Architect the Destroyer - Tiny Thoughts Review

We're coming out of our hiatus to talk to you about Architect the Destroyer. You might remember Architect the Destroyer, aka Justin Genzo, from The Hook Journal's, The July EP where we featured "Cherry Wine," but if not, let us re-introduce you.

With a background in music, but never a clear place of belonging, Architect the Destroyer was born in early 2017 with an aim to hone in on the cross between indie, folk, & alternative. With the release of The Daisy EP in April 2017, Architect the Destroyer was really only preparing us for
what was to come - a sweet, heartfelt little wound that begs to be heard and paid attention to.

Tiny Thoughts is a 10-track debut album that features The Daisy EP favorites like "Cherry Wine," "Daisy," and "Bedroom Talk." The consistency of Tiny Thoughts is a cohesive, impressive debut for Architect the Destroy that has carved out a special place in my library for a discography as lovely as this.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Artwork: Thomas Louis

Artwork: Thomas Louis

Tiny Thoughts Tracklist:
1. Cherry Wine
2. We Are Stars
3. Paper Heart
4. Daisy
5. Bedroom Talk
6. Adventure
7. Oil & Water
8. Sleep
9. Golden
10. Birds

 

After listening to this album a few times over, I really was left with an overwhelming sense of fullness. Tiny Thoughts pushes listeners into uncomfortable spots without them ever knowing, tracks like "Paper Heart" or "Golden" that etch away at things you're trying to forget. Or maybe you're looking for the way to say that thing to someone you love, or used to love, or never loved at all even though it sure as hell felt like it - "Cherry Wine" or "Oil & Water" might make you feel more whole than before. 

Something that Architect the Destroyer is really good at is encapsulating smallness and making it as large as it seems when it's in our heads. Not only was I impressed by the production of this album, all of which completed by Genzo himself, but the lyricism and musicianship that accompanies it feels weighted and well thought out. Tiny Thoughts matters to the maker, and in turn it matters to the listener.

However, we're about to get real deep into track 8, "Sleep" so how about you stream it down below and we'll catch up with you after.

Is it on? Good.

"Sleep" is one of the most profoundly interesting and underwhelming tracks on the album at first glance. At over 8 minutes long, you may ask yourself what possibly could be happening that is 8 minutes long on this album? But, I recommend not dismissing this track in the slightest, as it truly felt like an embodiment of what Tiny Thoughts felt like as a whole. A dissonant, mellow track that clings onto every moment it exists within. It coddles you, it leaves you be, it gives you nothing to hold onto except for the echo of "sleep." 

Bottom line? This album is worth the listen. It's moving, it's fun, it makes you feel good. Tiny Thoughts is a beautiful addition to a year full of good music, and we're so happy Architect the Destroyer is here to add to that.

To keep up to date with everything they're up to, check out Architect the Destroyer's social media down below!

Architect the Destroyer: Twitter // Facebook // Instagram

LKFFCT - Dawn Chorus Review

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We can't let you miss out on New Jersey's rising Indie stars, can we? That'd be bad press, and we're in no place to allow that kind of mishap. We welcome Montclair's LKFFCT onto our most recent listening circuit with their junior album, Dawn Chorus. The 11-track monster of a listen is sure to be the thing you've been waiting to hear - their most defined and important album to date that is a mash up of all the things Indie lovers should want to hear.

I mean, I am one, so maybe you'll also want to hear it too.

If you're looking for Weezer, mixed with some surf rock, prog pop and classic singer/songwriter vibes with a few guitar solos mixed in then Dawn Chorus is going to give you exactly what you want. While their discography is typical lonely, introspective and wanting, Dawn Chorus extends itself as if it's asking the listener to give something back. What can we give back? We the other twenty-somethings, bumping around like tiny bees against a good breeze. Maybe Dawn Chorus has the answer?

Check out the tracklist below!

Dawn Chorus Tracklist:
1. Hatchling
2. Down The Road
3. Anesthesia
4. Sleeves
5. Flavor
6. Starling
7. Ayy Lmao
8. Bridget
9. Phobic
10. Punching Bag
11. Blue Jay



This sprite of a release begins with "Hatchling" the very essence of what an opening track should be. An opening into what this pale purple world is for LKFFCT. "Hatchling" also has one of the most intense guitar solos of my life, so what better way to open up your album then buy completely shredding it to pieces? "Down The Road" reminds me of a hint of punk and surf mixed together. A track that doesn't take itself too seriously.

