Thursday, September 18, 2014

Centuries - Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy took the world by storm last year, and they show no signs of slowing down. "Centuries", the latest single from the band, is in the same vein as Save Rock & Roll, combining pop-sensibilities with hip-hop laced beats and FOB's signature touch. Patrick Stump's vocals are as top notch as ever, soaring to great heights in the anthemic chorus while maintaining an angry gritty tone that packs a punch. The instrumental combines sounds both familiar and unfamiliar, mixing traditional drumset with low-booming bass beats and snare drums that feel like something you'd hear on a song from the latest Lil' Wayne song, especially in the pre-chorus interlude (which is one of my favorite moments of the song. The entire song has a sense of swagger that was found in hints and moments in their last album, and it makes for a fantastic listening experience. Not to fear though; the new elements don't drown out the old with the guitars are still roaring as always.

What's important about both Save Rock & Roll and "Centuries" is that Fall Out Boy is doing what they want and going for it, without fear of pleasing everyone. Despite their new sound, FOB is in fact rock & roll because rock & roll is not a specific sound, even though that's what it has become. The concept is about doing something that is risky and exciting and that is exactly what FOB is doing. So rock on boys, you're doing a fantastic job.

Rating: 9/10
Related: Panic! At The Disco, Twenty One Pilots, Imagine Dragons

Monday, August 4, 2014

Intentions - Brave City

Brave City: the hometown band with vision for bigger and better things. Intentions is the start of something big for this group. With only 5 songs, Brave City shows their potential and variety with a multitude of different sounds and vibes that are explored throughout this album. Their lead single "Avalanche" (for my detailed review of that, click here ) was just a taste of their hard work and dedication, and those aspects of the group are very present in these new songs.

The album kicks off with "Sweet Teeth", full of gritty guitars and passionate vocals. It has a nice mix of a faster tempo and a dark nature that doesn't get the listener down. I especially enjoy the build in the bridge, which erupts powerfully with cries of "I don't wanna hear about it" and "What do you want, do you want from me?" interweaving as the band's dual vocals shine through. The contrasting nature of the gritty almost screams with the more traditional, smooth singing further pushes the passion behind the track. The next song, "You, Me, and A Ghost" starts with an extended instrumental intro, but then surprises the listener by going from a more relaxed verse to a chorus that almost sounds happy, like Brand New from "Your Favorite Weapon" era.  One of the best parts of the song is the outro, which is a solid breakdown that'll make you want to get on your feet and jump around or nod your head along. Their strongest song, (in my opinion), is their lead single "Avalanche". The dual vocals shine their brightest here, with Garrett Jackman and Danny Pruit in a constant exchange of back and forth singing. The instrumental is on point, clean and crisp as it takes you from pulsing verses hinted with synths to overdriven guitars and crashing drums leading ann impassioned chorus.

Not all of their songs follow in this same vein, however; "Coming Home" is a stripped down song that utilizes clean guitars and quiet vocals to create something with unexpected maturity and depth from a band who is just getting their feet on the ground. It builds into something bigger, but does not lose the sensitivity and vulnerability created by the first half of the track. The gang vocals about 5 minutes in add another layer of depth to the song, and truly give it a beautiful sound. It is very 30 Seconds To Mars "This Is War"-esc. Their album closer "The Great White" is not necessarily a mellow song, but it is at a slower tempo and plays less on their aggressive sound found in the other tracks. It is a steady build, which they seem to do quite well, and is definitely memorable, lyrically. The line "I've got no skin, but it still crawls for you" is genius in my mind. I love how catchy and eerie and even relatable it is. This song may be longer at 7 and 1/2 minutes, but it's definitely worth the listen.

All in all, another solid piece of work from a band who is on the edge of bursting out and becoming bigger than playing local shows in the Bay. Despite the limitations of home-studios and a lack of access to huge resources, this CD has come out like something that bands with much more experience would create. Brave City, a job well done, and the best of luck to as you continue to do great things!

Rating: 9/10
Recommended: Avalanche, The Great White, Sweet Teeth
Sounds like: Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, 30 Seconds To Mars

Friday, August 1, 2014

Lowborn - Anberlin

While I may have not closely followed Anberlin from their beginnings, I have become quite familiar with their music in the last couple of years, and I was just as heartbroken to hear about their decision to say farewell as a band at the end of 2014. However, it meant that they were going to put out one final album, and the anticipation couldn't be higher for the last release from a fantastic band. Despite a delay, the final effort from Anberlin encompasses who the band was and who they have become.

Within the 40 minutes and 10 songs, Anberlin has managed to put out some of the most sonically diverse and lyrically deep music they have ever done. They move from each end of the spectrum, with songs like the explosive opener "We Are Destroyer" and the scream filled "Dissenter" to the electronically driven "Birds Of Prey" and bittersweet closer "Harbinger". The album is a ride of emotions and sounds, and a worthy end to an incredible career.

The album kicks off with "We Are Destroyer", an energy driven monster of a song that tricks you into a false sense of serenity with the electronically lead intro that drops into roaring guitars, blistering drums, and passionate vocals that set the bar incredibly high for the rest of the record. The chorus gets your blood pumping like an anthem, with lines like "We could lose it all" and "We are the destroyer" making you want to raise your fist and shout it right back. This song is one of the best blends of electronic and rock elements that Anberlin has yet to put out in a combination of smooth and polished moments with raw rock n' roll. Later on in the album, "Dissenter" focuses more on the second element, with almost all screaming vocals in a move that is quite unlike anything the band has done. While it has a lot of energy like "We Are Destroyer", it is harnessed in a much different fashion and serves as a perfect mosh-along song. The bridge provides a more familiar soundscape for Anberlin and some striking contrast to the rest of the song. I was quite surprised by the ferocity and intensity of the song at first, but after a few listens found myself very easily getting into the energy of the song. "Velvet Covered Brick" is also on the more edgy side, with overdriven guitars leading the charge into a song that is familiar territory for Anberlin. The more mellow verses are actually my favorite parts of the song with a pronounced bass line and Stephen's almost sultry vocals floating over the other instruments.

Anberlin definitely explores their softer side within their last musical effort as well. "Birds Of Prey" is a hauntingly beautiful peace of music that mixes electronic/almost dance elements, gritty rock instruments, and polished vocals into one of the most unique songs of the album, and possibly of anything Anberlin has done. The lyrics are spot on as well, exploring an element of love and breakups that is common, but putting it in such a different light that it feels like something completely new. Lines like "Regret is nothing more than a lover's disease" and "memories circle like birds of prey, waiting for the right mind to drive insane" are on point and very much relatable, creating an instant emotional tie to the song. "Armageddon" is another song that utilizes a lot of dance-type sounds and is a bit more relaxed, but does build into a heavier section near the end. It has a sense of mystery and almost sensuality to it, thanks to the subtle synths in the background and the aggressive yet smooth guitars and steady beat that leads the verses. The chorus, however, fully embraces the aggressive undertones and erupts into an epic and passionate confession of "starting my own Armageddon". "Losing It All" is another softer song, but not in the same sense as these other two tracks. It is upbeat, but it takes on a lighter tone in terms of the instrumentation. Acoustic guitars, a piano line, and less aggressive drumming lay the groundwork for a more sensitive sounding piece. It is also, lyrically, a song of hope, which gives it a more positive vibe that you could almost call happy.

