Friday, December 31, 2010

The Republic Of Wolves - New EP Stream/Purchase

The Republic Of Wolves got some infamy when someone uploaded their songs as Brand New demos, but the band has shown in the past two months that they are no gimmick. From their excellent full length Varuna to their newest EP, The Cartographer, The Republic of Wolves has been a consistent source of excellent music. All this for a band that is still unsigned. This should change. The Cartographer shows the band testing out several different styles of music, from rock and post-hardcore songs to mellow, Copeland like tracks. The Cartographer is on sale now for pay as you want (over 50 cents), which is a deal that you can not pass up. Stream and buy the EP on Bandcamp here.

Octaves - Greener Pastures


Octaves are a hardcore band from Baltimore, Maryland. Combining mathy instrumentals and shouted, screamed, and spoken vocals, Octaves are a passionate, emotional group of guys. Greener Pastures is their first release, distributed by Hotfoot Records, an indie hardcore label. Look out for their upcoming west coast tour with Caravels in early 2011.

New Emery Album

According to their Twitter account, Emery will be releasing a new album on March 22nd entitled We Do What We Want.

Not sure about everyone else but I am quite stoked. Will post an update when pre-orders pop up.

Letlive Acoustic Session

One of my favorite records this year was Letlive's Fake History. Over at MindEqualsBlown the band did an acoustic rendition of Homeless Jazz which I must say is quite excellent. Check out the video here or after the jump.

Albums Of The Year 2010 #1: Kanye West - My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Call me cliche. Call me a bandwagon jumper. Call me a p4k lover. But Kanye West's My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy is easily the most influential album (to me) of the year, simply because in twenty years, I will look back and remember that this is the album that got me into hip-hop. "All Of The Lights" features some of the most creative orchestration heard this year, with horns and the customary electro beats working together in unison. The list of guest lists is endless, with Bon Iver, Rihanna, and Alicia Keys as some of the more notable ones. "Blame Game" is one of the most serious and intense songs on the album, until Chris Rock's two minute spoken word "bit" that both seems out of place with the song and perfect for Kanye's image of the album. "Lost In The World" is probably the first Kanye song ever to be featured on the extremely indie Sirius XM U station, sampling and turning into an upbeat, hip-hop version of Bon Iver's "Woods", before going into an intense spoken word outro about the downfalls of America. "Monster" is the darkest song on the album, with a crazy beat and nasty verses by Rick Ross, Jay-Z, and the surprisingly amazing Nicki Minaj. "Runaway" is Kanye growing and perfecting the emotional, singing based style of 808's and Heartbreaks. Which brings us to the centerpiece of the album, the most epic and in my opinion, the best song of the year, the incredible, King Crimson sampling "Power", whose beat could easily be mistaken for a cult ballad and where Kanye shows us what he really thinks of himself. But seriously, how could one man have all this power? Because Kanye thinks he should rule the world. We all better watch out, because based on this album, he can do anything he damn wants to do. Just buy this album, because there is parts of this album that can appeal to music lovers in general, and everyone should give it a chance. Amazon link is here.

Albums Of The Year 2010 #2: You, Me, And Everyone We Know - Some Things Don't Wash Out

There really isn't too much to say that I didn't already say in my review. So here's the review for you again, as the biggest surprise of my list is that this isn't number one.

Unconventional seems to be You, Me, and Everyone We Know’s middle name. First came their unconventional journey to their first album, including troubles with Drive-Thru Records founder Richard Reines, who after offering to manage the band barely supported them and did nothing but cause trouble for the rising band. Then the band put exposure before profit by releasing their first two releases for free, a rarely seen business model for a touring band. From there, the band signed to Doghouse Records and put out one of the best pop-punk albums of the year, commonly using a surprising brass section to make their record unique from the oversaturated pop-punk music scene.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #3: The Morning Of - The Way I Fell In

In one word, The Way I Fell In is simply "beautiful". Beautiful harmonies, beautiful songs, and of course, the beautiful vocals of the pair that is Jessica Leplon and Justin Wiley create the pop masterpiece of the year. Every song has it's own style, and not one song seems like filler. The jazzy "What You Can't Control" shows The Morning Of's excellent song writing skills, straying away from the normal songwriting patterns allowing Jessica to use her vocal strengths in ways most singers couldn't. "The Ones That Fall Apart" is a harmony filled pop-rock gem, with no dull moment in the entire song and all the instruments arrayed in a beautiful web of sound. "Cobwebs and Cables" shows some technicality for a pop band with a verse structure that is anything but conventional, with choruses that display Justin at his best. "I Know You Know" is a Jessica only track, with only a backing acoustic guitar and a saxophone at the end. However, the song seems a lot less simple once you know that it was recorded in only one take, making the outstanding vocal performance even more special, as Jessica shows she should be declared one of the best female voices around. "Heaven And Hell" welcomes a third beautiful vocalist to the mix, with Copeland's (R.I.P. Copeland) voice Aaron Marsh joining in  to complete one of the best vocal trifectas of the year. It is upsetting to see The Morning Of on the verge of not being a band anymore, as this record is a vast improvement over their first (Note: Justin has clarified and said the band is going strong, and there should be a new record in 2012). It is almost impossible to imagine anymore growth for the band, though with the vocal talents of the band, anything is possible for their future. Listen to the band and show them your love on Myspace here.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #4: Motion City Soundtrack - My Dinosaur Life

