Slaves Live Show Event Coverage

I got the opportunity to check out the Sacramento based post-hardcore band Slaves as they toured through Cleveland, Ohio last week, and

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Perception By NF Album Review

Nathan Feuerstein (better known as his stage name NF) is a singer, songwriter, and rapper from Michigan known for his incredibly honest

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Metrocon Massive 6

Last month I got the awesome opportunity to attend Metrocon Massive 6, which is America’s largest convention rave that took place at

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Redeemed By Tommy Luck Single Review

Tommy Luck, California-based rapper/producer, just released his newest single Redeemed. He has a unique background that has colored his writing style, beginning as a rock guitarist/drummer and moving through the acoustic and electronic music genres. Working in so many genres allows Tommy to draw different facets from each to craft an interesting and unique musical experience for his listeners.

This song starts with a really sick rap placed above vocal chops and fast drum movement. It shifts gears quickly when the catchy chorus vocals (ft. ZADA) come in. The second verse seems way heavier, as it adopts a more emotional chord progression beneath the rap. This variety adds a lot of movement to the track, and you can definitely hear progression occurring. After the second chorus is an instrumental outro that builds intensity through some awesome synth riffs and drum patterns. Certainly not an ending I would have expected, but one that I quite like.

The attention to detail in this song is great. There are so many subtleties that exist within this track that make this experience even more awesome. The lines are catchy, the lyrical content is interesting, and the vocal feature is a lovely addition to the piece. I’m excited to see what else Tommy Luck releases in the future!

Tank’d By The Spins EP Review

The Spins are an indie/alt rock band from NJ who released their debut EP Tank’d earlier this year. The band has managed to create a beautiful and dreamy vibe with their pleasing guitar licks, pleasant vocals, and relatable lyrical content. The entire EP has a very nice continuity to it, so every song sits well next to each other. However I’ve highlighted a few of my favorites.

Where I’ve Been encapsulates a feeling of separation and distance, beginning with the lyrics, “Why are you so far away?” The up-and-down vocal riff is a nice touch, and it creates a very distinct but recognizable sound. Likewise the guitar riffs, particularly the one during the intro, are extremely pleasant, and help convey the message of the piece.

The Spins (yes they have a track named after their band name) has a very dreamy vibe. The intro contains lots of open strings within the guitar chords, which helps solidify an endless sounding progression. I’m also a sucker for some guitar harmonics, so I absolutely loved the addition of the harmonics to complement the vocal lines. Contained within this piece is also quite a bit of feeling behind the lyrics, which only furthers the emotional credibility of the EP as a whole.

This Room is the final track on the album, and just about twice as long as every other track. It begins with a beautiful finger-picking guitar line, but picks up the rhythmic pace as the vocals come in. The quick guitar riffs work in conjunction with the vocal lines beautifully, and create a very pleasing atmosphere. The riffs are also very recognizable and catchy. So taking into account the length of this song, by the time you’re about halfway through things start to seem very familiar. I also have to point out the addition of more beautifully placed harmonics. They add such a nice touch.

This is a solid EP. The tracks flow together nicely, they have a good atmosphere and vibe, and they are just pleasant to listen to. I also really like the inclusion of sound bytes in these tracks, it really take the songs a step closer to realism. Hearing the band members laughing or cars starting makes the words spoken within the tracks seem far more real. I look forward to what The Spins create in the future!

Moments by Everywhere Single Review

The London based alt-rock band Everywhere is back again with their newest single, Moments. We actually reviewed their previous single Man Up (which you can check out HERE) a few months ago, and were stoked to hear they had another new track for us to check out!

This track starts off with echoy guitar plucks that set up an emotive and engaging chord progression. The song builds to the chorus, which has a beautiful synth line coupled with a catchy vocal line. These vocals are further joined by some very pretty vocal harmonies. Each consecutive chorus adds additional elements which keep the song engaging – specifically more beautiful vocal harmonies that you’ll definitely want to look out for. This song has a great vibe to it, it’s easy to listen to, and it packs a surprising amount of emotion.

It’s great to hear another track from Everywhere. This band certainly has a unique and fun vibe to offer the music world, and I certainly plan to continue to check out their stuff in the future!

