Is This It was seminal, epochal, and renowned worldwide, but The Strokes have yet to find that garage-rock perfection since their early years. They came close with 2003’s Room on Fire and 2006’s First Impressions of Earth, but it’s never been quite the same. So with a forthcoming album titled Under Cover of Darkness, anticipation is rampant but tentative.
Despite the dubious name choice, Antillectual deserve credit for being one of those European bands who manage to play American punk rock better than most American punk rockers (Millencollin reign as the undisputed kings). And despite the cookie-cutter political stances being thrown at you like bricks, Antillectual manages to bring a decent musical backdrop for their outspoken politics.
Annabel came forth with a new EP, Here We Are Tomorrow, at the end of 2010 and "The Forgetting of Names and Faces" is the standout track. The bright, ethereal pop sensibility of this Ohio quartet shines through for two minutes and fifty-two seconds like a shimmering blue ocean off an exotic coastline. And right now, in the middle of a chilling North American winter, this song plays like the answer to our collective prayers.
"For You, and Your Denial" is the first single off Yellowcard’s much anticipated new album When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes. This new single, the first for the band in three years, was released on January 18th and is a great indicator of what's to come.
Vancouver’s Carpenter is bright and infectious while remaining committed and conscientious. Known for covering the struggle of local Canadian farmers, Carpenter focuses effort on a niche which few dare, or even bother, to invest. Their latest album, Sea to Sky, begins with the boisterous "Mean Things". Dealing with the typical alt-rock subject of relationship troubles, Carpenter doesn’t delve into their agro-DIY ethics on this track, but they offer up a decent song regardless.
“We Used To Be In Love” is the first single off of The Sainte Catherines’ new album Fireworks. The song title might represent how long-time fans of the band feel upon listening to the new music. It’s impossible not to register a drastic drop in tempo; the music is slower, steadier and unimaginative - at least, in comparison to their older music.
With some pinch harmonics, 70’s inspired riffing and an anachronistic fashion sense, Hey Sugar look to merge some unlikely genres; hardcore, classic rock, and southern Rock. “All That I Need” has the grandiose riffs of the latter two genres but it also has the vocal screams of modern punk. There are moments that sound like pure hardcore: screaming, heavy palm-muting, and mega-phone vocals; and then there are moments of southern twang and classic swagger.
The Dears have always seemed to hover around a certain point; bright, slightly melodramatic rock that’s steady, but never quite phenomenal; always solid, but rarely exceptional. Their early years developed a dark and moody sound, which matured into their acclaimed second album No Cities Left. The third record was nearing brilliance, but fell just short of perfection, while the fourth was essentially only one amazing track. That’s a reductive summary, but it’s accurate.
"Black Mass" is the opening track to Electric Wizard's 7th album, Black Masses. Dirty, grungy and repetitive, it epitomizes the hallucinogenic doom metal style that Electric Wizard are infamous for.
I don’t know about this one, Billy. I mean, isn’t it time to stop already? And please, quit calling yourself The Smashing Pumpkins – you’re the only one left! Corgan’s got this new thing going on where he’s releasing 44 songs – individually, and over eleven EPs - under the god-awful title of Teargarden by Kaleidyscope. And after dutifully trying to ignore it for months, I decided to finally just man-up and give it a listen.
With its atmospheric layered sounds and haunting twangly guitars, the opening track, "Return of the Son of Fog Rider" off Del Rey's latest album Immemorial is an intriguing and ambitious effort. Clocking in at just over 11 minutes, it's a strangely wistful and progressive song that blends the energy of the band's five members; and although it's purely instrumental, the musicianship and song crafting is lyrical in itself, telling its own wordless story.
Streaming now on the Epitaph website, "Machine Gun Blues" is the first single from Social Distortion's upcoming Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes album.
Half call-to-arms, half celebration, "I Still Believe" is a song for anyone and everyone that loves music. The first single from Frank Turner’s up-coming Rock & Roll EP, this song blends folk and rock elements together in an incredibly unique way.
Yay! A new Tigers Jaw song! (I figure since it’s probably aimed at teenage girls, I’ll at least write like one... and yes, I’m comfortable with that). It’s called "smile" which is, you know, all warm and fuzzy and shit. Ever since I came across these Scrantoners – that can’t be right, Scrantonites(?) – I’ve pretty much been hooked. It’s emo, and it’s poppy, but it’s also punk and honest while still being kind of fun.
"Down By The Water" is the lead single from The Decemberists' forthcoming album The King Is Dead. And despite a promising start (who doesn't love a good harmonica introduction?) the song descends quickly into a fairly boring and repetitive three minutes and forty one seconds.
Some of you may have forgotten about Ceremony after they released their debut long play Rocket Fire in April this year. So I'm here to remind you of their brilliance. "Someday" hit the music waves on January 26th, but despite it's relative modernity you could find yourself taken back to the eighties. New Order's much over-looked debut album Movement is the work that comes to mind when listening to "Someday".
One of the newest and fast-rising bands in the metal scene, is Miss May I, an incredibly talented group from Troy, Ohio. In 2008, they signed to Rise Records, and in 2009 their first full length album, Apologies Are For The Weak, was released. The record was a huge hit, even landing a track, "Forgive and Forget," on the 'Saw VI' soundtrack. Ever since, Miss May I has made promising success, touring with bands such as Carnifex, The Devil Wears Prada and more.
When I talked to Mary And The Black Lamb vocalist Lindz Riot she explained to me that "Emily" was about a friend who passed away a few years ago. She had a problem with depression and that’s what the story was about. This song has a deep meaning for Lindz both musically and lyrically.
On August 3rd, 2010 Secondhand Serenade offered the world their third studio album Hear Me Now. The 11 song album was mostly produced by Aaron Johnson who has previously worked with The Fray along with vocalist John Vesely and drummer Tom Breyfogle. The album was produced at the Swing House studios located in Los Angeles and at Vesely’s home.
From the ashes of SNOT comes the band TONS. As is instantly recognizable, the band's name is simply SNOT mirrored. As I am part of their fan base, I found this track a few months ago. I keep returning to their MySpace in hopes that something new will surface. Alas nothing yet, but one can continue to hope we will, no?