Frank Iero & The Future Violents “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place”

Over the course of the past few years, Frank Iero has released quite a lot of solo material under a variety of different monikers and projects. The most recent of those is The Future Violents, and to follow up the project’s 2019 debut LP “Barriers,” Iero has returned with a brand new EP for this project, titled “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place.”

The EP kicks off with “Violence,” which opens with a memorable guitar riff before more instrumentals come in to finish out the intro. The first verse begins on a softer note, the darker guitars make the song feel a bit eerier, and the charismatic vocals get to take the reigns leading up to the song’s harder-hitting chorus where the other instruments return. “Sewerwolf” brings dynamic vocal performances in the verses, which are accompanied by the bass and drums leading up to the choruses, which are a lot more aggressive both vocally and instrumentally and easily some of the highlights of this track.

The second half of this release begins with a cover of R.E.M.’s smash hit “Losing My Religion,” and this cover has a much more simplistic beginning led by softer vocals and a ukulele at first. The added vocal harmonies are a nice touch, and the drums help drive the rhythm to make the song much more upbeat when the second first comes in. This song fits Frank’s voice very well, and I feel like it’s one of the stronger tracks on this EP. Another highlight of the EP is its closing track, fittingly titled “Record Ender.” The bass opens the song with a simple riff before more guitars and the drums kick in, and the more laid-back verses consist of softer vocals and instrumentals that build the song up to its much bigger choruses. The added piano was a very nice touch, and the bridge later on contains one of the best vocal performances on the whole EP.

Frank Iero once again showcases his virtuosity as a musician and performer with “Heaven Is A Place, This Is A Place,” an emotive, passion-filled and overall solid EP release from him and The Future Violents.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Bearings’ “Hello, it’s you” | Review

Bearings are a band that I’ve known about for quite a few years now, and it’s been great to see what they’ve accomplished as a band over these past few years. Their 2018 debut LP, “Blue In The Dark,” was one of my favorite releases of that year and is a release that I still return to for repeated listens, and – especially after hearing the band’s most recent singles from late 2019 and early 2020 – I couldn’t wait for their sophomore full-length, “Hello It’s You.”

A few of the tracks on “Hello, It’s You” definitely focus on the pop-punk influences within the band’s sound, and this starts right away with the album’s opening track, “Better Yesterday” – an upbeat, happy-sounding track with one of the most memorable choruses on the whole record. While this one definitely showcases these influences, it also hints at the experimentation found on the rest of this record – more on that later. “Sway” and “So Damn Wrong,” two of the singles released prior to the album’s release, are two more faster-paced pop-punk tracks with irresistible composition, from the guitar riffs that open and drive those tracks to the sing-along worthy choruses. The more mid-tempo “Love Me Like You Did” combines a lot of the influences within this band’s sound, and feels very reminiscent of some of the tracks on “Blue In The Dark,” such as “Beautiful Places” or “Aforementioned.” 

While the band is clinging to their pop-punk roots with a few of these tracks, they also changed things up a little bit with some of the others on this album. “I Feel It All” has a darker tone that listeners will hear a few more times throughout the record, and it instantly showcases the more pop-rock leaning sound with some cleaner guitars and the addition of a piano and synths throughout the track, and the huge chorus is where the vocals and harder-hitting drums really stood out and grabbed my attention. “Super Deluxe” is another single that hinted at the experimentation on this record, as it incorporates some indie/alternative and even some slight 80s influences into that pop-rock sound. “Over Now” also leans a bit more towards the indie/alternative and pop-rock side, as it’s driven by upbeat drums and shimmering guitars and synths before additional instrumentals come in, accompanying a captivating vocal performance in the pre-chorus.