Two of the lead singles, "Stranger Ways" and "Hearing Voices" were songs that took a little while to grow on me, but they did and now they're some of my favorites from the record. "Stranger Ways" is on the calmer side, but still somehow manages to build without really hitting a peak moment. It doesn't erupt into crashing drums and stadium guitars; instead, it swells into something powerful that isn't loud. That is something the band should be immensely proud of that, for it is a rare feat to achieve. This was also one of my favorite songs, lyrically, because it felt personal and seems to be about a broken love, which is something that most people can relate to. "Hearing Voices" takes a different path instrumentally, with overdriven guitars and tribal-sounding drums. It is also a much faster tempo, and the band capitalizes on this. The chorus feels ready to be played in front of huge crowds, with anthem-like vocals and the drums and guitars working together to create a huge sound. I also really liked this one lyrically, for it's one of the few songs where Anberlin is very up-front about their faith. Lines like "Can't escape the ghost when the ghost's not dead" and "Everyone wants to know God, but they want to live like he died" are some of my favorite by them to date. 

I always pay close attention to album closers, because I feel that they tend to encapsulate the entirety of the album and perhaps even offer a view of what is to come next from the band. The latter aspect isn't quite so applicable in this case, but "Harbinger" certainly does work as a summing up of Anberlin's album, and perhaps even their career and time as a band. Haunting is a very appropriate word for this song, but bittersweet is a close fit as well. The chorus line "We'll live forever, forever, forever
(I don't wanna go now, but I know I've got to)" hit me hard when I finally understood what it was talking about. This song is truly a farewell from the band, a final salute to their fans and a kiss goodbye. When you realize that, the lyrics become exponentially more powerful and it leaves an impression that is hard to ignore.

All in all, this was some of Anberlin's best work, if not their best collective work they have put out. As a final effort, it was spot on. They picked their exit, and they made it an incredible piece of art and music. They set the terms for their ending, but it's just the beginning of everything that is to come in their lives. Thank you, Anberlin, for all that you've done. The music you've made, the shows you've put on, and the lives you've touched. I will see you one more time in October.

Rating: 10/10
Recommended: We Are Destroyer, Harbinger, Hearing Voices, Losing It All, Armageddon

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Sleeping Limbs - From Indian Lakes

From Indian Lakes is a band that has a sense of depth and attention to detail that is hard to find nowadays. When I first discovered them opening for Lydia, The Maine, and Anberlin, I found them to be far more impressive than Lydia, and equally as professional as the two headliners who had quite a bit more experience. They have a sound that is fully their own, and they know how to put on a fantastic show while still remaining humble and grateful to their fans.

When I discovered that a new album, Absent Sounds, was to be released in October, I was ecstatic to say the least. If the lead single, "Sleeping Limbs", is any indication of the rest of the album, then I foresee this being one of my favorite albums of the year. It is able to be both upbeat and relaxed, haunting and beautiful, a mixing of contrasts that blend in a marvelous manner. The sharp drum hits complement the smooth guitar lines in the verses, and the instrumental erupts in the layers that create a mesmerizing depth in the chorus. And Joey Vannuchi's vocals are on point as always, this time displaying a more calm side, yet still retaining power and a sense of intensity that makes his voice one of the most memorable today.

If you have never given these guys a listen, you will not be disappointed. Check out "Sleeping Limbs" and the rest of their works on Spotify, and fall in love.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Avalanche - Brave City

Brave City, the alternative-rock outfit from the San Francisco Bay Area, is gearing up to release their second album Intentions on July 26th. To build momentum, they've released the gritty and explosive single "Avalanche". Recorded and mixed by some of the band members themselves, the song radiates a DIY attitude and passion that can be lost in the glossy radio hits. With a back and forth nature in the vocals, the listener (or at least me) is definitely reminded of a "Deja Entendu" Brand New era-sound. It's got that raw energy that makes you tap your foot along and grin because it just feels good. The contrast between the verses and the chorus is stellar, with the switches being sudden but not choppy. While most of the instrumentation leans towards the guitar/drum side, the inclusion of a synth at certain points like the bridge adds an extra level of depth and richness to the song that you might not expect. Overall, it is definitely a solid intro to what could be a great album from a local band.

Rating: 8/10
Sounds Like: Brand New, Manchester Orchestra, Modest Mouse

Friday, June 27, 2014

The Hunting Party - Linkin Park

Every time Linkin Park has announced a new album, I have awaited in excitement for the what new ideas they've come up with. Some albums were hits from the start, sometimes the new sounds took some time to get used to, but without fail each album has proven to be a solid work from a solid group. This album is among the later group. When the band announced a "return" to a more rock based sound, many fans and listeners, especially those who have been whining for years for the band to return to a Hybrid Theory/Meteora sound, were quite excited for the possibilities the new album would hold. Some of the lead singles, "Guilty All The Same (feat. Rakim)", "Wastelands", and "Until It's Gone" were a fairly indicative of a rock based sound, but not the nĂ¼-metal sound some were hoping for. Instead, the band drew on influences from the 90's such as Helmet, System of A Down, and Rage Against The Machine, and even went as far as to include members from each of the respective bands on different tracks throughout the album. After listening to the album front to back, it is very clear that LP wanted to distance themselves from their last two releases that dabbled in electronic ideas. This release is less layered and definitely more stripped down from previous ones, with the focus mainly being on the guitars and the drums in the forefront of the sound. In interviews leading up to the release, Mike Shinoda consistently described the sound as being "raw and visceral", and with that he was spot on.

While there are a few songs that were on the "softer" side, most of the tracks from "The Hunting Party" are fueled by blisteringly fast drums and gritty overdriven guitars. The album opener, "Keys To the Kingdom", for example, kicks things into the red from the start. Chester gives some of his screamiest vocals to date with Mike bouncing between vocals and rapping, all over an instrumental that is reminiscent of Minutes To Midnight. Everything on the song is filled with passion and aggression, a more raw and unprocessed sound than the majority of the songs on their last 2 releases. Another song from the album that runs in the same vein is "War", a short 2 minute song that keeps up the heat from start to end with a punk feel. Rob Bourdon continues some of his most impressive and intense drum work to date, with the cymbals constantly crashing and the bass pedal working overtime as Brad Delson shreds away on the guitar like never before, getting the spotlight on this song as well as many others throughout the album.

