Album Review: Unearth by John Bassett

Unearth-Album-CoverUnearth by John Bassett

Record Label: Stereohead Records

Genre: Folk/ Alternative Rock

Release Date: March 31, 2014

Songs: 10

good good

John Bassett is a multi-instrumentalist, singer songwriter, producer primarily known for writing the music and producing the critically acclaimed albums of Progressive Rock act “KingBathmat”. He has so far released seven albums since 2003 and self released them through the record label Stereohead Records. This winter 2013/2014 will see the first release of an acoustic themed album under his own name.

First of all, I would like to thank the record label, Stereohead Records for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

John Bassett has such a creepy voice. It’s smack in the middle of Patrick Watson and Copeland with his soft yet strong voice that reaches those high notes. Unearth starts off with such a unique style that, at first, might make listeners do a double take (I know I did!) and really listen to what music is playing around them. Nonetheless, I like this album. It’s great on its own but it also would be great in tv shows to give that emotional edge that Comedian has.

However, nothing is more disappointing than when an intense feeling starts to wear off. I love the haunting feel that comes during the beginning of each song, but somewhere in the middle, that effect wears off fairly quickly especially in Survival Rate, Tv is God, and Keep Dear. After this, the songs get a bit boring and repetitive.  Another thing that I have a problem with is that although all the songs are well done and go together nicely to make a coherent album, the songs sound a little too similar at times and makes it hard to distinguish each song from the other.

Still, I really like this record. Stay Away From the Dark reminds me so much of Kiss from a Rose by Seal just with the medial sound and the mood . Unearth is perfect. I absolutely love the overlapping vocals that give off an echoing effect as well as the creepy lyrics about sacrifices. I also love the guitar riffs, they’re simplistic yet memorizing in Unearth, Comedian, and Nothing Sacred. For an instrumental, Kylerhea is very well done. The guitar is brought out nicely but still doesn’t overpower the rest of the instruments like the soothing drums. The mood is so relaxing in this song, like a beautiful spring day.

Unearth should be called Unearthly haunting because I feel the need to watch as many beautifully done horror movies and tv shows as possible. Like Hannibal. Or something equally as elegant and odd. Off of this album, my favourite songs are: Stay Away from the Dark, Unearth, Kylerhea, and Comedian. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoys folk and alternative rock as well as some Patrick Watson.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Since this album isn’t out yet you can listen to Stay Away from the Dark as well as a the album trailer here.)

1. Stay Away from the Dark-4:35

2. Survival Rate

3. Nothing is Sacred

4. Unearth

5. Pantomime

6. Kylerhea

7. Tv is God

8. Keep Dear

9. Something that’s More Worthwhile

10. Comedian

Album Review: Math Major by Art Contest

a4208721938_2Math Major by Art Contest 

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date: January 17, 2014

Songs: 13
good good

With its mischievous chords and rhythmic horseplay, it’s almost too easy to call Greenville, SC’s Art Contest a math rock band. There’s something about Math Major, their first full-length, that resists this limiting label—something that’s difficult to pin-point.

Maybe it’s the album’s endearing lo-fi quality, which seems to muffle the Cole Monroe’s wiggling guitars on songs like “Banana Boat” and subdue drummer Garrett Burke’s more frenetic rhythms, including those on “Misty Flip” and “Riff Raff”. In effect, Math Major feels more like a jazz record than an emo one, though they’re more likely to be lumped into the latter.

First of all, I would like to thank the publicist, Colin Czerwinski for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

Maybe it’s that the band sometimes decides to slow down. Songs like “Jungle Book” thrum softly, blooming in soft bursts at the end of each phrase. Others, like “Bed Time”, sway slowly, but swell into looming landscapes; during its chorus, Aaron Burke’s bass rolls back and forth in the background, adding depth as Monroe’s bright guitar, sticky with reverb, shimmers beneath his soaring voice. Or maybe it’s that Math Major expresses energy without succumbing to aggression or arrogance. Whatever it is, Art Contest reaches well-beyond the boundaries of math rock—and emo, and jazz—to realms were few bands have the ability to tread.

opinion

Art Contest are an odd group. They mix together crash thimbles with fast tempos and somehow make it work for the most part. Their talents aren’t in creating memorable lyrics, it’s in creating memorable guitar riffs and drumming combinations that defy the term music in the twenty first century. Surprisingly, they do it well and with excitement that’s pretty contagious.

