Review: Angels and Airwaves – We Don’t Need to Whisper

Angels & Airwaves - We Don't Need to Whisper

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.

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Review: Arctic Monkeys – Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?

Arctic Monkeys - Who the Fuck Are Arctic Monkeys?

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. 

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Review: Brandtson – Hello, Control

Brandtson - Hello, Control

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.

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Review: Forgive Durden – Wonderland

Forgive Durden - Wonderland

Welcome to Wonderland. A world meticulously crafted by the minds of Forgive Durden, lies, deceit, greed, and lust lay within. The picture of Wonderland is painted with vivid lyrical imagery provided by Forgive Durden in their debut full-length. In one of the most diverse records to come out in recent memory, Forgive Durden brings their own musical style to several different musical genres, including takes on country, tango, and pop. But intertwined into all these styles is a distinctive sound that the band has made for themselves. Showing influences from Gatsby’s American Dream, Wonderland is full of accented off-beats and chromatic progressions, adding another band from Seattle who follows in Gatsby’s tech-rock footsteps. But the comparisons should end there. While listeners may hear similarities in certain chords or guitar stylings, virtually every song on Wonderland contains a chorus and Forgive Durden takes their musical exploration far beyond the expected scope. 

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Review: Rock Kills Kid – Are You Nervous?

Rock Kills Kid - Are You Nervous

Hey, did you hear? 80’s revival! Electronic dance music is in! Seriously guys, it’s the new wave. All the cool bands are doing it.

That has to be the rallying call going on at major labels these days. They’ve seen the trend and they’ve pounced. We’ve seen it in The Faint, Panic! at the Disco, Head Automatica, Men, Women & Children, etc., and the list goes on and on. I now welcome Rock Kills Kid to the family.

There’s one minor difference. Regardless of the amount of crap I’m going to get for the following statement – I’d take the new Rock Kills Kid over just about all of them.

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Review: Thursday – A City By The Light Divided

Thursday - A City By The Light Divided

In 1992, the defending AFC Champion Buffalo Bills faced the Houston Oilers in the AFC Wild Card round. The first half of this game was a disaster for the Bills. Jim Kelly out with an injury and the Oilers dominated going into halftime with a 28-3 lead. Dejected, the Bills didn’t have a lot of time to make changes, but they realized they were the defending champs and needed to live up to that. The second half featured a completely different team, as backup quarterback Frank Reich threw 4 touchdowns to bring the game into overtime, which the Bills eventually won 41-38, making it one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history. I’m sure by now all of you are confused as to why I began the review with such a story, but it is a great way to describe Thursday’s second major label album (and fourth overall), A City By The Light Divided

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Review: Moneen – The Red Tree

Moneen - The Red Tree

Thus far in 2006, there have been a few really good records, some solid ones, and more mediocre albums than I can count. No album has hit me in a way where I have to take a step back and just mutter “whoa.” Enter The Red Tree, the new album from Canadian rockers Moneen and the first great album of 2006. I enjoyed their previous efforts, but I was not expecting this album to hit me like it did. This 11-track masterpiece incorporates beautifully crafted lyrics with music that is just as delicate as it is hard-hitting, making this album full of intensity, passion, and raw emotion. 

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Review: Hit the Lights – This Is A Stick Up… Don’t Make It A Murder

Hit the Lights - This Is a Stick Up...Don't Make It a Murder
Tell me again how we're easily forgettable
So formulaic and way too simple to be at all original, yea so we've heard
It's time to keep your mouth shut while we show you how to rock-n-roll

This is how Hit The Lights begin their debut full-length album, This Is A Stick Up….Don’t Make It A Murder, by responding to a certain reviewer’s opinion on their EP Until We Get Caught. The Lima, Ohio, five-piece not only deliver on their promise to “show us how to rock-n-roll,” but this album is also one of the first feel-good albums of 2006. Produced by Matt Squire (The Receiving End Of Sirens, Panic! At The Disco, many others), HTL offers us 12 tracks of pop-punk goodness that’ll have you wishing that summer were already here.

