Show Review – iDobi Meltdown Festival

I suppose I should start this review with a bit of disclaimer: before I went to this festival I didn’t really listen to most of the bands on the billet. I mean I listed to a few Diamond Youth songs here and there, I know a handful of I Am The Avalanche songs, I know that one song off Juntura and I think I’ve heard that song about swimming pools by The Front Bottoms. Get ready for a review that is probably going to make some totally weird comparisons between bands.

I can assure you dear reader that this changed after this festival. In fact I’m listening to I Am The Avalanche right now as I typed this review (thanks Spotify!).

But before I delve into the main review which is pulled from the scribblings I made in my little blue notebook between sets I’d lake to take a few words to talk about one of the openers: Diamond Youth. It’s thanks to these Baltimore-based (kinda, more on that later) rockers that I got a photo pass for the festival so they gain they’re own mini write up before the general one. The Meltdown fest marks the third time I’ve seen Diamond Youth and marks the time I finally got into them (I was singing along in the photo pit). When I first saw them I only really knew that they played alt-rock in the style of the 90’s and was made up of members of Trapped Under Ice and Terror (let that one sink in). Being relatively young I didn’t really listen to that much music in the 90’s and in the 00’s I didn’t really listen to 90’s alt rock so they didn’t really inspire me to listen to them that first time.

Fast forward to the iDobi Meltdown Fest. Since I knew that they were going to be my main focus of the evening I figured I’d give them another chance. I played both of the albums front to back and once I heard a song that reminded me a bit of older Jimmy Eat World I knew that I could count myself as a fan of the band. It just took a year and a half and seeing them two times to happen. But it happened. So needless to say when they played I was ready for a good show. Diamond Youth did not dissapoint, it’s like they took everything bad out of the 90’s music scene and left everything good in. 90’s music for a new generation. I had a hard time remembering what band they reminded me of aside from Jimmy Eat World and it wasn’t until they played The Pixies between sets that I knew what band they reminded me of: The Pixies and for one singular reason: the crooning of Justin (if that’s the right word). Dude sure can croon, it sounds great. Being that I know exactly one Pixies song this comparison may be totally off.

To sum it all up: Diamond Youth rocks and you should get into them. Also they’re made of members from Baltimore, Chicago and Richmond. They work hard. Support them.

And now onto the rest of the review. Here’s a hint: I’m going to be using the word Indie a lot and cribbing from the Idobi Meltdown bio page and my hastily scribbled notes.

Continue reading Show Review – iDobi Meltdown Festival

Album Review: The Word Alive – Life Cycles

 

Summary: The Word Alive brings some new aspects to their original sound but otherwise it’s the same TWA that delivers a well-produced album with soaring choruses, and breakdowns that make you want to break a lot of stuff.

 

The Phoenix Arizona natives have come a long way from originally being a side project of Craig Mabbit (ex Blessthefall, current front man of Escape the Fate). After being taken over by Tyler “Telle” Smith (former Greeley Estates, and In Fear and Faith) they have been another heavy hitter in the metal core genre. They are known for inspirational choruses, and standing up for friends and family, while expressing extreme hatred for those who choose to wrong them. If you want a really good example listen to 2012 from their previous album, or Wish master on this album. This along with the new Memphis May Fire album was one of my most anticipated albums of 2012. So I was more than excited to do a review of this album, unfortunately summer classes and Fourth of July Picnics interfere and I apologize for being a couple days late.

 

Pros- The album is well produced their choruses soar and their breakdowns hit hard. Truly akin to The Word Alive most of the songs are well put together (very catchy lyrics with intricate and creative instrumental sections). Songs like Dragon spell, Ambitionary, Evolution, and Smoke monster  have some unique synth intros and breakdowns that really set them apart. The drums also stand out very well on this album,  he knows when to let the other instruments shine, but when it’s his turn he rips. This is a band that definitely has found their calling and style.

 

Favorite songs:

  • Dragon Spell
  • Wish Master(personal favorite)
  • Evolution
  • Hidden Lakes
  • Ambitionary
  • The Conscience
  • Smoke Monster (starts off with an asian theme oddly enough)

Cons: This album is not without it’s faults. The first listen through this album the only thing that really differentiated things for me, were some of the intros as well as some separate breakdowns a lot of the rest just kind of mushed itself together. Don’t get me wrong they are great writers but in my opinion they had a much bigger variety of material on Deceiver.  It is also my impression that Telle uses the same rhythm/phrasing for most of the verses and choruses on this album.

