Review: Anchor & Braille – Felt

Anchor & Braille – Felt

You have to give Stephen Christian credit – the man is far from your typical rock star. Of course he is best known for his work with scene staples Anberlin, but Christian has a degree in psychology, has written a book, co-founded a non-profit organization, and is in general a supremely nice guy. So when he accumulated a pile of songs that didn’t quite fit what Anberlin was doing, it makes sense that Stephen wouldn’t take the easy way out. He could certainly tweak the songs enough so they could be peppered amongst future Anberlin releases, but rather than compromise the cohesiveness of those works and the integrity of these compositions, Christian instead decided to give them a proper release under the Anchor & Braille moniker. This was by no means some hasty, overnight project. It is a true labor of love that has been in progress (in some form or another) for almost a decade, and with the quality of Felt, it shows.

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Review: Nightmare of You – Infomaniac

Nightmare of You - Infomaniac

Few music critics, and/or consumers, were expecting the self-titled debut from Nightmare of You (NOY), the braintrust of ex-Movielife guitarist Brandon Reilly, to be as engaging as it was. And yet in the fall of 2005, Reilly and his three friends: now-departed drummer Sammy Seigler, guitarist Joe McCaffrey and now-departed bassist Ryan Heil, churned out a near-flawless work of 11, literate, Smiths-inspired offerings. Equal parts creative and caustic, the self-titled was an auspicious effort that marked the start of something very special. Or so we thought. The Long Island quartet followed their shimmering debut with the brief, but sonically different Bang EP, a disc that geared more towards experimentation and improvisation. From the danceable title track to the off-kilter “Herbal Jazz Cigarette,” NOY seemed to push the creative boundaries a bit further than most were expecting. So it comes with baited breath, that the group has released their second and long-awaited full-length Infomaniac, without two of its founding members. 

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Statement from Vagrant Records


A message from Vagrant Records regarding the leak of Thrice’s Beggars can be found below.

Vagrant Records here. We don’t normally chime in on message boards like this, but we see a lot of back and forth about the Thrice piracy issue and feel we should let people know our position: We see a lot of posts basically blaming us for this leak. Vagrant has been using that same player for almost three years and this has never been an issue. In this case, someone clearly and unfortunately went out of their way to try and hack into our system. The link got into the wrong hands and someone took the time to figure out how to get around the password and user log in. Obviously there are people out there we thought we could trust with that information, but instead have proven to be dishonest.

Vagrant is currently speaking to Thrice’s management and the band about the best methods for the album release and how we’re going to proceed. When there is more to tell on that front, Vagrant will get the word out through all available media outlets. 

The band is honored to have such true, loyal supporters, and your responsibility in this matter is greatly appreciated. All we can do at this point is appeal to the fans good graces and ask they avoid permeating an already tough situation. 

We sincerely thank you for your support!

- Vagrant Records

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Review: Alexisonfire – Old Crows/Young Cardinals

Alexisonfire - Old Crows/Young Cardinals

It’s no secret that I wasn’t particularly fond of Crisis, Alexisonfire’s third album and Vagrant Records debut. In fact, I was very disheartened by it because any band that has the talent Alexisonfire possesses should never release an album that bad. I hoped that Crisis was just an aberration and not a trend, and after waiting nearly three years, my fear has been calmed. Old Crows/Young Cardinals is a gem, as it is the album we’ve been waiting for the Ontario quintet to write their entire careers.

Produced by Julius Butty, Old Crows/Young Cardinals takes the best progressive parts of Crisis and the intensity of the first two AOF records, making the album a force to be reckoned with. It’s fast, aggressive, and in-your-face; paced by the soul of punk rock and layered with the triple-vocal attack of George Pettit, Dallas Green, and Wade MacNeil. “Old Crows” kicks off the album with a dirty guitar riff and is carried by Pettit’s new gruff vocal delivery. Green makes his first appearance on the high-octane “Young Cardinals,” as he rips through the chorus, while drummer Jordan Hastings sets the tempo. 

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Review: The Dear Hunter – Act III: Life and Death

The Dear Hunter - Act III: Life and Death

So here we are – halfway through the sprawling six-volume epic of The Dear Hunter, and the road has been anything but smooth. After the universally adored Act II came out and gained traction in the scene, the band was almost dismantled by the departure of three members, leaving the future of the band and its opus in clouded doubt. Thankfully for fans, Casey Crescenzo is persistent to the greatest degree, and along with Erick Serna, rebuilt The Dear Hunter to rise again.

One might think that with this discord and splintering, the work of The Dear Hunter might suffer in kind, but such is not the case. If anything, Act III: Life and Death ends up being a much more focused, coherent offering, and exhibits no signs of faltering or lost momentum. Whereas Act II: The Meaning Of & All Things Regarding Ms. Leading was the progeny of the band experimenting across the entire sonic spectrum, Act III is the sound of a band finding their sound, and honing it to a fine point. Act II was lauded for its diversity, but Act III almost makes it sound disconnected in comparison. Act II was almost certainly the band (and Casey) finding itself, and Act III is the first revelation of the growth to come from said self-awareness.

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Review: Emery – …In Shallow Seas We Sail

Emery - ...In Shallow Seas We Sail

After the hot mess that was I’m Only A Man, and the inconsistent EP While Broken Hearts Prevail, it was probably fairly easy to forget about Emery. But that EP was a crucial stepping-stone to bringing the post-hardcore quintet back to prominence. Laying down tracks such as “The Smile, The Face,” and “Edge of The World” proved that Emery could still deliver quality tracks. And that they do, plus more, on their fourth album, …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Masterfully produced by Aaron Sprinkle, the thirteen track album features crisp musicianship, incorporating the melodic heaviness that drew us to love Emery in the first place. 

