Friday, August 27, 2010

Mike Hart Keeping It Real

It's a beautiful August afternoon today as I sit down to write a new article for all you reading out there. As the breeze rustles the leaves outside in a mildly poetic way, I flip on the Myspace of today's story, and nothing says Friday night like this music.
Many of you guys probably know Mike Hart as the former lead singer of So Contagious (fka Seven Story Fall), who've been featured and mentioned here a number of times. Now I could sit here and speculate until the end of time why Hart has embarked now on a solo career, but to be honest, that's between him and So Contagious. Besides, this is a music site, not some tabloid, and precisely one of the reasons I started New Rock News 43 in the first place. I was so tired (as I'm sure you all are too) of publications like Rolling Stone and Spin coming off as tabloids with a music flavor, rather than real in-depth music news magazines. If you're looking for something like that, look someplace else, maybe the Enquirer or the Globe. But if you're here for some new stuff to listen to, read on.
Hart is my focus today because of his newly released summer EP, We Keep It Real. Debuting just four days ago on Monday, August 23, We Keep It Real is a bit of a departure for Hart in terms of sound as he opts to stray a bit from his comfort zone in pop-punk and experiment with a more electronic-pop sound with dance rhythms that even exude an R&B flavor.
For those of you who aren't familiar with him, Mike Hart is an extremely talented vocalist and musician from here in Atlanta, Georgia. Singing on some of So Contagious's most well-known tracks like "The Getaway" and their rendition of Akon's "Right Now (Na Na Na)," Hart demonstrates a vocal talent that bleeds all the way over from pop-punk to dance and emo-punk. Now however, he's pushing his talents even farther as songs like "Telling Me No" and "This Is War" explore a more unique dance-pop background.
In fact, this brings me to the first track from We Keep It Real that blows me away. Released a few weeks ago as a teaser single for the upcoming EP, "This Is War" showcases not only some of the best examples of Hart's unique, smooth vocal style, but also his musicianship as he contributes to this track catchy synthes and rhythmic drum-tracks. Normally dance-punk is a hard genre for me to really appreciate, but Hart's use of pop-punk-ish lyrics mixed with an electro-pop sound gives this track a oddball flavor that makes me unable to turn my head away from it. A great dance song, and one that nods a bit to other electro-pop acts like Breathe Electric and Owl City, "This Is War" is definitely one of the best tracks on Hart's new EP, and it's no wonder why he released this one as the teaser.
"Lights Camera Action," another dance-punk track which features a guest appearance by DJ Vault, shines a knowing light once again on Hart as a clever writer and phenomenal singer. I love Hart's synthe progressions in this one, and his rhymes and clever phasing demonstrate his mastery over an ability to write as well as sing and perform. "Lights Camera Action," though, also benefits from a rhythm and beat the are, in every sense of the word, infectious. If you're looking for a track to play at a party or something to chill out to in the car with the top down on a beautiful afternoon, this one is a favorite in that category.
The last couple tracks from the EP I can't keep myself from writing a few tidbits about are "My Kryptonite" and "Secret Lover." Partnering with Atlanta producer and musician Nikolai Prange to set down a driving, synthe-ridden rhythm, Hart's composition "My Kryptonite" strikes a more romantic tone than I've heard in the previous tracks. With this, "My Kryptonite" is immediately set aside as the track the boasts some of the best rhythms and piano on the EP, as well as the one with the romantic nature under the surface. "Secret Lover" contrasts perfectly with this, leaning more towards a sort of forbidden/dangerous undertone that makes me think of sneaking out at night to see your girl or guy. These songs are brilliant compositions, and We Keep It Real most certainly benefits from their inclusion.
For those of you out there who have seen Mike Hart live, you all know this guy can definitely get a concert floor going. I myself have had this particular pleasure, and it's no overstatement that when he starts singing, he's got you jumping and all your energy going. It's no surprise to me, then, why it seems to me that Hart finds himself so at ease with dance-pop compositions. His punk attitude and ethic mix well with his smooth and polished vocals and synthes to produce a must-hear EP. Coming across as a brash collection of catchy, clever and energetic songs, We Keep It Real is definitely on my must-hear list for you guys this week. Make your way over to his Myspace and have a listen for yourself. Hart's talent puts something like the popularity of Justin Bieber to shame (and his cover of Bieber's "Baby" is, in my opinion, way better than the original). Once word gets out about him, Hart's gonna rise far and fast: of that I am sure. There are no ifs, ands, or buts with this guy; success is inevitable, period.