 

Overall 3.5/5 This album is enjoyable, if you can overlook some of the generic aspects.

Album Review: Memphis May Fire – Challenger

 

Album Review: Memphis May Fire – Challenger 

Summary- Memphis May Fire comes back stronger than ever, on their sophomore Rise records release Challenger.

Memphis May Fire has overcome a lot in the past couple years, after going through two record labels (finally ending up on Rise) and numerous lineups they have finally fine tuned their sound. They have become a band for anyone who enjoys a little singing in between their screams and brutality. Lately however I have been seeing a lot of other reviewers shutting down bands solely for the concept that they base their song writing foundation on that tried and true intro, verse, chorus, breakdown, slower breakdown, synth breakdown and any variation of that; wash, rinse, repeat that kind of deal.

I, however, disagree. I do not consider myself an elitist so I feel most of you will share my opinion. It is my idea that if music is well put together, well written, and even though it’s not completely groundbreaking it still brings something to the table, than it is still enjoyable. That is exactly how I consider Challenger, it is a formula that many bands employ but MMF utilizes extremely well. The album keeps up it’s pace from start to finish keeping me on my toes. From one song to the next it was extremely enjoyable besides one interlude, which I will address later.

Likes: This is definitely an evolved Memphis May Fire from what we saw on Between the Lies and The Hollow. They retain the fast paced catchy rhythm, and guitar work from the first album and they have even managed to bring back some of that southern sound that listeners believe they lost. Another great thing I like about this album is how it’s not as predictable as most other bands in the genre. Generally I find myself after listening to this type of music for so long, I can pick out breakdowns pretty easily, but for this album when I expect a breakdown I hear a well done guitar riff that leaves me just as satisfied as any breakdown could. Even better yet it’s not a breakdown I feel I have heard somewhere else. The lyrics if you listen are meaningful and much more positive (with a few exceptions) than the majority of The Hollow while staying just as catchy. They also keep up the variety with songs that are mostly screaming, and some that are mostly singing.

Favorite songs:

  • Without Walls/Alive in the Lights: intro track into the first track of the CD group chants in the intro give me chills, sounds great together.
  • Prove Me Right: a putdown to what I assume to be their former label
  • Red In Tooth and Claw
  • Vices
  • Legacy
  • Generation: Hate

Dislikes: I find very few qualms with this album. If I had to find some it would be that I think the interlude is out of place, this album kept me hyped up the whole time and then the interlude while still being well done seemed sort of out of place to me. I do realize however that this seems to be a norm for most bands to attempt to slow things down, but Challenger would have been perfectly fine without it.

Overall 4.5/5 Challenger is up to par with their previous work, and should definitely be bought and enjoyed.

Guest Review by Harris Nguyen for Two Senses

Album Review: Sleeping With Sirens – If You Were A Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack


If You Were a Movie, This Would Be Your Soundtrack – Sleeping With Sirens

Summary: Sleeping With Sirens takes a step away from the norm in this acoustic Movie script themed EP that should leave SWS fans wanting more.

Sleeping with Sirens is a five-piece band originally from Orlando, Florida. They are currently signed to Rise Records and have always had a special place in the current music scene because of their unique sound and lyrics contributed by the likes of vocalist Kellin Quinn. Whose unique vocal prowess compared to the likes of Craig Owens (Chiodos, D.R.U.G.S), and Vic Fuentes (Pierce the Veil) contrasting with some back up screams creates a very catchy pop sound with elegantly placed moments of discord with the type of lyrics that make you feel all warm inside or reminisce about how much you hate an ex. On their third release a five song EP titled If You Were a Movie, Then This Would Be your Soundtrack this formula has been changed a little bit but still retains the classic tone of SWS that we all know and love.

With this EP they decided to take a step away from the norm, first by making it a completely acoustic EP, as well as putting it in the format of a movie. The EP contains three songs that were already on With Ears To See and Eyes to Hear (their first album) . Scene one – James Dean and Audrey Hepburn, and Scene Five – With Ears to See and Eyes to hear really show off Kellin’s ability to change the rhythm and the mood of the song to adjust to the mellow mood created on this EP. While scene three – Stomach Tied in Knots is a re-done B-side from Let’s Cheers to This; while the remaining songs on the EP are new.

