Under the Gun Review Entertainment news for today's generation 2015-07-28T18:56:48Z http://www.underthegunreview.net/feed/atom/ WordPress Sam Cohen <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Vacation’ Isn’t Worth The Trip Down Holiday Road]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153815 2015-07-28T18:56:48Z 2015-07-28T18:30:47Z Film: Vacation
Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Vacation–the successor to the last entry in the National Lampoon comedy series–opens on a series of pictures depicting seemingly idyllic families enjoying their vacations. In ye olde National Lampoon fashion, there are also a few visual gags centered on puking and erections (luckily, not in the same frame). From the get-go, this spiritual sequel (reboot? who cares?) is already trying to bring back the kind of humor that made the original quadrilogy so famous. Instead of relying on sight gags and absurdist …

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Film: Vacation
Starring: Ed Helms, Christina Applegate, Chris Hemsworth
Directed by: Jonathan M. Goldstein, John Francis Daley

Vacation–the successor to the last entry in the National Lampoon comedy series–opens on a series of pictures depicting seemingly idyllic families enjoying their vacations. In ye olde National Lampoon fashion, there are also a few visual gags centered on puking and erections (luckily, not in the same frame). From the get-go, this spiritual sequel (reboot? who cares?) is already trying to bring back the kind of humor that made the original quadrilogy so famous. Instead of relying on sight gags and absurdist humor (there’s an incest gag in the original film, people), Vacation follows a new family versed in more smarm than charm.

Rusty Griswold (Ed Helms) finds that his wife, Debbie (Christina Applegate), and two sons, James (Skyler Gisondo) and Kevin (Steele Stebbins) are stuck in neutral in every day life. Upon the eve of their yearly miserable vacation to a cabin in Michigan, Rusty comes up with an idea that will bring his family back together: take them to Walley World like Rusty’s father, Clark (Chevy Chase), did when he was a kid. Hijinks then ensue on the long road from Chicago to San Francisco when Rusty’s good but oblivious nature drive the family into seemingly comedic but uncomfortable situations.

Vacation is designed to be a laugh-a-minute comedy, raising the bar on jokes in quick succession so that the viewer won’t know what hit them when things come to a lull. The problem here is that the laughs are too few and bar between as droning lulls take over the 100-minute runtime. The film takes a meta route in the beginning, blatantly addressing that the film is indeed a sequel of some sorts and that it will stand on its own despite being tied to predecessors. Sure, this worked for 21 and 22 Jump Street. The problem here is that although the film desires to veer off course, it’s not the right one to be taken. It’s much more interested in doling out mean-spirited jokes revolving around things like Debbie’s sexually explorative past and James’ awkward inability to understand anything about puberty and growing up. The gags thrown around demean the characters instead of functioning as some quirky or offbeat quality, making the moments of emotional conflict fall flat.

Where the original family functioned as an understanding caricature of the normal picturesque family with issues, this one relies on gross-out gags to keep the wheels rolling. Luckily, there’s a steady stream of cameos to deter your attention from whatever dumb thing the Griswold family takes part in next. The saving grace of the film comes in the form of Leslie Mann and Chris Hemsworth, who play Rusty’s sister and her husband. Mann and Hemsworth seem attuned to the shoddy material, heightening themselves to the lofty caricatures that the material calls for, milking every worthy morsel out of their presence. Plus, as you may well know, Leslie Mann is so flawlessly great at bringing humanism to the most crazed of situations. Also, Chevy Chase and Beverly D’Angelo (the original Griswold patriarch and matriarch) show up for a quick cameo to restore faith in Rusty that he’s a good father doing the right thing. Must have been a nice paycheck. When you wait until this releases on Blu-ray and DVD, because you should, fast-forward to the end to watch a really funny fist-fight between the Griswolds and another family to the tune of Sleigh Bells’ “Crown on the Ground.”

Vacation isn’t the worst thing to happen to comedy recently. Seriously, I hope not to see hot-takes on the film decrying “it ruined my childhood!” this weekend. After all, this one is written and directed by the same guys behind Horrible Bosses 2. So it could definitely be worse.

GRADE: D+

Review written by: Sam Cohen (Follow him on Twitter!)

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Brian Lion http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Circa Survive Announce 10-Year Anniversary Tour, Deluxe Vinyl Reissues For ‘Juturna’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153833 2015-07-28T18:32:31Z 2015-07-28T16:49:56Z As suspected, due to their semi-cryptic teases online last week, Circa Survive have announced the long-awaited ten-year anniversary tour for their fan-favorite debut LP, Juturna. Throughout October and November, the band will share the stage with RX Bandits and at least one TBA band for several shows around the US and Canada. Those dates can seen below.

Furthermore, the band has released pre-orders for a 3xLP deluxe vinyl reissue of Juturna with a ton of bonus tracks and extended artwork. The set is limited to 2,500 copies so get your orders in ASAP. VIP tickets for the tour, which …

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As suspected, due to their semi-cryptic teases online last week, Circa Survive have announced the long-awaited ten-year anniversary tour for their fan-favorite debut LP, Juturna. Throughout October and November, the band will share the stage with RX Bandits and at least one TBA band for several shows around the US and Canada. Those dates can seen below.

Furthermore, the band has released pre-orders for a 3xLP deluxe vinyl reissue of Juturna with a ton of bonus tracks and extended artwork. The set is limited to 2,500 copies so get your orders in ASAP. VIP tickets for the tour, which include a bunch of goodies and an exclusive acoustic performance are on sale now. General admission tickets will go on sale this Friday, July 31 at 10am local time.

Taking to Facebook today, frontman Anthony Green shares:

“This fall we’ll be touring North America celebrating the 10 year anniversary of ‘Juturna’ by performing the record in its entirety. It’s hard to believe this album is ten years old because it still means so much to me. It’s the first chapter in the story of Circa Survive and I owe so much to it. Playing these songs is like reading a message I wrote to myself from the past and I can’t wait celebrate them with new and old fans. – Anthony”

Circa tour

Circa Survive w/RX Bandits and TBA
Oct 23 New York, NY @ Best Buy Theater
Oct 24 Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!
Oct 25 Boston, MA @ House of Blues
Oct 27 Montreal, QC @ Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre
Oct 28 Toronto, ON @ Danforth Music Hall
Oct 30 Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
Oct 31 Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre
Nov 01 Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theatre
Nov 02 Minneapolis, MN @ Mill City Nights
Nov 04 Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre
Nov 05 Salt Lake City, UT @ The Complex
Nov 07 Portland, OR @ Roseland Theater
Nov 08 Seattle, WA @ Showbox At The Market
Nov 10 San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
Nov 13 San Diego, CA @ House of Blues
Nov 14 Los Angeles, CA @ Shrine Expo Hall
Nov 15 Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee
Nov 17 Dallas, TX @ House of Blues
Nov 18 San Antonio, TX @ Backstage Live
Nov 19 Houston, TX @ House of Blues
Nov 21 Tampa, FL @ The Ritz Ybor
Nov 22 Orlando, FL @ House of Blues
Nov 23 Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
Nov 25 Charlotte, NC @ The Fillmore
Nov 27 Philadelphia, PA @ Electric Factory
Nov 28 Sayreville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom

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Kyle Florence http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Day Wave Premieres New Video For “Drag”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153828 2015-07-28T16:11:15Z 2015-07-28T16:11:15Z Day Wave has shared a new music video for his track “Drag,” a particularly contagious cut off his excellent debut EP, Headcase.

