Review: Fenix TX – Fenix TX

The self-titled record from Fenix TX came with a number of firsts for the band. It was their first major label LP, the first record that they would release after re-branding from Riverfenix to Fenix TX, and their first real exposure to the mainstream of pop-punk that was beginning to blossom during the summer of 1999. Other pop-punk bands, like Blink-182, were getting major radio airplay and more audiences were being exposed to this genre of music. Fenix TX was produced by Jerry Finn, Ryan Greene, and Jim Barnes, and the band would continue to work with Finn on their equally successful Lechuza. This self-titled LP by the pop-punk band from Houston still sounds as charming, polished, and at moments a bit before its time. For every great track like “All My Fault” and “Flight 601 (All I Got Is Time),” there’s a goofy song like “Rooster Song” to show their audience that they were growing up and to not be taken too seriously. There’s plenty to love and enjoy on this LP that would provide plenty of clues of where Fenix TX would take their sound on subsequent releases.

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Chained Saint – “Animosity” (Video Premiere)

Chained Saint

Today I’m thrilled to introduce everyone to Chained Saint, a metal band from South Florida who channels their love for big riffs, 80’s thrash metal, and a modern flair to their sound not usually found in a band this young. Chained Saint is Ethan Kahn (guitar), Sebastian De Avila (bass), Cameron Cottrell (drums), and Sean Sterling (vocals), and their debut LP Blindside was produced by William DuVall of Alice In Chains. “Animosity” is the lead single from the record, and the music video showcases the band’s great chemistry and overall energy towards their music. If you’re enjoying “Animosity,” be on the lookout for Blindside that will be released in late August via Patriark Records.

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Alex Henry Foster – “Alchemical Connection” (Song Premiere)

Alex Henry Foster

Today I’m thrilled to share with everyone the latest single from Alex Henry Foster called “Alchemical Connection.” The newest song from this talented artist comes from the newly announced LP A Measure of Shapes and Sounds that will be released everywhere music is sold on September 20th. Alex Henry Foster shared, “‘Alchemical Connection’ is the contemplative portrait of a blooming dawn I had the mesmerizing privilege of witnessing in the dead cold of winter, through the Virginian mountain horizon where I live. I was fascinated by the slow awakening of colors growing into one another, evolving into a stream, and redefining impermanent beauties. It reminded me of the bright shining lights dancing over the ocean of crystal pieces covering the awakening morning in the middle of the desert, where silence murmurs about inner peace and where wind carries the nature of what it feels like to be truly alive. This song evokes those profound sensations.” If you’re enjoying the new single, please consider pre-ordering the new LP here. I was also able to catch up with this songwriter for a brief interview below.

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Interview: Ali Tabatabaee of Zebrahead

Zebrahead

Recently I was able to schedule a Zoom call with Ali Tabatabaee of Zebrahead to discuss the band’s new single, “I Have Mixed Drinks About Feelings,” and the final record in their trilogy of EPs called I. In this interview I asked Ali about the band’s touring plans, how he organizes the band’s setlists, as well as a chance to reflect on Zebrahead’s near 30 year existence. I will be released on November 13th.

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Highly Suspect – “The 8th Of October (To August 17th)” (Song Premiere)

Highly Suspect

Today is a great day to share the new single from Highly Suspect called “The 8th Of October (To August 17th).” The track comes from the band’s forthcoming LP As Above, So Below that will be released on July 19th. The band is about to embark on a sold out U.S. tour this summer, and is looking forward to testing out their new material. If you’re enjoying the early listen to the new single, please consider pre-saving As Above, So Below here. I was also able to catch up with Highly Suspect’s front-man, Johnny Stevens, for a brief interview below.

