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: 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: Devil B-Side by Lydia

UnknownDevil B-Side by Lydia

Record Label: Independent

Genre: Indie Rock/pop

Release Date: Oct 15, 2013

Songs: 6
good good

Lydia is an indie rock pop band from Gilbert, Arizona that was formed in 2003. In 2010, the band took a year-long hiatus. Lydia has released five albums-This December, it’s one more and I’m free, Illuminate, Assailants, Paint it golden, and Devil.  Current band members are-Leighton Antelman (Vocals),  Justin Camacho (Guitar) Matt Keller (Keyboard), and Craig Taylor (drums, percussions).

opinion

It’s times like these that I remember why Lydia is one of my favourite bands. They produce such great music and have such high energy. Earlier this year, they released their fifth album, Devil (which is an amazing album) this B-Side is just as good. Honestly, this EP has been replayed all of these last few weeks. I just can’t enough!

The EP starts off with We’ll Never Die which is an okay song, but it gets tarnished by the background music which is way too loud when the vocalist is singing. In Do You Remember, there’s an intense sense of panic that makes everything, especially the guitar parts sound very rushed. Lydia ends the EP with two acoustic versions of their most famous songs on their album, The Exit and Devil. Unfortunately, these acoustic versions don’t do the originals any justice. They both sound contrived rather than their signature relaxed mood.

However, What’s the Worst that Could Happen? is probably the song that best describes Lydia’s music now and that’s really comfortable and very light. The song is actually pretty slow and starts off quiet with great drumming and lovely lyrics. I feel like Wish You Well could be the second part of Back to Bed because it’s also just as sweet. All of the “oh ah oh oh’s” don’t bother me, they feel perfect and go well with the song.

Devil B-Side is a lovely EP that I recommend to everyone. My favourite songs are What’s the Worst that Could happen? And Wish You Well but all songs are fairly good minus their few flaws. They’re all good for remembering the good old summer days and summer loves. Two things Lydia does well.

4 awesome Treble Clefs

4 awesome Treble Clefs

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

1. We’ll Never Die-3:01

2. Do You Remember-3:21

3.  What’s the Worst That Could Happen?-3:20

4. Wish You Well-3:51

5. The Exit (acoustic)-2:50

6. Devil (acoustic)-3:25

Album Review: Monsters in the Closet by Mayday Parade

download (1)

Monsters in the Closet by Mayday Parade

Record Label: Fearless Records

Genre: Pop Rock

Release Date: October 8, 2013

Songs: 12
good good

Mayday Parade are an American rock band from Tallahassee, Florida. They came out with their first EP back in 2006 without the help of a label which sold around 20, 000 copies. Since then, they have released four albums and two EPs. Band members are: Brooks Betts (rhythm guitar), Jake Bundrick (drums, percussion, co-lead vocals), Alex Garcia (lead guitar), Jeremy Lenzo (bass guitar, vocals), and Derek Sanders (lead vocals, keyboards, acoustic guitar).

opinionMayday parade are one of my favourite bands. And if you’ve ever listened to one of their songs, it’s obvious why. They have the ability to lull me to sleep with soft melodies and sad lyrics. Mayday Parade is the go-to band for anyone who’s having a shitty day and need to listen to some sad music. That’s how good they are. Which is why this album comes to such a shock to me and probably to most people. Where the hell are all of the sad, slow and depressing songs that this band is known for? Because to mu knowledge, there’s only one.

It might seem like I pick on bands because they decide to dribble in the mainstream crap, but I really don’t. I only pick on bands that use mainstream stuff too much and with Mayday Parade, the mainstream thing that they oh so love is using “oh, oh, oh” and “la la la” in every song. It also doesn’t help that on top of this, songs Girls, Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About and Sorry Not Sorry sound overly crowded and too fast for the vocals. Speaking of vocals, on this album they aren’t as prominent as they are on their self-titles album. There are far less high notes and both vocalists sound a bit out of tune with each other.

The one and only slow song that sounds like Mayday Parade is Angel which is actually a beautiful song that has lovely lyrics. Each song starts off with a killer intro especially Last Night For a Table of Two which starts off with a sassy guitar solo that pulls listeners in, Even Robots Need Blankets with a lone piano and vocals, and Hold Onto Me with a duet that starts off sweetly. Songs are easy to distinguish and lyrics are magnificent as always, Monsters in the Closet might be different from their older stuff but it still has the same lyrical tone to it as the other albums and Ghosts, The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Non-Being, Even Robots Need Blankets, and Angels prove this.

Of course, with time we outgrow things but I wouldn’t have thought Mayday Parade would outgrow depressing and slow songs. That’s their thing so they shouldn’t ditch it. Nonetheless, this isn’t a complete flop, it’s actually good and I recommend this to listeners that are new to this genre because there’s some pop songs mixed in that will appeal to that audience as well as some emo-rock that will satisfy older fans as well. Maybe with time I’ll learn to love this album and by time, I mean by Oct. 25 because I’ll be going to their concert.

3.5 Treble Clefs

3.5 Treble Clefs

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

1. Ghosts-4:49

2. Girls-3:29

3. Last Night for a Table of Two-3:45

4. 12 Through 15-4:59

5. The Torment of Existence Weighed Against the Horror of Non-Being-4:11

6. Even Robots Need Blankets-3:30

7. Repent and Repeat-3:00

8. Demons-3:37

9. Sorry, Not Sorry-3:31

10. Nothing You Can Live Without, Nothing You Can Do About-4:01

11. Hold Onto Me-3:22

12. Angels-4:21

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

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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