review

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

Skyeline - Something About Your Basement Review

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

CJ Dunleavy - If You Were Me Review

Photography: Dave Lisowski

Photography: Dave Lisowski

Now on our radar is CJ Dunleavy.

Dunleavy is a Doylestown native who made it a point to jump into the alternative music scene early: releasing his first instrumental song when he was just 17, starting out on SoundCloud, a path many young artists find themselves on. Since, Dunleavy has released four more instrumental tracks, taken voice lessons, and become a songwriter. He’s played at venues like Peddler’s Village, Chaplin’s, and the notable Trocadero Theatre in Philly. Dunleavy’s new EP, If You Were Me, was recently released in 2017 and is the most recent accomplishment on his growing list!

Check out the tracklist for If You Were Me below!

 

 

 

 

With four songs on it, If You Were Me is short and sweet.

The first track, “Please Don’t Go,” has soft instrumentals that give the listener a nice, mellow vibe. It sounds summery and warm. While Dunleavy’s vocals fall flat in certain places, the instrumentals are where this album really shines. Track two, “The Player, And the Played” has a distinct difference from the track that precedes it, with a funkier sound and more adventurous instrumental choices. It comes off as a bit harsher, with sharper edges, where the first track was smooth.

However, track three, “Hold on to Me,” melts back into the softer feel of the first song. “Hold on to Me” is my favorite song off the album. The lyrics are sweet, and the guitar/keyboard/string (violin? Viola?) combination in the background instrumentals gives it a dreamy feel that I really enjoyed. The crescendos towards the end of the song give it an impact that hits in all the right places. “Here We Go Now” rounds off the album with a really pretty melody and heartfelt lyrics. This song sounds kind of like a fairytale, and the guitar melody reminds me of one of my favorite songs, “Kiss Me” by Sixpence None the Richer.

If You Were Me gets four out of five stars from me for this album, and I’m looking forward to seeing more from him in the future. Listen to If You Were Me for free on Spotify, and be sure to keep an eye out for Dunleavy on social media, links down below!

CJ Dunleavy: Facebook // Bandcamp

The Carousers - Self Titled EP Review

Were you missing that authentic sound of 90’s pop-punk? Well, boy, do I have an album for you.

The Carousers have released their debut, self-titled, EP, and it’s filled with 5 glorious punk tunes that are as fun and infectious as they are hard, and in-your-face. Hailing from the mystical land of New Jersey, The Carousers are a trio comprised of lead singer/guitarist Joey Affatato, bassist Cassidy Crosby, and tambourine player (as well as drums), Andy Jackle.

When I usually do reviews, I like to go to try and find a band’s inspirations to get a glimpse into what other artists played a role in shaping that band’s music. While The Carousers definitely have a familiar sound, comparing them to another well-known, established act has proved next to impossible. They list smaller, more local bands as influences on their sound, and besides that being an extremely awesome thing, it perfectly embodies the raw, ‘I don’t care what you think, I’m just gonna be me’ attitude that is present in every note of this EP.

Check out the EP's tracklist down below!

The Carousers Tracklist:
1. She’s the Devil
2. Strangers
3. Cracked Pot
4. Another World
5. Halloween Night

 

 

 

 

The album wastes no time in thrusting the listener into everything that The Carousers have to offer. “She’s the Devil” opens with some big ol’ power chords with Affatato’s signature fuzzy guitar sound perfectly backed by a very competent rhythm section. The song quickly changes from a tighter verse, to a more open, mellow pre-chorus all leading up to the anthemic refrain. The bridge is by far the most interesting part of the song and serves as a perfect breath of fresh air showcasing just how diverse this band can be in such a short amount of time. All in all, it’s all fairly straightforward music executed in a really well-done way.