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Review: Hootie & The Blowfish – Cracked Rear View

Twenty-two million fans can’t be wrong, right? The 22x-platinum debut from Hootie & The Blowfish is a remarkable achievement of staying true to the band’s roots and being willing to be different from what was dominating the rock scene in the mid-90’s. Grunge rock was everywhere during this time period, so most major labels passed on the thought of signing a pop-rock band from South Carolina. Cracked Rear View opened to a modest charting of #127 on the Billboard 200, but it would quickly build momentum and become the best-selling album of 1995. The record was produced by Don Gehman (R.E.M., John Mellencamp) and would spawn five successful singles that still get radio airplay to this day. While Hootie & The Blowfish would have trouble replicating the magic found on their debut LP on their subsequent releases, these songs still stand the test of time and remain a key example of how writing authentic, heartfelt tracks can lead to success.

The record sets off on the right tone with “Hannah Jane,” a straight forward pop-rock track that quickly showcases the band’s great chemistry between each other, and lead singer Darius Rucker’s captivating vocal performance remains a key part of Hootie & The Blowfish’s success story. “Hold My Hand” was the first single to be released from the set and it’s a steadfast choice of a track to introduce the band to the world and continues to be a staple in the band’s live performances. The lead single is a key example of how the band understood what made their music accessible, catchy, and heartfelt simultaneously in an era when pop-rock wasn’t a major seller.

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July Crowd – “Happy Ever (Afterthought)” (Song Premiere)

July Crowd

Today I’m so excited to bring everyone an early listen to British Columbia pop-punk band, July Crowd, and their newest single called “Happy Ever (Afterthought).” July Crowd is Dom Walters (Vocals & Guitar), Niko Stivanakis (Bass), and Nic Faller (Drums), and their melodic pop-punk sound is perfect for fans of New Found Glory and The Story So Far. When asked about the latest track, Dom Walters shared, “”We wanted to write a song with bounce, with feel, with relatability. Musically, it’s somewhere between Lit’s 1999 A Place In The Sun and 2001 Smash Mouth. I think this song came together much more naturally than anything we’ve worked on before. It’s right in that pocket for us, that sweet spot between genres.” If you’re enjoying the early listen to July Crowd’s new single, please consider pre-saving the track here.

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Review: The Early November – The Early November

The Early November - The Early November

The latest studio album from The Early November is a great encapsulation of all the styles, vibes, and feelings they have brought forth over their career. As front-man Ace Enders put it in an interview I conducted with the band, “It’s the exclamation point, versus the period, of where we are in our career.” It’s hard to not agree with this sentiment as The Early November features everything that the band has been known for, while still moving the needle forward in their creative process as this LP may just be their finest hour. From the crunchy opening chords of the Futures-esque “The Empress” to the tender acoustic guitar bliss of “It Will Always Be,” this record is filled with breathtaking moments from front-to-back that makes the journey for longtime fans of The Early November that much sweeter.

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Virginity – “Bad Jazz” (Album Stream)

Virginity

Today I’m so excited to share with everyone an early listen to indie/power-punk band, Virginity, and their new album called Bad Jazz. The songs on Bad Jazz come from a place of musical tangents, digressions, and what-ifs. A place of realizing that sometimes your best ideas are the ones that started out as jokes. Bad Jazz is about going with your gut, taking the mistakes and running with them, and letting curiosity take the lead. It’s not necessarily an album about fun, but it sure sounds fun—and it sounds like it was fun to make. If you’re enjoying the early listen, please consider purchasing the new album here that will be released tomorrow via Smartpunk Records.

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Amarionette ft. AJ Perdomo – “Impossible” (Song Premiere)

Headphones

Today I’m thrilled to share with everyone the latest single from Alternative band, Amarionette, called “Impossible.” The song features AJ Perdomo of The Dangerous Summer and the cool back-and-forth styles between the two vocalists really pays off here. Lead vocalist of Amarionette Issy Berry shared, “AJ Perdomo has always been high on our list of collaborations. We’d sent him a few ideas, but it was the original music of ‘Impossible’ that he ended up loving and things progressed from there.” If you’re enjoying the latest single from Amarionette, please consider supporting this talented band here.

