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Album Review: Hearken ‘Help Me, I’m Alive’

Two-piece Pittsburgh grunge rock punk outfit, Hearken, released their debut record, Help Me, I’m Alive, June 27th. The band was described to me along the lines of ‘Sonic Youth meets Nirvana – super raw, super authentic, great songs.’ with influences like Hole, Death From Above, Queens of the Stone Age, Teagan and Sara, Brand New, Screaming Females, Interpol, and Julien Baker, Hearken sheds light on dark subjects like depression, addiction, and relationships. Lead vocalist Donny Donovan also produced the record, and played all instruments except for drums. Donovan spoke about…

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Album Reviews Alternative Indie News Reviews 

Album Review: The Futureheads ‘Powers’

While it might feel like the last few years have really changed the country, the globe, and the world as we know it — the one thing we hadn’t heard from in awhile was UK indie post-punk group, The Futureheads. Friday, August 30th marked the release date of The Futureheads‘ sixth studio album, Powers, via Nul Records. The last time we heard a studio album from the fourpiece, it was 2012. Solo records, and acapella releases made for a different sound than the frantic British guitar hysteria harmonies fans were…

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Album Review: Jon Fratelli ‘Bright Night Flowers’

Anytime someone mentions Roy Orbison, Tom Waits, and Glenn Campbell, I’m all ears. There’s something to be said when someone lists off influences who just so happen to be prolific, timeless singer-songwriters. Call it street cred, kudos, or just plain old ‘knowing their stuff,’ it definitely gets brownie points in my book. Multi-instrumentalist, singer, songwriter and front man of the Fratellis, John Fratelli knows the greats, and it’s evident, especially on his latest record. His second solo record, “Bright Night Flowers” is being released on Friday, Feb. 15 via Cooking…

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Album Review: William Ryan Key ‘Virtue’

Virtue: behavior showing high moral standards. William Ryan Key‘s Virtue album: auditory collection showing high musical standards. The six track EP, Virtue will be released via Lone Tree Recordings on Nov.30, following the release of his debut solo EP Thirteen in May. This follow-up shows growth, adding layers that the first acoustic, stripped-down release didn’t exhibit. The first track, “The Same Destination” unveils Virtue as a soft, melancholic feel — less high-octane, shredding violins (that Yellowcard fans grew fond of), more contemplative lyrics and a sense of growing older; more introspective. Being a piano-driven instrumental…

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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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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 Reviews Alternative News Rock 

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 Reviews Alternative Post-hardcore Rock 

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 Reviews News Pop Punk Reviews Rock 

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: Mike Llerena & the Nerve

If The Decemberists and Green Day had a baby, they would conceive Mike Llerena & the Nerves. Hailing from Gainesville, FL., the band just dropped their first full length album on June 15th. The first song, “Last Words”, sets the tone for the album – high energy, feel good, real music that instantly gets stuck in your head. Tracks like “Crossfire” and “Mr. Favorite Son,” are the perfect recipe for a crowd of fans jumping and moshing. Halfway through, we hear a sentimental side with “Saturday Night” and “A Long Winter”. There…

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