Thursday, June 18, 2009

Lost in the Savage Garden

So I think for this post we'll have to go all the way back to the late '90s. The subject of this time journey; Savage Garden, an incredible pop rock duo rising from the dusty land of Australia. Comprised of Darren Hayes (vocals) and Daniel Jones (keyboards and guitar), this pop rock duo was in their heyday an international phenomenon. Now I'm usually not one to parade myself as a pop fan, because, well, most pop today is crap. Example(s): Brittany Spears, Rhianna, Justin Timberlake... But what sets these guys apart is not only Hayes' smooth throaty vocals, but Jones' remarkable guitar riffs. Really, this guy can play as well as any hard rocker.

Now just because the Garden broke up in 2001, that doesn't detract from their amazing and innovative sound, and certainly not from their self-titled debut album, which, by the way, was a smash success. Savage Garden has so many hit songs on it, it's almost like it's a compilation album of their best work! Now most everyone with 5 brain cells will know Savage Garden at least for their ballad "Truly Madly Deeply," but there are so many other amazing songs on that record. "To the Moon & Back" has not only amazingly creative writing and imagery, but Hayes particularly nails the vocals on this one. Then there's "I Want You," with an awesome catchy keyboard progression, and one of my personal favorites, "Break Me Shake Me," with an INCREDIBLE bass line and a guitar section that just gets to you. 

Now Savage Garden released only one more album together before breaking up, 1999's Affirmation, but still their debut album is my favorite. Yes these guys are pop rock, but their pop is not like anything I've ever heard. It just has this sound that the Jonas Brothers and Katy Perry can't find, because if they could, they wouldn't sound nearly as cookie-cutter as they do. I highly suggest checking out this album. It will completely mind-fuck you, and whatever you thought about what pop rock was, or could be.

Key Tracks from Savage Garden: "To the Moon & Back," "I Want You," "Truly Madly Deeply," "Break Me Shake Me," "Tears of Pearls," "Violet," "A Thousand Words"  

Monday, June 15, 2009

Cut the Vains of Jenna

So I figured as long as I'm on a metal roll, I might as well let the news out about this new awesome band from Sweden. Riding on the same wave as other Scandinavian metal bands like Wig Wam and The Poodles, Vains of Jenna specializes in the revival of the L.A. metal sound.

But what's different about this band as opposed to other metal bands?Well unlike the cookie-cutter glam metal bands from the late '80s like Warrant and Great White, Vains of Jenna brings back to the table a very particular metal sound; namely that pioneered by Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses. That's right, Vains of Jenna is bringing back the Motley sound. Their debut album, Lit Up/Let Down, drips with sleaze and grit, exactly what we all loved on Shout at the Devil, and Appetite for Destruction. Commanded by Lizzy DeVine (vocals and guitar), Nicki Kin (guitar), Jacki Stone (drums), and JP White (bass), Vains of Jenna is bringing back the driving Slash-like guitar solo and the Sixx bass line, as well as an Axl Rose-like wail that will make you punch your fist in the air as the person next to you air-guitars like there's no tomorrow.  

They drip sleaze and grit, and I wouldn't have it any other way. For years I felt like I missed out on the metal craze because I missed Motley and Guns' heyday, but I was wrong. There's a whole new breed of sleaze rockers out there, and their from MY generation. If you like metal at all, I HIGHLY suggest going out and picking up this album, it's awesome. Also don't miss Vains of Jenna's new song "Enemy in Me" from the compilation album Viva la Bands, Volume 2.

Sounds Like: Guns N' Roses, Motley Crue

Key Tracks from Lit Up/Let Down: "Don't Give a Damn," "Hard to Be Vain," "Lit Up/Let Down," "No One's Gonna Do It for You"

Key Tracks from Viva la Bands, Volume 2: "Enemy in Me"

Check out Vains of Jenna at: and 

Come Pet The Poodles

So some may think that metal, true bone-crushing metal, died out with Tipper Gore and the PMRC in the '80s. WRONG! Metal is alive and well, it just needed...a vacation. And it seemed that Scandinavia looked like the ideal place to recharge. For a few years now, Scandinavian countries like Sweden and Norway have been cultivating their own breed of heavy metal, and it seems the new generation of L.A.-inspired metal has been born. Today's story? The Poodles. Making their international debut in 2006 with their debut album, Metal Will Stand Tall, these Swedish rockers know how to do it. Comprised of Jakob Samuel (vocals), Pontus Egberg (bass), Christian Lundqvist (drums), and Henrik Bergqvist (guitar), The Poodles revive the long-lost arena rock sound with driving guitar solos, gut-busting drum kicks and bass licks that would turn Flea's head. And above all of that, Samuel's soaring vocals like an eagle on wings of sharpened sound and precision.

