Category Archives: Reviews
Over the course of time, music has taken multiple twists and turns in numerous directions. One thing has always stayed the same: the feeling you get from it. When that song comes on during a drive, and all you can think about is that moment, and your heart swells with emotion, or you’re on a run and it comes blasting through your speakers, making you feel invincible. That’s what music does. It produces emotions in us that we may have forgot we could feel. It builds us up, it breaks us down, it strips from us every misconception we have about ourselves and forces us to just be; to just listen. Beta State has unlocked this formula on their new album, #Friendship.
It’s 10:30pm at The Highlands and the energy from the audience is one of excitement and pure joy as lead singer for Like a Storm, Chris Brooks, comes on stage with their signature instrument the didgeridoo. He uses this to start all their shows before leading into the hit “Chemical Infatuation.” It is evident that this is a band that genuinely puts forth the effort to show their appreciation for their supporters, such as when they let a fan use the stage as a platform to propose to his girlfriend, (she said yes!), or when Matt Brooks (vocals/guitar), dedicates the heartfelt track “Change Tomorrow” to another fan. He invites her onstage and then explains to everyone that she “busted out of the hospital to be here tonight,” before breaking into a rock take on Coolio’s “Gangster’s Paradise.” Before long, the band has flown through their set, and are closing the night with the heavily audience involved tune “Enemy” and AC/DC’s “TNT” as an encore.
Setting sail with their debut Night Owl Recorders EP, David Rosales and Olivia May, known simply as David & Olivia, come together to bring us On The Sea, a collection of sad but sweet modern day Americana love songs. Taking no chances straight away, the album begins slow and soft with Rosales’ surprisingly gritty voice declaring that every now and then he could use a friend, akin to the stylings of a “Who’s Loving You” in its classic sounding down-tempo waltz, giving you the feeling of comfort in something familiar, but not necessarily original. Moving briskly into the bubbly, banjo laden “Finally Fine”, May shares with you the butterflies she gets in her stomach, finally feeling fine with you by her side. Resurrecting again a more classic tone, Rosales leads “Key To My Heart” in with a Johnny Cash-like country guitar-pickin’ intro, and an impressive baritone vocal delivery. My personal favorite moment on the album comes with “The Weather Change,” wherein May explores the dark and sad places she finds herself residing, while finding solace in the oncoming change of weather she feels in her bones leading her to find newer, unscathed territories of life.
Pop-punk is one of my favorite genres. It’s fun and it’s got an edge. It’s everything I love about music. There’s melody, there’s those sweet songs that entrance you, there’s the songs that fill you with energy, and there’s the moments that leave you grinning a month later.
It’s dark, brooding, lyrically masterful, and as mesmerizing as the country it comes from. Tucked into 40 minutes of beautiful darkness comes HIM’s latest album, Tears on Tape. And for HIM fans new and old, this one hits the spot.
The album kicks off with the energetic “I Hope Not,” which displays the very familiar scenario of waiting to tell someone how you feel. However, Count to Four takes a fresh approach. Rather than a slow, romantic ballad, they’ve created an up-tempo declaration, which is the perfect way to begin an album.
I need to tell you what it’s like to drive around and listen to Frank Turner’s latest album, Tape Deck Heart on a cool spring day. I need to tell you how the calming melodies and raw lyrics paint the perfect soundtrack to the overcast sky. I need to tell you how as the sun peaks through the clouds, the album takes turn after turn, moving from hard-hitting punk chords, to poignant ballads. The way Turner disguises sensational, even heart wrenching lyrics, behind upbeat tempos and scar filled lyrics is nothing short of genius.
After scoring “Best New Artist” and “Best Alternative Album” last year at the Grammy’s, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon has produced another gem. This time, he’s rekindled a musical relationship with his former band mate Brian Moen and Phil Cook to form a blues rock trio. His newest project – The Shouting Matches – will surprise everyone.
In an industry that is, truthfully, dominated by males, it’s always fun to come across a girl-fronted band. Often when that happens, there are comparisons to Hayley Williams of Paramore, Amy Lee of Evanescence, et cetera. While comparisons as such are never a bad thing, no one could do that to The Material or its powerhouse vocalist Colleen D’Agostino. The band has a sound all t
Andrew McMahon and I go way back. He may not know it, but through those angsty teenage years and developmental phases, he was right there with me, evoking intense emotion with the words to “Punk Rock Princess,” “Dark Blue,” “The Mixed Tape” and of course, “Konstantine.”
So when I enter The Paradise in Boston, MA tonight, it’s a bit like seeing an old friend for the first time. Literally.
As I weave through the audience trying to find my spot for this sold out show, I can already feel the energy of the evening mounting, and the second their 9:30 set time hits so do the first beats from the band.
I am not one to discriminate based on genre. I will happily listen to anything. However, anyone that knows me can tell you, I have a bit of a soft spot for pop-punk and folk (though not necessarily together). Valaska is no exception to this. With the album Natural Habitat, I have found a new album that I like to play on repeat as I draw.
In a genre often called stale, unimaginative or terribl , it is refreshing to see a band take elements of the genre, and make them their own. Though there are great bands in the post-hardcore genre, sometimes it needs shaking up. Rimini, Italy’s Empyrios appear to be setting out to do just that. Their latest release, Zion, is likely to be enjoyed by a genre fan.
The true battle in a conflict isn’t the conflict itself, but how you react to it. Some people overcompensate with optimism, some go back to the way they were (if not a bit wiser), and others become bitter. However, I believe that it’s what you do with those emotions that counts. Uh-huh Baby Yeah! have taken all their feelings and made something out of them.
Make no mistake: the musicianship on Old Man Markely’s second album, Down Side Up, is nothing short of masterful. Members John Carey, Annie DeTemple, Jeff Fuller, Joey Garibaldi, Ryan Markley, John Rosen and Katie Weed certainly know their way around their instruments, and they lay down a wonderful platform which, ideally, would highlight lyrics that were equally as masterful; unfortunately, that’s where Old Man Markley stumbles.
After a tumultuous couple of years, Paramore is back with the release of their new, self-titled album. Since the exit of guitarist and drummer, brothers Josh and Zac Farro, the band has not released any full-length albums. However, with only two original members still in the game, Paramore’s fourth album clearly gives a complete reinvention. The trio—consisting of Hayley Williams on vocals, Jeremy Davis on bass, and Taylor York on guitar—has provided a new sound as the soundtrack to Paramore’s next chapter.
I don’t know what I would do without Chuck Ragan. He doesn’t let me crash on his floor, or buy me thoughtful birthday presents (that’s not to say that he wouldn’t, because I think he totally would), but without even knowing it, he has restored my faith in the music industry. All too often you go to a show and you leave thinking how nice it was. Nice? Personally, I feel that when it comes to music, the only time “nice” should suffice is if you’re sitting in an elementary school cafeteria listening to a rousing rendition of “Silent Night.” Thankfully, there is nothing nice about The Revival Tour.