indie rock

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

Young Pilgrims - Anhedonia Review

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An emotional lofi pop punk look at what it's like to make lots of mistakes a lot of the time, and tons of other not fun emotions are what Young Pilgrims are aiming for in their latest release, Anhedonia. The 7-track EP is a staggering, impressive and sentimental album that creeps in and out.

The result of a merger between two high-school bands, Young Pilgrims are Sean Brown (Singer, guitarist), Zack Abel (Bassist, soft tenor backing vocalist), and Jesse Appel (Drummer/Percussionist). Their first album, Kyoko and a Rocket to the Moon, was released July 2013. It was recorded in Rhawn Street Studios in Philadelphia, with mixing and mastering done by Zach Brown. Anhedonia, was released January 2018 after an extended hiatus, but we're excited for their return!

Check out Anhedonia's tracklist below!

Album Art: Thomsen Cummings

Album Art: Thomsen Cummings

Anhedonia Tracklist:
1. The Death Ray
2. Get Lucid!
3. Attempt No. 3
4. FCT
5. Witch Toucher
6. Be Good
7. My Friend Frida Kahlo

 

 

 

The groovy, tempermental 7-track compilation is an exciting welcome back for the threesome. The level of growth is enthralling and means the hiatus, while long, was not for naught.

Opening track "The Death Ray" introduces you to the sound that Young Pilgrims have cultivated, a return into mind melting emotions and sound. Instrumentally, each track does a really fantastic job of tying into one another, but also remaining stand alone. The cohesive nature of this album is surprising and makes it an easy listen through.

With hints of pop punk, you get just enough meaning to make Anhedonia a gooey melting pot. We've got the album streaming down below for you via Bandcamp, so check it out and formulate your own opinions!

You can check out this psychedelic feels piece on their social media links down below so you don't miss anything!

Young Pilgrims: 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

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

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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

The Afraid Brigade - If I Ever See Stars Again Review

Fantasy indie rockers, The Afraid Brigade, have released their latest EP If I Ever See the Stars Again back in June of this year, and it has become one of my favorite indie records of 2017. The 4-piece band from Woodbridge, New Jersey have crafted a diverse record filled with excellent songwriting, infectious choruses and melodies, and a theatrical story that takes the listener on a wonderful journey throughout its 6 songs, but is sadly over far too soon.

Consisting of lead singer Joe Ruff, guitarist Tyler Boland, bassist Ben Lander, and drummer Zach Lander, The Afraid Brigade is a group of very talented musicians who understand their inspirations well. Personally, I got a sort of Manchester Orchestra meets Modest Mouse sort of vibe from the band, but they cite mewithoutYou, Band of Horses, and Iron & Wine as main influences. It’s refined indie pop-rock filled to the brim with over the top emotion and attitude and everything about it just feels so right.

If I Ever See the Stars Again contains 6 very unique tracks that all come together to tell a cohesive tale of a weary space traveler experiencing some difficult situations. From the seamless transitions between songs that sound nothing alike to the deliberate choice of instrumentation to convey setting and atmosphere, everything about this record feels polished and well thought out making for an unexpected, but truly awesome journey. It also helps that these songs are really, really good. Nothing ever overstays its welcome on this record, in fact a lot of songs could have stayed a little longer (I’m looking at you, beautiful intro track).

Clocking in at roughly 16 minutes, this space voyage is over before you realize it, and leaves the listener wanting more. Check out the tracklist below!

1. Stars Intro
2. The World Don't Want You
3. Nothing Good
4. I'm in Hell 
5. Dead Wrong
6. Let's Die Alone Together







 

The album kicks off with literally an intro track, but it honestly is one of my favorite songs off the record. It’s only about a minute long, but the sense of space and loneliness it conveys is some of the most impactful material on the album. “Stars Intro” is really only comprised of 4 things: a bit of sound effects, a droning synth, a piano for subtle melodic effect, and Ruff’s vocal out in the forefront all by itself. The vocal on this track is the most vulnerable vocal throughout the entire record and it instantly hooks the listener in, which is perfect because this track smoothly leads into the second song “The World Don’t Want You.” 

