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I Prevail Announce ‘Rage on the Stage’ Autumn Tour

I PrevailMichigan metalcore outfit I Prevail have announced a run of autumn shows being billed as the Rage on the Stage tour. The quartet are still out on back of their debut full length Lifelines (Fearless Records, 2016), and support on all dates will come from fellow metalcore-ers We Came As Romans, The Word Alive, and Escape The Fate.

Check out the full list of dates below.

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Tours: Pierce The Veil / White Lung / Rise Against

Fearless RecordsPierce The Veil has announced that they will be touring in support of Rise Against with White Lung.  The video features the song “Drive In” and comes from their latest full length, Misadventures, out now via Fearless Records.

Tour dates are below.

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Video: Real Friends – Empty Picture Frames

Real FriendsChicago pop-punk outfit Real Friends has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Mess,” which appears on their latest album, The Home Inside My Head, which dropped in May 2016 via Fearless Records.

Check out the video below.

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Video: Pierce The Veil – Floral & Fading

Fearless RecordsPierce The Veil has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Drive In” and comes from their latest full length, Misadventures, out now via Fearless Records.

Watch the video below.

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Video: Pierce The Veil – Drive In

Fearless RecordsPierce The Veil has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Drive In” and comes from their latest full length, Misadventures, out now via Fearless Records.

Watch the video below.

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Video: Real Friends – Mess

Real FriendsChicago pop-punk outfit Real Friends has premiered a new music video.  The video features the song “Mess,” which appears on their latest album, The Home Inside My Head, which dropped back in May via Fearless Records.

Check out the video below.

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Tours: I Prevail

I PrevailDetroit rock band I Prevail will be heading on tour in support of their new debut album.  The disc will be titled Lifeless and is set to drop on October 21, 2016 via Fearless Records.  Pre-orders are live.  

Tour dates are below.

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I Prevail – Lifeless

I PrevailDetroit rock band I Prevail has premiered a new song from their debut, full length album.  The disc will be titled Lifeless and is set to drop on October 21, 2016 via Fearless Records.  Singer Brian Burkheiser comments:

‘Stuck In Your Head’ is a final send off to a bad relationship. I had reached my breaking point and the similarity of a worn and damaged record was all I could compare this relationship too.  I had to write about it but It couldn’t be an emotional break up song. It had to be straightforward, aggressive and in your face.  That’s exactly how I felt at the time. You lost me, and you’ll regret it.”

Listen to the song here.  Pre-orders are live.

Video: Pierce The Veil – Circles

Fearless RecordsPierce The Veil has debuted a brand new music video.  The video features the song “Circles” and comes from their latest full length, Misadventures, out now via Fearless Records.

Watch the video below.

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I Prevail Detail New LP; Premiere Music Video

I PrevailDetroit rock band I Prevail has announced details for their debut, full length album.  The disc will be titled Lifeless and is set to drop on October 21, 2016 via Fearless Records.  Pre-orders are live.

Coinciding with the announcement, the band has premiered the song “Scars,” which can be heard below.

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Video: Real Friends – Scared To Be Alone

Real FriendsChicago pop-punk outfit Real Friends has premiered a new song and music video.  The video features the song “Scared To Be Alone,” which appears on their upcoming album, The Home Inside My Head, and is set to drop on May 27, 2016 via Fearless Records.

Check out the video below.

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The Word Alive Stream New Track ‘Trapped’

The Word AlivePhoenix, AZ metalcore band The Word Alive are streaming a new track. It is titled Trapped and will feature on the quintet’s upcoming LP Dark Matter, due for release on March 18th via Fearless Records. Frontman Telle Smith recently spoke to Kerrang!:

“If you know what it’s like to feel confined to your vices or someone who is, you’ll feel the intensity of ‘Trapped’.Whether your fix is drugs, alcohol, sex or phycological insecurities, we all have something that can hold us back. ‘Trapped’ is about that feeling, and trying to crawl out of the hole that can be our heads.”

Check out the stream of Trapped below.

