Help Me Help You

November 17, 2013

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Not too long ago I went up to New York for CMJ week, and got to go to a ton of shows. However, my favorite set during that week wasn’t part of CMJ. Hell, it wasn’t even in the same state as CMJ. I took a train over the New Jersey with some friends to see them play a small show in a basement near Rutgers.

Help Me Help You is a band that lives partly in Jersey, and partly in Queens. This show I saw them at was, I believe, their first set with their line up at that time. They took to the tiny stage with a few local pop punk acts (Kim’s Comeback, Feeny, and Jantones), in this small basement that didn’t even have a floor. Even though the place was so small, there were as many kids packed in there as possible, and everyone was into the music.

Help Me Help You’s set was great. They played super tight, and even threw in one cover of an American Football song. With the whole “emo revival” movement going on, Help Me Help You is coming along at the perfect time.

You can download their EP for free from their bandcamp below also!

Genre: Indie / Emo

Shulamith by Poliça

November 10, 2013

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Next on the list is the new album from Poliça. This is another band that my uncle introduced me to not too long ago, and I started listening to their first album a bit. At that time, I didn’t even know there were plans for this album, luckily I found out about a week before the release, so I didn’t have to wait too long to hear it. 

This band is something else though. With their electronic melodies, groovy bass lines, cool auto-tune and effects on the vocals, etc. etc. Also, their two drummers who play together insanely tight. The intro track to Shulamith, Chain My Name, showcases all of this very well too, and is a great place to start for them. After watching many live videos of theirs, I’m very excited to catch their set next week in Houston.

Genre: Electronic / Experimental

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It’s been WAY too long since I’ve made a post on here and kept up with it, I think I’m going to try and dive back in on the regular now though. 

I suppose I’ll start with what I’ve been listening to a lot the last few days, and that’s the latest two albums from Kevin Devine (one with his Goddamn Band). Bulldozer and Bubblegum both came out on the same day a couple of weeks ago, funded by a kickstarted Kevin had a while back. Both albums are really good, both displaying the great songwriting that Kevin Devine has, but I think my favorite of the two is Bubblegum. 

Bubblegum displays more of a rock feel since it’s with his band, while Bulldozer is a little more laid back. I saw him play in Houston a few nights ago and it was a great show too, he played several songs off Bubblegum, and one or so from Bulldozer. Plus a few classics from his earlier albums.

At first, my favorite track from all of this was the title track from Bubblegum, and I was so-so on the track Redbird. However, all of the sudden Redbird became my favorite song. I’m not sure if it took a day or two to grow on me, or if seeing it live opened something up to me, but damn. Posted below is that song performed on Audiotree Live.

Genre: Indie Rock

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First off, I’d like to give a big thank you to Meraki/Toska for letting me do a write up on their album before it’s release. It’s a first for this blog, and on top of that, it’s an AWESOME album. 

The album is 8 tracks long, and brings a lot to the table. It starts off with a nice clean guitar lick that has the very passionate lyrics screamed over it. This is one of my favorite things about their writing, and it sort of reminds me of Pianos Become the Teeth a little bit. They are quick to transition to a more upbeat pace with the solid modern hardcore feel to it. 

The album plays with those dynamics a lot, which is good in a genre where some albums can become similar across the entirety of it. They even have fun in parts with things like the “Bar Scene”. It is definitely a stand out album among hardcore that comes out of the Houston area as it is filled with emotion and power. 

Definitely a record to keep an eye out for, as it comes out sometime the week after the 19th. They’re also out on a short tour right now, so scope out their facebook for dates if they’re in your area. Here’s one of my favorite tracks and the single off the record, the song is called “Come Clean”.

Genre: Hardcore

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Pageantry is a three piece band from Denton, Texas that is making it’s mark on the scene in a big way with it’s recently release of the EP entitled “Friends of the Year”. I had heard a CD I bought at one of their shows not too long ago, and was looking forward to this release. Even more so after they released the first single off of it not too long ago. 

