Under the Gun Review Entertainment news for today's generation 2014-07-29T16:38:19Z http://www.underthegunreview.net/feed/atom/ WordPress Nina Corcoran <![CDATA[Listen to Greylag’s Beautiful Folk Single “Another”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123787 2014-07-29T15:42:47Z 2014-07-29T15:42:47Z Portland trio Greylag have the rustic charm and sweet folk rock of a band whose music will break the grip of fall and see itself played year-round. Their self-titled debut comes out October 14 via Dead Oceans. We suggest pre-ordering it now, especially after you give opening track “Another” a listen after the jump.

It’s been a while since we’ve been this excited over an Americana band. With producer Phil Ek behind the board, the similarities to Fleet Foxes and The Shins are obvious, but even moreso given their songwriting abilities. Roots get a rhythmic stomping in “Another” with guitar …

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Portland trio Greylag have the rustic charm and sweet folk rock of a band whose music will break the grip of fall and see itself played year-round. Their self-titled debut comes out October 14 via Dead Oceans. We suggest pre-ordering it now, especially after you give opening track “Another” a listen after the jump.

It’s been a while since we’ve been this excited over an Americana band. With producer Phil Ek behind the board, the similarities to Fleet Foxes and The Shins are obvious, but even moreso given their songwriting abilities. Roots get a rhythmic stomping in “Another” with guitar licks straight from celtic jam circles and dark, emotionally softened lyrics. Just like the genre itself, it wins you over with simplicity. Trust us: Greylag need to be on your radar for 2014.

Give it a listen below:

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Lucy’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123717 2014-07-29T05:40:37Z 2014-07-29T15:20:25Z Film: Lucy
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Luc Besson

Luc Besson has to be messing with us. Either that, or he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The man behind Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and The Transporter series is back in theaters this summer with a new film by the name of Lucy. At first glance, the film offers a slick, thought-provoking look at what might happen if a woman scorned was unable to unlock 100% of her mental capacity. The actual feature, however, offers something far more silly.

Lucy tells the story …

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Film: Lucy
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Morgan Freeman
Directed by: Luc Besson

Luc Besson has to be messing with us. Either that, or he’s laughing all the way to the bank.

The man behind Léon: The Professional, The Fifth Element and The Transporter series is back in theaters this summer with a new film by the name of Lucy. At first glance, the film offers a slick, thought-provoking look at what might happen if a woman scorned was unable to unlock 100% of her mental capacity. The actual feature, however, offers something far more silly.

Lucy tells the story of a woman (Scarlett Johansson) who, after being kidnapped and forced to smuggle a new street drug, awakes in a prison cell to learn the sack that was surgically placed inside her body has begun to leak. The drugs enter her bloodstream at an alarming rate and, as the trailers teased, Lucy begins to change. Her mind unlocks as the drugs rush through her body, and as that happens she is able to do more than ever before, including moving people and objects without touching them. She can even control gravity, but we’ll get to that in a minute.

Johansson is great in the lead role, and even when the story begins to come off the rails she delivers a performance that you never want to end. This is no great surprise really, but it’s good to know becoming a member of the Marvel universe has not gone to her head altogether. This film demands a strong lead, and in the end it’s her portrayal of Lucy that lingers in your mind as the theater raises the lights.

Morgan Freeman is the lighthouse in the storm of changes that are happening in Lucy’s life throughout the duration of the film. He’s a scientist with many theories on the human mind, and after Lucy realizes what is happening to her she seeks out his help. It’s a role not too far removed from what Freeman delivered in Transcendence, but it does end far better for him.

The central premise of Lucy is based on the idea that humans only use 10% of our mental capacity. This idea has been debunked several times over, but this is a movie so there is no reason to let that interfere with a fun sci-fi journey. The only problem is, Lucy uses this idea of unlocking one’s potential as a backbone for the progression of the film without properly conveying the changes that occur. The first time we meet our heroine she is functioning around 7%, which is a number we know because it flashes on the screen in a bold white font. By 20%, which coincidentally happens about twenty minutes into the film, she’s convulsing on ceilings and mastering various fighting skills without moving a muscle or blinking an eye. At 50%, she’s moving objects. You have no idea why she could not move objects at 20% other than the fact you sit through screens that read ’30%’ and ’40%’ before it happens onscreen. Otherwise, nothing in the actions or words onscreen express to the viewer that an evolution has occured. Lucy simply upgrades and performs, like a wizard slowly remembering how to perform magic.

Lucy’s other issue, and the reason I began by saying that I believe Luc Besson is messing with us, is the fact that the majority of the film involves extended sequences of people discussing bullshit science as if it were hard facts. It’s as if Besson believes having a commanding voice deliver nonsense somehow makes that nonsense coherent. It might sound smart, to some, but anyone who has ever put any effort into learning about the human mind will immediately recognize nonsense for what it is and become a little less engaged with the film.

All that aside, there will probably be no other film released this year edited like Lucy, and for those who like their films a bit more metaphorical, that is meant to be a compliment. Besson interjects footage of animals hunting with Lucy’s initial kidnapping, and as the drugs elevate Lucy’s understanding of the universe, audiences are given a journey through time and space to the very origin of all things. It’s beautiful and crazy in a way unlike anything Terrance Malick could deliver, but I am not sure the average moviegoer will find it all that interesting.

