EP release

Inspector 34 - Don't Worry This Is Ok Review

Music you’ve heard for the very first time, but takes you to a place where everyone knows your name? That’s precisely where you’re going from the very first strum, the opening note of Lowell Massachusetts powerhouse Inspector 34.

This isn’t your typical EP either, Don’t Worry This Is OK, dropped with a transformative music video for their lead track “Fed Up.” Talk about hearing your guitar and seeing it in action, too! A band, who aren’t strangers to tremendous talent, are showcased front and center as the collective vision of Jim Warren, Pat Auclair, Silas Price, Ben Kaplowitz, and Alexandra Derderian! At just under 15 minutes (but you’ll wish for 5x that length in the end) this quartet of songs will leave you hungry for more! It’s all highs and no lows from here on out!

Your guide for the ride, check out the tracklist below!

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Don’t Worry This Is Ok:
1. Fed up
2. Hurts
3. Try So Hard
4. That Charming Man

If you gave this a listen before continuing, then welcome back! If not, then buckle in because you’re headed to transcendent places.

Have you ever wanted a soundtrack for your life? Needed something better than words to describe a feeling? Well look no further my friends. The opening track encapsulates you with a magnetic ambience, you are transfixed by the swelling of passion around you. Every track feels like the crest and fall of a wave, blending perfectly together. Sometimes we need more than words and other times we need outstanding voices! If I could sing, I would sing the praises of the vocals throughout this EP. What are a completely spellbinding incantation that takes you to the epicenter that is raw emotion.

In the mood for sexy baselines? Prepare to be seduced. Need a little bit of folk twang to start your day? Then look no further! Inspector 34 delivers on every front you’ve thought of and probably some you haven’t and that’s just four songs. Imagine what they have in store for you next!

Picking a favorite song here is difficult but we’re going with Track 3, ‘Try So Hard,’ and it does. I wish this track was longer, it’s the first song I played over again, and again, the attitude is infectious, the perfect illustration of what this band is capable of. This is the song you want headlining your life and playing in the background every time you do something “Cool guys don’t look at explosions” type worthy.

I have been in and around the music scene a very long time, and I struggle to imagine a more consistent, powerful band for my first formal review here for The Hook. You heard it hear first before you no doubt here it everywhere, you are going to want more, if you ever need a formula on how to do it right, this is it.

Let’s listen together, soon, and take a deeper inspection into Inspector 34 using their social media links down below!

Inspector 34: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram //Spotify

Added Color - Psycho EP Review

A name change has lead Added Color to their latest, and most exciting release yet!

Added Color, formally known as Unconscious Disturbance, have debuted their brand new EP, Psycho. The collaborative effort of 2 years worth of writing and dozens of shows, Added Color has finally shared the quintessential EP to represent their sound and ideals! The 5-track EP, Psycho, is a funky, progressive pop rock type sound that is easy to get lost in - put it on in the car, windows down. 

According to their own biography, Added Color is a Brazilian/American rock band formed in Brooklyn, NY. Comprised of brothers Daniel and Kiko Freiberg (São Paulo), Tim Haggerty (Boston), and Danny Dahan (Washington DC). Added Color has played close to 200 shows in over 20 states in the USA, and toured internationally playing a mini-tour in Canada, a two week tour in Morocco and major festivals in Brazil such as Porão do RockThe Monsters of Rock Festival officially nominated them as one of five of Brazil’s upcoming rock bands. The band has received critical praise from PureVolume, Red Bull Music, The Huffington Post, AOL Noisecreep, and was chosen as a "must see show" by The Village Voice.

An impressive resume to boast about, sure. But were we impressed? Yes, yes we were. Check out the tracklist for Psycho below!

Psycho Tracklist:
1. Pyscho
2. Our Secret
3. Nasty Habit
4. About To Break
5. Scream

 

 

 

 

Psycho is an incredible EP in all ways that I want to listen to music. The instrumental aspect is captivating, smooth, a sound that lures the listener in from opening track to closing. The lyricism is enchanting, it begs to be sung along with, and in general the music feels good. It echoes, it ebbs and flows, it pushes Added Color above and beyond expectations from previous releases to now. 