"Anesthesia" is one of the tracks that reminds me of Weezer, especially the lyrical content & that opening chord. Might be one of my favorites, honestly, and "I know I'm broke and somewhat bent / but please don't ever leave me" is generally how Dawn Chorus is going to linger for listeners. Following up on it is "Sleeves," a sweet little diddy that I've caught myself keeping on a little bit longer than the rest. The ebb & flow of this track feels like a warm place to sleep, perfect little clouds in a blue sky. 

Check it out below!

"Flavor" is going to bring you back up to speed with those half-sung, half-shout vocals and catchy riff, just to bring you right back down into "Starling." The most singer/songwriter track on the album, it differs from "Sleeves" in the way that it carries more weight. "Ayy Lmao" reminds you that nothing is ever quite that serious, not even LKFFCT's third album, and we're quite alright with that.

"Bridget" stands out to me as a track that exudes a poetic smartness, an uncanny knack of being a moment people share. I personally really love these tender moments that LKFFCT evokes. Their ability to switch on and off between slacker rock and indie rock makes them feel well rounded and provocative. The duality of vocals on this also makes it feel personal, as if you're the only person who could really listen to the track. "Phobic" reminds me of the few other slower tracks on the album, it's opening chords catchy and stand out - but I wonder what else it's saying, or maybe could be saying. "Punching Bag" is a quip of a song, one that keeps the movement of the album. Final track "Blue Jay" is the perfect book end to a, sometimes, endless bookshelf. It encapsulates moments that I enjoyed from each track, both a diddy and anthem that is serious but never too much. 

Overall, LKFFCT has a winner with Dawn Chorus. The album is a heartfelt note to listeners, both new and old that begs a moment of your time. I was impressed by their ability to bring together a collection of songs that all at once felt singular and unique, but important and vital all on one work. Since their last release in the summer of 2016, it is clear that LKFFCT is working towards a common goal - one that they get closer and closer to with each new album.

Don't miss out on this one, sincerely, and to keep up with LKFFCT for shows and recent updates, check out their social media for more! As always, thanks for reading & we're officially marking LKFFCT as Hook Approved.

LKFFCT: Twitter // Facebook // Tumblr

The Afraid Brigade - If I Ever See Stars Again Review

Fantasy indie rockers, The Afraid Brigade, have released their latest EP If I Ever See the Stars Again back in June of this year, and it has become one of my favorite indie records of 2017. The 4-piece band from Woodbridge, New Jersey have crafted a diverse record filled with excellent songwriting, infectious choruses and melodies, and a theatrical story that takes the listener on a wonderful journey throughout its 6 songs, but is sadly over far too soon.

Consisting of lead singer Joe Ruff, guitarist Tyler Boland, bassist Ben Lander, and drummer Zach Lander, The Afraid Brigade is a group of very talented musicians who understand their inspirations well. Personally, I got a sort of Manchester Orchestra meets Modest Mouse sort of vibe from the band, but they cite mewithoutYou, Band of Horses, and Iron & Wine as main influences. It’s refined indie pop-rock filled to the brim with over the top emotion and attitude and everything about it just feels so right.

If I Ever See the Stars Again contains 6 very unique tracks that all come together to tell a cohesive tale of a weary space traveler experiencing some difficult situations. From the seamless transitions between songs that sound nothing alike to the deliberate choice of instrumentation to convey setting and atmosphere, everything about this record feels polished and well thought out making for an unexpected, but truly awesome journey. It also helps that these songs are really, really good. Nothing ever overstays its welcome on this record, in fact a lot of songs could have stayed a little longer (I’m looking at you, beautiful intro track).

Clocking in at roughly 16 minutes, this space voyage is over before you realize it, and leaves the listener wanting more. Check out the tracklist below!

