Tag: Music Blog

Midwest Monday (Episode 3)

Midwest Monday (Episode 3)

Hey all, it’s time for another Midwest Monday featuring Wisconsin’s own Treason This! The band consists of singer/songwriter Michael Ingle, guitarists Chris Merisalo and Jordan August, bassist Taylor Long, and drummer Zach Zander. This indie rock/pop-punk hybrid group formed around 2011 by Michael and Chris, with Michael writing most of the material. Jordan, Zach, and Taylor later joined around 2014 and 2015. The band has released three EPs to date: When Home’s A World Away (2013), Portraits (2013), and Always Perfect (2014). The first two EPs were rereleased as the Any Thoughts? Collection. If you like bands such as Say Anythig, Motion City Soundtrack, and Modern Baseball, then this incredible group is just right for you.

Some of my favorite things about this band are their relatable lyrics the deal with teen angst at it’s purest, the musicality of each individual member, and the fact that they are an amazing up-and-coming band from Wisconsin. This was the band that made me want to initially do a segment like this on the blog because these guys are so super talented. Oh, and it just got announced that not only do they have a new single out, “Joy,” but they are also a winner of the Ernie Ball “Battle Of the Bands” competition for this year’s Warped Tour, meaning that they will be playing the Milwaukee date (July 26th)!! Also, the song “Joy” will be featured on a new EP to be released very soon. I cannot recommend this band enough. My favorite songs include “Moviegoers Dilemma,” “Manic,” “I Hate You Please Die,” “Joy,” and “The Bus To Chicago Told It All.”

If you want to listen/buy Treason This’s music, follow these links below:

http://treasonthis.com/

http://www.youtube.com/Settochange
(music available on iTunes, Spotify, Bandcamp, etc.)

I also did an interview with Michael for my podcast earlier this year, which you can check out right here: https://soundcloud.com/musicinthebasementpodcast/music-in-the-basement-episode-seven-treason-this

Midwest Monday — On A Tuesday (Episode 2)

Midwest Monday — On A Tuesday (Episode 2)

Yes I know, it’s not Monday, but I do want this segment to continue. And I promise, I will be more on time with these things. I will say this though: be on the look out for something cool music-wise coming from me! That’s all I will say on that note…anyway, Midwest Monday is back again with another new band that’ll knock your teeth out.

Charlie Siren is a four-piece pop-punk band from Minneapolis, MN. The band consists of Tane Graves (vocals/guitar), Aaron Reed (guitar), Dustin Reed (bass), and Paeton Gillette (drums). The band formed back in 2012, and have three official releases: This Is Home (2013), a split EP with Chicago band Et Tu Brute (2014), and most recently Mood Swings (2016) on Loud, Broke, and Dumb Records. If I had to compare them to other bands, I’d say they’re a love child coming from Knuckle Puck, Yellowcard, New Found Glory, and 2004 era of Senses Fail (minus the screamo parts). Their latest album was the first album that I heard from them, as I was recommended to them from a friend. I could not get over how well the album was produced! Each instrument can be clearly heard through any speaker, not to mention the songs are catchy as all hell. This band definitely gives a huge shot in the arm to current pop-punk bands that are starting out in the Midwest.

Not only are these guys amazing at music, they did something special with the release of Mood Swings: for the first month of the release, they donated 50% of their album sales “My Pit Bull Is Family,” a non-profit organization that focuses on ending Breed Specific Legislation (BSL). This is one of my favorite things not just about Midwest bands, but bands from every corner of the globe: supporting a charity that means a lot to them. It just goes to show that the band is passionate not only in their music, but causes that mean just as much to them. Some of my favorite songs by the band include “Twenty-Five,” “So Long,” “Indigent Mindset,” and “The Fabulist.”

If you want to listen/buy Charlie Siren’s music, follow these links below:
https://charliesiren.bandcamp.com/?undefined=
https://www.youtube.com/user/CharlieSirenMN
(music also on iTunes, Spotify, etc.)

