alt rock

Jimmy Lo Fi - Dull Boy Album Review

Photographer:  Eddie Gancos

Photographer: Eddie Gancos

Jimmy Lo Fi, the nom de guerre of Jimmy Wilkens, releases his first solo album on November 1st. Wilkens is also the guitarist for The Sonder Bombs, as well as the drummer for Drag Daze. Dull Boy is his first solo project. He previously released four singles from the album, “Mountains,” “Boulevard,” “Apricots & Onions” and “Dammit, Comma, Dammit” which are available for streaming if you want to get a taste of the full album before it releases. Dull Boy will have a total of ten tracks. 

Described as post-emo/garage/indie, Jimmy Lo Fi is an artist I’d like to see more from in the future. Right from the first song on Dull Boy, I’m into it. The album is full of atmosphere, and definitely fits a dreamy indie bill.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Album Artwork: RB Roe

Album Artwork: RB Roe

Dull Boy Tracklist:
1. 6 O’Clock News
2. Mountains
3. Therapy
4. Apricots & Onions
5. Just Relax, Dude!
6. American Pride Self-Serv Car Wash
7. Dammit, Comma, Dammit
8. Boulevard
9. Chaos Complex
10. Sad Closer

This album is cathartic, easy-going and ready to tell you it’s story. I appreciated the slower, more emotional songs incredibly. My favorite off this album is track three, “Therapy.” A track I would play when I start shifting into daydream mode. It starts off with an acoustic riff I love, and the melody and key changes keep you busy, making any listener feel some type of way. Track five, “Just Relax, Dude!” is another of my favorites, and I like the angrier tone of this song. (If you’re a cop don’t read this) Of course, let’s be real, it’s mostly because of lyric “I love to smoke weed,” because, dude, same.

Mr. Lo Fi has a talent for songwriting, which is something that becomes apparent when you really start listening. The lyrics of “Dammit, Comma, Dammit” are also pretty funny - “Dammit, I forgot to water my plants again / Dammit, I forgot to shower again” (again, same) - and then later in the song, “What should I do, smoke a bowl or take a poop?” (The eternal internal dilemma). It conveys a ridiculousness that works, not only because the musicality of the song flows really well and sounds great; but, also because the lyrics are, to use a cliché, relatable, even while making you laugh.

There’s a definitive melancholy side to Jimmy’s lyrics. A line in “Chaos Complex” that I love: “How come I don’t feel good when I’m thriving? I think it might be time to stop trying.” I listened to that one twice because I liked it so much, and it slid into second place for me, right after “Therapy.” The last song “Sad Closer” (an accurate title) takes the bronze medal. Whether he’s making you laugh, or making sure you’re both having an existential crisis lyrically, Jimmy Lo Fi gives us something one of a kind, a signature all his own.

Overall, it’s safe to say I loved this album.

I think Dull Boy is a great introduction for Jimmy Lo Fi, and it shows a promising start to a solo career. The vocals do get more solidified as the album progresses, and it’s just the first song that feels off to me, but maybe that’s only a weird me thing. Audiences can have a listen and decide for themselves when the album drops on November 1st. You can preorder the digital album, the CD version, or even a cassette tape from Jimmy’s Bandcamp!

Check out the social media down below to follow Jimmy Lo Fi’s progress!

Jimmy Lo Fi: Facebook // Instagram // Twitter // Bandcamp //Spotify

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

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

Andross - Recidivist Review

Indie Punk Rock is well defined by Andross, a Philadelphia four piece, who are celebrating the recent release of their third full-length album, Recidivist. Having just played one of our Hook Showcases on April 28th, we might be a little biased, but Andross is one of the best bands around right now - really exciting up & coming band stuff, ya know.

Released on May 19th, Recidivist was produced, engineered, mixed, mastered by Kevin Folk at Warm Body Studios, includes 7 additional vocals, and of course couldn't be created without band members Tim Balch (vocals, guitars, acoustic guitar, keyboards), Chris Waters (guitars, backing vocals), Drew Grahn (bass), and Tom Brucker (drums, percussion, backing vocals). The 10-track album is a hard hitting, fast paced collection that adds a lasting impression to Andross' already impressive discography.