Sounds Like: Breathe Electric, Owl City, Phoenix

Key Tracks from We Keep It Real: "This Is War," "My Kryptonite," "Lights Camera Action," "Secret Lover"

Check out Mike Hart more at: and

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Mass Undergoe in the Middle of My Mind Forever

As promised, I deliver to you all now a sick, new alternative/progressive-rock band out of Vancouver, Canada. Grown from the same breeding ground as Irreverents and Incura, Mass Undergoe is a hard-rock four-piece with a rough and ready sound that bleeds from the speaks the minute you hit the "Play" button. It must be something in that Vancouver water, but the minute I hear the first chords of the first song on Mass Undergoe's Myspace playlist, I'm immediately hooked by a guitar and vocal dynamic that punches hard, and stings with the bite of a forgotten love. Maybe that's too far reaching, but I don't care, because that's what I get from it. I don't know about you guys out there, but it definitely means something to me when a song creates such a strong tidal wave of emotion that I start getting all literary.
Comprising members David Isbister (lead vocals), Alan Calimbas (guitar), Marino Mestrovic (bass), and Brandon Lazenby (drums), Mass Undergoe's music melds the intricate intensity of Van Halen and Rush with the serrated ferocity of Three Days Grace and Fuel. Already, even before I work my way halfway down their setlist, Mass Undergoe blows my mind with songs like "Middle of the Week Forever" and "The Flesh Eating Parade," as Isbister's vocals are stop and start, hard-core one minute, then high and indie-influenced the next. The vocal versatility of their singer can only spell hardbound success for the MU guys, and it only gets better from there.
"I Saw You on a Rainy Day" is, from second one, driven by two forces: Isbister's voice and Mestrovic's bass. With a certain vocal dynamic that is questioning and resilient, Isbister blasts me through driving verses and choruses that take off and soar. Mestrovic's bass lines immediately pull me in. Hard and tuneful, the lines drive the screws into this immediate masterpiece. Mass Undergoe proves early on that a song doesn't have to be complicated to be great. This one is simple, with a common verse/chorus/verse structure, and yet it seems so much more than that. While Mestrovic's lines take care of the verses, Calimbas' guitar chords are strong, and the distortion he uses makes sure that they're not forgotten. Taking his rightful place front and center during the mini-bridge after the second chorus, Calimbas trades chord and note melodies with Isbister's voice to create a sonic show in my head I won't soon forget. Behind it all is Lazenby, a powerhouse of rhythm and loose conviction whose kit is alive with the sounds and influences of everyone from Keith Moon to Dave Grohl.
Mass Undergoe continues its heavy melodic sound with "This Abundance of Truth." Again Mestrovic is right in front with bass licks that make me think of The Offspring's "Self-Esteem." This one's a little more alternative than "Self-Esteem," but the bass-heavy chords are there, and, being as that's one of my favorite songs of all time, I'm already more than very partial towards this song. One of the interesting aspects of "This Abundance of Truth" that only serves to make it a more unique track is its change in time signature about halfway through. With a seamless change that seems almost reminiscent of fellow Canadians Rush, Mass Undergoe keeps up a driving rhythm as Lazenby cork-screws through his kit, surrounding me in a rhythmic bliss. I love how Isbister's voice comes off here: more hard-core and desperate than in "I Saw You on a Rainy Day," and Calimbas' guitar solo, though short, is still sweet and brilliant. A jewel in the crown of a song that already boasts more than most songs could ever hope to, Calimbas' solo pushes this one way over the top and makes it a must-hear five-star track for me.
I'm conflicted over which track I should wrap up with, so I wonder why not try both. "I Dug My Grave and Walked Away" has a guitar rhythm that's infectious and Isbister's voice is low and philosophical, while Mestrovic's bass is a dominant force in the song. But I'm also drawn to "Middle of the Week Forever," however, with its amazing rhythm and chord sections. Lazenby's drumming here is fantastic, and brings to this hard-rock soon-to-be-single an alternative/punk flavor that spins this one in a direction you wouldn't see a foot away. That's what I love and look for though: a song that keeps you guessing at every turn.
I don't know how these guys aren't a national name act yet. It's a possibility that they could be up in Canada, but why they're not opening shows with Nickelback and Three Days Grace down here in the States is way beyond me. Anyone, group or solo artist, with this kind of intensity deserves that national stage as much as anyone already on it. One thing that sets Mass Undergoe apart, and even beyond (in my opinion) some of those people who are playing on those national stages, is their lyrical writing. I wasn't comparing these guys to Rush just musically; their lyrics are easy to hear, and deep in ways that give their songs new and brilliant levels. You all gotta hear this guys, so go get of your asses and go check them out. Mass Undergoe is coming, and when they arrive it's gonna be huge.

