album review

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REVIEW: Twenty One Pilots – ‘Blurryface’

Artist: Twenty One Pilots
Album: Blurryface
Genre: Pop, Rock

When Twenty One Pilots burst onto the national stage in 2013 with their major label debut, I’m not sure anyone knew quite what to think of the Midwest duo who have since become akin to alternative music royalty. Though the album was far from perfect, there were more than a handful of anthemic singles that helped propel the group into the underground pop stratosphere. Venues were packed, digital downloads were sold, and for a while everyone thought that a potentially game-changing new voice had emerged.…

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REVIEW: Silverstein – ‘I Am Alive In Everything I Touch’

Artist: Silverstein
Album: I Am Alive In Everything I Touch
Genre: Rock

If any of us outlast Silverstein in the music business then there truly is no God and we are all doomed.

Having survived over a decade in the scene, not to mention the coming and going of numerous musical trends, Silverstein have once again reaffirmed their place atop the hard rock hierarchy with I Am Alive In Everything I Touch. Both heavy and soft, the album offers a diverse showcase of the seasoned band’s proven chops, as well as a smattering of new ideas to keep things …

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Sleeping With Sirens Share “The Strays” Music Video

One of the catchiest songs off Sleeping With Sirens‘ most recent album release now has a music video all its own.

When I reviewed Madness at the beginning of March I was quick to point out the immediately infectious nature of a track titled “The Strays.” The first of multiple ballads on the record, the song is essentially an anthem for those who feel outcast or that they otherwise do not fit in with mainstream society. Like many songs in the SWS catalog, its aim is to be a positive message for those who feel left out. The video …

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REVIEW: Alesana – ‘Confessions’

Artist: Alesana
Album: Confessions
Genre: Post Hardcore
Label: Revival Recordings

I have been listening to Alesana since high school. I’ve had their songs in my music library for nearly as long as they’ve been a band. While my music taste has changed over the years, Alesana still hold a special place in my heart. As an angsty teenager I absolutely loved their sound. As I grew up, I continued to listen to them, and found that their new songs were just as enjoyable. When The Emptiness was released, I fell in love with it and was instantly hooked. Knowing it …

Instant-Gratification-Review

REVIEW: Dance Gavin Dance – ‘Instant Gratification’

Artist: Dance Gavin Dance
Album: Instant Gratification
Genre: Rock, Pop, Experimental

I typically hate reviews and editorials that begin with quotes, but when attempting to begin discussing the latest release from Dance Gavin Dance there was one quote that stuck in my mind like the hook of “Stroke God, Millionaire” will soon stick with all of you: “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.”

Stephen Sondheim will probably never be found sitting at the back of your local Dance Gavin Dance concert, but I cannot help thinking the legendary composer and lyricist would, at the …

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REVIEW: Everclear – ‘Black Is The New Black’

Artist: Everclear
Album: Black Is The New Black
Genre: Rock

Twenty years after turning the rock world upside down with release of Sparkle & Fade, Everclear have delivered a solid mix of new and old with Black Is The New Black.

I thought all hope was lost for Everclear. After a string of hits between So Much For The Afterglow and the lesser-appreciated Songs From An American Movie series, the California rock outfit spent a good portion of the 2000s struggling to find a sound that fans, including myself, wanted to hear. Starting with Slow Motion Daydream, …

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REVIEW: Sleeping With Sirens – ‘Madness’

Artist: Sleeping With Sirens
Album: Madness
Label: Epitaph Records

Having long secured their position atop the alternative rock genre, Sleeping With Sirens have truly outdone themselves with Madness. As the fourth full-length album from the band in just five years, the album perfectly channels the band’s numerous influences into one big, hook-heavy rock record that is as catchy as it is dynamic.

Opening with a shotgun blast of angst-laden pop rock akin to The Used’s placement of “Take It Away” at the top of In Love and Death, “Kick Me” welcomes listeners to Madness with a bang. It’s …

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REVIEW: Shapes & Colors – ‘On Display’ EP

Artist: Shapes & Colors
Album: On Display EP
Genre: Rock, Pop

For several years, Detroit quintet Shapes & Colors have been pushing their music into a uniquely epic form while attempting to harness the lightning in a bottle that is the grand styling of vocalist Travis Bobier. I first discovered a precursor to Shapes & Colors back in 2009 when I stumbled onto a song called “Circles” by Aria Aesthetic. Listening to that track now, it’s not surprising that these guys are still in the game as strong as ever. This week, Shapes & Colors released a four-song EP called …

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REVIEW: Self Defense Family / Touché Amoré – ‘Self Love’ 7-Inch Split

Artist: Self Defense Family / Touché Amoré
Album: Self Love 7-Inch Split
Genre: Post-Hardcore 
Label: Deathwish Inc.

2010 saw post-hardcore acts Touché Amoré and La Dispute team up for a split titled Searching For A Pulse/The Worth of the World, which, to a minor degree, featured a bit of collaboration between the two bands. On the split’s four songs, Touché vocalist Jeremy Bolm and La Dispute vocalist Jordan Dreyer employed dueling vocals and complementing backing tracks to one another’s side. This proved, by most accounts, a “good idea” — it garnered an 86% from Absolutepunk’s Adam Pfleider, a 4.5/5 …

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REVIEW: Daisyhead – ‘The Smallest Light’

Artist: Daisyhead
Album: The Smallest Light
Genre: Post-Hardcore, Emo
Label: No Sleep Records

If the recent vinyl revival has done nothing else, we can say it has changed the way record labels present and introduce their newest artists. A debut LP used to be a new artist’s opening statement, but for Daisyhead and plenty of other bands on vinyl-focused labels like No Sleep Records, that’s no longer the case. By the time they first make their way into our consciousness through splits, 7″ singles, EPs and free digital samplers, their first full-length release feels more like a culmination than a …

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REVIEW: Big Sean – ‘Dark Sky Paradise’

Artist: Big Sean
Album: Dark Sky Paradise
Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap

Dark Sky Paradise is not one step closer to the record fans have been waiting for Big Sean to create, but five. Coming off the largely forgettable Hall Of Fame, the Detroit native spent the majority of 2014 crafting his most honest, ambitious, and creative record to date. It’s not perfect, but then again neither is he.

Opening with “Dark Sky (Skyscrapers),” Sean reintroduces himself while touching on topics like wealth, success, and the patience you need in order to attain either. His flow flip-flops from slow to fast and …

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REVIEW: Stick To Your Guns – ‘Disobedient’

Artist: Stick To Your Guns
Album: Disobedient
Genre: Hardcore Punk
Label: Sumerian Records

Even though they may have taken the world by storm with their critically acclaimed 2012 release Diamond, an extra step was needed in order for Stick To Your Guns to solidify their place in the punk rock and hardcore world as one of the most important acts in the scene. That step is showcased in Disobedient, a punk outcry filled with uplifting lyrics and genre-changing melodies. While keeping relentless riffs and screaming vocals intact, the band has evolved to a more polished overall sound with …