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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!

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Brain On The Wall Tracklist:
1.
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

Youth In Revolt - The Broken Review

Youth in Revolt’s history has been anything but normal, but finally after 4 years of waiting, lineup changes, and an indefinite hiatus, their debut LP The Broken will be released on January 20th, 2017.

Although technically a follow up to their highly successful debut EP Love Is a Liars Game, I like to consider this record more of a new chapter for the band. While The Broken definitely has that signature Youth in Revolt pop-hardcore sound, something feels different on this record, and if you are a true fan of their earlier work, this album may rub you the wrong way.

Former lead vocalist True Arahill has left the band and has been replaced by Tanner Allen formerly of Brightwell, and while Allen does an admirable job of filling in the large shoes left behind by Arahill, replacing a lead singer always comes with its challenges and obstacles which are some of the most inherent and biggest flaws with The Broken.

The Broken Tracklist:
1)    The Noise
2)    Love is a Liar’s Game
3)    Not Giving Up
4)    The Broken
5)    Brisbane
6)    Don’t Wait for Me
7)    There for You
8)    I’m not Scared
9)    Alright
10)    Sleep
11)    Only One

 

The album opens up with “The Noise” which kicks things off with heavy riffs and beats that you would come to expect from a Youth in Revolt song, but the moment the verse and vocals come in, you can immediately hear the difference. Aside from Allen’s voice being slightly higher and a bit more pop sounding than Arahill’s, the tracks themselves are much more produced. These 2 things combined are more than enough to take away any authenticity an older Youth in Revolt fan may be waiting to hear on this record. With that being said, if you do go into this album with an open mind, you will be treated to some awesome breakdowns, screams, and catchy choruses that are guaranteed to have you head banging your night away. 

You can get a taste of their new lineup and sound from their latest music video for the title track of the record.

Musically, the band is incredibly tight on the record and The Broken serves up some very interesting ideas about combining genres that kept me truly entertained throughout most of the record. Despite this, some of my favorite moments on the record actually occur when the band commits to one style of music entirely because they execute it to near perfection. Whether that happens during breakdowns with Torres’ powerful screams, or during some verses or choruses with Allen’s more pop side, these are the moments when the record truly shines its best. Stand out tracks for me that truly put this on full display are “Sleep,” “Love is a Liar’s Game,” “Don’t Wait for Me,” and “The Noise.” The trouble occurs when hardcore meets pop, and it really makes it feel as if the band themselves are suffering from a bit of identity crisis. 

The Broken is a fun album that definitely rocks as well. You won’t find any deep, meaningful lyrics that will touch your soul, or any groundbreaking ideas that will leave you in awe, but what you will find are catchy songs that are executed with precision and intensity that will make you want to have a good time. Youth in Revolt have gone a bit of transformation during their career and this change of identity is definitely reflected in the music on the record. While combining 2 genres isn’t done as well as it has been done by Youth in Revolt in the past, the styles on their own more than warrant appreciation.

For these reasons, I am going to give The Broken a 7.8/10. 

Keep up to date with Youth in Revolt on their social media pages!

Youth In Revolt:  Facebook // Twitter // YouTube // Official Website // Instagram

 

Colin Phils - e,r,som,sa... Review

Colin Phils is a 5-piece indie rock band formed in 2013. Formed in South Korea, the band self-released their first album, Right at Home, in June 2014. According to their website, their sound has been described as "part math-rock, part indie-rock, with catchy hooks and harmonies throughout." The band has played throughout South Korea (Seoul, Busan, Cheonan), Lynchburg, Virginia, Binghamton, New York, Hong Kong, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen, China.

With all of these amazing successes under their belt, Colin Phils was stoked to release e,r,som,sa... back in May of this year. e,r,som,sa... is poised for success. This band is limitless, and not slowing down for anyone. 

