Breaking News: A Lot Like Birds Release First Single of Upcoming Fourth Full Length Album “DIVISI”

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After four long years of waiting A Lot Like Birds have finally released new material.  On March 22nd, ALLB released the first single off the upcoming album called, “For Shelley (Unheard)”.  Their upcoming album, titled “DIVISI”, will be released on May 5th on Equal Vision Records and will be their fourth full length album and the follow up to the successful release, 2013’s “No Place”.

For those who might not follow the band that frequently, you might have missed the significance behind this upcoming record.  This will be the first ALLB record without Kurt Travis since 2009’s “Plan B” and will feature Cory Lockwood as the main vocalist with bassist Matt Coate adding some additional vocal performances.  Apparently, in the time between “No Place” and “DIVISI” Kurt Travis and the rest of ALLB had creative differences in how they would approach future releases under the moniker, A Lot Like Birds, and because of this, Kurt Travis ended up departing the band and the rest of the group pursued a less hardcore-influenced sound with Cory expanding on his vocal performance by switching from harsh vocals to “clean singing” vocals that required vocal lessons.  As a result, the first song as a product of this new direction has been released as “For Shelley (Unheard)”.

The success of this record for ALLB is crucial.  Not only is leaving behind one of the most prominent members of their band be a huge transition for fans, but abandoning their old influences to pursue a new, evolved sound is also be a risky path to pursue.  A Lot Like Birds have to present the best material they possible can as one unit to successfully pull this off, or else they could face the possibility of losing almost all of their fan base.  Luckily, this transition has created some of the best and most memorable material I’ve heard from them in their existence.  Personally, I am not a huge A Lot Like Birds fan, but I can definitely appreciate their material and influence in the post hardcore scene.  Not to mention that their debut full length, “Plan B”, is a catchy, experimental album that is highly underrated.  However, “Conversation Piece” and “No Place”, while they are good, don’t really have any memorable moments and I personally found it hard to really enjoy the releases, which could explain why the group has had such a hard time in growing in significance compared to other notable experimental post-hardcore groups like Dance Gavin Dance, Stolas, Hail the Sun, or even Slaves.  A Lot Like Birds truly needed a song like “For Shelley (Unheard)” to boost them back into significance and keep their status as one of the notable modern post-hardcore acts.

“For Shelley (Unheard)” is the most heart-wrenching, yet beautiful song you will hear all year.  An eerie rhythm guitar plays a few heavily distorted chords before a prominent, high pitched lead guitar pierces into the track crying with one of the catchy, bittersweet melodies that you will hear throughout the song.  From the moment Cory begins singing it is clear that his work on his vocal performance has produced great results and his new role in ALLB is nothing short of perfect.  If you read the description of the song you will see a tear-jerking, heartfelt letter from Cory himself explaining the meaning of the track and how his mom was the most important figure in his life and why he has dedicated this song to the superhuman mother that she was to him.  Knowing this background, you can literally hear the pain in Cory’s voice and stellar lyricism, and it’s shocking to say the least that Cory himself was still able to hit these high notes perfectly despite the fact that powerful emotions and memories were engulfing him during this point in his life.  The song structure goes between a verse that without fail builds up to the chorus every time it is heard.  The only thing I wish this song had was an anthemic section after the calm bridge.  I personally believe an emotion driven anthemic part would only intensify the raw emotion and musicianship heard from every member on this track, resulting in a practically flawless first single.  However, even without this, “For Shelley (Unheard)” is the single that A Lot Like Birds desperately needed in order to make “DIVISI” as important as it should be.

“DIVISI” will be a pivotal moment for ALLB.  Sure they will lose a lot of fans (as you can tell from the comment section on any other their recent videos, including the music video for “For Shelley (Unheard)”) due to the fact that their sound has drastically evolved to something a little closer to guitarist Michael Franzino’s project, alone., and they will also lose fans due to the fact that Kurt Travis is no longer apart of ALLB, but they will also gain a new era of fans as they go forward with this evolution of A Lot Like Birds.  The success and history of this Sacramento based group will be analyzed in two sections: before “DIVISI” and after “DIVISI”, with the post-“DIVISI” era, in my opinion, becoming the far more successful and influential era that puts ALLB into the spotlight in their respective scene.  The new sound exemplified so far will clearly fit them well, whether their older fans agree or not, and I guarantee this monumental transition will bring positive change for ALLB for years to come.

