Tag Archives: Review

REVIEW: The Adversary – ‘Chapter 3: Falling Is Flight’

the adversaryThroughout the five-track release, The Adversary channel 80’s style (see “Coming On”), utilizing modern technology. On tracks like, “Coming On,” the nostalgic vibes are strong, as well as fantastically catchy.

However, it’s “Aural Fixation,” with opening bass notes remind me of “I Wanna Dance With Somebody,” and a very 80s sound, that is quite mesmerizing. It’s a very chilled track, which I can easily imagine in the opening credits of a film. Rhythmic, catchy, filled with plenty of other-worldly sounds to keep a listener entertained, especially once the haunting vocals eventually creep in, hypnotic in nature, and adding another layer to the song.

“Falling Is Flight” features systematic sounds, with a steady build. The husky tone of the vocals remind me of Muse’s Matthew Bellamy’s haunting drawl. The track acts as a beautiful reminder that holding on so tight to something is unhealthy, and sometimes, that plummeting fear of the fall is the only way to move on.

The last two tracks, “Can You Believe” and “When Doves Cry,” are very similar, to me. Both thrive on synth-driven, repetitive melodics and lyrics, which work in their favor. In all honesty, this collection of music is something you want to move to, not necessarily sit around listening to. So, listen to the music, get off your butt, and get dancing in your room, like humans were obviously built to do!

Chapter 3: Falling Is Flight is available NOW.

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REVIEW: The Way Away – ‘Something I Never Wanted’ EP

the way away EP.jpgThe Way Away kick off their new EP, Something I Never Wanted, the way any good pop-punk band should: with high energy, amazing guitars, and fast-paced vocals. “Second Chances” is the type of song that makes you want to mosh in your bedroom, pretending that you, too, are a rockstar. Matt Kabes vocals are perfection, delivering lyrics that hint at the title of the EP, talking about regrets, remorse, and not living up to expectations (essentially summing up your twenties). There are plenty of group vocals and power, which will keep listeners in the mix. However, it’s the Simple Plan-esque bridge that brings it home, when the instrumentals quiet down for just a breath, and the vocals get a moment to shine, before the song truly explodes. The track is a definite high note, and sets the standards for the rest of the EP quite high.

Almost like the band chose to forego a fade out, the EP quickly moves into “Alive,” which is everything the thirteen year old emo inside of me dreams about. Pop-punk isn’t dead? Neither is emo! With dark lyrics, but an overall hopeful tone, the track is a love song, and hints at a bit at being a little too dependent on someone for your happiness, but there’s something so damned catchy about it, it’s irresistible. “I spent years wishing I could be someone else, now all I want is to be by your side,” Kabes belts out…and you’ll find yourself belting along too. Guaranteed. In a similar breath, “Echoes” will transport listeners back to 2003 (perhaps even 2005). The song shows a bit of an edgier side of The Way Away, and I have to say, it’s a good look for them. Moody, bitter, and strong, “Echoes” is, hands down, a standout track on Something I Never Wanted. Perfect for AFI (and possibly Alkaline Trio) fans, the rhythm (courtesy of Jake Engler on bass and Wyatt Engl on drums) is fantasic. Heavy guitars really round it out, especially with moments of group vocals slipped in.

“Alone” is an ideal live-show tune. I can imagine lots of jumping, lots of lyric-shouting, and plenty of energy. Despite the emotional lyrics, there’s a raw quality to the track that seems to ignite as it carries along. However, it’s the fast-paced, summer anthem, and closer, “Six Feet Over,” that will leave listeners’ jaws slack. With a wonderfully catchy chorus, and breath-taking instrumental moments (check out Jeff Engler’s guitar solo!), The Way Away will mesmerize anyone within earshot. This is the song that will make you want, no, need, to see the band live.