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The White Noise Join Fearless Records; Post New Video

Fearless RecordsThe White Noise has signed on with Fearless Records.  To mark the occasion the band has premiered a new music video featuring the single “Bloom,” which is available digitally today.

Watch the video below.

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Chunk! No, Captain Chunk Post Lyric Video for ‘Playing Dead’

Chunk_No_Captain_ChunkFrench pop punk outfit Chunk! No, Captain Chunk (Aka C!NCC) have posted a lyric video for their track Playing Dead. The song features on their upcoming full length Get Lost, Find Yourself, due to drop on May 18th (UK) and 19th (US) via Fearless Records.

Check out the lyric video for Playing Dead below.

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As It Is Announce New Album, Stream ‘Concrete’

As_It_Is1Transatlantic pop punk band As It Is have announced that their new full length, Never Happy, Ever After is due for release on April 20th in the UK and a day later in the US (via Fearless Records). The band are hitting the road next month for a UK tour alongside Seaway, This Wild Life and Boston Manor.

Ahead of the album release the band are streaming the lead single Concrete, and the full list of tour dates below.

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Stream: Punk Goes Christmas

Punk goes ChristmasThe latest album in Fearless Records‘ Punk Goes… sampler can now be streamed online.

The titled, dubbed Punk Goes Christmas, sees bands such as New Found Glory, Yellowcard, Man Overboard and The Ready Set, doing Christmas and holiday songs. 

The album is available now and can be streamed here.

The World Alive - Deceiver

The World Alive

Deceiver

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

When I first saw The World Alive’s debut EP, Empire, I was surprised. It was unlike anything Fearless had put out recently, the artwork was intricate and impressive and the heavy metalcore EP showed potential despite it not being my style.

For the last year and a bit, they’ve stayed in my memory banks because of that surprising introduction. Sadly, they lost that surprising element now and Deceiver came through exactly as I expected – although this time they toned down the artwork and given the album a rather generic and forgettable front cover. 

Deceiver picks up where Empire left off:  the record is a heavy metalcore album. Low, guttural screams penetrate the tracks, punctuated by a never ending barrage of double bass kicks. It’s a technically proficient album, with lightning fast riffs that bring up visions of Protest The Hero (particularly on the opener The Hounds of Anubis). This heavy onslaught sounds like Bring Me The Horizon but with a fuller production value.

However, just like their EP – they constantly throw in melodic and smooth vocals in the mix; making for the occasional gang vocal and sing-along portion that require the band to tone their volume and slow it down ever so slightly. This adds some needed variety but often doesn’t fit the sound properly. An odd moment here and there and it works, but they do it too often that it just feels forced. Take Consider It Mutual; a song that pretty much leaves all the metal elements of their sound behind and instead deliver a song that is nearly all melodic vocals. This just sounds out of place – if it wasn’t for the never ending double bass kicks you wouldn’t know it was the same band for close to half the track. Instead, it’s just like every other overly polished nu-emo band.

And ultimately, it all seems kind of generic. While I am by no means an expert in the metalcore genre – it tends to be a style I avoid – The World Alive have failed to add anything new to the sound that I haven’t heard before; and haven’t been able to entice me to the metalcore fold.

Deceiver, like its cover art, is generic and eventually forgettable. Yes, there are flashes of intense musicianship but they throw in too many clichés that it becomes forgettable.  The band had promise on their EP – and they’ve built on it a bit here but it still falls short; and I can’t help but think that the only reason Empire really stood out in the first place was because I wasn’t expecting it to sound the way it did. Now I know what to expect and they failed to push the boundaries.

Punk Goes Pop 3

Various Artists

Punk Goes Pop Volume 3

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 0.5/5

 
 

 

 

Fearless Records’ annual Punk Goes… series used to be a compilation that I eagerly awaited. Punk Goes… Acoustic is still one of my favourite compilations despite its awful artwork. But now, ten years into the compilation series, the announcement of a new Punk Goes… compilation is treated with laughs and snickers instead of excitement and anticipation. These are not good compilations any longer sadly and have very little – close to nothing – to do with “punk” anymore.

