Tuesday, February 28, 2012

fun.- Some Nights

fun is perhaps one of the best pop bands there is. I fell in love with Aim & Ignite in 2009, and I'm falling in love with this record today. I actually don't know anyone who hasn't fallen in love with them. It's a trio of three sweet guys making awesome music. This album was released on the 21st. RIYL The Format, Jack's Mannequin
The music is a little bit more produced than it was on Aim & Ignite, but that's expected to happen when you become one of the most popular indie bands in America. It's less piano heavy and more traditional full-band centered. Still a lot of piano, though.
The intro starts off very sweet and quiet. Piano and Nate. The best kind of combination. Oh, and some opera singing. It does a great job of slowly, slowly building up into this amazing orchestra thing. It's awesome. And then "Some Nights" has some awesome, awesome a capella. Super cute. Also, Nate gets a little gruff with his voice. Never heard that before, but most definitely appreciated. The percussion is amazing. It reminds me of the Lion King a little, I can't even lie.
Here's a little highlight of some of the best songs-
"We Are Young feat. Janelle Monae"- no surprise that this song is amazing. It was released as the first single, and everyone fell in love with it. The lyrics are completely wonderful and the piano/drum combination gives you that endorphin rush music can give. Oh, and Janelle does a great job.
"All Alright"- Extremely catchy chorus. Reminds me a little of "Be Calm" from Aim & Ignite. Probably because they're both really, really good anti-panic songs.
"Out On The Town"- The bonus tracks are usually great, aren't they? As per the usual, the percussion and the lyrics are mind-blowing. Great, great song.

Only complaint I could possibly have is the overproduction. It sounds really good, but I miss the sound of Aim & Ignite. Either way, amazing record. Check it out.


Monday, February 27, 2012

Cheap Girls- Giant Orange

Cheap Girls is this badass Lansing indie rock band. You've probably heard of them before, and you've probably seen them before. I swear to God, even the times I'm NOT going to see Cheap Girls, I end up seeing Cheap Girls. It's like when you get two gumballs out of the machine or something. Anyway, they're really good. Ian and Ben Graham combined with Adam Aymor make up Cheap Girls. We've talked about them before. (ps. that split is a lot better than Idle makes it sound like.) This was released on February 21st. RIYL Tin Armor, Sundials, The Lemonheads
Holy shit, this album is amazing. The last time I saw Cheap Girls (out of a thousand. 1001, if you include when I  just saw Ian Graham.) was almost right before they released this, and I got to hear a couple of these songs live and I knew right then I was going to fall in love with this record. And I did.

Cheap Girls is unbelievably catchy and creative. The melodies are always fairly intricate with lots of interesting guitar and occasionally keyboards. Ian Graham has an awesome voice. Also, he is the bassist and vocalist, so we're like the same person. That's a joke, because he's better than I am. The first thing I did while listening to this record was text Idle and say "I've always liked Cheap Girls. But this was the first time I understood Jeff Rosenstock completely." 
"Gone All Summer" was an awesome, awesome way to start off the record. Incredible lyrics and a really, really addictive melody. You rock back and forth in your chair a little bit when it's on.
"Ruby" is my second favorite song. IT'S SO GOOD. Picture perfect instrumental balance. Emotionally striking lyrics. So catchy, you would put it on the juke box a thousand times and stay in the restaurant for all thousand. Drums you feel in your stomach, even through your shitty laptop speakers. Overall, bravo bravo bravo.

The best song on the entire album is "Cored To Empty." I have a habit of always picking the acoustic Cheap Girls song on the record as my favorite, but that's okay. The lyrics almost made me cry. It's an amazing, amazing song. Brings me back to when I first heard "Her and Cigarettes" but this time, it was less about being catchy and more about being perfect. This song wins the record.

Some close runner-ups include "Right Way," "Mercy-Go-Round, and "On/Off Switches."