Motion City Soundtrack is proof that anyone with talent can make it, and the presumed "band image" isn't needed.  Sadly, their looks have probably made getting to this point of their careers where they have been signed by a major label much more difficult than it should have been.  Their brand of nerdy pop-punk deserves to sell more records than any of those manufactured pretty boy bands out there. My Dinosaur Life includes some of the best songs of Motion City Soundtrack's now four album discography, moving some of the synth back into the mix, but still not losing the band's traditional sound. "Worker Bee" introduces the album perfectly, as it could almost be symbolizing the band's label move, as singer Justin Pierre explains "I'm through with the old school, so let's commence the winning". "Disappear" is one of the fastest paced, yet darkest Motion City songs, blaring riffs and rumbling bass creating the feeling of anger expressed throughout the lyrics. "Pulp Fiction" brings back the classic MCS synth lines, with the band's customary witty lyrics and strong hook forming one of the strongest tracks on My Dinosaur Life. "The Weakends" is the band as their musical best, as the whole band reaches into their pool of talent to create a closer that is sure to blow you away. Motion City Soundtrack gives a figment of hope that the industry is not moving towards image, and that musical integrity will still remain in the future. Motion City Soundtrack can be streamed on Myspace here.

I the Mighty - "Cutting Room Floor"

I'd like to welcome Jeff to the mix of posting. Jeff has quite a solid taste that he will be sharing with you guys. We are planning on expanding soon, with quite a few great things to come. Keep checking in often.

I the Mighty, a four-piece rock band from Fremont, CA just released their new single yesterday (12/28/10) entitled "Cutting Room Floor" on their Facebook page. I the Mighty garnered notice after releasing their Hearts and Spades EP (at left) earlier this year, a five-song release akin to what a mixture of Say Anything, Envy on the Coast, and The Receiving End of Sirens might sound like. With "Cutting Room Floor," the band develops their sound into something more technical, strongly playing up The Receiving End of Sirens aspect of their music and diminishing the Say Anything part. The verses bring to mind Circa Survive's Blue Sky Noise, as playful guitar lines complement frontman Brent Walsh's smooth, rich vocals. Yet once the chorus kicks in, Walsh hits his upper register singing, "Why don't you leave/just leave," emphasizing the "just" with an emotive wail, in stark contrast to his smooth lower register in the first verse. However, the highlight of this song is the latter-half of the second verse, which utilizes overlapping vocal melodies, and the bridge, featuring beautiful falsetto harmonies leading into a time signature change with a jumpy clean guitar riff. The lyrics are one of the other strong points of the song. Those who listened to Hearts and Spades know that I the Mighty are a poetic group. "Cutting Room Floor" details political corruption, asking "If hell broke out in the White House/How long would it take for word to carry here?" With another EP expected in spring 2011, I the Mighty are a band to keep an eye on. Don't be surprised if they blow up in 2011. Listen to the song on Facebook here.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #5: Circa Survive - Blue Sky Noise

Circa Survive is the band of the year. Two exceptional releases on a major label, several magazine covers, and having one of the most beloved vocalists of the year can do that for a band. Blue Sky Noise is the apex of Circa's career so far, with some of the best songs the band has ever done while still being their most accessible. Had the first half of the album been released as an EP, it would have been possibly the best EP of all time, as Circa continuously blows a listener away. "Get Out" is the most aggressive song the band has released, as vocalist Anthony Green screams and cries at almost an impossible register as you can feel him screaming at his own mind, begging for mercy. "Glass Arrows" shows Circa at their most technical and atmospheric, with excellent instrumentals and an odd time signature that almost seems normal for the band. "I Felt Free" shows that Circa can make an absolutely stunning pop song and "Imaginary Enemy" could have dominated the alternative rock stations. The second half of the album is solid, but seems a lot worse when compared to the beautiful first half. However, songs like "Fever Dreams" and "Spirit Of The Stairwell" are still great in their own way. This album has been one of the best of the year from the first listen, and Circa has broken into many people's (including my own) list of favorite bands. This year however, Circa has no competition. Listen to Circa Survive on Myspace here.

Review for their latest release, the Appendage EP here.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #6: Sleigh Bells - Treats

You may want to be careful when you blast this album for the first time. Cause this album will destroy your speakers if you aren't careful. Now, once you know your speaker's limits with this album, put it up that high, because this album is meant to be LOUD. Combining the sweet sounds of vocalist Alexis Krause with the heavy, over the top production and guitars of ex Poison The Well guitarist Derek Miller, you will not hear another album like Sleigh Bells' Treats. "Kids" is exactly the kind of song the band makes, with the obvious hardcore influences in the guitars with the production that could instantly turn off a new listener. However, pushing your eardrums to the limit is exactly why this album is so great. "Infinity Guitars" is perhaps the most well known Sleigh Bells song, as it should be with an addictive beat and a killer hook. "A/B Machines" is Sleigh Bells at its simplest, as the lyrics are ultra repetitive (I mean, when is repeating the same two lines over and over not repetitive) but ultra catchy and the guitars pound against your ears. But really, this album is meant to be loud and obnoxious, which is pretty much the kind of music I dislike. However, Sleigh Bells makes even the most uneven production and makes it glossy. This album is the album on this list that I was least likely to enjoy, and I love it. So check out Sleigh Bells on Myspace here.

