pop

The Perls - The Age of Isolation Review

East Coast meets West Coast with Indie Pop duo The Perls, who quite literally created their debut EP from separate sides of the country - and honestly that alone is impressive. What's even more impressive is The Perls themselves, I mean honestly I'm losing my mind right now.

Composed of multi-instrumentalist Evan Linsey and singer-songwriter Kevin Hupp, The Perls followed up their single release in 2016 with their debut EP, The Age of Isolation, released on December 29th, 2017. Kevin and Evan produced the entire album themselves despite being on opposite sides of the country (Los Angeles and Boston, respectively). The fruition of this hard work and even harder situation is an EP that blends effortlessly, creating a space for listeners to get lost in and fall in love with.

Check out the tracklist below!

Zach Turcich / artwork

Zach Turcich / artwork

The Age of Isola Tracklist:
1. The Age of Isolation
2. Play Cool
3. Anymore
4.Videos (On TV)
5. HNY

 

 

 

 

This EP is impressive from start to finish. For the first time in a while I was able to just enjoy the listening experience. The Perls have meticulously put together a collection of tracks that effortlessly exist. From mixing/mastering to lyricism to instrumental output, The Perls feel like seasoned veterans when it comes to making music. 

With each track at a little over 2 minutes, and only one being over 3, this EP flies right by you while you're listening, making it an easy EP to put on over and over again. I typically go through every track and dissect them, but The Perls made my job really easy on this one. Every track is it's own persona that sits in the same circle as the rest. While I enjoyed every track vehemently, I also had two favorites that I'd like to focus on for their sound expansion and dynamic.

My absolute favorite track off of The Age of Isolation is "Play Cool," the track has a chorus so fire it made me almost weep the first time I heard it. The Perls have impressively incapsulated this indie/folk/pop hybrid that seeps out of every moment of listening. My second favorite track, and ironically enough it wouldn't load for me so it was one of the last tracks I was able to listen to, was "Videos (On TV)." The track is so gosh darn smooth, another chorus that makes me wanna explode with joy, and just an absolute charm to listen to.

Now, of course, just because these tracks are my favorites doesn't mean the other tracks aren't - let's be real here, this EP is one of the best, well recorded and performed EPs I've had the pleasure of reviewing in quite a long time. We'll definitely be following The Perls as they progress forward, and I sincerely can't wait to hear what they've got coming out next.

Until then, The Age of Isolation is a winner.

To follow these darling pals, check out their social media down below and support their cause, you won't regret this one!

The Perls: Facebook // Instagram

Brother Martin - Led-Son Review

Photo:  Laura Jane Brubake

Photo:  Laura Jane Brubake

Jazz Fusion meets Indie Pop in Brother Martin's debut EP, Led-Son. The five track EP is a sweetheart of a release, one that will capture your heart from the moment you turn it on, so we suggest you turn that on.

With Led-Son being released back in January, the project includes Maria Mirenzi (vocals, baritone saxophone), Dan Espie (keyboard, vocals) , Jacob Kelberman (guitar), Jon Gruver (bass), and Austin Wagner (drums). Tracks 1-4 were recorded/mixed by Luke Shefski of Shefski Productions, and "Martin" was recorded/mastered live at Rittenhouse Soundworks by Michael Cumming, audio engineer. All of this hard work and effort has created an EP that often speaks for itself, whether that be in lyricism, performance, instrumentalism, or style. 

Check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Artwork: Margot Gatenby

Artwork: Margot Gatenby

Led-Son Tracklist:
1. Led-Son    
2. Describing Time
3. On Top of a Mountain
4. For Tomorrow
5. Martin

 

 

 

 

Opening title track is one that extends an open hand to the listener, it says "come in, you're safe here," and that is the only way I can explain my experience listening to Led-Son by Brother Martin. The entire EP is witty, light, soft and easy to listen to. Not once did I feel off put by any track on the EP, and I really dug Brother Martin's ability to change up their range and style while still staying in a sound vein that felt familiar and productive.

"Describing Time" slows us down from opening track "Led-Son" and let's you sink into the warmth that is Brother Martin. The use of the saxophone to follow the vocals is smart, well placed, and quite frankly makes me melt a little every time I listen to it. "On Top Of A Mountain" is a fantastic little diddy that brings back a euphoric joy and carelessness to Led-Son that makes it feel ethereal, thank you piano.