This sort of anthemic emo song kicks off with a solid guitar hook and incredibly well-done harmonies to perfectly offset the depressed, solitary mood of the intro track. The stars of this song (no pun intended) are undoubtedly Boland’s unbelievably sick guitar work, which kind of feel just like a solo jam for almost 3 minutes, and Ruff’s vocals which come off as desperate in the best way possible.

The next track, “Nothing Good” can be seen as the pop-punk song off the record. Chugging rhythm guitars, mixed with driving beats are met with a lead guitar track that cuts through it all to give it a sense of attitude. A bridge that calms everything down only to come back up to a climax in the song is about as pop-punk as it gets. Once again however, Ruff shows just how versatile his vocal can be as he attacks these quick, syncopated lines with precision and tenacity. This is a hard-hitting track that somehow hits all the right notes despite its short run time. 

“I’m in Hell”, the next song off the album, is arguably the most different sounding song on the entire record. It’s a very early Beatles-esque vibe mixed with a sort of classic 50’s love song. This track comes fully equipped with a frilly piano that drives the whole thing, a whistle part to connect different parts, a horn section to serve as a call and response, and of course a key change. It’s all pretty intoxicating to be honest, and I couldn’t help but fall for the undeniable charm that came with everything. Through all of that throwback goodness though, my favorite part of the recording is actually the gang vocals. They purvey a real sense of camaraderie that make me feel like this band is having a lot of fun with what they are doing. It’s a subtle thing, but one I don’t hear a lot of anymore.

“Dead Wrong” is about as Modest Mouse as it gets for me. It’s a pop-oriented song that’s led by an off-kilter guitar and intentionally pitchy vocals to convey as much emotion as possible. Somehow The Afraid Brigade make it all work so well without ever sounding like some cheesy knock-off which is truly a testament to just how malleable this band truly is. 

Finally, If I Ever See the Stars Again reaches its finale with “Let’s Die Alone Together.” It’s a beautiful rock ballad with extremely big choruses and Queen inspired guitar solos that ebb and flow until it all just eventually fades away. It’s as fitting an end to a record as any I’ve ever heard. I don’t want to give anything away, but I highly recommend putting this album on ‘repeat’.

The Afraid Brigade deserve every ounce of praise, respect, and support they get for If I Ever See the Stars Again.

This record feels so thought out, and so professional, as if it came from a much more established band that’s been around for at least a decade. It’s such a fantastic EP that I really think everyone should listen to, and since it’s such a quick listen there’s really no excuse not to. Although I wish there were more to it, I really can’t find a single thing wrong with this record, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for this band. 

The Afraid Brigade: Facebook // Bandcamp // Official Site // YouTube

Added Color - Psycho EP Review

A name change has lead Added Color to their latest, and most exciting release yet!

Added Color, formally known as Unconscious Disturbance, have debuted their brand new EP, Psycho. The collaborative effort of 2 years worth of writing and dozens of shows, Added Color has finally shared the quintessential EP to represent their sound and ideals! The 5-track EP, Psycho, is a funky, progressive pop rock type sound that is easy to get lost in - put it on in the car, windows down. 

According to their own biography, Added Color is a Brazilian/American rock band formed in Brooklyn, NY. Comprised of brothers Daniel and Kiko Freiberg (São Paulo), Tim Haggerty (Boston), and Danny Dahan (Washington DC). Added Color has played close to 200 shows in over 20 states in the USA, and toured internationally playing a mini-tour in Canada, a two week tour in Morocco and major festivals in Brazil such as Porão do RockThe Monsters of Rock Festival officially nominated them as one of five of Brazil’s upcoming rock bands. The band has received critical praise from PureVolume, Red Bull Music, The Huffington Post, AOL Noisecreep, and was chosen as a "must see show" by The Village Voice.

An impressive resume to boast about, sure. But were we impressed? Yes, yes we were. Check out the tracklist for Psycho below!

