Review: Hellogoodbye – Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

Hellogoodbye - Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!

The only thing more nonexistent than dinosaurs, aliens, zombies, or vampires these past 3 years was the debut album from the happy go lucky California quartet, Hellogoodbye. A stolen laptop with demos and leadman Forrest Kline’s struggle with his A.D.D. lead to numerous delays that made fans impatient or, even worse, just plain giving up on the band. But, finally Hellogoodbye have emerged from the darkness to release their debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!!, through Drive Thru Records and what we get is a mixed bag of surprises, disappointments, cheesiness, and fun. Really though, should we really expect anything serious or groundbreaking with an album title like this and a band with a track history of goofiness like Hellogoodbye? I wouldn’t think so, and you would be wise to listen to this eleven-track album with an open mind and check your “scenester/elitist/holier-than-thou” attitude at the door. 

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Review: Gym Class Heroes – As Cruel As School Children

Gym Class Heroes - As Cruel As School Children

“Too rock for hip-hop, too hip-hop for rock,” has been the tagline for the upstate New York quartet, Gym Class Heroes. After name-dropping a who’s who of important scene bands in the catchy “Taxi Driver,” GCH developed a nice following, and after signing to Pete Wentz’s label, Decaydance, and releasing their heart-on-sleeve debut The Papercut Chronicles, people started paying attention, expectations began to build, and the Heroes began to worry: can we top Papercut? Fortunately, it is safe to say that their second album, As Cruel As School Children, not only surpasses their previous effort, but it is also going to serve as their launching pad into the big time. Produced by Sam Hollander and Patrick Stump,School Children’s fourteen track offering is heavy on the hip hop side this time around, yet still possesses that full band sound. Influenced more by frontman Travis McCoy’s obsession with 80’s R&B, GCH have added more depth to their lyrics and music on album two. 

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Review: Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche

Sufjan Stevens - The Avalanche

A little over a year ago, folk artist Sufjan Stevens released his critically acclaimed masterpiece, Illinois, an album that beautifully crafted folk, pop, and acoustic with a melody of different instruments which pleased the senses. A year later, he is one of the biggest indie buzz artists and is name-dropped by all sorts of music fans, whether they genuinely enjoy his music or just want some cred. To follow up the 22 songs that madeIllinois, Stevens has released a 21 track b-side album, titled The Avalanche. With 18 new tracks and 3 different versions of “Chicago,” this kind of effort displays how limitless the sky really is for Stevens. Don’t be fooled by the “Outtakes And Extras” tag this album displays on the cover, as this album features songs that are better than the majority of any artist’s best stuff these days.

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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: All Time Low – Put Up or Shut Up

All Time Low - Put Up or Shut Up

Pop-punk never has been and never will be a genre to converge on innovation. Regardless of how much the purists, nostaligsts, and old-time Drive-Thru loyalists might argue for the accomplishments of their once-favorite acts, those days of novelty have since passed. With those claims already staked out, hordes of visitors have arrived in a quest to find their own stamp of land in this crowded settlement, doing so with an homage to their predecessors, but at the same time working to establish a proper identity in a sweet sound all their own.

A cursory glance through the latest offering from All Time LowPut Up or Shut Up, reveals an act that kowtows in such a style, with more than a passing resemblance to bands like Fall Out Boy, The Starting Line, and Cartel. In reality, however, that is an overly simplistic conclusion to reach. Sure, thematically, the band does not establish itself as a wholly disparate entity by any means, but that is not the name of the root game here, really. All Time Low most certainly gives the “what’s up?” head-nod to the scene heavyweights, but tosses in plenty of proprietary flair to earn due respect.

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Review: Rise Against – The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against - The Sufferer & The Witness

Rise Against has been a staple in the punk community since their Fat Wreck debut, The Unraveling, released in 2001. Since then, they’ve become Warped Tour heavyweights, signed to a major label, and have clawed their way into the hearts of many. Now, with the release of their fourth studio album (and the second off of Geffen), The Sufferer & The Witness, Rise Against (vocalist Tim McIlrath, bassist Joe Principe, guitarist Chris Chasse, and drummer Brandon Barnes) touches back on their roots while still progressing forward. Produced by their old friend, Bill Stevenson, Sufferer offers 13 tracks of some of the best songs Rise Against have ever written, as well as throwing us a few curveballs. 