Interview With Casey Crescenzo (The Dear Hunter, TREOS)

Casey Crescenzo from The Dear Hunter has agreed to take a few questions with me about topics such as the TREOS re-release, the future of TREOS, the background of The Dear Hunter's albums' stories, the color spectrum, and upcoming touring. Read it after the jump.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #7: The Graduate - Only Every Time

For some bands, there are replaceable members. For The Graduate, every member is extremely important, and Only Every Time would not nearly be as good as it is without every single member living up to their potential. Between the excellent rhythm section, the extremely technical guitars creating the atmospheric feel throughout the album, and the lead vocals supported by excellent harmonies, the band's pieces go together perfectly. Tracks like the upbeat "Siren" can combine atmospheric guitars with the lower pitched and heavier guitars to create a siren sounding effect. Ballad "Pull Me In" has perhaps the best harmonies and probably the catchiest chorus throughout the entire superb album. "Choke" has vocalist Corey Warning showing off his extraordinary range, proving that he is a naturally gifted vocalist. But the individual songs aren't important, as there really is not any single standout song, instead there is an extremely strong cohesive product. Just like the members of the band, when put together, the album becomes something special. Check out The Graduate on Myspace here.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #8: Jimmy Eat World - Invented

Veterans Jimmy Eat World seem to have two different styles of albums they put out. There is the darker, more emotional Clarity and Futures and there is the lighter and poppier Bleed American and Chase This Light. Invented falls mostly into the first category.  First single "My Best Theory" is one of the "heaviest" songs that Jimmy Eat World has ever done, bringing almost ambient guitar playing to the verses before exploding out with riffs and harmonies in the chorus. "Movielike" could be a for-sure top 40 hit with its extremely smooth production and the simple, catchy hook. However, the ballads at the end of the album are definitely the strength of Invented. "Cut" is the first, singing from the female's point of view of a relationship with acoustic verses and huge choruses. The title track is a seven minute epic containing the best lyrics on the record and vocalist Jim Atkins singing fairly stripped done from Jimmy Eat World's usual vocal style. Female harmonies add to the emotional impact of the song, and the climax where the song simply blows up both vocally and instrumentally is possibly the best moment of the album. "Mixtape" simply adds to Jimmy Eat World's long time reliance on the excellent closer of an album, a song worthy of being in the same sentence as "Goodbye Sky Harbor", "Dizzy", "23", and "My Sundown". Jimmy Eat World consistently makes strong albums, and although Invented is nothing new or groundbreaking, it's more proof that Jimmy Eat World is one of the best artists out there. The band's been making albums for over ten years now, and there seems to be no end in sight. Listen to Jimmy Eat World on Myspace here.

La Dispute Free Downloads

Post-hardcore/skramz band La Dispute gives us one of the best Christmas presents of the day: Their whole discography for free download. Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair is one of the most powerful albums in the past three years, and is a must download.  You may as well download the band's incredible full discography, and do it quick, cause it only lasts for today. Stream and download all the albums here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010 #9: Valencia - Dancing With A Ghost

Who knew that a small progression could lead to a seemingly huge change in sound? Valencia moved down the street from their smooth pop-punk sound in order to create something totally different, an extremely well put together and musically superb pop-rock Dancing With A Ghost. The title track is definitely one of the top ten songs this year, with in my opinion the catchiest chorus of the year along with extreme musical progression from We All Need A Reason To Believe. Rather than the driving guitar and drums known in usual Valencia tracks, "Dancing With A Ghost" showcases Valencia's new sound with bells and much more technical guitar riffs. "Still Need You Around (Lost Without You)" seems to be early in the album for a ballad, but it works with the flow of the album extremely well, containing even more surprises with gang vocals surrounded some of Shane's best vocal work. "Friday Night" is the apex of Valencia's transformation, sounding like an entirely different band. The song has a dark feeling that could almost be compared to The Used, though Valencia pulls it off better than The Used could ever do. Valencia has even more tricks up their sleeves with the strings and keys in "Somewhere I Belong" and snaps in "Days Go Bye". Although a record that may need to grow on you, Dancing With A Ghost changes Valencia from a standout pop-punk band to a band with their own, unique sound that hopefully they will continue to develop in the future. Listen to Valencia on Myspace here.

K Será

I've been waiting for this band to put out a proper release for such a long time now. And what can be better than a Thomas Dutton produced record by a band that could easily be described as similar to Forgive Durden. K Será makes a cinematic pop-punk EP that shows massive talent in all areas, and could prove to be a huge breakout in 2011. Opening track "Me Before Women And Children" features Dutton himself and sounds like a song that Gatsby's would do with some more keys. "Advice: Save Yourself" could pretty much be played at a circus. The whole EP is worth checking out, can be streamed on Bandcamp here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Farewell Fighter

I've already hyped up You, Me, And Everyone We Know a ton this year. I mean, they only released one of my top two records of the year. In their newest track "Love, Lust, Or Losing It?" posted on Facebook, Farewell Fighter sounds very similar to an early You, Me, And Everyone We Know. The production is definitely not as slick and the overall band is not as polished, but the vocal, instrumental, and lyrical structures all seem to scream You, Me, And Everyone We Know. This is definitely a band that if they get signed can release an album the caliber of Some Things Don't Wash Out. Farewell Fighter is definitely a band to watch in the upcoming year, and their new seven song EP will be out January 18th. Listen to the new song on Facebook here.