Social media links:
https://www.facebook.com/CharlieSiren/?fref=ts
https://twitter.com/CharlieSiren
https://www.instagram.com/charliesiren/

New In Review! (5/27)

New In Review! (5/27)

Oh yeah, this week’s New In Review is gonna be a good one: Real Friends have released their sophomore album The Home Inside My Head, and I am BEYOND stoked!! This album is the followup to their acclaimed debut full-length Maybe This Place Is The Same And We’re Just Changing. I also want to take some time first to say thank you to whoever reads my reviews/other blog posts. It really means a lot to me, and it’s been really fun with all of the pretty great albums that have been released this year so far. Which reminds me…let’s get this one started, shall we? The album opens with the heavy-hitter, “Stay In One Place.”Right away, the sound of the album’s production sets up how the rest of the album will sound: amazing! There’s an interesting incorporation of backup vocals in the chorus, which is not something the Illinois Sad Boys are known for. That being said, it’s working so far. And so far, this track is a surefire standout song. Great melodies, poetic lyrics, everything you want in Real Friends. Song number 2 is “Empty Picture Frames,” and it’s a bouncy little number. This is the song where the album’s title (and I guess the album artwork, as well) comes from. This song is definitely a vocal highlight on the album because there are a lot of different techniques/recording effects that are focused on in the song. The bridge is also groovy as hell! Definitely another powerful song that solidifies a one-two punch for the first two songs on this record. “Keep Lying To Me” is up next. This track feels like it could’ve been on the EP Put Yourself Back Together, but in reality, it trumps most of that EP anyway. Heavy guitars dominate the track, and the chorus has now become one of my favorites already!

Track 4 is “Scared To Be Alone,” which was the second single that was released prior to the album. I listened to this song a lot back when it was first released, and it is probably my favorite of the singles that were released; which is saying something, because all of the singles are amazing (but we’ll get to the rest of them shortly). Every single aspect of this song is perfection. From the vocal melodies, to the bit of punk in the drums, to the heavy guitars once again. It’s truly stunning, and that’s the only word that best captures the emotion that the song projects. Things begin to slow down with “Mokena,” song number five, and single number 4. Probably the saddest song the band has written since “I’ve Given Up On You” (on Put Yourself Back Together). It also has some of the most powerful/emotionally provoking lyrics the band has to offer. If they play this song live, tears will be shed. Song 6, and single number 3 “Mess,” picks the energy back up with a lively tune about who the narrator was throughout the last year, while claiming that he’s still a “Lost Boy” (reference to the song of the same name). This song actually could’ve been on the last album as a bonus track. The reason why I say bonus track is because it wouldn’t fully fit on that album. On this album, with this collection of songs, it does have a home.

The second half starts off with “Isolating Everything.” The song starts, and kicks you right in the gut, and it just doesn’t stop. The riffs in this song are crushing, and I do love the progressiveness (for lack of a better term) in the verses to show that it’s not just straight ahead 4/4. The only soft section in the song is in the bridge, and even that hits you in the gut. But then….it finishes! Leaving you wanting more!! “Well, I’m Sorry,” is up next, and this track is unapologetic in the best sense of the words. Hints of pop-punk cover the verses, whereas the choruses are half-timed to perfection. Mmmmmm, tasty (sorry about that). Another cool feature about this song: a sort of “guitar solo,” if you will. You’ll see why I put that in quotations when you listen to the song. Seriously, you should really listen to it. You’ll like it. I promise. Anyway, the next song is “Basement Stairs,” and it continues to pack that emotional gut punch, singing about getting over a breakup and thinking of the good times that were had. There is no “soft” moment in this song either, which is beautiful in its own right. It’s truly amazing that the excitement still hasn’t left me!!

“Door Without A Key” is track number ten. This track has one of the best choruses on the album. Bar none. The song as a whole is really flawless, but that melody, though. Makes me kick myself a little bit that I didn’t write it first! Same with the bridge, too, now that I listen to it. Dammit! Oh well. Song 11 is “Eastwick,” the only acoustic song on the album. That’s another thing about the band that I appreciate is that they put out powerful acoustic jams that are just as powerful as the electric jams (maybe even more powerful, at times). So add this to the pile of insanely great acoustic songs that the band has. This song also feels really short, even though it is 3 minutes. But I’m not even complaining about that. The album closer is “Colder Quicker.” This was the first song released as a song from the album, and the fact that it actually comes last on the album makes me very happy. This song, and “Scared To Be Alone,” really whetted my appetite for the album, and now that I’m listening to it as a closer, it’s just…I’m at a loss for words. I’m just gonna fucking cut it off right here and say this: GO BUY THIS ALBUM. You will not regret it at all!!