I'm already predicting this being in my top 2012 albums.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Placeholder- Nothing Is Pure

Placeholder, originally Coastal, was formed in March of 2011. Just two months later, they released their first EP Demonstration. This was recorded last year also and released on the 20th of December. These four guys are a pretty impressive post-hardcore machine with powerful beats and catchy melodies. RIYL The Polar Bear Club, Balance & Composure, Close Only Counts
This album is not the kind of album you can passively listen to. It's extremely emotionally charged and strong to listen to. The words are in that strange subcategory of lyrics that are so specifically personal to the band that you can connect to them more than vague lyrics. Fairly rare and always a nice surprise. They make a badass combination with the vocalist's voice, which is a nice combination of angsty and focused.
The music itself is very bass and drums heavy, which I can appreciate. Creative drum rhythms and strong bass. Props to that. The guitar lines can also be really melodic and interesting, so they have the entire package for you. 
Songs especially worth listening to are "Give Up," "What This Means," and "Resent." "Resent" is definitely my favorite; it's very catchy and intense. Overall, this is a pretty good record. I wouldn't say it's one of the best I've heard ever, but I would say I'm definitely going to listen to it many times again. This is partially due to the fact that it's not my scene, so it's fairly important to take my opinion with a grain of salt. If I think it's pretty good, and this is your thing, then you'll probably fall in love or something.


Saturday, February 25, 2012

Wavelets- Athaletics

Wavelets is this badass emo band from Gainesville. Aren't all the best bands from Gainesville, or is it just me? (It's totally not just me.) They released this on Tiny Engines on January 10th of this year and I'm pretty sure thousands of people are already blaring it in their basements. I made that last part up, but it at least should be true. It's that good. RIYL Algernon Cadwallader, Dikembe, Grown Ups, Dads, Snowing, Weatherbox
Let me go ahead and describe this record to you in a few short phrases: Awesome guitar riffs. Awesome lyrics. Awesome. It's that perfect combination of calming and interesting. The music is very laid-back and emotive. It's pretty awesome when you can feel the musician's emotions through the speakers. The songs all have direction and great dynamics and it's very impressive.
Some of my favorites are "Bad Scene, Jawbreaker's Fault," "Kelly Hewitt Loves Waterworld," and "My Dad The Manatee." Not just because they have awesome/hilarious/both song titles, even though that helps.
Fans of Cursive everywhere will rejoice when they hear this album. It's just as awesome, but this time, it doesn't make you cry! (I hope that makes sense to some of you.)
My favorite thing about this album is hands down the guitar riffs. Super melodic, cyclic stuff that just makes ears happy. I love listening to all the different melodies they can come up with in every single song. Normally, I get much more excited about the bass or drums, but this album just has badass guitar. 
Lastly, listen to the lyrics. The lyrics are super relate-able and very well written. I'm getting super into it.



Friday, February 24, 2012

Defying Control - Time Changes

Have you ever wondered what it'd sound like if Saves the Day never turned awful and if the punk music that was popular on MTV in the 90s actually went in the right direction after all? Basically, it'd sound sort of like the melodic punk group Defying Control from over in Portugal.

Defying Control a lot of catchiness and impressiveness to the table with their newly released two-song EP. Both songs have excellent, relatable lyrics and are instrumentally as sound as the Batmobile. 'Time Changes' is an EP that might make you throw away all of your Polar Bear Club records, because they definitely struggle to hold a torch to such an excellently executed melodic punk effort.

I promise you'll like both songs on this release. Even though I know it's totally possible that you won't, because not everyone is into the same shit. But, I promise that if you happen to be a clone of myself or many people I know who would definitely enjoy the fuck out of this record, you will enjoy this release. Do yourself a favor and check out Defying Control's website and head over to their soundcloud page to download 'Time Changes' for yourself. You'll probably like it. There's even an awkward key change towards the finish of the first song, "Time Changes". I mean, it feels a little bit awkward, but still comes out sounding pretty good with the backup vocals in place. I don't know what I'm saying. I like this EP, though. That's all.


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The Lonely Kids Club - When the Time Comes EP

The Lonely Kids Club from Kent, Ohio have blessed my pop punk soul with some the nicest sounding songs let forth into the scene since 2012 started two months ago. Apparently Max Stern from Signals Midwest (Cleveland) sent them our way, and for that I repeatedly thank him.