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Review: From First to Last – Heroine

From First to Last - Heroine

Let’s start this with a disclaimer. The readers at have known that I haven’t been one to shy away from my opinion in the past. In fact, I’ve taken a fair amount of criticism for being too harsh on bands in the past (and too nice, it’ll never end). Those of you who are looking for me to rip FFTL to shreds can stop reading at this point, because it’s not going to happen. I don’t care what you think of this review and I don’t care what you think of me. All I know is that From First to Last has shocked me by creating a solid album that I expected to be awful. From the band’s previous work full of oversaturated clichés and ear-splitting vocals, one would never think the band could progress to this sort of level. If you haven’t given Heroine a fair listen, then you can’t judge this band. Yes, their image is absurd. Yes, many of their fans are ridiculous teenage girls with eyeliner and glam/goth outfits. But putting aside all of these factors, one must strip down FFTL and critique the actual music – and it’s good. This is a group of talented musicians who seem to have truly found their sound, with the help of acclaimed producer Ross Robinson, well known for his work with late 90’s nu-metal acts such as Korn and Slipknot. Robinson’s touch gleams off of Heroine from start to finish. Gritty as hell, full of obscenities and soaring sing-along choruses, FFTL has successfully transformed their sound.

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Review: No Trigger – Canyoneer

No Trigger - Canyoneer

When I sat down to review this record, I thought I’d browse the web to see what other people have said about Canyoneer. It only took a few minutes for me to realize that people know absolutely nothing about this band, and some of the reviews I read were so under-researched and inadequate that it actually made me upset. One website even went so far as to call No Trigger a “more scene Rise Against.” It is with these reviews in mind that I felt justice must be done to such an incredible band and release. And trust me, there’s nothing overtly “scene” about No Trigger – they’re more like a balls to the wall fusion of punk, melody, and hardcore. No Trigger shouldn’t be viewed as an aspiring band in comparison to Rise Against when they’ve already created a record that rivals anything Rise Against has ever created.

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Interview: Matt Watts of The Starting Line

The Starting Line

I’d have to say the “Screaming Is For Babies” tour is one of my favorite tours in a long time; how’d it get put together and how’s it been so far?

Well this is kind of like our first real headlining tour—we headlined the Drive Thru tour before, but this was like the first chance for us to go out and headline and pick the bands that we wanted to pick. We got a list of who we could take on the tour, and we wanted to make it sort of a diverse bill of bands that we’re all fans of, and we knew the Cartel guys a little bit before going into it, but not really all that well, and we met the Gatsbys guys on Warped Tour, and we’re just fans of all the bands on it. It’s a lineup that I’d love to see if I was going to a show because there aren’t really two bands that sound alike, and I love going to shows like that. Kids that come for us or Cartel may have not heard Copeland or Gatsbys, and to introduce them to a new band is awesome, especially bands like that.

How does it feel to have your most successful tour in quite some time when some people had maybe written you off?

It’s cool man. The fans are there and it’s proof that good work ethic and grassroots touring makes real fans. Kids support the record, although our record label hadn’t and didn’t really get it out there in full force, but our core audience seems to really like the record or people who didn’t like the last record might like Based On a True Story. It all comes down to the songs, and if people connect with the songs, they’ll support your band.

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Review: Anti-Flag – For Blood and Empire

Anti-Flag - For Blood and Empire

Surprising everyone by signing to major label RCA, Anti-Flag, one of the ultimate anti-establishment proponents, was doing one of two things – committing career suicide and losing all their hardcore DIY fans, or getting a chance to create one of the best albums of their career and send their message to the entire world. It certainly appears the latter is about to happen. Anti-Flag created a great record with top-notch production, intelligent songs, and an unabashed political message. Full of gang vocals, simplistic and memorable choruses, For Blood and Empire is an impressive major-label debut which will expose the band and their message to more than ever before. As always, the band’s intention seems to be raising awareness about the political environment while calling out our nation’s wrong doings and ignorance. 

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