You can check out the tracklist below!

e,r,som,sa... Tracklist:
1. Bad A
2. Moonstone
3. Time Well Wasted
4. I Think Your Name is a Good One
5. To the Sands
6. Don Cabs
7. Happy Clapper
8. Coral
9. Best Foot Forward

 



The album is constructed well, beginning with songs that are instrumentally lighter and more up beat, leaving us with memorable melodies. However, certain songs struck a chord with more than others. "Time Well Wasted," felt like I had entered into a time machine, the past whizzing right by me. Maybe, in another way, it brought me back to Coheed and Cambria's Time Consumer.

I always find it endlessly interesting that it is possible for us to find two pieces of music that sound similar, but are from two completely separate hemispheres. "Don Cabs" sounds like this post-rock pop-punk band from my childhood, When Thieves Are About. This track also solidifies Colin Phils instrumental ideals such as their math rock sound. 

The last track, "Best Foot Forward," is my favorite song on the record. It closes the record so eloquently and I can't get that opening guitar riff out of my head. While listening to this track, it gave me the sensation of running forward on a carpet that is being pulled out from under me. 

Consider this "smart music," with lyrics to die for - instrumental moments to nod your head at, and a resumé that is only moving skyward. Colin Phils is an exciting addition to Hook Approved bands, and e,r,som,sa... is a technical, touching album full of quietude, ambiance, and sharp hooks to fall in love with.

I sincerely enjoyed listening to Colin Phils, not only for their technical abilities and band-based achievements, but also their original content and pure sound. This band is so unique, exploring and crafting music that is completely their own. I will most definitely be checking them out next time they tour east coast. Until then, I have to keep spinning this record.

Rating: 9/10

For more on Colin Phils, check out their social media links below!

Colin Phils: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp

Borderlands - Voice Of The Voiceless Review

Progressive metalcore is one of the most underappreciated genres in existence. 

It stems from the fact that we may not always understand what constitutes as a “good” progressive metalcore album. To achieve this goal, a band has to write a body of music that is technically impressive, emotive, and still maintains an earth-shaking heaviness that will have listeners head-banging along with it endlessly. They have to introduce new ideas of how a song or songs can be all these things, and do so with aplomb. 

On all accounts, Borderland’s album Voice Of The Voiceless delivers. 

These proggy Portuguese gentlemen craft a near-perfect marriage of metalcore and progressive metal, one that takes cues from the best bands on either side of that spectrum and bends it to their will. Borderlands feels like they’re treading ground few have before, and they’re doing so with supreme conviction.

Comprised of vocalist Rui Martins, guitarists Yuri José and Hugo Capelo, drummer Cristóvão "Kiki" Monteiro, and bassist Gonçalo Beco has been bringing their musical chops to the masses since August 2012. Their first release, the Awaken Dreamers EP, was released November of that year. It stands as an important part of their career, for though it may be somewhat rougher production-wise and solidly reliant on chugging (which they still manage to do inventively), the band is already developing their voice as musicians. Since then, Borderlands has released two singles that stand as field updates on the band’s progress. 

Voice Of The Voiceless Track List:
1.    Continuum
2.    Children Of The Storm
3.    Release Yourself
4.    Lineage
5.    Limitless
6.    Essencia
7.    Voice Of The Voiceless
8.    The Curse
9.    Children Of The Sun

Now almost three and a half years later, Voice Of The Voiceless comes out with a disturbing intensity, one of bassy frequencies that builds up the suspense of the intro’s impending heaviness. This leads into “Children Of The Storm”, which starts out with an aggressive Within The Ruins-esque intro, dropping down into some Acacia Strain territory, followed by an urgently emotional riffy feels fest worthy of Misery Signals. They then channel Parkway Drive in a jog through the moshpit, followed by a breakdown straight out of the book of Whitechapel circa This Is Exile. 

