Friday, October 12, 2012

Idle and the Bear: Currently Closed

Idle and the Bear is on an indefinite hiatus.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Destroy Nate Allen (Featuring Gnarboots) - With Our Powers Combined

It’s not very often that simply by reading a band’s bio page, I end up liking said band before getting a chance to actually hear their music. Destroy Nate Allen are a folk punk duo who happen to be married to each other, which by itself is a really cool concept alone. I like folk punk (a lot) and marriage is also a pretty admirable thing to me. These two things combined? Pretty awesome. Also, in an attempt to capture the duo’s live show energy in album format for the band’s upcoming release ‘With Our Powers Combined', DNA enlisted the help of Gnarboots (former members of Link 80 and Shinobu) to add a lot more instrumentation to the songs. I have to admit they chose the absolute perfect musicians for this, because Link 80 and Shinobu albums have more energy than a Voltorb wrestling a Pikachu. Every song on ‘With Our Powers Combined’ is full of this Voltorb/Pikachu energy, and it makes for an entertaining as hell listening experience. Don’t miss out.

The first two songs, “Waking Up Is Hard to Do” and “Emergency”, might be two of the most energetic songs on the record. The former being a really short song that is mostly the musicians slamming on their instruments as hard as possible for short spurts with many intermissions consisting of vocalist Tessa griping about how awful mornings are. It’s a very relatable song, because morning’s are indeed pretty awful. The latter of the two songs is probably the most pop punk oriented song on the record. Nate (guitarist/vocalist) does the majority of the singing for this one, but Tessa is still there to add her spritely, energetic backing vocals. This is probably one of my favorite songs on the record, despite the repetitive nature and the simplicity. Actually those two things are probably my reasoning for liking the song. Plus the organ part is awesome and fits in very well. Most songs have organ, and it kind of makes the album sound way more ska than it would’ve otherwise. I mean, there are quite a few songs that are just straight up ska-punk songs on this record anyway, but what else can you expect when your songs are backed by Asian Man Records dudes? A prime example of this ska business is the song “We Talk Occasionally on the Internet”.

Lyrics on ‘With Our Powers Combined’ are centered around the lives of Nate and Tessa Allen. These are songs about relationships, movies, mornings being lame, and anything else they could cram into these small, energetic folk-punk numbers. The lyrics don’t disappoint, and they’re always belted out with catchy vocal melodies and on top of high-octane instrumentals (with exception of “Long Weekend Blues”, which is an entirely acoustic song). I feel as though Destroy Nate Allen long ago figured out what they do best, and put all effort into honing their craft. The payoff is awesome. Well, at least for the listeners.

If you’re in need of a new folk punk record that will earn itself hundreds of plays on your computer or ipod or whatever, then you needn’t look any further, because ‘With Our Powers Combined’ is excellent. The album is set to be released on June 5th, and you can go ahead and pre-order it over at DNA’s webstore. I highly recommend it, too. Not that my opinions matters or anything...*sigh*


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Monday, May 21, 2012

Quiet Clouds - Demo 2012

Quiet Clouds are a new band full of experienced emo/punk musicians from Florida. The band consists of a guy from the band Wavelets and two dudes from Little League (not THIS Little League, but rather a way better band by the same name). If you're familiar with either Wavelets or Little League, you're pretty well versed in what to expect from Quiet Clouds, or so it may seem. This band is much softer and more atmospheric than Wavelets and Little League. They play a more mellowed out stream of this awesome indie-emo-punk blend. It's pretty great. Maybe the "Quiet" in the band's title is there to inform us that this band is going to be quieter than the bands it stemmed from. That probably has nothing to do with it at all, actually.

If you visit Quiet Clouds on bandcamp, you'll see that they have this cool three song demo posted. The album cover (top of page) is totally fitting. It's in black and white, which is how I picture a music video by this band would be. There's also clouds...which makes sense and all.  If these songs are a representation of what kind of music this band will be releasing for years to come, then I'm pretty excited.