The camcorder-shot clip follows one-man-band Jackson Phillips as he wanders around the Bay Area, traversing mountainsides and tiptoeing down train tracks. Check it out after the break, and let us know if you’re a fan in the comments section.

Phillips will spend the latter half of September on the road, tearing up the West Coast alongside Blonde Redhead. A full itinerary can additionally be found below.

Day Wave Tour Dates:

8/4/15 San Francisco, CA @ Phoenix …

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Day Wave has shared a new music video for his track “Drag,” a particularly contagious cut off his excellent debut EP, Headcase.

The camcorder-shot clip follows one-man-band Jackson Phillips as he wanders around the Bay Area, traversing mountainsides and tiptoeing down train tracks. Check it out after the break, and let us know if you’re a fan in the comments section.

Phillips will spend the latter half of September on the road, tearing up the West Coast alongside Blonde Redhead. A full itinerary can additionally be found below.

Day Wave Tour Dates:

8/4/15 San Francisco, CA @ Phoenix Hotel
8/8/15 San Francisco, CA @ Brick & Mortar – Outside Lands Aftershow
8/19/15 New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge
9/15/15 Seattle, WA @ Neptune *
9/17/15 Vancouver, Canada @ Imperial *
9/19/15 Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom *
9/21/15 San Francisco, CA @ The Independent *
9/23/15 Los Angeles, CA @ Center for the Arts, Eagle Rock *
9/24/15 Los Angeles, CA @ Bootleg Bar *
9/26/15 San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar
* supporting Blonde Redhead

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Matthew Leimkuehler http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[UTG PREMIERE: Look Out Love – “Never Know”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153816 2015-07-28T14:42:34Z 2015-07-28T14:40:46Z Pop rock’s never sounded so luscious.

That’s the first thing that comes to mind when hearing Look Out Love’s new single, “Never Know.” The song swings and grooves and contains one of the most passionately unique vocal deliveries for a pop rock song released in recent memory. It mixes elements of an indie rock nature while still staying true to a pop rock backbone — the best of both avenues.

The song comes off of Look Out Love’s new EP, Oh Boy, which is due out Sept. 1. Look Out Love mastermind Jordan Benker had this to say …

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Pop rock’s never sounded so luscious.

That’s the first thing that comes to mind when hearing Look Out Love’s new single, “Never Know.” The song swings and grooves and contains one of the most passionately unique vocal deliveries for a pop rock song released in recent memory. It mixes elements of an indie rock nature while still staying true to a pop rock backbone — the best of both avenues.

The song comes off of Look Out Love’s new EP, Oh Boy, which is due out Sept. 1. Look Out Love mastermind Jordan Benker had this to say about the new release:

“If there was a way to sum up what the future of Look Out Love holds, it would be the Oh Boy EP. These 4 songs all have a certain raw and real persona, and each track stands out with their own unique Look Out Love quirks. The range of emotions felt on the record spans a pretty large scale, and it’s only a plus that each song will make you want to dance.”

Listen to “Never Know” now and leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Watch Leon Bridges Perform “Coming Home” Acoustic]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153813 2015-07-28T15:56:11Z 2015-07-28T13:47:55Z 2015 is the year of Leon Bridges. In a time where everyone is fighting over social media about whether or not they get the opportunities or co-signs they deserve, Bridges is focused solely on resurrecting a long lost sound that is desperately needed in today’s music climate. We have been following his rise since the fall of 2014, and with the release of Coming Home in June he took yet another step towards being the international sensation we know he will eventually become.

Recently, Bridges made a trip to New York to create a unique acoustic visual for his …

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2015 is the year of Leon Bridges. In a time where everyone is fighting over social media about whether or not they get the opportunities or co-signs they deserve, Bridges is focused solely on resurrecting a long lost sound that is desperately needed in today’s music climate. We have been following his rise since the fall of 2014, and with the release of Coming Home in June he took yet another step towards being the international sensation we know he will eventually become.

Recently, Bridges made a trip to New York to create a unique acoustic visual for his debut album’s title track. The final product is a essentially a five-minute story capturing the feelings behind the song, as well as a breathtaking performance set in the partially-restored Old Bronx Borough Courthouse. You can view the clip below.

Having literally written over five-thousand words about Bridges and his impending superstardom I am at a loss for what more needs to be said to sell you on his talents. This video more than speaks for itself, as does the majority of his catalog. If you aren’t on the Leon Bridges bandwagon then you’re late to the party. Get your dancing shoes on and catch up with the rest of us.

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Rustie’s Remix Of Ginuwine’s “Pony” Might Change Your Life]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153809 2015-07-28T15:52:25Z 2015-07-28T13:25:41Z Magic Mike XXL was everything fans of the series could have hope it would be, but yesterday we discovered one unused song from the film that might have made things even better.

EDM favorite Rustie revealed to the world Monday afternoon that he had created a remix of Ginuwine’s classic track “Pony” for the Channing Tatum-led sequel, but the song was ultimately cut from the film ahead of its official release. Rustie didn’t know what to do with the song otherwise, so he decided to throw it up online for fans to enjoy. You can stream the track below.

I’m …

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Magic Mike XXL was everything fans of the series could have hope it would be, but yesterday we discovered one unused song from the film that might have made things even better.

EDM favorite Rustie revealed to the world Monday afternoon that he had created a remix of Ginuwine’s classic track “Pony” for the Channing Tatum-led sequel, but the song was ultimately cut from the film ahead of its official release. Rustie didn’t know what to do with the song otherwise, so he decided to throw it up online for fans to enjoy. You can stream the track below.

I’m never the first person to lose their mind over a remix, but Rustie has done something special with “Pony” that I cannot properly describe. The song is as infectious as ever, but there are several new tracks in the mix that make the entire affair feel downright futuristic. Hopefully a download becomes available soon.

You can probably still catch Magic Mike XXL in theaters, and if that’s the case we highly suggest you do before it leaves the big screen forever. It’s a silly movie, but it’s also a whole lot of fun.