Linkin Park works just as well when they combine fragility with intensity, however. Some of the tracks, such as "Until It's Gone", "Mark The Graves", and "Final Masquerade" blend opposite elements seamlessly, which is what LP is best at. "Until It's Gone" is one of the most powerful songs on the album, thanks to it's simple yet relatable lyrics and the moving instrumental that keeps the edge from the rest of the album but reveals a vulnerability as well. "Mark The Graves" has a bright sound while still retaining the heaviness present throughout the album, brining to mind both sounds from A Thousand Suns and the guitars that were absent from that album. "Final Masquerade" has a ballad feel to it, with the slower tempo and more focus given to clean vocals and melodies. It also has some of the more relatable lyrics, feeling very personal and vulnerable when combined with the emotion driven instrumental.

The guest spots are very interesting to note, because while Linkin Park is no stranger to collaborations, they have never had them on studio albums. The fact that there are 4 different guests is even more suprising, but it made for some varied sounds on the album. "All For Nothing (feat Page Hamilton)", for example, is quite different from LP's sound in certain aspects. Given that it has the vocalist from Helmet, it obviously has a similar sound to that group, but the song also brings to mind The Offspring and other groups of that time. Another song that is very much influenced by the presence of a guest is "Rebellion (feat Daron Malakian)", which immediately brings to mine System Of A Down and their signature guitar sound. The vocals on "Rebellion", however, are very much Linkin Park-esque, and the bridge features some of Chester's throatiest screaming ever.

I always am drawn to album closers, because I think they have to be a powerful track to end the journey the band has taken the listener on. It should be like a summary of what has happened, and perhaps a preview of what is yet to come. "A Line in the Sand" is a fantastic example of a powerful closer, beginning with a dark and brooding intro made even more eerie by Mike's mournful singing that starts things off. This song is one that very much feels like Linkin Park, with a blending of the slow and upbeat, the polished and the gritty, the sorrow and the rage. The synth and ambient noise giving way to pounding drums and roaring guitars is one of the most intense and fist-thumping moments of the album, making you want to just move around. It is definitely one of the stand out tracks, and one of my personal favorites.

My only qualm with this album is the lack of depth, both in the sound and some of the lyrics. Linkin Park has consistently made music that has a very 3 dimensional quality to it, and while it was present on some songs from The Hunting Party, it wasn't always there. The focus on guitars and drums and the lack of the electronic elements resulted in some songs feeling a bit empty. Lyrically, the album felt a bit uninspired at some points. They weren't bad, but I wasn't able to connect with them like I have with their lyrics in the past. Besides that however, I was really pleased with how this album turned out, because I was a bit worried when they announced they were returning to a rock-based sound. They managed to do that without sounding generic or losing their touch.

The bottom line with this album is that it is Linkin Park at it's core. It may not always sound like them, but that's the point. They don't want to be tied down to a specific sound, hence why they haven't gone back to their sound from Hybrid Theory and Meteroa. They are not content with finding one single sound they can master, but instead continue to push the boundaries and explore with what they can do. They will continue to do this until they retire, and that is why I will continue to listen to what they do.

Rating: 6/10

Recommended: A Line In The Sand, Until It's Gone, Wastelands, Final Masquerade

Saturday, April 12, 2014

If You're Down, I'm Down EP - Dear Misguided

Dear Misguided are back at it again. A little more than a year after their first full length release Hold This Against Me, they're releasing their latest EP, If You're Down, I'm Down. This new release shows that the band is determined to explore ideas and fine-tune the sound they've been working on since they began. They were able to record the EP last November at an industry standard studio located at Chico State University, and that reflects on the improved quality of the recording as compared to their previous home-recorded work.

The EP starts out with "Sleeping Sound", which, like its title suggests, begins the album off with a low-key mood of soft drums, clean guitars, and smooth vocals. It has a melancholy tone to it, but is not depressing; the subtle bass line and drums keep things from falling into despair. When the bridge kicks in however, the band picks up the intensity and the song really begins to shine as lead singer David Hollenbeck jumps an octave and begins a passionate plea to the song's subject. The rest of the song feeds off this intensity, and it results in a solid opener for the EP. It then slips into "It's My Fault, But You're Wrong and I Hate You" a more upbeat and bright sounding song. It opens with a ethereal sounding synth, but quickly kicks into the drum-driven rest of the song. Right before the chorus is some evidence of the recording environment they had access to, because of the professional and awesome sounding fade from the verse into the instrumental version of the chorus. The chorus, with vocals, is the highlight of the song, with the slick gang vocals and tight instrumental that gives off a more mature and grown up sound than the "fun" songs of their debut album. "Keep It To Yourself", the next track on the album, brings the energy level back down to the more mellow levels of the opener. It serves as middle ground in terms of the mood of the previous two tracks, taking a more upbeat approach while sticking to a quieter overall sound. The vocals are a focus point of this song, with them coming in loud and clear over the crashing drums and guitar lines. David has dual vocals, which add a sense of depth to the song and gives more emphasis to them.  The bridge is especially memorable, with a sweet guitar line that sounds a bit like something Walk The Moon would do building the energy until the rest of the band comes crashing in. Finally, the EP finishes off with "*You're", a strictly acoustic tune who's title plays on the common error made with your/you're. The song has a lullaby sort of tone to it, with the picked and strummed guitars providing a gentle sway as the vocals come in softly over them. That doesn't mean it will lull you to sleep, however, with a slow building of the guitars gives the song a little edge to keep the listener intrigued. It's a fitting end to the EP, bringing things down to a soft, yet angsty end as Hollenback wishes he could go home and get away from the person he sings about for the rest of the song.

Overall, this EP showed a lot of improvement from their debut, which is good and expected. Having a professional quality studio helped, but the tracks definitely had a more mature and adult sound than was present before. The lyrical content helped this as well, taking on a darker nature and touching on some sad and raw sounding lyrical ideas. The indie nature of the band shines through, and the tracks flow well together, all drawing from a more consistent vibe then the debut album managed at points. This is another sign of why this is a band to continue to watch, with their continued growth and tightened sound showing through more and more clearly.

Rating: 4/5

Recommended: Sleeping Sound & It's My Fault, But You're Wrong and I Hate You

Related: Death Cab For Cutie, Walk The Moon, From Indian Lakes

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Issues - Issues

I'll be honest, I haven't really given Issues much of my attention. I enjoyed their version of Justin Bieber's "Boyfriend", but hadn't entirely enjoyed the rest of their material. However, I saw that their debut self-titled album had released, and after hearing some news about it, decided to give it a listen. I also listened to their Black Diamonds EP to familiarize myself with their kind of sound.