I am not simply pointing these things out as a way to reprimand the band for copying these other musicians. Rather, this should paint a clear and colorful picture of how many twists and turns a Borderlands song can take. It is actually exciting to hear what this band has in store, and more intricacies stand out with each listen. You can never really tell where one of their songs will go, only that it will be a beautifully belligerent gallop through a sea of overlapping riffs and melodies. 

Songs like “Release Yourself”, “Lineage”, and “Essencia” hit very emotional highs, whereas “Limitless” and the album’s title track pull the listener into the fullness of heart-throbbing lows. Interestingly enough, the last two songs manage to hit both these levels, albeit at different paces. Whereas “The Curse” sinks through the depths of enigmatic and passionate darkness, “Children Of The Sun” is a recharging rocket-blast back up through the same depths with a new brilliance, and at a hastened pace, which ends in a poignant finale. 

Throughout the course album, it becomes obvious that these guys have a chemistry that will carry them far. In guitarists José and Capelo’s able hands, each song takes on a life of its own, and Rui Martin’s versatile vocal delivery is able to instill fear and inspire anguish. Equally are essential are bassist Beco and drummer Monteiro, who make up the intense rhythmic underbelly of Borderlands. Every single musician is on their A-game, and it shows through in every single song. 

For all intents and purposes, this album is Hook Approved. 

Rating: 9.5/10

Definitely take a moment to follow these guys on social media if you haven’t already. Following an album like this, they’ll surely be busy. 

Borderlands: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Website

The Ready Set - I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love Review

Last Friday, and with much anticipation, The Ready Set has made a huge splash of a return with his newest album, I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love!

Jordan Witzigreuter brings back his fun and catchy electro-pop with the new 12-track LP. The tracks on this collection reverb in The Ready Set's typical pop-centric way - fast, electric beats, Witzegreuter's catchy, playful vocals. However, this album impressed me because it had a maturity to it that utilized what The Ready Set was already working with and basically making it better.

Which is really great I felt that way (and I'm sure others do, too) because The Ready Set had this to say about I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love“The record as a whole feels like a reinvention of myself, I stripped everything down and produced the whole thing by myself from top to bottom, so it could feel 100% true to what I wanted it to be. It's a fresh start.”

As I said above, the album consists of 12 tracks! Each feels unique in tone, beat, and lyrical content. Some of the tracks exhibit a more upbeat, and tropical tempo - while other songs are classically and gloriously pop. 

Check out the track-list below:

1. Disappearing Act
2. Being Afraid
3. Good Enough
4. Concrete
5. I Will Be Nothing Without Your Love
6. Run With Me
7. Should We Go Downtown
8. Swim
9. No Love (feat. Ansley Newman)
10. First
11. Fire In The Sky
12. See You

One of my favorite tracks is "No Love" (Feat. Ansley Newman) because I love Jule Vera (Ansley Newman is the lead singer), and also because the song sounds like I should be riding along the east coast in the thick of summer, waves crashing, windows open. 

Check out this album, open a window - walk your dog to it.

Rating: 9/10

For more info, as always, peek at the social media below!

The Ready Set: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Lost In Society - Modern Illusions Review

New Jersey punk group, Lost In Society, has hit a home-run with their studio album Modern Illusions!

Lost In Society was grown in NJ, and includes Zach Moyle (vocalist/guitar), Nick Ruroede (bass) and Hector Bonora (drums). Modern Illusions is an 11-track album, and was released on February 26th, and the album is channeling vibes from some punk greats such as Bouncing Souls and Polar Bear Club.

Check out the track-list below!

Modern Illusions - Tracklisting:
1. Awake
2. I Want To Know
3. Talk
4. Not Afraid
5. Generation Why
6. Plastic
7. City
8. Come Outside
9. Second Chances

10. Let Me Out
11. Don't Hesitate

This band has a great way of summing up the New Jersey punk vibe with their track, "Not Afraid." Especially with lyrics like "Nice to meet you, fuck you too." You can easily tell where the sound is coming from. These guys perfectly capture the raw sound and power of punk with their crunchy guitar tone, and fuzzy bass. The tone and the songwriting is very simple and old school, reminding me that a song doesn't have to be musically complex to also be good. 