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Sam Cohen <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘I Am Chris Farley’ Adds Nothing New, Still Manages To Be Funny]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153795 2015-07-27T20:19:18Z 2015-07-27T20:17:52Z Film: I Am Chris Farley
Directed by: Brent Hodge, Derik Murray

Chris Farley, that bubbly, rambunctious, endearing, laugh-a-minute inducing lovable Saturday Night Live comedian, is the subject of the new talking heads doc, I Am Chris Farley. Despite sporting a title that could be misread for Farley talking directly to the viewer, directors Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale) and Derik Murray (I Am Bruce Lee) make the 92-minute running time feel swift with archival footage from Farley’s best skits and first-hand accounts of his comedic prowess. The main narrative of the film may be scattershot, …

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Film: I Am Chris Farley
Directed by: Brent Hodge, Derik Murray

Chris Farley, that bubbly, rambunctious, endearing, laugh-a-minute inducing lovable Saturday Night Live comedian, is the subject of the new talking heads doc, I Am Chris Farley. Despite sporting a title that could be misread for Farley talking directly to the viewer, directors Brent Hodge (A Brony Tale) and Derik Murray (I Am Bruce Lee) make the 92-minute running time feel swift with archival footage from Farley’s best skits and first-hand accounts of his comedic prowess. The main narrative of the film may be scattershot, the ruminations on drug abuse may be surface-level and the testimonials may be repetitive, but Farley’s effervescent spirit leaks through every minute of the film.

Farley passed away in December of 1997 from an accidental drug overdose, sending a shockwave through the comedy community that he was a member of. We might know him as the loser-turned-hero in Tommy Boy or the angry bus driver in Billy Madison, but those close to him knew him as one of the most kind-hearted and gentle men to grace the earth. I Am Chris Farley is the attempt to humanize a man that has already been humanized.

Christina Applegate, Tom Arnold, Bo Derek, Jon Lovitz, Bob Saget, Will Sasso, Molly Shannon, David Spade and Mike Myers. These are only a few of the comedians and comediennes who lend their personal accounts of Farley to the film. Stories include behind-the-scenes looks into the Chippendales skit on SNL with Patrick Swayze to the development of Matt Foley, the motivational speaker made famous for screaming “when you live in a van down by the river!” These stories function as loose vignettes, all serving all but one ordinary purpose: to humanize the subject at the center of the film.

Humanization isn’t something the subject needs, though. For those who grew up watching Farley’s talents, it was incredibly easy to see the man’s eagerness to please. He had a way about him that would fill a room with cheer and joy, even if he were being seen through a television screen. Drug abuse and the parasitic qualities of stardom resembled the side of his life that the general public was kept from seeing. To an extent, that’s a good thing. When we delve too much into other people’s affairs—people we have little personal knowledge of—things become borderline voyeuristic and we start becoming the people who drive people like Farley into isolation. On the other hand, curiosity kills the cat. People want to know about the events that conspired around his death and how he got there. That’s human nature, and for the most part, people want a deeper understanding because they have an admiration or love for people like Farley.

Alas, though, this isn’t that type of movie. If you’re looking for some emotionally hard-hitting record that paints a rounded portrait of Farley, warts and all, then you’ll have to look elsewhere. If you want to bide your time with hearing famous comedians pontificate about the man they knew and loved—most of the time to a very funny degree—then I Am Chris Farley is for you.

GRADE: B-

I Am Chris Farley opens this Friday in major markets before heading to VOD on August 11. For more information, head on over to the website: http://www.iamchrisfarley.com/

Review written by: Sam Cohen (Follow him on Twitter!)

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Brian Lion http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Wet Go Roller Skating In New Video For “You’re The Best”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153798 2015-07-27T20:07:47Z 2015-07-27T20:07:47Z Wet have yet to truly blow up but they’re well on their way. Hopefully their upcoming debut full-length will get them all the attention they deserve.

In 2013, the New York pop/R&B trio released one of my favorite EPs of the year, or last several years really. They also released a video for one of the EP’s singles, titled “You’re The Best.” However, as the track will also be featured on their new album, Don’t You, it’s been given a visual makeover with a brand new video that takes place at a roller skating rink. Vocalist Kelly Zutrau tells …

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Wet have yet to truly blow up but they’re well on their way. Hopefully their upcoming debut full-length will get them all the attention they deserve.

In 2013, the New York pop/R&B trio released one of my favorite EPs of the year, or last several years really. They also released a video for one of the EP’s singles, titled “You’re The Best.” However, as the track will also be featured on their new album, Don’t You, it’s been given a visual makeover with a brand new video that takes place at a roller skating rink. Vocalist Kelly Zutrau tells Billboard (where the video premiered today), “We’ve been skating a lot in our town because there’s not too much to do at night. One night we were just at the mall skating and I took a video of Joe doing a trick and we realized it would make the perfect video for ‘You’re The Best.’”

You can see the video below. Be on the lookout for Don’t You, their 11-track debut LP, coming soon from Columbia Records.

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Drew Caruso <![CDATA[REVIEW: Foreign Tongues – ‘Fragile, As Said Before’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153772 2015-07-27T06:13:09Z 2015-07-27T13:45:45Z Artist: Foreign Tongues
Album: Fragile, As Said Before
Label: No Sleep
Genre: Indie, Sadness

A catalyst for somber emotive imagery and tenderness felt, the best way to experience Foreign Tongues‘ debut record is by imagining a simple, empty white room, being sure to give this space enough room to bloom. A room to be filled with vast amounts of sound, pain, beauty, demure and efflorescence, as the band masterfully performs to you an album of heartfelt honesty, pain and sensation. “Fill me up, oh you fill me up.”

Fragile, As Said Before may be one of the strongest debuts …

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Artist: Foreign Tongues
Album: Fragile, As Said Before
Label: No Sleep
Genre: Indie, Sadness

A catalyst for somber emotive imagery and tenderness felt, the best way to experience Foreign Tongues‘ debut record is by imagining a simple, empty white room, being sure to give this space enough room to bloom. A room to be filled with vast amounts of sound, pain, beauty, demure and efflorescence, as the band masterfully performs to you an album of heartfelt honesty, pain and sensation. “Fill me up, oh you fill me up.”

Fragile, As Said Before may be one of the strongest debuts in recent years, and that is simply because it plays nothing like one. Foreign Tongues have created a dense, atmospheric, and real piece of art that is a collective eleven tracks distinctly providing the listener with different experiences. With all the grandiose atmospheres the band creates, one of the most important aspects of the work lies not with its ambition, but its restraint. With growing layers and textures of sound, it could certainly be easy to get lost in the maddening flushes of sounds. Foreign Tongues tackle this with ease, showcasing restraint by making sure that every sound is there for a purpose, in turn making each sound emitted illuminated.

Beginning with “Fools of Love,” the album starts modestly, catching the listener to a simple groove moments before the entire band comes in. Singer/guitarist Cameron Moretti sings with painful ease, “I’d rather waste this time with you,” in such a defeated delivery that every word spilling into the room is written with polished importance. Guitarists Al Drivas, James Scuderi and Moretti flood the soundscape with bright tones and riffs, as bassist Andy Tamulonis and drummer Joseph Barthelette ground the track with thundering rhythms, keeping the stretching reaches of sound the band emits in check, holding everything together.