"For Tomorrow" dials down the theatrics and brings you back into orbit, and closing track "Martin" sweeps up the whole experience that Led-Son was and packs it back up neatly where it came from. This sweet lil EP knows exactly what it's doing the whole way through, and it is a truly impressive put out for Brother Martin, seeing as the debut EP feels solid and put together. 

Honestly, this is just some good jams to simmer out too, and we recommend you do so. To follow Brother Martin and what they're up to, we've got their social media down below so you don't miss a single moment!

Brother Martin: Facebook // Instagram // Website

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.

Skyeline - Something About Your Basement.jpg

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
 

HAZYY - BREATHE Review

Another Philadelphia native is up at bat here at The Hook, and we're ready for HAZYY to take a swing! The chillwave, indie pop foursome is celebrating the August 11th release of BREATHE their latest EP.

Comprised of Benjamin Wright (Vocals), Patrick Radecki (Bass, Synths, Beats), Jesse Christaldi (Guitar), and Stephen Jasinski (Drums), the project shared their 5-track EP, BREATHE, over a month ago. It was recorded and mixed by Patrick Radecki, and mastered by Mark Trewella at Full Circle Mastering. BREATHE is a vibin' lil EP that brings out what you like most about a more progressive indie pop sound. 

Check out the tracklist below!

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

Artwork by Yuri Zalewski a.k.a. Jay Di

BREATHE Tracklist:
1. Gone Cold
2. Wrong
3. Hangin' On
4. Pulse
5. Stay

 

 

 


With hints of R&B influence and also the assurance of a good beat, BREATHE opens up with "Gone Cold" the first of five chilling songs that combine ideas of heartbreak, of loss and longing. The EP moves along in a dreamy, understated way that makes the tracks feel underwhelming at first until they prove themselves. "Wrong" is my favorite off of the album. The sultry beat and vocal combo makes it an instant hit off the EP. I'm also a huge fan of distortion and this track has that which is tight! It also is super catchy. A song you want to grind all up on someone with, passionate might by the word I'm looking for.

"Hangin' On" is a much more typical alt-rock jam, similar to bands like Portugal The Man or Cold War Kids. "Pulse" is a funky, very electronic mid-way song that reverbs hard against those that surround it. This one gave me an 80's new wave vibe for sure. Lastly "Stay" closes out the EP with a sassy beat that dances around the listener. Albeit the lightest track of the album, this one feels like something you'd hear on the radio (and maybe we will one day). 

Overall, HAZYY isn't reinventing the wheel, but they are making good music that you can get hooked on and that is all that matters. You definitely want to check out BREATHE and check out HAZYY's social media to keep up with everything they've got going on down below!

As always thanks for reading.

HAZYY: Website

Granz – Winter Street EP Review

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

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

Granz: Website // Facebook // Bandcamp

Haunted Homes - Seance At The Shore Review

Some of The Hook's favorites are making their way back around with their newest releases and we couldn't be more stoked on it! Today we're talking about Haunted Homes, the spooky rock band that integrates entities of cosmic, country and spook all into one beautiful little EP. 

Seance At The Shore is Haunted Homes most recent EP and comes after their February release of "CoastGhost2Coast" and "Spooksville, USA." The 4-track EP follows suit, and addition to the sound that Haunted Homes is working with and perfecting. With this genre blending and nearly conceptual quintet, there's sure to be a song to jam out to on Seance At The Shore.

Check out the tracklist below to follow along.

Seance At The Shore Tracklist:
1. The Rattlesnake King
2. Vacation On The Dead Sea
3. Mischief Night
4. An Evening Of Magic

 

 

 

 

 

What I really dug about this album was the added surf rock elements that Haunted Homes incorporated to flesh out their already solid sound. This EP opens with "The Rattlesnake King" which is most reminiscent of the February 2-track EP. The dreamy, far away vocals fall against the mixed instrumental that fluctuates between spooky and desert. 

There wasn't much I didn't enjoy about this, it seems like a productive growth for Haunted Homes in carving out their own unique sound for listeners to latch onto. We're ready to follow them to the end! Check out a stream of our favorite track thanks to Bandcamp down below!

You can catch Haunted Homes in Philly on August 23rd at Ortliebs with The Whips/Petunia. In the meantime, check out this EP, and check out what Haunted Homes is up to via their social media. We really dug this one, so don't miss it!

Haunted Homes: Facebook // Instagram

Retroglyphs - Self Titled Review

Philadelphia has a habit of bringing together all kinds of people. It is the city of brotherly love after all. So, why should it be any different in music? If you've ever heard "Nightcall" by Kavinsky, and you dig it, you're gonna like this. Retroglyphs are an 80's inspired synth band that transforms electronic music into something that feels familiar and new all in one. 

