Monday, January 31, 2011

Review of Deep Elm 2010

Muzik Dizcovery and Deep Elm Records are working together for the month of February to do a review of some of the best releases on Deep Elm Records from 2010. The label has easily become my favorite, with high quality streaming and MP3s of every release, excellent ownership, and of course, extraordinarily good bands. Les Sages, Goonies Never Say Die, I Am Sonic Rain, and She Bears are just a few of the bands that will be covered on this site throughout the next month. For now, everyone needs to go on the Deep Elm site and check out all of their bands. There's lots of stuff coming in the future for the label.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Forever The Sickest Kids New Album

I have a bit of a history with Forever The Sickest Kids. From buying their CD on the first day from impulse to seeing them for my first real concert, they will always have a little bit of my musical past. That past almost seemed worth forgetting after the awful The Weekend: Friday, but the latest songs they have put out have been quite an improvement. "Keeps On Bringing Me Down" is the best song the band has ever put out, and the single that they played over Stickam wasn't bad as well. I have moved out of most of this genre, but I will at least give this album one listen and hope for the best. This is make or break for Forever The Sickest Kids.  Their self titled album comes out March 1st. Stream "Keeps On Bringing Me Down" on Myspace here.


Everywhere you look, an ex-member of Lydia is in a new band. There's States, The Saturn Hands, Bears of Manitou, Leighton's as of now unnamed project with Matt Malpass, and Gates. So far, Gates is in the lead for the best band. Their debut release, The Sun Will Rise And Lead Me Home, was released on January 25th, and shows great hope for the band's future. The highlight of the band is their excellent ambient feel, reminiscent of Explosions In The Sky. The vocals, though at first a bit of a turn off, soon merge with the music to add a whole other dimension to the band. Other ex-Lydia bands, it's your move. Download the album for free on their website here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Hailey, It Happens

Hey Owl City, The Ready Set, and the hundreds of other awful synth-pop bands. Listen to Hailey, It Happens. You hear those non autotuned vocals? Surprisingly, synth-pop doesn't need that. How about those honest lyrics that aren't about dentists and bugs? You can actually be serious in these songs. "But then their hooks obviously must suck." Wrong. Listen to "Saturday Night Fever Dreams". Tell me that isn't catchy. "Whatever, these songs will never allow you to get girls like my songs do". Just listen to "Song For The End Of The Night", as this extremely sexy song would instantly get the ladies all over you. "Fine, I'll take a listen to the band and try to make some decent music." Well, then you should go to their Bandcamp page here and download the album for free! And the band's new album is tentatively scheduled for release on March 1st.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Sky's The Limit Free Download (Pre-Mae)

Are you a huge Mae fan? Do you have every one of their records and enjoy them all? Before Mae, lead singer Dave Elkins fronted the band Sky's The Limit, which is pretty much what Mae would have sounded like if they had a record before Destination: Beautiful. In fact, "Skyline Drive" originated from Sky's The Limit, as the original version is on this self titled release. Although the band does not stand up to pretty much all of Mae's releases, it is still nice to see the progression from the start for Dave. And when Dave's new songs get released in the next week or so, it will be interesting to see what direction he goes next. For now, download Sky's The Limit's album on Bandcamp for free here.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Water and Bodies (Ex Kaddisfly) New Album And Free Download

It's no Kaddisfly, but at least it's something. All former members of the band but bassist Kile have joined teams to create the slightly different than Kaddisfly Water & Bodies. The band takes more of a rock form, removing many of the progressive parts and instead focusing on hooks and powerful riffs. It's still nice to be able to hear vocalist Christopher Ruff sing again for the first time in years. The album Light Year will be out February 2nd, and you can download the song Lonely Night on their website here.

Album Review: The OK Corral - Something American


The OK Corral is a band from the musical rich area of Northern Virginia, playing rock music with influences from Weezer and Kings of Leon to The Gaslight Anthem and The Hold Steady. The band's debut album, Something American, was released on December 21st.

