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

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Album Review: South of the Mountain by Bears and Company

mnt treeSouth of the Mountain by Bears and Company

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date: April 27, 2013

Songs: 10
good good

Bears and Company is a progressive/indie rock band out of Kansas City, Missouri. Each member comes from different musical backgrounds and collectively they craft a unique taste for those with open mouths. They are a band that share a story worth listening to, and paint a constant raging tone to illustrate such. This quintuplet is a band that gets in your face and will have you screaming every word in company. They create sound for honest connection, and work restlessly to break any and all resistance. The Bears started when songwriters, Alexander McClain (Guitar/Vocals) and Logan Tyler (Vocals/Bass) got together in the winter of their first and last year of college and began working on the songs and ideas of Bears and Company. Not long after McClain’s long time friend and past bandmate, Allan Latini (Drums) joined the band out of great desire to be a part of a hard hitting project. As a Trio the band played multiple shows, wrote, and recorded an unreleased E.P. and in time decided that it was time to step up their song direction and guitar section. Zach Knoll (Guitar) became the missing piece of the puzzle after a couple sessions. Charisma came completely natural for the four piece and things took off immediately. They began writing their full length record titled, South of the Mountain, in the fall of 2011 and started tracking it in the birth of the new year with producer Aaron Crawford (The Beautiful Bodies, We Are Voices, Flee the Seen, Now Now Sleepyhead). After a long summer of touring and hard work they returned to the studio to record their debut album “South of The Mountain”.

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

opinion

Bears and Company have a unique sound for a genre like Indie Rock. It’s too dark for indie, but then it’s too light for rock. It’s mysterious but oh so enchanting and saying that these guys are great would be an understatement. But I’m at a loss of words for how to explain them well. Still, I think everyone should check them out. Good music is getting harder and harder to find these days and Bears and Company portray their experience and love for music well on this work of art.

Unfortunately, When the Sky Opened and Moskstraumen are both quiet but fast songs that hold listeners’ attention and I do like them but I don’t like the bridges because they both don’t go well with the song, it sounds too out of place and upbeat for what the band is trying to accomplish with the songs.

South of the Mountain shows their talent and skills creating memorable lyrics and even more so choruses. The guitar solos in Occurrence in the Wildwood and After the Quake are great They really create a mood that goes well with the lyrics.. The vocals in Susannah and the Elders and Carroll A. Deering have a lovely range that’s really strong. Carroll A. Deering is also a slow song but it’s a lot more calm with a smooth build-up and transition that I barely noticed until the ending of the song that the tempo changes. Something that I’m learning to appreciate more and more in music and in bands are the drums. Although they’re not as unnoticed, they still tend to get overlooked. I’m still reeling over the drumming in South Side of the Mountain is super tight and skilled.

The best thing about this band is their confidence in themselves and their talent. All their songs are easy to distinguish with their slight differences that keep everything new and fresh. Their transitions between verses and choruses are close to flawless with lyrics holding so much meaning. Even more so in We Were Brothers and the short monologue that’s captivating and lyrically beautiful. Choosing my top three songs for an album as wonderful as South of the Mountain is pretty tough. Nonetheless, I have to go with Carroll A. Deering, After the Quake, and We Were Brothers. But actually, everyone, go give this album a listen, it’s so worth it.

4 awesome Treble Clefs
4 awesome Treble Clefs

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

1. I Dreamt I Destroyed the World-3:55

2. Occurrence in the Wildwood-4:21

3. Susannah and the Elders-4:26

4. Carroll A. Deering-4:50

5. When the Sky Opened-5:00

6. Return of the Hunters-4:28

7. After the Quake-3:02

8. South of the Mountain-2:11

9. We Were Brothers-4:22

10. Moskstraumen-5:20

Album Review: Intersections by Into It. Over It.

into-it-over-it-intersections-2013

Intersections by Into It. Over It. 

Record Label: Triple Crown Records

Genre: Indie/pop

Release Date: September 24, 2013

Songs: 12
good good

Into It. Over It is a one-man band from Chicago, Illinois that started out in 2007. Evan Thomas Weiss started out by writing and recording songs every week for one year that quickly got picked up by record labels and then became something more. Since then, Weiss has released three split EPS and five albums-52 Weeks, Twelve Towns,Iioi/Kioji, Proper, and Intersections.

opinion

When I first listened to Into It. Over It., he was pretty new and had quite a different sound. Now, with many years and a load of experience, his sound is a lot lighter and softer without all that anger. Intersections has given me new-found respect for him and his music. It’s inspirational, complex yet simple and all the more beautiful.