Hope for the F.U.T.U.R.E. By The Plague Album Review

The Plague is a “Futurepunk” band from Rochester, NY. They recently released their debut album, Hope For the F.U.T.U.R.E. earlier this month, and I’m so excited to say that it’s a unique and very well-executed album. The Plague’s goal is to “Instill hope and a sense that you aren’t alone. We all deserve love, we all need support, and no one should have to do it alone”, and that is an absolutely admirable goal. Luckily, they succeeded in their goal as the album is phenomenal both thematically and musically. 

Right from the get-go, it’s apparent that The Plague is a very melodic band. The digital futuristic/robotic theme allows for a lot of bizarre sound effects which The Plague didn’t short themselves on, and it really provides a unique atmosphere for the songs to live within. 

Not The Only One is the second track on the album (the first is sort of an introduction, however). This song has a great vibe, it’s very upbeat, and it delivers a positive message through both its lyrics and instrumentation. The vocal line is very melodic and catchy, the chord progression is happy, and there are some very nice guitar riffs throughout the piece. This song really sets the vibe for rest of the album.  

Antidote was another favorite track of mine. It makes use of some robotic voice modifications to continue to build on the futuristic theme of the album. The main guitar riff on this track is another that immediately stuck out to me for its catchy and intense nature. Halfway through this song it dials the intensity back a bit, supplying some keys and guitar strumming to fill the space. Then as some electronic drums enter in, the song builds up. This build up leads to the incredible high-energy final section of this piece, featuring more awesome riffing.  

Best year of your life is just an extremely happy song. “Behind you may be darkness, so your future shines as bright as the stars”, serves as hope for those who feel like nothing matters, no matter how hard they try. This song is extremely uplifting, contains beautiful instrumentation including some extremely pretty orchestral elements and synths, and has some absolutely incredible vocals and vocal harmonies.  

This album is phenomenal. It’s extremely unique, with its “futurepunk” genre and digital/futuristic thematic elements. It’s a wonderful example of a well-executed unique idea, which I can’t say I come across all that often. In addition, the album radiates a wonderful and positive message, which is something the world can certainly never have too much of. I’ll be jamming this album for the next few weeks I’m sure. 

American Standards – Anti-Melody

American Standards is a metalcore/noise punk band from Phoenix, AZ. They released their latest album Anti-Melody in April of this year, and we decided to check it out. Turns out this album became a means to deal with some extremely traumatic life events. The concept of the album began as a social commentary on the divide in our society, but soon the writing process became a means to cope after one of the founding guitarists committed suicide and shortly thereafter the vocalist’s father passed away from cancer. Vocalist Brandon Kellum described the band as “centered around the universal theme of separation on many levels”, which is evident in both the vocals and the instrumentation on this album.

Carpe Diem, Tomorrow was one of my favorite tracks on the album. It begins with a catchy and fast-paced guitar riff that becomes the theme for the rest of the track. As the song progresses, we’re introduced to more and more catchy riffs, and the intensity builds. About halfway through we get to hear a very nice guitar solo, immediately followed by a droning repeat of the lyrics “Time marches on” in a bizarre time signature that will keep you mentally on your toes. This song kept my attention all the way through with the unique musical tactics it employed.

Bartenders Without Wings captured a heavy and atmospheric vibe incredibly well. The song begins with beautiful solo guitar picking, and as the song builds we’re treated to an absolutely intense vocal performance; the emotion behind the lyrics is self-evident. The song takes a step back and gives us a very pretty guitar lead riff, and some well-placed keys to change the vibe. This is quite an emotional song and very self-reflective in nature – definitely another favorite of mine.

Cancer Eater is a song in memory of Kellum’s father who passed away. I think this song stuck out to me (apart from being well-written) because it shows what music is all about at its core. Music is therapeutic. It’s a way to relate to one another, to help each other through hard times, and to handle and even enjoy the emotional aspects of life. It’s evident through these lyrics that Kellum had a renowned respect for his father, describing him as “working man, worked all his life until the day he died/he fought for everything he had, I was the last to say goodbye.”

It’s always fascinating to listen to a band that writes music with such purpose and emotion, and American Standard definitely fits that category. The songs on Anti-Melody are well-written, musically quite interesting, and on a very intense emotional level. Heavy themes cover this musical landscape. This album isn’t for the faint of heart, but if you’re willing to embrace the intensity, you will absolutely get something out of the experience. Check out Anti-Melody and show American Standard some love – they’ve earned it.