Sounds Like: Three Days Grace, Stone Sour, Fuel

Key Tracks: "I Saw You on a Rainy Day," "This Abundance of Truth," "Middle of the Week Forever," "I Dug My Grave and Walked Away"

Check out Mass Undergoe more at: and!/pages/Mass-Undergoe/20334940644?v=wall&ref=ts

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Runner Runner Flyin' High

So this is gonna be a semi-short post, because I'll be getting back to you guys soon with a new band, but I just found this out yesterday, and it's something I think you all deserve to know. The band Runner Runner from one of my April posts made their national debut on July 20th on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE!!
That, my friends, is why I do this. Finally, finally, other people are starting to see the amazing talent in these artists that I've seen all along. But if it takes time for that to sink in to the thick heads of those corporate bigwigs then I guess I'll just have to be patient.
Now signed to Capitol Records, Runner Runner, you may remember, came out of Huntington Beach, California with a sound that's smooth and melodic; most certainly a band for any die-hard Goo Goo Dolls fans out there. Awesome job guys (both the guys in Runner Runner and all you out there who're supporting them), you deserve everything you get. Proof positive that if you want something bad enough, and fight hard enough for it, then you'll get it. However, it's also proof positive that if you want to know what's gonna be breaking next on the music scene, keep reading here haha. You guys will be ahead of the curve, so keep checkin' back in, and I'll have anew amazing band for you soon. Peace all, keep rockin'!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Incura, the Cure to My Disease