Likes: Almost every song has something different about it while retaining the classic SWS sound. Scene three- Stomach Tied in knots – While being very close to the original B-side I do enjoy the group chant they have added to the end of the song. Scene Four – Don’t you ever forget about me another new song. An extremely catchy song with some country and folk parts, which can be heard in the intro and chorus, is probably one of my favorite songs on the EP. Scenes One and Scene Five, which I have previously mentioned, are wonderful new takes on the former songs. Kellin’s voice is well complimented by the instrumentals on this EP, and shows off his Soprano voice with soaring highs and lows, which are still pretty high.

Recommended songs: Scene One – James Dean and Audrey Hepburn, Scene Four – Don’t you ever forget about me, Scene Five – With Ears to See and Eyes to Hear.

Dislikes: I really would have liked to hear some new material, besides some takes on old songs. There are only two new songs however I do realize this is a lot to ask of an EP. I would have been okay with waiting for some of the covers for a larger opportunity to see where Sleeping With Sirens is going musically. Previously I mentioned that warm inside feeling they deliver with their lyrics that I liked, however, I also find some of their lyrics to be quite corny — for example the beginning of Roger Rabbit.

Overall- Sleeping With Sirens is definitely a band worth checking out. If you enjoyed their first two releases, you will enjoy this EP.

Review by Harris Nguyen, guest reviewer for Two Senses

*Ethan edit: a commenter pointed out we got the name of their first album wrong. I changed it*

Four Year Strong Holiday Show 2011

The holiday season just wrapped up and for Worcester area band Four Year Strong the holiday season means one thing: their annual holiday show at the Worcester Palladium. Of course this time it was wrapped into the It’s A Gig Life Tour. Joining Four Year Strong on this whimsical holiday adventure were Set Your Goals, Balance and Composure, Transit and Diamond. Needless to say it was one hell of a show. See what I have to say about everything after the jump!

Continue reading Four Year Strong Holiday Show 2011

Handguns, Greenhouse, Collapse the Night, FLS and Hank!

Hey Everybody! I know I’ve been kind of remiss in updating my site but that will changing soon! I’ve got a new member of the team and her name is Becki! She saw Handguns in Southern Maryland with a few local bands, her review is below. You’ll be hearing a lot more from her in the coming weeks.

Everything that follows is from Becki herself

At the end of their short December tour with fellow pop-punkers Man Overboard, Handguns so kindly decided to cater to the dreams of a few Southern Maryland kids by playing yet another show…
…in a garage. I’m also fairly sure that the show was arranged about a week or so before it actually was to occur. That gave me a week to mentally prepare to shoot the biggest band I’d ever had the privilege to.

Hit the jump for more!

Continue reading Handguns, Greenhouse, Collapse the Night, FLS and Hank!

Album Review :: LIGHTS

Looking back on the last two weeks and all the albums that have come out, some conclusions and misconceptions can be drawn about music and bands today. New Found Glory can, in fact, put out an incredibly mediocre record. Joe Jonas can release an “Explicit Content” record without Minny and Mickey tracking him down executioner-style. And Evanescence is still a band. Yeah, I didn’t know either.

But pleasant surprises, huge victories, and welcome corrections have come up in these jam-packed two weeks as well. Transit put out one of the best albums of 2011, Deas Vail hit #1 on the Amazon digital charts, and then LIGHTS happened. I feel like LIGHTS especially deserves a sticker on her album clarifying two majorly important facts:

Misconception 1: Dubstep is just for massive frat tools who want to jam on Thursday night.

Until two weeks ago, I was a strong lobbyist for this. Falling asleep to a neighbor’s “WUB-WUB-WUB-WUBWUBWUB” music blaring in the middle of the night on a Tuesday could turn anyone into a hater of the phrase “drop the bass”, but LIGHTS’ new record, Siberia, goes ahead and incorporates dubstep in an incredibly tasteful, dare-I-say beautiful way. Which lends itself to the next misconception…

Misconception 2: LIGHTS is just a pretty face. Talentwise…eh, not so much.

The whole “Lights is hawt…durr” reaction that most male fans/AbsolutePunk users give off…well, it’s justifiable obviously. Okay, there’s a reason she’s the center of the album cover with just grey around her. She’s hot. And seriously, her shirt is buttoned crazy low. Like LIGHTS’ headLIGHTS are about to pop out.