But these guys can take it slow too. Their balled "Crying" is a testament to the heart and soul of the power-balled, paved by "I Remember You," "Every Rose Has Its Thorn," and "Don't Stop Believin'."
The Poodles released their sophomore and junior albums in 2007 and 2009, respectively, and both continue their legacy of AOR. Guess they were right: thanks to their efforts, The Poodles have ensured that metal will indeed stand tall.

Sounds Like: Winger, Cinderella, Ratt

Key Tracks from Metal Will Stand Tall: "Metal Will Stand Tall," "Echoes From the Past," "Night of Passion," "Dancing with Tears in My Eyes," "Rockstar"

Check out The Poodles at:   

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Get Lost in The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus

So it's no secret that The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus burst onto the scene with their 2006 album Don't You Fake It. Riding strongly on singles like "Face Down," "False Pretense," "Damn Regret," and "Your Guardian Angel," Don't You Fake It was a refreshing new mix of pop-punk and post-hardcore rock.

Now The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus are back, and this time they've brought a new album littered with new singles and sophomore shine. The Jumpsuit's new album, Lonely Road was released on February 3, 2009. However prior to releasing their new album, in late January, the Jumpsuit made their way over to Atlanta and I had the distinct pleasure of going to see them. One thing's for sure: if I thought something might be lost from their music in their performance I was dead wrong. Kicking off with already successful songs "Face Down" and "In Fate's Hands," Ronnie Winter (lead vocals) commanded the crowd like a captain commanding his ship. Backed up by Duke Kitchens (lead guitar, piano, backing vocals), Matt Carter (rhythm guitar), Joey Westwood (bass), and Jon Wilkes (drums), Winter sang in a ballsy high-pitched wail matched only by the classic chords of Axl Rose and Sebastian Bach. The Jumpsuit then continued their powerful performance with their new album's singles, "Your Better Pray" and "Pen & Paper." The new albums lead off singles, "You Better Pray" and "Pen & Paper" continue the Jumpsuit's penchant for melody of hard-hitting riffs, peppered with clever and creative lyrics. I highly suggest picking up this album when you get a chance. Is it the exact same as Don't You Fake It? No. But it is a damn good follow-up. Lonely Road will definitely speak for itself when you listen to it. 

Sounds Like: Tickle Me Pink, The All-American Rejects, American Hi-Fi

Key Tracks from Lonely Road: "You Better Pray," "Pen & Paper," "Represent," "Pull Me Back"

Friday, June 12, 2009

Cage the Elephant!

Ok so I found these guys a few days ago when I had really bad insomnia. Bored as hell at 4 in the morning, I got on the net and went to the Billboard 200 to see what was new in the indie universe. The result? These guys, Cage the Elephant. An interesting blend of indie-rock and blues-inspired punk, CTE was listed in the top ten on the independent releases for that day, so I decided to check out the first single from their self-titled debut album, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked." Now, on first listen, I saw nothing amazing about this track. it was only about 8 hours later when I heard it for the first time on the radio (that day, go figure), that it really hit me. A fantastic blend of a blues beats and clever lyrics, not to mention a killer slide guitar, "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked" is the track to listen to if you want something completely new.

Now for the non-American readers, all this info won't be anything new, considering their album was released in the U.K. in June of last year, a full year before the release of it here in the U.S. Yet that doesn't at all diminish the awesome new sound of Cage the Elephant; made up of Matt Shultz (lead vocals), Brad Shultz (rhythm guitar), Jared Champion (drums), Daniel Tichenor (bass and backing vocals), and Lincoln Parish (lead guitar). Pick up their debut album Cage the Elephant now.

