Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Day to Remember’s crazy show at the Palladium, Worcester MA 3.24.13

Let me begin by saying that this was one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, and I’ve been to a lot of them. The show contained the bands Chunk, No Captain Chunk!, Of Mice and Men, and of course, A Day to Remember. The tickets for this show sold out less than two days after they went on sale. I got there 3 hours early and it paid off. I was right up front .
Chunk, No Captain Chunk! was decent. I am not really a fan of them to begin with, but they’re a good opener. They played 6 songs, the highlight being their cover of Ke$ha’s “We R Who We R.” “We R Who We R” appears on the compilation album Punk Goes Pop 4.
Of Mice and Men came on next. I have never really listened to them, but after the show they put on, I’m going to start. Their lead singer, Austin Carlile put on a great show performance wise, and is a great front-man. They played eight songs without skipping a beat. I particularly liked their song “The Depths.” It’s just my kind of heavy and I have a new-found respect for them as a band.
Then A Day to Remember came on. They started the show with 3 of their heaviest songs. They opened with their newest single “Violence.” It was awesome, the breakdown was absolutely crazy and even though it’s only been out a few months, people were singing every word. Next came the VERY heavy “2nd Sucks” where the music stops and the whole Palladium screams “get the f**k over it!” It was insane to say the least. “2nd Sucks” lead right into “A Shot in the Dark-” one of their older songs but still a heavy hit. They brought out the hit “I’m Made of Wax Larry, What are You Made of?” next and once again, Jeremy letting the crowd take over on parts, especially the lone “Ahem.” during the breakdown. Next came the popular “My Life For Hire,” not my favorite song, but a good one. Following this was two of my favorites back to back. “All Signs Point to Lauderdale” led into “Mr. Highway’s Thinking About the End.” Once again, the Palladium was left to do the singing during the breakdown with “DISRESPECT YOUR SURROUNDINGS.” It’s one of the best breakdowns that ADTR has.
Jeremy took a different light for this next part of the show. He said that a lot of people have mixed feelings about “Better Off This Way” so he’d make it better by “giving out free sh*t during the song.” He followed it up with another favorite of mine “Have Faith in Me” where Jeremy had the ladies sing the opening verse. Next came “Another Song About the Weekend,” another one of my favorites. Jeremy explained “we’re gonna play fast and loud for these next few songs.” They began with the short “You Already Know What You Are,” followed by “Fast Forward to 2012” (a crazy hit) with “Why Walk on Water When We’ve Got Boats.” All three of those tracks are less than 2 minutes long so it was a great succession of quick songs. Next came a song never played outside the studio before. “Right Back at it Again” was an awesome track and it makes me even more excited for their upcoming album release. They turned back the clock a bit and played “You Should’ve Killed Me When You Had the Chance” which lead right into “The Plot to Bomb the Panhandle” with middle fingers in the air, a favorite by both the band and the fans.
The band stepped offstage for a moment and came back on. Jeremy asked “why do we do that? Like, why do we have to go offstage if you know we’re just gonna come back again? This is the part where we play “If It Means a Lot to You” but we’re not gonna do that.” They played an acoustic version of “It’s Complicated” which was awesome to say the least, followed by their hit “If It Means a Lot to You.” They picked it back up with “All I Want,” during which Jeremy gave me a thumbs up on my new ADTR-inspired tattoo “I will never falter”. He saw it on my arm and pointed then gave me a thumbs up. After that they went into the usual opener “Downfall of us All” and the whole Palladium was going crazy.
Needless to say, ADTR put on one of the best shows I’ve ever seen and their set list was stellar except the notably absent “Homesick.” After the show my ears were ringing, my voice was gone, and my neck was hurting, but it was all worth it. If you haven’t seen them or heard of them, I highly recommend you pick up an album or try to get to a show, A Day to Remember is a force to be reckoned with on the punk stage, bested by very few. Their sound, guitar work, drumline, breakdowns, Jeremy’s voice, and their stage antics all combine to make them one hell of a group putting on one hell of a concert.

-Z.G.

