The Hook

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

Shin Guard - Five Songs Review

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It's been a while since we've gotten some pop punk, Shin Guard is helping us change that, and we're all here for it. The Pittsburgh foursome are working hard to bring what the feel to the table in their latest release, Five Songs.

Five Songs is actually a four track EP released back in December, and Shin Guard have given themselves the title of 'Pittsburgh Sadness' so there's that. It's gonna be a lot of feelings, and some yelling, but if you're ready to throw down then we are, too.

Owen Traynor (vocals, guitar, songwriting, synthesis), Joe Bojarski (vocals, guitar, songwriting), Jake Yencik (bass, backing vocals), and Ryan Yester (drums) make up Shin Guard and have worked hard together to make leaps and bounds in improvement from their initial release, Leglike, back in April 2017. 

Check out their tracklist below to follow along!

Photography: Jake Yencik

Photography: Jake Yencik

Five Songs Tracklist:
1. Bemis Point
2. Corsages
3. You Turned Everything To Paper
4.Flubline


 

 

 

 

Opening track "Bemis Point" doesn't feel like the perfect fit for me, as a listener, for opening track. It shows off where the band's headspace is, but second track, "Corsages" holds a lot more weight for me, so I sort of wish the two were flip flopped as it would've made the listening experience better and more streamlined. "Corsages" also shows off a hell of a lot more of talent then "Bemis Point" which would've just aided the band in creating an EP that showed off their absolute best talent, track by track.

Five Songs definitely gets better as it goes on, as I really only stumbled on "Bemis Point" which felt out of place in comparison to the other three tracks that follow. "You Turned Everything To Paper" uses an interesting spoken word technique to open itself up, disenchanting the listener into melancholy. The lyricism is potent and good, and the instrumental synthetics that go into the track make it feel like a hybrid ambient bedroom track. Interesting stuff.

Closing track, "Flubline" is probably the most fitting with "Corsages" and the sound that the band feels the most proficient in. I wanted more tracks like this. Tracks that said a lot without having to say a lot - that spoke instrumentally to the listener, that used experiences that felt relatable to the emotion Shin Guard seemed to want to be going for. I think these four guys have a solid ground to work off of, and I'm interested to see where they're headed and what sound they decide to settle in on and hone.

Until then, you can keep up with Shin Guard down below with their social media links, and if you're ever in Pittsburgh, be sure to check them out!

Shin Guard: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Tumblr // YouTube

My Home is the Sea - Self Titled Review

March has begun, and we're finally catching up. Today on our radar is Philadelphia's own My Home is the Sea, a bedroom pop duo that exists in the sub-reality of your consciousness - and goddamnit we're in love. The dreamy duo consists of Marc Neibauer and Natalie Wimberg, the masterminds behind the June release of their self-titled EP.

The five track EP is a stellar beginning for the group, and I can't stop listening. While the release is nearly a year old, I was most impressed by the variety of electronic techniques and sounds the group used to create it. These techniques really hold up the EP on a higher standard and make it feel flexible in it's fluctuation in ideology and sound.

Check out the tracklist below!

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Self Titled Tracklist:
1. Chase Something
2. Do As You're Told
3. No One's Daughter
4. Fuse  
5. Passenger

 

 

 

 

Of course, an EP like this takes more than just two characters to create brilliance, and luckily for Wimberg and Neibauer they had some help thanks to Chiemena Ukazim (guitar, solos "Fuse" and "Passenger"), and Robert Rouse (drums "Fuse" and "Passenger"). Of course, the two are incredibly impressive on their own, with a multitude of vocal performance and instrumental backing between them, you're sure to be impressed by this Self Titled EP.

Our favorite track off of My Home is the Sea is "No One's Daughter" because it really capitalizes on the sound that My Home is the Sea seems to be going for. A healthy dose between anthemic and ethereal - bedroom pop vs. pop rock. However, it is interesting to note that the EP does slowly dissolve from one being into another from first track to last, with "No One's Daughter" the middle of the sound sandwich. Tracks 1 & 2 are defined more in areas of shoegaze, bedroom pop. while 4 & 5 descend into that more anthemic rock pop we mentioned earlier. 