Something I Never Wanted drops tonight. Pick up your copy at: https://thewayaway.bandcamp.com

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REVIEW: Michael Persall – ‘400’ EP

michael persallMichael Persall kicks off his latest EP, 400, with “The Move,” an upbeat tune that perfectly captures a sweet courtship, all the while showcasing some of Persall’s enviable vocal talents. The indie-pop/rock single is radio worthy, with perfect timing, a happy-go-lucky charm, and a fantasy appeal, as evident in the music video. Persall has a definite presence to him, reminiscent of a 60’s frontman, as evident throughout the EP.

“I’ll Wait” has an irresistible blues/pop style, coming across like a modern uptake on “You Can’t Hurry Love,” with a cinematic, stand-out quality. It’s a guy who was too busy chasing other people to see the one in front of him, but coming around, and making his move, no matter how late it is. I can only imagine how well this song went down at one of the 400+ shows Persall played in NYC this year, after which the EP was named.

However, it’s the heartfelt and heartbroken sounds featured on “Doesn’t Make It Right,” that stand out the most. The track is the bitterness after the break-up; the narrative of a person who has been hurt, betrayed by someone he loved, who he thought loved him. Persall delivers an incredible performance on the song, with a vintage quality that makes it sound as though it could be straight off of a vinyl from the 60s. It is, hands down, the best track on the EP.

Persall caps it all off with the catchy, upbeat dance anthem, “Fine With That,” perfectly book-ending 400. The track will make you want to dance around the room, and maybe press the repeat button on the EP.

400 is out NOW.

For more on Michael Persall, please click here.

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REVIEW: The Future Scares Me – ”Till It’s Dark Out’

The Future Scares MeDream-like and reminiscent of a child’s fable; that’s the best way to describe The Future Scares Me and their brand new EP, ‘Til It’s Dark Out, set to be released this December.

The EP starts off strongly with the notable lead single, “Slow Down,” and it’s colorful, lush sound manages to express the true sadness of getting older, and the things around you changing. The track is a perfect single, and an even better introduction, with a cinematic, entrancing momentum that pulls you in, and will keep you hooked for the entirety of the EP. In a time where everything we do is rushed, The Future Scares Me have crafted a song that is both excellently done, and also a perfect reminder that nothing lasts forever.

TFSM brings in a more electro-pop, synth-driven sound, courtesy of Eli Sundelson, on “Not So Far Away” and “Waiting For The Sun,” but it doesn’t detract from the soulful vocal stylings of Sonia Sundelson. Both tracks have an eerie element that maintains the dream-like quality, adding in ethereal harmonics. “Waiting For The Sun” has an almost dystopian/post-apocolyptic vibe, and solidifies that TFSM are excellent story-tellers, with bright, clear imagery. There is a definite contrast between the synth and drums (David Christian) and the melodics, which may or may not have been a purposeful decision, but it seems to act as a reminder that music is not entirely about analyzation and lining everything up; it’s about enjoyment.

‘Til It’s Dark Out finished off with “Play Dumb,” a quirky, more melodic tune, with a Peter Pan-esque narrative. As the song builds, it makes it more obvious that TFSM have a lot to say, and are nowhere near from done. There is a quality to their sound and a rawness to their talent that makes them stand out…and you should be paying attention.

‘Til It’s Dark Out will be out on December 8th, 2015. The duo will be performing at their EP release show at Shea Stadium in Brooklyn, NY, on 12/8/15, alongside Pajama Peoplealtopalo and oMoO.

For more on The Future Scares Me, click HERE.

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“The Martian” Review

Hey everyone! I know this review seems rather un-timely, but I’ve had a lot to deal with lately, as I’m getting married in November! It’s a crazy time for me, but I still want to get some content out. I will have another article out this week to make up for my absence. Love you all, and enjoy my review!

The Martian Launch One Sheet

Imagine you’ve become an astronaut. It helps me when I put a glass bowl over my head and make radio static noises with my mouth. Feel free to do this yourself.