ADTR

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Killswitch Engage Re-unite with Jesse Leach and put out Fantastic New Album, ‘Disarm The Descent’

One of the biggest surprises in the music world was when former Killswitch Engage singer, Jesse Leach re-united with his former band after vocalist Howard Jones stepped down. To many in the music world it was a shock, and also a surprise as Leach and Killswitch guitarist Adam D. had a very successful side project called Times of Grace. Many also wondered what this new/old lineup of Killswitch would sound like. Well now we have our answer, and let me say, I approve. Disarm The Descent is heavy, melodic, and most importantly well thought out.  I also have to point out Adam D.’s awesome production job.

Disarm The Descent start off with a very heavy song called “ The Hell in Me.” At first I was hesitant in liking this track, but then the clean vocals came in, and that’s when the song really started to come together for me.  I would say the track is a strong opener, but very unexpected. The second track on the record is called “Beyond The Flames,” which is a track that I really enjoyed, not only is the accompaniment great, but Leach’s vocals and Adam D.’s vocals sound great. This track is followed by the very heavy, “New Awakening” which is a straight up shred fest, Adam D. and Joel Stroetzel showed their technical prowess throughout the track which was quite enjoyable.

One of the album’s stand out tracks is the fourth track, “In Due Time” which is also the album’s single. The track hooks you in with a very hooky riff,  and then Leach’s vocals come in and draw the listener in more. The chorus comes in next and this features both Leach and Adam D. on clean vocals, and they sound excellent. The track goes on, and again we see how awesome Leach’s very traditional screams mix with Adam D.’s more cookie monster sounding growls. When I was listening to “In Due Time” I  definitely thought to myself at multiple points that this song sounds like something off of Leach and Adam D’s side projects self-titled album, Times of Grace.

Next up is the truly thrash sounding track, “A Tribute To The Fallen” straight from the intro you can tell this is going to be a thrash influenced track, and it is, but it also has a very melodic chorus that loved. The song also featured a part that I thought sounded like Kirk Windstein from Crowbar singing/screaming. “Turning Point” is the next track on the album, and let me just say it was not my favorite track on the album, and felt a lot like filler, and almost like it was a recycled track.

The next track I took note of was the tenth track, “No End in Sight,” which starts off (like many of the tracks on Times of Grace’s Hymn of A Broken Man) with a spoken intro with a riff played under it. The riffing continues into a verse in Leach’s typical sing/scream voice. This is then followed by a very melodic chorus featuring Leach and Adam D. on harmonies. This leads into a more dissonant verse which adds a great deal to the musical structure, as it builds significant tension. The chorus comes in again, and this leads into the typical breakdown, but instead of just palm muted guitars, this is more of a catchier riff that I enjoyed a  lot. This is probably the second best track on the record.

Next up is the track “Always” which is a quite enjoyable song, it features a great bass intro played by Mike D’Antonio. Then the verse comes in, and this song almost is ballad like, but still remains heavy with palm muted guitars. Leach’s vocals are great on this track, and one would find this track to be a very enjoyable listening experience. This leads into the album’s closing track entitled “Time Will Not Remain which is another solid track that is very heavy.

When former Killswitch Engage singer, Jesse Leach returned to the fold, I was a little hesitant to what would come, but with the release of Disarm The Descent I can see that I had nothing to be hesitant about. Killswitch Engage is back!

-B. Harlow

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The Alex Skolnick Trio: Jazz’s New Standard

At age Nine Alex Skolnick found a love for the group Kiss, which caused the young boy to pick up the guitar. By age 16 Skolnick was trying out for local bands, and had stumbled across the Bay Area thrash powerhouse Legacy. By the end of Skolnick’s school career he was recording with the group that later changed their name to Testament. Testament released five records with Skolnick during his original tenure, and after his return they released the record Formation of Damnation, and now we are waiting for their next release Dark Roots of The Earth (Due July 27th).

  In the early 90’s Skolnick decided to leave Testament, and played with Ozzy Osbourne for a very short time. After a little time releasing various side projects, Skolnick moved to New York City and enrolled at the New School University. He studied Jazz, and in 2001 earned a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts. It was at this school where Skolnick developed his new sound, and where he launched his next group, The Alex Skolnick Trio. The Trio consists of two other members, bassist Nathan Peck and drummer Matt Zebroski.

