Sunday, September 27, 2009

Shadows Lie

What would it sound like to hear the sirens of myth that sang to Odysseus on his quest home? I don't know but listening to Shadows Lie, with its siren-like lead vocalist is probably as close as we're ever gonna get. That doesn't bother me too much though, since she's got an amazing voice, and it sounds like sirens meet HIM and AFI.
Rising from the New York City underground, Shadows Lie, made up of Kira Leigh (lead vocals), Frank Grullon (guitar), CT (bass), and Marco Britti (drums), introduces a new take on hard-rock, inspired by (it would seem to me) such diverse tastes as Evanescence, Staind, HIM, AFI, and Incubus.
The first song I hear off their album Echoes is "Dead End," a surreal number almost in the vein of Alice in Chains, but with its own, off-the-chain siren-like vocals that just amaze. I didn't even know there were notes that high, but Leigh finds a way to reach them, and in her banshee-like shriek, delivers a song that draws upon the Pixies-pioneered dynamic of quiet-loud, coupled with the breathy vocals of Evanescence and Flyleaf.
Then it moves on to the next one, which I think is my personal favorite, "Everything." Starting off with a Cure-like Gothic guitar riff by Grullon, Leigh jumps into the vocals, singing with an interesting meter, making me think of such groups as Eve 6 and AFI. The Britti takes it easy on the drums during this one, opting for a beat based in the snare and toms (and the high-hats a little bit too), rather than going to town on the crash. CT's bass keeps time just right, and the song slows to a stop a couple minutes later, among 'la,la,la's' from Leigh.
"Keep Falling Down" opens with a interesting, I'd like to say Gothic, but not so much, guitar progression from Grullon, and Leigh steps in on vocals, like something so shiny and new, my ears couldn't stop listening if they wanted to. "Keep Falling Down" sounds very different from the previous two, but that works in SL's benefit; it just adds more to their already-innovative sound. And the chorus on it? Oh my god, just a beautiful chorus all around. Amazing guitar and bass, thumping drums, and a sky-rocketing voice that just shatters any intention of ignoring it.
I don't know what I could call these guys (and girl). Hard-rock? Alternative? Post-grunge? I have no idea, you do that yourselves. All I know is that they sounds fucking amazing, and if I were you, I'd get my ass in gear and go grab one of their CD's and give it a listen. It'll blow your mind.

Sounds Like: Evanescence, HIM, Flyleaf, AFI

Key Tracks from Echoes: "Everything," Keep Falling Down," "Dead End," "Blank"

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Fallen Line

Sometimes groups surprise you, and you realize that you were wrong about them. I came across this group a few days ago, and I gotta say, I wasn't very impressed. Yet, listening to them now, I was wondering if I was having just a bad day, or if I wasn't closely enough, because these guys have a sick sound that isn't just regular old cookie-cutter punk rock.
Made up of Ed (lead vocals and guitar), Marc (guitar) Steve (bass and vocals), and Danny (drums), TFL introduces to us a hard-edged punk sound with the sensibilities of a pop song while retaining all the shred of a hard-rock anthem.
The first song I listen to from their self-titled EP is "Running Nowhere," a pop-punk song that makes me think of Blink-182 and Sum 41. Personally my favorite aspects of this song, aside from the vocals which fit perfectly, are the bass and drums, which just make this a get-up-and-move kind of song. However the two guitarists, Ed and Marc shine on the next song, "Autumn Again, which opens with a searing riff that just continues throughout the whole song. The drumming in this song works with the rhythm guitar to deliver a mace blow to the senses. It's just one of those guitar riffs that has you go "Whoa, what the HELL?!"
The last song I listen to is "De Aries," a number that differs from the previous two. Instead of a straight-laced pop-punk song, this one seems a little more alternative, complete with some hardcore vocals that would be reminiscent of AFI. Yet, once again, the sick, Scorpions-like guitar solo just makes my draw drop again. The Fallen Line = a must-hear band. Period.

Sounds Like: Puddle of Mudd, Stone Sour, (+44)

Key Tracks from The Fallen Line: "Running Nowhere," "Autumn Again," "De Aries"

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Look Past the LeatherFace

This is one of those funny instances with a name the describes the thing it names in no way whatsoever. Like a massive guy named Tiny, or a Chihuahua named Killer.
LeatherFace is a pop-punk band out of Eden Prairie, Minnesota, specializing in catchy pop-punk tunes. Made up of Tyler Gilboe (lead vocals), Austin Jager (lead guitar), Casey Vandalarschot (guitar), Mark Lephy (bass), and Zak Proier (drums).
There's no way to describe these guys any more than to say their melodies are catchy as hell, the vocals work fantastically in a way most pop songs are overdone, and the guitar progressions have you humming along so much you almost want to kill yourself because you know you'll never get the tune out of your head.
The first track I listen to from their EP No One's Alone is "Get Up," an acoustically-inspired ballad that just fits within the vein of Amber Pacific, and even near The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus's new song "Pen and Paper." The guitar riff is something that is so catchy that I kick myself for not writing it myself. It carries the song so perfectly I just sway with the awesome melody. Gilboe's resonating voice and and introspective lyrics make "Get Up" one of this group's must-hear songs. In fact, I'd say for me, it's what makes this a must-hear group.
Then it moves on to "So Long Ago," another easy-going, yet intricate song with melodies Simple Plan might be jealous of. The vocals in this one meld perfectly over the chorus, giving you another perfect camp song for around the fire-pit. "Wonderwall," "Good Riddance," "Slide," move over, "So Long Ago" is on its way.
The the mood changes a little with the tracks "Poison" and "On Your Side," two more electrically-inspired numbers that further my faith in this group, because of the great diversity of their songs. Amber Pacific, Third Eye Blind, Last Goodnight, eat your hearts out, because LeatherFace is on their way.

Sounds Like: Amber Pacific, The Last Goodnight, Third Eye Blind

Key Tracks from No One's Alone: "Get Up," "So Long Ago," "Poison," "On Your Side"

Check out LeatherFace more at:

You're My Saturday

It gives me great pleasure to introduce to you all You're My Saturday, an enormous pop-punk group out of London, U.K. In fact, the reason it gives me such pleasure is because these guys are very close personal friends of Ames, a very, very good friend of mine, and from what I hear right now, they're having talks about a record deal.
Made up of Jason Darling (vocals), Ash Hanif (lead guitar and vocals), George Cochrane (guitar and vocals), Jack O'Mahoney (bass), and Sam Aldred (drums), YMS mixes Boys Like Girls-like lyrics with Mayday Parade-eqsue melodies to create a selection of songs that will have you humming all day long. The anthemic, stick-in-your-head choruses don't hurt either.
The first song I listen to from their demo CD is "Cheaters and Liars," a great mix of energetic drumming and a killer guitar riff that just seems to fit and click perfectly with the rhythm guitar and bass, as the vocals carry the song from start to finish. My personal favorite, however, is the next track, which I actually got a sneak-peak of over the summer when Ames came to visit me. "You're At Your Best When You're Undressed" begins with a nice guitar progression into an energetic palm-mute sequence, showcasing Hanif's and Cochrane's guitar skills, as Aldred goes to town on the crash and high-hats, while O'Mahoney keeps rhythm with the bass, and Darling brings the song from start to finish. Yet this may also be the perfect showcasing of Hanif's and Chochrane's vocal abilities too, as the harmonies work so well it sounds like Darling has been double-tracked when in reality it's all three working to make the song come to life. The catchy guitar-riff interlude doesn't hurt any either.
Then it's on to "The Chase," a head-bopping, guitar-driven number that will keep you on your feet from start to finish. Frankly, I thought songs that started with guitar this catchy, and took so little time to get going were done for, put in their graves by slow, forever songs like Coldplay's "Yellow," and The Fray's "How to Save a Life." Thankfully, my faith in straight-laced pop-punk, alternative rock 'n' roll has been restored. I think the only thing better about this song than the fast start and the sing-along lyrics is the sick guitar solo Hanif so enthusiastically presents to us. And just as quickly as it started, it's done. That's the mark of a great rock song; hit hard, hit fast, then disappear, and leave them wanting more. And I certainly want more after that. I could go on and on about every one of their songs I listened to, including what I'm being treated to right now, with "Leaning on Pages." But that would ruin it, and frankly wouldn't do this group the justice it deserves. So get up off your ass and check these guys out. If you've been waiting for pop-punk's answer to groups like Coldplay and The Fray, here they are, fast, loud, and with no intention of stopping anytime soon.

