Movements’ sophomore album No Good Left To Give Review

Photos by Anthony Purcella

Over the past few years, Movements have quickly become a household name in the pop-punk, emo, and alternative scene, especially after the release of their 2017 debut LP, “Feel Something.” Three years later, the Southern California-based quartet has returned with their highly-anticipated sophomore album, titled “No Good Left To Give.”

The album begins with “In My Blood,” which instantly brings darker composition in its intro, driven by bass and guitars before the harder-hitting drums kick in. The vocals are a lot softer at first, but gradually get louder during the pre-chorus and chorus, leading up to the bridge, where catchy instrumentals accompany a powerful and emotional vocal performance before the song fades out, starting off this record on a very strong note.

The three tracks that follow are the three singles that came out prior to the record’s release date, and they all show how the band has evolved their sound and how they’re experimenting with other elements on this record. “Skin To Skin,” the second of these three singles to be released,” is the most experimental of the trio, and is a perfect example of this, as it starts out with softer vocals before a bigger and harder-hitting chorus where those vocals and the instrumentals shine, while also adding extra instruments into the mix, joining forces with more catchy instrumentals to help drive a rhythm that makes the listener want to dance along to the track. The lead single “Don’t Give Up Your Ghost” also starts out with piano and softer instrumentals before leading up to a more upbeat chorus containing a memorable hook that’s been stuck in my head since the song was first released this past summer. The fourth track on here is the third and final single, “Tunnel Vision,” starting off with a darker intro before the energetic drums stand out during the first verse and pre-chorus as they build the song up to its huge chorus, which showcases so much emotion in both the vocal and instrumental performances. The same amount of emotion is also shown through the harsher vocals found in the second chorus, bridge, and ending later on in the track, and I think that this track overall was a great choice for a single because it shows how the band‘s sound has evolved over the last few years.

“Garden Eyes” quickly brings plenty of energy in its intro, leading up to its chorus, which is one of the catchiest choruses offered on this entire record. Speaking of catchy composition, “Santiago Peak” includes plenty of that, from the simple guitar and bass riffs that open the track to the melodies in the verses and hard-hitting chorus, where both the vocals and instrumentals really stand out. The track prior to it, “Living Apology,” also contains catchy melodies that get even better during the pre-choruses, and similarly to “Tunnel Vision,” the bridge also contains some shouted vocals that are reminiscent of some of Movements’ older material. “Moonlight Lines,” which appears closer to the end of the record, is undoubtedly the most energetic one on here, with the guitars, bass, and drums driving that faster-paced rhythm in preparation for another huge chorus that delivers catchy composition through passionate performances, and the spoken word sections in the second verse and at the end remind me of a lot of the band’s early work.

Amidst these more upbeat and more energetic tracks, the band takes some time to slow things down for a bit. “12 Weeks” adds some acoustic guitar and cleaner electric guitars, and the softer vocals in the verses match those perfectly. The vocals get a lot louder in the chorus, and the bridge has a catchy guitar solo and harmonies that really emphasize the overall vocal performance in that section. Softer instrumentals drive the slower rhythm of “Seneca” before it becomes more hard-hitting, and more instrumentals kick in before the second verse, leading up to the bridge, where another emotional vocal performance resides. Second to last is the album’s title track, “No Good Left To Give,” and the minute-and-a-half-long interlude is driven by a catchy piano part before the drums kick in, and while those drums contrast from the piano, softer vocals, and the subtle and simplistic lead guitar that gets added in later on, they all fit together very well. “Love Took The Last Of It” concludes this album, instantly bringing hard-hitting instrumentals and catchy melodies. The vocals are a bit louder during the verses, especially in comparison to some of the earlier tracks, and the instrumentals do a great job at building up to the song’s chorus, which reminds me a bit of the choruses on a couple of the tracks from “Feel Something” – particularly “Daylily” and “Suffer Through.” This is another one of the catchiest tracks on the record and makes a fantastic closing track.

Just like on previous releases, there’s a bit of a variety regarding the lyrical content and the topics discussed in the lyrics throughout this record. There are a few tracks centered around love & relationships, from infatuation and seduction (“Skin To Skin”) to heartbreak and regret (“In My Blood,” “Seneca,” “Love Took The Last Of It”). Mental health is a topic that this band has previously incorporated into a lot of their lyrics, and they continue that conversation on this album as well, with songs sparking discussions about things such as suicide (“Don’t Give Up Your Ghost”) and depression (“Tunnel Vision”).

From the candid and creative lyrics to the compelling performances, “No Good Left To Give” is a stellar sophomore effort from Movements.

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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Zoom Interview with Singer-songwriter Erin Kirby

During this time ourselves and everyone around us has had to adapt to a new normal. Usually, I’ve done in person interviews or written – this time it’s a video chat interview! In a time where work and school are all done remotely I figured why not interview an artist remotely as well. Below is our first ever zoom interview Cristine did with singer/songwriter Erin Kirby.

Erin’s social media : Instagram | Twitter | Facebook |Spotify

Interview courtesy of Cristine Trimarco

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Trivium – What the Dead Men Say review

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Trivium – What the Dead Men Say review

When Trivium released The Sin and the Sentence back in 2017, it caught many in the metal community by surprise. Through the six years before that album’s release, Trivium had seen their fair share of inconsistencies and challenges, from drummer swaps to damaged vocal cords and stylistic changes in-betweenThis led to albums with some undeniable concert staples (ie. “In Waves”, “Strife”, “Until the World Goes Cold”), but none of these records could hold a candle to either Shogun or Ascendancy from the decade prior in terms of cohesion or overall quality. Sin and the Sentence changed all of that. It came across as a more confident and inspired record, due in no small part to the band’s inclusion of new powerhouse drummer Alex Bent, as well as singer/guitarist Matt Heafy’s revitalized harsh vocals (which had unfortunately been completely absent on 2015’s Silence in the Snow). The record was a shot of adrenaline for a band that had been quite frankly wandering in circles trying to find a foothold again in the modern metal world, and it won them back long-time fans who had written them off for dead.