This methodology repeats as Moretti brings us through a tour of pain, fragility and sorrow, backed by musicianship that creates consistently new and vast sounds, bringing versatility that shines over recent acts, let alone debut records. “Assembly” continues the upbeat sound of “Fools of Love,” while “Halo” and the crushingly defeating “Hurt You” slow things down, with “Hurt You” featuring a wonderful reprise of “Flourish,” a track from the band’s earlier catalog. Lines like “I can hold your drink while you cry in the restroom, is there nothing new to talk about…do you ever want to hurt yourself, because I hurt you” stab with sharp realism, as the frailty of Fragile, As Said Before begins to unravel.

“Little Doors” is an eerie track that leads into the catchy, imagery-stuffed acoustic track “Sundress,” filled with ambient sound and piano. “Concrete Pillow” may have one of the most surprising synth breaks around the mid-track mark, an experience I wish I could be pleasantly surprised with for the first time all over again. “Placebo” is a slow, brooding track, that again shows the band’s strong ability to practice restraint and create meaningful songs and emotions over flash. “Collect Yourself” has a soaring, heartbreaking chorus, with Moretti claiming, “I just want to feel love tonight, I want to make love with someone who won’t love me ’cause I am incapable of love, and I’m incapable of loving myself.” “Leap Year,” distinctly influenced by The National, brings piano front and center, acting as one of the more interesting delves from expectations of the album.

Closing with “Our Fragile Pain,” Fragile, As Said Before ends modestly, like it begins. Though that modesty should not be taken without weight, as “Our Fragile Pain” brings just as much realism and pain as any of the other tracks, ending the album with simplicity, something surely needed after the heavy and daunting experience of taking in everything Fragile, As Said Before has to offer.

Beautifully and carefully crafted sounds emanate throughout the entire experience of Fragile, As Said Before, as Foreign Tongues have created a dense, and heavy atmosphere for the listener to get lost in. With stellar production from Jay Maas, and even more stellar musicianship from the band, Fragile, As Said Before stands as one of, if not the best release thus far in 2015. Let the band take you through their fragile experiences filled with lush sound and instrumentation, as vocals narrate your journey through realism covered in motifs of love, loss, pain and defeat.

SCORE: 9.5/10
Review written by Drew Caruso – Follow him on Twitter.

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Brian Lion http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[UTG INTERVIEW: Secondborn Discuss ‘Symbols’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153773 2015-07-27T05:51:01Z 2015-07-27T12:30:10Z Last month, Louisiana six-piece Secondborn released Symbols, a new six-track EP that echoes back to the glory days of emo-rock and post-hardcore from the mid-2000s with bands like Saosin, The Classic Crime and Matchbook Romance. So, needless to say, Secondborn fit comfortably in with the current resurgence of such bands and reunions with their own fresh take on the sound.

We had to chance to speak with guitarist Patrick Trumps recently and discussed the band’s formation, the Symbols EP and its follow-up they’ve already begun working on. You can read through our conversation below and check out more material …

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Last month, Louisiana six-piece Secondborn released Symbols, a new six-track EP that echoes back to the glory days of emo-rock and post-hardcore from the mid-2000s with bands like Saosin, The Classic Crime and Matchbook Romance. So, needless to say, Secondborn fit comfortably in with the current resurgence of such bands and reunions with their own fresh take on the sound.

We had to chance to speak with guitarist Patrick Trumps recently and discussed the band’s formation, the Symbols EP and its follow-up they’ve already begun working on. You can read through our conversation below and check out more material from the band on their website.

I know you guys individually have a lot of history in various bands and such. Can you tell me a bit about past attempts and how everything led you all to become Secondborn?

Tim (guitars/synths) and I played in bands that did the whole touring and label showcases for majors and indies alike. Fast forward a few years and Tim approached me about this project he wanted me to join with Daniel (vocals) and himself. Lee (drums) was recruited as well. It was originally supposed to be just a recording project. A few songs in and we had the itch to play shows. So we got Stefan (guitar) and Alex (bass) on board.

As far as influences and inspirations go, who are some bands and artists you feel are important to you guys and may have played a key role in how your sound has developed to this point?

We all listen to different bands and music styles. I don’t think Tim and Daniel started this project with a certain sound in mind. We do like bands like Thrice, Further Seems Forever and Saosin, collectively. I think we each have our own individual influences that really kind of make up the Secondborn sound.

Do you guys have an interest in signing with a label if options were offered or do you wish to stay independent?

I know we would love to do this as a job. If the right label came along at the right time with the right deal, yeah, sure. We all have full time jobs and a few of us are married. So it’d have to be the right thing. We’re having a blast doing it all ourselves, though.

As far as the writing and recording process for Symbols, how was the experience for you guys from beginning to end, especially compared to your work in previous bands?

Tim engineered and mixed the EP from his home studio as we found it allowed us the most freedom to produce exactly what we wanted. His engineering and mixing have definitely improved since we started recording Symbols. That being said, being a six-piece and having six people completely happy with each song was no small task. With Symbols, we worked at our own pace. We’d track a song and think we would be finished with it. But we all had a philosophy that “no song was safe until it’s off to the press.” The way we recorded Symbols was much more relaxed than Tim and I’s previous recordings.

For those who may not have heard your music yet, how would you describe this EP in terms of sound and lyricism?

I think, personally, our sound has a throwback to early and mid-2000s. It’s hard rock with small elements of prog, pop punk-ish and maybe a dash of metal. Hard to really pinpoint. We love big catchy choruses and we also love interesting and heavy parts. Lyrically, it’s about energy and being positive. It’s about the moments in life that wake us up, challenging or not, and how we with deal with them.

In your press release, it mentions that you guys wanted to focus more on this record than touring as you have in the past. Will that stay true moving forward now that the record is out or have you reconsidered and have any plans to play shows steadily?

We’ve played a few shows since we finished Symbols. We’re actually writing the next EP that we hope to release at the end of this year. We always intended on doing another EP to complement Symbols. So we’re currently busy with that but we’ll be playing a few shows as well. I don’t think extensive touring is in the works but you never know.

What do you think each of you would be doing if you had for whatever reason never taken the path of musicians?

Well we’re actually doing both (careers and music). Stefan’s a CPA, I work in IT and Tim owns a music academy where he and Lee teach. Alex owns his own media company. Hard to say with Daniel; he just likes to travel and experience the world.

Lastly, for fun, what were your guys’ first concert experiences?

I think my first concert was possibly Everclear. The only other band on the bill that I remember was Hagfish. Everclear had just put out their first record, World Of Noise. This was in the mid-90s, I think. It was pretty awesome. Crazy enough, Daniel actually saw Brooks and Dunn, not of his choosing. Lee’s first concert was a blink-182/New Found Glory show. Stefan’s first rock show was the Red Hot Chili Peppers…with Snoop Dogg opening up for them [laughs].