The real star of The Carouser’s songs is Affatato’s voice and melody. He tells very relatable stories, and although his voice is rough, having an almost sandpaper-like quality to it, he draws you in and makes you pay attention to what he has to say. The second track “Strangers” builds further upon the foundation that the first track laid down. It’s a track that’s a bit more fun, and self-affirming than the previous song. The bridge has one of the longest instrumental sections of any song on the album, and it’s nice to hear every player shine through in such a fast-paced environment. Track 3, “Crackpot Girl” is probably my favorite song off the record. The verses are just alright, but the chorus and bridge are some of the best songwriting on the entire album. The choruses in particular have everyone working together in perfect harmony and is just so well put together and catchy, it’s almost impossible not to feel good when you’re listening to it.

“Another World,” the lead single off the EP, is the quintessential pop-punk tune. Arguably Jackle’s best song on drums, it’s a hard-hitting song that starts and just doesn’t stop. The drums and bass in the verses are some of the most interesting rhythm patterns on the record, but it’s a shame they weren’t given more room to grow. Oddly enough the very last chord of the song had me extremely excited as it’s a very unexpected ending note, and in an album that’s not trying to surprise you, it caught me off guard in a really cool way. I have a love-hate relationship with “Halloween Nights” the last song on the album. It’s the most distinct track off the record with a sort of 50’s pop vibe to it, and probably my second favorite song, but something happens about half way through that still hits me in a really odd way for about 3 seconds. The song goes through a key change suddenly and out of nowhere. Where the track ends up is a really good place, but the journey through that key change just doesn’t feel like it should be there. The way I feel about the key change is totally subjective, but the key change itself is something that stands out on the album regardless.

The Carousers debut self-titled EP is a quirky, fun, and quick throwback to what pop-punk is all about. With so many artists sounding so similar to one another, The Carousers show that authenticity and passion are just as important for music as mainstream appeal. An album doesn’t always have to be innovative for it to be great, and The Carousers have shown us the perfect example of exactly why that is true.

The Carousers: Facebook // SoundCloud // Bandcamp // Instagram // Twitter

Dizzy Bats - I Don't Live Here Anymore Review

Die-hard fans of pop punk are not always easily swayed by underground bands of the like. Though the genre is known for being formulated, it is not often that bands will take a beloved genre, make it sound fresh and exciting, while paying homage to those who paved the way before them.  That’s why pop punk listeners need to know about New York-based band, Dizzy Bats. 

Dizzy Bats are a pop punk band from New York CIty that formed in the summer of 2011. As is evident by their music, they are inspired by the pop punk movement of the 90’s and early 2000’s, especially channeling bands such as Bayside, Alkaline Trio and Weezer.  Dizzy Bats’ latest EP and fifth studio release, I Don’t Live Here Anymore, was released on September 19, 2017 with three tracks embodying the epitome of what core pop punk fans love about the genre.  

Besides deep-seated roots in early millennia pop punk, the band is in-tune to keeping their sound extremely new, having tracked the album with Jon Markson of math punk pioneers, Such Gold. Jon Markson’s perspective of playing punk is evident in the production of this album, and Dizzy Bats’ keen ear for writing pop punk songs make this three-track EP a must-listen.

Check out the tracklist below!
 

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I Don’t Live Here Anymore Tracklist:
1. I’m Listening
2. Scared
3. I Don’t Live Here Anymore

 

 

 

 

 

Instantly on the first track “I’m Listening,” the lead guitar hooks you in with a guitar riff that simply sings, supported by an exceptionally strong rhythm section. Notably, strong melodic guitar leads are the glue that holds each track together, tastefully strewn throughout the framework the instrumentation for each song. The tones on this record are crunchy, and I’m especially loving how bright the harmonics on the leads in “Scared” are. The bass is twangy and groovy, and sometimes given the spotlight which is an expert move in arrangement. The drums punctuate each verse and chorus perfectly, with flashiness at the right moments in each song.

