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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Have Mercy Final Tour 2020 | Photos + Review

Have Mercy have been a very important part of the emo, alternative and pop punk music scene, and after a decade of music and touring, they announced they have decided to break up, and that they would do one final North American tour.

Glacier Veins started the show off strong with a very captivating performance. The band has such a good stage presence and looked like they were having so much fun performing their set. The set-list primarily consisted of songs from their newly released debut LP, “The World You Want To See,” including upbeat songs such as “Talk,” “Feel Better Now,” and “Everything Glows,” as well as some slower ones like “Driveway.”

 

Young Culture was up next, bringing another really impressive set. This band brings something refreshing to the modern pop punk genre, and their live set brought a ton of passion and energy from start to finish. They performed all of the songs off of last year’s “(This Is) Heaven” EP (with the exception of “Never Changed”), as well as two older songs, “Party Girl” and “Pure Gold,” and their newly released single, “Holiday In Vegas.” 

 

Second to last was Fredo Disco. The band has so much charisma, especially lead vocalist Fredo Fosco, and they really engaged and captivated a crowd full of people who were very excited to see them perform. Their set-list included their two latest songs (“never tell u” and “harmony korine (the game)”), as well as several others from the project’s past few releases: “burnt and worn out,” “dad jeans,” and “jimbo” from 2019’s “Very Cool Music For Very Cool People,” “saturn suv” and “shower song” from 2017’s “school spirit,” and “Ghost Of Mariano’s” and “Frankenstein” from their 2018 EP “The Boredom Keeps Me Up At Night.”

 

Finally, Have Mercy took the stage to perform the last Denver, Colorado set of their career. Their set-list spanned from throughout their discography, from playing songs from their final record “The Love Life” (“Clair,” “Heartbeat,” “These Streets,” and “Dressed Down”) to classics in their catalogue (“Let’s Talk About Your Hair,” “My Oldest Friend”) and songs from the other albums and EPs that they’ve released from throughout their career: “Spacecrafts,” “Pete Rose And Babe Ruth,” “Two Years” and “Howl” from “A Place Of Our Own,” “Coexist” from “Make The Best Of It,” and “Hell,” “Levelhead,” “This Old Ark” and “When I Sleep” from “The Earth Pushed Back.” 

 

Every band on this lineup put on very impressive and captivating performances, and as a whole, this might have been one of my favorite shows I’ve attended in 2020 so far.

Photos + Review courtesy of Meg 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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Belmont’s “Stay Up” Track Review

 

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Cover Art by Danny DeRusso

Belmont are a band in the pop punk scene that have been on my radar for quite a while. I really enjoyed their self-titled debut album that came out back in 2018, and more recently, the Illinois-based band have released two new singles – “Stay Up” and “By My Side.”

“Stay Up” is the latest track of the two, and the first one on this double single. Catchy guitar riffs reside in the intro, bringing some impressive lead guitar lines (which return later on) and a lot of energy during the verses. The chorus brings extremely catchy melodies and the overall vocal performance there really shows off the lead vocalist’s range as he hits some higher notes during this section of the song. There’s a bit of aggression added in the vocals after the first chorus, continuing into the second verse, and this plus the breakdown later on (where the bass really shines) are two examples of how the band trace back to their more aggressive pop punk roots a little bit with this song.

“By My Side” is the second track from this double single release, and was released late last fall when the band announced their signing with Pure Noise Records. The blend of synths and harder hitting instrumentation reminds me of some of the elements the band incorporated on that self-titled record, and feels like a perfect track to The verses show the darker composition on the track, the pre-chorus and chorus are really catchy, and both of those sections bring impressive instrumentation as well.

“Stay Up” and “By My Side” combine many musical elements from Belmont’s discography, and continue to show the different sides of their sound and the constant experimentation and evolution within it.

Spotify

Review by Megan Langley | Instagram

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The Starting Line & Chris Farren – Est. 1999 Tour Review

The Starting Line are a band in the pop punk and alternative scene that have now been around for twenty years, as of this year. To celebrate this anniversary and major milestone in their career, the band did several shows throughout the year, and I attended the Denver, Colorado show.

          Chris Farren opened the Denver show, and I’ve seen him live once before, when he opened for Free Throw back in September. He played a little bit of a longer set compared to the last time I saw him, and since his album “Born Hot” had been released in October, he incorporated a lot of newer songs into his setlist, including “Search 4 Me,” “Domain Lapse,” “Love Theme From “Born Hot,” and more. He also played older material, including one of my favorite songs of his, “Human Being.” Chris has a lot of charisma and passion that really shows through his live performance, and he puts on such a captivating live set overall. Some of the highlights from the performance were the signs behind him saying things such as “applause” and “guitar solo,” (as well as showcasing his original art), and the fact that he walked through the crowd and went up to the balcony to perform one of the songs.

Not too long after Chris finished his set, The Starting Line finally took the stage, and they played a variety of songs from throughout their discography. They played a large amount of earlier hits, such as “Up & Go,” “Almost There, Going Nowhere,” “Cheek To Cheek,”  “Left Coast Envy,” “The Drama Summer,” and “The Best Of Me” from their debut LP “Say It Like You Mean It,” and “Leaving” and “Greg’s Last Day” from their debut EP “The Hopes Of Starting Over.” The set also included songs from releases later on in their career, such as “Surprise, Surprise,” “Inspired By The $,” and “Making Love To The Camera” from “Based On A True Story,” and “Direction,” “Birds,” “Are You Alone,” “Island,” and “Way With Words” from “Direction,” as well as the three songs off of their 2016 EP “Anyways”: “Luck,” “Quitter,” and “Anyways.” One of the most interesting parts about this show was the fact that the vocalist would tell stories about the band’s history after every few songs, and would sometimes use those stories to introduce some of the songs they would play next. The stories discussed quite a few parts of the band’s career, from how they first got together to the process of making some of the music they incorporated into their setlist for the tour.

