Tag Archives: rock music

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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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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My Lost Remedy collides with Rock Music

Some bands cannot escape comparisons, and that’s not always a bad thing. When a small band is compared to a band you have respect for, you’re going to take notice, aren’t you? I know I always do. When I saw that My Lost Remedy had been compared to Muse, a band I both enjoy and am always in awe of, I had no hesitation about checking them out. In addition to taking a listen to their album Unstable Forms of Interpretation, I got to have a chat with Matt Trentadue, who does vocals and guitar in the band.

“The band was formed by lead guitarist and vocalist Matt and drummer Anthony, who had played together in a previous band since 2006.  Our bassist, Nectaria, was introduced to MLR through the band’s former bassist Thomas, Matt’s cousin. It was evident from our first rehearsal that there was a great dynamic, both musically and personally,” Trentadue says.

My Lost Remedy open the album in the way that someone would ease you into a cave with a slow, tight fit at first, but then opening into a more expansive area. Azalea is a slow, mellow track that shows the band’s musical connection. The drums may steal the spotlight on this track, but the guitars aren’t far behind.

Come Out Tonight not only is one of the strongest tracks on the album, but the track that I sense the most blaring throwback to Depeche Mode, one of the band’s influences. The song is grittier while remaining the pace of a slow, creeping crawl. The way the guitars blow up the song in the middle is magical.

Diagonal is my favorite track on the album. The guitars layer over each other in such a title-appropriate way that it’s hard to not get into the beat of the song. Every time the chorus bursts in this song, I can’t resist dancing.

When I first read up on the band, I read some comparisons, especially vocally, to Muse. They Will Dismantle the Truth actually reminds me of Muse both vocally and musically. Trentadue sounds so much like Matt Bellamy in this track that it’s hard to miss and the long, epic guitars remind me of a live Muse performance.

“To begin with, it’s an honor to be compared to any band that has been successful musically.  There isn’t any particular band that we would specifically like to be compared to being that we aren’t trying to emulate them.  Our band influences include bands like The Beatles, U2, Radiohead, Pink Floyd and Depeche Mode,” says Trentadue

Run, the band’s current single, is the first song I heard by them and is a great introduction to the band as a whole. It has varying tempos, interesting musical shifts, and great lyrics. Matt’s vocals are allowed to shine on this track more than any of the others. There are no restraints, so let’s run far away.

“The strongest element to our band is our chemistry.  Each member of the band has a major importance to our sound.  From Anthony’s drum parts and unique feel along with Nectaria’s bass grooves, layered with the emotional vocals and driving guitar sounds.”

The album wraps up with what is the musically heaviest track on the album. Why You’ve Gone is loaded with guitars, featuring some pretty great bass lines that refuse to be in the background.

“The dynamics and writing set us apart.  We have a technical, sometimes experimental rock sound but with a mix of more melancholy songs.  Our live shows add a lot of atmospheric vibes and interactions,” he says.

The album felt like a progression of just getting your toe wet in the water to full on cannon-balling. This is a band to keep an eye on if you’re into downright rock music. They’re not trying any gimmicks – just trying to play straightforward rock and roll.

You can catch the band on their Facebook, Twitter, and official site. And what’s even better? You can stream Unstable Forms of Interpretation on Spotify! Just search “My Lost Remedy.”

The band has plans to tour in 2012, film some videos, and get back to the studio later in the year, so keep an eye on them!

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The Ocean’s Eyes: Room of Red (Video)

I really don’t watch as many videos as I should – especially not rock videos. My computer kind of hates YouTube and I get incredibly impatient waiting for videos to load, so I usually just skip it all together. I know I’m missing out on a lot, so I really should make more of an effort to watch some videos.

When it comes to rock videos, I never know what to expect. There’s always such an odd division in rock videos and I can never tell what’s going to happen. As I’ve gotten older, my tastes have shifted and more times than not, I would rather see a rock video with the band in it, doing what they do best on their instruments.

The Ocean’s Eyes, a pop-punk/rock band from London, pretty much hit the nail on the head with what I like to see from a rock video in their debut music video for the song Room of Red, produced by Daniel Broadly (who has worked with bands like Futures, That Sunday Feeling and Lab Records). The band is seen as a full piece in front of some interesting furniture, doing nothing but rocking the song out. Occasionally there are shots of lead singer Luke McInroy singing by himself, sitting in the same furniture that the band is playing in front of. Every member of the band is seen and heard and the editing keeps pace with the track.

But enough with the visuals, right? Room of Red is a great rock track with vibes of alternative rock and some sprinkles of pop-punk in the melodies. McInroy’s vocals are on the Metallica end of the pop-punk spectrum which blends like butter and sugar with the intense drumming in this song provided by Ben Smith. The guitars, courtesy of Mitch Wright and Andy Dutnall, slay through this number, bringing to mind bands like Senses Fail. Charlie Robery’s bass lines melts through the tune and is easily recognizable where many bass lines fall short and get lost in the grand scheme of things.

One of the biggest kickers for me with this song was the breakdown about two minutes in. The guitars quieten down and the drums take full force behind tame vocals that could bring a building down if you weren’t watching closely. Seemingly small things like this can make or break songs – and this does nothing but help Room of Red.

