Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Too Many Daves- Dawn of the Daves

Too Many Daves is a punk band from Tampa. They all have "Dave" somewhere in their name, hence the band name. Cute, huh? They have a very basic sound from the roots and I fucking love it. Just last night I was bitching to Idle about today's music- it's good, but it's so hard to find PUNK. It's all pop punk, celtic punk, folk punk, whatever punk. But this album... This is punk. this is good. It's 6 songs from their EP coming out in September.

A theme in Too Many Daves' music is alcohol. In fact, it might be the central dogma of their music.
Songs like "I Drink Everywhere" prove this. It's a simple guitar line with an even simpler bass line and drums holding it all together. But hell, it's GOOD! There's something special about it, to be honest. The lyrics, as one might guess, describe all the places that one might drink if they drank everywhere. Screamed through a mic, they sound good. Better than they would sound at an AA Poetry Slam. 
The second song, "I Was Wasted," continues the theme. The lyrics, however, made me laugh so hard. Listen to them. The melody is addictive as hell and I bet it sounds great live.
"You're Fuckin Out I'm Fuckin In" is fast as hell and sexy in a strange Dee Dee sort of way. 
"Grab Me A Beer, Man" is very short and pointless. But it has a catchy (how many times can I say catchy in one post?) bass line and it sounds just like the rest of the Daves. Love it.
The last two tracks, "When Getting Awesome Goes Wrong" and "Sweet Home America" follow the same trend. "Sweet Home America" is the funniest damn thing I've heard all week.
It's very simple music, but it's in no way boring. It's got charisma to it.. so all I have to say is FUCK YEAH.

Listen to it and check them out. While you're at it, hey!

 -Bear

Flogging Molly- Speed of Darkness

Flogging Molly is possibly the best Irish-punk band out there, to be honest. That's right- they're better than the Dropkick Murphies, and they're better than that weird "kiltpunx" band your boyfriend started when he was strung out in '05. The first time I heard Flogging Molly was in the eighth grade- my math teacher, who was a well dressed suburban college graduate, also happened to be one of the punkest mother fuckers I ever did meet. He harassed us, mocked us, and frankly, could care less about our futures. We loved him. Well, to be specific, the girls and female teachers of the school loved him. He liked punk music and math. What more could I ask for in a fantasy? In fact, many a' years later, my older brother ended up at the same NOFX show as him. He was a cool guy. But anyway, I'll get to the point. His favorite band was Flogging Molly. And being a blinded, hormone-controlled awkward girl in love, I decided it would be my favorite band, too! (PS- My love for my algebra teacher has now faded into a platonic bro-ship since then, I promise. I can't even remember what he looked like.)
None of you really needed to know that, though. Flogging Molly has like seven guys playing Irish instruments and drinking beer and probably ravaging wenches. RIYL The Pogues, Dropkick Murphies, Sharks Come Cruisin.
"Speed of Darkness," the title track, starts off just like every other album you've ever heard by any Irish punk band ever. It's all slow, and you're like "WHAT IS GOING ON" and then BAM- accordion, fiddle and guitar just hit you right in the balls. It's fast, it's exciting and it's awesome. It's a true battle song. Not only does the music captivate you, it really does show some wonderful talent. I can personally state that playing the violin like THAT is ridiculously difficult and I don't even understand accordions beyond the basics. The tempo is ridiculous, the vocals are angry, and you can just tell they're having fun.
However, on the complete other end of the table, there is a song called "A Prayer in Silence For Me," that is a sweet Celtic duet. It's got some beautiful chords and a very mellow vocal melody (oh shit alliteration. And that was assonance. oooooh man). First off, Bridget Regan (who I'm assuming is the other vocalist on this track) has a beautiful voice. And would probably sound great in an indie/pop punk band, but that's just me... Anyway, I love this song. It's a completely different style, and it's cute.
Somewhere in between, there are songs like "The Power's Out." It starts off completely percussion and vocals, and then slowly, measure by measure, other instruments kick in. It's got the piano tempo of "A Prayer.." and yet still the intensity of "Speed of Darkness." It's got a really simple march beat to it, and then quiet melodies added in, and every 30 seconds or so, the song progresses and gets more and more complicated. Love it.
The ending track, "Rise Up" has a truly beautiful intro. It's this sweet soft melody of strings and tin whistle (being a flutist, I totally get off on woodwinds in any kind of punk) and then BAM- Flogging Molly once again does what they're good at. They hit you in the balls with power. Or a mandolin or leg of meat or something. I'm not really sure what they're hitting you with, but it sounds great. Fantastic way to finish out the album.
Other songs in between with honorable mention:
"The Heart of The Sea" is probably one of my favorite slower songs, and "Revolution" is a bad-ass one.

overall, I was so surprised and happy with how Speed of Darkness came out.
I'm sorry to say in the past year or so, I forgot about them a bit. They faded back into my list of punk bands that rock, but just don't seem to make it to the top of my brain. Sort of like every time you eat an 100 Grand Candy Bar and think "BARNACLES, THIS IS DELICIOUS! I'M GOING TO EAT THESE ALL THE TIME." and then you don't eat them until the next time your grandparents clear out their candy jar. The point is, Flogging Molly rocks and so does this album.

Stream the album here! This is their website. Us.

-Bear



Monday, May 30, 2011

Owl City- All Things Bright and Beautiful

Just kidding.

-Bear

The Lips- We Are The Lips EP

The Lips are a band from New Jersey. But it's actually just a guy from New Jersey! Anthony Laido, who does everything in the music but the drums- the drummer varies. He's 19, and already has more accomplishments than you will in your entire pathetic life. Go cure cancer or something.
Anyway, he's unsigned and does everything independently, from marketing to mixing to releasing. Idle and I are in agreement that he sounds slightly like the White Stripes mixed with the 90s mixed with Courtney Love minus the drugs and adding a little more talent. Did that make sense?
You can buy his debut full length, A Generation in a Jar, on iTunes. This EP is available on bandcamp.

"White Lights", Anthony's first single, is a great song. First off, he's a wonderful lyricist and an even better vocalist. His voice is gruff and relaxed, but it still seems to have a soft-powerful sound to it. The guitar riff is very catchy. It really has a 90s feel to it without the bad fashion or meth craze. 
"Antisocial Personality Disorder" is so addictive. The Lips' are very mellow. The song has a simple melody that doesn't change much throughout the song, but hell. If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
"Mathematics" scares me. But only the lyrics. The song itself rocks.
Lastly, "Your Mom Has Cancer" is brilliant. It's a bluesy rock song with amazing vocals and a powerful melody- not to mention a hilariously dreary theme and shocking lyrics.

Anthony Laido and his drummer make a great duo. It's garage rock, it's new, it's original, it's thought provoking- but who really knows what it is? It's a brilliant, sometimes controversial and always catchy production of sounds and I love it. This isn't just the work of a musician, it's the work of an artist, and I mean that. Even if it isn't your kind of music, you have to admit that the sound has something special to it.