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(Preferably with no pets inside of it…)

Imagine you get the opportunity to go on a mission to mars with a team of people who you’ve come to respect and admire. Imagine that a storm forms and makes you abandon said mission after months of space travel. Imagine a flying piece of debris knocks you out, and buries you in the red sand of Mars on your way to the escape ship…Then imagine that you survive, and find out your team has abandoned you on the planet. You’re alone, with limited supplies, in an environment devoid of life, as well as a source of oxygen; the base you have on the planet is built to last a finite length of time.

With my bowl on my head, I scream and curse. I imagine I would just live off the freeze-dried food selection I have until I run out and starve to death. Unless of course, my temporary base falls apart before then, and the atmosphere of the planet ends me first. I imagine I would hate my team for doing this to me. The situation seems so dire. How could I do anything except embrace the inevitable?

The Martian is such a masterpiece (Yes, masterpiece) because it provides you with a set-up that seems so hopeless, and gives you a character that’s inspiringly hopeful.

Matt Damon plays Mark Watney: An astronaut/botanist placed in the exact situation I described above. Most people would react to the situation as I would: I would hate my team and I would be gloomy. I would give up.
Watney blames no one for his situation. He’s aware of his chances but chooses to be hopeful anyways. He never gives up. The most inspiring moments in the movie, to me, and there are many, is when Watney will tell himself that he’s going to make it. It’s a simple statement that is emotionally potent, and perfectly epitomizes his character.
Damon was the perfect choice for this role. He’s likable, is believable when he delves into all the science-talk, and looks physically capable all the things he does.
The movie also stars Jessica Chastain, Michael Peña, Kate Mara, Sebastian Stan, and Askel Hennie as the Mar’s crew. Matt Damon isn’t rivaled by anyone here, but that doesn’t mean that anyone did a bad job. Quite the contrary! Chastain is always a joy to see, and plays the captain of the team, which is a role that suits her well. Michael Peña is a riot as usual. He has some scenes of back-and-forth dialogue with Damon, and they play off each other well.

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Then there is Kristen Wiig, Jeff Daniels, Sean Bean, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Donald Glover as some of the people on earth who are working hard to get Watney back home.
Every single one of them is excellent.
I hate lumping every one of these actors together and saying they did a good job, but this movie is so packed with talented people, that it would be a disservice to try to briefly describe them all. It would take an essay written by a person much smarter than I.

The directing is wonderfully done by Ridley Scott, who is very well-known in the science-fiction community. He directed some tiny films, like Alien and Blade Runner, that I guess have given him a tiny following.

Maybe he'll be big one day

Maybe he’ll be big one day…(sigh).

His experience with environments in space and stories about isolation really make him the perfect choice for this movie. He makes the barren Mars landscape look gorgeous, and he makes watching Watney perform mundane and repetitious tasks surprisingly captivating.
The entire movie’s ability to captivate is very impressive. A man using science to survive in a desolate location for months shouldn’t be this entertaining and accessible. Watney plants potatoes, sets up equipment, creates a source of water, and it’s all interesting to see. Damon’s embracing of the role and the writing really do wonders. The film has a runtime of 2 hours and 14 minutes, and it flies by. When the credits started to roll, only then did I notice how badly I needed to go to the restroom. A truly great movie will distract any bladder from doing it’s job. Don’t test this theory though. If you do and the dam breaks, well, maybe the movie you were watching wasn’t as good as you thought. Don’t blame me.

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“You lied to me, Jordan!” “Looks like you’re lying to yourself”

This is a hard movie to review, because I don’t have many things to talk about without going into spoilers. I don’t want to review it, I want to dote on it and talk about how good it was. It has flaws, like every film does, but they’re all so insignificant compared to what it’s accomplished as a whole. It’s directed brilliantly, it’s acted wonderfully, it’s visually and intellectually engrossing.I don’t have much more to say besides go see this movie! If you enjoy films at all, you’re in for a treat.
I don’t like rating movies on a star or number scale, so I’ll be rating them on a recommendation scale.

The Martian: Highly Recommended to everyone.