At best, this should be called “Pop Rock Goes… Pop” but most is just “Pop Goes… Pop” with only three “Metalcore goes… pop” songs on the album. Because frankly, these are just pop bands who haven’t broken into the mainstream covering pop bands who have broken into the mainstream.

Plus,  I don’t know  about you – but I’ve only heard four of these original tunes. So to me, these just sound like generic pop songs and I have no idea whether they’ve changed them or not; and that takes away a major appeal of the concept of the album.

Take, for instance, the opening track of Down by Breathe Carolina. This is a synth-pop song with vo-coders and autotune vocals. To me, this is what pop is and even though I’ve never heard the original, I can’t help but think Lil’ Wayne’s vo-coders would be better.

Woe, Is Me’s cover of Katy Perry’s Hot n Cold is one of the metalcore tunes on the album (the others being The World Alive’s take on Kanye West’s Heartless and Miss May I’s Run This Town) but when they go for the melodic chorus, the only thing separating it from a top 40 tune is the double bass kick.

This Century’s Paper Planes cover is commendable but doesn’t hold up against the original or Street Sweeper Social Club’s cover and frankly nothing else is remotely memorable. Family Force 5 deliver a painful electro-pop song while The Ready Set is a bland pop song through and through. Cute Is What We Aim For at least mixes it up with an acoustic tune – but still, blah.

Really, blah sums up Punk Goes..Pop 3 perfectly. This is not punk and is just plain blah and doesn’t deserve any more in-depth examinations.

Punk Goes Pop 2

Various Artists

Punk Goes Pop Volume 2

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 0.5/5

 
 

 

 

So let’s make this simple by starting with the alum title: Punk Goes Pop: Volume Two.  The title implies that the disc within contains pop songs covered by punk artists.  Seems pretty simple, right?  Just gather a bunch of established punk bands, and then give them something to cover off the radio.  This isn’t anything new, Me First And The Gimme Gimmes have been doing it for years, and the formula is simple enough: increase the song in question’s tempo, give it a speedy drumbeat, bouncy guitars, and your done.  There’s usually a hint of comedic relief that comes with hearing your favourite pop tune all punked up, and then we move on, and repeat; pretty hard to mess up, right?

Wrong!  Volume Two fall flat on the first criteria.  There is no punk here, just an odd mix of “electro-pop goes pop” (figure that one out), or more often then not “hardcore goes pop.”  It’s insulting really; who do they think they’re fooling?  At the risk of sounding elitist, screamo group Alesania is not punk, hardcore outfit Silverstein is not punk, and metalcore band August Burns Red is certainly not punk. For that matter, Breathe Carolina is on here as well – you know, the same Breathe Carolina that sounds as if it belongs blaring on a rave floor?  What the hell?  Come to think of it, I’m not even being elitist; there are just simple facts in genre classification that Punk Goes Pop ignores.  I mean, you don’t see other labels going around classifying a traditional German polka as Hip-Hop, so why would you call something that’s blatantly hardcore or electro-pop punk?

If this album was called “hardcore goes pop” or “electro-pop goes pop” then I’d be in a very different position and would be judging these covers on a different set of criteria (which, for those interested, is quite a mixed bag).  But as it stands, the whole album simply reinforces the industry’s tendency to brand anything as “punk” in return for a quick buck.  What you really get in the deceptively titled Punk Goes Pop is a collection of laughable covers of tracks like Brittany Spear’s “…Baby One More Time” in the style of brutal hardcore – a songs I imagine hardcore enthusiasts never would never want permeating the sanctity of the genre – or tracks like Katy Perry’s “I Kissed A Girl” made even more poppy than their original incarnation.  None of these tracks work on any level.

The whole affair is frustratingly hard to listen to and criminally mislabeled.  The album’s sole saving grace is a cover of “Beautiful Girls” by pop-punk group Bayside, but really, in an iTunes age those who might be interested could easily enough just download the single by itself.  Punk Goes Pop: Volume Two is the type of industry cash-in that has helped discredit the merits of mainstream punk in recent years.  Please, do yourself a favour and treat this as if it never existed.

