Saturday, April 24, 2010

Extended Break

I'm sorry to do this to you guys again, but I will be needing to take a somewhat extended break before I can give you guys some more awesome bands. I will of course be on the lookout during my break, but I feel it only fair to let you all know why rather than to keep you wondering in the dark.
The long and short of it is that yesterday on Friday April 23, I was in a bad car accident on 85 North which is one of the highways here in Atlanta. First and foremost, I want to say that I am ok, and that no one was killed or seriously injured. I don't know who's fault the accident was. It's a possibility that it could have been my error, though I don't think it is. That doesn't matter though. What does matter is that I am ok, and the other driver is too.
To make a long story short, what happened was that as I was changing lanes to get out of the exit lane and stay on the highway, I was hit in the rear of my car by another driver. Without trying to assign blame, I'm just letting you all know what happened from my perspective. The extra force made me lose control of the car, and probably contributed to my left hand jerking down on the steering wheel. My car then crossed all the other lanes of traffic on the highway (during rush hour I might add) before slamming head-on into the concrete barrier. I must have been doing at least 50 mph (because of the loss of control) at the time of the impact.
The bottom line? If there is a God, he really likes me, because I walked away from this with some cuts and bruises. It could have been so much worse than it was. Whatever the legal outcome is, and whoever has to pay however much for the ticket, it's all just money. Money here or money there. No one's dead and no one's in a coma. The paramedic said that it was a good day because no one was going home in a bodybag.
Anyway guys, I do apologize for rambling (I'm still pretty shaken up, so talking about it is really kinda theraputic to me), but I will have some new articles for you soon. Thank you for understanding, and you should all know that I'll be back soon, right now I'm just really sore. But I'm not dead, and that's a really big thing to be thankful for.
I'll be back soon. Drive safe, and remember to please use your seatbelts. I wouldn't be here right now if I hadn't been wearing mine. Peace all.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Violence Ringing with The Swear

Another week has gone by, and time moves on. I am thrilled to report that I recorded the rough cut of my band's first song today and it sounds AMAZING, so hopefully I'll have my own stuff to show you guys soon.
Before that though, the story today (or tonight perhaps) is an amazing alternative-rock band from right here in Atlanta, GA. The Swear are a breathtaking four-piece that have gotten nods from publications all over the States and U.K ., and are even being considered to play the Project 96.1 show here with Three Days Grace, Seether, and Chevelle. I hope they win, because these guys are unbelievable. Now, like I said, I'm not the first to discover these guys, but in my humble (and most likely correct lol) opinion, the reviews I've read on them are precisely what I started this blog to get away from; I want to read more than a sentence or two on just what makes them so amazing. A tiny blurb or soundbite just serves to abridge the raw talent these guys possess, and I will not stand for that. So, with all due respect to those publications (which are undoubtedly more commercial than my writing here), I'm going to show them just how a music review (in my opinion) should be written. Get ready, The Swear are gonna take you over.
