Review: Mutemath – Odd Soul

MUTEMATH - Odd Soul

You’d never picture the guys in MUTEMATH to be dark wizards, but after listening to Odd Soul numerous times, I’m just not so sure anymore. It’s plain as day to see that the band is using horcruxes, as they have divided up their Odd Soul into separate different genres to reach musical immortality. 

So while my analogy may have been totally lame, you cannot deny that there has always been some sort of uniqueness about MUTEMATH. From their energetic live show to their fantastic music videos, you rarely hear or see the band to the same thing twice. And that’s what makes Odd Soul one of the best albums of 2011 – it’s MUTEMATH reinventing themselves while remaining true to their roots throughout the thirteen track LP.

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Review: Into It. Over It. – Proper

Into It. Over It. - Proper

If Evan Weiss isn’t a household name within the scene yet, he will be soon. The singer/songwriter’s resume includes two very ambitious projects – one album featuring a song for every week in a year (52 Weeks) and one collection of twelve songs that represent twelve different cities (Twelve Towns). He’s already impressed critics and fans alike, and that’s even before you sit down with his first true full-length album, the aptly titled Proper. While the majority of Weiss’ discography is of the soft, acoustic variety, his No Sleep debut is stuffed with twelve energetic and poignant tracks, all in its full-band glory.

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Review: New Found Glory – Radiosurgery

New Found Glory - Radiosurgery

It’s almost like this review doesn’t have to be written. A shiny, freshly made batch of 11 pop-punk songs recommended for people who love pop-punk songs.

Or, in other words, a new New Found Glory record. Recommended if you like: New Found Glory.

Perhaps the most consistent band in the history of a genre they helped make extremely popular, New Found Glory’s seventh studio full-length, Radiosurgery, is exactly what you think it is. It’s 11 (actually, 10) wonderful gems meant for playing: 1. With the windows down; 2. With the volume turned up; 3. During the summer. Predictable words about a predictable record.

If I sound like I’m criticizing Radiosurgery, I’m only doing it half-heartedly. Aside from the question mark of Coming Home, New Found Glory has very rarely tweaked its style since its 1999 debut, Nothing Gold Can Stay. And why would they ever change? Creeping up on the 12th anniversary of that first release, New Found Glory has already almost doubled the timeline of relevancy compared to many of their peers. They’re one of the most-loved band in the genre and 12 years is a lot longer than the number suggests. Fans have loved every NFG album and have come out in droves to seem them perform live. Radiosurgeryisn’t going to change that.

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Review: Transit – Listen & Forgive

Transit - Listen & Forgive

A few years ago, a lot of positive reviews for pop-punk records talked about how the record in question was a change of pace; a break from the then-unfortunate norm of neon clothes and auto-tune. That tone began to change – slowly at first, then with increasing speed. Something of a “golden age” emerged, and whether you want to thank Run For Cover and No Sleep Records or any of the other numerous amazing independent labels that have been the behind-the-scenes faces of this movement is your call. But my point remains: For avid music listeners, for the users on this website, and for the college-aged generation across the country, these record labels and a tight-knit scene of bands stretching from Gainesville to Boston to Los Angeles to, um, Oregon, loomed into the spotlight. Their shadows overtook and made irrelevant the neon and the auto-tune.

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Review: Cartel – In Stereo EP

Cartel - In Stereo

A lot has changed for Cartel since the release of 2009’s beloved Cycles. Bassist Jeff Lett left the band and was not replaced. More importantly, the band decided to split from Wind-Up Records and release In Stereo entirely independently. Still, the transition from Cycles to now shows no missteps, as this EP picks up right where Cartel’s last fantastic attempt left off.

With only five songs to work with, Cartel leave nothing behind throughout In Stereo. As always, Will Pugh soars as a vocalist, exercising an unforgettable vocal performance on “Conduit” over piercing guitars. The musicianship shines on each track, highlighted by guitars mixing wonderfully with the unique vocal delivery on the infectious “American Dreams.” Pugh truly shines on the closing “Something To Believe” which may be the catchiest track on the EP – although it really is hard to choose what song deserves that title.

