Review: Over It – Step Outside Yourself

Over It - Step Outside Yourself

The best way to describe Over It’s major label debut Step Outside Yourself is as a giant coming out party for everyone involved. The vocals are strong and impressive, the lyrics are poignant and refreshing, the guitars are predominately displayed, the bass is powerful, the drums blistering, and the production flawless. Every single aspect of this album is a step above everyone’s past work and in reaching this new plateau the album sits a step above their peers as well.

The time is ripe, the stage is set, and the curtains drawn. If there was ever a time when the phrase “the next big thing” was perfectly fitting – that time would be now.

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Review: The Format – Dog Problems

The Format - Dog Problems

At the proverbial heart of the record everything about this sophomore full-length is actualized in the form of one solitary line. Let me explain: Midway through the album sits the title track, “Dog Problems,” and midway through the song, the music gently wilts and Nate sings, “Can you hear me? Are you listening? This is the sound of my heart breaking and I hope it’s entertaining. Because for me, it’s a bitch. Was it worth it when you slept with him? Did you get it all out of your system?” If there was ever a defining moment in what is sure to become The Format’s opus, this is it.

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Review: Less Than Jake – In With the Out Crowd

Less Than Jake - In With the Out Crowd

Less Than Jake have been doing the whole, “we’re a band thing” for longer than most of those reading this review have probably been into this whole “scene.” They released one of the best albums I overplayed during my high-school years (Hello Rockview); and they continue to get shit from kids who can’t get over the fact that they won’t release the same album over and over. What one needs to remember is that Less Than Jake have proved their not a flash in the pan band. They’ve been writing hit songs for years. While it’s hard for me to picture myself listening to some of the pop-bands I enjoy at this stage of my life in 15 years – I can totally see myself still breaking out Less Than Jake albums well into my years.

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Review: Brandtson – Hello, Control

Brandtson - Hello, Control

Brandtson has been releasing amazing albums for years, the problem is not many people have been paying much attention. Their last album, Send Us a Signal, was the sleeper hit a few years ago. Building a wave of buzz from within the belly of our little community here. They’ve returned, they’ve evolved, but they’ve stayed within their formula for making some of the catchiest and enjoyable pop-rock you’ve ever heard.

With the song-writing storytelling skills of Limbeck and the catchy musical prowess of The Format, the sing-a-longs begin and don’t stop until the last note. As we’ve already mentioned this “electronica” trend has taken hold. Even Brandtson aren’t safe from this invasion! We get the beats, we get the dance songs (one song is even titled “No One Dances Anymore”) – but they do it in a way that comes across with the maturity only a band that’s been doing this whole shebang for years could have.

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Review: Rock Kills Kid – Are You Nervous?

Rock Kills Kid - Are You Nervous

Hey, did you hear? 80’s revival! Electronic dance music is in! Seriously guys, it’s the new wave. All the cool bands are doing it.

That has to be the rallying call going on at major labels these days. They’ve seen the trend and they’ve pounced. We’ve seen it in The Faint, Panic! at the Disco, Head Automatica, Men, Women & Children, etc., and the list goes on and on. I now welcome Rock Kills Kid to the family.

There’s one minor difference. Regardless of the amount of crap I’m going to get for the following statement – I’d take the new Rock Kills Kid over just about all of them.

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Review: Thrice – Vheissu

Thrice - Vheissu

Have you ever finished watching a particularly moving film or completed a strikingly emotional book, only to sit in your plush-leather seat — dumbfounded? There is that split second of realization that nothing you ever accomplish in your life will come close to the intellectual and emotional genius you just experienced. I have had such a feeling on only a few rare occasions; however, after each listen of Thrice’s Vheissu, this numbness pummels the skin around my chest.

It is perfect.

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Review: Cartel – Chroma

Cartel - Chroma

Ever since this debut full-length was first played in my car stereo on the drive home from The Militia Group’s home office, I’ve had one goal in mind: review this before Rohan does.

Okay, I’m only half kidding.

I’m reviewing this CD for one reason: I believe in this band. I think my faith in Cartel is evidenced through my desire, and utmost excitement, to ‘leak’ the band’s album on this very website. I’d never do such a huge promotion with a band I wasn’t 100% behind. There’s a variety of aspects to the band’s music that touch me in a way few bands are able. I hope to convey these feelings as best I can through the following words; however, there are things that you will only discover through sitting down for a good hour with this album, alone, in your room, and with the volume turned up very loudly. My conviction and sharp pose on this band are apparent from any visitor’s every day visit to this website, and this is exactly the review you expected me to write.

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Review: The Starting Line – Based on a True Story

The Starting Line - Based on a True Story

Okay, so let’s start with what we know:

  1. I’m a huge pop-punk kid. It’s the musical style I started listening to back in the day with MxPx and Blink-182. As much as musical purists will complain and moan, it’s the truth, and it’s my roots.
  2. I have been a pretty big fan of The Starting Line from their We the People Sessions back a few years now; however, everyone knows I was let down by their first full-length (Say It Like You Mean It) because I loathed some of the production by Mark Trombino.