The band also included a couple of acoustically driven tracks on this record. “Lovely Lovely” allows the vocals to shine a lot more since the instrumentals are a lot more laid-back, and the darker composition makes it stand out amongst some other acoustic tracks I’ve heard in this genre. “Dreams” also incorporates some darker composition, which fits perfectly on the track, and it mixes in some influences of emo-rap, which is definitely quite a departure from the pop-punk and pop-rock influences heard on most of these tracks, but it works really well.

The album concludes with “Transient Colours,” another track that not only focuses in on the band’s pop-punk influences but puts a new twist on them and proves how the band are experimenting with their sound. The catchy instrumentals bring so much energy to it, especially leading up to and during the chorus, and overall, this makes a solid closing track.

The experimentation on “Hello, It’s You” adds a lot of variety to not only the record but the band’s discography as a whole. The balance between the band’s older and newer influence makes the album an interesting listen and a solid sophomore LP from Bearings.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Jet Black Alley Cat Virtual Show | Review

Jet Black Alley Cat presented by Music City Bandwidth

Jet Black Alley Cat is a band that I’ve been a fan of since sometime in 2018, after finding out they were playing a show near me and checking out the record that they released a year prior. The band recently put on a virtual concert, and I finally got to see a performance of theirs for the first time.

The show began with an instrumental intro as the band walked on stage and prepared to perform, and they followed that up with one of their most recent tracks, “Ex Lover Syndrome.” This song is off of their brand new EP “The Black Era,” which came out earlier this year. They also played three more songs off of this EP throughout the rest of their set – “Fight XVIII,” “Rewind,” and an interlude called “Unrealistic Love/Us.” The rest of the setlist consisted of a mixture of songs from both of their albums. They played almost the entirety of their 2017 debut “Part One” (except for the interlude and introductory track), which includes some of my favorite songs of theirs – “Poison,” “She’s Alright,” and the track that got me into their music in the first place, “Roxy.” They also played their debut single “Pretty Girl” early on in their set, as well as a few songs from their 2018 album “Motel” (“Nightlife,” “Foolish,” “Miami Baby,” and another interlude called “Pretty Magic”).

The vocalist put on a captivating performance throughout the entire set (and the vocal harmonies added more emotion and emphasis to the performance), the instrumentalists brought so much energy, and the entire band just brought so much charisma to the stage and were really engaging performers. This was technically my first time watching a live performance of theirs and it did not disappoint.

SETLIST:

1. Intro 2. Ex Lover Syndrome 3. Golden

4. Nightlife 5. Electric Raazors 6. Pretty Girl

7. Unrealistic Love/Us (Interlude) 8. Memphis Blues 9. Fight XVIII

10. Roxy 11. High Class Women 12. Pretty Magic (Interlude)

13. Foolish 14. Miami Baby 15. Rewind

16. She’s Alright 17. Poison

The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Free Throw Virtual Show | Review

October 25th, 2020 presented by Music City Bandwidth

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, in-person concerts haven’t been going on for the large majority of this year. However, virtual shows are becoming more and more popular, and in recent months, more and more bands and artists have started to put on shows in this particular format. A few weeks ago, a handful of local venues in Nashville, Tennessee – known as “Music City” – began hosting a series of free virtual shows with local bands and musicians, and one of the bands performing was emo quartet Free Throw.

I saw this band perform in Denver, Colorado last September, and over the past year, I’ve become a bigger fan of them, so I decided to watch this virtual performance.

They opened up their set with one of my favorite songs of theirs, “The Corner’s Dilemma.” This is arguably one of the most popular songs off of their latest full-length, last year’s “What’s Past Is Prologue,” and they played a couple of other songs off of this record as well: “You Don’t Say That,” “Tail Whip, Struggle,” and “Cerulean City.” To follow up that release, the band also dropped two new singles earlier this year, and they played one of those two songs – “Motorcycle, Motor?.”