These three demos are excellently written and full of clever riffs and unpredictability. If I were to make some sort of drama film in the future, I'd feel practically required to use a song by this band. It'd be perfect for pretty much any important scene for character development or emotional conflict or whatever. Also, if I weren't to make some drama film, and instead I just needed music to play while driving around or sitting outside with friends, I'd also feel pretty much required to turn on a Quiet Clouds song or two. Preferably "In the Event that Everything Goes Terribly Wrong", because that's my favorite song out of these demos. The guitar riff kind of reminds me of this RVIVR song...or that band Kudrow, really. Well, parts of the guitar riff do. This song does some pretty weird shit and it all sounds awesome and, admittedly, a little bit brooding.

You should check these demos out and we'll try to keep you updated with new music by this band whenever it's released. You should also go to the bandcamp pages for Little League and Wavelets, because they're actually more of the kind of emo-punk I get into. Faster and more infectious. You'll probably like it, dear reader. Just like you'll probably enjoy Quiet Clouds.


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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Flip Like Wilson EP

Flip Like Wilson are an energetic pop punk group from the U.K. The Bear actually (favorably) reviewed demos they had up on bandcamp not too long ago, so this band isn't new to Idle and the Bear. We were lucky enough to be sent via email their upcoming self-titled EP, and we're totally grateful, because Flip Like Wilson are one of the bands we get submissions from that we enjoy greatly. To the point, finally; here's a review:

This EP is five songs, four of which being previously unreleased, and the remainder, "Lily", being previously released on the band's bandcamp demo. It's a pretty awesome song. I thought so when I listened to the demo, and I still hold that opinion now. It's catchy pop punk performed expertly. The vocal melody sticks to your brain like Krazy Glue (that's not a product placement, by the way. Coming from me, it's a Less Than Jake reference more than anything) and the simplicity of the song is endearing. There's a very Mixtapes/Bad Religion/Offspring-esque guitar solo towards the end of the song, and I feel like the song would be incomplete without it. It'd also be incomplete without the standard repeated chorus with gang vocals coming in...

Anyway, I should go to the beginning of this EP, rather than the middle. The record starts off with one of the most energy-filled songs on the record, "Consider This". Okay, I have to admit that this song sounds a shit load like All Time Low. That one song, "Damned If I Do You", I think it's called? I used to live with one of my best friends, and she's really into that band. They grew on me. It's just poppy goodness. Fuck haters. Regardless, Flip Like Wilson overall sound more like Fall Out Boy than them. And I'm talking 'Take This to Your Grave'. I fucking love that album.

Another song worth mentioning is the song "Millionaires". It's the other song that stands out on this release. It's a solid pop punk song with a good amount of energy and intensity and it's definitely infectious as fuck. A song that's not really worth listening would be the album closer "Twenty Eleven". I just can't really get into that one so much. It sounds too much like the first song, in my opinion. It's not bad, but it's just a little bland. It's no reason not to listen to this EP, because you might/probably will like it. Shit sounds different to everyone. Flip Like Wilson are definitely a band worth checking out, and we'll update this post with a link to purchase the EP once it's released-so check back often. 3.5/5 pizzas or whatever we occasionally use to rank albums.


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Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Was A Hero - Youth and Defeat

I Was A Hero absolutely saved the spring of 2012 as far as far as music releases go. Well, for me, at least. Nothing else I listened to this season hit me nearly as hard as this album 'Youth and Defeat'. It's seven snotty melodic punk songs that sound like the product of pop punk fans who grew up in the 90s. The sounds sound like a mix between Descendents, Saves the Day, and any number of bro-core type bands. Somehow this concoction came out sounding pretty fucking awesome...and kind of like Handguns. A lot of bands sound kind of like Handguns, these days. Especially Handguns.

There honestly isn't a single song on 'Youth and Defeat' that I dislike. They're all strong, catchy as fuck, and full of energy and feel good pop punk guitar riffs. It's perfect. This album probably contains a song or two that will help define the summer of 2012 when we're all old fucks and looking back. Unless you're already old, I guess. You'll just be an older fuck and this section of your life will probably all blend together like a smoothie. A really bad tasting smoothie, most likely. "Bus Rides Cost Too Much" might be my favorite song on this release. It embodies every positive aspect of I Was A Hero, and it does so perfectly. However, it's really hard to say I like one song more than the rest, because the rest put up a really good fight. Songs like "Cheap Tea" and the title track "Youth and Defeat" really fuck with the curve here. I don't know man-it's just a solid release all around.

You can download this album for free (or choose to donate money to the band for the download) on their bandcamp page. You can even just stream it first if you're not yet ready to make the commitment of having these mp3s on your computer for easy listening access. But if you download it, you can scrobble your plays of the songs and make people think you're cool. Eh...


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Second to Last - Vessel

Second to Last are a Californian pop punk band that sound like they're secretly from either the Midwest or New England regions. They play in a style similar to bands like Title Fight, The Wonder Years, Handguns, and you can fill in the rest of that list yourself. It's not a bad thing. The deal with bands like this is that I can get into them and enjoy what they're doing, but I know that when I play them for my friend it's going to become an instantly polarized conversation. I just know that they're not for everyone. However, if you like the bands I mentioned a few sentences ago, Second to Last are for you.

'Vessel' is a four song EP, so basically just enough playtime for me to craft an opinion on this band. It's a good thing for me that there are four songs, because I only like half of this release. So if there were two less songs, I'd only have one new song that I like. And still, if there were like 12 tracks, there'd be 6 new songs in the world that I don't like. Actually, none of this makes any sense. For all I know this imaginary LP could have just ended up having 2 songs I didn't like and 10 that I found awesome. I never took a statistics class; fuck it.

These songs are pretty unimaginative and lack a good deal of creativity, but it'd be lying to say they're not enjoyable. It's whiny sounding pop punk music that we listen to when we're feeling a certain way and shit. Everyone has that vice. Well, everyone that doesn't go crazy and turn out a crust punk or something. The guitar leads are unimpressive throughout this record, which sucks because that honestly is usually the thing that keeps me interested in these kind of bands. The lyrics are pretty good though, I have to say. These songs definitely have sing-a-long potential among my group of friends. I honestly review on the weirdest merits...

I really like the songs "Feels the Same" and "Dry Spell" on this release. They're the catchier ones and feel the most complete as songs. "Feels the Same" being the catchier of the two, having vocal melodies that stick to your noggin. "Dry Spell" is mainly my pick due to the instrumentals. The intro riff is simple and cool and is accompanied by a very cool chord progression. The backing vocals in this song also cement it as a fine example of what this kind of pop punk can sound like when done right. The lyrics to this song also come across as passionately written...or that can be due to the awesome performances by the vocalists. It's something.

You can currently stream this album on the band's Absolute Punk profile, and we'll update this review with a link to where you can purchase this album on June 5th when it is physically released. It's not bad; you should check it out for yourself.


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Monday, May 7, 2012

Lower Lands - Growing Pains

We’ve posted a few reviews of I Am Mighty Records releases in the past, and I’m pretty sure they’ve all been at least remotely positive. The trend isn’t changing now, simply owing to the fact that this premier EP ‘Growing Pains’ from the English punk band Lower Lands is awesome.

We’re introduced to Lower Lands (although, they are pretty popular in and around Lincoln, where they formed in 2010, I’m certain) through six great songs and if they’re a stickler for good first impressions, then they have no reason to worry with this EP, because it’s a great first impression. The first song, “Wide Eyes”, is loud and powerful and this awesome blend of 90s alternative music with melodic punk. The song starts and then just over four minutes later you’re starting it over and never making it to the rest of the EP. Which is cool, but also a shame; the rest of the EP is just as great.

The song “Why Don’t We Just Build a Cathedral?” is my favorite out of this album’s six, and probably because it sounds like one of the better songs written by bands like Brand New and Say Anything. Those bands that I can only get into depending on what song is being played for me. That’s not the case with Lower Lands, though, because I can get into all the songs on ‘Growing Pains’. Plus the title is shared with a sitcom on Disney that we all used to watch a shit ton. That’s always cool. That’s also probably why The Wonder Years went with their band name, too. There’s also a song on this release with my name in  the title...I figured that this paragraph was already lacking enough fluency to go ahead and add to it another statement that didn’t necessarily belong anywhere. I suck.

Either way, enough of my stupid shit. You should head over to the I Am Mighty webstore and purchase yourself a copy of ‘Growing Pains’ by the lovely melodic punk/alternative rock band Lower Lands. And be happy, for once.


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