Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Deliverance to Peace, Cloé Beaudoin's Way

So any of you guys out there who have been reading for a while know that Cloé Beaudoin isn't new to New Rock News 43. She was featured here as a new artist about a month ago, and now I'm pleased to bring here back again, this time with a new twist.
Fresh from the release of her debut album, Living in the Shadow, Beaudoin's new release is her Rest in Peace EP (typeset as Rest in Peace- EP), which consists of four tracks, three acoustic, and one all-new, full-band recording. That would be enough to excite me, and should be enough to do the same to you guys, but NRN43 is all about detail and no bullshit, and I know it's been a slow couple of days, so I'm gonna go as deep into this EP as I can.
The title track on the EP, "Rest in Peace (RIP)" is, in my opinion, Beaudoin's greatest triumph. That was what I felt and thought when I heard the acoustic version of it on her Youtube channel. Now one can only imagine what I think with her release of the all-new, full-band version of the song. On her Youtube channel, Beaudoin notes that the song is inspired by the popular fiction novels in the Twilight Saga series, and it's my concrete opinion that if this song doesn't appear in the next Twilight movie release, than the director behind that camera is a complete moron. I would even go so far as to push for this song's use in the trailers for the film. The first time I heard "Rest in Peace (RIP)" I had chills. Now it feels like the whole ground is breaking apart under me. The way this songs builds from a soft, acoustic ballad to a hard-rock-inspired romantic anthem is incredible. The drums and bass that Beaudoin has clearly spent a lot of time and effort getting just right give this track the hardcore kick it lacked acoustically, and the stop-start palm-muted chords are post-grunge in effect until the blast-out chorus that is a clear throwback to Evanescence and Flyleaf takes off. Beaudoin's voice is a force all its own, and its bright hypnotic tone shoots this song right to the top of my most-played list for the week, and probably the month. In every way that Evanescence succeeds with "Bring Me to Life," and that Amy Lee herself succeeds vocally with her part on Seether's song "Broken," Cloé Beaudoin so triumphs on "Rest in Peace (RIP)." With a building guitar progression that climaxes in tragic and romantic intensity, I declare once again that this is Beaudoin's finest effort yet. And with a song like this under her belt, I know I have to hear more.
I took time to talk about "Deliverance" last time, so I'm gonna move passed that one right now, though it still stands as an amazing track, and one of my favorite songs by Beaudoin. Fresh and Romeo & Juliet in tone and nature, "Deliverance" is most certainly a song I would love to hear with a full band when Beaudoin decides it's the right time. Even acoustically, Beaudoin knocks it out of the ballpark with this one.
After "Deliverance" I move to a track I haven't heard before. "Dying Awake" has, if nothing else, a great title. Slow and sensual in its beginning, Beaudoin's vocals are smokey and romantic, and fog my mind with the haze of lust and love on a stormy winter's night by the fire. The chords are simple, and I love it. There is no need for any meticulous or intricate note progressions here, and truthfully, it might almost ruin the simple romanticism of the track. Cloé Beaudoin's darkly romantic and almost tragically loving music is something so unique I have to make up a new word to describe it. With a sound and tone I can only describe as romantcore (for whatever that means), Beaudoin contributes another five-star track to what promises to be a must-hear EP.
Lastly, there is "Brink of Insanity," a song that is much faster than the previous two, even if it i still acoustic. Beaudoin proves here with sharp chords and strong, determined vocals that she can throw her weight around with the other heavy players of the alternative scene, and not just sit safely in the acoustic light. A great song that seems a departure for Beaudoin in a way or two I can't quite put my finger on, that's why I love it. The mystery behind the notes and chords adds to its dusky bliss. The last track on the EP, "Brink of Insanity" wraps up nicely, and furnishes the other songs with a nice black bow and a metaphorical rose.
On here return to New Rock News 43, Beaudoin brings with her an EP most deserving of praise, and proof that her time away was not in vain. I am more than a little excited to get my hands on this, and you better believe that when I get up to school and on the radio, "Rest in Peace (RIP)" will be on heavy rotation for me. It's not news that this girl is going places, but I don't think I even knew what kind of talent she had buried deep down, and now, I know I and the rest of her fans are only beginning to see the tip of the iceberg.