So as I said, from right here in Atlanta, The Swear is a brilliant foursome made up of Elizabeth Elkins, Kevin Williams, Jeremy Zamora, and Steve Moretti. You might have noticed that I didn't write who plays what, and though it's due in large part to it not being discussed on their Myspace or Facebook sites, I think it might serve to make this article a little different from my others to talk just about the raw music, and credit these ridiculously talented musicians as a group.
With that I will launch into my first track, and what a total mind-fuck of a trip it is. "The City That Never" is nothing short of a masterpiece, and just like the first time I heard "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence, there is something so uniquely different about this song that it's just pure energy and brilliance. Elkins' vocals are soft and smokey, with a romantic lace that chills my spine, and as Zamora, Williams, and Moretti blast through chorus and verse in a rain of ear-splittingly catchy riffs and hail of thunderous rhythm, I can't even fathom changing anything about this song. This song is, in every sense of the word, perfect. A throwback to Patti Smith-like rhythms and Evanescence/K's Choice-inspired vocals, "The City That never" will be the song that just drips from your speaks and gives you chills from its amazing luminous soundscape. Is there something better than five-out-of-five stars, because if there is, this song most certainly deserves it. There is nothing like this out there, period. Amazing.
I skip around on the album until I get to "Shuttered Off Christine," a harder track that shakes off the K's Choice skin for something a little grittier, a little rawer. Think L7 with slightly less bass and you're there. Donita Sparks, though the riot girl that she is (and will deny being, but hey she fits so well in that genre), would even agree that this song is a testament to what true rock can be, fronted buy a guy or girl. A total wiping of everything I thought I knew about what female vocals can be when mixed with a hard-rock stage and backbeat, this song screams Babes in Toyland influence, and it's all the better for it. The guitar just snakes its way in and strangles me in a fit of brilliance and angry power as the bass and drums pound my head into the ground, and Elkins' lusty vocals bring this track blinding power. Whatever Williams, Zamora, and Moretti are doing, and whatever they're playing, the better keep doing it, because this song fucking rocks, and at this level nothing can stop them.
My last track that I settle on is "The Violence Rings." With a slightly more indie-rock-influenced intro, this song immediately secures for itself a place among my favorite songs of the week, and most likely the month. The rhythm is great, with a bass that bridges melodic guitar riffs with heart-pumping drums. The vocals finish it up, and make this song an absolute must-hear, and with the vivid imagery in the lyrics, I can't think of any way this song could be any better. After hearing this, it's plainly clear that these guys are going places. Lots of places. In a wave of emotion and musical brilliance like I saw with Evanescence and K's Choice, The Swear will soon be on that same level, a level they certainly deserve to be on. Versatile and talented beyond belief, The Swear is my gift to you tonight, so you better go out and at least listen to these three songs, because if you don't, you'll only have yourself to blame when these guys are opening arena shows and you miss it because you had your head buried in the sand. Amazing, and the definite best way to wrap up my Saturday night. Brilliant.