Sounds Like: Mayday Parade, Boys Like Girls, You Me At Six, Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low

Key Tracks from Demo CD: "You're At Your Best When You're Undressed," "The Chase," "Cheaters and Liars," "Leaning on Pages," "Everything Is"

Check out You're My Saturday more at:

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The Word Is Tepetricy

It's early enough in the morning for me to be feeling something different than the rest of the day, and that something is amazement. My discovery? Tepetricy, an industrial, alternative metal band out of Bloomington, Minnesota.
Made up of Steve Fremling (vocals), Aaron Peterson (guitar), Victor Quade (keyboards), William Campbell (bass), and Robin Rapsys (drums), Tepetricy is a new take on the alternative metal band. Think of My Chemical Romance crossed with Evanescence, Marilyn Manson, and AFI. These guys are totally out of the box when it comes to sound. I don't even know what to make of them because they have the smooth vocals of Creed one minute and the harsh growls of Mudvayne the next. They cross the keys and synths of AFI (and Davey Havok's side project band, Balqk Audio) with the driving guitar solos of Disturbed and the rhythmic drums and bass of My Chem. The first track I heard off their Shaking the Rust Internally was "A Lonesome Night in Triage." The only thing I can say about this song is that it's absolutely amazing. It starts off a little bit slow and mellowed out, riding on Fremling's hypnotic vocals, but then gets flown away by Peterson's face-melting guitar riff, and Quade's screaming synth progression. Then you start to hear more of Campbell's pulsing bass, and Rapsys's drums, making your neck hurt because you can't stop your head from moving up and down. The only thing more amazing than the heavy metal prowess of this song is its incorporation of Quade's slick key riffs, giving it a semi-electronica undertone and an amazing sound.
Then I move on to "Breach of Endearment." This song is completely different from the first. More hardcore, more angry, more forceful. Not bad at all. I always judge a band not by what they can do the same, but by what they can do different. Fremling's growls on this song approach near-Pantera levels, and it just works. Even Quade steps up the synths and makes them work whole-heartedly with this aggressive number. The last track I listen to, "Ceneca Winds," seems to combine the two previous song styles, and it just amazes me that such talent isn't on the world stage. Why aren't these guys opening arenas next to Disturbed and AFI? I have no idea. In my opinion they should be.

Sounds Like: Disturbed, Mudvayne, AFI, Evanescence, Marilyn Manson

Key Tracks from Shaking the Rust Internally: "A Lonesome Night in Triage," "Breach of Endearment," "Ceneca Winds"

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Flight Station Takes Off

It's just a few minutes past midnight, and I'm having one of those epiphanies again. I really don't spend enough time listening to groups that fit into the pop-indie genre. Don't know why, but I think after finding these guys I'm going to change. The Flight Station is a pop-punk, alternative rock band out of Cincinnati, Ohio, and was actually voted into Alternative Press as a Hometown Hero in February of this year. But frankly, it's not good enough for me that they were voted in, and have probably like one sentence written about them; I want to be seeing their T-shirts and CD's in Hot Topic and Spencer's.
Made up of Corey Moore (vocals and guitar), Alex Wheatley (vocals and guitar), Josh Roaden (bass), and Corey Powell (drums), TFS delivers hard punches of pop-punk melody laced with hard-rock riffs, and even a Bowling for Soup-like humor in some of their numbers.
Their Escaping Ourselves EP, the follow-up to their Falling Star EP, which contained such incredible songs as "California," "Days Left Behind," and "Memories in the Sky," (an altogether great EP), starts of with "The Last Time," a fantastic song set in driving guitar riffs, bashing drums, pounding bass, and soaring smooth vocals. They continue on with "Just the Beginning," a pop-punk ballad that once again reworks the whole boy-girl, "let's run away together" idea, but for some reason, it doesn't seem so overblown. It just works. The vocals particularly on this track, and the interesting time signature, combine with the other elements to create a really special song. This track also contains a promising keyboard/synth part which adds to TFS's unique use of their own sound.
"Just the Beginning" slides into the next one, "The Perfect Moment," so well it seems like the two are two halves to a single, giant track. Characterized by an anthemic chorus, sing-along verses, and a guitar note progression that sticks in your head no matter how much you might wish it would leave (and I have no idea why you would wish such a thing). The EP finishes with "Searching for Me," a track that clocks in at 6:40. But don't be put off by its length; "Searching for Me" has a message that Moore, Wheatley, Roaden and Powell deliver with a great keyboard sequence, an almost '60s drum beat, and vocals that just make the track shine. These are only 4 of the 6 tracks on the EP. I highly suggest listening to them, and discovering for yourself the other 2.

Sounds Like: All Time Low, Boys Like Girls, Forever the Sickest Kids

Key Tracks from Escaping Ourselves: "The Last Time," "Just the Beginning," The Perfect Moment," "Searching for Me"

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Fate Kills the Hero

I must be going through an emo-alternative phase because bands I would never have given a second thought to suddenly seem to pop out at me more. Case in point: Fate Kills the Hero. Hailing from Malborough, Connecticut, FKTH is a pop-punk quintet with punky melodies laced with catchy lyrics and plenty of pop and synth hooks.
Comprised of Matt (vocals), Adam (guitar), Teddy (guitar), Justin (bass), and Doug (drums), FKTH start off their 11-track album, A Little Bit Louder, with the unbelievably catchy "From the Sky," a track that screams synthed-out All Time Low and Forever the Sickest Kids. Matt's vocals, while possessing the incredible melody of Patrick Stump's (Fall Out Boy), also have the sultry sound of Matt Young (formerly of Amber Pacific), so the mixture is something to pay attention to. Meanwhile, Adam and Teddy keep the song moving with chords that contribute to an anthemic chorus that will have everyone singing along (and probably does at concerts).
Fate Kills the Hero continues on with "Medicated," a slightly harder track that showcases Justin's bass fretwork, and Doug's drumming prowess perfectly. Then Matt crashes in on another ultra-catchy chorus, pervaded by "wha-oh's," and just when I think I know how the song is going to play out, I'm floored by the interesting and original use of synth (many groups overuse keyboards in songs like this, but thankfully, that's not the case here).
It's then on to "Bounce Back," and my head hasn't stopped bopping in the past 15 minutes. Starting with a great guitar note sequence, the song rides on Justin's pulse-pounding bass line, and then we're whisked off as Matt takes off on another chorus, proving that the old saying is true: "if you got it, then you got." And these guys certainly have it. Matt, save me a shirt, because before we know, Hot Topic will be sold out.

