Thursday, June 14, 2012

"Far From Proper - Rock Bottom" Review by Dom

Far From Proper is a pop-punk band from Poughkeepsie, NY comprised of band members Nick Harrison, Matt O'Rourke, Angelo Estrada, Tyler Muller and Jesse Walsh. This EP is the band's second EP following 2010's Talk All You Want. If you're familiar with pop-punk then this band does not stray too far from the overall sound. While not a very original EP it's definitely a worthy album to own and listen to. This band can compete with pop-punk heavyweights.

1. Runaround - A pretty fantastic opener with some deep lyrics about the loss of someone close.

2. Fight or Flight (featuring Jesse Vadala of With the Punches) - This has become one of my favorite songs from this album. This song picks up the pace a bit and Jesse's guest vocals are a great addition to the song.

3. Oak Grove - Another quality song by the band, more or less a typical pop-punk song but it's a great song never the less.

4. Kratzen Jammer - Surprisingly I like this song a lot, a quick 44 seconds and the punk gets put back in pop-punk.

5. Rock Bottom - The title track, a lot rides on a title track, this one pulls it out and becomes my favorite track on the album. The lyrics shine on this one and I think they speak to anyone and everyone.

6. Save a Seat - A slower song, I'm not sure what it is about this song but I can't get into it. It's got good lyrics but overall I think it would've been a better track had it been acoustic.

7. Killadelphia - Final track on this short EP, it ends the album on an upbeat note and it's a good song, what more could you ask for?

Overall - For a local band the production on this EP is amazing, it's crisp and clear but somehow retains a type of rawness which works in the band's favor. Definitely pick up this EP, also if you get the chance see the band live, the live show is amazing and incredibly fun.

Rating - 9/10

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"Yelawolf - Radioactive" Review by Dom

Since I haven't been able to dive into requests and recent hip hop releases I thought I'd review my favorite hip hop album from last year: Yelawolf's Radioactive. Technically this is his second studio album, he released Creek Water back in 2005 independently. It's been six years, 2 EP's and many mixtapes later we now have his major label debut. Yela got signed by Eminem's label, Shady Records. Yelawolf is part of the Shady 2.0 era which includes Eminem and rap-powerhouse Slaughterhouse which includes Royce da 5'9", Joe Budden, Crooked I and Joell Ortiz. It's safe to say Em is going for a more lyrical staple of artists and he is succeeding. So does Yelawolf measure up to Slaughterhouse and Eminem on Shady records?

1. Radioactive Introduction - While the track starts out slow, Yela goes off on it and it sets the album up to be a monster album.

2. Get Away (featuring Shawty Fatt and Mystikal) - This track shows off Yela's lyricism and even more importantly his impressive flow. This man has one of the most unique flows. The features on this song do their part but Yela shines.

3. Let's Roll (featuring Kid Rock) - One of the singles off of this album and you can see why, the chorus is catchy and Yelawolf does his thing well. It's a good chill song.

4. Hard White (In the Club) [featuring Lil Jon] - The second single off of this and Yelawolf shines on this song showing that his flow can be played in the club. Lil Jon adds to it with his crunk-style of rapping but he stays in the background, not providing a verse which probably worked in the song's favor.

5. Growin' Up in the Gutter (featuring Rittz) - With an attention grabbing beat and a hell of a chorus this song is set up for greatness. Rittz adds a great verse and the song just kills.

6. Throw it Up (featuring Gangsta Boo and Eminem) - Yelawolf absolutely destroys the beat, it's insane. Gangta Boo's chorus' and verse are decent but then we have Em's verse. His verse shines, so the track rocks off of it's verses, which isn't a bad thing. I almost think it would've worked better as a cypher-type song without a chorus.

7. Good Girl (featuring Poo Bear) - This song is a pretty average rap/r&b song, it's not bad, but it's not a standout.

8. Made in the U.S.A. (featuring Priscilla Renea) - A song talking about all the different types of people we have here in America, the chorus isn't too bad but the song could be better.

9. Animal (featuring Fefe Dobson) - One of my favorite songs on this album. Yela tears the track up and the chorus is great, what more can you ask for?

10. The Hardest Love Song in the World - An obviously slower song, but it's a good song. I wouldn't play it for my girlfriend but it's an enjoyable listen.

11. Write Your Name (featuring Mona Moua) - Another one of my favorites, talking about how all of the little people in the world make the world go around. Lyrically it's fantastic and as always Yela's flow is fantastic on it.

12. Everything I Love the Most - An introspective song about his habits that tear him apart inside but he loves at the time. This song showcases his story telling ability and in a great way.

13. Radio - A slower song, the only real gripe I have with this song is the length of the chorus, it seems to never end. It doesn't kill the song though, overall it's a fantastic song.