I know it's been a few days since I updated you guys on a new band to go check out, but I've been working on some of my own songs, so I think you guys can cut me some slack. This thing where I'm getting into a semi-scheduled way of writing is kind of new for me still, but I'll get the hang of it eventually haha. I am pleased to report that my own material is coming along swimmingly; three songs done with a Blink-182/Eve 6/Less Than Jake feel, and one more that has a Matchbox Twenty tone. I'm way excited, so once I get up to Boston and get a freakin' band together, you guys will be the first to here it.
Okay, now the main course. I realize that I was in a total acoustic-rock place for the last couple weeks so I figured I'd mix things up in my next post. Too much of a good thing isn't bad, it just gets a little boring, and that's one thing I never want New Rock News 43 to be. Work is coming along on the new homepage, and hopefully it'll be up soon, giving you guys the articles you love, but also some exclusive vids, pix, and interviews that you can't get anywhere else. It's gonna be way awesome, so keep reading guys. Today's story, though, is something you don't have to wait for.
Incura is a five-piece progressive-metal/alternative band from way out in Vancouver, Canada. A far-flung cry from the acoustic strummings of Ryan Knorr and Cloé Beaudoin (though those acoustic chords are still rocking with me), Incura's sound is the epitome of the aggressive/melodic juxtaposition. Comprising members Kyle Gruninger (lead vocals), Gatlin Fitzgerald (guitar), Jim McLaren (keyboards), Jono Olson (bass), and Phil Gardner (drums), Incua delivers a melodic, metal riff-filled setlist with a bite and sting that keeps your eyes wide open, and won't let you nod off for a minute. One thing that immediately attracts me to and strikes me about this band is their lyrics. Deep and pensive, but not overly self-indulgent, Incura's lyrical content is something new, and breathes a new and different kind of life into their metal epics.
The first epic piece I listen to is instantly my favorite song for the next two weeks. "The Greatest Con" is deceptive in its beginning, with a piano piece that bleeds right into Gruninger's smooth and powerful vocals. But that doesn't last long as Fitzgerald's guitar blasts through the air suddenly, trading melodic notes with McLaren's keys. The feedback that Fitzgerald showers this song in is fantastic, keeping me on the edge of my seat from start to finish. Olson and Gardner, too, are not be left behind, as their bass and drums, respectively, form a tightly-welded fist of force and rhythm that drives this track higher and higher. With Gruninger's vocals sailing high overhead, "The Greatest Con" is most certainly the breakout single for these guys. With lyrics and clever hooks befitting the best alternative and metal acts, Incura prove in just 3:15 that they have what it takes to go all the way. The bridge here is creepy, and lends an almost Gothic tone to the song that broadens its appeal even more. If you're looking for a new song to lose yourself in, this is it.
Track two's "Here to Blame" is a trip in and of itself. With a note progression that seems almost Renaissance-like in melody, immediately that cape is shrugged off and Olson's bass drills through my head as Gardner's drums stomp me into the ground. Fitzgerald's guitar is serrated and distorted, while McLaren's keys shimmer melody and feeling into the chords behind them. On top of it all is Gruninger, whose voice wavers between smooth white knight of the horizon and black knight of the dusk. With vocals that hearken back to both the smooth booming pipes of Dio and the grated chords of Pantera, Gruninger makes sure that this track is burned right into your skull.
"Between the Walls" is another guitar-heavy song that showcases Gardener's drumming skills like I haven't seen yet. With Olson's bass lines breaking through the speakers at warp-speed, Fitzgerald's guitar balances between hardcore driving force, and high-rise melody-maker. McLaren's keys are slightly under the tone of the guitar here, but at the intermittent points that Fitzgerald slows a bit, they can be heard, strong as ever, pushing the melody further in a more secretive way. Gruninger makes this chorus shine with the lyrics that have made Incura, to me, a definite must-hear band. His vocals soar, and with simple sing-along lines, Gruninger pushes this one farther and faster.
Incura totally blows me away. My whole notion of progressive-metal and alternative-rock has just been shaken and altered. These guys must (in my opinion) be taking Vancouver and the rest of Canada by storm, and like Three Days Grace before them, it won't be long at all until they migrate south of the border and bring the U.S. rock scene something new to talk about. But remember guys, when Incura is a national-name act, opening shows with Shinedown and Sick Puppies, you heard them hear first. These guys rock like all hell is breaking loose. Fuckin' A.

Sounds Like: Avenged Sevenfold, My Chemical Romance, Sick Puppies

Key Tracks from The Lost EP: "The Greatest Con," "Between the Walls," "Here to Blame"

Check out Incura more at:, and!/pages/Incura/7031532895?v=wall&ref=ts

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ryan Knorr's Path of Greatest Resistance