Sounds Like: All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids, Breathe Carolina, Mayday Parade

Key Tracks from A Little Bit Louder: "From the Sky," "Medicated," "Bounce Back"

Karma 10

So for a good while now (like the past three hours), I've been looking for a great old-school hard-rock band, and I think I may have found one definitely worthy of some praise. Karma 10 is a hard-rock group out of Columbus, Ohio, and as I've just recently found out, a major staple in the city's hard-rock underground scene. The group was started a few years ago by Keith Miller (lead vocals), and includes Chris Williams (lead guitar and vocals), Zack Dickerson (guitar and vocals), Mike Mapes (bass), and Marty Harris (drums and vocals).
What makes this group different from others, though, is Williams' and Dickerson's incredible guitar work, along with other aspects. Taking cues from seminal hard-rockers like AC/DC, Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, and Quiet Riot, Williams makes his guitar shriek in the same way that Rudolph Schenker from Scorpions does, as Dickeron seems to emulate Malcolm Young of AC/DC, and lay down a head-bopping rhythm guitar riff. Under that lay Mapes' Mike Anthony-like bass lines, Harris's Tommy Lee-like drumming, and above it all, is Miller's amazing voice, almost like a David Lee Roth of a new era.
I was struck right from the start by their first track, "I Believe." It just rocks so hard, and interestingly enough, seems to drip with the same sleaze that made groups like Motley Crue and Guns N' Roses famous. And it works. Don't know why, but it just does.
K10's EP Day Dreaming, continues with "Red Dress VooDoo," and then moves on to "Sister," a sleazy number that would find comfort among any Van Halen set-list. These guys just put a new and different spin on modern hard-rock. Amazing musicianship. A must-hear.

Sounds Like: Van Halen, Scorpions, Dokken, Motley Crue

Key Tracks from Day Dreaming: "I Believe," "Red Dress VooDoo," "Sister"

Check out Karma 10 more at:

On the Front

Just so many times, you hear something new, and it strikes you like a baseball bat to the head, and you ask yourself why isn't everyone listening to this band. That was how I felt when I heard these guys. A pop-punk, indie alternative band out of Fall Out Boy's hometown, Chicago, On the Front blends catchy pop melodies with technical rock prowess to produce a pop-punk sound that's not even worth trying to ignore, because you won't be able to. After releasing their debut EP, ...AS the Story Goes... a couple years ago, OTF has just recently finished recording their sophomore EP, Falling With Style, and I must say, every song on it is a must-hear.
Made possible by Gary Kessy (vocals), Jason Bailey (guitar), Dan Orosco (keyboards and vocals), Eric Kalina (bass), and Joey Gibbs (drums), Falling With Style starts of with "Directions," a pop-punk number, featuring especially great vocals from Kessy and Orosco. My intrigue is furthered on the next couple of tracks, "Falling with Style," and "Can't Sleep... Robots Will Eat Me," where OTF experiments with aspects of pop-punk, emo punk, alternative rock, and hardcore.
The EP finishes up with "Letters," a pop-emo-punk anthem with hardcore (though fittingly) vocals towards the end, and "Just Like Me." The second of the these two, "Just Like Me," just sets itself apart in my opinion from the rest of the EP. There's just something different about it. It's on these two tracks in particular, that I think Bailey's guitar playing compliments very well Kalina's pulsing bass, and Gibbs' drum beats and crash hits. This would end up being the track at the show where everyone in the crowd sings along. A great finish to a great EP.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, Lostprophets, Sparta

Key Tracks from Falling With Style: "Directions," "Can't Sleep... Robots Will Eat Me," "Just Like Me"

Heart-Set Self-Destruct

Now this one will be for all you hard-rock and hardcore lovers out there, but all of you who are into indie and alternative stuff, check these guys out anyway, I wasn't able to stop listening. Heart-Set Self-Destruct hale from Naperville, Illinois, and from what I've heard and read, have become a staple in the hardcore music scene up there. I can truly say their first number, "Narcotic," was so off-the-wall different I just had to sit down and listen. Made up of Dave (vocals and guitar), Chris (guitar), Daniel (bass), and Nick (drums), HSSD provide a hardcore sound polished with grunged, metal guitar riffing and strong vocals. As with Fire At Will, it's the juxtaposition of Dave's hard vocals next to smoother melodies that make HSSD a must-hear.
Like I said, it started with "Narcotic," but it quickly moved on to "Burn the Sky," and then to "Suffer." Now as much as I preferred the vocals on "Narcotic" to those on "Suffer," ("Suffer" is just a smidge too hardcore for me, but still a great track), the great things about "Suffer" are the great guitar licks, and the slowed-down interlude. Truth be told, "Suffer" has one of those great anthemic choruses that you'd come to expect from a Disturbed song. HSSD's album, Victims Like Me, continues with "Tourniquet," one of my personal favorites. This track is completely different from the first few, which says something to me about this band's versatility. Rather than a fast-paced face-melter, HSSD opts for a slower, yet just as heavy, number with the melody of any Evanescence song, albeit without the female vocals (though Evanescence does have a track called "Tourniquet" as well from their debut album, Fallen).
I could review all ten songs on the album, but that would ruin the thrill of hearing them for yourself, so this is the last one I'll do. "Reliving Yesterday" starts off with a slower note sequence, but soon moves to a hard-rock inspired guitar riff with a pounding bass and head-bopping drum beat. Just as much as Chris and Dave are great guitarists and vocalists, Nick and Daniel shouldn't be slighted for the drum and bass abilities, respectively, because they give the song, and album, the great rhythm that Chris's and Dave's guitar licking fits so well with. If you're into hard-rock and some hardcore, I highly suggest listening to these guys. It's only a matter of time before I see their T-shirts being sold in Hot Topic and Spencer's.

Sounds Like: AFI, Lostprophets, Disturbed, HIM

Key Tracks: "Tourniquet," "Reliving Yesterday," "Narcotic," "Your Apology"

Rome Juliana

There is nothing to say about this band except that they are 100% original and that I've never heard anything like them. Never have I heard such a mix of alternative, acoustic, and cello rock. Rome Juliana hale from Winston Salem, North Carolina, and this quintet have decided to take it upon themselves to redefine the alternative and acoustic genres.
Made up of Ryan Roets (vocals), Drew Wolber (guitar), Daniel Seriff (guitar), John Rosal (guitar), and Devree Lewis (cello), Rome Juliana puts a unique alternative spin on what would usually be typical acoustic music with two plus guitars. Yet with Roets' vocals, and Lewis's conspicuous cello chords, Rome Juliana provide an alternative rock sound that incorporates what seems to be a wide range of influences, including (at least to my ears) Spanish flamentco stylings.
It starts off with "Beneath the Sheets," an acoustic ballad given a darker tone by Lewis's somber cello strokes. It's almost like an acoustic alternative rocker meeting Apocalyptica and jamming. After "Fairy Tale," another acoustic ballad, Rome Juliana moves on to an electric number in "Man of Words." Here, interestingly, as Wolber, Seriff, and Rosal adopt solid-body electric guitars instead of acoustic ones, Roets, too, seems to adopt a different style of vocals, seeming to opt for an almost hip-hop style during the verses before returning to the alternative-style chorus. Also, "Man of Words" showcases a beautiful harmonica track that, combined with Lewis's cello, yet again, create a song with a wide range of emotions. Rome Juliana has clearly moved away from the one song, one emotion ideal, and, as the song ends with a searing guitar riff, you're left wondering which emotion you felt 3 1/2 seconds ago was the one the song was supposed to stir. These guys (and girl) are an amazing, eclectic mix of alternative, acoustic, and cello rock, and if you like any one of these, you have to listen to them.

