Thursday, December 29, 2011

List for the Insomniac

December  29, 2011  --  12:39 A.M.

1. Pornstar - Almost Kings
2. Natural - Farewell Disaster
3. Truth or Dare - Waking Elliot
4. Coast to Coast - Those Mockingbirds
5. Fact and Friction - The Nearly Deads
6. Shirts Off, Skirts Off - Prom for 8
7. Bullet - June Divided
8. Where You Used to Be - The Few
9. The Fire - Fight the Fear
10. Bondage - Soylent Red

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Honesty Finding Comfort Here

It's been a little while since we heard anything out of The Honesty, but the silence was broken just a few weeks ago. Coming back with a brand new EP released around Thanksgiving, The Honesty take the first shot as the new EP takes roots in my head and won't let go.
One of the best things about The Honesty's new EP Find Comfort Here is the exploration of new sounds and experimentation with different vocal dynamics than on their previous effort,  The Things We'll Never Know. While the latter was characterized by the lead vocals of Tasha Gilbreath, now the reigns of the lead vocals (as well as all of the EP's instrumentation) are taken over by Michael Davis as The Honesty concoct a new layer of sonic skin to wrap themselves in.

The Honesty's newest EP: Find Comfort Here

Containing just three tracks, Find Comfort Here draws its power from the driving guitars and melodic vocal hooks that made The Things We'll Never Know an immediate must-hear. Now, the with their energy reinvested in the pounding rhythm section married to symphonic guitar prowess, The Honesty come back with an EP that drips in melody and alternative adrenaline.
Track one is "Warning!," and the breathy palm-mutes by Davis are instant ear-candy as his vocals slide easily over the song's mashing rhythms. The drumming in all rock n' roll, a driving thunderstorm of cymbal-crashes and quick snare-cracks. Over as soon as it begins, "Warning!" is the best way for The Honesty to breakout on their newest EP. One of the things that's so great about this song is it goes so quickly only because you're simply unable to distance yourself from the audio-energy dripping out of the computer speakers. As opposed to coming back with an overdone track that begs to be put out of its misery, "Warning!" is a quick POW-POW-CRACK to your senses leaving you doubtless and wanting more.
"Runaway" is no different. Blasting forth from second one with a wall of guitar notes and drums that stand out, The Honesty craft a song that is more than just a filler track for the EP: it continues the energy of "Warning!" without overdoing anything and keeping the sounds of the recording in line. The vocals are smooth, pithy with masses of sultry sexiness thrown in for good measure. "Runaway" is going to be that song that plays all winter, gaining legions of new fans for The Honesty before they even know it.
Rounding out the EP is "The Way Out," a track that relies heavily on rhythmic changes brought on by distorted notes and a resigned but powerful bass. Something about this song just grabs me: it just sounds like winter, and with the cold, dark months just ahead, "The Way Out" is sure to be on repeat for my foreseeable future.
Find Comfort Here chalks up to a clear victory for The Honesty. Through new experimentation married to tried and true traditions, The Honesty reemerge with an EP that focuses the spotlight securely on them. When Find Comfort Here is playing, you simply won't be able to think of anyone else. This band will be all over your radar, invading your senses at every turn. Not bad for an EP just three songs long clocking in at just under ten minutes. Not bad at all. 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

2011 Pydromania "Best of" Contests Up Now!!

Hey all, to mark the end of a great year for NewRockNews43, I decided to start a new little tradition. With all the amazing groups we've heard and discovered this year, who do you think is the absolute best?! I'm calling it the Pydromania "Best of" Contest because these artists are so hot, they're cool (figure that one out if you can, ha!). Five categories, over 30 bands and artists, and more amazing songs than I can count that have shaped this year for NewRockNews43 and my brand new radio show Underground Takeover, so which artists really rocked the hardest?! The winning artists of each category will get a promo of their choosing displayed on the front page of NewRockNews43 as one of the first posts of the new year. They also will receive bragging rights not only for the whole year as being voted the best and hardest-rocking, but will receive bragging rights for being the FIRST artists to ever win this brand new annual contest. Winners may also receive amped airplay on my show Underground Takeover in Boston, so who's looking for some airplay?? ;D Polls are on the right side of the pages, and voting closes in just under 2 weeks, so get listening, and get voting!!

The nominees are:


For Best Hard-Rock/Metal Artist of 2011:

  • Diamond Eye
  • Tetrarch
  • Reapers Riddle
  • All I Know
  • Homebrewe
  • Into the Night
  • Almost Kings
  • The Swear

For Best Pop/Rock Artist of 2011:

  • Andy Gruhin
  • Cloé Beaudoin
  • The Head
  • Ratham Stone
  • Aerials
  • The Heartshakes

For Best Pop-Punk/Punk Artist of 2011:

  • Darling Parade
  • The Lightweights
  • Minds Without Purpose
  • The Honesty
  • Voted Most Random
  • Versus the Robot!
  • Start Up 45

For Best Electronic/Alternative Artist of 2011:

  • Lost In Atlantis
  • The Orkids
  • The Blue Pages

For Best Alternative-Rock Artist of 2011:

  • 49 Stones
  • WeSurrender
  • Season to Attack
  • The Riot Tapes
  • The Life Review
  • Radagun
  • Sound Express
  • Death is a Dialogue
  • Fit For Rivals
  • LOVELOUD
  • Fools For Rowan

There they are guys, so keep the votes coming, and we'll cap off this year with an explosive bang! More articles to come, and I have some awesome reviews, interviews and lists coming, so keep rocking and we'll make 2011 the best year NewRockNews43 has seen yet!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Tetrarch Announce Plans for New EP/Music Video in 2012

I was way stoked to see this video up of Tetrarch's own Diamond Rowe announcing new plans for the metal foursome in 2012. According to Rowe (and as you can see in the video update), Tetrarch are planning to record at Audiohammer Studios, a mecca for new metal artists. In addition to the announced six-song EP, I'm also jumping to see the newly announced Tetrarch music video debut which according to Rowe is set to arise sometime next spring. Get pumped guys, Tetrarch are coming back hard!! Check out Diamond Rowe's video update below!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

List for the Insomniac

December 8, 2011 -- 12:07 A.M.

1. You Aren't Even Worth This Song - Season to Attack
2. Schizophrenic Me - WeSurrender
3. Never Wrong - Darling Parade
4. Dream Away - Aerials
5. Indigo - 49 Stones
6. Haunted - Radagun
7. Rain - All I Know
8. Infatuation - The Heartshakes
9. Sick - Minds Without Purpose
10. Broken - Sound Express

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Diamond Eye Marching to the Sound of the Guns

I'm super stoked to be the one to bring you coverage of this new EP today because it is going to tear your head off and leave you shaking in the wind. And that's just for starters.

Diamond Eye's debut EP, Sound of the Guns

Australia's Diamond Eye have been a band on my radar since I came across them in late 2009. Since then, I've been keeping up with every new release of the band, and every big event they've taken down in their path. Back in late '09, I got my hands on a copy of a rough demo that Diamond Eye used to gain some attention in the Perth heavy metal scene. To give you an idea of how rough this demo was, all it said on the front was Diamond Eye and Demo. But rough doesn't mean bad, and the minute I threw that demo on I was instantly hit by tracks of a caliber that blew my mind. Rough, yes, but holding so much promise, and as I listened to tracks like "Waiting for Me," "Machine," and "Holding On," all I could imagine was what it must have felt like listening to a rough Metallica or Iron Maiden demo before they took off. Secretly, I hoped that those three songs would see new rerecordings as Diamond Eye gained more clout (perhaps not so secretly, as I told lead guitarist Greg Fawcett that "Waiting for Me" was a sparkling diamond in the rough).
Last year saw the release of Diamond Eye's debut live DVD/album Alive and Kicking which I also happened to be able to get my hands on. Though the album showed extreme promise with tracks like "Atlantis" and a live recording of "Machine," one track stood above the others as the song that could not be ignored: "Sound of the Guns."

