Month: January 2016

New In Review! (1/29)

This week’s “New In Review” is another killer review! I will be reviewing Promise Everything by Basement.

For those of you that don’t know, Basement is a band from Ipswich, England formed in 2009. Their previous releases include the EPs Songs About the Weather (2010), Further Sky (2014), and the albums I Wish I Could Stay Here (2011), and Colourmekindness (2012), all released on Run for Cover Records. Popular songs by them include “Covet,” “Pine,” “Fading,” “Whole,” “Earl Grey,” and “Every Single Word.” If I had to describe what they sound like, I’d say they sound like The Promise Ring (’90s emo band from Wisconsin, check them out too), with a heavy punk tinge to it.

I had known of Basement a little bit when everyone made a big deal about them going on hiatus around 2012. It was then that I decided to listen to the albums that they had already put out. I gotta say, I became a fan right after listening to those albums. They fueled my anxiousness a little more, and I was not disappointed.

The opening track, “Brother’s Keeper,” opens up the album right where Colourmekindness left off. The guitars go from loud and melodic to slow and softer within the first minute of the song. Needless to say, this is the track that says “We’re Basement, and we are back.” The second song “Hanging Around” has riffs that sound like they could’ve been Nirvana songs (a band that Basement is hugely influenced by). It is a perfectly crafted 3 minute alternative rock song, and from first listen, it is one of my favorites on this album. It’s also followed by the slower, but equally grungy song “Lose Your Grip.” The music on this track goes from layered and heavy, to at times spacious, especially in the second verse. Both of those songs are a one-two punch that they need to play live.

“Aquasun,” the third single from the album, showcases groove, which to me is not normally present in Basement’s music, but it works very well on this track. The guitar harmonics intro is one of the highlights on the album, as well as the bridge, which is so simple yet emotion pours out of the band’s soul fluidly. No, these were not puns because of the title…or is that just me (?)…nevermind. Anyway, the first half of the album ends with “Submission,” a loud, yet bouncy track with wonderful vocal harmonies over a KICK-ASS guitar riff. Definitely another favorite of mine, and this could very well be a big fan favorite in my opinion. If “Submission” ends the first half with a bang, “Oversized,” the second single, starts the second half with a smoke break. This is Basement’s “island chill” track: simple, relaxing, and gentle.

“Blinded Bye” could be noted as a Weezer Blue Album sound-alike song, but it is still another standout track on this record for sure. The vocal harmonies shine on this track as bright as Weezer’s do, but not as intricate and layered. “For You The Moon” continues the groove with one of the sickest choruses on the whole album! Lyrically, this song is a love song, beautifully created with the theme of asking for someone to love the main character back. Oh yeah, and this also has the greatest guitar noise interlude on the album too. The title track, and first single from the album, brings the bounce back up. The highlight on this track is the bass break/interlude because the tone that you hear is what every punk bassist always kills for. They have already played this live, and it is currently their most streamed song on Spotify. I can see why, because this song is amazing! The closing track, “Halo,” is another slower song, but it is hauntingly beautiful. And for being the shortest song on the album, it’s like one big teardrop that falls down and drowns people in their goosebumps and leaving them wanting more.

I will say this: it is a lot lighter than Colourmekindness. I mean that in all the best sense of that word. It’s more of a fun record than the last one, and a little brighter. If you are a fan of Basement, you will not hate this record. I promise you that…okay now that was an unintentional pun 🙂

Rating: 10/10
Standout tracks: Basically, the whole album.

 

New In Review! (1/22)

This is another new segment where I review new albums by both newer bands and older bands that release new music! This first segment will be about the band ROAM.

ROAM is a band from Eastbourne, UK formed in 2012 and have released the EPs No Common GroundHead Down, and Viewpoint. If I had to describe them to someone who has never listened to them before, I would say that they are a combination of Sum 41 and New Found Glory. Their debut full length album Backbone is out today via Hopeless Records, and I highly recommend it! The music is heavy, but very melodic, and the lyrics and vocals are very pure and emotional sounding. That is just a summary though, here’s my in-depth, below!

After the comical intro track “The Desmond Show,” “Cabin Fever” is a strong, upbeat, and catchy opening track that sets the theme for the English pop-punkers. Followed by the song “Deadweight,” which was the first single released before the album, it is a heavy hitter with another singalong chorus that fits perfectly with simple, yet crushing riffs. The fourth track “All The Same,” could be comparable to fellow UK pop-punk band Neck Deep, but it is still a great tune. I will admit though, the ending took me off guard because, to me, there is no clear structure in the verses. They are kind of short, which is what makes the song feel like it goes by faster than the 2:21 that it is.