Opening track "Psycho" could be on the radio. With an essence of rock, pop and indie that exchange between one another throughout the EP, Psycho is constantly showing me something new every listen. Between the edging guitar riffs, a smooth bass, and the static of the drumbeat alongside that classic rock vocal you're in for a hypnotic EP experience.

Check out the music video for "Psycho" below!

According to the band, the EP was decided out of 20+ songs that had been written. Each played at different shows to gauge responsiveness and reception. The top 5 of those tracks make up Psycho, and it's very clear that every track on this EP has a purpose. "Psycho" opens up to "Our Secret" which feels a little bit heavier instrumentally, but evens itself out to a smooth rock inspired track. "Nasty Habit" uses a fun group vocal tactic to highlight the chorus, while "About To Break" slows it down. Closing track "Scream" brings out the best of the previous four tracks in a way that's surprising and exciting.

I wish that this EP was longer, but maybe that's me being selfish. The opening and closing tracks felt the most powerful to me in all aspects, while the middle tracks yearned for something more at times. Overall, I'm excited to see what comes out of Added Color and where they're headed to next. With a debut release this well put together and groovy, the sky is limitless for the four piece!

To keep up with Added Color, check out their social media below and be sure to check out Psycho this summer!

Added Color: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Soundcloud

Bless Mob - Bless Mob Review

Brooklyn-based indie pop band Bless Mob is composed of members Becca Beberaggi on vocals, Brett Crudgington on keyboard, Gabriel Monteros on bass, and Zach Simao on drums. They describe themselves as “pop-soul infused with elements of jazz, R & B, and hip-hop.”

Their debut EP, the self-titled Bless Mob, dropped in December 2016. It’s a 5-song album that starts off with a funky pop-jazz vibe in “Prologue” and transitions into a mellow, dreamy musical journey. The EP was put together with the help of mixing and production by Zach Simao, and mastering by Justin Weis at Trakworx Mastering.
 
Check out their tracklist below!

Album Art: Grace Canaan

Album Art: Grace Canaan

Bless Mob Tracklist:
1. Prologue
2. Madwoman
3. Good Boy
4. Live On
5. Your Drug

 

 

 

 

I had never heard of Bless Mob before I was asked to do this review, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed the EP, and I’m looking forward to future releases from them. I’d like to see where else they can take their music. The 5-tracks combined with the pretty album cover (I love myself some pretty cover art) were enough to leave me wanting more. 

All songs on the album were written by Becca, Gabriel, and Zach, with Will Moritz on guitar for the last three tracks. Bless Mob delivers a strong debut with this EP.

They do a fantastic job of introducing their unique style to the world – and that style is one that I can say with confidence I don’t think I’ve ever heard before. Bless Mob combines elements of different genres to create their own entirely original music. Not to sound cliché, but this EP is just . . . chill. Just really, really chill. I love a band with a good keyboardist, and Brett Crudgington delivers some amazing accompaniment on this album.

This is the type of music to listen to when you’re hanging out with friends, sipping wine and talking about the meaning of life. I picture people wearing berets. Do people do that? I don’t know. I don’t get out much. But that’s the image this album conjures up for me (I do have a very specific imagination, though). You might hear music like this in a coffee shop, or in your local Barnes & Noble (where you can catch me stalking the fiction aisles), and you’ll find yourself silently bobbing your head along to the tunes. As a fan of classical jazz, this album was great because the band’s jazzier influences definitely shine through. It’s all slow jams and smooth instrumentals, modern jazz with a pop twist.

I really, really enjoyed it, and I highly recommend checking it out. I can’t wait to see what Bless Mob will bring us in the future, and I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them. 

For more, check out their social media links below!

Bless Mob: Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp
 

Deadfellow - Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener Review

We've been pretty hype on Deadfellow since we did some press work for them back in October in preparation! In preparation for what, you may ask - well the absolutely brand new release of Deadfellow's EP, happening today! A joyous day indeed.

Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener can be summed up as our ideal culmination for a December EP release. The slow, sweeping EP capitalizes on some really important, and well placed emotional moments - as well as Deadfellow's low, slow moving voice that rasps against the strum of guitar and steady drum beat.

The 6-track EP journeys through a range of emotional and instrumental range - in a way that feels refreshing, but well put together. You can check out the tracklist below to help you follow along!

Photo by Stefanie Sexton, Design by Greg Geiger

Photo by Stefanie Sexton, Design by Greg Geiger

Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener Tracklist:

1. Machine
2. Oh My God
3. Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener
4. Black On Cherry
5. She Wears Me
6. I Dreamed I Lost My Girl






What we found most interesting about Deadfellow's EP was how it slowly disintegrated from a gritty, intense rock-infused, lyrically spite driven opening two tracks, to a more slow-moving, cathartic appreciation in the latter 4-tracks.

Opening track "Machine" is the "heaviest" of the six-tracks - but, much like the following songs, it builds up it's stamina to achieve an effect that gives listeners a taste of what to expect, but also to open up the EP with a nice, little bang. In Listeners for the Contemporary Listener we're categorizing "heavy" as a more impactful guitar, and rhythmic drum section - along with Deadfellow's voice in a thicker, raspier, grittier type of sound. "Oh My God" follows similarly instrumentally, while the tone itself is more in line with content in the latter tracks. 

"Love Songs for the Contemporary Listeners" rounds out the EP as track #3. 

The namesake track slides this EP into a smooth sadness that all at once feels longing and lonely to lustful and hungry. Deadfellow's voice, honestly, is what really solidifies this EP as one that has one of the strongest essences of 2016 - the brutality of emotional honesty is what makes the album feel haunting.

And, sure, yes Deadfellow can say all they want about this being a mockery of current dating culture - and it very much is, but this six-track EP resonates so deeply for those of us still having to trudge through that awful onslaught that is swiping right or sleeping with someone who doesn't want to get to know you. 

"Black On Cherry" and "She Wears Me" round out this already superbly full EP with quiet, tender moments. Personally, we love "Black On Cherry" because of that smooth drawl in the chorus, that sweet, sweet "Black On Cherry" moment is so, so satisfying.

Lastly, "I Dreamed I Lost My Girl" isn't a new track for us - having shared the music video a few months back, which you should totally check out right above! However, having it in the context of the EP makes it that much sweeter. The perfect single to release in anticipation for Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener - because maybe that's some of what this EP is.

A surreal, hungry, scared apparition simultaneously running, but yearning from the things that scares it. The things that make it want to love, to care, to feel, to hurt. This EP outlined an important moment in our own listening experience, and for that we applaud this work. We're excited to see what Deadfellow has in store for us (maybe a "Black On Cherry" music video), and we'll keep you in the loop for all the upcoming scoops!

For now, check out Deadfellow's social media, and definitely get your copy of Love Songs for the Contemporary Listener tomorrow, December 16th, so we can all share in these vibes.

Deadfellow: Facebook

Ray Hodge - Braveheart Review

Bringing his first release to the table, Ray Hodge's Braveheart EP is able to introduce, entice listeners. The EP, set to release on October 28th, shows us the different musical ideas Ray has to offer. Ray himself being from Jamaica, Queens, brings a soulful performance to every track and yet still has impactful parts, giving great highs and sultry lows. 

With a voice similar to Michael David Rosenberg ( Passenger), Ray definitely has that coffee shop tone that is supported by raw emotion. His music carries a message of knowing yourself, working hard and no matter how you feel, you are never alone.

Here is the EP stream of of Ray's Soundcloud!

After you take a listen to Braveheart, I think you'll be like the rest of us, putting it on repeat. Here is something Ray had to say about the EP, "Each song on the Braveheart EP has a theme of learning to overcome obstacles and to love yourself. Yes, they are inspired by situations that can be seen as sad, however are meant to leave you with hope and awakening that Warrior, King or Queen within you. When I wrote the songs that hope and faith was born from a place in me I thought was dead. All things must come to end but nothing truly dies, that's one thing I've learned in this process, it's an amazing feeling I'm excited to share."

