Black Lives Matter and Poder In Action Benefit Stream

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPVuJi1cTXw

To donate to these causes, follow the links below.

Black Lives Matter Metro Phoenix: https://blmphxmetro.org/donate

Poder In Action: https://secure.everyaction.com/AeI8cA…

Featuring performances by  Life and LimbFoxhound, Punishment Suite, and Incentive

Sponsored by SER Soundworks and Every Show Joe

#002 Eric Meyers of The Rev 8-19-19

Interview, Music Video Preview, and Live In-The-Studio Footage

SoundworksMedia.com presents SWM episode 2 with Shane “The Brain” interviewing Eric Meyers of The Rev after one of their recording sessions for their new album at SER Soundworks Recording & Rehearsal in Chandler, AZ.

In addition to our interview with Eric, we got glimpses of the band playing a special live acoustic track in the studio as well as music video previews.

The swampy Americana rock band frontman and founder talks about their new album, new music videos, near death experiences, surfing and his never-ending love for all things aquatic.

Catchy melodies and rich harmonies abound in their new singles already out and watch out for The Rev’s new album to be released in the near future!

SoundWorks Media follows in the footsteps of show IMP-TV (Indie Music Phoenix), and IMTelevision.

#001 Birth of Monsters 7-24-19

Interview and Live Footage

*Fair warning – In this particular interview some of the explicit language may not be safe for work or kids.*

SoundworksMedia.com presents the first SWM episode with Shane “The Brain” interviewing the Birth of Monsters after one of their recording sessions for their new album at SER Soundworks Recording & Rehearsal in Chandler, AZ.  

The raw punk trio of Vic, Drew, and Miguel talk about their new album, the local punk scene, and we get a glimpse of their live show at the Yucca Tap Room in Tempe, AZ.  There’s even a glimpse of buddy band First or Last and Tony Wille.

SoundWorks Media follows in the footsteps of show IMP-TV (Indie Music Phoenix), and IMTelevision 

3 Amazing Local Movies Featuring the AZ Music Scene

By Shane Matsumoto

Anyone who knows me knows that the moment I moved to Tempe, in the late summer of 2001, I did my best to plug into the local music scene – even before joining the Funk Junkeez to run a Highland Recording Studio and moving on to the recording, rehearsal, and multimedia facility I now own at SER Soundworks.

Along the way I have worked with, or made music for, some great people making independent films as well. From Dominic Ross and Amanda Mahan of Big Brain Pictures (the same that teamed up with me to make the television show Indie Music Phoenix), to Brian Skiba and Laurie Love of Victory Angel Films. To Bryan Matuskey and many others – too numerous to list.

Here are a few links to watch pieces that combine the two creative mediums of local music and film. I decided to post some local films featuring local, independent bands from here in Arizona. Each are amazing in their own way. Those of you that know of some other great ones can post some more examples in the comments of other local films that focus on the local music community let’s move beyond my 3 and make the list grow!

Mill Ave Inc (2008)

Mill Ave Inc (2008)
This film was directed by Nicolas Holthaus with additional footage and editing by Chris Valentine. Mill Ave Inc features interviews from tons of great bands from the 90s including members of The Refreshments, Dead Hot Workshop, Heather Ray and the Moonshine Boys, and as well a great soundtrack with songs from the Gin Blossoms, Gloritone, and Flathead – to name a few.

The Fire Crotch Movie (2018)

This one was a guilty pleasure for me that hits some of the same notes for low-budget entertainment as the Story of Riki Oh or something – without the kung-fu, of course. Despite the name, it isn’t pornographic or anything like that. It’s just some fun, campy, dumb stoner-punk stuff.

Filled with catch phrases galore, (“This is how I go like when I go like this!”), the fire crotch is a nuclear weapon device triggered by an electric guitar getting passed around by filthy-mouthed local punk bands… or something like that. The plot line isn’t really that important. It features exclusive performances by current punk bands Dumpster Hump (of whom the lead singer/guitarist was recently banned from the Yucca Tap for Happy Gilmor-ing horse manure off their stage), Ass Wipe Junkies, Birth of Monsters, and Some Jaywalkers. I hope I don’t give away too much to tell you to watch it, if anything, for the special appearance of George Michael.

The Avenue – Official Trailer

Much in the save vein as Mill Ave Inc, the first movie on this list, this one was directed and written by Tucson filmmaker Alan Williams. In fact, it very much felt like a sequel, of sorts, and had a familiar list of producers. The interviews featured Thomas Nicholas, Marianne Dissard, Al Perry, Rich Hopkins, Venice Maki and Tucson mayor Bob Walkup. It documented the changes to sacred musical spaces such as The Night Train and other locally owned businesses that are not necessarily music-related.

Again, post more local films featuring Arizona music in the comments below, I know I’m dying to see more!

-Shane Matsumoto

Discover Briefly #3. June 4, 2019

A weekly breakdown of my Spotify playlists.

By Kolby Bergquist

Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.

Once a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.

Next week I’ll be trying out a new format. I’m going to split these up into part one and two. The current format is making for really long blog posts, and it takes a long time to get them done.

This week’s playlist was pretty terrible, there were only a few good ones, and the rest I had either already heard, or were just bad examples of things I regularly talk about on here. I got really bored with it really fast, so this time around, I’m only going to talk about a few songs that really stood out to me. Otherwise, it’s just going to look like I’m whining.

Scale from best to worst

Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it

I’ll pick a favorite of the week, you’ll know it when you see the ghost. I will not pick my least favorite. You should be able to figure that out for yourselves anyway, and I’m already ripping into a band’s hard work, so theres no need for me to add insult to injury with a stupid sticker or something. Anyways,

Enjoy the read! 

“Be Here” Orchids

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Rock, Alt Pop 

The Verdict: 

It’s not the greatest, most inventive thing I’ve ever heard, but it’s definitely fun. The chorus was really pretty, for lack of a more descriptive word, and I love the crazy effects on the guitar. The pitched up delay they use during the verses gives everything a slight pop quality and I think it works very well. Her voice fits the rest of the band very well, and it’s nice to hear an actual female vocalist on this kind of stuff, in place of a whiny, nasaly dude. I say definitely give it a listen. It’s cool, it’s got an interesting vibe, and I really enjoyed it.

“Unending” Lume

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Soft Grunge

The Verdict: 

This song is just a long rising wave that eventually smashes into you, and keeps you drowning in it for the final two minutes. It’s the weird chord progression that really makes this piece interesting. The guitar sways back and forth, maintaining a beautifully dark character throughout. I thought the mix served the song perfectly, where the guitars were warm, and deep, and all the way up front. The vocals were right in that same pocket of frequencies, but managed to cut through just enough. 

Finally, when the song does erupt, it’s epic. The dark tone of the rest of the song is maintained, but with the addition huge drums, and of walls of screaming feedback. I thought it was fantastically put together, the overall structure was solid. The different movements were rigid, and well defined, but the music and vocals flowed seamlessly between themes. It is actually difficult to write a song in this way, and I think Lume pulled it off very well.

“Mullally” And So I Watched You From Afar

Rating: Great 

Genre:  Progressive Rock, Instrumental 

The Verdict: 

By this point I was getting a little annoyed by this playlist. It’s just bad versions of songs we always talk about, and I was struggling to find different words to explain things I’ve explained a million times. This song started out and I almost gave up. “Another jangly instrumental song. Great” I thought. All in all, it’s pretty basic, I was underwhelmed, until 1:41. 