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The Disappearing Act – “Gun Barrel City” (Video Premiere)

Video

Today is a great day to get re-acquainted with The Disappearing Act, who are releasing their first taste of new music in nearly nine years with “Gun Barrel City.” The band is John Dufilho, Salim Nourallah, and Bob Blumenfeld, and on this great-sounding single they quickly show why they were meant to play music together. The new single comes from The Disappearing Act’s new LP, An Illusion, that will be released everywhere music is sold on September 27th. Nourallah shared about the new track, “‘Gun Barrel City’ is actually a real place in Texas. Unlike two other songs I have with Texas towns in the titles, ‘Terlingua’ and ‘See You in Marfa,’ I’ve never been to Gun Barrel City. I don’t even have any idea where in Texas it’s located. One morning, I asked a friend how he was doing, and he proclaimed he was, ‘Fed up and moving to Gun Barrel City!’ It struck me as being pretty hilarious, because I imagined Gun Barrel City being the opposite of a city. Later, I incorporated it into this song about leaving behind an unsatisfying life.” If you’re enjoying the latest single, please consider supporting this artist here. I was also able to catch up with Salim Nourallah for a brief interview below.

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Lo Fi Ho Hum – “Never Been In Love” (Video Premiere)

Lo Fi Ho Hum

Today I’m thrilled to introduce everyone to Lo Fi Ho Hum, who are releasing their debut single called “Never Been In Love.” On this heartfelt track, that brings to mind nostalgic riffs of Weezer and Fountains of Wayne, was written following years of romantic struggles from frontman Jacob Godbey. The band is rounded out by Adam Daugherty (Lead Guitar), Shiloh Daricek (Bass), and Maddi (Drums), and they quickly cement themselves as a key band to watch as this year unfolds. Keep an eye out for the band’s full debut album, Garage Pop, that will be released on August 2nd. If you’re enjoying the new single, please consider supporting this talented band here.

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Review: The Decemberists – As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again

The ninth studio album from The Decemberists, titled As It Ever Was, So It Will Be Again, is a thrilling walk through the woods of indie-folk lore that firmly highlights the strengths of the band. The Decemberists recently wrapped a tour that acted as a teaser to the songs that would be on this LP, and the music found on this record translated extremely well to the live setting. The band has never been shy of expanding upon the roots of folk music by adding in rich context to their songs, creating unique characters, and telling vivid stories through their music. Truly the band’s first double album, this particular record puts all of their assets on full display in a marvelous accomplishment of artistic achievement, and it just may be the band’s finest, and most complete work of music to date.

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Interview: Snarls

Snarls

This past weekend, I was able to schedule an in-person interview with Snarls before their show at DC9 in Washington, D.C. The tour stop was during the band’s first headlining tour of their young career, and was in support of their critically acclaimed sophomore record, With Love. In this interview, I asked the band about key moments during the writing/recording process of their new album, the songs that are translating best to the live setting, and much more.

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Ghostkeeper – “Lipstick” (Video Premiere)

Ghostkeeper

Today I’m thrilled to bring everyone the latest single and video from psych rockers, Ghostkeeper, called “Lipstick.” “Lipstick” opens with a strangely inviting, other-wordly noise, a chirping, digitized cicada perhaps, before settling into a sultry drumbeat. The beat – as well as various other aspects of the production – betray an interest in sounds and rhythms from trap music, and the futuristic-sounding sonic architecture of contemporary R&B acts like FKA Twigs and Rosalía, but the song is grounded by the two singers, who each take a verse, their voices filtered through a pleasingly psychedelic lens. Ghostkeeper shared, “This song was conceived out of a sweet moment of romantic nostalgia: shared cigarettes outside of Broken City after a show, shooting our own Super 8 music videos, and a photo booth picture that remains in the breast pocket of my jean jacket that Sarah sent to me while away at art school in Halifax after our very first summer of love. Lipstick is dedicated to all you lovers out there.” If you’re enjoying the latest single, please consider supporting this artist here. I was also able to catch up with the band for a brief interview below.

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