The Mountain Has Fallen By DJ Shadow EP Review

Joshua Davis (known by his stage name, DJ Shadow) is a producer and DJ from San Jose, California. He is known for

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Summertime Gladness By Dance Gavin Dance Single Review

The very prolific post-hardcore band from Sacramento just dropped their newest single yesterday, Summertime Gladness, and it’s another wonderfully catchy summer jam.

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Our Stop At Warped Tour 2017

Warped Tour was an absolute blast. From the perspective of the average attendee, this experience is an incredible value. Not only do

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Our Stop At Warped Tour 2017

Warped Tour was an absolute blast. From the perspective of the average attendee, this experience is an incredible value. Not only do you get to see many bands you love, but you’ll almost certainly discover new bands that might become your new favorites. Aside from the music, there is good fellowship. Everyone is there for the same reason, so meeting new friends and making new connections is almost inevitable. Even while it’s outdoors and approximately one million degrees, this experience is still great fun, and I fully recommend checking into it.

We also were able to send a photographer to Warped this year, and here are his thoughts: “Warped tour was such an incredible experience to shoot. The dynamic lighting, the quick moving bands, and the phenomenal showmanship that these artists provide, proved to be an incredible challenge to shoot yielding a super rewarding feeling. Showing the shots to the band afterward, and seeing how pumped they were really felt awesome, and I am so incredibly looking forward to going back next year!”

A writer we sent to the tour had these thoughts on the interviewing aspect as well: “Warped Tour is quite the beast. Running from stage to stage to catch whoever I could was definitely a workout, but it was an incredibly rewarding experience. I got the chance to discover some phenomenal new bands, analyze their music and performance, and say hello to them afterwards. Amidst the chaos I was even given the opportunity for several brief interviews with bands, and I ended up having a long conversation with an older musician about his experiences with music, work, and life in general. Even after the interview we chatted for a bit, and I was given some very insightful advice. I never expected to learn so much from a short interview, but these are the kinds of bizarre yet wonderful experiences that warped tour provides.”

That particular review will be around in the coming weeks, so keep a lookout for that! In addition, we have all our favorite warped tour shots from our photographer available HERE to view! We also will be adding a review of Stacked Like Pancakes, a definite fan favorite of the Cleveland stop, so stay tuned for that as well!

Lastly, we would all like to thank the staff that made warped tour possible. From the bands, to the security, to the “behind-the-scenes” management that makes the whole thing run smoothly, thank you for giving us this tremendous experience.

 

The Mountain Has Fallen By DJ Shadow EP Review

Joshua Davis (known by his stage name, DJ Shadow) is a producer and DJ from San Jose, California. He is known for being a key figure in the development of experimental hip-hop, which was born out of his love for both classic hip-hop along with bands that featured DJs and used electronic elements heavily. In his almost 30 years of music making, Davis has released many unique records, including his most recent EP, The Mountain Has Fallen.

The intro track to this album, Systematic, features the hip-hop rapper Nas. The track begins with just a beat and a very simple guitar riff. However, as the song continues and the bass comes in, so do many subtle sounds and effects that work to complement the rap, and they do so very well. This song has a super catchy beat and a very solid rap.

The next track on the EP, Horror Show, features the rapper Danny Brown, who is known for his unique rap style and tone of voice. This song sounds just as creepy as you would expect. With some distorted horn sounds and heavy bass interplay with a “stomping” rhythm, this song is terrifying. The awkward drum hits make this sound even more unsettling and unusual. Davis went for a creepy vibe with this one, and he absolutely nailed it.

The next track, Good News, is an instrumental piece that is filled with bizarre sounds. After beginning with some very glitched out synths and drums, this song starts to form a rhythm of sorts, but only barely. As the song goes on it seems to solidify itself more and more, and a recognizable melody is introduced before this song comes to a close.

The final track on the EP, Corridors, features British film composer Steven Price. This is certainly a unique feature for a track by a DJ, but the result is absolutely incredible. This track has a very cinematic nature, with some beautiful orchestral elements mixed in with trippy drums and vocal samples and synths. This song gave me a Stranger Things vibe, both in reference to the show’s musical theme and eerie atmosphere. It follows some interesting chord and timing choices, which together create a very unusual audial tone. The end of this song crackles, and you will believe that you have lost your internet connection, but then a single note fills the empty space and signals the end of the EP.

This EP was filled with unique tracks that were very fun to listen to, while also featuring some incredibly talented musicians you may not have heard of before. Even though it is only 4 tracks, they are well worth your time if you have any interest in music that is outside the norm.

Summertime Gladness By Dance Gavin Dance Single Review

The very prolific post-hardcore band from Sacramento just dropped their newest single yesterday, Summertime Gladness, and it’s another wonderfully catchy summer jam.

