Almost Honest - Thunder Mouth Review

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when I say “groovy, sexy-funk, doom-metal”? I first thought of a Viking rock band, but that’s just me. In all actuality it’s the name of rockers from New Cumberland, PA, Almost Honest.

The 4-piece band has been around since 2013, and released their second full length album, Thunder Mouth back in May of this year. Thunder Mouth is a quirky compilation of a plethora of influences that all come together in the most interesting ways, and make for some really fun metal songs. Although nothing here is particularly ground breaking, Almost Honest has crafted a loving homage to a genre of music that clearly means so much to them and that makes it a treat to listen to.

It's hard to describe exactly how Almost Honest sounds without actually listening to them.

They’re a culmination of all of the best parts of metal combined in a way that is meant to leave a lasting impression on the listener. The rhythm section comprised of drummer Quinten Spangler, and bassist Seth Jackson are way better than they have any right to be and do an admirable job of always keeping the music interesting. Lead guitarist, Zach Keiffer’s solos and breakdowns are top notch while lead singer, Shayne Reed’s vocals are menacing and pervasive in the best way, providing the perfect texture for everything Almost Honest does.

From their humorous and eerily vivid lyrics to the immense wall of sound that is their music, Almost Honest brings the best parts of a wide variety of influences together in a beautifully seamless way on Thunder Mouth

Check out the tracklist below!

Thunder Mouth Tracklist:
1. Thunder Mouth
2. Cannibal Cowboy
3. Ghost in Flames
4. Appalachian Sasquatch
5. Horoscope
6. Gods & Swine
7. ’72 Cosmos
8. Grandfather Frost
9. Forbidden Knowledge
10. Robot Slave
 


The first track, and title track, “Thunder Mouth” kicks off with Jackson’s bass and an ambient thunderstorm sound effect to set a sort of uneasy and creepy tone that pervades the entire record. This is quickly offset by heavy guitars and a driving rhythm with Reed’s dastardly vocals filling in the cracks with assertion. We are then treated to one of the best choruses on the album. It’s melodic and progressive yet still heavy, and does an excellent job of breaking the mold of what is expected in a metal song.

This opening track is followed by one of the quirkier tracks off the record, “Cannibal Cowboy”. This song somehow manages to entertain not only through its heavy riffs and awesome guitar work, but also through the vivid telling of a tale of a cannibal cowboy, and somehow it all works together incredibly well. These first 2 tracks off of Thunder Mouth showcase both the serious and humorous sides of Almost Honest which is seen on the rest of the album. 

My favorites tracks off the record are “’72Cosmos” and “Grandfather Frost.” These 2 tracks provided some of the most interesting and diverse songwriting and pulled me completely back into the album.

Almost honest have crafted a devilishly compelling and fun album with Thunder Mouth. It’s metal at its finest, and has some of the most original ideas I’ve heard in a while. With songs like “Cannibal Cowboy,” “Grandfather Frost,” and "Appalachian Sasquatch” having me try to describe them would do no justice. You need to just hear this band for everything that they are, and Thunder Mouth is the best way to do it. 

To keep up with Almost Honest and their latest news, check out their social media links down below!

Almost Honest: Facebook // Bandcamp

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen - Homecoming Review

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First of all, I love the band name. It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen. It’s fun to say.

These guys recently put out their debut EP, Homecoming. They’re a mix of blues, rock, jazz and soul, hailing from West Long Branch, New Jersey. Homecoming is a 6-track album that introduces their style to the world in a way that ensures they won’t be easily forgotten. I was way into this EP right off the bat. They’ve got saxophones. They’ve got keyboards. They’ve got some fantastic beats. This is music that you’re gonna want to dance to. It’s impossible not to move to it. It’s catchy, it’s infectious, it’s wonderful. I love some good jazz, and Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen put a spin on the genre that gives them a unique element and an original style.

Check out their tracklist below to follow along!