Rating: 10/10

Standout tracks: The whole album is amazing 🙂

Midwest Monday (Episode 1)

Midwest Monday (Episode 1)

So I’m gonna try something new here: I’ve been getting more and more into really, really cool Midwest/local bands that have been popping up over the last few years. That being said, this segment is going to be short blurbs of kind words about—you guessed it. Anyway, this first post is all about a band that’s doing really well in the genre of easycore.

They’re called Settle Your Scores from Cincinnati, Ohio. The five-piece group consists of vocalist Christian Fisher, guitarists Ricky Uhlenbrock and Patrick Bryant, bassist Jeffery Borer, and drummer Caleb Smith. This band is for fans of easycore bands like A Day To Remember & Four Year Strong, as well as pop-punk bands like ROAM and Seaway. Now I am normally not a fan of easycore, but this band was a really good find. They put their debut album The Wilderness back in January this year, and it is smokin’! The guitars have a very metallic sound similar to ADTR/FYS, even the vocals have a Jeremy McKinnon feel to it, but the cool thing is that it sounds very much SYS. That’s not an easy (no pun intended) thing to say when it comes to a genre of music such as easycore, but it really does work. The lyrics that easycore bands are very cliche, topics include girls, revenge, more girls, getting out of their hometown, and more girls. As much as those topics are present in SYS’s songs, they make it their own, and are pure, kickass tunes.

Not only are the songs amazing, but so are the song titles. They’re about as long as 2005 emo pop titles, but they’re extremely entertaining. My personal favorite song title is “How to Screw Up Your Future and Disappoint Your Love Ones.” Another personal favorite song of mine is “Cashing In Your Reality Check.” It has distinct ADTR sounding verses with a type of chorus that New Found Glory would be proud of. And the breakdown? Siiiiiick. But enough of my words, here’s the link to they’re album stream on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLISzAbhMLwM7dvClR162i-14lKN8eLIvv

I highly recommend this group because they’re really talented musicians that come from a scene where songs can sound the same, but this group definitely takes it to the max and shows the world that their genre isn’t dead/cliche. If you can, catch them on the “Guardians of Easycore Tour” opening up for Abandoned By Bears and For The Win. Dates are still up until June 12th, with the tour ending in San Diego, CA at the legendary SOMA. To get their album, The Widerness, here’s their Bandcamp link: https://settleyourscores.bandcamp.com/album/the-wilderness
(music also available on iTunes & Spotify)

Social media links:

https://twitter.com/syspoppunk
https://www.youtube.com/user/settleyourscores

New In Review! (Week of 5/13)

New In Review! (Week of 5/13)

Hey everyone! It’s been awhile since New In Review has come around (I’ve been busy with finals/finishing up my sophomore year of college, oy), but I guarantee this one is worth the wait. The reason? Modern Baseball. Another reason? They’ve officially released Holy Ghost! It is the much anticipated follow-up to their last studio album You’re Gonna Miss It All (2014, my personal favorite MoBo release). Here’s a couple of fun facts before we get into the review:
1. As you all know, I usually do album reviews on first listen. This is the first album I listened to before I sat down to write this post. I just couldn’t help myself because I was really stoked on this album!
2. I’m really glad that they did not put any songs from the EP that they released last year (simply known as The Perfect Cast EP, which is also really good, so check it out, too). Sometimes you’ll see artists/bands make EPs that have songs that end up on the album, which makes it more like a sampler more than an EP. Thankfully, this was not the case for the Philadelphia indie punkers.
3. Since I’ve listened to this album already, I’ll give you guys some cool info: the album is technically split up into two parts. “How is this possible?” you may ask. It’s split right down the middle with the first half being songs written by Jake Ewald (co-lead vocals/guitar), and the second half being written by Brendan Lukens (co-lead vocals/guitar). I thought this was an interesting strategy because past releases have been split up pretty equally, this was a straight ahead approach that turned out to be really cool. That being said, I’ve typically preferred Bredan’s voice over Jake’s, but again, that’s just personal preference.

