Monday, April 30, 2012

Music for Monday - The Tower and The Fool

I know. I talk about these guys all the time. I can't help it.

But it's Monday and I've spent most of it a my local Starbucks, writing out a handwritten letter for the Art House Co-op Note Swap and I just can't turn off the new album.

How Long is such an epic ride, it's great for that blues you're feeling on your Monday, getting back into the groove as summer dares to start. You want it to be summer. I want it to be summer, and this is the album for reminding you why. For those moments you long for that summer love lost. For those nights where work and life and school aren't more important than the moment. Maybe elsewhere that happens year 'round, but down here in the South that only usually happens in the summer.

So go stream the album, then pick up a copy. You won't regret it.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Concert - The Maine, Lydia, and The Arkells

I'd been a little short on concerts and this one wound up being my treat night. Kat tweeted me and we decided, last minute to go to The Maine show. My idea of a good time.

I'd never heard The Arkells before, but they caught my attention with less than a few notes. Their music, reminded me of Austin Gibbs, though that's not to lump them in with a former opener for The Maine, I can see the appeal. I was blown away by the energy, the sound, the solid rock beat that didn't waver even from the start of the set.
The Arkells with Kennedy Brock

I caught myself singing along to repeated chorus, getting really caught up in songs like "Deadlights" and "Whistleblower", easily caught up in the whole feel of everything. I definitely could get behind them geting the crowd to join in on a very jazzy version of "This Little Light of Mine" leading into another song. They also brought out John from The Maine to sing a little, and Kennedy as well to play along.

Up next was Lydia, whom I had listened to before, and while I had no idea what to expect, I was pretty darn excited. Their music was great when I sampled it, but it had been so long it felt new all over again. I told Kat the same thing as they were getting started, to have Lydia as well as The Arkells, it was like having the two different spectrums that The Maine encompass themselves. Lydia has this sort of ethereal feel, probably in part to Leighton Antelman, their lead singer's voice, which has a unique tone, similar to a Brian Dales of The Summer Set or a Bryan Donahue of Early Morning Blues. Not the typical sound, but pleasing.

Is it possible to appreciate a singer additionally for his attitude on stage? Maybe. Leighton seemed to have this almost...shy way about him while he sang, which honestly made him slightly more appealing in my book. I can't explain it.

There was no stopping the instant fire The Maine brought the moment they stepped on stage, especially opening with "Identify" (and " come the fireworks" came with a blast of confetti). The crowd was small but they were completely into it, jumping up and down, singing along and cheering.

It was such a rush, fantastic rush. I've said it before, the Pioneer album is a change in sound, and part of me worried that these kids wouldn't grow up with the guys, but they proved me wrong. They were there in full force having a great time, singing along. Pioneer was an album meant to be heard live. And it's perfect life. "My Heroine" had us all shaking and dancing along with it. The older songs, most of them were revamped to flow with the new songs, stronger music, heavier bass and drum lines to ease out of the pop-tastic sound they had before and into this more grown up rock and roll sound. It was fantastic.

As always there are antics on stage, with John trying to get the crowd to sing and yell, and Garrett opting to do it himself. Which of course led to John telling him to shut up.

A highlight to the night was bringing big portions of both Lydia and The Arkells back on stage for a cover of "Help From My Friends" by the Beatles, which cheesy as it might have been, was pretty damn great. Like said, it was further proof that those two bands do sit on either side of the spectrum of The Maine.

Closing with "Don't Give Up On Us" wasn't what I would have guess, but man did it make sense. I still feel like part of that song is about the band, about the fact that they are still here, they will still be here, no matter what happens with record labels and how they age. Don't give up on them and they won't give up on us.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Album Review - "How Long" By The Tower and The Fool

You know all those feelings you pretend you don't have? The forlorn ones that you watch movies about or read books about and pretend that they happen to other people and not yourself? The Tower and The Fool will remind you that you do have them. Just get that box of tissues out before even turning How Long on.