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

Key Tracks from Rest in Peace- EP: "Rest in Peace (RIP)," "Dying Awake," "Brink of Insanity"

Saturday, September 25, 2010

No, We're Not Without Grace

Like I promised a few days ago, here's a new group that will totally blow your minds. Since my last couple posts were on hard-rock and metal bands, I figured I'd lighten it up a bit, and throw you guys a band that's got a sound that won't drill blood-wells into your ears (though we all know that those bands definitely have their place haha), but rather sooth you in a melodic sea of emotion.
I can certainly say that these guys (and girl) are a first, as they present the first group New Rock News 43 has ever reviewed to make their way from snowy Sweden, way up in the Scandinavian Peninsula. For any Swedish readers out there, you can most certainly rejoice, because I'm blatantly and bluntly jealous that you can lay claim to this band and I can't, being from the States.
But enough of this beating around the bush bullshit, here for the first time, and I certainly hope not the last, is Not Without Grace, an ambient-rock trio who show favor beyond all measure.
Composed of Linnéa Herlogsson (lead vocals), brother Alexander Herlogsson (rhythm guitar) and Christoffer Franzén (lead guitar), with live musicians Anton Weihard (bass) and Fredrik Sellegren (drums), Not Without Grace strikes out from their native Göteborg, Västra Götalands län, Sweden, with a sound that relies on the ambient interplay between the Alexander Herlogsson's and Christoffer Franzén's guitars and Linnéa Herlogsson's smokey vocals. In the same way K's choice struck me with "Not An Addict," Not Without Grace immediately sends a bolt of curiosity and emotion running through me with their trite, though not surprisingly, fulfilling setlist.
Though in the midst of recording their debut album, Not Without Grace find ample time to wow me with their first track "Cut Me Loose." I can only imagine that Weihard and Sellegren provide a strong backbone on this one live, as it rests sturdily on a bass and drum partnership that infects every fiber of my mind with a contagious beat I just can't forget. Yet from second one, it's the guitars that draw me in, and the vocals that give me reason to stay. Alexander Herlogsson's rhythm guitar sails just over the bass and drums, finding a comfortable place between the rhythm section and Franzén's lead guitar notes. With an ambient progression that The Edge and U2 could happily find a home for on any of their acclaimed albums, the stage is set for Linnéa Herlogsson to sweep me away with her soft and sensual, yet oh so resilient vocals. Herlogsson's vocals are so subtle and sultry that they seem to cloud my mind, and once again I'm flashing sonic plays of K's Choice and Garbage in my head as I listen. Drowning in the proverbial sea of melody and emotion, I find a tiny lifeboat in the rhythmic downstrokes of Herlogsson's guitar married to the chiming, R.E.M.-style notes that Franzén puts forth. The only way I can even begin to describe the chorus in this song is like standing in the eye of a hurricane, and watching the waves and wind swirl around you. That's exactly what you feel when the younger Herlogsson takes off in her vocal assault on the world and all the ears in it. "Cut Me Loose" is most certainly one of the key tracks on NWG's demo effort, and this one, much like "Radio Free Europe" did before, has the potential to drive its respective artists right to the top of the mainstream charts, as well as garnering them respective play on college radio. Maybe I'm right and maybe I'm not, but that's exactly what I think and predict.