I’m a person that’s all about words, I mean, I do own a blog. Anyway, even though Art Contest’s strong points are their instrumentals, it would have been nice if they switched up the lyrics instead of it consistently being the same words repeated over and over again in every song. What makes this even worse is the fact that the vocalist has an amazing voice that’s really strong which is shown in Bedtime, Shish Kebab and Sugar Bay. Nonetheless, there are songs that I really didn’t enjoy like the last two on the record, Bassnectar and Sonic Level 4. The problem with Bassnectar is that it sounds like the band was out of ideas and decided to let a toddler go wild since the key banging is done on the high side in an annoying way. Sonic Level 4 is just as annoying with the vocals choppy and odd, like a caveman trying to speak. Word. After. Word. After. Word. Until somewhere in the middle where it’s smoother but at that point, I didn’t care.

You know when you’re a pretty shitty mood and you just want to scream, punch, or throw something? Math Major is that kind of album. Their sound is all quick tempos, and harsh banging that shows off their intimidating power. They seem to encourage these outbursts by having random outbursts of their own throughout their songs. The Intros are great, they really will reel listeners in with their unique sound like in Bedtime, Tripp Pants, and WAV.  Washing Machine and Jungle Book are quite smooth in the beginning and then randomly start to bang and clash. Without even having seen a music video by Art Contest I could literally hear them, ‘jamming out’ to their songs.  Sugar Baby is probably their most poetic song on this album, although it’s still with their fast pacing, the drums and guitar start and stop in sync with the vocals and give off that smooth feeling.

Math Major isn’t an album I would usually listen to. I like, for the most part, smooth bands that have smooth build-ups and a relaxed overall feel to them. However Art Contest is a band that’s unusual and have taken me by surprise. Their energy is contagious and even though my favourite songs off this album are Jungle Book, Bedtime, and Sugar Bay, this album as a whole is something that’ll force listeners to want to jam out and get loud and crazy.

3.5 Treble Clefs

3.5 Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Banana Boat-3:26

2. Washing Machine-3:55

3. Jungle Book-4:21

4. Bedtime-3:46

5. WAV-3:26

6. Misty Flip-0:49

7. Shish Kebab-3:54

8. Riff Raff-1:12

9. Tripp Pants-2:19

10. Sugar Bay-3:23

11. Mean Note-2:44

12. Bassnectar-1:10

13. Sonic Level 4-3:43

Album Review: Made for More by Skylight

wpid-Skylight-Cover.jpgMade for More by Skylight

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Pop

Release Date: May 25, 2013

Songs: 10
good

Skylight’s roots can be traced back to 2009 when three like-minded musos – Greg Jorden (vocals and guitar), Peter Klein (bass) and Bradley Cumming (drums) and later Wesley Ayliffe (guitar and back-up vocals) – joined forces after performing at a music event. The trio soon began writing music together, the chemistry instantaneous, and their individual visions started to take form.

In 2010, their song Always Enough became an instant hit, and it wasn’t long before the track secured them a spot on the “Joburg Day” line-up, performing in front of 18 000 people. Early 2013, Skylight released their first single Give It Up, a taster of what they have to offer and it only gets better. This summer the band introduces the catchy hooks of Born To Love You, taking their fans into 2014 with a smile.

First of all, I would like to thank the publicist, Genevieve Vieira for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

image
Skylight plays with a few different sounds on Made for More. They try out the indie rock band, the super steamy sex kittens, and then finally the hopeless romantics which really works for them. I’m a real sucker for hopeless romantics (probably because my best friend is one) especially the ones that can talentedly stir up emotions that pull at my heartstrings. Although right now they sound to be on the same road as early Parachute and This Century but with more creativity and experience with their sound in the right direction, skylight can be just as great maybe even better than them.