While the band incorporated some of their most recent hits into their setlist, they also played a lot of older material. In addition to playing some of their more popular songs from their first couple of albums (“Tongue Tied,” “Pallet Town,” “Two Beers In,” “Randy, I Am The Liquor,” and “Better Have Burn Heal”), they also played some underrated tracks that haven’t been in their setlists as much (“An Hour Pissed,” “Weight On My Chest,” “Andy And I, Uh,” and “Hope Spot”). Similarly to the last tour I saw them on, their setlist spanned across all three of their LPs, and I liked the fact that they put so much variety into this sixteen-song, hour-long setlist.

One thing that I love about this band’s music is the amount of emotion that they put into it, and I think that in a live setting like this, that raw emotion gets to shine through even more. Musically, I really like the dynamics and intricate instrumentation found within their songs, and those aspects of these tracks really stood out during the performance as well.

I thought that Free Throw put on a really good live show when I saw them for the first time last fall, and I can definitely say the same for this virtual show as well. This performance incorporated everything I love about the band’s music and live shows, and overall, it was an entertaining one to watch.
The show was streamed at The End in Nashville, Tennessee, and was hosted by Music City Bandwidth. For more information on their virtual live shows and how you can support The End and other local Nashville venues, go to www.musiccitybandwidth.com.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Young Culture’s self titled album review

Artwork Credit: Danny DeRusso

Young Culture is a band that’s been on my radar for quite a few years now, and the release of their third EP “(This Is) Heaven” last year only made me a bigger fan of their music, so I’ve been highly anticipating the release of their self-titled debut full-length.

The album opens with its introductory track, “Bloodthin,” beginning with softer guitars and vocals that bring catchy riffs and melodies early on before the instrumentals get louder and harder-hitting in preparation for the huge chorus that concludes the song as it transitions into the next track, “Compass.” The instrumentals are softer in the verses, letting the vocals show off at first, and the guitars, bass, and drums help build up the first couple of sections to the song’s very catchy chorus. 

That track is one of quite a few that traces back to the band’s pop-rock and alternative roots, and a perfect example of this is “American Idle,” which contains harder-hitting instrumentals that bring so much energy to the song, especially leading up to the anthemic chorus. Another great example of this is the lead single “Holiday In Vegas,” which is driven by catchy guitars and drums leading up to another unforgettable chorus that listeners will likely want to sing along to. “Better Off As Friends” is another pop-rock influenced track filled with catchy composition as well, and it perfectly showcases the transition from the sound of the band’s older material to the sound of this album.

Speaking of which, the band experimented with their sound quite a bit on this record – primarily by incorporating a lot of poppier influences – and quite a few tracks on here showcase that side of the album’s overall sound. The second single, “I’ll Be There,” is led by softer instrumentation, which accompanies the vocals as they provide catchy melodies and a positive message to remind the listeners that no matter what they are going through, things will be okay. “Anywhere I Go, I’m Taking You With Me” sounds kind of similar musically, as it’s also slower and led by softer vocals and instrumentals at first, but the hard-hitting drums help prepare the song for its bigger choruses, especially the final one, which contains a stellar vocal performance. “Fantasy” begins on a softer note as well and brings some very catchy melodies and riffs as it leads up to the chorus, where the shimmering synths aid the guitars and drums that drive the more midtempo rhythm. The fourth and final single “Hailey Beverly 2016” contains soft instrumentals and poppier influences as well, and it’s arguably the most experimental track found on the album. The album concludes with the acoustically driven “Laylo,” and while the vocals are a lot softer for most of the song, they get louder during the bridge, where they put on a strong performance with a lot of emotion.

Young Culture’s self-titled debut shows the experimentation and evolution of the band’s sound through the combination of various influences found within these ten memorable tracks.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Wake Up Sunshine by All Time Low Review

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All Time Low have been around for quite some time, having released two EPs, two live DVDs, a handful of standalone singles and seven studio albums within the first fourteen years of their career, and their sound has evolved a lot over the years. Fast forward to 2020, and the Baltimore-based quartet are back with their eighth LP, titled “Wake Up, Sunshine.”