Just within that single movement, there were elements of pop punk, easycore, noise rock, Midwest emo, jazz, and all those pieces were put together SO WELL. The entirety of the song itself got infinitely better after that “breakdown” I guess you could call it? I was getting very classic rock vibes from the guitar work for the rest of the song. In fact, there is a specific song that it reminds me of, the guitars have the same timbre, and they harmonize in the same way. I cannot remember the name of that song, and it’s absolutely killing me. So if anyone gets the same vibe while listening to this tune, and knows what song I’m thinking of, PLEASE, let me know what it is. This has nothing to do with the song a all, but the art for this record was hilarious.

“Fractional” Hundred Suns

Rating: Fine

Genre: Post Hardcore, Rock

The Verdict: 

I wanted to like this. I really did. I’d been meaning to sit down and listen to this band for a while, seeing that it’s made up of members of Norma Jean and Every Time I Die. Both of those bands are legendary, they’ve both put out consistently killer albums, so I thought Hundred Suns would be absolutely stellar. 

Turns out, when members of two progressive post hardcore bands get together, the result is just really bland and flavorless radio rock. These guys suffered from expectation, but when you bill yourselves as being a sort of progressive super group, there’s no avoiding expectation. I’m still interested in this hearing more. I want to get a little deeper into their catalog. I honestly refuse to believe these guys didn’t throw in some prog bits here and there, and I’m sure this song is just one bore-fest in the midst of an otherwise great record. I’m sure they’ve written plenty of gems, but I didn’t feel this to be one if them.

“Dark Stone” Holy Fawn

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Soft Grunge

The Verdict: 

I like soft grunge a lot. I think it allows for a lot of exploration. I think it perfectly incorporates all the cool dark genres like goth, and doom, and rock, and post punk, and presents them in a way that’s much easier to process. I think this particular song is great, it’s atmospheric, its dark and moody; essentially, it does what it’s supposed to do. At least for me, the genre isn’t too played out yet, so a relatively basic song like this can still feel very new and interesting. I really appreciated how long this song was. I feel like the length gave it a lot more space to grow, and develop, and more time to sink in. It really just had all the marks of a good soft grunge song. If you don’t listen to soft grunge, I’d say this, as well as Title Fight’s “Hyperview” are a really good way into the genre. Check it out.

Narrow Mouth” The Early November

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Rock

The Verdict: 

This is the early November? I guess I haven’t followed them very sincerely since “The Moth, The Mechanic, And The Path”. I know that they were a little bit more post punkish in the beginning, but got more acoustic and poppy during the era when The All American Rejects dominated radio stations. This song harkens back to their first two records. It has the heavy guitars, the post punk elements, and it has added layers of dreamy noise. There’s a very cool feel that they got with this one. All together the mix is clean and definitely digital, but you can feel the weight of the song. There is absolutely nothing wrong with digital recording, and if you have a serious problem with it, then you should stop listening to music right now. SOMETIMES, when an engineer gets it wrong, you miss the weight of a song. While the instrumentation can be extremely well crafted, if the whole song sounds too digital, the feel just doesn’t translate as well.

Anyways, the song still has that slight pop sensibility that I know The Early November for, but it feels good. This song seems to be a solid middle ground between their two distinct styles. I really liked the bass guitar tones, and that rarely sticks out to me. They are lightly overdriven, and punchy, and that adds a layer of crunch to an otherwise clean mix. During the verses, there’s a synth pad that floats through the other instruments, and adds an air of noise in mix. During the days of tape, there was always noise no matter what you did, and since the digital age, we’ve been trying to get that noise back. There was just something about it I think that musical society didn’t realize until it was gone. I think synth pads are an interesting way of adding it back in, with a musical touch. There were lots of very smart moves in both the engineering, as well as the songwriting, I was impressed.

ghostly“The Skin Thief” Nekrogoblikon

Rating: Great

Genre: Melodic Death Metal, Metalcore, Electronic Rock

The Verdict: 

