Monday, December 31, 2012

10 Years

It feels cheap to mention a band more than once on here, but sometimes, it just can't be helped. This is one of those times.

Artist: 10 Years

A while ago, this band kept coming up on my Pandora, and I was very intrigued. The songs were very catchy, but stayed very true to the rock sound I loved then and still love now. I decided to look them up, and I'm immensely glad that I did so.

Listening to 10 Years, there are many times I'm reminded of Chevelle, another very straightforward rock band that I enjoy, from the sound of the vocals, through the deliberate guitar riffs, and to the powering drum tracks. Such similarities leave both bands to be regarded for their wealth of talent in the rock music genre, and worthy of high praise.

Their lyrical content varies a lot, and with that comes a variation in their musical style as well from song to song. Such impressive versatility makes listening to this group never get old. Each track holds a new unique trait, showing a different side of the band and further cementing their abilities.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• Beautiful
• Russian Roulette
• Fix Me
• Waking Up the Ghost
• Minus the Machine
• Battle Lust
• Forever Fields (Sowing Season)
• Knives
• Cast It Out
• Wasteland
• Prey
• Actions and Motives

And it's not as though all of these amazing songs came from the same album. No, these songs span their discography, proving that they've always been a remarkable band and will continue to be one in the coming decades. To overlook this group would be doing a complete disservice to your musical palette.

Monday, December 3, 2012

The New Regime

Today, upon finding myself with some much-desired downtime, I accidentally came across some amazing new music to listen to, something I wish would happen more often.

Artist: The New Regime

The band is the solo project of musician Ilan Rubin, perhaps better known for his drumming work with Lostprophets, Nine Inch Nails, and Angels & Airwaves. As if he needed to add any more accomplishments to his already hefty list, A New Regime is surprisingly impressive.

The songs are uniquely catchy, ethereal at times. The layering provides a captivating atmosphere that's hard to stop listening to. However, the tracks are far cry from sounding all the same. On the contrary, each is distinctively intriguing, with shared characteristics from song to song that don't counterproductively bury each track's individuality.

Some standout tracks include;
• Live In Fear
• Pray For The Weak
• Enjoy The Bitterness
• Clairaudience
• Don't Chase It

Above I've linked to Rubin's website for the band, where you can listen to his music and download some of his songs for free, namely the ones I just listed. I guarantee that if you share my musical tastes, you will not be disappointed in the least.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Diamond Eyes

After knowingly wanting to give these guys a listen for months, I was rather excited when I finally got around to listening to them, and even more so when I discovered how amazing their music is.

Song: Diamond Eyes
Artist: Deftones

Although the Deftones have been on the scene since 1988, their song "Diamond Eyes" comes from a record of the same name released in 2010. Classified as being alternative metal, the song clocks in at 3:08 minutes long, and you won't want to forget a single second of it. 

The track adopts a very atmospheric sound, although the instrumentation itself comes off very heavily. The focus is not on an intricate guitar part, but rather Chino Moreno's soaring vocals. On the contrary, the guitars serve to provide a grungy backdropping layer of sound that adds such power to the song. The drums also ramp up the intensity, as does some of the keyboard parts interspersed throughout.

"Diamond Eyes" is nothing if not catchy, but like many of the other songs I've suggested on here, it's in a way quite unlike that of the traditional, overplayed, sellout pop song. Lyrically, the chorus stands out to me, as it's so beautifully worded and sung. Truly, the entire song follows that theme as well.

If you gain anything from reading my posts on here (aside from hopefully interesting music suggestions), it should be that you should listen to any and everything that piques your interest even in the slightest. The Deftones are a simply stunning group, and it took me forever to give them the chance they rightly deserved. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

House of Gold & Bones Part 1

Upon finding myself in the mood to update this blog, I asked myself, "why not go for the album trifecta?" I had no rebuttal, so here's today's suggestion.

Album: House of Gold & Bones Part 1
Artist: Stone Sour

This might be Stone Sour's most ambitious project to date. Most notably, aside from the unique packaging and comic book/movie potential, it's on two discs, the second to be released next spring.

For anyone already familiar with Stone Sour, this album is a kind of a throwback to their earlier works, in terms of the heaviness of some of the tracks. However, their evolution since those beginning days is very obvious at times, resulting in what I think is the blend most harder rock bands should strive for. 

All-around, the instrumentation is phenomenal. Roy Mayorga's drumming is intense and precise, Jim Root and Josh Rand's guitar work is intricate and moving, Corey Taylor's vocals are powerful and emotional, and none of that is surprising in the least. 

Although Stone Sour (and Corey Taylor in particular) have a very distinctive sound, nothing on this record felt like a cookie cutter copy of any of their previous works. While undeniably reminiscent of some of their older releases at times, everything is fresh without having fallen into an entirely new direction. 