Lost In Society combines energy with melody in the best way, using their DIY punk style to get where they want. The band has given me a lot of nostalgia listening, because of how often I used to listen to the Bouncing Souls and Green Day when I was younger. Having that same warm feeling when listening to good old fashioned punk is one of my favorites, making me glad to have when I listened to Modern Illusions.

Lost In Society also recently premiered their new video for “I Want To Know” exclusively with Alternative Press!

So, if you want to listen to a nicely put together album from a band trying to take on the world and make a name for themselves in the world of punk I would definitely give Modern Illusions a listen. 

Rating: 8/10
Favorite tracks: "Not Afraid," "Second Chances"

Modern Illusions is available for purchase on iTunes, and you can check out Lost In Society on social media - check their links below!

Lost In Society: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

Rare Futures - This Is Your Brain On Love Review

Matt Fazzi has proven himself as an experienced, weathered and prime-time artist in his most recent project. After time spent with Taking Back Sunday and Atlas Genius, Fazzi has given us a supreme indie rock experimental suit that listeners should be definite in following. 

Rare Futures is Fazzi's side project turned full-fledged goal (and you can check the box mark achieved), and the band just released their debut album This Is Your Brain On Love. The album took a total of five years to create - and here at The Hook we're happy it's finally arrived.

"When I originally set out to make this record, I didn't expect it would take quite so long but life happened and the plan unintentionally morphed and changed several times along the way," explains Fazzi. "My intention is for This Is Your Brain On Love to be a reminder that we are responsible for writing the story of our own futures and creating our own happiness and there's no time like the present to go out and seek it."

The 13 track album is an exquisite and sublime beginning to Rare Futures' adventure as a band - and Matt Fazzi's journey as an artist with a band to maintain. Each track is devoted to Fazzi's above message - enjoy yourself, love life, find purpose and meaning in all that you do!

You can immediately hear in these tracks that the group enjoyed themselves making this album - while Fazzi doesn't have any strictly permanent members yet, he invited different musicians to work on different songs with him - which adds a unique flavor to the songs. Each one sounds different than the one before and after, but you can tell that they all belong on the same album.

This is aided by the fact that Fazzi composed all of the pieces - which gives them this eclectic ideal and theme to stand on, while also allowing for the instrumentals to vary and pace differently (but always smooth.) It also gives this debut album a ton of character that expresses itself more emotionally than some other albums I've listened to from this year!

We can definitely appreciate unique expression here!

Check out this tracklist:
1. Love
2. Reminding Me To Live
3. Ride The Snake
4. Mercury (And Opposite Planets)
5. The Pressure
6. Cool My Mind | Reverie
7. Worst Thing I've Ever Done
8. This Is Your Future [Lost In A Black Hole]
9. Your Past
10. Hope [Feat. Gavin Castleton]
11. You're An Island
12. Standing On The Precipice
13. Not Giving Up Yet

Some of our favorite tracks on The Hook are "Cool My Mind | Reverie," because of it's gentle guitar riff, carried by drum beat and absolutely chill vocal and lyrical work. We also really loved "You're An Island," for similar reasons, but also the exploration of a more electronic synth based sound. This album reminds me a lot of driving in the car over this bridge that overlooks the bay in my hometown - windows open, warm air and sunlight catching the ripples in salt water.

We have the full stream available for you here, so there aren't any excuses about listening to This Is Your Brain On Love!

We're giving This Is Your Brain On Love a giant thumbs up for emotional expression, variety, and overall good vibes - which means you should be checking this album out because it came out on March 25th and is available basically everywhere.

Rating: 8/10

For more info on Rare Futures, hit up their social media below!

Rare FuturesWebsite // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram