music jouralism

Curtis Cooper - Graceful Review

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We have been following Curtis Cooper since our 2016 inception as a music magazine. They are one of the biggest reasons we were successful in Philly, and we couldn’t thank them enough. When Curtis came to us with their latest album, we were beyond excited to get started.

Graceful is the third full length release - following Laughing In Line and Messy. With a whole year between Messy and Graceful, there is a lot to anticipate from the Philadelphia native and DIY legend. Graceful is an ode to Curtis Cooper - a turn around for the singer & songwriter that encapsulates years of learning, hurt, love, and loss into a succinct 13-track album.

Check out the track list below to follow along!

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Graceful Tracklist:
1. Breathe Out
2. Outta Here
3. Goodbye Gorgeous
4. Graceful
5. Best Dress
6. Tall
7. I Wish I Could Love You (ft. Ganou)
8. All Of The Time
9. Pretty
10. Latency
11. Can’t Decide
12. I Like You
13. I’m Glad

Instrumentally, Graceful is what I’ve always wanted from Curtis Cooper. It is poignant, heavy hitting, and beautiful. Indie-folk mixture of sound, Cooper uses every aspect of this album to lament, and lament hard. Curtis hasn’t lost any of themself in this album, instead highlighting on their already intellectual instrumental performance and heartfelt lyricism - while also upgrading their understanding of music’s full potential as a tool and art form to express oneself.

Something I’ve always admired about Curtis is their ability to write. Graceful does not lack any poetic emphasis, and while listening (if you can) reading the lyrics for this album will only make it that much sweeter, more tender, and hurtful (in a good way). Regardless, it takes a talented musician to understand the importance the whole thing takes - lyric, melody, instrument, and mood. This album encapsulates it - an impeccable, brooding, but matured take from Curtis Cooper.

Please check out this album, stream it, buy it, compliment Curtis personally about how stellar it is. You won’t regret it. To follow what’s going on for Curtis Cooper, check out their social media down below!

Curtis Cooper: Facebook // Bandcamp

Coffee Breath - I'll Lose Interest In This Review

Photos by John Hills

Photos by John Hills

Coffee Breath may as well just be my newest heartthrobs. With the perfect combo of DIY emo spirit and math rock, the quintet is sure to win you over. Located in the United Kingdom, Coffee Breath are a breath of fresh air (hah) in their respective scene, and their most recent EP, I'll Lose Interest In This is unbelievable. 

If you're a fan of bands like Title Fight and American Football, Coffee Breath is for you. They remind me a lot of local New Jersey band Halogens, which ideally would be a future show if either of them decide to hop across the pond. I'll Lose Interest In This was released on May 26th of this year, and was produced, mixed and mastered by Will Cook (Classically Handsome Brutes) and presents a refinement of the band's sound. It was released digitally by Further Sky records with a cassette release from Honeypot Records

Sam Tidmarsh (Vocals), Matt Reynolds (Guitar), Ryan McCorkell (Guitar), Max Hadfield (Bass) and Cem Ozer (Drums) met while studying at the University of Birmingham and formed Coffee Breath after bonding over a shared love of emo revival, math rock and coffee.

Check out the tracklist below before we dive in!

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I'll Lose Interest In This Tracklist:
1. Summertime
2. Playfight
3. Kites
4. Daydream

 

 

 

 

I'll Lose Interest In This is a dreamy, math-y album that begs you to hold it's hand in a way that you know it's going to break your heart. Opening track "Summertime" introduces listeners to that special Coffee Breath sound, with a guitar that buzzes against the hum of those half-sung, half screamed lyrics.

"Playfight" is going to slow it down a little bit for listeners, but at once of the longer tracks on the EP it can, at times, feel monotonous. However, if listened through completely, "Kites" will pick you back up to float along with Coffee Breath. This track is my personal favorite as it really exudes this fun indie pop aspect that feels good to listen and vibe to. A bop for sure, definitely check out "Kites." "Daydream" closes out the EP in a slow, smooth almost Jazz inspired piece. The closing track is a true testament to what the EP is really aiming for - and may have been the reason I fell in love with Coffee Breath. 