Some standout tracks include;
• Taciturn
• Gone Sovereign
• My Name Is Allen
• The Travelers - Part 1
• The Travelers - Part 2
• Tired
• Last of the Real

To be honest, I haven't had as much time to listen to this record as I would've liked. From the few play-throughs that I've gotten, those were the songs that stood out to me the most. Take those only as a starting point though, because Stone Sour has produced something awfully amazing here, and you won't want to miss a single second of it. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Transit of Venus

I don't always post about albums back-to-back, but when I do, I post about mind-blowingly-amazingly-awesome albums.

Album: Transit of Venus
Artist: Three Days Grace

It's been far too long since I've waited for a record to drop from months in advance. And although waiting all summer was challenging, the end result was most definitely worth it.

When Three Days Grace released their lead single "Chalk Outline" in August, my already high expectations for their album reached new heights. As a band, they were clearly capable of once again achieving greatness, and when October 2nd came around, they absolutely did.

With Transit of Venus, this group has seemingly found the middle ground between staying true to their own style while also expanding to try something new. Without sacrificing the core emotional, grungy sound that characterized their past releases, they were able to entertain some new concepts, including synths and keyboards. I know that might signal a sell-out to many people, but here that's completely not the case.

The slogan for the album was: "Some things will never happen again in your life time," in homage to the event the album derived its name from as well as the impact the band was hoping to achieve on the musical industry. With their clean, yet still heavy, sound from the vocals to the guitars to the drums to the keyboards, Three Days Grace truly seems to have captured the essence that slogan imparted. 

Some standout tracks include;
• Sign of the Times
• Chalk Outline
• The High Road
• Operate
• Anonymous
• Misery Loves My Company
• Give In to Me (A Michael Jackson cover)
• Happiness
• Give Me a Reason
• Time That Remains
• Expectations
• Broken Glass
• Unbreakable Heart

Anyone already familiar with this release will be quick to note that I just listed all of the songs off of the album. Well, that's just my way of telling you that if you're a fan of Three Days Grace or of rock in general, you would be wise to make listening to this entire album part of your future plans. I'm just saying.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Night Visions

I know this is my second indie rock suggestion in as many posts, but I was always intrigued by this particular band, and it wasn't until I heard one of their songs during the Olympics that I gave them my attention, for which I'm glad I did.

Album: Night Visions
Artist: Imagine Dragons

If you can get past how amazing their name is, the Imagine Dragons are quite the talented group. They're fairly new to the scene, having formed in only 2008, but have they've released 3 EPs and one full-length album, which is the subject of this post.

Night Visions encompasses all that's great about the indie side of alternative music, at least to my ears. With an ample dose of thumping bass, a measure of flowing vocal theatrics, and an abundance of general musical talent, this record has hit the recipe for awesome dead on.

To me, the biggest allure is the songs' catchiness. All too often, it seems as though a song that's labeled catchy turns out to be a stereotypical, sellout, pop song. However, here it's nothing like that. The music is original, and has a deeper meaning than a lot of what's out there nowadays. Also, not to hate on the music industry, but here the songs actually sound genuine, a rare find in today's market.

Some standout tracks include;
• The whole album

And I'm not just saying that to make a point or anything; I honestly tried to list out all of the ones I really wanted to suggest, but by the time I was done I realized I had listed pretty much the entire album. Which obviously is a good thing, and means you should probably go give this one a listen from start to finish if you find yourself liking their sound.

Friday, September 14, 2012

The Lonely Forest

Every so often, you come across that one band that, at least for the time being, becomes your new most absolutely favorite band. Well today I give to you my new most absolutely favorite band. 

Artist: The Lonely Forest

An American indie rock band from Anacortes, Washington, The Lonely Forest formed in 2005 and have since released 2 EPs and 3 full-length records to date. On their website biography, their music is described as having a core of John Van Deusen’s soaring vocals and keyboard melodies, wrapped tightly around Tony Ruland’s expansive guitar anchored by a heavy, yet nimble, rhythm section. 

Even from only having known about them for less than a day now, I'd still have to agree that the music is very vocally driven, but the guitar and rhythm parts are most definitely right there to back it and give their sound a very unique texture.

Lyrically and stylistically, their songs entertain a contrast of “brilliant pop songs featuring lyrics about spiritual longing wedded to an almost prog-rock sensibility” according to their site. Because of this, they apparently appeal to broad range of listeners, from “wide-eyed teenagers to jaded scenesters.”

From my own experience, I can only add to that by saying that their music sounds to me like a combination of Arcade Fire, Chevelle, and a little Angels & Airwaves perhaps. And honestly, I’d have to say that that’s a combination that really needed to happen, based on how amazing this band sounds. 