Personally, there is something about every song that has me hooked, while each song is a different experience.

"I am King" is an amazing opener to the record, bringing me back to one of my favorite tracks, "Woods" by Bon Iver. "Voodoo" is a rocking song that smacks you right away and really shows off the instrumental side of this project. "If It's Easy" has that electronic pulse to it that is a beautiful mix of club music and layers of lush vocals.

"Stand Up" starts off by playing with the listeners ears, throwing sounds at us; gracefully going into a song with a great message. It also has this crazy synth bass that makes all the drops that much sweeter. "Fast Drive" has Ray belting almost the entire track and band really supports his sound well, especially the nasty guitar solo in the breakdown. Lastly the title track, "Braveheart," is my favorite, because it has all the qualities of the entire album, and a catchy hook to match. It does everything from fast to slow and high to low giving it a nice mix. The eclectic side of Ray Hodge shines here, reminding me of a song I would here on a television show, (hint hint: Shameless).

This record is insane and that is an understatement. As a Philadelphian, I could see myself hearing this on the radio, most likely on WXPN and Shazaming every one of these songs. Ray's message on top of musicality is a force to be reckon with.

Ray had more to say on this, "What I try to do differently than other artists is to make it about more than just the lights and glam, more than just a lyric or a good song. I create the land and the fans build the houses. In that, we make this place our place, where we become the Vibrations and electricity and in that form,we are one. We are not alone. I make it ok to release the happiness, sadness, or anger as we share it among each other in these moments we purify."

If you've already listened to the EP,  Ray also released this video for the song "I am King."

Keep a look out for Ray Hodge in NYC, maybe sooner in a town near you. Without reservation the Hook gives this album a 10/10 and can't wait to hear what's next to come! Until then, check out Ray Hodge's social media below!

Ray Hodge: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales - BANG Review

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales are releasing their newest EP on October 14th. The EP is aptly titled BANG, and we here at The Hook had the pleasure to review it.

The band has been around since 2014 and have been noticed in the Toronto indie scene due to their high energy and exuberant live performances. With their debut EP, HA!, Ginger Ale & The Monowhales gained spots on bigger and better shows, and being featured on The Main's Top 10 New Tracks This Week along with acts such as Braids, Father John Misty, and De La Soul.

The EP opens with a killer single in “Home,” a mellow track that reminds me of a softer early Katy Perry in its quirky charm. The chorus is catchy, “Home is where the hearts, the heart is... Never gonna stop, gonna make it to the top, hey!”

You can watch the music video for "Home" right here!

In an interesting turn, the opening track feels like it's on a different wavelength from the rest of the EP. BANG's next songs are much more aggressive and harder. It seems as if this EP is all about being in-your-face and direct. “Name For Myself” is a bit of an upbeat pop-rock song with crunchy guitars and rhythmic high-hats driving the main beat. 

“Let It Fall” gets harder with its distortion, ratcheting up the intensity, the “bang” of the EP. The band keeps up the memorable hooks and melodic sound. This leads into the penultimate, and my personal favorite track on the release, “White Walls,” which goes full punk rock at times. 

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales bring it back down for the majority of the closer, “Don't Talk.” The track builds to a big crescendo and ends the EP, leaving the listener wanting a lot more from this band. 

Overall, I'm going to give BANG a 9/10.

I really enjoyed the punchy spirit of this EP, and the band has a great melodic indie rock vibe that I think can really connect with an modern audience that wants a mashing of sub-genres to really sink their teeth into. I can't wait for a longer release to see what else these guys can do. 

BANG EP Tracklist

1) Home
2) Name For Myself
3) Let It Fall
4) White Walls
5) Don't Talk

 

 

 

 

The band is on a tour supporting the new EP. Check out the dates below!