TLKC have the same sort of energy as Signals Midwest, i.e. high energy, but basically sound like a more diverse version of the Lawrence Arms instrumentally, with vocals that sound similar to a manly version of Patrick Stump from Fall Out Boy. Which is definitely a compliment coming from me...I'm not really into Fall Out Boy, but I can't deny the vocal prowess of that Stump dude. They also boast this overall elegance that's common in a Gaslight Anthem Record. Don't let that put you off if you're like me and don't like Gaslight for shit, because The Lonely Kids Club are definitely professionals at what they do. 'When The Time Comes' is simply an excellent EP, and even if it were to garner international attention, it'd still deserve much more than that.

This album has it all. "Early Varnished Afternoons" is an excellent power-pop tune with a simple chord progression and is raptly followed by "Not Alone", which is a more somber sounding acoustic number. There's definitely a decent amount of diversity for a six song release, and it's pretty refreshing. The last string of short albums I reviewed were generally all same-sounding twinkly emo songs, which I still thought were great, but this EP definitely tops most of the EPs we've reviewed over our term of existence.

The final song on the album is titled "Home", and this one I find a bit funny in an odd, specific to me sort of way. Basically, it starts off acoustic and turns into an electric jam. The ska-punk band I'm in has a song titled "Home" which does exactly the same thing. We're like band buddies now or something. Regardless, this song is an excellent way to finish off an album. It's powerful, longer than three minutes, and leaves you with a feeling that its an ending that would be quite difficult to top if the album were to continue. It's pretty awesome.

You can download "When The Time Comes" for free over at The Lonely Kids Club's bandcamp page. Which is perfect, because I never have any money and definitely would like to burn a copy to listen to whenever I'm forced to drive somewhere. Why can't everything be in either walking or biking distance? Stupid world. LISTEN TO THIS EP.


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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

A few free albums from Carucage Records!

Carucage Records are this small label based out of both St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee. They seemingly have a lot to offer in the emo-punk department, which means Idle and the Bear are as interested as two music dorks could possibly be. Carucage Records shot us an email asking us to aid in promoting some of their albums and the fact that you can choose to download the albums for free or purchase yourself a physical copy from their webstore. After listening to the first link in the email, I was sold. Here are a few albums you should take notice of when you dive into the world of Carucage Records:

The Innards side of this split is a bit on the heavier side when compared to the latter half, but I’d have to say I find both sides to be equally energetic. Innards deliver some solid hardcore punk/skramz type shit for the first bit of the song “Brain” on this split, and then completely abandon the style and go for a more indie-emo approach, albeit still topped with screaming from the vocalist. The variety represented in their small, three minute portion of the split is pretty excellent. Two Knights play more of just straight forward twinkly emo...with the addition of insanely interesting percussion bits. The vocals are more snotty and therefore more relatable to by me, since I’m a stupid pop punk dork. 

More of what you heard in the last album from Innards. So, their side of the split is great. The Reptilian are absolutely perfect. I’ve reviewed their music in the past, and I’ve always been deeply impressed by it. You should check out this split just to hear more of what Innards have to offer and to feast on the cornucopia of awesomness that The Reptilian bring to the Thanksgiving table. It’s not Thanksgiving, is it? Oh yeah, it’s February. Fuck it.

This split made a weird decision that is not seen very often. It starts off with one band, then there’s two songs by the other band, then it finishes off by playing a song by the first band again. It’s kind of a cool method, because it mixes them up a bit. I feel like it’d make more sense going every other song or something, but hey, what the fuck do I know? Adaje are way more screamy than the other bands in this article. There’s two main vocalists, one who screams and one who just bark-yells. It’s kind of interesting in that respect...plus the guitar takes some weird turns at some parts in the songs. It’s definitely some interesting music, and some pretty good music. My only beef with this split as opposed to the other ones on this post would have to be the fact that I had to double check the album to make sure the band has actually changed. The style between Adaje and Lizards With Personality is far too similar to put them on a split together, but I guess that’s what they went with, and it’s too late to hate now. The songs are definitely good, either way.

You should check out Carucage Records’ webstore and get a feel for everything they have to offer! I’m going to do the same after I post this review! And eat mozzarella bites...but that’s hardly related. Later!


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Direct Hit! / Hold Tight! split 12"

I awoke this morning to a text from our dear friend Billy. The text inquired as to whether or not I've heard this new Direct Hit! split in which a new singer was incorporated. Billy then went on to tell me that the Direct Hit! songs are "not that good." Well, my initial thought was that perhaps Billy had just stumbled upon some new band that just happens to be going by the same name as DH. Then I remembered that Billy has a head on his shoulders and probably would've done a little bit of research before sending me such a text. My second thought was that maybe Billy is right, and these songs aren't that good. Yeah...we're going to have to go with the latter on this one.