Upon first listen, I was actually somewhat impressed with the first full-length record from Issues. It seemed that they settled on a sound and took it from there, for the songs from Black Diamonds seemed to be a bit too disconnected in terms of musical elements. Issues takes the hybrid elements that the band experimented with and integrates them further into their core metal sound. Songs like "Mad At Myself",  "Tears On The Runway Pt. 2" and"Late" incorporate a large amount of electronic elements, from glossy synths to drum machines. "Late" is the closest thing to a "mellow" song you can get on the album, thanks to the heavy presence of dance-synths, electronic drums, and even occasional acoustic guitar. However, that doesn't mean that you can't rock out to it, for it has its fair share of roaring guitars and blistering drums. "Tears On The Runway Pt. 2" is in the same vein as Late, although it almost takes on a hip-hop vibe during the first verse. The guest vocals by Nylo add a deeper emotional dimension to the song, as well as Tyler Carter's emotion-driven vocals, which trade the yelling and intensity he channels in most of his songs for a sense of vulnerability. "Mad At Myself" has a similar sound to the majority of the album, blending pop-sensible vocals with blistering instrumentals and floating synth lines. Especially on this track, Carter's vocals sound a lot like something you'd hear on the radio, almost like something Justin Bieber would do. That's not a negative comment; the vocals are just very catchy and melodic.

The band isn't afraid to hit things hard though. Songs like "Stingray Affliction" and "Never Lose Your Flames" still utilize clean vocals, but get down and gritty for the duration of the songs. They also stray away from tenderness, and come off aggressive, at least in terms of the instrumentals. "Never Lose Your Flames" has an anthemic feel, with the title becoming a cry for the kids who struggle in life. There is a nice back and forth nature within the vocals, alternating between Carter's pop-sensible voice and Michael Born's deep guttural roaring. "Stingray Affliction" is one of the heaviest tracks if not the most gritty. The roaring guitars, the growling screams, and the occasionall scratching come together to give you something to headband along to. The chorus has that polished factor thanks to Carter's vocals and the high synth line, but it is mainly geared towards a more intense and darker sound.

As much as I like some of the songs and their mixing of elements from various genres, sometimes it doesn't quite work out so well on this album. Songs like "Life Of A Nine" and "The Langdon House" don't flow so well, both within the songs and in terms of the album as a whole. "Life Of A Nine" opens with incredibly low guitars and throat ripping screams, but on the verses switches into rapping, which is very tricky to incorporate into metal music. It's not bad and it only last for a few moments, but I feel it takes away from the song, which overall is quite good. The only song I didn't like flat out was "Personallity Cult", which according to Carter is a calling out to Memphis May Fire. It's just trashing what Matty Mullins tries to talk about, and comes off as fairly immature. 

Overall, this was a solid record for a debut album. I didn't have much interest before, but I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for more from these guys.

Rating: 6.5/10

Recommended: Never Lose Your Flames, Late, Stingray Affliction

Related: Dangerkids, Memphis May Fire, Bring Me The Horizon

Friday, February 28, 2014

Five Song Friday - February 28th

Happy Friday all! I hope that wherever you are, it's not quite as rainy as it is here in Azusa. I'm a bit pressed for time this week, with a lot of midterm projects and tests coming up, but I'll still share some songs I've been listening to to get through all this work. Thanks for reading!

  1. Fake Your Death - My Chemical Romance
    This song. I almost can't handle it. It's the final song My Chemical Romance recorded before they disbanded, and it's a fitting send off tune. It's not loud and fast, it's not slow and mellow, but finds a nice spot in-between those sets of opposites. The choice to lead with a piano line creates a softer feel, but the drums help to keep the song from becoming too depressing. Gerard Way's vocals stick to the more vulnerable and lower end, adding further to the sadness of it all. I really hope it's not the end of the group, but if it is, this is a good way to say farewell. 5/5
  2. Settle Down - The 1975
    I can't get enough of this album. This song is the latest that I've been hooked on, thanks to it's grooving nature and funky hints. It's one of the more upbeat tunes on the track, and has less of an emphasis on electronic sounds and more on the instruments like guitar and drums. The energy it has is infectious; you can't help but bounce around a bit to the beat. The verses might be my favorite part, just because of the grooving feel it takes on. Definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard of the band before. 5/5
  3. Under Control - Ellie Goulding
    I happened to hear a little bit of this song playing at a baseball game as I was walking around campus one day, and the snippet I heard was good enough to make me want to buy the track. I was not disappointed with the rest of it. This song emphasizes Ellie Goulding's darker side, for even though it is pop and radio friendly, the electronic elements take on a gritty tone that pulls the song away from that bright and polished sound she does so well. I personally like this side better, and really enjoyed that aspect of this song. 5/5
  4. Is There Someone Who Can Watch You - The 1975
    This song was a complete surprise for me, with a drastic shift in sound from the bright and full bodied sounds to just vocals and piano. It feels stripped and vulnerable, and shows some incredible musicianship from the group. It might feel a little short, but is definitely has a powerful sound without ever getting loud. The vocals are lower than the rest of the album, which I think is what mainly adds to the sense of vulnerability that is so prominent in this song. 5/5
  5. Hospital For Souls - Bring Me The Horizon
    A lot like "And The Snakes Start To Sing", "Hospital For Souls" is another epic track that starts off slow and quiet, but builds with a drop into gritty guitars and heavy drums. Oliver Sykes reveals both an incredible sense of vulnerability and a huge presence of raging screams throughout the track, giving the listener a wild ride as the song rises and falls over and over. During the high points, the song feels huge, thanks to the coming together of all these incredible elements and some more that result in an insane closer for a risky but excellent album. 5/5

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five Song Friday - February 21st

Hey everyone, happy Friday! Welcome to the latest edition of Five Song Friday. I hope your weeks have all been less busy than mine, but no need to worry; I have still made time to find more and more music (I know, you were all so worried). It's a weird mix of some alternative, some indie, and even some hardcore thrown in. So make sure to check out the links to videos (some of the videos might have graphic content, so be warned) so you can hear the songs, and then read my thoughts and compare them to your own. Thanks for reading!