9/24 - Peterborough PRIDE
10/14 - Toronto (EP RELEASE PARTY - Horseshoe Tavern)
10/29 - North Bay (Nippissing University)
11/03 - Toronto (Live at City Hall)
11/16 - Toronto (Indie Week - Supermarket)
11/17 - Toronto (Indie Week - Speaking on a panel regarding the power of social media)
11/18 - Sudbury (Peddler's Pub)
11/19 - Sudbury (Peddler's Pub)

Check out Ginger Ale & The Monowhales on their social media to stay in touch!

Ginger Ale & The Monowhales: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

With Sails Ahead - Years In Waiting Review

Photography: Emily Tantuccio

Photography: Emily Tantuccio

With Sails Ahead has joined The Hook's pretty rad and well established league of featured artists/bands. (Can we call it a league, cause we are?) The four piece alt-rock group is a labor of intense amounts of love, only getting sweeter over time.

The up & coming five-piece includes Sierra Binondo (vocals), Josef Warner-Reyes (guitar), Santino Costa (guitar), Jaime Martinez (bass) and Andrew Rotundo (drums) to create a really cool, and unique sound. 

In June, With Sails Ahead released their latest EP, Years In Waiting - a four track debut EP that highlights their alt-rock sound, while also harnessing a steady and hardworking inspo from hardcore music - a sound that can be found in some of their instrumentals, as well as their lyrics. The EP comes after a ton of hard work by founding member & lead singer Sierra, who worked two years to establish With Sails Ahead with musicians who fit the style she had been looking for with the band, and then a ton of shows later - enter in Years In Waiting.

The EP was recorded, mixed and mastered by Adam Cichocki at Timber Studios, and Assistant Engineered by Augusto Sanchez. It features 4 tracks that set up the listener for some of those “hardcore influenced” instrumentals mentioned earlier, which nicely juxtapose Sierra’s voice to illustrate powerful lyrics.

With Sails Ahead caught my attention for a few reasons. First being that they're really stinkin' good, and a band that should definitely be on your up & coming radar. Secondly, lead singer Sierra Binondo's voice is a refreshing and exciting development in the scene. With Sails Ahead reminded me of baby Paramore.

The EP moves really well. Sierra's voice is backed by exacting and expressive music - thanks to really heavy-hitting drums from Andrew, and not one but two guitarists Josef & Santino, while bassist Jaime outlines the tracks.

Check out the track list below!
 

Artwork: Bailey Zindel

Artwork: Bailey Zindel

Years In Waiting Tracklisting:
1. Shut In
2. Sharpshooter
3. Embrace
4. Sooner or Later










Of course, With Sails Ahead's EP is one that focuses on positivity and spreading messages of self-love and personal growth. It is an extremely impressive collective effort that feels focused and driven for the listener. The empowering lyrics are highlighted by pressing instrumentals which allows for fans and listeners to really feel the cathartic, emotional experience that this album really gave myself - something I feel With Sails Ahead was definitely hoping for. 

My absolute favorite track is #4, "Sooner Or Later." This track felt really defining for me as the final song of the EP, along with that really rad intro and the subtlety of Binondo's voice. The EP does move really quickly, with each track hitting just 3-minutes, or under, I hope that this EP is a sampling of bigger things to come from With Sails Ahead. 

Stoked for the present and future thanks to With Sails Ahead, and ready for more!

Rating: 9/10

For more on With Sails Ahead and their super cool lives, check out the links below! Make sure to check out Years In Waiting, and support these rad people by buying the EP and blasting it in your car and talking about it at family parties!

With Sails Ahead: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Bandcamp // Youtube

Sabretooth - The Great Unknown Review

You know, I have to give these guys credit.

Based on the self-proclaimed moniker of being a combination of hip-hop and deathcore, I had somewhat low hopes for this release going in, but on The Great Unknown, Sabretooth shows that there’s something to be said for doing it your way, regardless of what that way may be.

It is not in some intrinsic need to prove themselves as a combination of two genres that motivates Sabretooth to create what they do. They just don’t give a fuck, and they make completely what they want to. Is that going to include singing? Is that going to include pig squeals? Breakdowns, anyone? Prepare for a short, savage trip through the next nearly 20 minutes, my friends.