*Feature photo by Alexander Breaux

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[Drake Just Premiered 3 New Songs On His Beats 1 Radio Show]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153765 2015-07-26T02:22:53Z 2015-07-26T02:10:32Z The most talked about man in hip-hop just gave the world more reasons to keep his name in headlines for another week.

Drake just wrapped the second episode of his Beats 1 radio show, OVO Sound, and for the second week in a row he used his airtime to share some new material. Three new tracks in total were shared with fans over a two-hour period, including a response to Meek Mill‘s recent ghostwriter accusations titled “Charged Up” and a crazy remix of D.R.A.M.’s viral hit “Cha Cha.” You can stream all three tracks below.

Everyone has …

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The most talked about man in hip-hop just gave the world more reasons to keep his name in headlines for another week.

Drake just wrapped the second episode of his Beats 1 radio show, OVO Sound, and for the second week in a row he used his airtime to share some new material. Three new tracks in total were shared with fans over a two-hour period, including a response to Meek Mill‘s recent ghostwriter accusations titled “Charged Up” and a crazy remix of D.R.A.M.’s viral hit “Cha Cha.” You can stream all three tracks below.

Everyone has been on pins and needles while awaiting Drake’s response to Meek’s comments from earlier in the week, and it’s safe to say “Charged Up” is exactly what fans hoped to hear. Set against a slowed, minimalist beat the so-called 6 God barely raises his voice above a whisper while taking several jabs at Maybach Music Group’s golden boy. Drake mentions everything from Meek’s album sales to his relationship with Nicki Minaj and his decision to start a rap beef while cops are killing innocent people in the street. It’s one of Drake-iest Drake moments of all time, and it feels like it’s only the beginning of what could be the first great rap battle in many years.

Meek Mill fired off a few sassy tweets shortly after “Charged Up” hit the net, but I expect a new track will be coming in the not-too-distant future as well. For now, listen to the material below and let us know which one you enjoy the most.

“Right Hand”

“Cha Cha” (Remix)

“Charged Up”

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Kyle Florence http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Polyenso Share Tranquil New Single, “Osaka Son”]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153757 2015-07-26T02:19:27Z 2015-07-26T00:59:12Z Late yesterday, Polyenso graced the interwebs with a dreamy new single titled “Osaka Son,” taken from their impending sophomore LP, Pure In The Plastic. Give it a listen below (via Consequence Of Sound).

“This song is about head versus heart,” vocalist Alex Schultz told COS. “In this case, you’re focusing on the head. It’s about all of those things you do throughout your life–big and small–that may not fulfill your soul, but for the meantime, you’re content because you’ve satisfied some kind of immediate desire. Like sleeping with someone you don’t love, or spending frivolously on things outside …

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Late yesterday, Polyenso graced the interwebs with a dreamy new single titled “Osaka Son,” taken from their impending sophomore LP, Pure In The Plastic. Give it a listen below (via Consequence Of Sound).

“This song is about head versus heart,” vocalist Alex Schultz told COS. “In this case, you’re focusing on the head. It’s about all of those things you do throughout your life–big and small–that may not fulfill your soul, but for the meantime, you’re content because you’ve satisfied some kind of immediate desire. Like sleeping with someone you don’t love, or spending frivolously on things outside of your means, or taking drugs…”

Truth be told, the Florida trio’s latest offering is a little hard to describe, but this should come as no surprise to fans of the outfit’s 2013 debut, One Big Particular Loop. As expected, Polyenso have crafted a tune that is haunting, memorable and wholly unique all at the same time. If you dig it, let us know in the replies.

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Brian Lion http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[UTG PREMIERE: Stream Zach Zeller & The Crooked Timbers’ Self-Titled Debut]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153712 2015-07-24T00:38:55Z 2015-07-24T17:00:23Z Three long years ago, we featured California’s Zach Zeller & The Crooked Timbers with some early tracks from the still-budding band. We later premiered the debut self-titled album from frontman Zach Zeller’s other band, Belda Beast. Now, we’re thrilled to have the exclusive first stream of Zeller’s solo project turned full band’s self-titled debut as well. Zach Zeller & The Crooked Timbers will be officially released on August 1 through Around Town Collective.

In regards to the album, Zeller tells us, “We recorded the album at Origami Recording Lounge in Chico, CA (owned and operated by our keys …

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Three long years ago, we featured California’s Zach Zeller & The Crooked Timbers with some early tracks from the still-budding band. We later premiered the debut self-titled album from frontman Zach Zeller’s other band, Belda Beast. Now, we’re thrilled to have the exclusive first stream of Zeller’s solo project turned full band’s self-titled debut as well. Zach Zeller & The Crooked Timbers will be officially released on August 1 through Around Town Collective.

In regards to the album, Zeller tells us, “We recorded the album at Origami Recording Lounge in Chico, CA (owned and operated by our keys player, Scott Barwick). This is the first recording I’ve ever done in a professional studio and the first solo project recording using the full band. There are multiple themes within the songs including loss (‘The Letter’), love (‘Limbs in a Fight’), greed (‘Oh My Son’) and observation (‘Wonder Why’).”

You can stream the full 8-track release below, and if you happen to be in the Northern California area, the band will be playing a record release show at The Temple in Redding tomorrow, July 25. Doors open at 8pm and the show starts at 8:30. More details can be found on the band’s Facebook.

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Pixels’ Is A Disaster In Every Way]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153744 2015-07-24T15:35:40Z 2015-07-24T14:56:20Z Film: Pixels
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James
Directed by: Chris Columbus

Adam Sandler has official hit rock bottom, and he’s dragging your childhood heroes, as well as the great Peter Dinklage, down with him.

Pixels is exactly what we fear seeing when we pay to go to the movies. From beginning to end the film, which plays like an extended version of the spoiler heavy trailer with needless exposition added to extend its running time, is a complete waste of everything needed to make movies. The cast—while talented—folds completely under the pressure to make something memorable out of what I …

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Film: Pixels
Starring: Adam Sandler, Kevin James
Directed by: Chris Columbus

Adam Sandler has official hit rock bottom, and he’s dragging your childhood heroes, as well as the great Peter Dinklage, down with him.

Pixels is exactly what we fear seeing when we pay to go to the movies. From beginning to end the film, which plays like an extended version of the spoiler heavy trailer with needless exposition added to extend its running time, is a complete waste of everything needed to make movies. The cast—while talented—folds completely under the pressure to make something memorable out of what I can only imagine was a paper thin script, and the plot has so many holes you are forced to question whether or not anyone read the screenplay before stepping foot on set. It’s a complete and utter disaster, which I pray none of you ever choose to experience…especially if you have to pay for admission.

