Friday, May 31, 2013

Five Song Friday - May 31st

Another week goes by (rapidly) and more music! Always finding more music to buy and listen to. Check out this week's tracks!

  1. Northern Lights - 30 Seconds to Mars
    This song is possibly my favorite off the album; it combines so many elements present throughout the album that it feels like the defining moment of the album. It incorporates big synths, pulsing and driving drums, dramatic string lines, and Leto's fantastic vocals. He gets down and gritty with this song, letting out some throaty yells and screams. The whole song comes together to create a listening experience unlike anything I've experienced in a while. 5/5
  2. Pyres of Varanasi - 30 Seconds to Mars
    Out of all the songs on the album, this has to be the most exotic sounding track. I absolutely love it. It pulses, it builds, and it has a story. Whatever story you create for it, it can become the soundtrack for it. I love the orchestral feel combined with modern electronic synths and basses. The vocal lines are the most exotic part, with Leto creating a very Middle-Eastern vibe and further enhancing the epic feel of the song. 5/5
  3. Home Is A Fire - Death Cab for Cutie
    I've slowly been getting more into Death Cab for Cutie over the last year or so. I was exploring their music on Spotify, and discovered this gem off their latest album. Every time I hear the chorus, I can't help but stop and truly listen. It's relaxing, yet exciting in the sense that it's great music and that makes it fun to listen to. It's like a sip of a sweet drink; I can't help but go back for one listen after another. It's more of a winter song, but also good for the nighttime, as you stare at the stars and think about the wonders of life. Go buy it! 5/5
  4. Wessex Boy - Frank Turner
    I've been listening to a lot more Frank Turner recently, and am loving it more and more with every listen. His style and vibe is completely laid back; he makes music to make it, and to have fun. You can easily hear it with the intro to this song, which includes him counting off the song and messing up. His music makes for fantastic warm summer night music, in the company of good friends and the moonlight. This song in particular is very relaxed, with a hint of country to it. I love that the acoustic guitar leads the song, with a fairly minimal orchestration of some simple drums and a xylophone here and there. It has "Good Time" written all over it, and I highly recommend it for those looking for simply good music. 5/5
  5. Peggy Sang The Blues - Frank Turner
    This song is also another fun sounding song. Led by an acoustic guitar, it incorporates a tambourine and a groovy little bass line to make you nod your head along and smile. The vocals are definitely memorable, which is a common theme with Frank's music. His voice is fantastic, but also sounds down to earth, if that makes any sense. I also enjoy listening to this song on summer nights; it goes well with bro-tanks and BBQ, in-case you were wondering. The drums drive this song a bit faster than "Wessex Boy", but both contain that simple music vibe that creates a fun listening experience. 5/5

Friday, May 24, 2013

Five Song Friday - May 24th

This week was great for my ears, with a brand new 30 Seconds To Mars album out and rocking all over my week. Check out what I was listening to, and see what you like!