Track two is "Joshua," a fitting name for a song whose group seems to take so much direction from U2. Though U2's critically acclaimed album The Joshua Tree is probably not the basis for this song or its title, I still randomly make the connection in my head, so don't take me at my word on that. The one thing you can hold me to, though, is that this song is brilliant in its sonic power, and plays to me an audio rainbow right before my eyes. With less emphasis on the drums and bass, Alexander Herlogsson and Franzén are free to step forward and showcase their inarguable guitar skills. Weaving a string-based tapestry of sonic bliss, the two guitarists set a perfect stage for Linnéa Herlogsson's soft vocals. One thing I love about Linnéa Herlogsson's singing is that I can understand every single word. Clear, intelligible and resonant, Herlogsson's vocals seam to weave themselves in and out of whatever tiny keyholes that Alexander Herlogsson's and Franzén's guitars might leave open. The choruses and pre-choruses in "Joshua" are high and melodic, lending a hand to any rainy day or sunny afternoon. While most songs have their place for a particular mood or day, "Joshua" seems to find comfort in both the cold, rainy days and the warm spring afternoons. The mark of a truly great song, undoubtedly.
Not Without Grace continue with "Confession," and the minute that Alexander Herlogsson's and Franzén's guitars appear on the scene, it's an audio free-for-all. Then the drums and bass roll in, and the rhythm in this song is something so reminiscent of the '90s that I find myself wondering where were these guys 15 years ago. Probably in school, the same as me, but all I can say is that the '90s could only have been better with this song on the charts. A song that might rival those of Garbage or Alanis Morissette, "Confession" showcases the exact reason that I believe in my heart Not Without Grace will find their place in the alternative-rock scene, high above all the hacks that will undoubtedly try to follow and copy. Linnéa Herlogsson's vocals are a gift, pure and simple. A voice like hers can't be bought or cultivated, not with all the money or the best classical training in the world. Gifts like that are things you're born with, and Not Without Grace reaps the enormous benefits of laying Linnéa Herlogsson's gift next to those of Alexander Herlogsson and Franzén, forming a tight-knit symphony of joy and curiosity, the likes of which I can only give it up for with the best I have to write. "Confession" is the the song on the album that gives you hope, and if it's not already, this one promises to most certainly find itself as one of the crowd favorites.
Last for me is Not Without Grace's demo of their new song, "Hide Away." If the other songs weren't enough to convince even the most stodgy record-label executive that NWG has that oh-so-special spark, then "Hide Away" will definitely put them in their place. A soft and sensual ballad that floats high above all the anger and spite in today's world, "Hide Away" will bring you to a place you can only say you've seldom been before. Definitely the best way to finish up any album or show, "Hide Away" would be my pick for any encore song. Not Without Grace have certainly outdone themselves with this one, and the minute you listen to it, you know it. Rarely is anything so simple to state.
As Not Without Grace descend from the snowy banks of the Swedish shore, all I can do is watch with excitement and anticipation. Sewing musical seeds that are so sweet and resilient, you can almost taste them as the music comes from the speakers, Not Without Grace prove to be one of the premier upcoming acts from Northern Europe, at least in my humble opinion. The Herlogsson siblings and Franzén are definitely going places, and as a new full-fledged fan, I find myself more than a little excited to see where those places are. Not to be forgotten anytime soon, if ever, Not Without Grace are only getting started. And what's to come, I suspect, will blow everything I thought I knew about ambient and alternative-rock right out of the water. I can't wait.