Don't let that fear of feeling deter you though. Every song, even the few you've heard before, will cut right to the bone, words to remind you how it feels to actually feel something. (And that's what we're all striving for these days isn't it?) I made the mistake (or very right choice) of listening to it for the first time around late at night and found myself caught up in way too many feelings and wide awake for longer than I would have expected.

"Dive Bar" reminds me of every love that didn't really make sense but I held on to just to hold on to it. "Maybe you're pinning over something you never even had in the first place / maybe you fell in love with the feeling and not the girl." If that doesn't remind you of something you've never been in love in the first place. While other musicians are idealizing love, which yes, works because we all want an ideal love, Tower isn't afraid to point out the raw side. "Who Does She Think She Is?" is a slow reminder that love sucks and when it ends it doesn't just go away overnight, no matter what you try.

All the while though, while you're having your heart ripped out or remembering every bit of heartache you've ever felt, How Long is music perfection. The collection of artists that make up the band, beyond frontmen Chris and Alex, are infinitely talented and it shows in every single note. The feelings you've avoided might be brought up again, but it will be a ride you can't help but enjoy every step of the way.

I think in the end it was "Valentine's Day" that brought out my tears. It was close with some of the others, and I do love the newer version of "My Heart Is Dead in NYC" (since the version that went onto their first release was slow enough to leave a girl laying on the floor with the record player going). It's likely the close friends I've made in my travels, the honor I've had of meeting so many of the people so closely related to this album and scene, but "I just wished I was back in Boston next to you" made me miss all my friends more than I thought I could.

Stream the album at the Run For Cover Records bandcamp page, and pick up your copy there as well. It hits iTunes on Friday, but it's cheaper off the bandcamp page. Do it. You won't regret it. Trust me.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Color Me Excited

I can't wait for tomorrow.

The Tower and The Fool's full length album comes out tomorrow and I can't wait for it to wind up on my doorstep (sometime next week I'm sure) but I'm still excited.

This gorgeous acoustic rendition of "Dive Bar" was shared by their label, Run for Cover Records, and it is, in a word, stunning.

Enjoy it, get excited and then go over the RFC store and pick up your copy.

Another note: I've said this before, but RFC has a solid cast of characters on their label. And I slightly hero worship Jeff, who started it. Do everyone on the label.

Music for Monday - Pretend Surprise

It's oddly windy and cold here today (which is strange for April, though everyone else I talk to has rain and I at least still have some sunshine), and it's a day that needs something to distract you from that weather. (If I had rain, the mood might change, but I'd rather perk up the windy weather).

Which leads me to today's music choice Pretend Surprise. Perfect choice for this sort of weather. "The Product of a 24-hour News Cycle" is the kind of song you listen to and you can feel your hair blowing around your face, sweeping you up into sky like Dorothy or something.

The band hails from Wilmington, NC and can't really fit into a specific genre in my mind, but their upbeat beats and thoughtful lyrics give them the energy of all your favorite bands smashed into one. Every track on their EP, HOTmath, makes me think of a different band that I love and I can't stop bobbing my head with each one.

So as your Monday tries to blow you away or freeze you out when you should be in strictly summer clothes, add Pretend Surprise to you headphones. Their EP is up for streaming at their bandcamp page. You can also pick up a copy of it there, with a portion of every purchase going to DREAMS Center for Arts Education in Wilmington NC (how awesome is that? Getting good music and doing good in one click).

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

"What Should I Be Listening To?"

It's fast becoming my favorite question to get. And I'm getting it a lot. "What should I be listening to?" Or "What's new?" I sort of really love introducing people to new music. But that's why I'm doing this in the first place right?

One of my oldest friends, Daniel picked on some Early Morning Blues lyrics that I tweeted and I of course, am forever willing to support my favorite band by spreading that music everywhere I can get it. Not surprising, Daniel fell in love with the lyrics.

I got another tweet today, that I really did need to give him a list of stuff to check out. So I worked on it for a bit, and I started a spotify playlist. It's not perfect, but it's a lot of stuff that went asked, I opt to introduce the world to.

You can check it out here!

