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Album Review: Justin Courtney Pierre ‘In the Drink’

When Motion City Soundtrack took an indefinite hiatus in 2016, fans were hit. Hard. Right smack in the face. Especially me. I was hoping for a 20th anniversary of the band (co-founded by Justin Courtney Pierre and Joshua Cain in 1997), but alas, they hit the pause button just a year short of that milestone. Known for their incredibly catchy beats, the Minneapolis alternative rock band managed to find a perfect balance between poppy synths, and dark, dismal, often dysfunctional lyrics. The clouds have cleared, and Justin Courtney Pierre is…

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LIVE REVIEW: Blue October

After bus troubles that canceled their first stop on the ‘I Hope You’re Happy Tour,’ Blue October held nothing back at the show Sept. 29 at the Intersection in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Leadsinger Justin Furstenfeld addressed the crowd of 1400 people multiple times about how excited he was, and what a great time he was having. He even joked after the final song that he wished he could play more, but regretted to say he couldn’t. Except he could. And he did. The 20-song set included “Into the Ocean” pretty…

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Album Review: Super American ‘Tequila Sunrise’

The popular Los Angeles rock band the Eagles sang about a “Tequila Sunrise” on their Desperado album back in 1973.  This Friday, Sept. 14, Buffalo NY Indie rock duo Super American are releasing their debut album of the same name —Tequila Sunrise, via Take This To Heart Records. This time around, the record delivers a 13-track set of catchy songs and memorable lyrics perfectly matched to any non-committal, slacker, equipped with an ironically soft spot for falling in love. The record manages to remain upbeat, in what otherwise could be a…

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Album Review: Blue October – ‘I Hope You’re Happy’

“I hope you’re happy” is usually a snarky, slap-in-the-face retort, but for Texas band Blue October, it’s a genuine well wishing, and a genuinely fresh outlook.  An outlook that for many years, has been dark, dismal, and yes — pure rock. The 2018 release of I Hope You’re Happy, via Up/Down Records, and leadsinger Justin Furstenfeld’s label, Brando Records, is out Aug.17. Sobriety sounds good on the often tumultuous Blue October soundscapes, although — it is a stark contrast to what many fans may be used to. Furstenfeld doesn’t label…

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Album Review: Rise Against – ‘Ghost Note Symphonies, Vol. 1’

The day Rise Against posted a teaser video on Youtube, with a reimagined version of “House on Fire,” from their 2017 Wolves album, I scoured the internet for more details. I’d been waiting on an acoustic solo Tim McIlrath (Rise Against) album for years, and had missed the boat on the 2013 Revival Tour with him, Chuck Ragan (Hot Water Music), Matt Pryor (The Get Up Kids), Toh Kay (Streetlight Maniefesto), and others. Fail. If you’ve seen Rise Against live in concert, you might have experienced the lighter side of the punk rock Chicago…

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Album Review: Real Friends – ‘Composure’

You know the phrase, “It’s about to get real,” right? Well, Real Friends just released a brand-new record. For real. This is real life. Friday, July 13th, the Chicago pop punkers released their third record, Composure, via Fearless Records. The joke’s on you if you think Composure is anything but gimmicky though. The record has quite the tumultuous backstory, with lead singer Dan Lambton’s anxiety, depression and recent bi-polar diagnosis. He even took a break from the band in its entirety, after manic episodes, panic attacks and breakdowns. The band…

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Album Review: William Ryan Key – ‘Thirteen’

There’s a place off Ocean Avenue, you know the one — we were both 18 and it felt so right sleeping all day staying up all night. In Spring 2017, pop punk rockers Yellowcard announced their farewell tour. Tears were shed as the violin shred for the last time on stages all across the world. Now, a year later, vocalist/guitarist William Ryan Key is releasing a new solo debut EP, Thirteen, out May 25 via Lone Tree Recordings. Key and his fans may no longer be 18 anymore, but after nearly two…

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Album Reviews Alternative Indie Rock Singer/Songwriter 

Album Review: Noah Gundersen ‘White Noise’

Seattle indie singer-songwriter Noah Gundersen released his third studio full-length album, White Noise, via Cooking Vinyl on Sept. 22. The release verges on the edge of a concept album, with its inspiration and namesake being the idea of sensory overload — fear, anxiety, desire, lust, and love. “White Noise is the place between waking and dreaming, where the edges blur and the light is strange. It’s a car crash, it’s a drowning, it’s everything all the time,” Gundersen said. Having seen Noah Gundersen’s name around a lot leading up to the release,…

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Album Review: The Weeks ‘Easy’

Being in a band isn’t easy. Being on the road for months on end isn’t easy. Yet, it’s the way Jackson Mississippi long-haired rockers The Weeks make both a living and a life. With their latest release, Easy, via Lightning Rod Records, brothers Cyle Barnes (vocals)and Cain Barnes (drums), Sam Williams (guitar, vocals) and Damien Bone(bass), The Weeks make a new sound with the help of vintage instruments and old Memphis soul sounds of the iconic Ardent studios. Utilizing Big Star’s snare drum, Elvis Presley’s microphone, and Booker T’s organ,…

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What I Would Change About the Music Industry: Bands Who Resist Labeling Their Sound

No one likes being labeled. Being pigeon-holed into a certain category of anything can be frustrating. Here’s the thing though, from a radio personality, concert photographer, promoter, music reviewer, and live show booking agent standpoint, labels are needed. I’m not talking about record labels, but rather, providing the people with some sort of description or label of your sound. Imagine this. You’re a concert promoter. Or you’re a street team member. And you have no idea what kind of band (insert super generic-sounding band name here) is, so you go…

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