Sounds Like: Apocalyptica, Rascal Flatts, Stevie Ray Vaughn

Key Tracks from Rome Juliana EP: "Beneath the Sheets," Fairy Tale," "Man of Words," Maya's Lullaby"

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Can You Keep A Secret?

No, it's really not supposed to be a question, but I thought I'd be a little sneaky. This group of four pop-punksters out of Aubry Park, New Jersey is putting their own stamp on what they think pop-punk should be. Playing alongside and taking their cue from such as as All Time Low and Just Surrender, CYKAS is bringing back the pop-punk style that groups like Cartel and Cute Is What We Aim For recently repopularized a few years ago. Consisting of John Abbate (vocals), Alan Scarpa (guitar and vocals), Dan Dinen (bass), and Josh Craig (drums), CYKAS launches into their first track, "Take a Chance," and I'm mesmerized. Abbate's smooth, anthemic vocals mesh perfectly with Scarpa's palm-mutes and searing guitar riffs. Yet, Dinen's and Craig's versatile abilities can be felt uniquely too; Dinen with his rhythmic bass pounding in "Make Them Believe, Make It Reality," and Craig's almost '60s style-meets-'90s alternative punk drumming on "Let's Say We Did."
CYKAS's debut EP sold over 1,000 copies, and these new tracks, of their new EP, The Feeling of Being Alive, keep to that vein of hard-rock and pop-punk direction.
Now I'm listening to "The End of the Story," and it's a song I find myself bopping my head to. This is just the kind of music you don't want to fast-forward or rewind. Taking a page from All Time Low's ultra-catchy melodies and Amber Pacific's keen lyrics, CYKAS seem to push the borders of pop-punk farther with each song. You have to check these guys out. They're going to be the next Boys Like Girls overnight sensation.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, All Time Low, Cute Is What We Aim For, Cartel

Key Tracks from The Feeling of Being Alive: "Take a Chance," "Make Them Believe, Make It Reality"

In the GoodNight City

Not often enough do I step out of my preferred music genre to listen to stuff I usually don't. Today, however, is one of those rare days where I decided I wanted to listen to something a little more power-pop than usual, and I found this incredible group. GoodNight City is a whirlwind of fury and melody out of Nashville, Tennessee, and they know how to rock like there's no tomorrow. I haven't been this impressed with a power-pop-punk band in a long time. With Dax (vocals), Blair (guitar), AJ (bass), and Mikey (drums), GNC is a fresh sound in a sometimes way over-produced genre.
From the first chords of "Thieves, Crooks & Politicians," I'm hooked by Blair's unique finger-work on the guitar, and Dax's smooth, yet strong vocals, backed up by AJ's powerful bass chords, and Mikey's perfect time-keeping drumming. Then it spills over into "By the Time I Hit the Border" and "Hollywood," two powerful, sing-along, anthemic ballads with melodic verses and blasting choruses. GoodNight City finishes up strong with "Picture Perfect," a please-listen-to-me ballad with the strong, loud choruses of We The Kings and Mayday Parade. If you live in Nashville, you've probably heard of these guys (because there's no way I wouldn't have if I did live there), and if you don't, you will soon. I highly suggest checking out this group's EP Better with the Lights Down; it's punky, it's catchy, and it's just plain good.

Sounds Like: Mayday Parade, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Tickle Me Pink, We The Kings

Key Tracks from Better with the Lights Down: "Thieves, Crooks & Politicians," "By the Time I Hit the Border," "Hollywood," "Picture Perfect"

Check out GoodNight City more at:

In The Medium

Sometimes bands experiment, while looking for one sound, and come across a completely different, unique sound that they an adopt as their own, different from anyone else. Case in point, The Medium, who seem to have been greatly influenced by indie and piano rock, as well as garage rock drum beats and rhythms, yet have completely cultivated their own sound, so they don't sound like anyone else. Built up of David Leney (vocals and guitar), Matt Rubba (guitar), Jason Millstein (keyboards), Rich Ratner (bass), and Dave Dabek (drums), The Medium produces something the few bands ever do: songs that sound completely different from each other.
So many times bands find a sound that works and stick with that, but rarely do they continue to experiment. Yet the catchy, garage-rocky sound of "Prime" is WAY different, the polar opposite it seems in fact, of the more techno-inspired, yet just as amazing "I Wore This Shirt for a Reason." "Prime" combines garage rock rhythms with softer, almost Coldplay-like vocals, just with more kick than Coldplay. And when "I Wore This Shirt for a Reason" comes on, I'm floored and confused, because it's SO way different, but not in a bad way. It's great and amazing that one group can have so many different sounds. After "I Wore This Shirt for a Reason" ends, I'm plunged into the alternative rock-sounding "I Heard Thunder," which sounds more '90s inspired than the other two tracks. But the sheer thrill I get out of having three completely different tracks overrides whatever skepticism I might have had before. It's clear that The Medium's EP The Roaring Twenties contains a wide variety of sounds and influences, and for that reason alone I would consider picking it up. The fact that every song is great just adds to your reason for doing so.

Sounds Like: Shiny Toy Guns, Narration, The Strokes, Silversun Pickups

Key Tracks from The Roaring Twenties: "Prime," "I Wore This Shirt for a Reason," "I Heard Thunder," "Someday"

A Ruby Rose for You, A Ruby Rose for Me

Nowadays it's pretty common to come across a good hard-rock or post-grunge band. They practically pervade the rock music market because, well, after the grunge movement in the '90s, it's to be expected. Yet it's so rare to find a great indie-rock band anywhere. A group whose sound is so off the wall that it sounds completely different than anything out there. Luckily, I seem to be having luck in that area this week.
I present to you Ruby Roses, a incredible indie, alternative rock group out of Wayne, New Jersey. Comprising Evan Hooker (vocals and guitar), Aaron Mazie (vocals and guitar), Jon Bruno (guitar), Andrew Giordano (vocals and keyboards), Justin Vitetta (bass), and Brian Carlucci (vocals and drums), Ruby Roses presents a clear, crisp indie sound that sounds equally as fun-loving as 1990s' debut album Cookies, yet also as introspective as Silversun Pickups' debut, Carnavas. Hooker's, Mazie's and Bruno's guitar licks are incredible, the kind that make you want to bop your head. Sounding almost like a harken back to good old garage rock, these riffs combine with Giordano's amazing keyboard work to give the indie sound an almost techno-garage-psychadelic feel. Then underscoring it all is Vitetta's light but important bass, and Carlucci's almost John Densmore-like drumming, with Hooker's and company's vocals overhead. 
From the first strums of "Good Company," I was glued to the sound. The lyrics are clever and easy to understand, also a plus among many of today's music groups. In fact, listening to "Good Company" again now, it strikes a similarity to Maroon 5's "Sunday Morning," yet without the apparent whininess that ticks me off about Maroon 5. The harmonies in the background just paint a perfect picture and it's just one of those songs that is just great. Then we move to "Changing Tides" and "Hold You on the Phone," the former of which dishes out a great Clapton-mixed-with-Hendrix-like blues guitar riff, and both with a great techno effect towards the end as Giordano goes to town on the keyboards. As for the other members, drums and bass, they just keep it moving perfectly. Perfect time signature, and great rhythm. If you like anything indie, alternative, or garage rock sounding, these guys are a must. Some people just know how to do it, and these guys certainly do.