The band was started by Frank Cervantes and his friend Josh Dowiak. The pair used to be in a band called The Once Was, until a few months when they discovered their passion for making 80's inspired music. Since then they've decided to go all in on Retroglyphs, and lately they've been seeing really great results! The band began by leaking tracks on Soundcloud and submitting their single "The Noose" to New Retro Wave Records, and to their surprise they released it on the We Rule Nation platform, which is a pretty big deal. 

Following that success, the song was then remixed by Damokles, a famous Swedish retrowave producer, and other tracks of theirs were then remixed by artists in Netherlands and Poland. The band also boasts songs featured in Philthy Mag and WXPN, so you'd be silly to not check this one out, you heard it here first.

Retroglyph's took all of their successes and compiled them into a self-titled album. A 10-track collective of differing electronic sounds and synth noises. You can check out the tracklist below to follow along!

Retroglyphs Tracklist:
1. Hyperdrive
2. Wild Road
3. One Last Kiss
4. Imposter
5. Transformation
6. War Torn
7. The Noose
8. No Glory In The Fall
9. Forever Time
10. Two Years

 

 

The self-titled album is an 80's inspired montage of tracks that sound like they could've come straight out of a movie soundtrack. The production and quality of the album is impeccable, if I'm being completely honest. There is very little I dislike about this album. Each track brings it's own personality to the album, creating an atmosphere that is not going to burden you with too much of the same things, and also feel cohesive enough to be a complete album.

The combination of synths, keyboards and drum beats to create the album feel nostalgic and also exciting. Retroglyphs aren't singularly stuck in the past, but have taken notes and are creating something that feels good. Their music is best listened to while driving in the car, sitting, or outside on the beach. I made sure to test all locations for this one!

One thing I wasn't really keen on was accessibility. Besides Spotify (which, if I haven't told anyone yet, is my least favorite way of streaming music), the album is available on iTunes which can make it hard to listen to. You can find the album pieced together with various remixes on soundcloud, which was how I listened. However, in comparison to the gravity of the album's depth, the level of music being played, and the overall tone of the album, this minor inconvenience can be overlooked!

Check out one of our absolute favorites, "The Noose" below.

Keep up with Retroglyphs by checking out their social media below, and definitely do check out their music on their soundcloud! We look forward to what comes next from these guys!

Retroglyphs: Facebook // Soundcloud

Shawn and Kira - Unexpected Album Review

Out of West Chester, PA comes singer/songwriter duo Shawn and Kira. Shawn and Kira are a pop duo consisting of multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Shawn O'Donnell along with vocalist Kira Clements! The pair are celebrating the release of their debut EP, Unexpected, which dropped May 16th of this year!

The four track EP is a sweet, sensitive little diddy of a collection, one you definitely want to get your hands on this summer. Shawn & Kira are a duo that bring to life this beautiful fusion of singer/songwriter emotion, surf rock fun, and hints of jazz to keep it neat. 

Check out the tracklist below to keep up!

Unexpected Tracklist:
1. Unexpected
2. P.D.A. 03:35
3. You're My Shelter 03:25
4. Oh, The Places You'll Go! 03:37

 

 

 

 


Opening title track is the perfect 'hello' to listeners.

The fun, sensitive track drops listeners into the world that is Shawn and Kira. The duo bring together a romantic type of diddy into each of the tracks they bring forth. The instrumental background for all 4 tracks is strong, carrying the songs against the beating of the voices. Their voices juxtapose one another in an interesting way, some of which feels successful, and other of which I hoped for a bit more.

Tracks like "Unexpected" and "Oh, The Places You'll Go," feel strong for Shawn and Kira. The songs bookend the EP, which makes sense. Shawn's guitar highlights "Unexpected" with just the right amount of quirky come through. Kira's voice grounds the track in the thickness of her vocal addition. "P.D.A." and "You're My Shelter" felt the most incomplete to me on the EP. I wonder if Shawn and Kira could put some more work into tracks that would compliment not only their own voices, but the duo in a more productive way. 

Check out our EP favorite, "Unexpected," below!

Overall, this sweet lil' EP has tons to offer and you should definitely check it out. To keep up with Shawn and Kira, check out their social media down below, and as always thanks for reading!

Shawn and Kira: Website // YouTube // Facebook // Twitter // Instagram