Philadelphia

Party Muscles - Does It Even Matter? Review

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Party Muscles are a culmination of Philadelphia’s strongest music minds - a kinship between two friends working in a record store, bonding over their love for garage rock, melody, and good freakin’ tunes. Celebrating and riding the high from their August 2nd, 2019 release - Does It Even Matter?, Party Muscles are ready to play shows, make feel good tunes, and keep kickin’ ass.

Thanks to the efforts of current band lineup Colin McCarry, Beau Everett Gordon, Tyler Pursel and Joshua Strange for making up the indie rock infused sound of Party Muscles. A sound one could describe as fun, wildly talented, and always a damn good time. Does It Even Matter? is the bands debut effort - one that is an impressive, well written collection of bops sure to turn your summer around.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Does It Even Matter? Tracklist:
1. She Goes To Juuliard
2. Nascent
3. Peruvian Sunshine
4. Photography Raptor
5. I’m The Jaguar
6. Foliage
7. Lorraine
8. Capgun
9. Secret Language
10. Pocari Sweat
11. Inside Out

With inspiration coming from early 2000’s bands like The Strokes, The Libertines, Parquet Courts and The Hives, it’s easy to pick up on what Party Muscles wants their sound to be. Does It Even Matter? is an incredible example of a successful, impactful debut album that sets the standard for everything else to follow. It is well constructed, written with purpose, and performed meticulously. The 11-track album floats between itself, never skipping a beat, but never keeping it the same. The record was truly such a good time to listen to and enjoy, it made writing a review about it difficult.

Enough said.

All songs on the album were written by band creators, Tyler Pursel and Colin Mccarry. It was produced by Tyler Pursel and Josh Strange, and finally recorded at Strange Audio Electronics and Creep Records. A true Philadelphia project, through and through. What I enjoyed most about this album was that it created it’s own space to exist within. It is a breath of fresh air in a space that cultivates a hugely DIY core, and while Party Muscles and Does It Even Matter? are well crafted, and poignant, they never take themselves too seriously. Melodic, and groovy - their sound resonates with a multitude of listeners by culminating a variety of genre-esque sounds. Their draw on early 2000’s indie rock doesn’t over power their message, and my biggest criticism is I wish I could’ve read the lyrics for the tracks while listening.

Either way - this is a good album, and it makes me excited for the future of Party Muscles. Give it a listen, check out a show, buy some merch! The good people in Party Muscles have an August residency at Ortliebs - August 15th, 22nd and 29th, which means you have zero reason to miss out on these talented up & comers.

For more information, follow their social media links down below!

Party Muscles: Bandcamp // Facebook

Georgey V - Trying Review

A true Philadelphia DIY machine is Georgey V, and everything they've ever put out has, and probably always will, be amazing. Their latest release, Trying, made it's debut on November 9th, 2017 and is special in more ways than one. The lo-fi rock & roll 12-track album, in true DIY nature, was recorded in Georgey's West Philly home on their Boss BR-600 Digital 8 Track.

Impressive right?

Even more impressive is the range Trying has, considering Georgey V tracked all parts of every song, with the exceptions of a few tracks including drums on "The Story Of A Madman" and "Try Again," which were performed by Zeth Marra. The violin on "Nowhere Boy" was performed by Jason Loux. In mixing and mastering, Georgey V got some help from Tim Jordan & Paul Marchesani.

That's all for logistics, we've got the tracklist below!

Artwork: Sean Clark

Artwork: Sean Clark

Trying Tracklist:
1. Friends
2. Changes
3. Modern Day Love Song
4. The Story Of A Madman
5. Ghostly Grove
6. Boi
7. Sweet Symphony // ???
8. Nowhere Boy
9. Something About The Way
10. Try Again
11. Goodbye
12. Toi


This album is not for the faint of heart in length.

A truly dedicated listener is required here to really appreciate what Trying is...well, trying to do. Existing in a world that it creates, Trying ebbs & flows through the highs & lows of instrumental tracks, story-telling, and general mischief. The album never takes itself too seriously, while it can take on some more somber traits, it seemingly always picks itself back up.

Our favorite track off the album is definitely "Modern Day Love Song" because out of all the tracks it is it's own entity. It brings a great amount of life to Trying, which sometimes can feel listless as it passes itself by. The back and forth lyricism encompasses what the album might be trying to do in other tracks - and is just plain fun, heck. This song feels like that moment in movies where they're spinning around in a field of flowers, laughing, smiling, and the camera keeps switching perspectives between the two.

Gosh, what a good song.

Other stand out tracks, we wont spend too much time one but you should definitely check out, are "Sweet Symphony // ???," "Nowhere Boy," and "Goodbye." Overall, Trying is telling us a story that Georgey V wanted us to hear. Whatever that story is, well, we want to hear it from now on. Check out this album as soon as possible, and check out Georgey V on social media down below to never miss an update.

As always, thanks for reading, and we'll see you soon.

Georgey V: Facebook

Burn The Louvre - We'll Be Just Fine Review

Design by:  Marah Montague

Design by: Marah Montague

Canada natives Burn the Louvre, up-and-coming indie rock band, have recently released their new EP, We’ll Be Just Fine. With a total of six songs and a striking album cover that draws the eye, We’ll Be Just Fine is Burn the Louvre’s second EP, and a great step forward onto the music scene. Their first EP, Post-Romance, was released in November 2014.

The new album has been featured on college radio stations across Canada such as Mohawk College & McMaster University in Ontario, Ryerson University in Toronto, University of Guelph, and Brock University in St. Catherine’s. Burn the Louvre has also been featured on several music blogs in their home turf, but now, The Hook Journal is giving them a warm American welcome. 

Check out their social media down below!

We'll Be Just Fine Tracklist:
1. Fast Cars & Porn Stars
2. Body Lies
3. Give Me Love
4. Simpler Places
5. Breakdown
6. We’ll Be Just Fine
 

 

 

 

We’ll Be Just Fine starts off with the track “Fast Cars & Porn Stars,” which begins with a guitar melody that immediately makes my ears perk up. The song introduces the vocals of frontman Jordan Speare. Speare’s voice has a similar cadence to other indie rock singers like John Gourley of Portugal. The Man, and Nicholas Petricca of WALK THE MOON. The songs on We’ll Be Just Fine sound like something similar to what a Philly native would hear on Radio 104.5. My personal favorites were “Give Me Love” and “Simpler Places.”

The lyrics to “Simpler Places” are all too relatable – not to call on an overused sentiment, but it does really apply here. The chorus of “Well I don’t wanna try living a lie for the rest of my days, for the rest of my days and the rest of my nights,” stood out to me the most. This song is one I would expect to find tucked away in the soundtrack of a coming-of-age indie movie; the lyrics tell the story of that sort of journey of finding yourself, of reaching a point in your life when you realize what you truly want and who you want to be.

“Simpler Places” has a music video out, which you can watch here!

An honorable mention goes to the song “Breakdown” for its instrumentals. Burn the Louvre is certainly a band to watch out for, and We’ll Be Just Fine is worth a listen. Download the EP now and be sure to follow Burn the Louvre for more updates!

Burn the Louvre: Facebook // Instagram // YouTube // Twitter

Curtis Cooper - Messy Review

Photographer:  Stavi Xinou

Photographer: Stavi Xinou

It's been almost two years since we first met Curtis Cooper in a coffee shop on the corner of 13th and Pine Street in Philadelphia, PA. Our friendship with Curtis has only gotten stronger since that first interview over hot chocolate and tea, and Curtis has grown in innumerable ways that only make us feel proud to know them.

Their latest achievement being Messy, an 11-track deluge of emotional outpouring that breaks out from Curtis' Laughing In Line in a way that remains, at it's core, everything that we already loved, but more bruised and bleeding and ready to give. Released on November 13th, Messy has been ruminating in our minds since, a daily listen on the car ride home or while writing - and we're pretty sure you'll feel the same after taking a listen.

But first, semantics.

All songs were written and arranged by Curtis Cooper, engineered by Scott Stitzer and Nick Barnes, produced by Scott Stitzer, and mastered by Ryan Schwabe. Curtis Cooper (vox, guitar, synth, drums track 11, whistle), Jack Zaferes (bass), and Scott Stitzer (drums, synth, percussion, mad scientist) put together Cooper's ideas to create Messy & with all of that tandem effort, you have an impressionable, inescapable album to get lost in.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Art: Erik Savage

Album Art: Erik Savage

Messy Tracklist:
1. Freak Out
2. Philly Jelly
3. Crazy
4. Interlude 1
5. Percs of Life
6. Yeah, No
7. JKayla
8. Everyone Loves You
9. Everybody's Dying
10. Interlude 2
11. Is It Real


Messy has taken Curtis a step further, if we're allowed to say so. In comparison to Laughing In Line, Messy's realness leaves listeners feeling connected to Cooper in a way that Laughing In Line always kept at arm's length - while that isn't to discredit the debut album in anyway, as it's still one of our favorites, it seems more so to do with the fact that Curtis Cooper is growing as an artist and Messy is just that - messy and trying to figure that out with the poise and grace that only Curtis knows how to show.

Opening track 'Freak Out' is unlike anything we've heard before from the artist, a stellar opening track as it jumpstarts the rabbit hole that Messy cultivates, fall into the spaces of mind you haven't been dealing with. With obvious rock influence, this track maintains a tone that feels comfortable for the album to begin with. 'Philly Jelly' and 'Crazy' are going to be staples of the album, reminiscent of Laughing In Line in sound and form, with important lyrical content that we feel also really makes up a huge chunk of this album. 'Percs of Life' and 'Yeah, No' follow suit, are easy to listen and relate to.

The two interludes are really interesting to me because the only successful interludes I've ever heard are in more conceptual albums and usually flow casually in between tracks. However, the interludes here feel more weighted and exciting as they not only flow between tracks, but they also offer up feeling whether that be via whistling in 'Interlude 1' or the pure instrumental of 'Interlude 2,' honestly I was just really blown away by the cohesiveness of these two tracks because at first glance it can be a bit off putting. 

Stand out tracks for us are 'Everyone Loves You,' 'Everyone's Dying,' and 'Is It Real.' These tracks stand out because they feel new, fresh and exciting for Curtis. Maybe it's just where our head is at right now, but we really connected to these three tracks on every level they experience - especially 'Is It Real' the closing tracks of all closing tracks, seriously what the heck listen to it right now. Honestly, though, we could be here forever talking about how much we love Curtis Cooper. Their sound is ambitious and addictive. They take what we love about the Philadelphia music scene, that guttural, instinctual, clenched feeling of emotional expression and put it into one place. This album is easy to listen to, it ebbs & flows against itself in a way that feels familiar but also new. 

Check out Messy, check out Curtis Cooper, their album release show is on January 19th and you definitelty don't want to miss out on that or this album. Below we've got their social media links, and you can check out their bandcamp via the tracklist above! As always thanks for reading and catch up with us next time!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // SoundCloud

Honeytiger - Tangerine Review

Anyone can tell you that here at The Hook we freakin' love Honeytiger. We've been in love with them since their album Half Clean in 2016 and we won't ever stop loving them (babe). Good news for us, and for you, is that on August 11th Honeytiger released their newest EP Tangerine for listeners and fans alike!

Can you feel the excitement in these words because we are excited!

A sophomore EP can be a challenging task for a two-piece especially, but Josh Glauser & Isaac Clark are up for the challenge of reinventing themselves in this new 5-track album. While I wouldn't say that Honeytiger are doing anything especially outside of their box, it feels good to hear new things that push them a little bit ahead of what Half Clean was. 

Check out the tracklist below!

Tangerine Tracklist:
1. Interviewer
2. Is It Midnight?
3. Warm Drug
4. Harold Greengard
5. Mannequin

 

 

 

 

Opening tracks "Interviewer" and "Is It Midnight?" bring listeners back into the world that is Honeytiger. That brash guitar, Clark's cooing voice. They bring out just the right amounts of indie and rock so that you can sing along but also jam the heck out. And, as always, the lyrical content is impeccable. 

Stand out track "Warm Drug" feels chillingly dark for Tangerine. Hidden in the middle of the EP, the track sneaks up on listeners in a brooding type of fashion, snarling. I love that it juxtaposes a usually more light hearted sound. It also denotes a quick and quiet shift in the latter half of the EP, one that shows off Honeytiger's improved upon sound, one that begs you to take it more seriously, but not too seriously in tracks "Harold Greengard" and "Mannequin."

The EP feels all at once quick and slow, and I liked existing in it. Tangerine, if we look at it against real life tangerines (you know the fruit), which are less sour and a bit sweeter than regular oranges, you can equate that to how this Tangerine functions. This EP doesn't disappoint, and you'd be silly to skip on a listen.

Check out Honeytiger's links below to keep up to date with all that they do and definitely check out Tangerine immediately!

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

Cerulean Blue - Take It or Leave It Review

A Philadelphia favorite, sweet friends in Cerulean Blue have been ruminating in our ear buds for over a month now. The DIY experimental project is headed by Kevin Brusha and encapsulates a more laid back 'do it yourself, can do' attitude that is wildly transparent in the Philadelphia scene!

Their most recent EP, Take It or Leave It, was released on July 15th of this year! The 4-track EP is a sweet, concise little diddy that explores rock, love, and lots of chiming noises. Brusha self describes Cerulean Blue as a "glam rock band with a focus on challenging pop song structure and performance by making music that is odd/accessible."

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Take It or Leave It Review:
1. Rebirth
2. Library
3. Lighthouse
4. Pale Blue Light

 

 

 

 

"Rebirth" opens up the EP in the sweetest of ways, one that welcomes and charms listeners into the placidity of Cerulean Blue. The vocals are far away, barely tangible while the music envelopes you and the things you're doing. I wrote many an album review listening to this EP, as it is comforting and happy to me.

Tracks like "Library" and "Lighthouse" feel like tracks out of ethereal movies where they're both in a field, spinning and loving so hard until it ends, until it all ends. Take It or Leave It exists in a space all it's own, a fairy. Closing track "Pale Blue Light" encapsulates the entire album and presents it as one concise song for listeners - screeching violin and all. The penultimate before the gaping hole that Take It or Leave It left with me, a moment to retract the globs of myself and become one again.

I really like this, and Cerulean Blue is definitely Hook Approved, so check it out. Links below for your consideration!

Cerulean Blue: Facebook // Bandcamp

Juice Wax - Don't Eat Me Review

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I love living in Philadelphia because of the music, let's get that straight from the get-go. It's a never ending stream of soulful, funky euphoria that I want to always be trapped in. That's where our latest music kick comes in, Juice Wax, who have quickly claimed a place in our top 5 listening for the month!

According to the band the group started as Jessie Wexler and Rosalie Swana writing songs and performing acoustic performances, which then evolved into a group that combines a live and electronic setting into one experience. The group quickly included Jonah Christian (guitar), Jake Taenzler (bass), and Spenser Forwood (drums). Juice Wax released their debut EP, Don't Eat Me, in July of this year! The 6-track EP is a collection of tracks that range from short to long, but all embody a disoriented jazz infused manifesto that oozes out of all the spaces it inhabits. The record also features guest horn performances by John Swana, Randy Kapralick, and Chris Farr.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Don't Eat Me Tracklist:
1. This Way I Feel
2. I Think I'm Thinking, Again
3. Dapem Dadio
4. Share 
5. See Far
6. Bluff

 

 

"This Way I Feel" opens up the EP as a disorienting chant - it welcomes the listener in to the escape that Don't Eat Me presents itself as. It is also the shortest track on the album, perhaps preparing you for "I Think I'm Thinking Again" which seems to be one of the heavy weights of the album. It competes with closing track "Bluff" both in length (7+ minutes vs 8+ minutes) and also as two of the most concise tracks on the album. They show off Swana's velveteen voice against the dreamy seascape of instruments. "Share" had been previously released as a single earlier in July, and is a comfortable track that sits nicely in the middle of the album to balance it out.

Otherwise, other tracks are going to be much more instrumentally influenced rather than "sing-song" type. This makes this album perfect to put on while the world falls apart, in my opinion at least.

Juice Wax are melding a few different genres together to create something really cool and exciting. As a listener, I can't wait to hear what's next from them. Where else can they take me with just a soft horn? The possibilities are endless, honestly. If you dig this stuff, which we're hoping you do, you should check out their social media links below to always stay up to date on what Juice Wax is up to!

As always thanks for reading!

Juice Wax: Facebook // Bandcamp

Granz – Winter Street EP Review

Granz is a five-piece mixed-genre band that hails from Philly, and their debut record, Winter Street, is one for the books. Composed of Jack Sweeney on guitar and backing vocals, Jon Urban on bass and vocals, Niko Metricarti on drums and percussion, Grant Gilbert on guitar, keys, and vocals, and the mysterious “Mr. Keys,” Granz is a band that’s all about moving your heart and making you dance, according to their Facebook bio. What began as a solo project in 2013, Granz has grown into the five-piece it is today, and now they’re ready to release their first record to the world. 

Winter Street is a four-track EP that showcases the band’s affinity for blending the genres of indie, pop, and rock. Check out the tracklist for Winter Street down below!

 Winter Street Track list:
1. Winter Street
2. Dog Day
3. Unfrozen
4. When I See You Move

 

 

 

 

 

The first song is a great intro to the album, with an easygoing sound and a distinctly chill feeling to it. Granz’s sound is pretty pleasing to the ears. The songs on Winter Street are relaxing and mellow, with excellent vocals and what I would describe as coffeehouse instrumentals: smooth guitar and soft melodies that make for some soothing songs. This album sounds like you would hear it in the background of a Starbucks, and you might find yourself swaying along to the music without thinking about it. This would also be a good one to play in the background when you’re hanging out with your friends, having a chill night in. 
 
My favorite song off this EP is the title track, “Winter Street.” Then I would say “Unfrozen” comes in second. Though each of the four songs on Winter Street has their own distinctive qualities, their similar sound, particularly the guitar and the vocals, makes it easy to tell that they are all different parts of a whole. Overall, I enjoyed Winter Street, and I’m looking forward to its official release in July. 
 
Until then, if you’re curious about Granz, you can listen to some of their older stuff on their Bandcamp, and follow them on social media for any more updates that might come out!

Granz: Website // Facebook // Bandcamp