Some standout tracks include;
• Tooth for Tooth
• Coyote
• We Sing In Time
• Blackheart vs Captain America
• Are You Afraid of the World? 
• Nuclear Winter

I’m sorry I don’t have more songs to suggest, but I just found these guys yesterday and was a little impatient to post about them, so I haven’t gotten the chance to be able to explore their discography in any kind of depth. However, you can obviously go forth and discover on your own, which I strongly encourage! It's not nearly often enough that bands such as this get the attention they deserve, and these guys definitely deserve any and all attention they can get.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Four Seconds

It's nice to find a song that's just really fun to listen to. Be it a catchy beat, comical lyrics, or something else entirely that creates such an atmosphere, there's nothing quite like it and it makes for a great listen.

Song: Four Seconds
Artist: Barenaked Ladies

I had heard of this band before, but I had never come across any of their music and had never been inspired to seek it out, probably because that's quite the loaded Google search. 

When I found this track, it only took a few seconds for me to fall in love with it. After finding out what band was responsible for it, I was pleasantly surprised that it was a band I had heard mention of before.

Overall, it's an insanely catchy track. with heavy emphasis on the beat behind it. Not only is it unique, but it's quite involved with a neat guitar part, a driving drum rhythm, and even what sounds like a few baritone saxophone notes near the end. The vocals are also catchy in their own right, and honestly hard to not sing or hum along to. The lyrics are nothing overly profound or cohesive, but that just adds to the intrigue.

This track is definitely worth giving a chance, if for no other reason than that these guys found a way to rhyme with "orange," which is obviously a pretty unique undertaking. Really, it's just an overall enjoyable listen, from the uptempo to the quirky lyrics and everything in between. 

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Minus the Machine

While eagerly awaiting an album's drop for months has its build-up appeal, there's something to be said for just finding a new record that you didn't even know about.

Album: Minus the Machine
Artist: 10 Years

This record, 10 Years' sixth studio album, just came out a couple of days ago, and I was lucky enough to stumble across it on an accidental iTunes exploration. When I fell in love with the first three tracks I listened to, I knew it was more than deserving of a shout-out on here.

"Minus the Machine" adopts a kind of ambient/spacey feel that works to create an intriguing emotional atmosphere found throughout pretty much the entire album. But, not to be lost amidst that overarching style is the technical success of the musicians themselves. 

Jesse Hasek's vocal style is very reminiscent of that of Chevelle singer Pete Loeffler as he channels a very intense performance that compliments his instrumental backing; From the grungy guitars and straight-forward drumming and even to the solo piano on one track*, it's rather remarkable.

Some standout tracks include;
• Minus the Machine
• Battle Lust
* Forever Fields (Sowing Season)
• Knives

It's honestly an all-around great listen. Anyone who's a fan of rock but doesn't mind some deviation from the traditional formula should give this one a chance. Or actually, anyone who likes music in general should listen, because this record is simply amazing and deserves a lot of attention.

Sunday, July 29, 2012


Have you ever gone through one of those phases where for a time you find yourself listening almost exclusively to one band's discography? I've had the pleasure of going through one this summer for a band whom I have known of for a long while and enjoyed, but never given a thorough chance.

Song: Break
Artist: Three Days Grace 

For those of you just tuning in, you wouldn't know that I have a thing for music videos with intriguing plots and more substance than just the band performing their song. Not to say I don't like just general performance-y type videos, but I tend to appreciate ones with more of a movie quality to them.

This suggestion actually comes from somewhere in the middle, where the band is technically performing, but the setting is not quite the traditional stage.

The video involves putting each member of the band into their own separate room that matches the color of their clothing, and finding out what happens if those different colors were to, say, mix. And by mix I of course mean splatter over the contents of the neighboring rooms, as is partially shown in the above picture. Sounds weird, but the result is quite aesthetically pleasing.

Musically, "Break" is a rather well-rounded hard rock song. The guitars are somewhat distorted, the drums are intense, and the vocals are a mix of the clean and the grungy. What else could you ask for, really? It's very straightforward and edgy, becoming of the heavy style Three Days Grace has become known for over the years, but with a slight, somewhat lighter, twist.

Lyrically, according to lead guitarist Barry Stock, the track is about how "if you don't like the situation you're in or what's going on around you, it's entirely up to you to break out of it. That's it. It's pretty much just breaking out and letting loose. You don't have to be stuck in whatever it is you're dealing with. Whether it's good or bad, it's your choice to make a change."

Also, one last note in regards to this blog; I'm going to be experimenting in the future with putting photos in the posts to add a little more color and visual, like I did with this one. No guarantees on how long it will go for, but I'm kind of liking it already, so here's to trying something new!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


I had all but forgotten about this gem I stumbled across a few months ago until an ad for it popped up on Youtube and I remembered that I had never talked about it on here.

Song: Bones
Artist: Young Guns

An alternative rock band from Buckinghamshire and London, UK, the Young Guns have made a name for themselves playing the supporting role for a range of high-profile talent, including the Lostprophets, Bon Jovi, Guns N' Roses and Queens of the Stone Age. However, their own talent is something of note as well, not just that of who they've shared a stage with.