“For Shelley (Unheard)” is already an instant classic for A Lot Like Birds, but there is one song I absolutely cannot wait to hear.  The teaser below, which feature Cory recording the vocals for a pre-chorus and chorus of a song on “DIVISI” is addicting to say the least.  His powerful delivery, which becomes a borderline yell before the instrumental parts fade in, is captivating to say the least and makes me dying to hear the rest of this track.  As of right now I have no idea what the title of this song is, or if it will also be a single, but I can guarantee that it will be one of the greatest songs off of “DIVISI” and will be the Track of the Day Tuesday for sure!

In a little over a month, the most pivotal moment of ALLB’s career, the release of “DIVISI” on May 5th, 2017, will occur and their footprint in the post hardcore scene will not be the same.  In my opinion this new album will be A Lot Like Birds’ “Downtown Battle Mountain”, their “Saosin”, even their “On Letting Go”, and if you sleep on this record you will seriously be missing out.  Myself and the staff here at Erik’s Album Reviews will keep you posted with updates as we get closer to the release date, so stay tuned for more news about ALLB!  Also, check out the first single, “For Shelley (Unheard)”, below and while you’re on the site, see what other albums we’ve reviewed and what news stories you need to hear as well!

 

“For Shelley (Unheard)”:

500 Word Review: Dwellings “Foreverest” – Single

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On November 25th, Modesto, California based post hardcore band, Dwellings, released the follow up to their debut single “Lemonade” with the release of their latest single, “Foreverest”.  For those of you who have been following the page you will know how excited I am to hear new material from this group.  Their debut single was nothing short of phenomenal, and based off that performance alone, I honestly believe that this group is the future of the post hardcore sub genre.  That being said, I was extremely excited to hear new material from this group because I’m still curious to see how their sound will develop throughout this debut EP.  This new single, “Foreverest”, definitely varies significantly from their debut release, “Lemonade”, however there are still consistent themes heard on both tracks that give listeners and fans of the group a sense of what this up and coming band will sound like!

As stated earlier, there are multiple clear differences that you can hear between the tracks “Lemonade” and “Foreverest”.  For starters, “Foreverest” is somehow even more melodic than the anthemic track, “Lemonade”.  To be clear, this is not a negative quality, but it is still a surprising feature, especially when considering how harmonious multiple sections and choruses were on “Lemonade”.  The guitar work is simply graceful and does a great job with complimenting the superb songwriting and vocal performance heard on “Foreverest”. However, the most significant and enjoyable difference between the two tracks is how the overall sound of the track ,”Foreverest”, is more unique to Dwellings.  As much as I love “Lemonade”, there were multiple instances where the track sounded a lot like previous Dance Gavin Dance releases.  “Foreverest”, on the other hand, sounds more unique to Dwellings and their specific style of songwriting, and in the process, shows off their own personal take on post hardcore.  The influences from DGD and other well known post hardcore bands can still be heard, but Dwellings’ personal and recognizable sound is without a doubt the most prominent aspect heard, and in return gives their fans a better idea to how their sound will develop and become even more unique with future releases.  “Foreverest” will probably be the most melodic and slowest song heard on the upcoming EP and it gives the project a good range from higher energy,  in your face songs to slower and even more emotional tracks.

However Dwellings, like most other major California based post hardcore acts, still show some examples of similarities to Dance Gavin Dance in this new track.  These similarities are not a bad thing, or show lack of creativity, but demonstrate how they are able to take this modern style of post hardcore and transform and mold it into their own unique sound.  The first similarity a listener familiar with DGD will hear when listening to “Foreverest” is that this song is heavily influenced by Dance Gavin Dance’s third full length studio album, “Happiness”.  “Lemonade” featured elements from both “Happiness” and “Acceptance Speech” (the fifth studio album by the Sacramento based band), but “Foreverest” appears to just draw influence from “Happiness” alone. This is not a surprise to me since they have already shown signs of writing in a similar style to “Happiness”, and Dwellings’ bassist, Anthony Pacheco, has even stated that this DGD record is his favorite to date.  That being said, it now seems obvious why “Happiness” and “Foreverest” might sound somewhat similar.  “Happiness” is one of, it not my absolute favorite, DGD record as well, so Dwellings’ use of mixing in elements from this legendary record is something that I definitely approve of.  These elements, which include everything from the sincere, emotion filled lyrics to to the slow, yet melodic song structure can be directly compared and sound similar to songs like “Happiness” off the album of the same name, but can also strengthen their own songwriting by combing their favorite moments from “Happiness” and their own personal songwriting sound.  However, it is important to note that all of Dwellings’ material has been recorded by Josh Benton, who used to play guitar for Dance Gavin Dance and now records some of their releases like “Tree City Sessions”, and has been mastered by Kris Crummett, who recorded most of DGD’s full length records and other releases by notable California based post hardcore groups.  Because of this, some of aspects of Dwellings’ material might be similar to DGD solely because their production process is almost identical to Dance Gavin Dance’s.  Regardless of where they take influence from, Dwellings is making some serious progress at becoming the next legendary post hardcore group.

In conclusion, this is another solid track from soon-to-be household name, post hardcore group, Dwellings.  My anticipation for this debut EP continues to grow with every single released and I simply cannot wait to see what they put out next.  I give their second single, “Foreverest”, and 8.9/10.  The release date for the EP, “Lavender Town”, hasn’t been posted yet by the band, but when it does the staff at Erik’s Album Reviews will be the first ones to share it with you!  Check out the review for their debut single, “Lemonade”, below and give the latest single, “Foreverest”, a listen and let us know what you think!

“Lemonade” Review:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/23/album-reivew-dwellings-lemonade-single/

“Foreverest”:

The Thursday Ten: 11/24/16

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After missing last week we are now back with the next installment to “The Thursday Ten”!  Like usual, the rules for “The Thursday Ten” haven’t changed and we encourage you to check out every album listed below on any of the major music streaming services.  Let us know what you think of the ratings, which albums we should do next, and don’t forget to read previous “The Thursday Tens”, like the most recent one attached below!  Here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”:

  1. Hail The Sun – Culture Scars: 8/10
  2. Stolas – Allomaternal: 8/10
  3. The Devil Wears Prada – Transit Blues: 7/10
  4. Gallant – Ology: 9/10
  5. Sianvar – Stay Lost: 8/10
  6. Memphis May Fire – This Light I Hold: 6/10
  7. Fire From The Gods – Narrative: 7/10
  8. twenty one pilots – Heathens *single/not an album*: 5/10
  9. Rob $tone – Chill Bill *single/not an album*: 9/10
  10. Leon Bridges – Coming Home: 8/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/11/the-thursday-ten-111016/

Album Reivew: DWELLINGS Lemonade – Single

dwellings-lemonade-single-artwork

If you know anything about the modern post-hardcore scene, you will know that northern California has produced some amazing bands in the last 10 years.  Groups like Dance Gavin Dance, Hail The Sun, Strawberry Girls, Secret Band, and Sianvar have all hailed from this region and have reshaped the sub genre of post-hardcore in an iconic way.  Dwellings, a brand new group out of Modesto, California, will be the next band to add to this legendary list.

Dwellings have only released one song so far off their debut EP, “Lavender Town”, but they have already made a significant impact on the post-hardcore community.  With a successful first single, and a second one titled “Foreverest” coming this Friday, Dwellings has seen an immense amount of growing demand, excitement, and anticipation for this debut release.  I for one am definitely included in this group of new Dwellings fans looking forward to this release and what the future holds for the California post-hardcore act.

“Lemonade” is a great first impression for Dwellings.  The track itself is able to showcase each members skill set while simultaneously being a great, catchy track overall.  Distorted, artfully crafted guitar riffs and drumming are elegantly mixed in with high pitched singing vocals, similar to a style like Donovan Melero of Hail the Sun, and harsh, screaming vocals, which feature a tone that can be compared to Jon Mess of Dance Gavin Dance.  However, I will say these familiar sounding vocal tones are directly linked to lyrics that are very different from both Hail the Sun and Dance Gavin Dance.  The most memorable part of this debut track is, without a doubt, the melodic, upbeat sound the entire song features.  This characteristic is extremely prominent from start to finish, and when focusing on certain sections, like the chorus for example, it can make the track extremely addictive!  The great emphasis and build ups to the prominent anthemic and melodic portions of the song highlights the most significant sections of the track itself and showcases Dwellings’ already amazing songwriting.

