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.Read More “Sufjan Stevens – The Avalanche”
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.
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 Low, Put 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.Read More “All Time Low – Put Up or Shut Up”
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.Read More “Rise Against – The Sufferer & The Witness”
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.Read More “Dashboard Confessional – Dusk and Summer”
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.Read More “Underoath”
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 Mind, The Matrix, and The Truman Show. The plot is very intriguing, yes, but would the music measure up to the story?Read More “The Early November – The Mother, the Mechanic, and the Path”
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.Read More “Underoath – Define the Great Line”
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, Decemberunderground. December is a twelve song collection that blends rock, punk, hardcore, pop, and electronica into a beautifully dark work of art.Read More “AFI – Decemberunderground”
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…Read More “Pete Wentz of Fall Out Boy”
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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.Read More “Less Than Jake – In With the Out Crowd”
Blink 182 has become somewhat of a touchy subject in the punk community. They undoubtedly became one of the largest bands ever spawned from the ever-expansive genre as they released an unprecedented number of hit singles and successful albums during many years of music production. Where they fall on the scale of respect is quite another issue, and a more debatable one at that. Whereas thousands honor them as pop-punk pioneers, countless others blaspheme them as trite, overly immature, and unbearable. The group’s reputation transcends all demographics. The former opinion is expressed by aging fathers while the latter takes place even among the visitors of a site originally intended in large part to be a fan site for the aforementioned band.Read More “Angels and Airwaves – We Don’t Need to Whisper”
With every major music publication and their momma jumping on the bandwagon, it’s pretty easy for some of us to hate the Arctic Monkeys. Overrated and hype are two words that come hand in hand with this band these days, and with their debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not selling like hotcakes overseas and here in the United States, it’s not hard to fall into this mindset. But I’m here to advise not to. Not only is their debut album something special, their follow-up EP, Who The Fuck Are The Arctic Monkeys, follows in the same vein of smart, aggressive indie rock.
The EP begins with the same opening track of the LP, “The View From The Afternoon,” which starts fast and finishes faster, and is a great opener here as it is on the LP. “Cigarette Smoker Fiona” follows with a guitar line that chugs and drums that bash as Alex Turner’s thick vocals take control. “Dispair In The Departure Lounge” is a slow, echoing track that’s great to chill out to. “No Buses” starts with a simple, relaxing riff and is a mild, bouncy track that picks up at the end with a constant pounding on the drums. The final track, “Who The Fuck Are The Arctic Monkeys?,” begins with a bass line that grooves and more high guitar tones. At 3:17, the song takes on a slight dark tone thanks to Andy Nicholson’s bass and Turner’s vocals. The end of this song is the storm taking over the sunshine of the beginning, making it the standout track on this EP.Read More “Arctic Monkeys – Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?”
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.Read More “Brandtson – Hello, Control”