Review: AJR – The Maybe Man

There’s something to be said for a band who knows how to make a well-crafted, thought out, and carefully mapped out  album. AJR may have just made their early-career masterpiece on The Maybe Man, a record that is brimming with purpose, an ultra-personal touch, and better structurally organized than any of their previous four LPs. The Maybe Man finds the three brothers (Adam, Jack & Ryan Met) at a crossroads: they’ve just made their most commercially and critically successful record in 2021’s Ok Orchestra, the band recently announced their first arena tour, and yet the material found on this record is dripping with self-doubt. For a band that got famous with songs like “Bang!” “Weak” and the ultra-viral “World’s Smallest Violin,” the opening song/title track finds lead singer, Jack pondering vulnerably, “Wish I was a stone so I couldn’t feel / You’d yell in my face, it’d be no big deal / But I’d miss the way we make up and smile / Don’t wanna be stone, I changed my mind,” while getting into heavier material (lyrically) with “God Is Really Real” that comes to terms with their father, Gary’s, untimely passing. As close as I am to my dad, I can’t imagine going through life without my own mentor, and I commend AJR for tackling this concept head on with grace on The Maybe Man.

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Review: Daniel Donato – Reflector

The sophomore set from alt-country up-and-comer Daniel Donato, called Reflector, is a colorful collection of songs that are brimming with lush textures and shimmering guitars. From the vibrant opening bars of the song “Lose Your Mind” to the closing, near 6-minute opus of “Dance in the Desert Pt. 2,” Donato leaves his musical blueprint all over this record that showcases his unmistakable talent. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter describes his new record as “Cosmic Country” and it fits well within the same realm of artists like The Lumineers, Lord Huron, and the crisp ,country twang of Zac Brown Brand. When speaking on his new LP, Donato shared, “I think ‘Cosmic Country’ is a tale as old as time, really. It’s yin and yang in a musical form. It’s three chords and the truth, and then on the other side it’s exploration and bravery. I really went through a lot of years of grinding, and still am, to achieve this sound which is a vehicle for my personality, and the personality is a vehicle for my soul. So (Reflector) is more that than any other record I ever put out.” Daniel Donato is quickly climbing the ladder of notoriety on Reflector.

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Black Polish – “Streetsigns” (Song Premiere)

Black Polish

Today is a great day to share the news about Black Polish and their new single called “Streetsigns.” Black Polish is Jayden Nicole Binnix, and their sound transcends musical boundaries. They draw inspiration from bands like Paramore, Twenty One Pilots and Mitski, but their sound really needs to be heard to make your own judgement. ”‘Streetsigns’ speaks of wanting to escape your self destruction and be completely isolated free to do whatever you please,” Binnix explained. “It’s a love song for a place where responsibility doesn’t exist and guilt will never reside within you.” Black Polish will release their debut LP, Forest (Monsters Live In The Trees), via Riptide Music on January 26th. I was also able to catch up with this talented artist for a brief interview below.

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Review: Blink-182 – [Untitled]

It really does feel like yesterday that I was just unwrapping the CD of this Blink-182 classic, known to many as their [Untitled} fifth effort, and grinning ear to ear about the sound that was about to surround me for the next two-plus years of a standard album cycle. Little did I know, this would be the last studio album Blink-182 would record for eight (!) years, until they returned with 2011’s Neighborhoods. This studio effort was a flawless execution of slick pop-punk hooks, experimental rock, hip-hop beats, and a top-notch collaborative song with The Cure’s Robert Smith. While some longtime Blink fans were disappointed with the final result of this record (that succeeded the bulletproof pop-punk classic, Take Off Your Pants & Jacket), almost all of these fans now point to this album as a seismic shift in the band’s songwriting and offered glimpses as to where they would take their sound for the foreseeable future. This fifth LP was produced by Jerry Finn, and it would also end up being their longest album to date, clocking in at a little over the 49-minute mark. Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Travis Barker should be looking back fondly on this momentous album today that would find Blink-182 breaking down the silos of what a pop-punk band should sound like, and blow the doors off the hinges in the process.

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Interview: Sam Harris of X Ambassadors

X Ambassadors

Recently I was able to schedule a Zoom call with Sam Harris, the lead singer of X Ambassadors, to check in about the band’s latest single called “Alcohol.” I also asked Sam about his creative songwriting process for writing for X Ambassadors as well as stepping out into his recent solo work, and artists in the scene that he and his bandmates admire. X Ambassadors will be finalizing plans for their new album soon.

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Review: Social Distortion – Mommy’s Little Monster

Time just keeps marching on, doesn’t it? When Social Distortion released their debut LP, Mommy’s Little Monster, in June (the exact date couldn’t be pinned down) of 1983, it signaled an energetic movement in the SoCal punk scene. The most “traditional” of punk records in Social Distortion’s storied discography, Mommy’s Little Monster, is an adrenaline shot to the hip of slick guitar-driven hooks, paired with vocalist/guitarist Mike Ness’s trademark growl. The LP has been passionately restored to notoriety by Craft Recordings and their 40th anniversary vinyl reissue that hit stores today. The album features quick punk rock songs like “The Creeps (I Just Wanna Give You)” that while they seem raw on the surface, are packed with some breadcrumbs of where Social Distortion would take their sound for the next 40-plus years. The only single to be released, “Another State of Mind,” still finds its way into Social D’s setlist from time to time, and remains a punk scene favorite. Mommy’s Little Monster plays out like a band gaining their footing in the exploding punk scene of the early 80’s and still holds up to this day.