A new listener to Dwellings might notice a few similarities between them and the post-hardcore titans, Dance Gavin Dance.  While some might view these similarities as a rip off or attempt to copy DGD, I personally think they further improve Dwellings, and in some instances, when looking at these comparisons I believe it can be concluded that Dwellings does certain things better than Dance Gavin Dance.  For starters, Dwellings and Dance Gavin Dance both feature similar artwork.  If you look at the artwork for “Lavender Town” and compare it to Dance Gavin Dance’s “Downtown Battle Mountain” I and II, “Happiness”, and “Acceptance Speech” artworks, you can see multiple similarities in the style of artwork.  “Lavender Town” features an elaborate city that uses a unique style of characters that have multiple interactions throughout the artwork, which is very similar to both “Downtown Battle Mountains”.  “Lavender Town” also uses the characteristic of having a colorful display of a landscape and its inhabitants, who exemplify a lot of action and detail happening outside of the focus point and almost entirely seem to be focused on a centrally located figure, like the designs for both “Happiness” and “Acceptance Speech”.  “Lavender Town” further draws similarities by using a world of characters, much like the familiar characters and faces seen in the DGD artwork world, that I’m assuming will be featured on future Dwellings’ artworks in a similar fashion to how DGD reuses the same artistic style and depiction of characters in their own artwork, fictitious worlds.

Dwellings’ “Lavender Town”:

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Dance Gavin Dance’s “Downtown Battle Mountain”:

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“Downtown Battle Mountain II”:

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“Happiness”:

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“Acceptance Speech”:

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Musical there are also numerous similarities between the two California based bands.  Personally, I believe this track sounds a lot like it was influenced from songs heard off of “Happiness” and “Acceptance Speech”.  While I think the similarities are not close enough to consider it plagiarism, I do believe its significant enough to come to the conclusion that some parts sound alike on both the single and the releases mentioned.  These two album are some of my favorite releases by DGD, so the comparison is something I thought highly of.  I personally believe that the sound generated in these two eras are some of DGD’s most memorable and successful work, and for Dwellings to take inspiration from these records shows they are on pace to accomplish great feats.  In fact, I am much more excited to hear “Lavender Town” when it is released than I was to hear new Dance Gavin Dance.  Lately, I believe Dance Gavin Dance has lacked inspiration, and because of it I believe the quality of material from the Sacramento group might decrease.  However, Dwellings has a lot to prove being a brand new band and when comparing their first single, “Lemonade”, to Dance Gavin Dance’s first single off “Mothership”, “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise”, “Lemonade” absolutely sounds better and has made my anticipation higher for new Dwellings than my anticipation for new Dance Gavin Dance.

In conclusion, this debut single by Dwellings is phenomenal and I give it a 9.4/10.  I believe that the new era of post-hardcore will showcase Stolas, Dwellings, Hail the Sun as the future of this genre and their impact and albums they release will reshape how we view the genre completely.  Please do not sleep on this amazing group and check out their single below!  They will release their second single ever, “Foreverest” this Friday, so be sure to check back in for a review of this next release by the soon-to-be post-hardcore giants, Dwellings!

Breaking News: Dance Gavin Dance Release New Music Video For The Single “Young Robot”

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Dance Gavin Dance have just released the 3rd single off their upcoming album “Mothership”.  Up until now I wasn’t too crazy anout the singles that were released earlier, however I was definitely looking forward to hearing “Young Robot” and “Man of the Year”.  After listening to this new single I’m blown away by how good this song is and why this wasn’t the first single released for the album.  This track alone makes me way more excited for the album than the other two singles combined.  And the music video absolutely trumps the video for “Betrayed By The Game”, which I actually enjoyed myself.

“Young Robot” starts off with a beautiful flute melody that is accompanied by a clean guitar playing a riff in the background.  The song then jumps into a anthem-like chorus very similar to the greatest tracks off DGD’s last two records.  The track itself shows a perfect mix between the pop-influenced, experimental sound on “Acceptance Speech” and the funk based sound heard on “Happiness”.  These two records are some of my favorites by DGD, so its fair to say this single is phenomenal in my opinion.  The lyricism by Tilian Pearson and Jon Mess is some of the first memorable lyricism to be heard so far off “Mothership”.