The songs on this EP carry a nice full sound for it being a three piece. They uses dynamics in a great way, taking it from soft and simple, to a bigger sound easily. All of the songs use catchy vocal melodies and great instrumentation along with it. 

The title track is one that will stay stuck in your head for a good while after listening to it, as it comes in with the unique vocals and builds up to the repeating phrase it the end. Can’t wait to hear more from these dudes.

Genre: Indie Rock / Pop / Psychadelic

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This band comes from Katy, Texas, and I was lucky enough to open a show with my band for them. They’re planning on releasing a new EP this Tuesday (the 25th), and just posted up pre-orders for it on their bandcamp.

I was lucky enough to give it a couple of listen throughs over the last day, and am very impressed by it. The seven track EP has great vocal work by Rocky Nelson, almost reminiscent to me of the band I Am Abomination to me. Though all of the instrumentals aren’t as heavy as the aforementioned band, they are very well done, and have great lead guitar tones that easily lay in the background, or come to the forefront when needed. Certainly a nice blend of progressive rock with indie rock, and something to look forward to hearing!

Genre: Progressive / Indie Rock

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This band comes from New Orleans, and has one of the coolest and most diverse sounds I’ve heard in a while. I saw them play at a DIY venue recently while they’re on tour with Caddywhompus. I had heard their name before from following Community Records (and their awesome veggie oil touring van), so I was pretty stoked to finally see and hear them.

All of the dudes were super nice, and their performance was insane too. Loads of energy coming from it, not to mention it was in a small loft/apartment too. As I said before about their sound, it’s one of the coolest I’ve heard lately. They effortlessly melded experimental rock, ska, reggae, and punk all into one sound. Hell, there’s even three or four more genres I heard in there that I couldn’t pin point. 

You can grab this EP for free off of the Community Record site here, and definitely catch them on a show if they come close to your town.

Genre: Punk / Experimental Rock

The Drums

June 22, 2013

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I saw this band a couple of weeks ago at a show, and couldn’t get enough of them when I got home and started listening some more. I’m not sure how I’d never heard of them before, as they seem to have a large fan base and a good amount of stuff out there. As well as the singer being in a solo project.

If you’ve never heard them before, I’ve seen them be reference many times to bands like The Smiths and Joy Division. They definitely have catchy songs that are written really well. For the most part the songs are simple, but just really damn good.

Genre: Indie Rock / Indie Pop

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This new album from Listener drops this week, but last week they had an album listening party via Audiotree, and streamed it online for anyone to jump in on. I sat down, incredibly excited to hear it after hearing a couple of songs beforehand. They had released the single “Eyes to the Ground for Change” shortly before, and played a couple of new songs on their Audiotree session.

Now, after hearing this album, it isn’t what a previous fan of Listener will probably be expecting from their earlier works. Dan Smith is known for his great lyrics and his background in rap and spoken word poetry. This new album seems more rock driven though. As he said, something they want to be able to pull off live a lot better. The album still draws me in heavily from the lyrics and vocal part, but the instruments seem to be a more driving force than previously. 

Genre: Rock / Spoken Word

▲ by Slow Magic

May 29, 2013

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Electronic music is a genre that I don’t know too much about, and feel as though I ought to know more. After jamming Robert Delong a lot, I started digging to find other electronic artists that piqued my interest. 

Yesterday, I came across this artist that goes by the name Slow Magic. Anonymity is something that seems very important to him, as he’s always wearing a mask when he plays, and his music is said to be “music by your imaginary friend”. In an interview though, he says he likes the anonymity because it forces people to look at and listen to the music, instead of looking at him. 

I came across the Audiotree session he did though and then downloaded the album shortly after watching it. I really enjoyed the energy I saw in the Audiotree session, and thought that the passion translated fairly well into the album. The tunes seem to have a steady flow to them, with a lot of use of dynamics too which I love. On top of all of that, the album art is crazy cool too. 

Genre: Electronic / Chillwave

(My apologies to any die hard electronic music fans if I got the “subgenre” wrong. I pulled it off last.fm since I’m unfamiliar with the electronic music world. Feel free to tell me what you’d label it!)