  1. And The Snakes Start To Sing - Bring Me The Horizon
    Haunting is definitely the word I would use to describe this song. It builds in a fantastic manner, but has dark undertones that make the piece not the most uplifting. It has a lot of vulnerability and even pain in the vocals, with Oliver Sykes giving both soft moments and searing, throaty growls that punctuate an already heavy instrumental of distorted guitars, crashing drums, and gang vocals. It flows and ebbs, with builds that soar and almost silent lows. Overall, it's a very mature song from a hardcore band. 5/5
  2. Sex - The 1975
    I've already talked about The 1975 before, but I finally got their entire album from a good friend of mine, and was even more impressed than I thought I would be. The two songs I had weren't entirely representative of their sound, which I discovered was a very mellow-alternative sound that just grooves no matter what. This song is more  upbeat and gritty feeling than some of the other songs on the album, leaning more towards the rock side than the alternative. Guitar chords, a smooth bass-line, and a driving drum beat come together to create a lively and summer-oriented vibe. The song also is about sex (surprise surprise), but it's not something that'll make you feel awkward or flustered listening with others. It's a sound that is appealing to most people, and draws the listener in with the easy going feeling. 
  3. Candles - Daughter
    I was introduced to this song by a very good friend of mine, and I think it's absolutely beautiful. A fantastic mix of the indie-acoustic sound with electronic elements makes for a very relaxing song. The lyrical material is bittersweet and sad, but the vocals are a perfect combination of sensual and haunting. The overall feel of the song is intriguing, bringing to mind a multitude of places and ideas. It has a very woodsy feel to me, but that may be different for everyone. I definitely enjoyed it, and recommend it for those of you who like Bon Iver and Florence + The Machine. 5/5  
  4. Late - Issues
    I haven't listened to much of Issues' work before, but I kept hearing things about them and saw they had a new album so I gave it a listen. This was the song that stuck out the most, with it's combination of electronic and hardcore elements. It's not an incredibly innovative song that brings anything new to the scene, but it offers something a bit different by leaning towards the "mellow" side, relatively speaking. It combines pop-sensible vocals with heavy guitars and drums, all with synths and even a little acoustic guitar mixed in. It all comes together to create a catchy tune that definitely will get stuck in your head. 5/5
  5. Menswear - The 1975
    This is another favorite so far off of The 1975's self-titled album. It's got an extended instrumental intro (almost half the song), but the wait is worth it. As with the general feel of the rest of the album, it's a very soothing yet grooving song. It has a lot of soft elements, like the drum beat that is half real drums and half synthetic and the vocals that stay pretty low in pitch and volume. It serves as a great dusk-time song, with some sensual vibes but a pulse that makes you want to move, to dance. Thanks to the intro, the song itself feels pretty short, but it's a sweet little tune that'll leave you in a better mood than before. 5/5

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Shreds - Grieves

After a solid three years of no new music, Grieves is back with the explosive "Shreds", the first single from Winter & the Wolves, his follow-up to Together/Apart. Channeling his previous influence of jazzy-undertones, Grieves reveals a more hard-hitting side alongside some more pronounced electronic elements. On most of Together/Apart, the drums had a jazz swing and realistic feel to them, like an actual drum kit instead of being electronically based. The beat throughout this track retains a bit of that kit feel, but leans more towards the electronic side. The leading synth, another electronic element, adds a radio-friendly feel to the song, giving it a bit of a mainstream feel that isn't bad by any means. "Shreds" is not all new ideas, however, Grieves makes sure to retain sounds and elements that he had been using for a while. The subtle piano chords bring to mind the realistic sound of his last album, as well as his signature rapping style that is crystal clear, fast paced, and  raw emotionality. Grieves isn't a chart topping artist, but that definitely doesn't reflect his talent; it's usually the more talented and driven artists that don't get the credit they deserve. Hopefully this next album will get him the attention he deserves, and launch him towards the higher end of the charts.

Rating: 5/5

Related: Macklemore, Lupe Fiasco, or Atmosphere

Monday, February 17, 2014

Dark Purple Sky - There For Tomorrow

By 2011, There For Tomorrow was looking like they were ready to break out big time, with a sound finally honed in and a get-it-done attitude. They had just released their best album to date, The Verge, which stood apart from their previous work, and they were touring like crazy. Then, as time went by, they began to fade into the background noise, with touring getting smaller and no new releases.

Fast forward three years later to the start of 2014, and we finally have something. After promising fans new music for months, the first product of the new writing has come forth and it seems worth the wait. "Dark Purple Sky", the single from the highly anticipated new EP from TFT, took what The Verge began and expanded it even more. It continues their ever maturing sound while keeping the intensity they've done so well over the years. They have fully shed their early hardcore-influence and grown more into their expansive alternative tone. The beginning of "Dark Purple Sky" has a very low-key feel, with muted guitars, soundscape synths, and echoing soft drums all backing Maika's ever-incredible vocals. He has a huge presence, and an ability to soar to insane heights. The song really kicks into gear with the first chorus, where the rest of the band comes in to match the intensity and fire in Maika's voice. The rest of the song carries this same fire and has an anthem like sound to it, which is especially helped by the brief drop and build back into the final chorus. The song harness the hardcore energy they had in their first releases, but mixes it flawlessly with their newer, more mature sound. It all comes together to create a great comeback single after a long absence from the music scene.

Rating: 5/5

Recommended if you like: Anberlin, VersaEmerge (before their name change) or The Dangerous Summer

Friday, February 14, 2014

Five Song Friday - February 14th

Oh man. It's THAT Friday. Happy Friday/Valentine's Day all! I hope you're having a great day, regardless if you're spending it with a significant other or just some friends. Since it's a special occasion, I thought I'd make this week some of my favorite romantic/cheesy songs. See what you think, and then you could even use some for your plans this Valentine's Day.

  1. Always - Blink-182
    Easily one of my favorite songs in general, this tune is a good romantic choice, although it might lean towards a more intimate mood. However, the chorus is full of stuff for couples, such as "let me hold you, touch you, feel you, always, kiss you, taste you, all my, always. And while the instrumental is a bit more gritty than the other songs on this list, I assure you it won't damper any moods you're in. It's a classic tune that is great for a romantic dinner or car ride thanks to the acoustic guitar and strings that make appearances throughout, and I highly recommend it. 5/5
  2. The Only Exception/Still Into You - Paramore
    I know, this is sort of cheating in terms of "Five Song Friday", but I'll explain why. If you're looking for something that's more low-key, acoustic, and relaxing, then "The Only Exception" is a perfect fit. If you're looking for something with more of a bite and a beat, then "Still Into You"is the song for you. Each have their romantic aspects, and each work differently for different moods. "The Only Exception" has that slow-dance quality, but "Still Into You" is sure to be followed by jumping and dancing around in a very up-beat manner. Both of these are great selections, and will work for the mix of songs you're making. 5/5 & 5/5
  3. Whoever She Is - The Maine
    This song is not the most cheery, but has that laid-back mood and acoustic sound that give it a nice romantic feel. John O'Callaghan laments about the things going wrong in his life, but then looks towards the future and the possibilities it holds. If you're into being cheesy, this song is the perfect opportunity to tell that special someone that you don't need to wait till the future to find someone you care about. I know, you can thank me later. Anyways, this song it a good fit for Valentine's playlists, so put it in the mix and it won't disappoint. 5/5
  4. Kiss Me Slowly - Parachute
    This song has a fast pace, but a laid-back nature with the low-key drumming, piano line, and acoustic guitar all accenting beautiful vocals. Parachute has a way of bringing out the romance in their songs, and this song is the pinnacle of their attempts to do that. The lyrics may not be entirely happy at points, but the chorus definitely gets cheesy with lines like "taste your lips and feel your skin" and "when the time comes, baby don't run, just kiss me slowly". Throw this song in your playlist for the day, and I promise it'll fit right in with all those other romantic mushy songs. 5/5
  5. Fly Me To The Moon (In Other Words) - Frank Sinatra
    You can never go wrong with some classic Sinatra. While this song doesn't quite sound like the rest of these songs, it is sure to be a perfect fit for this holiday of romance and love. With lines like "fill my heart with song, and let me sing forevermore"and "you are all I long for" and the swaying big band in the background, it provides a wonderful soundtrack to a lovely dinner at home or a drive to a night out. It may be old, but it has a timeless quality that will have it continuing to play for couples all around the world for many years to come. 5/5