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REVIEW: Treason This – ‘Always Perfect’ EP

treason this

If you’re looking for a near-perfect EP to add to your playlist this summer, Always Perfect, the latest from Treason This, may very well be it. with stunning acoustics that pay homage to the band’s acoustic duo origins, (“Suede (88.87)”) the release is an excellent of example of what an EP should be. “A Farewell Not One-Sided” is a quick song that kicks off the EP with an indie-esque acoustic introduction, well thought lyrics, and an energetic pick-up. The more I listen to lyrics like, “…repeating it back again to pass the test already conquered by all the kid in me that I had left,” the more I believe this to be an excellent narrative on growing up.

The bitter moments of the EP perfectly summarize the struggles of relationships, but do so with such energy, that they manage to make me happier, as opposed to sitting in my room, wishing ice-cream had zero calories. “I Hate You Please Die” -features strong, powerful, and playful vocals. “Moviegoers Dilemma” features fantastic instrumentals, bitter lyrics, movie references, fast-paced lyrics that make it impossible to resist. On these two tracks, the wit and snarky tone is done with originality, and acts as a wonderful reflection of what it means to get older and struggle in relationships. However, that’s not to say Treason This shies away from a more emotional, heart-wrenching side. “Knife of The Month” is an open letter disguised as an interlude and showcases just how well the band tells a story and can leave you completely entranced.

Out of all of the songs on the EP, “The Dangers In Shades and Lines,” is probably the best. It’s moody in tone, with a poetic lyrical approach, perfectly encompassing desperation, the struggle of growing up, and dealing with life. As the song picks up, lines like,  “It’s hard to keep a grip on something that’s kicking you for trying to stand,” seem to have more weight, shouldering an evident rawness, seen on the more melancholy tracks like “A Disgrace To The Dead,” which acts almost as a sequel/continuation to “Suede,” cutting straight to the bone, with a live-feel. As the track picks up, I can almost feel the amplifiers shake, and the crowd watch in awe, especially once the guitar solo comes in, bringing the song to a whole new level. Again, I’m absolutely floored by the strength behind the vocals and the pure cohesive sound. The band has an incredible, solid dynamic that is evident in every track. Five out of five for Always Perfect.

“Always Perfect” will be available on June 30th!  You can pre-order it today – http://treasonthis.com/album/always-p…

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REVIEW: Henry Bateman – ‘Take a Form’

henry bateman

If I could sing the praises of an album to the world, this would be one of them. I would hire a choir to help me drive the point home, and have plenty of dazzling lights, because Henry Bateman’s Take a Form is truly a masterpiece from beginning to end. He is a gifted storyteller, and he showcases that with ease on the album.

“The Garden” is a stunning piano introduction that carries a cinematic effect, almost like the changing of the seasons in a film (see also “The Moth,” which features haunting female vocals, acting as a beautiful interlude on the album). There is a powerful, melancholy tone throughout the track. By the time Bateman’s vocals come sweeping in, it’s like being slowly pulled out of an instrumental trance. The poetry in each line of the lyrics just adds a whole new dimension to the track entirely; the amount of imagery presented is almost startling, especially as the song begins to build. It leads perfectly into “Little Boy In The Haze,” a track with a soft, almost summery feel to it, with the acoustics coming into play. Sad, but gorgeous, the song seems to tell the story of a little boy who is struggling through what seems to be the fighting of family members, more than likely a bitter divorce, and, despite the sad story, has a underlying hopefulness to it; this tiny bit of fight that’s left. “You don’t have to die to lose your life. There’s nowhere to hide,” Bateman croons, adding a philosophical presence to the song. Similarly, “Two Brothers, One Barricade,” utilizes this presence, and shapes the album well (see also “Grandad”).