Lucy is a short-lived acid trip that is chock full of scientific nonsense and offers surprisingly few action scenes. It sort of feels like Besson came up with the film’s premise and ran with whatever ideas popped into his head from that moment on. The results, while aided by a strong performance from the film’s leads, play out liked a mixed bag of hit or miss concepts that are never fully realized and end far too soon.

GRADE: C-

Review written by James Shotwell

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Hilary Duff Releases “Chasing The Sun” Music Video]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123784 2014-07-29T16:38:19Z 2014-07-29T15:04:52Z A day after her comeback single found its way online, Hilary Duff is back on the front page of UTG with the official video for “Chasing The Sun.”

Summertime is the best and worst time of year for people who spend the majority of their week inhabiting cubicles. The nice weather guarantees the potential for full-on escapes from reality every weekend, but it also means each business day is spent staring longingly through tinted glass at the beautiful world outside. Hilary Duff understands this pain, and the central premise of her latest music video explores the kind of paradise she …

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A day after her comeback single found its way online, Hilary Duff is back on the front page of UTG with the official video for “Chasing The Sun.”

Summertime is the best and worst time of year for people who spend the majority of their week inhabiting cubicles. The nice weather guarantees the potential for full-on escapes from reality every weekend, but it also means each business day is spent staring longingly through tinted glass at the beautiful world outside. Hilary Duff understands this pain, and the central premise of her latest music video explores the kind of paradise she would escape to if she ever found herself living day to day in an office. You can view the clip below:

When we shared this song yesterday I will admit that I was not exactly in love with what I heard. The more I hear it, however, the more the return of Hilary Duff sinks in and the further in love I fall with this track. It’s pure pop escapism, and it goes down smooth like lemonade on a blazing hot Sunday afternoon.

Duff has kept the majority of her future plans under wraps up to this point, but in the coming weeks there are sure to be a slew of headlines regarding a new album, tour, and the possibility of additional song streams. Stay tuned.

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Nina Corcoran <![CDATA[Hear Sufjan Stevens Cover Arthur Russell’s “A Little Lost”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123779 2014-07-29T16:36:44Z 2014-07-29T14:38:05Z For years, Red Hot Organization has been putting out incredibly stacked compilations with the proceeds going to AIDS research. Fittingly, their newest record is a tribute to musical mastermind Arthur Russell, who passed away from AIDS in 1992. The tribute compilation, titled Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, is out October 21 via Yep Roc with covers by Robyn, Hot Chip, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Scissor Sisters, Cults, Blood Orange, Phosphorescent, Jose Gonzalez, and more.

Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Sufjan Stevens, gets to cover perhaps the biggest song on the list, Russell’s 1994 track …

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For years, Red Hot Organization has been putting out incredibly stacked compilations with the proceeds going to AIDS research. Fittingly, their newest record is a tribute to musical mastermind Arthur Russell, who passed away from AIDS in 1992. The tribute compilation, titled Master Mix: Red Hot + Arthur Russell, is out October 21 via Yep Roc with covers by Robyn, Hot Chip, Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry, Scissor Sisters, Cults, Blood Orange, Phosphorescent, Jose Gonzalez, and more.

Perhaps the biggest name on the list, Sufjan Stevens, gets to cover perhaps the biggest song on the list, Russell’s 1994 track “A Little Lost.”

Stevens shared his thoughts on the song in the following statement:

I like “A Little Lost” because it’s all about kissing. I love kissing. If I could kiss all day, I would. I can’t stop thinking about kissing. I like kissing more than sex because there’s no end to it. You can kiss forever. You can kiss yourself into oblivion. You can kiss all over the body. You can kiss yourself to sleep. And when you wake up, you can’t stop thinking about kissing. Dammit, I can’t get anything done because I’m so busy thinking about kissing. Kissing is madness! But it’s absolute paradise, if you can find a good kisser.

Arthur’s music is all over the place, but most of it seems to be about embracing darkness (loneliness) and ambiguity (confusion) with the biggest bear hug in the world. Catharsis! He didn’t give a shit about fads or fashion even as he was influenced by popular music, club music, and all that shitty art music at the Kitchen. He kind of cobbled it all together to create his own diverse musical language, He was funny as shit (a wordsmith, a master of the innuendo), but also dead serious (and blunt) about the deepness of his feelings, unafraid to express affection in his songs, without pandering or cliche. Arthur was real as shit. You can’t fake realness.

At the beginning of this year, we talked about Dirty Projectors’ bassist Nat Baldwin and his cover of the same track. Stevens takes a different approach, ditching the somber cello in favor of sparse piano, warm choruses, and crashing electronic waves. It’s available for immediate download when you pre-order the compilation on iTunes. Stream it below (via Pitchfork):

Red Hot Arthur Russel Pic

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Brenton Harris <![CDATA[Sounds of the (Down) Underground: 5 Australian Acts You Should Be Listening To]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123039 2014-07-29T05:32:08Z 2014-07-29T14:35:04Z Australia has a proud history of punching above its weight, musically speaking. This is particularly true when it comes to acts operating in the heavier music spectrum. With the seemingly endless advances in streaming and social media technologies making the ears of the world more accessible than ever, the Australian independent scene is thriving. The result is an influx of bands across a variety of genres making a considerable impact on the music scene globally.