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Song Friday - February 7th

This week has been an exciting week, at least in terms of the music I've bought. I finished getting some albums on iTunes, so I've been listening through them and finding my favorites. Check my choices out, and see what you like. As always, thanks for reading!
  1. Anagram - Young the Giant
    I ended up getting this album as well, and this song was easily one of the stand outs. The raw energy and explosive transitions between each section immediately makes this song memorable to the listener. Young the Giant explored their upbeat side a lot more on this album, which is one of the reasons I like it more than their debut album. They are strong in this area, able to create driving drum beats that are accented by a variety of sounds, from guitar lines to string sections. These elements are featured separately at first, but come together at the end to create a much bigger and deeper sound. The vocals are probably my favorite part, for Sameer Gadhia gets low and intimate, but will immediately soar to incredible heights. All in all, this song was an excellent first full song to kick of their sophomore attempt. 5/5
  2. Sunny Side of Hell - GrieveI've slowly been picking songs off this album and buying them, and after I got this song I finally just got the rest of the album. This song is one of my favorites of the bunch thought, because it's got Grieves aggressive rapping style and prominently features the influence of jazz that is present throughout the album. The horns, the drum beat, it's all got hints of jazz that create an old-school sound without sounding old and out of relevance. He combines the old and the new, and the result is intriguing and enticing. Even though this song is one of the more upbeat and energized songs, it still has this sensual nature that draws the listener in. I haven't listened to it too many times, but I know I'm definitely going to be spending more time with this album in the future. 5/5
  3. Pound Cake / Paris Morton Music 2 (feat. Jay-Z) - Drake
    This song has an interesting intro, featuring a soundbite from an older gentleman who talks about how he used to just record what he wanted back in the day, and that good music is the only kind that will last. After some vocal editing at the very end, the beat drops in and the real song begins. It's dark and it's simple, but it has depth in the vibes it gives off. I personally think Drake does better when he draws on a gritty feel, and this song definitely does that. Jay-Z has a great guest spot on this song as well, taking not just one but two verses. It's easy to get lost in this song, thanks to the contradictory nature of the simplicity of the beat, yet the depth that is created by just a few instruments. However, about halfway through it all switches up and the vibe completely changes, taking on a much more upbeat tone but still retaining a tinge of darkness. I don't like this half quite as much as the first, but it's still worth listening to. The end result is a more than 7-minute track that shows some great contrast, but deviates from the expected radio sound. 5/5
  4. Oceans (Where Feet May Fail) - Hillsong United
    I've heard this song many times before, both at my school and when I saw Hillsong United in concert, but I never bought it until this week. I've always liked it, but something finally just clicked and I wanted to have it. I think that worship nowadays can be lackluster and dry, but this song is definitely a stand out from the rest. It has huge soundscapes, awesome builds, and powerful vocals. It all comes together to create an inviting worship environment, but doesn't come out as musically hollow. It has life and passion, and the musicians behind it wanted to make more than just a good worship tune; they wanted to make quality music that is enjoyable to listen to. 5/5 
  5. Firelight - Young the Giant
    This song was also a stand out from the new album, Mind Over Matter, but for all the opposite reasons as "Anagram". It's soft, mellow, and very low key. This side was not as present on the album, but this song is really all you need. It's dreamy, it's ethereal, and perfect for falling asleep to. That doesn't mean it isn't interesting, however, thanks to the gang vocals found throughout, the vocals in general, and the repeating but beautiful guitar lines. It would be an acoustic song if not for all the echoes that give the song more depth than it would ever achieve acoustically. It also has a beat that comes in after about 3 minutes, but by no means does that make it any less soothing. If anything, it makes it more mellow and relaxing. It's simply a feel good song, and one of my favorites from the album. 5/5

Friday, January 31, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 31st

It's Friday and that means it's time for a new installment of the Five Song Friday series. It's been a busy week for me, but I hope everyone has had good and productive weeks. As with every week, I have found more music to bring to you, the readers, that I want to tell you about since I've been listening it all week long. Check the songs out, and see what you enjoy!

  1. Own It - Drake
    I've been on a bit of a Drake kick the past few weeks (if you've been reading, you probably noticed), and this song is continuing that trend. I discovered it after finally listening to all of Nothing Was The Same, Drake's latest release, and instantly was hooked. The atmospheric nature inspires smoke filled rooms and cruising downtown late at night. It has some great contrasting moments, with the movement from the synth driven and percussion-less sections to the beat-heavy and rap driven drops creating variations of intensity and emotion. The more I listen to Drake's latest record, the more I regret not listening to it all sooner. The instrumental on this song is one of my favorite from a rap track, and Drake employs a balanced mix of rapping and singing that is a common theme throughout the album. It might just be one of those songs I listen to intensely for a few weeks and then forget about, but I highly doubt that right now. 5/5
  2. Say It Ain't So - Weezer
    I had heard this song before, but just recently got it and the rest of the album a couple weeks ago from a friend. This song is easily one of my favorites, with the smooth and subtle verses shifting into the guitar driven and more intense choruses. It's insane to think about the fact that this song is 20 years old, but a testament to how good it is that people are still listening to it after all this time. This song comes from a time where autotune and the likes hadn't quite seeped into the music industry, and it's refreshing to listen to something not quite so polished and clean. It's got a gritty quality that feels authentic and natural, and that's one of the many reasons it's still being played today. 5/5 
  3. In No Time - Mutemath
    I also got this album curtesy of a friend, and was overall pleased with it. Personally, I didn't think it was up to the standard of their self-titled album, but it had a few stand outs, like this song. It's a soft song that starts with some synth and vocals, and slowly expands into something bigger. The build is not intense, and the climax doesn't inspire anything epic, but it's a satisfying build nonetheless. It's something you can fall asleep to, but not something that puts you to sleep. Mellow would be a good description, but without the negative connotations that come along with that word. It is otherworldly, but not like Angels & Airwaves. If you enjoy Mutemath, then this song is a hidden gem waiting to burst forth. 5/5
  4. We Follow (Stereotypes Remix) - From Indian Lakes
    When I discovered that From Indian Lakes had a remix EP, I was fairly surprised to be honest. If you've ever heard their music, then you'll know that it isn't the kind of music you listen to and think, "Hey, this would be good with electronic dance beats and distorted synths." However, I was quick to reverse my judgement thanks to this song. The original (click here for a link) and this are dramatically different, but this remix brings out an intensity that was present in the song but not in the forefront. Their overall sound is bare, with minimal instrumentals and a more folky and indie influence. I enjoy this remix because it brings out sounds and ideas that you wouldn't have originally connected with From Indian Lakes, but it works. 5/5
  5. Elevated - State Champs
    I got this song in a free compilation download, and I'm in love with it. It's Pop-Punk to the core, giving the listener 3 and a half minutes of energy, fun, and vulnerability. I've said it before, but one of my favorite traits of Pop-Punk is its ability to be raw and honest, not covering things up with eloquence but instead saying it like it is. It's refreshing, and makes it incredibly easy to connect with the music. This song in particular is catchy and upbeat, but not in an obnoxious way. The lyrics aren't completely happy, but they're not depressing either; they paint the situation like it is. I really enjoy the vocals, which have found a great balance between melodic and gritty. Overall, it's a great song from a band who I'm definitely going to be giving more attention in the future. 5/5

Friday, January 24, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 24th

Hey everyone, happy Friday! It's time for another installment of Five Song Friday. I've been slowing down on the holiday music buying spree, but have still found plenty of songs to fall in love with. I've included video links again this week, so check out this week's tunes and see what you like. As always, thanks for reading!