Sounds Like: Evanescence, K's Choice, L7, Babes in Toyland, Letters to Cleo

Key Tracks from Hotel Rooms and Heart Attacks: "The City That Never," "Shuttered Off Christine," "The Violence Rings," "Always Wasted"

Check out The Swear more at: and!/pages/The-Swear/14055078623?v=wall&ref=ts

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Runner Runner, the Marathon Winner

It's been about a week since my last post, so I'm getting back into the swing of things with not taking too long to find you guys new stuff to listen to. Still though, I do appreciate your patience, and even though I seem to say it every time I post, I think that you guys should be acknowledged because I know how hard it can be to wait for something new, especially when the gorgeous weather outside (at least here in Atl) is just begging for some awesome summer music to fill the air.
And it's summer music I have found in Runner Runner, a brilliant electro/pop-rock band out of Huntington Beach, California. Now I know that California is just saturated with skate-punk and hardcore groups, and many of them I like very much, but sometimes you just need a change of pace, and that's something Runner Runner certainly delivers. A talented five-piece consisting of Ryan Ogren (lead vocals), Peter Munters (guitar and vocals), Nick Bailey (guitar and vocals), Jon Berry (bass and vocals) and James Ulrich (drums), Runner Runner's tunes are such brilliantly conceived pop beauties that there's no way that you won't come away humming the melodies until you fall asleep. Sometimes pop-rock is really cheesy and over-produced, and when it gets to that point, it almost certainly ruins what might have been a great song or album. Here though, Runner Runner has concocted an elaborate song format, almost ensuring that none of the songs sound like the typical bubblegum-pop, but ride perfectly along the line between pop-rock and pop-punk, blurring the divider, and delivering a KO punch to your medulla oblongata. Seriously, it's impossible to be in a bad mood while listening to any of these songs, and that's just what you want to feel over the summer. 
Though I'd love to talk ad nauseam about all the songs on Runner Runner's playlist, I'll pick the best three, as usual, that are just the must-hears of the bunch (though your ears would smile if you treat them to the whole list). The first track I listen to is "So Obvious," and it's blatantly so obvious that this song has the punch and the staying power to be a brilliant first single for the band. Halfway in between a great pop-rock song and a great dance-rock song, "So Obvious" boasts brilliant smooth vocals from Ogren and fantastic backing vocals from the rest of the band. Ogren's vocals are sharp and melodic at the same time, and balanced over the fantastic guitar interplay between Munters and Bailey, delivering a melody that will stick with you at least for the next 14 hours. The song is compounded, then, by the great dynamic between the rhythm section, as Ulrich's drums keep your heart rate elevated, and Berry's bass lines keep every bone in your body from staying still.  This is just a fantastic track, and certainly one of the five-star tracks present in the playlist. And in case you were wondering, the acoustic version of it is just as brilliant. 
The second track I pick to listen to is "21" and immediately I'm glad I picked it. Right from the first second, I'm struck by the rhythmic guitar chords that land me somewhere between garage-rock and pop-punk, and Bailey and Munters certainly start the song off on a positive note (no pun intended lol). Berry's bass and Ulrich's drums are scaled back slightly here, but still present, and the song prevails for it. Ogren's vocals are amazing, and sung in such a brilliant fashion that I, with my non-melodic voice haha, try and replicate them because they are just so addictive. Aside from that, this song boasts an awesome guitar solo with great rhythm by Bailey and Munters, and a piano riff that brings romance to the forefront of thought and feeling. The lyrics, too, are top-notch, and I readily award this song five stars. If you're looking for a song to play at any dance that's got just the message you want buried in a shining musical performance, this is it. I can only imagine that hearing this song live is amazing.
The last track I'll let myself splurge on about is the pop-punk sounding "Hate the Way (I'm Falling for You)." This song isn't a complicated one: it's straight forward pop-punk-rock with a running drum beat and a great sing-along chorus. Ogren's right on top of his vocals, and Bailey and Munters are having a blast with their guitar interplay. I particularly love the rhythm section here: among melodies provided by the other three, Berry's bass just keeps things moving, and Ulrich's drums tell you when to jump and bang your head. Not an overly complicated song, and that my friends is the beauty in it. Simple is brilliant, and when you find something that works, well, why fix something when it's not broken? 
Runner Runner is as of yet unsigned (at least that's what their sites say), but I don't think that status will stay like that for long. Record labels would have to be dead in the head to pass up this kind of talent. There is so much raw talent out there that you're bound to find tons of amazing musicians, yes, but no two artists or groups are alike, so why would anyone want to pass any of them up? I have no idea, but like I say in almost every post I write, if I had my own label, I'd sign these guys in a heartbeat. One day I will have one, and those other labels better watch out, because I'm the kind of person that will sign talent where ever I see it, and if that drives me into the ground economically, then so be it. Talent deserves to be acknowledged, pure and simple. Anyway if you haven't heard of these guys yet, you will. I'd bet my left kidney that they'll be playing Warped Tour in the next few years to come. But don't wait, because if you like anything melodic or rock, and you're looking for a new band to play at the beach or when the sun is shining, here they are, straight out of California: Runner Runner is my pick for the marathon winner. 

Sounds Like: Boys Like Girls, Cobra Starship, Metro Station, All Time Low, Forever the Sickest Kids

Key Tracks from Runner Runner: "So Obvious," "21," "Hate the Way (I'm Falling for You)," Hey Ally," "The Breakup Song"

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Tide's Coming in with Blackwater James