To watch the video, all you have to do is look below. If you want more information on the band, visit their Facebook or Twitter (a word to the wise, they have one of their EP’s up for free download on their Facebook!). If you want even more of The Ocean’s Eyes, you can check em out on tour this March with Room 94. A full list of tour dates and ticket purchases can be found on this website. If you’re around the UK, you’ll especially want to take note of this – I imagine they could put on a great show.

 

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The Dreaming: Puppet

When an album’s artwork is so eerily similar to a horror/sci-fi movie poster, you and I both are going to turn our heads. I can think of movies out of both genres that this album cover brings to mind without skipping a beat. Needless to say, I’m going in. We’re going to listen to Puppet by The Dreaming.

The first track, incidentally the title track, is compelling in a way that at first will baffle you. The band sounds like a mix between UK band LostAlone and the ever-popular Disturbed from the US. Sounds like an odd combo, doesn’t it? It does to me, too, when I put it that way. The lyrics are fantastic and it’s a good solid intro to the album.

Every Trace brings even more notes of LostAlone to my ears, mixed with a tad of anything you’d hear on a good rock radio station right now. Not the most unique sound in this song, but the back and forth of the drums and guitars is pleasing. During the verses, your ears get an enjoyable break with singer Christopher Hall (formerly of Stabbing Westward).

Breathing is a track that is out in left field on its own. While firmly grounded in rock, the mastery of the general sense of rhythm in this song is out of bounds. Nick Quijano and Rich Jazmine are slaying it on the guitars on this track and it’s noticeable. And the lyrics remind me of something Anberlin would produce.

My favorite on the album comes in the form of It’s No Good. With a slight futuristic vibe, this song rips through four minutes and twenty-five seconds effortlessly. Johnny Haro is doing some great things with the drums in this song, keeping my feet tapping the entire way through. The vocals are crisp and cleaner than ever in this one. Hall has one of those voices that just works with rock music – slightly melodic, but with a rough enough edge that he can balance over top of the bass lines provided by Martin Kelly.

The Dreaming wraps things up with Always and Never, a mid-tempo song for the band that shows a wider range of their talents than any of the other songs. Musically, vocally and lyrically, this song stretches the band’s limits and sets new goals as it sends the album off into the black hole that is our world.

Though I knew literally nothing about this band before I took a listen to their album, I’m pleased someone pointed out the album cover to me since it drew me in. With their talent and experience, I’m surprised this band doesn’t have a bigger following. The music is solidly rock, leaning toward the heavy alternative side, with some great lyrics, harmony between all of the instruments, and enough variation to keep you interested. This is absolutely a band to watch.

 

Key Tracks
It’s No Good (track 8)
Breathing (track 3)
Always and Never (Track 12)

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The Story So Far: Under Soil and Dirt

Since I’m pretty sure tickets went on sale today, I’m going to round out the Glamour Kills review lineup tonight as an act of mourning that I wasn’t actually purchasing tickets. All that’s left of the list is Under Soil and Dirt by The Story So Far, so let’s go!

Before starting this blog a couple of months ago, I honestly haven’t been keeping up with recent rock music – or let’s get real, what I refer to as “the scene.” I was all over this in high school, went through a better-than-you phase in the early years of college, and now I’ve come full circle. One song into this album and I’m pretty bummed I can’t attend this tour. I feel like it’s Warped ’04 all over again.

The Story So Far kick off the album with the clenching States and Minds. This band meshes together like cookie dough and chocolate chips and I like the treats my ears are devouring. There’s some legitimate good music going on as they reel you in to this album. Quicksand solifides your commitment to the ordeal as this lyrically-faster track hits you like a ton of bricks. They also steal my heart and whip out some clever lyrics: this quicksand, it pulls me under, it pulls me underneath her and I’m learning how to live with my unintended consqeuences while you’re busy jumping fences, afraid to stay in one spot for too long.

High Regard will be one of my favorite tracks on the album. The vocals kind of remind me of The Starting Line mixed with All Time Low. This band blends pop-punk guitar melodies that sound sweet as sugar with lyrics that could slice a person in two in this track.

Does anyone remember A Heartwell Ending? (Or are they even still together? Mental note to check this) The lyrics that The Story So Far spit out on Mt. Diablo remind me of that band – in a totally good way. Do you look yourself straight in the eyes and think about who you let between your thighs? Cut the shit and be real with me.

The band takes it down a couple of notches in Placeholder as they hold off on quite so heavy on the guitars and opt for quieter tunes in the background. The vocals are as strong as ever, acting as the absolute shining star in this track.

Taking the tempo back to normal level, the band rounds out the album with Closure – and with the strongest lyrics on the album: Stay under my skin, tear me limb from limb, plague me to an end. I can’t believe I always thought I would be there for you. A smart idea to end the album back on something so sweetly bitter that it’s enjoyable to the listener (as long as the listener isn’t the subject of the song).

The Story So Far pumps out an incredibly solid album with Under Soil and Dirt. This is something to listen to if you have a skewed sense of humor (read: dark, dry, sarcastic, ironic) or if you’ve been jilted by someone who you still hold a grudge against and you enjoy pop-punk. I’m a sucker for lyrics that pull out the stops and shock you over music that sounds so upbeat you have to look up the lyrics to make sure you heard such a remark. This band delivers. They also know what they’re doing with their instruments and create a thirty-two minute album that is a great listen – and a great addition to my regular rotation.

 

Key Tracks
High Regard (track 5)
Mt. Diablo (track 7)
Closure (track 11)

 

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