Sounds Like: 1990s, The Strokes, Electric Light Orchestra, Silversun Pickups, The Beatles

Key Tracks from Good Company EP: "Good Company," "Changing Tides," "Hold You on the Phone," "Between Our Dreams"

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fire At Will

Normally, I'm not much one for the screamo side of hardcore. Not that it's bad or anything, I just personally tend to find it not my taste. Tonight, however, I found a group that I HAD to listen to. I literally couldn't bring myself to hit the "Back" button because I was so intrigued by their sound. To me personally, not the typical hardcore or screamo. From the first chords of "Rapture," I was just hooked by the incredible guitar riffs and the juxtaposition of the smooth lead vocals next to the animalistic screams in the background. Made up of Nick Puzzo (lead vocals), Andru Murphy (guitar), Vince Puzzo (lead guitar, vocals, and screams), Mike Messmer (bass, vocals, and screams), and Dwayne Barnet (drums), FAW is all over the place genre-wise, but in a day when everything is labeled and commercialized, that's something I like.
The group continues in the hardcore vein with "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Flee the Scene." Two hardcore numbers that harken back to AFI and Lostprophets, "Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels" and "Flee the Scene" sound almost like they belong on Decemberunderground or Thefakesoundofprogress. 
However, the group shows their funny side with "The Lesbian Song," a funny little anecdote that seems worthy of sharing a playlist with Bowling for Soup's "The Bitch Song" and Blink-182's "Mutt." 
FAW finish strong with "She Lied," a harder song that seems like it would be comfortable among something Red Jumpsuit Apparatus or Alexisonfire. Yet wherever these songs find themselves, their still awesome, and like Pantera's "Walk" did the first time I heard it, they just make me want to hit someone. Pure anger and brute force, that's real power, and that's the power of these songs.

Sounds Like: AFI, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Lostprophets, Alexisonfire

Key Tracks from Fire At Will: "Rapture," "Lost, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels," "Flee the Scene," "She Lied"

Check out Fire At Will more at:   

Rockin' Out on Webster Street

They're a three-piece out of Indiana named after a street in their hometown. No strangers to touring or acclaim, Webster Street, made up of brothers Mike Murray (vocals and guitar) and Pat Murray (vocals and drums), and Scott Schave (bass), just knock out tune after tune in the vein of alternative hard-rock, with catchy pop-punk melodies. Releasing their debut album, Ryan's Dog, in 2006, Webster have been sharpening their teeth on the tour circuit, and after listening to a few of the songs off their debut album, all I can ask is why, because they certainly don't need it! Whether people are born with talent or come into it, I don't much care, because whether or not these guys have been able to rock this well since birth, or only in the past couple years, the fact of the matter is is that they do now.
The playlist starts with "Should Of," an acoustic-led ballad of sorts. Then Pat Murray comes in on the drums and Schave starts in on the bass as Mike Murray strums away on the guitar. Ultra bliss. Just perfect. Now I'm a music snob, I admit it, and I listen to thousands of songs, thinking of ways I could make them better, but this one is just PERFECT. I wouldn't change a thing. Then Webster continues with "Garage Sale," and "Love Letter," one of my personal favorites. When you hear this, you can tell Murray is baring his soul to the world, and that's what I want in a song. Skip the fake BS and give me something real. Then Pat, again, crashes in on the cymbals and Schave's bass sets the rhythm for what I can only describe as a revamped version of the power-ballad. Only this time, the hairspray and glitz are gone, and what's left is pure feeling and emotion. Then as the middle of the song approaches, the tempo goes up a bit, and Murray sears away with a Scorpions-like riff. Incredible. Hats off to you Webster Street, one of the best songs I've heard in a long time.   

Sounds Like: Pearl Jam, Blind Melon, Matchbox Twenty

Key Tracks from Ryan's Dog: "Should Of," "Garage Sale," "Love Letter," "Simple"

Sketch Machine

It's amazing what talent can be overlooked if it's not thrust into the spotlight in a major metropolis like New York or L.A. That most certainly seems to be the case here. Sketch Machine is an alternative rock band from Fort Wayne, Indiana, and it's amazing that these four guys have been overlooked. Whatever these guys do during the day, whatever jobs they have and wherever they work, if it's not at a music shop, or around anything musical, it definitely should be.
Made up of Jeremy Gerardot (vocals and guitar), Brian Myers (guitar), Joe Brock (bass, keyboards, and vocals), and Josh Clements (drums and percussion), Sketch Machine mixes alternative styles with hard rock riffs and anthemic choruses (not to mention the lyrical themes are a step above the usual par). 
The first hooks come out of nowhere while you're listening to "Cold Hard Truth," and just keep you so interested, it's almost like your ears have been glued to your computer speakers. Then you get to "Not the One," and as things slow dow a bit, you get more into it. It's not just a fluke that the first song was great. This one is incredible. Aside from Gerardot's and Brock's vocals, the percussion and guitar in this song are especially crisp and tight. And then you move further down the playlist, to "Crazy Eyes," then "October," and finally to "Nevermind (You Were Never Mine)." It's like every song off SM's debut album, In Spite of All the Danger just seems to hit perfectly. Why these guys are working 9-5 jobs and not spending the days rocking out is beyond me. Because in my opinion, that's what they should be doing. Check these guys out. I guess they prove that you're never too old to rock out.

Sounds Like: 3 Doors Down, Staind, Creed

Key Tracks from In Spite of All the Danger: ""Cold Hard Truth," "Not the One," "Crazy Eyes," "October," "Nevermind (You Were Never Mine)"

Wait for the Moment

I found these guys all of six seconds ago and I couldn't resist putting them up on here. Wait for the Moment is an indie, alternative rock group out of Mesa, Arizona (apparently Arizona is just a breeding ground for such groups), and they, for lack of any more appropriate term, ROCK. Melodic guitar riffs over vocals harmonies and self-aware, meaningful lyrics make WFTM something more than your average garage rock band. Here, Nate Smith (guitar and vocals), Aaron Cardon (guitar and vocals), Mark Reyes (bass and vocals), and Derek Sappington (drums) join forces to create an indie-rock sound with as much melody as a Third Eye Blind or Red Jumpsuit Apparatus song, and as much sear as a Jimmy Eat World and Tickle Me Pink guitar solo. There are no favorites here. Every one of the songs I heard was great. Every one of them. I implore you to listen to these guys. The guitar on "Eleven Eleven," the bass and drums on "Take the Lead," and the amazing vocal harmonies on all three, including "Someone Save Me," are just amazing. Wait for the Moment are alternative rock's answer to such overblown groups as Saving Abel and Theory of a Deadman.