The Alex Skolnick Trio has released four albums to date. All of these albums show all three musicians mastery of their craft especially Skolnick, whom molds his influences together to gain a significant amount of different sounds, while never exactly leaving the traditional jazz mold. Their first release was entitled Goodbye to Romance: Standards for a New Generation, this album was a collection of rock and metal covers that were given a unique jazz spin. It featured renditions of Aerosmith’s “Dream On”, along with heavier re-workings such as the traditionally dirge-like Black Sabbath song “War Pigs” which was given tremendous life by the group’s arrangement.

The Trio’s next album was released in 2004 and was called Transformation. It too consisted of numerous covers but included four originals including the title track “Transformation”. It also featured an incredible performance of Iron Maiden’s classic track “The Trooper”. This track with its up-tempo shows all of the musicians incredible efficiency, especially the rhythm section of Peck and Zebroski.

In March of 2007 the group released its third record Last Day In Paris. This album was a ten track gem, which was recorded in the amazingly short span of four days. This album only contained three covers, of which one was a re-arranged version of the Testament song “Practice What You Preach” which was given the Spanish title “Practica Lo Que Predicas”, its literal Spanish translation.

After a four year gap the Trio was back with their fourth album, 2011’s Veritas. Veritas is an incredibly diverse record which features ten tracks and one reworking of the original tracks “Bollywood Jam”, which works as a sort of reprise at the end of the album. The album also features a unique reworking of the classic Metallica song “Fade To Black” which in my opinion is on par with the original.

The Alex Skolnick Trio is one of the most unique groups I’ve heard. Their creativity and innovation is on par with many of the greatest musicians the world has scene, in genres across the board. Make sure to check out the Trio, and also keep an eye out for Testamen’t next record.

-B. Harlow

Check Out The Music Video For Their Song “Western Sabbath Stomp” Below:

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Country Fresh: Yelawolf Releases New Mix-Tape, ‘Trunk Muzik Returns’

Yelawolf, hit my radar about two years ago after he re-released the mix-tape Trunk Muzik 0-60 with a few additional tracks. I loved that EP and have played it over and over. The tunes on that EP are tight, and the grooves are infectious, and show the unique styling of the Gagsden, Alabama based rapper. Since the release of Trunk Muzik 0-60, Yelawolf has been keeping a busy schedule including recording a full length for a major label, promoting his music through live performances, and releasing another mix-tape this summer called Heart of Dixie. Last week Yelawolf kept his busy pace up by releasing a new mix-tape entitled Trunk Muzik Returns.

The mix-tape starts off with the track “Firestarter.” Just from the title you’d think this would be a fast track, but to my surprise it’s a slower song which is emphasized by the lyrics telling you to relax. Next up on the mix-tape is the track, “Way Out.” “Way Out” is a good track that starts off with a synth part that is followed by a verse by Yelawolf that has a very space like feel. Then the beat drops in and Yelawolf comes in with a verse that is tighter than the first verse.

“F.A.S.T. Ride” is the third song on the E.P., and is one of the tightest songs on the mix-tape. Yelawolf shows off his excellent flow on this song especially on the verses. This song is a real return for Yelawolf especially when it comes to the tight rhymes. “Box Chevy Part 4” is also another return to form for Yelawolf, as we know his favorite thing to do is riding around in his Chevy and rapping about his Chevy. Musically the track is different from anything I’ve heard anywhere, There’s a part that’s very trance like that I enjoyed. Yelawolf also shows his singing pipes off on this song, and he can sing.