As a UTG contributor and proud Australian who resides deep within the nation’s undisputed punk rock heart of Melbourne, it gives me great pleasure to …

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Australia has a proud history of punching above its weight, musically speaking. This is particularly true when it comes to acts operating in the heavier music spectrum. With the seemingly endless advances in streaming and social media technologies making the ears of the world more accessible than ever, the Australian independent scene is thriving. The result is an influx of bands across a variety of genres making a considerable impact on the music scene globally.

As a UTG contributor and proud Australian who resides deep within the nation’s undisputed punk rock heart of Melbourne, it gives me great pleasure to be able to provide you with a unique insight into the Australian scene via my locally focussed reviews and interviews. However, with so much great music being produced down here, I have come to the painful realisation that I cannot possibly cover it all, so below you will the first of what I hope will be many editions of ‘Sounds Of The (Down) Underground,’ a list of 5 Australian acts that I believe you should all be listening to right now. So gather your headphones and get ready to take a ride on the back of a digital kangaroo as we take a trip through the sounds that are currently killing it in the land down under!


Artist: Violent Soho
Genre: Grunge, Garage
Latest release: Hungry Ghost
For fans of: Nirvana, Mudhoney, Dinosaur Jr, Dinosaur Pile-Up, the ’90s and big fuzz pedals in general.

Why should you care? They’re the name on everyone’s lips down under at the moment, having taken over the airwaves and stages nationwide, thanks in large part to the success of their album, Hungry Ghost, and its lead single, “Covered In Chrome.” Having recently inked a deal to release the album via Side One Dummy records in the USA and planned an extensive touring schedule in support, it won’t be long till Violent Soho are providing the soundtrack to warehouse parties in Soho and throughout the remainder of the USA. Check out “Covered in Chrome” below.


Artist: Clowns
Genre: Hardcore, Punk
Latest release: I’m Not Right
RIYL: The Bronx, Black Flag, Ceremony, Cerebral Ballzy

Why you should you care? They’ve been ripping stages to shreds nationwide for the best part of the last 12 months, supporting some of the finest punk rock bands the country (and the world) has to offer — earning rave reviews in the process. Their debut full-length I’m Not Right is 12 tracks of the most face-meltingly awesome hardcore punk rock Australia has produced and will have you throwing down comically over-sized cans of Fosters in reverence in no time. Check out “Eat A Gun” below.


Artist: High Tension
Genre: Hardcore Punk, Noise Rock
Latest release: Death Beat
RIYL: The Bronx, Young and Restless, Lo!, Kvelertak, The Dillinger Escape Plan.

Why should you care? Front woman Karina Utomo is clearly not a lady to be fucked with and her aggressive vocal styling, banshee scream and dominating persona are a force to be reckoned with both live and on record. Her performances alone make this band a must-know act. However, they are far from a one trick pony, with guitarist Ash Pegram (ex-Young and Restless), bassist Matt Weston and drummer Dan McKay (both from The Nation Blue), providing a skull crushing backdrop that is a perfect match for the intensity of their fearless leader. A breathtaking live act who won plaudits at SXSW, High Tension are on the cusp of becoming one of the nation’s loudest and proudest exports. Check out “Mountain of Dead” below.


Artist: Trophy Eyes
Genre: Pop-Punk, EasyCore
Latest release: Everything Goes Away
RIYL: The Wonder Years, Gnarwolves, Such Gold, Kid Dynamite

Why should you care? Recently signed to Hopeless Records, this Newcastle quintet are fast making a name for themselves in the pop-punk scene with their uniquely Australian take on the quintessential easycore style. Meshing the intensity and lyrical focus commonly associated with much heavier acts with the pop sensibilities of modern pop-punk, Trophy Eyes write the kind of songs that make your heart beat faster, your mind tick over and your legs want to pogo uncontrollably. Ridiculously young for a band with a sound this accomplished, Trophy Eyes seem set to become a staple of the Warped Tour for years to come. With a debut full-length marked for release via Hopeless in late 2014, Trophy Eyes are destined for a very bright future. Check out “Bandaid” below.


Artist: Lunaticks on Pogosticks
Genre: Indie, Punk, Stoner Rock
Latest release: Slug Cat and Snail Dog
RIYL: Sonic Youth, The Sonics, PUP

Why should you care? This band of teenage rapscallions and their unique blend of vaguely surf-infused indie/punk are the perfect antidote to those late afternoon mid-week blues. Laid back and laconic yet somehow utterly enthralling, the Melbourne via Lennox Head, NSW trio have taken the momentum gained via their win in a national high school battle of the bands (Triple J Unearthed High) and run with it, creating a dynamite debut EP Slug Cat and Snail Dog that has seen them achieve nationwide airplay for lead single “Less Than Sober” and granted them touring opportunities that kids their age can usually only dream of. Remarkably accomplished, yet gloriously disheveled, their delightfully simple songs come laced with a knowledge of song craft that is seemingly at odds with the brash teenage nature of their lyrical focus. An absolute riot in a live environment, this band of upstarts seem destined to go as far as they want to. Whether that is to the moon–or the corner store shortly after 4:20–it’s kind of hard to tell, but my best guess is that wherever it may be is somewhere you’ll want to be, too. Check out “Less Than Sober” below:

Conceptualized and written by Brenton Harris

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Fall In Love With Sir Sly’s “You Haunt Me” And Prepare For Their Debut Album Release]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123778 2014-07-29T14:25:45Z 2014-07-29T14:25:45Z Don’t you love when a song comes along out of the blue and fills you with all the good feels anyone could hope to have? It’s a rare treat, especially if your main source of music is terrestrial radio, but every so often lightning strikes and you find yourself with a new addiction.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to fall in love with Sir Sly.

Boasting big hooks and groove-laden verses, Sir Sly come barreling out of Los Angeles with a sound best likened to shoegaze indie rock having a love child with the debut record from Foster The People. Their …

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Don’t you love when a song comes along out of the blue and fills you with all the good feels anyone could hope to have? It’s a rare treat, especially if your main source of music is terrestrial radio, but every so often lightning strikes and you find yourself with a new addiction.

Ladies and gentlemen, prepare to fall in love with Sir Sly.

Boasting big hooks and groove-laden verses, Sir Sly come barreling out of Los Angeles with a sound best likened to shoegaze indie rock having a love child with the debut record from Foster The People. Their first full length, You Haunt Me, is scheduled for release September 16 and earlier today the record’s lead single found its way online. You can stream the song, which also happens to be the title track for the album, below:

You Haunt Me will be released through Cherrytree/Interscope Records. Anyone who pre-orders the album will receive “Where I’m Going,” “Ghost,” “Gold,” “You Haunt Me” & “Found You Out” as instant grat tracks. Pre-order the album here.

Sir Sly hit the road this month for a multi-week national headline tour with label mates Wolf Gang. The “Cherrytree Presents” tour begins in Dallas, TX at Club Dada on August 25 and wraps with a show at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles on September 29. The full itinerary reads:

8/25 DALLAS, TX Club Dada #
8/26 HOUSTON, TX Fitzgeralds #
8/27 AUSTIN, TX Parish #
8/29 FT LAUDERDALE, FL Culture Room #
8/30 ORLANDO, FL The Social #
9/2 ATLANTA, GA The Earl #
9/4 RICHMOND, VA The National #
9/5 MYRTLE BEACH, SC WKZQ’s Big Night Out @ House of Blues *^#

9/6 CHARLOTTE, NC 1065 Weenie Roast @ PNC Music Pavillion*#
9/7 RALEIGH, NC The 95X Big Shindig @ Walnut Creek Amphitheatre*^#

9/8 WASHINGTON, DC U Street #
9/10 NEW YORK, NY Stage48 (18+)
9/11 ALBANY, NY The Hollow #
9/12 BOSTON, MA Brighton Music Hall (18+)
9/13 PHILADELPHIA, PA Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party*^#
9/15 PITTSBURGH, PA Stage AE #
9/16 COLUMBUS, OH The Basement #
9/17 ST LOUIS, MO Firebird #
9/18 MILWAUKEE, WI The Rave #
9/19 CHICAGO, IL Subterranean (17+)
9/20 MINNEAPOLIS, MN Triple Rock (18+)
9/22 KANSAS CITY, MO Riot Room (21+)
9/24 COLORADO SPRINGS, CO Black Sheep #
9/25 DENVER, CO Marquis Theatre #
9/27 PHOENIX, AZ Crescent Ballroom (16+)
9/28 SAN DIEGO, CA Irenic #
9/29 LOS ANGELES, CA El Rey #

Sir Sly = *

Wolf Gang = ^

All Ages = #

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Radical Something Offer A Fresh Take On West Coast Pop Rock With “Cali Get Down”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123772 2014-07-29T16:27:50Z 2014-07-29T13:59:36Z I hope you’re ready to dance.

Some Tuesdays feel a lot like second Mondays, but thanks to music it’s possible to turn even the most wretched of days around in a matter of minutes. This morning, an up-and-coming band from California had that impact on our offices when they delivered a single titled “Cali Get Down.”

Radical Something are a fittingly named band featuring three guys who do not strike you as the kind of men that would create music that one staffer described as “club punk.” To be fair, another one said “West Coast bro pop rock.” Regardless, their …

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I hope you’re ready to dance.

Some Tuesdays feel a lot like second Mondays, but thanks to music it’s possible to turn even the most wretched of days around in a matter of minutes. This morning, an up-and-coming band from California had that impact on our offices when they delivered a single titled “Cali Get Down.”

Radical Something are a fittingly named band featuring three guys who do not strike you as the kind of men that would create music that one staffer described as “club punk.” To be fair, another one said “West Coast bro pop rock.” Regardless, their sound is undoubtedly unique, and their latest single offers a catchy hook and bouncy beat to help the day pass just a bit easier. You can stream the “Cali Get Down” below:

I cannot tell you what I like about this song aside from its tempo, hook, and melody, but I know it’s unlike anything else that has passed through our submissions inbox this season. Comment below and let us know if you agree.