Psycho Tracklist:
1. Pyscho
2. Our Secret
3. Nasty Habit
4. About To Break
5. Scream

 

 

 

 

Psycho is an incredible EP in all ways that I want to listen to music. The instrumental aspect is captivating, smooth, a sound that lures the listener in from opening track to closing. The lyricism is enchanting, it begs to be sung along with, and in general the music feels good. It echoes, it ebbs and flows, it pushes Added Color above and beyond expectations from previous releases to now. 

Opening track "Psycho" could be on the radio. With an essence of rock, pop and indie that exchange between one another throughout the EP, Psycho is constantly showing me something new every listen. Between the edging guitar riffs, a smooth bass, and the static of the drumbeat alongside that classic rock vocal you're in for a hypnotic EP experience.

Check out the music video for "Psycho" below!

According to the band, the EP was decided out of 20+ songs that had been written. Each played at different shows to gauge responsiveness and reception. The top 5 of those tracks make up Psycho, and it's very clear that every track on this EP has a purpose. "Psycho" opens up to "Our Secret" which feels a little bit heavier instrumentally, but evens itself out to a smooth rock inspired track. "Nasty Habit" uses a fun group vocal tactic to highlight the chorus, while "About To Break" slows it down. Closing track "Scream" brings out the best of the previous four tracks in a way that's surprising and exciting.

I wish that this EP was longer, but maybe that's me being selfish. The opening and closing tracks felt the most powerful to me in all aspects, while the middle tracks yearned for something more at times. Overall, I'm excited to see what comes out of Added Color and where they're headed to next. With a debut release this well put together and groovy, the sky is limitless for the four piece!

To keep up with Added Color, check out their social media below and be sure to check out Psycho this summer!

Added Color: Website // Facebook // Instagram // Soundcloud

Canyon Ride - Wasting Time With Ghosts Review

Canyon Ride have taken quite the journey to get to their debut EP release, and we’re so excited to be able to celebrate the end of that adventure with them! With hints of Americana, rock and country music to inspire them, you’re sure to find a track you’re into while listening to debut EP, Wasting Time With Ghosts!

The 5-track EP is the culmination of months of hard work perfecting the lineup and sound that Canyon Ride wanted to emulate. Canyon Ride consists of Kelly Derrig (vocals), Cam Clark (guitar/harmonica/banjo), Ryan Kosinski (bass), and Chris DeSaye (drums/supporting vox), and the lady led band is leaving it’s mark with their unique vintage rock and roll sound combined with the slow, sweet voice from Derrig.

Check out the tracklist below!

Wasting Time With Ghosts Tracklist: 
1. High Tide
2. Satisfied
3. Holding Thy Own
4. Winter Drums
5. Tennessee

 

 

 

 

This EP was more reminiscent of country than any of the other genres that they had suggested, with hints of folk and Americana in the instrumentals, Derrig’s voice is most definitely inspired by a more feminine country heart. The haunting aspects of this EP make it one that feels along with the listener. Tracks like “Satisfied” and “Tennessee” are impactful and important for the base in which Canyon Ride is trying to formulate their own standing and place in their scene.

There are a few things about this EP that could definitely benefit from Canyon Ride continuing to hone their sound and skills as a collective. In spots Derrig’s voice doesn’t feel supported by the instrumental background, both in that the guitar/bass seem like they want to be more rock influenced, and Derrig’s voice seemingly is automatically a more Americana/country style. I was impressed by this EP for it’s sheer momentum and need for being. It holds it’s own and represents a solid band that is new, but definitely a force to be reckoned with.

I look forward to Canyon Ride finding their footing and progressing above and beyond Wasting Time With Ghosts. As artists we all must continuously get better to achieve our greatest selves, and I have no doubt in Canyon Ride accomplishing this.

To keep up with the band, check out their social media below, and definitely check out Wasting Time With Ghosts so you don’t miss a single beat!

Canyon Ride: Website // Facebook // Instagram