You should check these guys out, and I know I normally say that, but this EP is really concise, exciting and well done. The precision of the EP is a testament to the band's love for their music and also their hard work.

To keep up with Coffee Breath and all that they're going to be up to, check out their social media below!

Coffee Breath: Facebook // Website

Shred Flintstone - Cartoon Physics Review

Shred Flintstone, the 3 piece “shred rock” band based out of New Jersey (and I must add one of the coolest band names I’ve ever heard), has released their hard-hitting debut EP Cartoon Physics and it’s a hell of a lot of fun.

The 5-song album (only 4 on Spotify for some reason) is only around 10 minutes long which may sound like nothing to some people, but in a world of waning attention spans, Shred Flintstone absolutely owns every second on this record. The songwriting is clever and concise and nothing is wasted on unneeded instrumentals, repetitious choruses, or flashy guitar solos and it makes each song extremely satisfying. 

Fronted by guitarist and vocalist Dan Barrecchia, Shred Flintstone started out as a just a side project, but quickly evolved to take on a life of its own when drummer Joey Giambra and bassist Bridget Bakie joined. The band is all about positive vibes and good times, and their music is a complete manifestation of that. To quote the band off their Bandcamp page, “We hope this music makes you feel good about being yourself in a world that wants you not to feel good about being yourself”.  Each track off of Cartoon Physics somehow feels like a perfect throwback to the carefree times in your life, just making you feel happy and want to dance. These songs are oddly familiar which gives the listener a certain level of comfort and enthusiasm about not only the music, but the band as a whole. 

Check out the track list for Cartoon Physics below! 

 

 

 

 

The album kicks off with the aptly named “Happy Song”, a minute and 22 seconds of pure fun. It’s filled to the brim with infectious attitude thanks to its angsty lyrics and intentionally fast and sloppy guitar, and gives us a perfect glimpse into what Shred Flintstone is all about. This leads perfectly into “Buggin’” which has arguably the best chorus on the record. It’s an in your face, anxious song that has a lighthearted feeling of hijinks behind it. 

The next track “To-Do List” is my least favorite song on the album. It almost entirely forgoes that atmosphere of fun nostalgia that is present on the rest of the record in favor of a more serious tone that comes off a bit whiney in all honesty. Luckily this track is followed by my favorite song, “Fruity Pebbles.” Clocking in at a whopping 3 minutes and 12 seconds (that’s long for this band) it showcases the group at its best both on terms of songwriting and lyrics. It’s a truly delightful song with clever wordplay as it ebbs and flows between its quick verses and slower, more impactful choruses.

This brings us to the last track on the album, “You Don’t Know Me.” In the spirit of complete honesty, I’ve spent the least amount of time with this track because I usually stream albums off of Spotify to listen for reviews, and for some reason this song is not on Spotify, but I digress. A brooding, anti-social song, “You Don’t Know Me” features some of the most inspired and interesting performances on the record. It’s got a different feel than all of the other songs, and while it may not be as fun as some of the other songs, it’s still oddly familiar and comforting. 
In the time it took me to write this review I listened Cartoon Physics in its entirety 6 times. I found myself enjoying each song more and more as time went on. It’s a quick, fun-filled album that is filled with charm and positivity. With that being said it’s not without its flaws.

The biggest drawback of this record is all of the timing and syncopation issues present within a lot of songs. They are never enough to take away from the song, but they definitely catch your ear when you hear them.

If you have 10 minutes to spare and want to check out some new music, I highly recommend this record, you won’t be disappointed. 

Shred Flinstone: Facebook

Sleeping Patterns - A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone Review

Out of Massachusetts comes an exciting addition to post-rock, Sleeping Patterns. The band is celebrating the recent release of their debut LP, A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone.

Sleeping Patterns is a 5-piece post-rock/emo band from Worcester, Massachusetts and A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone follows two previous releases, an acoustic session and an EP. The album was released on 12” Vinyl/CD through Honest Face Records and Counter Intuitive Records. When asked about the album title and artwork, Guitarist/Vocalist Zach Boudrot said, “The album artwork is a representation of the loss of innocence that accompanies emotional and physical pain. Learning to grow, and using that as a catalyst for change in your life is extremely important to benefiting your well-being as a person.” 

The 11-track album is an incredibly emotional and technically exciting album for listeners and fans. It's a nice change of pace for the band as well, while this album exudes a confidence that the 2015 EP, Prejudice, seems to lack in both experience and willingness. 

Check out the tracklist below!

A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone Tracklist:
1. Prelude
2. Choose
3. Barely Enough
4. Raindance
5. Cigarette Song
6. A Little Blood
7. Embryonal Carcinoma
8. I Wrote This Song While Thinking Of You
9. Cut Ties
10. Breaking A Lung
11. Obsolete



I'm not one for Preludes, and Sleeping Patterns' does little for me in terms of this album. The prelude also feels a little bit darker than some of the corresponding tracks it follows. However, this entire album is really stinkin' good.

Each track is emotional, easy to follow, and leaves me with the desire to play it over and over again. The journey that A Little Blood Never Hurt Anyone takes you on is one you want to memorize lyrics too. It's a grown up version of what Sleeping Patterns has been doing - more focused musically and instrumentally, hitting hard into love and loss. This album also has some of the best track titles I've ever seen, as I'm always into the "I Wrote This Song While Thinking Of You" or "Breaking A Lung."

Either way, check this out, an album you definitely want to be a part of and keep up with Sleeping Patterns on their social media, which you can check out below!

Sleeping Patterns: Facebook

Sally Draper - Does Too Review

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Leave it to a New Jersey-ian to have a track called "New York Is A Fucking Headache." With a mix of screamed lyrics and delicate instrumentals, Sally Draper are bringing a whole new grit to Central Jersey's scene - one that's got it's fists up to fight off the sadness.

DOES TOO is Sally Draper's debut album is a 10-track exploration of sound and fury. This album was recorded at the Behr Office LLP and their parents' houses between September 2016 and February 2017. Released for free on March 10th, DOES TOO was Engineered by Bob Osowski, and mixed & mastered by Bill Henderson at Azimuth Mastering. Sally Draper includes duo Ryan O'Leary (Guitar, Vocals, Piano), and Bob Osowski (Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Piano).

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

DOES TOO Tracklist:
1. The Air I Breathe
2. Spontaneity Preplanned
3. New York City Is A Fucking Headache
4. Ruthy, Forget Your Pain
5. 87
6. A Walk In The Woods
7. When You Found God, You Lost Yourself
8. Too Young To Be Too Old
9. Landing Strip
10. Can't Handle Happiness

 

This album is a beast of it's own. With instrumentals that are reminiscent of popular NJ local trends, Sally Draper treads a fine line between punk and angry. Most of the songs here are sad songs, the lyrical content feels obtuse against the vocals which feels obtuse against the instrumental presence.

The softness in opening track "The Air I Breathe" is likely to throw listeners off, but I wonder if that means Sally Draper is leaving a lasting impression? In this case, there are some songs where I wish the lyrics were sung at points. It'd make the tracks for more meaningful, but hey Sally Draper may not even be going for meaningful. Let's not get ahead of ourselves here.

The punk style screaming on DOES TOO makes it impactful, it does. I just want it to be more focused with the other things the duo is doing. The emotional gravity makes me excited, and on "87" and "When You Found God You Lost Yourself" I get a hint of the type of vocals I'd wished for more of the half-screamed, half-sung duality that is popular in basements, the voice of the unheard, emo-punk so to speak.

However, besides that, I was super impressed by the cohesive nature of the album. It sounds right together, and the uppity nature of DOES TOO keeps listeners intrigued and wanting. Sally Draper knows how to make me want to stay and listen, and I'm into it.

Check this lion of an album out, and to keep up with NJ pals Sally Draper, check out their social media below!

Sally Draper: Facebook

Civil Youth - Conversations Review

If you’re familiar with Philadelphia’s rock scene at all, then chances are you’ve probably at least heard the name Civil Youth at some time or another.