14. Slumerican Shitizen (featuring Killer Mike) - Yela as always tears this beat up. Killer Mike's verse is ridiculous too. Little did I know that my favorite featured verse would be by the guy who would make one of my favorite albums of 2012 so far too, R.A.P. Music.

15. The Last Song - This song s deeply personal song about his father. It's a fantastic song that you have to listen to to understand how great it is, I don't have the words to convey it's greatness. It is my favorite on this album.

Overall - While there were a few albums going for the top spot of my favorite hip hop album of 2011, albums like Common's The Dreamer/The Believer and The Root's Undun, I found myself returning to this album the most. It's got a great mix of songs that go hard, rap/R&B tracks and those slower personal tracks. This album is truly fantastic and hopefully Yelawolf continues with this degree of music. Look for his new EP with Travis Barker soon, also he's releasing his third LP Love Story later this year. If those releases are as good as Radioactive then look out rap world, Yelawolf is here to stay.


"Marilyn Manson - Born Villain" Review by Dom

Marilyn Manson. His name is synonymous with fear, controversy and just overall weirdness. I've always been one to look past his image and just listen to the music. Now, I'm not the biggest Manson fan, I enjoy a decent amount of songs and only a few albums overall but every time he drops a new album I always check it out. Born Villain is Manson's eighth full-length album and it comes 18 years after the band's first album, Portrait of an American Family. Looking at that album compared to the latest, it sounds like two completely different bands, except for Manson's vocals. Now Manson has been on this, slower, more depressing sounding album since 2007's Eat Me, Drink Me, which was a HUGE change stylistically coming off of 2003's The Golden Age of Grotesque. This more depressing style has actually been what got me back into the band, Eat Me, Drink Me is my favorite album by the band, over his classics like Mechanical Animals and Antichrist Superstar. So how does Born Villain hold up?

1. Hey Cruel World... - I've always thought albums should start out with a bang, with higher energy setting a tone for the album, while this song isn't too high energy it sets a fantastic tone for the rest of the album and is actually reminiscent of his Mechanical Animals album. A definite standout.

2. No Reflection - The single off of the album and the first song I heard off of it, at first listen I thought it was a bit boring but since I've started loving it. It's here that you can see that the band is trying to blend their new style with elements of their Antichrist Superstar-era and it's working fantastically, especially on this track.

3. Pistol Whipped - This song is very mellow, slower guitar riff with Manson singing to the melody over it. It's an interesting track, I'm feeling it. I can see a lot of people not liking this track but definitely give it a shot..

4. Overneath the Path of Misery - This track starts out with a truly creepy spoken word intro, and I can't tell who's talking in it, but it's very creepy. The spoken word leads into one of the more boring tracks on the album, the instrumentals have that more industrial feel as they used to but it can't save this song.

5. Slo-Mo-Tion - The uneventfulness of the previous track carries over into this track. With an interesting and rock-driven bassline the track starts off pretty well but just doesn't do much for me.

6. The Gardener - Another spoken word intro, this is one isn't creepy and this one lasts about 5 seconds leading into another prominent bassline. It's an interesting song, it doesn't fully have my approval but I love the chorus, maybe it'll grow on me.

7. The Flowers of Evil - It seems this album is suffering from what his last 2 albums did too, boring 20 second intros that do nothing for the song. This is another filler song for me, doesn't keep my attention, the chorus sucks too. At this point I'm just hoping the album will turn around.

8. Children of Cain - My hope for a turnaround did not come true on this track, the song is decent, the chorus is good but like a lot of these songs it's on the boring side. Listening to it you think to yourself "I wonder when the song will end", and that's not a good thought.

9. Disengaged - An intro that is interesting finally, it's weird and that's what Manson is supposed to be. Finally a better song, the energy has kicked back in, the lyrics are good and my wish for a turnaround has begun to come true. Hopefully the album closes out in similar style.

10. Lay Down Your Goddamn Arms - From the start of this song you can tell you're in for a more metal-style Manson song and it's good. It almost feels like a sequel to his song "The Fight Song" from 2000's Holy Wood (In the Shadow of the Valley of Death). One of the bigger standouts on this album.

11. Murderers Are Getting Prettier Every Day - This is the type of Manson song title I've come to expect. High energy again, I love this song. Only stops for a breath for a few seconds, overall this song just does not stop. This is the type of Manson I love.

12. Born Villain - Title track, longest track on the album. This song returns to the slower style but it does it better than the mid-section of this album. It's a well-put together song, enjoyable.

13. Breaking the Same Old Ground - A creepy song, Manson vocals just get creepier the slower he forms the words. The title is interesting to me because, to me, this song captures what Manson's newer style is, since Eat Me, Drink Me it's been a slower style with powerful vocals and catchy choruses which is what this song is.

14. You're So Vain (featuring Johnny Depp) - Don't get excited Depp fans, he only plays guitar and drums on the track, no vocals. When I found out Manson was doing a cover I got excited, some of my favorite tracks by them are covers, "Sweet Dreams", "Tainted Love" and "Personal Jesus". The band knows how to do covers and make them their own. This song is no different, while I'm not too familiar with the original by Carly Simon I definitely like this version. It's got a creepy vibe, it's uptempo compared to the rest of the album and it's just a very good cover song and a terrific way to close the album.

Overall - This album won't be revered as one of Manson's best albums, that's a fact. That being said it is still a quality album and addition to the band's body of work. If you're not a Manson fan, I find it hard to see this album being the one to introduce you to Marilyn Manson. As always the production on this album is spectacular, and as always the vocals are the shining star. While he may not be the greatest singer in the world, his delivery, his creepy voice and the passion he sings with make up for it. While this album isn't as good as my favorite, Eat Me, Drink Me it's another step in a direction that I am fond of, especially when it comes to Marilyn Manson.

Rating - 6.5/10

Friday, June 1, 2012

"The Bunny The Bear - The Stomach For It" reviewed by Jon

The Stomach for it is the sophomore album of a newer up and coming band called The Bunny The Bear. TBTB lead by vocalist and song writer Matthew Tybor (The Bunny) and clean vocalist Chris Hutka (The Bear) is a Band from Buffalo, Ny who popped up on Victory Records in 2010. There first Album If You Don't Have Anything Nice To Say, released shortly after their announcement of signing to Victory Records, was a breathe of fresh air. The Album was quite unique, blending The Bear's incredible high range with The Bunny's brutal low screams and erratic yelling all mixed in with the pretty bow that is their synthesizer and instrumentation.

1) Congregation - This was a great opener to start, it gave the listener a brief taste of the music that is to follow,  setting the tone for the rest of the album. This opener is also a nice change from the heaviness of the opening for If You Don't have Anything Nice To Say, giving The Bear a chance to take the lead for the album.

2) Sky - This song was used as one of the teasers of the song, it was a fairly unique song in itself. The speed at which The Bunny goes through his verse, followed instantly by the clean vocals of The Bear, is in itself the very definition of experimental. Overall definitely an interesting song to listen too.

3) All Birds - One of the catchier songs of the album, All Birds is a bit reminiscent of If You Don't catching that original TBTB sound. This song remains one of my favorite on the album, having one of the best sing along verses nearing the end of the song.

4) This Isn't Why You Made Her - Following one of my favorite songs is probably one of my least favorite TBTB songs. The song in itself is not bad, but the deliverance of it as a whole leaves something to be desired. I would suggest still listening to this song for it still embodies the feel of the album as a whole, it just seems to be missing that one spark to put it on par with the rest.

5) Soul - The first released single of the album, the song in itself is very repetitious yet catchy, seeing as The bear repeats the same few lines through out the entire song, only changing pitch every now and then. The real change comes from the verse, Screamed dominantly from The Bunny. I believe this song was a great first release, showing how the band has evolved since the release of If You Don't..., However after the release of the full album the song falls into the shadow that is cast by the rest of the songs on the album.

6) Breeze - Another one of my albums, all I can really say about this song is that like the best of TBTB it is incredibly catchy and incredibly fun to sing along with the bear. One of the cds must listen to's.

7) Lonely - The second released single of the album before its release, the song in itself was what got me excited for the album. Whatever the song Soul did not reveal about the style of this new album was in fact present in lonely. I would also like to take a second to note that this song is a perfect example of why they should make more accompanying music videos for their songs, for i found myself fairly entertained from start to finish.

8) I'm Scared Now - The synth intro to this song was fairly impressive, flawlessly merging into the song in itself. This song could quite possibly be called the heaviest song on the album, though the still manage to keep things catchy and fresh through out the song. This song is probably my overall favorite of the album.

9) Sheep - What more can I say about this song then the fact that it is a perfect example of the uniqueness of TBTB. Just when you think you have a grasp on the sound they are going for, a song like this comes on and you can only sit there and go "what?" I suggest checking this song out as well, if only to bring some uniqueness to your life.

10) Pieces - This song is another one that keeps you interested in whats to come next. Starting off as soft relaxing with The Bear when suddenly The Bunny comes in the song suddenly changes gears, the synth becomes heavier and the music adapts to give the listener a different feel. The song in itself feels like it is having bi-polar issues as the two parts fight for your attention.

11) It Kills Me - The song in itself is fairly well done though it is not as unpredictable as the rest of the album has been. I feel this song was a great way to close out the album, ending with light instrumentals carrying The Bear's voice towards the end all while The Bunny yells over it, wrapping everything up in a nice neat little bow.