Now that that’s out of my system, on with the review! The intro track/title track is a beautiful little ditty with powerful lyrics and a simple, yet effective melody. Apparently, after watching the documentary that they made revolving around this album, the song is based on Jake’s grandfather and what he meant to him and his family as a stable force. When you think about it that way, it just makes the song more emotional. It makes you wonder what it would be like if it was longer! That song flows into track number 2, “Wedding Singer,” which is the third single that has been released. Of all the songs on “Side Jake,” this one is one of my favorite songs that he has sung lead on since “Broken Cash Machine,” on the last album. You can also notice one key thing about this one: it sets up the style of production of the entire record — solid, but not as polished as YGMIA. Killer bassline in the verses, as well. The next song is “Note To Self.” Speaking of bass, the lines in this song are amazing! It’s a little slower than the previous song, but the chorus is catchy as hell. Other than that, there’s not really much else too special about this song. Just the typical MoBo sound, but a little more refined in some parts. By the way, Jake gets a little screamy on this song near the end, and it’s SUPER killer!

“Mass” is the next track, which actually could be short for “Massachusetts.” This is probably my favorite track, as far as musicality goes. Poppy, but definitely feels very indie/punk/emo/whatever you wanna call it. Only caveat I find is that it needs to be longer! Next up is the first single released, “Everyday.” At first listen, I wasn’t too crazy over it, especially in the first verses; even though, Jake’s approach with falsetto vocals at times is cool. However, I will admit, this song does have a groove once you get into it. Again, killer bass licks are present in this song. It does, unfortunately, end on an abrupt note. Oh well. Jake’s half of the album concludes with the song “Hiding,” which is actually somewhat epic, to say the least. Starting off softly and acoustic, points of distortion creep up when you least expect it <hint, drums, hint>. It definitely sounds the most different on this side of the album, but it really does work. It is Jake’s sendoff to his side to give way to Brendan’s side. In terms of overall songwriting, this one is my favorite on “Side Jake.”

“Side Brendan” starts with the somewhat namesake song “Coding These To Lukens.” In a short description, it starts off interestingly, but by the second half, Brendan comes out of his angry shell and rocks hard! “Breathing In Stereo” follows, and the rocking doesn’t stop at all on this song. This is probably the heaviest song on the album, and the guitars are at their most distorted and punk sounding. Even though there’s a sudden slowing down near the end, the emotion is still there, and the song picks back up for the last 10 seconds. Track 9 is “Apple Cider, I Don’t Mind.” Honestly, also at first listen, I couldn’t really get into the beat. It sounded a little, dare I say, U2-ish. Which isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just a little too left field for my MoBo taste. Now I know, that there is probably a deeper meaning behind the song, which is fine because it’s a pretty chill song, it’s just not my favorite.

“What If…” is the penultimate song on the album, starting off as a continuation of “Apple Cider.” Honestly, the song sounds like fragments of “Apple Cider,” but making it sound better. I do predict that when they play “Apple Cider” live, no doubt that “What If…” will be played in succession, as if it was one track. The concluding song on the album, “Just Another Face,” packs a big mid-tempo, alt-rock punch. Like “Hiding” on “Side Jake,” it is the other most epic sounding song on the record. It punches you right in the gut, but in a different way than “Hiding.” It feels more of a heavier punch, which is for sure a great thing in my book. It is also probably the most emotional sounding song lyrically of the Brendan songs.

Honestly, props to the guys in MoBo for writing a solid follow up to a record that actually got me more into the band. There are a few flaws though. First, the album is now officially the shortest of their catalog, which is great in some respects, but in this case, it brings me to the next flaw; some of the songs sound way too short and abrupt <hint, “Everyday,” hint>. Even though there are some killer songs on this album, there are tunes that feel like, not really duds, but what I like to call “songs that could have been.” I will say this though, if you have been a fan since either the beginning til about 2014, you will really like this album. Hmm, now that I think about it, if you replace some of the songs on Holy Ghost with songs from The Perfect Cast EP, it would make for one hell of an album. Again, oh well. No matter what, my love for this band will not die. Keep it up!