Diamond Eye; From left: Geoff Keating, Will Kelly, Greg Fawcett, and Chase Cameron

Now, finally, Diamond Eye have returned with their newest studio effort, the EP so rightly titled Sound of the Guns. Yes, the title track is on here, and yes the studio recording is more than I could have dreamed of. Greg Fawcett's lead guitar burns with the rage and determination of an axe on a mission, and as his riffs pepper the rhythmic drumbeats of Geoff Keating and bass-blasts of Chase Cameron, Diamond Eye have reached a new level altogether. From the start, "Sound of the Guns" sounds like a Metallica-influenced song with the bluff and bluster of a Maiden-lead charge. Will Kelly's vocals have improved even more since Alive and Kicking, and now his octave vocal wails are high above Keating's drums as Fawcett pick-slides into an altogether new rhythm. The best part about this song is that is changes halfway through, and in one song there are two great parts mashed together to provide a shrill nitro-explosion to your brain. As Kelly leads out on his vocal highs, the rhythm section follows suit as Fawcett solos until the very last seconds of this song. There is no way this track could have been done any better, and with a single like this, Diamond Eye cement their image as one of Perth's hardest rocking bands.
Sound of the Guns also sees rerecorded versions of "Waiting for Me" (a fucking brilliant rerecording by the way, filled with more balls and gusto than most groups can muster on a whole album), "Atlantis," and "Machine," as well as a new track, "Closer to the Sun." The rerecorded version of "Waiting for Me" has all the balls of the demo amped up to 11 (ha!) with the same sick guitar solo that melted my face off the first time I listened to the demo. This song has only gotten better, and is a completely and undeniably brilliant track. "Atlantis" and "Machine" are more robust than they were previously, and with the new "Closer to the Sun" to round it out, Sound of the Guns is an explosive triumph for Diamond Eye. This EP has to be at the top of your must-hear list. No exceptions. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Season to Attack Ready Their First Assault

I've been waiting for months to report on this new group and now I'm finally gonna get the chance to show you guys some brand new music from the just-formed Season to Attack. Catalyzed from bits of the former Vancouver bands Mass Undergoe and Irreverents, Season to Attack is an assault with a melodic alternative edge that will grab you immediately and turn you inside out.
Formed by members David Isbister (lead vocals, and formerly of Mass Undergoe), Alan Calimbas (guitar, and formerly of Mass Undergoe), Jon Wu (guitar and vocals), Cory Wilson (bass), and Brian Badd (drums, and formerly of Irreverents), Season to Attack if one of, if not my most anticipated band to hear coming out of the Vancouver music scene. Experimenting with a new style of recording they call a 3P (a 3-song EP), STA released 3 new songs under the title Threads just yesterday, and oh man, are they prophetic (excitingly, the 3P will also include 3 video blogs for download along with the 3 audio tracks). "Finish Hymn!" and "Unrequited" showcase Isbister's roar of a voice and Wilson's prowess on the bass, but the song that really grabs me and screams lead-off single is "You Aren't Even Worth This Song."
A crystal clear vision of what's to come, "You Aren't Even Worth This Song" has everything the newest single for a band should have: it's got the hook of a guitar-driven chorus and the vocals to match. Isbister's voice is melodic and edgy, and as Calimbas and Wu blast through on dual walls of nitro-driven notes, I'm floored that the first release from a new band can be this brilliant. Halfway through, Wilson's bass lends a funk tone to the undercurrent  of the song, and Badd's drumming is controlled chaos as Isbister brings it all home with that growl that I loved so much in Mass Undergoe. If this is a sign of things to come (and everything in my gut says it is), I can't wait to hear more. Season to Attack is going to be one of the biggest alternative sensations of the next year. Listen to "You Aren't Even Worth This Song" below!

   

Saturday, November 26, 2011

List for the Insomniac

November 26, 2011 -- 12:40 A.M.

1. Schizophrenic Me - WeSurrender
2. Are You Listening - 49 Stones
3. Never Wrong - Darling Parade
4. Past Regrets, Future Threats - Call Atlantis
5. Haunted - Radagun
6. Only One - The Head
7. Dropped - Full Net
8. Tell Me - The Lightweights
9. Fall Away - Reapers Riddle
10. The Basement - Step-Nephew  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crushed Hard by 49 Stones

I'm more than pleased to post here today the second in a new cache of coming reviews aimed at sating that thirst I know you've all been building for some time. I'm so excited about this particular band because their's is a sound I haven't heard done so well in some time, and I can't wait to hear what else comes blasting from their speakers on their next record.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. Enter 49 Stones, a new alternative-rock powerhouse that will redefine everything you thought you knew about music in the post-Nirvana age. Hailing from Kansas City, Missouri, 49 Stones stomps onto the scene in true hard-rock fashion. Comprising hard-rocking members Emma Jo (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Brett Cox (lead guitar and backing vocals), Garrett Cox (bass and backing vocals), and Kyle Scheel (drums), 49 Stones is a hurricane of alternative prowess, combining Pearl Jam-esque guitar solos with Garbage-inspired vocals and a Smashing Pumpkins-like rhythm section.

49 Stones; From left: Brett Cox, Emma Jo, Garrett Cox, Kyle Scheel 

From the start of their debut album Turn It On, 49 Stones has something unique that just drives me to crank the volume up all the way. The first song I listen to from the record is also my immediate favorite. "Crowded" is the song that I'd bet my teeth on is going to launch this band into the stratosphere. The second the meters start ticking, Emma's vocals are haunting and soul-splitting, slick and sultry, but brutal and definitely not to be trifled with. With Garrett Cox's bassline-blasts like cannon-fire coming down around me, Scheel's intense drumming keeps me moving hard through the night of this heavy masterpiece. Cymbal-cracks and snare-snaps ring back against the bass-pumps, and all the while Emma's voice is riding shotgun high and mighty. Then out of nowhere comes Brett Cox's high-octane guitar in a searing spectacle, shredding off whatever preconceptions I might have had before. One of my favorite parts about this song is hearing Brett Cox just make that guitar scream halfway into each chorus. There is nothing I've heard since Alice in Chains that is so hauntingly brilliant, and that would simply be enough for this song to be a number one hit. But 49 Stones are only halfway done, and just as Emma's vocals of "let's dance" ring out, Garrett Cox lets loose on a bass-solo that completely blows my mind. Yes bassists can solo, and fuckin' A does this guy pull it off! With Scheel blasting on his snare in time, the Cox-Scheel rhythm section is one for all other bands to be jealous of. As I sail into the last minute of the song riding the coattails of Brett Cox's guitar notes, Emma has to blow my mind just one more time. The carnal shriek that this girl rings from her body literally makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. What a wail this girl has, and she nails every single fucking bit of it! "Crowded" has been on repeat in my iTunes since I got this album, and all I can say is that this song is Garbage-meets-Alice in Chains in a cataclysmic mashup of shear power.