Punk Goes Acoustic 2

Various Artists

Punk Goes Acoustic 2

Fearless Records
By

 
 

 

 

The announcement of the second Punk Goes Acoustic release was greeted with mix feelings, but mostly anticipation. While the list of bands wasn’t quite as strong as it’s predecessor, Punk Goes Acoustic 2 still showed some promise. Sadly, when it comes down to it, the record seems to fall flat – especially when compared to the first attempt. Not only that, but Punk Goes Acoustic 2 is an oddly depressing record.

It’s depressing because it shows the lack of harmony in today’s scene as most of the new bands on here are quite painful to listen to. It’s as if the talent needed to be a singer has fallen to an all time low. All of these new power-pop/emo acts can not survive acoustically simply because the vocalists can’t handle the melody and so they become irritating fast. While a few new acts – The Audition, All Time Low, andSherwood – provide listenable tracks; it is mainly the older and established acts that really hold this release together. Andrew McMahon kicks it off nicely with Jack’s Mannequin‘s Bruised and Mark Hoppus shows us why he is a pop-punk icon with +44‘s Baby Come OnRelient K and Anti-Flag are able to hold their own too but Welcome To 1984 has been available for free online for over two yeas now, Justin Sane and company could have and should have supplied the compilation with a newer track.

Splitting up the more enticing tracks of the older pop-punk generation are songs which shows the sad state of music today. The vocalists just aren’t able to hold their own anymore, and it’s evident when you listen to Alesana, Silverstein or Daphne Loves Derby. The songs are generic and fail to evoke any passion acoustically and the nasally, high pitched vocals are just a depressing look at the current “scene.” Even bands that I do love, like All-American Rejects, Say Anything and Set Your Goals, are unable to transfer their songs into the acoustic format properly which just makes this album all the less enjoyable.

With only a few good tracks to select from, Punk Goes Acoustic 2 fails to live up to it’s expectations. The album is monotonous, it falls flat and becomes repetitive – which is hard for a compilation to do. Instead of picking a selection of acts with respected repertoires who are able to make acoustic songs work, Fearless Records went for a bunch of new bands who are the “in thing” but they won’t be the “in thing” for long.

 

Blessthefall Stream New Album

blessthefallPhoenix, AZ metalcore band Blessthefall have released a stream of their upcoming full length Hollow Bodies via Billboard.com.

The album’s official release is set for August 20th via Fearless Records, but fans can now get an early listen to what frontman Beau Bokan says: “.. is leaps and bounds beyond anything we’ve ever created and that this album will take us places we’ve never been before.”

Listen to the album here.

 

So They Say - Life in Surveillance

So They Say

Life in Surveillance

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

My bus ride to school in the mornings is approximately thirty minutes long. More often that not I use those thirty minutes to great advantage, by which I mean I simply pass out and sleep the entire ride. However, some days I find some reasons to stay awake for the trip. Sometimes it will be because a friend is also riding the bus so I have someone to talk to, other times it’s the fact that I need to read something before school starts and other times I stay awake so I can just zone out and listen to some great (or not so great) tunes. Yesterday was one of those days. I decided it was time I sat and listened to So They Say‘s sophomore album front and back, something I had been putting off for around a week. So I hopped on the bus and turned on my iPod and listened to Life In Surveillance for a while. It didn’t really grab me, but it wasn’t horrible either and my initial trepidations concerning the releases weren’t as strong as they were previously. Then the funniest thing happened, I was woken up by the buzzing of someone requesting a stop.

Turns out I couldn’t quite make it all the way through the album without, literally, falling asleep.

Now, I realized this was a slightly bias result. I mean, it was early in the morning and I was tired and just sitting there doing nothing, so the album can’t be the only thing held responsible for my little nap. Nevertheless, it couldn’t keep me awake either; and that says something too.

You see, Life In Surveillance is exactly what you’d expect from So They Say as the record contains absolutely no surprises. It’s a flawlessly produced conglomeration of post-hardcore, pop-punk and modern emo (I’ve heard the band been described as all three). Suffice to say, So They Say aren’t striving for anything ground breaking with the release but are instead treading softly in already worn out territory. The vocals are pitch perfect, making them rather bland and forgettable as they melt into the mixture of keyboards, guitars and bass. At times they’re able to elevate themselves to new heights and bring in a slight punch in the vocals (Close Range and Wake Me Up being prime examples), but for the most part they’re simply meh.