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Review: Broadside – Hotel Bleu

Usually when you check into a new hotel, it has a funny way of changing your outlook and mindset for the days to come. Whether it’s settling down in a hotel for a vacation, work trip, or just a weekend getaway, these places tend to have their own unique personality attached to them. Broadside have this concept well on the top of their mind on their fourth full-length record, called Hotel Bleu. The interesting thing about this album is that it finds Broadside tinkering with their sound and exploring the depths of their songwriting. While their last effort, Into The Raging Sea, took listeners on a journey through the darkest of thoughts, Hotel Bleu may just be the polar opposite. The latest LP by Broadside (Oliver Baxxter [vocals], Domenic Reid [guitar], and Patrick Diaz [bass]) is vibrant, lush, and as colorful as the name implies.

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Autopilot – “Unwound” (Video Premiere)


Today is a great day to share the new single and video from Canadian alternative band, Autopilot, called “Unwound.” In the last 14 months, the Saskatchewan rockers have released four singles while consistently touring North America, and their following seems to be growing after each electric live performance. If you’re enjoying the latest single from Autopilot, please consider purchasing an album from their Bandcamp page.

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Chris Garneau – “Millions” (Song Premiere)

Chris Garneau

Today is a great day to share the new single from Chris Garneau called “Millions.” On this collaborative song with Garneau’s boyfriend, Marc Briz, a lyricist/fiction writer, Garneau channels the love they share into a vibrant single. Co-produced by Garneau and Dan Marcellus, “Millions” takes the listener on an enjoyable and thrilling ride. The song comes from Garneau’s new EP, Out of Love, that will be out everywhere is sold on December 8th. I was also able to catch up with Chris Garneau for a brief interview below.

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Observe The 93rd – “We Are Already Dead” (Song Premiere)

Observe the 93rd

Today I’m thrilled to bring everyone a great new single by emo/rock band Observe the 93rd, called “We Are Already Dead.” With a sound that fits somewhere between Three Cheers-era of My Chemical Romance, and early Panic! at the Disco, Observe the 93rd are well on their way to making a name for themselves. Band member Derek Henry shared, “‘We Are Already Dead’ is the intro track and sets the stage for the main theme of the album- everything has already happened and also is happening, simultaneously. The past, present, and future are all equally real, and we are already dead.” The band will be releasing their full-length record, Eternalism, on December 15th. If you’re enjoying the early listen to this great single, please consider purchasing something from their merch store here.

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MOONRIIVR – “Flowers on the Fire Escape” (Video Premiere)


Today I’m thrilled to share with everyone the latest single and video from Canadian indie-folk band, MOONRIIVR, that comes from their new LP, Volume I, out everywhere music is sold on November 8th. “Flowers on the Fire Escape” takes the listener on a great journey, where in the video the band are performing the track outside of a crowded antique shop, showing off their outsider tastes and veteran musical instinct. I was also able to catch up with this talented band for a brief interview below.

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Interview: Lily Meola

Lily Meola

Recently I was able to connect with Lily Meola for a Zoom interview to discuss her uplifting new single called “Without You.” I asked Lily about her music upbringing, how she stays motivated as an artist, how she measures success as well as her breakthrough single “Daydream,” and what next year has in store for her promising musical career.

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Interview: Cold War Kids

Cold War Kids

Recently I was able to schedule a Zoom call with lead vocalist Nathan Willett, of Cold War Kids, to discuss the band’s latest self-titled album that dropped today. In this interview, I asked Nathan about how the band goes about crafting a setlist at this point in their career, the key upcoming album anniversary plans, and Nathan offered some great nuggets of information about the band’s songwriting approach. Cold War Kids self-titled album can be purchased/streamed here.

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Allen Ginsberg – “Don’t Grow Old” (Song Premiere)

Allen Ginsberg

Today is a great day to share the news that Allen Ginsberg has returned with a new single called “Don’t Grow Old.” The newly reissued double album of The Lion For Real is available starting today. With equal parts spoken word, jazz, rock, and ambient, this beautiful record was originally produced by Hal Willner, and features musicians like Mark Bingham, Bill Frisell, Kramer, Arto Lindsay, Marc Ribot. I was also able to catch up with one of the collaborators, Kramer, for a brief interview below.

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Review: Taking Back Sunday – 152

There’s a lot to be said when a band takes a hiatus, re-shuffles their lineup, or just takes a breather to reset their focus on their music. 152 is the first album by Taking Back Sunday in seven years (with their last effort coming in 2016’s Tidal Wave), and arguably their best one yet. The album anniversaries of Tell All Your Friends and the upcoming 20-year mark of Where You Want To Be may have had a hand in TBS re-focusing their attention on their songwriting craft. There is also something to be said of the magic that happens when lead vocalist Adam Lazzara and guitarist John Nolan get in a room together to pen songs. 152 is a career-spanning love letter to the legacy Taking Back Sunday have built over their eight-album tenure, and they show no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

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