The Direct Hit! side of the split starts off with some stranger shouting, "fuck you! Get pumped!" And if you didn't read below on the bandcamp page where it states that they used a different singer for these songs, you might just be convinced that this is some sort of Direct Hit! parody and not the real thing at all. This stranger continues to yell throughout the rest of the songs, which seem to be trying their damnedest to fit in with the Hold Tight! side of the release. Honestly, if you're into this heavy stuff, you might seriously dig these new Direct Hit! songs. The only real issue would have to be the fact that they should've used a different microphone on the lead vocalist. His barks sound way more grumbly than intended. Also, the fact that these songs sound absolutely nothing like the Direct Hit! we're accustomed to sort of hangs me out to dry. It's like when New Found Glory released all those International Superheroes of Hardcore songs that were hilarious and fun. The thing is, NFG intended those songs to be hilarious. I don't think the humor was as intended by Direct Hit! Or maybe it was, honestly. It would explain a lot.

Overall, the DH! side of the split is for people who listen to Champion and whatnot, I suppose, and it serves its purpose well in that sense. However, the Hold Tight! side of the split is for absolutely everyone. The songs are equally as heavy as the songs on the DH! half, but they feel far less draggy with HT!'s vocalist. The songs are also much shorter and therefore are in the habit of never outstaying their welcome. There's 11 cool little numbers on Hold Tight's side, and pretty much all fun, energetic, and exactly the type of hardcore punk I get into. There's a definite Go Rydell/Kid Dynamite sort of feel to the songs, and with that sort of resemblance to other bands we all love, it's sort of impossible to alienate anyone in the process.

You should check out both sides of the split, because you honestly might dig the weird hardcore excursion by the Direct Hit! boys. I mean, they're awesome dudes, so you should definitely check it out. And while you're at it, you should definitely check out their full length Domesplitter, because it is fucking awesome. The Hold Tight! side of the split is excellent and can be found for free download at their bandcamp page, or you can just pick up a physical copy of the split back at the DH! bandcamp, if you'd prefer to go that route! Options, options, options! Point is, check it out. You'll probably like it.


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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Kite Party - Baseball Season

Animal Style Records have this weird habit of typically releasing exclusively awesome records. I'm serious. I bet they do it on purpose or something. Knowing this, it should come as no surprise that their most recent release 'Baseball Season' by the indiepopemopunk group Kite Party is just as excellent as anything else Animal Style puts out for us to freak out over. Let's dig in, or whatever.

(By the way, I typed out a sentence about how I initially saw the email regarding this band as an email regarding a new "Katy Perry" record. Of course, right after I wrote out my short anecdote about this, I realized that Property of Zack already mentioned this little tidbit in their review. Motherfucker. Either way, I get to keep my anecdote in tact just by adding these other sentences to give it context. So, it's cool.)

If I for some reason had to sum 'Baseball Season' up in one word, I'd probably have to go with "relaxing". Because that's seriously what this album is to me. Relaxing. It reminds me of spring and summer and it calms my nerves temporarily, which is definitely a much sought after thing in my life. It reminds me of Sunny Day Real Estate in that sense...but that's probably also due to the fact that they sound like Sunny Day a bit. You know who they don't sound like? Hot Water Music. Thank god. That didn't stop review sites from comparing the two bands, though. Goofy shit, if you ask me.

Kite Party's songs on this record pretty much convey the talent of the musicians as individuals and as a hole. It's like they think of a couple clever ideas, attach them to the same song, and then absolutely refuse to take the easy way out. More cleverness is added in the rhythm section and then once the stakes are higher, the guitar does some cool mid-90s emo shit while the vocals do kind of a Onelinedrawing/Quicksand sort of thing. Overall, it's great. There are nine songs on this 'Baseball Season' record and each of them sit pretty damn well with me. There's absolutely no way you could listen to the song "Arizona" off this album and not be completely convinced of Kite Party's awesomeness. Before I knew the song name I kept picturing that scene from The Lion King with Simba running through the desert...at least that's how the music sounded to me. It sounded like the desert. Then of course it gets to the part where he's singing, "Arizonaaaaaa" and I'm like, "oh shit, it's supposed to remind the listener of a desert." That's some impressive stuff, if you ask me. Or, on the more likely side, I just see way too far into things. I'm a dork. You knew this.

