things interesting. The bass guitar is the real spotlight of this song, coming on strong, keeping everything glued together and allowing itself some time to shine.

The beginning fifteen seconds of Never Believe What You’re Told is some of the best musical work I’ve heard from any album this year. Don’t get me wrong – the song itself is strong, but those first fifteen seconds. Unbelievable.

I’m particularly interested in the last track on the album. We Will Meet Again closes the album out in more than one way. It begins very slow, almost muted and hushed, almost like it’s hiding behind a curtain, with a barely-there pick up. The vocals are almost chant-like in nature which is almost thrown off balance by the obvious rock music tones in the background. Almost.

Self-professed progressive rock meets enjoyable pop, The Elephant in the Room comes out strong on their debut album. When I donated to their KickStarter campaign after a chance Tweet they sent me, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was so blown away with what they were producing before, I knew they deserved a chance to show what they really are made of. I eagerly awaited the KickStarter progress reports, and a few days ago when I received the album download link, I felt like Christmas had come early. This album truly is a great one, and one I will be listening to for a while. Do yourself a favor and take a peek.

Keep up with the band as they celebrate the release of the record and see what they’ll be up to in the months to come on Facebook and Twitter. If you want to hear this record (and believe me, you do) you can stream the album here and buy the album when it’s officially released tomorrow (October 29, 2013)! and stay tuned for an interview with the band.

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New Politics: A Bad Girl in Harlem

Beyond hearing about them because I’m seeing Fall Out Boy on Saturday, I didn’t know New Politics existed. I know. I know! I often feel so behind on the music times these days it’s ridiculous. I listen to such random things and I go off on tangents with different musical genres, I miss fantastic bands like this one. Luckily, I know this band exists and I know they’re awesome. To make matters even better, they just released a new CD – A Bad Girl In Harlem. Thanks, guys – just in time for me to see you live! Let’s have a listen.badgirlinharlem

The album starts off with Tonight You’re Perfect, a real upbeat song with some great group vocals. This song is a fast paced electrical storm, winding you up, slowing you down, and throwing you for a loop once more. Tonight you’re perfect. I wanna fall in love with the stars in your eyes.

Swiftly following that is Harlem, a song that almost feels dated until you realize you’ve been thrown into the sound equivalent of a gravity defying dance machine. I can’t stop listening. I listened to this one on repeat, and literally, you can’t not dance when you hear this song. I really hope they play this on Saturday. This song has so much energy, it almost feels like the notes are bursting at the seams, begging to twirl into the universe.

Stuck On You slows the roll down a little with some quaint piano and interesting vocals. Keeping things at a crawl, a few more instruments jump in when it’s time for the chorus. This song reminds me of early Marianas Trench, and if you don’t know, that is a band that I adore with every fiber of my being.

Give Me Hope echoes my feelings of Harlem. I feel like this is a pop punk group that grew like crystals out of the 80s. There’s something in the background that I can’t quite put my finger on that reminds me of the delicious tunes from the 80s that I can never get enough of. Just when you’re confused enough, they pull a very Beastie Boys move with some rock-n-roll-rap vibes. I like what they’re putting down with this style.

Just Like Me starts out with some rad guitar work and dives right into some post apocalyptic punk jives. This song is by far the hardest on the album. It reminds me of some garage punk – lots of screaming, thrashing guitars, delirious drums. I like a band that can switch it up and take things on a different level.

The album rounds out with Fall Into These Arms and the band takes it back down to their normal pace. The keyboards particularly jump out at me on this track – I love when rock bands utilize the keyboards – really more should try it. Keyboards add depth to the music and New Politics really know how to work on them – integrating them with the drums to amplify what’s already there or as a separate entity all together.

I had a listen to their self titled CD from 2010 when I first read that they were opening for my FOB date, but this CD blows any of my previous impressions out of the water. This CD is a definite lift to my spirits and I’m even more stoked for the show on Saturday. If you guys are reading, promise me you’ll play Harlem in Charlotte?

 

Key Tracks
Harlem (track 2)
Tonight You’re Perfect (track 1)
Just Like Me (track 9)

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Fall Out Boy: Save Rock and Roll

So many artists reemerging into the music scene lately!

Fall Out Boy holds a special place in my heart and my life. I listened to them during some interesting periods of life and no matter what you do, you can’t let go of those bands that went through so much with you. One night, I listened to FOB literally the entire night. It was the strangest experience – I kept waking up feeling like I was falling or spinning fobor just in a different world all together. The scene got weird – a lot of these tiny rock bands from meager beginnings were suddenly the super famous ones on the cover of teeny magazines. It was best that a lot of those collapsed. It was also best for Fall Out Boy to take a break, breathe, and reconsider what music meant to them. Seems like Save Rock And Roll is their answer.