"Bones" comes across with a very traditional feel, where the drum/guitar parts are very straightforward and concise. Not to be lost among that beautiful simplicity is the precision of each note strummed or cymbal hit. It adds an open edge to the instrumental backing of the track that lends itself to the haunting ideas presented in the lyrics.

Speaking of the lyrics, I personally find the heart of this track to be in its lyrical content. Word-wise, it has a flow to it unlike anything I've ever heard. Nothing feels forced or out-of-place, and the verses are woven with a sort of deep message that is intricately crafted to a point where it seems as though every individual word was placed quite deliberately as part of the bigger theme-scheme.

Singer Gustav Wood's vocals serve to compliment the lyrics well, being clean enough to comprehend with an extra flavor of passion behind each syllable. As with many other songs I've featured on here over time, these vocals are in that range where they neither too grungy nor too light, finding the middle ground perfect for a song of this type/caliber.

I haven't had the chance to give the rest of the Young Guns' music a listen, but regardless, "Bones" is a strong testament to what a good rock song can, and maybe sometimes should, sound like. Give it a try, and if you're anything like me you'll probably wish you had found it sooner, or in my case not forgotten about it for so long.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Beyond The Fall

One of the most underrated parts of the concert experience is getting to hear the smaller opening acts who have to go out and play in front of a crowd impatient for the band they actually came to see. That being said, here's an amazing band who I would never have even heard of if they hadn't opened for a show I recently went to see with a friend.

Artist: Beyond The Fall

According to their Reverbnation page (linked above), Beyond The Fall is a "hard hitting melodic rock band from "L/A Maine" that formed mid-2009, that focuses on heavy grooves, melodic structures, and musicianship with an original feel and style."

Going from the meager handful of their tracks that I've actually heard, I would have to say that that description is pretty accurate.

Their songs have a very well-put-together feel to them, with structures that are just as clean as they are complex and intricate. The vocals are quite precise, and are neither too heavy or light, finding a nice middle to appeal to ears of all different backgrounds.

Instrumentally, the guitar and drums are impressive, showcasing the technical abilities of the band members in addition to their talent when it comes to just putting an exciting rock song together.

Some standout tracks include;
• Alone
• The Way
• Where You've Gone
• Hard To Find
• My Comfort
• Another Time

Coincidentally, it would appear that as they are a smaller, not-so-famous, band, the best way to listen to their music online is through the site linked previously. And if you decide to give them a chance, you'll find that I just listed all the songs from that site as standout tracks. The great part about that is that it's totally true.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012


It figures that after struggling for weeks to come up with a video to post, I can now find one everywhere I look.

Song: Astronaut 
Artist: Simple Plan

This is not the first time a band has used being an astronaut as a metaphor for being alone and forgotten, but out of those that I've heard this one might just have the most powerful imagery and story.

Lyrically, the song tells the tale of an astronaut who left Earth and then is stuck out in space alone because "the world forgot" about him, and all he wants is to find somebody else and be able to come down. The video plays to that plot line, as the majority of it is of an astronaut wandering around alone looking for signs of life until he finally finds somebody else out there at long last.

The song itself is very intense, with whatever chord they played it in fitting so well with the longing and desire such a lonely astronaut would likely feel. And for the most part, it stays true to describing an astronaut left out in space, with only the opening to the chorus signaling the presence of a metaphor with "tonight I'm feeling like an astronaut" after having spent the rest of the song describing what feeling like an astronaut would actually be like. All-in-all, that subtle use of a metaphor makes for a very unique, powerful track.

Personally, watching this video it definitely tugs at my heartstrings something fierce to see someone so lonely. Maybe it's just because I know the feeling, but regardless of why, the way it was filmed to show all that raw emotion was absolutely brilliant and not only sticks with the story but gives it a very definite life.

The song also happens to be ridiculously catchy, which maybe explains why it's been on loop for me for about a week now.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

30 Seconds to Mars

For the longest time, I had heard this band's name tossed around, but never thought to give them a serious listen until a couple months after I had first heard one of their songs in history class.

Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars

If you look past their Guinness World Record, MTV's banning of one of their music videos, the lawsuit they were on the receiving end of, the fact that their front-man was/is a somewhat famous actor, and their humanitarian efforts among many other interesting highlights, you'll find quite the talented, unique band.

30 Seconds to Mars has a very alternative feel, acquired mostly through the usage of various electronic sounds and effects. Over time, they've become quite famous for their live shows, as the energy level they create and thrive in is unbelievable. It would follow that such energy is also present in their music, thanks to the insane drumming, precise guitar, and intense vocals they produce.