While looking for certain things in an album, one of them are the vocals. With a few songs on this album, especially Your Antique Organ, the use of overlapping vocals sound okay but they also sound a bit too strong for the song and left me overwhelmed. Also, I wished that there was a better range of notes played out with the vocals.

I love all of the drumming in this, it’s unbelievably smooth and steady that I didn’t think a band so rough could accomplish. The build-ups are executed perfectly in A Pair of Taxi Rides and Spatial Exploration. I know that I say this a lot, and it’s pretty hard to do wrong, but once again I have to bring up the great guitar riffs (like I do in every album review) that are in Upstate Blues, A Curse Worth Believing, and The Shaking of Leaves.

In conclusion, I really like this album and if I didn’t live in Canada I would be impatiently waiting for Into It. Over It. to be in my city killing every song and making my night, But, I do so I can’t do that but maybe you can and this is an album that I don’t think anyone can dislike since he has talent and a certain voice that are almost impossible to dislike. I recommend this to everyone, even if this isn’t your type of music, at least give Your Antique Organ, Upstate Blues, No Amount of Sound, or Spinning Thread.

4 awesome Treble Clefs
4 awesome Treble Clefs

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

1. New North side-3:14

2. Spinning Thread-3:18

3. A Curse Worth Believing-4:44

4. Spatial Exploration-3:17

5. Favor & Fiction-2:33

6. The Shaking of Leaves-3:30

7. Upstate Blues-4:30

8. No Amount of Sound-3:39

9. A Pair of Matching Taxi Rides-4:01

10. Obsessive Compulsive Distraction-3:35

11. Your Antique Organ-2:54

12. Contractual Obligation-6:52

Album Review: You’re Always on My Mind by A Great Big Pile of Leaves

images (6)

You’re Always on My Mind by A Great Big Pile of Leaves

Record Label: Topshelf Records

Genre: Indie Rock

Release Date: July 2, 2013

Songs: 11

good good

A Great Big Pile of Leaves is an indie-rock band from Brooklyn, New York that formed in 2007. Since then, the band has released four EPS-Living from the Living Room, The Fiery Works, Boom, and Making Moves as well as two albums-Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex? and You’re always On my Mind. Band members are: Pete Weiland (Vocals, guitar), Tyler Soucy (Drums), Tucker Yaro (Bass), and Matt Fazzi (Guitar).

opinion

With summer already over, I think this may be the album to remind people of it. This band isn’t one that I would normally listen to but after listening to this album I’m shocked that I’ve never heard of them sooner because their music is so light. Possibly lighter and warmer than a song by an unknown artist has ever made me feel which is why they deserve every good thing that goes their way.

Something that I couldn’t overlook are the lyrics because of how forgettable they are. In every song, I had a hard time believing or even caring what the singer’s singing about because it’s so uninteresting and boring.

A Great Big Pile of Leaves does a nice job by keeping a steady mood going throughout all of their songs. I’m so used to songs that speed up or slow down that when I listen to ones that keep the same pace and momentum all the way through, I just have to appreciate in Snack Attack and Back to School. The most memorable thing about You’re Always on my Mind has to be the guitar solo in Back to School because it really caught my attention as well as my heart. Another thing that I loved about this album are the use of overlapping vocals since they are really nicely done in most of the songs.

You’re Always on My Mind is an album full of super light, breezy, and just all around fun songs that make it a great summer album. And even though fall/autumn is upon us, it’s never too late to have one last summer night to remember. I recommend this to anyone who’s starting to miss summer. My favourite songs on this album are: Back to School, Egocentrism, and Fun in the Sun.

4 awesome Treble Clefs
4 awesome Treble Clefs

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

1. Snack Attack-3:20

2. Flying Fish-3:34

3. Pet Mouse-2:38

4. Slumber Party-2:58

5. Back to School-3:34

6. Egocentrism-1:57

7. Ambiversion-3:35

8. Fun in the Sun-3:07

9. Locus of Control-4:38

10. Pizzanomics-3:20

11. Learning Curves-3:16

Song of the Week#5-Hospital by Lydia (The Pretty Cover Edition)

song of the week

This is a weekly meme that’s for the most part, the same as Song Of The Day except each week there will be a different ‘edition’ and it’s going to be updated once a week. This week’s edition is: The Pretty Cover Edition. Illuminate has one of the prettiest covers I have ever seen. It tells a lot with only this picture, to me, it shows struggle, strength, and love (for the umbrella). What do you guys think of it?

