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July 07 2013



I've decided to move the blog to tumblr. the new posts can be located here:

May 04 2013


An Autobiography - Old Gray

NOTE: 4.5

This album is raw and beautiful and tragic and I love it. It's eight songs riddled with pure emotion. The lyrics are passionate and the vocals are loud and raw, and the guitar work and drums complement the vocals perfectly. The use of gang vocals on both "Wolves" and "Coventry" are done almost perfectly. "Show Me How You Self-Destruct" is literally poetry over music and - being an English nerd - I love that. Overall, the whole album is just a wonderful example of emotions being channeled into music.

Recommend? For fans of The World is a Beautiful Place and I am No Longer Afraid To Die, Dads, calculator, and Snowing, yes. 
Best track? "Emily's First Communion".
This album - wow. Everyone who knows me well knows I'm a sucker for a good punk album. This has everything. It has a strong vocalist and bassist (Alex Levine), two great guitarists (Matt Elkin and Ryan Levine, brother to Alex) and an awesome drummer (Zach Staggers). This is just an all around good punk album with clean vocals, honest lyrics, and a great sound. I would compare them to punk greats like Screeching Weasel or the Descendents, but they are in a category all their own. With Blowout, they prove that the cliched sentiment of punk being dead is bullshit. The beginning track, "Son of an American", is a perfect opener, and the same can be said about the closing track, "Dizzy". The whole album is high energy, in your face, and brilliant. I am in love with the So So Glos.

Recommend? Definitely.
Best track? Tie between "Son of an American" and "Xanax". 

BONUS: Read an interview with the band and stream the entire album from Spin.

Bankrupt! - Phoenix

NOTE: 4.5.

After four years since the French trio's sophomore release, Phoenix hits it out of the metaphorical park with their 2013 release, Bankrupt!. The first track and single, "Entertainment" is a high energy, synth-driven song that I personally believe is better than the singles off of Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. The album continues to ebb and flow gracefully, from high energy to low tempo. The almost seven minute long title track has a celestial and soothing vibe to it, and it does so without being boring. It doesn't feel like a seven minute long song. From "Drakkar Noir" to "Chloroform" to "Bourgeois", the band is able to maintain consistency while having variety. That's a tough feat. To be able to sound as if you've matured without losing your original sound seems like an almost unachievable goal nowadays, but Phoenix pulls it off almost flawlessly.
Recommend? Yes.
Best track? "Chloroform". 

May 03 2013


Save Rock and Roll - Fall Out Boy

NOTE: Another 3.5er.

I went into this album with admittedly low expectations. I had heard mixed reviews from people who love FOB and always have, and it made me iffy. I kind of didn't even want to listen to it. But I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised with how it turned out. Although I felt as if it dragged on slightly, it's an overall pretty okay album. HOWEVER, I am not saying that this is the Fall Out Boy former angsty middle schoolers like myself grew up with. They have matured and although the subject matter in their lyrics is sort of similar, it is also not. Patrick Stump's range is amazing, though. He is one of the most talented vocalists out there. Pete Wentz's lyrics, although lacking in some areas, were passionate, and I personally feel that passion is one of the most important things when you're a musician. While the first single, "My Songs Know What You Did In The Dark" is repetitive and sounds like one long chorus, and the hook in "The Phoenix" is "I'm gonna change you like a remix / and then raise you like a phoenix", and there were two very strange and seemingly out of place cameos (ahem, Big Sean / Courtney Love), there are some high points to the album. "Young Volcanoes" and the title track, "Save Rock and Roll", to name two (hell, I'll even throw "Just One Yesterday" in there, too). All in all, this album is alright. It isn't the best, it isn't the worst, but it definitely was a passionate effort that showed both maturity and dedication. It wasn't a half-assed "we're going to do this because we said we would and not because we really care" deal, and that's admirable.
Recommend? Yes, but you should go into it with an open mind and you shouldn't expect anything from the "Take This To Your Grave" era.
Best track? "Save Rock and Roll" ft. Elton John.

Where The Kids Are EP - Blondfire

NOTE: I actually give this EP 3.5 stars, but I can't do half-stars on this particular rating system. 

Ah, yes, the second of the "familiarizing ritual". Seeing as this is just a four song EP, I didn't have much to listen to, therefore my reviewable content is limited. The first / title track of the EP is the single, and it has the most substance, overall. The brother-sister duo that is Blondfire has provided their audience with a catchy EP that you can dance to. However, each song following is almost interchangeable. Lyrically, it isn't that strong, but it is high in energy and it did sort of make me want to get out of my seat and awkwardly dance. The upbeat nature of the songs are also good for any mood, and lead singer Erica Driscoll's voice is high pitched yet soothing, without a hint of being shrill. That's a feat in and of itself.