For me, when it comes to any type of media I expect it to be flowing and relaxed, I don’t like it feeling contrived or awkward in any way and the problem with Give it Up is that it’s too sexy and too much for the band that they just don’t know what to do with it. Never Empty is similar because Skylight try out the hardcore indie rock band which I find awkward and poorly executed. Another problem I have with this album are the vocals. Skylight knows how to seamlessly strum together a few chords and make up a beautifully enchanting melody full of rich textures. The problems are the uncontrollable high notes for the vocalist that sound misplaced and odd in songs Made for More, Smile and Always Enough. The guitar solos in Made for More and Our Dreams Were Everything are really good it’s just sad that they’re at the very end of the songs and it’s really short but if they were longer than it could be better. And leave listeners with a more finished feel. Most songs on Made for More seem to have the same song structure of albeit lovely, typical melodic guitar notes. It would have been better if they decided to switch things up with the different structure once in a while to make it easier to distinguish the songs.

Moving on to the better, more likeable parts of this record, I really love the southern tang that’s lightly dashed into their music to help fans feel more welcomed. More than Ever and Fire both have great bass parts that smoothly carry the songs from verse to chorus and then back again. The drumming however a little slow, delivers a well done beat that compliments each song and emphasises the lyrics. Lyrics really can make or break a band and I swear, the words that Skylight have fabricated into each song are absolute perfection, a masterpiece within a masterpiece.

Made for More is a remarkable effort of a debut album. Fans of anything sweet, meaningful, and smooth will adore this record and probably everything Skylight releases afterwards. Off of the album, Born to Love You, More than Ever, Our dreams were Everything, and Fire are the most touching songs that easily became favourites for me. The band goes through a few mishaps and missteps during Made for More but I’m happy they start and end it on a warm, love-filled note.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1.Born to Love You-2:32
2. Give it Up-3:29
3. More than Ever
4.  Made for More
5. Smile
6. Our Dreams Were Everything
7. Always Enough
8. Never Empty
9. Overwhelmed
10. Fire

Album Review: Summer Death by Marietta

Marietta Front

Summer Death by Marietta

Record Label: Big Footprints

Genre: pop punk

Release Date: October 21, 2013

Songs: 8
good good

Philadelphia’s own Marietta have released their debut LP “Summer Death” which will be released on vinyl via Soft Speak Records, a charity based label where 100% of profits gained will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

After acquiring a strong fan base in the ever-growing Philly music scene, the 90’s emo-indie-pop punk hybrid have proven that they can write much more than just a strong EP. Prior to “Summer Death” Marietta had released a three track Demo, where the track “God Bless Eric Taylor” was originally released; and a split EP with fellow Philly punks Modern Baseball (Run For Cover Records) titled “Couples Therapy”. Now, Marietta has put together an album that perfectly captures their style and sound. Passionate and somewhat poignant–“Summer Death” mixes the musical styling of 90’s emo with the lyrical honesty that is loved in pop punk today.

First of all, I would like to thank the record label, Big Footprints for giving me a copy of this album to review. Thank you so much! Really appreciate it! All right, now for my review.

opinion

Marietta’s biggest problem is their confidence  level and need to make their sound more unique and personal. The similarities between The World Is and Marietta are almost identical. And although this is a fairly good album, Summer Death lacks the creativity to make it theirs. However I still found myself enjoying the songs and even more so the song titles.

Just like The World is a Beautiful Place, vocals by Marietta in cinco de Mayo Shit Show, Deck Wine,  and Ever is a Long Time (Ever is No Time At All are a lot shakier than they should be and make the songs sound really panicked. Another problem that I have is with God Bless Eric Taylor because the intro is pretty messy and confusing but the chorus saves the song.