Homecoming Tracklist:
1. Old Fashioned Way
2. Miss Psychopath
3. Roosevelt
4. Next Time You Need Me
5. Beautiful to Me ‘17
6. Hometown Girl ‘17

 

 

 

 

My favorite song is the first, “Old Fashioned Way.” At first I thought I was watching an episode of SNL, because it starts off with that hook “Ladies and gentlemen, live from Brooklyn, New York. . .” But then the music starts, and I was pulled immediately into the song. It’s a footloose kind of track that had me nodding my head along with it, wishing I was standing up and dancing around the room. The first two songs are pretty similar in that aspect before the album transitions to a slower vibe.

The music changes a little, variations to keep the album upbeat and interesting, but I wonder what the album could do to feel more interesting to listeners at times. What could Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentleman do more or less of to make music in the future stand out more. Of course Homecoming is great though. It has that special something that makes Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen who they are, a something that carries throughout the whole album. 

These guys are talented, and I feel like they’d also be a great band to see live. Their music is the type that you’re gonna want to be present and in the moment for. Listen to Homecoming now and see what I’m talking about, and keep up with Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen (say that 5 times fast) on social media down below!

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen: Facebook // Spotify
 

Coffee Breath - I'll Lose Interest In This Review

Photos by John Hills

Photos by John Hills

Coffee Breath may as well just be my newest heartthrobs. With the perfect combo of DIY emo spirit and math rock, the quintet is sure to win you over. Located in the United Kingdom, Coffee Breath are a breath of fresh air (hah) in their respective scene, and their most recent EP, I'll Lose Interest In This is unbelievable. 

If you're a fan of bands like Title Fight and American Football, Coffee Breath is for you. They remind me a lot of local New Jersey band Halogens, which ideally would be a future show if either of them decide to hop across the pond. I'll Lose Interest In This was released on May 26th of this year, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Will Cook (Classically Handsome Brutes) and presents a refinement of the band's sound. It was released digitally by Further Sky records with a cassette release from Honeypot Records

Sam Tidmarsh (Vocals), Matt Reynolds (Guitar), Ryan McCorkell (Guitar), Max Hadfield (Bass) and Cem Ozer (Drums) met while studying at the University of Birmingham and formed Coffee Breath after bonding over a shared love of emo revival, math rock and coffee.

Check out the tracklist below before we dive in!

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I'll Lose Interest In This Tracklist:
1. Summertime
2. Playfight
3. Kites
4. Daydream

 

 

 

 

I'll Lose Interest In This is a dreamy, math-y album that begs you to hold it's hand in a way that you know it's going to break your heart. Opening track "Summertime" introduces listeners to that special Coffee Breath sound, with a guitar that buzzes against the hum of those half-sung, half screamed lyrics.

"Playfight" is going to slow it down a little bit for listeners, but at once of the longer tracks on the EP it can, at times, feel monotonous. However, if listened through completely, "Kites" will pick you back up to float along with Coffee Breath. This track is my personal favorite as it really exudes this fun indie pop aspect that feels good to listen and vibe to. A bop for sure, definitely check out "Kites." "Daydream" closes out the EP in a slow, smooth almost Jazz inspired piece. The closing track is a true testament to what the EP is really aiming for - and may have been the reason I fell in love with Coffee Breath. 

You should check these guys out, and I know I normally say that, but this EP is really concise, exciting and well done. The precision of the EP is a testament to the band's love for their music and also their hard work.

To keep up with Coffee Breath and all that they're going to be up to, check out their social media below!

Coffee Breath: Facebook // Website

Neck Deep - The Peace and The Panic Review

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You’d be hard pressed to claim to be a fan of alternative/pop-punk music and say you have at least never heard of Neck Deep, but for those of you who may be less familiar or have somehow managed to avoid hearing of this band, allow me to introduce you to them.

Neck Deep, the 5-piece pop-punk sensation hailing from Wrexham, Wales has basically taken the alternative scene by storm, turned it on its head, and made it their bitch. The Peace and The Panic, the band’s third album, sees Neck Deep further solidifying their rightful heir to the pop-punk throne with their first top-10 hit. The band delivers some of their best performances mixed with some of the heaviest themes of their short careers making The Peace and The Panic something that feels truly timeless in everything it does. 