I'd love to hear what you like and what you didn't like.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music for Monday - Darling Parade

(image source)

I got a tip on this one from one of my favorite girls, Colleen who suggested I check out today's Music for your Monday, Darling Parade. She's a big supporter and honestly, I almost always trust her tastes.

As always, she hit the mark with this one. The Nashville based group claims their own new genre of "popcore" (I love that. I love coming up with new genres.) and it definitely is fitting. With a front girl on vocals there's a fine line to tred, one side very Avril and obnoxious and the other side very Evanescence, which toes the line of rock opera. It's not an easy no man's land to be in but Darling Parade shines their way through it. While other girl-lead rock groups tend to leave me wanting more, the only thing Darling Parade leaves me wanting more of is more music.

The answer might be coming soon though, with new music on the horizon. According to their website, a new album, full length, will be in the works this spring, which means the answer to what you want is definitely headed your way.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

David and Jacki's Wedding!

(as a heads up, this one is going to be picture heavy)

I do love a good wedding. And I love it even more when one of my best friends gets to marry the guy she loves.

I met David and Jacki through Champ and I've loved being friends with her and David. It was such a thrill to be in her wedding, because it was finally the wedding where Gina, Jacki and I all got to be in the same wedding. We'd been joking for a while that if we met sooner we would have been in each others without a doubt. Finally right?

handsome guys
Meet David (with his handsome groomsmen in the background).

I cared very little that I got a snide comment in my direction during the rehearsal. I was taking photos. Hah.

perfect bride
I so love this shot of Jacki. This is her. Perfectly done, a sign of pure lady-like composure. While I would be a wreck in a Jane Austen period, Jacki would be Elizabeth or Mary Bennet.

A little bit of a laugh
Something was funny.

rehearsal - pretty bride and groom

Pretty girl, getting ready for the big day
(see perfect)

finishing touch to the bride's hair

Hats were requested for the ladies. Needless to say we all had some sort of massive fascinators in our hair. I wore one I cherish from a few years ago.

The ceremony was lovely, I only got misty when she first walked down the aisle (the music from the new Pride and Prejudice movie started). Jacki got a little teary during her vows, but nothing that made it difficult to speak and overall it was just really lovely to be a part of.

First dance

In a heroically different choice they had their first dance to Bright Eyes' "The First Day of My Life", which was great. Very cute and very them.

First dance

Jacki and her dad danced to "Little Wonders" by Rob Thomas. I all but instantly tweeted him about it and YAY he tweeted me back thanks for sharing. Love it.

Pretty girls
(Gina, Jesse and I, I'm on the right for those who forgot what I looked like)

David and Champ
The Groom, David, and Champ!

Bridesmaid and Bride

Katy, Jacki, Gina and Jesse

Dancing fun
A little blurry, but I still love it.

The last song of the night was Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" as nights should end and those of us who were left, yelled our lungs out. It was grand.

Don't Stop Believing

All good things always come to an and it was time to head out, off to the happily ever after as I like to say. As always, love them so very much. Congrats again Dave and Jacki, thanks for letting both Champ and I be a part of your oh so special day.

Happily Ever After

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Album Pre-order: The Tower and The Fool "How Long"

One of my favorites, and a band I tend to frequent shows for when in Boston, The Tower and the Fool, has a new album coming out on April 24. The pre-orders for the album, being released on Run For Cover Records, just went live.

The deluxe CD and vinyl first 100 orders come with a 120-page book with an in-depth look into the method behind the madness that went into the album. I've heard a few of the songs on the album live and I'm sure we're in for something great.

Pick up your pre-order on the Run For Cover Recods webstore and then, if you can't wait? Check out my new favorite song by TTaTF, "Scoliosis":

Bonus: If you're feeling creative, there's not a bad thing on the RFC label. A few month's ago I picked up their "Mixed Signals" compilation and it's solid. Make sure you check everything this label has to offer.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Album Review: The Lakehouse Recordings: Unplugged by Anchors

I've reviewed Anchors before. Even gave you some insight into these alternative rockers who really truly believe in music. Their first EP was laden with great lines, reminiscent of Tool and true alternative music that just doesn't seem to exist any more. As a treat, at least that's the only thing I can call it, they debuted an acoustic EP, The Lakehouse Recordings: Unplugged, with two of their songs and it's a must-hear. You can give it a listen to it over on their bandcamp page.