How Is It?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Our Fair City

There's quite a bit of snow outside today, and many of the songs on Our Fair City's A Most Clever Disaster fit that mood. Reminiscent of Lydia on the lighter parts of songs and Manchester Orchestra on the heavier parts, Our Fair City has an extremely polished sound for such a young band.  The production allows the excellent specific instrumentals to stand out on their own, creating a strong final product. Although they may be signed, Signal Records is an extremely small label, and the band would probably fit extremely well on No Sleep or Run For Cover. For now, you can download A Most Clever Disaster on Bandcamp here for free.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Razia's Shadow In Theater?

In an email exchange with Forgive Durden's publicist, she mentioned that Thomas is currently working with a theater in New York in order to create a stage rendition of Razia's Shadow. This is currently the only project he is working on. Although I would love a new Forgive Durden album, I am pumped to see what he can do with this. Razia's Shadow was one of my favorite albums, and I would definitely see this if I could. Image of the email after the jump.

Pay What You Want The Graduate B-Sides EP

The Graduate released one of the best albums of last year, and one of the most unique. Their ambient rock combined with honest lyrics won over the ears of many people, as pretty much anyone who heard the album really enjoyed it. In order to release the extra songs recorded for Only Every Time, The Graduate released a pay what you want B-Sides album containing two songs that were previously bonus tracks and four extra unheard songs. All the songs are excellent and could easily have made the cut for the album had it not been so superb. Although you can download the album for free, I suggest paying as much as you can for these excellent songs. You can download/buy the album on their Bandcamp page here.

Interview With Stay

Stay may have been a band you have seen on Purevolume or AbsolutePunk over the past few years. From being on Purevolume's Unsigned Bands of 09 to being on's Absolute 100 of 2010, Stay has gained quite a lot of love from pop-rock lovers everywhere. The band is in the process of releasing their new album, American Cherry Bomb, which should be out in Spring. Guitarist Steve Ackles took some time to answer a few questions about the new album, the band's progression from EP to album, and the band's future. Check it out after the jump.

Monday, January 24, 2011

U.S. Royalty Album Stream

If you look in a mirror, you know what you are expecting to say. Oddly, U.S. Royalty's new album Mirrors is a release in which you won't know what is coming. With songs that could have easily been by The Black Keys ("Hollywood Hollows") or Local Natives ("Equestrian"), U.S. Royalty has created an excellent album that is sure to launch them to stardom in the indie and alternative scenes. If this intrigues you, go stream the album here. Believe me, you will at the very least love "Equestrian. The album comes out tomorrow.

Hartford - Room 207

Open the door to Room 207, and expect to see a party inside. Hartford is another fun pop-punk band with catchy hooks and powerful riffs that leans more towards the poppy side in the vein of Phone Calls From Home or I Call Fives. "It's Not Too Late, It's Never Too Late" is the best representations of the band, with solid harmonies supporting the infectious chorus which will be extremely difficult to get out of your mind. The simple riffs that that sound right out of a 70's classic rock song could have been improved, but they do not take away anything from the song. If you are listening to Hartford, you are not looking for anything groundbreaking. It's enjoyable music to rock out to on the way to school or practice, which is exactly what some people need. Check out Hartford on their website here. Also, the band posted Room 207 for free download, which you can download here.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Panic! At The Disco New Single and Album Release Date

It's been quite a while since we've heard an album from Panic! At The Disco, mostly because of a split in the band that had one of the major creative forces, Ryan Ross, leave the band. A return to the Beatles influenced style of Pretty. Odd should not have been expected due to the takeover of that by The Young Veins, and "The Ballad Of Mona Lisa" confirms those beliefs. Fans of Fall Out Boy should be happy to hear this song, as Brendon's voice sounds eerily similar to Patrick Stump's, and the chorus could have come right out of a Fall Out Boy song. However, it still has that customary P!ATD theatric feel. Although the song has not been officially released yet, you can still find it by searching on Youtube. The new album, Vices and Virtues, will be out March 29th.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Brief Album Review: The Get Up Kids - There Are Rules

The Get Up Kids aren't kids anymore. I mean, it's only been seven years since their last full length release. However, that growth may split their fanbase, as anyone who was expecting another Something To Write Home About will be drastically disappointed. The Get Up Kids have ditched their emo-indie sound and have added plenty of reverb and electronics to make a whole new sound for the band.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Roosevelt Radio