Summer Death has some awesomely smooth bass parts that give the whole album a nice feel. The female backup singer in Cinco de Mayo Shit Show has such a lovely voice that if quieter, could have rocked it. You’ve Got the Map Backwards, Matt is a very personal song with a soft, enchanting intro and a beautiful build-up that isn’t rushed. The drumming and guitar riffs are quite well done throughout the album. But, by far, Fuck, Dantooine is Big is their best song. The song is very raw with the bass, guitar and vocals all complimenting each other in the best way possible.

Overall, Summer Death is a solid album that I think will gain the band a lot of followers. In my opinion, their best songs are …So They Left Me at a Gas Station, You’ve Got the Map Backwards, Matt, and  Fuck, Dantooine is Big. Their passion and inspiration are very strong and intense which are the reason why I can’t wait for Marietta to come out with something else. Their next album will be nothing but great.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. …so they left me at a gas station

2. cinco de mayo shit show

3. you’ve got the map backwards, matt

4. deck wine

5. god bless eric taylor

6. ever is a long time (ever is no time at all)

7. chase, i hardly know ya

8. fuck, dantooine is big

Album Review: Death Chorus by Polar Bear Club

I use the plagiarism checker at Grammarly.com because like a poutine with shredded cheese, it’s not as good as the original! 

download (6)Death Chorus by Polar Bear Club 

Record Label: Rise Records

Genre: Punk Rock

Release Date: November 19, 2013

Songs: 10
good good

Polar Bear Club are an American punk rock band from Rochester and Syracuse, upstate New York. Formed in 2005, the band has released four albums-Sometimes Things Just Disappear, Clash Battle, Guilt Pride, and Death Chorus. They have also released one EP called The Redder, the Better. Current members are vocalist Jimmy Stadt, lead guitarist Chris Browne, Patrick Benson, Tyler Smith, and drummer Steve Port.

opinion

Polar Bear Club are roughly a new band to me. Their music is so pop punk/punk rock that it’s a bit scary. Normally, bands like these usually end up starting in pop punk but then change their sound years later whether if it’s for the best or the worst. Polar Bear Club’s dedication towards pop punk is respectable and encouraging, and Death Chorus is proof of that.

These days, I’m a real stickler when it comes down to vocals. In Death Chorus, vocals are very strong, don’t get me wrong, but I would have loved some songs to have a darker tone to them. But other than that, my biggest problem with this album is the middle where songs start to sound the same without any of them being easily distinguished.

Before the middle, the choruses in the beginning are really tight and smooth like in Blood Balloon and So I Buy. WLWYCD has a tremendous build-up with the drums and guitar slowly coming back in. The drumming is awesome to the extreme in So I Buy as well as For Show. Siouxsie Jeanne is one of the softer songs on the album and it’s sadder and of course about love, but I still love it.

Overall, Death Chorus by Polar Bear Club is an album that pop punk lovers will enjoy. They seem to have a solid reputation and release very solid album, and I can’t wait to hear more from them.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Blood Balloon-3:12

2. Graph Paper Glory Days-2:50

3. So I Buy-2:50

4. For Show-4:09

5. Siouxsie Jeanne-2:24

6. WLWYCD (Why Live When You Can Die)-3:14

7. Chicago Springs-3:27

8. When We Were College Kids-2:41

9. Twang (Blister to Burn)-3:15

10. Upstate Mosquito-5:40

Album Review: Imaginary Numbers by The Maine

I use the plagiarism checker at Grammarly.com because like a poutine with shredded cheese, it’s not as good as the original!

51a7ymILOhL._SL500_AA280_Imaginary Numbers by The Maine

Record Label: Independent/8123

Genre: Alternative Rock

Release Date: December 10, 2013

Songs: 5
good good

The Maine  is an American rock band from Tempe, Arizona. Formed in 2007. The band was founded by Pat Kirch (drummer) and Garrett Nickelsen (Bassist) when they were still in high school. Even though they’re from Arizona, the name Maine comes from a song by a very respected band called, Ivory. They got their name from their song, The Coast Of Maine (great song as well). The Maine have five EPs: stay Up, Get Down, …And A Happy New Year,  In Darkness And In Light, Good Love and Imaginary Numbers. And 4 albums out: Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop, Black And White,  Pioneer and Forever Halloween. Members of the band are: John O’Callaghan (vocals), Jared Monaco (lead guitarist), Kennedy Brock (back up guitarist), Garrett Nickelsen (bass), and Pat Kirch (drums).

opinion

2013 is coming to a close (finally), and The Maine knows just how to end it–with a sad, mopey love song that listeners will love. I know for a fact that I love it, and this band never cease to amaze me with every piece of music that they manage to come out with.

