Tag «Indie»

Introducing Pop Punk Act: Halogens

My New Year’s resolution for 2019 was to have more diverse playlists. I’ll admit it, I get hyper fixated on a band or song and listen to them over and over. On my quest to spend more time listening to new music, I discovered Halogens and I’ve repeated the old pattern. I’ve taken solace in breaking my new year’s resolution because of how dope this band actually is. The catchy melodies are what caught my attention and their unique interpretation of romance and the human psyche is what earned them a spot in the heavy rotation of music I cannot stop listening to.

More importantly, they just released their sophomore EP called Happy Hour. Halogens have refined their sound while covering a variety of emotional musings. They touch upon completely relatable topics like not being able to pull-off wearing a denim jacket, which may or may not be my own personal problem. Let’s face it, we cannot all be Deaglans. So, if you want to get in your feels while bopping around, you should check them out below!

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Album Review: The Royal They (garage punk) – “Foreign Being”

The Royal They may not be tearing up the airwaves nationwide but New York knows it has a homegrown treasure going on in the Brooklyn based 3-piece, and in the immortal words of New York hip-hop legend Cam’Ron “you can fool the rest of the world, long as New York know.” The group has been packing rooms within northern Brooklyn’s DIY garage rock scene and they are primed to blast off into the general lexicon of rock ‘n roll due to their flawless mix of garage, punk, and indie to create a sound that is equal parts aggressive and angelic.

Their January 2018 release Foreign Being is a magnificent listen from start to finish. It comes on extremely abrasive with their tune “C.N.T.” a track that goes from dark and heavy too fast and loud. The group’s frontwoman and guitar player Michelle Hutt puts on quite a vocal performance on the album’s first track going high and loud without ever shrieking. “Sludgefucker” comes on next which keeps going with the fast and loud guitars, but the shift in vocal performance makes this tune come off a lot more in the vein of indie rock than punk. It really highlights the power of their lead singers voice to determine the overall direction of the group’s sound.

Jeff Schaer-Moses Photography
The Royal They performing at Pet Rescue in Bushwick Brooklyn.

Not to take anything away from the other two fabulous musicians in the band Darrell Dumas and Rick Martinez on guitar and drums respectively because they both delivered spectacular performances on Foreign Being, but the voice on Hutt is truly transcendent.

The album’s third track “Flying Naked” is by far the longest, coming in at more than a minute longer than anything else on the record. The Royal They use all of that time to let the suspense and intrigue build before they tear it all down with one of their signature heavy breakdowns. “Pandemic” is another heavy and loud one but they never get so loud that Hutt’s voice isn’t the focus of the track. She really does have an incredible set of pipes to be able to wail over her exceptionally talented albeit heavy-handed band mates.

The record takes a distinctly indie turn following “Pandemic” as it goes into the significantly lighter tunes “Veritas,” “Needler,” and “Waiting Game.” They still bring the hard and heavy guitars and they start using feedback and fuzz almost like an instrument of its own. But the songs really allow the prettiness of Hutt’s voice to shine through in a way that the earlier tracks just did not.

“Say Less” is the album’s eighth song and for my money, it is the undeniable hit. Of every track on the record “Say Less” is the one that really allows all of the different influences that have affected The Royal They’s music to gel together to make for an outrageously raucous punk tune that still allows for Michelle’s gorgeous voice and the indie/pop punk aesthetic that keeps The Royal They from jumping headfirst into punk rock.

“Leech” comes on strong with a driving drum riff which breaks into a power cord laden anthem complete with call and response gang vocals. They follow that up with “Gullethead” and “Weekender” to round out what is a tremendous effort by a band on the rise in the Big Apple.

4.5/5 Stars

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Black Bolt releases new EP “Comfort of the Grave” for Free Download

Boise, ID punk rock band Black Bolt have released their newest EP, Comfort of the Grave, for Free Download on their Bandcamp. Their Facebook page describes them as such:

Black Bolt subverts the contemporary music system by playing amateurishly in a fashion that is best compared to “puking in the alley behind Mulligans (local Boise Bar) after 3 AMFs.”

How could you NOT be intrigued after that thrilling description? For fans of a skatier Jawbreaker or Samiam. Stream Comfort of the Grave below!

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Album Review: Bandit – “Of Life”

This record is the first I’ve heard from Bandit. They were described to me as a mix between Eisley, Pedro the Lion and Daughters, all bands I’ve respected and liked selective songs from but never been really that into. However, this record really surprised me, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it landed in my top 10 list at the end of this year.

The first thing I noticed here was that it was much heavier than those “similar artists” aforementioned. Where the RIYL list I was given listed incredibly softer artists, I was drawing more comparisons to bands like Basement, Brand New, and From Indian Lakes. I will admit that vocalist/guitarist Angela Plake has a very similar voice to Sherri DuPree (of Eisley), but the instrumental aspects as well as the overall vibe of the record was quite different. The guitar tones stuck out to me because although they were not greatly distorted, they did sound heavy due to the dark and crunchy sound they embodied.

The record really comes in with an unexpected bang. While “The Drive Home” starts with a quieter, softer feel, it quickly builds up, bringing out the emotion created earlier in the song to a more extreme and antsy level. That track leads directly into “Brain,” easily one of the best songs on the album. A beautiful chord progression that begs your feelings back and forth between happy and stressed, it’s a masterpiece of a tune. “Pushing” reminds me more of Basement (and a bit of Tiger’s Jaw), the perfect third song for the record. Thus, upon listening, I started to realize that this record is one of those records in which all the songs are meant to compliment each other, and they basically accomplish that.

Despite the amazing sound of this record, it ends pretty anti-climatically. It’s like a movie that starts out great, slows down to build suspense for the closing scene, but then ends without that closure. To summarize, the end of the album never gets quite as exciting as it is when you start listening to it. I realize things like recording budgets and time and release dates may have come into play… but from purely a listener’s perspective, and knowing almost nothing about the band, it just seemed to need more songs. On a smaller middle-of-the-road note, I felt that the cover of “Where is My Mind” by the Pixies didn’t fit in the overall collection of songs, despite the fact that it’s practically flawless. If I had heard this song separate from this, I would have found myself very interested in learning more about the band. So it’s good (practically perfect), I just personally think the album would have served to have an original track with a similar feel there.

I’m going to give this record a ⅘ stars. If it wasn’t for it being cut short, it would have won a 5/5, but there just seems to be more that’s needed to complete this release. Regardless, Bandit is an incredible band and should be on your radar this year – don’t sleep on this release.

4/5 Stars

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Side Two: “Zen Arcade” by Hüsker Dü

Side Two is an ongoing column that engages the personal experience of listening to an album for the first time. It is less about the original intentions of the author(s) that created these aural invasions and more about the individual experience of engagement at the ground level. Take the album away from its point in punk rock history and what does it mean to you?

Check it out below

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