Since their inception in 1998, they've released three studio albums and three EPs, all along the way being compared to the likes of Pink Floyd and Tool due to their experimental music and lyrical content.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• Kings and Queens
• Capricorn (A Brand New Name)
• From Yesterday
• Hurricane
• The Kill
• A Beautiful Lie
• Attack
• Closer to the Edge
• Edge of the Earth
• This Is War

But a select few of my other personal-favorite-but-maybe-just-not-as-"standout"/famous tracks are;
• L490
• Alibi
• Oblivion
• Search and Destroy
• Hurricane (Unplugged)
• Stranger In a Strange Land
• Valhalla (an unreleased track)
• Night of the Hunter 

I strongly suggest that if you like what you hear above, you continue your way through their discography, because it's literally all remarkable, even if it's not as well-known and/or respected. And while you're at it, take the time to look up some of their music videos, as the majority of them are quite remarkable in production quality and content.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


So naturally, the day after I give up on finding a music video to spotlight is when I finally remember one of my favorites that I had intended to mention a while back.

Song: Predictable
Artist: Good Charlotte

Before posting this, I searched through this site about a dozen times in utter disbelief that I hadn't already talked about this one. But the results came back that surprisingly I had indeed forgotten about it, so I'm going to make up for that lack.

The video is set in two contrasting scenes. The first, during the verses, is one of singer Joel Madden walking down the street of a seemingly perfect neighborhood, looking entirely out of place. The farther he goes, he starts to pass by vignettes of his band-mates where there's clearly something a little off, such as a lemonade stand that sells "Forgotten Dreams" and "Lost Hopes." Everyone he passes looks at him like he's the one who's odd, and that uncomfortable feeling properly sets the tone for the rest of the video as well as the song.

The second scenery, during the each chorus, is of the entire band performing in a kind of "Dr. Suess-meets-Tim Burton" storybook-esque room, where shadows are abundant and proportions are wacked. Actually, the conceptual art for the video (and the actual art from the intro) was created by guitarist Billy Martin, who drew his inspiration from Tim Burton's works.

In the song itself, there's a string part during the verses that helps to set everything on edge, and the guitar on top of that is borderline mysterious/creepy. Those parts are instrumentally more prominent thanks to the great minimalistic backdrop the drums and bass provide. And of course, Madden's vocals give this track the vibe of an angst-y punk rock-type ballad, complete with a couple of all-out rants even.

Apparently, it was written about Joel and Benji's father, and how he had left them when they were growing up, although it does easily double as describing a typical relationship saga.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Dead Beat

Today is the day marking when I have officially given up on trying to keep my four suggestion "categories" even, as finding quality music videos has proven harder than I thought. And, short of suggesting the same band's music videos ad nauseam, or trying to make something out of nothing, I've reached that point where it makes more sense to suggest whatever comes up, regardless of its "type." So, with that being said, here's today's suggestion.

Album: Dead Beat
Artist: Rufus Rex

This sound of this band bears an incredible similarity to that of the band Creature Feature, whom I've discussed previously on here. Spoiler alert, that similarity is because Rufus Rex is the side project of the Creature Feature singer/guitarist Curtis Rx. He is accompanied by drummer Victor Fuentes, but it's really a guitar-heavy solo project.

Of course, the similarities don't just stop at the sound: some of the macabre themes carry over as well. Basically, "the album is a concept about one man's quest for immorality and the strange world he discovers after awakening a terrible evil older than time itself" according to their official website.

However, the drastic difference between this music and that of Creature Feature is that Creature Feature is much more literal. To demonstrate what I mean, take Rufus Rex's song "Personal Demons," which is about the disruption of one's sanity. Were Creature Feature to have a song by the same name, it would probably be about actual little demon critters following someone around. That variance pretty much holds true for the entirety of the album, although there are some grisly aspects here and there.

Some standout tracks include;
• Rise Lazarus Rise
• Personal Demons
• From the Dust Returned a Titan
• Worlds In-Between
• Body In Revolt
• You'll Never Guess

If you go to this website, you can actually legally listen to all of the songs for free, and there are even lyrics put up for them as well. Trust me, it's much easier than scouring Youtube. Also, if what I've heard is correct, you can get the singles from the album through that site with a "name your price" scenario provided, meaning you can download them for free if you so desire or make a general donation-type payment.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Street Spirit (Fade Out)

There are many songs out there that can provoke their fair share of emotional despair, but not many that can do so without any emphasis being on a lyrical story being told.

Song: Street Spirit (Fade Out)
Artist: Radiohead

To quote vocalist and principal songwriter Thom Yorke; "Street Spirit has no resolve. It is the dark tunnel without the light at the end. It represents all tragic emotion that is so hurtful that the sound of that melody is its only definition.... That's why its lyrics are just a bunch of mini-stories or visual images as opposed to a cohesive explanation of its meaning. I used images set to the music that I thought would convey the emotional entirety of the lyric and music working together."

