Episode #55 a)
1. Abandon the Raft
Abandon the Raft are a three-piece rock band based in San Diego, California. This band has progressed so much since their first EP, Concept Paradox (listen to a tune from that EP on EPISODE 11), released only a few years ago. It featured a lot of mid-tempo tunes with some heavy guitars laced with dark atmospherics and a hint of thrash, almost reminiscent of Tool. The vocals were one of a kind on that EP and still are. Soon after, the band released The House of Gold EP (listen to songs from that EP on EPISODE 21 and the Top 25 of 2010 Show). It was stepping stone that lead into the direction of their new progressive sound. More electronics were layered into their music which now play a more dominant role on their most recent release, Surf the Machine. They do experiment with lots of new sounds and styles on this EP. The writing is a bit more complex and very creative. This especially holds true on their instrumental tracks, DWTA and Out There. Those tracks are very percussive and laced with additional loops and beats. The opening track, Spark, all ready hints at worldly sounds and heavy electronics with mystical noises and soft-spoken vocals. On the title track, it's a little borderline epic (it surpasses six minutes). It travels through a lucid dream-like world, surfing along an electronic wave and diving into some modern day digital rock. It's a really smooth track. They close the EP with the song, Head For Rent (Spacious Closets). It's a nice closer in which they go back to basics and present a guitar-driven song with powerful drums, tight basslines and vocals like no other. Get focused on this band and listen to them evolve musically (listen to the whole EP on their Bandcamp HERE). Abandon the Raft's song on this episode is the title track from their new EP, Surf the Machine.
2. Pie Are Squared
Pie Are Squared is the electronic side project of Mohammed Ashraf. He also plays in the rock band, Feed Me, from Cairo Egypt (check them out HERE). Pie Are Squared released a new EP in April titled, Three Quarter Moon/Memories et Cetera (it's available for free download on Bandcamp HERE). It features four new songs of electronica that's both fluid and epic. The tunes are raw and uncut as all four songs were written offshore on two rigs and three supply boats. Listen closely and you'll hear the sounds of waves (or at least an ocean-type theme to the compositions). On the song, Memories et Cetera (Part I: Rig Dronium), as the percussive loops of soft drums and cymbals crash on, different noises come about, gentle flute sounds and later drum rolls. While the third track, Memories et Cetera (Part 2: Mom) is a very quiet track of lone distant sounds (a voice maybe?) and only ambiance filling in the background. The EP surpasses the 30 minute mark. Worth checking out if like experimental electronica. Pie Are Squared's song on this episode is titled, Memories et Cetera (Part 3: Supply Boats and Sunsets), off of, Three Quarter Moon/Memories et Cetera.
3. Night Gaunts
Night Gaunts are a ska band from Auckland, New Zealand. They play very electronic-heavy ska and punk. The vocals are delivered with some hip-hop styles and it compliments very well with the ska, punk and reggae sounds. The programming on these songs are tight as well with some nicely placed excerpts from Star Wars (on the track, Vicious Viles, check it out on EPISODE 36 as well as other tunes on EPISODE 16 and EPISODE 29). Just early last year, Night Gaunts released their full-length, Full Body Tourettes Pt. II. It featured twelve tracks of very upbeat, skank-friendly tunes (listen to it on Bandcamp HERE). The band is now set to release a new EP titled, Love Life and the Devil. Before the release of the new EP, the band made available a new track, Ill Informed. The bassline is tight, it's saturated with keys and layered with an upbeat drive set to make a crowd dance the entire night. Some nice electronics pop up throughout the song as well. Nicely done with lots of flavor. The new EP should be excellent. Night Gaunts' song on this episode is titled, Ill Informed.
4. Indian School
Indian School are a five-piece rock-pop band from Rosemead, California. Last year, they were streaming a set of new songs on Soundcloud which would later become their new EP, The Cruelest Kind (check out the song, Elvis, on EPISODE 35). Early this year, the band released physical forms of the EP through Walnut Tree Records (pick up a copy of the second pressing HERE or on iTunes). It's a really solid EP, featuring six songs of sweet rock and indie pop with a nice use of keys and some electronics (best heard on Rob Your House). Songs like Wind You Up and Elvis have twangy guitars and an early style rock-sound that moves and swings. And the track, Head Right, their acoustic song with a bassline perfect for a Western soundtrack (and let's not forget the brief banjo lick in the middle), is a nice country style song fit for a modern indie rock crowd. The EP is sweet as it is refreshing. Something good to fall back on too, especially when looking for some original pop and rock. Look no further. Indian School's song on this episode is titled, Rob Your House, off of, The Cruelest Kind.