220px-Illunnm

 

Lydia is an indie rock band from Gilbert, Arizona that was formed in 2003. In 2010, the band took a year-long hiatus because of a fight that was between Steve McGraw and Leighton Antelman (the two people who started the band). In the end, before their last tour it was announced that Lydia would be breaking up. Luckily, it was only a hiatus instead. Lydia has released five albums-This December, it’s one more and I’m free, Illuminate, Assailants, Paint it golden, and Devil. Hospital is off of Illuminate.

Hospital is one of my all-time favourite songs and Lydia is one of my favourite bands so of course I have to put them on here! And just look at the beautiful cover! Hospital like the title, is about saving someone you love. It’s has a lot of meaning and sung so sweetly. I just love this song.

My favourite part is:

And all I see scares me
And no one knows it, but she, she saved me

So I’ve been sleeping with this silence in my brain
I wake up here everyday in this god damn place
I won’t wait here anymore

It’s still not quite the way it was
But you promised me this is love
So stay and watch the hospital
That’s just across the street
From your apartment balcony
I’ll never ever leave there
I’ll never leave

Oh, no one is watching now
Sing like you just might drown
But always come back home
‘Cause I never got to see you once more, no
I guess that’s all I wanted
Yeah, I guess that’s all I needed

To listen to Hospital click here.

Lyrics are here.

Album Review: Able Bodies by From Indian Lakes

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Able Bodies by From Indian Lakes

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Pop/Rock

Release Date: November 13, 2012

Songs: 11
Able Bodies - From Indian Lakes

From Indian Lakes is from Yosemite Valley, California. The band released their debut full-length record, “The Man With Wooden Legs” in the Winter of 2009. The songs that were spawned out of this release reflect the bands’ collective maturity and purpose while being surrounded by music that is otherwise derivative and lacking in any sort of defining positive characteristics. Since their initial debut, the band has been working endlessly, playing countless shows throughout the US as well as dedicating time in the studio in preparation for their upcoming full-length. The next release, entitled Able Bodies, is already garnering wide acclaim with both longtime fans as well as those who have just recently discovered the band.

Able Bodies moves several steps forward in their maturity and depth, while still retaining the aggression, passion and darkness of their debut. Current band members are: Joey Vannuchi’s (vocals, guitar), Enrique Gutierrez (Keys), Justin Stanphill (Guitar), and Guy Samuelson (Drums).

(My Opinion)

Funny, the first time I listened to a song by this band, I thought they sucked. Of course, now, I’ve come to my senses and realized just how amazing they are. This album is pretty much perfect. I mean, really. There are some unpredictable songs on this album like Anything and We Follow. As listeners really get into We Follow, the instruments except for drums and a random guitar string or two stop playing and a small, heartbreaking monologue comes out which is sung by lead singer, Joey Vannuchi. Throughout the album, there are a lot of different song structures that listeners don’t normally hear. Your Son doesn’t necessarily have a chorus, it’s just a story about pain and loss which I think is a hauntingly amazing song. Actually, this is an amazing album and I think everyone should go buy it. Right now.

What makes me fall in love with this album over and over again is the fact that everything about it is so easy to love. From the bass drum that just somehow completes a song to the lyrics that compliment the sound. The lyrics hold a lot of meaning not only to the band, but I also think to the listeners, they’re easy to relate to especially I Don’t Know You and Till I Can Walk by talking about love, happiness, and just how horrible the world can be sometimes. Another thing I love about Able Bodies is that everyone gets noticed, everyone gets a part that shows off their different talents. What I mean by this is that in: Paintings, Till I Can Walk, We Are Sick, and We Follow the drummer really lets it all out and goes, well, sort of wild and I love it. In: Your Son, We Follow, Stay Outside, Breaking My Bones the vocalist gets sudden (sort of) solos and can hit really high notes that show his strength and experience with his voice. In most songs, the bass gets a cool, unique duet with mostly the drums which is a plus because rarely is the bass even heard. And of course, I adore the guitar parts and solos that are in almost every song.

Able Bodies  is something unexpected. It’s raw and talented and just…beautiful. I recommend this album to everyone, especially to indie rock lovers because this is a beautiful album about life and how fucked everything is. Off of Able Bodies, my favourite songs are: We Follow, I Don’t Know You, Till I Can Walk, and Paintings. but I love every song so just listen to them all. Or buy the album and see them live!

Five Beautiful Treble Clefs
Five Beautiful Treble Clefs

 

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

1. Anything-4:04

2. We Are Sick-3:14

3. Paintings-3:18

4. Breaking My Bones-3:48

5. I Don’t Know You-3:32

6. Stay Outside-4:34

7. Below-4:37

8. My Mouth, My Lips-4:30

9. Your Son-3:24

10. We Follow-3:49

11. ‘Till I Can Walk-4:54