Check out the tracklist below to keep up with us!

Recidivist Tracklist:
1. Recidivist
2. The Consensual Revolution
3. Moonracer
4. I Don't Want Yr Money
5. Violence 1995
6. King Coyote
7. Needa
8. Pinko
9. Got a Gun, Agnes
10. Inventor and Human Dynamo
 

 

Recidivist is a fast paced album that relies on heavy hitting riffs contrasting against the voice of Balch who has inherited this half-sung, half-screamed lyricism. Opening track, "Recidivist" immediately slinks the listener into the world of Andross - a fast-paced, hungry space for you to get lost into. Some of these tracks move so fast, it's easy to listen to the album in it's entirety without realizing.

One of my favorite tracks off of the EP is "Violence 1995." This track, in comparison to the four tracks that come before it, sounds full. Musically, this track really brings in what I want from Andross. A lot of the tracks feel hinged on punk and indie vibes, but they never thoroughly stick to one - which definitely isn't a complain, but it can make the tracks feel similar to one another.

"King Coyote" is such an interesting stand out track for this album. Mostly acoustic, more traditionally "indie," but honestly it reminded me more so of folk-y rock? It's sort of a surprise when it comes on, but after many listen-throughs, I've decided that Andross' tactic for Recidivist is one that highlights their ability to shape shift. I usually go through every track and break it down, but I think that's something the listener should do. This album will surprise you, confuse you, make you sad, make you happy. This album is a light in the dark, and I am so unbelievably excited to see what Andross has in store.

Recedivist is 10-tracks of hard work and love from Andross, and that sweats through each track as you follow along. In comparison to their last big release, These Are The Giants We Know, seems a much more post-hardcore collection than Recidivist, especially instrumentally, not to mention the variety. Don't sleep on this one. Check out a bandcamp stream of "Violence 1995" while you're here.

As we said above, (maybe we're gloating), Andross is a Hook favorite, and you'd be legit silly to not check these guys out. If you're into anything at all we've said, then definitely stay up to date on all Andross news by checking out their social media links down below! Andross is Philly's force to be reckoned with. 

Andross: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp

Knightlife - Field Day Review

Here at The Hook, we've been taking some time to think about how little good, brand new rock there is surfacing - especially out here in the Philadelphia, PA scene. A scene dominated by the DIY emo punk ethic, it is a breath of fresh air to experience our newest friends over at Knightlife. 

Knightlife is comprised of Bruce MacKnight, Blaine Alderfer, Rich Giduck, and Ryan Herrmann - a quartet that creates a specific, but recognizable sound that Knightlife has been sure to cultivate as their own! Their debut EP, Field Day, was released in September of this year - and has been an exciting jumping off point for the four-piece rock band. 

According to the band's bandcamp, "In the summer of 2016 Knightlife had the opportunity to enter the studio with Producer Ted Richardson, of TedAudio. The goal of those sessions was to create music that captures the essence of Knightlife’s brand of rock music."

And today we're stoked to be checking out Field Day as one of our latest reviewed pieces! Check out the tracklist below!

Field Day Tracklist: 
1. Slow Down
2. Choose Your Side
3. Superman

 

 

 

 

 

The three track EP is a quick way into the minds of Knightlife. Opening track "Slow Down" is a smooth, guitar infused track spanning at nearly 5 minutes long. It takes time to appreciate the reverb of the guitar, the hit of each drum beat. 

What we really appreciate about the EP as it works it's way through the 3-tracks, is that it is constantly changing it's sound while maintaining a fluid ideal!

We see this happen in track 2, "Choose Your Side" which almost reminds me of sounds similar to 90's alt-rock! The technique of a more relaxed vocal performance, lyrics almost spoken, and a guitar/bass tweak that not only follows the vocal delivery, but highlights it. Final track, "Superman" brings us back to a more contemporary sound, while it follows a similar style as "Slow Down" does.

