Review: Eisley – Combinations

Eisley - Combinations

oppa and Momma DuPree have got to be some of the proudest parents around. Their children have just released one of the better albums of 2007. Hailing from Tyler, Texas, the four DuPree siblings (Chauntelle, Sherri, Stacy, and Weston) and one DuPree cousin (Garron) make up Eisley, one of the finer piano-rock bands making music today. In 2005, they released Room Noises on Warner/Reprise Records, which was received warmly by critics and fans alike and generate some buzz for the quintet. While it was nothing outside the norm of the genre, it was good for what it was. Now in 2007, Eisley have just released their second album on Warner/Reprise, titled Combinations, which proves to be their best work to date. Produced by Richard Gibbs, the ten track album clocks in just under 40 minutes, with no track going over 4 minutes. Each track is composed beautifully, mixing pop sensibilities with bolder moves and noises that help take Eisley outside the constraints of the genre. 

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Review: Steel Train – For You My Dear

Steel Train - For You My Dear

Jack Antonoff (vocals/guitar) and Scott Irby-Ranniar (vocals) began what came to be known as Steel Train playing subways and alleyways in New York. A demo released in 2000 garnered considerable record label interest, and after signing to Drive-Thru Records, the two original members recruited Evan Winiker (bass) and Matthias Gruber (drums) to enter the studio. The newly formed quartet emerged with the band’s debut EP, the wondrous For You My Dear.

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The Absolute 100 (2007) Heart

From your warm barstool, you watch a new band take the stage. You’ve never seen them before but their opening chords ring in clear and true and damn good. An instant connection between the ear and the instinct, this will be the band in which you rave testimonies. Here at, we like to provide you with that same tummy-filling. After we report the news and churn out the reviews, interviews and exclusives, we are here to serve you up with more music to obsess over. That being said, here are 100 blazing up and comers that we, the staff of, are losing sleep over. Caught between a rock and the big time, these 100 are aimed for a 2007 killing in potential alone. We toast our glasses to them, and to you, hopefully, for giving them a chance. – Julia Conny

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Review: The Receiving End of Sirens – The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi

The Receiving End of Sirens - The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi

It is no small order to tackle a concept album based on Johannes Kepler’s theory of Earth’s tonal orbit, centering around the themes of misery and famine. And surely, this is not a process that becomes any easier when your band loses one of it’s prime creative forces in Casey Crescenzo, who has since gone on to do great things with his Dear Hunter project. So really, it is quite understandable that listeners are rather apprehensive as they first approach The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi, the second studio album from The Receiving End of Sirens. With all factors considered, it sounded like the boys might have bitten off more than they could chew – especially when they were playing with a roster that Crescenzo disciples would (recklessly) consider “crippled.” Nevertheless, the band hit the studio with Matt Squire to take a swing at the expectations laid out before them, and have met them in stride.

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Review: Park – It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going

Park - It Won't Snow Where You're Going

When a band includes a disclaimer in their lyrics booklet explaining that musical themes of suicide should not be acted upon by the listener, they must really mean business. I hear the phrase “summer album” thrown around often in connection to upbeat and poppy albums. In contrast, Park’s It Won’t Snow Where You’re Going is the kind of album needed for warmth through the coldest of winters. Though there is little to nothing that can be described as cheerful in vocalist/guitarist Ladd Mitchell’s lyrics, there’s something encouraging in screaming ‘Let’s give up / Let’s give in’ during times of personal strife.

Though his lyrics are one of the main draws to Park, Mitchell’s vocals are nothing extraordinary. There’s something humbling about this, though. It makes him an everyman, someone whose troubles are easy to relate to. With that being said, at certain moments on the album his voice does shine brighter than usual. There’s an unmistakable build up on the track “Pomona for Empusa,” and for a few moments before the chorus Mitchell conveys his current frustration excellently with the single lyric, ‘Jesus Christ, what was I thinking?’ This short pause is made even better with limited accompaniment by guitarist Justin Valenti, who dwindles towards lower notes on the fretboard as a representation of Mitchell’s sinking state.

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Review: The Starting Line – Direction

The Starting Line - Direction

This summer reads like a pop fan’s wet-dream.

We find July bringing the trifecta of “must-own” summer albums to a close. For those who lean toward the pop persuasion, The Starting Line will come as a fitting end to a two week burst of purchases that is sure to include multiple trips to the record store in search of Yellowcard and MxPx. This gives you two full weeks to play both of the aforementioned albums – because once you’ve purchased Direction, it’s unlikely to leave your stereo for quite some time.

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Interview: Jimmy Eat World

Jimmy Eat World

On their recent tour stop in Newport, Kentucky, I had the chance to sit down with Zach and Rick of Jimmy Eat World. We discussed items related to the record and upcoming release of Chase This Light, and also had time to go back and discuss some other topics. Like what really happened with Mark Trombino? And what do they think of everyone being all over Clarity’s balls? Read on to find out these answers and more.

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Review: Scenes from a Movie – The Pulse

Scenes from a Movie - The Pulse

Everyone wants to be a pop punk superstar. There are those who embrace it, while others despise it, but secretly wish to be it. With all the success that Fall Out Boy, Panic! At The Disco, and their peers have had, it comes as no surprise that many new bands try to emulate it. All Time Low, June, and countless others have tried their hand at it, with mixed results. Enter Scenes From A Movie into the pop-punk arena. If you took Brendan Urie’s vocals and dubbed them over Fall Out Boy’s Take This To Your Grave, you would end up with The Pulse, the debut album from the quintet. What it lacks in originality, it makes up with catchy hooks, infectious melodies, and an energy many bands in the genre lack these days.