Three albums in three years is no small feat, especially when they’ve been as solid as the ones Neck Deep has made. While The Peace and The Panic isn’t as revolutionary or as endearing as their sophomore attempt, Life’s Not Out To Get You, the band has stuck to their roots and made an admirable follow-up record that feels right at home in the Neck Deep discography. This release is definitely their most pop sounding album, but nothing about this record feels forced or as if the band is selling out, but rather it’s an obvious evolution for a group that has gained so much momentum in such a short amount of time. It still sounds as if the band is making the music they want to make, but there’s an obvious change in production techniques and experimentation resulting in a different sounding record that is sure to alienate some die-hard, old school Neck Deep fans.

Check out the tracklist below before we get real deep into this.

The Peace and the Panic Tracklist:
1. Motion Sickness
2. Happy Judgement Day
3. The Grand Delusion
4. Parachute
5. In Bloom
6. Don’t Wait (ft. Sam Carter)
7. Critical Mistake
8. Wish You Were Here
9. Heavy Lies
10. 19 Seventy Sumthin’
11. Where Do We Go When We Go
 

The band has gone through some emotional trauma since their last release. Losing friends and family members while constantly touring on the road and facing their inner demons. Neck Deep grew up a lot, and The Peace and the Panic reflects that. Maturity comes at a price, however. If what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger, then what makes us money makes us less daring. From the out of place anthem of “The Grand Delusion” to the ‘let’s leave this town’ song in “Parachute”, all of the usual pop-punk tropes and themes are here. Everything on this album feels and sounds great, but the biggest issue with it, is that it feels and sounds great for a 2005 record.

Frontman Ben Barlow’s vocals sound like a mix between Ryan Key from Yellowcard, and Christopher Drew from Never Shout Never. Combine this with fairly simplistic and straightforward, albeit incredibly addictive and relatable songwriting, and you have a record that sounds very Simple Plan-esque. Keeping all of this in mind though, Neck Deep really isn’t trying to sound like anything else. In fact, the band absolutely owns the sound they are going for, and it’s one of true infectious nostalgia that only proves the timeless appeal of a pop-punk genre that seems to have disappeared from modern music.

The Peace and The Panic is a really good album. It’s not amazing, and doesn’t bring many surprises, but its songs are incredibly catchy and fun and harken back to what feels like a much simpler time. Standout tracks for me are “Happy Judgement Day”, “Don’t Wait” and “In Bloom” which has the potential to really become a solid hit for this band. This is the most accessible Neck Deep album by far, and it’s definitely going to get the group new fans, but may ultimately end up alienating some of their old ones. People looking for a new pop-punk record should look no further, and older fans who may not have loved this record should listen again to truly embrace all of its catchy goodness.  

Regardless of how fans may feel though, Neck Deep isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and The Peace and the Panic is everything we love about Neck Deep, even if it is a little bit different.

Keep up with them on their social media down below for more!

Neck Deep: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Official Site

Erotic Novels - Debut Review

There’s a new band in town, and they have an awesome name. Erotic Novels is Shannon Perez, Chris Tull, and drummer Bobby C., hailing from New Brunswick, and they pack a punch with their garage-rock sound!

Their first official release, an EP appropriately titled Debut, is available to the public for purchase, and it’s definitely one worth checking out. Debut is a 5-track album that gives the listeners a pretty good idea of what to expect from Erotic Novels in the future.

Check out the tracklist below!

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Debut Tracklist:
1. Maiming Faces
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Revenge Therapy
4. Out West On My Own
5. I’m Not Willing
 

 

 

 

 

My music taste ranges all over the place, but occasionally I do love the heavy rock sound that Erotic Novels brings with this album. Sometimes I just like to put on a song with a thrashing guitar and let the music wash over me and pump me up. This album has some really good instrumentals of the sort that make you want to jump around and flip your hair.  

Erotic Novels makes that kind of music.