But here, like most men, is where I would leave my thoughts on LIGHTS if I hadn’t heard Siberia. Her voice never did anything for me previously and her music…eh. But Siberia presents an entirely new LIGHTS. Her voice is nowhere near a whine anymore or grating, but refreshingly fun. And the songs themselves show a darker edge to her electronic-pop sound. The album opens on the title track, breaking in with distorted beats and a light chorus guided by LIGHTS’ gentle voice. “When The Fence Is Low” takes the album to another level though, wearing its dubstep influence very proudly throughout the chorus. Normally, pop and dubstep = things that make my ears bleed and cry simultaneously. But the dub beat backs a soaring chorus and harmonies that, combined, equate to gritty, yet insta-catchy pop. The album focuses on this gritty, distorted electronic sound, bringing out a little growl in LIGHTS on tracks like “Everyone Breaks A Glass” and “Flux and Flow”. The album does carry on a bit too long at 14 tracks, but the albums presents only two or three songs that lag. And, fellow dubstep opposers, you’re probably asking if the dirty electronic sound gets tiring. Sure, a little bit. Tracks like impossibly long closer “Day One” and the album’s ballad “Cactus In The Valley” fall a little short. The reason? They’re the only slow songs on the record, sugary enough to fit in with LIGHTS’ previous releases. For the most part, gritty goes hand in hand with catchy, making a fun, yet fluffless pop album.

4 out of 5 Stars

Tweet’s Length Review :: We Are The In Crowd

Since I’m a man and writer in high demand lately (for absolutely nothing except lying about how popular I am), I feel the need to consolidate some reviews. So I’m trying a new thing out…Tweet’s Length Reviews. 140 characters. One album. It’ll be great. This edition’s album is We Are The In Crowd’s album, “Best Intentions”.

You like the EP? Good, because the album doesn’t change WATIC’s sound at all. Songs get a little repetitive, a little fluff, but very dancy!

And thus concludes the Tweet’s Length Review! I give the album a 3 out 5 stars.

10.8.11 Featherweights Last Show: A review

Well I first want to apologize for the lack of photos that will be here from this show, I was taking pictures of the first band and my flash for whatever reason stopped working. and if you’ve ever been to the Democracy Center in Cambridge, MA you know it can get pretty dark in there.

I arrived a little early to the show, before anyone from any band was actually their so I hung out around the corner with some friends, and eventually started seeing a lot of old friends I’ve met from following Featherweight since their start 2.5 years ago. Soon enough everyone was their and bands were ready to play.

**I’m going to try to say a few words about each band to leave room for Featherweight, although I loved every single band on the bill last night**

Risk: a hardcore band from the MVHC (Merrimack Valley Hardcore) Scene opened up the show, according to featherweight they were the first band they were ever very friendly with starting out, great guys great music. Their set was pretty tame, as a lot of people hadn’t arrived yet. Frontman, Brendan Glennon for whatever reason had lost about 80% of his voice, which made for an interesting set ( I made the comparison that he sounded like Kate Winslet in Titanic when she was almost too cold to speak.

After Risk we had Old Gray, an emo band from New Hampshire, I can’t begin to say enough good things about this band, they just play awesome music, awesome personalities, awesome emotion. They’ve only been around since around March or April. Featherweight loves playing shows with them and they love playing shows with them. I remember Cam, their guitar player put it like this “Raph plays guitar, Charlie plays drums and everyone screams”.

Aviator, took the floor next, I can’t say enough about them, they play a type of hardcore I’ve never heard before. I think they were one of the first bands I saw play with Featherweight. Just can’t really say anything more than that, they’re just a band worth checking out.

My Fictions: Once again, another band I can only tell you to see live; talented, sincere, just great people.

Districts: Reunion show, they broke up about a year ago I think, I always remember hearing their name and them being revered as an awesome band, that much was made true to myself last night.

FINALLY.

Featherweight, words cannot justify how much emotion was in that room the whole night, Frontman Sean Ahern took a few minutes, before they played, to give a sincere thanks to all the specific people and specific bands that have helped them, supported them or just been good to them, ofcourse thanked his and the rest of Featherweight’s families, and any ex members(whether they were there or not). Victor, the original bass player switched off with Zac, another bass player apart of the band throughout the night. They played their whole first demo, Family Ties and Flooded Eyes which seriously paved the way for the music they presently made. They played songs they never recorded, Sean handed the mic to different people, including myself, throughout the night.