Each of these tracks show off a possible future for Knightlife and what listeners can maybe expect out of them in the time to come! We're hoping that their sound grows a bit more, where at points the vocals are not always in sync with the intensity of the music or vice versa. It would be interesting to see a concentrated effort to create a collection of tracks that takes this base level of music/ideas and broadens it even further. 

We're excited to see where Knightlife is headed! And until then, check out their social media, buy their EP, send them fanmail, you know the drill!

Knightlife: Facebook // Bandcamp

The Orphan, The Poet - Terrible Things EP Review

Dayton, Ohio-based alternative rock band The Orphan The Poet's newest release, Terrible Things, is an exciting and fresh new alt-rock EP. It was released earlier this summer and it really epitomizes the current wave of alt-rock groups in a positive light.

The Orphan The Poet have shared the stage with acts such as Dance Gavin Dance, Conditions, I, The Mighty, and more. Substream Magazine described the lead track off of this EP as “Mayday Parade meets Manchester Orchestra.” The band consists of David Eselgroth (Vocals/Guitar), Dakota Johnson (Guitar), Jake Floyd (Bass), and Sam Gordon (Drums).

The EP was Engineered by Nick Ingram and produced by Machine (Cobra Starship, Gym Class Heroes, Every Time I Die). The album was released on June 3rd.

The Terrible Things EP kicks off with “Forward,” a driving modern rock anthem with a really sweet lead melody peppered in throughout, melting with wavy distortion like a punk rock Soundgarden.

The title track, “Terrible Things,” plays wonderful homage and calls back to classic early 2000's pop-punk, which brings a nostalgic smile to my eyes. I can clearly see what these guys are all about when they sing the hook to this impressive single. This track is the highlight of the EP for me. You can watch the music video for it right here to get a sample of what The Orphan The Poet has to offer.

The rally cry of the EP is “Bombs Away,” a fun number that really hits the middle of the EP with the energy it needs to hold everything together. This EP is relatively quick in it's runtime, and The Orphan The Poet clearly know how to make it seem like it lasts.

“Bombs Away” paired with the slower next track, “Wild & Young,” really set a good pace. “Wild & Young” is your youth statement thesis of the EP. “Watch You Burn” ends the EP with a dark and powerful track. The energy keeps up all the way until the end.

Terrible Things EP Tracklist:

  1. Forward
  2. Terrible Things
  3. Bombs Away
  4. Wild & Young
  5. Watch You Burn

Overall, I'm going to give Terrible Things a not terrible score of 8.5/10.

The Orphan, The Poet really shines on this release and, while they don't really show me anything new to the genre, they certainly know how to construct and perform tight, memorable alt-rock punk classics.

Keep an eye out for these guys in the future as they start to work on their next project. You can find them at the links provided below!

The Orphan, The Poet: Website // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram

 

Catch Me If You Can - Okay... Review

It's fair to say that The Hook has been pretty heavily influenced by Pennsylvania and New Jersey dominated scenes. However, it's important to highlight how the rest of the tri-state area fits into this equation.

Enter in Catch Me If You Can.

Fronted by singer/songwriter, Ryan Hanratty, Catch Me If You Can is a project based out of Valley Stream, New York. However, Catch Me If You Can has garnered quite the following in the surrounding area, specifically New Jersey thanks to his talent, and the help of promoters such as Brittney On Fire of The Court Tavern, as well as other important figures in the local scene!

Catch Me If You Can caught our eye, though, with his most recent release Okay..., the debut, 11-track LP! You can check out the tracklist for this really interesting beginning for Catch Me If You Can below!

Okay... Tracklist:
1. Lockpicks & Keys
2. Say Anything
3. Bird's Eye View
4. Dead to You (Feat. Brittney On Fire)
5. Trusty Chords/Recovery (Hot Water Music/Frank Turner Cover)
6. Poison (All Winter)
7. T.L. 
8. Original Song
9. Verrazano
10. Poor & Broke (With You)
11. Long Island


Okay... features 11 tracks - and this being CMIYC's first full-length, I was impressed by the evenness of tone and structure that this LP presented! This album is literally just Ryan Hanratty's voice and acoustic guitar which makes for a solid collection that emphasizes the ideals of songwriting.

