Credits go to Marc and Carole for digging out this little treasure. This one will be particularly amusing for our German and German-TV-and-media-consuming Luxembourgish readers.
~ Anna ~
Four years after the release of the good, but not great, Illuminaudio, Chiodos came back for their fourth record on April 1st. Between the aforementioned record and the new one, Devil, the band saw quite a few changes but the most noticeable ones were definitely the return of the original vocalist, Craig Owens, and the addition of Thomas Erak, of The Fall Of Troy, as the lead guitarist…but more on that in a bit.
For those who don’t know, the sextet from Michigan plays post-hardcore with a penchant toward the theatrical and dramatic. A fact that is evidenced by the systematic, but not too obtrusive, use of keyboards which creates a slightly eerie atmosphere on some songs. The general instrumental side of their music is very melody-laden and displays perfect songwriting throughout the thirteen tracks.
The earlier mentioned arrival of Erak can clearly be felt at any given moment on any given track: the opening riff of Expensive Conversations In Cheap Motels still gives me the shivers every time I hear it, because of its purely driving energy. During these fifty two minutes there are numerous similar examples and even after my umpteenth listening I’m still blown away by it all. All the other instruments don’t have to hide either though, especially the clearly audible bass locks in perfectly with the drums’ groove.
However, the biggest wow-factor is without a doubt the return of Owens, who delivers his, in my opinion, best vocal performance to this day. While the majority is in his trademark falsetto style, his jaw-dropping screams, both low and high, are also present and in some passages he even tries a lower singing voice; and he pulls it off perfectly. The lyrics are as Chiodos-y as can be, dealing mostly with love, both gone well and bad, and similar topics but with such a catchiness to them that I can’t be anything but jealous. The only thing that I missed on this fourth record were the imaginative song titles like Is It Progression If A Cannibal Uses A Fork? on the second record…but no points lost for that.
I’ll be brief here: Devil is my favorite album of the year, so far, and I’m quite convinced that it will remain near the top. There is no filler song, no boring moment…only pure post-hardcore goodness. So be sure to give it a listen if you’re even remotely interested in the genre, or if you want to start discovering it with a strong record. More information can be found on the band’s Facebook page and an impression can be heard below.
Today I’m writing about a record that impressed me because of a simple fact, that I will get into at the end of this review. Midday Committee‘s second EP Girls In Open C was released this Monday and is a nice little seven, including the intro, track venture into the pop punk genre.
The quartet from Portsmouth has a great feeling for writing catchy songs with easy-to-remember structures, while managing to avoid sounding generic, or too poppy rather. The melodic guitars coupled with the driving drum beats form a really enjoyable ensemble that just manages to convince.
The punk side of their genre doesn’t come too short either, even though you will be searching in vain for unclean vocals, breakdowns or anything of the sort. On the contrary, the twenty-five minutes don’t suffer from that in any way whatsoever and it would actually be quite unfitting if there were any of those elements in the mix.
The vocalist does a fabulous job and I haven’t noticed a single weak moment in his performance on the EP. Furthermore, there is a beautiful duet with Christina Rotondo of the band Searching Alaska in the last song, Just Me And You, that is definitely my highlight of the record. Lyrically, the EP is, as you might have guessed from its title, mostly about relationships…so nothing too surprising there, but at least it’s not super cheesy.
As a closing statement, I’m going to say that Midday Committee‘s selling point for me was that they managed to come up with what I had wanted from the last Fall Out Boy, who are obviously big inspirations to them, record. It might be slightly high praise but the blokes do deserve it, since they don’t lack talent! For more information, be sure to visit their Facebook and be sure to check out the entire EP below!
Today I’m going to write about the third successful crowd-funded record that I’ve been a part of so far: Rebel Revive by Jamie’s Elsewhere! The follow-up to their 2010 effort, They Said A Storm Was Coming, was supposed to be released in July 2013, but it got delayed due to unforeseen production issues…and I couldn’t be happier, since the long wait has definitely paid off!