The song “Out West On My Own” was likened to The Runaways by The Key on xpn.org, and I’d have to agree. Not just for that song in particular, but the whole band. Erotic Novels has a sound that’s similar to some popular bands of punk rock, and the vocals do remind me of the distinctive sounds of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, which I really dig. Anything that reminds me of Joan Jett is good. Joan is the queen. My favorite song of the 5 on the album is “Hocus Pocus,” followed by “Revenge Therapy.”

“Hocus Pocus” has a guitar melody that I really like, and there’s something about it that makes it stand out from the rest. I feel like this music is something Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You would listen to. In other words, it’s great. It’s the best kind of angsty punk rock.

Overall, I’d give this album a 5 out of 5.

They get extra points for their cover art (anybody else recognize the handsome Fabio? The first time I ever saw Fabio was on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. God, I miss that show). And they also get extra points for their name, because I mean, come on. Erotic Novels. I love that name. 

Check out a streaming sample of Debut above, and you can purchase the full album for an affordable price on Bandcamp. Be sure to keep an eye out for any more releases from Erotic Novels in the future!

Erotic Novels: Facebook

Franchise - Ghost Light Review

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Post-hardcore empaths, Franchise, have recently pushed their newest release, Ghost Light, for fans and listeners. The July 14th release is their most recent, and definitely heartfelt, heart-throb of an EP.

Produced by Jess Cannon (Man Overboard, Senses Fail, Transit), the 5-track EP bleeds itself dry for listeners thanks to core members Kenny Collette (vox/guitar), Edgar Martinez (guitar), Mark Costa (bass), and Corrado Rizzi (drums). 

Check out the tracklist below!

 

 

With a melodic background, the 5-track EP ebbs and flows between each track it explores. "Take It Or Leave It" bellows listeners into exactly where Franchise wants them to be. Disoriented between empathic, bruising emotions. With the harshness of Collette's voice against a tight knight instrumental beat, this opening track shoves you into Franchise's moment. 

"Empty Machine" and "Contact" dissipate into a more alternative sound, with an introspective vocal and pronounced chord that makes you want to move along with it. "Contact" was a really emotional listening experience for myself, especially in comparison to the rest of the album, a quiet track that speaks volumes where the lyrics don't exist. "Finally Meet You" brings listening energy back up to where opening track "Take It Or Leave It" brought us. However, I was a bit surprised by the order of the last few tracks on the EP, it seemed out of place for "Finally Meet You" to precede "Blood In The Water" which felt more similar to "Contact" or "Empty Machine" and I wonder about the choice of it as the final track on the album. 

Overall, I'm really into this jarring, moving EP. Ghost Light speaks volumes in the space it is allowed to breathe. The melodic elements of Franchise make the music exciting to listen to. While the band isn't doing anything particularly new, they are making something their own that feels familiar but new all at once. Ghost Light is sure to pull on your heart strings with the heavy hand it deals the listener. 

Check it out on bandcamp, or take a peek at Franchise's social media to stay up to date with everything the band is up to!

Franchise: Facebook // Website

Shred Flintstone - Cartoon Physics Review

Shred Flintstone, the 3 piece “shred rock” band based out of New Jersey (and I must add one of the coolest band names I’ve ever heard), has released their hard-hitting debut EP Cartoon Physics and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

The 5-song album (only 4 on Spotify for some reason) is only around 10 minutes long which may sound like nothing to some people, but in a world of waning attention spans, Shred Flintstone absolutely owns every second on this record. The songwriting is clever and concise and nothing is wasted on unneeded instrumentals, repetitious choruses, or flashy guitar solos and it makes each song extremely satisfying. 

Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Dan Barrecchia, Shred Flintstone started out as a just a side project, but quickly evolved to take on a life of its own when drummer Joey Giambra and bassist Bridget Bakie joined. The band is all about positive vibes and good times, and their music is a complete manifestation of that. To quote the band off their Bandcamp page, “We hope this music makes you feel good about being yourself in a world that wants you not to feel good about being yourself”.  Each track off of Cartoon Physics somehow feels like a perfect throwback to the carefree times in your life, just making you feel happy and want to dance. These songs are oddly familiar which gives the listener a certain level of comfort and enthusiasm about not only the music, but the band as a whole. 

Check out the track list for Cartoon Physics below! 