It’s like a mixture of Armor For Sleep, The Spill Canvas, and Hidden In Plain View with some Classic Case, Silverstein, National Product and Royden thrown in too. It makes for an album that is a tad better than a lot of the releases being spat out these past few years; but it also fails to strike any chord with the listener and it will be thrown to the pack of your CD pile within the first few weeks of getting it. It’s just a generic modern emo/post-hardcore output and while it has a few moments that aren’t completely bland, there’s not many.

So how would I describe the album? I’d say meh. M-E-H. Meh.

Tour: Sleeping With Sirens / The Summer Set (UK/Europe)

SirensOrlando screamo band Sleeping With Sirens are touring Europe this autumn in support of their latest full length Feel which was released on June 4th via Rise Records. Support on all dates will come from Arizona’s The Summer Set who are promoting their album Legendary which has been out since April via Fearless Records.

Full dates below.

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Yesterdays Rising - Lightworker

Yesterdays Rising

Lightworker

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

To say I was excited about Yesterdays Rising‘s follow up to 2004’s When We Speak We Breathe EP would be a lie. Because, I really wasn’t looking forward to it. Although the EP received some good press, I couldn’t stand it and found it painful to listen to in full. So the news Lightworker didn’t really give me much anticipation and when I got a copy, it took me a while to finally play it. But when I did, I was pleasantly surprised to see the band has grown a bit and that the CD wasn’t half bad.

Now sure, Lightworker is by no means a masterpiece – they still have a long way before they are anyway near that. It isn’t life changing, but in fact, moderately generic for the most part. Their music is a mix of emo, metal and screamo with slightly whiny singing vocals and powerful screams scattered about. They follow the trend of the uprising emo movement very well, and I’m sure many scenesters will jump at the opportunity of getting the CD; but they still can’t escape the fact that nothing really distinguishes them from the masses musically. Hell, nothing on the songs themselves really separate them from other songs on the album and they tend to fall into a drone after a while with nothing new kicking in.

Despite all of that though, Yesterdays Rising does have one thing that makes them standout in the crowd. That thing is the lyrics. Take the acoustic track My Conscious Curiosity for example, which asks “What am I a part of? What makes one Dream? And what makes a person have intuitive passion for something? What gives us touch, and a sweet taste? Who warms out inner soul and what makes us break?“. Or even better, search the lyrics for Experience To Write or Let Us and they will easily blow you away.

Sure, Yesterdays Rising are by no means my favorite band out there, they are far from it. But still, Lightworker has given me some hopes in the band. The CD isn’t life changing or epic, its kind of generic; but they do have a few good songs which are able to be played over again – and the lyrics are just great.

Rock Kills Kid - Are You Nervous?

Rock Kills Kid

Are You Nervous?

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

Whenever you read anything about Rock Kills Kid, you read how lead song writer, James Tucker, was saved by writing songs.That he didn’t dream to be a rock star, it just happened while he was a sad, lonely, depressed adolescent and then pushed forward once he began living illegally in a recording studio. All very touching in some ways, but at the same time, complete bull shit to make a good selling bio and something for all the critics to talk about. Because the truth is, when you listen to either Are You Nervous? or their self-titled EP from over 3 years ago, you can’t help but feel that everything he does was to become a gigantic rock star, and he then became depressed because that dream failed him.

Take a look at the four song EP, it was released on a burgeoning independent record label playing a nice sound of emo and pop-punk. There were a few gems, like Miracle and Immanuel, and the EP was relatively well received. How could it not considering its placement amongst the ever growing emo/punk scene. Still, they didn’t break it big (its hard to with only an EP to their names).So Tucker, being the strong man that he is, refused to tour – which is the one thing any artist in their right mind knows they need to do to promote themselves. But no, he didn’t. He gave up, when into hiding, writing new songs and emerged a few years later with a new album, Are You Nervous?, on a major label and with a brand new sound.