Recommend: It depends on your musical preference. If you're looking for deep lyrics, no. If you want to dance and smile, yes.
Best track?: "Where The Kids Are"

Holy Fire - Foals

I've begun to engage in the ritualistic practice of familiarizing myself with the bands I haven't heard much of before seeing them in concert with a band I am a fan of. I'm going to see Surfer Blood with Foals and Blondfire on 5/6, so I decided to give this album a listen first. It's interesting and intelligent, and has merit. The songs all have a similar quality to them, which offers up a repetitive feel occasionally. For the most part, however, it works in the band's favor. And, as a whole, this album just works. It has a celestial sound, and the lyrics are incredibly poetic. "Green, broken glass ocean / you break me, slow motion", vocalist Yannis Philippakis croons on "Milk & Black Spiders", and he laments that he is "the last cowboy in this town / empty veins and my broken plastic crown" on "Late Night". The strong imagery presented by the lyrics against the mellow, tranquil sounds playing behind them have an ironic and credible contrasting feel to them. Holy Fire is almost like an album of twisted lullabies. I'm for it.

Recommend? Yup.
Best track? "Milk & Black Spiders".
Heza is the newest effort by Generationals, released on Polyvinyl Records this year. It's chill indie rock album with no real low points and a few notable high points. It's good music to listen to when you're just hanging out and want some kind of surfy, kind of poppy stuff to listen to. The album starts off with the high powered "Spinoza", and slowly winds down to the far more relaxed "I Used To Let You Get To Me" and "Durga II". It is garagesque in quality while still maintaining mostly clear vocals, and forays into a funky, synth-backed territory with "Kemal". Overall, it's a good album worth listening to, even though the calm sounds may seem boring to some. 
Recommend? Yes, especially you're looking for good music to unwind to.
Best track? "Durga II". 

Bonus: Stream the album at the Polyvinyl Records website!

April 22 2013

As of three days ago, the Reggie and the Full Effect Kickstarter was fully funded, so there is indeed going to be a new Reggie album! I'm excited. I think you can tell by my use of exclamation points.

April 10 2013


New Weatherbox track!

Alarm Magazine has the newest track from the San Diego indie-rock outfit lead by one of my favorite songwriters, Brian Warren. The single is off of their split EP with the Sainthood Reps (release date: 5/7/2013) , and according to the above article in Lincoln Eddy's MP3 Premiere, it is about "staying in your room for two months, thinking that everybody in the world hates you, and then coming out and realizing you were right".

Entirely relatable. 

Let's talk about Reggie.

Although I may not have posted about this on this particular blog before, it is a known fact that Reggie and the Full Effect is my favorite band. I have loved them since I was in 5th grade and started to really get into James Dewees' solo project last semester. Reggie is my favorite, beating out Neutral Milk Hotel and numerous other worthy contenders for the number one spot. Enough about me - let's talk about the Reggie and the Full Effect Kickstarter.

If you don't follow my radio show's blog (ahem, undersoundisaclevername.wordpress.com, cough cough), you probably didn't see my internet lecture about supporting artists. I talked on my show a few weeks back about Kickstarter and how it helps artists reach out to their fans while also raising money to make new music. Recently, Mindless Self Indulgence did it in their normal, abrasive, "in your face" fashion - and it worked. They raised close to 75,000 dollars more than their 150,000 dollar goal. James Dewees started a Kickstarter less than a month ago to raise money for Reggie's sixth studio album, No Country For Old Musicians, and as of today it surpassed the 47,500 dollar mark. Dewees is asking for 50,000 by April 19th, and he's been awesome about answering fan questions and really getting the fans involved with his incentives. I'm so fucking excited for this album to come out, and I think with 9 days left and the Kickstarter raising close to 1,000 dollars a day steadily, it will succeed. However, it still isn't at the goal point yet, and that's where the rest of the fans come in.

I'm posting this to spread the word - I'm obviously a backer because - let's face it - I'm a huge fan of everything Dewees does. I'm pretty excited about this, just as all Reggie fans should be. If the project could get close to 48,000 dollars raised in less than a month, I think it can get the remaining money raised in nine days. 

Get a t-shirt or something! It's really worth it.

Alopecia - Why?

I know I'm a little late to jump on the Why? bandwagon, and I know I'm definitely late on listening to this album (about 5 years too late, but who's counting?), but it is great. Superb, actually. Frontman Yoni Wolf sounds like a mixture between Weatherbox vocalist Brian Warren, Mansions singer Christopher Browder, and leader of Cake, John McCrea. Why?'s lyrics are honest and clever, and the melodies range from simple indie rock that is reminiscent of The Shins to funky sounding guitar infused rap beats. "I sleep on my back 'cause it's good for the spine and coffin rehearsal", Wolf croons on "Fatalist Palmistry", and on the sad-yet-witty "By Torpedo or Crohn's" he laments "If I'm not raw, I'm just a bit undone / But I'd be okay, cool as a rail / if they just let us have health food in hell". What I like about this is that Wolf is genuine and passionate without breaking out of his "cool"-sounding rap voice. Remember how on Eminem's "The Way I Am" (and other tracks, I'm just using this as a good example) how towards the end of the second verse and into the third verse, Mr. Mathers is shouting at the listeners to get his point across? Yoni Wolf can get his clever, well-thought out rhymes out to his audience without doing that. It's good music to sit down and listen to when you feel like thinking and being relaxed, and those are two things I am constantly down for.

