Posts Tagged ‘punk’

Cutback – Patriotism Is Not A Dirty Word
January 24, 2011

Awhile ago we reviewed Cutback’s single release “Audio Suicide”. The rock band from the UK now returns with a full-length album called “Patriotism Is Not A Dirty Word”.

The band has grown since the release of “Audio Suicide”. While they already portrayed a lot of energy the energy is now more channeled and the songs sound smoother and slicker and therefore come off more convincing.

The songs are powerful and entertaining and get your juices flowing. The opener Fix is like a plane’s turbo engines blasting the energy right through you and sets the tone for the album quite well. They follow with the radio-friendly One Last Time, which is a familiar song for those who already listened to the single last year. The infectious tempo and the strong work on the drums by Karl Jagger gives this song a powerful and energetic feel that works really well for this band.

Other songs that should be mentioned are the power anthem Breathe which is more paced down and is a good example of the increased vocal control of vocalist Chris Sammacicci, but also the punky 17 and the indie-rocker Fire, which may very well be the band’s breakout song. Good vocals, excellent guitar work and pounding drums. And with the heavy infusion of indie bands into mainstream radio in the past 5 years it’s hard to find new talent, but with that song, Cutback may have very well found justification to have their name known by a much, much wider audience. The rest of the album is of a good quality as well, with another impressive track (Sunrise) to close out the disc.

I was intrigued when I heard “Audio Suicide” but with the new release, “Patriotism Is Not A Dirty Word”, Cutback delivers on their promise. In less than a year, they show real growth and improvement and with a solid album and a few excellent songs (Fire in particular) they are ready to take it to the next level!


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South of Heaven – ..a beautiful winter..
December 28, 2010

This relatively unknown band from Arnhem in the Netherlands recently released a new album called “..a beautiful winter..” The band describes the CD as a collection of songs influenced by different styles in rock, blues, soul and punk. And that’s only the start of it.

First of all the songs are all written very well and the band is able to change in tempo, in loudness and by that they manage to keep the songs to sound fresh and exciting. Together with a slick production, the album doesn’t fall together like one big blur, but all the songs get a chance to stand out. From the more paced down opener Room In Your Life to the pointy Internet Pornography, the alternative rock song Love and the radio-friendly Blue Dress to the beautiful melodic closer Amsterdam, every song is convincing and impressive.

The vocals are very present throughout the album and on every song they are of the highest quality. Vocalist Richard Huijzer (ex-Fedchenka) is able to change in pitch and intensity seemingly without ease and Chris Gerretsen’s (also ex-Fedchenka) guitar work is outstanding. Together with a perfectly balanced rhythm section this collective of musicians has the talent and experience to figure out what they want and execute it in a way that deserves recognition and applause.

“..a beautiful winter..” is a very good album and begs the question how long it will take for this band to break through. Cause that just has to be a matter of time. The quality and talent is there, the album’s produced well, the musicians have performance experience and many of the songs are fit for radio. All I see is pluses. Audiences of the world, listen up, South of Heaven is ready to rock your eardrums.

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Mae – (A)fternoon
September 24, 2009

With “(M)orning” released earlier and “(E)vening” upcoming at some point, Mae released “(A)fternoon” in late 2009/early 2010. The band took a similar approach as on “(M)orning”, but things are a little different.

“(M)orning” felt more like a unity, and frankly it was a lot more solid. The songs on “(A)fternoon” has a tendency to become a little messy at times. The final track is just a filler and Over & Over and Fight Song (Crash and Burn) just run too long.

It’s not all bad, because there’s some decent guitar work on this EP, at times very strong. Tracks like In Pieces and Communication (best song on the EP) show the band is musically very sound. Lyrically it’s not always very relatable or accessible, or when the songs are accessible it feels forced and while it is sincere it doesn’t necessarily come across that way.

The band delivered a promising debut, and while it was interesting there was obviously room for development and improvement. “(M)orning” was a nice EP with a lot of potential, but “(A)fternoon” isn’t really a step forward. Lets hope “(E)vening” brings us the potential this band has, because they are capable of something very good. It just hasn’t really come out on this release.

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Warped Tour 2010 – Boston, MA

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer gets the crowd going.

The Warped Tour rolled into Boston on a hot summer day last week, and with it came over 80 bands ranging from hard rock to punk to southern. The bigger names this year included The All American Rejects, Motion City Soundtrack, Sum 41, and Andrew WK.

Smaller bands such as Fake Problems played on the AP/Advent stage, which was side by side with the Glamour Kills stage. While one band was playing, the other was right there setting up to start their set as soon as the others’ ended.

Up and comers like A Rocket to the Moon could be found playing acoustic sets in one of the many tents set up. Other well-known bands played on the other five stages including The Dillinger Escape Plan and The Bouncing Souls.

Far From Finished

Far From Finished

Local band Far From Finished put on an engaging set. Frontman Steve Neary came down into the crowd for a song, starting a fun dance pit.

AM Taxi, whose latest album we recently reviewed, drew a good sized crowd for their set.

The most unique band of the day would probably be Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band. Once they walk on the stage, it’s apparent why they have this name – the three-piece are not skinny, shall we say. They played some unique southern rock that got a lot of the young teenage crowd doing the ho-down. Washboard Breezy Peyton was in true rock ‘n’ roll form when she smashed her washboard at the end of their set. Definitely an entertaining band to watch.

