Review: Tiger Lou – The Loyal

Tiger Lou - The Loyal

The Loyal starts off with 14 seconds of “Woland’s First”. It’s only a quick moment but leeways into The Loyal gently. Still, the mood kicks off like a slingshot. From here on, Tiger Lou is changing along with the album, existing in the album and breathing like the album. There is no escaping. The Loyal is its own being. Rasmus Kellerman is the man pulling the strings and pumping the heart. Almost all the album instrumentation was recorded by his lonesome with Peter Katis (Interpol, Denali, The National) lending his production. The payoff is stunning.

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Review: City and Colour – Bring Me Your Love

City and Colour - Bring Me Your Love

Over the past few months, we’ve seen notable metalcore front men try their hand at quieter and gentler side projects, such as Keith Buckley and Josh Scogin, of Every Time I Die and The Chariot fame, respectively. But, if this is to become the new trend, we should give credit to City and Colour, the side project of Dallas (city) Green (colour, get it?), for spearheading such endeavors. Most famous for his work as the lead man in Canadian rock act Alexisonfire, Green is now making waves in the States with his solo work on his Vagrant-debut, folk-inspired Bring Me Your Love

Already a star in Canada, his debut album, Sometimes, garnered a plethora of critical acclaim and awards from our northern brothers. While Sometimes wasn’t widely available in the U.S., it still made a modest splash with American fans. Now, with the backing of Vagrant, Bring Me Your Love is the first City And Colour album to be released on American soil and aims to be a big hit with many in the scene.

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Review: Simple Plan – Simple Plan

Simple Plan - Simple Plan

Nearly three and a half years removed from their sophomore album, the platinum-certified Still Not Getting Any…, Simple Plan has returned from their sabbatical with a brand new self-titled CD. It’s evident upon first listen that while they’ve opted for the glossy production of a major-label band, they still have the songwriting skills of cavemen. Unfortunately for our now-damaged ears, the overdone production doesn’t distort the abominably dull lyrics enough to offer any comfort.

The social commentary (no, really) from Simple Plan begins with the opener and lead single, “When I’m Gone,” while introducing us to a main talking point about the new album. Frontman Pierre Bouvier’s vocals, previously one step above nails on a chalkboard have lost most of its grating whine, and instead dropped him in the middle of every other average pop-rock singer with little to no range. Nonetheless, the band yearns for acceptance with a vast array of mid-tempo ballads and slow songs that will totally undershoot their target audience. Frankly, it doesn’t even sound like they’re trying half of the time. “The End” amounts to nothing more than a crappy b-side from The Higher’s newest album; heavy on distortion, little on substance. As Bouvier begs and pleads for the subject of the song to stay and croons, “You know it’s not the end,” the listener begins to wish it was.

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Casey Calvert Autopsy Results

Hawthorne Heights

Casey Calvert died of accidental substance abuse.

Hawthorne Heights guitarist Casey Calvert died due to the “acute combined effects of opiate, citalopram and clonazepam intoxication,” according to the just-released results of an autopsy performed by the office of the chief medical examiner in Washington, D.C. The autopsy listed Calvert’s death as accidental, though it added that it was brought on due to “substance abuse.” Both citalopram (also known by the brand name Celexa) and clonazepam (also known by the brand names Klonopin and Rivotril) are prescription drugs, the former an antidepressant and the latter used to treat seizure disorders and panic attacks.

Eron Bucciarelli from Hawthorne Heights has sent us a message about Casey Calvert’s autopsy:

From the time of the incident we suspected a possible drug interaction as the cause. Casey wrestled with depression for as long as we knew him. He saw numerous doctors and took an ever-changing array of medicines to get better. He finally had his depression under control. According to the toxicology report, the cause of death was due to a fatal interaction between depression meds, anxiety meds and an opiate. Opiates being mentioned along with the term “substance abuse”, coupled with “rockstar” stereotypes immediately conjure up images of hard drug use and addiction, which simply couldn’t be further from the truth in Casey’s instance. What the toxicology report doesn’t show is that prior to us leaving for tour, Casey had a root canal, and was prescribed Vicodin (an opiate) for the pain. Once again, Casey was not involved in anything illegal nor was he a substance abuser. Please be respectful as we search for more answers to these newly raised questions and deal with this news.

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Review: Steel Train – Trampoline

Steel Train - Trampoline

So this album came out two months ago. Apologies. No seriously, I’m really sorry. What this and other reviews should tell you is that I pace myself in analyzing albums. Perhaps too much so. There’s something so therapeutic about it, though. Waking up every morning, seeing a CD in your “To Review…” stack that has been there for much more than a month, popping it in, then telling yourself you’ll get to reviewing it tomorrow. Oh Trampoline — I will miss thee. Your simple cover that greeted me each time with memories of wasted hours at all those state fairs in and around October, attempting to impress some girl by making fun of carnies from afar and buying her lukewarm corn-dogs. Your rejuvenated peppiness (comparatively — Twilight Tales…) that virtually transforms my room in to a suburban backyard someplace, where the first day of spring is being celebrated by cannonballs in a pool and burgers straight off the grill. Oh, cheese on mine please!

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Review: The Color Fred – Bend To Break

The Color Fred - Bend To Break

First off, I just have to say congratulations to the next guitarist of Taking Back Sunday. When you leave the band, or the band breaks up, whatever project your involved in will turn to gold. This may not be completely true, but after the successes of John Nolan (or what I would call success despite them being dropped), and based on the future success of Fred Mascherino, he will skyrocket as well. Which brings me to the debut record of Frederick Paul Mascherino, and his backup band, known completely as The Color Fred.