Albums Of The Year 2010 #10: The Wonder Years - The Upsides

2010 was a "pop-punk" revival of some sort. No Sleep and Run For Cover Records rose up with excellent signings and many great pop-punk bands became quite popular such as Fireworks, Man Overboard, Transit, and This Time Next Year. However, The Wonder Years may easily be the biggest breakout of this group of bands. Way back in January, the band released The Upsides which immediately became an anthem for many college students. The lyrics involved the hardships between friends, failed relationships with girls, and how to look past them. The opening track, "My Last Semester", immediately croons the listener with the absolute message of the album, as vocalist Soupy Campbell states that he's "not sad anymore, I'm just tired of this place". "New Years With Carl Weathers" represents the band's ultimate style, with the driving melodies and instruments along with humor and brutal honesty of the lyrics. "All My Friends Are In Bar Bands" is a perfect closer, as Soupy wonders about what has happened to his old friends and brings all his new friends (vocalists Matty Arensault of A Loss For Words, Dave Mackinder of Fireworks, Shane Henderson of Valencia, Jamie Rhoden of Title Fight, Nik Bruzzese of Man Overboard) to assist him in chanting the album's opening line again and again. The band has busted out huge this year, and has recently signed with Hopeless Records. The band recently re-released The Upsides on Hopeless with four new tracks, all of which are excellent. The positivity of the album brings a fresh breath into music that seems to be rather negative these days. Check out The Wonder Years on myspace here.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010: Honorable Mentions

Here are all the albums that may not have made my top 10 list, but deserve plenty of credit. I linked every report I have done for any of the albums as well as bolding the top fifteen that did not make the list. 
Starting tomorrow, the top ten list will begin to be posted. Check it out tomorrow and the rest of the year. 
List after the jump.

Sparks The Rescue New Record

Fearless Records has announced that Sparks The Rescue will be releasing Worst Thing I've Been Cursed With in April 2011. Sparks The Rescue's debut was solid pop-rock, praised by critics as one of Fearless Records' best bands. Sparks just completed their first headlining tour with Amely and You, Me, And Everyone We Know, and will now work on finishing their album. Listen to Sparks The Rescue on Myspace here.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Benton Falls - Ashes and Lies

"Ashes and Lies" may be the name of an older song by Benton Falls, but it can somewhat loosely symbolize this EP. Anyone who said there would never be another Benton Falls song was lying, as the band has released five unreleased songs from the ashes. One of Deep Elm's most celebrated bands, Benton Falls' indie/emo style brings back memories of 90s bands such as Sunny Day Real Estate and American Football. Along with these five new songs comes a cover of Benton Falls' "Angels On Hiatus" by one of Deep Elm's newer great bands, Clair De Lune. This may be the last material we will ever get from Benton Falls, so stream it on their page here.

Go Radio Album Announcement

Go Radio will be releasing their first full length album, Lucky Street, with Fearless Records on March 1st, 2011.  Led by Jason Lancaster, the writing genius and stronger vocalist on Mayday Parade's A Lesson In Romantics, Go Radio released a great EP earlier this year which is on my favorites EPs list. Mayday's newer album was atrocious, and Go Radio is more than capable of creating the older Mayday Parade sound. Link to the original facebook post is here. Tracklisting can be found below the jump.

Interview With Bright And Early

Bright and Early is one of the great up-and-coming pop-punk bands of the scene today. Releasing one of the best EP's of the year, Bright and Early is in the studio working on a new EP, out early in 2011. Singer John Browne agreed to do an interview with us, talking about recording, touring, and reaction to the EP. Check it out after the jump.

The Life of Touring: Documentary

As a new contributor to Muzik Dizcovery I wanted to make my first post on the site something huge. So with that, I would like to present you readers with a film project I am working on that is very relevant to the genres posted on this blog.

If you head over to this Kickstarter page you can donate to a film that will about the life of touring. Me and my friend will be following Warped Tour and giving music fans the real experience of touring. Read more at that link above.

Here's to more posts at Muzik Discovery that turn people on to some great music!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Best of The Year 2010: Favorite EPs

Here are my favorite EPs of the year. I look more for stronger song quality and lasting value rather than a cohesive product in EPs compared to albums. The best of the best are bolded, and every artist posted about on the blog has a link to their article.

Bright And Early - Louder Than Words
Brighten - Be Human
Cari Clara - You Better Run
Come Wind - Wanderer O' Wanderer
Go Radio - Do Overs and Second Chances
I Call Fives - Bad Advice
I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody's Business - Dust'n Off The Ol' Guitar
Isles and Glaciers - The Hearts Of Lonely People
Kiven - Two In The Same
Mae - (e)vening
NGHBRS - Hellomind
Soletta - The Road Back Home
The Spill Canvas - Abnormalities
Stay Ahead Of The Weather - We Better Get Goin' If We're Gonna
There For Tomorrow - Re:Creations
This Condition - Spirit
Vertigo Whales - Everything Connects

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010: Honorable Mentions (V)

Here are two albums that were just on the verge of getting into my top ten of the year. This will be the last post of my favorite pop albums for now, as the last two will be on my top ten list. I will link the entire pop list here when I have it all compiled into one post.

Cee-Lo Green - The Lady Killer

We may as well deem Cee-Lo Green the king of the radio single. He had already had one major hit as part of Gnarls Barkley ("Crazy") that went double platinum and was named Rolling Stones #1 song of the decade. He has already created some competition for his best song with the megahit "Fuck You", that had two million listens on Youtube a week into its existence and has been nominated for five Grammys. Everyone knows that song, but "Fuck You" isn't the only gem on the album, one of the best R&B and soul influenced pop albums of the year.  "Bright Lights Big City" is the perfect club dance song with bass beats along with a great synth line and an extremely catchy chorus. "Bodies" combines dark imagery and a drumline style snare section enhancing Cee-Lo's unique vocals. "I Want You" is another unique arrangement, with what almost seems like a full orchestra enhancing the song. The whole album is meant to be checked as a whole, so go get it now. Singles aren't everything.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010: Honorable Mentions (IV)

Just one album today, but it's worth it.

Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?

There are two ways of making a surprising album. One is to be a band that few people have heard of, and making a great release. The other way is to be a well known band that ditches all the awfulness of a previous release to create something special. Hellogoodbye ditched the autotune and the dancy electronics to create a more natural indie influenced pop album.  "Finding Something To Do" immediately begins the album on a different note than the debut, with driving guitar (yes, real guitar!) and handclaps, putting Hellogoodbye the closest they've ever been to making a rock song. Possibly the strongest track on the album, "When We First Met" is separated into two distinct sections, the light, fluttery acoustic verses and the heavier, pounding chorus, both accompanied by a similar keys melody. The whole album is great, but along with those tracks, "Would It Kill You" and "You Sleep Tonight" are key tracks.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010: Honorable Mentions (III)

Keeping on with the best pop albums of the year, here are #7 and #6 on that list.

He Is We - My Forever
Purevolume always seems to be one of the least respected sites for finding new music. I mean, many of the bands on there are for fourteen year old girls to discover their new favorite Ke$ha metalcore cover, but once in a while there is a true gem. Their list of the top unsigned bands of 2009 had quite a few finds, including the currently signed Amely and Tonight Alive and the should-be-signed Every You and Gabriel The Marine. However, #1 on that list is He Is We. Rachel Taylor has an exceptional voice, blaring out the band's contagiously catchy choruses as on the made for corny chick flick soundtrack "Happily Ever After". "All About Us" features ex-Underoath vocalist Aaron Gillespie singing call and response with Rachel and the twinkling piano and acoustic guitar. And first single "And Run" has the obviously necessary in every pop single hand claps. Don't forget to check out "Fall" and "Forever and Ever" as well.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Albums Of The Year: Honorable Mentions (II)

Two of my favorite pop albums of the year, actually #9 and #8 on the list I'm creating for of the best pop albums of year. I'm giving you guys a bit of a sneak peek though.

The Rocket Summer - Of Men
And Angels

Bryce Avary and his moniker The Rocket Summer has been on these lists for about a decade now. Armed with exceptional talent (he plays every instrument on the record) and extremely catchy hooks, Of Men And Angels, may not have many stand out tracks, but the almost the whole record is extremely solid. Of Men And Angels has the most religious influence of any of The Rocket Summer's albums, but it still should not isolate anyone away from the album's messages. "Hills and Valleys" is a highlight with its positive message, harmonizing piano clinks, and handclaps. In addition, other tracks to check out are "Walls", "Of Men And Angels", and "Light".

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Albums Of The Year 2010: Honorable Mentions (I)

Over the next two weeks, I will go through the albums that were definitely some of the best this year, concluding with my favorite on New Years Eve. The honorable mentions are in no specific order, just the ones I decide to write about. Check out the first two after the jump.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Dem Waffle Houze Boiz

Disclaimer: The music really isn't good. However it is, in fact, absolutely hilarious. From the band name, to the lyrical content (mostly about food and waffle houses), to the fact that this band is just three nerdy white guys trying to rap, Dem Waffle Houze Boiz are amazing if you disregard everything else. However, the band does show slightly more talent than some of the mainstream bands taking the same pathways. The beats are okay, if not great, and they can write some damn catchy choruses such as in "The Noise". "Booty Clap" is a T-Pain rip-off that is atrocious, but the song is amazing if you are looking at pictures of the members while listening to it. "Forever" is a parody of Drake's song of the same name, while "Black Gold" parodies Kanye's "Runaway" with an ode to soda. Seriously, the band isn't good. But at least you'll smile the whole time while listening. And for some people, that's all that matters. I'm one of those people. Check out Dem Waffle Houze Boiz on Bandcamp here and download their free mixtape.


Most people associate music with singing. Fewer people allow screaming to be part of music. However, not many people can think that plain spoken word can be used in music. When lyrics are powerful enough and the instrumentals can accompany the words, spoken word music can be extremely powerful. Aaron Weiss from mewithoutYou is a perfect representation of those concepts. But even mewithoutYou has some singing. Listener is pretty much poetry backed by indie guitars and drums. The mewithoutYou comparisons are valid though, as Dan Smith can pretty much be described as Aaron Weiss with a southern twang in his voice. For those that prefer just the lyrics, Listener also has the entire album without the instrumentals. Listener may not be for everyone, but the band is definitely special. Listen to Wooden Heart on Bandcamp here and listen/download to the poetry version here.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

New Yellowcard Album

Yellowcard was probably one of the first pop-punk bands I listened to. Back in elementary school, "Ocean Avenue" and "Only One" were two of my favorite songs, and they are still pretty high up there for nostalgia's sake. After the great album Paper Walls, Yellowcard took a three year hiatus, which they recently came out of. Their newest album, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes, has finally been completed and is expected to be released in March. This is easily one of my most anticipated for the upcoming year, and I'm sure it is for many other people as well. Yellowcard will be on tour with All Time Low, Hey Monday, and The Summer Set this spring. Follow Yellowcard on Myspace here.
*Update* The album release date is now announced to be March 22nd.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The Offseason

2010 has been an exceptional year for new pop-punk bands. The Wonder Years released one of the most beloved albums of the year, Man Overboard and Transit let out two great albums, and many other bands like I Call Fives, Bright and Early, and Such Gold have released exceptional EP's. A lesser known band that deserves to be stated in the same sentence as those bands is The Offseason. Their debut EP, Goin' For Broke, is extremely catchy and puts out those passionate lyrics that good pop-punk is known for. "Livin' The Dream" has a superb hook that challenges You, Me, And Everyone We Know for the best "Livin' The Dream" of the year. The band has released their EP for free, and you can stream the whole release on Bandcamp here.