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer

The Rocket Summer, aka Bryce Avery, played a full-band set filled with catchy emo-rock songs. There was even some confetti at the climax of one song.

If you wanted a break from the music that was continuously playing, there were plenty of other things to do. Tents were set up everywhere selling sunglasses, hats, and all sorts of other accessories. Each band had their own tent selling merchandise, and if you were lucky, you could catch your favorite band doing a signing. There was also skateboarding, karaoke, games, and more.

Check out more photos from the day.

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AM Taxi – We Don’t Stand A Chance
June 8, 2010

I’ve been listening to these guys for awhile now and they’re good. Formed a couple years ago, released a few EPs (both of which I also recommend!) and now they are starting to break through with an excellent full-length debut. “We Don’t Stand A Chance” is often described as a pop-punk album, but lets push that nifty little tag aside right away, it’s not. There are pop influences, yes, there are punk influences, yes, but it’s not pop-punk (stupid term anyway, even though I use it myself sometimes). This is current, modern rock & roll. Music evolves, and these kids really jumped on the bandwagon, changed the tires and are now pulling that same wagon.

On “We Don’t Stand A Chance” the band mixes energetic, sometimes angsty punk-influenced rock & roll songs with more a more gentle approach sometimes. Unlike many bands in a similar genre they don’t come out with crappy cliché’s. The lyrics are strong and sometimes even profound and they are very much in tune with the musical arrangements, which themselves are filled with variety, intensity and excitement. Adam Krier’s vocals remind me of Springsteen at times, with the same mature, experienced sound to them.

The band currently joined the Warped Tour and the might very well become THE revelation of this year’s edition. The songs are extremely fit for energetic, enthusiastic live performances and this band sure knows how to deliver it. You just can’t help but get pumped by songs like Dead Street, Fed Up and Paper Covers Rock. The duet with Company of Thieves singer Genevieve Schatz, Maydays & Rosaries is probably the strongest track on the album, but another song that you should point your attention to is Reckless Ways which would make a kickass live song, but the reason I mention this song is because of the perfect timing that the band showcases in this song.

“We Don’t Stand A Chance” may very well end up in my year’s end list as it is one of the most surprising, exciting releases of 2010 so far. It’s energetic and fast-paced for the most part and it never gets boring. It doesn’t drag along by doing the same thing over and over again, it doesn’t get into cliché’s (musically, lyrically or otherwise) and the progression of the songs throughout the album has a very natural flow. For a debut album, this is very, very well done.

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Motion City Soundtrack – My Dinosaur Life
January 19, 2010

Motion City Soundtrack has been an underrated band for quite some time. “My Dinosaur Life” was released in the early weeks of 2010 and it is a very strong album. Yes, it is very mainstream punk/pop kind of music. Some may call it enthusiastic powerpop, others will say it’s bubblegum pop, but frankly, you can call it whatever you want, it’s infectious, effective and it really is quite good.

The songs stick in your head from the get-go, the lyrics aren’t filled with the usual clichés (well, at times they are, but over the whole, it’s not as standard as you might have expected). And musically the band doesn’t always do what you might expect either. But most of all it’s just a fun record that should be recognized as such.

Sometimes all you need is to write some clever hooks and pump some energy in it, and you have a very effective, and often, a very good pop song. Sometimes it’s a good thing to keep it simple. That’s when bands like Weezer, Sugarcult, Bowling For Soup and Taking Back Sunday were at their most effective and successful. And it seems now is the time for Motion City Soundtrack to claim the throne in that genre.

Standout songs are Disappear, Stand Too Close and Skin And Bones, but also the lead single Her Words Destroyed My Planet is quite a good song. The timing on this record is excellent and Justin Pierre proves he’s a very gifted vocalist as he shows off range, intensity and power throughout this album that will hopefully not be overlooked by the masses.

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Alkaline Trio – This Addiction
February 23, 2010

Much like on “Agony & Irony” , “This Addiction” is an album that provides the mainstream punk/rock fans with lots to enjoy. But that’s where it ends. Overall it’s a pleasant and very accessible album, but where the band was able to show originality and creativity in the past, this album is a step backwards musically and especially lyrically.

The band has great timing and good energy, but the album lacks conviction and passion, something this band is capable of as they showed an abundance of it on albums like “From Here To Infirmary” and “Crimson”. But with average songs like This Addiction, Dead On The Floor and Eating Me Alive this album isn’t gonna cut it.

For those of you who were able to see Alkaline Trio live you know this band is one of the better live bands out there and they are a great act with a lot of energy. They sound much more raw and passionate on stage. Knowing they are able to do this one would hope they can reflect that on their albums, but as of late Alkaline Trio hasn’t been able to reproduce that feeling or sound.

“This Addiction” may do well on the radio, but the true fans of the band, who’ve been following the band around since the early 2000s will most likely be disappointed. Where “Agony & Irony” still had some songs with clever lyrics, “This Addiction” just feels bland. By no means is it a bad album, it’s just average and that disappoints me as I’ve always seen Alkaline Trio as one of the more talented and promising acts in the punk/rock-punk/pop genre. We can only hope the band goes back to a more raw and basic sound and puts more focus on the songwriting again. It gives them the edge and more of a rock & roll character in which this band can be much more creative musically, lyrically and in their performance.

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