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Post Rock/Punk is Back…Review Reviews!

September 24, 2009

Brand New – Daisy
September 22, 2009 | Interscope Records

Brand-New-Daisy-Artwork

This record came unexpected for me. I’ve been a fan of Brand New for a long time now and for some reason i did not keep my eyes and ears open when they announced that they were hitting the studio, maybe they wanted it to be that way. Either way Brand New is back and they are very pissed, more than in their previous record “The Devil and God are Raging Inside Me”.

This record is very strange even from the appearance of the cover. This starts off with a 1920’s/30’s female vocalist playing the piano and then kicks right into one of the heaviest songs Brand New has ever written. I felt like i was listening to old Glassjaw or Cave In. It takes some getting use to but it is a pure adrenaline rush. Don’t listen to this song while driving or you will be sure to see yourself wanting to drive into the person ahead of you.

“At the Bottom” was the first song that i heard off this record and i was instantly hooked. It’s very soothing but yet when the chorus kicks in you feel a sudden burst of electric energy pouring out of the guitars and Jesse’s voice. This song will be stuck in your head for days.

The whole record has a very post rock/hardcore vibe. It’s very heavy both musically and lyrically. Heavy Music does not always have to be overly distorted chugging guitar riffs and screaming vocals. The tones and overall sound of this record is what makes it heavy even when the clean guitar is playing. This record is a lot darker than their previous work and im glad they went that route instead of falling back on older sounding material.

There are very few records that have nothing but great songs on them. With many records there are several good songs but then there are filler songs just to take up room to reach a certain amount of tracks. With this record i feel that there are no filler songs, Brand New wrote what they wanted to write and recorded it the way that they wanted to and it worked.

This record defines a lot of things both musically and lyrically and it crosses many lines that most bands stay behind. There are those few bands that have reached a status to where they can do whatever they want even if its different and new to their sound. They have reached the pinnacle in their career and i hope it sticks with them in the future.

Polar Bear Club – Chasing Hamburg
September 8, 2009 | Bridge 9

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Probably one of the most anticipated releases of the year, Polar Bear Club is back with their second full length “Chasing Hamburg”. Ive been looking forward to hearing this record for quite some time now, and overall i think this is a great release.

This is a PBC record by all means but it ventures into a more pop rock sound which isnt at all a bad thing. It will definitely help them gain popularity with newer and younger fans. All the songs on this record are well under five minutes which is easy for the listeners especially for those who have never listened to PBC.

There are a few singles off this such as “Living Saints” and “One Hit Back” but there are also some other hits such as “Boxes”, “Local Eyes”, “Song To Persona” and “Olde Fisher Burial Ground” which opens with what sounds like a steely dan solo. This record has a lot of great songs on it and will keep you coming back to hear more. All of those songs mentioned will stay in your memory for a long time.

This had a huge production behind it as well and it shows. Matt Bayles who produced albums by Minus the Bear, Russian Circles, Mastodon, and so on produced this record and it only seemed fitting that he did. PBC have always had a unique sound much like most of the bands Bayles has recorded in the past so it was great to see both forces clash on this record.

Polar Bear Club have been known to blend punk, rock, and post hardcore and shape it into their own unique sound for many years now and this record proves that they can do that and more. Personally i feel that they did their best work on “Sometimes Thing Just Disappear” as well as “The Redder The Better” but im sure this record will grow on me as much as the others did and pretty soon i will be calling this one of my favorite PBC records, FUCK IT… they are all good so go and pick this up as well as the rest of them.

Thrice – Beggars
September, 2009 | Vagrant Records

thrice-beggars-300x300Thrice has always been a band that i feel like people don’t really get anymore, and are not into. But if you get past a few of their earlier records you’d find out that they have a lot of post-hardcore/rock influences but with a unique style.

Thrice is back with their 7th studio album and i’d say its one of their best efforts yet. The last concept record they did was actually two records but split into four parts. The concept was really cool i thought and it had a lot of different styles which could appeal to certain people. This record however is very straight forward and precise, much like their early release “Vheissu”, where the band started to come out of their element.

This record starts off very abrupt with a progressive style drum beat with bass playing and off rhythm beat over top. The rest of the song (”All the World is Mad”) is very bluesy and rhythmic and it all ties together when the chorus kicks in. This song struck my attention the second i started it and to me thats how must records should start. To me this whole record has a blues vibe to it, some of the progressions sound as if B.B. King or Muddy Waters were recording the songs. The second track “The Weight” kicks right in with a soft blues progression that sounds like it might stay in the same context but it transitions into a very catchy melody.

My favorite track off this record comes in at track four, “Doublespeak”. Theres no beating around the bush with this song, it comes in right away and is instantly catchy. The piano part is very dark but yet melodic at the same time and the vocal melody over top makes you feel like everything surrounding you is moving at a much faster rate. Most songs you get sick of hearing the chorus three or four times, but not this one. This is probably the most catchy song on the record in my opinion and one of the best songs they’ve ever written.

