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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Review: Blink-182 – Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

Blink-182 - Take Off Your Pants and Jacket

How does one begin to measure the influence of a band like Blink-182? You can’t count how many garage bands were spawned after Enema Of The State came out. You can’t put a price on taking a relatively new genre and thrusting it into the mainstream with full force. Without Blink 182 and their peers like Green Day and The Offspring, and a little while later, bands like New Found Glory, where would pop-punk be? It quite possibly would never have even gotten started.

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Review: The Cab – Symphony Soldier

The Cab - Symphony Soldier

sym·pho·ny sol·dier /ˈsimfənē ˈsōljər/
1. a person engaged in the service of fighting for music they believe in

It hasn’t been an easy journey for pop trio The Cab, a band that originally began as a quintet before signing to Fueled By Ramen in mid-2007. Their debut album, Whisper War, saw moderate success when it was touted to be the next big thing in the industry. However, as years passed, member departures further crippled the public’s view on the group. With the lack of new material to show due to various label disputes, some wondered if a second album would even see the light of day.

Perhaps all of these adversities were just a blessing in disguise. Although members were lost, the driving force behind The Cab still remained. Being relinquished from the clutches of their record label allowed them to finally create the album they wanted to create – and music at this point couldn’t be more grateful.

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Review: Alkaline Trio – Damnesia

Alkaline Trio - Damnesia

Alkaline Trio aren’t the first band to trade in the electric guitar for an acoustic one and release stripped down material – bands such as Against Me!, Moneen, and Saves The Day are a few that come to mind. But I can’t think of many bands who’ve released an entire album full of re-worked, semi-acoustic versions of fan favorites from albums past. That’s what makes Damnesia somewhat unique – this isn’t your normal “greatest hits” compilation. There are 15 tracks on Damnesia – 12 “classic” tracks, 2 new ones, and a cover – and on each one the Trio attempts to bring something new to the song through these re-imaginings. 

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Review: The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

The Dangerous Summer – War Paint

There’s certainly an obligation here to discuss songs and melodies and all that jazz (pun intended?). But you’ve – we’ve – done that a million times. There are hints of The Starting Line and The Graduate, there are intensely personal lyrics, there’s a certain world weariness that is both refreshing and depressing to hear from a band so young – War Paint has all these things. And it’s good! It’s a very good album. There is no debating that. But of course, there is debating that. That’s all there really is. Especially if you’re one of the listeners who found Reach for the Sun to be some sort of musical epiphany. For you, War Paint might challenge your previously held opinions on The Dangerous Summer. And me? I don’t know – I guess for a few reasons that are none of your business thank you very much, I view War Paint in a vacuum. Its merits are based only on the sounds I currently hear, not the nostalgic ones my 12-year old emo boy heart fondly remembers. Making a connection with War Paint could mean lots of things: but what I hope it means for you is that you’re not ready for this world to be the boss. Liking War Paint means it’s time to stand up, move on and improve.

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