  1. Birth - 30 Seconds To Mars
    This song is easily the best intro track I've ever heard for an album in a while. The variety of sounds creates this incredible listening experience. It also plays out like something off of a movie soundtrack, which gives it an epic feel. The combination of all this makes for an absolutely fantastic way to start off the album. 5/5
  2. Conquistador - 30 Seconds To Mars
    I have many addictions from the new 30 Seconds To Mars album, but this one is high up on the list. It is the most energetic and just good old fashioned rock 'n roll track on the album, with gritty roaring guitars and driving, crashing drums. You can't help but want to fist pump along and scream back the lines. Pure energy, and pure fun. 5/5
  3. Holding On To You - Twenty One Pilots
    I recently discovered these guys after learning they would be opening for a Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco show I'm going to in the fall. I decided to give them a listen, and was pleasantly surprised. This song was one of those that stuck with me after listening, due to it's smooth blend of different generes and ideas. I'm loving their quirky sound, a mix of rap and alternative rock with thought provoking lyrics. I absolutely love the line "lean with it, rock with it, when we gonna stop with it, lyrics that mean nothing, we were gifted with thought". That line rings true with me, in a day and age when music is slowly being dumbed down, with lyrics that mean absolutely nothing and are filling the minds of the youth with stupidity. My interest has been grabbed, and I plan on listening to much more of these guys before the concert. 5/5
  4. Out Of Time - Stone Temple Pilots
    I've never really listened to these guys before, but when I heard earlier in the week that Chester Bennington of Linkin Park would temporarily be their new lead singer, I had to check it out. I definitely enjoyed it; it was some well crafted rock and roll. I always like hearing Chester do more rock oriented work, like with his side project a few years back, Dead By Sunrise. He has a great voice for it, and this is no exception. The song itself wasn't too exciting, however, beyond the fact that Chester was included on it. It wasn't bad in any way, but not anything groundbreaking or revolutionary. 4/5
  5. Part II - Paramore
    This song continues to make its way onto my playlists, and continues to get stuck in my head constantly. I can't get over how absolutely fantastic this track is, and how happy I am that Paramore made it.  The darkness, the grittiness, the lyrical parallels, they all keep me coming back listen after listen. It's like Paramore's early stuff, but grown up. It's got age to it, yet it's catchy. 5/5

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Love Lust Faith + Dreams - 30 Seconds to Mars

30 Seconds to Mars has always had my attention since I first heard them back in middle school. Their album A Beautiful Lie, contains some of my all time favorite songs, like "The Kill", "Attack", and "From Yesterday", which I still love to this day. Their last album, This Is War, was easily my favorite by them however, with some fantastic songs like "Kings and Queens", "Night Of The Hunter", and the version of "Hurricane" featuring Kanye West. I loved epic feel the group reached on this album, and the potential they were exposing to the world.

Well, their newest album, Love Lust Faith + Dreams, took that potential, and shot off to the stars.

The album opener, "Birth", is easily one of the best album openers I've ever heard, hands down. The start with the simple drum beating, adding in the horn section with Jared Leto's vocals floating over, and the sticatto strings, leading into the build with more drums, electronic synths, and strings that creates a theatrical and truly epic sound. It is 100% 30 Seconds To Mars, but shows their willingness to expand with new types of sounds and ideas. "Birth" immediately leads into the fist pumping rock anthem "Conquistador", which you can easily tell that the band had fun making. I love the vocals, with the echoes added on the verses and the gang vocals used throughout. I also love, for some reason, the way he sings the word "conquistador" in the second verse; it just sounds cool, to be honest. The song has energy and is driving, but is incredibly creative and continues some of the ideas from "Birth", with a few string lines and some added synths in the verses. The energy is kept up in the next track and lead single, "Up In The Air", a synth-infused rock song. You can't help but tap your foot along to the beat as it pulses with Leto's voice screaming out accompanied by a choir on the chorus. I like that they brought back having the choir add parts to some of the songs; it was nice, however, to not have it on every single song. "Up In The Air" is one of the more electronically influenced songs on the album, with the pulsing synth line and electronic beat, yet still retaining the soul and essence of who the band is.

The album slows down for a few minutes with the ballad oriented "City of Angels", which is lead by the piano lines and more mellow drum rhythm. Jared's vocals are as spectacular as ever, soaring to incredible highs and getting down to those throaty lows. Even though this song isn't as fast paced as some of the others, it still manages to keep up the epic feel that flows through the entire album. A fantastic example of the epic feel can be found in the next song,  "The Race". The fast paced violin intro gives it a soundtrack feel, as well as the steady bass drum beat and the briefly added choir. The song keeps a generally low key sound until it hits the chorus, where the sound explodes as more drums are added with the usual children's choir backing up Jared's vocals. It all comes together to create a vibrant and energetic sound, especially when it hits the brief breakdown in the bridge that incorporates a roaring guitar line to bring it back for a final epic chorus. The next song, "End Of All Days", was probably the song that grabbed my attention the least on the album. It's actually one of the better examples of Jared's incredible vocals, but the song itself just doesn't interest me as much. It comprised mostly of the piano, synths, and the drums, and has a more melancholy vibe to it. The song after it, however, might be my favorite from the album. "Pyres of Varanasi" is an instrumental, with some brief non-lyrical vocals added in. It also has a very theatrical feel to it, by including more strings, heavy blaring synths, and pulsing drums. The vocals give it a very Middle Eastern feel, with Jared just doing runs, randomly going up and down at intervals that set it appart from Western music. I absolutely love it, and keep listening to it again and again. I especially love the ending, with the huge low synth speeding up until it abruptly ends and switches into the next song, "Bright Lights", which feels like the combination of Angels & Airwaves and U2 in terms of the vastness of the track, and the sounds utilized. I had heard this song before the album released, and immediately knew it was going to be one of my favorites, without a doubt. It is another more mellowed out track, but it doesn't get boring in the slightest, continuing to drive with it's anthem sound. I love the way the verses are constructed as far as the lyrics go, alternating between 2 lines and spacing out 4 words in a way that makes me want to listen again and again.