The premise is simple. So simple, in fact, that the story was initially told through a three-minute short film created by Patrick Jean. Pixels, which was directed by Chris Columbus, runs nearly two hours in length and requires just over thirty minutes to explain what Jean was able to express in a fraction of the time due to an abhorrent amount of immediately forgotten jokes and tired retreads of the classic trope that all gamers are essentially useless in the real world. This is an idea that may have carried some weight a decade ago, but gaming is almost a universal pastime at this point. Even my grandparents have games on their phones in 2015, but this is a fact Pixels chooses to ignore so it can cash in on quick, humorless jabs at various main characters whenever the story calls for added exposition.

The reason aliens have chosen to attack the Earth is due to a message we beamed into space several decades back. It seems the governments of the world wanted to share our culture with anyone in space who could receive our dispatch, including video games, but they never stopped to think whether or not aliens would understand the meaning and purpose of those games. In Pixels, the planet receiving our messages see the games displayed as an example of war, and they decide to challenge our planet in a series of competitions to see who is better. If they win, we die. If we win, they leave. It’s an explanation that only makes enough sense to propel the story forward, but it’s never thought out enough to be entirely convincing. Why would aliens challenge us to games we created? Why would they sometimes choose to appear as the bad guy, as they do in a scene involving the game Centipede, then turn around and appear as the good guy moments later (as they do when Pac-Man attacks New York)? If anything, the aliens never really seem to understand the games, which makes their decision to use them as a weapon against us even more bizarre.

If the jokes, acting, or surrounding narrative elements were any good I could probably overlook the numerous gaping plot holes found in Pixels, but the entire affair feels like an excuse to burn studio cash. Kevin James, Peter Dinklage, Josh Gad and Michelle Monaghan are tasked with helping Sandler sell the story to the audience, as well as several notable actors and actresses who appear in bit parts, but not a single person can deliver a believable performance in this underdeveloped slog. Maybe they knew during production what kind of disaster they were making and simply decided to check out. I’m not sure, but at least that would tell us that they too realize what a complete waste of digital celluloid this entire affair turned out to be.

It’s not even clear who Pixels was made to entertain. It’s certainly not made for kids as none of the references touch on games released in the last two decades, but the focus on Sandler’s lifelong laziness tells me it’s also not for thirty-somethings like myself who remember playing the games that appear in the film as children. If anything, the film seems to be targeting those who may or may not be pushing fifty that feel as if the only thing good that ever happened in their lives was the day they discovered video games. While I’m sure that is indeed a market that can be targeted, there is no way it’s big enough to justify a film that makes next to no effort to pander to any other set of gamers whatsoever.

Before I write so much that my review becomes as redundant and tiring as the film it’s focused on, allow me to summarize my thoughts by saying that Pixels will go down in history as one of the worst films of 2015. It’s also one of the most expensive-looking disasters I’ve seen in many years. It’s as if someone gave Adam Sandler a truck filled with money, turned their back, and never again looked to see how their cash was being spent. By spent, I might as well say burned, because that is exactly what this film appears to do with every good idea or person involved; it burns them. When the credits roll, it’s a miracle Sandler and his friends don’t appear in the background, laughing their asses off at the fact they’ve once again roped us into giving them our money while hundred dollar bills rain from the sky and fall at their feet.

Please don’t buy into this trash.

GRADE: F

Review written by James Shotwell

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Unexpected’ Is A Wonderfully Simple Indie Gem]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153732 2015-07-24T00:17:11Z 2015-07-24T13:45:37Z Film: Unexpected
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Gail Bean
Directed by: Kris Swanberg

Unless you’re planning for it, the news that you’re about to have a baby can be both an exciting and terrifying experience in someone’s life. For Samantha Abbott (Cobie Smulders), there was probably no good time for the news that she would soon give birth to her first child to arrive. It’s not that she never wanted children, but she always planned to have them at some unknown point in the future when her life was a bit more settled. Unfortunately for Samantha, life rarely cares about the plans …

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Film: Unexpected
Starring: Cobie Smulders, Gail Bean
Directed by: Kris Swanberg

Unless you’re planning for it, the news that you’re about to have a baby can be both an exciting and terrifying experience in someone’s life. For Samantha Abbott (Cobie Smulders), there was probably no good time for the news that she would soon give birth to her first child to arrive. It’s not that she never wanted children, but she always planned to have them at some unknown point in the future when her life was a bit more settled. Unfortunately for Samantha, life rarely cares about the plans we make.

Forced to face the news she and her longtime boyfriend (Anders Holm) will soon be having their first child, Samantha immediately begins taking steps to create a better life for her unborn baby, but soon is struck by surprise once more when she learns that the school, where she works as a science teacher, will soon be closing its doors. With a due date in early August, the chances of finding a new career in education before the baby arrives seems unlikely, and suddenly Samantha begins to realize just how life-changing the process of having a child will be for her and the world she’s spent three decades piecing together. Still, she’s determined to see it through.

At the same time this is happening, a senior at Samantha’s school named Jasmine (Gail Bean) discovers she too is pregnant. Her circumstances are nothing like those surrounding Samantha, but still the two find a way to forge a unique bond that each desperately needs. Though they appear different at first, they soon learn they have both found themselves in an unexpected situation that will greatly impact every future decision they make and it scares them both in equal measure. For Samantha, raising a child seems to mean giving up her professional goals right as things were starting to come together. For Jasmine, the arrival of her child signifies the end of childhood, as well as a farewell to any hope for becoming what she believes to be a typical college student. Neither believes the fate of the other is sealed, but they need one another to understand the same endless possibilities for happiness also apply to their own journey.

What filmmaker Kris Swanberg has accomplished with Unexpected is something far greater than the film’s thin premise may lead you to believe. By showcasing the similarities and differences between the lives of her two main characters, Swanberg is able to paint a wonderfully complex tapestry depicting modern motherhood as we have never seen it presented before. Even better, she does so while also delivering a fair share of laughs and memorable moments, thanks in part to an incredibly strong cast. This is a movie about pregnancy, yes, but it’s also something much, much more. This is the human experience, complete with all the hilarity, heartache, pain and inexplicable twists of fate that we each encounter as we move from day to day. Everyone involved in this project seems to genuinely believe in the quality of their work, and I see no reason to believe anyone who sees the final product will disagree.

GRADE: A

Review written by James Shotwell

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James Shotwell <![CDATA[MOVIE REVIEW: ‘Ant-Man’ Is One Of Marvel’s Best]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153727 2015-07-23T19:31:44Z 2015-07-23T19:31:44Z Film: Ant-Man
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly
Directed by: Peyton Reed

Fear not, everyone. The reign of Marvel as the leader in modern summer entertainment is far from over.

Everyone knew from the very beginning that the third phase of Marvel’s beloved cinematic universe would need to undergo a serious evolution in order to keep moviegoers engaged, and in response to that demand the studio has pulled off something just short of magical with Ant-Man. Not quite as serious as the Avengers films, but also not so light-hearted that it overlooks the key emotional beats needed to make superhero …

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Film: Ant-Man
Starring: Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly
Directed by: Peyton Reed

Fear not, everyone. The reign of Marvel as the leader in modern summer entertainment is far from over.