“Grown” has a great rhythm to it, as well as harmonics that are absolutely magnificent; there’s a classic feel that reminds me of the songs my grandad used to play for me as a kid. Bateman crafts a perfect commentary on what it feels like to realize you’re getting older and it’s happening faster and faster. “Show No Fear” follows in a similar breath with a sense of realization that relationships don’t have to end because you’re afraid, as you may have done in the past, all backed by rich, building instrumentals. “Sober” carries a sweet, almost innocent tone to it that will make you smile. But there is also this soberingly (pun unintentional) clear admission that the people we love are not perfect, and we cannot always keep the promises we make.

However, it is “Constellations” that leaves me feeling light. if I could box up perfect acoustics, this track has them. In fact, if I could just wrap this song up in general, put a ribbon on it, and gift it out a million times, I would. It’s a stunning work of art. The instrumentals are truly beautiful, and the harmonics between male and female vocals are almost chilling. Hands down, one of the best songs on the album, for the instrumentals alone, although it does have some competition with one of the live tracks that cap off the end of the album. “Only Hope,” reminiscent of the style of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova’s “Falling Slowly,” showcases an evident longing for one person, the whirlwind of falling in love.

“Take Me Home” finishes off the album, and does so perfectly. The live track, features stunning piano, crafting a soft, almost worn down sound, with a rawness that will remind you exactly why this album is so wonderful: because Henry Bateman is a wonderful musician and storyteller.

For more on Henry Bateman, please click HERE.

You can purchase Take a Form at a show (for all dates, click HERE) or by emailing henrybatemanorders@gmail.com

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REVIEW: Whale Bones – ‘The Seaside’ EP

whale bones

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: I still get butterflies when a BAND reaches out to me and requests a review. As I get ready to hit the ‘play’ button, I find myself aflutter with nerves, wondering, “Will it be good or will I want to pull a Van Gogh and chop my ear off?”

But there was something about Whale Bones that I knew was different, from the get-go. “The Current” kicks off The Seaside EP with a stunning instrumental that beautifully flows into the rest of the song, which takes on an edgier approach. Something about it reminds me a bit of Go Radio and Anberlin, perhaps it’s the perfect rhythm, courtesy of Paul Lierman on drums. It’s only a simple, short track, but it has a powerful presence as an introduction, and flawlessly continues into “Hiding From The Sea.” The latter of which has an edge from the get-go; and, again, great rhythm. There is something that is so familiar about Whale Bones, and yet, something still very refreshing. The songwriting is perfection, with melodics, raw emotion, and a brilliant alternative rock track. “I’ve been hiding from the sea for too long,” Nathan Kane croons, leading into a verse that builds the song back up, higher, and higher, until it explodes. I can practically see the live show in my head…the lights going down, steadily building and then an explosion of brightness, and a crowd jumping into action. Lierman and Kane have a chemistry that is evident in every note, and not even halfway through the EP, leaves me completely awestruck, as evident on the melancholy, yet anthemic, “I Can’t Live Again.” There is something about this song, that, although seeming to admit defeat and self-loathing, has this lingering hope that creates an almost ethereal, dizzying feeling to it.

“Exhausted Forgiveness” begins with the intimacy of an acoustic live performance, and carries on the beauty of The Seaside EP with poetic, clever lyrics, helpfully delivered by gorgeous harmonies, blending seamlessly into “Seaside,” which perfectly finishes off the five-track EP.

Collectively, The Seaside EP is like a comet; it seemingly comes out of nowhere, and leaves you wanting more when it fades away, just a light printed on the back of your eyelids. The more I listen to each song, the more I find myself wanting to see Whale Bones live, or at least hear a complete album.

The Seaside EP will be released on July 14th, 2015.

For more on Whale Bones, click HERE.

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REVIEW: The City Sound – Volume One (EP)

the city sound vol 1

I’m not big on surprises. I’ve never had a surprise party thrown for me, but I’m pretty sure I’d freak out. I don’t like when creepy crawlies surprise me by appearing in my room. However, there is one kind of surprise I really do like: when an artist surprises me, and The City Sound have done just that. With their new EP, Volume One, the Texas-based band pulled me in with just five songs. Each track has a power to it, and the band doesn’t shy away from showcasing their many talents from the get-go. “Keeping Me From Me” has a great fusion of melodics and a harder sound, all paired with PHENOMENAL vocals from Dean Barry, especially when you factor in the vocal harmonies.