5. Fathom This
Fathom This are currently a three-piece based in British Columbia, Canada. Right now they're in search for a new singer. They recently recorded a two-song demo to give any potential new band members an idea of what they're music sounds like (listen to both songs and download them HERE). Their tunes are pretty heavy, with some good dynamics and a bit of a post-hardcore drive. Really nice mix of clean guitars, smooth bass parts and tempo changes. Curious to hear what future singers might bring to the table with this music. The band's song on this episode is titled, Imaginary Friends.
Smokejumper are a four-piece punk-pop band from Seattle, Washington. Since early this year, they've been releasing singles of some new material monthly on their Bandcamp (check that out HERE). These songs will eventually lead up to a new album from these Seattle locals. It'll follow up their last self-titled album they released back in 2010 (check out a tune from that album on Episode 20). The new material is reminiscent of some early 90's punk-pop and rock. Also included with their singles are covers by Mountain Goats, Cock Sparrer, and Mr. T Experience. Smokejumper's song on this episode is titled, The Ballad of Elvin Crab.
7. Codename: Rocky
Codename: Rocky is a ska-punk band from Orange County, California. They formed in 1997 and have stayed active throughout until 2004. During the band's active years, they released two albums, No Time to Waste (2000) and Infinity (2001). Both albums were prime examples of great third-wave ska (check out tunes from both albums on Episode 06 and Episode 47). Codename: Rocky also recorded a separate song titled, Sunrise, Sunset. The band played a last show in 2004, but just recently resurfaced to play a reunion show (check out details for that HERE). Along with some new shows, the band has also recorded a new single titled, Mile Markers. Download it for free from the band's Facebook HERE.
Episode #55 b)
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Siblings are a four-piece hardcore punk band from Honolulu, HI. Since my move back here to the Aloha State, there are new bands (new to me) left and right. Looks like the scene here is alive and well. From what I've seen so far. I'm glad. One of the first shows I looked up had this band on the flyer. I still haven't seen them yet. Good thing they're playing a bunch of shows, some of which are coming up real soon (check out a listing of them HERE) Really simple, fast, and intense hardcore punk from these Hawaii locals. The vocals are always set to an aggressive tone, with some heavy guitars and basslines to back it up, and some solid drumming too. Excellent stuff. Did I say the scene is alive and well here? Yes. Very much so. Their music is up for free download on Bandcamp HERE. I suggest you listen to them. Now. Siblings' song on this episode is an unreleased track, Massive Agressive (listen to a live version of it HERE).
2. The Fear
The Fear are a five-piece punk band from the UK. The band released a new album in May titled, Here Goes Nothing, through Lockjaw Records. The album is eleven songs of technical punk rock with much of the praise going to the really tight musicianship of the band members. The Fear keep it real interesting with their abundance of sheer guitar work, laced with solos, leads, and more solos. But when it's just power chords, they keep it aggressive and fast, which is highlighted by the solid drumming on each of the tracks. The beats are nice and diverse, always at a fast pace, as are the vocal melodies and tight basslines (favorite is on the songs, Saving Grace and The Bitter Taste). They should probably visit the US again and play these songs on this side of the world. The Fear's song on this episode is titled, Heavy Hearts and Bloodshot Eyes, off of, Here Goes Nothing.
3. Last Stand For Lucy
Last Stand For Lucy are a four-piece hard-rock band from New York City. They recently released a new single titled, Sinking, which will be released on their upcoming EP, Dysthymia Part II. As a follow-up to their Bastards of Gramercy EP, the band would release two EP's instead of one full-length album. Last year, Last Stand For Lucy released Dysthymia Part I which included five new songs of melodic hard-rock (check out the song, Restless, on EPISODE 33 and another track, Seven, on the Top 25 of 2011 show). The new song, Sinking, is an upbeat tune showcasing some tight instrumentals with lots of guitar leads and double-pedal action. It's a very dynamic track and sounds like they took time working on this one. Last Stand For Lucy's song on this episode is titled, Sinking, off of their upcoming new EP, Dysthymia Part 2.