Rating: 8/10

Standout tracks: “Breathing In Stereo,” “Hiding,” “Just Another Face,” “Wedding Singer,” “Mass”

Rant

So it’s been a while since I’ve blogged. I’ve been keeping busy with school and possible podcast guests (spoiler alert?!), along with geeking over the new Real Friends song that got released yesterday (check it out, it’s called “Scared To Be Alone”). But this post will be about a different band: Green Day, aka my favorite band of all time. I must warn you all, too, considering I got angry: parental discretion is advised…so here it goes.

So I was waiting for my 10 o’clock class to start, and as my professor is blasting Celtic Frost (brutal), I overhear one of my classmates mention Billie Joe’s meltdown back in 2012 at the iHeart Radio festival. The only reason why I heard him over the metal music that was blasting was because I heard him paraphrase what Billie said, “Do you know how long I’ve been doing this, man? This is bullshit, man, we get less time than Justin fucking Bieber, man?” etc, etc, you get the idea. He then proceeds to go on to say something like “you seriously call that punk?” and “I’m sorry, but he’s just a whiny, little bitch,” “you ever heard of the Sex Pistols?”…yeah, that was the fucking tipping point.

So if you’re reading this, señor dickhead (which you probably aren’t, but whatever if someone shows this to you), let’s get some facts straight: Billie Joe was inebriated during that half set that they did, which was a cause of his meltdown. He then proceeded to go to rehab after that, which was his manager’s decision. Backtracking a little bit, Billie has a history of being completely fucked out of his mind at past Green Day shows, going back to the 90s with Woodstock ‘94, jumping into the crowd and fighting people who were being rough, playing naked at Madison Square Garden, to the 2000s wishing Steve Jobs would “die of fucking cancer,” throwing instruments into the ocean, etc, etc, you get the idea. I know I really shouldn’t assume all incidents like this would be because toxic chemicals, but come on. He had an addiction, he went to rehab, he’s apologized to everybody, and he got his shit together pretty well. He’s had his shit together pretty well for almost as long as Green Day’s career.

Second of all, if Billie’s a whiny little bitch, then I’m a telemarketer. This is not the first time I have heard this comment, but almost every singer could be christened with the adjective “whiny.” Well guess what, asshole? As much as you think he whines all the time, a million other singers are just like him, dating BACK to bands like Sex Pistols and the Clash, who were technically whining about politics all across the goddamn River Thames (how about that for a ‘70s brit-punk reference?), talking about how there’s “no future,” or everything’s “Pretty Vacant,” and that “I wanna riot,” and stuff like that. Tying into my third point, there are tons of subgenres for what is known as “punk rock.” Yes, elitists will say that bands like Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Black Flag, and the Damned are the “true punk rock bands,” but keep in mind, Green Day were basically influenced by all of those bands. And Green Day continues to influence generations of bands across the globe. Sooooo a bunch of people are “whiny,” by your standards, then. Including blink-182, as well (which you mentioned as well, ass-hat…)

Now, I understand that we don’t talk that much, and I respect your taste in music—mostly—but just to let you know, I actually got really hurt when you started berating. I also may sound like I’m butt-hurt, but everyone has their own opinion, including you. I’m not expecting an apology, because I know it’s not coming, but I’m pissed as hell. So go back and listen to your Baroque sonatas, and go back to sleep.

New In Review! (4/1)

New In Review! (4/1)

This is no April Fool’s Day prank, New In Review this week is killer! This time, I review Weezer who are back at it again with the White Album (I’m so sorry for that). This is the bands 10th album and follow up to Everything Will Be Alright In the End, which was one of my favorite albums of 2014. When the two main singles got premiered from this album, there has been hype from everyone (more on those songs in a bit), and I was right on that hype train when the album officially got announced. Not much else left to say, so here we go!