Now, Now

I seem to be on quite a female band kick right now, as including this post, the last three have all been female bands. However, they have all been quite difficult stylistically. Modern American Theatre leaned towards technicality, while Aria was more pop. Now, Now's (formerly Now, Now Every Children) is influenced by indie bands, similar to Metric or Stars. Now, Now is one of No Sleep Records' newest signings, and one of its few female bands. Now, Now got a lot of exposure when they were on tour with Paramore in Europe. However, that little bit of exposure wasn't enough. This band deserves to be mentioned in the same sentence as Metric and Stars. Lead singer Cacie Dalager has a unique, raspy vocal style that should definitely appeal to fans of those two bands. Check out Now, Now on Myspace here.

Friday, December 10, 2010


Aria is a band that just shows pure dedication. I mean, anytime a sixteen year old girl travels 2000 miles to join a band, there must be some sort of special push for her. And what a result that push has created. Aria more resembles the older, more technical VersaEmerge than any of the simple female led pop-rock bands such as Hey Monday. The instrumentals are definitely a major positive in the band, and lead singer Bianca has quite a set of pipes. The band also obviously has some connections, as the production is exceptional for a first release. Aria is definitely a band that's worth following for the future, as they show tons of potential at a young age. Check out the band on Myspace here.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Modern American Theatre - We Could Make A House

I depend on other websites in order to find new music. Without other sites, there wouldn't be any content for me to cover. Sputnik Music just did an excellent review on this band, Modern American Theatre. Their new release, We Could Make A House, combines the guitar taps and Minus The Bear like instrumentals with a poppy, female singer to create a fairly unique band. Although the vocals aren't exceptional, it is definitely fresh with this style of music, as most of the bands in this style (Minus The Bear, Maps and Atlases, Six Gallery) are led by males. This band is definitely one that needs exposure, as better production could easily make this band better than they already are. Check them out and stream or purchase their album on their Bandcamp page here.

WTF Week Continues - Rise Records Signs Sharks

Rise Records just seems to be turning all sorts of heads this week. And there's still more to go. But until then, let's focus on Sharks. To be honest, I've never heard of this band before. Now that they've signed, I hope they get the recognition they deserve. Coming from Britain, they are teaming up with Rise to release the material they recorded during their first two years as a band. The band can best be described as a British The Gaslight Anthem or Fake Problems, performing that rock and roll/Americana (even though they're British) sound very well. As with Man Overboard and Transit, I'm curious to see what the future will be with these bands. They obviously can't tour with the usual Rise bands, so i expect some interesting tours ahead. At the very least the distribution of Rise will launch all the bands' popularity to a new level. Check out Sharks' Facebook page right here. The album is out April 5th.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Boxer And Clover - Fate Has Favorites

It's always nice when a solid band you forget about puts out an exceptional release. I already had Boxer and Clover's last EP, but it didn't stick with me. However, I downloaded Fate Has Favorites earlier today, and I've listened two or three times since then. The songs are exceptionally catchy, and the vocals are superb. The lyrics aren't too shabby either. The band just knows how to make good pop-rock songs similar to Mae or the poppier side of Jimmy Eat World. This release has reopened my eyes to the band, and I will give the older EP another listen, along with many more additional listens of this release. Check out Boxer and Clover on Myspace here.

The Damned Things - Ironiclast

This was the last album of the year I was really looking forward to. The Damned Things are a so-called "supergroup" with Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die along with Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley from Fall Out Boy and Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of Anthrax. However, there's a slight letdown involved, mostly having to do with Keith. Keith is probably my favorite heavy vocalist out there, but the vocals do not seem up to par with Every Time I Die. The songs however, are fairly strong. This band knows rock and roll. Taking influences from metal and classic rock, The Damned Things could have come straight from the 80's. Guitar solos aplenty combined with the hooks create an accessible heavy album. "A Great Reckoning" sounds extremely similar to the Foo Fighters. However, the one big thing that can be said about the album is that these guys know what real rock is. Even with the letdown, it's a solid album, though one that probably will not be appearing on my end of year list. Check out The Damned Things on myspace here.

First Five Warped Bands Announced

Warped Tour is announcing their bands a little bit differently this year. Every week from now until late March they will be announcing about five bands a week, with the main stage bands coming last. The first five announced are Every Avenue, Go Radio, Dance Gavin Dance, We Came As Romans, and The Word Alive. Every Avenue is extremely solid pop-rock in the All Time Low vein, and will be releasing their third record around that time. Go Radio includes Jason Lancaster, ex singer of Mayday Parade, and creates music as good if not better than Mayday Parade's A Lesson In Romantics. DanceGavinDance is intriguing due to the return of one of my favorite singers, Jonny Craig, back to the band. However, after seeing him with Emarosa last year I do not have any intention of wanting to see him. We Came As Romans and The World Alive are basically generic metalcore (WCAR with synth/autotune). The first five bands are solid, as I would see Every Avenue and Go Radio, though I'm hoping for some can't miss bands later on.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

B.o.B. - No Genre

Disclaimer: There are no #1 hits like Nothin' On You, Airplanes, or Magic on this mixtape. However, B.o.B. shows off exactly what made him one of the most hyped rappers coming into the year. I have only lately started listening to hip-hop, and from what I know about the genre, this is a great release. B.o.B. rips apart his verses, showing great flow while the production and beats are top notch. Also, the amount of features is kept much lower than the album, mostly focusing on his own raps. Any fan of hip-hop should download this mixtape. You can download it for free right here.