49 Stones' debut album, Turn It On

"Are You Listening" has a more hard-rock crunch than "Crowded," but still emits an alternative vibe in Emma's smooth yet firm vocal roar, and alongside Brett Cox's fretwork, 49 Stones make this one of their best performances. Scheel is going crazy all over his kit, and the 3 Doors Down-esque tempo set up by the Cox twins and Emma just kicks down anything standing in their way. Emma's voice is like a sonic battering ram, crashing through my senses like an earthquake of raw power.
Then the earthquake turns into a tsunami of epic proportions as I move to "Indigo," and Emma trades up her battering-ram vocals for something different. With Brett Cox's guitar notes ringing high overhead, Scheel keeps time as my face melts off, skewered by these soon-to-be alternative-rock gods. Another five-star track on an album of five-star tracks, "Indigo" just solidifies my belief in this band.
With other mind-blowing feets showing up all over the album, 49 Stones continue to impress me. Brett Cox's guitar solo on "Devil All Along" is not to ignored in the slightest, and the rhythm team of Garrett Cox and Kyle Scheel bangs life into all parts of this album. Emma's breathy vocals continue to blow my mind even after the album is done, and I have to play it again just to make sure I didn't miss a single thing. The heavy tapestry woven throughout Turn It On is vivid and powerful, and a critical force to be reckoned with. If you're looking for the next big thing on the alternative rock scene, here they are: loud, brash, and brilliant.

Sounds Like: Garbage, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Smashing Pumpkins, 3 Doors Down

Key Tracks from Turn It On: "Crowded," "Are You Listening," "Indigo," "Chelsea," "Cruel and Unusual"

Check out 49 Stones more at: http://49stones.net/http://www.facebook.com/49stones?sk=info and http://twitter.com/#!/49stones

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Lightweights Debut First Music Video

Just a day old, I'm psyched to post the official music video for "Sack Up, Sarah" off The Lightweights' album We Invented Awkward! The first music video effort for The Lightweights, "Sack Up, Sarah" was the perfect song to start with, exhibiting The Lightweights' old-school pop-punk approach with a wit and sneer I'v longed to hear for some time. The house-party scene is old-school and a stark throw-back to Blink-182 and Sum 41, and you can't get much more pop-punk than that. Check out this video. It's brand freakin' new, it's dripping with pop-punk edge, and it's gonna make you addicted to this new band!


Monday, November 14, 2011

UnderCovers and Collaborations: Foster the People's "Pumped Up Kicks"

Though I'm not a huge fan of Foster the People, I still enjoy them every not and again, and love when I hear the song "Pumped Up Kicks" come on the radio. Now I can enjoy the band on a whole new level.
Released literally no more than 30 minutes ago, Ratham Stone's cover of "Pumped Up Kicks" puts a whole new spin on an already classic song. With Adam Lipinski's dynamic lead vocals and core instrumentation by twin brother Andrew Lipinski as well as members Joe Hodgin, Daniel "DPak" Pacchioni, and Andrew Meffettone, Ratham Stone's cover leaves little if anything to be needed. The rhythmic team of Pacchioni (bass) and Meffettone (drums) creates a pule-laden backdrop for the dual vocals of the brothers Lipinski as Hodgin (lead guitar) leaps forward in short, melodic bursts. Great cover, great band, definitely more to come front here guys. Check it out!


Sunday, November 13, 2011

List for the Insomniac

November 13, 2011 -- 12:35 A.M.

1. Schizophrenic Me - WeSurrender
2. Broken - Sound Express
3. I'll Follow You - Andy Gruhin
4. Perfectly Worthless - Darling Parade
5. Only One - The Head
6. Reasons - The Nearly Deads
7. Fall Away - Reapers Riddle
8. Shuttered Off Christine - The Swear
9. Unicorn Escape Pod - Truth Under Attack
10. The Way Out - The Honesty

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

UnderCovers and Collaborations: Semisonic's "Closing Time"

Something about this cover is just amazing, and I can't quite put my finger on what it is. Maybe it's the brilliant instrumentation, or the phenomenal voices of Alex Goot and Chad Sugg. Whatever it is though, this cover is fantastic and simple undeniable. Check these guys out, you won't be disappointed.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

List for the Insomniac

November 5, 2011 -- 12:16 A.M.

1. Broken - Sound Express
2. Burnt Around the Edges - Fools For Rowan
3. Skeleton - The Good Natured
4. Once We Were - We Were Kings
5. Poison - Bridge the Borders
6. Tell Me - The Lightweights
7. Adrenaline Rush - Start Up 45
8. Alive - Cloé Beaudoin
9. Watch Your Hands, Kid - Follow Your Hero
10. Disaster - Lost In Atlantis

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Getting Heavy with The Lightweights

I know it's been a few weeks since my last review, but hey, college is hard. Who knew, haha? In any event, I've raked in a bunch of new bands that you guys are gonna love hearing about, and will certainly love listening to. The first of these new soon-to-be headliners are The Lightweights. A pop-punk powerhouse of out San Antonio, Texas, The Lightweights reiterate everything that Blink-182 bashed forward with in 1994.

The Lightweights; From left: Markí Vallejo, Max Oliver and Danny Kittrell

True to the power-trio ethic of pop-punk greats like Blink-182, Green Day, and Eve 6, The Lightweights comprises members Danny Kittrell (vocals and guitar), Markí Vallejo (bass and vocals), and Max Oliver (drums and vocals). With an intense guitar-driven sound mixed with chewy chunks of bass and drums rhythm, The Lightweights take a stab at revamping a sound that has taken a backseat in recent years to overly auto-tuned pop and generic R&B. With their full-length release We Invented Awkward, The Lightweights move in on recreating the sound that so clearly influenced their playing to begin with.
From the start of the record, and just by going through a few snippets of its tracks, I am already enamored with the song "Time." If nothing else, what this song has going for it is a real rush of old-school pop-punk snot and sneer. Raw with plenty of energy packed into Vallejo's jutting baselines, "Time" makes for one of the most entertaining, if not exceptional, tracks on the album. With Kittrell's guitar chords raggedly rasping at the sides of Oliver's drumbeats, the mixed vocal performance of Kittrell, Vallejo and Oliver certainly adds to the song a dynamic clearly reminiscent of Blink-182. Clocking in at just over 4:00, "Time" is one of the songs on the album that has the raw crossover potential that pop-punk bands dream about.  
Blink and early Green Day fans will also find a classic track in the song "My Best Friend's Girlfriend." A slightly different take on Rick Springfield's song "Jessie's Girl," "My Best Friend's Girlfriend" dances around in classic juvenile insults and immature lyrical content. Yet for some reason, it seems to work, and in the same way that Blink-182 made snot-nosed immaturity cool, The Lightweights take their cue from Cheshire Cat and marry blunt and funny lyrics with raw instrumentation that proves this trio really mean business. Oliver's drumming is one of the highlights of this track, as his beats bang through your head as Kittrell's guitar chords drill through skull-bone to brain-matter. Vallejo's bass chords line the rhythmic pockets of this diamond-in-the-rough song, and with tracks like these, The Lightweights are sure to find an audience in those of us longing for good old sneering pop-punk. The song concept, too, reaches out to anyone who's ever had a best friend with a girlfriend that they just cant's stand. The Lightweights truly outdo themselves on this one.
Still, The Lightweights prove themselves to be more than simple punks with three-chord progressions. Songs like "Tell Me" and "Shocking Amount" show an acute amount of raw talent just waiting to surface. "Tell Me" in particular has a quality about it that is altogether hard to pinpoint, but one that everyone can understand. The chord progression is melodic in a way that's almost reminiscent of a ballad-esque song, and coupled with the lyrical content and the intermingled vocals, hints at a deep intensity just begging to come out. It's songs like this that make me excitedly curious to hear future recordings.
Yet, what is so intriguing about The Lightweights is not merely their sound, or their influences, but how closely the two, when linked, can highlight possible future events. Early Blink and Green Day fans will hear in We Invented Awkward the same sound they fell in love with when they heard Cheshire Cat, Dude Ranch, and Kerplunk. The sound with which The Lightweights are now experimenting is one tried and true, but for some reason or another, seems to be forgotten in the recent decade. Perhaps that, though, is what is the most exciting thing about hearing The Lightweights pick it up again; hearing that raw snot-nosed sneer dusted off after all these years is something for true pop-punk fans to get excited about. Even more so though, what is the most electrifying thing about hearing a band whose most recent album sounds like Cheshire Cat or Dude Ranch is wondering and fantasizing about where such a band's sound will go next. After Blink-182 put out Cheshire Cat, newly converted fans wondered where their sound would go next. Then came Dude Ranch and an evolutionary trend was established. Two years later, in 1999, Blink followed Dude Ranch with Enema of the State, a pop-punk classic solidifying the genre and catapulting Blink-182 to super-stardom.
Now it seems like the same evolutionary trend is starting to establish itself for The Lightweights. Their sound as of yet is just rough enough to retain its garage-rock integrity, but polished enough to warrant radio-play. Indeed, I myself am giving The Lightweights the radio-play they so clearly deserve on my own college radio station, which you can listen to here. With the nitty-gritty guitar chords and multi-vocal dynamics that drew me to Blink-182, The Lightweights show too much promise to ignore. I can't help but entertain the question of what their next album will sound like. If this one is like a Cheshire Cat/Dude Ranch combo, will the next one be their momentous Enema of the State? I have no idea, but I can't wait to find out.