The album closes out with this odd little number called "We Won't Survive." The guitar riff reminds me of something but I honestly can't place my finger on it. It's either a recent pop song or something by Lemuria. That's about as close to the answer as I can get. This song gets incredibly atmospheric part way in, which definitely seems to be a trend with these Kite Party dudes. The only problem I have with this album is actually the way it ends. It feels like it's going into another song, but another song never happens. It's a bit of a let down. I like albums with a solid, brick wall type ending. Where it feels like throughout the album the band is just paving this stone wall, and at the end of the final song this wall is finally finished and we're kind of stuck on one side of it while the band is off on the other side doing science-only-knows what. And that's a good thing. I like when it feels like the final song can't be topped.

I didn't get this effect from 'Baseball Season', but whatever. It's still an excellent debut album from a band that we can hopefully expect a lot of cool shit from in the future. You should definitely check it out, though. You can stream the entire thing for free on punknews right now, or you can pick a record up from the Animal Style website. Your call!


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Thursday, February 16, 2012

Classics of Love - Classics of Love

If you don’t know who the Classics of Love are, then I’m not entirely sure how you came across this review blog in the first place. But, it’s definitely a part of my job as a reviewer to assume that there are some people who need filled in, so here it goes:

Jesse Michaels was the vocalist of 80s East Bay ska-punk geniuses Operation Ivy and made a name for himself pretty quickly. After the band disbanded, Jesse wasn’t really involved in too much musically for quite some time until like ten years or so ago when he focused his creative energy on a band known as Common Rider. They were basically a more developed and advanced version of what Operation Ivy sounded like and represented. They were awesome. Well, they also disbanded and a couple years ago Mike Park from Asian Man Records hooked Jesse up with the guys from the punk band Hard Girls and apparently it was a match made in heaven because they became Classics of Love:  an awesome as fuck punk band reminiscent of the East Bay music scene and the Jesse Michaels style and lyrics we’ve all come to love and respect.

Now we are up to date and ready to actually talk about the new, self-titled Classics of Love debut full length.

Pardon my vulgarity, but IT'S FUCKING GREAT. Feedback is pumped into your ears the moment you turn the album on, and it's quickly followed by what is probably the most Operation Ivy esque music Jesse Michaels has had his name on since, well, Operation Ivy. The only thing missing from it that would make it a complete throwback to the olden days would be if there were any ska thrown into mix...well, you need only to wait for the next song to come on to be greeted with ska-punk awesomeness. These two songs do pretty much sounds exactly like what it would've been like if Operation Ivy would've stuck around, but you honestly shouldn't let that shit fool you, because the album doesn't just grab onto one style of music and white knuckle clutch it-this album bounces around between punk and rock subgenres so seemlessly it could confuse the shit out of a narrow minded music critic in a heart beat. (Am I the only one who thinks there's a lot of Assorted Jelly Beans influence in the second song, by the way? I can't possibly be.)

Every song on this album does exactly what the audience wants it to do, and not in some sort of, "oh, I know what's about to happen next!" sort of way, either. More like the listener can barely contain their excitement when something in one of the songs goes absolutely perfectly. You can honestly chalk this album up as another awesome punk album to add to your collection, but you might find yourself wanting to be a bit more inclusive with the classification process when you get to the half-way point in the album. "Moving Pictures" feels like a mix between The Shins, Fugazi, Common Rider, and just about any blend of indie and punk you could possibly think up. Jesse Michaels referred to it in an interview as the "heavy rock" song that made the cut for the album. Of course, this odd musical excursion is immediately followed by another meat and potatoes punk song, "It Will Not Be Moved."

Jesse's vocals have definitely improved greatly over the year, and if anything he's gained MORE energy since the days of Operation Ivy, Big Rig, and Common Rider. Maybe it's just the awesome addition of the Hard Girls dudes into the musical blender? That's probably it. "Bandstand" is another very Operation Ivy/Assorted Jelly Beans-esque ska-punk number, and includes all the catchiness and assumed importance that the rest of the songs carry in abundance. This ska-punk ordeal is followed by one of the catchier songs on the album, "Would-Be Kings". It's just another song that is heavier in the rock side than most. I just wanted to point this song out especially for the variety it displays and for just how damn good it is.