The song starts off with some fast strumming and very fascinating guitar chords, complemented by high-register notes and riffs. As the song continues these intricate higher riffs fill out the sonic space of the piece in a very pleasing way. The contrast between high and low is something Dance Gavin Dance has always done well in their songs, not only with their choice of instrumentation but also through their expert use of back-and-forth singing and screaming. The chorus of this song has some extremely catchy lyrics and vocal runs accented by a very high guitar riff that is just absolutely beautiful to listen to. As the song continues, we hear that DGD decided to go with a more unusual drum pattern, one that is common to disco music, interestingly enough. This ever so small change really gives the listener a different interpretation of this part of the piece, but it fits the summer-time vibe they are going for incredibly well. We also have to given special mention to that smooth-as-butter synth line around 2:30 of their youtube stream. I’ve listened to that specific part a large number of times.

This song has so much going on, and it’s awesome. Between intricate guitar riffs, vocal harmonies, interesting vocals and screams, drum patterns and extra synths hidden throughout the background, this song is a brilliant addition to the Dance Gavin Dance repertoire. Go check it out!

Warped 2017!

Yes, we WILL be covering a stop of Warped Tour 2017! We have been awarded press credentials, and you can click HERE to see photos of the July 17th stop as our photographer adds photos! We will also provide coverage of live performances to accompany exclusive visuals! You can still purchase tickets at vanswarpedtour.com and we also urge you to consider supporting MusiCares, an awesome nonprofit which you can check out HERE!

*Purchase tickets by clicking this link*

Propagation By Com Truise Single Review

Seth Haley (better known as Com Truise, which is a spoonerism of actor Tom Cruise), is an electronic chillwave/synthwave musician from New York. Haley’s songs are very stylistic, and are heavily influenced by technology and computers. This is apparent not only in the composition and vibe of the songs themselves, but also in the minimalistic artwork and song titles. The last Com Truise album was released way back in 2012, so hearing that a new album is on the very near horizon was quite exciting.

Propogation is Com Truise’s newest single from the upcoming album, and it’s a beautiful mix of simplicity and complexity. Choosing to begin with some very pretty chords with heavy reverb and echo, and slowly adding more and more elements really gives credence to the name Propogation. Every element added is very beautiful and mesmerizing, particularly the quick, punchy lead synth that carries the melody line throughout the piece. About half way through the song there’s a break, and we return to the chords from the beginning. However, the song comes back in full force, with more movement than before, and it’s extremely satisfying.

Chillwave/synthwave songs have this wonderful quality that draws listeners in and keeps them mesmerized, and a lot of artists will use this to their advantage by creating something simple and extending it. However, genuine music-minded artists will create this vibe while also maintaining interest through extremely subtle additions or changes. While at the surface level, this song might seem quite simple, there’s actually a myriad of little changes going on throughout, and if you listen to it with a keen ear, you will get exponentially more out of the experience. Keep an eye out for Com Truise’s newest album, Iteration, set to release on June 16th.

Get Lost By Washed Out Single Review

Washed Out is a one-man band consisting of singer/songwriter/producer Ernest Greene. Since 2009 Washed Out has released some incredible chillwave/synth-pop music that has been particularly influential in the chillwave genre. Their most recent release was the album, Paracosm (a personal favorite of mine), back in 2013.

Washed Out is back with their newest song, the single Get Lost. This song is a more upbeat, fast paced groove that is absolutely littered with background noise. This aesthetic choice was most definitely by design. Coupled with dissonant staccato piano chords and bizarre, non-diatonic sax solos, this song is definitely meant to make you feel like you’re wandering through crowded streets, wishing you could yell out to everyone, “Get lost!”

Being a more introverted person, this song particularly resonated with me. While it was able to achieve this unusual vibe, the song still manages to be quite catchy and groovy, and overall a worthwhile listen. Get Lost was released alongside some new tour dates, so hopefully that means there’s a new album in the near future as well. Fingers crossed.

Dig Down by Muse Single Review

You’ve almost certainly heard of Muse before. The English experimental alt rock/electronica band has been around since the release of their first album, Showbiz, way back in 1999. Since then they’ve released 6 more albums, all of which were met with much praise. Arguably one of Muse’s most recognizable traits is Matt Bellamy’s vocals. They are very unique, and I’ve said for years that his voice is very reminiscent of Freddy Mercury’s, and this holds true for their newest single, Dig Down. This marks Muse’s first release since their concept album, Drones, that came out back in 2015.

Right from the start we’re met with a wonderful synth bass line. This line holds throughout the entire song and keeps it moving as a recognizable point for listeners to focus on. As the first chorus hits, we’re given the incredible harmonies that Muse is known for. The second verse introduces some more interesting sounds such as string samples and light guitar riffs. Then the catchy stomping and clapping chorus returns, and we’re given a short and subtle, but well-placed, guitar solo. As the final chorus rages on, the emotion in this piece is evident from the powerful vocals to the constant raging drum line. When the other instruments drop out, we’re left with that same synth bass line before it abruptly comes to an end.

