Monthly Archives: November 2012

A Conversation with, Joshua Herzer from Lions Lions

A few months ago we had the great privilege of sitting down with, Joshua Herzer lead vocalist from the Massachusetts-based Post-Hardcore band, Lions Lions. Lions Lions formed in 2007, and has been creating their great music since. The band’s members have been very involved in the  music scene. And all of their backgrounds come together to create music that is influenced by the array of genres they have worked with in the past, culminating into what they consider themselves today, Post-Hardcore. But don’t judge them by that dogmatic and slightly problematic label, as they are definitely much more than that.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Our Interview With Joshua Herzer Here:

 

 

 

Advertisements

Quick Artist Profile: Beach House

In 2004, Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally formed.Beach House, and what they often describe to be ‘Dream Pop.’ The duo is from Baltimore, and have a unique style that istheir own. Though they are often associated as being a couple,the two are simply friends and partners in collaboration for their music. The atmospheric slide-guitar of Alex Scally is heavily influenced by Neil Young and through films, as unique as that sounds. The duo describes their music as ‘dreamy’ and ‘droney’, but what exactly is Dream Pop? Dream Pop was first introduced in the U.K in the mid-80’s and mixes pop melodies with atmospheric passages. Along with their unique style and genre, the band is known for their dreamy and mellow stage shows. I had the good fortune to see Beach House when they opened for Vampire Weekend in Boston. Though I had not heard of them at the time I was extremely impressed with their style. I was also impressed by the spectacular light show they put on. From the multiple illuminated triangles to the wall of lights that resembles rain, I could not keep my eyes off the stage.

The duo is most well known for their songs, “10 Mile Stereo” and “Zebra”, which can be found on their 2010 album Teen Dream. With two albums under their belt already, the duo released their third album, Bloom on May 15th of this year. Bloom has gained a substantial amount of praise and recognition, which helps to give Beach House the credit they deserve. Already hitting #7 on the Billboard Top 200 and #15 in the United Kingdom, the band continues to gain praise for their latest work. As soon as the album begins, with the first song “Myth”, the album is blanketed with an atmosphere that the duo has stayed true to in their previous albums. Along with “Myth”, check out the songs “Wild”. One of my personal favorites is, “New Year”. The duo also included a seventeen-minute track titled, “Irene”. Though this track is only offered through “Album Only” on iTunes, this should entice listeners to purchase the whole album, or go out and purchase the album in hard-copy form. Beach House has also been known for being of the more predominate bands that release their music on vinyl, which truly brings their music to life in a different way. As the band looks towards their extremely promising future with Bloom, be sure to try and catch them live and to see where the future of this unique and promising group goes.

-M. Tozeski

Check Out Beach House Playing their songs  “Zebra” and “10 Mile Stereo” Live From Fuji Rock Festival 2011 below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Green Day Release Part Two of Their Trilogy,’iDOS!’

Zack here with the second installment of the Green Day new trio of album reviews.  Well, with the first of three albums, iUno! released, here comes iDos!  iDos! is a good album just like iUno! , iDos! is Green Day stripped down.  This is nothing like the powerful “in-your-face” feel of American Idiot or Dookie.  Green Day is evolving and so is their music.   It’s good stuff, don’t get me wrong, but it takes some getting used to.  This album is pretty much on the same field as iUno! for me.  They could be combined into one album and I wouldn’t know where one ended and the other began.

On to the individual song review. First is “See You Tonight.”  This song is stripped down with just a guitar and vocals.  Short and sweet. I like it. Second up is “F*** Time” which features  a nice backing drum beat with explosive guitar and cymbals throughout.  It also includes a really “shloppy” but still sweet guitar solo.  Probably the fastest song on the album comes “Stop When The Red Lights Flash.”  Fourth comes “Lazy Bones,” which was the “single” for the album.  It fits with the rest of the album nicely with quieter backing guitar leading into loud power guitar and steady drums leading into loud crashing drums.