Sounds Like: K's Choice, Garbage, Letters to Cleo, U2

Key Tracks: "Cut Me Loose," "Joshua," "Confession," "Hide Away"

Check out Not Without Grace more at: and

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Follow and Get the Word Out!!

Hey guys, hope you've all been doing well. I have a bunch of awesome new groups coming up for you in the coming weeks, but we'll get there in a few days. I promise they'll all be well worth the wait.
Now though, I wanted to let you all know how stoked I get when I see you guys reading more and more of my articles. It started with a few readers here in the States, some in the U.K., and some here and there in Australia and Canada. Now, I'm more than pleased to report to all you out there that New Rock News 43 is getting hits from Japan, Hungary, Russia, Thailand, India, and Germany, among numerous other countries. You guys are just as much to credit as anyone, because without you guys spreading the word out there, New Rock News 43 wouldn't be anywhere near what it's becoming, and I am very excited for the numerous possibilities I see in the future.
If any of you guys out there find yourselves reading almost weekly (and even better if it's almost daily), then sign up and follow New Rock News 43 on Facebook and Twitter for immediate updates on new artists, new happenings, and anything else cool. Also, make sure you follow here, on New Rock News 43's Blogspot, for the newest article updates. Follow on Facebook here:!/pages/New-Rock-News-43/298475705042 and here on Twitter:
Once again, I thank you all so much, and I would just lastly like to take this short post to remind you guys to make any comments you want. It helps me every time you post a comment, so don't feel shy, and let me know what you'd like to see more of, hear more of, or just let me know if you're really diggin' any particular article. My email is posted, and you are all more than welcome to send me one whenever you like, and if any of you are aspiring artists, send me some demos or a Myspace address and I'll most certainly take a look.
Thank you for all your support guys, wouldn't be able to do it without you! Peace!!

Follow New Rock News 43 on Facebook here:!/pages/New-Rock-News-43/298475705042

Follow New Rock News 43 on Twitter here:

Friday, September 17, 2010

And I'm Off Into the Night

Months have passed since I delivered to you all a group a little outside our blast radius here in the States. Though I have brought you a few groups from Canada, and they totally rocked, to keep things interesting and fresh, I decided to take a journey to another hemisphere this week to give you all a taste of a band that is slightly out of reach for us here in the U.S.
Enter Into the Night, a melodic/alternative-rock sextet from Melbourne, Australia who are taking the island nation by storm. With their new eponymous debut album in hand, Into the Night are pumping the coastlines and Outback similarly full of a rock that drips in alternative sense and hardens over with just the right amount of grit. The neo-hardcore arrangements that fill Into the Night's debut effort range in influence from post-grunge and hard-rock to hardcore-punk and metal. Like Homebrewe and Diamond Eye, my other NRN43 Australian vets from a while ago, Into the Night are themselves full of talent and hunger, and are aiming for the moon with their big-beat tracks and stick-in-your-head riffs.
Composed of members Patrick Broughton (lead vocals), Ben Graham (lead and rhythm guitar), Warren Pedlar (lead and rhythm guitar), Andy Vancuylenburg (keyboards), Lee Sinclair (bass), and Jules Bruce (drums), ITN's sound is just the right mix of hard-rock simplicity and metal intricacy to keep me guessing at every turn.
The first song on ITN's playlist is immediately the best way for me to start familiarizing myself with these guys. I can only describe this intro as purely epic. Building on itself again and again like Metallica's "Enter Sandman," "You Won't Know," starts by feeding me an AC/DC-inspired riff while the rhythm section builds higher and higher behind it. As Graham begins with his guitar in a riff-driven, "Highway to Hell" fashion, Pedlar pick-slides in with screaming notes that flash portraits of Van Halen and Megadeth in my mind. And as Pedlar begins, I can hear Bruce's high-hats start, then fade out as he quickly moves to the toms and snare, with Sinclair following suit on his bass. Then Broughton begins, and his vocals are rough and oh so satisfying. The one thing I was dreading was to hear the misstep of marrying this beautiful hardcore track to high falsetto vocals. But Into the Night aren't tempted, and as Broughton's snarls menacingly into the mic, Vancuylenburg takes everything higher with his keys set nicely and secretively behind the wall of guitars. As the chorus approaches and takes off, Broughton's vocals get higher in range, but always stay in perfect synch with the hard-rock platform below him. Bruce's fills and rolls are Maiden-esque in nature, and Sinclair's bass is a powerful force to be reckoned with. A track that tops out at 6:04, "You Won't Know" is a melodic-hardcore trip, but one thing this track boasts that others can't is a bridge that shows not only gritty angst, but mature musicianship. As the bridge approaches, Graham and Pedlar scale back on their guitars, and the rhythm team of Bruce and Sinclair becomes almost transparent, save for a simple cymbal beat by Bruce. What lifts this track even high, though, is Vancuylenburg's resonating keystrokes on his piano, bringing to a hardcore track a sense of symphonic grace that it's all the better for. As Bruce's drums pick up and Graham and Pedlar join in on a shining solo, the track crescendos into a mass of grit and grace. Most certainly the must-hear track on the album, "You Won't Know" is everything right about hard-rock and metal.