The sound on the new full length is remarkably different than that of the EP, and yet, decisively familiar because once again, Tucker has attempted to cash in on a new trend. Sadly though, this try may succeed since he broke into it soon enough. The ten track album swims with songs of indie rock molding with the new wave revival,making for one incredibly annoying, but slightly catchy album. The more you listen to it, the more the songs stand out, but whether that’s a good thing or not remains to be seen. While on the first few listens the only two remarkable tracks are the single, Paralyzed, thanks to it’s instant recognition and the annoying but abnormally catchy and mellow Life Is A Bitch; the more times you play the album, you start to pick out more memorable moments – like Run Like Hell or Don’t Want To Stay. But even though the songs are becoming less of a drone, they’re still not aching to be heard either. It’s like an unnatural mix of Hot Hot Heat, Action Action and The Vines/Stokes indie rock sound; and it just doesn’t work.

Yes, there are a few decent songs on Are You Nervous?, but it still remains bland, repetitive and boring after a few listens. You just can’t help but feel like Tucker is trying to cash in on both the indie rock and the new wave revival trends – and it’ll be curious to see if once this album bombs, whether he’ll refuse to tour again or not.

Punk Goes Acoustic

Various Artists

Punk Goes Acoustic

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Fearless Records have finally released their third installment in their Punk Goes… series. This time, it’s Punk Goes Acoustic. After having many problems with labels, distribution companies, and production; the label was finally able to release this 20 song album of bands covering their own songs acoustically.

It’s always good to sit back and remember the roots of all music. The time before computers came into play; the time before the electric guitars became the most popular; the time of acoustic guitars. Some songs on the album have lost the power that their original version had. Take Taking Back Sunday‘s song, Cute Without The “E”. The song, like the original version, is vocally driven; but without the hard guitar and bass melodies, the song loses some of it’s power.

The opposite also happens on many of the tracks. Finch‘s Letters To You is just as powerful as ever. Nate’s vocals have a melodic feel to it as he goes through lyric after lyric. It reminds you what the band can really do. Rise Against took me by total surprise with one of the best acoustic songs of the year in their track called Swing Life Away. Other standout tracks are Sugarcult‘s, Midtown‘s and Yellowcard‘s additions to the compilation.

Fearless Records have given us a treat here. It was well wroth having to wait for the album to finally be released after many pushbacks. Like I said before, it’s always nice to just sit back and reflect on how music became what it is today. And plus, you get a special split CD with Fearless Records and Victory Records along with the album as a bonus.

Punk Goes 80s

Various Artists

Punk Goes 80's

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

From the moment Fearless Records announced the release of their fourth album in their Punk Goes… series, I knew it would be somewhat of a flop. I hate almost all the music from the 1980s, and while there are a few songs from that era that I enjoy, to hear an entire CD with songs from that would be horrible. But still, punk covers of the songs should be more entertaining then the original versions shouldn’t they?

Well, that’s what I thought anyway – too bad the bands didn’t share the same opinion. Although it is pointless to have another long debate about what constitutes “real” punk, one thing I can say is that practically none of these are anything remotely punk like. Normally when you think of “punk”, you think of fast music or music that gets you energized; but all the bands here have taken a much more mellow approach to the songs. They all sound like the originals songs way too much, there’s pretty much no difference and no special touch to them. Although all these bands have a certain unique characteristic to themselves on their own songs, they didn’t use any of those characteristics to help them here.

Take for example, Sugarcult‘s cover of Modern English‘s I Melt With You. They should’ve used Mest‘s cover here, although its an old song, its done around a million times better then the way Sugarcultdoes it. Songs by Gatsbys American Dream (Just Like Heaven – The Cure), Brazil (Wrapped Around Your Finger – The Police) and Jamison Parker (Everyone Wants To Rule The World – Tears For Fears) are just plain boring and way too wimpy to be entertaining. And Emery‘s Holding Out For A Hero (Bonnie Tyler) doesn’t even feature one of their signatures screams.

