Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

The Hat Madder “Rogue Notes and Phones” Review

The first album in my “Reviews that I should have gotten to a while ago” series is…The Hat Madder’s “Rogue Notes and Phones”.

The Hat Madder (featured on the record) is Isaac Richmond Vander Schuur (vocals, guitars, bass, keys, percussion and found sound), Ricky Leinhart (drums and percussion), Erik Baio (Bass), Mjark Jagmin (Drums, Percussion), Doobie (keys, synths, manipulations, piano, organ, theremin), Aaron Pangborn (bass) and D.B. Higgins (bass).

However, the current lineup (as of 2010) is Isaac Richmond Vander Schuur (vocals, guitars, keyboards, found sound), Christian Urrabazo (drums, percussion, vocals) and Nick Merz (bass, vocals, euphonium, bowed upright bass).

Initially recorded in 2004 (hence the long credits above), Rogue Notes and Phones is a great blend of poppy vocals, bits of noise and drone and epic rock-out songs, usually all three occurring in the course of the same song. The quick opener, “This Shady Little Neighborhood”, draws on Sonic Youth-esque guitar tones. They are fuzzy and crunchy. Even the clean guitar tones have a dissonance maybe heard on Sonic Youth classics like “Theresa’s Sound World” from SY’s 1992 album Dirty.

The first proper song, “The Streets Don’t Lie”, starts with a great rocking riff and lyrics like “You’re the main attraction/In the main event”. The drums and guitars are tight and, as the song progresses, it only gets more and more epic. The chorus is catchy, driving and the hook is phenomenal. The silence break toward the middle, however, is a little jaunting (I sometimes think the song is over) but then the song kicks into Sonic Youth-dissonance mode with the guitar solo. Bits of shrieking distortion leak through the choppy notes.

“Let the Good Times Last” is more of a standard pop-rock song. The guitars are restrained, the vocals are super catchy and Vander Schuur has a great, multi-range vocal palette. The backing vocal harmonies are a nice touch as well. “Everything I should have done is didn’t do for you” Vander Schuur belts out. This song, along with the previous, show the noisy and poppy sides of bands that are on the Good Time Gang Recordings roster. Hooks are key but sweltering noise also plays a key role.

Another short instrumental, “Ampersand”, is an electronic piece. I love the melodic synth line in this little piece. I wish they would have expanded on that piece and turned it into a full song. “Let You Down” showcases more of the hooks and poppiness of The Hat Madder. The drums, at points, have a surf rock swagger to them. I love the use of synth here. It adds to the texture of the song. More than half-way through the album, the pieces that make up The Hat Madder are firmly established. The hooks are epic and catchy, the guitars crunchy and sparsely dissonant and the synths add a layer of spaciousness. Oh and the drums are top notch as well. I, however, have to saythat (although these are all great things) the formula is a little repetitive. Granted, I love the formula the band employs. I just thought that after the electronic “Ampersand”, the album might take a more overt electronic turn.

Regardless of my reservations about the lack of a trip down electronica lane (or maybe synth-lead avenue), this album is a great slab of rock and roll with all the dissonant bits any fan of Sonic Youth (or generally late 80s alternative) would eat up. If you’re not into that kind of thing, then the so-poppy-it-hurts hooks are great and get caught in your head and if that’s not your bag then the few electronic pieces might be able to hold your attention. No matter your taste, this album holds many styles together with ease.

Pick this up here: http://www.biggigproductions.com/store.php# and check them out on Facebook.

Roll Over Radio “Glass Feet: A Roll Over Radio Production” Review

Roll Over Radio, fronted by Elliot Street Lunatic drummer CJ Kjolhede, released “Glass Feet: A Roll Over Radio Production” in Summer of 2009. The lineup featured here is Kjolhede, Jason Marr (bass/backup vocals), Bobby Halick (drums/ back up vocals) and Adam Whitt (trumpet). Second guitarist Jon Mickelson joined the band after these recordings.