I feel like this band could do whatever it is they want musically. Bands like that are few and far between and most of the time there are a lot of people and fans who don’t support a decision like that but Thrice has had a fairly well following the past few years from what i can gather. I wish people in the hardcore/punk scene who have various other musical interest could get into this band because they have the unique quality to appeal to everyone. Basically what it comes down to is that this record is pretty much tells you the type of band Thrice is. They have so many elements to their music its hard to describe them under one category.

This record is proof to how great of a band they have become over the years. They can go from playing really catchy teenager pop punk to writing more post hardcore and indie/rock influenced songs. Many bands are known for writing the same record over and over, very rarely do you come across a band who has sort of veered off to other directions from record to record. Go and purchase this record off iTunes and be sure to pick it up when it comes out.

Title Fight – The Last Thing You Forget
July 23, 2009 | Run For Cover Records

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Who hasn’t heard this band yet? A part of me has been wanting to be behind because there has been so much talk about these guys that it almost got a bit annoying, but i think that made me want to check them out even more. So finally i picked up the CD recently and im a little upset with myself for not getting it sooner.

The 7″ includes three new songs of pure pop punk/hardcore sensation. The CD format includes this 7″ as well as all of their older material so i suggest you pick that up as well. The reason ive been so hesitant to check this band out is because a lot of the bands that play hardcore influenced pop punk are terrible and overrated (with the exception of a few bands). But these guys do not fall into that category.

I feel like if you take Saves the Day and Kid Dynamite and put them together, Title Fight would be the outcome. They are fast, and aggressive but yet also melodic. How many bands have ripped of Kid Dynamite and Saves the Day? Well a lot but, this band puts their own style into the mix.

“Symmetry”, “Introvert”, and “No One Stays at the Top Forever” are the three new songs featured on this CD and all of them have their own uniqueness to them. “Introvert” has an awesome slow jam section in the middle of the song leading right into “No One Stays at the Top Forever” which that in itself is a perfect sing a long song. And to add, I dont think they could have written a more catchier song that the opening track “Symmetry”.

The reason this band has so much push behind them is because they are in fact a good band, thats why they have been getting the attention they have been. This record proves that they didnt just write a few good songs, they keep getting better and better with time and im looking forward to another EP or possibly and LP. We will see what the future has in stores for Title Fight. Go and pick up the 7″ and the CD if you’re looking to get all of their songs.

Lewd Acts – Black Eye Blues
2009 | Deathwish Inc.

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I didnt really know much about this band before this release, so im not really aware of what this band is about but this record gives me some reasoning behind the direction they are going towards.

Lewd Acts is a very fast, but yet progressive punk/hardcore band along the vein of early Converge. When i first listened to this record i knew it was a Deathwish release. It just has that deathwish sound, very dark, grimy, and intense, and to make it even more like a deathwish record it was recorded with Kurt Ballou at Godcity Studios. But aside from all of that this is still a unique record and it does stand out from the rest.

It has a surprise around every corner it seems like. One moment your listening to a very slow, droned out and distorted chorus (“Who Knew the West Coast Would Be So Cold”) and the next thing you know they are back to fast shredding guitar riffs.

My personal favorites off this record would be “Wide Black Eyes”, “Nowhere To Go” along with “Penmanship Sailed” and “Nightcrawlers”. I was overall very pleased with this record, especially because this was my first interaction with the band, perhaps i will go and check out their previous records. This is out now on Deathwish so go and pick it up online.

Soul Control – Cycles
August 25, 2009 | Bridge 9

Soul Control - Cycles (2009)

Soul Control is back with a twelve song full length. This is their first effort for Bridge 9 records, meshing 90’s influences hardcore with a post hardcore and punk sound.

Four of the songs off this record were released a while back onto four separate Ep’s on four different labels, which was kind of new and unique concept. All of those records featured vocalist Rory Vangrol who had been recently added to the band prior to those release.

This is now the first major release for Rory and Soul Control.The recorded songs sounded better on the original EP’s but maybe thats just because im use to that sound. Most of the time you can never reproduce the same effect when a band records something, but that doesnt mean the songs are crap.

This is a Soul Control record, very fast, noisy, and full of different influences from punk/hardcore and post hardcore/rock bands. The thing about this band that really pulls me in is the guitar work. That dude does a lot of cool stuff with effects and just in general that i think a lot of bands are too afraid to incorporate into hardcore/punk today. This is a very fast paced record, its over before know it and you wouldn’t think so when you look at the track listings.

Some of my favorite songs include “Fundamental Forces”, “Playing Coward”, “End Times” and “Cycles”. Soul Control blends a style much like early 90’s bands such as Quicksand, Handsome, and 108.

I think a lot of people overlook this band for many reasons, one being that they are sort of against the curve and not really doing what most bands are doing today. This is definitely a unique record and one of SC’s best releases to date.

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