Debut release

Honeytiger - Brain On The Wall Review

One of our Philadelphia favorites, and long time Hook supporters, Josh Glauser and Isaac Clark are Honeytiger. Two-piece, Philadelphia-based indie-rock band just released Brain On The Wall, their first full-length album, earlier this month. According to their bio on their website, “Honeytiger takes on catchy alt-rock, dark indie-rock, and broken-hearted slow-motion car crash songs,” which is like, such a hook for me that they must have reached inside my mind and fished out the weird idiosyncrasies of my music taste. Broken-hearted slow-motion car crash songs are my favorite songs. One could argue that’s all I listen to. I’m such a drama queen.

For something that was recorded in a basement (from the mouth of guitarist & vocalist Isaac Clark), Brain On The Wall sounds nothing less than professionally mixed to me. Honeytiger has excellent musicality, and this LP harks upon previous releases in a real, grown-up way. Clark’s vocals will remind you of bands like Cage the Elephant and Muse, while the instrumental aspect is a classic indie sound that shouts: this band is going places!

Before we move on, check out the tracklist below to follow along!


Brain On The Wall Tracklist:
I Quit
2. Dawdler
3. Point Breeze
4. Sundrop
5. South Philly Summertime
6. Ultraviolet Buzzing Machine
7. Piece of Cake
8. I’m Alright
9. Confinement Howl
10. Robot
11. Same Fears
12. Endless Somersault

This is a perfectly succinct album, and a pleasant listening experience all the way through.

Mellow and relaxing for the most part, one of those albums you like to have on in the background, maybe while you’re studying or getting some work done. This feels on-par with Honeytiger’s previous work - their debut full-length drawing upon the successes of their EP work allows the band to come full circle for long-time listeners, while also remaining welcoming to new fans. A smooth, indie overlaid with hard-hitting guitar and percussion which feels like the first sip of coke on a warm day.

I loved track nine, “Confinement Howl,” as short as it was, and the final track, “Endless Somersault” (a couple of those car crash songs). “Confinement Howl” and an earlier track, “Ultraviolet Buzzing Machine,” seem to serve as transitional songs - they’re both recorded the same way, with nothing but a soft acoustic guitar and vocal, which sound like they’re playing through an old record. As tracks six and nine, they bookend the middle and end of the album, and I really appreciated that technique.

Since our first review of Tangerine back in 2017, and Half Clean in 2016, Honeytiger remains, to us, a band to watch out for, one on the rise. Their sound is familiar, sharing similarities to other well-known indie bands, I’d say these guys have a pretty good chance of making it.

Check out Brain On The Wall available for streaming and purchase now. You can get a digital album or a vinyl! All of the band’s links are available on their website. 

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

The Ye11ow 11 - Have You Been Good? Review

Photography: Anna Ladd

Photography: Anna Ladd

Have You Been Good? is the brand new double album from Philadelphia based jazz outfit Ye11ow Eleven Big Band. In a world where musicians struggle to stand out, I think these guys might just have a shot. 

In nearly an hour and a half of music, this album evokes some of the legends of big band jazz, without sacrificing its own originality. The occasionally chaotic horn section brings the Mingus Big Band to mind. The rhythm section is tight and unyielding. 

The opening track, entitled "Just Me," is a nice place to start. It feels very much like the opening of a detective film. The tune is dark and smooth throughout, even when it gets a little eclectic. One of my favorite recurring themes on this album starts right on this track. The solo sections make me feel as though I’m sitting in the corner of a tiny jazz club, cigar and whiskey in hand; until the background parts played by the stellar horn section kick in. Then I might as well be in a ballroom in the 1940’s, dancing with my sweetheart. In the hands of lesser musicians, this might seem like a jarring transition, but Ye11ow makes it feel natural.

Disc 1 ends with one of my favorite tunes on the album, "Lunch Poems." It begins with a frantic rhythm section, aided by some dissonance provided by the rest of the band; but, soon you’ll find yourself listening to a swanky swing tune. And that’s the theme, the song continues to branch off in new directions. The title says it all, "Lunch Poems" sounds like it’s taking me through a number of musical short stories, with an overarching theme and a clever ending.

Disc 2 gets a nice opening in the form of "Balanced, Always." This track boasts a great piano feature, as well as a very cool saxophone duet, followed by the first of many saxophone solos that really blew me away on the second half of this album. 

By the time I got to the penultimate song of the album, "Spiders," I was very impressed. A dreamy opening gives away to a fiercely rhythmic dance. These guys really know how to name their tunes, the rhythm section makes me think of a spider crawling along a wall. This is the longest track on the album, clocking in at 10:06, but it never feels stale. The piece moves along elegantly and powerfully.