If you're more into the 80s punk influence that this band has to offer, you could probably do well to just listen to "Dissolve" and "Last Strike" on repeat. These songs sounds like if Black Flag were about 10 times better than they ever were, and if cotton candy could be marketed in a musical format.

The last song on this album, "We Need a Change", proves once and for all that there's nothing wrong with another political punk song. The lyrics are very reminiscent of Operation Ivy, while the only thing about the music that brings Op Ivy to mind would just be Jesse's vocals. The lyrics are very direct and feel as important as Michaels has always made things feel to us. I know I have a few friends who have these awkward reservations about political and social statements being displayed on top of music they'd absolutely love otherwise, but I have to disagree with their stance against this phenomenon. I grew up on politically fueled punk bands and even though I've gone a different direction with my own music and with much of the bands I listen to, it's still something that I enjoy and hold very close to my heart and brain. Jesse Michaels has once stated that music is an indirect force for change, and it warms my heart to know that he still holds this as truth to this day. The new Classics of Love albums is one of those albums that feels more like an event in your life. Very much like the first time you were listening to Operation Ivy, or some other punk band you came across in your youth, and something clicked in your head and things just made sense and you could feel yourself becoming more self aware and growing as a person. Maybe this album only has that effect on life long fans of Jesse Michaels, but maybe this album will have that effect on the younger crowd in the same way older albums had an effect on the slightly older crowd. I don't know. I guess what's really important here is that this album is pretty damn good and you should get your hands, digitally or physically, on a copy of it as soon as possible. For real.

Oh god. I just ended a review with, "for real."


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Thursday, February 9, 2012

Noun- Holy Hell

Noun is the low-key solo project of Marissa Paternoster from Screaming Females. It features quite a few musicians, however, she writes all the songs. This has actually been out for a while now, but it's relevant, I promise. It's being re-released on Valentine's Day as an LP! How exciting!

The first song, "Black Lamb," is a slow eerie piano-ballad-type of a song. This stuff sounds nothing like Screaming Females, but I still like it. "Outerspace" honest-to-Jesus made me think of Grace Slick straight off the bat. And that is one of the highest compliments I will give any female singer. "Old Friends" is an awesome song. It's very melodic, toned-down and even slightly lo-fi music. I really like the keyboard usage in this one. "Holy Hell," the title track, is a really edgy song with addictive riffs and powerful vox. The entire album is pretty badass, to be honest. 
"Wrong Things" has the best melody out of all the songs on this LP. It's extremely catchy and creative.
"Call Earth" is another great keyboard song. One of the softer, more laid back tracks.

The entire album overall is really pretty good. It's a little repetitive, but the sound is good, so I don't mind too much. It's got powerful vocals that will no doubt impress, creative guitar and keyboard melodies, and awesome lyrics.

Check it out! (Literally and figuratively.)


Ex-Suicide Machines frontman Jay Navarro with new band

Jay Navarro returns to us just in the knick of time with a new band and a new message. Basically just spend years working a dead end job and realized that it’s not how he should be spending his life...so he’s back to pleasing us with his excellent fucking song writing. Check out the band’s first single! It’s pop punk and just as awesome as anything Suicide Machines used to put out for our ear pleasure. Read the full article and check out the song over at AOL Music! RIYL Street Dogs, Dillinger Four, and obviously Suicide Machines.


Micah Brown / James Brown - Islands

If you're on a search for the most brotherly love to not come out of Philadelphia, you needn't look any further than Charlottetown, apparently, for Micah Brown and James Brown have released a brotherly split album together and it's pretty much way cooler than anything you've ever done with your siblings, if you ask me.

James and Micah call this split release 'Islands', but I've had a much easier time just referring to it as 'super', or 'excellent', or perhaps 'fucking rad.' Choose your own adventure. Honestly, if you dig indie music blended rather nonchalantly with punk vibes, you're going to dig the hell out of this split. James Brown hits us up with two awesome acoustic tracks that will make you fall in love and fall over yourself in joy at the same time. I guess that actually depends on how lovesick you tend to get and how clumsy you find yourself to be in general, but still, awesome. Both these acoustic tracks are excellent and reminiscent of Warren Franklin and anything Justin Pierre has a hand in. 