"Do or Die" is a song that caught me off guard on my first listen, lulling you with the simple synth line, and then exploding with drums, guitars, and blasting synths in all ranges. This song picks up the pace from "Bright Lights", and creates a lot more energy as well, making you want to get on your feet and jump and dance along. I can easily see this being popular at shows, with the whole crowd jumping up and down and singing along with the chorus. My favorite part is the bridge vocal line, which fairly high for Jared and is slightly distorted electronically, creating an unusual sound for the group. It's epic though, there's no question about it. It then slips into another instrumental, "Convergence", which utilizes some percussion and echoing guitars to create another soundtrack song. The entire album could really be the soundtrack of a movie, with all the huge sounds and layers of incredible instrumentation. "Convergence" doesn't really build, but serves as a nice interlude from the energetic and almost happy "Do or Die" to the more moody "Northern Lights", which begins with a picked acoustic guitar line, and a steady bass drum. They bring back the blaring synth used in "Pyres of Varanasi" as Jared comes in, thus creating that exotic feeling again. Jared's vocals soar high and low on this song, over electronic beats and piercing string lines. It's another favorite of mine, because of it's more dark nature and gritty sound. The synth used to introduce the bridge brought to mind Daft Punk's "Tron: Legacy" soundtrack,  and after a few listens I noticed it is also layered into the choruses as well. The song slowly fades out line by line, in a very theatrical manner, until it switches into the last song of the album, "Despuis Le Debut", which begins and ends in completely different manners. It's almost like a few songs fit into a short amount of time. The first part consists of solely Jared and an acoustic guitar, which I thought served as a nice contrasting ending to an album heavily influenced by electronics, although I loved it all. About 50 seconds in, however, the song completely switches over, with synths of all kinds coming in to create an extremely epic film score piece. The strings start to come in, building the tension higher and higher. The drums pound, continuing to build the song even more until it all suddenly stops. Then, to finish it, it ends with an eerie sounding music box song that plays for about 30 seconds.

I loved this album; it's easily my favorite album by the group, and one of my favorites ever. It included so many fantastic elements and directions that got me excited, and I kept listening, craving more and more. It's a solid hit, and I know that 30 Seconds To Mars will continue to reach for fantastic ideas and sounds. 5/5

Birth - 2:07 (5/5)
Conquistador - 3:12 (5/5)
Up In The Air - 4:36 (5/5)
City Of Angels - 5:02 (4/5)
The Race - 3:40 (5/5)
End of All Days - 4:46 (4/5)
Pyres of Varanasi - 3:12 (5/5)
Bright Lights - 4:51 (5/5)
Do or Die - 4:08 (5/5)
Convergence - 2:01 (5/5)
Northern Lights - 4:44 (5/5)
Depuis Le Debut - 2:33 (5/5)

Friday, May 17, 2013

Five Song Friday - May 17th

This week has been exciting for me, with the discovery of some fantastic new music. Check out what I've been listening to this week, and enjoy!