Sounds Like: Blink-182, Green Day, Eve 6

Key Tracks from We Invented Awkward: "Time," "My Best Friend's Girlfriend," "Tell Me," "Shocking Amount"

Check out The Lightweights more at: http://www.facebook.com/thelightweights?sk=wall, http://www.myspace.com/thelightweightsband and http://www.youtube.com/user/TheLightweights 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

The Riot Tapes Shake Up The Village Dublin

Check out this awesome video of The Riot Tapes from this summer. The Irish alternative rockers tear it up on their sick single "Photograph" in a shoot with slick production and great camera work. I haven't been able to stop watching this since I saw it. Check it out!


Friday, October 21, 2011

List for the Insomniac

October 21, 2011 -- 2:01 A.M.

1. Faster, Faster - 7 Months Later
2. I'll Follow You - Andy Gruhin
3. Once We Were - We Were Kings
4. The City That Never - The Swear
5. Lost - One31
6. Rain on Me - The Orkids
7. Poison - Bridge the Borders
8. Alive - Cloé Beaudoin
9. Beverly - BackDrop
10. Chevala - EVA

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Diamond Eye Rock Australian 2011 Telethon with Live Performance

Premiering two nights ago on October 16, 2001, on live Australian TV, Diamond Eye provided a rousing performance of their song "Sound of the Guns" for throngs of metal fans. With the brash stage presence of Will Kelly on lead vocals and Greg Fawcett on lead guitar, the axe-men are driven further by the rhythm team of Chase Cameron on bass and Geoff Keating on drums. Diamond Eye's Metallica-meets-Van Halen sound proves that real stadium metal is alive and well. Check it out: for a television debut, this is what every band strives for.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

UnderCovers and Collaborations: Flyleaf's "All Around Me"

Just another sick collaboration from the same core groups of musicians that brought us a cover of Seether's song "Broken." Released just a few weeks ago, this collaboration just serves to further the future of where music is going. Sick instrumentation, great vocals, and n awesome new song dynamic. Check it out.


Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Future of Musical Collaborations Is Here

It seems like I've watched this video hundreds of times already and it still gives me chills. When I first found this video on Youtube (completely by accident mind you) I was shocked, intrigued, and most of all, excited for the new possibilities it creates. The video? A full-band cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are." But that's not the cool thing. What's so brilliant in this rendition of Nirvana's classic song is that every one of these musicians is in a different area of the country (or the world!) and they put this collaboration together completely through Youtube and the internet. I'm reminded of the musical group Florence + the Machine, where the only real member of the group (as in Nine Inch Nails) is English singer Florence Welch. Using a rotating roster of musicians, Welch creates new sounds for every song and album, assuring her music to be some of the most experimental and unique in the modern music world.
Now I'm struck again by musicians taking this idea one step further. Gone are the days of the traditional studio where tracking is done and laid down as one band member plays and the others wait outside. With the tools of the internet and sites like Youtube and Facebook, we've entered a new arena of music collaboration that is sure to be of mind-blowing proportions. As I could say very poetically, I have seen the future of the music industry, and it's the internet.
The first of these collaborations that you have to check out is the cover of Nirvana's "Come as You Are." Featuring the musical talents of Niloy63 on lead vocals, jtodd900 on guitar, jakamake on drums, and with production and bass by tydogg2443 (yes, I only know these guys by their Youtube screen names, and I'm not phased at all by that), this cover of "Come as You Are" is one of the best I've ever heard. Ever.
The intro riff by jtodd900 and tydogg2443 is just as crisp and gripping as the original, albeit with a more prophetic twist to it, like Kurt Cobain's spirit is playing the chords itself. Novoselic's bass-vibe is completely ingrained in tydogg2443's bass rumbles, and as jakamake chimes in on the cymbals, it's eery to be listening to this as a cover; it almost sounds like the original.


But what pushes it over the top for me is Niloy63's vocals: gruff, serrated, and perfectly tuned for the song, Niloy63 could very well be the next great post-grunge vocalist to come out of the underground. His voice gives me chills as I can hear Cobain's wails in the chorus just before jtodd900 talks control and swoons into a blurry and surreal guitar solo. If ever there was a cover to put on a Nirvana tribute album, this is it. In the year of the 20th anniversary of Nevermind, there is nothing so surreal and epic as finding a cover that embodies completely Nirvana's soul and power.
But the cover of "Come as You Are" isn't the only cover by this group of musicians that makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. A couple of them also participated in a cover of Seether's song "Broken," which featured Amy Lee of Evanescence on guest vocals. For this cover, the lineup is TheTellTaleHeart25 on lead and acoustic guitar, Niloy63 on lead vocals, jtodd900 on rhythm guitar, chusma0 on lead female vocals, tydogg2443 on bass, and jakamake on drums. Again this cover blows me away. The collaboration between each of the musicians is so tight and easy that the flow of the cover makes it seem like their original composition.
The acoustic plucks by TheTellTaleHeart25 showcase a soft touch that builds to a blasting crescendo by the guitar solo later on, and with crashing rhythm support by jtodd900, the guitar section of this song is commendable at worst. At best, it's a tightly-knit flurry of notes and chords that takes me away in a storm of sonic progression. The rhythm section, made up once again of tydogg2443 and and jakamake is pulled-together to create a rushing and blasting feel at all the right parts of the song. Supporting the vocals of Niloy63 and chusma0, the guitar and rhythm sections of the collaboration are brilliant.

Just on top of the instrumentation are Niloy63's and chusma0's intertwining voices that create a fluttering tapestry of epic proportions. With Niloy63 adding to the song a gruff and edgy vibe, chusma0 lets loose with a crashing wail that exhibits this girl's incredible talent. If I were in need of a female vocalist for my band, this would be the first girl I'd go to.
Other covers like one of Audioslave's "Like a Stone" (featuring jtodd900 on guitar again, tydogg2443 on bass (and with production credits), Wannabesi on lead vocals, and jakamake on drums) and one of Alice in Chains' "Rooster" (also with tydogg2443 on bass and production, Pinner420420 on lead vocals, Craigman65 on lead guitar, and DCdrummer25 on drums) showcase just how far these new collaborations are going. What's most exciting, though, are the possibilities that I see jumping from these covers and collaborations. Now, artists can collaborate with each other, with anyone, no matter what the distance or obstacles. Soon the reality will be that artists are collaborating in musical and production projects all over the world, the the guitar player in Boston, the bassist in Johannesburg, the drummer in London, the singer in Toronto, and the producer in Los Angeles. The exciting new possibilities just over the horizon are mind-boggling: soon we'll see a new explosion of music the likes of which could never have imagined.
A new era has arrived. The music market we once knew will be history, replaced by a global music market-exchange system where any and every type of musical expression will now be given full coverage. Artists will now find each other and begin the create volumes of music with each other leading to forms of artistic expression not seen on such a level since the Renaissance. This is a new Renaissance in musical and artistic creation, and I can't wait to see what comes from it. This is going to be brilliant. 

Monday, October 3, 2011

There's Nothing Worse Than a "Worst of..." List

I opened Yahoo! the other to see this article title in the headlines: The Ten Worst Heavy Metal Albums of All Time!. So proudly was this title displayed that I assumed that the albums on such a list much be the scraped-off muck that comes from the bottom of the proverbial barrel only to clog up the web and draw attention away from real metal prowess. Now far be it from me to decide what albums would constitute such a description, but in my head the only such albums would be ones that suffer from terrible production, average instrumentation, or simply lack the vision and desire of such metal masterpieces like Master of Puppets, Reign in Blood, Hysteria, or Cowboys from Hell.
Yet the problem arises when compiling a "Worst of..." list because music is simply subjective, and what is so far out of the reach of understanding for some people makes perfect sense to others. Some of the best examples that come to mind are hardcore punk bands The Germs and Black Flag, post-punk bands The Slits and X-Ray Spex, and Riot Grrrl bands Bikini Kill and Bratmobile. I gotta say that Rob O'Connor, writer of Yahoo's List of the Day music blog has certainly lost all of my respect in one fell swoop. The number one rule in the music business (trust me, even if people won't admit it, it's true) is that it's imperative to be careful when describing just how something sounds and analyzing it. Many journalists chalk this up to questioning if it's "good" or not, but it's only through that thought process that they parade their ignorance. Music is art, and art has no right or wrong. Also living within the bounds of reality, when music journalists do this (and we've all seen Almost Famous, so it's clear how artists many times see music journalists) they risk alienating not only their die-hard fans, but would-be readers and the artists themselves.
Take a look and see for yourself. For me, Bob O'Connor's list is a perfect example of everything that's wrong with music journalism today.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

List for the Insomniac

September 27, 2011 -- 12:35 A.M.

1. Endless Night - The Life Review
2. Wasting Away - Tonight Alive
3. Crowded - 49 Stones
4. Burn - Fit For Rivals
5. Forever - Evalyn Awake
6. Eastbound Train - Ratham Stone
7. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde - Naree
8. Song & Dance - FERVoR
9. Greedy - Greedy White Citizens
10. See It - SidAerial

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Cloé Beaudoin Debuts New Evanescence Cover

Hey guys, check out this newest cover by that Canadian siren, Cloé Beaudoin. I'm as psyched as anybody for the new Evanescence album. As a huge fan of the first two albums, Fallen and The Open Door, I was stoked to hear the newest single front Evanescence's upcoming eponymous album, "What You Want." Now Beaudoin has again transformed a song and laced it with new levels of acoustic brilliance! Check out her cover of the new Evanescence song "What You Want" now!!





Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Brand New Endless Night with The Life Review

It's been a little while since I heard the drumming skills of Todd Wallace since his previous band American Diary broke up a little while ago. I spent some time talking to American Diary on the 2010 Warped Tour and when they played me some of their stuff, I was stoked for a new pop-punk band that really gripped me. American Diary's subsequent (and ultimately their last) release, Theodore, was everything I hoped it would be, and I still enjoy listening to it regularly.
Alas, the guys in American Diary decided to go their separate directions. Just a part of life I suppose. But now one's back with a new band, and I'm stoked to be the one to bring these guys to the forefront of the music blogger headlines.
The Life Review is an alternative rock four-piece comprising members Todd Wallace (drums and percussion), Joe Bell (lead vocals and guitar), Chris Ruley (guitar, keys and programming), and Ryan Smith (bass). With the release of their debut single "Endless Night," I'm immediately hooked and know I'll be seeing big things from this band in the very near future. I am literally counting the days until I have a full album to review for you guys! Until then though, check out The Life Review's debut single! Listen to "Endless Night" here:


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tetrarch Reveal Clip of New Song

Just yesterday Tetrarch posted a clip of a new song for their upcoming release. Check it out and see what you think! It's pretty heavy, but I can't wait to hear the whole thing!

Tetrarch promo (click here for the new clip!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

List for the Insomniac

September 19, 2011 -- 12:36  A.M.

1. Crowded - 49 Stones
2. John Mayer in the Dark - Jonas Friedman
3. Fact and Friction - The Nearly Deads
4. Enjoy Your Stay in Hell - The Hollywood Kills
5. Used to Be - Have Nots
6. Happy Ending - Dawn Is Broken
7. Define Alive - A Faylene Sky
8. Loose Threads - Jonas Sees In Color
9. The Science Between Us - Versus the Robot!
10. Burnt Around the Edges - Fools For Rowan

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cloé Beaudoin Debuts New Covers: Simple Plan and Red

It's been a little while since we heard from Cloé Beaudoin, but this Canadian siren is still going full-force. Now she's back with new covers of songs from the most recent albums by Simple Plan and Red.
For Simple Plan, Beaudoin's decided to cover their song "Astronaut" from their most recent album Get Your Heart On!. Beaudoin's breathy vocals rise to their greatest peaks as she belts out the choruses and I love the way she's done this acoustically. Everything works, and, as usual, Cloé Beaudoin has come back with a cover I love. Check it out.


Yet today, Cloé Beaudoin unveiled another cover for us. This time, it's Red's song "Lie to Me (Denial)," from their most recent album Until We Have Faces. Here, Beaudoin showcases her vocal strengths as well as her proficiency on guitar by taking a new song and making this one of her instantly classic covers. If there's one thing she does right, Beaudoin knows how to rework the song so it translates to everyone. Listen now!


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Darling Parade Debut "Never Wrong" Music Video

Darling Parade have been making a lot of headlines here lately (and I promise that review and interview are coming, just be patient guys), but that can only be because this band is just on fucking fire. With the release of their new single "Never Wrong" not more than a week ago, the Darlings follow it up now with the music video. "Never Wrong" will see Darling Parade growing and maturing in their musical style and power. A retro active song that makes the best use of pop-punk rhythm married to smooth, evocative vocals, "Never Wrong" could easily be Darling Parade's entrance into the mainstream. We'll see, but for now, this is Darling Parade's new music video for "Never Wrong." Check it out!!


Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Diamond Eye: Alive and Kicking!