While “Last Young Renegade” noticeably leaned in a bit of a different direction, as the band experimented with a lot of pop and alternative elements, there are plenty of moments on “Wake Up, Sunshine” that show them returning to their pop rock and pop punk roots, some of which are found in a few of the singles that the band put out leading up to the album’s release. “Getaway Green” is easily the best example of this, with plenty of energy and extremely catchy guitar riffs reminiscent of those on past releases like “So Wrong, It’s Right” or “Nothing Personal.”

A handful of the songs on here combine that nostalgic pop punk sound with some of their more pop rock influences, and the remaining singles are really good examples of this. The fantastic lead single and opening track “Some Kind Of Disaster: brings a softer intro before upbeat verses and a massive chorus come in, “Sleeping In” brings a very energetic chorus, and “Melancholy Kaleidoscope” brings a ton of energy throughout, adding in some acoustic guitar to help drive its chorus. “Trouble Is” leans way more to the pop rock side, and sounds a little similar to newer work from Blink-182 and Simple Creatures, the project that All Time Low front man Alex Gaskarth has with Blink’s very own front-man, Mark Hoppus. Rian Dawson’s drumming really shines on this track, and the chorus offers up some pretty good melodies. There are also two tracks on here that were seemingly meant to be a bigger track together called “Seasons.” “January Gloom” is the first of these two tracks, bringing some slightly darker composition through some memorable guitar riffs and melodies throughout. “Summer Daze” is the second of those two, and the title is very fitting, given the happier and brighter tone that the song has musically, and it’s yet another perfect example of how well All Time Low have blended their pop rock and pop punk influences on this album.

The band also did quite a bit of experimentation on this record, with songs that show them trying something a little bit different. “Wake Up, Sunshine” (which I personally believe would have been a great choice for the opening track) delivers some slightly darker melodies and instrumentals during the verses and pre-choruses, leading up to a happy, carefree chorus. “Clumsy” is one of quite a few on here that allows Alex’s vocals to shine with some more slightly darker melodies in the beginning, leading up to one of the biggest and best choruses on the whole album. “Monsters” is also on the darker side, which I think fits the song very well. Blackbear is featured on the track, and while that collaboration was a bit unexpected, his vocal style and the guest feature overall compliments the song perfectly. The other feature found on this album is on the upbeat “Favorite Place,” which features The Band CAMINO. The guitars are a bit more reminiscent of CAMINO’s signature indie/alternative sound and gives the song that sort of vibe (for the most part), but the song does a great job at mixing that sound with the blend of pop rock and pop punk that All Time Low have created throughout this record.

In contrast, a couple of the songs on here show a softer side of the band’s sound, similar to the overall sound of their previous album, “Last Young Renegade.” Interlude “Pretty Venom” is probably the most simplistic track on the album, but it works really well as an interlude and its placement on the track-list seems fitting, and closing track “Basement Noise” (one of my favorites) brings a solid vocal performance in the chorus and lyrics that reflect on the band’s humble beginnings. “Safe” is driven by subtle instrumentation in the softer verses before a huge anthemic chorus comes in, and the same can be said about “Glitter & Crimson,” which is primarily led by softer percussion and acoustic guitar as it leads up to a much harder hitting bridge with one of the strongest vocal performances this record has to offer.

“Wake Up, Sunshine” shows bits and pieces of All Time Low’s history as a band, combining the various elements of pop, rock, alternative and everything in between that they’ve incorporated into their sound over the years. Overall, this is a refreshing pop rock record, yet another fantastic one from All Time Low, and easily one of my favorite albums from this year so far.

Listen to the song here

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Made Up Lost Time by Kevin Garrett | EP Review

Kevin Garrett

The past few years have been a wild ride for musician Kevin Garrett, from releasing his debut EP “Mellow Drama” in 2015 to GRAMMY nominations, festival performances and shows with acts such as Mumford & Sons and Alessia Cara, and dropping his debut LP “Hoax” last year. Kevin has returned with his newly released sophomore EP, “Made Up Lost Time.”