Check The Lips out on facebook for something interesting to drink coffee and smoke cigarettes to. Here is us.

-Bear

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Bear interviews Greg and D-Ray from COMMUNITY RECORDS

Community is an eclectic record label that works with a lot of really great bands- The Flaming Tsunamis, A Billion Ernies, We Are The Union, Matt Wixson, Stuck Lucky, etc. etc. etc. They do so much in the community (ha, pun) as I'm sure you guys know- they release compilations and host Block Party ever year. I got to talk to them about the festival, plus Head Above Water and you know, anything else I felt like.
By the way, does it seem like  I'm doing more interviewing than reviewing lately? It's because I am. To be completely honest, it's because it takes less time to interview and I have my exams last week... So I haven't had any time to talk about any new albums. I promise I'll be fulfilling all of your addictions to my opinions soon. ;)

What is the philosophy behind Community Records, and how has it evolved since you started?
Community Records started as an idea to release a compilation. Jay Bonafide, the guitar player from Public Access, originally had the idea in 2007. That compilation was to have: Public Access, Stuck Lucky The Flaming Tsunamis, The Fad, Fatter Than Albert, Tusker, & We Are The Union. We have all been friends / touring buddies for a long time. So the idea of releasing a compilation with all of our material seemed like a splendid idea. I was the one who said "ok I'll get this thing rolling" and with that I figured I should start a web-site as a foundation to support our touring and musical efforts. When this thing kicked off I did not really think it would be a "record label" but after just a few months of work, that's what we defined it as. I would not consider Community Records to be a traditional style record label. We give away about 80% of our MP3s for free, we believe that this is the most honest way to release punk rock, so we're going to keep doing that.

The philosophy has been to be a collective of bands that supports each other. We work towards creating music that is honest and unique. Most of it exists on the fringe of what people would call "punk" or "ska" some of it is not that at all. We just try to focus on releasing music that we believe has unfiltered passion and overall what we consider good. 

How involved with music are you personally? Bands you play in/instruments you play? What are your favorite bands to work with?
Both Greg and I are super involved with music. I (D-Ray) have played keyboard since I was six and trombone since the age of ten. Currently I play in several bands around the country: The Flaming Tsunamis, Vox and the Hound, and Big, Fat and Delicious. In the past I was in Fatter Than Albert with Greg, and have done tours with We Are The Union and A Billion Ernies. I also draw my main source of income from playing gigs in New Orleans, everything from brass quintet gigs, second lines, musicals/operas and cover bands. Basically, I try to play as much music as possible. Greg plays bass in the Rooks and is currently learning how to play guitar for the new awesome band the two of us are putting together.

I love working with any band who plays awesome music and has awesome ideas about the world around them. There's nothing like meeting a new group of like-minded musicians and making friends with them. The flipside of this is of course, we've worked with a few artists who have been sort of demanding and rude about getting their rider fulfilled and then some. These people are of no interest to me. No matter how popular or seasoned a band or person is in this industry or in the world, no one has the excuse to feel better than anyone. With that being said, I'd say obviously any of the Community Records related bands are a pleasure to work with. Besides being all around awesome, they help sooooo much with the label. Stuck Lucky and A Billion Ernies do a lot of our designing and screen pressing from their houses. All the bands serve as a support system to keep us making good decisions. Other awesome bands would be Sun Hotel, Dan Potthast, Mustard Plug, Slingshot Dakota, Bomb the Music Industry, Chilled Monkey Brains and The Closers always help out really hardcore with booking shows and keeping their respective scenes alive.


What has been your proudest moment with Community?
Oh man, that's a tough one to answer..... There are so many inspiring things that come our way. Most of them come in the forms of e-mails, letters, and meeting people at shows who have said that we have created any positive moments in their lives. Its amazing to know that what we do sometimes works and people respond back with good vibes.

As far as one moment in particular I would say Block Party 2011 made us proud. (For those of you un-familar with Block Party it is a big street festival we have each year in New Orleans with mostly community records bands). Watching A Billion Ernies play to an awesome crowd in New Orleans was one of the best feelings I could imagine. Those dudes & all the other com rec bands work so hard, to know that something we did helped them to achieve more success & have a fun time is something to take immense pride in. The whole day was just so fun, and creating / participating in that vibe was a beautiful experience.


Can you tell us a little about the DVD being released from Block Party this past year?


The Block Party DVD started as one of those "It'd be so awesome if we could..." ideas and quickly turned into a possibility. It seemed almost impossible to do a good job and stay within our budget. Then I went and saw some friends of ours film a live music video for another local musician at one of his shows. Turns out they had started the Greenhouse Collective a couple years ago. Like us, they are a local grassroots company only they specialize in video elements. The basic idea was this: the band and backdrop were dressed in solid white. They band pantomimed playing the single at half speed while children ran around throwing different colors of paint on them with paint brushes. The final product was sped up and matched really well with the song. The fact that they not only executed this, but were also able to do it in front of a live audience was really awesome.

They were super interested when we brought the idea to them and were really awesome to work with in terms of hashing out ideas. Over the few months before Block Party, they built homemade shoulder harnesses for the cameras out of PVC pipe, I and a friend built three 4'x4'x4' camera stands out of wood, and we had several meetings planning out certain shots and which bands would be covered. Unfortunately, there was no way to get every band on camera so we settled for those who would benefit most from the footage. The bands you can plan on seeing a couple songs from are Caddywhompus, Stuck Lucky, A Billion Ernies, Murphy's Kids, Mad Conductor, The Forthrights, Informant, Best of the Worst, The Rooks, Chatty Cathies, The Lollies, and RX Bandits, as long as they approve the footage. Special features on the DVD will be extra footage from the bands, interviews with festival attendees, and a walkthrough of the festival to give an idea of what it looks like.

All of the cameras were awesome HD rigs: either Canon 4D's or some camcorder of which I cannot remember the name. There were at least two cameras on each of the bands being recorded, sometimes three. One stationary camcorder 40 feet directly in front of the stage on one of the camera stands and one 4D walking around in the crowd/pit, sometimes there was a third on either of the two camera stands flanking the stage. One of the cameramen even had a 10 foot gib we were able to put to use in the evening. (It's the crane thing you see at music festivals swinging over the crowd.) The audio was fed to two sources and mixed by two different people to make sure we have two choices when it comes to audio.


That's so awesome, dudes! Now, can you tell us a little about the behind-the-scenes of Head Above Water? How successful has it been so far?
When the oil spill started last year, it was like watching a slow motion train wreck. Only the slow motion picture lasted about 4 months and the entire city either was screaming in disgust or turning their heads away from having to view the carnage. Sorry to be so grim, it is just a reality that this is the biggest ecological disaster to have hit the United States EVER, and it happened an hour away from where we sleep at night. With that said, D-Ray and I knew we had to do SOMETHING.

We thought the best thing we could do was a compilation. After talking about it back and forth and sifting through ideas, we arrived at "lets call up EVERYONE we know and see if they want to be a part of this". We got 36 bands to say yes to the idea of a free digital download where all donations would go to a local non-profit who is working everyday towards combating the entities that have and continue to destroy our gulf coast.  We wanted to release this sooner, but in light of such a big project, it became obvious that the most effective time to release this was one year to the day after the oil started spilling into the gulf. (April 20th 2011)

It is so far successful and will hopefully continue to be this summer. We have over 2,500 downloads so far and have raised over $400. We will be pushing this free download at all of our shows & with all of the promotion we do for the rest of the year. You can download it now / view the track list at: http://www.communityrecords.org/headabovewater 

What do you consider to be the best albums of the year so far?
I'll precede my answer with an explanation. I don't really seek out new albums or really listen to the newest music. I'm not even sure if I can come up with 10 favorite albums of 2011. Usually I listen to old vinyl, CDs I've been listening to for years, or NPR or WWOZ, the local independent jazz station here in New Orleans. With that being said, here my favorites in no particular order other than the earliest one's came to mind first... I apologize in advance for a less than normal list.
D-Ray
- New Flaming Tsunamis record (unreleased)
I'm biased because I helped write and record this album, but I still think it's going to be my favorite of the year. So much heavier and well produced than anything TFT has ever released.
- Caddywhompus - The Weight
This is a very close second. Even though it's only a 4 song EP, this record packs such a punch. You know those bands you're crazy about and think everyone else would be too if they heard them? This is that band for me. Experimental, rock-pop infection.
- Spraynard - Funtitled
Absolutely, without a doubt, my favorite new band...and I have none of their albums. I've only heard Funtitled one time through on a car ride this summer, but that's all it took. I'm a sucker for pop punk with awesome lyrics about living life to the fullest and loving your friends.
- New We Are The Union record (unreleased)
Once again, biased because I recorded trombone and organ on this record while on the Ska is Dead Young Guns Tour with WATU. BUT I find it is worth mentioning because it is such a huge breath of fresh air from this band. Instead of spreading themselves too thin and making an ok full length, they took their time and wrote 5-6 really catchy tracks. 

What is the funniest thing you've ever seen happen at Block Party?
That's a great question. I'm trying to rack my brain for hilarious things that have happened. Mostly when I think of Block Party I just think of fun & manically running around handling the 700 logistical aspects that have to happen during the day. So I guess the funny things I usually miss out on. D-Ray brought up the killer drunken cannonball that Jimmy Doyle from The Forthrights / The Fad did into the crowd from the stage during Stuck Lucky's set. That was pretty hilarious. I'll send a picture over when I can.

The most fun I have had..... gang vocals and stage dives during A Billion Ernies & Stuck Lucky performances especially this past year. Its one of the most amazing experiences to look out over a group of friends in our home town all having a good time to the music of my best of friends. In the words of Jonzee of Stuck Lucky "Block Party is better than Christmas". 
________________________________________________________________________



Okay guys, if you haven't checked out Community Records do it, look at their Head Above Water Comp, donate to The Gulf Restoration Network if at all possible (any amount helps), and check us out while you're at it!
-Bear

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Front Bottoms - Slow Dance to Soft Rock


Not much has come my way recently that has gotten me really excited, and then this happened! Some guy I don't know posted a link to this album on my facebook, and I was like, "word, I'll check it out." I didn't comment that; I said it in my head. So then I indeed went and checked it out, and I fucking fell in love with it. This album is so fucking great. They sounds like Your Favorite Weapon era Brand New, with vocals sometimes sounding kind of like Sean Bonnette. The lyrics are akin to early 90s emo and Bomb the Music Industry, and the awesomeness is akin to Mega Man 3 or Half-Life 2. Yeah, it's that awesome.

So basically, The Front Bottom are like a very-slightly folky/very-much indie band from Jersey...and I know pretty much nothing about them. This Slow Dance to Soft Rock album is the only thing I've heard by them, and it came out last June. They're an awesome sounding two-piece, and I sincerely hope they pump out another album sometime soon, because I want to hear tons more by them. It's guitar and drums and lyrics that feel so sincere and flow so damn well. Gah, I love this shit. This is like crack to me. They clearly wrote this shit knowing that someday it would fall upon the ears of a dork who would gush over it in some dumb review on a pop-punk-oriented review site. Seriously, they Nostradamused this shit. Happens, I guess.

I'm not sure if there's a surefire method to compile a short list of my favorite songs on this release. I mean, I could just list the tracklist, but that'd be tedious, considering you can just go to the bandcamp and see it while you fucking listen to this masterpiece. And if you don't like it, I honestly don't know what's wrong with you. I mean, even the weirdest song on this release, "Bathtub", is still awesome, and half the lyrics are something like, "Yes, I'm washing my hair with soap." And I'm still loving every second of it.

So, just go listen to it. Fuck what I have to say, because I could never say enough. And that's coming from someone who could talk every host of The View under a table. 5/5.

-Idle

The Front Bottom's Bandcamp. Idle and the Bear.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Bear interviews Irie Revoltes/ Entrevue avec l'ours et Irie Révoltés

The first song I ever heard by Irie Revoltes was "Il Est La." After that, I went out and bought the albums... And I have been hooked ever since. Irie Revoltes is a ska/hiphop/reggae/whatever-they-feel-like group from Europe made up of nine very talented and nice guys who just have fun with their music- what's better than that? They're pretty big in Europe, but I'm sad to say that they haven't made it over to America yet.. But hell, who wants to be in America, anyway? ;) They're extremely politically charged, both in their actions and their lyrics. But most of all, they just sound great! This interview is both in english and french... Because I originally did this interview in french, so sorry to any other languages. (Desole, il n'y a pas d'accents. J'ai un clavier americain.)