Radical Something will be embarking on a extended tour of the US later this month as direct support for Matisyahu. Yes, Matisyahu. Click here for dates.

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Hercules’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123705 2014-07-29T14:42:44Z 2014-07-29T13:55:47Z Film: Hercules
Starring: Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Brett Ratner

This is not the myth you remember, but it’s the legend you will love.

If you thought that line was corny, you may not want to purchase a ticket to Brett Ratner’s take on Hercules. It’s a wise-cracking, too cool for its own good type of film that [finally] gives us a good reason to care about so-called ‘sword and sandal’ films again. I went in expecting nothing and walked out with the realization I had just experienced one of the most entertaining 98-minute periods of the last year, if …

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Film: Hercules
Starring: Dwayne Johnson
Directed by: Brett Ratner

This is not the myth you remember, but it’s the legend you will love.

If you thought that line was corny, you may not want to purchase a ticket to Brett Ratner’s take on Hercules. It’s a wise-cracking, too cool for its own good type of film that [finally] gives us a good reason to care about so-called ‘sword and sandal’ films again. I went in expecting nothing and walked out with the realization I had just experienced one of the most entertaining 98-minute periods of the last year, if not longer. It’s nothing like you expect, but that is exactly what makes it great.

Hercules begins, as so many action films set in the time before pants do, with narration that informs the viewers of the legend most people already know: Hercules, son of Zeus, was born on Earth and faced many labors. He fought a lion, a three-headed serpent, and more. He even killed a snake while still in his crib. If you don’t believe it simply by hearing some nameless and faceless soul tell it to you, don’t worry. They show it to you as well.

What people don’t know, and what sets Ratner’s vision of Hercules apart from the start, is the fact Hercules was just a man like any other. His legend is just another example of good PR at work, and because of his demigod fame the average man with a name people likened to godliness is able to make loads of money doing mercenary work for the highest bidder. That’s the story the trailers have not revealed, and that’s what is waiting for you after five minutes of bad CGI and regurgitated fables at the top of the film. It’s not the classic tale of man versus mythical beings, but rather man versus men and their horrible ways.

It’s also not a one man show. If you believe one man could handle the twelve labors Hercules faced you probably also believe a fat man in a red suit spends his Christmas Eve journeying around the planet led by reindeer. Santa is your parents and Hercules is a man with very talented friends who also just so happen to possess a diverse set of personalities that offer plenty of avenues for side stories and distraction from the central story. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before, but it’s a set of stereotypes that work extremely well for this type of film. There’s a cocky sidekick, a tough female that no one seems to realize is also gorgeous, a silent-yet-aggressive fighter with a twisted history, and an old man who has visions.

The true star of the show, however, is Dwayne Johnson’s portrayal of Hercules. From the moment he appears on the screen it’s clear he’s not letting the fact he’s assuming a role that many great(er) actors have performed before deter him from being himself. It’s the same guy you love from G.I. Joe or Fast & Furious, only this time he wears a lion’s head for a hat and carries a club that looks to the size of most people. He’s also haunted by visions of his past, which offers viewers a unique look at the frightened side of an otherwise strong man.

Without any monsters, the effects side of Hercules is surprisingly light. There are a few battle sequences, but Ratner has handled enough action sequences over the years to know just what viewers need to see in order to connect with a large-scale war. He finds the human element in CG-littered moments, and it’s because of that gift he’s able to keep you connected to Hercules and his companions throughout the duration of their journey.

If Hercules has any Achilles’ heel it’s that I fear it sometimes plays things too safe. There is true originality to the way Johnson portrays Hercules, and Ratner’s vision of his world is well thought out enough to endure the trip, but there comes a point just before the third act when things take a turn for the horribly predictable and just a bit of the fun is sucked out of film. It’s still a satisfying ride to the finish line, but other than the exact execution of the final moments it’s fairly easy to see where things are headed twenty minutes before the credits begin to role. I suppose as a stand alone film there are only so many ways you can end a story, and when you’re working with a studio like Paramount it’s probably advisable to choose the one most people want to see, but I couldn’t help feel a bit of my appreciation for the originality of other elements in the film dim as the story began to wind down.

Brett Ratner does not have the best track record at the box office, and I will be the first to admit that Dwayne ’The Rock’ Johnson does not always choose the best films, but the combination of these two Hollywood powerhouses has resulted in a film that is both thrilling and fun from beginning to end. More importantly, it offers a surprisngly original take on a familiar story amidst a summer flooded with predictable endings. It’s not about building a universe or continuing a trilogy with Hercules, the focus is solely on entertainment, and aside from a few missteps early on, it succeeds in a big way.

GRADE: B

Review written by James Shotwell

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Nina Corcoran <![CDATA[ALBUM STREAM: Twin Peaks – ‘Wild Onion’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123663 2014-07-29T16:26:11Z 2014-07-29T13:48:23Z Chicago’s youth ain’t got nothin’ on its under-21 fellows Twin Peaks. The four-piece pop rock group will drop their sophomore release, Wild Onion, on August 5, and it’s not just Chicago that’s cheering them on. In anticipation, they’ve put the whole rowdy, riffy, jovial record up for streaming on Pitchfork Advance.