I've already said that these guys do have the vocals which seem to be far less important with an alternative album these days, and they prove it in this EP. "The Weight of a Hummingbird" is a song I already really loved, but in acoustic it just shines. You definitely need to be listening to these guys, but if you aren't into alternative music? Grab the acoustic EP. It's worth it, you'll love it no matter what you listen to.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music For Monday - Go Periscope

Eletrorock. Hey, don't you dare go clicking somewhere else, I know you're being skeptical, but stick with me here, I wouldn't lead you astray.

If you visit here half of regularly, you have an idea of what my type of music is. You think: Who cares how cute the guys are from Seattle-based Go Periscope, it's not your style of music. You aren't going to like it. And I'm here to tell you: I do like it.

Take a deep breath and give these guys a shot. Their new single "Boys Like, Girls Like" isn't too far from anything from Cobra Starship and face it you like them. It's like listening to 3Oh!3 and not cringing at how stupid the lyrics are. It's a fun ride, peppy and enough to get you dancing.

Their album, which you can stream off their website is just as good and after you dig it? You can go get it on iTunes or Amazon, whichever you prefer.

So maybe you want to go slow, dip your toe into something that sounds more familiar? Check out The Mixtape or Remix which are mash-ups and mix ups of songs you've heard before, taking a new spin on songs that you thought you were tired of, but you might actually start to like again. And face it, if anyone can make "Like A G-6" not be annoying, it's worth a second shot in my mind (it's a song about an airplane. It's as cool as it gets it's it's the worst song ever, at least until Go Periscope got their hands on it).

Love it and adore it and add it to your playlists. I know I'm already considering dumping it on my half marathon training list at the very least.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Album Review: On Your Way EP by Radio Drive By

God love these boys from Arizona, I think Radio Drive By follows me on every form of social media I have. Not that I mind, I just have to laugh every time their name comes up. Finally getting around to checking them out, I have to say I was impressed. They remind me a lot the other bands out of Arizona that I love (My Girl Friday, The Maine and This Century to top the list), but that's not to say they sound the same. They don't. It must be something about the dry heat out there, but they have that feel. Vague yes, but that's the best word I have for it and you're used to me being vague.

The EP they've put out, On Your Way is a four song love story from end to start, oddly enough it does seem to go in that order. "Desiree" opens with the line "we were just kids" which hooks anyone over the age of twenty-one. Oh god, you think. Those days. Where you were stupid and young and did things and got into relationships that you didn't understand properly and they fell apart. Which is this song. By the time the song gets to the line "don't forget me" in the chorus you're thinking, please don't.

"Where Your Heat Belongs" brings in backing vocals from Steff Koeppen which doesn't actually take away from the song. I love an added female vocalist, love a powerful male / female combo (see Sleeper Agent) but sometimes…it just doesn't work. A good singer does not make a good back up vocalist. The meshing of voices really works though. Then the vocals drop on "What You Need" and forget the rest I got completely hooked.

Last up is the ballad, which always tells a lot about a band. It's more acoustic, forcing vocals to take over, which they do. The lead singer has a unique voice, which doesn't seem like it would stand up alone, but it really does and while the song has such a pretty sound that sucks you into it? It's not this massive deviation from everything else. Sometimes when a band busts out a ballad it sounds like a different band (and worst, if that song gets put on the radio. Imagine your surprise when everything else is yelling and loud bass lines). That's not the case with this song, it's a ballad by the same band, enough to slow you down and make the young girl tear up (which sounds trite, but face it, that's the goal).

I love the lyrics, just specific enough to break a heart, but not to alienate the listener, hitting those painful or better moments that always seem to crop up when it's the last thing anyone wants. It's catchy pop rock that gets stuck in your head, but you don't mind humming all day.

Pick up the EP on iTunes or stream the full thing on their Facebook page (after you like the page).

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