Everyone knew from the very beginning that the third phase of Marvel’s beloved cinematic universe would need to undergo a serious evolution in order to keep moviegoers engaged, and in response to that demand the studio has pulled off something just short of magical with Ant-Man. Not quite as serious as the Avengers films, but also not so light-hearted that it overlooks the key emotional beats needed to make superhero films work, the Paul Rudd-led feature is the first of its kind for Marvel. Unlike Iron Man or Captain America, the studio has taken on the challenge of making people cheer for a hero most have never seen, and they somehow managed to pull it off with brilliant execution.

Scott Lang is not the person you would likely expect to see headlining a Marvel film. He’s a former burglar who, after being released from prison, is doing everything in his power to remain on the straight and narrow. The reason for this is due to Scott’s daughter, whom he has not been able to see grow as he’s been behind bars. He wants to be the hero she already thinks he is, and so he does his best to play by the rules of society, despite the fact that doing so makes him feel almost subhuman. There is no love in our society for former convicts—even those with a master’s degree in engineering—and before long the cold shoulder of the world leads Scott to reconsider his former career in crime.

What Scott doesn’t realize, and what the audience doesn’t know, is that he has been under surveillance by Hank Pym, world renowned scientist, since his initial arrest. Pym seems to view Scott as some kind of modern Robin Hood, and the fact that he’s passionate about seeing everyone treated fairly appeals to Pym (who also happens to have a soft spot for humanity). Eventually the two meet, though not under the most ideal of circumstances, and slowly they form a bond that will change both of their lives forever.

I won’t spoil the fun of how Ant-Man came to be, or how Scott learns to harness the power the suit provides, but suffice to say the middle of this film plays like any origin story you’ve seen before, albeit slightly more comedic. That is due in part to the presence of Rudd, as well as the script by Edgar Wright, but it’s also something that feels almost inherent in the story of Ant-Man himself. In order to believe something as preposterous as a suit that gives whoever is wearing it the power to shrink to the size of an ant we must also be able to laugh at it. Otherwise, the story comes across too serious for its own good, and you end up making the audience laugh at times when you want them to feel the emotional weight of a particular scene. By embracing the silliness of the story, Marvel is able to make us feel for Scott, which in turn gives us a reason to care about his mission.

Speaking of the story, beyond becoming Ant-Man Lang must also stop Darren Cross, a former intern of Pym, from selling a suit with similar powers to an evil corporation planning to build an army of ant-men to fight battles around the world. While that idea may sound good in theory, Lang and Pym recognize that the presence of such a suit in the general public would result in utter chaos, and they spend the first two acts of the film trying to plan the perfect heist to prevent the suit from being shared. There’s also some side stories about Lang’s friends, whom he recruits to help with the mission, as well as Pym’s daughter, Hope, but it’s all present for the purpose of building to the film’s downright amazing third act.

Paul Rudd is not an actor many would likely pick to lead a superhero film, but the ridiculousness of Ant-Man plays well with the screen veteran’s knack for knowing how to make every good moment into something great. Whether he’s adding a punchline to a scene ripe with humor, or grounding the film’s more over-the-top action sequences with relatable reactions, Rudd carries this movie without breaking a sweat. That said, the support he receives from Michael Douglas, Bobby Cannavale, Corey Stoll (another odd, yet fitting choice), Evangeline Lilly and Michael Pena certainly doesn’t hurt either.

I know there are many in this world who have started to tire of Marvel’s seemingly endless cinematic universe, but Ant-Man is proof there is still a lot of new and exciting genre territory to be discovered. For the first time since the original Iron Man the studio has found a way to deliver an altogether surprising, yet fitting chapter of development for their ongoing saga that is unlike anything else they have produced. If this is a sign of what moviegoers can expect from the studio’s long-awaited ‘phase three’ slate of films, then I think it’s safe to say fans have nothing to worry about. Ant-Man is a hit.

GRADE: A

Review written byJames Shotwell

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Brian Lion http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[UTG INTERVIEW: Matthew Morgan Talks ‘Empathy For Inanimate Objects’]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153689 2015-07-23T05:02:37Z 2015-07-23T13:00:48Z “Honestly, I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t feel like I was a musician and I’ve never imagined a different focus for my life.”

Matthew Morgan has been making music for many years, but his newest effort, an EP titled Empathy For Inanimate Objects, is arguably his best work yet. Layered with varied instrumentation, beautiful vocal harmonies and Morgan’s lyrical storytelling, Empathy is folky Americana done right and serves as one of this year’s strongest undiscovered releases.

We recently had the chance to chat with Matthew to discuss his musical upbringing and how it led to where …

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“Honestly, I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t feel like I was a musician and I’ve never imagined a different focus for my life.”

Matthew Morgan has been making music for many years, but his newest effort, an EP titled Empathy For Inanimate Objects, is arguably his best work yet. Layered with varied instrumentation, beautiful vocal harmonies and Morgan’s lyrical storytelling, Empathy is folky Americana done right and serves as one of this year’s strongest undiscovered releases.

We recently had the chance to chat with Matthew to discuss his musical upbringing and how it led to where he’s at now with his current project. He also touches on the themes of the record and what he’s been working on since its release. Follow through below to read our full conversation and to stream Empathy For Inanimate Objects in full.

Hi, Matthew. First off, can you tell me about your first memories with music and what led you to want to become a musician?

Music, for me, was there before I was even born. My mother was sitting at the piano teaching students to sing and play and I was right there with her. It’s in my blood and genes, so to me music doesn’t seem like something that’s peripheral to everyday life. It’s more like the guiding force in my life and it has been from day one. There was always music in my household whether it was people rehearsing, students learning lessons, or blasting from the stereo; it was always there. Honestly, I don’t ever remember a time that I didn’t feel like I was a musician and I’ve never imagined a different focus for my life. I started performing when I was seven years old. For me the far greater struggle has been the difficulty in just being who I am and doing what I want to do because the world is very programmed for achieving finite results and music doesn’t quite work that way, especially not with songwriting. It’s a process that builds upon itself and it’s very hard to define its relevancy. It’s taken me a while to understand that and accept that it’s a gradual thing, but I can say with certainty that most people who know me at this point in my life would recognize me as a musician.

You play several instruments from what I can tell. Where did that all begin?

Well, I started out on piano, but I wasn’t the best student. I’ve always been very impatient and relied on my ears, so the theory was hard for me. It didn’t help that I could learn to play everything by ear, so I was able to fake out a lot of my teachers until I got to college. I studied classical voice at a conservatory for a while and everyone in music school is required to learn keyboard skills. That’s when I actually began to learn the science behind music. Guitar is my primary instrument, but I also play piano and organ (by ear) and harmonica. A lot of what I do is learn enough of a particular instrument to supplement the recordings, but I wouldn’t really consider myself proficient at anything other than guitar.