The album ends with the peaceful "Change of Tide." It’s a moving ending to an album that I believe I’m going to enjoy for a long time.

The track list is below!

Disc One:
1.    Just Me
2.    Turning Point
3.    Three Mile Island
4.    Coffee
5.    Endless
6.    Lunch Poems

Disc Two:
1.    Balanced, Always
2.    Sylvan
3.    Fountain of Youth
4.    The Big Picture is Too Big
5.    Spiders
6.    Change of Tide

Overall, Have You Been Good? is solid.

I haven’t even scratched the surface of all the little musical moments that made me smile here, so you’ll have to discover them for yourself. Have You Been Good? comes out tomorrow, July 15th.

Rating: 9/10

Ye11ow Eleven is a big band with their own style, built on a foundation of good players. They frequent Chris’ Jazz Café in Philadelphia around 15th and Samson, and I know that I for one will be checking out a live gig ASAP.  

Check them out on Facebook!

Dreamer & Son - Written Off, Moving On Review

On April 2nd, ambient rockers, Dreamers & Son released their brand new EP!

Written Off, Moving On is a short but substantial release to add to their up and coming discography!

Perfect for the springtime season of new music. The album has a lot of diversity in its sound and should appeal to a few different tastes in modern-day pop/rock. The album starts with a brief instrumental introduction on "Tension" before moving into a power-pop song, "Hello Vancouver,” and seems to be fitting well with the groups desire to “break down genre barriers and build a diverse family; a community based on love and acceptance.”

Written Off, Moving On really hits a high mark with "Sweep.” The lyrics are intimate and emotional, while the hook is most memorable. The sound on this song hits a sweet spot for me and the blistering guitar fill solo at the end is a ton of fun, which brings a lot of energy to the track.

"Everyone Loves the Violins" is another standout track; raw emotion rings out through the lyrics and vocal performance. "Everyone knows I've not slept for days; wonderful things come in horrible ways,” is such a great line.

The album then closes with "Not One Dry Eye" with a catchy hook and melodramatic flair that captures the spirit of the EP in one song.

Check out the track listing below!

Written Off, Moving On:
1. Tension
2. Hello Vancouver
3. Sweep
4. Everyone Loves The Violins
5. Not One Dry Eye

Overall, the EP works to spread out the musicality of ambient rock. There's most likely something here for everybody who is interested. It doesn't fill a niche genre taste because it doesn't really need to. It's a straightforward rock EP and I'd recommend giving it a listen!

Rating: 7/10

Check out the EP (available on iTunes) and follow Dreamers & Son on social media!

Dreamer & Son: Facebook // Bandcamp // Twitter

Hiding Out - Vena Cava Review

Today, listeners received some really great music - and it definitely wasn't part of a joke.

Hiding Out released their debut EP today! Vena Cava is the band's first EP, and follows months of hard work and rehearsal to achieve a sincerely illustrative and beautiful collection of tracks to introduce themselves as a group you should definitely be watching!

The album is a collective of four tracks - each ambient and chill. Reminiscent of the beach and nighttime. The band released "Light Me Up" as their single off of the EP back in January to good reviews! They also created a music video for the piece upon its release, which allowed for an amping up of Vena Cava's arrival!

The EP definitely does not disappoint. Each track has it's own mood to contribute to the listener. The title track, "Vena Cava," is a two and a half minute long instrumental track, which comes immediately after the electric "Light Me Up." Meanwhile, "Dry Heat," and "Ghosts In The Backseat," feel much more passionate and quiet - like secrets shared between people underneath covers and warm.

Photo Credit: Emily Tantuccio

Photo Credit: Emily Tantuccio

Check out the track-listing below, as well as the video for "Light Me Up."

Track listing:
1. Dry Heat
2. Light Me Up
3. Vena Cava
4. Ghosts In The Backseat

Not only is the album stellar, The Hook also had the opportunity to check out Hiding Out and some other fantastic NJ locals at one of their first shows as a band in NYC at The Bitter End! You can check out our show review of that tomorrow!

Needless to say, Vena Cava is an impressive debut EP. My favorite track is definitely still "Light Me Up," with "Ghost In The Backseat," as a close second. These two tracks ring out to me because of the lyrical content - which feels most important to Hiding Out's mission as artists on this EP. These tracks speak in stories - with instrumentals and vocal precisions to back up the lyricism created.

Go and buy this album, available on iTunes. Check out their social media - tell them you like their stuff, and gear up for summer with this heat infused debut EP.

Rating: 9/10

Hiding Out: Facebook // Twitter // Youtube // Instagram