 Vous considerez-vous plus associes avec la culture francaise, ou la culture allemande?/Do you consider yourselves more associated with French culture or German culture?
MAL ELEVE: Aucune. :-) Je me voi comme habitant du monde./I see myself as a habitant of the Earth.
Quelle a ete votre experience preferee avec le groupe?/What has been your favorite experience with the group?
MAL ELEVE: Il y en a plusieurs... pour moi chaque concert est une experience formidable et surtout les concerts de solidarite pour des campagnes antiracistes par exemples. ca, pour moi c'est des experiences que je n'oublierais jamais!!!/There are several... For me, every concert is a wonderful experience. Especially the solidarity concerts for anti-racist campaigns. That, for me, are the experiences I'll never forget.
CARLITO: La meilleure experience avec le groupe avait ete jouer au sein de G8 et voir la foule enorme dansent les flics loin a traverse notre musique./ The best experience with the group had to have been to play at the anti G8 and to see the enormous crowd dance the cops away through our music.
Avez-vous commence avec neuf membres, ou avez-vous ajoute depuis le debut?/ Have you always had nine members, or have you added since the beginning?
MAL ELEVE: Le groupe a debute avec 4 personnes. Mais tres rapidement, les autres membres nous ont joint./The group started with four people. But very quickly, the other members joined us.
Votre musique est influencee par de nombreux genres- diriez-vous d'ecouter plus ska ou le hip-hop?/Your music is influenced by many genres- do you listen to more ska or hip-hop?
MAL ELEVE: Au fait, chaqu' un de nous ecoute lui meme un autre genre de musique et cela fait que notre musique est influence des differents styles./ In fact, every one of us himself listens to another genre of music and this makes our music influenced by these different styles.
CARLITO: Oui, il ya beaucoup d'influences dans notre musique, du ska, hip-hop, reggae, punk rock, et plus encore. Personnellement, je viens du hip hop et R&B./ Yes, there are a lot of influences in our music, from ska to hip-hop to reggae to punk rock and many more. Personally,. I come from hip-hop and R&B.
Pourquoi avez-vous choisi de melanger les jamaicains et francais en votre nom?/Why did you choose to mix Jamaican and French in your name? (PS: Irie is the Jamaican word for good, being happy, higher self, all is well, ETC. Revoltes is the French word for rebels.)
MAL ELEVE: Honnetement, le jamaiquain c'est parce qu' a l'epoque on aimaient bien le Reggae- et c'est le Reggae aussi qui a quand-meme le plus influence notre musique- et le Français c'etait simplement car mon frere et moi on a choisi de chanter en français au lieu en Allemand./ Honestly, the Jamaican, it is because because that was the time we REALLY liked reggae- and it is also reggae who has influenced our music the most- and the the French was simply because my brother and me chose to sing in French instead of German.
CARLITO: Le melange de francais et de la jamaiquain dans le nom est montrer le melange de la bande est tout au sujet. Nous sommes irie et se revoltons avec ce sentiment plutot que d'etre deprimes par tout le merde dans la monde. Nous melangons les styles musicaux et des langues aussi. Meme dans nos paroles, qui sont surtout de nature politique, mais nous faisons aussi des chansons d'amour. Vous comprenez ce que je veux dire? C'est Irie Revoltes! /The mix of Jamaican and French in thename is to show the mix the band is all about. We are irie and do revolt with that feeling rather than be depressed by all the shit happening in our world. We mix musical styles and also languages. Even in our lyrics which are mostly political but we also do have love songs. You understand what I mean? That's Irie Revoltes!
Quelle est la chanson que vous avez le plus de plaisir avec?/What is the song you have the most fun with?
MAL ELEVE: C'est pas facile et je ne veut pas eviter les questions, mais je ne pourrais pas dire une seule. Mais en live je pense que c'est « Rebelles », « Ska » et « Antifaschist »/ It's not easy and I don't want to avoid questions, but I couldn't tell one. But live, I think that it's "Rebels," "Ska," and "Antifascist."
CARLITO: Il n'y a pas de chanson nous preferons en particulier. Il y a differents evidence pour chaque membre, je suppose. Mes sont «Explosion » et «Il Est La » pour le moment./ There is no song we prefer particularly. There are different highlights for each member I guess. Mine are "Explosion" and "It is" at the moment.
Asterix et Obelix, ou Iznogoud? :) (Asterix and Obelix, or Iznogoud?)
MAL ELEVE: Idefix. :)/ Dogmatix :) (English explanation: Asterix et Obeliex and Iznogoud are two french cartoons. Idefix is Obelix's dog. Idefix, means dogmatix, which is a pun on the word idee fixe, meaning an obsession. Idefix.)



J'adore, Irie! Merci! 

-Bear





For the Fallen Dreams - Back Burner



I don't like metalcore. I do not like it in a box, I do not like it with a fox. I do not like it in a house, I do not like it with a mouse. I'm not a fan of that big inhaley scream-yell type thing that goes on. Most bands that feature one of these screamer guys always leave me thinking about how good or at least decent they would be without that addition to their lineup. 'Back Burner' by For the Fallen Dreams does not change this for me at all. What you'll hear when listening to these guys, is a lot of same-sounding hardcore songs, which still would've passed for poppy and delightful, if not for the overbearing screaming going on throughout. It's made worse by the effects on the voice to make it echo, and the fact that it's louder than the actual vocalist. I really don't understand the appeal, and I don't know if I ever will.

I wish these screams were more like the Sonic & Knuckles addition to Sega Genesis. You know, that game you put into the Sega and then you put your Sonic the Hedgehog game into the top of THAT cartridge. Then you could play as Knuckles for all of the games, if you for some reason wanted to. But, you would then realize that Knuckles is a stupid, worthless character and you'd go back to wanting to just use Tails forever. Because Miles is the shit. So are chili dogs. Well, it'd be cool if bands released an album with the option and turning screams on and off. So, if you just want to listen to music, you could. But, if you wanted to be assaulted by annoying, echoey screams, you could do that as well. You could emulate whatever Middle Earth battle scenes this type of music incites you to get into. I say that because I just now realized that I felt like this should be music playing in the background of some crazy battle with orcs, dwarves, hobbits, elves, trolls, and the like.

So basically, this album is a series of the same song, but really only when the screaming comes in. Or when they do an out-of-nowhere breakdown. The guitar leads are generally interesting throughout, and the regular vocalist isn't really memorable by any means...especially since he's drowned out half the time. I don't know. I can't really think of too much good to say. I don't feel good about that, at all. I generally only like to say nice things about a band or just say nothing at all. But, that's not always the way things go. I mean, I didn't force them to record these songs. I mean, I know that our readers are confused as hell as to how this band got into the mix of stuff we're reviewing. But, dear readers, it's good to have an equal opportunity review site. We're not going to turn reviews down based on genre alone. Even if this album sort of makes me want to become an exclusively pop punk review site. But, that won't happen. Because then who would review the shitty new Streetlight Manifesto albums in the future? Probably punknews, and they'll probably lie and call them good. PAH!

-Idle

P.S. I wanted to put in this review somewhere that they reminded me of Dayton's-Should've-Been-Kept-A-Secret-Band The Devil Wears Prada...but I thought that would be really mean. But it's still kinda true.

P.P.S. If you want to read a review by somebody who somehow LIKES metalcore. You can check out that one site that reviews more stuff than us.

For the Fallen Dreams. Idle and the Bear.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Bear interviews Justin Collier of Man Overboard

Man Overboard is an influential pop punk band from New Jersey that we love. They recently released a compilation of old songs remastered, B sides, and new songs called The Human Highlight Reel. I split that up into two different links, by the way. Out of the four wonderful boys in the group, I got to talk to Justin Collier about lots of stuff!


How long have you been playing together?
A: Our first EP, Hung Up On Nothing was recorded in summer of 2008 and we did our first tour that winter.

How has your sound evolved?
A: Our sound changes from record to record but is kept somewhat grounded by the fact that sometimes we will bust out an old song for a new record. Some of the songs on Real Talk were a few years old but some were brand new and written right before we went into the studio. 

What are your goals with the band?
A: Most 22 year olds are finishing college and getting ready to sit in a cubicle for the next 30 years-  so aside from meeting the cast of Harry Potter, I just want to see the world and have an unusual time. 

How is recording the new album going? What is it going to sound like?
A: Its pretty much all demoed and we start tracking it on June 5th. It definitely has a different feel to it than Real Talk but nothing crazy enough for people who already like us to be turned off. 

What has been your favorite part of working with each other?
A: We have had some really good times and some really bad times, be it working on songs or touring together or whatever. But in the end no matter we are laughing or yelling at each other we are all friends and buds at the end of the day. Its cool to be able to do something as special as create records, tour the world and hangout with people you are friends with. 

The worst part?
A: ugh, taking promo pictures. 

Any fun tour stories you'd like to share?
A: One time someone (not me, but i won't get anymore specific than that) pooped their pants when we were in England...


Haha! Too great. Here's another link to Man Overboard. Here's a link of us!

-Bear

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Tigermilks - We Don't Stand A Chance


Unlike whatever Streetlight Manifesto or BOTAR are getting themselves into, The Tigermilks have recently put out what you would consider a HIGHLY ANTICIPATED tribute album. Whereas, SM and BOTAR are currently working on releasing shit nobody wants to hear. Uh, ska is no longer relevant from this point on:  SO, this Belle and Sebastian tribute 7" by The Tigermilks is pretty fucking rad. Cartoonist Mitch Clem has a (surprisingly) good singing voice, and they accomplish something that Me First and the Gimme Gimmes rarely accomplish, which is making the cover versions more appealing than the originals. I mean, this is just opinion, I suppose. I like B&S to a point...as in I've just listened to that Dear Catastrophe Waitress album quite a few times. However, I definitely prefer hearing these songs done as awesome pop punk numbers. It's pretty awesome.

Mitch Clem, as you all probably know, is a cartoonist from like Texas or something. And he did this Nothing Nice 2 Say series for a while, which is claimed to be the first punk webcomic ever. He also did a couple autobiographical comic series, which are also pretty rad. He did the album art for this 7", which is very obvious to anyone who has ever seen anything Clem has ever drawn. He kind of sings like Scotty Sandwich, which is cool. What's funny is just how much this release reminds me of that Slow Death release I just reviewed. Birds of a feather, I guess.

There's not really much to say here. These are cover songs. They're good cover songs, but they're still cover songs. A pop punk B&S tribute is one of the better ideas ever had by someone wanting to release a cover or tribute album of any kind, so it's pretty awesome. I mean, shit, just go listen to it or something. It's all over the internets.

-Idle

The Tigermilks. Idle and the Bear.

P.S. Clem sounds angrier than I'd have imagined. I pictured something higher pitched out of him.

The Slow Death - Turnstile Comix #1


So, I guess it's about to be Mitch Clem night over here at Idle and the Bear. Basically, I'm pumping out this review of The Slow Death's new EP, which is accompanied by a Mitch Clem comic about the band's tour stories. And after this little review, I'm going to be reviewing that Belle and Sebastian tribute album that Mitch Clem put out with Jeoaf Johnson under the bandname The Tigermilks. So yeah, it's somewhat a Mitch Clem night. If you don't know who Mitch Clem is, then you're fired from punk rock. Unless you're not into punk rock as it is. If that's the case, you can check out his comics over at his website. Don't worry, you have plenty of time to catch up with the rest of us, because he NEVER FUCKING UPDATES IT. So, you're pretty much set!

Okay so, in typical Minneapolis fashion, this band has a lot of energy and dedication to their music, but they also aren't releasing anything groundbreaking or original. You've most likely heard these songs before, but played by other bands with different words. That being said, I think this EP is pretty awesome. It's a bit softer than I would typically go for, but it still has a good amount of power behind it. Really, this album can be summed up as this really awesome, gritty song "Punchlines", accompanied by some decent catchy songs to take up time until "Punchlines" plays again. Luckily, during this period of rest, you have the song "Sorry Bout My Drinkin", which is also a great one. But it's a cover, so I don't know how much it counts.

So basically, your main point in buying this record would be for the comic book Mitch Clem did for it. I mean, it's also a sort of pop punk supergroup, with Mikey Erg on drums. But other than that, it's pretty much the type of release that you hope to find for free download at Death to False Hopes or If You Make It. I don't really expect it to be something you'll end up having to pay for to download. I guess we'll find out once they make it so you can play all the songs on bandcamp.

-Idle

The Slow Death. Idle and the Bear.

Death Cab For Cutie - Codes and Keys


It's awful.

- Idle

Stream. Idle and the Bear.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Major League - The Truth Is...


After my completely negative review of Major League's album 'The Wonder Years Revisisted', or whatever it was called, I thought it was necessary to review their other album 'The Truth Is...', which is said to be original material and a great album overall. I'm generally obliged to believe what people have to say about a band, because I trust people's opinions on shit most of the time, so I'm actually pretty excited about reviewing this one.

It should be stated immediately that, while these songs are more original than the ones in their later EP, it is still very clear that these dudes are huge fan of the Wonder Years, and it shows in all of their songs. Honestly, this is something that is going to happen. They're both pop punk bands out of Jersey. I mean, most the bands from the East Bay scene in the early 90s sounded exactly the same. This also holds true for a shit load of pop punk groups out of Minneapolis is the past decade or so. Bands of a scene flock together. Or something like that. SO, the fact that they have a shit load of Wonder Years influence in these songs, does not make them a Wonder Years rip off band. That was just a couple songs they released on another EP, and I still have no idea why they felt it was necessary, but it's their band, not mine.

'The Truth Is...' is basically like a mixture of brocore and easycore, and I'm not 100% sure what this mix of genres should be dubbed as quite yet, but I'm sure we can brainstorm something up. Uhh...chillbrocore? I don't know, it's not really all that important right now. What I'm basically saying here is that this band basically sounds like Wonder Years with a lot more added New Found Glory influence. It should also be pointed out that they bear some instrumental resemblance to Motion City Soundtrack in a couple of these songs...which really isn't a compliment that I give out often. I think it's more just that the intro to "Head Up, Kid!" reminds me of Motion City. It's also one of the better songs on this release.

I'd say the best song on the release though, and one of the only ones I really can get into, is "What You Make Of It." It's basically just another song about hating where you live, and being catchy about it. It's kind of ironic that I gave the band shit for sounding like The Wonder Years, and then the song I like the most on this album is the one that sounds the most like TWY. Pretty fickle of me. The singer kind of sounds like an anxious high schooler for the most part, and I don't mean that lyrically. I mean that regarding his voice. He just sounds really young. As far as the production on this album goes, it sounds pretty nice. The drums are probably the only part of the recording I don't like, other than the way the vocals were produced. I don't know enough about recording to know what they did with the vocals, but it definitely sounds like some annoying effects or compressing was involved, and it's a little bit lame.

I think the main appeal of The Wonder Years as of late is how much they sound like an early 90s emo band when it comes to vocals being raspy and serious. Four Year Strong kind of made that change for their newer album, adding gruffer voices to their shit, and it definitely made them sound more mature and like a solid band.  So basically, the only beefs I have with this album would have to be that I don't really like the vocals so much, and the drums sound really weird, and I guess that's really just it. I don't dig it, but I don't dislike it. I think when it comes to music in this style, I'll probably stick to listening to All Set from Massachusetts, but I'll at least know that if I need another band to add to my easycore/brocore mix for when it's xbox time, I can always throw 'The Truth Is...' into the batch.

I know I don't often give like blah blah blah out of blah blah blah type ratings, but I supposed I give this release about a 6/10, for what it's worth. 10 being Handguns, 1 being Pilot Around the Stars.

-Idle

Major League. Idle and the Bear.

Touché Amoré - Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me


If I were to make a venn diagram depicting my feelings for this Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me by Touché Amoré, it would probably be a waste of time due to how uninvolved the diagram would be. There'd only be a few things to really put on it, you know? Well, here it is, anyway:
So, as you can see, I've gone about this review completely scientifically, and saved you a couple boring paragraphs which would've depicted this information. The thing is, the vocalists voice may not strike you as good for a while, I realized after my second play through of everything that his voice is awesome. I'm not changing the venn diagram though, that just wouldn't be good science. Plus, then what else would I put in the meh section? Vegan pizza?

So you may pick up this album, and look at it like, "Oh wow, there are 13 songs! This is quite a lengthy release!" But then, you realize that is is a hardcore band (a hardcore band who are not Fucked Up), and these songs are short as fuck. This thing is over as quickly as Milo Goes to College...whereas the new Fucked Up album actually takes like six years to listen to, lettering there be enough time for Milo Auckerman to actually go to college. Short, fast, and energetic. Sort of like little leaguers.

In case you were sitting there hoping there'd be a piano ballad with hardcore, raspy, yelly vocals on top of it, there is such a thing. It is a song called "Condolences" and it is awesome. I can basically tell you now, that this is one of the best hardcore albums I've heard in years, and by not listening to it, you're probably a weirdo or something. Nothing personal. Okay, you should take it very personally. If you're not into hardcore, then maybe you need to broaden your horizons. And I do mean HARDCORE as in hardcore punk, not HARDCORE as in A Day to Remember. If you listen to A Day to Remember, then I don't know why you're even reading this blog. The same goes for if you listen to The Devil Wears Prada. That band gave Dayton a worse name, fuck them. It's a good movie though.

-Idle

Touche Amore. Idle and the Bear.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fucked Up - David Comes to Life


Really? A hardcore record that is nearly an hour an 20 minutes long? WHY? I feel like I'm at work knowing I'm about to review such a long fucking release. It's actually just 'The Decline' covered 4 times in different styles with different instrumentation. Actually, that would be worse. If I ever have to listen to 'The Decline' again, due to some asshole thinking it's the PERFECT SONG to play on our way to the next date on tour, I might shoot myself in the head. Which is appropriate, considering the rapture is today and all.

So yeah, Fucked Up. I don't know much about Fucked Up. I know they're Canadian. I know people like them. I know a lot of people don't like the vocalist's singing...but that's probably my favorite part of the band. The instrumentals are cool, and definitely weird, and for the most part not even remotely hardcore. They're more of a post-hardcore band whose singer never caught on to how typical vocalists would perform the genre. Thank god.

So, how exactly does a minimalist reviewer approach an 18 track 'hardcore' record? I'm not really sure. I'm listening to it. And I'm wanting to say stuff about it, but I'm afraid I'll end up saying too many things about 1 song, and then realize there are 17 more that deserve the same treatment. But, to be fair, not all of them deserve the treatment. "Under My Nose" and "The Other Shoe" are some of the cooler songs on the release, despite the latter being slower than Valve when it comes to putting out Half-Life 2: Episode 3. Seriously, this is probably my first mention of video games in the blog...in relation to myself at least, and it's because of the velocity of the situation. Valve needs to die in a fucking fire if they don't release more HL2 episodes. It's bullshit. Anyway, Fucked Up. Awesome band.

So basically, if you were to use this record to soundtrack anything in your life. It'd probably work well for biking in a hilly ghetto, or even a hilly riverside neighborhood. It'd also work for a nice driving scene in a movie about punk subculture and underground bands on tour. I mean, you could probably soundtrack people fucking with it, and there wouldn't be too many complaints. I have to be honest, I have no idea why anyone would have a problem with this vocalist. He has this perfect down-trodden, yelly voice and I love it. It sounds like he caught his best friend fucking his dog or something. He sounds pretty hurt over the whole situation too. It works so well. You should also be aware of the fact that "Turn the Season" is awesome as fuck too.

So is "Running On Nothing".

So, to continue living up to my minimalistic standards of doing barely anything and trying to get away with it, I'm probably going to end this review within this paragraph or the next. This band is like if Crimpshine was made years later. And no, I don't mean Fifteen. This band is what happens when people do shit the right way. This album is what happens when you find the perfect mixture of hardcore vocals and instrumentation that takes a lot of effort and a lot of love for Quicksand. So, go listen to this album. You have no reason not to. You have the internet. You have the world.

-Idle

Idle and the Bear facebook.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Somebody Should Make Idle a Mixtape

Somebody should make me a mixtape. Not one that actually goes on tape...or CD. Unless you want it to. I mean, like...organize songs in a special order and upload it to mediafire and send me to the mediafire link, plus a list of the order it should be listened to in! Or you can mail me a mix.

-Idle

thisismynightmare@gmail.com

You can get my mailing address by emailing me.

I think someone should also make the Bear one...but I don't have her permission to suggest that...so hopefully she edits this later to include her personal email !

Man Overboard- The Human Highlight Reel

Man Overboard is an influential pop punk band from New Jersey, similar to Fireworks, The Wonder Years, and  Handguns. It's pretty much just 4 boys having fun and playing fun music. This album is actually (mostly) not new songs. It's 2 new songs, B sides, and remastered songs from EPs.
Mostly, I'm just going to discuss the two new songs. The first, "Driveway" is a great vocal song and has a sweet fast paced melody that's very adorable. The song, in short, is awesome. It's very percussion heavy.  The other, "Melanie, Video Games, and a Slight Fear Of Falling" slows down quite a bit, but because it's Man  Overboard, it's still fast. "I hope for your sake, I miss you more than you miss me" will be stuck in my head the rest of today and probably tomorrow. Overall, both the new songs get a thumbs up.
The Real Talk B-Sides on the album are "I Saw Behemoth and it Ruled" , "Love Your Friends Die Laughing",  "Again," and "Different People." There's a cover of a Promise Ring song, "Red Paint."
The rest of the songs are remastered versions of songs from The Dahlia and the Noise From Upstairs EPs.
So in short, if you liked previous Man Overboard releases, you'll love this one... I think it's mostly just a segway into their debut full length coming up soon, which will rock.

I can't really say much about this album, since it's more of a compilation of older songs put together... But I can say it sounds awesome, because I loved the EPs, too... Listen to it for the two new songs, if not for the older stuff.


-Bear

Spotlight on Local Music- Forrest Bivens

Yet another great discovery from Urban Nights (a local music and art street festival) last week! My father and I happened to notice a man on the side of the street playing guitar, harmonica, bass drum, and singing all at once. Not only that, but he was damned good.
The man had obviously been a musician for a while- little did I know...
Forrest began playing music in high school and says it was obvious that he was hooked from there. He grew up in Cincinnati in the 60s and had that same ache for music that some of us have today. After playing around a bit in high school, he ended up falling into The Customs- a pioneer band of garage rock. A lot of you probably know of the Customs- they still play reunion shows every few years, and you may recognize Forrest as their bassist. Their single, Long Gone, is still occasionally reissued in Europe and the US.
 It gets better- do The Auburnaires ring a bell to any of you? They should. Also from Cincinnati, the Auburnaires are yet another great band of garage rock. After the Customs, Forrest moved onto this awesome group. After talking to him via email, I had trouble believing that I had stood there and talked to him with absolutely no  idea he was in two bands that I happened to enjoy very much... Without even knowing that, I was still so impressed with him and the LOVE he carried with him for music. The man played for a good 5 hours straight and I've never seen someone be so content with standing and playing something they loved.
It gets even better though- he moved to L.A. to play with the BOARDWALKERS for a while, before moving  back to Cinci to work in the Treasury. Forrest's list of bands was seriously so surprising.
Recently he moved to Dayton (where Idle and I live) with his wife and daughter, and plays small local gigs around the area. He still does home recordings and will probably play with the Customs more, which would be awesome.
As I stated earlier, Forrest played the entire night for Urban Nights- through the heavy winds and rain-threatening skies. The skies thankfully never followed through, but it sure seemed like they would... And yet there Forrest stood, smiling and singing old familiar songs into his mic.
What a find, am I right?

-Bear

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fireworks- Gospel

A lot of you have probably read Idle's post about Gospel, which comes out next week. Idle, as you can read about here, was not a fan of Gospel, but he wasn't really a fan in the first place. So I'm giving you my opinion now (I'm sure you want it) in a part-two review of it- mostly because I'm a spiteful bitch to Idle and stubborn about my opinons. Fireworks is a fairly influential pop punk band from Detroit, and they have a pretty strong fanbase. I'm sure most of you either know who they are and LOVE them, or have no idea. There really isn't much in between yet. Their previous album, All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion, was awesome, but really, I think Gospel tops it.
Dave, who sings, has probably one of my favorite voices in pop punk. I was never really a big fan until Idle saw them with the Wonder Years and I just happened to look them up, but their music ended up sticking to me like glitter. Except I could probably wash the Fireworks off of me. All the songs have great lyricism, fun guitar riffs, and a lingering mellow-energy (oxymoron) that I love.
If I can agree with Idle on one thing about this record, it's that we're both usually not fans of the style. However, I think Fireworks pulls it off really well and I enjoy it. The cover of the album reminds me of those ads for kids with asthma- you know, these. If there was ACTUALLY a monster in the house and it wasn't just some fucking dog dander and a flower, it would look like that. I'm now assuming this album cover is about asthma. In all seriousness... "Oh, Why Can't We Start Old and Get Younger?" is one of the best songs ever. It makes me think of Motion City Soundtrack with more sass. And zazz. And more background vocals. It really does rock.
The most addictive part of the entire album is the guitar line in the intro of "Paintings of Paul Revere."
Overall, the album has a very light, fun and CATCHY feel to it. It's fun, and I've heard from Idle that they're even more fun live. I honestly do think it's better than the previous album, and I love it. I really felt it was necessary to post a different point of view of Gospel, because I think it's wonderful and deserves a lot better. However, I do think that there are only two ways to look at this album... I have a feeling everyone's going to feel strongly about it, and I just happen to feel that it's strong like unicorns instead of strong like not showering for a week. If that made sense. Go read Idle's review, and I guess you can make an opinion based on both of us and then buy it on May 24th!


-Bear

Living With Lions- Holy Shit

Most of my friends know me as having a slight Living with Lions obsession.... Okay, more than slight. When I first heard the Dude Manor EP from 2007, I was hooked from there. Their pop punk melodies stole my heart again with Make Your Mark, and once again, they've taken my breath away with Holy Shit. That's a bit of a hyperbole, but you know. I actually didn't get to pre-order this one because Idle got on my ass about wasting money on records when I should be saving.. (By the way, buying this record wouldn't have been anything near wasting....) But thankfully, I was able to listen to the record anyway. Anyway, let's get to the point. Living With Lions are a 5piece punk band from Vancouver. They recently lost some members, but picked back up fine and made a great album. RIYL Lifetime, Fireworks, Crucial Dudes, or Transit.
At first, I was a little skeptical of this record, with Stu being the new vocalist... But he met my expectations and more. It sounds awesome. The opening track, "Pieces," sounds like traditional LWL. It's got catchy leads, harmonies, fast paced drum lines, and lots of gang vocals. The group has very distinctive dynamics and an addictive sound. It starts off with a great impression. Talented, powerful music- no surprise there. I'm going to play Living with Lions at my wedding and my grandparents will even rock out.
"Maple Drive is Still Alive" starts off with a slow, pretty guitar riff.... That soon fades into blasting, fast paced drums. Stu pipes up with his beautiful voice, and slowly every instrument fades into the sound. It sounds so awesome. It's still pretty fast, but it's a ballad compared to the majority of their music. As expected, it picks up throughout the song. This album is pretty great at simple-but-bitchin-vocals and fairly extensive melodical lines, mixed with your quintessential pop punk riffs and group harmonies. "In Your Light"  is a pretty intense song from the start... It has a cute little guitar line, but it doesn't mess around when it starts off with the line "This is a heartfelt fuck you." Intense is pretty much the best way to describe this song. It's a soft intensity, though. Kind of like Ernest Hemingway's books, or trying to get a glass of juice before the microwave beeps.
Stu has a voice similar to Ryan from OWTH, and I love it. Bill is a great bassist, and that's my weakness... Chase and Landon work together so well, and Loren is seriously such a fucking badass at drumming. They're the fantastic 5. I wonder which one has stretchable limbs.
Songs like "Matthew's Anthem" and "Wake Up" show the softer sides of this album. Overall, it's a fairly variable album and I love it. They keep a common theme of driving and strong with great melodies, but it still changes quite a bit throughout the record. 
Tracks of honorable mention: "Matthew's Anthem," "When We Were Young," "Honestly, Honestly" and "Maple Drive is Still Alive."