The opening track “Tell You How I’m Feeling” really shows Kevin’s talent as a vocalist through a soulful performance that provides good melodies in the verses, and the harmonies in the chorus add more to the performance. The vocals really shine on the following track “Keep You Waiting” as well, as they bring a memorable pre-chorus that helps build up the song really well to its chorus. 

“Can’t Come Back” is on the much softer side, and the piano fits perfectly on the track. The melodies on here are really good as well and the song makes a great ballad overall. Lead single “Gone Again” is on the more upbeat side, bringing a rhythm as catchy as the melodies, and closing track “Factor In” is also a bit slower and is one of the most memorable and well-written songs the EP has to offer.

“Made Up Lost Time” is a soulful and memorable sophomore EP from Kevin Garrett.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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5 Seconds Of Summer’s “CALM” album review

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5 Seconds Of Summer are a band that I’ve been an avid fan of for several years. I’ve been listening to them for a large majority of their career as a band, and since I first got into their music way back in 2013, I’ve seen the evolution of their sound, from their more pop punk-tinged self-titled debut LP (as well as its follow up “Sounds Good Feels Good), to the much more pop leaning and chart-topping third album “Youngblood.” The band have experimented with new influences and started to refine their sound even more with each release, and “CALM” sees them continuing to do so.

“CALM” seems to draw a bit of influence from those poppier elements on “Youngblood,” especially with its more upbeat tracks. A lot of the singles, as well as another track towards the end of the album, expanded upon those influences and combined them with the newer influences and overall sound on “CALM.” Lead single “No Shame” brings intriguing melodies that are as catchy as the riffs that lead the intro and verses, before a bigger chorus where Calum and Ashton’s instrumental performances really shine, as well as Luke’s impressive vocal range. “Old Me” is very memorable musically, and lyrically, it’s a more reflective track that discusses growing up and the lessons you learn along the way as you get older and move forward in life. The irresistible choruses of “Easier” and “Wildflower” really embrace the poppier influences in the band’s sound, and the well-written “Not In The Same Way” instantly became a fan favorite with its extremely catchy composition from start to finish.

The band showed early on that they were experimenting with some darker composition through the captivating single “Teeth” that dropped last year, which really allows Calum to show off his talent as a bassist and is easily the most rock influenced song found on the record overall. The experimentation continues in a couple of other songs on the record, such as the opener “Red Desert,” which begins with a chorus of beautiful vocal harmonies from everyone in the band (and those harmonies return in the chorus), and “Thin White Lies,” with some softer percussion and really catchy riffs and melodies throughout.

The band also incorporated a lot of softer moments on this record, including the acoustically driven closer “High,” with some additional vocal harmonies that help emphasize the vocal performances even more, “Lover Of Mine,” which adds some piano in addition to the acoustic guitar, and “Best Years” and “Lonely Heart,” both of which are on the softer side for the most part before leading up to huge, explosive and anthemic choruses that make the songs even more memorable than they already are.  

5 Seconds Of Summer have created another fantastic record that not only shows further experimentation within their sound and more of what the band is capable of musically, but also shows them refining and honing in on their signature sound even more throughout twelve really solid tracks.

Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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Dirty Honey w/ The Amazons | Rolling 7’s Tour | Photos + Review

Almost a year ago, Los Angeles based rock band Dirty Honey released their self-titled debut EP. The band have recently been on a headlining tour across North America in support of this release, bringing along fellow rockers The Amazons with them, and I attended the Denver, Colorado show.
Opening up the night was British rock band The Amazons. Their forty-five minute set consisted of eight songs, and each half of the set included songs from each of the two records in the band’s catalogue – “Black Magic,” “In My Mind” (my personal favorite song of theirs), “Junk Food Forever” and “Stay With Me” from their 2017 self-titled debut LP, and “25,” “Doubt It” “Mother,” and set opener “Fuzzy Tree” from last year’s album “Future Dust.” The band has a lot of charisma and a brilliant stage presence that really showed throughout their entire set.