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Review: Patrick Stump – Soul Punk

Patrick Stump - Soul Punk

”Go back to Fall Out Boy!” 

”Your solo stuff sucks!” 

These responses, while ignorant and misguided, unfortunately exist in regards to the solo undertaking of former Fall Out Boy front man Patrick Stump. After the influential pop-punk quartet went on hiatus in 2009, each member went their separate ways. Drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joe Trohman formed hard-rock The Damned Things, while bassist Pete Wentz delved into club-centered dance pop in Black Cards. Stump, on the other hand, had a different and the arguably most ambitious vision as to where to take his next step musically.

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Review: Man Overboard – Man Overboard

Man Overboard - Man Overboard

It’s only been 14 months since Man Overboard last released a full-length record, but the stage couldn’t be any different for the New Jersey-based pop-punk defenders. You knew I was going to bring up that motto in the first paragraph before you clicked that link, didn’t you?

Unfortunately, just like my introductory remarks, Man Overboard’s self-titled second LP and first for upstart-pop-punk-powerhouse Rise Records is…slightly predictable. Luckily for listeners and fans, that isn’t even close to a bad thing. When the group released Real Talkon Run For Cover last summer, they had something to prove. After quite a few successful EPs, it was time to show that they could make a record that was something like 35 minutes long, and worth every second.

They succeeded. Real Talk was well received by fans and critics. This self-titled album is more of the same, albeit with better production and hooks that soar even higher. The chorus and double-time tempo of opener “Rare” shows right away that recording with New Found Glory’s Steve Klein was an A+ decision, as his extensive experience in the genre is a valuable asset in production. Compared to Real TalkMan Overboard is more clear, crisp and punchy.

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Review: Blink-182 – Neighborhoods

Blink-182 - Neighborhoods

Today is September 20, 2011, and there is a new Blink-182 record in existence.

1,096 days. That’s exactly three years and one day.

That’s how long it’s been since Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker and close friend Adam Goldstein managed to escape a flaming Learjet 60 crash site in South Carolina with severe injures. They were the only survivors of the crash.

That incident is credited as the event that brought Blink-182 back together. For the first time since 2005, Mark Hoppus, Tom DeLonge and Barker were communicating with each other. Much larger and prominent than the sequence of events that tore them apart, the tragedy held enough weight for them to realize they wanted to spend time together, rather than stay apart with bad blood between them.

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Review: Hawthorne Heights – Hate

Hawthorne Heights - Hate

Hate is a strong word. As a kid, I was advised by my parents to not use that word lightly, so much so that I would usually say “strongly dislike!” instead. But in Hawthorne Heights’ case, hate is absolutely the right word to use. After the personal strife and label drama the band has been through, it only makes sense that they titled their first independent release Hate. The self-funded and self-produced EP features nine of Hawthorne Heights most volatile, vulnerable, and pissed-off songs. After a their brief stay at Wind-Up Records, the Ohio quartet decided to ditch record labels all together. They wanted to release music whenever they wanted to and however they wanted to, thus creating their own label, Cardboard Empire. 

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Review: Jimmy Eat World – Bleed American

Jimmy Eat World - Bleed American

Only after several years can you begin to notice the influence a record has had. Some may say it takes foresight to know whether a record will become legendary, but there’s no way to really predict something like that. For this Retro Review project, we’re reviewing records that are a minimum of 10 years old – and with Jimmy Eat World’s Bleed American celebrating its 10th birthday on July 18, I can’t think of a better place to start.

The “Class of ’01,” not to infringe on AltPress’ phrase or anything, is very impressive. Bleed American, however, might be my favorite record from that entire year, and it would certainly be on a list of my all-time favorites from the genre. Jimmy Eat World does have a sense of early-decade pop-punk on the album, but it’s infused with their now-unmistakable brand of angst-ridden emo, making it a pop-punk sound no other bands have successfully duplicated. Bleed American was the launching point for Jimmy Eat World’s commercial success as well, spawning multiple hit singles.

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