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Interview: Andrew McMahon of Jack’s Mannequin

Andrew Mcmahon

In early December of 2007, I went into the studio with Andrew McMahon in Santa Monica when he was finishing up the new Jack’s Mannequin record. We originally shot a video of the interview, which you can watch here,1 but I’ve also transcribed the full text of the interview since many of the questions were left out or edited in the original video.

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  1. We no longer have this footage.

Review: Angels and Airwaves – I-Empire

Angels & Airwaves - I-Empire

Following the unfortunate demise of seminal pop-punk stars, Blink-182, bassist Mark Hoppus, drummer Travis Barker and singer Tom DeLonge went vastly different ways. Hoppus and Barker returned with +44, an electronica-themed band that seemed at times an extension of Blink (for better and for worse), and DeLonge traipsed across Larry King Live, proclaimed himself the second-coming of everything except John Lennon, and released Angels & Airwaves’ debut, We Don’t Need To Whisper. With WDNTW, DeLonge preached in favor of his newfound style, thrusting his maturity at anyone who would listen; to his chagrin, few did. The album sold relatively well in the mainstream, but many longtime fans had trouble embracing both the frontman’s attitude and his gloomy tunes.

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I’m Sorry I Have to Be the One to Post This

Hawthorne Heights

In order to stop this from getting out of control before it starts I have a very sad announcement to make. However, I must preface it by saying that any shit talking will result in a permanent ban from this website effective immediately. Out of respect to the band and their many fans and friends who visit this website – I simply cannot in good conscience allow hate to be present today. It is with deep sorrow that I must announce that I have been informed by two very reliable sources that Casey from Hawthorne Heights passed away last night. At this moment there are no official announcements and no other information available – we will keep you updated. Our thoughts and prayers are with everyone involved. 

I’ve been struggling with how to post this and even if I should post anything for the past hour … at this time I’ve decided to make the post in order to be here and make sure I can moderate the comments instead of things getting out of hand. I wish I knew the right things to say right now, but I don’t. I hope more than anything that the story isn’t true – but based upon the information we have at this time – sadly I believe it is.


Hawthorne Heights have posted a message on their website.

Today is probably the worst day ever. Its with our deepest regrets that we have to write this. Casey Calvert passed away in his sleep last night. We found out this afternoon before sound-check. We’ve spent the entire day trying to come to grips with this and figure out as much as possible. At this time we’re not sure what exactly happened. Just last night he was joking around with everyone before he went to bed. We can say with absolute certainty that he was not doing anything illegal. Please, out of respect to Casey and his family, don’t contribute or succumb to any gossip you may hear. We don’t want his memory to be tainted in the least. Casey was our best friend. He was quirky and awesome and there will truly be no others like him! His loss is unexplainable. As soon as we know more we will let you know.


Hawthorne Heights (Eron, JT, Micah and Matt)

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Review: Armor for Sleep – Smile For Them

Armor for Sleep - Smile For Them

Not going to lie, it was kind of strange listening to a new Armor For Sleep record and not hearing vocalist/guitarist Ben Jorgensen sing about sleeping, dreaming, or dying. Instead of writing another concept album, Jorgensen penned lyrics about a culture that’s dependant and obsessed with celebrity news and reality television, among other social commentaries, for the band’s major label debut, Smile For Them

When the band first began the writing and recording process for Smile, they moved out to Los Angeles with a pre-arranged producer, courtesy of Sire. Unhappy with the results, the band packed up and restarted the process in their hometown and brought back Machine, who brilliantly produced their 2005 record, What To Do When You Are Dead. The end product is twelve tracks that seamlessly flow between post-hardcore and pop, resulting in what may be Armor For Sleep’s most rockin’ record to date.

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Review: Saves the Day – Under The Boards

Saves The Day - Under The Boards

Are albums this good supposed to be this depressing? 

Saves The Day’s sixth album, Under The Boards (which is the second album of the band’s planned trilogy), dives into brain trust’s Chris Conley’s mind, which we find is a very dark place. While the first installment of the trilogy, 2006’s Sound The Alarm, was all fire and brimstone, Boards focuses on picking up the pieces. 

With the help of Marc Hudson and Eric Stenman, the band produced this thirteen-track trek through despair, and the title track, which opens the album, immediately lets you know what kind of journey you are in for. Paced by a simple guitar riff that crawls underneath your skin, Conley’s vocals are on point, as he painfully begins to pour out his innermost feelings. The track then segues right away into “Radio,” an upbeat song with an undeniable catchy chorus. “Can’t Stay The Same” slightly reminds me of “Anywhere With You,” with how the verses lead into the chorus, while “Get Fucked Up,” a mid-paced track about attempting to get over someone, is beautifully depressing. 

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Review: Cobra Starship – Viva La Cobra!

Cobra Starship - Viva La Cobra!

It seems that Gabe Saporta has experienced an epiphany of sorts. To the chagrin of some (and the delight of others), he has emphatically declared that Cobra Starship wasn’t a one-album breather from Midtown by following up with a new album approximately fifty-four weeks after the debut. Viva La Cobra! proves that Saporta has refined his dance-rock chops with a little Latin flair, straying quite far at times from the handclap-styled rock of the band’s debut, While the City Sleeps, We Rule the Streets.

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Review: Say Anything – In Defense Of The Genre

Say Anything - In Defense Of The Genre

And the record begins with a song spoken by Satan.

Okay, so that’s not as catchy as the line that began 2004’s superb …Is A Real Boy, but Max Bemis ups the ante with the 27 song, double disc major label debut In Defense of the Genre, an album that blends chaos, attitude, insecurity, and about two hundred guest vocalists into an epic portrayal of and journey through Bemis’ thoughts. In what may be the most anticipated album of 2007, Bemis did not copy what made …Is A Real Boy so good. Instead, he channeled even more quirkiness and brutal honesty into his writing that exudes a sense of confidence not heard on previous Say Anything records. 

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