1. Stars Intro
2. The World Don't Want You
3. Nothing Good
4. I'm in Hell 
5. Dead Wrong
6. Let's Die Alone Together







 

The album kicks off with literally an intro track, but it honestly is one of my favorite songs off the record. It’s only about a minute long, but the sense of space and loneliness it conveys is some of the most impactful material on the album. “Stars Intro” is really only comprised of 4 things: a bit of sound effects, a droning synth, a piano for subtle melodic effect, and Ruff’s vocal out in the forefront all by itself. The vocal on this track is the most vulnerable vocal throughout the entire record and it instantly hooks the listener in, which is perfect because this track smoothly leads into the second song “The World Don’t Want You.” 

This sort of anthemic emo song kicks off with a solid guitar hook and incredibly well-done harmonies to perfectly offset the depressed, solitary mood of the intro track. The stars of this song (no pun intended) are undoubtedly Boland’s unbelievably sick guitar work, which kind of feel just like a solo jam for almost 3 minutes, and Ruff’s vocals which come off as desperate in the best way possible.

The next track, “Nothing Good” can be seen as the pop-punk song off the record. Chugging rhythm guitars, mixed with driving beats are met with a lead guitar track that cuts through it all to give it a sense of attitude. A bridge that calms everything down only to come back up to a climax in the song is about as pop-punk as it gets. Once again however, Ruff shows just how versatile his vocal can be as he attacks these quick, syncopated lines with precision and tenacity. This is a hard-hitting track that somehow hits all the right notes despite its short run time. 

“I’m in Hell”, the next song off the album, is arguably the most different sounding song on the entire record. It’s a very early Beatles-esque vibe mixed with a sort of classic 50’s love song. This track comes fully equipped with a frilly piano that drives the whole thing, a whistle part to connect different parts, a horn section to serve as a call and response, and of course a key change. It’s all pretty intoxicating to be honest, and I couldn’t help but fall for the undeniable charm that came with everything. Through all of that throwback goodness though, my favorite part of the recording is actually the gang vocals. They purvey a real sense of camaraderie that make me feel like this band is having a lot of fun with what they are doing. It’s a subtle thing, but one I don’t hear a lot of anymore.

“Dead Wrong” is about as Modest Mouse as it gets for me. It’s a pop-oriented song that’s led by an off-kilter guitar and intentionally pitchy vocals to convey as much emotion as possible. Somehow The Afraid Brigade make it all work so well without ever sounding like some cheesy knock-off which is truly a testament to just how malleable this band truly is. 

Finally, If I Ever See the Stars Again reaches its finale with “Let’s Die Alone Together.” It’s a beautiful rock ballad with extremely big choruses and Queen inspired guitar solos that ebb and flow until it all just eventually fades away. It’s as fitting an end to a record as any I’ve ever heard. I don’t want to give anything away, but I highly recommend putting this album on ‘repeat’.

The Afraid Brigade deserve every ounce of praise, respect, and support they get for If I Ever See the Stars Again.

This record feels so thought out, and so professional, as if it came from a much more established band that’s been around for at least a decade. It’s such a fantastic EP that I really think everyone should listen to, and since it’s such a quick listen there’s really no excuse not to. Although I wish there were more to it, I really can’t find a single thing wrong with this record, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band. 

The Afraid Brigade: Facebook // Bandcamp // Official Site // YouTube

Devon Goods - S/T Review

Glen Rocks, NJ is a tiny place in New Jersey that sits close enough to New York to have a constant identity crisis, and that's ok. Devon Goods is an indie punk quartet that embodies that very sentiment in their newest release, S/T. The 4-track self titled EP is a heartfelt, gut wrenching little album that is the perfect way to ring in Fall on this October evening. 

Devon Goods is Mike Beyda, Zach McCollum, Justin McCollum and Ross Greenberg. The EP was produced by Ryan Stack at Format Audio and we just can't stop listening to it. According to the band, "Justin McCollum and Michael Beyda started writing songs together at the ages of only 14 and 15 and soon after Justin’s brother Zach McCollum to join up on the drums. It wasn’t long until Ross Greenberg (bass) completed the line up and got his brother to help them record their first EP “Teeball” in his basement. Later, in 2015, the band decided to record and release a more polished EP entitled “Couldn't Ask For Anything More.” Focusing on live performances and honing in on their stage presence, the band went on to play a group of weekend tours until they began recording their latest release “Devon Goods” this past April." 

The EP released on June 23rd and Devon Goods say it is the epitome of where they are with their sound right now. Check out their tracklist below to follow along!