Comprised of lead vocalist, Michael Kepko, guitarist Daniel Chapman, and drummer Evan Seeberger, the ‘indie-alternative/rock’ trio from Philadelphia, PA has been taking the east coast by storm. With the release of their latest album, Conversations, Civil Youth’s worldwide musical conquest is now all but inevitable. From opening for acts such as Twenty One Pilots, AWOLNATION, and Capital Cities to their 8th US national tour, Civil Youth has far surpassed that ‘local band’ status, and has established a far reaching cultural presence with their genre defying sound, intensely intimate lyrics, and high energy performances.

Conversations, available now, is the band’s latest release. The 13 track album (not including bonus tracks) centers around the wide range of emotions we all go through when battling depression, anxiety or just any of our inner demons. Trying to define a genre for this album is about as challenging as it gets. Conversations is rap-rock meets post hardcore meets pop with obvious influences such as Linkin Park and Twenty One Pilots.

At first listen it all sounds a bit forced and contrived as if the band is going through a sort of identity crisis trying to appeal to everyone but themselves. Much to my surprise, however, after a couple of listens I genuinely grew to really like nearly everything that Civil Youth and Conversations had to offer.
 

1. 502 (Sides)
2. Belief
3. When We Collide
4. Dark Debts
5. Just Set Fire
6. Between Me & You
7. Stay
8. Echoes
9. Let You In (ft. Bradley Walden of Emarosa)
10. Jaded
11. Part of Me
12. Vacancy
13. Conversations (These Ghosts)
 

Conversations starts with the track “502 (Sides)” which quickly introduces the audience to everything that is Civil Youth and sets the tone for the rest of the album for better or for worse. A driving synth backtrack fuels the entire song opening the floor for Civil Youth’s signature style of vocals. While the vocals are very pop sounding and deceptively catchy (you will find yourself singing these songs, I guarantee it), they are heavily drenched in electronic production techniques making the whole record feel a tad too synthetic.

There’s a catch 22 though. The subtle brilliance behind these vocals sounding the way they do is that they are often conveying very real, and very desperate human themes. This juxtaposition coupled with Civil Youth blurring genres together, blatantly challenging what traditional pop music sounds and feels like is something that took me a little while to appreciate, but nonetheless inspires me. 

Take a listen to and watch the music video for “Between Me & You” below!

There’s a very big part of Civil Youth’s sound that I still haven’t touched on, and that is of course the rapping. Kepko is not only the very talented singer for Civil Youth, but also doubles down and raps on many tracks as well showcasing just how good his flow really is. While some songs have just ok rap verses, there’s a few tracks (Jaded, Part of Me, Let You In) that exhibit just how good Kepko can rap and is also a testament to the versatility of the band as a whole. These tracks for me are some of my favorite off the record because they feel the most natural and true to the band. Other standout tracks include “502 (Sides)” and the title track “Conversations."

If you’re a fan of the newer Linkin Park sound or just some solid rap-rock, then Civil Youth and Conversations are definitely the right fit for you.  

If you’re not a fan of these things then Conversations isn’t as easy to get into as you’d might hope, but if you stick with it and give the album a fair chance, you can really grow to love it and appreciate its genius. All in all it still sounds a bit over-produced and could stand some more natural sounding vocals, but once you get past that, you can be treated to one of Philly’s best up and coming bands.  

Civil Youth: Facebook // Official Site // Twitter // Instagram // YouTube

Sage - Procrastinate Review

Sage hails from the remote logging community of Cochrane, Ontario way up there in Canada. A ‘90s leaning, lo-fi, fuzz-pop band with an ear for infectious, dissonant songs seems only fitting for this up & coming band. Sage recently released their debut EP, Procrastinate, on March 24th on their own imprint, Restroom Records.

While Sage is relatively new, their drummer and lead singer, Eric Paquet, has been writing original music and playing in bands since the age of eleven. Fleshing out the trio are Marc Mercier on Guitar, vocals and Eric Tremblay on Bass.

According to their bio, all 8 songs are first-takes, written and recorded in a single session. They are essentially lo-fi bedroom demos with "a little bit of mastering." Procrastinate was released on randomly coloured, limited edition cassettes, and features artwork by Toronto artist and musician, Joel French. Which means this band continues to delve deeper into the strange and unique. 

