Tag Archives: Jonny Craig

Slaves – Routine Breathing

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Wow! Talk about being productive! It’s been a little over a year since Slaves have released their debut, but they already have a follow-up which came out on August 21st, titled Routine Breathing. Productivity doesn’t always equal quality though, so let’s see what the guys have come up with!

First off, I find that the songwriting has greatly improved, with each track being memorable than the last one, even though I found this album to be more of a grower than a shower, so to speak. While a few catchy parts stood out to me on my first listen, it wasn’t until my fifth or so round that I was able to actively differentiate between the various songs…but the investment was well worth the while. Because the substance of the fifteen songs is quite enormous.

Whereas the instruments on Through Art We Are Equals were more of a backdrop to Jonny’s singing, they all play their own role this time around but still don’t overshadow the, arguably, core of the band. Several riffs really impressed me when I first heard them, and now I always look forward to the part they kick in. The same goes for the drumming, which is still played rather purposefully, instead of showing off…but it simply delivers more strongly than on the predecessor.

As I mentioned above, the main reason, I think, we all listen to Slaves in the first place is found behind the mic…and fuck me running if it isn’t an amazing reason for us fans to enjoy album number two. The performance Jonny puts forth on these fifty-one minutes is beyond astounding and, even though I said that last time already, is the strongest in his career thus far. The sheer emotion and power that can be felt in every note is what firmly cements his place at the top of all the singers out there, in my book.

However, same as last time around, the band must have felt that even a strong voice can need some back-up, which is why they got several guest singers to perform on four tracks: Garret Rapp of The Color Morale, Spencer Chamberlain of Underoath, Kyle Lucas and Tilian Pearson of Dance Gavin Dance. Especially the latter delivers such a heartwarming performance on the song Winter Everywhere that I seriously hope that in due time there will be another co-lab of these two former and current DGD singers.

All in all, Routine Breathing is anything but what its name suggests…because I’ve been heavy breathing the entire time. The Californians outdid themselves on the whole line, and have without even a second of doubt delivered an album that is a worthy contender in my top five. But don’t just take my word for it! Check out the song below, and if you like what you hear, head over to the band’s Facebook page to get information about where you can buy the record!
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p-H-uUweM0M]

Jonny X Kyle X Midnite – The Blueprint For Going In Circles

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In case you are a regular reader, you might have noticed that I never, or very rarely, write a negative review. A fact that is easily explained: if I don’t find at least something that appeals to me on a record, I simply don’t bother, because I don’t get off on putting someone’s effort down just because I dislike it. And in cases when I am not completely into the music, I don’t hide that fact but I don’t emphasize it too much, because music is subjective…and that’s what’s most important to me.

Today, on the other hand, it’s time to get back to what got me into reviewing in the first place: writing about music that I truly love and want to share with the public. The Blueprint For Going In Circles is a new collaborative project between Jonny Craig, Kyle Lucas and Captain Midnite; in short: Jonny X Kyle X Midnite!

In its essence, the album is hip hop with a RnB vibe to it. Tight raps, minimalistic electronic beats, keyboards and various other sampled instruments, coupled with heartfelt and clever lyrics make these forty-one minutes an already highly enjoyable experience. But much like hot sauce on food, Jonny Craig’s soulful vocals make everything even better and complete the sonic spectrum perfectly.

As a matter of fact, the vocal duties are split slightly unevenly in the favor of singing instead of rapping, which suits me just fine, to be frank. Seven songs out of the eleven are duets, three are JC-solo songs and only one is a Kyle Lucas solo. However, the order of the songs is well chosen and at no point it feels like it’s a forced collaboration, which I applaud.

