The best albums are the ones that challenge you the most and, for the past month, Pet Symmetry’s Vision has truly been a challenge for me.
It’s not that I didn’t like it, or that it needed to grow on me. It’s that there’s quite a bit to unpack, despite the fact that the album is only 11 songs and 30 minutes long. I’ve started and re-started this review more times than I care to admit, because each listen through left me with more to say than I knew what to do with.
Though it’s a quick listen, Vision never once feels short or stunted, or like there might be something missing. On the contrary, Pet Symmetry’s songs feel complete in what is often an unusually brief amount of time.
The Maine has come a long way since the release of their debut full-length album, Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop. In the past decade they’ve grown from young kids with a dream into truly talented musicians – a fact that is evident in their latest album Lovely, Little, Lonely.
Even though each song on Lovely, Little Lonely is a hit in its own right, they make the most sense within the context of the whole. The album flows seamlessly from one song to the next and as a result The Maine succeeds in crafting a story that demands your full attention from start to finish.
As Sorority Noise’s Triple Crown Records debut and the full-length follow up to the wildly popular Joy, Departed, You’re Not As ___ As You Think is an important album. But this is a band that has never been afraid to take risks – one that has continuously pushed themselves with each new release – and it shows in their latest effort.
From the conversational nature of lyricist/vocalist Cameron Boucher’s songwriting to the open-endedness of the album’s title, Sorority Noise actively invites listeners to insert themselves into each song. Boucher frequently plays with perspective and often address listeners directly, reminding each person who hits play that they have value and that they are more than their insecurities.
For over a decade now, Topshelf Records have done a fantastic job of seeking out the best in up-and-coming talent, especially within the indie/emo scenes. From Into It. Over It. and Sorority Noise, to Touché Amore and You Blew It, they just seem to have a knack for finding bands with incredible potential.
In 2015 they signed Del Paxton, a quirky indie rock group from upstate New York with an affinity for hazy guitars and rousing melodies. The band recently released their debut full-length album All Day, Every Day, All Night, a solid first showing from the fairly young trio.
When the weather gets cold, there’s nothing I love more than curling up on the couch with a new book, hot chocolate, and some acoustic tracks as my soundtrack. So for this week’s playlist I decided to share the warmth and coziness by putting together a few of my favorite acoustic songs.
You can check out the full track list below, which includes everything from Sorority Noise to State Champs to Sugarcult and beyond, or stream it now on Spotify and Apple Music.
An acoustic album is always a bit of a gamble. To take songs that fans are already attached to and release them in alternate versions runs the risk of losing what they fell in love with in the first place. The Early November have never been afraid of taking that risk. The band released an acoustic EP in 2005 and more recently a full-length acoustic album, Fifteen Years, in celebration of their 15th anniversary.
An acoustic duo may seem out of place in the alternative scene, but over the last two years This Wild Life has managed to make themselves right at home in the Warped world. Maybe it’s the beard or the tattoos. More likely it’s the soaring choruses, catchy melodies, and heart-wrenching lyrics that have grabbed listeners’ attention.
The end of Warped is always followed by an onslaught of fall tour announcements. This year felt even more nuts than usual and with so many bands hitting the road, it can be difficult to know where to begin diving in. So for this week’s playlist I decided to do the heavy lifting for you and preview eight of my must-see tours for this fall.
You can check out the full tracklist below, and stream the playlist now on Spotify.
One thing I’ve come to respect about Bayside is they’ve always known who they are. They’ve never felt the need to reinvent themselves, and they’ve spent the last 16 years working to perfect a sound that’s entirely their own.
The band’s latest effort, Vacancy, is no exception. It is a growling collection of songs that feels familiar on first listen, a true continuation in Bayside’s story and sound.
For this week’s playlist I decided to celebrate some of the albums quietly turning 10 this year. The albums without anniversary tours, reissues, or major recognition. 2006 was a great year for music — it saw new releases from established acts like Yellowcard, Senses Fail, Brand New, Sugarcult, and debuts from bands like +44 (I’m still holding out for another album) and Cobra Starship (I will always love While the City Sleeps, We Rule The Streets).
You can check out the full tracklist below, and stream the playlist now on Spotify and Apple Music.
Last week Yellowcard made the announcement that their forthcoming self-titled album would also be their last. After nearly 20 years, the pop punk outfit has decided to call it quits. So it only seemed fitting that we use this week’s playlist to honor the band and take a look back at their long and noteworthy career.
As always, the rules are 22 songs and a two song encore. Check out the full track listing below and stream the playlist on Spotify and Apple Music.
Vinnie Caruana is perhaps best known as the front man for The Movielife and I Am The Avalanche; however, over the past several years he has steadily been making a name for himself as a solo artist . This spring Caruana released his debut full length, Survivor’s Guilt. What makes Survivor’s Guilt so memorable is the unrelenting passion Caruana imparts into each note. His recognizably gruff vocals, the meandering melodies, the stories he shares – each contributes to an album that drives home the darker themes of life and loss while maintaining hope for the future.
For this week’s playlist I’m honored to be continuing the recent trend of “Ultimate Setlists” with one of my favorite bands: Bayside. Last year Bayside celebrated their 15th anniversary and this year they’re bringing us a brand new album titled Vacancy — due out August 19th. To commemorate the release the band is heading out with The Menzingers and Sorority Noise on what promises to be one of the best tours of the summer. So what better time to really dive into Bayside’s expansive catalog?
Much like the famed Dickinson poem from which Sorority Noise’s latest EP takes its name, It Kindly Stopped For Me is centered on the idea of death. Though the similarities seem to stop there. Because while Dickinson’s Death is a kindly gentleman, traveling alongside her as she makes her journey through life, the band pointedly turns it into an object — death is an “it.”
By stripping death of an identity, Sorority Noise attempts to lessen the power it holds over us. There is no experience more common or more alienating than loss, yet the band manages to break down the walls their own experience created until we’re all collectively shouldering their pain.