Good morrow all. Firstly, I have to freak out at our conditions here... it actually SNOWED in Atlanta!!! Haha, ice everywhere, and a snowday for all. Now that's probably because we don't own any snowplows in this entire city, but we'll take any excuse we can get lol. Now on to more important things. During this glorious snowday, I have been combing through the Top 20 Unsigned Bands of 2009 on Purevolume, and like WeatherStar yesterday, I've found some amazing groups that you guys have to hear about. It'd be a little tacky to unveil them all in one day though, so stay glued to your computer screen this week and your ears will thank you eventually.
Today's story comes from down under, from the cultural metropolis of Sydney, Australia. Composed of 17 year old frontwoman Jenna Mcdougal (lead vocals), Jake (guitar), Whakaio (guitar), Cameron (bass), and Matt (drums), Tonight Alive is a new pop-punk phenomenon that's taking Australia by storm. Aside from playing support slots for national acts 3OH!3 and Mest in the States, Tonight Alive are making a name for themselves on their native continent, playing their first Headlining Sydney gig to a sold-out 1,000 fans. Perhaps it's their incredible pop-punk melodies, or their ball-crushing approach to live shows that gives them the fire they need to take off into the stratosphere. I don't know, but whatever it is, it's working and doesn't look like it'll bust anytime soon.
Now normally I don't do this: I usually wait for an album or EP to be released before reviewing a band, but after hearing the couple of songs these guys (and girl) have up on their Purevolume, I'm seriously considering changing my methods. The two succeeding tracks are from their upcoming release, their All Shapes and Disguises EP which is set for release in late January 2010, about two weeks from now. After listening to those two songs though, I knew if I waited that long to write an article on these guys everyone's reaction would just be "...duh..." It'll only take a few weeks time for Tonight Alive to hit the alternative-rock mainstream, and they show no sign of slowing down as it is. Formed in early '09, these guys have taken the reins up faster than most, and are resting in their spoils for it.
The first of the two tracks I listen to is the one that put these guys on the Best Unsigned Bands of '09 list, their song "Wasting Away." There is nothing to say about this track other than that once I heard it, I set aside my money to pre-order their EP and a shirt. It is, in all senses, a perfect song. Certainly the one they'll take over America with, "Wasting Away" is the song that Tonight Alive uses to shake the rust from our eardrums and the sleep form our eyelids. Carried along on twin guitar riffs from Jake and Whakaio, Jenna's vocals blast through all defenses propelled by a tight pounding rhythm section set up by Cameron and Matt. Apart from a sick, anthemic chorus that just gets you up and moving, "Wasting Away" brings with it a pop-punk flair that is like heroin to an addict. Matt's drumming and fills are tight and controlled, and Cameron's bass notes are pounding away, but not in a way that over-flows the other guitars. Meanwhile Jake and Whakaio are on top of everything with strong palm-mutes and driving progressions that provide Jenna with the springboard she needs to blast her melodic vocals into space ad beyond. A perfect length that leaves me dying for more, "Wasting Away" shows influences by bands like Paramore and Hey Monday without conforming to one sound and becoming a copy-cat band. If one song is any sign of what's to come, this one definitely shows a fantastic career and multiple Warped Tour performances, and that's on a bad year.
Track two is "To Die For..." This one's a little less poppy than "Wasting Away," but still retains its radio appeal. Opting for, what is in my opinion, a more Letters to Cleo-influence over a Hey Monday one, "To Die For..." sports clever lyrics and catchy stop-start guitar riffs by Jake and Whakaio. Matt's drums pound in a slow, melodic head-banging rhythm, and Cameron's bass is clearly heard, his notes pulling the song to new heights during the stopped parts of Jake and Whakaio's guitars. A whole instrument of its own, Jenna's voice is brilliant. Flairing to a shining beacon to all those out there who want to know what it's like to be a singer that's able to belt out full, lush, melodic tones, Jenna's chords are exactly what this song, and this band, need. Together these five pop-punks know what they're doing, and with just these two songs to listen to, I have become a hardcore fan already.
It's no wonder how these guys made the Purevolume list, and I have no doubt that they'll take their sound even more to the limit when they release All Shapes and Disguises. I can't wait to play that whole EP, because it's gonna be a breath of fresh air in a sea of cookie-cutter bands. These guys are on their way up, and I give it a month tops before their shirts and EP are making their way to Hot Topic shelves and "Merch" pages around the world. There's no way to stop them: tonight we're alive.
Sounds Like: Paramore, Hey Monday, Letters to Cleo, The Sounds
Key Tracks from the forthcoming All Shapes and Disguises EP: "Wasting Away," "To Die For..."