Either way, for a debut EP this is pretty stellar work. I mean, we're impressed. And sure, we sometimes are easily impressed, but this stuff is good so maybe you should check it out and hear it for yourselves! That's the only real way to gauge, so do that, we've got it streaming below for you!

As always, thanks for reading and definitely check out My Home is the Sea and pray they put something new out soon (we sure are). Until then, keep up with them via their social media down below!

My Home is the Sea: Facebook

Skyeline - Something About Your Basement Review

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Skyeline, the indie-alternative band from Ocean City, New Jersey, is a band I am really excited about. Their debut record, Something About Your Basement, which came out this past December, is a fantastic ambient, pop-rock album filled with lush soundscapes, alluring vocals, and clever songwriting that will envelop you entirely throughout its 51-minute run time. Comprised of lead singer, Brittany Byrne, guitarist Brandon Cruz, and bassist, Jack Rose, the power trio combines a sense of experienced professionalism with a laidback DIY feel to give them a sound, and more importantly a feeling, that is all their own.

Having formed in 2015, Skyline is inspired by the likes of Death Cab for Cutie, The Deftones, and The 1975. Interestingly enough, rather than sounding like any of these icons, Skyeline seems to have dissected these artists’ music, taken out the bits and chunks that suit their musicianship, and intuitively put them back together in a refreshingly original way. Something About Your Basement sees the band explore the alternative genre and push the boundaries of it into an almost psychedelic, jam band-esque territory, yet still retain a pop-rock songwriting style at its core. With no track on this album being less than 4 minutes, and the longest one lasting over 8 minutes, Something About Your Basement may seem like a daunting investment of time to some people, but listeners who dive head first into it will be treated to a truly impressive record.

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Something About Your Basement Review:
1. Out There
2. Without Me
3. Three Years
4. Everything
5. Someone New
6. Caught Up
7. Stay the Same 
8. Prom Song
9.
Colors

 

 

Something About Your Basement kicks off with the perfect intro track in “Out There”. From the very first note on guitar you can immediately tell the amount of passion and care that went into making this project; it simply sounds fantastic. Speaking of guitar, Cruz’s guitar work throughout the entire record is one of the highlights of the album. While he may not shred hardcore like some players, his ability to find beautifully mellow tones to compliment not only Byrne’s vocals, but also Skyeline’s dreamy sound is an achievement that cannot be understated.

Brittany Byrne, the lead singer of Skyeline is arguably the biggest draw of the band. Although it seems (at least on the recordings) that she tries to let the music take a front seat rather than her vocals, there’s no denying the instant charm and appeal of the tone of her voice. With all of her subtle inflections and the rich, yet vulnerable quality of her voice, it’s hard not to compare Byrne’s voice voice to that of Hayley Williams of Paramore. Unfortunately, Something About Your Basement has her voice buried within the songs just a tad too much, and uses it too infrequently for it to stand out in the spotlight it deserves.

Just like losing Bryne’s vocals in the mix of these songs, I found myself losing a lot of the drums as well. I was craving a punchier, and heavier drum sound to better discern the great drum work, that will probably go unnoticed, especially in the longer, more sonic songs. Additionally, some of these songs are just too long. One song in particular, “Someone New” repeats the same vocal line and chord progression over and over again for 8 minutes with very subtle variation. It’s my least favorite track on the album, and easily could have been half the time and achieved the same effect it was going for.

Something About Your Basement by Skyline, was actually recorded in a basement, but you’d be hard pressed to know that based off the quality of this record. Skyeline has created a truly special, albeit flawed, debut album. It’s a sonic journey stacked with luxuriant tones and sounds, and alluring vocals that proves that this band is on the path to greatness. That path may be a little too long during this particular outing, but it’s still an incredibly joyous time that makes me even more excited about what lies down the road.

Check out there social media to keep up with their latest news, otherwise thanks for reading!

Skyeline: Facebook // Twitter // Instagram // Official Site // YouTube
 

Bucolic - Rope's Wing Review

We're really into dreampop sounds right now. Ok, we were never not into dreampop sounds, sue us. Bucolic is one of our most recent listens, and by recent we mean September - and we're sorry, we're trying to catch up!