Next up is the song “Wild One,” which is a solid love song straight outta Billie Joe’s mind.  Green Day lyrics definitely.  Following is the strange yet appropriately named “Makeout Party.”  This one has nice pop (not like Jbeebs pop, like peppy, upbeat pop)  Seventh is “Stray Heart.”  Mike opens with a nice bass riff.  It’s one of my favorites off the album.  Next is “Ashley” which comes out of your speakers with a bang.  It’s quick and fast with the chorus including, you guessed it, the name, Ashley!  “Baby Eyes” comes next, and is a quick song lasting only two minutes and 22 seconds it features straight up power chords and  is definitely straight up punk. This song definitely sounds like classic Green Day.

Tenth on the album is “Lady Cobra.”  This one is quick as well lasting just over 2 minutes.  It’s all about a crazy woman!  Next is “Nightlife.”  I hate this song, and I think it’s total garbage.  Green Day should never have thought this song is acceptable by any means.  It’s trash, and not Green Day at all.  So yeah.  Then comes “Wow! That’s Loud.”  This is a nice refresher after the s**t that preceded it.  It has a funky guitar riff throughout.  And wrapping up the album is, “Amy.”  This song is just guitar and Billie Joe.  I would love to see it live.  It could fall under a “Good Riddance” category during a show (Just BJA and a guitar.)  The song is probably my second favorite off the album.

Well, iDos! is good.  Just as good as iUno!  It has its ups and one down.  I’m excited to see what Green Day rolls out for the final installment in the trio of albums.  Also, sad to say, Green Day postponed and/or cancelled their 2013 tour due to front-man Billie Joe being in rehab.  I’ll stay posted on Green Day’s albums and tour dates and let you know.  I recommend iDos!  pick it up, only 5 dollars on Amazon.com!

-Zack Guida

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Music You Should Hear: The Stereo State’s new EP, ‘Crossing Canyons’

The Stereo State is a great band based out of Holyoke, MA, and features vocalist Andy Frongillo, Drummer Brandon Spence,  guitarist and vocalist Gabe Griffin, guitarist Matthew Spence, and bassist Patrick Kelliher. They combine to create a potent mix of what they call melodic punk. The band has just released their latest EP, Crossing Canyons which the band recorded in June 2012 in Haverhill, Massachusetts, and is being released by Creator-Destructor Records on CD, vinyl, and for download on the band’s Bandcamp page.

The EP starts off with “Across The Susquehanna” which starts with vocals and electric guitar, but soon the whole joins in and creates a great song about coming home. The next song is entitled “Beachball”, and I quite enjoyed this track as it brought me back to bands that came out in the early 2000’s. The third track on the EP is called, “American Bones” to me this was a track that represents how a lyrical narrative should be written. “Say it Again” is the next track on the EP, and I particularly enjoyed this track, but not as much as the next track, “ On The Next Time” which has a real kind of Four Year Strong Feel. The final track on the EP is “The Flood” which is probably my favorite track on the EP because lyrically and musically it has a very dark feel.

Check out The Stereo State’s new EP, Crossing Canyons if you enjoy fast melodic-punk music. Be sure to also check out their 2011′s  Have All My Friends Gone Deaf?

-B. Harlow

 

 

http://thestereostate.bandcamp.com/album/crossing-canyons

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

All That Remains’ New Album, ‘A War You Cannot Win’

All That Remains (abbreviated ATR by many of its fans) is a band that, for as long as I have been listening to them, I have never been able to figure out exactly what direction they want to take their music in. As some reviewers have put it, ATR is a band without a niche, constantly changing their sound from album to album. Some listeners enjoy this and the break it provides from the cookie-cutter metalcore bands that abound today. Some listeners, myself included, are irritated by this musical ADHD, as each new albums brings a few fantastic elements that unfortunately are absent from the next.

In my opinion, ATR has struggled to find their signature sound, which is a shame because their breakthrough 2006 album The Fall of Ideals was truly a gem, with solid songwriting and musicality. Their 2008 release, Overcome, would be considered a sophomore slump for many other bands, except it was their fourth album. Even still, there were many perfectly enjoyable tracks on Overcome which I still listen to today. And then there was 2010 and For We Are Many. Brad and I have discussed to quite some length, and we both agree that despite the huge improvements in gelling amongst the band members and what was unquestionably the best produced album they’ve released, we just couldn’t make ourselves like it. I had pre-ordered the album in anticipation, and after one or two listens I checked the column so that it would stop syncing to my Zune (and now my iPhone). Don’t get me wrong, I like ATR, and I’ve had the privilege to see them live on Mayhem Fest, but I was disappointed.

So color me surprised when I decided to listen to ATR’s newest album, A War You Cannot Win. I wasn’t expecting much, but I was blown away. If The Fall of Ideals was the Renaissance and For We Are Many was the darkest days of the Reformation, then A War You Cannot Win must be the Enlightenment. Finally, ATR has combined the group dynamic from their previous releases with the musical chops of their earlier albums. To paraphrase a quote from my high school history teacher, ATR has finally understood the meaning of “learn, don’t burn.”

With the opening track, the lead riff over the backing chordage is very reminiscent of really early ATR (a very Beyond Silence and Solitude or This Darkened Heart vibe), and once it launches into the unbelievably slick guitar work of the rest of the track, it seems hard not to believe that lead guitarist Oli Herbert has returned to his roots, sacrificing needless flourish for the purposes of reestablishing the Groove (an attribute that I always look for in good metal).  Additionally, bassist Jeanne Sagan’s bass lines provide a strong foundation to build the feeling of a well-executed track.

By far, though, the true gem of this album is the second half, beginning with “Intro”.  “Just Moments of Time” is an example of the band working as best as it ever has, and then… Every good metal album needs an angsty power anthem, and “What if I Was Nothing” delivers. If any track can come close to toppling “This Calling”, this is it. The passion behind Phil Labonte’s vocals is evident, and it reminds me just why it is that I love him as a vocalist. Very few have mastered the ability to blend clean and shouted vocals seamlessly, but Labonte is far and away one of the best in the genre in this regard. “Sing for Liberty” just launches back into insanity, and as I write this review it’s nearly impossible to concentrate because it’s just too damn good—I can’t help but rock out. Finally, Brad will tell you that I’m a sucker for instrumentals, and “Calculating Loneliness”  is the best ATR instrumental yet. Oli (and I’m assuming Mike Martin) have a great dichotomy going on with their guitar lines, and it all gels rather nicely.

I could keep going on and on about how much I enjoy this album, but I think I’ve said more than enough for the purposes of this review. The honest truth is, All That Remains is finally back with what I could be comfortable calling their best album ever (or at the very least a tie with The Fall of Ideals).  Whether you’re new to ATR or coming back after years of disappointment, check out the album. You can try all you want to find substantial flaws with it, but that might as well be A War You Cannot Win.

-A. Chadwick

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Yelawolf and Travis Barker’s Monster of a Collaboration, ‘Psycho White’

If you were to get a copy of Travis Barkey and Yelawolf’s new EP that comes out today, you’d understand how the pair got the title of the EP, Psycho White. From that moment you put on the record on you understand why Newport said that the EP was “Man, that’s some psycho white boy shit.” Psycho White, is an odd mix of music, but to the seasoned hip hop listener you’ll see that the combination works.

Psycho White starts off with the track “Push ‘Em.”  Push ‘Em’” is a good track, to keep up with Barker’s fast paced rhythms, Yelawolf lays down a tight performance, and spits with authority on subjects including cars, boozing, and raging. The song also features appearances from Skinhead Rob and Tim Armstrong. Tim Armstrong also makes an appearance on the second track, which also happens to be my favorite on the EP, “6 Feet Undergound.” This track is a great song that starts off with a creepy hook, but what makes the song is Yelawolf’s great reggae inspired verses. It seems as if though Yelawolf is trying to move into other areas, and by doing this shows us his vast influences. The next track on Psycho White is the track, “Funky Shit.” Now this song sounds like it could have been off Yelawolf’s Trunk Muzik. It has that dirty southern feel that Yelawolf is famous for. Barker’s drums mix well with the slow electronic beat.

“Whistle Dixie” is the second video single off the EP, and this song is by far the second best on the collection. It features a whistled part that is looped throughout the song, but what I enjoyed the most is the odd production techniques that make it sound as if Yelawolf and Barker’s drums were all the way back in the mix. The final track on the EP is called “Directors Cut,” and this is a great conclusions, and shows Yelawolfs excellent storytelling abilities in his lyrics.