Midnight Appetite By Glass House Point EP Review

Glass House Point is an indie rock band from Tampa, FL. They’ve just recently announced the release of their new EP, Midnight Appetite. This EP comes out  tomorrow, and we got the wonderful opportunity to check it out early. Since Glass House Point formed in 2013, they’ve built up their sound to be something extremely atmospheric and beautiful, while also mixing in intricate guitar leads and beautiful vocals. I’m pleased to say that the Midnight Appetite EP follows along the same lines; it’s a beautiful EP that seamlessly creates a wonderful vibe. Here were a few of my highlights from the album:

Think Fast; It’s Gone is the opener for the 6-track EP. A beautiful song that wraps around beautiful clean guitar riffs and echoy harmonies. As the song builds, violins and rapid guitar picking help to fill the space, and create a very delicate, yet intense vibe. The song bleeds into the second track, Creatures.

Creatures continues the feeling of Think Fast; It’s Gone, essentially making it a second part to the track. As the song progresses, we’re met with more beautiful and increasingly more complex guitar riffs. The interplay between the two guitars is masterful, and creates this beautiful stereo image that is enhanced by the vocals and bass to continue the beautiful, almost nostalgic vibe that was introduced to us in the first track.

Breckenridge was another favorite track of mine. It has a slightly different vibe to me than the other songs. It opens with beautiful atmospheric synth sounds, as well as subtle harp lines. This combination, along with more intricate guitar riffs and echoy vocals, manages to craft a sound that’s very reminiscent of a cityscape in my mind. I was extremely impressed with the atmosphere and beauty of this track.

I thoroughly enjoyed every track on this EP. Not once did I feel like I was just listening to a song for the sake of the review; I genuinely got lost in the music. Definitely get excited to hear Midnight Appetite tomorrow!

Communicator by Hotwax

Hotwax is the moniker for 24 year old Florida chillwave/downtempo musician Adam Keilbach. Communicator, his first full-length album, was released earlier this year (following the release of a series of EPs throughout 2014 and 2015). The album is filled to the brim of solid tracks that all manage to maintain that chillwave vibe very well.

Aerotropolis, the album’s opener, is one of the more up-beat tracks on the LP. There’s so much going on in this piece, which is definitely why it’s one of my favorites. Layer after layer of intricate drum rhythms, synths and pads, and catchy melody lines riddle this musical landscape in a very deliberate and wonderful way.

Rockaway (ft. Steffaloo) was another one of my favorites. The vocal feature really adds a beautiful layer of dreaminess to this piece. The song itself goes through cycles of simplicity where there exists only a bassline accompanied by synth pads, but continues to become extremely intricate with the addition of fascinating drum lines and echoey vocal elements.

Celestial was another track that stood out to me. Right from the start a beautifully arpeggiated synth line runs up and down through the background of the piece. Then one of my favorite drum lines comes in. The interplay between the snare and the kick is quite unique, and creates a rather bouncy rhythm that I enjoyed.

This is a really solid album that captures the chillwave atmosphere extremely well. Where Hotwax really shines is in his attention to detail, which is a trait that I believe is imperative for any good musician to have. The subtle placement of the drum hits, the reverb-engulfed snaps, the fluttery synths – it’s all so precise. In addition to just being well-composed chillwave songs, these tracks are also very fun to listen to with a little more scrutiny; you’ll notice things you’ve not heard there before, and that’s a trait that I really love. I’m excited to hear what else Hotwax will make in the future!

Breathe By Lilac Kings Single Review

Lilac Kings is an Indie Rock/Post Hardcore band from Tulsa, Oklahoma. They describe their music as “intensely soft”, and I would concur. Their songs have this wonderful atmosphere about them; I could fall asleep to their tunes but also start headbanging to them. Definitely an unusual combination.

Breathe is a great piece. The entire song is filled out with some very echoey guitar riffs that complement the vocals quite nicely. The riffs are subtle, but keep the song from becoming stagnant. The vocal lines are catchy and quite well-written, made even better by subtle harmonies and smooth voices. The refrain features some good use of different octaves in the vocal lines paired with slides throughout the guitar riffs, which creates this strong sense of vertical movement that I thoroughly enjoyed.

This song is so pretty. It’s packed with emotion and movement, while still having a very laid-back nature to it. There’s also a touch of prog in there, definitely Dance Gavin Dance inspired. I am very excited to check out the rest of Lilac Kings’ album when it is released on November 3rd!