I know I promised you guys another article before the week ended, but I was entertaining company and it just didn't get done. I do thank you all for your patience as always, and now I certainly think that it will have been worth the wait.
I must be in a real acoustic phase right now, because after discovering Cloé Beaudoin early last week, I was traversing Youtube once again looking for someone new for all you out there and found this guy. The minute I heard him, it blew my mind, and I could feel an article forming in my mind.
Out of the Midwest in Waukee, Iowa, Ryan Knorr is a taletnted-beyond-belief acoustic singer-songwriter whose lyrics and melodies resonate is the best ways with everything I feel. It's always seemed to me that I gravitate towards emotional and deep music, both in melody and lyrical content. I like fun and stupid music too, and am a proud fan of Bowling for Soup, Busted and Eve 6. But when the night calms down though, I think the reason I lean more towards a song that hits me deep down is because I'm just a hopeless romantic.
"What About Me" was the first song I heard by Knorr on his Youtube channel, and I was immediately struck by it simple-yet-catchy melody. It was acoustic when I first heard it, but when I navigated over to his Myspace page, I heard the studio version, and to be honest I can't decide which one I like better. The acoustic version is soft and simple, but the studio version has just the right rhythm in the background, and the note progression is something for Knorr to surely be proud of. The bottom line is, both version of this song are great, and the message is something that everyone can relate to. A song with lyrics that make me think that Knorr is speaking directly to me, "What About Me" is brilliant in its simplicity and its universal potential. This is most certainly one of Knorr's five-star tracks, and as a starting song, I'm already eager to see what else he has to offer.
Though "Meant to Stay" and "47 Feet" will call me back to them later, I'm quickly drawn to "8:14," a track that seems to take influence from Matchbox Twenty's "3am" in the best way. The Matchbox influence can be heard faintly in the background, but all the rest is Knorr. This one, like many of Knorr's other tracks on his Myspace and Youtube, is acoustic, and is fantastic in every sense of the word. Knorr's vocals are soft and strong at the same time, balancing between heart-felt emotion and brilliant resilience. The lyrics penned by Knorr, like the rest of his songs, are intricate and serve universal potentiality, with little plug-in stations that everyone can relate to. It seems that this is one of Knorr's greatest talents: writing a song that is strong and emotional, but simple and bottom-line enough for everyone to be able to connect to.
The last track I can find words for is "Everything." To say anything about this song other than that it might be one of his best performances ever wouldn't even begin to give Knorr his due credit. If the lyrics, which are self-aware and bare in the best way, weren't enough for you to get excited about, then how about the way Knorr stretches his minimalist acoustic chords to their musical limits? I've never really seen an acoustic artist who utilizes the minimalist technique pioneered and popularized by the Pixies and the Melvins, but now after seeing Knorr craft it so seamlessly, I'm dually floored and impressed.
Knorr has most certainly found a way to make acoustic music something new, with a new edge and creative takes on the old forms. His lyrics are simple and relatable, and his music resonates with me in the best way. As an artist myself, I'm not even the least bit embarrassed to say that I'm totally jealous of Knorr's ability to write flawless acoustic songs with just the right amount of pop, and hooks that would make any guitarist green with envy. Simply put, Ryan Knorr is an artist brimming with talent and creative vision, and is proving it every day on his Youtube and Myspace. This guy has no need for major labels or any of the record company politics that pervade the music industry. He's got the talent, the integrity and the vision, and those are the things that are gonna take him to the top. Keep and eye on this guy, and you'll be ahead of the curve that's soon to follow. No doubt.

Sounds Like: Matchbox Twenty, Plain White T's, Goo Goo Dolls

Key Tracks from The Path of Greatest Resistance: "What About Me," "8:14," "Everything," "This Bridge," "Meant to Stay"

Check out Ryan Knorr more at:, and

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Cloé Beaudoin Rips My Heart Out

