NJ

Halogens - Happy Hour Review

0015285853_10.jpg

When it comes to one of our favorite bands, Halogens, we just can’t get enough. In fact, we haven’t gotten enough since we first heard their 2016 Self-Titled EP, so thank god for Happy Hour. Releasing on February 22nd, consider it a belated Valentines Day gift from the dynamic foursome.

Comprised of Zach Henry (Vocals/Guitar), Charlie Throckmorton (Guitar), Tim Wuestneck (Bass/Vocals), and George Saives (Drums), allowing the band to pack a heavy punch. The six track EP is the latest edition to the bands growing discography, and one to surely solidify Halogens in your hearts. It is heartfelt, knit-picking, and typically Halogens-esque in certain moments. We’re talking brash, coarse vocals, heavy hitting instrumentals balanced by a softness that entangles you emotionally, cathartically, and sometimes painfully.

Check out the track list below!

Album Artwork: Chris Wills Flannery

Album Artwork: Chris Wills Flannery

Happy Hour Tracklist:
1. Pretty Enough
2. The Inside
3. Buckle
4. Sometimes
5. O’Gourman
6. The Backwoods



“Pretty Enough” opens up the EP’s melancholy - something I’d describe as an emotional longing that Halogens has always been good at conveying. There is always a sense of cathartic urgency, and every track is an inevitable purging. The band has been showcasing this track at recent shows, switching up their set list and giving listeners a taste of what to come. “Pretty Enough” also bonds the EP together as an opening track, which is one of the most impressive feats of this album.

In comparison to previous EP’s, I would say that Happy Hour feels stronger. It has a sense of itself, it flows well together, and while the tracks maintain a signature sound that the band has cultivated, the tracks don’t bleed - having the ability to exist on their own allows them the opportunity to utilize the tracks in different, more meaningful ways. Halogens has definitely grown up for this one, maintaining their instrumental complexity while also exploring this new softness that I’m really into.

My favorite track is “Buckle.” Anchoring the middle of an EP can be tricky, but “Buckle” does so in a way that alters the mood of the EP so listeners slide into “Sometimes.” I also really appreciated how the tempo slowed down for this track. By switching into this rhythm, the emphasis moves back onto the lyrics - a problem that Halogens has faced before, losing the lyrics in the instrumentals. “Sometimes” swoops in to dance away all of the sadness. I do wonder what else Halogens can do, though. I wonder, upon listening back on previous work, what growth Halogens can continue to make. What sounds can they cultivate to give the listener even more? How do they allow themselves the ability to step outside of a pre-designed box, one that works well and executes nicely. As the band adds more, I have a sense that I want more.

One thing I appreciate, especially about the lyricism in this album, is that Halogens never fail to make the listener feel included or secure. Halogens simultaneously validates and empowers listeners with commonality, the idea of being relatable is never lost on the band. They know just the way you feel, those oddities of experiencing life, sadness, loss, and most importantly - happiness. Happy Hour succeeds in keeping listeners excited & queued in on Halogens. It leaves little to want, but maybe Halogens next move will be different, or maybe they won’t. Either way, they remain as one of our favorite locals of all time - a band with good intentions, support and kindness that exceeds their music.

We’ve got links down below to access Halogens, so you should definitely be checking them out. Support them by purchasing merchandise and/or their music on Bandcamp, and thanks for choosing The Hook!

Halogens: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook

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

0011446644_10.jpg

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

P-Funk North - Buds Won't Break Your Heart Review

If the lovechild of Sublime, Bob Marley, and Street Light Manifesto exists, it would be P-Funk North. Hailing from North Plainfield, New Jersey - the best parts of Reggae, Ska & Funk are extensively procured and executed in Buds Won’t Break Your Heart the October 8th, 2016 release that is a 12-track compendium of "jahms" (obviously a made up word of mine combining Jah & jams…).

Check out the tracklist below!

Buds Won't Break Your Heart Tracklist:
1. 3rd Degree Of Separation 
2. Sugarcoat
3. More Than Meets The Eye 
4. Poppies & Gin
5. Hit The Bowl
6. Smoke Break
7. Feel It In Your Blood
8. Waking Up Angry
9. Billy The Bum
10. Jealousy 
11. Rewind The Crisis
12. True Love Anarchy 


The band goes through a few genres bending pieces: “Sugarcoat” stands out as the heavily Sublime-esque vibes that soar throughout the song. The songs starts out with the title in the track putting you off on an adventure of candid irony, “What would you do if I told you to lie to me? Would you oblige or tell me honestly? And would you even know how to sugarcoat it properly?”  The band gets an 80s dance-rock feel on “Poppies & Gin” making it a very dance-pop piece with a grunge band. P-Funk North creates an immersive realm to their minds and emotions going through the changes of their versatility.  

Produced by Ryan Weil of Weilhouse Productions the album seems to be forced to create as many types of genre bending avenues in order to get the most organic output for the band’s talent.

The ska reggae romance continues in “Hit The Bowl” the song is an anthem for ‘letting go of stress and anxieties; perpetuated through Society and personal relationships.’ The artwork is spectacular giving the band a beautiful concept for their Cannabis-based Ska act, it gives way to explain their intriguing view on life in general. The band gets very swingy in “Waking Up Angry” the second half of the album is just showcasing how amazing the band really is.

Dave with his vocals and bass parts that are soulful and lyrical; he tells stories of his mind and where he’s at in each song. Joel ripping on the guitar gives the band the domain in which the drums and bass can lock into the groove. Pat’s innate drumming and percussion abilities have a way of making myself move. Mastering credit goes to Len Carmichael, bringing together a brilliant master - Ryan Weil’s genius mix giving the band the space and place as a sonic representation.  

The ending tracks of “Rewind The Crisis” and “True Love Anarchy” bring this opus of Reggae Radicalism to a close - epically might I add, throwing  down on a few good Ska breaks. P-Funk North are a force to be reckoned with on the Reggae scene, be on the lookout for upcoming releases you can find their links below!

Favorite Song: Sugarcoat
Honorable Mentions: Hit The Bowl, Billy The Bum

P-Funk North: Facebook // Twitter // SoundCloud

WAYNOWAY - Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die Review

Photography: Richard Sanders

Photography: Richard Sanders

Out of Asbury Park, NJ comes a band that is near and dear to my beach bum heart. WAYNOWAY have been on my radar since October or so, and I have yet to get over their sound since. The four piece consists of Matt Bilbao, Thomas Louis, Alex Costantino, and Justin Genzo - and together they create the smoothest surf-y, indie rock I've gotten my hands on to date.

Their four track EP is one of the shortest I've ever done a review for, with each track coming in just over 2:30 in length - it's been easy to get lost in Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die?, and it's not just because it's an easy going EP. Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die? is a dynamic little collection that moves effortlessly, almost seamlessly through an electric type of emotion. Each track exudes the confidence of an anxious egomaniac - one that moves with an ebb and flow of anxiety and somber, to excited euphoria. 

There are four tracks on Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die, and you can check out the tracklist below before we start to dig a little bit deeper.

Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die Tracklist:
1. Did You Leave?
2. Escape
3. I Don't Love You (At All)
4. I'll Be Okay

 

 

 

 


After releasing their single, "Haunted Beach," in January of 2016. Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die? soon followed in May of 2016 to debut as Waynoway's first EP. In that time the group has played shows all along the tri-state area (Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey) and are rumored to be in the studio gearing up for a brand new compilation of work - but for now we have Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die?, and that's still stellar.

Opening track, "Did You Leave?" sets the mood for the rest of the EP - what exactly are you getting yourself into with this? Louis' soft, smooth voice outlined by the upbeat, summer-y feeling of instrumental background that not only highlights but, at times, blends perfectly between vocal and music precision. 

Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die? also sports some of the most enthralling, heartbreaking and indifferent lyrics that I've ever heard/read and it just adds so much important character to each of these differing tracks! And while we're on the subject, each track sports a different type of tone than the last, but thematically, the EP is flawless (if I do say so myself).

Between you and I, I can't decide on whether my favorite track is "Escape" or "I'll Be Okay." The two tracks are both about two similar ideas - the first a warm heart, a collection of moments, it feels like holding someone's hand; still new, still exciting. With the dual male vs. female vocal, this track makes a big appearance out of itself on the EP for myself as a listener, and the riff is absolutely unbelievable.

Check out "Escape" below!


Of course, "I'll Be Okay," also features the male vs. female vocal track, and an indescribably upbeat instrumental following that shows off the lyricism and precision & enunciation that Waynoway seem to make important in their tracks! Maybe, if I had to absolutely choose, I would choose "Escape" just because it feels more unique to the EP than "I'll Be Okay," does. However, the sincerity and warming lull that they both exude make me feel good, so I'll keep jammin' to both.

Last, but not least, and not even last on the EP is "I Don't Love You (At All)" which highlights loving someone and then not loving them, or maybe you never loved them at all, and it just happened to be the sun in your eyes. Either way, this track is fast paced in comparison to the former and latter. With it's main message in the chorus, "It's ok to be sad," highlighting the track, I feel that this track really incorporated or became what the EP was about.

Waynoway has this way of making things feel nostalgic and new at the same time. Their lyrics are emotional, but equally as distant and uninterested, all while keeping up with a quick beat, a paced riff. 

Either way, whatever it is I think, I hope you check out Waynoway, and their EP Who Will Pet My Dog When I Die? because it's sincerely fantastic music. For more on Waynoway, and to keep up with them, you should check out their social media! Tell them why you hate them, tell them how to make a PB&J, or just tell them how cool you are - either way, check it out!

Waynoway: Facebook // Bandcamp // Twitter // Instagram