A good, catchy synth part can lure me in almost instantly. By the time the first few seconds of "Midnight" came in, I was hooked, thinking the band would almost sound like Zolof The Rock And Roll Destroyer. This would not be the case, but the instrumental parts were always excellent from that opening synth line, to the ambient guitar and keys of "Order in The Chaos", to stuttering guitars of "Antique Heart". The vocals of both the lead male and the supporting female vocalists are both very solid, and the hooks are surprisingly contagious. Roosevelt Radio shows some strong talent throughout their self titled release, and could be a band to watch for very soon. Check out the band on their website here.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mansions Album Announcement

I was a bit late to the party in finding out about Mansions. Thanks to Rdio, I've been taking listens to albums that I had heard good things about. Mansions' latest full length New Best Friends is absolutely exceptional, as an emotionally driven rock record similar to a more upbeat The Republic of Wolves or Brand New. How coincidental is it that I found out Mansions just announced that their new album, Dig Up The Dead, will be out April 5th. I am anxiously awaiting a new song to see if my current Mansions kick will continue throughout the year. Follow the band's process on Myspace here.

Aria Novos

Reminiscent of a young Circa Survive or a more technical Deas Vail,  Aria Novos adds another dimension to their music with a female singer. However, unlike most bands with female singers, the vocals are pretty much split between male vocalist Gerard Sison and female vocalist Audrey Sinead which Sinead playing keys as well. The six minute "Telematics" has Sinead taking the lead, while adding her keys in with the crushing riffs to create a spectacular effect. Aria Novos is definitely a band whose next release will be something worse listening to, as the band should be able to fine tune their sound and great something that could end up on an end of year list. Check the band out on Facebook here.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Iron And Wine New Album Stream

If you want to see the transformation of Iron and Wine from the debut to his newest album, Kiss Each Other Clean, just look at the album covers. From light, sepia tones on The Creek Drank The Cradle, to the forest colors of Our Endless Numbered Days, to the brightness of The Shepherd's Dog, to this psychedelic, multicolored madness. That perfectly explains the stylistic change of Iron and Wine, from the folky to the unpredictable, creative journey throughout Kiss Each Other Clean. "Me And Lazarus" sounds like it could have been written while on drugs, with the bassy beat and subject matter. There is synth aplenty throughout the album, taking different shapes in different songs. "Monkeys Uptown" is one of Iron and Wine's more upbeat songs, with a swing feel at times, while "Big Burned Hand" sounds like a jazzy soul song right out of the 50's or 60's. To those that thought Iron and Wine was boring before, such as myself, this album should throw all those beliefs out the window. As of the writing of this post, this is my favorite album this year, and the creativity throughout the album promises for it to end up on many end of year lists. You can stream the whole album here.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A Common Year

I'd like to welcome Lara to the mix in posting. She will be posting a few times a week on some of her favorite bands, which I know that most of them are great. 

"2011 is, in fact, a common year." Indianopolis-based unsigned band A Common Year released their debut LP Between Cities a year ago and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It's a consistent, emotional, honest album, from start to finish. The first half more energertic and upbeat, the second half more laid-back and acoustic, with keeping the theme of confusing relationships and heartbreak throughout. But don't be fooled - it's not an album of sappy love songs. The lyrics hit hard and we can all relate and make it our own. Take the chorus of "Don't Take Me Seriously" as an example: 'Don't take me seriously when I'm acting like a fool, it's a state I'm going through."

Buckeye Knoll

I hate to admit it, but most of the music I get sent is extremely generic pop-punk, that I can barely listen to more than one song before knowing exactly how all the band's songs are going to sound. Buckeye Knoll is a band that broke out of the mess of bands that have wanted for me to promote them. Buckeye Knoll is the creative outlet for the extremely talented Doug Streblow, who has a voice that at its best will blow you away and leave you in chills. The songs definitely get stronger as the album progresses, climaxing at the beautiful horn and keys led ballad "When You're Gone". The whole album is worth checking out, as every song has its own redeeming qualities. Stream it on Bandcamp here, and definitely put it on your "to buy" list.

State Champs Album Stream

In a year where we are expecting excellent releases from The Wonder Years, Set Your Goals, Saves The Day, New Found Glory, and more, State Champs gets the honor of being the first great pop-punk release of the year. Similar to Four Year Strong, Fireworks, and New Found Glory, State Champs has the powerful gang vocals and mighty riffs expected from all of those bands. Their newest album is streaming in AbsolutePunk here, and is the start of quite a year of pop-punk.

Monday, January 17, 2011

New Yellowcard Song Streaming

I am officially pumped. "For You, And Your Denial" sounds like a song right out of Ocean Avenue, an album I've gone back to quite often lately. The violin is front and center as it should be for a Yellowcard track, and the chorus is classic Yellowcard. There really isn't much else to say except go listen, and I want this album in my hands now. Stream it here.

Interview With Jenna From Tonight Alive

From the land down under, Tonight Alive is a band that is going to be huge this time next year. Although people may say that they are trying to rip off Paramore, Tonight Alive is still an extremely young band trying to find their sound. Their latest EP Consider This showed growth from the first EP, and since then they were signed to Sony Records and have been recording with producer Mark Trombino. Lots of information about the differences between the American and Australian scenes, the recording process, reflections on past work, and plans for 2011, including touring the US, after the jump.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Interview With Christian From Anberlin

Anberlin's guitarist, Christian McAlhaney, agreed to answer a couple of questions about their recently started tour with Circa Survive and Foxy Shazam, their newest record Dark Is The Way, Light Is The Place, future plans for Anberlin, and several other topics. Check it out after the jump.

Album Review: Decoder - Decoder

Decoder is a band of afterthoughts. Four of the five members were in three bands, two of which have soared in popularity since the initial break while the third has broken up. I'm not too sure that vocalist Spencer Pearson formerly of VersaEmerge, vocalist Keith Jones and guitarist Jack Burns formerly of Oceana, and drummer Brent Guistwite formerly of Of Machines regret their decisions now. After teaming up with bassist Bryce Sipes and signing with Rise Records, ex-home of both Oceana and Of Machines, Decoder brings together influences from all three of their former bands together, creating a more artistic and technical album then any of those bands (minus maybe Oceana's Clean Head) have ever released. However, the band could have tried experimenting a bit more, instead holding the record back from being a breakout.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Unsigned Bands Of January

Don't forget, you can always send your music to us at, and if we think you deserve it, you will be placed here the next edition of the Unsigned Bands of the Month. If you blow us away, you may even get your own feature article.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Boxer And Clover Free Download

I've already covered Boxer and Clover's new EP Fate Has Favorites, and I'm hoping many of you have already bought this exceptional pop-rock EP. The band has just put it up for free download today, so now you have no excuse for not having it. Download it right here.

Magnificent Defeat

"It's like Explosions in the Sky and Manchester Orchestra fronted by Leighton Antelman" said the self-promotion post. Sounds too good to be true, right? In fact, the band definitely lives up to those similarities. The vocals seem like they could have come straight from a Lydia track, while the intertwining of ambiance and rock create a beautiful and relaxing sound. "Washes" even seems to have some Circa Survive influences, showing off more of the different styles that Magnificent Defeat has combined. The band has just released their second EP, on Bandcamp, and you can stream it right here.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

We Are the Emergency - Whispers and Fragments

We Are the Emergency are a band worth giving a second chance. While it's not fair to blame those who disliked Seizures, as it was a mediocre, typical scene-type album, many of them will find a welcome surprise in We Are the Emergency's follow-up, the 2010 release Whispers and Fragments. The album has a more progressive vibe overall, utilizing some elements such as intricate guitar lines and unique song structures bands like Tides of Man, PMtoday, and Circa Survive are known for. The screaming is limited throughout the album and, when it's included, it fits the music a majority of the time. One of the best tracks is "Ink Well Paper Stains" due to its catchy chorus, background ambience, beautiful, melodic guitar lines, and guitar-and-piano-dominated, jazzy conclusion. "Don't Bite the Hand That Feeds" is another standout from the album, utilizing bells in the verses and interesting guitar effects throughout. In addition, "When Everything Is Done" could have easily been the token throwaway ballad so many scene bands include on albums nowadays. However, it's actually quite a beautiful song, with male-female vocal harmonies, pretty bell tones, and strings. In fact, female background vocals are a feature throughout and are one of the factors that elevates this album above other releases from its genre this past year. Whispers and Fragments is a step in the right direction for We Are the Emergency and hopefully the band continue to progress towards a more creative sound. It will be exciting to see what direction they head in on their next release.

Shad & Dallas - Two Songs

Canadian rapper, Shad, an upcoming star of the hip-hop genre, released a fabulous album last year -- TSOL. He's back to work this year, collaborating with fellow Canadian Dallas Green (Alexisonfire, City & Colour), on a release entitled Two Songs, released January 11. Made up of "Live Together" and a remix of an older Shad track, "Listen". Dallas' smooth vocals and Shad's smooth rapping make for a couple great tracks.
Check it out below.

The Saddest Landscape Free Download

Not all screaming is bad. It may be something that is initially uncomfortable to listen to at first, but the bands that do it well are exceptional. The Saddest Landscape is one of these bands, squeezing emotion out of their words. Plus, the lyrics are even decipherable at times. The band's album You Will Not Survive is getting pressed this week, and in celebration, the band posted their full album for free on Bandcamp. At least take a stream, because The Saddest Landscape is excellent and should at least be given a chance. However, there's no harm downloading it, especially because it will be up for free only for this week. Go get it now on Bandcamp here.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Smith Westerns Album Stream

Smith Westerns have gotten quite a bit of hype for a band with members not able to drink yet. Pitchfork gave the band's debut a 7.7, and I expect this release to get at least that. Opening track "Weekend" already got ranked as the #51 song of 2010 by the same publication, and it probably deserved to be even higher with a killer hook and the perfect corny love message that "weekends are never fun unless you're around here". Although the album is released next week, Dye It Blonde would have been a perfect summertime release, as beachy rhythms and flirty lyrics are a constant throughout the album. The guitar tones are unique and are definitely a highlight of the band. The whole album is streaming until its release on NPR now, and is definitely worth checking out.

The Books

The Books have created a song so odd, it's addicting. "A Cold Freezin' Night" on their latest album The Way Out contains samples of little kids threatening to kill each other, those same kids calling each other "assholes" and even gender envy. The samples may seem odd, but that's what makes them so appealing. The drums throughout the entire song are exceptional, and definitely keep the song from getting stale. A harmonica solo and quite a few other strange samples are just the icing on the cake. The whole album is just an extremely creative combination of samples, beats, and a few live instruments, and once the weirdness of the band is understood, the album can be quite a substantial listen. Check the video for "A Cold Freezin' Night" in the jump.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Warpaint MTV Live in NYC Set

Warpaint recently did a live set for MTV in which they showcased six of the nine songs from their excellent debut album, The Fool. These girls obviously know how to play, as it is captivating just to watch them jam out with their psychedelic riffs and tribal beats, not to mention that they pretty much all do backing vocals. Check out the set here.

Young The Giant iTunes Single Of The Week

iTunes has finally hit on a gem for their free single of the week with Young The Giant. "My Body" is a song that is easy to get obsessed with, with the jumpy beat and one of the biggest choruses of 2010. The band's extremely catchy indie rock songs can definitely appeal to most people out there, and this song will easily be a alternative rock station hit. The band recently appeared on Jimmy Kimmel, so they are easily on the way to stardom. The whole album is great, and worth buying. iTunes has also included a song by Tennis as their discovery download of the week, and that is worth downloading as well. Download both of these songs on iTunes. Check out Young The Giant on Myspace here.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Zlam Dunk

You like to dance! You like to mosh! Why don't you do both at once? Zlam Dunk combines synthy dance music with punk riffs to create their own unique, but still fun sound. After releasing their debut EP We Are All Dead for free, Zlam Dunk has just recently released the mini album Noble Ancestry, where the band does what they are best at, playing extremely upbeat tunes. "Midnight Runner" has some great synth lines along with some surprisingly solid harmonized shouts. "Ghostwoman" has some of the best riffs on the album, changing throughout the entire song. And who said that you can't party in a mosh pit? Listen to Zlam Dunk on Bandcamp here.

Kurt Travis Joins A Lot Like Birds

Kurt Travis (formerly of Dance Gavin Dance, O! the Joy, Five Minute Ride, and No Not Constant) has joined A Lot Like Birds. A Lot Like Birds play an impressive brand of progressive post-hardcore, incorporating numerous influences from other genres (most notably skramz and jazz). Their debut album, Plan B, was fantastic and it will be interesting to see how they progress with Travis.
Bandcamp with free download of Plan B

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Holiday Parade Recording

It almost seemed like Holiday Parade disappeared off the face of the earth. It was very disappointing to not see a single update on Myspace, Facebook, or Twitter as well as no touring. However, Holiday Parade recently announced that they began recording a new EP to be released sometime this year. The band's latest album Tickets and Passports did not show the band at their best, but still was not as bad as critics said it was. The title track in particular is an extremely strong piano rock song, but most of the album was pretty forgettable. This Is My Year had plenty of lasting value, and I still play the EP from time to time. I am just happy to hear new Holiday Parade material, and I'm sure that it will grace my playlists for a while. Stay updated on the band's process of recording on Facebook here.

Time Tells All

Isn't it great when you revisit an album you haven't listened to in years, and it's still as great as you remember it being? Time Tells All's Spread The Word still contains five of the catchiest pop-rock songs I have ever heard. I sung along with every word of the song, even though it had been years since my last listen. The vocals of Brent Stinnett sound extremely similar to Will Pugh from Cartel, and the lyrics are Facebook worthy, with lines such as "I found a new religion based on you" that should be dominating t-shirts and teen girls' statuses everywhere. Sadly, this was the band's only release, as only a couple other songs were placed on Myspace before the band ceased to exist. Time Tells All should be as huge as All Time Low. Sadly, the best bands don't always make it big. Listen to samples of the EP and buy it on Amazon right here.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mariage Blanc

I always love when bands diversify instrumentally, moving outside of the normal rock instrumentation (guitar, bass, drums). In the first verse and chorus of the opening song of Mariage Blanc's self titled album, "Whatever You Say I Am", you can hear no fewer than seven or eight different instruments, including several different keys settings, jingle bells, and a string section. Mariage Blanc combines this wide instrumentation with the catchy indie pop of Steel Train and the folk of the late Elliot Smith. The self titled album is their latest release, in the public since November of 2010, and has definitely been underrated. If I had heard it back in 2010, it may have made my end of year list.  You can stream the full album on the band's website here. The band also has their debut EP Broken Record up for free download right here.

Friday, January 7, 2011

The April Year

April will be a huge month for me. The day I finally turn eighteen will be in that pleasant month. So of course, a band called The April Year has to be solid. And solid they are. The April Year knows how to make mid tempo keys laden pop music. What does The First Time In Forever sound like?  Imagine what A Rocket To The Moon would be if Justin helped them write Brightenesque songs or the stronger tracks by The Maine. "Through Hell And High Hopes" is extremely reminiscent of the best songs from The Maine's Can't Stop Won't Stop, and is a perfect song to put on while in the car with the girl you are interested in. This is the kind of music you blast when you're alone and don't care what anyone thinks of you. We all need that fun little pop band that can bring a smile to our faces. Stream the whole EP on Purevolume here.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Twin Atlantic New Song Stream

I usually can't dig singers with accents. However, Scotland's Twin Atlantic has allowed me to look past the heavy Scottish accent and really enjoy the music. The band's first release, Vivarium, was a great start for the band, but most of the songs didn't stick with me for too long. The band's newest song, "Edit Me", shows a large growth in maturity for the band, creating a much darker and heavier sound than the EP. Parts of the song sound a lot like Envy On The Coast, and if this is the direction the band is going in, I will be extremely excited for their debut album this year. Listen to the song on Facebook here.

Save Parker - Making Waves

Save Parker are an unsigned post-hardcore band based in Hammond, Indiana. Combining progressive rock influences with a more modern, "scene" take on post-hardcore, Save Parker make creative music in a genre that is filled with sound-a-likes. Although the production of the EP is a little bit rough, the talent of the musicians still shines. The best tracks include "Attack! of the Clones" and "Amber Lamps" -- "Attack! of the Clones" for its technical guitar riffs and catchy vocal melodies and "Amber Lamps" for its unpredictable song structure and uniqueness. In fact, "Amber Lamps" is arguably the best and most creative track on the release, showcasing the progressive aspects of Save Parker's sound. It's a dynamic track, taking the listener on a musical journey of highs and lows, louds and softs. With another release, be it a full-length or another EP, Save Parker could easily explode in the scene, challenging the firm grip bands like Dance Gavin Dance and Chiodos hold on the genre. If Save Parker can reach more ears, fans of "scene" music would realize that Save Parker are just as inventive and talented, if not more so, than the aforementioned bands. This band could be headed for big things to come.
Bandcamp with a "name-your-price" download of Making Waves

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Album Review: Farewell Fighter - The Way We Learn

Listening to Farewell Fighter should make anyone feel like they are back in high school. The band's newest EP, The Way We Learn, is full of youthful energy that can make even someone's grandpa jump up and begin moshing. Their upbeat, extremely catchy songs along with the relatable lyrics are reminiscent of a young You, Me, And Everyone We Know, with the future potential to create a record as great as Some Things Don't Wash Out. The Way We Learn is a journey as a child grows up and figures out what they want in life, all while enjoying it.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Again, For The Win - Bonus Deluxe Version

Deep Elm: If you want the next She Bears or Les Sages, you need to sign this band now. Again, For The Win may seem like an immature name, but the music is anything but that. In fact, out of all the small bands I've been told to listen to over the past few months, these guys may be the best. Taking ideas from The Get Up Kids and Moving Mountains, the band has created an extremely strong modern emo album. Lead singer Carter Francis has a delivery reminiscent of Cap'n Jazz, especially in the extremely powerful and personal closer "I Saw Jesus". The band is extremely talented at pretty much every instrument, with the drumming and keys at the forefront of the assault in "The Coolest Dude At The Lake". The band throws a curveball with "The Chill Pill", an ambient chillwave track that is simply a peaceful interlude before the band returns to their usual, impressive indie-rock tracks. "Here Or It Didn't Happen" has Francis singing at his most serene, supported by a female vocalist and the impressiveness of rhythm section, strong enough to make even a grown man cry. Again, For The Win brings the honesty and sincerity back to emo music not seen since the late 90's, and creating a debut that shows only greatness ahead.
Download this incredible album on Bandcamp for FREE here.

Tennis - Cape Dory

I seem to be attracted to things having to do with tennis. It is both my favorite sport to play and a band I've been somewhat attracted to early this year. Tennis (the band) definitely takes the beachy pop sound that Best Coast hit on last summer and polished it up slightly, creating almost a female led Beach Boys sound. Tennis seems to enjoy the theme of the ocean and runs with it, water seeming to flow into many of the song titles including "Cape Dory", "Bimini Bay", "Seafarer", and "Waterbirds". Single "Take Me Somewhere" strays from the conventional verse-chorus-verse format, throwing in a time change for fun, all while lead singer Alaina Moore shows off her bubbly vocals. "Long Boat Pass" could almost substitute a ukulele for the guitar and be a hit on the Hawaiian Islands. "Baltimore" is one of the more upbeat tracks, able to be almost mistaken for a Best Coast track. The album gets monotonous at times, and I'm not sure how long it will stay on my playlists. But for now, in the cold of winter, we could all use a trip to the beach. You can listen to the band on Myspace here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Free Alternativ News Sampler

Three days into the new year, and I think we have the best free legal sampler of the year. French site Alternativ News has put together one of the best collections of real pop-punk, screamo, emo, and indie that I have ever seen together in one playlist. I enjoy at least ten of these bands already, and I will definitely go through the sampler and pick up the albums for the bands which  I have not heard too much of. Most of these bands I have heard extremely good things about from and many other sites. From the ones I know, I suggest Transit and Man Overboard for the pop-punk lovers, Tigers Jaw and The Republic of Wolves for the fans of Brand New and other similar bands, CSTVT, Snowing, and Stay Ahead Of The Weather for those missing 90's emo, and Pianos Become The Teeth, Make Do And Mend, and Caravels for those that need something a little heavier. Download the whole legal 38(!!) song sampler on Bandcamp here.