As all you guys probably could have surmised from my posts over the past few months, I've been trying to get more regular in my posting so you guys have a semi-structured blog to come back to every week or so. But ever the erratic music lover, there are just some days when I discover an amazing talent and I just can't wait to share it with you guys. I do promise to try and space all the posts a few days apart, so due justice is done to both you, the readers, and the artists, who might not be able to rush to my site and read the new article immediately. Never fear though, because if you do happen to miss a new post, or if I've posted a new one unexpectedly, you can always check out the most recent posts in the archive section of my blog. There's just too much talent out there for me to stifle myself all the time, so just take it as it comes guys haha.
Okay, enough blabbering on about stuff you all really don't care about haha. My post today (I would say this week, but I might have more coming for you guys sooner, lol, so we'll just have to see) is about an incredibly talented young woman from Quebec, Canada: Cloé Beaudoin. Now, I don't pretend to know anything about classical music and voice training, but after listening to this girl, I would bet anything that she's what voice instructors spend their lives hoping to discover. With a voice that reaches high into the rafters of my heart and soul, Beaudoin's notes immediately remind me of Lacey Mosely (Flyleaf), and Amy Lee (Evanescence) in particular.
One thing I love about this young artist already is that many of her songs seem to be inspired by serious topics, and those that aren't explicitly so still carry the feeling of having some deeper importance.
Case in point is the first track I listen to on Beaudoin's Youtube channel, "If This Is the End." By Beaudoin's comments, I learn that this one is written to denounce domestic abuse, a worthy cause if ever there was one. "If This Is the End" is a brilliant first track for me, filled with resonating guitar chords and boasting heavy yet insightful lyrics. What I can't get over, though, is Beaudoin's voice. The notes this girl can hit, so seamlessly and beautifully, intrigue me and absolutely floor me. Her voice is so much like that of Amy Lee, but only in range. Beaudoin's vocals are neither copied nor strained; she's not trying to be anyone but herself, and in that light she succeeds beyond anything I would have initially expected. A beautiful track until the end, I wonder if anything else can even begin to compete with it.
Beaudoin doesn't let up for one moment. The next track I pick out from her slew of originals I pick in part because of the note under it: "Inspired by a suicide note." With anything like that following the title, I know I have to listen to the song. I'm not disappointed at all. "Deliverance" is initially faster than "If This Is the End," but slows immediately as Beaudoin's vocals enter, and so already has thrown me in my expectation. The chorus on this one is brilliant: a full-throttle progression that kicks my heart rate up in much the same way as do many Evanescence and Flyleaf songs. Then suddenly, it ends, and the verses slow down once again, leaving me thinking of how flawlessly Beaudoin employs the Pixies' loud-quite-loud dynamic. Never have I heard it applied to acoustic music in such a way that it just jumps right out at me. "Deliverance" is one of the must-hear tracks on Beaudoin's Youtube channel, no contest.
The last track that I will let myself talk about here (because let's face it, once you hear this girl, you're gonna agree with me that nothing I write here can possibly do her justice) is the song "Rest in Peace (RIP)." This one, according to Beaudoin, was inspired by the Twilight Saga book series, and in much the same way that Meg & Dia use their favorite books to wring songs from their talented minds, Beaudoin uses this one to inspire one of her (in my humble opinion) most amazing songs. "Rest in Peace (RIP)" has, among its many bragging rights, an incredible vocal performance from Beaudoin. Right from the first chords she strums on her guitar, Beaudoin's voice is wafting up through my mind, washing away everything I thought I knew about acoustic vocals. I know I can't do this girl justice, but I'm gonna try. With a voice that would make angel's go green with envy, Beaudoin sends "Rest in Peace (RIP)" over the top with lyrics that resonate with every fiber of my being. A bombastic chorus blasts from her guitar, and everything about this song spells romance and forbidden love.
If Beaudoin never had anything else to call her own, she would still have "Rest in Peace (RIP)." But that's not the case at all. More originals abound all over her Youtube channel and Myspace. "Infected" and "Brink of Insanity" test her strengths even further, but I'm gonna let you guys discover those gems for yourselves. Just released recently, 2009's Living in the Shadow showcases some of Beaudoin's best tracks, and many more that make it one of the albums I'm gonna rush out to hear in its entirety. Don't forget the name Cloé Beaudoin; this girl is going places. Still under 20 years old, I believe that we haven't even begun to see the talent that resides in this girl. I'd keep my ears peeled for her if I was you, because there's no way this girl's talent is gonna go unrecognized. Hell would freeze over first.

Sounds Like: Evanescence, Amy Lee (solo), Flyleaf, Meg & Dia, The Wreckers

Key Tracks: "If This Is the End," "Rest in Peace (RIP)," "Deliverance," "Infected"

Check out Cloé Beaudoin more at:, and

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