Hanratty's voice is a nice mixture between indie/alternative. While he presents in a way that feels current in the scene, it is also clear that CMIYC is passionate about making music as a whole. With influences that range from Radiohead, Green Day, Third Eye Blind, and Streetlight Manifesto - it's clear that CMIYC is using these influences in a beneficial way.

Overall, I had a hard time picking out a favorite song. Each track shared similar qualities: minimal guitar, Hanratty's voice empowering the momentum, lyrics to fit the bill. As a first album, this is a really great start. I would love to see what Catch Me If You Can has the ability do beyond this - what would happen if there were other instruments, if the album had the opportunity to be produced differently?

Of course, all of that comes in time and we're excited for what the future can hold for Catch Me If You Can! In the meantime, they will be playing two shows, one on 9/25 in Atlantic City and the other on 10/15 in Chester, NJ!

If you're diggin' what's vibing with Catch Me If You Can, be sure to check those shows out. Otherwise, stay tuned!

 

Rating: 8/10

For more on CMIYC and what they're up to, check out the social media below! Definitely someone you don't want to miss out on!

Catch Me If You Can: Facebook // Bandcamp // Twitter // Instagram

When Ships Collide - WSC III Review

Over the course of late 2015 and early 2016, When Ships Collide has spent their time sharing three EPs, all of which are well worth the listen – but, especially their most recent addition, WSC III

Released on June 8th, WSC III is Mom Approved™ (seriously, my Mom really liked these songs) and definitely Hook recommended. WSC III is the final installment in the three-part EP series, and culminates the collective sounds that are explored throughout the other two EPs.

The Philadelphia rock band includes Troy Kominiak (guitar & vocals), Toddy Selby (bass & vocals) and Jake Detwiler (drums & drums) to create what makes up When Ships Collide – and can I gloat about how impressive their sound is for a three-piece rock band? I did it anyway.

WSC III is an enjoyable collective of music, one that sincerely highlights some old school alt rock sounds; sounds that I remember hearing as a kid – Bruce Springsteen, Buddy Holly, The Ramones, Billy Joel, & even Freddie Mercury. Maybe that was why my Mom really liked these guys, or maybe it was simply because this is really great music. Stuff you can move too, that tells a story – not only lyrically, but instrumentally as well.

The pairing of vocals, which between Kominiak and Selby are indescribably unique, guttural, and throaty paired with the upbeat, classic rock instrumentals that makes for a listen that isn’t comparable to any band I’ve reviewed thus far. 

Like, these guys are really stinkin' good ok.

Artwork: Andrew Shearer

Artwork: Andrew Shearer

WSC III Tracklist:
1. Wrong Again
2. Rave On
3. Can You Blame Me?
4. What's Your Plan?










The EP includes 4 tracks (as seen above), one of which a Buddy Holly Cover, “Rave On,” which really sets the mood for the EP. Meanwhile, opener "Wrong Again," is the culmination of what the WSC project seems to be - this track really captured the overall vibe of what When Ships Collide was working with over the course of these EPs. 

Honestly though, each of these tracks was stellar, and I have a feeling they'll be on repeat for the rest of the month.

I was sincerely impressed by the way in which this EP moved, where each track used similar techniques with vocal work, but the songs are not tiring or annoying with repetition or similarities. Instead, they played off of one another for impeccably smooth transition without losing the listener along the way.

Instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically, When Ships Collide is bringing a pretty extensive, exciting game to the table. Their sound is perfected, nostalgic, and perfect for drinking milkshakes to (I imagine).

Rating: 9.5/10

Definitely check out When Ships Collide, check out WSC III as the final installment in their EP series, and check out their other music as well. You can't go wrong with these guys, so start doin' right by taking a peek at their links below.

Share a meme, tell them your favorite painter, ask them about their favorite diner food - you know the drill.

When Ships Collide: Facebook // Twitter // Soundcloud // Bandcamp