It's 10 songs, it's available digitally, CD, and on vinyl. They do a pretty good job of changing just enough with their new members, but staying true to their sound. You can listen to it streaming on AOL music, check out their facebookbuy their shit at Adrenaline Records, and read more on our facebook.

-Bear

All Set - Goin' For It



I believe it would be as fair of an assertion as any to say that I'm having some sort of musical affair with the state of Massachusetts. I mean, this is my third review in two days of a band from the forgotten state, but hey, at least I think it might be my last for a while. I don't know any other bands from MA at this point, so maybe I'll get around to other parts of the country and world.

So anyfuckingway, this band All Set has gone on to prove that I'm going to be consistently more stoked with each band I hear from the whatever state. This band is way more straight forward poppy than the other two bands, and it's very obvious that they listened to The Upsides and Get Stoked On It by The Wonder Years at least 100 times each before sitting down to write this record. I mean, this is brocore. This is straight up Massachusetts brocore. Even their info on facebook makes them look like complete bros. Maybe not the kind of people I'd want to hang out with, but that's irrelevant because they make really enjoyable pop music. I mean, we're not talking about anything original here, but it definitely requires a certain amount of talent and a certain amount of ability to force people to sing along with infectious vocal melodies and awesomely structured pop punk goodness.

"Another long drive, through these city lights! We all made it here, I'm glad we took this trip tonight! And I have to say, we've seen better days! But now looking back I'd never give it all away!" Yeah, definitely listened to The Upsides while working on this record.

The recording quality is seriously solid all the way through. It sounds like a decent amount of money had to be sunken into this record, and it has to have been the right amount to have it recorded perfectly, and mixed flawlessly, and just the right amount of lack-of-money for it to not sound shitty and overproduced. They basically sound like the band All Time Low wishes they were, but accidentally overshot while aiming for the moon and ended up in a black hole, whilst All Set has set up a party base on the moon, complete with xbox and netflix. Whereas all the other moon-shooters are among the stars...other than the ones who burned up in the stratosphere (see: Saves the Day).

Hey, this album also has a poorly recorded acoustic guitar bit. Does that mean it's a real album? Maybe it's not poorly recorded, maybe it's just a shitty guitar...Thankfully it turns into a legitimate full band song halfway in, and you don't have to deal with the annoyingness for very long. The switch to electric is a bit clunky, but I suppose it works out a bit in the end. Although, it's definitely the only song I don't like on the album. Well, the bass guitar is pretty sweet on it, but that's because it's pretty sweet on all of the songs. It's not really fair to try to say a song is good just because of the bass. Well, I guess you can say that about a few songs by Rancid, or the song "Want" by Jawbreaker. That song wouldn't stand very well on its own without the badass bass intro, seriously. These songs also wouldn't survive without the awesome bass being all audible and awesome.

This band kind of reminds me of Handguns. I think I may still love Handguns a bit more. I mean, that's just the way things go. Handguns are beyond the shit. If the Handguns saw that these All Set guys had a moonbase, they'd totally fucking crash it and break their copy of Call of Duty and turn off Hey Arnold! on netflix and start watching something badass, like Californication. I don't know if Handguns are the kind of dudes to do this, but if they were, they'd totally sleep with All Set's girlfriends. It would happen. And then All Set would be back to orbiting Earth, instead of chilling on the moon. That's not to say that this 'Goin' For It' recording isn't awesome, because it is pretty rad. I mean, the fact that is reminds me of the Cincinnati band Pilot Around the Stars actually fits the whole review motif I've been centering around. See, everything happens for a reason.

-Idle

Bandcamp. Idle and the Bear's Facebook.

P.S. This album art was totally done by a kid with Photoshop. Just saying.

P.P.S. If I were to give albums ratings, I'd give it a 6/10. I said about twice as many positive things as I did negative things, which factors out to about that. It's a solid release, and gives fans a lot to look forward to with a full length release. It doesn't REALLY sound like they listened to The Upsides 100 times before writing this. They just obviously have similar influences, and you can tell a lot with the lyrical vibe and the song structure. It's a good album.

The Hotel Year - It Never Goes Out


There's a couple significant things that I always get confused about regarding Massachusetts. Well, one thing is just the spelling...I'm never certain about my spelling of that damn state. Another is the abbreviation. Whenever I see a band is from "MA" I want to make fun of Maryland, only to realize that Maryland is MD...and Maine is ME (not MI, as I assumed...that's Maine). It's all too confusing. Also, I had no idea Massachusetts was hiding awesome fucking bands until I did that Born Without Bones review, which led me to coming across this amazing fucking record.

I don't know who the hell The Hotel Year are, or who gave them permission to rock my fucking world with this 'It Never Goes Out' record, but I'm totally willing to forgive them for enacting the element of surprise, because this album should be allowed to do whatever the fuck it wants. Honestly, when your guitar tones and drums sound this fucking good, you should be allowed to murder a murder ( a word which here means "flock") of babies and get away with it. Add awesome vocals with great pop punk melodies and you have a record that destroys almost everything else released in 2011. No, seriously, this is one of the top five albums of 2011. No lies. It's 9 songs, and each of these 9 songs is a fucking triumph.

They have a lot of similarities to bands like The Promise Ring, Saves the Day, Latterman, and pretty much anything that shines in the world of melodic punk and slightly emo music. It's hard for me to not just go ahead and tell you that the first two songs are the best songs on this album (let alone some of the best songs released this year), but then it becomes hard for me to say so once you take some of the other songs into question. The sixth track "I'm Gone" is another song that I'd have trouble not placing as one of the best things ever. It sounds kind of like stuff off Brand New's first album, or off 'Where Have All the Merrymakers Gone?'. Like many of the songs on the album, it shares a slower, more emotional vibe. Compared to songs like the first two, and the amazing song "Holiday", which have a lot more in the way of pop punk going on. By the way, "Holiday" is fucking incredible.

The last two songs are also a couple of the best on the album. The penultimate track being another hectic, emotional, melodic punk song. And the last one being a mix of some sort of storytelling song, with a lot of elements dipping into 90s emo and skate punk. Basically, it's a great song, which is pretty long... but if we're being honest with ourselves, we know it'd have to be 10 minutes longer to actually overstay its welcome.

So, what do you do now, dear readers? You can go listen to this record on bandcamp and fall in love with it. You can also download it for whatever price you deem it to be worth. It's recommended that if you actually have the ability to pay with a card, that you at least pay one cent for it, so that the free download can be saved for those without that ability. Uhh, I feel like I left a lot of humor out of this post due to the fact that it's 5 AM and this album rules and I don't really care. Jerks. Don't judge me. Did anybody else see Jhonen Vasquez's tweet stating something like, "What sucks is that I STILL am going through my Jhonen Vasquez phase." HA!

-Idle

UPDATE: This album is coming out on Mightier Than Sword soon!

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