That’s not to say all fifteen tracks are complete bombs. The Bangles‘s Manic Monday was re-done by Relient K and it sounds pretty good and So They Say‘s cover of Rod Stewart‘s Forever Young is a good addition from the young band, even if it does sound like the original. They best song on the album though is the ever famous Video Killed The Radio Star by Amber Pacific. It actually shows us what a good cover song can sound like. It is fast and raw, but still pays homage to the original by not changing it completely – they just put their own touch to it rather then make the song the exact same as before.

This really isn’t as good as the Punk Goes… series has been as of late. So hopefully on their next one, they’ll be able to make up for this one.

 

 

Plain White T's - Hey There Delilah

Plain White T's

Hey There Delilah

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

When Plain White T’s released their sophomore album, All That We Needed last year, no one could expect what was going to happen. The CD was swallowed up, by fans and critics alike, and All That We Needed was in everybody’s CD player. The leading force behind that staying power was the mellow closer, Hey There Delilah, and that didn’t go unnoticed. The band saw the love for the song, and to repay their ever growing fan base they threw together a short, six song Hey There Delilah EP.

The EP features a new version and a live version of the hit single, along with some music videos and live videos and four brand new songs. Of course, the highlight of the album is the two Hey There Delilahsongs, because after all, how can you not love that song? But don’t worry, the other four songs aren’t far behind.

They keep it going in the same lane that All That We Needed left off: bouncy, fun, simple, Jimmy Eat World-esque pop-punk songs; although this time they’ve added a piano to some parts, which really pushes the songs forward. There’s the simple verse-chorus-verse structure with Tom Higginson’s catchy boyish vocals (which are never annoying) singing about the typical pop-punk stuff: love and heartbreak. The songs are the type that are instantly catchy and enjoyable, your foot gets tapping and your head starts popping and it’s not long until your singing along with the band. You never feel the need to skip over any track, but instead find yourself replaying it over and over again, particularly Losing Myself and If I Told You.

Really, this is a Plain Whit T’s album for Plain White T’s fan. It’s short, just twenty minutes, and it won’t convince any non-believers to join their legion of fans. But that doesn’t matter, because it was made for the fans – and the fans will love it.

Plain White T's - All That We Needed

Plain White T's

All That We Needed

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 3.5/5

 
 

 

 

Plain White T’s first appeared on my radar screen back in August of 2002 with their debut Fearless Records release, STOP. I remember liking it, it wasn’t anything spectacular that really kept me entertained for months, but it lasted a few spins before ending up falling amongst my CD collection. Since then I hadn’t really listened to them much, so when Fearless announced their sophomore release, All That We Needed, I was unaffected. I knew it wouldn’t be one of my favorite CDs of the year nor one of the best, so really I didn’t care about it. Then I got the CD, threw it in and pressed play, and just as the CD titled track started playing I just though “wow. This is good.”

That feeling never left me throughout the entire time I was listening to the CD, and it stayed with each play afterwards too.

All That We Needed is not the most innovative release ever release, hell, they even say that in Sad Song (“There’s nothing new/ it’s all been done before/not looking to settle the score/ so please let me be“); but nonetheless, they do it well and better then half the bands out there. There energizing pop-rock/pop-punk tunes are energizing, fun, catchy, and follow very closely to that of Jimmy Eat World‘s more partyrific songs from Bleed American. The song structures are basically verse-chorus-verse-chrous and so on, which you can’t help to sing along with. Lead vocalist Tom Higgenson dropped the guitar on this release to focus solely on vocals duties and it works. He vocals are stronger, quicker, and more powerful supported easily by Mike Refondo and Tim Lopez, making it much more enjoyable and catchy.

Throwing you a giant curve ball, Plain White T’s end All That We Needed with a soft, harmonious acoustic track called Hey There Delilah. This soothing song ends the album perfectly by showing the softer side of the band with the beautiful love ballard.

They aren’t all love songs though, and they prove it with the lethargic Lazy Day Afternoon and the angry Revenge. All in all, All That We Needed ended up blowing me away as it is just a great pop-rock album which will please almost anyone.