If "You Won't Know" was symphonic and graceful, "Journey Into Doubt" promises to be a masterpiece of clashing guitars and driving rhythms. From second one, Pedlar and Graham impress me with an intricately-laid guitar wall. Then Bruce counts in, and Sinclair's bass is something to be treasured on this one, as it plays front and center, strong yet nimble, and bombastic in the best ways. Broughton's vocals are coarse and serrated, leaning towards a Three Days Grace influence, but soften just a little for the verses. Graham's and Pedlar's chords and notes provide the best reason to lock your door and air-guitar to this song all day. With a driving rhythm that is pushed further only by anthemic vocals and lyrics, "Journey Into Doubt" is a heavy, hardcore excuse to put your devilhorns up in the air and bang your head like there's no tomorrow. And yet, like "You Won't Know," "Journey Into Doubt" shows a softer, more introspective side, as the guitars take a mini break, and Vancuylenberg's key notes shoot this one full of emotion and epic adventure. That, my friends, is the best way I can describe it. And then as Sinclair's bass starts to move faster, the guitars and drums pick up again, and Broughton brings this one to a raging finish. If ever there was a song begging for a live performance, this one is it.
"Such Is Life" begins in a different way that its two predecessors. Vancuylenburg is the maestro on this one, and starts it off with a piano progression that is beautiful and curious at the same time. Some of you may think that the piano isn't very hard-rock, but let me tell you, when it's married to a pounding bass-line, it gets pretty hardcore pretty fast. Sincalir's notes compliment Vancuylenburg's keystrokes in the best way, and this track only builds from there. Broughton's vocals are a little softer here, and the guitars are more reserved, hovering just over simple drumbeat by Bruce. Sometimes, though, simplicity is the key, and as the guitars enter, this one is, in all senses of the word, big.
Yet Into the Night continue to impress me with their versatility as "Coming Down" is the polar opposite of "Such Is Life." A fast, guitar-driven track with an intro riff that will blow the speakers right out of your car and beg for the windows to be rolled down, "Coming Down" is from the start the song to listen to when you're on the way to the show. With the same initiative and drive as any AC/DC or Van Halen song, "Coming Down" is a simple, hard-rock, guitar-heavy track that just proves that the age-old formula of hard guitars, heavy bass and drums, and soaring vocals, with maybe some epic keys on top, is still the way to go. Into the Night find for themselves an instant success with "Coming Down." It's everything I fell in love with in the first place when I first heard Cream and Black Sabbath. Heavy and hard-hitting, it's definitely one of the five-star tracks on this album.
Proving to be a group with a intricate and versatile sound, Into the Night will soon be on their way, if they're not already. Like AC/DC, JET, and The Vines have proved before, Australia is one of the world's Mecca's for hard-rock and garage-metal, and groups like Into the Night are taking full advantage of that. Armed with a sound that works in the best of ways, and a drive that will take them far, Into the Night are here, and nothing it seems, Topside or Downunder, is gonna stop them.