After seeing their set at Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend, there was no denying they know what they’re doing. From tossing a guitar into the crowd first thing in the morning or yelling every lyric in their hometown’s backyard, Twin Peaks were on fire. That’s what …

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Chicago’s youth ain’t got nothin’ on its under-21 fellows Twin Peaks. The four-piece pop rock group will drop their sophomore release, Wild Onion, on August 5, and it’s not just Chicago that’s cheering them on. In anticipation, they’ve put the whole rowdy, riffy, jovial record up for streaming on Pitchfork Advance.

After seeing their set at Pitchfork Music Festival this weekend, there was no denying they know what they’re doing. From tossing a guitar into the crowd first thing in the morning or yelling every lyric in their hometown’s backyard, Twin Peaks were on fire. That’s what we expected, though, with their advice on where to hang in the city and their music video in Marilyn Manson’s old pool.

Stream the album over on Pitchfork Advance now!

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Scott Murray <![CDATA[REVIEW: Alive In Standby – ‘Never Ending’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123494 2014-07-29T05:19:55Z 2014-07-29T13:10:11Z Artist: Alive in Standby
Album: Never Ending
Genre: Progressive Pop-Punk

Alive in Standby have long been known for being wise beyond their years, displaying complexity and technicality rarely seen from teenage musicians. In 2011, the group released an impressive EP entitled Dream Status, which captured the attention of listeners around the world and flung the band into a whirlwind of tours and well-deserved exposure. Now, almost three full years later, the band has emerged from their cocoon to present their first full-length, Never Ending.

Unlike their previous release, which consisted of a mix of brutal post-hardcore breakdowns and …

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Artist: Alive in Standby
Album: Never Ending
Genre: Progressive Pop-Punk

Alive in Standby have long been known for being wise beyond their years, displaying complexity and technicality rarely seen from teenage musicians. In 2011, the group released an impressive EP entitled Dream Status, which captured the attention of listeners around the world and flung the band into a whirlwind of tours and well-deserved exposure. Now, almost three full years later, the band has emerged from their cocoon to present their first full-length, Never Ending.

Unlike their previous release, which consisted of a mix of brutal post-hardcore breakdowns and soaring cleans rivaling the work of Jonny Craig, listeners will find the second chapter of Alive in Standby jumps off into an entirely different direction.

Having traded out a few members and dropped from a quintet to a quartet has clearly affected the way the band operates, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be disappointed. To start, the unclean vocals have been largely reduced, making appearances in only a few of the new tracks. In addition, the electronic sequences have been traded for pianos and cleaner guitar tones, while the overall flavor of the band has moved into more of a heavy pop-punk. Think State Champs, The Starting Line, or The Body Rampant.

The opening track, “Punch My Face,” really sets the tone for the record with its angsty lyrics and driving pop-punk back beat. You’ll still catch some of the band’s hardcore roots in the guitar work, plus a sprinkling of piano that will become more present as the album continues. Next up, the single, “Stay Eighteen”; a slightly sugary pop track that could definitely be called radio-friendly.

Hardcore junkies, the third track is for you. “Not Aware” brings in heavier use of syncopated rhythms and pinch harmonics. It’s also where harsh vocals appear for the first time. The guys even slip in an instrumental breakdown for the moshers before dropping back into a catchy chorus that will get stuck in your head immediately. Then, seemingly out of nowhere, “After Hours” appears; a soft interlude about a girl that marks the first of three emotionally-driven slow songs that are evenly dispersed through Never Ending.

The album continues to impress through all 10 tracks and will provide no shortage of surprises. I honestly cannot say enough about the depth that Alive in Standby shows in this record. Perhaps even more impressive- these songs we’re written years ago, which is a testament to the band’s abilities, since Never Ending feels more like it was written last week.

Hardcore fans will be a little disappointed in the softer, more mature Alive in Standby, but the group has crafted a much more accessible sound that fans will really enjoy singing along to. In short, don’t let Alive in Standby fall below your radar- they’ve re-defined the music you love, and they’ll do it again.

SCORE: 9/10
Review written by Scott Murray

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Michael Giegerich <![CDATA[REVIEW: HELENA – ‘Levity Remixes’ EP (feat. Shawnee Taylor)]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123400 2014-07-29T05:16:36Z 2014-07-29T12:35:46Z Artist: HELENA (feat. Shawnee Taylor)
Album: Levity Remixes EP
Genre: Electro house
Label: Ultra Music

After having the chance to speak with HELENA at the time of the release of her collaboration with vocalist Shawnee Taylor, “Levity,” there was little doubt the Australian electro house producer would make her presence felt throughout the music scene, whether it be through her nonstop international touring or festival-ready anthems. With the release of the Levity Remixes EP, she has taken yet another step in the right direction by teaming up with a collection of fellow rising musicians and allowing them to put their …

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Artist: HELENA (feat. Shawnee Taylor)
Album: Levity Remixes EP
Genre: Electro house
Label: Ultra Music

After having the chance to speak with HELENA at the time of the release of her collaboration with vocalist Shawnee Taylor, “Levity,” there was little doubt the Australian electro house producer would make her presence felt throughout the music scene, whether it be through her nonstop international touring or festival-ready anthems. With the release of the Levity Remixes EP, she has taken yet another step in the right direction by teaming up with a collection of fellow rising musicians and allowing them to put their personal spins on “Levity.”