Rise Records' Curious New Signings

Seemingly just days after I rag on them in the Decoder post, Rise Records will add two of the best pop-punk bands of 2010. Man Overboard and Transit announced today their signing to Rise. The promised "WTF Week" has definitely been full of WTFs so far, with an expected more to come in the next few days. Man Overboard released one of my favorite albums in the year, the superbly catchy Real Talk, though it will fall just outside my top ten while Transit has been praised for their honest and hard hitting Keep This To Yourself. What make these signings surprising is that these bands just don't fit the Rise standard. It definitely seems that Rise is trying to break their awful reputation by signing some credible bands, while diversifying in the process. I'm extremely curious to see what the next signings are, and if the label will stay on this hot streak. Check out Man Overboard on Bandcamp here and Transit on Myspace here.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Sage Francis - Li(f)e

End of year lists bring forth bands that you may have never heard of before. Sage Francis seems to be my biggest discovery of the list season. When I saw pictures of Sage Francis, I thought he was some folk singer in the the vein of Iron and Wine or Bon Iver. Instead, Sage Francis combines hip-hop with folk to create a very intriguing release. Lyrics are at the forefront of this release, especially in "The Best Of Times", a song that is especially easy to relate to with its extremely personal statements of his life. The instrumentals are solemn and fit perfectly with the mood of the songs. Sage Francis has crossed genres extremely successfully, and with a few more listens this album may be at the forefront of my list. Check Sage Francis out on Myspace here.

Record Labels, Talent, and Popularity

I need to make something clear. Someone brought up a point in the comments on the Decoder post that I just need to make sure everyone knows.

Tyler said...

New Attack Attack isn't that good personally, but how can you say these bands have no talent when rise records sponsors them. If they had no talent wouldn't they not be sponsored? And the new attack attack screamer has no talent though not going to lie.

Record labels don't care about talent. They care about record sales. And if kids will eat up talentless bands, they will sign them. Just look at Abandon All Ships. There is not one bit of unautotuned clean vocals in any of the band's songs. It's generic scenecore to the max, and that's all it is. For another example, just think about most top 40 artists, in particular artists such as Ke$ha. Does she actually play an instrument, or have any vocal skills whatsoever? Does she write meaningful lyrics? Maybe to the class slut, but mostly, no. All this long post says is that TALENT DOES NOT EQUAL SUCCESS. That is what's happened to the music scene these days. I'm sure I've met plenty of people, even in my own school, that are probably more talented than the people on top 40 radio. But they either don't have the money, the exposure, or the image. That's what you need to be a successful artist these days.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hellogoodbye - Would It Kill You?

Hellogoodbye is a band that should be on everyone's "biggest improvement of the year" list. The band, known in the mainstream for their autotuned electro-pop hit "Here (In Your Arms)", has made an enormous leap in the caliber of the music that the band is putting out. Would It Kill You ditches the autotune and much of the blatant electro influences and creates one of the most fun pop albums of the year. The band shows much musical maturation with both song structure and the musicianship within the songs. Instrumentation is much more varied than before, perfectly shown in "Betrayed By Bones". The band's lyrical content has also improved. Although this album doesn't have a mainstream hit the caliber of "Here (In Your Arms)", their musical improvement has brought respect to the band throughout the music community, and Would It Kill You is an album worth checking out. The band's Myspace page can be viewed right here.


Rise Records does not have a great reputation as a record label. Signing bands such as Attack Attack, Scarlett O'Hara, Abandon All Ships, and many others can do that to a label. Luckily, Rise does have a few bands that actually have talent, such as Tides of Man, PMToday, and until recently, Oceana. Decoder seems to be another band entering that highest tier of Rise Records bands. Decoder takes members of old VersaEmerge, Of Machines, and old Oceana to create a combination of those three bands. Decoder is a technical version of post hardcore similar to the talented Rise bands listed above. Two songs from Decoder's self titled album are on their Bandcamp page, where you can also pre-order the record. Hopefully the record will showcase the band's talent rather than going to the generic side of the spectrum. The album will be released on January 17th.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Happy Body Slow Brain

Taking Back Sunday's news of bringing back Tell All Your Friends members Shaun Cooper and John Nolan created quite a stir earlier this year, including crashing AbsolutePunk. However, I'm sure this news was not very uplifting to the two members who got replaced, Matt Fazzi and Matt Rubano. Fazzi decided to continue his music career with his new band, Happy Body Slow Brain. HBSB is a much more mellow and technical band that TBS ever was, with fairly strong R&B and prog influences. Fazzi is a very strong vocalist that was underutilized in TBS. The band's first album, Dreams Of Water, is an extremely solid album that is being sold on Bandcamp with quite a few benefits, including individual track art, embedded lyrics, a digital poster, and more. The link for their Bandcamp is right here.

New Layout

If you haven't noticed (which means you must be blind or something), the site now has quite a different layout. What do you guys think of it? Any changes that need to be made?