Sounds Like: Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Tickle Me Pink

Key Tracks: "Someone Save Me," "Eleven Eleven," "Take the Lead"

Violet Wild

So I've given you guys new hard-rock groups, new pop-punk groups, and even a new ska-punk group. But one genre I think this blog has seriously been lacking is good old-fashioned alternative rock. But today that's rectified. I introduce to you: Violet Wild. From the blazing town of Tempe, Arizona, Violet Wild continues the tradition of such acclaimed alternative rock groups as Sunny Day Real Estate and Jimmy Eat World. Comprising Bobby Scott (vocals), Josh Kennedy (guitar and vocals), Christopher Serafini (bass), and Ritchard Polmans (drums), at first listen, I couldn't quite put my finger on what it was, but I knew there was definitely something special about this band. They just drip alternative style, but with hard-rock tendencies, and pop-punk sensibilities.
Off the bat I loved their first track "Glorious Day." But when I heard "Luna," and heard the amazing bridge and solo in that song, coupled with the great melody and everything else, then I truly became a fan. It's funny though. When many groups find a sound the are comfortable with, they don't experiment with anything else. Not these guys. I was kept on my toes with the next track, "Hitchiker," which exhibited elements of White Stripes' time signature and guitar distortion, and a Third Eye Blind-like catchy chorus. "Water & Chemicals" is a fast-paced hard-rock song that would fit perfectly in the '90s alternative rock box. But there's just more to it than that. It almost seems to scream AC/DC or Van Halen with a mind-catching riff that you just can't get out of your head. I'll bet you haven't heard of these guys yet, because Arizona's been doing a great job of keeping them secret. But not anymore, the words are out, and those words are Violet Wild.

Sounds Like: Sunny Day Real Estate, Jimmy Eat World, Third Eye Blind

Key Tracks from Suggestion Box Full: "Glorious Day," "Invention," "Luna," "Hitchiker," "Water & Chemicals"

The Red Sun Is Rising

Sit back, strap in, and hold on to your blood and guts as this four-piece out of Akron, Ohio shoot you up with a good dose of good old-fashioned alternative hard-rock. I came across Red Sun Rising about a year ago, before I started blogging, and discovered them on their Purevolume page. The moment I heard them I was amazed. Their first track, "Too Late" just floored me, and I've listened to it an impossible-to-count number of times since then (they have it free for download on their page). People call it a perfect storm when everything on a song or an album, or anything, just works; perfectly. That's what "Too Late" is. A perfect storm of pounding bass, searing guitar, heart-stopping drums, and anthemic vocals.
RSR's made up of Mike Protich (guitar and vocals), Ryan Wiliams (guitar), Hayes Hornish (bass), and Mark Jendrisak (drums), and these four guys know how to rock. I thought for sure last year someone would pick them up and sign them. I have no idea why they're not already. Right now, listening to the screaming Scorpions-like guitar solo on "Proofless," I'm amazed and frankly a little pissed that someone like Brittany Spears still has a record deal after all the crap that went on in the past few years with her but these guys don't. What a travesty. 
And now "Cole" is playing, and the mood is completely different than that of "Too Late," but it still has a majestic, hard-rock feeling to it. It seems like every song on RSR's debut EP, Red Sun Rising just hits its mark. It's so rare to find that, even on an EP. You get maybe one or two songs that rock, but almost never do you get the excitement of finding that every track is great, and you don't want to skip any of them. I'm telling you, everything on this EP is right: the vocals, the melodies, the instrumentation, the lyrics, the moods, EVERYTHING works. You have to check these guys out, they're just incredible.

Sounds Like: Airbourne, Scorpions, Skid Row, Sixx:A.M.

Key Tracks from Red Sun Rising EP: "Too Late," "Cole," "Proofless," "Elevate"

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

StartUp 45

It's been a slow day. I got up late, had work to do, and didn't think I was going to do anything exciting today. WRONG! When I came across these guys, I was floored by their raw, pop-punk approach to modern music and I had to literally stop trying to do the work I was trying to do because I couldn't concentrate for my life. This new four-piece out of Eagle River, Wisconsin totally made my day. Maybe it was the sharp opening riff of "Way Too Long," or maybe it was the head-bopping bass line of "Virus." Whatever it was, I don't know and I don't care. These guys have what it takes to be the same kind of punk sensation as was Blink-182 or Sum 41. Indeed it then seems necessary that their name as well contains a number.
Made up of Dexter Kube (guitar and vocals), Dustin Kube (bass and vocals), Rene Guillen (drums), and newly added member Jacob Klessig (lead guitar), Start Up 45 mixes new melodies and lyrics with old-school early Blink-182-style grit and attitude. "I Heard a Rumor" reminded me fondly of the first time I heard a Blink song, and "Mr. Forgetful" reminded me what it was to be angry and pissed off and listen to something and just get it. And if you ask me, those are definitely the two things a song should do: replay fond memories of the first times you heard similar groups and get the message of teenage angst and life across. And in these two respects StartUp 45 certainly succeeds. Even the title of their EP, Public Indecency has a Blink-182 quality to it. The verdict's in: if you like anything Blink-182, Sum 41, early Green Day, or Zebrahead, you'll love these guys. They're going to be huge. Just wait. And watch.

Sounds Like: Blink-182, Sum 41, Zebrahead, Lit

Key Tracks from Public Indecency: "Way Too Long," "Virus," "Mr. Forgetful," "I Heard a Rumor"

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Our Funeral Forgotten

A shot of clarity. That's what the first of their songs I listened to was called. And it was. It's all there: a driving crash and high-hat cymbal beat, a thumping bass, sheer and sharp guitar riffs, and clear, lucid, hard vocals. This Colorado-based quintet take their cues from groups like HIM, My Chemical Romance, and (+44), and they do it with a clean, sharp shock to the senses. Commissioned by Mike Andrews (vocals), Ryan Apadaca (guitar), Steve Zamora (guitar), Jeff Orcutt (bass), and Kevin Greene (drums), Our Funeral Forgotten blends the dark, yet romantic melodies of groups like HIM and My Chem with the lucid and descriptive lyrics of groups like (+44) and 3 Doors Down.
From the very first chords of "A Shot of Clarity (Take Me Away)," I couldn't have stopped listening if I wanted to. But that's how you know something's special. It's like the first time I heard Metallica's "Master of Puppets," or Kansas's "Carry on Wayward Son;" you don't want to fast-forward, and you can't bare to rewind. You just want to sit and lose yourself in the music. If the first track isn't enough to grab you (and if it isn't, then you're crazy), try the next one of for size. "Reality Hit Me with a Ton of Bricks (Children Who Let Go)" is as amazing from start to finish as is "Helena" by MCR or "Wings of a Butterfly" by HIM. In fact, for all you U2 fans out there, the beginning sounds like something Bono and The Edge would cook up for a U2 album. On top of layered guitars, a chilled-out beat, and a time-keeping bass, Andrews' vocals soar high overhead, and carry the song into domains that few reach with their first few tries at songwriting. And if those two weren't enough, then listen to "On the Twilight Road" and you'll surely then be converted. This one focuses a little more on distorted guitars than the first two, but no one ever said that that was a bad thing. You know what they say: if it ain't broke, then don't fix it. These guys have had significant success in their home state of Colorado, but I'm waiting for them to go national, because when they do, I'll be among the ten people that isn't surprised one bit. Check out their debut album I Am Gone, You Are Dreaming Me. You won't regret it.