Even after all this time (always! haha! Sorry, I’m reading HP) The Maine are still getting comfortable with their new sound. This shows in, Raining in Paris, where high notes are uncertain things for the vocalist, hence the shakiness of those few notes. Perfectly out of Key is a song that I have a hard time understanding and even liking. It’s weird in the sense of how stable it is. I do like the lyrics, their admirable and unique and the piano part is too sweet that I can’t even but once again, the vocals totally throw me off. John, Bro,

Moving on to the good parts, The Maines’ guitarists probably have some of the best riffs ever. Mostly in Room With No Windows and Visions where there’s a spot light to show off just how awesome they are. Also, Room With No Windows has a xylophone part! Do you understand how awesome that is? Super awesome! Visions has a nice bass as well that’s actually really prominent (finally, Garrett). The EP ends with Lovely Sad, which is a slow, very sweet ballad that has a beautiful piano solo.

Imaginary Numbers is an EP that, for the most part, is really solid. My favourite songs are Room With No Windows and Visions for sure. But I believe that The Maine can only go up from here.

3.5 Treble Clefs

3.5 Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. Raining in Paris-3:47

2. Room With No Window-3:51

3. Perfectly out of Kay-3:51

4. Visions-4:22

5. Lovely Sad-6:25

Album Review: Tancred by Tancred

Tancred-300x300Tancred by Tancred

Record Label: Topshelf Records

Genre: Indie/Pop

Release Date: October 15, 2013

Songs: 11
good good

Jess Abbott is the lead singer of Now and Tancred is her solo project. Jess is from New England and has had this solo project in the works for quite a few years now. Tancred is her first album.

opinion

Growing up as a kid, I was influenced by singers like Fefe Dobson, Skye Sweetnam, and Demi Lovato. Their music, passion, and just attitudes were things that I wanted to gain once I became a teen. Now that I am one, listening to their songs remind me of all of the dreams my fickle heart had. Tancred also does this for me. Her songs remind me of just how much I wanted to be the troublemaker growing up and have that great group of ‘misfit’ friends. Of course I’ve grown up since then but listening to this reminds me of what every little kid wanted–to grow up.

The album starts off quite nicely and even though I adore her unique voice and her attitude I feel like it clashes with the tempo of the songs badly. What makes things worse is that most of the songs are really short so they don’t feel complete, instead they just feel as though Jess Abbott couldn’t come up with anything more and decided to leave it at that. In Hard to Leave, it drags on a bit with the drumming being repetitive and boring. Abbott could have added some solos to help it.

But, like I said before, I absolutely love her voice because it’s so unique and enchanting. The way she draws out her notes and adds in random high notes is great. There is also quite a heavy bass in just about the song, especially in The Ring and Allston that catches the listener’s attention. Twelve has an awesome beginning and build-up that is executed beautifully with the sudden stops and goes.

Overall, This self-titled album has brought back quite a few memories for me and because of that I really enjoy this album. I can’t wait to see what else she brings to this table and I recommend this to anyone who also grew up listening to artists like Fefe Dobson and Skye Sweetnam because man, the good old days seem to be long gone! My favourite songs on this album are: Allston, Creases, Twelve, and The Worst Kind.

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

3 Sexy Treble Clefs

Songs on the Album (Click on the title to listen to the song!)

1. The Ring-2:19

2. Allston-2:01

3. Creases-2:00

4. Radio-2:25

5. Twelve-2:49

6. In the Night-3:23

7. Indiana-2:37

8. Hard to Leave-3:34

9. Thicker Than Blood-1:54

10. When You’re Weak-3:09

11. The Worst Kind-2:40