I am also on the lookout for a new header. If you can do some decent graphic design, please email me. It doesn't have to be that professional, I just need something that accurately represents the message I am trying to bring with my site.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Album Review: You, Me, And Everyone We Know - Some Things Don't Wash Out

Unconventional seems to be You, Me, and Everyone We Know’s middle name. First came their unconventional journey to their first album, including troubles with Drive-Thru Records founder Richard Reines, who after offering to manage the band barely supported them and did nothing but cause trouble for the rising band. Then the band put exposure before profit by releasing their first two releases for free, a rarely seen business model for a touring band. From there, the band signed to Doghouse Records and put out one of the best pop-punk albums of the year, commonly using a surprising brass section to make their record unique from the oversaturated pop-punk music scene.


Breaking news: a female in a band does not have to be the singer. Warpaint proves that fact in multiple ways, as the entire four piece band is female. Yes, you are hearing me right. The drummer, bassist, guitarist as well as the vocalist are females. And they actually rip things apart. One of the most intricately designed albums of the year, the four ladies of Warpaint are extremely talented at doing whatever the hell they want to do. Much of their songs are basically psychedelic jam sessions. Their haunting vocals radiate almost as an instrument accompanying every other part of the band perfectly. Both their latest album The Fool and their first release Exquisite Corpse are excellent and worth checking out. This band is making a huge wave in the indie scene, and they have a very successful future ahead. Check out Warpaint on myspace right here.

Boys Night Out - Trainwreck

I have a soft spot for albums that tell a story. Razia's Shadow (which I'm expecting a post for soon), The Deer Hunter's Act I-III, etc. Trainwreck is in the running for my favorite. As a quick synopsis, the album tells the story of a man who kills his wife in his sleep, and is sent to a mental institution. Who could think of such an insane story? Boys Night Out did, and they made an entire 52 minute album about it combining early 2000's pop-punk and post-hardcore. The music isn't life changing, but is extremely solid, especially when placed with the lyrics. The band knows how to express their character's emotions through the sounds of the instruments. And the story is still captivating. Boys Night Out has broken up, but their other albums still did not get close to this classic. But seriously, check the band out just for the story. Only a couple of the songs from the album are on their myspace, so just buy the album.

Thursday, December 2, 2010


A little piece of me cried when Mae broke up. The Everglow was one of the first full albums I downloaded when I moved from liking individual songs to the full work of art a band produces. "We're So Far Away" is still probably the best piano-rock song I've heard. The whole album is just overall one of the most consistently great albums out there. Since the breakup was announced, I downloaded their entire catalog (minus their sub-par Singularity), including the different, but equally as great Destination: Beautiful. The vocals and songs may be a little less polished than The Everglow, but the songs are even more emotionally captivating, especially the incredible "Sun". The band also showed their intense dedication with their (m)orning/(a)fternoon/(e)vening project, donating much of the profits to charity. (e)vening had the band going out with some of their best material yet, including a 13 minute, three part instrumental piano piece. Mae just knows the formula for truly beautiful music. The band will definitely be missed, but their influence will live on. You can listen to and purchase Mae's tracks up for charity purposes on their site here.

All The Right Moves - The Monster I've Become

Pop isn't bad. In fact, pop is very good. Imagine having to listen to complex songs with little or no hooks all the time. Might get boring after a while, wouldn't it? For that reason, All The Right Moves is around. The Monster I've Become has stuck with me for months now, without getting old or seeming generic. Each song is a giant catchy hook of itself and there are barely any moments you won't be singing along. The band also goes the Yellowcard route by adding an electric violin. But biggest thing that separates them from most pop bands now are that they actually know how to diversify in their songwriting and to create strong lyrics. "You Always Bring Me Down" shows the band showing off their skills at harmonizing while "Hurricane" and "Learn To Love Again" are a piano ballad and acoustic track respectively. The title track also relates the album title to Jeckyl and Hyde. All The Right Moves has definitely put themselves on my radar with this release, separating themselves from all the myspace bands out there. You can check them out on myspace right here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hopeless Records

Losing All Time Low to Interscope Records must have pushed some sense into Hopeless Records. Since that loss, they have been on fire, signing three very well known bands and one lesser known, but still solid band. Yellowcard's recent reformation seems to be a perfect fit for a huge Hopeless release. Silverstein seems to be an odd fit for Hopeless, but they're another band that the label knows will sell records. The Wonder Years let out one of the most acclaimed pop-punk records of the year with an album that will be in my top ten. Divided By Friday is a solid pop-rock band that I've known for a while, and is finally getting the credit they deserve. Along with personal favorite There For Tomorrow (whose remix EP is actually solid for a remix EP), The Dangerous Summer, and We Are The In Crowd, Hopeless definitely has one of the most solid rosters among indie labels right now. You can check out the label and their releases on their website here.

Pistolita - The Paper Boy

Who knew a band could break up, reform a few years later with almost all brand new members, and sound so good? Pistolita brings a unique form of piano-rock to the table with The Paper Boy. This isn't your ordinary Jack's Mannequin style piano led band. The band uses the piano as a perfect accompaniment to their solid instrumental skills. The band also has a knack for songwriting, creating catchy songs with substance. The Paper Boy was one of my favorite EP releases of the year, and will definitely be on a year's end EP list. Let's make it so the band doesn't break up again. Check them out on Myspace here and give them some love. The band hasn't posted in quite some time, so let's hope that it hasn't happened again.

As The Year Winds Down...

This is the first year in which I have an extremely solid catalog of albums I can put in a top ten. As of now, I have about thirty or so in the running, but which can easily grow. After the jump, you can see the list of the albums that are in that running for the illusive 2010 favorite album list.