Sounds Like: HIM, My Chemical Romance, (+44), Angels & Airwaves, U2

Key Tracks from I Am Gone, You Are Dreaming Me: "A Shot of Clarity (Take Me Away)," "Reality Hit Me with a Ton of Bricks (Children Who Let Go)," "On the Twilight Road," "Beware the Kiss"

Nothing But Nude Hemp

I was gonna call it a day after doing the piece on The Electric Noise Act, but then I came across these guys, and everything changed. Now I'm normally not soooo much into acoustic music. I like it in moderation. Some Sublime here, some Less Than Jake there. But these guys MADE me sit down and write this. From the first guitar notes of "Porch Days" I was hooked. No question, no comment, no room for argument. If these had great guitar alone I would listen to them. But then they add to that a Sublime-esque drum beat, real easy-going, and a deep, introspective voice. With that combination you can't go wrong.
A four-piece out of Kentucky, Nude Hemp is composed of Landon Carrier (guitar and vocals), Gage Jones (guitar), Matt (bass), and Chris Marsee (drums). Now personally I think this group's best attribute is their incredible guitar playing, but that is not at all to say that there isn't more there. Marsee's drumming seems a little minimalist in the beginning, but then you listen to it, and realize that it fits the music perfectly. And Carrier's vocals, just amazing. Dark and introspective, over a lighter melody, almost what it might sound like if Jim Morrison had joined Sublime for a day. Now these guys are releasing their 5-song EP Seed, and I HIGHLY suggest getting your hands on it. I'm listening to "Porch Days" again, and it's just amazing. "Blue Irish Rain" and "Aqua Dementia" aren't too bad either. Check these guys out. They have something to say.

Sounds Like: Sublime, Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, The Avett Brothers

Key Tracks from Seed: "Porch Days," "Nude Hemp," "Blue Irish Rain," "Aqua Dementia"

The Electric Noise Act

So today's story is on The Electric Noise Act, a quartet specializing is '60s garage rock and lo-fi. Think of a mix between two or three of the other "The" bands; like The Strokes with pinches of The White Stripes and The Vines thrown in. However you want to mix it though, The Electric Noise Act produces a sound that's very unique. So unique, in fact, I couldn't decide if I liked it or hated it. But that's how you know something's great: it's different. It's easy to find something that sounds like everything else and say you like it because of that. But it's very difficult to find something so different you think you might hate it even as you're realizing you love it.
Comprised of Jared Horner (guitar and vocals), Michael Lane (guitar), Sebastian Coppotelli (bass), and Matt Potter (drums and percussion), TENA delivers driving bass lines, a sloppy-yet-catchy drum and cymbal beat, and dirty, almost Mudhoney-like guitar licks. Separately these could be things that might ruin bands if they don't know how to put them together properly, but here it works perfectly. I LOVE the beginning guitar lick and snare beat on "Street 103." It just GRABS you. If anything, listen to this song first. By far the best in my opinion. But that's not to say the others are bad. I also love the rhythmic bass line on "I'm the Only One for Me," and the quirky guitar chords on "FM Frequency." Besides that, the songs are pervaded by the lo-fi, minimalist, White Stripes-esque drumming of Potter, who compliments Coppotelli's bass, and Horner's and Lane's guitars extremely well. And on top of it, Horner's indie-style vocals just make this group a must-here. If you like anything White Stripes-like, indie, or pertaining to the garage rock genre, check out this Connecticut quartet. They won't be ignored.

Sounds Like: The White Stripes, The Strokes, The Vines, The Posies

Key Tracks: "Street 103," "FM Frequency," "I'm the Only One for Me"

Sunday, September 6, 2009

For Sale By Owner

Blink fans, I got shivers all up and down my freakin' spine today. I heard a group that sounds like old-school Blink-182. Now I love Enema of the State and Take Off Your Pants and Jacket just as much as the next person, but I'm also a fan of their older stuff, Dude Ranch and Cheshire Cat. For Sale By Owner seems to have taken a page right out of the Blink-182 handbook and run with it all the way. It's punked up pop-punk with a sneer; what made us all love Blink in the first place. Made up of Mike Ivens (guitar and vocals), John McAliney (bass and vocals), and Jaime Ott (drums), FSBO even has the same Blink three-piece mentality. Their songs are stripped down, straight-laced, no-bullshit pop-punk rock.
Ivens' guitar licks on all the songs, but in particular "Action Emily," "Long Story Short (She Wasn't for Me)" and "In All Due Respect" even resembles that of Tom DeLonge's in Blink's older songs like "M+M's" and "Josie." McAliney's bass sounds almost exactly like Mark Hoppus's, and although Ott is no Travis Barker, his drumming works out brilliantly for the trio. Not to mention Ivens' and McAliney's shared vocal responsibilities. The duality of such different, yet punkish voices just screams Blink-182 influenced. No, I don't know if they are or not. All I know is that if you like Blink, or anyone like them, you'll love this band. Give them a chance, they grow on you real quick. 

Sounds Like: Blink-182, (+44), Sum 41

Key Tracks from Real Fashion for Real Girls: "Action Emily," "Long Story Short (She Wasn't for Me)," "In All Due Respect," "Hopeless Disorder"

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Dear Bobbie, You Rock!

It's just past noon, and as soon as I started listening to these guys, I knew immediately I had to write about them. Though I personally would suspect their name comes from the song "Dear Bobbie" from Yellowcard's third major-label release, "Paper Walls" only they can say for sure where it's from. But that doesn't matter. What does is that the minute I heard these guys, I heard everything I love in a song: ripping guitar riffs, bass lines that do more than just mimc the bass drum, a drum beat the keeps the song moving, self-aware and meaningful lyrics, and even some nice keys.
Made up of Mitch (guitar and vocals), Paul (guitar, vocals and keyboards), Troy (bass), and Scotty (drums), this four-piece out of Price, Utah rock just as hard as any pop-punkers out of New York or Boston. From the start of "Can't Take This Town," from their EP Standing Room Only, I was drawn in by the great vocals of Mitch, the great lyrics, and just the fantastic musicianship of all four members. It continued with the anthemic choruses and punk-felt verses of "It's All Good" and "Endless Tragedy." For an EP or demo, these three songs are extremely well recorded, and material-wise, just top-notch. If you haven't heard them yet, get your ass over to their sites ad listen. It's not something you'll feel you wasted your time on.

Sounds Like: Blink-182, The All-American Rejects, Narration

Key Tracks from Standing Room Only: "Can't Take This Town," "It's All Good," "Endless Tragedy"

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Sign Off

So right now, it's 5 minutes to midnight, and I've just now discovered an all new alternative, pop-punk group from Boston, Massachusetts. The Sign Off are a great alternative, pop-punk group that have a new sound for a new decade that's bleeding bad music all over the place. Composed of Mike McGivern (vocals and guitar), Adam Leonard (bass), and Conor McEntee (drums), TSO's indie-rock sound revolves around the traditional power-trio three-piece, but there's something more there. It's not the same old sound that's felt from every new group sprouting up out of Boston, New York or D.C. As unique as Cream was in its time, or Motorhead in its time, The Sign Off brings something new to the table. Perhaps it's the indie-rock voice of McGivern, the Eve 6-like melodies, or the seemingly Sum 41-inspired lyrics. Whatever it is though, I was hooked from the first chords of "Her Ok Tragedy." While the piano, unbelievably, has become an overused instrument today (thanks to sampling and awful pop songs), the few piano chords on "Her Ok Tragedy" combine perfectly with the soothing guitar, the rhythmic bass line, and the easy-going drum beat. The concert continues on TSO's debut EP, Blood in the Alcohol System, with "Revisions," a witty, poppy ballad about life and hardship. On to the title track, "Blood in the Alcohol System." While this one seems to deal with darker sides of the human psyche, that doesn't at all mean it's a bad song. (After all, "Reign in Blood" off Slayer's classic album, Raining Blood, is a heavy metal classic). The EP wraps up (at least for now) with "Maturity." Now, whether or not this track describes the members themselves is not the point. What is, is that it's a new stab at an old idea. But new stabs are always welcome, and this track is just great to listen to. Check these guys out, they're worth the login.