A little bit after the fact with this update (and for that I do apologize), I've had it on my mental list to give you guys this review for a few months now. The last time Australian rockers Diamond Eye made headlines here, they were on track to open for Quiet Riot and Warrant (RIP Jani Lane) on their Australian metal tour last spring. Though it seems that those plans fell through as Quiet Riot and Warrant decided to cancel the planned tour, Diamond Eye charged ahead with their own projects, recording new material and playing tons of new shows. The result of such a dedicated effort came in the form of the band's first recording of live material, the live DVD album Alive and Kicking. Though it came out last winter, I've been listening (and watching) Alive and Kicking all spring and summer long, and I gotta say it rocks fucking hard.
With fan-favorites like "Machine" and "Waiting for Me" on the set-list, the band also debuted a number of new songs that have been on constant rotation in my library ever since I heard them. My favorite of the new tracks by far is "Sound of the Guns," a straight-up metal thrash-down that kicks up dust and whips it around through rhythm changes and true metal musicianship. Will Kelly's lead vocals on this track provide an anthemic rise to the song. Stadium-suited but not polished off of their gritty, street-smart attitude, Kelly's wails put fists in the air as the fans chant along with him. Just below his raging belts, Greg Fawcett's lead guitar shrieks make this the five-star track on the album. A melodic and catchy guitar progression turns to a nasty and sick sonic firestorm as the tempo of the song changes halfway through, and all of a sudden Fawcett's guitar thrusts out a new, edgy rhythm. With Chase Cameron and Geoff Keating following suit in hard-rock fashion on bass and drums respectively, Diamond Eye pull off a mental seizure of a song; I'm left brain-dead as the guitars and drums blast out, and the stage goes dark. Check out the teaser video for "Sound of the Guns" below.
Other new songs like "Atlantis" and "Last One Standing" also grace the album, and with a power like this, Diamond Eye's first live recording is a major success. But it's not just the audio that gets me. With the accompanying DVD, I can see Diamond Eye in real time, rocking forward and blasting through walls as they take the audience on balls-to-the-wall ride through true metal. Between the pyro explosions on stage and the presence of the band members, Diamond Eye make it clear that they know how to have a good time and give the people what they really want: a real rock show. Seeing them in their element with sound waves and pyros blasting around them, I'm reminded of the first time I ever saw a clip of KISS, Alice Cooper or Van Halen: just feel-good metal with real, abrasive stage presence.
Alive and Kicking is Diamond Eye's first real strike at the metal underground. Well-produced, ballsy, and robust, Diamond Eye's first crack at a live album (a live DVD album, no less) is one to be championed by fans and scouts alike. Crystal clear from the raw energy that blasts from Diamond Eye's guns like raining cannon-fire, Alive and Kicking is only the first of edgy albums to be expected from these Australian rockers. Keep your eyes out and your ears open, and check out this incredible live DVD album. I have never seen or heard something so well-produced and fulfilling from any underground band before, and that's the truth.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Death is a Dialogue Release Debut Music Video

Just a few hours old, "Low Lies Lenore" is the first official music video release from Atlanta punk-rock band Death is a Dialogue. Romantically tortured in its cinematic presentation and sonically edgy on the precipice of sharp-toned punk chords, "Low Lies Lenore" is a  triumph for the young new outfit in both song and video. The literary undertones of DIAD's writing just add another level of intricacy and mystery to an already stand-out song in what I see as the new emerging Romantcore genre. Check it out, brand new, this is "Low Lies Lenore" by Death is a Dialogue.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Members from Mass Undergoe/Irreverents Rise to form New Band, Season to Attack

With the demise of Vancouver-based alternative band Mass Undergoe, former lead singer David Isbister and lead guitarist Alan Calimbas have come together for a new project. Season to Attack, a pseudo-supergroup of sorts comprising members of multiple Vancouver groups (Isbister and Calimbas from Mass Undergoe and Brian BADD from fellow Vancouver rock band Irreverents), has captured my interest in the most curious of ways. Whether STA will be another band along the lines of Mass Undergoe's alternative vein, or with the garage-rock sneer of the now-on-hiatus Irreverents, I am intrigued by the idea of a Mass Undergoe-meets-Irreverents supergroup. Reviews coming soon, at the sign of the first songs I can get my hands on.   

Friday, September 2, 2011

Darling Parade Nab NIMA Award

Though I haven't yet posted my article for Darling Parade here yet (and I will soon, but at the request of the band I'm holding off until their new stuff is ready for release), these Nashville rockers have made it into my List for the Insomniac. Working up a storm around the Tennessee metro area, the Darlings are taking pop-punk in new and exciting directions. With their pop-punk-meets-alternative vibes and melodic chords, Darling Parade are sure to be a new alternative rock sensation to snag the droves of fans who first flocked to Paramore and The Material. Taking NIMA's award for "Artist of the Year," Darling Parade are on their way. I fully expect to see bigger things from this band very soon!

    

Have You Seen My Ghost Float Away

After nearly three years creating music together, Marietta emo/punk band Have You Seen My Ghost have decided to part ways, signaling the end of the Ghost group. With four EP's and one album (comprising the first three EP's) under their belts, the Ghosts have decided that their legacy would best be served by taking some time to focus on their own new projects and directions. Coming just months after the release of their most recent EP, EXIST (a considerable departure from the sound of their previous recordings by my ear), I am myself more than a little disappointed to see the end of what I consider to be one of the best things about Marietta, Georgia. Yet I realize that each HYSMG member needs to explore new directions musically, so the flip side of my somber disappointment is a curious happiness fueled by a looking forward to new sounds by each of the HYSMG members.
It seems that Lee Jennings, lead vocalist and former bassist for the band, has hit the ground running, assessing new options and already assuming control of a new solo project that I'm sure will show promise with its first rough cuts. Through my years listing to HYSMG, Jennings' voice has carried the group to new heights with a powerful drive that makes Ghost's music transcendent as well as accessible to any teen feeling they just need someone to listen. It goes without saying that the fans Jennings has accumulated over the years (with the help of the other Ghost guys) will undoubtedly follow his new project and see where it takes him, and I intend to be one of those on that bandwagon.
Yet Jennings wasn't the only creative force behind the Ghost sound: Grayson Blanchette provided guitar and bass blasts throughout the lifetime of the band, and with drum and guitar prowess currently rounded out by David Nelson and Mike Gardella (respectively), HYSMG's evolving sound on their most recent and apparent final release, the EP EXIST, was something to take note of. As Jennings is compelled to do, I'm sure that the other Ghost members will find new musical outlets to sick their creative talents on, and I can only hope I am there to hear and reap their benefits.
It occurs to me now, though, as I think about the last few years I have spent listening to and getting to know the guys behind the Ghost, I can't help but be impressed with their growth and the plateau that I feel they ended their group on (their EP, EXIST). As a fan, it's always hard to see a group make the decision to go their separate ways, but as a fan and a journalist, it makes me happy to see the end come on the coattails of such a creative high note. I am sure that I haven't seen the last of the Ghost guys, and I look forward now with eager ears to the new music I am sure is coming soon. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

List for the Insomniac

August 23, 2011 -- 12:10 A.M.

1. Eastbound Train - Ratham Stone
2. Pick Up the Phone - Chasing Morgan
3. Bells Are Ringing - Darling Parade
4.Crowded - 49 Stones
5. The Mayor - Stop The Presses
6. Habitual - FERVoR
7. Dream on Elm Street - The Inheritance
8. Make It Stop - Decedy
9. Infatuation - The Heartshakes
10. Goodnight Madison - How Far to Austin

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Hold Tight: It's All in Your Head

