For a few years it seemed as though pop music was heading into the modern era without real instruments. Auto-tune was being used for more than pitch correction, and whenever music was recorded using real instruments, the instruments were generally conditioned with electronic aids. The new EP by Brooklyn band Poor Remy, Bitters shows that they did not get that memo. We should all be thankful.
These past few years have been huge for Australian band Tonight Alive. It is always good to see hard work begin to pay off for a young band, and it appears that even though they have began to taste success, Tonight Alive is not even thinking about coasting. Their new album, The Other Side, is phenomenal.
From the first minute of this album, it is clear that the band has grown and matured. “The Ocean”, the opening track, lets us know right from the beginning that this album will be darker than their previous material. The force behind the song is driven by singer Jenna McDougall’s voice. Unlike previous work, this time around she really explores her lower register. Some of the guitar work on this album is very reminiscent of Anberlin, which is a good thing. The band sounds tight, and with McDougall’s new vocal techniques you can expect both old fans and new fans to be impressed. This is an album that after one listen through you will find yourself singing along to and air drumming/guitaring. This album hits high levels of energy, but can wind down with ease. Expect an intense experience while listening to this album, because you are in for a trip.
If you have listened to Tonight Alive before, you should keep doing so. If you haven’t, you should begin to now because they will only be getting bigger from here, and if they keep maturing in sound you will not want to have to backtrack!
It would probably be an accurate observation to say that most music that would fall into the contemporary Soul and R&B genres is fine tuned by producers who program instruments and touch up the vocals. This does not appear to be the case with Cooper’s new album Motown Suite. From start to finish, this album feels like something that could be heard on a jukebox back in the early sixties. The vocals are powerful and the instrumentation is flawless.
The opening track on an album is very important for setting the tone, and the opening track here, “Tell Me to Stay” has a timeless feel to it, and makes you want to stay and listen to the rest of the album. There is nothing over the top about the music, but it is easy to listen to and the vocals are delivered with such dynamics that you can’t help but feel exactly what the words are saying. Each track that follows sounds like it could have been written back when The Temptations and The Supremes were topping the charts, and that is a breath of fresh air. I don’t know for sure if every instrument was played live on this album, but if any electronic programming was done, it is certainly impressive because everything sounds very natural. It is very appropriate that this album was released on vinyl before being put out digitally, because it has a very classic feel to it that I can imagine being amplified by listening to it in high fidelity.
Overall, this album does just what all the great Motown records did. It makes you feel the longing for a loved one who may have slipped away, then it makes you want to get up and dance with whatever loved ones you may have around. Whether you want to “Tell Me to Stay”, you “Wanna Dance” or you “Do Your Own Thing”, this album is sure to be a good time!
A new trend in modern music is to have a mission statement or attitude that is cohesive throughout a release. In this case, Whatever It Takes is the statement that Canadian band Magnus Rising wants to put out there.
This album is a perfect followup album for those who enjoyed the band’s previous release, and it is a more accessible release for those who may not have been able to get into their last effort. The musicianship on this album is notably better than what the band has shown before, with added vocal harmonies and improved drums. The title track of the album is a good mood setter for the tracks to follow, because it shows what we can expect from the coming tracks. The “Whatever It Takes” message is shown through the song, where you learn that whatever you could ask of this band, they can do. The song has a lot of heavy guitar riffs, matched with slower breakdown bits and stellar vocals by singer Aaron Hawkins. Though this song is not the opening track, it conveys the lyrical and musical themes of the album the best as a standalone track.
If you enjoy the heavier alternative rock out there, this album may be a great introduction to a new band for you. If you have previously listened to Magnus Rising, this album will allow you to see that they have not yet shown you all that they are capable of!
Brutal as hell and dark as the night, Your Chance To Die’s newest full-length, The American Dream, is metal as all get out. Full of blast beats, scorching guitar solos, and throat-ripping vocals, it is everything you could ask for in a death metal album. Oh, and did I mention, the lead vocalist is female?
Flashlights is a project that was once a solo-acoustic project, but they manage to not sound like every other white-male-singer-songwriter. Their new EP “Don’t Take Me Seriously” is very well put together. With only three songs, it leaves listeners wanting more.
Last Sunday, Cinco de Mayo, I had the chance to check out a band from Los Angeles that I had never heard of, Stars in Stereo. The five piece was opening for Bullet For My Valentine, but their sound was more radio friendly. They definitely had a sound that can be carried into large arenas, so they did well playing to a venue of around 2500 people, but they seemed as though they haven’t quite perfected on stage antics for the big stages yet. Nonetheless, the members interacted with each other very well on stage. Singer Bec Hollcraft interacted well with the crowd, and both parties appeared to be having fun.
Overall the sound of the band is very easy to get in to. The members of the band all dressed in dark colors with haircuts and appearances that would otherwise imply that they play heavier music, but instead they play pop music with themes and attitudes of heaver music. Overall, their sound is very much like what they are often billed as, “a female-fronted band along the same lines as 30 Seconds to Mars”. They had a few songs that stood out well, including their single “The Broken”, which is easy to sing along to. The band has a wall of sound underneath the vocals, with Hollcraft joining in on third guitar for part of the set. The band also made use of delay pedals and electronic synth backing tracks. Paired with their sound was a set on screens covering speaker cabinets. These screens showed different images and some song lyrics. They had a very well rehearsed live show, and everything that they did held up live.
If you are into bands like 30 Seconds to Mars or Flyleaf, you will enjoy this band’s music. While I could tell that they are still getting used to bigger stages, I would still say that they show enormous potential to develop into a much bigger band, especially if they keep touring with big acts!