First, if you are familiar with Elliot Street Lunatic’s material then you might be in for quite the surprise. Most obviously,  frontman CJ Kjolhede’s voice is totally different than Marr’s frontman voice in Elliot Street Lunatic. Kjolhede’s is warbly and dissonant yet soulful and bluesy. His voice adds a lot to the atmospheric qualities of songs like “Smile to Yourself”. Although I can’t really pick a standout vocal performance on the album, I really like his voice and think it adds to the distinctiveness of the band.

Speaking of distinctiveness, the production (by bassist Marr) is spectacular. One of the standout techniques used is turning parts backward, like the acoustic guitars on Colorado Mushroom Company. The trumpet and drums sound warm and add texture to the songs. Halick’s drumming is spot on and has a pulsating, driving and colorful mystique about it. Marr’s production on the electric guitars adds an almost indie-punk choppiness to them; dissonant and off putting at times such as on “Antibiotic”.

Lyrically, Kjolhede sings with an assured, and almost (at times) depressed, demeanor lines like “Everything is red/I’ve not panicked” from Smile To Yourself. Following these lines is an impassioned harmonica bit. No doubt, the blues is definitely an influence here. The following song, Roll Over Radio Part 1, invokes the bands namesake. “I feel like shit but they don’t understand/Tomorrow I’m a new man/Roll Over Radio”. Contrasted with the happier chords and warm trumpets, the lyrics have a complex  meaning. Although, I’m not really sure what the phrase “Roll Over Radio” means in the context of the lyrics and album as a whole. Maybe it means something and maybe it doesn’t. (I bet I would figure it would after a few more listens…)

If you want to check out a band that, in my opinion, is one of the underrated gems in Lansing please visit http://rolloverradio.bandcamp.com/

Sleeping Timmy “What World?” Review

The first full length release by Timmy Rodriguez AKA Sleeping Timmy, entitled “What World?” has a lot going for it and a lot of mishaps too. The musicianship here is outstanding. Rodriguez plays every instrument (minus programmed drums), including acoustic guitar, electric guitar, keyboards, bass guitar and even mandolin. Incorporating this many elements himself and making them all work in the songs, and not be overwhelming, is a good sign.

How he used said instruments, although they work in the songs, feels a little stale about half way through the album. An acoustic guitar in nearly every song takes away from the originality of the songs themselves when nearly every song has one. Electric guitar parts here and there spice it up a bit but they also feel limp and weak. No real punch to them. Even the programmed drum patterns feel repetitive and boring after a while. A little diversity in the arrangements would be nice.

Lyrically, this album is a concept album. According to this Q and A with Rodriguez, “This whole album is from the male characters perspective. He is faced with constant obstacles (Her moving away from Philadelphia, the both of them moving in different directions emotionally, him thinking he has feelings for someone else, their first experience with intimacy). It’s pretty much anything you would see on TGIF from 1993-2000.” Rodriguez has a template for his concept, sure. But I don’t think Boy Meets World: The Album makes for very good lyrics. From the song Self in Doubt, “Self in doubt, I was wrong to think of you that way. Self in doubt, now I’m lost in my hallways”.

Apart from his lyrics, his singing is good at times, not great in other areas. I like the use of harmony vocals throughout the album, like on the first song “Sandbox”. Shows the influence of the Beatles on his music. But even some of the harmonies a little scratchy. At points where harmonies are absent, it feels a little dry. There is not one harmony that I got stuck in my head.

Overall, this album is a shaky start for Sleeping Timmy. I like the fact that Rodriguez is branching out into solo material and self-producing his own material. That shows he is staying active musically and experimenting. That’s what this album is, I think. An experiment. Something he wanted to do and put out there. I’m sure whatever he puts out next under the Sleeping Timmy name will be better.

Here’s A Review: “Words” EP by Drinking Mercury

Drinking Mercury, a side project of GTG cohorts Tommy McCord (guitar/vocals), Michael Boyes (vocals/guitar/ukulele), Timmy Rodriguez (bass/vocals) and Kevin Adams (drums/percussion/vocals), will release their new EP entitled “Words” on Saturday January 22nd at Mac’s Bar.

Here’s a Review.