  1. Lrad - Knife Party
    I am completely hooked on this song. Knife Party did an incredible job creating the epic party vibe perfectly. The drop is my favorite part; it's straight up sexy in its simplicity and exotic feel. I can easily see this being a big hit at clubs and parties. It's pulsing, it's catchy, and it's sick. Go buy it. 5/5
  2. Things I Can't Change - The Story So Far
    I had discovered this song a few weeks prior, but have been continuing to listen to it since I bought it. I really love the chorus, with fantastic vocals and a instrumental that rocks out. I am getting more and more into their sound as a band, and love it. They get intense, but not in a way that turns away people. They simply make good music, and this is definitely one of the better songs they've made. 5/5
  3. Roads Untraveled - Linkin Park
    This song is one of my favorites from Linkin Park's last record, Living Things, and easily one of my favorites by the group. It is very different from most of their other material, and manages to be epic and driving while being extremely heartfelt and emotional. It also has a more indie/folk influence with some of the sounds and lyrical ideas, which is new for LP. The vocals are really what draw me back listen after listen; I sing it out every single time I hear it. I also really love when the instrumental picks up after Mike and Chester sing with just the piano accompanying them, and how the guitars just ring out over everything else, with the drums crashing around and the added percussion floats lightly on top, yet is clearly heard. It is a true masterpiece, and I cannot stop listening to it a year after the album released. 5/5
  4. The Mighty Fall (feat. Big Sean) - Fall Out Boy
    One of my favorites from Save Rock and Roll, "The Mighty Fall" is a mashup song, with rock guitar riffs played out over huge hip-hop beats. It's gritty and aggressive, much like the rest of the album. I was wary of Big Sean's involvement, but his part perfectly meshes with the song. I really enjoy Patrick's vocals on this song as well, with his voice soaring fairly high and coming right back down to create melodies that stay in my head long after I listen. 5/5
  5. Fool's Game - This Century
    I was very excited for This Century's latest album, Biography of Heartbreak, and it did not disappoint. This song was one of the highlights, grooving along with electronic beats, big synths, and some subtle guitar lines added in. It's very catchy, and very pop oriented as well, which is the ongoing theme of the record. It could easily be heard on the radio or at a dance party/club, which is also the case with many of the other songs on the album. I highly recommend it to fans of The Maine, Boys Like Girls, and A Rocket To The Moon. 5/5

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Biography of Heartbreak - This Century

This Century has always been a band about relationships, girls, and love; this new album is no exception. Titled Biography of Heartbreak, this record is the same message This Century has been putting out since they began, just wrapped in a different package. Their shift towards a more hevaily pop-influenced sound is no surprise, and is fitting for them. Guitars are mostly replaced with synths, although not completely removed. The drumset is replaced by electronic beats. The vocals are much the same as they've always been. Their vocalist, Joel Kanitz, strays much more towards the smooth side than on the last album, where he got gritty at points; beyond that, however, it feels no different than before.

The album alternates between the upbeat, pop-anthems that feel good on a Friday night and the more relaxed and heartfelt songs. It serves as a nice mix, flowing from songs like "Bleach Blonde", a polished summer jam to songs like "Tip Toe", an acoustic guitar and drumset led piece of reminiscing and delicacy. The contrast between these two songs alone is fantastic, with the difference in moods, instrumentation, and pace makes for a great listening experience. Some songs like "Slow Dance Night" combine elements of both of these kind of songs, employing a pop sounding electric guitar riff, electronic beats, and some heavy synths, but still maintaining that heartfelt attitude and warming lyrics. It opens the album and sets a great bar, possibly being my favorite off the album. The other song that comes close is "Skeletons", a beat driven electro-pop gem. The verses are mellow and chilled out, but the chorus' kick it up a notch with some guitar and smashing beats. I also absolutely love the vocals, which are the highlight of the song. Kanitz's voice soars over the rest of the song; it's beautiful. Another song where his voice is stellar is "Fool's Game", a synth and guitar covered blast. His when he hits the falsetto on the chorus, it makes the song fantastic. I also really love the vibe of the song overall; it's upbeat and catchy, but the mood is a little darker than some of the other tracks on the album.

The more heartfelt songs on the album all tend to be perfect sounding for rainy day weather. "Footsteps" is a perfect example of this, with an acoustic guitar quietly imitating the rain behind layers of synth and beats. The lyrics and vocals make this song a true beauty, and push it more towards the melancholy side as Kanitz croons about how he misses the one he loves. This follows in the same vein of "Forbidden", a song of restricted love and the pain it causes. It's more beat driven and synth heavy than "Footsteps, but still comes out with the same rainy day vibe. However, not everything is overcast; there are some great summer sunny day anthems on the record, such as "Love Killer" with it's cries of "La, la la la la love killer". The mood is bright and you cannot help but smile. It's cheery, but not in a way that makes you want to turn it off or skip it. This is similar to the vibe inspired by "Run and Hide", which takes a reggae style guitar strum and adds loving words and synth to create the perfect song for a couple in love.

This was a solid effort from This Century. They stayed consistent throughout the album, with nothing feeling out of place in the slightest. They also created very distinct songs, that each tell their own story and create their own life. It's an awesome piece of shining pop-rock. I genuinely enjoyed each song on the track; nothing disappointed my ears. Good work boys! 5/5

Slow Dance Night - 3:10 (5/5)
Love Killer - 3:38 (4/5)
Bleach Blonde - 3:22 (5/5)
Tip Toe - 3:25 (5/5)
My Weakness - 2:50 (4/5)
Run and Hide - 3:38 (5/5)
Footsteps - 4:09 (5/5)
Skeletons - 4:01 (5/5)
Forbidden - 3:31 (5/5)
Sideways - 3:44 (4/5)
Fool's Game - 3:28 (5/5)
Biography of Heartbreak - 4:11 (4/5)
Deadly Weapon - 3:55 (5/5)

Haunted House EP - Knife Party

I discovered Knife Party by being introduced to his top hit, "Bonfire", by a friend, and thought it was such a sick sound. It was pulsing, it was intense, and it was epic. I had not listened to much else of his material, however, until I saw he had released a new EP, Haunted House, and thought I'd give it a shot. I did not expect to be as hooked as I am; these songs are on fire.

It begins with the immediately loud and moving "Power Glove", full of huge low sounds, electronic choir shouts, and driving beats. It also contains some more eerie samples, with what sounds like a distorted version of the famous "Psycho" theme showing up a few times throughout the song. I absolutely love the build-up at 3 minutes; it isn't traditional in the sense that the beat doesn't get super fast in the end. Instead, he starts increasing the rate of the beat until near the climax, and then switches the beat into triplets, not often heard today.

The next song, "Lrad", is what really sucked me into the EP. It starts off pretty simple, with just a beat and a little synth here and there. It continues to build, slowly but surely adding more layers and increasing the level of intensity. My favorite part, however, is right after the drop. It's not a dubstep drop with wobbles, but a subtle and sultry drop into a beat with some extra percussion sounds. It completely changes the mood and feel of the song from a Swedish House Mafia jam to this sexy, epic party song. The second drop is even more grimey, with an added clap, a group shout, and a syncopated tom hit. It is absolutely fantastic and epic and sexy, and most definitely my favorite part of the EP.

The third song is titled "EDM Death Machine", and begins with an interesting vocal clip used. The speaker talks about how in the future, "nobody will drop the bass, nobody will do the harlem shake" and continues to make various pop culture references, including a few to his own songs. The beat itself pulses, with some cool synth work layering over it to create a great party and club jam, that slowly builds until a sudden cutoff. The listener then hears some sort of machine starting as the music slowly comes back in, and the beat drops yet again with another synth theme. Knife Party decides to switch it up again, however, and shifts into a much more drum oriented section with an intricate beat set up. To finish it off, the section after the second beat drop is utilized again, making a solid finish to the song.

The final song on this EP is a VIP of one of Knife Party's bigger hits, "Internet Friends". I've discovered that VIP means that a remix by the artist who created the song. I'm not super familiar with the original, but I did not hear a very large difference in the versions. The only major difference occurred at about 4 minutes into the song, with the remix going into a breakdown type beat with a heavier dubstep feel.

This was a very well done EP, with some great beats and synths,  a lot of energy, and huge sounds. Go buy it! 4/5

Power Glove - 4:22 (5/5)
Lrad - 5:15 (5/5)
EDM Death Machine - 4:23 (4/5)
Internet Friends VIP - 5:01 (4/5)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Set The Fire - UTKF

I discovered UTKF, a punk rock group from London, Ontario, Canada after they followed me on Tumblr, (such a wonderful site), and they posted a link to a review and asked if anyone else wanted to review their latest album, Set the Fire. Seeing that I like doing that, I offered to review it, and here we are!

Something I noticed from the first listen is the energy of this group. Even though the pace of the songs in the album may change, there is a consistent level of energy flowing through each track that makes the music contagious. You can absolutely tell from listening how much effort and love these guys put into their work. The music also feels extremely natural; nothing is forced in the slightest. They make the music that they love, and there's nothing else to it.

The album kicks off with "Tonight's The Night", a fantastic piece of punk rock through and through. I'm a sucker for dueling vocalists, and absolutely love the back and forth nature and contrast of the vocals, with raspy and smooth coming together and creating fantastic chemistry. My foot began tapping along with the beat naturally, as well as my head nodding along. You can't help it. I'm also a big fan of the large amount of bass guitar present in not only this song, but throughout the album. The next track on the record, "Grey Matter" begins with a groovin' bass line, and explodes into fiery drum-driven punk gold. I love the vocals in this song as well, alternating between quick and drawn out to create great contrast. The harmonies that came in just towards the end of the song were fantastic as well.

As the album progresses, I become more and more impressed with their ability to present intense sounding guitars and crashing drums, and not come off as obnoxious or particularly in your face. The gritty sound they achieve while being catchy is awesome. "A Little More", for example, has guitar parts that sound like they could be straight from a much heavier band, yet the overall sound remains punk. It almost has the feel of A Day To Remember combined with The Story So Far. I dig it a lot. Another one of my favorites from the record is the title track, "Set The Fire", which is passionate and has an instrumental with fantastic contrasts. It goes from moments of crunching guitar riffs and pounding drums to nothing but quick clean guitar solos or the bass guitar and a little cymbals. I also really enjoy the outro, without any vocals; just the band wailing away at their instruments and making some rocking noises. The next track, "Put Me On" is another song full of contrasts, and is itself a contrast compared to the rest of the album. It doesn't slow down at all, but mellows out a bit in sound. The verses are much more low key than the chorus, with palm muted guitars and more subtle drumming. This song is also more oriented on the vocals than the instrumental as well, which serves as a good contrast. It was another favorite from the album, especially with the build up from the bridge into the final chorus. It begins as the drums slowly picking up, but then when the guitars come roaring in, it creates a rocking sound like something out of a Blink-182 song.

The rest of the album rides up and down from song to song in terms of pace and fire. "What Matters" starts off with an intro of drums and a slick duet of guitar and bass, which smoothly transitions into the first verse that picks up the pace, but not enough to be explosive. The chorus is the best part, with the shouts of "Hey!" in the background of one of the vocalists singing "This is not what I signed up for". The next song,  "Better Than Nothing", follows the feel of a song by The Wonder Years and has punk written all over it. It drives and it has a pure fun feel to it. "Get It Right" begins with some neat guitar riffs and expands into a song that would be perfect for cruising on a summer day with friends. It has energy, it bites, yet it makes you want to groove along and have a good time. "Underdogs" and "Leaving" are both fantastic pieces of punk rock, being driven heavily by the crashing and furious drumming, which shows off the fantastic skills of the drummer, Daniel Foster-Roman. The final song of the track, "Wake Up", is deceptive with it's intro. It begins chilled out, with simply vocals and a guitar line that rapidly switches into an explosion of the full band. This song was a superb choice to end the album with, because it goes all over the place. The first half is definitely more punk oriented, with some sick syncopation and rocking guitar going on. The second half, however, slows down, and switches towards a more epic rock sound, with occasional strums and a lot of cymbal work that slowly diminishes until the song and album finishes.