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Review: Sum 41 – Underclass Hero

Sum 41 - Underclass Hero

This is a weird album for me. I strongly dislike it, but a part of me enjoys it. Yeah, I know, it doesn’t make much sense. It can be described like an ex you hate but a part of you still loves. I’ve listened to Sum 41 for five years, and Underclass Hero is their only album that has disappointed me. How could I possibly dislike an album that has melodies that remind me so much of singing along to All Killer No Filler?

I’ve been anticipating Underclass Hero for months. Once I finally received it, I thought to myself, if only this could be the poppy, anthem-filled follow-up I’ve been waiting for since All Killer No Filler. I certainly thought so as the album kicked off with the title-track “Underclass Hero.” Filled with juvenile-themed lyrics (“Now it’s us against them / We’re here to represent / And spit right in the face of the establishment”) and a re-hash of the chorus to a previous b-side “Subject To Change” (Irony, much?), “Underclass Hero” left me with a constant need to look at Winamp to see if I wasn’t playing “Fat Lip.” The song quickly climbed the charts of my’s “most played songs” through repetitive plays. All is well in the pop-punk spot (a very, very large spot..) of my ears after “Underclass Hero” is over.

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Review: June – Make It Blur

June - Make It Blur

I am nowhere naive enough to believe the words in this article will slow or deter June in any way. As my stuffed animal (a dog named Hank) and my comic book-collage mock me in the house of my parents, it’s hard to feel like I have any actual influence. This isn’t a question of power, though. Make It Blur, much like my room and existence, is ordinary. What a foul word. Just a few years ago this sound would have been dandy, even refreshing. But nowadays everyone wants “that” moment; the fleeting sensation where one can close their eyes and drift away from all things unattainable. The last thing we want is to remember how alike everything is and how it always will be. June’s new album is my stuffy bedroom, and I’ll be damned if I spend another day in this prison.

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Review: Yellowcard – Paper Walls

Yellowcard - Paper Walls

Let us face the facts: not many music critics want to admit to liking pop-punk. Not even I, the great pop-punk apologist, can say the negative connotation associated with the genre is undeserving. Think about it – from the young and extremely vocal fans, to the piled on guy liner, to the outrageous media stunts – it’s easy to see why the genre has become the leper colony of the music world.

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Review: MxPx – Secret Weapon

MxPx - Secret Weapon

Without MxPx this website would not exist.

I’m not aiming for overdramatics to spice up the opening line of my review, I’m being dead serious. It was MxPx that pulled me out of my junior-high years of Pantera and Metallica. It was MxPx who were (along with Blink 182) one the first bands covered by the original It was MxPx who, upon first listen so many years ago, drew me into the melodic world of fast drumming overlaid with lyrics mostly about (failed) relationships.

Now – almost 12 years later – I’m still listening.

This is a band that has been around for over 10 years and released over seven full-lengths, four EPs, three compilation CDs, and one live album; almost all of these with the same three members. They’ve written songs from each end, and just about every level in-between, of the pop-punk spectrum. Fast and raucous to extremely poppy – they’ve done it. This foray through an assortment of styles has left the band with a blend of fans. Most vocal are those who pledge allegiance to the sound of the band’s roots and have been wishing for a repeat of the Life in General and Slowly Going The Way of the Buffalo era. For me, my favorite song has always been “Doing Time” and my favorite album Slowly Going the Way… – so while I may be in the minority for having enjoyed all of the band’s releases, it’s been a while since I’ve genuinely loved one.

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Review: Stars – In Our Bedroom After The War

Stars - In Our Bedroom After The War

Music brings out all sorts of different emotions in us. And when an artist or band can convey all those emotions into their music, something special is created. It touches you, inspires you, and you can’t get enough of it. Finding albums that can achieve this can be a daunting task, but with the (early, digital) release of their fourth album, In Our Bedroom After The War, Stars have damn near perfected it. 

With previous releases such as Heart and Set Yourself On Fire setting the bar for Stars, In Our Bedroom After The War continues that progression and takes it even further. The chemistry of vocalists Tourquil Campbell and Amy Millan is stunning throughout the album, as each voice is always complimented nicely by the accompanying instrumentation. Such beauty is achieved on the track “The Night Starts Here,” with Evan Cranley’s bass grooving over Pat McGee’s steady drumbeat as Chris Seligman’s keys bring a sense of enchantment over the song. 

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Review: Days Away – L.S.D.E.P.

Days Away - L.S.D.E.P.

Days Away’s self-released disc the L.S.D.E.P. is an out of print rarity today, but collection fanatics need not worry – every track of the EP is recreated on the band’s debut album Mapping an Invisible World. Still, it’s nice to take a look back at the promise held by the best songs of the EP.

The soothing sounds of “Stay the Same” are a wonderful start to the L.S.D.E.P. Even with the instrumentation at its heaviest, Keith Goodwin (guitar/vocals) keeps a lazy pace with his placid singing. “Stay the Same” also introduces the band’s simplistic yet poignant approach to lyrics, a fitting compliment to Goodwin’s vocal style.

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