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Review: Dashboard Confessional – Dusk and Summer

Dashboard Confessional - Dusk and Summer

Ever since the demise of first-generation Further Seems Forever and the beginning of what could be called a legendary project, Chris Carrabba has established himself as the giant teardrop with a guitar and fans have either loved him or hated him for his heart-on-sleeve approach. But as the evolution of most musicians, Chris took his solo endeavor further, adding a full band to his last release, A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar. While the success of that release was wavering and short-lasting, his first full-band studio record Dusk And Summer requires the same close watch.

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Interview: Underoath


So what does the album title Define The Great Line mean?

Spencer Chamberlain: It’s a really long story, but I’ll tell the short version. Define the Great Line is the line, your path that you see yourself traversing down as a human, and I believe that most or all of us are on some sort of path to better ourselves. It’s the point and meaning of change in your life and growing into the man that you want to be while trying to balance yourself on that line. No matter how many times you fall off, if you have the vision of where you are and where you want to go, you can always pick yourself up and get back on track. That’s the short version of what Define The Great Line means to me.

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Review: The Early November – The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path

The Early November - The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path

The Early November is taking the idea of the concept album and turning it upside down. Instead of having the music progress with the storyline, they have written two entirely different records that revolve around one idea. And to top that feat off, they also recorded a third disc that sums up the first two discs into a soundtrack of dialogue and music. Yes, the Early November has written the very album that will make or break their career. The Mother, The Mechanic, and The Path offers us a very unique storyline: we are introduced to a young man who clashes with his domineering father. He leaves his family with the girls he loves, setting out to make his own path in life, one that avoids the life of his parents. Upon having his own child, he promises to himself that he will not become like his father. But, as his life comes full circle, his son begins to revolt against him, and he finds himself slowly slipping into the mold of his father, the very destiny he tried so hard to break away from. TEN frontman Ace Enders was inspired to write this story after seeing movies such as Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless MindThe Matrix, and The Truman Show. The plot is very intriguing, yes, but would the music measure up to the story?

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Review: Underoath – Define the Great Line

Underoath - Define the Great Line

Chasing the safety of their last release, Underoath have returned with Define The Great Line, an album that undeniably marks the transition of how accessible metalcore can be. After two years of extended touring, the Florida sextet joined co-producers Matt Goldman (Copeland, Cartel) and Adam Dutkiwicz (guitarist for Killswitch Engage) to create a release that would showcase both talent and growth. Pleased with their six-man lineup and indie label Tooth & Nail imprint Solid State, Define the Great Line is undoubtedly a record that shows how masterfully a band can be both delicate and brutal with the same sound. Three apparent differences arise in this transition record: bottomless metal influence, the depth and variety of vocal work and excessive percussions. 

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Review: AFI – Decemberunderground

AFI - Decemberunderground

Over the course of the past decade, AFI has released 5 full length albums on indie label Nitro, signed to a major, reached platinum status with major label debut, headlined numerous Warped Tours, toured around the world, and is held dear by thousands and thousands of rabid fans. With a resume like that, one would think that any band would be content with that, but not AFI. Since the release of Sing The Sorrow in 2003 and many days on the road, AFI (vocalist Davey Havok, guitarist Jade Puget, drummer Adam Carson, and bassist Hunter Burgan), over the course of 9 months, recorded over 100 songs in the studio with long time producer Jerry Finn and out of those sessions, they came out with their seventh full length album, DecemberundergroundDecember is a twelve song collection that blends rock, punk, hardcore, pop, and electronica into a beautifully dark work of art.

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Interview: Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy

Fall Out Boy

On Thursday, May 4th I was able to sit down with Pete Wentz before Fall Out Boy’s sold out show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. I was able to ask some follow-up questions to Part One1 of our ABSOLUTExclusive interview with him as well as address some things that we and you felt were missing from that series of questions. Once again, I’d like to thank Pete for taking an hour out of his hectic schedule to do this. I’d also like to thank Fall Out Boy’s tour manager, Dan Suh, for making sure everything ran smoothly. Hope you enjoy…

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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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