Dirty Honey came on stage not long after for their headlining set. The band played their
self-titled EP in full (“When I’m Gone,” “Rolling 7’s,” “Heartbreaker,” “Down The Road,” “Scars,” and “Break You”), as well as their 2018 debut single “Fire Away.” In addition to playing all of the songs that they’ve released so far, they also added in two new songs, and played some impressive instrumental solos throughout the set, which allowed each instrumentalist in the band to show off their individual skills and talents. Similarly to The Amazons, Dirty Honey also had a really good stage presence, and did a really good job at engaging the ecstatic crowd.

Both bands on the Rolling 7’s Tour put on captivating and entertaining performances and
overall, it was an enjoyable night of rock and roll music.

Photos + Review courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Classic Crime w/ Assuming We Survive, Your Bourgeois, and David Lunsford | West Coast Tour | Photos + Review

Seattle-based rock band The Classic Crime have been around for quite some time, releasing a handful of albums over the past fifteen years. The band have recently dropped a couple of singles, leading up to their upcoming full-length album “Patterns In The Static” (due to be released on February 28th) and embarked on a tour of the West Coast (their first tour since 2018) in support of the new material.
Opening up the night was Seattle based acoustic musician David Lunsford. He began the set with his most recent single, “God Damn Soul,” and played “Without Your Armor” and “On My Mind” from his 2018 debut LP, “To All My Friends And Family.” In addition, he also played two unreleased songs, one titled “Evergreen” and a self-titled song that he concluded his set with. What stood out to me about David’s set was the emotion he put into each of the songs he performed, and that was evident from the moment he started the set.


Up next was Your Bourgeois, a local rock band from Golden, Colorado. They had a pretty good mix of slower and more upbeat songs in their set, and seemed to show influences of various styles of rock, which made their set even more interesting. One of the main things that stood out to me about this band’s set and the music they played was the very impressive lead guitar solos in a couple of the songs.


Second to last was Assuming We Survive. I saw them headline in LA a couple of years ago and since then, they have quickly become one of my favorite bands to see live and one of my favorite bands overall. One thing I like a lot about their live shows is the energy they constantly bring throughout so much of their sets, and the large majority of their setlist consisted of some of the most upbeat tracks from recent releases (“Tear Me,” “Make It Out Alive,” “Smile Sometime,” “Too Close”). The band played their two latest EPs, “Chapters” and “The Enemy Within,” from beginning to end (with the exception of “California Stoned,” the final track on “Chapters”), and amidst all of the more upbeat songs they played, they slowed things down a bit as well when playing “Lost” and “Let You Down,” which had everyone waving their cellphone lights in the air.


The Classic Crime took the stage not long after Assuming We Survive was done, and they
instantly had the crowd singing along and rocking out to their music. Their setlist spanned from throughout their discography as they played songs such as “The Fight” from their 2006 debut LP “Albatross,” “Abracadavers” and “Gravedigging” from 2008’s “The Silver Cord,” “Beautiful Darkside” and “The Precipice” from 2012’s “Phoenix,” “Driftwood” and “Holy Water” from 2017’s “How To Be Human,” . In addition, they played their two latest singles, “Take The Moment” and “Miles And Miles,” which are both from their upcoming album “Patterns In The Static.” This was my first time seeing The Classic Crime, and immediately I thought that they put on a really fun live performance.

Each act that performed at this show was something a little bit different, but one commonality that all of them shared was putting on an interesting and captivating performance, and the show overall was a very fun one to watch.

The Classic Crime | Assuming We Survive | Your Bourgeois | David Lunsford

Photos + Review Courtesy of Megan Langley | Instagram

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