Perception By NF Album Review

Nathan Feuerstein (better known as his stage name NF) is a singer, songwriter, and rapper from Michigan known for his incredibly honest and real lyrics, that lay his inner demons on the table for all to see. NF just released his third studio album, Perception, that continues the groundwork laid by his two previous albums, Mansion and Therapy Session.

I want to start off by saying that this album is absolutely ground breaking. NF has such a distinct and incredibly honest style of rapping that brilliantly shines through on this album. His songs are heavy; they aren’t just something you will sit down and listen to, they will seriously make you think about your life.

I mean it when I say each and every track on this hour long album is worth your time, but everyone has some tracks that stick out to them. For me Intro III is one of those tracks. NF has started every album with an “Intro” track so far, and it serves to set up the album and discuss what’s been going on with him. This track is backed by lots of orchestral elements atop atmospheric, almost creepy, piano lines. NF is the master at quotable lyrics, and my favorite one is the final line in this track: “I’m gonna just look out the window and laugh at you. This is crazy to me, cause I thought you had me in prison this whole time, but I’m the one holding the key.” This whole track seems to be a conversation between Nate and his inner demons that are claiming to have made him who he is.

As the album continues, it gets heavier. If You Want Love is a very introspective and melancholic look back through Nate’s childhood, which was not an easy one. Remember This, the track immediately following, is in the same vein and uses pitch shifted vocals on the hook to retain this “child-like” quality. My favorite line in this song was “Anyone can take your life, but not what you believe in.”

Outro is the counterpoint to Intro III. Nate muses about how if he ever becomes truly happy will people start to resent his music? Because his pain has always been the main inspiration for it. But then he realizes why people are following him: “This is for the kids who feel like they live at the bottom and everyday of their lives is like it’s darker than Halloween. You ain’t alone out there, look around you we got a lot of fans in here.” He’s creating a safe haven for all those misfits who feel like they don’t fit in.

Nate doesn’t waste any time in this hour long album – every word has a purpose and provides an incredible insight into the life of someone who has gone through hell. This insight Nate passes to us, in hopes that we too can find our true purpose and help out one other.

“We’re only three records in it and this is just the beginning.”

The Candleman By The Earth and I Album Review

The Earth and I is an incredibly interesting and dynamic band. They describe themselves as a “progressive mathy rock and metal band” from New York, and have a passion for saving the planet. They are also quite witty; I found such quips as “Vegetarian metal for the carnivore in you”, and “We can’t afford the gasoline that our tour van requires, so we never burn any”, on their website. It’s always refreshing to see a band really push for their beliefs through their music, as that always runs the risk of alienating potential fans. If you are truly passionate about something, your music will reflect those emotions, and that’s exactly what The Earth and I does.

The Earth and I are dropping their new album, The Candleman, just a couple weeks from now on the 19th of October, and they sent it to us early to check out. As per usual, I’ll be going more in-depth with my favorite tracks on the album, but I would also like to point out that I had a very hard time settling on these tracks. Every song has something unique and interesting to offer, so you’ll definitely want to check out all the rest of them.

And Now for a Slight Departure was previously released as an instrumental single, but on the album version we have it in its entirety with vocals. This piece immediately caught my eye (or ear) with its beautiful and catchy clean guitar lick. As the song continues, we reach the chorus which has one of my favorite chord progressions that contains a very jazzy stepwise chord change. This track was a personal favorite of mine.

The Hollow Deluge is a track that feels quite different from the rest of the album, which is why it stuck out to me so strongly. It’s a very beautiful piece that consists of slow moving acoustic guitars, pianos, and pads. The progression of the song utilizes some interesting key modulations that keep the listener intrigued all the way throughout. As the song reaches its climax, drums come in and heavy guitar parts are introduced, still backed by a subtle piano riff. Overall this song is just an extremely beautiful piece.

The finale track, Skies Like Fences, starts right off as a progressive metal jam, complete with screams and all. A minute and a half in, the tone changes into a jazzy instrumental piece that has an absolutely beautiful guitar solo, backed by some very pleasing chords. As the initial metal vibe returns, we’re given another guitar solo, a quite bizarre one, over top of some unusual guitar arpeggios. The song ends as a solo piano track, one that is quite fascinating to listen to, and ends on an unresolved dissonant chord, which is a technique that can drive some people absolutely insane, but I am a huge fan of.

The Earth and I is a band full of absolutely wonderful musicians. They are able to create many different styles and vibes through their unique sound, and every track is absolutely worth listening to, which is not something I usually get to say.  Get stoked for The Candleman on the 19th of this month!