Produced by Lou Giordano (Plain White T’s, Taking Back Sunday), “Phoenix” is another notch in Just Surrender’s belt. As a group that has explored the nuances of pop-punk and emotional hardcore over the past four years as they have toured relentlessly with two releases that have sold upwards of 40,000 copies, Just Surrender put their laser focus on crafting an album that would further expand their fanbase. With both vocalists featured throughout with perfect layering, “Phoenix” is an admittedly guilty pleasure of the type of emotional rock that now dominates the Warped Tour. While other bands seem to stall amid the clichés and mall-punk normalcy, Just Surrender seems to shrug that off.
Posts tagged indie
Blues-laden vocals retch out primitive emotions and observations of the art-punk world and its vibrant personalities on “To the Pouring Rain”, yet another superb addition to an already overwhelming catalog to small indie label Porto Franco Records. Seth Augustus sounds like a late career Tom Waits or even Leonard Cohen, straining to convey the imaginative thoughts streaming from his cortex into something even a drug-addled subconscious could piece together. The album sounds like the inspiration to half-a-dozen David Lynch flicks, sexy Americana folk with notes of early jazz and a more blues experimental Captain Beefheart. For you more modern music fans, look to a comparison of Ike Reilly with a more gravelly voiced narrative. Seth’s friendship, apprenticeship, and eventually his caretaking for the gravelly ill blind blues-man Paul Pena, noted for his superb “Big Old Jet Airliner” and the figure of an Oscar-nominated documentary, “Genghis Blues
”, is certainly felt throughout this excellent disc of fertile blues and art-pop landscape dubbed simply “To the Pouring Rain”. Outstanding and an essential pick for those looking for the next modern-day blues prophet.
I can’t believe more people aren’t gushing and obsessing about Prize Country. “With Love” is a fantastic journey across the myriad of DC hardcore via their hometown of Portland, Oregon with firm nods towards the late great Quicksand. We should all band together and make this band a huge success so that guitarist Jacob Depolitte doesn’t have to drive a cab for a living anymore (unless of course he wants to do it as a side hobby). With artwork done by renowned Philly poster artist, Mike Wohlberg, “With Love” is the total package. Riff heavy guitar-centric post-hardcore that boasts bass-heavy glides and sleekly dirty production and engineering efforts that was polished perfectly by recording engineer and producer Stephen Hawkes. Songs like “Gamble” and “It Was a Night Just Like Tonight” will make you forget your deep seeded resentment towards the demise of groups like Quicksand and Snapcase. This is one of the most essential albums this year, taking Fugazi to task with their intrepid backdrop of caustic guitar chords and surging melodic vocal yells.
Eccentric music for eccentric listeners. That would be the byline that I’d postulate if I was a member of Tribecastan’s PR team. Indeed, “Strange Cousin” is a strange bastard stepchild red-headed cousin whatever of varied and sundry musical styles ranging from Middle Eastern to Croatian to Swedish to even elements of punk rock. Utilizing instruments as varied as the mandolin, steel drum, yayli tambur, Jew’s harp, fujara, hurdy gurdy, Bulgarian gaida, box fiddle, Uilleann chanter, chromatic tambourine, bender, mandocello, tupan, nyckleharpa, Kelhorn, and Pakistani taxi horn. Mixing up folk music from various region across the world with urbanized pop and cross-cultural ethnic jams, Tribecastan finds its roots in a small neck of the woods of Manhattan which is a cross-roads in of itself. Inventive, energetic, and vigorously different, “Strange Cousin” beckons to the world-traveled listener that is weary of standard pop fare.
Pride Parade are two pieces of white bread toasted with Southern rock and jammed with Mudhoney, “Dose” is a single waiting to fly off shelves. Crunchy guitar laced with manic singing graduated from the College of Cobain, Pride Parade abstains from nuance for fistfuls of toxicity, passion, and intravenous drugs. This is going to be one of the next big finds in the music worlds, so pick it up immediately.
If you’re an avid reader of Smother over the years, you’ll note that one year was spent reviewing a dozen albums by indie alternative rock outfit Moes Haven. Quirky pop tunes that laugh in the face of the serious. Found in the mail package along with the CD was a DVD of their new indie flick, “Monsters, Marriage, and Murder in Manchvegas” – a hilarious b movie set to the tune of horror thriller, peep the trailer here. But back to the music – this is a collection of some of the finest moments of Moes Haven, though why they didn’t include the track that they wrote for me is beyond me! Adventuresome songwriters that have somehow completely scared off that disease known as ‘writer’s block’. Awesome guys, awesome.
Beautiful vocal harmonies, clarinet, piano, experimental noise, horns, and did I mention vocal harmonies: this is what Slaraffenland uses to separate themselves from anyone else in the indie pop universe and it works big time. Home is Denmark and their second home is their love of crafting some of the most amazingly lush songs you’ll have the pleasure of enjoying.
The first full-length album from The Union Trade debuts their cinematic post-rock experience that is mapped out with crafty climaxes and dips into caverns of lows. Cheering on the recent wave of minor key grandeur in indie rock, The Union Trade seem destined to swiftly pour their influence into the pores of songwriters across the States. Dense walls of guitar are glazed and spackled with inflections of sound effects and distortion. Their record label, Tricycle Records, better make sure they have a solid contract in place with these folks as the Union Trade is easily the next Coldplay. As emotional as it could get, “Everyday Including” is a transcendental album awash in guitar fuzzy logic and hugely catchy triumphs. Simply amazing and simply essential. Own it and friend them on myspace.
Screamo, it’s one of those genres you can either dig, or you just totally admonish. Oddly enough I was a pretty big fan of the sound when it was first being developed in the early ‘90’s; unfortunately it got bloated by sound-a-likes and fashionazis. But even while the genre became blander and blander, there were some bands that rose to the occasion. Forget their tender angst riddled lyrics for a second and they’re cheesy melodic croonings and focus instead on the talented hops and skips between heavy hardcore metal and pop-punk anthems. If you can accomplish that you’ll enjoy at least two or three tracks on this sophomore effort by Alesana. Otherwise it’s mall-core to the max.
Not since I first heard Statistics have I been this impressed with an indie rock outfit; Moving Mountains’ “Pneuma” will not only burn the charts but be the very top of so many “best of”’s that it seems as if it’s the very first essential album of this new millennium. Greek for “breathe”, the album features airy ambience and complex arrangements that take the term post-rock to a whole new plane of existence. Beautiful textures and dominant guitar arpeggio collide to forge a happy union between emotional rock, math-oriented punk, and the epically melodic. Space rock ventures are found on songs that are as deep as the Northeastern woods. Perhaps the best song on the album, “Grow On, Grow Up, Grow Out”, ends with crashing crescendo lapping at your feet like cold wet waves, building things up to smash it all down amid storied layers of intimate and intricately woven harmonies. Simply said: riveting.