Micah Brown's side of the split employs a full band worth of instruments, consisting of the usual suspects (electric guitar, bass, drums) coupled with his excellent vocals, which fall on the deeper side when compared to his brother James's higher tuned voice. These songs have more of a Sunny Day Real Estate feel to them, if you ask me. That just makes it better, really. Unless you happen to be one of those awkward creatures who doesn't enjoy Sunny Day. 

The latter song on the Micah side of this split is once again an acoustic number and just like James's two songs on the split, it's pretty great. There are excellent backup vocals that just make some sort of ba-du-dah type noises repeated while the acoustic plays us a happy chord progression and Micah's vocals paint us the somber story of what it's like to deal with depression day after day after day after way too long day. It sucks, we know.

Check out this split, seriously! No harm can come from it! Unless you have some weird kind of allergies to awesome music...in which case you should probably stay away from Warren Franklin and Sunny Day Real Estate as well. Don't want our readers breaking out in hives. Could have a lawsuit on our hands.


Islands (split)

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Half Hearted Hero / Deadhorse - Split 7"

Animal Style and Broken Circles record labels have recently teamed up to release the coolest of the unlikely pairings of bands in the form of a split record between pop punk band Half Hearted Hero and post-rock group Deadhorse. If you're looking for a little bit of musical diversity to throw under the needle, you needn't look any further. This split is definitely the perfect blend of awesomeness. Take my fucking word for it.

Half Hearted Hero deliver two excellent pop punk jams a la Saves the Day (Through Being Cool era) and The Hotel Year and it's immediately followed by Deadhorse melting our proverbial faces with one of the coolest instrumental tracks to ever grace my ear drums and let alone this shitty planet. It's seriously hard to decide which half of this split takes away the gold medal, honestly. Whereas I love exciting as fuck pop punk music and I appreciate the awesome guest vocals from A Wilhelm Scream's Nuno Pereira, I have to say I might not have heard anything quite as, dare I say, epic as the instrumental track "New Bones". There's a gigantic cathartic build up and accompaniment of pianos and strings and choir vocals and ohmygod it's pretty freaking cool. It's so cool that I even forgot how to correctly use curse words, for love's sake.

You should just check the split out on bandcamp if you don't believe me how worthwhile the whole thing is. Once you've come over to the dark side with me and Anakin Skywalker, you can purchase the vinyl from either Animal Style or Broken Circles. That part is totally up to you. But, as the reviewer, it's up to me to decide how good this record is. I'd have to say that I'd give it at least an 8 out of 10 for what it is. If it's something you're into, you're going to love it. That's a fact. So give it a shot! Later!


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The Arteries - Dead Sea

The Arteries are basically what it would be like if AFI never made that awkward turn after 'Black Sails in the Sunset'. I'm fairly certain that's the most accurate description of this band I've read/heard yet, and I'm pretty proud of it. I guess I'm not really proud of it; it's kind of an obvious comparison and all. The vocalist definitely croons (can you call it that?) in a similar fashion to the Davey Havok we all know and love, and the rhythm section is punk as a duck whereas the leads sounds like they were constructed by Anti-Flag or one of the fifteen billion guitarists from Bad Religion. This is all topped off with a definitely hint of orgcore influence, considering some tracks sound dead on Hot Water Music blended with 'New Wave' era Against Me! and pretty much anything Rise Against shits out. What's cool about all of these sounds coming together is the fact that it sounds fucking awesome as a result.

'Dead Sea' is the recent badass release from this U.K. group The Arteries, and it's definitely some top of the line shit. Every song perfectly stays its welcome and accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do, whether that is to inspire or declare that all hope is lost. However, all hope is not lost, after all, for The Arteries have put the entire album up on bandcamp for name-your-own-price download. How fucking cool of them is that? You can stream the entire album and think to yourself, "is this my kind of shit, or should I just pass it on?" I mean, chances are you're going to download the album after you're three songs in and singing along to the incredibly catchy and well written "No Place Like Home", so all my money is on that. Do with this power what you will, but I know I'm using the power to download this record and play it on repeat while I hop on Counter Strike or some other online FPS and kick some ass (also known as "suck really badly"). What you do is entirely up to you though, boys and girls. But if you want my opinion, you now have it:  'Dead Sea' is a fucking awesome full length record and The Arteries are a fucking awesome punk band. BOOM!


