Friday, April 25, 2014

Life In Vacuum - 5

There's something really unique and interesting happening here.  Life in Vacuum mixes elements of garage rock, indie and screamo to bring you their own little creation. Think Nation of Ulysses and Refused with some hints of Moss Icon. The musicianship is extremely accomplished and has a natural groove.

Vocally the band takes delves into uncomfortable melodies that pair with the music perfectly. Intermittent screams make an appearance to emphasize the intensity at just the right times. It may cross the "sass line" a few times here and there, but I'll let them off easy for such interesting and well executed music.

Listen to it here.

Zombie Fight - Echoes of the Past

Zombie Fight are back with a set of songs that shows the band refining their songwriting style to expand on their previous efforts of melodic hardcore. For fans of Betrayed, Bane and Great Reversals, Zombie Fight play a brand of hardcore that melds the aggressive with the melodic, forming a nice canvas of variety.

All the elements of traditional hardcore can found; group vocals, fast beats, chugging guitars, etc.  However, the band is able to present an honesty and genuine nature within the production that makes it more accessible. At times you'll sense a strong early New York Hardcore presence, while other times there's a strong mid 90's hardcore vibe that reminds me of bands like Downcast or Outspoken.

I find the record lyrically interesting for it's transparency.  The band is pretty up front with their words and the interesting thing about this is that the songs seemed to be lyrically divided up between band members (you'll see a breakdown of who wrote which song on their bandcamp page).  It reinforces that each band member has a pretty hearty stake in the content of this music.

Listen to it here.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Respire - Demonstration

Respire create some very slow, moody soundscapes with a great melodic sensibility to them.  The sound seems to be two-fold; at times it's light with clean guitar and low speaking vocals, while other times it's heavy, loud and screaming with anger.

It's something similar to mixing Explosions in the Sky with Buried Inside.  The unique use of trumpet and glockenspiel add some extra layers that are pulled off very well.

The only downside here is the production quality is not exactly at it's peak.  Hearing these songs with a larger production quality would probably be massive and really open up the intracacies of the songs.  Hopefully we'll see something like this in the future.  For now though, The band has definitely done a good job with the production at their disposal.

Listen to it here.

The Kid's Crusade - Sway

Maybe I'm out of the loop, but I can't say that I've heard a band that sounds quite like this in years.  The Kid's Crusade reminds me of what would happen if members of Small Brown Bike and Texas is the Reason did a band together. Maybe throw in a little Jawbreaker ("This Parachute Is A Knapsack" has glaring similarities to "Ashtray Monument").

These songs are engineered in a smart, intelligent way. Even the lead guitar parts come off as necessary and functional. It has melody but retains a very gruff presentation, vocally speaking. The production highlights everything very well.

Great stuff from the Netherlands here.  Don't sleep on it.  Listen to it here.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Great Reversals - Natural Burial

If you're familiar with Great Reversals then you'll be happy to see their evolutionary changes and growth that is displayed on Natural Burial.  You can still hear the mid 2000's hardcore influence of bands like Have Heart and Verse, though, the band has thrown in some extra ingredients here to create something that puts them in their own category.

The song structures are very mature, taking the predefined formula of this style and engineering it past the typical verse/chorus framework.  Airtight musicianship is well on display and you can tell these guys have really mastered their craft. Tasteful use of guitar delay adds an extra layer of melody in just the right spots.

For a real treat be sure to read the lyrics carefully.  They're wonderfully written and have a great feel for storytelling.  The most unconventional aspect of this has to be how "Reason in Madness" closes things up abruptly and unexpectedly.  Good work here.

Listen to it here.

Dietrich - S/T

Dreamy, rich instrumental tunes here that have great texture and melody. Dietrich deliver four songs that run about 10 minutes each. These songs are epic but still digestable. I don't feel too overwhelmed by them, nor do I zone out after a few minutes.  It's instrumental composition done very well.  

There are points I wish the drums were a little louder in the overall mix, as they sometimes get a bit lost.  The recording is very guitar driven, featuring the mid gain, reverb heavy strings right up front.

Have a listen here.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Enoch Ardon - Dedos Rotos

I don't hear about too many bands from Spain these days and Enoch Ardon has forced me to challenge myself and find some more.  This is a totally impressive set of songs that reminds me of early 2000's bands like Textbook Traitors and Jerome's Dream.

The music is totally chaotic and abrasive, however it uses a good deal of dynamics to create some great dramatic moments. Within the 60 second average run time you'll hear a good deal of screaching guitars, screamed vocals and energetic drumming.

This is some great stuff and it will definitely show up in my regular rotation.

Listen here.

Garden State - Safe/Dislocated

This band is not from New Jersey.  I just want to make that clear.  Nor does Garden State come as boring and pretentious like that Zack Braff movie.

I like these two songs quite a bit.  Monochrome comes to mind a bit with some likeness to modern bands like Dads or Driveway. Nice, jangly guitars take up the front end, creating some really great textures.  The song structures are well thought out and their execution comes off extremely smooth.

I'm really enjoying the vocal style and it's what really draws me in.  It's a great melodic voice that retains some weathered characteristics to it.  All in all, these two songs are an excellent representation of this particular genre done right.

Listen to it here.

Congratulations - Demo 2014

Congratulations is from Boston and play that blown out, off key, but always charming type of indie rock that is reminiscent of a band like Pity Sex.  It's catchy and fun, but has that undertone of depression to it.

There's not much I would change about these songs.  The recording and playing capture this particular style pretty perfectly.  Check it out.

Listen here.