There are rare times within the music world when journalists and fans can see a new talent on the fast track to worldwide attention. Yet when those realizations do hit, they come on with the power of a whirlwind hurricane. Those of us who have ours ears to the ground are sometimes lucky enough to see such a musical revolution take place, and with this new talent today, it's one of those very rare revolutions. In the same way that The Strokes broke the mold and took first the nation, and then the world, by storm, The Head too are gearing up for a takeover the likes of which we haven't seen in a good long while. 
The Head (from right): Jacob Morrell, Jack Shaw, Mike Shaw
Atlanta's newest three-piece pride, The Head, a power-trio comprising Jacob Morrell (lead guitar and backing vocals), and twin brothers Jack Shaw (lead vocals and drums) and Mike Shaw (vocals, bass and keys) are bursting onto the indie-rock scene with a flair and polish that gleam in the spotlight while still retaining their hard-rock heritage. With their first album Puckered and their subsequent EP Stockwood opening the doors, The Head's newest album, their sophomore recording Hold On, is turning all sorts of heads in the music industry, and things are just starting to heat up for these Atlanta rockers. Building off of tracks like "Miles Away" and "There Is an Ocean," songs whose rough-cuts graced their first album, The Head come back with ear-prickling tracks like "Separate Bodies, "I'm Fine with It," "Sneeze," and "Top of the World" to fill the digital bites of their second album with power, melody, and toe-tapping, catchy songwriting prowess.
One of the things I like best about the track "Separate Bodies" is the intro: simple, melodic and catchy, everything that should go into a song with crossover appeal. The intro also gives me a clue as to the influences hidden behind the backdrop: Jacob Morrell's guitar playing is immediately reminiscent of R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. Using palm-muted arpeggios to bring the melody to Jack Shaw's first snare beats, Morrell makes sure that "Separate Bodies" starts right, and just below the palm-mutes, Mike Shaw's basslines add a whole new level of depth to an already talent-filled track. As The Head build forth into the first verse and subsequent chorus, one thing is clear as can be: these guys draw from a multitude of influences to create a sound accessible not only to the hardcore alternative fan, but to the fans of power-pop, indie-rock, and prep-rock as well. As the guitar chords and arpeggios progress into full flares of sonic rainbows, The Head's rhythm section of the Shaw brothers mixes in a little of Vampire Weekend's prep-rock with the R.E.M. and Beatles-influenced melodies cranking out of Morrell's guitar. With a bridge and winding-down that hold melody tightly wrapped in rhythmic heartbeats, The Head's sound is truly that of an Americanized Oasis on Strokes steroids with Beatles polish. A clear choice for the lead-off single from Hold On, "Separate Bodies" is an immediate triumph for the Atlanta trio (and the music video's pretty sick too, see for yourself).   
As the indie-rock boys keep on rolling, "I'm Fine with It" bleeds through the speakers like a Posies-influenced aloe for anything wrong with the world. Perhaps a little lighter and brighter than The Posies (after all "Dream All Day" and anything else from Frosting on the Beater had a bit of a dark edge), The Head shine brightly on "I'm Fine with It," reveling in indie-rocking guitar notes running through forests of cymbal-cracks and bass-bumps. Jack Shaw's vocals are mesmerizing and and melodic, and from behind his kit, one would never know that he's not front and center. Proving that drummers as much as anyone can be lead vocalists, he's joined by brother Mike Shaw, whose vocal talents are no less admirable. With the Shaw brothers taking care of the lead vocals and rhythm section, guitarist Jacob Morrell fills the air with sonic butterflies of the brightest tint, as his "Ah, ah, ah's" lift up the Shaw twins' vocals to even higher plains. Most certainly one of the songs I'm sad to hear end (and more than happy to play again on "Repeat"), "I'm Fine with It" is a homerun for The Head, plain and simple.
If "Separate Bodies" and "I'm Fine with It" aren't enough to sate your indie and pop-rock pleasure, then tracks like "Stockwood," "Sneeze," and "Top of the World" will have you happier than a pyromaniac in a fireworks shop. "Sneeze" brings a Strokes-esque rhythm from the Shaw boys, and married with Morrell's Vampire Weekend-influenced guitar parts, there's nothing more I could ask for. "Stockwood" is perhaps one of the more interesting track on the album: showcasing Mike Shaw's keyboard talents, the track has a decidedly '60s sound, courtesy of Morrell's guitar chords and notes. And right on top sits (literally) Jack Shaw, the drummer with the voice of a born lead singer. Boasting lead vocals from both brothers and fretwork from Morrell, "Stockwood" could quite possibly be the undiscovered jewel on the album. Yet with "Top of the World" providing even more incredible rhythm and melody to the album, I find myself beginning to wonder if there's anything The Head can't handle. I'm inclined to answer "no."
The next level in an intensely growing catalog, Hold On takes everything The Head learned on Puckered and Stockwood and amplifies it 10,000 times. If this is any indication of what these guys are capable of, then the news is out and the future is clear: The Head have the ability to go as far as groups like Oasis and The Strokes did before them. The Shaw brothers and friend Morrell exhibit an astonishing amount of talent for a group so young, yet age is never a factor when true artistic creativity is at play. The album title says it all: hold on, and hold tight, because with The Head behind the wheel, things will never be the same.  
   
Sounds Like: R.E.M., The Beatles, The Posies, Vampire Weekend, Oasis, The Strokes

Key Tracks from Hold On: "Separate Bodies," "I'm Fine with It," "Stockwood," "Sneeze," "Top of the World"

Check out The Head more at: http://theheadmusic.com/ and http://www.facebook.com/theheadrocks  

Thursday, August 11, 2011

List for the Insomniac

August 11, 2011 -- 12:02 A.M.

1. Get Found - Bass Drum of Death
2. Sick - Minds Without Purpose
3. Eastbound Train - Ratham Stone
4. Time - The Lightweights
5. Pipe Dreams - Loudmouth
6. Hyde and Seek - Naree
7. Out in the Open - Public Noise Concern
8. Awake - Urban Rebel
9. River - Courage My Love
10.Connections - colorsystem.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Bangin' on the Bass Drum of Death

In an age where the quality of a band is so many times measured by the number of heads rounding out its lineup, there are few groups that find the strength to soldier on in the true rock fashion of the DIY ethic. Gone are the days of the revered power-trios that blasted out tunes that sounded like full-scale warfare only to shock us to our cores when we realized it was only two or three guys. The reign of bands like Rush and Cream ended long ago, and although they sit forever atop the hill of everything that classic rock and heavy metal is based on, there have only been temporary stop-gaps (like those with The White Stripes and The Kills) where the smaller rock unit has taken the power back.
Yet new heroes are rising every day, and among these are the duo-rockers of Bass Drum of Death, an alternative/grunge machine from the Deep South that's dirtying up the clean and polished pop of the current decade. A project that started as a solo outlet for lead vocalist/guitarist John Barrett, Bass Drum soon started gaining steam and it was time to find a more permanent seat on the drums. Enter Colin Sneed, the new gut-buster behind the kit letting loose in blistering roughness as Barrett throws back riff after riff like whiskey shots on his guitar. A two-man team set to take over the alternative underground, Bass Drum of Death are more than what they seem upon first glance; the group moves uncomfortably away from the Black Keys comparison.
And I'm inclined to agree. The two-man comparison aside, Bass Drum's serrated alternative/grunge sound does little to stir a thought of the Black Keys' blues-punk notes. In fact, the more I listen to them, I think more of very early White Stripes and the gritty grunge of Green River and Mudhoney. Finding a small, albeit grungy, abode in late 80s' grunge mixed with early 90s' garage-punk, Bass Drum carve out a niche all their own among the new alternative powers taking flight.     
Songs like "Heart Attack Kid" and "Get Found" from their most recent effort GB City solidify just what these grunge rockers are about. The riff on "Heart Attack Kid" is simple, repetitive, and hypnotic in the best ways. As Barrett's voice bleeds through the speakers backed by Sneed's head pounding drums, Bass Drum prove themselves a force to be reckoned with. Vocally, it sounds to me as if Barrett is using a butterfly-mic (like Jack White has done so many times), but maybe it's just me. Whatever it is, by the time he reaches the splintering solo, it sound like his guitar is screaming for release, and man does he give it. The attitude that Barrett and Sneed let loose on "Heart Attack Kid" make it one of the must-hear tracks from the album.
Yet even among the grunged-out tuneful tracks of "Heart Attack Kid" and the equally riveting "Young Pros" (a song that serves only to further Bass Drum's party atmosphere, though only in the best way) sits "Get Found," a track that sticks out like a black thorn from a blood-red rose. Clearly I'm not the only one with this opinion, though, as Bass Drum opted to make "Get Found" the center track for their first music video, and performed the song live on The Daily Habit. What strikes me watching the live performance are the movements of the two rockers up on stage: Sneed goes at his kit with the look of controlled fury on his face, and Barrett himself seems just to hide everything, literally. Hair hanging down like a new-age Kurt Cobain, all of my attention is drawn to Barrett's right hand, shredding away on his light blue axe. Truly Cobain would have found Bass Drum to his liking, hovering mesmerizingly between garage-rock sneer and pop-song dynamics.
But it's the power that emanates from Barrett and Sneed that truly make up their sound. I've always been of the opinion that I don't give a fuck how many people make up the band so long as the music rocks hard. Here, Bass Drum of Death have succeeded in letting loose a serrated album with teeth enough to rip you apart and still leave you wanting more. Their music may be muddy and dirty, gritty and grunged-out, but Bass Drum know what their doing, and their rewriting all the rules on what alternative-rock and grunge sound like with every performance. Keep your ears peeled for these guys, and if they start to bleed, then you know something awesomely sick is just over the horizon.