The music video, which features artwork designed by the legendary Mattias Adolfsson, tells the story of The Robot With Human Hair as what appears to be a young robot in school.  I was ecstatic to see that “The Robot With Human Hair” song series was starting back up again with the addition of a prequel to the story.  I’m a huge fan of these DGD song series’ and seeing this new addition made me love this single even more.

I’ve attached the video to this post for those who want to watch.  There is so much I want to say about this album so far but I will wait until the entire record is released so I can write a full album review to properly address my thoughts on it.  Get stoked for new DGD, watch the new music video, and be sure to pre-order the new album, “Mothership”!

2015 Albums and EPs of the Year

2015

Since this site is mainly set up to review albums, it is pretty much expected that I make an AOTY post.  However, is it a little ridiculous to be posting one for 2015 during the last week in September?  Maybe.  But did I also just launch this site a few weeks ago and have nothing better to do?  Absolutely.  So despite the fact that there’s only 3 months left in 2016, here are my top 10 favorite albums and top 5 favorite EPs of last year.

EPs

1. The Glitch Mob – Piece of the Indestructible

2. Seven Lions – The Throes of Winter

3. Emarosa – Versus Reimagined

4. Altars – A Profound Respect For Life

5. Columbus – Home Remedy

 

Albums

1. Oceano – Ascendants

2. Cattle Decapitation – The Anthropocene Extinction

3. Dance Gavin Dance – Instant Gratification

4. Iwrestledabearonce – Hail Mary

5. Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep

6. Angelmaker – Dissentient

7. The Last Ten Seconds Of Life – Soulless Hymns

8. Kublai Khan – New Strength

9. The Story So Far – The Story So Far

10. Beach House – Depression Cherry

Honorable Mentions (In No Particular Order):

Hundredth – Free, The Wonder Years – No Closer To Heaven, Counterparts – Tragedy Will Find Us, Justin Bieber – Purpose, Strawberry Girls – American Graffiti, Crooks (UK) – Are We All the Same Distance Apart, Fit For An Autopsy – Absolute Hope Absolute Hell, Better Off – Milk, Purity Ring – Another Eternity, Black Tongue – The Unconquerable Dark, Skrillex and Diplo Present Jack U.

There are way too many releases and artists listed for me to go and individually discuss each one and their significance, so if there is an artist you’ve never heard of before or an album you haven’t listened to yet definitely go check it out!  This list took me a ridiculously long time to make, as you can tell by the extensive list of Honorable Mentions.  So regardless if an album made the top 10 or not be sure to give it a listen and let me know what albums and EPs you consider to be the best of 2015.  I promise that the 2016 AOTY list will not be released 10 months too late like the 2015 one.

Breaking News: Dance Gavin Dance Release New Single and Music Video

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About 2 months ago Dance Gavin Dance announced they would be releasing their 7th full length studio album (which I will write a full album review for when it comes out) called “Mothership”.  It is set to be released on October 7th through Rise Records and will feature the two latest singles, “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise” and “Betrayed by the Game”, a single that was released earlier today.  “Betrayed by the Game” is also the first music video to be released for Mothership.

“Betrayed by the Game” is a poppy, upbeat track filled with Will Swan’s iconic guitar riffs.  I definitely enjoy this song more than “Chucky vs. The Giant Tortoise” but neither of them are as melodic or memorable as past singles that featured Tilian.  These songs are great, but I’m still waiting for the tracks on the album that I will love.  I’m anticipating that this will either be “Young Robot” or “Man of the Year”.  Surprisingly enough, I actually really enjoyed the music video.  I saw the band hint at the video release on their twitter pages when they posted pictures of them on the set and now after watching the video I can say it’s one of my favorite DGD music videos.  The bizzare and strange story of the video fits the quirkiness of DGD’s material and turned out to be extremely entertaining.  Check out the video below and also check out my recent full album review of Dance Gavin Dance’s “Instant Gratification:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/09/13/album-review-dance-gavin-dance-instant-gratification/