Sin and the Sentence reset the clock for Trivium, and for listeners going into 2020’s What the Dead Men Say, it could almost be justified to have suspicions and fears of this potentially being a sophomore slump. The band arguably had more to prove going into this record than ever in their whole career. Success was crucial and not guaranteed, as that rebirth from three years before could have easily been a fluke, nothing more than an exciting yet short-lived footnote in their history. Yet while Sin and the Sentence was a culmination of all the things that made Trivium so appealing through the years before, What the Dead Men Say ends up being the leaner, more captivating record.

Over the course of nine songs, it is not only apparent how much tighter the band has become in the last three years, but also how much more attention to detail there was in making sure that no filler was present. The intro “IX” leads into the anthemic powerhouse title track, itself invoking feelings of classic Metallica opener “Battery” through a melodic death metal lens. This track’s sense of building tension appears frequently through the album on highlights such as “Sickness Unto You” and “Catastrophist”, the latter which delivers one of the best vocal performances of singer Matt Heafy’s entire career. His overall presence on this record shows a continued rebuilding of his voice that started as far back as 2015’s Silence and the Snow. His extra controlled grit and distortion is a fantastic touch to lyrics that are without a doubt improved over past records, never becoming as overly verbose as those on Shogun, nor as boringly blunt as those found on In Waves.

There are also plenty nods to the best parts of the band’s mid-2000s heyday in “Amongst the Shadows and the Stones” and “The Defiant”, and the years of experience behind them make these songs sound far more thought-out and mature in their rage and energy. All of the instrumentals are locked in with lightning precision, and while the guitar work of Matt Heafy and Corey Beaulieu in Trivium has always been a strong point even when the band was not in top form, the true source of What the Dead Men Say’s power is from the rhythm section of bassist Paolo Gregoletto and drummer Alex Bent. These songs wouldn’t have the same weight and impact if it wasn’t for Gregoletto and Bent’s massive synergy together, ranging from the drop-tuned groove of “Bleed Into Me” to the furious power thrash closer of “The Ones We Leave Behind”. As stated before, Trivium has always been a technically gifted band, but here it is beyond just pure guitar hero shredding and bombast, it’s now further developed into an experience where all 4 members lock into every moment with intent and integrity.

What the Dead Men Say is exactly the album Trivium needed to make in 2020. Off the heels of Sin and the Sentence, they recognized all the past wrongs they made right on that record and took that approach even further, without any uncertain sidesteps or shakeups that have plagued them on and off over the years. It is an uncompromising take on modern mainstream metal, and easily their strongest release to date, reflecting a band that finally feels comfortable with each other and their collective vision. “Gods walk amongst all without fear,” indeed.

Rating: 9.5/10

Review courtesy of Brent McCann

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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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Fitz & The Tantrums ft Twin XL | All The Feels Tour 2020

February 12, 2020

Twin XL

Fitz & The Tantrums

Photos courtesy of Angel Haines

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Sleeping With Sirens, Set It Off, Point North & Belmont | The Medicine Tour 2020

Belmont

Point North

Set It Off  (Jan 28 & Jan 31st)

Sleeping With Sirens

Photos courtesy of Angel Haines

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Capstan & A Grizzly Fate | Photos + Review

Set it Off was supposed to headline this Candian show in Winnipeg Manitoba, but unfortunately their bus had broken down due to the insane cold weather. Capstan, who has been touring with Set it Off got a chance to headline instead. It was absolutely incredible getting to not only see Capstan a second time but photograph them a second time as well! I did not get a chance to see Loiter play, they were added to the bill after Set it Off was confirmed as not coming, but I had memory card issues and missed their set. The other local opener was A Grizzly Fate, these guys have amazing stage presence and are really great people. I’ve been going to their shows since they started as a band and I’m really happy to see them play with bands like Capstan. Capstan of course killed it on stage! They have said many times that they love Winnipeg and they plan on coming back as many times as possible and I hope they do come back.

A Grizzly Fate

 

Capstan

 

 Photos + Review courtesy of Chris Hall

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Snoop Dogg lights up The Fillmore in Detroit – I Wanna Thank Me Tour 2020

Snoop Dogg accompanied by Warren G, Trick Trick, and Trae packed The Fillmore Detroit two Sunday’s ago for a fantastic show. The event sold out the 2,900 capacity venue and built up suspense and energy with every artist leading up to the headliner.

To help set the bar for such an amazing performance in Detroit, Trick Trick performed one of his most iconic songs “Welcome 2 Detroit”. To see an entire venue shout the lyrics in his home town was such a memorable display of energy and positive vibes that blew the roof off the venue.


Up next was Warren G to raise the bar even higher. With fantastic lighting, memorable hits from the early 90’s like “Regulate”, and party favors in the form of joints, the crowd reached a new level of intensity.

Lastly the headliner, Snoop Dogg made his appearance with a blunt in hand and exotic dancers on both sides of the stage. The crowd peaked the decibel level of the venue as he opened with his one of his top hits, What U Talkin’ Bout off his 2019 album I Wanna Thank Me. With a 24 song set he definitely stole the show. Ranging from top hits, new work off his album, and even a few feature songs he collaborated with such rap icons like Akon, Wiz Khalifa, and Dr. Dre., the audience never skipped a beat. With such diversity of fans of all ages and skin color we could all agree that the rap genre will never die and to live life Young, Wild and Free.

Review+ Photo Gallery by: Keenan Beals, Michigan Made Photography.

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