Check out the tracklist for Procrastinate below to follow along!

Procrastinate Tracklist:
1. Sinking Boats
2. Good Enough
3. Relive The Past
4. Aneurysm (Nirvana)
5. Procrastinate
6. Fairweather Friends
7. Zillion
8. Lukewarm

 

 


Normally in my reviews I like to piece together the album track-by-track, but Sage's presence felt more intriguing overall, rather than piece by piece. "Sinking Boats" opens up the record with the fuzzy smashing of drums, and the distortion of vocals disorients the listener into Procrastinate. Much of the album follows suit, with aspects of grunge and slacker rock weaving in and out. 

Tracks like "Good Enough" and the Nirvana (grunge, ha-ha) cover of "Aneurysm" exude 90's grunge, while tracks like "Relive The Past" and title-track "Procrastinate" are way more stoner rock. Think about the first Queen's Of The Stone Age album, and you've got Sage. The dynamic presence of Procrastinate is exciting, especially as stoner rock/grunge is coming back.

I implore you to check out this impressive album. One that literally had me saying "WOW" as each new track began. Is that because I love grunge music? Maybe, but mostly Sage are bringing into light a genre that is on the forefront of return. This album exudes a reverb-y, echoing ambience that forces people to listen. If you need to know our favorite track, it's final track "Lukewarm." Find out for yourself as to why.

Check out Sage, check out Procrastinate, please listen to this and then check out their social media for more good shit as well.

Sage: Facebook

Trü - S/T EP Review

If you’re not familiar with New Jersey-based band Trü (yes, that’s with an umlaut) then you have until June 9th to, because this self-titled EP by the four piece group is guaranteed to top your summer jam playlist. Or at least make it on your road trip playlist a few dozen times.

S/T EP is a four track alt-rock EP that really gives off 90s vibes, but not the downtrodden, sullen grunge 90s. Instead, it has more of a lighter, almost Weezer-esque feel to it. If you didn’t grow up in the 90s (I certainly didn’t) then you can probably trace the sound back to high school. Hanging out with your friends in a basement, possibly having a few less than legal drinks, and collectively feeling sad with a youthful exuberance; that’s the feeling I get from listening to this album.  For me, it perfectly captures being young, without all the pomp and circumstance of a major label hook heavy synth banger.

Check out the tracklist below!

S/T EP Tracklist:
1. Take A Peek
2. Trouble
3. Kirsti
4. Hand In Hand

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everything about this band’s sound reminds me of back in my garage band days, only way better written, performed and produced.  The guitars have a raw-ish quality to them, but not “I recorded this with a karaoke microphone connected to my friend’s tape recorder” raw. It’s obvious that their tone was well crafted and honed in. The production all around is actually very well done. The bass is nice and full, the drums come in clear. Everything is perfectly listenable. Even so, they’ve managed to capture the kind of energy and attitude that you’d hear in a crowded basement surrounded by friends.

One thing I will say about the album, however, is that there really isn’t anything particularly complex or technical going on. If you’re the kind of person who likes to hear complex time signatures or wants shred heavy solos, this isn’t for you. But, none of that is needed here. Sometimes all you need to create an amazing song is a few chords and some accentuated leads. My personal favorite song on the album, “Kirsti” has about maybe 5-6 chords total, but the lovestruck teenager inside me absolutely can’t get enough of it. It’s the kind of song you’d put on a mixtape that you’d give to a girl you’re crushing mad hard on, and maybe I might just do that.

Overall, this EP was fun to listen to.  It doesn’t take itself too seriously, but it also doesn’t get so juvenile that it’d be off-putting. If I had to pick the perfect way to describe, I’d say it’s the kind of EP that you can put on the car radio while driving with your friends on a summer day and sing along too.  It’s comfortably sad, and perfect for people who want to listen to sad music without of the dramatics found in other alternative bands.

S/T EP comes out June 9th on Destroy All Monsters Records. Additionally, you can keep up with the band on via Facebook and check out their previous demo release on their bandcamp.
 

Trü: Facebook // Instagram // Bandcamp