The Est. 1999 Tour was a very unique experience with two really great acts and I’m glad I got the chance to attend.

Venue: Summit Music Hall | City: Denver, CO | Date: 11/15/2019

Review by Megan Langley | Instagram

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Like Moths To Flames’ “Where The Light Refuses To Go.”- Album Review

Like Moths To Flames have been apart of the post-hardcore scene for quite awhile, though I personally first got into them in 2017 when they released “Nowhere Left To Sink,” and their album that followed, “Dark Divine,” which I also enjoyed. Over the past couple of months, the band has released a trilogy of singles, which make up their most recent release, an EP titled “Where The Light Refuses To Go.”

“All That You Lost” quickly foreshadows some of what’s to come on the rest of the EP through the darker and mostly heavier intro, where the lead guitar really stands out. The verses are pretty heavy as well, where very energetic instrumentals drive the rhythm and the heavier vocals really get to shine, and the bass shows off before and during the breakdown later on in the check. The choruses in between are a lot more melodic, and the melodies are catchy, yet also darker. This fits perfectly with the overall vibe that this track has and makes this chorus as a whole a bit different from those on the other choruses later on in the EP. “Smoke And Mirrors” is a Little Bit slower compared to the opener, and contrasts a lot to begin with. The more melodic vocals in the verses show a ton of emotion, and the screamed vocals blend with those very well. The heavier sections bring a ton of energy, and so does the huge and very memorable chorus, which is one of the best on the EP. Closing out this EP is “Into The Black,” which mixes some synths with the heavier instrumentals in the darker, riff-heavy intro. The more melodic verses bring some softer vocals and give the instrumentation more room to shine, especially the bass and drums. The pre-chorus is a bit reminiscent of the intro, being a lot heavier instrumentally (and also vocally), and it leads up to yet another very catchy chorus that’s upbeat and a really fun one to listen to. The bridge mixes clean and screamed vocals, both of which deliver an emotional performance, especially the clean vocals that finish out the song and the EP, which really impressed and stood out to me on first listen.

On “Where The Light Refuses To Go,” Like Moths To Flames bring a perfect balance of aggression and melody and continue to perfect their post-hardcore sound.

Review by Megan Langley | Instagram

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Twenty One Pilots’ Bandito Tour ft MisterWives Review

Columbus, ohio based duo twenty one pilots have quickly become one of the biggest names in alternative music, and there’s been even more hype (see what I did there?) about them with their latest album, “Trench,” which dropped last year. They did a headlining tour in support of it last year, which I attended, and I couldn’t resist the opportunity to see them again when they announced a return to Denver as part of an additional leg of this tour.

Opening up the night was NYC based band Misterwives, who combine influences of pop, alternative, dance, soul and folk music. I’ve seen them live once before when they opened for Panic! At The Disco a few years ago, and was just as impressed by them this time around. The band opened with their latest singles “The End” and “whywhywhy,” (as well as adding in “Coloring Outside The Lines from their sophomore album “Connect The Dots” in between the two new singles), followed by an unreleased song called “Find My Way Home,” and a cover of the very popular “Truth Hurts” by hip hop artist Lizzo, and the set was closed out with “Reflections” and “Our Own House” from the band’s debut with the same title as that last track. The band brought so much energy all throughout their set, were so much fun to watch, and I think they put on a great opening set.

Twenty One Pilots finally took the stage in the arena they headlined almost a year ago, and these two really know how to put on a show and captivate the audience. Their set opened with “Jumpsuit,” (same as on the last tour), followed by “Levitate,” both of which are from their latest album “Trench.” Towards the end of that second song, frontman Tyler Joseph grabbed a tambourine from his jacket to use during their third song, “Heavydirtysoul” from 2015’s “Blurryface.” The band involves their fans quite a lot throughout their shows, and one way they did so on this tour was by recording clips of the fans who camped outside throughout the day singing the beginning of their fourth song, “The Hype,” and using that as the intro for the song when they performed it by playing these clips on the giant screens in the arena. A ukelele was incorporated into the performance during “Lane Boy,” and the due added their hits “Stressed Out” and “Heathens” into the set before they walked over to the B-stage towards the end of “Nico & The Niners.” In this area of the venue, they played “Smithereens,” “Tear In My Heart,” “Bandito,” a partial version of “Migraine,” and some of “Pet Cheetah” before walking back to main stage and finishing the song there.

Two more fan interactions happened around this point in the set, as the crowd held up Tyler for a portion of “Holding On To You,” and drummer Josh Dun did the same for a drum solo at the end of “Morph,” and another highlight around this point in the set was when MisterWives joined the duo to perform “Cut My Lip” together. After “Holding On To You” finished, musician Dr. Blum played the trumpet during “Fall Away,” followed by the band playing three of their biggest songs: “Ride,” “My Blood,” and “Car Radio.” The encore began with a karaoke version of “Truce” playing with the lyrics displayed on the screen in the arena, as tens of thousands of fans sang along to every meaningful lyric. One final song off of “Trench” was played (“Chlorine”) before the set concluded with “Trees,” the song that the band have finished their live sets out with for many years, and it’s such a fun song to hear live.

Both of the bands on this tour put on phenomenal performances and this show of the Bandito tour might have been one of the most fun shows I’ve attended this year.

10/27/19 @ Pepsi Center, Denver, CO

Review by : Megan Langley | Instagram

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