It is uncertain if the similarity in vocal performance is intentional, but the lead vocals and harmonies are stylistically reminiscent of Anthony Ranieri’s melodies and Rivers Cuomo’s dynamics- however, the tonal qualities of Connor Frost are completely unique, and are an important component of the uniqueness of Dizzy Bats’ sound.  The vibe of the EP takes a complete switch on the last track as the credits roll on title track “I Don’t Live Here Anymore,” and veers off into a somber track with some Midwestern-Emo flair in the outro. Instrumentally it, seems like a sharp left turn at first, but when considering the thematics of the EP, it is the perfect closer.  

Though the brightness of the instrumentation itself would lend itself to peppy lyrics, the lyrical themes are nothing but bright. Dizzy Bats explore darker themes on I Don’t Live Here Anymore, perhaps as a result of the EP being written and arranged around the 2016 US presidential election. “I’m Listening” is told in the perspective of someone who is telling the story of a friend dealing with mental illness, assuring them they can seek comfort and confide in the narrator.  The following track “Scared” aims to instill the familiarity of simply that- the feeling of your veins running rife with fear- while sung in the simplest, most relatable terms.  “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” is a story about identity, that stirs a feeling of wishfulness and longing for a sense of self; a better state of living.

Music fans who truly love pop punk need to hear I Don’t Live Here Anymore by Dizzy Bats. Simply put, it’s exceptionally well-written punk music with the pop punk sensibility that only bands such as themselves can pull off.  It’s anthemic, it’s meaningful and it just sounds really dang good. Especially with production credits noting a member of Such Gold, how can you pass this record up? 

Be sure to stay up-to-date with Dizzy Bats and upcoming show dates by following them on their social media down below! 

Dizzy Bats: Facebook

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen - Homecoming Review

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

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

Check out their tracklist below to follow along!

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

 

 

 

 

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

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

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

Dan Amato & The Sentimental Gentlemen: Facebook // Spotify
 

Erotic Novels - Debut Review

There’s a new band in town, and they have an awesome name. Erotic Novels is Shannon Perez, Chris Tull, and drummer Bobby C., hailing from New Brunswick, and they pack a punch with their garage-rock sound!

Their first official release, an EP appropriately titled Debut, is available to the public for purchase, and it’s definitely one worth checking out. Debut is a 5-track album that gives the listeners a pretty good idea of what to expect from Erotic Novels in the future.

Check out the tracklist below!

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Debut Tracklist:
1. Maiming Faces
2. Hocus Pocus
3. Revenge Therapy
4. Out West On My Own
5. I’m Not Willing
 

 

 

 

 

My music taste ranges all over the place, but occasionally I do love the heavy rock sound that Erotic Novels brings with this album. Sometimes I just like to put on a song with a thrashing guitar and let the music wash over me and pump me up. This album has some really good instrumentals of the sort that make you want to jump around and flip your hair.  

Erotic Novels makes that kind of music.

The song “Out West On My Own” was likened to The Runaways by The Key on xpn.org, and I’d have to agree. Not just for that song in particular, but the whole band. Erotic Novels has a sound that’s similar to some popular bands of punk rock, and the vocals do remind me of the distinctive sounds of Cherie Currie and Joan Jett, which I really dig. Anything that reminds me of Joan Jett is good. Joan is the queen. My favorite song of the 5 on the album is “Hocus Pocus,” followed by “Revenge Therapy.”

“Hocus Pocus” has a guitar melody that I really like, and there’s something about it that makes it stand out from the rest. I feel like this music is something Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You would listen to. In other words, it’s great. It’s the best kind of angsty punk rock.

Overall, I’d give this album a 5 out of 5.

They get extra points for their cover art (anybody else recognize the handsome Fabio? The first time I ever saw Fabio was on Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide. God, I miss that show). And they also get extra points for their name, because I mean, come on. Erotic Novels. I love that name. 

Check out a streaming sample of Debut above, and you can purchase the full album for an affordable price on Bandcamp. Be sure to keep an eye out for any more releases from Erotic Novels in the future!

Erotic Novels: Facebook

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