album review

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 …

Everclear-2015-review

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, …

Sleeping-With-Sirens-Madness-Review

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 …

shapes and colors

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 …

self love ta sdf

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 …

daisyhead

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 …

Big-Sean-Dark-Sky-Paradise-Review

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 …

styg

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 …

dodos

REVIEW: The Dodos – ‘Individ’

Artist: The Dodos
Album: Individ
Genre: Indie Rock, Folk
Label: Polyvinyl Records

This is a confession I am willing to make: I have never really listened to The Dodos, or at least given them the attention they deserved. But after listening to their past albums, especially Visiter and Carrier, I didn’t have to think twice about embracing the creations of this fantastic duo from San Francisco. It was awe-inspiring to dive into unfamiliar territory and feel comforted by the indie-folk this duo has put out. This is where the band’s newest album Individ comes into play. Their sixth …

the decemberists

REVIEW: The Decemberists – ‘What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World’

Artist: The Decemberists
Album: What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World
Genre: Indie Rock
Label: Capitol Records

Now in their fifteenth year as a band, The Decemberists have released their seventh studio album in What A Terrible World, What A Beautiful World.

Fans of their previous release should feel right at home with the new record, especially because many of its stylistic elements pick up right where The King Is Dead left off. This is especially true with regards to tracks like “Mistral” or “12-17-12,” which is even dated appropriately.…

author

REVIEW: Author – ‘Of Brighter Days’

Artist: Author
Album: Of Brighter Days
Genre: Indie, Alternative
Label: Unsigned

Minneapolis’ Author have been riding a wave of praise since the release of their debut EP, People Are Alike All Over, a lush offering that left alternative music fans weak in the knees and hungry for a follow-up. Now, two years later, the four-piece is back with a well-rounded LP that not only meets, but exceeds all expectations.

Carefully crafted from start to finish, Of Brighter Days is a record defined by details. From the glassy opening of “Fiction” to the tender closing of “Find The Words,” every …

fob

Here’s Why It’s Okay To Think That Fall Out Boy Song Isn’t All That Great

This James Shotwell-opposing diss track began as a joke and gradually got a little heated. I was heckling him about his swooning over Fall Out Boy’s newly-released “Fourth Of July.” He gave me the title and suggested I write an anti-piece based on things I said. So here I am, probably more scathing and critical (and nonsensical) than I truly intend to be. Regardless, shots fired.

I’m not opposed to change. At all. In fact, I encourage and often embrace it. For the sake of this article, in terms of music, I’ll throw out recent examples like Pianos Become The …