The Arteries - Dead Sea
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The City Calls - "Meet In the Middle" Music Video

UK pop punk/power pop group The City Calls (I Am Mighty Records) have a new music video out for their song "Meet in the Middle". Check it out above, and also check out this tour poster below if you're over the England and able to check these dudes out!

You can also purchase their mini-album on itunes, and I suggest you do it. For fans of Motion City Soundtrack, The Motorcycle Industry, Howard Alias, and you know...pop punk stuff.


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Monday, February 6, 2012

P.S 118 / Oliver Revilo - Don’t Hit Me! I’ll Hit Me!

A couple New Jersey bands thought it was a capital idea to release a twinkly emo/indie 8-song split recently. I guess they were absolutely correct about this being a solid idea, because the split is absolutely gorgeous. Or whatever word you think we should use there. Cool? Awesome? Partyful? Sexy? Connectitude? I don’t know, dudes. All I know is that this shit hits the spot with me. I guess that means it’s like pizza or something delicious.

P.S 118’s side of the split is dominated by some of the catchiest indie/emo sing-a-longs to be released this year. I guess that’s not that crazy, considering this year has just begun, but still, I’m sure if I were reviewing this a few months in the future I’d use the same exact declaration. So fudge off. I think their band name is a reference to the school Arnold went to in that 90s cartoon Hey Arnold! It might also just actually be a school in New York for all I know, though. So I’m not going to take any chances. One thing for certain is that P.S 118 is an excellent twinkly emo band, as demonstrated by some of the coolest guitar leads since American Football and Braid ruled the emo scene.

The sounds that stand out on the P.S 118 half of the split are pretty hard to decide on. All 4 songs are amazing to me, but I guess if I would have to pick only 2, I’d say “Now I’ll Never Meet Bob Saget” and “Choco Taco, Go Phillies!” do it for me. “Bob Saget” is just one of the catchiest ones on the split, with gang vocals boasting the line “We are not the most valiant of men, and oh god, does it show!” That’s the kind of line you find yourself singing along to on your second playthrough of the record. The wording is right down my alley and the emotion behind it is great. “Choco Taco” is just a fun song overall. It utilizes one of those chord progressions that just makes things feel all right for a moment, and the way the bass line walks around it is just so charismatic and enjoyable. The lyrics are as memorable as the rest of the split, and it’s definitely a solid way to end the P.S 118 half of this release.

Oliver Revilo take the proverbial stage next, starting with the song “Fozzy, I’m Back!” After the drum counts the song in, clean guitar leads follow like a little kid follows his older brother around the playground in a similar manner to dust sticking to Pig-Pen from those Peanuts comic strips. I just double analogied; I’m pretty cool. Seriously though, this song is great. The vocals are hectic and disastrous, which is absolutely a positive thing. I don’t know how into emo our general readership is, but considering the amount of it I review, I’m going to guess there’s a pretty decent emo fandom in the Idle and the Bear realm. I want to read comments from those people regarding this split, because I can’t be the only person who thinks this release is as awesome as I consider it to be. Some of the drum fills on the Oliver side of this split are just perfect, really. There’s a bit of sloppiness to these songs, but it’s the kind of sloppiness most people dig. Like sloppy joes or something. Oliver Revilo just do an excellent job of ensuring that people will love the heck out of both sides of this split.

I don’t know, man, I just love these songs. I was in an awful mood today and this split definitely fixed me right up. I feel like every first aid kit should come with this CD neatly packed inside. These songs should also be the music they play when they put a person on hold on a suicide hotline. Maybe I’m just overly excited or whatever. Who cares? You should just definitely listen to this split. You can find both sides on it on the bands’ individual bandcamp pages, which I will link you to below. If you like it, be sure to leave a comment or two on this review. We love that kind of shit and so do the bands. Excellent split! Seriously!


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P.S 118 Bandcamp / Facebook
Oliver Revilo Bandcamp