Sounds Like: Three Days Grace, Sponge, Foo Fighters, 10 Years

Key Tracks from Into the Night: "You Won't Know," "Coming Down," "Journey Into Doubt," "Such Is Life"

Check out Into the Night more at:, and

Friday, September 10, 2010

Tetrarch's Tyrannical Saints Go Marching in My Mind

This one's for all you metal-heads out there. It's been a very long while since I went out and found a truly terrifying , bone-shattering metal band for you all to sink your teeth into, but that changes today. I know my phases lately have leaned towards pop-punk and acoustic-rock, and my posts have been reflecting that, but lately I've just been craving something a little more hardcore. Thankfully, though, I didn't have to go far to find just the kind of band I was looking for.
From right here in Atlanta, Georgia, Tetrarch is a mega metal four-piece specializing in all the dark metal arts and sounds. Composed of Josh Fore (lead vocals and guitar), Diamond Rowe (lead guitar), Ryan Lerner (bass), and Nick Jones (drums), Tetrarch creates a blinding metal setlist in the twigh-lit realm of Iron Maiden, Metallica and Trivium. Featured here in Atlanta on Project 96.1's Project Homegrown program, Tetrarch are making waves all over the metal and hard-rock scene in the South. For those of you out there foaming at the mouth for a new band that will crack your bones and melt your face right off, Tetrarch is a great place to start.
I'm immediately pulled in by Tetrarch's first song on their setlist, "Tyranny of Saints." In true Iron Maiden fashion, this song begins with a huge, bombastic intro. Slow and epic, it soon turns bloody as the drums speed up and kick the rhythm into overdrive. Lerner follows suit, and already his bass lines are trampling through my mind, giving me the same shot of adrenaline I felt the first time I heard Maiden's "Run to the Hills." Diamond Rowe's guitar notes are sharp and ear-splitting, owing life and influence to Metallica's "Ride the Lightning" and "Fade to Black." Above the mass hysteria and pyromania, Fore's vocals are strong and unforgiving. Using his own chords to add even more rhythm to a song already on steroids, Fore blasts everything higher, skipping between melodic hardcore vocals and flat-out gutteral growls. A vocal mix of Three Days Grace and Pantera, this song is exactly what I'm feeling now. The same as when I first heard Rage's "Bulls on Parade," "Tyranny of Saints" makes me want to go punch someone. Hard. This song is definitely the best way for Tetrarch to make a first impression. It's hard, it's fast, and it's everything I love about metal.
"Mental Suicide" keeps up the grit and grime of "Tyranny of Saints." Fore is once again on the fence, balancing between melodic growls and primal screams that rip your skin off in the best way. There's a certain art to harsh vocals, and any metal or hard-rock fan knows that. We also know that if it's done improperly, it sounds like shit. But Fore proves that when it's done right, it can make a song razor sharp and timeless. And what could make the vocals even better? How about a sick progression of notes from lead guitarist Rowe. Diamond Rowe is definitely diamond in this song, as she picks up during the solo and takes it up a notch. A sonic firestorm let loose in true face-melting form, Rowe's solo shreds what skin I have left from Fore's vocal assault to tiny bits. Dripping with technical prowess and hard-rock soul, "Mental Suicide" continues, unhindered, and in every sense, unhinged. The skins, again, are tapped out like there's no tomorrow, making coughing with the fast-paced beats of insanity. Lerner won't be left behind, as his bass shoots through the speakers to destroy what mental capacity I have left. In my opinion, one of the marks of a great metal band is how well the rhythm section fits together. Behind the soaring guitar and primal vocals, Tetrarch has the blueprint down pat, and "Mental Suicide" benefits from that in the best way possible.
"Disciples of Sorrow" is as equally aggressive as its predecessors, though when it comes to the chorus, it takes on a Maiden-esque sort of arrangement, opting for a more anthemic approach than one that would be more rushed. It is a pleasant surprise, as in my experience, I've heard many metal bands out there that can either perform the slow, booming chorus or the fast-paced song, though they many times have trouble joining the two. Tetrarch, though, show no problem marrying Fore's big, booming chorus vocals to Jones' rolling fills, creating an underlying pulse-pounding experience with a polished, anthemic seal. Lerner contributes as well, as his bass lines are steady and incessant, filling in any slight pauses that the drums might take. Rowe, herself, is content to sit back and wail out on her guitar, injecting this track with a riff that, towards the middle, jumps the tracks, and brings to mind once again Metallica's "Fade to Black." Tetrarch's ability to experiment and adapt quickly and seamlessly make this must-be metal balled one of the must-hear tracks on their album.
Nick Jones is absent from the aforementioned tracks only because he himself finds himself as the new guy in the band. That doesn't stop him, though, from making his Tetrarch debut on their track "Fate of the Chosen," a powerful song with a driving rhythm and chorus that easily owes its hardcore force to Jone's drumming. A statement at just how well he first with the others, "Fate of the Chosen" fights to the front of the track-pack with power and melody, and makes Tetrarch's sound all that more interesting and deep.
Bleeding influences such as Pantera, Iron Maiden, Metallica and Megadeth through their guitars and speakers, Tetrarch raise the torch, and bar, just as the metal gods did before them. The intensity in their music is only matched by the energy and drive that I can only assume they exude during their live performances. Definitely making it onto my "Must See Live" list, Tetrarch impress me with their technical prowess as well as their clever and creative song concepts. I fully expect to see a Tetrarch concept metal album sometime soon, and as with the concept albums of Judas Priest and Coheed and Cambria, I expect it to be a trip devoid of unnecessary frills and dripping in true metal spirit and grit.
Until then, though, I will have to contend myself with their current albums. That's no complaint, though. Tetrarch's efforts prove fruitful enough for hours of hard-rock energy and metal drive, culminating, as all metal records should, in the feeling of invulnerability, and a never-ending love of metal. Metal-heads, hold your torches high: Tetrarch is hear to stay, and like Van Halen and Metallica did years ago, they'll make you hair stand on end as they singe it with raw power and blasting rhythm. And did I mention they have a sick logo too?