Invasives are a three-piece rock band from Vancouver, British Columbia in Canada. The band released a record with two new songs, Embracing Evil and Murder in the Afternoon, this past March (download it for free on Bandcamp HERE). This is their newest material since the full-length, Desk Job at Castle Dracula (check out tunes from that album on EPISODE 19 and the Top 25 Show of 2010) released two years ago. Both new tracks feature some nice instrumental breakdowns that come with a tech-pop kind of flare. And the odd-sounding riffs go so well with their singer's voice. He's got some definite range and a voice like no other. They're also going to be recording a new album this summer. I wonder what it'll be called this time. Their last album title was just so damn cool. Invasives' song on this episode is titled, Embracing Evil, from their new 7”.
Vices are a five-piece hardcore band from Jacksonville, Florida. With a sound unlike most of their contemporaries, Vices instead mesh in blues riffs and solos into their brutal mosh-ready hardcore. They make this abundantly clear on their recent new 7” titled, The Out Crowd Blues, released through Melotov Records (pick up a copy HERE or listen to it HERE). The vocals are fresh and the drums and bass are tight, but a lot of the praise goes to the guitars. The record opens with the title track and sounds exactly what it says - a small crowd talking it out while a lone guitar plays the blues. A single tone holds and ends on a note before the entire band jumps in. Some nice aggressive hardcore plays out on the second track, Wake Up, which was also part of the band's split with Worn Out. And several guitar licks make appearances throughout the song and on the next one, Ramblin', which also has some nice breakdowns. But it isn't until Wearing Thin where we hear some wicked solos. The style and delivery are sharp as is the melody itself. On the closing track, Listen, Vices lay out darker tones and instrumentals on a slower tempo, but it's also heavy with some more tight guitar work. Something different here, but worth checking out. And then put on repeat. Vices' song on this episode is titled, Listen, off of, The Out Crowd Blues.
Blighted are a four-piece hardcore band from Southern California. Their new LP, Deliberate, features seven new tracks of some pretty intense hardcore, complete with raw instrumentals and pissed-off sounding vocals. And just like their first self-titled LP (check out a tune on EPISODE 18), they keep it fast and fierce throughout the record. But on the song, Cycle, they slow it down for about two and a half minutes, although they do keep the same aggressiveness as the previous songs before kicking it into high gear on the proceeding track, By Number(s).This LP really is utter chaos from start to finish. There's even some blast beat action on a few of the tracks (download the LP for free on the band's Bandcamp HERE). And Deliberate does fly by quick, clocking in at about eleven and a half minutes. But the band does accomplish a lot given the limited time frame. I really want to see this band at a show. It'll be intense. This LP is dope. Check it. Blighted's song on this episode is titled, On Company, from their new LP, Deliberate.
7. Dead Icons
Dead Icons are a four-piece hardcore band from Lexington, Kentucky. Earlier this year, Dead Icons released their debut full-length, Condemned, through Bullet Tooth Recordings. The album is twelve songs of aggressive hardcore, full of breakdowns and mosh-ready riffs. The instrumentals are crispy sounding and the vocals intense throughout each of the songs. And it's a mix of both new and older material (I love it when bands revamp original recordings). Songs from previous EP's include Life of Uncertainty, Vultures, Hourglass, and The Curse (listen to songs from their previous releases on EPISODE 3, EPISODE 12, EPISODE 22, AND EPISODE 30). They also had early demos of the songs, The Longer You Wait and Condemned, streaming on their MySpace in late 2010. The new material though, is just as heavy and aggressive as their previous songs. The album begins with the song, Folding Aces, which comes in strong and forceful with a really nice opening line, It's a vicious cycle/Bound to lose control/Every step in the wrong direction/Takes me farther away from home. They picked the right track to open the album. And underneath a lot of the aggressive sounds and angry lyrics lies some real positivity, It's time for you to make a change/It's time to make them understand/This is your true passion/Not a waste of time/Keep your intentions clear/And your focus direct (True Potential). The song takes on a few key tempo changes that are very brutal, clean, and mosh-friendly. It's a simple formula that the band has stuck with and has worked in their favor for the longest time. They know how to keep the music fresh and original. Excellent album from these guys. Dead Icon's song on this episode is titled, Everything Has a Price, off of, Condemned.
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