On tracks like “Break The Mold” and “Almsman Circuit,” there’s an almost tangible angst, a frustration that steadily builds. “Break The Mold” leaves me feeling inspired, with the quietness of the vocals, and the wisdom of the lyrics. As the track picks up, I find myself feeling the angst that we all felt at fourteen stir inside of me. There is an artistic quality to the background of the tune, and the best is, it still feels like it links up with the first track. My nostalgia for the rock of the early 2000s, with clean vocals and edgy instrumentals, feels satisfied with the stunning work presented on this EP. However, it is really the lyrics that have me stopping in awe. “Phew,” indeed. The Madina Lake-esque “Almsman Circuit” is a bit harder in tone; a big, booming declaration in a chorus, with a transient sound, and solid bass, courtesy of Chris Reyes.

On “Live It Again,” there’s an incredible build of percussion from Chris Ellis that really pushes Dean’s vocal play. It’s an anthem, if I’ve ever heard one. This is what I picture kids screaming along to at concerts, pushing their fists into the air with adrenaline racing through them. The bridge sends shivers down my spine. When the song picks back up, it’s like getting off of a roller coaster and walking down a hill: a little disorienting. The guitar solo from Chris Ross adds a level of “festival worthy” to it, as well. However, it is “Just Like Everyone,” the finisher of the EP, that is poised to be a hit for the group. The instrumentals are incredible, there’s vocal play and distortion, and a more melodic sound with plenty of “ooh”s to make this an infectious, catchy track.

Volume One EP Is out NOW. For more on The City Sound or to purchase a CD, click HERE.

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REVIEW: Kate Copeland – ‘Recollection Room’

kate copeland

Straight from the get-go, Kate Copeland will entrance you on her new album, Recollection Room. Kicking off with “A Simple Word,” Copeland shines on this hauntingly beautiful introduction. There’s a true soul to this track, with pure beauty, a love song of cosmic proportions. There’s something about this track that feels like the universe exploding…perhaps its just how profoundly groundbreaking it sounds in its simplicity. Kate Copeland will pull you in without you even noticing it; a siren’s song, not unlike, “Ten Silver Apples,” which sounds like a lullaby, or an eerier song from Mary Poppins (PS, check out the Dexy’s Midnight Runner reference in the latter track).

“My Cruel Tongue” has an edge to it; sharp lyrics, which matches the title of the track perfectly. There’s a misty bar, seventies undertone to it, with indie progression, steady rhythm, and stunning harmonics (see also “Wintersong”).

However, it is the poetic “Far Away Place” that tugs at heartstrings, for sure, with its stunning melodics, and beautiful arrangement. Copeland showcases just how beautiful her vocals are, and this song is by far one of the most well-crafted pieces of work I’ve ever heard, and this is from someone who reviews 30+ albums a year. It swells with rich instrumentals that envelope you as they blare through the speakers, leading perfectly into the perfectly simple “Breaking,” with this beautiful indie-film soundtrack vibe to it. Can I please please please hear this and “Sarah Walks / Daybreak” in a film? They’re so gorgeous. Both songs build, and continually leave me mesmerized.

“A Seam Down The Middle” is a surprise on the album, showcasing a cabaret, jazzy style to it, with gorgeous lounge instrumentals, but Copeland quickly comes back to this melodically modern tone, rivaling that of Sara Bareilles on her debut album (“Trouble,” “Rosaline”). “Leave You To The Sea” is another surprise, as a wonderful, sharp, break-up anthem. It has this feeling of refreshing moving on and the pure beauty of moving forward, and leaving a jerk behind. I had no idea you could be so refreshingly certain with such a happy instrumental. It cements the thought that this is truly an incredible album.

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