The album opens with a strong song, yelling at you to put on your war paint! with the most intense of purposes. The Phoenix rocks like Fall Out Boy hasn’t done in ages. This song is the absolute best to scream at the top of your lungs. Whatever happened during the hiatus needs a big high five. This song kicks the boat and doesn’t quit.

If you haven’t heard My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark (Light Em Up) yet, then stop this madness and fix it. I listened to this song on repeat for longer than I’d like to admit when it dropped. I also have to give kudos to their team behind this whole back-to-the-music-scene business. There were rumors for such a long time – it felt like it was monthly – that FOB was back together. And every single time these stirrings were so adamantly denied. Without that, the dropping of this single wouldn’t have had the impact it did. They shocked people. The ones that said “oh, I knew it” didn’t know it – everyone heard the rumors, dufus, shut up. Dropping this with no prior talk – no video (looking at you JT), no nothing – was absolutely genius. Then they went and played a show that evening. Genius, I tell you. That’s how you go about marketing, kids.

Just One Yesterday delievers one of the things I love the most about Fall Out Boy. If you’ve heard a few FOB songs, I guarantee you can recall some sleazy-yet-hilariously-catchy lyrics. Thank god this album does not let you down. Anything you say can and will be held against you, so only say my name it will be held against you. Behind the lyrics, this song is one of my favorites on the album. It keeps it upbeat and funky. I want to teach you a lesson in the worst kind of way. This song also introduces the first of many guest vocals on the album in the form of Foxes.

The guest vocals come up again in The Mighty Fall – a song that strangely sounds like it could’ve been mixed by the like of Skrillex Lite with the dropping of the bass that happens repeatedly. I can really jam to this song. I also tip my proverbial hat off to the band for having Big Sean come and drop a rap verse in this song. I love hearing genres combined like this.

My favorite song on the record, hands down, is Miss Missing You. This song has the old gleam of sweet FOB with the revamped fire under their collective asses. It makes me nostalgic and excited for their future as a band. Sometimes before it gets better the darkness gets bigger, the person that you’d take the bullet for is behind the trigger. Oh, we’re fading fast. I miss missing you now and then. Listen closely and note the relationship the guitar and drums have during this song – kind of like they’re on a see-saw. I really can’t get enough of this jam.

Two more songs with guest vocals wrap up this power-trip of an album. Courtney Love joins the band on Rat A Tat. I’ve never been a huge fan of grunge and the like. I can respect the bands for what they do – but it’s just not my thing. I like a few Hole songs and have a couple albums on my iTunes, but Courtney Love isn’t my favorite musician. She adds an interesting element to this song, I’m just not sure it’s the right fit. During her vocals, the music speeds up like you’re on a bad acid trip and then levels back out when Patrick takes over again. It’s a bit unsettling. This is probably my least favorite song on the album. Whoops.

The album wraps up in the most spectacular of ways – with pianos and mister Can You Feel The Love Tonight himself. Elton John joins the band on the closing number and title track, Save Rock and Roll. This song has the feeling of an 80’s rock anthem – where you’d see some tight animal print pants, lots of big hair, pyro, and a ton of coordinating lights flashing all around. This song rules. When Elton John hits the highest point of this song with you are what you love, not who loves you. In a world full of the word yes, I’m here to scream NO I’d dare you not to stop whatever you were doing. I can rarely resist a fist punch to the air with the “no” at the end of that phrase – but maybe those are just my over-dramatics coming out again. Who knows.

All I know is this album is fantastic. It’s been so long since a new Fall Out Boy song haunted my mind, and now these 11 songs won’t leave. And I know the band has gotten a lot of commentary from the title of the album – but really, where would you be in your life without some delusions of grandeur?

Is rock and roll in trouble? Yeah, a lot of trouble. Is Fall Out Boy going to single handedly save a genre? No, but it’s still fun to have them back. Can’t wait to see these guys live for the first time ever in June. Well done, boys.