Honestly, that’s about as much as I can tell you about The Blueprint, because this might not be everyone’s cup of tea but I absolutely dig it and I predict that it will stay on heavy repeat for quite a while on my travels and at home. You can find the artists’ respective Facebook pages above, and listen to one of my favorite songs below. Enjoy! I know I did.
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5B_0TNwgIgg]

Slaves – Through Art We Are All Equals

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Today’s review is about another very promising “newcomer”, even though I don’t really consider the quintet to be true newcomers since their lead singer is very well-known and him being famous definitely helped to put the band in the spotlight. However, I can’t hold it against Slaves for making use of that initial boost, since the rest of the musicians is a very talented bunch and their debut album Through Art We Are All Equals proves that on the whole line!

The California-based post-hardcore formation adds an interesting layer to their sound by using seven-string guitars, which results in a vibe similar to djent but with a highly melodic and a bit less technical approach. It sounds a bit weird written out but it works extremely well when you listen to it. The stringed instruments in general have a, for lack of a better word, bouncy feel to them and I must admit that I’m not entirely sure if it’s just because of the seven-strings or if the bass plays the same riffs and is prominent in the mix. All I know is that I absolutely adore the end result.

The drums pretty much cover every aspect, be it driving beats or intricate fills, and fit the ensemble perfectly, without ever diverting from the rest. To round it off, the production is truly massive but maybe too modern for some people out there. For me, this adds another plus point to these forty-two minutes though.

Earlier I said that the lead singer was well-known…that was a bit of an understatement, since Jonny Craig is probably one of the most notorious modern singers; many consider him a douchebag and he has been through some messed-up things, but from what I have read in the “press” this has changed. In the end, it doesn’t really matter because there is one fact that is undeniable: this man’s voice is one of the best ones in the entire genre, or even in the music scene in general. That’s what ultimately counts for me and he proves it yet again on these eleven tracks.

But apparently his soulful vocals weren’t yet enough to make everyone happy, so the band has recruited no less than four guest singers: Tyler Carter from Issues, Vic Fuentes from Pierce The Veil, Kyle Lucas and last but definitely not least Jonny’s sister Natalie Craig. All the guest appearances truly enhance the respective songs they’re on but especially the performance of the latter on The Hearts Of Our Young blew me away: talent apparently seems to run in the family and makes this song a true masterpiece.

To finish up here, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that TAWAAE is not only Jonny’s strongest work, both lyrically and performance-wise, in possibly forever but also an amazing record in all other aspects. Basically yet another very strong contender for my top 5 of 2014, filled with so many quotable lyrics. Head to the band’s Facebook page for more information and make sure to listen to the song below!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wuj8PZBWZeg]

Isles And Glaciers – The Hearts Of Lonely People

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Before I start, let me just say upfront that this is probably going to be the shortest review I’ve written so far; not because I’m lazy but simply because there’s no point in over-analyzing this record. Nevertheless I want to express my thoughts on Isles And Glaciers and their 2010 album The Hearts Of Lonely People.

Even though the seven songs only amount to twenty-seven minutes in total, it’s one of my biggest “discoveries” this year since it’s a supergroup comprised, amongst others, of members from three bands I enjoy a lot: Emarosa, Chiodos and Pierce The Veil. There are also other musicians but to be quite honest…they’re not the centerpiece of this collaboration so I won’t talk about them.

Instrumentally there’s not much to say either, it’s very enjoyable but no real highlight. However, there’s no need for any highlights on the instruments because what this record, at least to me, is all about are the vocals. Jonny Craig of Emarosa, Craig Owens of Chiodos and Vic Fuentes of Pierce The Veil take you on a, for lack of a better word, beautiful journey with their amazing voices. Lyrically it’s very cheesy but not to a point where it’s annoying…I definitely love them.

To sum it up I can only say that if you’re into any of the bands I mentioned…you need to check this out, no questions asked. If you’re not, but you’re not averse to higher pitched vocals, I strongly recommend that you give this a shot. Sadly, the band is on an indefinite hiatus and there are no real plans of releasing any new material in the near future. But that’s OK, since they’ve left a mark in my memory with this debut. Check out the song below if you’re curious.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXxeev6kczE]