Having existed since 2000, I’ve been missing out on this excellent band for quite some time. The first Drinking Mercury track I ever heard was their cover of Devo’s “Beautiful World” for “Explosions: Lansing Salutes Devo”. It was full of spacey electric guitars, folky acoustic guitars and Micheal Boyes’ one-of-a-kind warbly voice.

“Words”, at first listen, with the opener Hey, Hey Sally, feels like it draws from Modest Mouse-esque alternative rock. Boyes’ voice is due in part to this, although his voice is more melodic than say MM singer Issac Brock. His opening jangly drone of “Hey, Hey” is instantly ingrained in my head as one of those get-chills type moments. The guitars are strummed along for the most part. Toward the end of the song, the overdrive kicks in and finishes the song off nicely.

Grateful Day, the EP’s second track, shows the versatility of these musicians. Percussion is the star here. Bongos, shakers and claves are all present. They give the song a “walking through a rained out forest”-type vibe. Guitars are low in the mix and minimal. Boyes’ voice is also a great choice for lead vocals (as three of the four members sing). I also like the ending, where an almost 8-bit synth or guitar plays the songs motif.

The 8th, is Drinking Mercury in overdrive mode (literally). Distortion, wah and feedback patrol the sound here. Bits of dissonance drip here and there. McCord takes the lead vocal spot here. His vocal is perfect for the song but I felt that it seemed a little lacking in the inspiration department. It was a decent take that maybe seems more like it would fit in with his other project, The Plurals.

Remmy, following The 8th, seems a little out of place in the tracklisting as is. All the momentum from the previous song is pulled out from under the listener with a slow ballad. That complaint aside, I love the song. McCord again takes the lead vocal, singing lines like “Lay my pen onto paper/thinkin bout you again/I walk my mind through this cliche/every single night”. Great lyrics that paint a picture of a person in love (or is it post-breakup? I’m no good at analyzing lyrics). Space and ambiance play a large roll in the feel of the song. The instruments are spaced apart yet cohesive. The distorted, rocking ending plays up their alternative rock roots.

Noisemaker is another foray into distorted alternative pop. It is basically the same formula as The 8th. There are some differences though. A fingerpicked electric guitar intro is showcased here. After that, a big distortion kick pops up. Bassist Timmy Rodriguez takes the lead vocal here (his first lead DM vocal). His voice is refreshing to hear since I have heard McCord’s voice countless times and Boyes’ voice is distinct enough as it is. Beyond these differences, it is similar in style to The 8th, which is not a bad thing. It helps to showcase what the band can do well.

The closing track, The Day Before, has Boyes back at the vocal helm. The song’s overall tone is similar to Grateful Day or Hey, Hey Sally (although it is less rocking and more balladry). I love the backing vocal here. It has a gospel-like quality to it; very soothing. The first half of the song can be described as such. The second half of the song picks up speed a bit but still has the great backing vocal. I actually can imagine this song as the soundtrack to the whale jump scene in Free Willy (maybe it’s just me).

Overall, this EP has some great songs and some OK songs. Songs in the former category include Hey, Hey Sally and Grateful Day. Mainly due to Boyes’ vocal takes. They are infectious and instantly recognizable. I also love the music in those songs. The guitars and drums/percussion make the songs get stuck in my head.

Songs like The 8th are in the latter category. I just find them to be underestimated and a little boring. Believe me, that is hard for me to type, especially since Tommy McCord is a great songwriter, guitarist and vocalist. He is one of my all-time favorite songwriters so it’s hard for me to call one of his songs “lacking” or even “boring”. I feel that this style has been done a thousand times, regardless of who writes the song. I’m just not particularly fond of it is all.

Drinking Mercury have been around for a long time so they must be doing something right. Check out their release show for the “Words” EP at Mac’s Bar this coming Saturday with Mason’s Case, Elliot Street Lunatic and The Playback. Tickets are $8, is 18+ and the show starts at 8pm.

Lemuria “Pebble” review

Lansingmusic.TV interviewees Lemuria release their sophomore LP, “Pebble” today on Bridge 9 Records. Here’s a review.