 

 

 

 

The album kicks off with the aptly named “Happy Song”, a minute and 22 seconds of pure fun. It’s filled to the brim with infectious attitude thanks to its angsty lyrics and intentionally fast and sloppy guitar, and gives us a perfect glimpse into what Shred Flintstone is all about. This leads perfectly into “Buggin’” which has arguably the best chorus on the record. It’s an in your face, anxious song that has a lighthearted feeling of hijinks behind it. 

The next track “To-Do List” is my least favorite song on the album. It almost entirely forgoes that atmosphere of fun nostalgia that is present on the rest of the record in favor of a more serious tone that comes off a bit whiney in all honesty. Luckily this track is followed by my favorite song, “Fruity Pebbles.” Clocking in at a whopping 3 minutes and 12 seconds (that’s long for this band) it showcases the group at its best both on terms of songwriting and lyrics. It’s a truly delightful song with clever wordplay as it ebbs and flows between its quick verses and slower, more impactful choruses.

This brings us to the last track on the album, “You Don’t Know Me.” In the spirit of complete honesty, I’ve spent the least amount of time with this track because I usually stream albums off of Spotify to listen for reviews, and for some reason this song is not on Spotify, but I digress. A brooding, anti-social song, “You Don’t Know Me” features some of the most inspired and interesting performances on the record. It’s got a different feel than all of the other songs, and while it may not be as fun as some of the other songs, it’s still oddly familiar and comforting. 
In the time it took me to write this review I listened Cartoon Physics in its entirety 6 times. I found myself enjoying each song more and more as time went on. It’s a quick, fun-filled album that is filled with charm and positivity. With that being said it’s not without its flaws.

The biggest drawback of this record is all of the timing and syncopation issues present within a lot of songs. They are never enough to take away from the song, but they definitely catch your ear when you hear them.

If you have 10 minutes to spare and want to check out some new music, I highly recommend this record, you won’t be disappointed. 

Shred Flinstone: Facebook

Crooked Teeth - Pastel Review

Our California sweethearts, Crooked Teeth, have recently shared a brand new EP - a little diddy that really grows the sound we've been hearing in previous release, Out Here A Lone

Out Here, A Lone dropped on May 27th, 2016. It was produced/engineered/mixed by Matt Lang, percussion was done by Andy Rodesney, and finally mastered by Mike Kalijian. The 5-track EP is the perfect little teaser for what is to come from Crooked Teeth - and can you believe we said that almost a year ago now!

Pastel is a 3-track EP that tugs on all of your heart strings! And for this really cool accomplishment, we're even more impressed to find that Crooked Teeth is only a three piece comprised of Tyson Evans (Vox/Bass), Adam Miranda (Guitar) and Adam Galindo (Drums).

Check out the tracklist below!

Pastel Tracklist:
1. Out Of Place
2. Helpless
3. Crawl

 

 

 

 

 

Pastel works on the previous methods that were working for Crooked Teeth - the eclectic, gratifying hard hit of the instrumental, paced along with the half sung/half screamed lyrics that cusp pop punk, emo and alternative music. Opening track "Out Of Place" is one of the most impactful off the EP. Between Tyson's gut wrenching question, "Do you feel anything? Do you feel out of place?" it's easy to feel at home in the atmosphere that Pastel harbors.

"Helpless" is the most reminiscent of previous music from Crooked Teeth - an anthemic track that begs to be sung along to. Begging to question a relationship, Pastel makes it easy for you to breathe. Finally, "Crawl" is a musically in par with the rest of the EP, but lyrically very different than the other two tracks. The softness is gone, and if you need a good hate track this one works out great.

We'll make it easy for you and put a stream of the EP down below!

A journey is had on Pastel. Carried by the smooth, almost dreamy voice of Evans and the hard hitting instrumentals of Miranda and Galindo. Crooked Teeth only continues to impress us on their musical journey. You should definitely check this one out, a bite sized slice of what the California natives have to offer. 

To keep up with Crooked Teeth, check out their social media below!

Crooked Teeth: Facebook // Bandcamp