 

Key Tracks
Miss Missing You (track 7)
Save Rock and Roll (track 11)
The Phoenix (track 1)

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Anberlin: Vital

Anberlin became one of my favorite bands the second I heard them. I don’t think it even took me a full song to fall head over heels for them. I saw them in concert with Taking Back Sunday a couple years ago and they were one of the liveliest, most crowd-engaging bands I’ve seen to date. They’re divine. I felt horrid when I realized they had a new album out and I hadn’t gotten a chance to hear it. I wanted to write about it on the blog, so I’ve been putting off listening to it for a while so I could go through honest first run through reactions. Now, it is time for Vital.Anberlin-Vital-400

The album opens with the toe-tapper Self-Starter. There are normal Anberlin-esque progressions happening musically, but what Stephen is doing vocally is something on my palette that I’m not used to from this band. The vocals feel a bit more muted in this song and the chorus is exquisitely fast (think BBC’s Sherlock singing the chorus).

I’m mesmerized by Other Side. The vocals are so stated and shy while the drums and guitars come down on you like a ton of bricks. Love me, why don’t you love me? Know me, why don’t you know me?  There’s such a beautiful juxtaposition between instruments and vocals in this song that left me with chill bumps.

Vocals are back in full swing and rocking you to sleep in Innocent. This song is striking in so many ways. The music is soothing and intricate. The lyrics tell a sad story that pulls a longing for childhood out of your core. We are all born the innocent, we were born to run carefree. You will live on in the hearts of men, constantly. We were all born the innocent  I will hold on til the end – there will never be an end.

Orpheum feels like you’re racing. There’s some brilliant piano additions here that keep up with the swift melody through speeding up and slowing down, adding another dimension to the song and creating a swirling in your ears. This song is Anberlin in their element.

The band wraps up the album with God, Drugs & Sex. This one is like you took a song from this album and leaned it back in a reclining chair. This song is very mellow, moving along slowly and steadily. The addition of soft female vocals in the background adds to the ambiance of the tune. It’s an interesting way to wrap up an album. We started off slow, with vocals that almost sounded like they were behind a veil – until we moved through to clear vocals with more upbeat tempos. By the time we got to Modern Age (the track directly before God, Drugs & Sex), we had reached the heaviest point to the album. After all that, God, Drugs & Sex almost feels like being lifted up into the clouds on a roller coaster.

If I were being real honest, which I’m trying to do, Vital isn’t the album I expected from Anberlin. I’m much more used to them from the likes of Cities (2007). It’s not going to go down in my books as my favorite album from the band, but it’s an interesting transgression for them and I’d be interested in seeing how they translated this album to a live show.

Key Tracks
Orpheum (track 9)
Modern Age (track 10)
Little Tyrants (track 2)

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Terrible Things: Pre-Transmission EP

I have loved Taking Back Sunday since middle school. If you know the band, you know members have come and gone – under all kinds of circumstances. That’s fine, whatever, it’s their ordeal. When someone leaves the band and starts another project, it’s almost a surefire bet that I’m going to listen. Enter Terrible Things. When I found out this was a new band with Fred Mascherino, I knew it would be golden. Mix in Andy Jackson of Hot Rod Circuit and Josh Eppard from Coheed and Cambria, and this was an instant play for me.

Their self-titled debut album is fantastic and remains a staple in my car. We’re going to have a listen to the recently released Pre-Transmission EP.terr

The EP comes in with the at-first-electronic History that quickly melts into pleasant rock notes with repeating Those who forget the past are destined to repeat it‘s. This song sets a softer tone than their full length debut, which is pretty strictly rock and roll.

History melts right into Confession, a 57 second beautiful, intriguing number that throws the album into what I’d expect from Terrible Things. Innocent starts right off with some great drums and guitar riffs. This song mildly reminds me of something Beatles-esque if you put those tunes in a shaker with modern rock and strained out variety shows and Warped tour. This number has a really great breakdown that puts a gleam on the drums.

Last Look keeps things slower, and for good reason. The lyrics take a somber tone as they tell of a loved one that’s been lost – to death or to unconsciousness. The transgressions in this song are beautiful – going from slow and somber to electrically charged and loud and back again within a few seconds. This number wraps up with a heartbeat monitor, footsteps, murmurs of conversation and then a flat line.

This EP reads as a whole instead of five separate songs. Hospital finishes the album, continuing right on from Last Look. This song feels like confusion and sounds like what the smell of a hospital waiting room would sound like if you could hear it. There’s no guarantee and no clear solution. Just as soon as the confusion reaches the highest point, the song fluxes into some acoustic guitar notes and then blanks out.

While emotionally charged, this five song EP is packed with impressive music turns. It’s not quite what I expected after their 2010 debut, but it makes me excited for the direction the trio is going. If you haven’t heard this band and are a fan of any of the bands these members have been in, I highly recommend checking out this EP and their 2010 full length. You won’t regret it.

Key Tracks
Last Look (track 4)
Innocent (track 3)

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