  1. Anything Could Happen - Ellie Goulding
    I had heard Ellie Goulding's works before, but was never incredibly impressed. That was, however, until I heard this song. Something about it's ethereal sound grabbed me, for it wasn't what I was expecting from what I had heard of her songs. It doesn't sound like anything I've heard, bringing in dance and pop to create an upbeat and echoing ride. It's not set at a fast tempo, and that works in it's favor, setting it apart by taking things a bit slowly. The build up to each chorus gets me every time, with Ellie chanting "Anything Could Happen" over and over until the song erupts in electronic drum beats and huge synths. I also really enjoy the bridge, which is another build consisting of one single line and a more acoustic sounding drum beat that offers some contrast to the heavy electronic influence. It's an underrated song from Ellie, and definitely worth checking out. 
  2. We Are In Love - Cider Sky
    This song was a discovery I made thanks to iTunes Radio, which is slowly becoming my new favorite online streaming/radio service. It is very pop-oriented, with electronic beats, low-key synths, and clean guitar lines that come together to make a very easy listening experience for the ears. It also has an ethereal sound to it, but in a way that makes you think of the vastness of a remote forest or mountains. The song has a definite cute factor to it, thanks to the cheesiness of the romance the lyrics contain. The title is a dead giveaway to the nature of the song, but it doesn't come off as overrated or boring. It is a refreshing take on a love song that doesn't sound like mainstream pop and doesn't follow the same lyrical vein of pop music. 5/5
  3. The Language - Drake
    I'm starting to regret not paying as much attention to Drake's latest release, Nothing Was The Same, when it first released. "The Language" is a more harder hitting song than some of the others I've really grown to like, but that's exactly why I like it. It's definitely got a swagger to it, with the way that the beat isn't so straightforward, almost feeling like it's going to be late. Drake does his singing/rapping thing a bit here, but he sticks more to normal rapping that adds to the song's swagger. Now, if you're not one for foul language, then this song is probably not for you, but I think that it's part of what adds to the more harsh atmosphere. This song also has a really good baseline, with low and deep bass beats that resound on the speakers that it's played on. If you like Drake, J. Cole, or Childish Gambino, then this song is a fit for you. 5/5 
  4. Hurricane - The Fray
    The Fray has been a very consistent band, in terms of staying true to themselves and the tone and ideas they put across. Their sound has changed a bit over the years, but the core of who they are has remained. "Hurricane", for instance, is a respectable song about a girl, which is something that The Fray has done before, but this song contains an electronic element that they haven't tried before. It definitely has a radio-friendly sound, but again, that is consistent to what they have done before. The presence of a more prominent bass guitar and the electronic synth line catches your ear and draws you in. A perfect combination of The Fray's more innocent sound with a modern-pop influence creates this flashy and catchy song, and makes me more excited to hear the rest of the record. 5/5
  5. Crystallized - Young The Giant
    I've been waiting for Young The Giant's latest release, and when it did drop, this was one of the songs that stuck out to me upon first listen. It somewhat has a more relaxed vibe, but also contains elements that kick things into high gear. From the first howl that Sameer lets out in the opening moments of the song, you can just tell that the song is going to be a fast-paced ride from start to end. The verses quiet things down a bit, but the chorus manages to be intense in the instrumental but very smooth and flowing in the vocals. Young The Giant has shifted their sound a bit since their last release, and this shift includes a more pronounced use of synths and electronic elements. I think this was a great stylistic move, for it complements their organic sound very well. The energy of this song can't be resisted, and it'll be playing in your head after just one listen. 5/5

Friday, January 17, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 17th

Welcome to the latest Five Song Friday! This week was my first back to college after winter break and was some of your first weeks back as well, so I hope things have been going well with new classes and schedules. I've been needing some music to fuel me throughout the week and these songs are some of the tracks I've been listening to nonstop. Check them out and see which ones you like!

  1. Dark Horse (feat. Juicy J) - Katy Perry
    I know I've had a lot of Katy Perry lately, but that's because I really love some of her new stuff. This song is one of the more known tracks from her latest album, Prism, and after a listen I think you'll see why. It's got hip-hop elements, it's darker (and from the title, that's not a surprise), and it's sexy. Katy Perry's vocals on this song are some of her strongest, with seduction and a hint of danger dripping from her voice that draws you in. She gets fairly high up, but also stays in her lower register a fair amount, which really adds to the romantic nature of the song. Now, while I love Katy Perry, I am not a big fan of Juicy J and I personally think his rap holds this song back from being truly fantastic. It's just too simplistic and lacks an element of creativity that would make it pop and shine. Overall, however, this song is one of my favorites from her album, and I would highly recommend it. 5/5
  2. A Part Of Me (feat. Laura Whiteside) - Neck Deep
    I found this song thanks to some good friends of mine in Dear Misguided who did a cover of this song (check it out here), and I've been hooked since. It's soft in terms of instrumentation, but the vocals bring the raw vulnerability that I've grown to expect and love from pop-punk songs. The vocals aren't polished and perfect, but the gritty and screamy nature is part of the appeal. It's honest, unlike some pop stars who use autotune and editing to come out with the perfect sound and I think that's what resonates most with the listeners, even if they don't know that. Another aspect I love are the guest vocals from Laura Whiteside, who provides that pretty and soft side that balances out the more raw vocals. All in all, this is definitely a great song to pick up if you like acoustic pop-punk from groups like The Story So Far, The Wonder Years, and Man Overboard. 5/5
  3. Live For The Night - Krewella
    I've been delving more into Krewella's material, and this song is definitely becoming one of my favorites as of late. The slow build in the beginning acts as a great contrast to the huge nature it takes on as the song kicks into gear. This song is not terribly gritty, but sticks to a more club/rave type of vibe, which definitely works. There is one part that is a short breakdown section that has some more dirty synths that also add some contrast to the more upbeat nature of the rest of the song. Krewella's vocals are one of my favorite aspects of the group, and what I think sets them apart from some of the other artists in their genre. All in all, I'm becoming more impressed with their work as I listen to it, so expect more to pop up in the coming weeks. 
  4. Sparks Will Fly (feat. Jhene Akio) - J. Cole
    My sister actually showed me this song and I was hooked from the first time that I heard it. It has J. Cole's signature rapping and instrumental, but adds in the soft nature of the up and coming Jhene Akio. J. Cole has distanced himself from most rappers today with his realistic lyrics and meaningful nature. Some of his songs can sound like the typical banter, but he gets into the real world issues of relationships in his own life. This song is about a fading relationship that both sides are struggling to work through. He admits many times that he isn't perfect and that he won't achieve that any time soon, but that relationships that are meant to last will have ups and downs due to our imperfections. It hasn't been widely noticed, but it's definitely worth checking out if you like J. Cole, Kendrick Lamar, or Drake. 5/5
  5. If We Only - Red
    I've liked Red for a while now, but I have to admit that I wasn't impressed with their lead single for their latest album, Release The Panic. Now, a mediocre single is no reason to dismiss an album completely, and while I didn't listen to most of the songs, I recently found this song and had to listen again and again to check that it really was that good. It embodies the heavy nature that Red does so well, with screams woven between clean vocals over hard hitting drums and roaring guitars. This is them at their best, and the chorus for this song might be one of their best to date. It expands beyond where the verses let you think the song can go, and becomes this huge and epic anthem. I was very surprised to find it, and it gives me hope for the rest of the songs on the album. 5/5