If you like Hip-Hop and Rap that is unconventional then Psycho White   is perfect for you. Go check out this awesome collaboration between Yelawolf and Travis Barker.

-B. Harlow

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Quick Artist Profile: Defeater

Defeater a five piece hardcore band from Boston, have been ripping up the underground since 2004.  The bans has released two full length albums, and have released one EP. The bands sound is unique, and has a very melodic side that makes them very hard to place.  The band takes on a very social and environmental conscious attitude towards their lyrics and actions. Their first album was actually produced on 100% recycled materials.

In 2008 Defeater released their first album entitled Travels. The album was a concept album and focused on the life of a young man born in the baby boom into a struggling family. Their next release was 2009’s concept EP entitled Lost Ground. This EP followed the story of a Man who goes into the military during WWII, and when released how he struggles to find his way. In 2011 Defeater released their next full length, Empty Days & Sleepless Nights. This album is my favorite by far and has key tracks “Brothers” a softer acoustic song driven by guitar and what sounds like a cello. It also features the track “Dear Father” which is reminiscent of La Dispute.

Check out this band, I guarantee you that they will not disappoint even if you don’t like hardcore or post-hardcore.

-B. Harlow

Check Out Their Song “Brothers” Below:

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , ,

Aerosmith Release Their First New Album In 11 Years With, ‘Music From Another Dimension!’

Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last month, you know two huge events are happening today. One of these events is the release of Aerosmith’s new studio album, Music From Another Dimension! The other huge ordeal happening is Election Day (Get out and vote!) Yesterday the two combined when Aerosmith played a show on the front stoop of their original apartment at 1325 Commonwealth Avenue in Boston. The rally was to promote voting, but also to promote the new record which I will be focusing on today.

Music From Another Dimension! is Aerosmith’s first album of original material since 2001’s, Just Push Play. Any Aerosmith fan who has been waiting for a new album will not be disappointed with Music From Another Dimension!, but let me say if you were expecting an album like 1976’s, Rocks this is not that. Likewise if you were looking for an album like 1993’s, Get A Grip this is not the album for you. But if you are the third-party that was hoping for an album that encompasses all of Aerosmith’s best features throughout their career, then this new collection of fifteen tracks is for you.

Music From Another Dimension! starts out “LUV XXX” which features a very creepy spoken intro by producer Jack Douglas. But then the drums kick in followed by a very 70’s inspired riff. Steven Tyler’s vocals come in next, but one will notice that not only are they harmonized by Joe Perry, but also by John Lennon’s son, Julian. Coincidentally Jack Douglas was also John Lennon’s producer and one of the last people to see Lennon alive.

The second track on the album is a great song called “Oh Yeah” which is a very Rolling Stones-esque double time number. The song features horns along with loosely played guitars. But what brings the track together are the background singers and the horn section who give the track a certain depth. This track is followed by an odd song called “Beautiful” which is reminiscent of Aerosmith’s 1990’s sound. The track mixes killer riffs, spitting vocals, and sweet melody. This song is nothing like anything I’ve heard before, and the arrangement is very odd especially towards the end when it sounds like a new song altogether.

Next up is the Tom Hamilton penned, “Tell Me” which is one of my favorite songs on the album because it reminds me of The Beatles mixed with Aerosmith’s more ballad oriented material. This is especially true when it comes to the guitar solo and refrains. “Tell Me” is followed by a great track called “Out go The Lights” which is cowbell driven bluesy number featuring a great syncopated riff, and also featured a cool background vocal section. Tyler’s lyrics also great and are filled sexual innuendo and double-entendres. Just when you think the track is about to end, Joey Kramer’s drums come back in and so does Perry’s guitar, and this is when he provides a great syncopated funk driven guitar solo.