Burn Down The Charade

I always enjoy music that requires your full conciousness in order to entirely absorb the different sounds radiating at one time. Burn Down The Charade is a rock band that features many layers of keys, riffs of all styles, and solid drums put together into a cohesive song. Crazily, this band is made up of only two members who put together all of the instrumentation, making the band's work even more intricate. The vocals do need some work, the songs become monotonous, and the hooks are weak. The band would have almost seemed stronger if there were no vocals. However, the vocals are the way to relay the messages the band has to give. Sometime one needs to look past accessibility and just enjoy the sophistication of sound. Burn Down The Charade definitely shows that artistic potential. Improvements could be made, but this is a band to look out for in the future. Listen to the band on Myspace here.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Unsigned Bands Of December

New feature here. Every month, maybe twice every month, I will give a list of unsigned bands that have contacted me that although may not have their own feature article, they still deserve a mention. If you have any better descriptions for any of the bands, please tell me, since I am still honing my craft at the comparison of bands. If you want to send us your band, please email, and if we think your band is worthy, you will get thrown into this section next month or if you guys are good enough, get your own special feature. Check out the bands after the jump.

City of Trees - Introspection

City of Trees are an alternative rock band based in New York. With their debut EP, Introspection, they have succeeded in creating an entertaining, catchy freshman release. The band closely resembles one of their listed influences -- As Cities Burn. Though not a carbon copy by any means, it's apparent that the band members were inspired by Come Now Sleep. Yet the downfall of the EP is that the melodies progressively weaken with each consecutive track -- "Fear" and "Negative Me" lack the lasting power that "House" and "Heavy Thoughts" possess for the simple reason that they aren't as catchy. It should be said, however, that frontman Dan Cerney utilizes his voice well and that the instrumental work throughout the EP is solid. In future releases, if City of Trees concentrate on staying melodically oriented, this band could be one to watch out for, filling the void that As Cities Burn left in the wake of their breakup.

Bandcamp containing a free download of Introspection

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The Chemist vs. the Computer

The Chemist vs. the Computer are an unsigned post-hardcore band hailing from Crown Point, Indiana, with two EP's under their belt: 2007's Loki and 2010's Hydrosufoolooween. Comprised of vocalist Dan Easton, guitarists Ryan Muha and Chris Katsaros, bassist Pete Katsaros, and drummer Chris Rasado, they combine skramz, math rock, and a more modern brand of post-hardcore to produce a very inventive sound. Easton is a phenomenal vocalist with incredible range -- able to emit both high shrieks and low growls and to sing in the contralto range. For instance, in "Llama Horse-Walkingstick", Easton hits the A below the infamous soprano C, without resorting to head voice. Yet he also has a strong lower range, showcased near the end of "Experience Wonderful, Beautiful". The instrumentalists also hold their own, able to transition between different tempos, time signatures, and styles, often multiple times during the course of just one song. The Chemist vs. the Computer are one of the few scene bands willing to experiment with their style to compose rich, creative tracks. Their ingenuity is refreshing and I look forward to watching them progress in the coming years. with two free tracks

Sleeping At Last - Yearbook: January

What better way to start the year than to a new Sleeping At Last album? The band had started a project back in October to release a three song EP every month for a year, and this is the fourth installment of the series. Each of the songs definitely go along with the winter season, as the mellow sounds of the keys, string arrangements, and varied percussion along with the falsetto of singer Ryan O'Neal allow the listener to feel the winter wonderland through their ears. January features the wonderful talents of Jeremy Larson to create the string arrangements heard in all the songs; however, all the song writing was by the two members of the band. Sleeping At Last is one of those mellow bands that just startle you with their talent, and allow you to just lay back, relax, and enjoy the music. Buy January here.

Lady Gaga Album Announcement

Lady Gaga is the best thing that has happened to the mainstream in quite some time. She is a creative genius, both with her performances and her music. Until you've seen her music stripped down or her performing live in concert, you will not know exactly how extraordinarily talented Gaga is. Her soon to be released album, Born This Way, was deemed by her to be "the greatest album of the decade." While that may be going a little far, I can imagine it being one of the most creative mainstream pop albums of the year. Gaga recently tweeted the release dates for the first single and the album, which are February 13th and May 23rd respectively. I honestly can not wait to get my hands on this record, and anyone who thinks that Gaga is a gimmick can not judge true talent. Stay updated on the album on her website here.