Sounds Like: Metallica, Pantera, Iron Maiden, Trivium

Key Tracks from Tetrarch: "Tyranny of Saints," "Mental Suicide," "Disciples of Sorrow," "Birth of a Convict," "Fate of the Chosen"

Check out Tetrarch more at: and

Friday, September 3, 2010

American Diary, An Anthem for Real This Time

Warped Tour is always a fun event to go to, and for those of you who do go, you definitely know what I'm talking about. For those of you guys who haven't been though (and don't feel left out, since Warped Tour 2010 was my first one ever), one thing that you might not expect is just how many bands are there that aren't on the bill. I was expecting a few here and there who might be passing out CD's or T-shirts for their bands, but I definitely didn't expect there to be such an overflow of talent that wasn't playing. It definitely says a lot about a group or an artist when they're willing to follow a traveling tour that they aren't even playing on just for the chance to promote their music. Total DIY ethic, and something that shows that someone's doing it for the love of their band and not for any get-rich-quick fantasies.
I ran into one such group at Warped Tour this year. In fact, I was waiting for Sum 41 to take the stage when this guy came up to me with a set of headphones and asked if I might take a few minutes and listen to a song of his band's CD. Well what kind of music lover and journalist would I be if I said 'no'? As the first chords came through the wires and right into my brain, I was immediately struck by the sound of this band: a back-to-basics approach to pop-punk that I haven't heard in a long time. I asked the guy the name of his band. His answer? American Diary, and right then I knew I'd be checking out these guys the minute I got home. Suffice it to say last month I went through a bit of an electronic/acoustic phase, but these guys have been on my list ever since Warp, and now I'm just feeling their groove all inside my head.
Out of Baltimore, Maryland, American Diary is a power-trio along the lines of Green Day, Blink-182, and Koopa (all of whom they seem to draw many influences from) comprising members Brandon Ingley (lead vocals and bass), Mikey Clark (guitar and backing vocals) and Todd Wallace (drums). I later learned when I got home and looked at their Myspace that it was Mikey Clark who I'd talked to at Warp, and the minute the 'Play' button was hit on their Myspace, I was way psyched that he'd come up to me. Right from the start, American Diary hits me with their classic pop-punk sound, and their clever lyrics of love and growing up seem a certain throwback to Sum 41 and Lit.
With their 2008 album The Brightest Colors topping in at over 14,000 copies sold, it's not hard to see why American Diary are poised for a pop-punk takeover of the alternative scene. With their new album Theodore in hand, these guys are gonna hit it big, first underground and then right on through to the mainstream.
Right from the start of "To You, It's You," the first song on their setlist on their Myspace page, I know I hear something new and different with these guys. Ingley's vocals are smooth and a sureshot in the dark, owing to a mixed influence of Blink and Busted. Clark's part is a seminal one of the song, becoming something more than just the typical punk guitar sound, but less than the pretentious, over-the-top virtuoso. His chords are simple, choppy, and yet oh so smooth and perfectly fitting in a way that is curious and wondrous. But I abandon all questioning of tradition and musicality when he hits of a solo prompted by his riff-driven choruses. Wallace's drums are basic, garage-rock inspired, but that only makes his out-of-left-field fills and drum rolls that much more impressive and entertaining. This song is brilliant in its simplicity and nostalgic approach to growing up. One which I absolutely love.
Ingley immediately outdoes himself again on "Cee4our," this time with his bass. His bass intro screams influence by Blink-182's "Carousel," and starts the song off with a bang. I love the vocal interplay here between Clark and Ingley, and as Wallace leans more towards a cymbal approach this time, Ingley's bass lines are clear and strong underneath the skins. Part of the cleverness of this song are Clark's chords. A metasonic mix of technical prowess and punk creativity, Clark's solo this time brings to mind a Good Charlotte/Zebrahead influence, while his stop/start palm-mutes and chords hint to me a flavor the reeks of palm-mute geniuses Lit. If ever there was a song that captures the awkwardness and bullshit of adolescence, this is it.
While I love the bass and clever lyrics on "You Know Dat's Right!," I'm really pulled into "Anthem (For Real... This Time)." Wallace breaks this one through with drumming that sets an energetic stage for Clark's and Ingley's guitars. I'm swept away in Clark's double-layed guitars as they string out an intro that seems to be pensive and deep. But then Ingley breaks it all down, and I'm left with a brilliantly crafted punk song that boasts clever DIY lyrics, vocals that pump you up, and guitar bursts that punch you hard and fast. Hopscotching between rhythm and lead guitar, Clark sets out to drive you harder and faster as Ingley's bass skips playfully and powerfully throughout the background. An audio maelstrom of rhythm and melody, "Anthem (For Real... This Time)" is one of the must-hear tracks on this album.
Though I'd love to pack up and go home, and let you guys discover the rest of American Diary for yourselves, there's one song on their setlist I just can't go without saying something about. An acoustic ballad reminiscent of the deeper Good Charlotte and Sum 41 songs, "Knew Song" showcases American Diary's versatility as writers and composers. Ingley's vocals are soft and introspective, and Clark's sparse chords contribute to the overall depth of the song.
American Diary have more than impressed me here, and I'd bet anything that they'll be impressing others and turning heads very soon. These guys exude creativity and drive, and you can tell through their music that even they know big things are in store for them. They say that 90% of life is showing up, and if that's true, these guys are ready. American Diary is here, and nothing, it seems, is gonna drive them away.

Sounds Like: Blink-182, Busted, Lit, Koopa, Zebrahead

Key Tracks from Theodore: "Anthem (For Real... This Time)," "Cee4our," "To You, It's You," "Knew Song," "You Know Dat's Right!"

Check out American Diary more at: and

Popular Posts