Based out of New Jersey, Bucolic (aka Seth Carpenter) has been working hard in the tri-state area to share their sounds, and with play time in both Philly and NYC, Bucolic is already making stellar progress. The Debut EP, Rope's Wing is what we've got our eyes (and ears) on as of late. The dreamy, lo-fi EP is one that reminds me of afternoons in summer. It's the dead of winter, but listening to this EP has got me feeling warm all over.

Check out the tracklist below!

Rope's Wing Tracklist:
1. Daisy
2. Rope's Wing
3. Ice Bugs
4. Blissfully Unaware
5. Great Miles Old

 

 

 

 

At five tracks, Rope's Wing is on the longer side of EP's, but honestly I couldn't get enough of it. Each track it's own, unique journey in the splendor that is Bucolic or maybe what Bucolic wants you to be.

With an interwoven collection of sounds that bridge on the cusp of a blended genre, Bucolic uses electronic noise in a way to make music feel distorted - bridging on psychedelic in some tracks, or folktronic (the blend of folk and electronic). The overall vibe of lyricism and sound is indie, with hints of dreamy-pop in certain tracks. Of course, we don't want to get too bogged down in logistics, because that doesn't always matter so much.

Opening track "Daisy" lulls you into the EP and it's rhythmic beating. Carpenter's voice overlays itself and electronic noise to create the sensation of cascading sound. Title track "Rope's Wing" is a bit more upbeat, the electronic sound makes this song especially feel more psych-rock to me. Something interesting also stuck out to me: none of the tracks falling under 3.5 minutes, you can tell a lot of care and decision went into making the EP which makes for a more enjoyable listen.

"Ice Bugs" is a fantastic middle track, giving way for a bit of a different sound, a transition that takes hold for the latter half of the EP. The overall feel of the track is indie, with a catchy chord progression and a retrospective ideology in the lyrics. "Blissfully Unaware" stuck out to me because that opening sound is like one you'd hear from an old record player, the slight lapse in noise to create a really vintage vibe.

Closing tracks "Great Miles Old" is probably my favorite off of the EP. It brings together the entirety of Rope's Wing and reworks it. This album is one that feels poised, elegant and exciting to listen too. It's easy to put on after a long day and zone out too, or write toon (in our case). Either way, you should be checking this out - so do that.

In the meantime, check out Bucolic on their social media down below! As always thanks for reading!

Bucolic: Facebook // SoundCloud // YouTube

Fox Hollow - The Dream Reel Review

NY locals, Fox Hollow, have been very busy this year - and before we end 2017, we're revisiting their April release of The Dream Reel. The 4-track EP is a glam rock tribute to the you we're all thinking about when we think about someone else. An indie, smooth moving EP this is definitely one you're going to want to put on while we whittle away at the end of the year.

Fox Hollow is comprised of memebers Michael Themistocleous (Vocals/Guitar), Joseph Oliveto (Guitar), Dan DeLucia (Bass), Chris Swift (Drums), and let's not forget Lyle the Corgi (Vocals). The EP was recorded and mixed by Ryan Meyers in Syosset, NY. With an emphasis on instrumental performance, the vocal feels secondary as you move through this album, but we'll get to that later. 

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Artwork: Brian Parisi

Artwork: Brian Parisi

The Dream Reel Tracklist:
1. The Dream Reel
2. June
3. Tennessee Whiskey
4. Strangers to Ourselves

 

 

 

 

 

Opening title track is going to introduce you to Fox Hollow with poise & grace. You've got a band that borders on pop rock, that groovy movement that bands like Medusa's Disco or Adventure Lost are also participating in. "The Dream Reel" drops listeners into the world of Fox Hollow, one in which you're always talking to someone else, yearning to get lost alongside them - good or bad. The rest of the album isn't going to disappoint, it feels similar in sound and lyrical content, but that makes The Dream Reel a solid consistent listen. As a listener I do wonder what else is in Fox Hollow's bag of tricks that isn't showcased here on the EP, but that's what 2018 is for, right!?

