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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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Unsigned Spotlight: Guss Royall (Waterloo, IA)

In recent years we’ve seen a notable and refreshing surge in bands wearing their classic rock influences on their sleeve, helping connect the next generation to many of the greats we and our parents listened to. Greta Van Fleet is a large-scale example, but another up-and-coming quartet is bringing back classic bluesy-rock vibes and mixing it with their own modern alt-rock sound for a highly memorable blend. Enter Waterloo, Iowa’s Guss Royall. The “about” section of the band’s Facebook page makes it clear in just a few words what Guss…

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Unsigned Spotlight: After Arizona (Rock/Alternative)

This week’s Unsigned Spotlight takes us over to Lincoln, Nebraska alt-rock quintet After Arizona. Tinged with the classic grittiness of Midwestern rock & roll and the heart-on-your-sleeve honesty of modern emo, After Arizona have formed a sound listeners won’t forget anytime soon. Listening to the band’s 2016 single “I Can’t Do This On My Own” (watch the lyric video below!), you’re equally amazed at how refined the band’s sound already is and excited at what future releases will bring. This song is a fast-paced banger with lyrics that deal in…

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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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Unsigned Spotlight: We Were Once (Alt Rock – North Carolina)

There are so many beauties in music. It transcends time. It transcends age. It transcends genre. It transcends language. It also transcends religion. Fayetteville, North Carolina’s We Were Once may be a Christian rock band at heart, but this is a band and sound I would highly recommend to any alt-rock fan regardless of your religious beliefs. We Were Once released their debut EP Piece By Piece in September 2014 and have made big waves throughout both their local rock scene and the Christian music scene, winning Rockshop’s Battle of…

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REVIEW: The Gaslight Anthem Take Us Home One Last Time (Asbury Park, NJ)

Days into my Freshman year at a now defunct arts school thousands of miles away from home, I got dumped. Hard. Not only dumped, but replaced. Which, for an overly dramatic, heartbroken, homesick college co-ed, was just the worst thing ever. I wandered the mean streets of Chester, New Hampshire desperately searching for a place that felt like home to sit and lick my wounds. On one particularly cliche and dramatic night, I found myself wandering the graveyard alone. Laid flat on my back atop a quintessentially New England stone…

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Alternative New Discovery News Rock Unsigned Spotlight 

UNSIGNED SPOTLIGHT: Dreamhouse (Milwaukee Alt-Rock)

You know that extremely rare but amazing feeling that comes when you hit play on a new band’s song and you realize about five seconds in that it’s love at first listen? In this edition of Unsigned Spotlight, we’re sharing the gold we struck upon finding Milwaukee alt-rock powerhouses Dreamhouse. With their own brand of soaring alternative rock with punk and pop undertones, Dreamhouse leave you in no doubt they’re here to stay with a sound that’s both highly refined and clearly defined. 2017 saw the band follow up their…

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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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