Lemuria is Alexander Kerns (drums/vocals), Sheena Ozzella (guitar/vocals) and Max Gregor (bass).

Gravity, the opener, is a slow ballad with bits of distorted, chugging guitar toward the end. During the breaks between verses, vocalist/guitarist Shenna Ozzella’s guitar line pulls along like a dollar on a string. During the actual verses, power chords are chugged lightly but as the song progresses they get progressively more open. Almost breaking the song apart at the seams, but it stays held together.

I feel like this is the musical theme of “Pebble”. The songs feel like they want to burst into the noisier or more straightup rocking side of Lemuria’s past (see Home for the Holidays from the “First Collection LP”). But I love that the band reigned in their guitars and made other things like the lyrics, vocals and the drums more of the focus. Gravity has only four lines of vocals, undoubtedly a sign that drummer/singer Alexander Kerns took the time to make them mean something.

Other lyrical ideas explored are life on tour, like on Different Girls and Yellowstone Lady. On “Lady”, Kerns sings “Miles City, Montana/Driving east on 94/A dozen songs I have to write/ I know what about, not sure what for”. A song about life on the road as a musician fits Lemuria to a tee. They have an affinity for touring so an homage to it on this song is cool to hear.

Instead of pure rocking, Ozzella chose to accentuate her softer guitar style by using less distortion and using the guitar as more or less a texture. Case in point on Ribcage and on Different Girls. On “Girls” guitar lines ring in and out during Ozzella’s vocal parts. As she sings “It’s in your imagination, of course” a sparse, droning vocal duet with Kerns takes over. This, coupled with the sparse guitar line, makes it almost eerie.

The standout track here is “Chautauqua County”. Kerns’ lyrics here are great. “Defining my life by it’s opportunities/Especially the ones I missed”. Easily the best lyric on the album. Ozzella’s guitars are cranked, the drums and bass are in overdrive mode and push the song along. The most catchy song on the album, by far.

The opener, Gravity, sums up my thoughts on the record exactly. Lyrics and vocals shine here. All the instruments take a back seat to the voice. However subdued the instruments, they still rock. The guitars play more of a texture role but have a bursting-at-the-seams type of quality to them. On songs like Chautauqua County and Wise People, they do break out into their old selves but then are caged up again.

I came into this review with nothing but the best of thoughts, and I am pleased with Lemuria’s sophomore effort.

Go pick it up here: http://www.bridge9.com/lemuria

And go see them at The Trumbullplex in Detroit on Sunday February 6, 2011.

Fisherking “2 Songs” Review

This short offering from Fisherking leaves me wanting more, obviously. Releasing a 2 song EP seems kind of fruitless to me but I think it shows where the band is musically and where they are headed. All of the elements from “Forget It” appear here. Vocalist/Bassist Ryan Holmes is his usual shouting self on the first track “Leaving Home”. He shouts “home/what does it even mean?”. A lot of his lyrics seem to deal with figuring out who he is, metaphorically of course (or sometimes straightup, cut and dry too). Adds a personality element that the listener can relate to.

I really love the music here. The riffs are catchy, yet they’re like a sucker punch. They could be a lot heavier and punishing but I’ll let that slide since they are an enjoyable listen. Bits of dissonance leak through the riffage. The white noise of the guitar distortion adds texture to the relatively minute instrumentation. Doubling the guitars aids this effect as well.

The drums here are nothing special. That said, Alex Corey is a competent drummer and lets himself go the kit. Full of energy on both songs here. Ben Jenson, Fisherking’s guitarist, has found new ways to expand his playing but still maintain his hardcore roots. Dissonance is something new tried in Fisherking’s music and it works to their advantage. Arpeggiated riffs are sprinkled throughout “Leaving Home” as well.

Fisherking has already released an EP, entitled “Forget It”. Along with this new EP, I’m starting to hear something special in the making with Fisherking. I know they know they can push their music to its limits, but still maintain the hardcore elements. Their music will continue to evolve and I can’t wait to hear what they’ll do next.

Check out “2 Songs” here:

http://fisherkingband.bandcamp.com/

Tracklist:

1. Leaving Home (2:46)

2. Bull Run ’61 (3:02)

Album of the Year: Frank and Earnest “Old Francis”

Lansingmusic.TV was only formed about six months ago but in the time between then and now we’ve met some really cool people, listened to and reviewed amazing records and filmed awesome live shows. After hearing some great records in the past 6 months, I have decided to name one record as Lansingmusic.TV’s Album of the Year.

This decision did not come lightly, however.

Fields of Industry released a great record in “Trouble House”. I love the psychedelic, noisy soundscapes that populate the record. Definitely a record that is worth checking out. Do so here: http://fieldsofindustry.bandcamp.com/album/trouble-house

Another superb Lansing output this year was Fisherking’s “Forget It” EP. Full of the old school hardcore you know and love, it is a fun listen (even if it’s nothing new). Great energy from all the Fishermen. Check this out here: http://fisherkingband.bandcamp.com/

There can only be one album of the year however…..and that record is: Frank and Earnest’s “Old Francis”!

When I first listened to this, I immediately fell in love with it. Everything from the fast yet controlled guitar playing of Ben Hassenger and Otis McCheese, the pounding and steady bass of Paul Whittman and the impeccable drumming of Ryan Horky make this the finest release to come out of Lansing in 2010.

The trio of vocalists in Ben Hassenger, Paul Whittman and Otis McCheese, all add their individual flavors to their respective songs. As explained in my review of this record, Hassenger’s take on a song like “Addictionary” is like your local construction worker singing punk rock style. Wittmann’s has an emotive and energetic drawl to it, such as on “Clever”. McCheese’s vocal is the most recognizable and distinct. Lots of energy on the closer, “Mr. Holland’s Otis”.

The rhythm section of Wittmann and Horky is very powerful in it’s synergy yet individually, they do their parts. The drums are hit hard and with ferocity. Horky’s timing is perfect. The bass is the underdog of the band. It accomplishes it’s goal of driving the songs along but the parts are also spacious and not forced. Underrated part of the record.

I keep using the word “energy” a lot to describe this record. The infectious and energetic hooks, the blasts of guitar noise and pulsating bass and the emotional vocal takes show that Frank and Earnest are not just another run-of-the-mill Lansing band. They have something special that is unmatched right now in the Lansing music scene.

Buy the “Old Francis” EP here.

What will the Lansingmusic.TV 2011 album of the year be? I can’t wait to find out.

Review: “Explosions: Lansing Salutes Devo”

We continue our 2 part series with a review of “Explosions: Lansing Salutes Devo”.

The same disclaimers apply as with the Kiss tribute review: I have not heard the originals. I also not heard much material from a lot of the bands on this compilation. I will review the songs here on their own merits and not how they compared to the originals.

Now that that is out of the way, here we go…

This CD is all together a different animal than the Kiss tribute. Now, that may seem obvious. Kiss is a rock and roll band and Devo is a new-wave band. Their sounds are completely different. But in terms of how the songs sound here, the sonic qualities like the audio quality trump the Kiss tribute tenfold. This is not a bad thing however. It actually suits the two respective bands styles: Kiss is gritty, balls-to-the-walls rock and roll and the overall sound suited that philosophy. Devo, on the other hand, is methodical, calculating and cold when it comes to their style and delivery. This side is represented here beautifully. Each band, it seems, took their time to dissect their respective songs (barring a few punkish, DIY covers like Gates Of Steel’s “Gates Of Steel” and MK Ultra Culkin’s “Fountain of Filth”).

Not only did the bands dissect their respective songs, but some outright reinvented what it means to “play like Devo” (or not play like Devo at all). An example of this is BerT’s take on “Blockhead”. Accompanied by a drumbeat that sounds like it was lifted from samples of real factory machinery, he sings the lyrics over and over again, albeit from a distance. It feels eerie, droning and has an “I’m trapped here, and I can’t get out” kind of feel. Very claustrophobic. Again, it represents the cold and calculating world of Devo.

Other off-the-wall takes include the drum and bass-hardcore punk fusion of Dr. Device on the “Smart Patrol/Mr.DNA” . You might think that those two styles don’t mesh, but they do. Blast beats as well as the bass guitar are moved up in the mix. The slower, quieter breakdown showcases the band’s vocal abilities. Very cool and inventive.

Not all of this is gloom and doom though. There are some very inspiring takes like Johnny Unicorn’s “Patterns” as well as “Beautiful World” by Drinking Mercury. “Patterns” has the Johnny Unicorn musical stamp of approval. Synths, the saxaphone solo and keyboard interludes are all thrown in. “Beautiful World” feels very brittle. Michael Boyes’ vocal sounds akin to a sheet of glass that might break at any moment. Very heartbreaking and sad. Excellent take.

Still going down the alternative rock route, Frank and Earnest’s “Whip It” cover is pretty straightforward (for the record, I did say earlier that I have not heard the originals, but in the case of “Whip It”, I have). That does not mean it isn’t good. Everything about it is solid. A fun listen. The Plurals’ medley of “Too Much Paranoias/Gut Feeling/Slap Your Mammy” takes their noisy side and the poppy side and combines the two perfectly. Nicholas Richard’s vocal on the second song “Gut Feeling” is throaty and punchy. It is almost to the point of unlistenability…almost. As with BerT’s “Blockhead”, an uneasy feeling comes into play. But instead of hiding it like BerT does, The Plurals take that uncertainty and unleash it through the music into a rage of noise and absurdity.

There are songs by bands here that I did not cover. Unfortunately, if I covered all of them, this review would be 1000 words…and no one wants to spend a ton of time reading a long review. Everything on this compilation gels. From the crazy weird takes of BerT and Dr. Device to the straight covers like Frank and Earnest and everything in between, it all makes sense. Unlike the Kiss album where only a few tracks are on repeat, this whole record will be on my repeat list for a long time.

Review: No More Tomorrow Baby! A Tribute to Kiss

In preparation for the Kiss and Devo Tribute show at Oade’s Hidden Camel this Friday, I will be reviewing each CD. First up is “No More Tomorrow Baby! A Tribute to Kiss”.

I have to preface this review with a couple of disclaimers: 1. I have not heard the original Kiss songs. 2. Nor have I heard a lot of other material by the bands on this compilation and 3. I will be reviewing this CD on the merit of the songs as they were performed and not by how they differed from or sounded like the originals.

There were a few problems that I had with this compilation. First, the consistency of the audio quality is all over the place. Some songs like “Cold Gin” by The Hat Madder are top notch quality. Everything about the song from an audio quality standpoint is perfect. But then, we get to The Lightning Bugs cover of “Detroit Rock City”. This song is by far the worst on this (or both) compilations. I’m no audiophile by anyone’s standards but I can’t enjoy the track if it sounds like shit.

I’ll get away from all the negativity for a second. Being that each band recorded a cover in their respective style, I have to say that there are some excellent covers to be heard. The alternative rock style take on “Sure Know Something” by the Breakups is well done. Each member puts their all into the song, as if it was their own song. The different textures of guitars including the spacey verse parts to the hard-edged noisy exit, show the versatility of that particular aspect of the band as well as the band as a whole.

The best of the hard rocking came from Young Dan Tucker, with their cover of “Psycho Circus”. Complete with explosions and a Young Dan Tucker chant at the end, they went balls-out awesome with their cover. If there is one band that represents the sex, drugs and rock and roll of the Kiss Army, it’s Young Dan Tucker.

“Goin’ Blind” by Stargrazer shows that this compilation is not just for the hard rockers. The backwards effects, ambiance, synths and all around dissonant tone of the recording make it something unique. This song should be on the Devo compilation…If only Devo wrote “Goin’ Blind” instead of Kiss.

The CD ends with The Cartridge Family’s take on “Rock and Roll All Night”. It seems that tCF have finally captured their live show craziness on record with this recording. The song starts out pretty straight and is performed well by all involved. But by the end of the song, about 20 different voices are screaming the chorus and it devolves into a wish wash of voices, guitar feedback and Cale Sauter muttering something about Black Sabbath 4. The song, as it stands, is so-so. But with everything else that is going on, it doesn’t really matter what the final product is with tCF. You get an almost 5 minute party for the ears.

