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 

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