Overall, I was very impressed with this album. It had a real professional quality to it that surprised me. I enjoyed every song, and some really grabbed my attention. Good work guys! 4/5

Tonight's The Night - 3:35 (4/5)
Grey Matter - 3:13 (5/5)
A Little More - 4:06 (4/5)
Set the Fire - 3:20 (5/5)
Put Me On - 3:39 (5/5)
What Matters - 3:57 (4/5)
Better Than Nothing - 2:39 (4/5)
Get It Right - 4:08 (5/5)
Underdogs - 3:03 (4/5)
Leaving - 3:35 (4/5)
Wake Up - 4:49 (5/5)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Five Song Friday - May 10th

The weeks keep going by, and I keep finding more music I fancy (what a surprise). Take a look at what I've been listening to in this week's installment.

  1. Playing The Victim - The Story So Far
    I've slowly been listening to more and more of The Story So Far lately, and I'm finding I like them more and more. Their sound is gritty, tight, and in your face. This song in particular is my current favorite by them, specifically because of the chorus. I love the vocals, and the instrumental backing them create this powerful and driving sound. The synching of the drums and the roaring guitar create a perfect moment to headbang. This is one of those songs that just captures my attention, and I can't quite explain it. I've listened to it at least 5 times in the process of writing about it, and I absolutely love it. I can't get enough of it. If you like Polar Bear Club, Man Overboard, or The Wonder Years, these guys are great for you. 5/5
  2. Empty Space - The Story So Far
    This is another song I've found from The Story So Far's latest album, What You Don't See. It gets this beat going in my chest, and makes me want to rock out at a concert. Their choruses are what hook me on their songs; I absolutely love the intensity of the vocals and the driving force of the guitars and drums. Their vocalist, Parker Cannon, has a suprisingly good voice for being in the genre of pop-punk/punk. Most others that I've heard aren't bad, but they tend to be more gritty and less melodic. This song is less intense than "Playing The Victim", but still packs a punch. 5/5
  3. Lay Me Down - Chris Tomlin
    I really should just buy all of Chris Tomlin's latest album, Burning Lights. I keep listening to it and finding songs I absolutely love. The man clearly knows how to write incredible music and lyrics. This song is a contrast to Crown Him (Majesty), which made my weekly list last week. It had much more of a pump-up, anthem sound to it, and was much more driving and faster. I really enjoy the strumming pattern for the acoustic guitar; it's distinct, yet keeps up the liveliness of the tune. Tomlin's chord progressions are always crafted phenomenally, with the changes being wonderful to listen to. He doesn't just do average 4 chord progressions that you hear everywhere, but throws in various chords to add color and depth to his songs that is hard to fine elsewhere. The lyrics of this song are another aspect that draws me back listen after listen. This is a song of surrender and acknowledgment of God's Lordship over all. It is a fantastic reminder that we belong to something bigger and far better than ourselves, and that we need to set down our pride and look to God. Check it out if you like Phil Wickham, Kristian Stanfill, or Jesus Culture. 5/5
  4. Slow Dance Night - This Century
    I don't remember how I discovered these guys, but I've loved their music and sound since I first listened. With their latest album, Biography of Heartbreak, dropping next week, they've been releasing a few singles in the past few months leading up. I just found this song this week, and am completely hooked. It's insanely catchy, with a upbeat pop vibe that makes you want to go out on the town on a Friday night and just have fun. This song has radio play written all over it; it's pop genius. From the light guitar to the electronic beats to the synth line added in the chorus, this shows This Century's slow progression towards a more pop oriented sound. This shouldn't be a surprise to fans who have been listening for a while. Some of the other singles retain the alternative/rock sound they began with, but there is a heavy influence of electronic and pop coming in, which I think works perfectly for the group. If you like The Maine, The Summer Set, or A Rocket To The Moon, then these guys are for you! 5/5
  5. Love & Drugs - The Maine
    The Maine has been one of my favorite groups since I was shown them in 2008. I have watched their sound progress and their music mature in these 5 years, and I am incredibly proud of where they've taken their music. Their last record, Pioneer, was spectacular, and when I heard they were set to release a new album soon, I was stoked. When I heard both this song and their first single, "Happy", I was not quite as excited. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure I will enjoy the album, but these songs sound a lot like they could have just been on their last album. I don't hear much of a sound change, which is good sometimes, but there still needs to be a sense of something new. I did enjoy the song, however, with it's rock and roll feel and driving instrumental. Check it out if you like the group. 4/5