“Legendary Child” is up next, and this song starts off with a very cool and unique backwards guitar that goes into a riff that sounds a lot like Led Zeppelin’s “The Wanton Song”. Steven Tyler’s vocals follow, and the song is instantly kicked up a notch. Then the song takes an odd turn when we go to this atmospheric section. This is then interrupted rudely by Joe Perry and Brad Whitford’s monster riffage. Then another verse that is full of Steven Tyler’s usual witty lyrics kicks in.  This time the band chooses to forego the atmospheric pre-chorus section, and go straight into another chorus. This chorus is then followed by a short guitar break, and then a ripping Joe Perry solo. At the end of Perry’s solo back-masked guitars are moving in and out, and Tyler repetitively sings the song’s title till the song comes to a conclusion. This is one of the best tracks on the record.

Next up is the latest single, “What Could Have Been Love.” Now I have mixed feelings on this song. I love the melody and chorus and I can’t stop listening to the track, but I also think it is a song that was made for radio to sell units.

Whatever wrong doing I found with “What Could Have Been Love” is undone however by the next track, “Street Jesus.”  “Street Jesus” is centered on a bluesy riff by Brad Whitford who had been kicking the lick around for 15 years, but it has finally found a home on this track. To me this song would fit nicely in the bands catalog between the songs “Toys in The Attic” and the great bluesy number, “Rats in The Cellar.” What really makes the song great is how it features excellent guitar work from Whitford.

Next up is the track “Can’t Stop Loving You,” but unlike the other ballads on the album I don’t think this track is throw away track. The beginning starts off with a very Beatles-esque Mellotron intro, but then leads into an acoustic guitar driven section that is accompanied by Kramer’s steady beat. On the chorus Steven Tyler gets harmonized by Carrie Underwood who adds awesome flavor to the track especially when she takes the next verse which also features a lyrical reference to Aerosmith’s 1973 song “Mama Kin.” Underwood takes the next chorus and is nicely harmonized by Tyler. This then leads into a very Beatles-esque breakdown, but then that country flavor comes back in with the final chorus.

“Lover Alot” is the next track, and this song is another straight forward rocker that features grooving guitars and Tyler’s vocal spitting on top of the music. What gets me with this track however is Hamilton’s bass which makes this track sound super tight. He finds the perfect space in between being a rhythmic instrument and a melodic instrument. Something many bass players simply fail at.

The next track that caught my ear was “We All Fall Down” which was penned by Dianne Warren who also wrote the bands hit, “I Don’t Want To Miss a Thing.”  The song starts off with guitar, orchestra, and piano. Tyler’s vocal seamlessly floats over the top of the song. The chorus then comes in and this is when the song reaches climax especially the third time around.

“Freedom Fighter” is a Joe Perry penned song and it is also sung by the guitarist. This song is not bad or good it’s just kind of there. “Closer” follows “Freedom Fighter,” and I have to say that it is another filler track that I didn’t really enjoy.

Now interestingly enough one of my favorite tracks on the album is the very James Bond-esque Perry written track, “Something.” This track is a real rocker and features great swaggering guitar parts that sound awesome. Perry’s vocals also sound good on this track something that has always been a give or take thing for him.

The Album concludes with the song “Another Last Goodbye” which is actually a ballad I enjoyed. The track which was written by Tyler, Perry, and Desmond Child is actually the perfect mellow way to conclude the album.

Music From Another Dimension! is a great album with fifteen tracks worth of solid Aerosmith material, and now it’s time for you to make your judgement. Go out and get this album, and see why I am thrilled with it. Aerosmith delivered now it’s our time to receive.

-B. Harlow

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Mitch Lucker, lead singer of Suicide Silence, killed in motorcycle crash.

On Thursday morning the metal community lost a family member. Mitch Lucker, the 28-year-old front man of Suicide Silence, was killed early Thursday morning due to substantial injuries he suffered in a motorcycle accident in Orange County, California. Regardless of if you are a fan of the band or not, Mitch was a fantastic front man and one of the best deathcore front men around.

Since 2002, Mitch had been the front man for the band Suicide Silence and it is tragic to hear this news. I had the good fortune of seeing them perform twice; both times loving the live show they put on.  His presence as front man was stellar; it’s going to be hard to imagine where Suicide Silence will go from here. The reasoning behind the accident is unclear as of now but this will be figured out as time goes on. Our deepest condolences go out to the family, friends, band-mates, and fans of Lucker. As Lucker put in one of his song, “You only live one life, for a very short time. So make every second divine”

-M. Tozeski

 

 

 

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,