 

Outline - You Smash It, We'll Build Around It

The Outline

You Smash It, We'll Build Around It

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 1.5/5

 
 

 

 

When I first got this CD, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Fearless Records has its ups and downs, some bands that I love while others I detest – so the label gave me no real incentive. The name was pretty cool, not The Outline, but You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It struck a chord with me somehow, so I was pretty excited. Sadly, when I opened the booklet to look at the artwork and lyrics, I was appalled – it really was quite a bad booklet. There’s a few pages just sitting there, completely useless, with orangey, wiggly lines floating across it. They could have easily plastered the lyrics for the twelve tracks, but they choose to leave the pages blank instead. It just seemed like a massive waste, and I was disappointed and the album immediately had a black smear on it. But I’ve learnt from past mistakes and I know I can never judge a CD by its cover *cough*Set Your Goals*cough*, so I threw it in; but still, I wasn’t that amazed.

You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It is a fairly lackluster CD. It has a few good songs, but nothing that really jumps out at you. You can clearly see that there’s some great musicians in the band, with some neat ideas, but they just can’t transfer it all together to make an energizing CD, instead it becomes pretty generic and forgettable.

The album itself is a collection of electro-rock album that could be a mix of Interpol and Coldplay. With sci-fi synth lines threaded throughout it, a steady flow of keyboards, they could also be compared to a mellow mix of The Killers and Death Cab For Cutie. The album is full of twists and turns, going from the slow, keyboard ladenWhy We’re Better Now and flying right into the heavier, more rock-oriented track Shotgun. These little twists can be found in the mix of the songs themselves, jumping from high energy portions to slow instrumental sections within a single song. Of course, the highlight of the album comes from the most unique and out of place track, Broadway And Hurst – the closer which tells a story of alcohol, jealously and murder and is portrayed with spoken parts so well that you can clearly see the events happening in your mind. It literally makes a mini movie reel click on as you see the actions come to pass, there’s very few songs that are able to do that. Sadly, they have 55 seconds of dead air afterwards leading to nothing which makes me wonder what they were doing.

So yeah, the album can get boring. There’s a few songs here and there which jump out, but nothing spectacular. It tends to merge together and just float by in the background. Chances are, the buzz of The Outline and You Smash It, We’ll Build Around It will soon fade into nothingness simply due to the fact that there’s no real hold on it and it just molds into the background of anyone’s CD collection.

Mayday Parade - Tales Told My Dead Friends

Mayday Parade

Tales Told My Dead Friends

Fearless Records
By

Rating: 2/5

 
 

 

 

I’ve always enjoyed Fearless Records‘ output; while yeah, they did fluctuate between amazing releases and more forgettable ones, I would still say I’m a fan of most of theirs. But this also means that when I see the logo on the back of a disc, I’m not quite sure what to expect. Will it be fantastic or will I just shove it into my pile and never play it again? Sadly, I think I’ll be leaning more towards the second option withTales Told By Dead Friends.

The first thing you notice when you play the EP is the immense similarity to Fall Out Boy and the whole emo/indie/pop-rock scene, and that is it’s biggest downfall. Musically, it’s done well. It’s catchy, energetic and pretty fun (particularly the closer The Last Something That Meant Anything). The production is spectacular, it’s very smooth, flows perfectly and everything is perfectly layered; although you never really notice that they have three guitars, it could almost just be cut down to one sole axe and you would get the same vibe.

While it is written well, there’s nothing that makes it stick out in any way, shape or form. It just falls amongst the ranks of the blooming emo/pop-punk scene. It comes and goes and leaves the listener thinking only that “well, that was good, but incredibly long for an EP” (all six songs are around five minutes long, which makes it start to drag after a listen or two). There’s nothing that makes it memorable, instead Tales Told By Dead Friends is just a safe, radio-friendly output from a band that is just wanting to cash in an ever growing trend. There’s just nothing unique to it, and that hurts it too much; so even though it is written well, it’s not replay worthy.

The sad thing is that with the right push these guys will sell millions of albums and be held up with MTV’s poster boys Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco. While some people may love that idea, for me, it’s just too played out. Good for a few listens, but not enough substance to keep you coming back and replaying it again.