The album kicks off with “California Kids,” a track that has a huge trace of the classic ’90s Weezer sound that everybody knows and loves. The chorus contrasts the verses beautifully with heavy drums and guitar with Rivers Cuomo singing “It’s gonna be alright.” And the riffs are so heavy, but so melodic, it’s weird to think that this song has a beachy vibe to it. However, knowing Weezer, it really is normal. The second track, “Wind In Our Sail,” is another stellar track featuring Beatle-esque pop piano at the forefront of a really great groove in the rhythm section of Pat and Scott. The bridge in this song is so beautiful that it could be its own song if there was different material written over it. Also, it shows that there are still some different tracks on the album, like the song that follows. That song being “Thank God For Girls,” which was the first single released from the album. I will admit, I thought it was alright when I first heard it. I even thought it was quite alright when I saw the band back in December (hugest singalong ever, by the way). The reason why? Because it was a little different than the songs on the last album. After listening to it over again on the actual album, I’ve come to really enjoy it, especially production wise. I don’t know if it because the radios I’ve heard it on sucked, but on the official album track, it sounds sonically WAY heavier with more bass and guitars pounding in our eardrums. The only critique I will give is that the ending on the radio edit is better because it actually goes into another chorus instead of just ending on “…..thank god”. Other than that, the song itself is awesome.

“(Girl We Got A) Good Thing,” despite the cheesy title, is actually another solid track. The tambourines make sound a little too much like Christmas, but the whole band actually sounds really killer. The composition itself is pretty simple yet powerful, and the guitar solo is a major highlight in the song, even if it isn’t that long. Very bounce, much wow (okay, enough with the dumb references, I promise). The song after that is “Do You Wanna Get High?” which is the second single that was released prior to the album. This song is definitely the one song on the album that sounds like it could’ve been on Pinkerton. That was back in 1996. 20 years ago. How old do you feel now? ‘Cuz I feel old…even if I was barely one year old, but enough of that. The music on this song is as trippy as the title makes it out to be. This is also one of the heaviest songs on the album as well, which makes it all the better! Track 6 continues the heavy with “King Of The World,” and while it is heavy, it is still a love song. This one was the third single released before the album dropped, and it is my favorite of the three main singles for sure. The riff is classic Weezer, and the band is no holds barred about it here. The three part harmonies also contain that classic vocal style that the band has crafted since the ’90s.

Track 7 is “Summer Elaine and Drunk Dori” is probably the stupidest song title on the album. That being said, the music itself, as well as most of the lyrics, are actually really cool. It is as bouncy as some songs from 2001’s Green Album, but also has a fresher sound than that of the older albums. The guitar solo is also pretty amazing on this song, as well. “L.A. Girlz,” song number 8, is the power ballad on the track. As far as power ballads go, which I don’t think a lot of people do right anymore, this one is one of Weezer’s best. It has the heaviness of Pinkerton combined with the emotional level of “Heart Songs” from 2008’s Red Album. And I actually like that album, so this song’s got my vote. Once again, insert tasty guitar solo here. The next song is “Jacked Up,” and if “Thank God For Girls” had a stepbrother, this would be it. Not saying that this song is a ripoff, because this song is actually pretty cool, it just sounds super similar. The chorus is actually really cool, as it showcases River’s extended vocal range throughout the majority of it. “Endless Bummer” concludes the album pretty well. It starts out as an acoustic jam, to going full band by the bridge. This is not something that Weezer does often, but on here it’s done right. Even if it was just strictly acoustic, it would still be a great song. Then again, it wouldn’t have a cool buildup like it already has. Or another killer guitar solo(s).

Overall, this album is a solid followup from the last one, which I didn’t think it was possible. But once again, the gents in Weezer proved all of us wrong. This album and the one before that is the best “one-two punch” the band has had in their career since Blue Album to Pinkerton, and I am not exaggerating when I say that. What I will say is this: if you are a fan of the band, GO BUY THIS ALBUM. Oh, and I hope you all survive the pranking today…I didn’t.*

Rating: 8.75/10

Standout tracks: “California Kids,” “Wind In Our Sail,” “(Girl We Got A) Good Thing,” “King Of The World,” “Do You Wanna Get High?”

*Here’s how I got pranked: my girlfriend actually told me today that she got this album in the mail today….she lied…and I got sad 😦

*Second update: I ordered it on my own, anyway 🙂