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Review: Green Day – 21st Century Breakdown

Green Day - 21st Century Breakdown

The evolution of musical artists is an enigma in itself. While it can often polarize the fan of a beloved artist, it is absolutely fundamental for an artist to be able to grow, particularly as they become older and their longevity hinders on their next move. Surely it doesn’t always work, and many times, bands fail to ignite a fire with a large audience and are forced to step back creatively in order to earn their fans’ ears back. The approach is an anomaly since selfish listeners can’t budge and try out a drastic (or not so drastic) change, simply based on the band members’ decision to explore new depths of sound.

In 2004, Green Day did precisely what they had to do in order to maintain relevancy. There was no other choice after the mild success of 2000’s Warning, arguably their most inventive and shape-shifting album left the band in a questionable state. Following the lead of The Who down to almost a ‘T’, the band wrote a massive punk rock opera that followed the vaguely metaphorical tale of a youth living two different lives in a troubled modern era. The success paved the way for Green Day to distance themselves from their bratty punk rock past and move towards crafting ambitious efforts that rang of fierce, unsavory lashings at politics and religion, all while weaving a yarn that while still punk rock in all its context, allowed the band to develop a gratuitous sense of self while expanding their trademarked brand of punk rock.

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Review: Closure in Moscow – First Temple

Closure in Moscow - First Temple

Everyone has a type. Whether it’s a type of food (Chinese) or a type of the opposite sex (brunette), everyone has specific criteria. Equal Vision has a specific type of band. You know, the kind that incorporates melody and aggression into somewhat technical music. Damiera, Circa Survive, early Coheed and Cambria, and the list continues with Closure In Moscow

The Australian quintet is crisp; releasing melody at a quick pace. The band rarely takes their foot off the gas pedal, as opening tracks “Kissing Cousins” and “Reindeer Age” feature riffing that needles in and out, knitting tightly with Chris De Cinque’s high tenor. In fact, it’s fairly obvious that De Cinque patterns his vocals similar to Cedric Bixler of The Mars Volta. Not that it’s a bad thing, as his voice soars throughout each track. 

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Review: Anti-Flag – The People or the Gun

Anti-Flag - The People or the Gun

”I hate a song that makes you think you are no good. I hate a song that makes you think you are just born to lose.” – Woody Guthrie

Give Anti-Flag credit for never being condescending or coming across as know-it-alls. This is a band made up of four guys who like punk rock, and are willing to scrap the chance at super-stardom in order to express their messages through song. Maybe that is why so many people were upset when they signed to RCA in 2006, but were still able to release an album that maintained their own values and stuck it to the man with an ironic iron fist that was full of sarcastic wit & pent-up angst.

So, after seven full-length studio albums, Anti-Flag rode the major-label wave and wasn’t feeling the surf. Now, they are back where they belong, on a label that has been gaining some serious clout the past year, thanks to in part to their highly-praised roster (including The Gaslight Anthem and Fake Problems). While this should ultimately have the band dancing on clouds and skipping through the woods, Anti-Flag’s brand of joy comes from being exceptionally pissed off and letting you pleasure from it.

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Review: Paper Route – Absence

Paper Route - Absence

It’s tough not to sound like a pretentious music elitist when you are discussing something you feel very passionate about. So, if I come across as one right now, I apologize right off the bat. If you can’t find something to like in Paper Route, then you don’t appreciate good music. It’s even tough for me to try to convey my thoughts on this album when I can’t even fully comprehend how complex it is. 

Paper Route is a four piece band from Nashville, Tennessee that was formed in 2004 after several other bands had disassembled. As of late, the band has been touring with music scene heavyweights such as Paramore, Jack’s Mannequin, and Copeland. Audiences and fans alike have been thoroughly impressed and have had nothing but great things to say about the band, mostly because they have only been touring on a couple of EPs and haven’t had a lot of material to work with, which brings us to the present place and time, April 28, 2009. Paper Route’s debut album Absence is officially available. So how does it stack up? Let’s just say that it’s one of the best albums of the year so far.

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Review: mewithoutYou – it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright

mewithoutYou – it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright

It’s not often you hear an album described as being accessible and polarizing at the same time, but that’s exactly what happened with it’s all crazy! it’s all false! it’s all a dream! it’s alright, the fourth studio album from mewithoutYou. It’s always been Aaron Weiss’ poetic vision set to post-hardcore that leaned on angst and shouting. But on it’s all crazy, Weiss and company have exchanged that noise for something simpler, as the group focused more on their melodic and folk influences.

Don’t let the lack of riffs and electric guitars fool you though, it’s all crazy is still an intense and passionate mewithoutYou album, just this time it is channeled into pianos, accordions, and lavish compositions. Opening track, “every thought a Thought of You,” is upbeat, as electronic piano chords and a steady drum beat pace Weiss’ poetic verses. The bass lines from Greg Jehanian’s are absolutely pleasant, as it livens up the track even more. Lyrically, Weiss is still exploring theological themes, delving into the Bible and the Qur’an for lyrical inspiration.

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Review: NOFX – Coaster

NOFX - Coaster

Winner for “Most Bad-Ass Movie About Salesmen” ever, Glengarry Glen Ross, contains several memorable quotes meant to be a verbal slap in the face to those who think, notdo. Besides the clip we hear that serves as the introduction to Coaster, there are several inspired moments NOFX could have chosen as a means to indirectly imply the subject matter of the opening track. Or perhaps they could have used it as a metaphorical design to slyly reference the music industry’s current lack of wit. Fat Mike, however, provides his own words to live by, and to borrow a quote spoken by Kevin Spacey’s character: “You’ve got a big mouth… now I’m gonna show you an even bigger one.”

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