“Hustle” is the next track and it features Texas’ finest rapper, Paul Wall. Wall starts the song, and gives the listener a good verse, but then Yelawolf comes in and delivers his signature fast paced southern rhymes. “Catfish Billy” is the next track on the mix-tape, and it’s an odd track that starts with a conversation, but then it tells the story of Catfish Billy one of Yelawolf’s aliases. The next song that really caught my attention was called “Fame,” and it has a very slow and etheral feel at the beginning, but Yelawolf then comes in with a verse that brings the song up a notch. “Tenesse Love” finishes off the mix-tape, and is another one of my favorite tracks. Yelawolf’s narrative voice is very strong on this very mellow track. Yelawolf shows his singing voice off on this track too, and it sounds awesome especially mixed with the very country influenced pedal steel guitar.

I loved Radioactive, but I have to say that I am even more impressed with this mix-tape. Check it out, I don’t think you’ll be sorry, especially if you’re a hip-hop fan. And it’s free so what can you loose?

-B. Harlow

Download and/or listen to Trunk Muzik Returns  HERE

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Vanna, Deliver With New Album, ‘The Few and the Far Between’

Vanna has been prepping for the release of their new album, The Few and the Far Between, which was released today. The album which was produced by Jay Maas, is the fourth studio album from the Boston-based band. It is also the first album featuring Vanna’s new line-up after the departure of Evan Pharmakis and Chris Campbell. The new line-up sounds great and it is apparent that they are on top of their game.

The album starts off with the title track, “The Few and The Far Between” which is a great intro track that starts out with a pounding drum beat and guitars that are very ambient,  with Davey Muise’s voice above the track. This leads perfectly into the next track, “The Lost Art of Staying Alive.” This song has a killer riff, and when Muise says ‘And it Begins,’ the whole band comes in and delivers a bruising to the listeners ear drums. This track is followed by the song, “Year of The Rat.” “Year of The Rat“ is a great track that starts out with a drone intro, but then the band kicks in, and you can tell the band is in full gear. The chorus comes in next, and this is the only notable difference between the new material and old material as it features the clean vocals of Joel Pastuszak.  Pastuszak’s voice meshes perfectly with the band’s sound, and left me thinking that he was the perfect replacement for Pharmakis.

The fourth track on the record is entitled “I Told You I’m Fine.” This track definitely one of my favorite tracks on the album especially the very ambient sounding chorus. Next up on the record is  a song called “Casket Rhythm” I particularly like this song especially the riffs which to me sounded more metal than hardcore, they almost reminded me of Pantera the way they were so tight and punchy. The next song, “The Weekly Slap In The Face” was a reminder that this is a Vanna record.

“Please Stay” is the seventh track on the record, and is one of the best songs on the record. It has a unique feel, as it is very ethereal. The Lyrics on the song are very compelling and worth a closer look. This song is followed by another bruiser entitled “A Thin Place.” This is followed by the song “The Dreamer/ The Thief/ The Relic” which is a song that starts off with a very loose feel, but tightens up eventually. I particularly liked this song due to the fact that it showcased  Shawn Marquis’ tight bass playing . The album finishes up with the track “His Heels” which is a great track to end the album with, as it sounds like the Vanna we all know and love.

-B. Harlow

VANNA

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2013 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival Lineup Announced!

The 2013 Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival lineup this year features: Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon and Amon Amarth on the main stage

The Festival area will showcase Machine Head, Children Of Bodom, BEHEMOTH!, Job For A Cowboy, Emmure, Born of Osiris, Motionless In White, Butcher Babies, Battlecross, Huntress, Thrown Into Exile and City In The Sea

This year’s tour will, for the first time, feature four stages – The Rockstar Energy Drink Main Stage, The Jagermeister Stage, Musicians Institute Stage and the Sumerian/Headbang For The Highway Concourse Stage which will feature local bands performing and announced in June

The tour kicks off on June 29th in San Bernardino and runs through August 4th with tickets on sale beginning this Friday March 22nd at 12:00 noon local time via http://www.rockstarmayhemfest.com or through http://www.livenation.com

Tour dates are as follows:

6/29 San Bernardino, CA San Manuel Amphitheater

6/30 Mountain View, CA Shoreline Amphitheatre

7/2 Boise, ID Idaho Center Amphitheatre

7/3 Auburn, WA White River Amphitheater

7/5 Phoenix, AZ Desert Sky Pavilion

7/6 Albuquerque, NM Isleta Amphitheatre

7/7 Denver, CO Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre

7/10 Toronto, ON Molson Canadian Amphitheatre

7/12 Burgettstown, PA First Niagara Pavilion

7/13 Scranton, PA Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain

7/14 Darien Center, NY Darien Lake PAC

7/16 Mansfield, MA Comcast Center

7/17 Bangor, ME Bangor Waterfront

7/19 Camden, NJ Susquehanna Bank Center

7/20 Saratoga Springs, NY SPAC

7/21 Hartford, CT The Comcast Theatre

7/23 Holmdel, NJ PNC Bank Arts Center

7/24 Bristow, VA Jiffy Lube Live

7/26 Noblesville, IN Klipsch Music Center

7/27 Tinley Park, IL First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre

7/28 Clarkston, MI DTE Energy Music Theatre

7/30 Atlanta, GA Aaron’s Amphitheatre at Lakewood

7/31 Tampa, FL Live Nation Amphitheatre at the Florida State Fairgrounds

8/2 Austin, TX Austin360 Amphitheater

8/3 The Woodlands, TX Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion

8/4 Dallas, TX Gexa Energy Pavilion

 

MAyhem Fest 2013

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Coheed and Cambria, Between The Buried and Me, and Russian Circles Take Over House of Blues Boston for First Night of a Two Night Stand

Around 7pm on Thursday night Lansdowne st.  was packed with people excited to see Coheed and Cambria play the First night of their sold out two night tenure at the House of Blues, Boston. You could feel the excitement in the air as the venue filled up quickly, as they waited for the band Russian Circles to hit the stage.

Russian Circles hit the stage at about 8pm with a loud droning sound that echoed around the venue. They then played through their set that consisted of their songs, “Harper Lewis,” “Geneva,” and “Death Rides a Horse.” Their set was very minimalistic in terms of the lights, but the music is far from minimalistic and very intriguing.

IMG_0728Between The Burried and me Came on next, and this is when the venue started to liven up. They started out with their song “Astral Body” from the bands sixth and latest studio album,  The Parallax II: Future Sequence. The band then launched into “Lay Your Ghosts to Rest” one of their heavier songs from their latest album.  They then played “Ants of the Sky” a track form one of my favorite albums, Colors. They followed that up by playing another song from Colors entitled,  “Prequel to the Sequel” which is just an amazing song compositionally. They finished up their set with the songs “Extremophile Elite” and “Selkies: The Endless Obsession.”

Next up was the headliner, Coheed and Cambria. The band took the stage and proceeded to deliver a great set starting with the song “Prelethal” which featured the bands mastermind, Claudio Sanchez on Ukulele. The band then launched into my favorite song off their latest “Key Entity Extraction V: Sentry the Defiant.” The band really seemed tight on this song, and that tight pocket would continue through the rest of the evening.

“Favor House Atlantic” from the bands 2003 album In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3. This has been one of my favorite songs since the beginning of my pilgrimage into Coheed fandom. The band performed the song very well, and it was very nice to hear this song from the bands earlier days.  This was quickly followed by the bands song, “Goodnight, Fair Lady,” which was performed with great energy. Next up was the apocalyptic “No World for Tomorrow” from the album of the same name. This song is one of my favorites by the band and let me just say that they did not disappoint a loyal fan. The band then played another song from the In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3 called “The Crowing” which for a long time fan was also great.

The band then played three songs from their latest albums first was “Key Entity Extraction III: Vic the Butcher,” which was followed by “Key Entity Extraction IV: Evagria the Faithful.“ These two songs were received well by the crowd, especially for two new songs. The last was the song “The Afterman,” which was followed nicely by “Here We Are Juggernaut” from the bands 2010 album, Year of The Black Rainbow. This was followed by another one of the bands newer tracks, “Dark Side of Me.”

Coheed then played the epic, “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3” which was probably one of the best songs of the night. The band left the stage and the room darkened, Fans started to chant part of “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3,” in hopes that the band would return, which they did. Sanchez came out with an acoustic guitar and played the great song “Wake up” wone of the most balled like songs out of the bands discography. This was followed by the sounds of “The Hollow” and then the band played the song “Key Entity Extraction I: Domino the Destitute” which was received by fans.