Closing track 'Strangers to Ourselves' is a 7 minute ode that is the culmination of Fox Hollow's goal. The lyricism on this track especially stood out to me in poetics and meaning. This track is one that I feel comes to you at a point when you need to hear it - and you want to bathe in all 7 minutes of it. Consider The Dream Reel Hook Approved. So check out The Dream Reel & Fox Hollow because we're gonna be following them right into 2018.

For more on Fox Hollow & The Dream Reel, check out their social media down below to never miss a beat!

Fox Hollow: Facebook // Bandcamp

Aerial View – Golconda EP Review

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Before I listened to Aerial View, I had never even heard of “space rock,” but I was instantly intrigued. Who wouldn’t be? I mean, come on. Space rock. It’s not just a mineral floating through the cosmos. Aerial View describes themselves as “a balancing act: Combining aggressive grooves and vocal/guitar harmonies with lush, echoey atmosphere; balancing surprising chord progressions and song structures into cohesive tunes.” And that’s what space rock is – it’s known for being otherworldly and hypnotic, with an emphasis on instrumentals. 

Aerial View’s music certainly fits the bill. Their EP, Golconda, was released in May. It’s only 4 songs long, but each track hits past the 4-minute mark, which I think is the best length for a song. Any song under 4 minutes is just too short. It’s easier to get lost in longer songs – they give you more time to daydream and make music videos in your head. And the songs on Golconda are perfect for doing just that.

Check out the tracklist down below to follow along!

Golconda Tracklist:
1. I Run
2. Golconda
3. Silent Majority
4. With Eyes Unseeing

 

 

 

 


The instrumentals are dreamy, and the harmonies on this EP are so pleasing to the ear. No matter what music I listen to, I’m always drawn to the instrumentals first and foremost, and Aerial View does not disappoint in that department. The guitar chords are like nothing I’ve ever heard before, and they really do a good job with the melodies - making Golconda one of the catchiest, grooviest albums I've review to date!

Of the four songs on the album, I have to say the first one was my favorite from the way it instantly drew me in. “I Run” starts off with an atmospheric guitar chord that makes you feel like you’re floating in a dream. The songs on Golconda blend seamlessly into each other, giving the whole album a smooth, cohesive feeling. Plus, the album cover is amazing. Aerial View gets my gold seal of approval. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for them in the future. 

You can stream Golconda for free, and check out Aerial View on social media for any forthcoming updates. 

Aerial View: SoundCloud // Facebook

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen - Homecoming Review

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First of all, I love the band name. It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen. It’s fun to say.

These guys recently put out their debut EP, Homecoming. They’re a mix of blues, rock, jazz and soul, hailing from West Long Branch, New Jersey. Homecoming is a 6-track album that introduces their style to the world in a way that ensures they won’t be easily forgotten. I was way into this EP right off the bat. They’ve got saxophones. They’ve got keyboards. They’ve got some fantastic beats. This is music that you’re gonna want to dance to. It’s impossible not to move to it. It’s catchy, it’s infectious, it’s wonderful. I love some good jazz, and Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen put a spin on the genre that gives them a unique element and an original style.

Check out their tracklist below to follow along!

Homecoming Tracklist:
1. Old Fashioned Way
2. Miss Psychopath
3. Roosevelt
4. Next Time You Need Me
5. Beautiful to Me ‘17
6. Hometown Girl ‘17

 

 

 

 

My favorite song is the first, “Old Fashioned Way.” At first I thought I was watching an episode of SNL, because it starts off with that hook “Ladies and gentlemen, live from Brooklyn, New York. . .” But then the music starts, and I was pulled immediately into the song. It’s a footloose kind of track that had me nodding my head along with it, wishing I was standing up and dancing around the room. The first two songs are pretty similar in that aspect before the album transitions to a slower vibe.

The music changes a little, variations to keep the album upbeat and interesting, but I wonder what the album could do to feel more interesting to listeners at times. What could Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentleman do more or less of to make music in the future stand out more. Of course Homecoming is great though. It has that special something that makes Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen who they are, a something that carries throughout the whole album. 

These guys are talented, and I feel like they’d also be a great band to see live. Their music is the type that you’re gonna want to be present and in the moment for. Listen to Homecoming now and see what I’m talking about, and keep up with Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen (say that 5 times fast) on social media down below!

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen: Facebook // Spotify