Sounds Like: Sum 41, Yellowcard, Bowling for Soup

Key Tracks from Blood in the Alcohol System: "Her Ok Tragedy," "Revisions," "Blood in the Alcohol System," "Maturity"

Behind the BackDrop

So I found this rock three-piece earlier today, and I've been listening to them all day. With melodies as catchy as anything Mayday Parade or All-American Rejects, native Iowans BackDrop give you your daily dose of pop-punk and much more. Made up simply of Landon Boyer (guitar and vocals), Alex Wiese (bass), and Brandon Hanes (drums), BackDrop deliver fresh Boys Like Girls melodies and vocal harmonies with crisp, new, Fall Out Boy-like lyrics. From the opening hooks of "Wish You Were Mine" to the continued driving guitar riffs and drum beats of "Halfway There" and "Almost Over," BackDrop revitalize the pop-punk sound with a new take on the scene. The real jewel, however, may in fact be their acoustic ballad, "Follow Me." I was more than happy already with their electric tracks, but when "Follow Me" came on, all that went through my head was that, maybe not on this first album, but definitely on their next album, these guys could most certainly write something along the lines of Goo Goo Dolls' "Iris" or even Green Day's "Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)." I don't know how these guys are able to work so well together, and frankly, I don't care. Everything sounds tight, crisp, new, and just great. Like candy for your ears. If you haven't heard of them, don't worry, I hadn't either. But get yourself up and listen to their stuff. These guys could very well be the next Boys Like Girls band to make themselves an overnight sensation. Iowa will never be the same.

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, Mayday Parade, The All-American Rejects

Key Tracks: "Wish You Were Mine," "Halfway There," "Almost Over," "Follow Me"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Life Without Ryan

So these guys are just amazing- pure and simple. A smooth mix of emotional lyrics, easy-going guitar and bass, and a chilled out drum beat, Life Without Ryan is the southern answer to northern jam bands like Phish and Dave Matthews Band. While not a jam band itself, LWR incorporates the easy-going guitar riff and bass line of Matchbox Twenty, Tom Petty, and Dire Straits with the southern drum beat of Allman Brothers and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Comprised of Luke Warren (guitar and vocals), Ed Varsalona (guitar and vocals), JD Dick (bass), and James Reynolds (drums and vocals), Life Without Ryan is the chilled out, Sublime-ish sound that would be perfect for a summer day by the pool, or even a day inside while it storms outside. This music is so versatile, I even feel bad trying to label it. The reality is is that it's just such a good mix of alternative rock, jam band, rock, southern rock, and pop rock that it would be a crime to pigeon-hole it in one genre.
One listen to the first song, "All That I've Got," hooked me. With as many hooks as a Matchbox Twenty song, "All That I've Got" could easily garner attention toward the band if it received just one play on the radio. Followed by the tracks "Telescope," "Winona Ryder," and "Something Sweet for Leah," "All That I've Got" kicks off a pretty damn-good EP. Twenty Minutes Late is definitely and EP to check out. (And the small synth section on "Telescope" would make Gary Numan cry because it fits so well in the song). If you haven't heard of these guys, get your ass over to their sites and listen. You'll end up playing their stuff over and over.

Sounds Like: Matchbox Twenty,  Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Third Eye Blind

Key Tracks from Twenty Minutes Late: "All That I've Got," "Telescope," "Winona Ryder"

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Avery Dylan Project

Oh my god! These guys are so amazing that the minute I heard them I knew I'd be writing a new entry. A blues/rock trio from right here in Georgia, Athens I think to be precise, The Avery Dylan Project is almost a modern incarnation of Cream. Granted they may not have the same Ginger Baker-style drumming that Cream enjoyed, but listening to these guys, I'm still bewildered how they could possibly still be unsigned. Made up of Avery Dylan on guitar and lead vocals, Clint Swords on bass and vocals, and Mike Strickland on drums and vocals, ADP are truly a modern blues/rock answer to who can come out of the Deep South. While Strickland lays down a hypnotic, almost seductive beat, Swords joins in with an almost hidden, yet invaluable bass line. Dylan, on the other hand, soars high above, with Clapton-esque guitar riffs that make my ears smile and my eyes tear because I haven't heard such an amazing use of blues guitar since I first heard Eric Clapton and Cream for the first time years ago. Would I definitely see these guys live? Yes! Would I sign them if I had my own label? I would sign these guys even if my label was exclusively punk rock and post-grunge. Check them out. The key tracks that I'll list below, listen to ALL of them. The guitar is absolutely SICK!

Sounds Like: The Yardbirds, The Bluesbreakers, Cream, ZZ Top

Key Tracks: "Broken Down," Take Away," That's Ok"

Avision Red

Considered the best kept secret of Boulder, Colorado, Avision Red, is a fantastic mix of hard rock technique, progressive prowess and alternative vocals. Consisting of David (vocals and guitar), Josh (guitar), DJ, (bass), and Shawn (drums), Avision Red blends smooth, melodic vocals with raw guitar riffs and interesting stylistic drumming that reminds of Roger Taylor of Queen and possibly even Keith Moon of The Who. David's and Josh's guitar licks interplay perfectly like that of Phil Collin and the late Steve Clark of Def Leppard. And DJ's bass sounds like that almost taken from Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. I listened to their first song, "Dead to the Last," and immediately decided I had to hear their other, "Every Promise a Person." Just when it seems Shawn's crazy, Keith Moon-style drumming threatens to throw the song of its heels, DJ's bass line, Josh's guitar, and David's vocals bring it all back to an exciting and anthemic chorus with a strong riff, feeding into a frenzied solo. If you haven't heard these guys, put it at the top of your to-do list. Colorado's best kept secret, and possibly the state's new contribution to hard rock, Avision Red, are not to be ignored.

Sounds Like: Def Leppard, Sonic Youth, Queen

Key Tracks: "Dead to the Last," "Every Promise a Person"

August Redemption

I came across these guys completely by accident, but August Redemption has rekindled my faith in underground rock. A surreal mix of metal, alternative and grunge, August Redemption mixes piercing lyrics with serene guitar riffs, and melodic drumming. Comprised of David Randle (vocals), Luke Bishop (guitar), Glen Jenkinson (guitar), Gavin Arnol (bass), and Emonn Sheehan (drums), the hard rock quintet delivers an almost new wave Doors/Jefferson Airplane sound mixed with the slow pace of Nirvana's "Something in the Way" and the guitar licks of Alice in Chains' "Down in a Hole."
I was reading the band's page and thinking I would skip on to the next group, until the music player loaded, and "Curse" started playing. I was hooked. The surreal motion of the song almost had me swaying as it moved to the next song, "Tales of a Broken Heart," and then I was motionless. Speechless. It was almost as if the underground sound that came out of Seattle that I'd fallen in love with had migrated to Australia, the band's home country. If you haven't heard them yet, get on it. Their site will be below. Listen to their debut EP, Liquid Courage. It's a new sound for a new decade. 

Sounds Like: Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Mudhoney

Key Tracks from Liquid Courage: "Curse," "Tales of a Broken Heart"

Popular Posts