Breaking News: Hail the Sun Releases Music Video For “Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results”

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One of the most underrated post hardcore bands in the scene today, Hail the Sun, has released another music video for their third full length record, “Culture Scars”.  The third music video in support of their first release through Equal Vision Records is for the track titled “Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results”, which is Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity.  The track itself is very interesting and intricate, as it starts off with a smooth intro that even features melodies from a clavichord and also contains other riffs in the song that are more intense or even jazz influenced at some moments.  That being said, I was very interested to see how Hail the Sun would portray this complexity in the shape of a music video.

After watching the video I can assure you that the music video is equally as impressive as the audio track itself, if not more.  the massive collection of different shots and camera angles seen, fantastic symbolism that help connect the viewer to the meaning of the song itself, and the use of a setting that appears to be based off the room pictured in the album artwork make this a fantastic visual addition to “Culture Scars”.  Personally, I would have loved it if the three shots of the room in the cabin depicted in the album’s artwork were shown in this video or even a scene where Donovan and the other main character are walking through the snow covered woods to the cabin shown in the overheard shot at the beginning of the music video, but even without either one of these ideas the video is still extremely captivating.

I must say that even though the music video is phenomenal for “Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results”, “Burn Nice and Slow (The Formative Years)” is still the best track on the 2016 album.  Although, after a few more listens my opinion on what is the best track on “Culture Scars” could easily change.  Check out the video for “Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results” and let us know what track you think is the strongest song heard on this third full length album from Nor. Cal post hardcore leaders, Hail the Sun!

 

“Doing the Same Thing and Expecting Different Results”:

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/

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/