Overall: While most bands on the Victory Record label begin to move closer towards the comfort of the typical genres of music, The Bunny The Bear does the exact opposite. This album is by definition very experimental and unique compared to many other bands that are being signed to record labels these days. For me personally it is this fact that has helped me grow to love the music they are producing more and more, the staying out of the comfort zone to experiment with new things. It is also for this reason however, that I can understand why other may not feel the same way about the music being written by this band. Regardless of this fact, I would like to put my seal of approval on this Album and suggest to those who are looking for something a little bit different to take a little bit of time to give these guys a listen.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

"Go Radio - Lucky Street" A Review by Dom

Lucky Street is the debut album coming from pop-punk/alternative outfit Go Radio. Lead vocalist Jason Lancaster might sound familiar to you, before Go Radio he was a part of Mayday Parade. With the band he recorded an EP and the album A Lesson in Romantics. This album led to a "Who's better?" argument between fans over Go Radio and Mayday Parade, and with good reason, Go Radio is a very good band. After their 2010 EP, Do Overs and Second Chances Go Radio started work on their highly anticipated debut album. Did the album live up to it's expectations?

1. Lucky Street - Pretty solid album opener, though it seems by the end of the album that it's a forgettable song. This doesn't mean it's a bad song, the ones to follow are just a bit better.

2. Any Other Heart - The first official single of the album, it's a high energy song, and Jason's vocals shine on this song.

3. Singing With the King - One of my favorite off of this album, I love the classic rock references, between Johnny Cash, Keith Moon and Elvis this song is an ode to the old rock n' roll days. It's a fantastic song and musically the song flows and sweetly as a river.

4. Strength to Stay - By this point in the album you start to get the feel of Go Radio's basic song structure and sound. Surprisingly Jason does some Muse-esque vocals in the chorus which really add some flare to this otherwise basic song.

5. Swear it Like You Mean it - This is one of my favorites off of this album as well, it starts off on the slower side and picks up in the most natural way possible and Jason's vocals show so much emotion in this song, it really shines.

6. Why I'm Home - Now this song was originally released as a non-album single on iTunes in 2010, and I wasn't too crazy about it. Here we find it on the album, reworked a bit and rerecorded and it sounds 10 times better. The original "Why I'm Home" was probably one of my least favorite Go Radio songs but the reworked one makes it one of the better ones.

7. Kill the Beast - Here we see Go Radio at full blast, with a fast song, fast-paced singing and a song that truly rocks.

8. Hold On - I was honestly shocked that it took to track 8 to find a filler track on this album. A mostly acoustic love song, which usually I love but it just doesn't pan out in the band's favor this time around.

9. Forever My Father - A song about Jason's father who passed away, I will expand more on this song at track 14.

10. Fight Fight (Reach for the Sky) - This a more experimental song, complete with a brass horns section. This song is great and if it doesn't catch your attention right away I don't know what will. A HUGE standout on this cd.

11. House of Hallways - This is a sad, sad acoustic song. You can really hear the emotion in Jason's voice. This being one of the emotionally driven tracks on the album it really stands up to the rest of the album and is truly a fantastic song. Even though it doesn't have electric guitar and a rhythm section on the song it still comes together in a big way.

12. Redemption in the Verse - We have arrived at filler song #2. This one is just on the boring side, the entire mid-section of the song seems to be "la di da da" repeated more times than needed. Overall, the only reason you'll remember this song is because the mid-section annoyed you.

13. The Truth is - Now THIS is a love song. I knew Go Radio had it in them. Piano intro with a soft backing band throughout the song and Jason's vocals over it all just makes a fantastic song. The lyrics on this one are amazing, you can tell the amount of love flowing from his words.

14. Forever My Father (featuring Erin and Daniel Lancaster) - Now this is a rerecorded version of track 9 with 2 additional voices, Jason's brother and sister. Being about their father it's obviously going to be a hugely emotional song, for all 3 of them. In my opinion, bringing in his siblings was a terrific idea, they can both sing, and it just adds to the atmosphere of the song. You can hear the pain in their voices, and that ladies and gentlemen, you cannot fake. This song has legitimately brought me to tears because the lyrics just apply to you and make you think of your father, in my mind that makes this song timeless.

Overall - This debut is fantastic, with just 2 filler/not so great songs Go Radio really pulled through with this one. This album along with their first EP make for an extremely impressive catalog for this band, hopefully it will continue. Go Radio's sophomore album Close the Distance will be released in August. The band is great, all the musician's do there job with precision and grace, and as I've said Jason's vocals are spot on. Also, Lucky Street was released in a deluxe edition with plenty of bonus material, 3 music videos, a couple demos, an acoustic rendition of a song off of their EP and a wonderful cover of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep". I would highly recommend buying this cd, if you have a few extra bucks buy the deluxe edition, it truly is worth it.

Rating - regular edition: 9/10
deluxe edition: 9.5/10 <--- That's a link to their merchandise, definitely pick something up.