Fareoh, arguably the most recognizable name of the bunch, kicks off the EP with a fusion of stylistic flares. Glitching synths and a growling bass line ignite his remix, but the entirety of the remix is far from abrasive. Moving from the simplicity of Taylor’s stadium-filling vocals complemented by a sole piano to massive electro house drops drenched in warmth and positivity aplenty, he doesn’t hold back from fully injecting his array of sounds into the revised track.

The following take, courtesy of HELENA’s fellow Australian producer, Maarcos, takes a much different route. Embracing the progressive side of house music, the cut begins with a bouncy, bare-bones pulsation of an echoing synth-line and percussion while allowing it to build throughout the first half of the cut. Taylor’s chorus is eventually added into the mix as a gorgeous bridge that leads to what just might be the EP’s most dance-able climax, and pure bliss ensues.

As for Merk & Kremont’s remix, it is what seems to be most in tune with current electronic trends as the duo’s blend of electro house carries an underlying big room vibe that bounces along with every rave ready drop following the accelerated build-ups of Taylor’s now-familiar work. While not necessarily as unique as the two preceding mixes, it’s still a highly enjoyable showing of electronic energy.

HELENA should undoubtedly be ecstatic about the release of the Levity Remixes EP as her work has been masterfully retooled in a variety of exciting ways that fans from all sides of the house music spectrum will enjoy. Thus, her rise to the top continues.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Michael Giegerich (Follow him on Twitter)
Purchase the Levity Remixes EP on Beatport

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Kriston McConnell http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Watch Crown The Empire Perform An Acoustic Version Of “Millennia”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123758 2014-07-29T05:52:54Z 2014-07-29T05:52:54Z Crown The Empire are currently touring their second-ever Vans Warped Tour. They have been performing a couple of songs off their recently released album, The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways, and during their stop in Minnesota they performed an acoustic version of “Millennia.” You can watch the video below.

It almost seemed like it was their very first time performing in such an intimate setting, and started off a little awkward. If you wish to skip the awkwardness and just get to the song, you should start the video at around 1 min 40 sec.

There are just a …

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Crown The Empire are currently touring their second-ever Vans Warped Tour. They have been performing a couple of songs off their recently released album, The Resistance: Rise Of The Runaways, and during their stop in Minnesota they performed an acoustic version of “Millennia.” You can watch the video below.

It almost seemed like it was their very first time performing in such an intimate setting, and started off a little awkward. If you wish to skip the awkwardness and just get to the song, you should start the video at around 1 min 40 sec.

There are just a few dates left of Warped Tour, so if it hasn’t hit your city yet I would recommend you check the band out live as they put on a fun show.

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Kriston McConnell http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[A Great Big Pile Of Leaves Add Dates To Headlining Tour]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123746 2014-07-29T05:42:38Z 2014-07-29T05:09:54Z A Great Big Pile Of Leaves recently announced that they would be headlining an upcoming Topshelf Records tour starting this September. When they made their initial announcement, there were only a handful of dates, but now the band has confirmed even more dates for the tour. You can find the updated tour poster by taking a look below.

They will be on the road with labelmates Field Mouse, Prawn and Diamond Youth. Tickets for all stops are currently available for purchase.

AGBPOL Tour

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A Great Big Pile Of Leaves recently announced that they would be headlining an upcoming Topshelf Records tour starting this September. When they made their initial announcement, there were only a handful of dates, but now the band has confirmed even more dates for the tour. You can find the updated tour poster by taking a look below.

They will be on the road with labelmates Field Mouse, Prawn and Diamond Youth. Tickets for all stops are currently available for purchase.

AGBPOL Tour

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Kriston McConnell http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Stream The American Scene’s New Single, “4th And Broadway”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123722 2014-07-29T05:41:53Z 2014-07-29T04:45:13Z As of today, four of the five songs in The American Scene‘s first #hazedrop have been found. The most recent single was found by LA-based photographer Angelica Nicolle. The new song is titled “4th And Broadway,” and you can check it out by heading right here.

With this song now found, there is only one more track that hasn’t been discovered. That particular USB is in Oakland, California. Hopefully the band will release the next series of #hazedrops soon so we can hear some more songs!

Haze will officially hit stores September 9. You can grab either …

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As of today, four of the five songs in The American Scene‘s first #hazedrop have been found. The most recent single was found by LA-based photographer Angelica Nicolle. The new song is titled “4th And Broadway,” and you can check it out by heading right here.

With this song now found, there is only one more track that hasn’t been discovered. That particular USB is in Oakland, California. Hopefully the band will release the next series of #hazedrops soon so we can hear some more songs!

Haze will officially hit stores September 9. You can grab either a digital iTunes pre-order or a physical bundle from MerchNow.

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Tyler Hanan http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[‘As God Says’ Trailer: Takashi Miike Adapts Bloody Popular Comic]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123715 2014-07-29T03:37:32Z 2014-07-29T03:09:45Z At the end of last month, we learned that there is an adaptation of  Takashi Miike‘s Audition pending. The response was mixed at best. Now, at the end of this month, we’re much more excited for an adaptation by, not of, Miike.