I’ve just never been able to correctly word how much emotion Featherweight puts into their music. How hard they’ve worked to achieve what they have and how much they care about the people around them and the scene they’ve built up. They ended with the song Nightcrawlers off of their summer tour sampler, one of my favorite songs. Some of the most emotional 5 minutes I’ve ever been through.

My stomach hurts from screaming, I have no voice, I’m sore and exhausted, but last night will live in infamy.

Featherweight will be missed by all those who got to experience them. On a bright side, ex-members have made a new band that should be playing shows in the winter, more will be posted soon.

 

Thank you for reading

 

 

Album Review: Transit – Listen & Forgive

I have literally listened to this CD over and over again for the past day. Why? First the fact that Transit is easily one of my favorite bands (no really, I know the words to 90% of their songs and have seen them 8+ times). Second is because I am loving the CD more and more with every listen. I could listen to it all day and not grow tired of it. Also I want to learn all the words to all the songs before I see Transit again. Of course that’s not the point of this review.

The point of the review is that you need to go out and pick up this CD when it drops October 4th. At the DC stop of the PMA Tour that Transit was on recently I had a chance to talk with frontman Joe Boynton. During our small talk about various topics (I’m originally from the Boston area and hadn’t seen Transit in a while) the topic of their new CD came up. He said it was going to be a different than their previous releases, a departure from the voracious pop-punk sound that they were known for. And as I’m listening to Listen & Forgive I can see what he means, it is different. But it’s not different in a bad way, in fact it’s different in a very good way. Transit cannot be accused of producing a CD that sounds exactly like their previous full length, that’s for sure (that’s the excellent Keep This To Yourself for those of you playing along at home).

Let me diverge for a second to tell you that For The World is my favorite Transit song. It’s fast paced, emotive and once the ever talented Tim Landers starts singing/screaming you know the crowd is going to get rowdy. If you were expecting Listen & Forgive to contain songs along the same lines you will be mistaken, but you will be pleasantly mistaken. The “pop-punk” sound that Transit had perfected in their previous releases is a bit more subdued in Listen & Forgive; conceding to a more indie rock sound and slowing things down a little bit. But the raw emotion is still there as it has been with Transit all along and through the album shows no signs of stopping. I guarantee that there will be pile-ups and gang vocals a plenty from the crowd when Transit hits the road again on October 6th. The boys really know how to write a song, Joe Boynton knows how to sing them and Tim Landers know how to lend his amazing backing vocals (on a side note check out Misser, Tim’s solo project).

In short I am in love with Listen & Forgive. Sure it’s a bit different from Keep This To Yourself and earlier releases but in, like I’ve been saying all along, a very good way. This is an album that you need to pick up and listen to immediately when it drops October 4th whether you are a die hard Transit fan or just getting into them. You won’t be able to stop listening and then you’ll tell your friends about the album and they won’t be able to stop listening. I know this album is going to be my weekend soundtrack. Did I mention there is a new version of 1978 on Listen & Forgive? Cause there is.

Not to mention this album will provide teenagers with perfect facebook statuses for weeks to come. The downside to the lyrical greatness of Transit. I mean who can resist posting lyrics such as “Find me again like a rusted bike in your backyard. Pull me up from the debris, I’m covered up in dust and leaves” from the song Listen & Forgive or pretty much every line of Long Lost Friends. I mentioned the new version of 1978 which might some view as sacrilege as the original version off their acoustic EP was just plain great. When I started the review I didn’t think highly of the new version but as I finish the review (a couple of hours and plays later) it’s starting to grow on me. I must also say hearing the full band version of Over Your Head came as a bit of a surprise because I was so used to the acoustic version that they played in Boston in May.

Now a “must listen” on the album? That’s going to be a bit tough because I love all the songs on the new release. However saying that all the songs are must listen is a bit of a cop out. I’m going to have to go with The Answer Comes In Time which is a bonus track on the physical version. So you’ll have to buy a physical version of the CD to hear it or be a horrible person and download the CD. Okay, I’m kidding with the horrible person part, downloading is starting to become part of the scene. So if you download the CD go see Transit and support them by buying a t-shirt and then get in the crowd and sing along. Though as I listen to the album more I’m finding it’s a tie between The Answer Comes In Time and Over Your Head.

Listen & Forgive is out everywhere October 4th. You better be lining up outside your local record store to nab a copy because it’s not something you want to sleep on.

Check out Transit on Facebook and pre-order the album here and hit the jump for a photo of Transit in Washington DC and the album art

Continue reading Album Review: Transit – Listen & Forgive

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