For a few weeks now I've been letting you guys know that I've been taking a bit of a break, recharging my batteries and creative senses, and you all have been more than patient with me. For that, I do thank you all, as I know how much a pain waiting can actually be.
As we speak, I'm sitting here in a chair, on the balcony of a hotel in Destine, Florida, overlooking the beach and waves, but after hearing this new band, I feel like I'm right back in the grind of the machine, scraping the grit of the road. This group brings me home to Atlanta, to Memphis, to L.A., and to every other city with a grind that just takes it right out of you. Today's stars of the South, the North, and everywhere in between are Blackwater James, a sick blues-rock/hard-rock quartet from Nashville, Tennessee. But don't let that fool you. These guys might have a bit of a twang, but it's got hard grit and attitude, and the guitar solos just melt your face down to your shoes, which themselves are burned into the ground. These guys (and girl) could probably drink Ted Nugent under the table, and even if they couldn't, they sure sound like they can hold their own against the Cat Scratch King. 
Composed of Christopher James (lead vocals and guitar), Deanna Passarella (guitar and vocals), Josh Burns (bass and vocals), and Todd Schlosser (drums and vocals), Blackwater James delivers a mace-lined punch to the gut that bleeds influences from Zeppelin, Sabbath, GN'R, and AC/DC. 
Now I'm not pretentious enough to think I discovered these guys first, though I'd be thrilled if I did. No, these guys have been the subject of many other articles and reviews, but that's okay, it just means that they're getting the recognition they rightly deserve. According to their Myspace page, Blackwater James is currently putting the final touches on their debut EP which should be out sometime this summer, but that's just too far away for me, so I'm gonna talk about their sick tunes right here and now. Buckle up, it's gonna be a trip.
The first song the comes at me from the speakers is "Midnight Train." This song just drips Southern swagger and hard-rock balls and attitude. Anyone out there who thinks that chicks can't be as hard-rock as any guy, get in line for me to smack you, because Passarella's fretwork is top-notch, and locks brilliantly with James's hardcore blues riffs. If everything else sucked, this song would still rock like hell thanks to the raging guitars. But everything else doesn't suck; it all rocks. James's vocals are smooth and powerful and meld harshly and fantastically with the others' backing tones. Among James's and Passarella's pickslides and warp-speed guitar solos are Burns's bass and Schlosser's drums. Both powerful forces to be reckoned with, Burns's bass just stomps you in the eardrums and throat until you cant seen straight, while Schlosser's drums just totally decapitate the rest of your senses. "Midnight Train" is just a totally sick song and automatically my favorite from the beginning.
Track two for me is "Stone Cold," a song that, like the previous one, relies heavily on a hardcore guitar riff to carry you through four minutes of madness and rock. Though the title reminds me vaguely of the Queen song, whose title is similar, these guys are no Queen ripoffs. This shit is pure, straight-up rock and roll. I love James's vocals, and the way his and Passarella's guitars deliver an AC/DC-inspired series of licks just leaves me salivating for more. Burns's bass is pounding hard in the background, and picks up pace to provide a stage for James's voice as Schlosser's drums fade just slightly, but for good reason, as a shining solo shoots through the speaks and lodges itself in my brain. Five stars, easy, peasy, lemon squeezy.
The last song for me right now is "All Fired Up," and by the time I get to this one, that's what I am. This song is simple hard-rock brilliance. Just a "havin' a good time" track that's a must for any roadtrip or concert, "All Fired Up" is similar in make to is predecessors: just hardcore guitar riffs, ripping vocals, and crashing drums on top of pounding bass lines. This song is just all around good rock music. 
I'm going to stop myself there, because if I go on any further, all I'm gonna do is spoil the rest for you guys, and I'd hate myself for that. Go check these guys out. They're hardcore, sleazy, gritty, and right from the street and bar scene, and their music shows it. If you like anything AC/DC, Zeppelin, of Guns N' Roses, you won't be sorry for taking time out of your day for these guys. Better get to 'em now, because six months down the road, they'll be as big as Buckcherry and Puddle of Mudd. No way in the world the won't be. Hard-rock is still alive and kickin', and it now goes by the name Blackwater James.

Sounds Like: Buckcherry, Led Zeppelin, AC/DC, Puddle of Mudd, Airbourne, Guns N' Roses

Key Tracks from Blackwater James: "Midnight Train," "Stone Cold," "All Fired Up," "Rock Steady," "Wake Me"

Saturday, April 3, 2010


Hey all, I hope you all had a great Easter and/or Passover (Pesach to those of you who read my blog in Israel lol). I myself filled up to popping-point on matzaball soup, and am all the better for it haha. 
I just wanted to address the frequency of my posts, which to some, may seem to waning. I want to assure you all that I have no intention of stopping writing my blog. However, I have realized that it might be better to move to a different style format. By this I mean, I think it would be more beneficial to the blog, to the artists, and to you guys (and girls) if I posted perhaps once every two to three weeks. It wold then be like a real news publication like Rolling Stone, but without any of the unnecessary fluff. Once I get my own domain, too, which I am planing to do sometime this year, I will be able to expand the blog beyond just reviews into interviews, and maybe even pictures and videos. Be patient all, it'll be worth the wait, I promise.
The last reason I think the blog would be better with a posting frequency of every couple of weeks is so is because then I as the writer am under less pressure to meet a looming deadline, and so am able to find the best artists I can for you all. The articles themselves, as well, will benefit, because they will be more in depth (I will try this very much), and they will be better written. 
I hope you all understand where I am coming from. I started this blog really just for me, because I was so sick of the big publications not talking about the music. But it's grown into something I never could have imagined, and it's definitely not something that I am going to stop doing. I just need a little time and slack to figure out the kinks so I can make it a better site for the artists and all of you.
Thanks for your time guys, and I promise someone new soon. Keep rockin'. Peace.

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