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Darkest Hour – Darkest Hour

August 16th, 2014
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See the Light

When an album starts off with a screech that you can’t tell if it’s an instrument or a voice, you know you’re in for something mind-melting. However, the simple fact that DC metalcore heroes Darkest Hour chose to self-title their eighth album hints that they may have been attempting a sonic rebirth (see: Metallica, 1991). When they signed to Sumerian Records last year, they saw it as a good time to expand their sound, with the help of producer Tyler Larson. The end result may both lose and attract fans. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Mark Lanegan Band – No Bells on Sunday EP

August 12th, 2014
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Peak-a-boo!

A decade prior to the breakup of Screaming Trees in 2000, Mark Lanegan started releasing his crooner-soul-rock under his own name, working album by album to hone his skills and his voice and find the perfect match for both. As he approaches fifty years of age and prepares for the release of his ninth solo record, Phantom Radio in the fall, he is giving 1,500 fans a taste with the vinyl-only five-song EP, No Bells on Sunday, and it appears as though he may have overshot his target. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews , ,

Monomyth – Saturnalia Regalia!

August 6th, 2014
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The Hero Stays Put

These four boys from Nova Scotia know exactly what they are trying to do on their debut LP, Saturnalia Regalia!. Monomyth is all about the hooks, the height and the happy. The melodies are catchy as heck, the guitars are unapologetically treble-y and echo-y and the overall feeling from these eight songs is positivity. Even as the songs veer from the pocket of pop to the realm of psych-metal, they retain a Turtles-esque ’60s-gleefulness. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Lazer/Wulf – The Beast of Left and Right

July 31st, 2014
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Butchering at its Best

It’s difficult to appreciate how the “experimental” moniker is often affixed to other descriptors of the Athens, GA three-piece rock band, Lazer/Wulf, with a cursory listen. On the first pass, they can be written off as thrash, hard-doom, or speed-fusion metal. But when you key on some of the sonic expressions produced on their latest LP, The Beast of Left and Right, you have to conclude that there is more than meets the ear with this chiefly instrumental band. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Big Deal – Sakura EP

July 18th, 2014
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Bigger, Better Deals Await Them

Big Deal’s vocalist Kacey Underwood is as California as it gets. With her Michelle Phillips’ beauty and her sweet and lazy voice, one can imagine that not a day went by in the recording studio where fresh flowers weren’t nearby. A few years ago,  she trekked to London where she teamed up with Alice Costelloe and formed the edgy, indie-shoegaze band Big Deal. They released two LPs, but on their newest four-song offering Sakura they appear to have found their focus. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Corrosion of Conformity – IX

June 30th, 2014
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Nix It

When Corrosion of Conformity returned in 2012 with a classic but refreshed lineup and a new self-titled LP, the result was akin to a history of the band itself, touching on their hardcore past, southern-rock middle and other doom-metal stylings they’ve shown, but the end result was cohesive and well-done. With their latest, IX, Mike Dean & Co. take the same approach, but with different results. The ambitious and random mix is similar, but the end result is something disorganized and disjointed. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

The Teen Age – Ways to Adapt EP

June 13th, 2014
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Adaptation Achieved

Brooklyn four-piece The Teen Age describes the band’s music as “Doo Wop Garage.” But such a pigeon-holed description does them a disservice. On their latest EP, Ways to Adapt, this young act (formed in 2012) displays a depth in simplicity and simplicity in depth with songs that are at once basic and rich, accessible and daring. Over the course of four songs, The Teen Age demonstrates an impressive range of influences while adhering to a cohesive and original sound. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Haunted Hearts – Initiation

June 3rd, 2014
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Join the Club

Husband-and-wife duo Brandon Welchez and Dee Dee Penny have combined the musical styles from their respective “home” bands to create a new sound with Haunted Hearts. Haunted Hearts mixes Welchez’s fuzzy-rock from Crocodiles with the pop sensibilities Penny honed with Dum Dum Girls. The end result is their debut album, Initiation, an homage to late ’80s/early ’90s noise-pop that throws in some modern touches. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews , ,

Tweak Bird – Any Ol’ Way

May 22nd, 2014
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In With the New

In 2012, the Carbondale, Illinois brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird released Undercover Crops, a delicious mish-mash of sounds all falling under an indie-sludge umbrella. Crops stood out from the crowd, however, because of the way the duo experimented as if trying to find their sound, but if you listened closely, their sound was right there all along. On their latest, Any Ol’ Way, it’s clear they figured out what that sound should be, and proved it with 11 tracks that are distinctively Tweak Bird compositions. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews

Ringo Deathstarr – God’s Dream

May 9th, 2014
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Come for the Band Name, Stay for the Talent

With a name like Ringo Deathstarr, one has to assume that this Austin shoegaze-noise-pop trio has a sense of humor. That’s important, because otherwise lyrics like “Can’t spend time with my friends / ‘Cause I no longer have friends” would be met with an eye-roll. Knowing right off that a band, especially a band whose brand of music is not typically associated with “fun,” doesn’t take themselves too seriously, helps set an expectation for the listener. With their latest EP, God’s Dream, Ringo Deathstarr establishes that tone early, and that gives them license to hurl musical whims at your head to great effect. Read more…

By Chad Gorn Posted in Reviews