The power behind this track lies in its sound, from its instrumentation to the style of the vocals. It gives off an almost muted, minimalistic, stripped down vibe that can really do a number on your emotions. Honestly it's beautiful is what it is. Hauntingly beautiful.

I've listened to this song upwards of a couple dozen times now, without actually knowing the lyrics, which should be testament enough that it's not a sorrowful lyrical tale that gives this song its desolate feel. In a way, it's almost the lack thereof that lends itself to creating something so emotionally taxing. The individual tales Yorke weaves without any explanation or connection leave the listener without any sense of resolve and thus a heavier heart because of it.

I don't mean it to come across as though you will mire in depression for listening to this, or that you'll break down in tears of sorrow at the melancholy chorus. It's a somber, comfortless song unlike any other I've heard, but it's not distressing in a particularly lasting way.

Really, it's very hard to describe the unique impact of this track with words, so I suggest you go give it a listen and find out for yourself what it can evoke.

Friday, April 6, 2012


Back in February I highlighted a single from this album, and mentioned how eagerly I was awaiting the drop of the album in its entirety. Whatever excitement I felt then was definitely no where near as excited as I really should've been.

Album: Vulnerable
Artist: The Used

Have you ever enjoyed how catchy a pop song can be, but loathed the actual song itself due to its stylistic pop-genre elements? Here, The Used has taken the catchy, desirable traits from pop and combined them seamlessly with their well-known "sludge-rock" type style, to use a term coined by their singer. It's honestly rather remarkable, and pretty dang hard to stop listening to.

Bert McCracken's vocals are driving and distinct as always, and as per usual the instrumentation backing him up is flawless and complements the vocal tracking so well. They aren't just drum and guitar tracks laid down to simply backup the frontward melody; They are individual parts each with their own power that all combine to form something quite extraordinary.

Some standout tracks include;
• I Come Alive
• Together Burning Bright
• Hands and Faces
• Hurt No One
• Kiss It Goodbye
• Put Me Out
• Now That You're Dead
• Machine

There are even acoustic versions of a few songs that further highlight McCracken's vocal abilities, and are also surprisingly catchy in their own right. Basically, what I'm trying to say is that no matter what portion of this album you listen to, be it a handful of tracks or the whole thing, you'll come away impressed and with a new tune in your cranium. Unless I've seriously misjudged my audience here, I can absolutely guarantee this won't be a waste of your time in any way whatsoever.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Creature Feature

I stumbled across this band last night in a once-in-a-lifetime kind of way, and was honestly surprised that my wayward searching overturned something this eclectic and enjoyable.

Artist: Creature Feature

Choosing to talk about this group now couldn't have come at a more perfect time (except maybe on October 31st), because the best way I can describe their sound is a combination of all of the creepiness and theatrics of Tim Burton/Danny Elfman with the synthesizing of Pendulum, the band I just highlighted a video from. The result is something sounding new wave horror rock-esque, combined with horror movie-like lyrics, to create the perfect creepy (and catchy) sound.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• The House Of Myth
• A Gorey Demise (a sort of parody of Edward Gorey's "The Gashlycrumb Tinies" alphabet)
• The Greatest Show Unearthed
• Such Horrible Things
• Mommy's Little Monsters
• Grave Robber At Large
• It Was A Dark And Stormy Night...

Warning: The lyrics are rather dark and somewhat disturbing, but really to that point where it's in a typical, corny/silly Halloween-type style. However, you have honestly been warned. There's some... interesting morbid imagery described in every song that truly might not be for everyone. And if stuff like that doesn't sit well with you, regardless of how over-the-top cheezy it may come off, I strongly recommend passing this one over, or at least proceeding with caution.

One last note: If you find yourself liking this group, make sure to spread the word, because from what I've read, it seems like these guys could use all the extra support (monetary and otherwise) they can get!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Propane Nightmares

Stretching the definition of "alternative," today's suggestion comes from the genre of "drum and bass," with a little bit of a rock vibe to it.

Song: Propane Nightmares
Artist: Pendulum

The video is thematically based around a religious cult that apparently closely resembles Heaven's Gate (an American UFO religion). While the band performs at the front of the shack where the cult is meeting, two individuals are more spotlighted than others, and they wind up escaping from the shack during the cult suicide. This begs the question, "Why would you book a band for a mass suicide?"

But although the video is odd to say the least, the song itself is ridiculously catchy. I've never really listened to much electronic rock, but to start I feel this was a great sampling. Complete with a grooving instrument backing, the vocals complement the track as even they've been autotuned to the point of sounding synthesized. However, this is far cry from standard dubstep or techno. There's also a very poignant melody to go with the beat-heavy rhythm.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

We Don't Need to Whisper

In the mood for a quick detour out of the land of hard rock, I took to Google and after a few searches I found myself at this alternative gem.

