Breaking News: A Lot Like Birds Release Third Single Off “DIVISI”

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Words cannot describe the shock and pure excitement I had today when I opened up Youtube to see that A Lot Like Birds finally released the track “Trace the Lines”.  If you have been following my coverage of A Lot Like Birds’ upcoming fourth full length album, “DIVISI”, you would know that not only am I extremely excited for this album to be released, but I also was most anticipating hearing the track “Trace the Lines”, as the teaser for it was simply blissful.  Now, the single has officially been released, along with a music video to accompany it, continuing the theme of having every single released so far represented with a music video.

Harmonizing vocals and a slowly plucked, reverb-filled electric guitar gracefully start this track and instantly I find myself having goosebumps from the magnificent sounding first few measures.  Out of nowhere, string sections emerge and I can instantly tell this track will surpass already high expectations in a remarkable way.  Matt Coate and Cory Lockwood effortlessly trade back and forth as the first verse slowly fleshes out further and further as “Trace the Lines” builds up to the chorus heard in the teaser released months ago.  Next, intricate drumming and a slight but noticeable emphasis of suspense is heard as the first verse is about to come to a close.  The moment I heard the lines “I know it tore you up, it wasn’t by design” I uncontrollably starting singing along (at least attempting to) as I was overcome with complete and udder joy at how phenomenal this song sounds.  From hear on out, the song itself is nothing but masterfully written.  An earth-shattering, powerful chorus, slight but noticeable string section harmonies, and heartbreakingly honest lyrics like “I made you sick where I had meant to make you mine”, “Do you care that it’s over”, and “I said I loved you as a way to change the subject” help make “Trace the Lines” easily the most beautiful song I’ve heard this year.

The music video for “Trace the Lines” seems to be a sequel to the video of “The Sound of Us”, as it uses the same characters and themes from “The Sound of Us” video and the main character appears to wake up after experiencing the party and performance that he takes part in in the previous video.  Also, I found it interesting that in the first video, the band is seen wearing white button up shirts, compared to the all black attire and the decorated masks seen in “Trace the Lines”.  This could be symbolic of the relationship Cory and Matt are singing about coming to and end, or how the main character’s emotions went from joyous and happy in the first video to sober and depressive in the second.  Regardless, after watching the first 3 music videos I have decided that “DIVISI” needs a video album to accompany it.  Each music video so far has been rich with symbolism, solid acting, meaning, and an overall heightened representation of the tracks they accompany, and it would only make sense to now have a music video paired with every track heard on “DIVISI”.

At this point, I would do questionable things to hear the entire full length record tomorrow.  I will of course be playing “Trace the Lines” non-stop until May 5th, but the fact that every song released so far is stellar leaves me dying to hear the entire project, as this will definitely be a strong contender for the best album released in 2017.  If you don’t like the “DIVISI” singles, especially “Trace the Lines”, I simply do not understand your apparent odd taste in music.  Check out “Trace the Lines” below and stay tuned for more updates, as we are less than 2 weeks away from its release date!

My last two posts about A Lot Like Birds:

“For Shelley (Unheard)”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2017/03/31/breaking-news-a-lot-like-birds-release-first-single-of-upcoming-fourth-full-length-album-divisi/

“The Sound of Us”:
https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2017/04/09/breaking-news-a-lot-like-birds-release-music-video-for-new-single-the-sound-of-us/

 

“Trace the Lines”:

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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 Music Video For New Single “The Sound of Us”

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Shortly after releasing the first single for their upcoming album, “DIVISI”, A Lot Like Birds have another new single and music video to further build anticipation for the fourth full length studio album by the Sacramento based post hardcore band.  This latest single, titled “The Sound of Us”, showcases a better understanding of how diverse this album will be in composition while also giving ALLB fans a general idea of this new sound and song structure that A Lot Like Birds will encompass for years to come.