S/T Tracklist:
1. Jersey Shore, PA
2. 528
3. Cicada
4. Appleblossom

 

 

 

 


Opening track "Jersey Shore, PA" is a solid, math-y kind of track that hooks listeners immediately. As a New Jerseyian myself this track speaks to me (probably, right). Devon Goods quickly prove themselves as a hard hitting foursome that wants you to listen to what they have to say. The album boasts that half sung, half screamed mentality of indie punk and math rock. "528" is self described as the most popular song off the album, and to listeners this track does stand out amongst the rest as a nice middle ground.

Personally, I really enjoy "Cicada" because it is softer than the rest. This track leaves the most after the EP has finished, and maybe lyrically the track has more I can hold onto than others. 

Either way, you should check out Devon Goods for yourself and decide. Take our word for it and take the leap into it. We're sure you won't be disappointed with this one. In the meantime, check out their social media down below to catch up with their latest news.

As always, thanks for reading!

Devon Goods: Facebook // Bandcamp

Honeytiger - Tangerine Review

Anyone can tell you that here at The Hook we freakin' love Honeytiger. We've been in love with them since their album Half Clean in 2016 and we won't ever stop loving them (babe). Good news for us, and for you, is that on August 11th Honeytiger released their newest EP Tangerine for listeners and fans alike!

Can you feel the excitement in these words because we are excited!

A sophomore EP can be a challenging task for a two-piece especially, but Josh Glauser & Isaac Clark are up for the challenge of reinventing themselves in this new 5-track album. While I wouldn't say that Honeytiger are doing anything especially outside of their box, it feels good to hear new things that push them a little bit ahead of what Half Clean was. 

Check out the tracklist below!

Tangerine Tracklist:
1. Interviewer
2. Is It Midnight?
3. Warm Drug
4. Harold Greengard
5. Mannequin

 

 

 

 

Opening tracks "Interviewer" and "Is It Midnight?" bring listeners back into the world that is Honeytiger. That brash guitar, Clark's cooing voice. They bring out just the right amounts of indie and rock so that you can sing along but also jam the heck out. And, as always, the lyrical content is impeccable. 

Stand out track "Warm Drug" feels chillingly dark for Tangerine. Hidden in the middle of the EP, the track sneaks up on listeners in a brooding type of fashion, snarling. I love that it juxtaposes a usually more light hearted sound. It also denotes a quick and quiet shift in the latter half of the EP, one that shows off Honeytiger's improved upon sound, one that begs you to take it more seriously, but not too seriously in tracks "Harold Greengard" and "Mannequin."

The EP feels all at once quick and slow, and I liked existing in it. Tangerine, if we look at it against real life tangerines (you know the fruit), which are less sour and a bit sweeter than regular oranges, you can equate that to how this Tangerine functions. This EP doesn't disappoint, and you'd be silly to skip on a listen.

Check out Honeytiger's links below to keep up to date with all that they do and definitely check out Tangerine immediately!

Honeytiger: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Website

HAZYY - BREATHE Review

Another Philadelphia native is up at bat here at The Hook, and we're ready for HAZYY to take a swing! The chillwave, indie pop foursome is celebrating the August 11th release of BREATHE their latest EP.

Comprised of Benjamin Wright (Vocals), Patrick Radecki (Bass, Synths, Beats), Jesse Christaldi (Guitar), and Stephen Jasinski (Drums), the project shared their 5-track EP, BREATHE, over a month ago. It was recorded and mixed by Patrick Radecki, and mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering. BREATHE is a vibin' lil EP that brings out what you like most about a more progressive indie pop sound. 

Check out the tracklist below!

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

BREATHE Tracklist:
1. Gone Cold
2. Wrong
3. Hangin' On
4. Pulse
5. Stay

 

 

 


With hints of R&B influence and also the assurance of a good beat, BREATHE opens up with "Gone Cold" the first of five chilling songs that combine ideas of heartbreak, of loss and longing. The EP moves along in a dreamy, understated way that makes the tracks feel underwhelming at first until they prove themselves. "Wrong" is my favorite off of the album. The sultry beat and vocal combo makes it an instant hit off the EP. I'm also a huge fan of distortion and this track has that which is tight! It also is super catchy. A song you want to grind all up on someone with, passionate might by the word I'm looking for.