As God Says was a 2011-12 comic book written by Muneyuki Kanshiro and drawn by Akeji Fujimura that, according to Variety, has sold 1.5 million paperback copies. The plot is a familiar, and suddenly popular, one – kids forced to kill each other.

It immediately conjures up Battle Royale and Hunger Games, this plot “about …

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At the end of last month, we learned that there is an adaptation of  Takashi Miike‘s Audition pending. The response was mixed at best. Now, at the end of this month, we’re much more excited for an adaptation by, not of, Miike.

As God Says was a 2011-12 comic book written by Muneyuki Kanshiro and drawn by Akeji Fujimura that, according to Variety, has sold 1.5 million paperback copies. The plot is a familiar, and suddenly popular, one – kids forced to kill each other.

It immediately conjures up Battle Royale and Hunger Games, this plot “about teenagers forced to play a deadly game by unknown forces.” It’s much more likely to be like the former than the latter – this is a Miike film, and there will be blood. There will be a lot of blood. There will also be a mouse costume, I guess.

“They live, some heads roll, they run, blood sprays, they cry, they laugh and then they die – in other words, a fun movie,” said Miike of the film.

Sota Fukushi stars; meet the cast of characters below.

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Kriston McConnell http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[MUSIC VIDEO: Fear And Wonder – “The Animal Inside”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123713 2014-07-29T02:53:03Z 2014-07-29T02:53:03Z Fear And Wonder teamed up with Bryan Stars to premiere the music video for their brand new single, “The Animal Inside.” This is the title track off their upcoming EP, which is set to be released this September. You can check out the video right below the break.

If you like what you hear, the single can be purchased through iTunes. There are currently two additional songs off the EP that are available on iTunes as well if you feel so inclined. Be sure to check in again soon for any updates on the official release date of the …

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Fear And Wonder teamed up with Bryan Stars to premiere the music video for their brand new single, “The Animal Inside.” This is the title track off their upcoming EP, which is set to be released this September. You can check out the video right below the break.

If you like what you hear, the single can be purchased through iTunes. There are currently two additional songs off the EP that are available on iTunes as well if you feel so inclined. Be sure to check in again soon for any updates on the official release date of the EP.

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Anthony Dobrini <![CDATA[Relient K Announce ‘Mmhmm’ 10th Anniversary Tour]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123679 2014-07-29T03:09:21Z 2014-07-29T02:34:49Z Relient K have (finally) announced a fall tour to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their mainstream debut record, Mmhmm. The band saw their first true success after signing with Capital Records in 2004 and releasing the singles “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” from Mmhmm. Frontman Matt Thiessen and guitarist Matt Hoopes currently remain as the only two original band members who played on the album.

It took nearly a month for the official announcement after a less-than-cryptic tweet was posted by the band in early July. Of course, this generated a good …

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Relient K have (finally) announced a fall tour to celebrate the ten year anniversary of their mainstream debut record, Mmhmm. The band saw their first true success after signing with Capital Records in 2004 and releasing the singles “Be My Escape” and “Who I Am Hates Who I’ve Been” from Mmhmm. Frontman Matt Thiessen and guitarist Matt Hoopes currently remain as the only two original band members who played on the album.

It took nearly a month for the official announcement after a less-than-cryptic tweet was posted by the band in early July. Of course, this generated a good amount of social media promotion as fans started posting and reflecting on an album that had become the epitome of the pop-punk era of the early 2000s.

Blondfire and From Indian Lakes will support Relient K on the tour. Tickets will go on sale Friday, August 1. See below for a list of tour dates to find out when they will be coming to your area.

Relient K - Mmhmm Tour

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Kriston McConnell http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Panic! At The Disco Announce “Girls/Girls/Boys” Inspired Shirts, Premiere Director’s Cut Music Video]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1123698 2014-07-29T02:08:14Z 2014-07-29T02:08:14Z Panic! At The Disco made a number of exciting announcements today, a couple of which there simply wasn’t enough space in the headline for.

First, the band revealed a director’s cut version of the music video for their single “Girls/Girls/Boys,” taken from their album Too Weird To Live, To Rare To Die!. That video is available to be viewed below the jump. In addition to the release of the video, P!ATD have announced that they just dropped two limited edition t-shirt styles that were inspired by the song. 100% of the proceeds from both of these shirts will be …

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Panic! At The Disco made a number of exciting announcements today, a couple of which there simply wasn’t enough space in the headline for.

First, the band revealed a director’s cut version of the music video for their single “Girls/Girls/Boys,” taken from their album Too Weird To Live, To Rare To Die!. That video is available to be viewed below the jump. In addition to the release of the video, P!ATD have announced that they just dropped two limited edition t-shirt styles that were inspired by the song. 100% of the proceeds from both of these shirts will be donated to the Human Rights Campaign. You can grab yourself a tee by heading here.

If you watch the video, be sure to Shazam it. Why? If you do, you can be entered to win the signed Fender® 2014 MLB All-Star Game Standard Stratocaster® Guitar used during the MLB All Star weekend. Pretty awesome, huh?

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