In my opinion, this track significantly resembles A Lot Like Birds’ older sound through certain aspects heard throughout “The Sound of Us”.  For starters, the sporadic and complex song structure is very similar to what is heard on “DIVISI’s” predecessor, “No Place”.  Even the use of various odd time signatures and artfully crafted instrumental performances easily sound like tracks heard on ALLB’s last two full length releases.  What differs “The Sound of Us” from these two records, however, is the absence of aggressive, even quirky sections that used to be prominent features in A Lot Like Birds tracks.  I for one think this is a reflection of positive improvement in songwriting, as the substitute of melodic, harsh vocal excluding influences replaces this hardcore/metalcore inspired aggressiveness that was both odd and, in my opinion, the sole aspect of ALLB’s material that held them back for the last few years.  Even though diehard fans might disagree with me and claim that this aggressive song structure is what brought ALLB to prominence, I believe this new sound heard in “For Shelley (Unheard)” and “The Sound of Us” is one that better fits the band itself and will have even more successful results than their sophomore and third full length albums.

Even though I still enjoy “For Shelley (Unheard)” a little more than “The Sound of Us”, due to it’s passionate and well thought out lyricism and overall anthemic structure that the song exemplifies, “The Sound of Us” is still a fantastic song.  Coming out of the gates with a fast paced tempo and technical yet melodic composition, “The Sound of Us” instantly grabs your attention and keeps you dialed in from start to finish.  This is also the first track released off “DIVISI” that features sections where Matt Coate is singing on his own.  This contrast and back-and-forth tag-team like approach to vocal tracking is something I instantly love and think will become one of the most memorable parts of “DIVISI”.  However, even though these two songs have been phenomenal singles, I still believe that “Trace the Lines” will completely steal the show once it is finally released!

The music video for “The Sound of Us” is attached below.  One thing I have noticed so far is that the “DIVISI” music videos appear to be well thought out and directed masterfully, with each one full of symbolism, fantastic actors, and even visual features that help enhance their respective tracks greatly.  I’m not sure how many music videos are left to be released for “DIVISI”, but if they follow this pattern step up by “For Shelley (Unheard)” and “The Sound of Us” then there’s no reason why they won’t be phenomenal.  Personally, I would love to see a video album to go alongside “DIVISI”, however the budget needed to accomplish this would be insanely high and is pretty much not feasible.  Regardless, this album is destined to be one of the best releases of 2017, even if you’re still reluctant to admit this, and A Lot Like Birds will benefit from this evolved sound more so than if they continued on the same path as “Conversation Piece” or “No Place”.  Essentially, A Lot Like Birds was very successful and accomplished before Kurt Travis joined and they adopted the more aggressive sound, and they will continue to find success without either one of these features.  Let us know what you think of “The Sound of Us” and stay tuned for more updates about A Lot Like Birds and their upcoming album, “DIVISI”.

 

“The Sound of Us”:

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)”:

Track of the Day Tuesday: CIRCA SURVIVE In the Morning And Amazing

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This year, Circa Survive’s historic and monumental sophomore full length album, “On Letting Go”, turns 10 years old.  To celebrate this decade of excellence, the band and Equal Vision Records have released 10 year anniversary editions of the classic record on CD, Digital, and vinyl formats and Circa Survive themselves are currently on tour playing this album in full.  So, in order to continue the celebration, the track of the day and the track you need to check out today is the phenomenal “In the Morning and Amazing”.

“In the Morning and Amazing” perfectly embodies the distinct sound Circa Survive has established in their successful career.  Sweet sounding, slightly distorted guitars create a melodic atmosphere filled with creative chord progressions and catchy lead sections.  To accompany this, Nick Beard’s soothing bass guitar riffs perfectly intertwine with and compliment the artfully crafted guitar and percussion sessions.  Finally, Anthony Green’s impressive high pitched vocal performance ties together the faster, more rock oriented sections with the more calm, almost ambient indie rock parts.  “In the Morning and Amazing” pretty much summarizes the definition of a Circa Survive song.  However, this song alone does not speak for the entire album, “On Letting Go”, and I highly suggest that you listen to the entire project today in order to truly enjoy the brilliance of Circa Survive.