Since October 24, 2014, Sabretooth has been wreaking aural havoc in Peekskill, NY and refining their musical craft. The band currently consists of Wesley Robinson on vocals, Devon Day on lead guitar, Devon Day on rhythm guitar, Nico Mario Petroccitto on bass duties, and Justin White on drums. The album also features Patrick Hughes as a co-vocalist, though he recently left to pursue personal goals. All in all, this is a pretty cohesive group, with a bountiful supply of ideas which are implemented into their already-solid template of window-smashingly chugging, meat-headed beatdown deathcore. 

The origin of the band’s name SHOULD be due to how satisfyingly primal the music is. It is obviously not the flashiest or most technically complex music. The point is, it doesn’t need to be to accomplish its goal. 

The Great Unknown Track List:
1. Into The Unknown
2. Collapse (feat. Kevin Lange)
3. Slackjaw
4. Slit Throat Anthem
5. Out Of The Unknown 

The Great Unknown wrecks face on so many levels due to the fact that the production makes everything hit you like a cement block in the chest. The guitars are not just glorified basses, and create texture in the music that leaves the hair on your arms standing when it gets into truly heavy business. It is such an instant-gratification kind of deathcore, one which is reminiscent of I Declare War in the sense that it gets right down to the business of being brutal without too much other trimmings. Sabertooth is a lean, mean deathcore machine. 

Wesley Robinson’s vocal delivery is strikingly similar to Frankie Palmeri of Emmure or Chris Fronzak of Attila, who both ascribe to something of a hip-hop influence to their deathcore. The beginning of “Slit Throat Anthem” is a good example of how he will start a line in his forceful but clean tone and then swing up into his growls/screams, which is a borderline-trademark of the aforementioned vocalists, and maybe Alex Koelher of Chelsea Grin.  He also works his spoken voice into certain parts to get real, especially in the last minute of “Collapse," which adds a surprisingly nice sense of diversity. When the vocals are just rough, it is malevolently powerful in a way that livens up tracks and even the minutia of pig squeals that Robinson implements are done so in a way that punctuates a part with anguish and fervor. This can be heard in “Slackjaw” immediately following the break-beat part that overlays a braggadocio-drenched clean verse about “handling fuck dudes." 

The lyrics are iffy with me only because they are simple, and though I’ve already stressed that this band is not out to reinvent the wheel, I will say that the level of simplicity in the lyrics reaches the point where it really doesn’t sound like songs have distinct themes. It boasts of being about more than just hatred and anger, but it really doesn’t get much more in depth than that.

Furthermore, in another instance, the band states that the EP was created “as an outlet of all [their] anger and frustration that [they] have experienced throughout [their] lives”, which seems a little more on the money to me. It straddles two ends of the spectrum in “Collapse” at one point, literally saying “abuse of a substance is not the way to raise your life/ there is more to this world than just you/ you fucking disgust me.” It’s almost a wonder why they even bother, because who is going to buy a message of positivity that is so thickly glazed with traditionally violent and hateful deathcore-themed lyrics? It is somewhat polarizing.

All in all, I enjoy what The Great Unknown means for Sabretooth, and hope that the band delve deeper into every corner of their varied, interesting, and above all pugilistically satisfying sound. I will not deny that this band makes me want to swing my arms in a tightly-packed mosh pit and head bang my neck stiff. It won’t be getting any awards, but for a first release, it is extremely solid, displaying exactly what makes Sabertooth the band it is as well as shedding light on what they could be in the future. Also, shout-outs to their meme-conscious breakdown at the end of the album, which harks back to the early days of deathcore when some of the most brutal songs were preceded by Family Guy samples.

They were easier times, really… Anyway, The Great Unknown gets a solid 7.5/10.  

Check Sabretooth out on Facebook and Twitter, and be sure to pick up The Great Unknown on their Bandcamp! For more face-breaking heavies, stay tuned!

Sabretooth: Facebook // Twitter // Bandcamp