Review: Paramore – Riot!

Paramore - Riot!

This review was written in 2007 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

Oh, how I wanted to hate this album.

After the release of their debut, All We Know is Falling, I sat back and watched this band become the talk of our little website. I guess when you have a large enough group of pubescent boys together, any female immediately becomes a discussion topic. This phenomenon has led to countless threads discussing the lead singer of this band (a girl for those not in the know) and her dating habits, relative “hotness,” fashion sense, and just about any other topic not related to her band’s music. So when this album arrived in my mailbox, I was, to put it mildly, not in the mood to give it the time of day. So I did the rational thing: I ignored it. I hid it on my shelf and pretended it never arrived. Didn’t even open the CD case once. Mature? I know.

Review: Cary Brothers – Who Are You

Cary Brothers - Who You Are

This review was written in 2007 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

“Zach Braff-core.”

That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? I think I may just coin that phrase.

The term is not only applicable because Cary Brothers (first name Cary, last name Brothers) has had tracks appear on famed Zach Braff projects such as the Garden State Soundtrack (“Blue Eyes”) and the Last Kiss Soundtrack (“Ride”), nor is it only applicable because my first introduction to the artist was via a karaoke scene in Scrubs (Season 4: Episode 4 – “My First Kill”). No, the term can be used to accurately describe the sound of the artists deemed worthy of its association. I think you know what I’m talking about — moody, emotional music — maybe a little too mainstream to be indie yet a little too indie to be mainstream. The kind of music that fits the soundtrack to a movie so perfectly because you can also picture it as the soundtrack to your life. It’s the music that plays in your head before that first kiss with a new crush, and the music that radiates in your ears as you walk home after they break your heart. It’s the kind of music you can tie to memories so vividly that repeated listens conjure the smells, the tastes, and the other sensory images of the best (and worst) days of your life.

Review: Fall Out Boy – Infinity on High

Fall Out Boy - Infinity on High

This review was written in 2007 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

The only way to open this review is to be honest about my intentions. Everyone knows I’m a fan of this band. My website has followed their career closely over the last few years and I have a personal relationship with some of the band members. It’s not often you hear a reviewer admit their bias, but I am doing just that. I’m a fan of the band, always have been, and probably always will. The reason I’m doing this is because I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be very few reviews (public or personal) on this album that, if the reviewer is honest with themselves, are completely objective. It seems everyone has a preconceived notion on how they feel about this band. The truth is — it’s their third (official) full-length, by this time you know if you like what they do or not. If you’re already a hater: don’t try and fool anyone into thinking you really thought, “you just might like this one” – because you won’t.

Review: The Matches – Decomposer

The Matches - Decomposer

This review was written in 2006 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

I am going to be up-front with you right now: This band is not for everyone. In fact, there are a good many of you that are going to straight up hate this album. There are quite a few reading this that would probably rather place nails in their ears than ever listen to this band. I, however, am not one of those people. In fact – I think this is one of the best albums to be released this year and one of the most creative and innovative bands to be creating pop/punk/rock music in our, or any, genre.

Review: The Format – Dog Problems

The Format - Dog Problems

This review was written in 2006 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

At the proverbial heart of the record everything about this sophomore full-length is actualized in the form of one solitary line. Let me explain: Midway through the album sits the title track, “Dog Problems,” and midway through the song, the music gently wilts and Nate sings, “Can you hear me? Are you listening? This is the sound of my heart breaking and I hope it’s entertaining. Because for me, it’s a bitch. Was it worth it when you slept with him? Did you get it all out of your system?” If there was ever a defining moment in what is sure to become The Format’s opus, this is it.

Review: Thrice – Vheissu

Thrice - Vheissu

This review was written in 2005 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

Have you ever finished watching a particularly moving film or completed a strikingly emotional book, only to sit in your plush-leather seat — dumbfounded? There is that split second of realization that nothing you ever accomplish in your life will come close to the intellectual and emotional genius you just experienced. I have had such a feeling on only a few rare occasions; however, after each listen of Thrice’s Vheissu, this numbness pummels the skin around my chest.