This compilation has a lot going for it. There are many different styles tried here, some to a great degree of success and others are complete failures. This compilation is a great way for Lansing bands to showcase their talents and expand their catalogs. From alternative rock to hardcore punk to old fashioned Kiss-style rock and roll, I think the bands tried their best. That I will not disagree with. If you like Kiss and Lansing local music, check this out. Otherwise, it may not be for you. Maybe a track here or there but the compilation as a whole will only serve the die-hard Lansing music fans.

Fisherking “Forget It” EP Review

Having seen Lansing’s Fisherking live twice, first opening for Lemuria in July and more recently earlier this month opening for Agnostic Front, they impressed me with their energetic live show. Guitarist Ben Jenson adds a passion to the band’s sets with his  flying and flailing axe wielding that many of their contemporaries lack. Drummer Alex Corey employs the standard beats found in hardcore punk but punishes his drum kit like it killed someone. He hits the drums with the ferocity of an exploding pipebomb. Finally, singer/bassist Ryan Holmes is a shouter. All of his lyrics are shouted but with an intensity that almost scares you. When he’s on the mic, he puts on look like if you cross his path, you will get jumped.

How does their debut EP “Forget It” compare with their live show?  Well, it’s something you won’t forget and will, in fact, want to look out for. “Searching for Something New” starts off almost thrashy in the guitar’s chugging pattern. Then it goes into all out hardcore greatness. At just over one minute and 30 seconds, the song doesn’t feel rushed. It blasts through each part but with a tenacity and vibrato that makes it feel like it lasts longer. There is an unmistakable swagger in the band’s playing.

“Right is Wrong” hits on the same musical territory as “Searching” but brings in palm muted guitars during the verses. Not a brand new innovation in hardcore, but it makes the song a little bit different than its predecessor. “No Faith in Me” begins with a sample of a conversation. I’m not sure where it comes from but it ‘s cool that the band decided to use a sample. It’s interesting and refreshing. The song also features a guitar solo by Jenson which in uncharacteristically slowed down and melodic in its execution. No fast, blazing solos here.

“Nothing Less” features a guitar line that is addictive to hear and I bet, fun to play live for Jenson. It’s catchy and hooks you into the song. As Holmes shouts his lyrics, the verse guitars and the drums keep the pace and rhythm quite well. “Anxiety” is the most musically diverse track on this EP. Starting with an almost ska-esque guitar line and fast, high-hat laden drum line, Holmes shouts out “There was a time when I felt alone/I felt no comfort in my own home” in a way that makes you feel like he’s angry at someone or some past transgression in his life that he wanted to get out in his lyrics. During the verses, drummer Corey employs the standard snare-bass drum beat done a million times before. What feels different, and ultimately adds, to his approach is that the other instruments, bass and guitar, play just as big a role as the drums. Often that particular drum beat gets the most attention from the hardcore listener but the guitar and bass stand tall, riffing their way through each verse like a wild fire.

The title track, “Forget It”, features guitarist Jenson going all out on the guitar solo. He plays blazingly fast, which is a departure from the solo on “No Faith in Me”. Other than that, the song feels like the rest of the EP. All of the aforementioned rhythmic ideas from the drums to the chugging, thrashy guitars tread through from the beginning of the EP to the end. There is even a breakdown that has a metal tinge to it. The EP feels like it ends not with a bang but a whimper, literally. The track fades out, which kills a lot of the momentum Jenson’s guitar solo and the final verse brought toward the end of the song.

“You just can’t tell me what to believe” are the last words shouted out on the EP. These are fitting words to sum up this EP. I want to tell you to believe that this EP is something different from the general hardcore scene but it really isn’t. What I can tell you is that this band has potential within the hardcore scene and will continue to grow in popularity. However, non-hardcore fans looking to get into the local hardcore scene may find this EP to be nothing new. But, I won’t tell you what to believe. Go check this out for yourself.

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