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 10th

Hey all, it's another Friday and that means a new installment of Five Song Friday. Another week has gone by, and I've found more music! Which is not surprising at all! This week had a bit of a dance/EDM vibe going on, so check out the songs I've been listening to and see if any are your cup of tea. 

  1. Killin' It - Krewella
    When it comes to dance/EDM music, I tend to like the heavier sounding stuff, and this song definitely fits that description. It's on the darker side and has some great wobbles in the chorus that are full of gritty distortion. The beginning verse sets the tone for the song with just vocals, but the chorus really kicks things into high gear with a drop that you can't help but grin and bob your head. This is probably Krewella's heaviest song and, in my opinion, one of their best songs. 5/5
  2. A Thousand Miles - Dream On Dreamer
    Yes, I know that this is a cover of THAT song, but this is actually a really good version. The piano intro is deceiving, because it soon drops into a fast paced rock song that mixes clean and unclean vocals perfectly. These back and forth vocals add a level of depth, both in sound and emotionally. The idea of screaming in a song like this might seem unorthodox, but it creates a level of desperation that makes the song even better. I laughed the first time I heard this song, but I've learned to love it, in all of it's ridiculousness. 5/5
  3. Thunder - W&W
    I discovered this song a while ago, but finally got it recently after listening to it a few times again. It is a little slow in the beginning, but eventually picks up into a fantastic dance tune, with a drop that makes you want to dance (even if you can't). It is very similar to "LRAD" by Knife Party, which is part of the reason why it appeals to me a lot. It's simple in instrumentation, but that's what creates the draw for the song. 5/5
  4. Furthest Thing - Drake
    I've always thought Drake had some talent, and his latest release is a clear indication that I was right in this assumption. He really shines on the slower, more thoughtful songs, and this song is definitely one of those. It also is one of the few songs that he sings most of the time, which helps create a softer tone that is welcome amongst the hardness that seems to be necessary to thrive in the world of hip-hop. Drake seems to be more willing to talk about things other than sleeping with girls and butts and all that crap. The song overall is a welcome break from the clamor of rap on the radio. 5/5
  5. Stay The Night (feat. Hayley Williams) - Zedd
    This song took a little while to grow on me, but it definitely is catchy. The beginning is actually pretty beautiful, before the beat and synths really kick in, with just the vocals and piano. Hayley Williams' voice makes this song as good as it is, although Zedd has a knack for creating great instrumentals. Hayley soars pretty high on some of the parts, but also has a really full sounding low end that is hard to find in the music business. Zedd's music is a bit more upbeat than I usually go for, but I can't help but smile and enjoy his songs. 5/5

Friday, January 3, 2014

Five Song Friday - January 3rd

Happy New Year all! I hope you all celebrated safely, and are hard at work on those resolutions you made. A New Year means new music, and here's some of the tunes I've found this week.

  1. Dead & Buried - A Day To Remember
    One of the hardest hitting songs of Common Curtesy, "Dead & Buried" is one of my favorite songs by the group to date. It's intense, but the chorus is simultaneous catchy and melancholy. It's everything that ADTR has come to mean; their instrumentals are full of crunching guitars and pounding drums, while Jeremy McKinnon lets out growls and screams that are full of angst and sorrow. The opening riff is my favorite part, and it's thankfully repeated throughout the song. Even though the riff is one chord repeated again an again, it works in this case. I also like when it comes back in the bridge and is accompanied by backing gang vocals that makes it even better. Definitely a great song to check out from ADTR's latest album. 5/5
  2. Silhouettes - Of Monsters And Men
    I really enjoy the sound that Of Monsters And Men has going on. Their debut CD was stellar, and this song for the soundtrack of Catching Fire continues that fine musicianship. It's easily one of my favorite songs off the album, and one of my favorite songs by the group. The back and forth nature of their vocals are mesmerizing, both of them playing off of each other. It's one of the most drawing aspects of their sound. I also enjoy the instrumentation they use, with the pace of the song picking up and slowing down in an instant. It's a solid track, and one I recommend getting. 5/5 
  3. Trees - Twenty One Pilots
    I finally got the rest of this album, and this song was a stand out from the rest by far. With a synth leading and the addition of some 8-bit effects, this track slowly builds into a huge fist-pumping anthem. It begins slower, but when it unfolds, it has the signature quirkiness that I've come to see from Twenty One Pilots. This song is especially fantastic at the end, when Tyler Joseph begins to yell and scream over the gritty synths and the drums that have almost a tribal sound to them. This is definitely an underrated track from these talented guys. 5/5
  4. From Time (feat. Jhene Akio) - Drake
    I discovered this song yesterday, and can't get enough of it. Drake does some good songs, and this is one of his best (at least I think). The laid-back feel of the instrumental and the guest vocals provided by Jhene Akio create a though-provoking and cool atmosphere. Drake muses about love and relationships in this current age over a killer beat, resulting in a memorable track. The outro is a bit odd, with the sampled speech feeling a little out of place, but it does not take away from the overall greatness of the song. If you like Drake, then you'll definitely like this song off his latest album. 5/5
  5. Arabella - Arctic Monkeys
    The Arctic Monkeys have a peculiar sound, which I think mainly comes from lead singer Alex Turner's vocals, which are unique and entrancing. This song is much more intense than "Do I Want To Know?", and had much more of an edge to it. It doesn't seem that way from the start, but the moment that the first chorus hits is electrifying. I really enjoy the instrumental after each chorus, which is got a old-fashioned rock 'n roll vibe that you have to just tap your foot along with. It's a song that you'll want to play in your car as you drive down the road and have a blast. At it's core, it's a fun song, and a great buy. 5/5