Your old project, Matthew Morgan and the Lost Brigade, had a similar style and sound to what you’re doing now so clearly it’s something you’ve been interested in for some time. Are there any bands or artists who you feel have been a key inspiration for you in wanting to create this folk-type music?

I think the most obvious answer would be Neil Young and certainly his music has had a profound impact on me. But, it was never a conscious decision to sound a certain way. I would have to say that REM was probably my biggest influence because they made it clear that you could play these old style instruments in a way that sounds fresh and modern, but still incorporate the simplicity and sincerity of folk music. Although I like a lot of straight-up rock-n-roll, I was never able to relate to the pomp and swagger of it; I’m not that macho…so, all of my heroes have been the sensitive, quirky types. You know, people who would be silly enough to figure out how to play a dulcimer just for one song.

In regards to Empathy For Inanimate Objects, first, can you tell me where the name comes from and how you feel it relates to the material on the album? And how did you choose the album image?

The idea was floating around in my mind for some time, but it all came together when I found this old tin dollhouse of my mom’s from the 1950s, which is also the cover of the album. I found it in my parents’ basement with a box of old dollhouse furniture and just spent an entire afternoon assembling it on the back porch. At first glance I saw the sadness of a discarded object, but after spending time with it and noticing all the little nooks and crannies, the painted wall paper and rugs, the rust stains, and dents, I started to notice its strength. So, much of what we have now is temporary and disposable, but in the past the things we made were very thoughtfully constructed and designed with the intention of lasting for a long time.

Matthew Morgan album

Something in your delivery makes these songs feel really personal, yet still relatable in many ways. Where do those qualities come from? How much of this EP is you on the page, so to speak?

I think it’s a culmination of years of living, successes and failures; over time your exterior ego gets broken down and it becomes more important to just be true to yourself. I guess for some people that happens earlier, but for me it took some hard beatings from life, overcoming illness, and the need for acceptance to stop caring so much about how others perceive me. In my mid-thirties I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome with severe on-set and I had a good five years where I couldn’t leave the house. Something like that, the inherent loneliness of it, gives you time to really evaluate your psyche and you realize the importance of time and how fleeting it is. You only get so much time to leave your imprint on the world, so pretty much everything I do now is intentionally from the heart, or gut and I’m not interested in proving my worth through artificial means.

I feel like maybe there’s also a lot of sadness here. If that’s true, is that something that fuels your music even more? A therapy of some sort maybe?

I’m not really a sad sack. But, I have had my moments. Like most creative people I’m very moody and songwriting is definitely a way of getting my feelings out. That said, the best way to get your feelings out is to actually get them out and learn how to confront people and situations before they get the best of you. I highly recommend actual therapy to anyone; it’s certainly helped me when I needed it. Mostly, I just really like music that presents complex, or juxtaposed emotions. I love it when songs sound happy though the words are melancholy, or the other way around. Something about that really appeals to me.

As far as the instrumentation, I know you tackled the majority of it but you also have some really talented people who contributed as well. How did you get involved with this team?

I’m extremely lucky to be surrounded by some of the best musicians in the Windy City and Ohio where I recorded the album. or some reason they’ve all been willing to help me out. They’re all my friends, so that goes a long way. Right now, I’m part of a collective in Chicago called “The Family Band” and most of us came together through CAUDog Records and an extended network of artists through Chicago Acoustic Underground. We all kind of support each other and it’s amazing! For anyone starting out, or just consciously doing the DIY route I highly recommend organizing and combining forces within your local community. In this current music economy it’s really the only way we as independent artists can survive, supporting and encouraging each other. If nothing else, your life will be filled with incredible live music.

As a collector, I was happy to see that you’re releasing this on vinyl later this year (which I’ll definitely be picking up). Are you a collector or was this just a format you felt this EP had to be released on?

I’ve been collecting records for most of my life and it’s still one of the biggest thrills to break open the plastic on a new album and hold it in your hands. I like to take my time with it and read the liner notes and lyrics while I’m listening. It’s been a dream of mine to make my own record and I’m really grateful that vinyl is making a comeback and I’ve had this opportunity to justify it. Empathy will be available on vinyl in early September and the Family Band and I are planning a big party at Chicago’s SubT Lounge on September 26. This has not been announced yet, but I’m pressing a limited run of 100 EPs on 12-inch, translucent green vinyl. So, there you go.

I see you have a few shows lined up through the Fall, including a release show as mentioned. Do you have any full touring plans lined up or in the works?

I’m doing things a little backwards. I’ll be on tour in September for a week prior to the vinyl release party playing shows in Kansas City, Oklahoma and Texas. Then, after that my plan is to do out of town gigs at least once a month for the next year. Right now, I’m working on taking the band to Ohio in November for a second vinyl release (that’s where I’m from, originally). and we’ll also be making stops around the Midwest, Detroit, Milwaukee, Indianapolis… I really want to go to the East Coast this year as I have family and friends in Vermont and NYC.

And beyond that, do you have any specific plans or goals laid out for the rest of the year? Anything you’d like to discuss that we haven’t covered?

I’m already demoing songs for the next solo album and I’m planning to work with some really amazing guys from Chicago who go by the name Frances Luke Accord. They’re blowing up right now and if everything goes as planned they’ll be producing and engineering the next solo record. Also, I’d love to do a Kickstarter campaign to raise money to cut a debut EP with The Family Band and I hope to work with Nate Lockwood, who produced Empathy on some other projects because he’s an incredible producer. Incidentally, Nate gets credit for most of the sound on this record. I gave him some ideas, but this is as much his project as it is mine.

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Kyle Florence http://underthegunreview.net <![CDATA[Stream We Came As Romans’ New, Self-Titled Album]]> http://www.underthegunreview.net/?p=1153704 2015-07-22T16:01:59Z 2015-07-22T15:06:17Z Detroit’s We Came As Romans have begun streaming their new self-titled effort ahead of its July 24 release through Equal Vision Records. Give it a listen below.

“We wound up self-titling it for a reason,” vocalist Dave Stephens told Huffington Post earlier this week. “The six of us really came together creatively on it. It was the first time we just wrote really honestly. We wrote straight from the heart. We didn’t try to censor anything or hold back at all. Same thing musically, we wrote exactly what we wanted to hear, what we wanted to play. We weren’t worried …

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Detroit’s We Came As Romans have begun streaming their new self-titled effort ahead of its July 24 release through Equal Vision Records. Give it a listen below.

“We wound up self-titling it for a reason,” vocalist Dave Stephens told Huffington Post earlier this week. “The six of us really came together creatively on it. It was the first time we just wrote really honestly. We wrote straight from the heart. We didn’t try to censor anything or hold back at all. Same thing musically, we wrote exactly what we wanted to hear, what we wanted to play. We weren’t worried about what the critics thought of it. We were just writing for us.”

If you like what you hear, there’s still time to pre-order the record before it hits shelves this Friday.

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