Album: We Don't Need to Whisper
Artist: Angels and Airwaves

When I first started into this record, I had no idea I was stumbling upon such a great number of connections to other bands I know and love. Namely, the vocalist is Tom DeLonge of Blink-182, the drummer is Ilan Rubin formerly of Nine Inch Nails and Lostprophets, and the bassist is Matt Wachter formerly of 30 Seconds to Mars (although he was not in the band at the time this album was recorded - he joined about a year later). Not to mention, their guitarist David Kennedy is from a number of different bands himself, they're just ones that I hadn't heard of before. But needless to say, I'm more than a little disappointed in myself that it took me as long as it did to give Angels and Airwaves a listen.

To paint you a quick picture of their sound on this album, imagine if you will combining the electronic sound of Nine Inch Nails, the punk drumming of Blink-182 and the overall upbeat rock vibe of Lostprophets with the ambient synthesizing of 30 Seconds to Mars. Although those stylistic influences aren't consistent by any means, the idea is that there are a lot of interesting elements that have been combined here to varying degrees for a unique alternative sound that has callbacks to some of the bands that the individual members hail from.

Some standout tracks include;
• The War
• The Adventure
• It Hurts
• Start the Machine
• Distraction

Although the presence of Delonge's distinct voice gives off a strong Blink-182 vibe throughout, this album is truly a standalone masterpiece. All the small things were done in great detail and the work put into every aspect shows through absolutely brilliantly. The songs are catchy, but not overbearingly so, which lends itself to a record you might want to come back to time and time again.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Mad Caddies

As if the brilliance that is Pandora® hadn't been highlighted on here enough already, today's suggestion comes straight from the heart of some exploring my friend and I did on there recently.

Artist: Mad Caddies

These guys are about as ska-punk as you can get, combining the best elements of each genre with flair. Their unique sound also has callbacks to such genres as swing, reggae, jazz, Spanish, polka, cowpunk and sea shanties. Needless to say, they're a very eclectic group, and it truly shows in their music.

Some of their standout tracks include;
• Coyote
• Just One More
• Last Breath
• Lay Your Head Down
• Reflections
• Save Us
• Souls for Sale
• Tired Bones

Even if you're not as inclined to give ska in general a fair chance, you might not want to ignore this one. Between all of the interesting genre directions they've taken, their ska-roots have consistently been laced with punk. And hand-in-hand with punk naturally comes a little bit of a rock taste.

If none of that convinces you, how could you possibly justify ignoring a band whose live album is entitled "Live from Toronto: Songs in the Key of Eh!"? That's what I thought.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Come Alive

There's something to be said for top ten lists, especially those of the "Top Songs of 2012 (So Far)" variety.

Song: I Come Alive
Artist: The Used

Okay, the list I read was on, so it was more or less the top rock/metal songs of 2012 (so far). This track came in number 5, and after listening to it, I've come to the conclusion that those four songs that supposedly bested it must be ridiculously amazing in order to beat this gem.

To picture what this song sounds like, imagine if you will, taking the creepiness of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" and combining it with a post-hardcore sound, in addition to a little bit of a catchy pop vibe. Oh, and you can't forget the lovely "wubwubwub" of dubstep. I kid you not, there is literally a dubstep beat within this song, used very tastefully as a matter of fact. All of those elements combine to create a very striking piece.

In this song, Bert McCracken's vocal range has found that perfect balance between melodic, desperate and heavy. The outstanding rhythm section follows the trends of the song, through all the various themes of the verses, choruses and the haunting bridge section.

The Used is a very unique band, so it seems only fitting that they were able to compose a track with a number of interesting instrumentation choices that could theoretically please the ears of a diehard rock fan while at the same time also pleasing those of someone with more poppy inclinations.

This is only the first single from their upcoming record Vulnerable which drops on March 27. If this track is any indication of what is to come later, I will be counting down the days to their release with eager anticipation.

Thursday, February 2, 2012


After having this song in my head on repeat for a few days now, I felt it was highly deserving of its own post on here. My apologies in advance if like me, you can't keep this out of your head for more than 10 minutes at a time.

Song: System...
Artist: Enter Shikari

I'd been toying with the idea of mentioning this post-hard/metal/electroni core band on here for a while, and when I was exposed to some of the songs off of their recent release, I knew I would be mentioning at least one. Basically, this song is above all others unlike anything I have ever heard. It's only a couple minutes long, but those are two very poignant minutes to say the least.

Whether or not the orchestral tracking is real or just synthesized, it aides extremely well in the creation of a very deep mood that helps to paint a very striking image in your mind. Complemented very well by the range of different vocal techniques and subtle guitar strokes, this song has a building sort of feel to it, and the intensity ratchets up a notch with each note played/sung. Personally, I can't listen to it without being completely drawn in, partially because of the intricate metaphor it, and the rest of the record as well, seems to be based around.