I know, I know, so many people disagree with me on that one – but this is my vindication. The Starting Line return May 10th with their new full-length, Based on a True Story, produced by Tim O’Heir – and after hearing this album, it makes me bitter to think how the band’s last album may have sounded without Trombino on the dials. Yet, it makes me incredibly happy to finally have a CD that maximizes everything I’ve wanted this band to be for the past 4 years.

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Review: Days Away – Mapping an Invisible World

Days Away - Mapping an Invisible World

This album was a long time coming.

It has been a long hard struggle to get this album out into the hands of the fans. This is despite it being produced beautifully by Neal Avron (Yellowcard, Fall Out Boy, Everclear), despite the band being fronted by one of the most vocally talented front men in the music scene, and despite the album being one of the best I’ve heard all year (if not the past few years). Apparently the problem with greatness is that no one appreciates it in it’s time.

Combining the pop-sensibility of Coldplay with the oldies jam sound of Simon and Garfunkle, Days Away have come into a sound with the potential to last through the ages. This album, in my opinion, should be a staple in everyone’s collection. Despite what genre you find yourself leaning towards – this is one of those bands you can appreciate for the pure talent and beauty in their music. Do not be afraid to try something a little different, and outside of your comfort zone – because the journey you will take in Mapping and Invisible World is a trip unlike you have experienced before.

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Review: Copeland – In Motion

Copeland - In Motion

Growing up in the suburbs of Oregon I spent most of my youth outside entertaining my hyperactive mind with all sorts of daily activities. I remember spending countless hours running through grass fields and spinning around in circles staring straight up towards all the spiral-pouring raindrops. Copeland’s new full-length album, In Motion, brings to head all of these nostalgic thoughts as their sonic wave invades my speakers. (Cheesy lines are all I have sometimes ..)

Being a huge fan of the band’s last album and their cover’s EP: there was more than a little anticipation running through my blood. Remarkably, I was not let down by the perfect combination of their full-length’s slower melodic styled songs and their EP’s slightly edgier rock-pop songs. It seems that only a few weeks ago all of us on the website were debating which bands have what it takes to take on a sort of “iconic” status later in our lives, years from now when all of us are old and grey. The irony is how quickly we may have just been answered …

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Review: The Academy Is … – Almost Here

The Academy Is… - Almost Here

Everyone knows that I have been a huge Bill Beckett (lead singer / ex-Remember Maine) fan for years. We also all know that I am a sucker for clever lyrics, fast-paced beats, and catchy choruses, right? So, is it that hard to assume that I am going to be in love with the amalgam of the two? You are going to get exactly that — pure-unadulterated-love.

I will start out my forthcoming review by saying: if you are only judging this band by their first EP, throw out your preconceptions and don’t assume you know a fucking thing about this band. The album is an intelligent mix of pop, folk, and rock – all mixed together with the soothing vocals and lyrical styling of one of the most talented front-men in the scene. The hype has been bleeding from this band since the moment they were conceived (yah, I know I didn’t help much with that one), and I was always afraid that when the band finally released an album they would never be able to live up to the expectations of others (and of those I put upon them). After pushing play for the first time on this disc, I knew that I had underestimated the band from the get go – they were not only deserving of all the hype – they proceeded to construct an album that is a huge middle finger to all the critics. They took the stereotypes that their first EP had brought from critics, turned them on their head, and created an album full of uniqueness and originality that can only be seen as a testament to commitment.

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Review: Butch Walker – Letters

Butch Walker - Letters

When does music stop being just notes and chords and transcend into the physical world as a material life form? It takes unimaginable skill to breathe such life into songs that they take on a living function of their own. Say what you will, but not all music is created to be impossible to decipher: not all guitar parts are written to be the hardest riffs to emulate, not all lyrics are written to conceal hidden agendas and meanings, and not all songs are fashioned to be so enigmatic that they require Harvard level IQs in order to be understood. At what point did this become the level for which we judged music? Where in the evolution of song did we forget about emotion and start judging based upon song titles? Who became king and declared that if the song doesn’t involve an obscure nihilist reference that it is not worthy of our ears? Where is the document that states the rules of music? Because, if inside your head you have such a document by which you judge music: fucking burn it. The first song I ever learned to play on the guitar due to its insane simplicity was “Yesterday” by The Beatles. It is still, in my opinion, one of the greatest songs of all time. Pop music caught a bad wind when “performers” took front stage and “artists” fell to the back. And pop music began a downward ascension amongst some listeners when those who sang the songs were not those who wrote them, when dance numbers became more intricate than the content, and finally, when an image was created and sold before the music.

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