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Five Song Friday - May 3rd

This week has been relatively quiet in terms of releases, but it has been an explosion in my own discovery of new music. Check out what songs I've found this week and been jammin' out to.

Disclaimer: Some of the music this week is Christian, and so I'll be talking a little about my faith and how it relates to the songs. If you aren't comfortable or don't want to read that, then I suggest skipping to the third song this week. Also, if you don't like country music as well, I suggest avoiding this post at all. Just kidding though, please do read!

  1. Cornerstone - Hillsong Live
    I finally purchased this song, but have been hooked on it for the last few months after constantly hearing it at Rockharbor Church, that I've been attending for the last few months. The fire and passion behind this song is incredible, and I'm especially glad that this version is live, because the sound of the audience shouting and screaming along with the words further emphasizes the power of worship music. This song is extremely comforting, and a constant reminder that Jesus is Lord over all; nothing is as huge as the vast God. We need this reminder to turn to him as our solid rock in times of suffering and waves of problems. I also enjoy the driving nature of this song; it's a perfect pump-up for when you need a reminder that God has your back and will help you through everything. 5/5
  2. Crown Him (Majesty) [feat Kari Jobe] - Chris Tomlin
    This song is a beautiful song; growing from a simple piano line to a full and fierce sound of drums crashing and strings soaring. The way that the vocals and the chords work together is also fantastic, slowly rising higher and higher until they erupt into the chorus. The addition of Kari Jobe for vocals was also a spectacular choice in further building the epic feel of the song. Chris Tomlin is one of my favorite Christian artists out there today; he writes absolutely fantastic worship pieces that I know will be played for years and years to come. 5/5
  3. Banjo - Rascal Flatts
    This week, I've been in a country mood. I think it might be the weather and school being over, but I can't get enough of that sweet country music. This song is one of my favorites that I've discovered, with that great southern banjo and the country twang in Gary LeVox's voice. I also like the rock that drives the chorus, since I was raised on rock and have always loved it. I can't help feeling good when I listen to this song; it makes me want to hop in a pick-up truck and find a country concert in the middle of nowhere to go and rock out. I also really enjoy the strings in this song; they have that southern sound, but are also really aggressive and powerful. Definitely a great song if you love country music. 5/5
  4. Sure Be Cool If You Did - Blake Shelton
    I already had a few songs by Blake Shelton, but managed to discover this song while listening to a country station on the way home from church. It leans a little more towards the pop side in terms of the verses and the beat, but definitely has a country feel with Blake Shelton's voice and the slide guitar in the chorus. I really enjoy the laid back nature of this song, it's relaxing yet catchy. I know this will be a great song to blast in my truck on those warm summer nights with the windows down and the volume cranked up. I also recommend this song as a good choice for anyone looking to start listening to country music. 5/5
  5. Anywhere With You - Jake Owen
    I also had a song by Jake Owen, "Barefoot Blue Jean Night", which is an excellent song and I recommend it to all of you, but I also discovered this song on the radio. It is a cute song, talking about just taking off and going wherever the girl wants to go. I can absolutely picture myself and mu girlfriend doing something like this and seeing the U.S. state by state. I love traveling, and so this song speaks to me. It also helps that the chorus is extremely catchy, especially when he sings "have you ever seen California?". It's another kick-back song, and makes me just want to relax and enjoy life. I've discovered that country music makes me want to just enjoy what I have and remember how great my life is. Go listen to it! 5/5