And, for any and all fans of the British accent, Enter Shikari is a British band, and there is a spoken word part in this track. Just letting you know.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

This Is War

Seeing as I am fond of music videos that play out more like short films, what better band to watch videos from than one whose lead singer also doubles as an actor?

Song: This Is War
Artist: 30 Seconds to Mars

It's honestly been a while since I have been seriously moved by a music video, and I literally cannot make it through this one without getting chills. I've seen many music videos where the backdrop of war is utilized, so when I say that this is probably the most moving use of such a theme, I kind of have a base I'm coming from.

The filming techniques they used in this video are astounding, and they really add to the overall ambiance of it. There's nothing in particular I want to call out, but you'll hopefully see what I'm talking about if/when you take this suggestion seriously. Also, the addition of real-life footage, such as mini-clips involving JFK and George W. Bush, provide a cultural reference for the meaning of the video, as well as that of the song itself.

Speaking of the actual song, I haven't heard enough of 30 Seconds to Mars' music to formulate an educated opinion on their sound, but I can say that for at least this song Jared Leto's voice is absolutely perfect. Going along with that, the instrumentation behind him also aids in the climax of the pre-chorus into the chorus, which comes off as powerful to say the least.

Although the second half of the video or so strays away from reality, the message it contains still pertains to real life, past and present. Personally, I can't listen to the song itself now without drawing from it the meaning that was derived from this video as it is so compelling.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I've never really known Metallica for their music videos, but this one is too extraordinary to pass up.

Song: One
Artist: Metallica

For this music video to make sense, you have to know the back-story of the song itself.

It's based off the 1939 anti-war novel "Johnny Got His Gun" by Dalton Trumbo, which tells the story of Joe Bonham, an American soldier who is wounded World War 1. He lost his arms, legs as well as his ability to hear, speak or smell, but he remains conscious and able to think, so he relives his life through memroies, unable to distinguish whether he is awake or dreaming. Trapped inside his own mind, he finds a unique way to communicate with his doctors that if they're not going to just let him die, he wants to travel around the country as a sort of "freak show" to display the true horrors of war.

What makes the video so powerful is that it combines shots of the band performing with clips from the movie based off of that novel. The balance it creates is pretty chilling, and it makes it that much easier to see the haunting connection between the two.

As for the song itself, it's often hailed as one of Metallica's greatest, which given their impressive discography means a lot. Between the poignant verses, driving choruses and one heck of a transition about 60% of the way through the song, "One" is an amazing blend of Metallica's many styles, and stands as testament to their stunning musicality.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Luna Espera EP

When someone suggests an album (or EP) with the premise that they can't stop listening to it, I always think they must be exaggerating. That's how I was introduced to this gem, and if you're like me, you won't believe me when I say this, but I honestly can't stop listening to it. I tried, trust me.

Album: Luna Espera EP
Artist: MWK

This EP only contains five songs, but as MWK (Midwest Kings) are really a regional touring band, that's to be expected somewhat.

I haven't listened to a whole lot from this group, but based on what I have listened to and what I've read from people who have listened to a whole lot from this group, this EP is a departure from their prior style. Luna Espera has a much more flowing, rock/alternative sound. Overall it's very low-key, almost ambient at times. However, there are still some parts in songs like "The Captain, His Ship" that stay truer to a more traditional rock influence.

Throughout it all, it's singer Andy Skib's beautifully mellow voice that defines this EP, in addition to the intriguing, often unconventional, lyrics. The precise instrumentation provides the ideal background to make Luna Espera as amazing as it is.

I'd highly recommend giving MWK a try, even if their style doesn't exactly seem like what you're used to listening to. It's worth it, really.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Life Is Beautiful

I like to think of this suggestion as a testament to why everyone should listen to Pandora radio.

Song: Life Is Beautiful
Artist: Sixx:A.M.

A couple weeks ago, I listened to this band for the first time. Last night, on Pandora, this song came up and I knew right away it was going to be my next post on here.

Aside from it being an essentially traditional hard rock track, there's something indescribable about it that makes it unique, and I can't quite put my finger on it. At times, it feels like it's in a major key, but sometimes, most notably during the chorus, it seems to slip into a minor tonality. I'm no music major, so I have no clue if that's actually what's going on, but at least to me that's what it kind of sounds like.

Throughout the song the guitars are absolutely exceptional, from acoustic to electric, nicely complimenting Nikki Sixx's haunting vocals. The drums are also perfect: not too overstated but still a very much present backdrop that drives/powers the entire track.

If you take the time to look this song up, once you discover what it's about/what inspired Sixx to write it, it takes on a whole new, more troubling, meaning that stands to describe the mixed emotions the instrumentation and vocalization provokes.

And, if it turns out you feel like I do about this song and can't stop listening to it, you'll be happy to know that there's even a very beautiful acoustic version of it.