Recommend? Oh, yes. A thousand times yes.
Best track? "These Few Presidents"

April 08 2013

I just realized there was a "review" option for posts. I'll now be using that instead of my normal format. I'm not great with technology.

April 07 2013


Death Spells.

I don't know if anyone else besides avid fans of Frank Iero / James Dewees know about Death Spells, but I feel like everyone should. In today's society, where dubstep and techno seem to be the genres and styles du jour, Death Spells not only plays with synthesizer noises, but Iero's signature thrash-scream vocals. 

Recently, the duo has been posting 1-minute clips of the demos they've been working on. They post a demo a day and I for one think that they're all excellent. They're eerie, they're angry, and they're totally fucking awesome.

DS are posting the seventh and final demo on their SoundCloud page tonight for 24 hours, and on the group's official Twitter it was stated that it's going to be a little longer than a minute, because it is Iero and Dewees' collective favorites.

You can listen to the sixth demo until 11:59pm tonight and the final demo from 12:00am - 11:59pm (eastern time) here: https://soundcloud.com/deathspells

You can also check out the first demo released by DS (entitled "Where are my fucking pills") here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zT9WeD8Wi48

April 03 2013


Comedown Machine - The Strokes

3/5 stars

The Strokes are a band unlike most bands. I've thought that since I first started listening to them. Is This It, First Impressions Of Earth, and Room on Fire? Amazing. Three albums that are consistently amazing from the first to last track. I felt as if Angles, the group's fourth album, felt short of my expectations, but that's because their first three albums set such a high standard. Unfortunately, I have to say the same for the latest release from Julian and company - Comedown Machine is not anything like prior releases. It's mellow, and is reminiscent of Casablanca's solo work - electronic sounding and definitely not sounding like the band he is so famous for fronting. The beginning of the album - all the way up until track 6, high-powered "50/50", is far too mellow-sounding and sounds like it is heavily influenced by the cookie-cutter indie band of 2013. While the second half of the album is far more upbeat, the lo-fi vocals throw me off and it just doesn't sound like the band I've been listening to since my freshman year of high school - it sounds more like an ill-fated side project.

Recommend?: If you're into indie music that gets released nowadays - mellow sounding stuff. Not if you're a Strokes fan.

Best track? 50/50.


The 20/20 Experience - Justin Timberlake

 3.5/5 stars

I have to say that I'm sucker for a good pop song - even more of a sucker for a good pop album. Justin Timberlake's latest effort is filled with the mellow beats and his signature singing style. One thing I must say about the former NSYNC member and Mouskateer is that he sticks to a style - there isn't too much experimenting as far as his voice and subject matter goes. There are some jazzy undertones and some definite R&B influence. However, the length of the songs - the shortest being 4:48 long and the longest at a whopping 8:05 - are a little bit ridiculous. I suppose, though, this album isn't necessarily supposed to be an "album", per say - it's supposed to be an experience, as the title states. That being said, it's pretty boring when compared to his other, more club-oriented music, but if you want to just have the "experience" that is the 20/20 Experience, I would recommend it.

Recommend?: If you're already a Justin Timberlake fan or just want to listen to something to calm your nerves after a long day.

Best track?: Mirrors.

April 01 2013

Recover (EP) - CHVRCHES
4/5 stars

I really like CHVRCHES. I heard "The Mother We Share" on the radio once and I fell in love. It's a catchy song that I couldn't get out of my head. So, of course when I saw that they released a new EP I had to listen to it. I was not disappointed.  The female singer sounds like an unedited Alice Glass from Crystal Castles and I love it. CHVRCHES is a more upbeat and better sounding Crystal Castles. The synths are light and airy but powerful, and the foreground and background just mesh together in the right way. It all sounds right, and it puts me in the best mood whenever I listen to it.
Recommend? Oh yes, definitely.
Best track? Recover.

Afraid of Heights - Wavves
3/5 stars

Meh. Okay, I listened to this album and I just kept expecting something to happen. There was a certain liveliness on the last album from the surf rock group, King of the Beach, that I loved. There was also a really gritty, raw feeling to their first full length release, Wavvves. However, something was missing in Wavves' latest effort. It was just boring. The theme was repetitive and it disappointed me. I get it, you're bored and you're in California and you hate everything so you're gonna surf instead. That's the whole album. Granted, it does have some high points - "Sail to the Sun" and "Demon to Lean On" are both reminiscent of King of the Beach. It's downhill from there, though.
Recommend? Not if you like old Wavves. 
Best track? Hippies Is Punks (Bonus Track)
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