Like usual, I’ve attached the link to “In the Morning and Amazing” below.  Also, I’ve added the link to purchase the 10 year anniversary editions of “On Letting Go” for those who would like to own a copy!  As I’ve mentioned before, we’re having a slow start to the year here at Erik’s Album Reviews, but I promise the momentum will start to shift into a more progressive state very soon as we still have multiple reviews and other posts in the works almost ready to share with you. Stay tuned!

Circa Survive CD and vinyl:

http://merchnow.com/catalogs/circa-survive/music

The Thursday Ten: 12/29/16

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Even though we are a little late with posting this, here is this week’s “The Thursday Ten”!  This segment has been very rewarding to write this year and we’re glad to see that our viewers enjoyed reading these installments as much as we did with writing them!  This post is actually the last “The Thursday Ten” for all of 2016.  It’s amazing to see how many albums we gave ratings to this year and the staff here at Erik’s Album Reviews can’t wait to see what albums will make it onto “The Thursday Ten” next year!  Once again thank you for support and we will be back with more installments to “The Thursday Ten” next year!

  1. Deftones – Gore: 6/10
  2. Shokran – Exodus: 8/10
  3. Abbath – Abbath: 7/10
  4. Phantogram – Three: 6/10
  5. Zao – The Well-Intentioned Virus: 9/10
  6. Solange – A Seat At The Table: 8/10
  7. Norma Jean – Polar Similar: 8/10
  8. Emarosa – 131: 9/10
  9. Angelmaker/A Night In Texas – Split EP: 8/10
  10. Hodgy – Fireplace – TheNotTheOtherSide: 8/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/12/16/the-thursday-ten-111516/

The Thursday Ten: 11/15/16

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For those who visit Erik’s Album Reviews regularly, you will know that the staff has been very busy for the last two weeks.  Because of this we unfortunately missed the last two “The Thursday Ten” segments.  However, last week we announced that in order to make up for this lack of album ratings, we will give 20 album ratings for this week’s installment rather than the usual 10!  This week’s post features various releases over multiple genres covering everything from Black Metal to EDM.  Even though twice as many releases are feature in this installment, the rules to “The Thursday Ten” haven’t changed, and of course, we encourage you to check out every album listed on any of the major music streaming platforms.  Let us know what you think of the ratings, which albums you want us to rate next, and don’t forget to check out the previous installment to “The Thursday Ten”.  Here is this week’s post:

  1. Skeletonwitch – The Apothic Gloom EP: 8/10
  2. The Acacia Strain, Thy Art Is Murder, and Fit For An Autopsy – The Depression Sessions: 9/10
  3. Power Trip/Integrity Split EP: 7/10
  4. Dan Mason – Summer Love: 7/10
  5. Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool: 7/10
  6. Aborted – Termination Redux EP: 8/10
  7. Lamb of God – The Duke EP: 7/10
  8. Jason Richardson – I: 8/10
  9. bl00dwave – Distance: 8/10
  10. Defeater – Abandoned: 8/10

 

  1. Mac Miller – The Divine Feminine: 8/10
  2. Blink-182 – California: 8/10
  3. Balance and Composure – Light We Made: 8/10
  4. Moose Blood – Blush: 8/10
  5. Wakrat – Wakrat: 4/10
  6. Tesseract – Polaris: 7/10
  7. A Day To Remember – Bad Vibrations: 6/10
  8. Adventure Club – Red // Blue: 5/10
  9. PZA – AMERICAN RITUALS: 9/10
  10. Vaerbitt – Tid: 9/10

The previous “The Thursday Ten”:

https://eriksalbumreviews.wordpress.com/2016/11/25/the-thursday-ten-112416/