"Hangin' On" is a much more typical alt-rock jam, similar to bands like Portugal The Man or Cold War Kids. "Pulse" is a funky, very electronic mid-way song that reverbs hard against those that surround it. This one gave me an 80's new wave vibe for sure. Lastly "Stay" closes out the EP with a sassy beat that dances around the listener. Albeit the lightest track of the album, this one feels like something you'd hear on the radio (and maybe we will one day). 

Overall, HAZYY isn't reinventing the wheel, but they are making good music that you can get hooked on and that is all that matters. You definitely want to check out BREATHE and check out HAZYY's social media to keep up with everything they've got going on down below!

As always thanks for reading.

HAZYY: Website

Cerulean Blue - Take It or Leave It Review

A Philadelphia favorite, sweet friends in Cerulean Blue have been ruminating in our ear buds for over a month now. The DIY experimental project is headed by Kevin Brusha and encapsulates a more laid back 'do it yourself, can do' attitude that is wildly transparent in the Philadelphia scene!

Their most recent EP, Take It or Leave It, was released on July 15th of this year! The 4-track EP is a sweet, concise little diddy that explores rock, love, and lots of chiming noises. Brusha self describes Cerulean Blue as a "glam rock band with a focus on challenging pop song structure and performance by making music that is odd/accessible."

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Take It or Leave It Review:
1. Rebirth
2. Library
3. Lighthouse
4. Pale Blue Light

 

 

 

 

"Rebirth" opens up the EP in the sweetest of ways, one that welcomes and charms listeners into the placidity of Cerulean Blue. The vocals are far away, barely tangible while the music envelopes you and the things you're doing. I wrote many an album review listening to this EP, as it is comforting and happy to me.

Tracks like "Library" and "Lighthouse" feel like tracks out of ethereal movies where they're both in a field, spinning and loving so hard until it ends, until it all ends. Take It or Leave It exists in a space all it's own, a fairy. Closing track "Pale Blue Light" encapsulates the entire album and presents it as one concise song for listeners - screeching violin and all. The penultimate before the gaping hole that Take It or Leave It left with me, a moment to retract the globs of myself and become one again.

I really like this, and Cerulean Blue is definitely Hook Approved, so check it out. Links below for your consideration!

Cerulean Blue: Facebook // Bandcamp

The Broken Few - We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves

As Fall encroaches (hopefully) upon us, we're settling in with a good book and a good band. This time it's Providence, Rhode Island quintet The Broken Few. The post-hardcore screamo band bring out the sad boy in us all, and for the month of October, that's what we're into.

(Shut up, Mom this isn't a phase)

Way back in April, The Broken Few released We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves, a 9-track album that pushes and pulls at the innards of anyone who stumbles upon it. The Broken Few includes members Eddie Cote (Vocals), Joe Landriana (Guitar/Vocals), Chris Cordon (Bass), Jordon Collard (Drums), and Chris Michaels (Guitar) to create a nice slice of what you instrumentally like about post hardcore with the screams to go along with it.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

The Broken Few Tracklist:
1. Fuck Yeah, Bob Saget
2. Axe Body Spray
3. Smile
4. Winter
5. Hey Jealousy
6. Rose
7. To Whom It May Concern
8. You Don't Know Me
9. Wander

 



Opening track "Fuck yeah Bob Saget" lures listeners into to something that isn't always going to be very funny, but that's ok. I really dig the vibe of this album, it's soft in nature (or probably just recording), and it sneaks up on listeners in a lot of ways. I prefer this album instrumentally, and when Cote is singing rather than screaming, the tracks feel a little more impactful. Some tracks have an inconsistent type of vocal depth to them, one where I wish they'd choose between the two styles. 

For the most part, tracks 1-5 were preferred over the latter half of the album. They felt the most consistent, heartfelt and well put together. I wanted more tracks like that where I could get lost in sharing those feelings with the band as they pull them out of the listener. Overall, I like The Broken Few. I want to listen to more music for them and I want them to do well. I wonder where their path will take them in the future, and what things they want to hold onto or let go - and We Leave Pieces Of Ourselves is an ode to a time in which they did just that.

To keep up with The Broken Few, check out their social media down below!

The Broken Few: Bandcamp // Facebook