It is perfect.

Review: Cartel – Chroma

Cartel - Chroma

This review was written in 2005 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

Ever since this debut full-length was first played in my car stereo on the drive home from The Militia Group’s home office, I’ve had one goal in mind: review this before Rohan does.

Okay, I’m only half kidding.

I’m reviewing this CD for one reason: I believe in this band. I think my faith in Cartel is evidenced through my desire, and utmost excitement, to ‘leak’ the band’s album on this very website. I’d never do such a huge promotion with a band I wasn’t 100% behind. There’s a variety of aspects to the band’s music that touch me in a way few bands are able. I hope to convey these feelings as best I can through the following words; however, there are things that you will only discover through sitting down for a good hour with this album, alone, in your room, and with the volume turned up very loudly. My conviction and sharp pose on this band are apparent from any visitor’s every day visit to this website, and this is exactly the review you expected me to write.

Review: Butch Walker – Letters

Butch Walker - Letters

This review was written in 2004 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

When does music stop being just notes and chords and transcend into the physical world as a material life form? It takes unimaginable skill to breathe such life into songs that they take on a living function of their own. Say what you will, but not all music is created to be impossible to decipher: not all guitar parts are written to be the hardest riffs to emulate, not all lyrics are written to conceal hidden agendas and meanings, and not all songs are fashioned to be so enigmatic that they require Harvard level IQs in order to be understood. At what point did this become the level for which we judged music? Where in the evolution of song did we forget about emotion and start judging based upon song titles? Who became king and declared that if the song doesn’t involve an obscure nihilist reference that it is not worthy of our ears? Where is the document that states the rules of music? Because, if inside your head you have such a document by which you judge music: fucking burn it. The first song I ever learned to play on the guitar due to its insane simplicity was “Yesterday” by The Beatles. It is still, in my opinion, one of the greatest songs of all time. Pop music caught a bad wind when “performers” took front stage and “artists” fell to the back. And pop music began a downward ascension amongst some listeners when those who sang the songs were not those who wrote them, when dance numbers became more intricate than the content, and finally, when an image was created and sold before the music.

Review: Say Anything – … is a Real Boy

Say Anything - ... is a Real Boy

This review was written in 2004 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

There is a subtle irony that those humble artists and songwriters who would consider themselves of average intellectual “musical” capacity are usually those who provide the most genius and musical evolutionary leaps in their work. Those forefathers (names such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen, John Lennon and Paul McCartney come to mind), were able to capture an attitude and honesty of a generation and its environmental surroundings, and bottle this into a musical vessel that will transcend the tests of time. Please return your seat backs and tray tables to their full and upright positions – a similar musical actualization may have just taken place right in front of our very eyes. The hyperbole found herein is in no way supposed to be taken as an act of “hype,” but instead should be construed as my emotions and thoughts as best as I can seem to construct them into words.

Review: Midtown – Forget What You Know

Midtown - Forget What You Know

This review was written in 2004 and originally published on AbsolutePunk.net. It has been very minimally edited before being republished.

In a music industry riddled with lineup changes, hit singles, record label grudges, and more bullshit than probably anyone is truly aware of — Midtown are still the same four guys that brought forth their debut album from what seems like so many years ago. A few years have now passed, and the trials and tribulations this band has endured goes above and beyond what any of you will ever know. Yes this band has remained, and they have pushed through the pressure that was thrown on them by the media, managers, labels, and critics alike – and yet, they stayed true and together as a band, and as friends. When they were dropped by a drowning record label (MCA Records) almost 2 years ago, it should have been the lowest point in the band’s career. They should have given up. Everyone surely expected them to. Many stood back and quietly smirked at the band’s misfortune and it was in this desperate time that the band proved to everyone just exactly where their hearts were. They didn’t see what had happened to them as a failure, or as a set back … they saw it as a blessing and as a calling to re-evaluate their music, and their lives.