Sounds Like: The White Stripes, The Vines

Key Tracks from Cage the Elephant: "Ain't No Rest for the Wicked," "In One Ear," "Lotus"

Check out Cage the Elephant at: and    

Meg & Dia Are Coming

Ok so acknowledgement of this group is long overdue, but seeing as I just started this blog, I'll just start from the beginning. I saw Meg & Dia as an opening act for Bowling for Soup a couple years ago and was so impressed that I went home and downloaded their commercial debut album Something Real.  A mix of new indie and old-school pop-punk rock, Something Real starts and stops with amazing riffs, creative vocal melodies, and insightful lyrics. Made up of sisters Dia Frampton (lead vocals ad keyboards), Meg Frampton (rhythm guitar and backing vocals), Jonathan Snyder (bass), Nick Price (drums), and Carlo Gimenez (lead guitar), Meg & Dia not only rock hard on their albums, but also live. These sisters know how to give a great show. I highly suggest picking up their sophomore album , Something Real for a new indie-rock experience. For more by the Frampton sisters, check out their first album, Our Home Is Gone, and their newly released third studio album, Here, Here and Here.

Sounds Like: The Material, Letters to Cleo

Key Tracks from Something Real: "Indiana," "Monster," "Roses," "Masterpiece"


So it's no news anymore really that Green Day are back. There is, however, news in what they've come back with. A new album, a new story, a new masterpiece. Though I could quite possibly be the only person on the face of the earth who liked American Idiot, that does not deter from the weight of my next statement. I thought American Idiot would be the best record Green Day ever put out. I thought it was going to be their most mature effort, and the apex of their success. I was wrong. Dead wrong. Green Day has returned with a bigger, badder, louder, more aware album than American Idiot ever was. 21st Century Breakdown is a momentous success for Green Day, and for the world who will listen to it.

Green Day's sophomore effort at a concept album, 21st Century Breakdown tells the story of Christian and Gloria, two fictional revolutionaries in love through a series of three separate acts. An album commentary about the world as it was during Green Day's childhood, and as it is now, 21st Century Breakdown is not only one of the year's most anticipated albums, but it could quite possible be the Tommy, or The Dark Side of the Moon for my generation. A concept album so far unmatched in musicianship, maturity or dead awareness, 21st Century Breakdown is this year's masterpiece. Oh, and the artwork is amazing too, for any of you artists out there who care. Not only do I highly suggest getting your hands on a copy, I order it. Not since Nirvana's 1991 release of Nevermind has such an album had a chance at hitting hard all levels of society. (And a little fun fact so you KNOW this album is amazingly produced, Butch Vig, producer of Nirvana's Nevermind, and Smashing Pumpkins' Siamese Dream also produced this record). If you're a Green Day fan, or even if you're not, don't miss this amazing album. And I don't give a flying fuck what the radio stations or the tabloids say. It might take a month, or  year, or two, but this album is going to be HUGE. Mark my words all, Green Day, whether you like it or not, are going to be the next band to be put up in that pantheon next to Led Zeppelin, The Who, and Black Sabbath. Not since Nirvana has a band been elevated to that sacred level (except maybe Pearl Jam), and Green Day are next.

Sounds Like: Blink-182, The Offspring, American Hi-Fi

Key Tracks from 21st Century Breakdown: "21st Century Breakdown," "Know Your Enemy," "21 Guns," "East Jesus Nowhere," "Last of the American Girls"

Go check out Green Day at:

Wrapped in The Material

Ok so as this is the first post in my new music blog, I thought I would start with a review of a band which I discovered last year. The Material are a five-piece alternative pop-punk rock band made up of Colleen D'Agostino (lead vocals), Jon Moreaux (lead guitar), Noah Vowels (drums), Matt Holden(bass), and Roi Elam (guitar). I discovered these titanic performers on and was hooked the minute I started listening. I was so hooked in fact that I went out to see them when they made their way down to Atlanta and was floored. How the HELL do these guys not have a record deal yet? They're still operating under the unsigned banner?!? What a travesty. Some artists are measured by their music on album, and some by their music live. But isn't it great when both ROCK?!! Well that's exactly what these guys (and girl) do. We've seen the rise of big name (and to their credit, awesome) bands like Paramore and Flyleaf, but for some reason The Material has slipped under the radar. Well no more. If nothing else, it's an accomplishment that they currently hold the #1 spot on the charts for the top 100 unsigned artists. (And believe me, they've been in that top 100 for about a year now). They released their debut EP entitled Tomorrow a little while ago, so if you have the time, I highly suggest picking a copy up. This debut EP is a sign of the future. These guys are gonna be BIG.

Sounds Like: Paramore, Letters to Cleo

Key Tracks from Tomorrow: "No One Has to Know," "The Truth About Reality," "The Promise" 

Popular Posts