Sounds Like: The White Stripes, Middle Class Rut, Green River, Mudhoney

Key Tracks from GB City: "Get Found," "Heart Attack Kid," "Young Pros"

Check out Bass Drum of Death more at: http://www.myspace.com/johnbarrettmusic and http://www.facebook.com/friends.tv?sk=wall#!/pages/BASS-DRUM-OF-DEATH/295269142164

Sunday, July 31, 2011

List for the Insomniac

July 31, 2011 -- 12:50 A.M. 

1. The Conductor - Ume 
2. Separate Bodies - The Head
3. The Mayor - Stop The Presses
4. Eye for an Eye - Girl Vs Ghost
5. Pick Up the Phone - Chasing Morgan
6. Beautiful - Day Method
7. Get It Daddy- Sleeper Agent
8. I Didn't Know She Was 14 - BAMF!
9. Sick - Minds Without Purpose
10.Skop! - Scarcella 31

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Psychotic with Marion Crane

Like a scene right out of Hitchcock's thriller Psycho, Marion Crane burst onto the Florida stage with razor-sharp fangs bared and blood dripping down. A not-so-subtle mix of hard-rock grit and alternative-metal sneer, Marion Crane are just what summer called for: a hard-edged blade rusted over with the sonic samples of insanity.

Composed of S. Thomas Crane (lead vocals and guitar), Chris Stanton (lead guitar and vocals), Henry Black (bass and vocals), and Adam Tillis (drums), Marion Crane are a frost-bitten hand reaching up from beneath the bedrock of fear and darkness to grip your very soul before shaking you with a power and fury that seems won't be ignored. Metallic in their instrumental execution and grunge-laden in their vocal presentation, Marion Crane prove from the start that they have something to say as they open up every scar we have and show what lies just beneath the surface.
With guitar work by Jasper Judge, Marion Crane's debut album Kamikaze graced the sound systems of hard-rockers everywhere starting in April on last year. The 2010 release is something that floors me, because as I listen to tracks like "DNR," "Bullet" and the title-track, this sounds like a sophomore follow-up that was carefully crafted to blast the doors open after a debut got their foot just in the door. Both the instrumentation and the production on Kamikaze (courtesy of Stan Martell, who engineered the recording, mixing, and production of the album), are clean and clear, are hard-hitting in the best ways. Yet the track on the album that really stands out to me, besides the title-track, is "Illegitimate," a balls-gripping song that acts as dynamite stick in the nuclear reactor for Marion Crane's career.

Blasting forth in a brash firestorm of notes and chords, "Illegitimate" has clearly got to be Marion Crane's first single. A stew of S. Thomas Crane's serrated vocals and the blasting rhythm partnership of Henry Black's bass and Adam Tillis's drums, "Illegitimate" takes me to all-new heights when Judge's chords rip through the speakers to stab me through the heart with a force and power I can't help but embrace. If the sick music video isn't enough to convince you that these guys mean business, then Crane's half screaming/half growling vocals will prove that Marion Crane are on their way to the top of the post-grunge/alternative circuit. The best parts of "Illegitimate" are tied up together: as Crane's shakes all sense from my head with his fierce growls, Tillis is pounding that stake further through my heart with his bone-breaking beats as Black's bass crushes my head in a rusted vice. If there is one stand-out track on Kamikaze (and personally I think there are two, as the title-track is pretty core too), "Illegitimate" takes the cake in a fury that is frightening in power.
Kamikaze, though, is just Marion Crane's first number, as since its release, two more soul-crushing songs have appeared in the Crane catalog: "M.M.M." and "The New Religion." "M.M.M.," like "Illegitimate" and "Kamikaze," comes with its own stitch-splitting music video directed by S. Thomas Crane and filmed by Henry Black. One of the things that stands out on the two new tracks is the guitar work, now in the hands of Chris Stanton. Crystal clear on "M.M.M.," Stanton is determined to stamp his own mark on the already rising Marion Crane legacy. Relying on crunching chords and a biting note progression, Stanton drives Marion Crane's sound to new heights as Tillis goes apocalyptic on his drums with Black following suit on bass. Crane's vocals brush up against the walls, scraping for release from their insane asylum in a pseudo-whispered haunting tone that throws back to Marilyn Manson and Layne Staley from Alice in Chains. Perhaps more like Staley than Manson, though, Crane's vocal execution dances over the Pixies' loud-quiet-loud dynamic, growing from a creepy growl during the verses to a full-fledged roar at the beginning of each chorus. That roar launches Marion Crane into a stinging guitar solo played out by Stanton, and in a matter of mere minutes, "M.M.M." is solidified in the Marion Crane catalog forever after.
But Marion Crane have a couple more tricks up their sleeve, and one of the best ones is called "The New Religion." A slightly more driven track than "M.M.M.," Stanton handles guitar work on this one as well. From the start, one of the best things about this song is the dynamic between the vocals and rhythm section. Black's bass is on point, screwing nuts and bolts into my skull as Tillis pushes full-throttle on his kit and kicks me home with a simple, but oh-so-grinding beat. With Stanton and Crane (whose vocals are the epitome of post-grunge/alternative-metal choice) shredding up their frets and strings in hard-rock fashion, "The New Religion" is the new target for all aspiring alternative-metal bands (and is the music isn't enough to drive you over the edge, the lyrics will rip right through you).
Over and over again, Marion Crane have proved that they mean business, and with the singles "The New Religion," "M.M.M.," "Illegitimate,"  and "Kamikaze," (not to mention the hardcore music videos for the last three), it's clear that these guys are not ones you would wanna meet in a dark alley at night. Like the lines in "The New Religion" go, I've "found the new addiction," and that new addiction's name is Marion Crane. Insane and psychotic like only the best hard-rock bands can be, Marion Crane is completely unhinged, and I wouldn't have it any other way. I don't think they would either.

Sounds Like: Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Three Days Grace, Staind, Chevelle

Key Tracks from Kamikaze, and Other Singles (Respectively): "Illegitimate," "Kamikaze," "M.M.M.," "The New Religion"

Check out Marion Crane more at: http://www.marion-crane.com/home.cfm, http://www.myspace.com/marioncraneband and http://www.facebook.com/pages/Marion-Crane/145619948783487?sk=wall