“Hopeless Case” is the next track, as well as the second single from the album. With a groovy drumbeat, and dueling guitars throughout the song, this sure makes it another standout track, and sure to be a fan favorite live along with “Deadweight.” Almost immediately, things slow down a bit on the track “Bloodline;” that being said, it is actually the intro that slows down. The rest of the song is very New Found Glory-esque, which is still killer, nonetheless. Continuing the punk rock influence, the next song “RIP In Peace” showcases a Green Day style verse riff, with early Fall Out Boy in the pre-chorus and chorus. On first listen, this has become one of my favorites on the album. Everything about this song, from the drumming to the guitar riffs to the dueling vocals near the end of the song, this is a song that they need to play live.

Things get acoustic on the song “Tracks.” It is a beautiful song about covering up the past and trying to move on into the not-so-distant future. Definitely one of the most beautiful and moving tracks on the album…get it? (Sorry for the pun). “Head Rush” picks the pace back up with some of the coolest riffs on this album, and some of the best riffs in the newer school of pop-punk today. “Goodbyes,” while it is not the last track, showcases lyrical themes of saying goodbye to life experiences too soon, which invokes powerful emotion in the words that are sung. Along that same emotional line, the song “Tell Me” deals with a breakup, and is probably the most “mid-tempo” (for lack of a better word) songs). It’s ending is completely different from the rest of the song, and it also has nothing to do with the concluding track “Leaving Notice.” That song, another strong song that should be played live, has the same heavy energy as “Deadweight,” but sounds different from that single. Either way, it is another favorite of mine on the album.

If you have not heard of this band yet, you should sit down and listen to this album right away. It is catchy yet heavy, melodic yet very punk-rock influenced, and overall a strong debut album. I see nothing but a bright future ahead for ROAM, and I hope to see them live in the states very soon!

Rating: 9/10
Standout tracks: “Cabin Fever,” “RIP In Peace,” “Tell Me,” “Leaving Notice”

ROAM

VINYL TIME (Episode 1)

I’ve started buying some of my favorite records on vinyl recently, so this segment will feature pictures of the ones I have with my review/story about them.

This first one is a record that I recently bought by a band called The Get Up Kids. I first heard of them through interviews of blink-182 and Fall Out Boy, to name a few, claiming that they were a huge influence on them throughout their careers. This is their seminal album Something To Write Home About. Released in 1999 through Vagrant Records, this not only broke the band into the mainstream, but it was also a major influence on emo, pop-punk, and “emo pop” bands alike. Spanning 12 tracks in 45 minutes, there is not one dull moment on this album. It is dynamic, touching, revealing, and melodic whilst retaining a punk rock sound. One contribution to the sound of this album is the addition of keyboardist James Dewees (also famous for playing with New Found Glory during the Catalyst cycle) adding more sounds and melodies to band that were still slowly building a following after releasing their debut Four Minute Mile.

My personal favorite track on here is “Ten Minutes,” which was the first single. It is the song that actually got me into the band. A simple drum intro, combined with a guitar/keyboard riff that stops right before singer Matthew Pryor declares that “Ten minutes to downtown, is ten minutes too far.” Almost halfway into the song, the key and the dynamic changes when Pryor sings “Pockets empty, how can you tell me that everything will work out?” questioning what the antagonist of the song has said beforehand. The song is a fan favorite, and remains a staple in their live set to this day.

When I got this on vinyl, it was at the last minute. I was walking to the register at the store I went to, and as soon as I saw it, I picked it up and added it to my purchase. I already had it on CD, which is still pretty awesome, so getting on vinyl was an opportunity I could not pass up. My favorite feature of this physical product is the color of the vinyl. I love colored vinyl, and the pink is the right shade, and the feel of the record is different than the other records that I have which makes it even more special.

If you have not heard of the Get Up Kids before this, my suggestion to you would be the same as anybody: Get this album first. From start to finish, it is a classic record from late 90’s, and if you can afford to get it on vinyl, that makes the experience even more classic.

Aloha

Aloha

Hello all,

I started this site to talk about all things music. Reviews of new records, photos of albums that I bought, stories of my own about concerts, and maybe even links to my podcast “Music In the Basement” as well. Thank you for your time.

-Eddie Ryan