As fans cheers got louder fans knew what time it is, and that is time for the bands best crowd pleaser, “Welcome Home” from the album Good Apollo, I’m Burning Star IV, Volume One: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness to close their set. Which was a little off due to technical issue, but these were quickly fixed, and the show ended on a good note.

-B. Harlow

Claudio Sanchez Boston

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Metal’s Next Big Band, Miss May I

I first heard Miss May I in 2009 from a good friend who was into metal and metal-core. Since then I’ve got into the band and seen them live. Most importantly though I’ve seen this group grow into a band that will be at the forefront of metal in the next two to three years.

Miss May I is a five piece that formed in 2006 in Troy, Ohio. The band consists of lead vocalist Levi Benton, guitarist Justin Aufdemkampe, guitarist BJ Stead, bassist/vocalist Ryan Neff, and drummer Jerod Boyd. Miss May I was signed to Rise Records while all of the members were still in high school.

While the band was finishing up high school in 2009 they debut their album, Apologies Are for the Weak which was recorded while the band was attending school full-time. For a group of teenagers their music was quite advanced, and this album featured some great tracks including, “Architect” and “Forgive and Forget.” The band followed this release up with 2010’s, Monument. Monument was a great album produced by Joey Sturgis (Asking Alexandria/The Devil Wears Prada. )The album featured some of the bands best material to date including the single, “Relentless Chaos.”

After touring behind Monument for two years, 2012 saw the release of the band’s latest album, At Heart. The album was produced by famous Lamb of God producer, Machine who you can tell really worked with the band tightening up their sound. The album featured a whole new slew of awesome Miss May I music including my favorite song, “Hey Mister” which also was the album’s lead single.
Be sure to check out Miss May I’s music, and if you get the opportunity to catch them live

-B. Harlow

Check Out the Band’s Music Video for their Latest single, “Day By Day”:

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Quick Artist Profile: Alcest

One of the most original artists to come out in the last few years has been, Alcest. Alcest was founded by Neige in Bagnols-sur-Cèze, France. It originally was supposed to be a solo black metal project, but over time has shifted toward the atmospheric sounds of shoegaze, as Neige’s music matured. As for other members, Alcest once was a three-piece, but the two early members left, and since then Neig has been touring and performing with stand-in musicians.

Neige had an interesting childhood. He claims as a boy he had experienced another world and that Alcest is Neige’s outlet to convey his experiences and memories from this “other world.” Neige uses these alternative universes as a way to weave a great sonic tapestry for the listener and this is truly unique. Neige’s music is truly a journey for the listener into to this world. Neige’s transformation into this more ethereal music and towards this unique concept was first introduced on Le Secret his debut EP from 2005. Neige has put out three albums including 2012’s Les Voyages de l’Âme and will be releasing a new album later this year.

-B. Harlow

Alcest

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Nothing is Hotter Than Texas in July

When you think of a band that has the word Texas in it you’d think that the band hails from the giant state of Texas. But that is simply not the case with the great metalcore four piece Texas in July who hail from Ephrata, Pennsylvania. The band formed in 2007 when all the members were still in high school. Since then they’ve been working hard and touring with bands like August Burns Red, The Devil Wears Prada, Every Time I Die, and Silverstein. Drummer Adam Gray also made a humorous appearance on the Jay Leno show.

When the band formed in 2007 they put out a demo, and this demo was sold to the band’s fans at their local shows. The band later found themselves in good favor with Lancaster, PA base record label, CI Records. The band would sign with CI and would later release one EP and one full-length album through CI. In 2010 guitarist Logan Maurer left the band to pursue a higher education, and was replaced by Chris Davis. With this line-up they recorded their album, One Reality which was released in 2011. The band followed this album with a busy touring schedule, but then entered the studio, and in the fall of 2012 they released a self-titled album on Equal Vision records.

Check out this band because there is nothing hotter than Texas in July. Trust Me.

-B. Harlow

Texas in July

 

 

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