If you like any of Muse’s other work, you’ll almost certainly like this. Even if you don’t like Muse’s other work, you’ll probably still like this. It’s unique and very well put together. Nothing is crazy or overdone, but I think that adds to its charm. Sometimes subtleties are far more powerful than insane guitar solos or vocal runs, and Dig Down shows us that truth in the phenomenal way only Muse could.

Fool’s Errand By Fleet Foxes Single Review

Indie folk band Fleet Foxes finally returns with a new album, Crack-Up, scheduled for release June 16th. This marks the band’s first new music since the release of their previous album, Helplessness Blues, way back in 2011.

I was a huge Fleet Foxes fan growing up, so hearing that they are getting ready to release a new album got me very excited, and after hearing the first two singles from the album, Fool’s Errand and Third of May / Ōdaigahara, I have high hopes that this will be a worthy successor to their previous masterpieces.

Fool’s Errand keeps true to Fleet Foxes’ iconic folk rock style. Intricate vocal runs, beautiful echo-y 4-part harmonies, and lots of layered instruments provide a beautiful and unique atmosphere. True to their unique and recognizable style, this song sounds like it could have been written and performed by peasants way back in medieval times. As the song comes to a close, we’re treated with some extremely pretty 4-part harmonies and a solo piano performance that sounds like it was played on a piano way past its prime, which adds greatly to the song’s atmosphere.

Robin Pecknold, principal songwriter, has said that he likes to record vocals in one take, even if there are some mistakes. In fact, he wants there to be vocal and guitar mistakes, because it makes the song sound more real. In a society where over-produced mistake-less music is the norm, having this mentality is a breath of fresh air and really provides a different experience for listeners.

Overall, this song has made me feel very nostalgic and extremely excited for the release of Crack-Up. 6 years is a long time to go without releasing new music, but Fleet Foxes seem to have readjusted to their writing style very quickly. If this song appealed to you at all, go back and listen to their previous works. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

Told You So by Paramore Single Review

 

The newest single by the ever-popular alt-rock band Paramore utilizes some interesting instrument choices to give it almost a beachy-vibe, with some catchy surfer guitar riffs, punchy synths, and xylophones thrown in for good measure. Overall, this song managed to capture this beach vibe quite well, and is only furthered through the colorful artwork provided for this single. This seems like a departure from their previous “look”, but once you’ve been in the game for over a decade as Paramore has, you’re entitled to a change of style and sound now and again.
Paramore has been under almost relentless fire and criticism for their stark turn from their emo-punk roots. I grew up on Riot!, and I understand where these long term fans are coming from, but I think Paramore is growing into its new sound more and more with each release. Through the member changes, the lawsuits, and the general chaos of being in a long-term band, these changes are expected to happen. Paramore has managed to adapt to keep hold of a listening audience as musical tendencies shift over time. All in all I quite liked this song and am excited to hear what the new Paramore has in store for us in the future!

Valuables by Enemies


Enemies is a post-rock/math-rock band that hails from Kilcoole, Ireland. They’ve just released their third and final studio album, Valuables, and it’s a wonderful work of musicianship that captures a very unique and, at times, beautifully sad vibe.
I’ve been a fan of the band for a few years now and listened to their previous album, Embark, Embrace, more times than I can count. They were able able to capture a beautiful summertime, pleasant, almost nostalgic vibe in almost every song.

While all the songs on this album are phenomenal, several stuck out to me in particular. Those consisted of the intro track, itsallwaves, Houran, and the previously released single, Play Fire.

itsallwaves keeps true to the fast-paced, beachy-sounding guitar playing that Enemies has become known for. In addition, it features beautifully layered vocals that help build the emotion throughout the song, some distorted guitar parts that you can bang your head to, and some really pretty riffs.

The next song that stuck out to me, Houran, is a bit different. It features no vocals and carries a bit of a different vibe than the rest from this release. It starts off slow, but jumps into some upbeat guitar playing, all the while keeping the song cohesive. It continues this cycle as it builds into cacophony of guitar ambience that slowly fades into nothingness.

The final song I chose for this review was the single, Play Fire. This song, unlike the last, relies very heavily on vocals, but certainly does not sacrifice any other instruments because of that. It’s by far the catchiest song on the album, with the refrain containing two intertwining vocal lines that will have you humming along in no time. The ornamental guitar parts during the verses are also one of my favorite touches on this song. They’re so well placed and subtle, but add so much depth to the piece. As the song continues, more and more vocal lines are added as the instruments begin to fall out. This continues as a beautiful build-up is created, and as the vocals finish their line, the full band comes back in full-force. I can honestly say that is the most satisfying moment I had while listening to this album.

Mixed with beautiful guitar riffs and some bizarre time signatures thrown in, the band has been able to create an easy to listen to, very emotional, very intricate, and intriguing set of songs. Valuables definitely holds up to this standard.

For better or worse, this band has decided to part ways with the release of this album. They wrote a very interesting letter to their fans as to why this is the case (check it out here), and upon reading it, I respect and think much more highly of these people as individuals, rather than just guys in a band. I really enjoyed this album, and if you’re at all intrigued by this review I recommend whole-heartely that you check it out.