Back in 2009/2010 there was a rise of bands that played post-hardcore mixed with a pirate-inspired theme and the (now) quartet from California was one of them. Now, don’t be confused by the so-called “piratecore”: they don’t sing about rum and treasures, but they have this very particular epic song structure to them…it’s kind of hard to describe, but if you’ve listened to a few bands from the genre, you’ll understand.
But let’s return to the record at hand: Rebel Revive is jam-packed with everything the fans, myself included, have been longing for and then some. Amazing melodic guitar parts go hand in hand with breakdowns and tastily heavy riffs. The string fraction is backed up by pretty straight-forward drums with occasionally intricate foot patterns; nothing to write home about but they do what they should: keep the groove going! Also omnipresent during the thirty-seven minutes are not too obtrusive keyboard sounds and very seldom scratching.
The vocal front has seen the biggest change with the arrival of the new singer, Justin Kyle, who sounds similar to the previous vocalist but has a bit more of a soul flair to his clean vocals. His screams and growls are good, but one clearly notices that his strength lies in the clean department. However, I do prefer one vocalist who gives it his all, to two who do a half-assed job…so I’m all for it here.
The other remarkable thing is the amount of guest vocalists on these ten tracks: Garret Rapp of The Color Morale on the opener, Tyler Carter of Issues on track number three, the electropop singer DEV on In Depth Perception and last but not least Phil Druyer and Nick Sampson from I Am Abomination on Capital Vices. While guest vocalists are often a good way to give weak songs the needed edge, this is not the case here, because they compliment the various tracks perfectly.
To sum it up: the second record by Jamie’s Elsewhere does not re-invent the wheel in any way whatsoever…but it certainly adds some much needed oil to it, so to speak. If you are one of those people that have never really been able to let go from this sound, you will be in for a treat; and if you are completely new to it…don’t look any further, this is as good as it gets to start discovering the genre! Be sure to check out the band’s Facebook page and listen to the song below!
La Dispute are one of those bands that I enormously regret not listening to earlier in my life. It was only in mid-2013 that I was introduced to their 2008 debut album, Somewhere At The Bottom Of The River Between Vega And Altair, by a close friend of mine and ever since I have been entranced by its almost hypnotic effect. Which is why I was quite excited when the band announced that they’d release their new record, Rooms Of The House, on March 18th.
In case you are not familiar with the quintet from Michigan, it’s probably easiest for me to say that they play post-hardcore, with an emphasis on the “post” part. While there are some screams and heavier parts, it’s generally-speaking a very absorbing experience, much like post-rock. As a matter of fact, their third full length is their least chaotic record…but, to me, that just increases the level of the entire eleven-song ride.
Dissonance is, as on their previous endeavors, a very prevalent element in their sound and, combined with some of the almost hypnotic melodies, makes it a joy to dive into this musical journey. The drums follow partially very erratic patterns with lots of off-beat rhythms and intricate fills left and right which, you’ve guessed it, adds another layer of immersion. Furthermore, the production is clean but not over-polished, rendering it a pure auditory pleasure with its authentic quality during these forty-two minutes.
Over the few months that I’ve been listening to La Dispute, I’ve shown them to a number of people and the one thing that seems to make or break the band for most people are the vocals. Some complained that the singer sounds too whiny and off-key, others loved the raw emotion of his performance and had goosebumps from the first second. I, for one, am definitely part of the latter group and I couldn’t imagine any of their songs without him. On Rooms Of The House he still does his spoken word parts, his occasional screams but the singing is more frequent, which I welcome with open arms…or ears rather.
The main selling point for me, and for many others, on any given record by the band are hands down the lyrics though. Such is the case this time around as well, because the story centered around Hudsonville, MI is simply beautiful and if you actually listen to the music, instead of just hearing it, you will be treated to a story loaded with pretty much every emotion that we humans can feel.
To finish up here, I can only say that La Dispute is not a band for everyone…and I’m thankful for that because the world they create for people like me through their music is very special, and I hate sharing. All kidding aside, I strongly urge you to listen to this record if, and only if, you are able to feel music instead of just using it as a pastime. Find the band on Facebook and see what the video below does for you.
This is kinda catchy, actually. I think IceJJFish has the potential to revolutionise R’n'B in the vocal department.
~ Anna ~