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)”:

Album Reivew: DWELLINGS Lemonade – Single

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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!