What? I mean, I know this band, but I don’t follow them at all. I think their shtick is funny, but I’ve never been super in to bands like this, or GWAR. It’s not the theatrics I dislike, Ghost is one of my favorite bands after all, but its the silly subject matter. I don’t really watch comedy, and that translates to my musical tastes. Of course every now and then its fun to binge Weird Al records, but I don’t want to listen to metal about goblin problems. It would be one thing if the band itself was fantastic, but they’re really only okay. Its hard for me to get into something that I have a predisposition to hate, but you know what, this week, Nekrogoblikon was a breath of fresh air. I think this song is really fun, mostly because of the synthesizers. Im usually going to love the addition of synths, and this song got a huge boost from their presence. They used big bell synths to back the biggest hits in the song, and the mono synth solo was just campy enough to be fun, and just impressive enough to be cool. The song really kept my attention, all the way through, it was full of really cool guitar work, and the drums were insanely fast throughout. This was also the first time I could ever get behind this guy’s voice, but that’s probably because I’ve been wading through a mess of contrived post hardcore for the past two days. My love for this song will probably wear off pretty quickly but I think for now it’s pretty close to top pick material.

“Freya” The Sword

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metal, Doom Metal, Stoner Rock

The Verdict: 

I cannot explain to you how welcome this song was. It was like the lighthouse in a storm. This week was a hard one, I’ve spent forever trying to explain things I felt I had been explaining for weeks. At one point I found myself trying to use different terminology to trick you guys into thinking I was saying something new and interesting when I wasn’t. It was a little rough. Finally, at the end of the playlist, The Sword. There was something I could actually talk about. 

The Sword is a really neat band. While they’re pretty much a dime a dozen stoner rock type group, there’s something they do on every record that I have come to love. The cymbals are HUGE! The engineer must just crank those overhead channels way up and leave it, because they are always ringing, and they are always loud to an extreme level. When I first heard it, I hated it, “why bog down the rest of the mix with all this washy high end?” But very soon after, I started to realize that this one little tweak they do, makes the songs feel huge in a modern sense, but maintain the 1970’s Black Sabbath feel. There’s no overtly modern processing going on here, it sounds very direct to tape, and yet they’ve managed to sound just as massive as any other modern doom metal band. 

This album “Age of Winters” is probably their best, so if you haven’t heard them yet, and want to check them out, start here.

Well that was un-fun. I’m only going to listen to doom and gloom for the rest of the week and we’ll see where that gets us. 

Stay Ghostly

Kolby Bergquist

Discover Briefly #2 – May 28, 2019

Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.

Once a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.

Scale from best to worst

Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it

I’ll pick a favorite of the week, you’ll know it when you see the ghost. I will not pick my least favorite. You should be able to figure that out for yourselves anyway, and I’m already ripping into a band’s hard work, so theres no need for me to add insult to injury with a “thumbs down,” or a stupid sticker or something. Anyways,

Enjoy the read! 

“Some Came Running” Bane

Rating: Whatever

Genre:  Hardcore

The Verdict: 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it. Hardcore has always been stuck in too small a box. The whole genre blends together after you’ve listened to a bunch of stuff, and the bands start to sound the same. Candiria is my favorite hardcore band so I hope that puts it in perspective for you. This song does what it’s supposed to, but what it’s supposed to do has become boring over the years. The vocals really stand out, and not in a good way. Sometimes that constant yelling vocal style works for me, and most of the time it doesn’t. With this song, the latter is true.

“If He Dies, He Dies” Glass Cloud

Rating: Great

Genre:  Progressive Metalcore, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Glass Cloud is my favorite of these types of floaty 2009 to 2011 progressive metalcore bands, that share the same vein as bands like We Came As Romans, and The Color Morale. This particular song is not their most “progressive,” but it’s still a jam for those who appreciate this style. I’m not going to go into too much detail about stuff I already know well enough, because it doesn’t hold the same weight as actually knew discoveries. In short, I find it hard to get as excited about it when it’s not new, and therefore, I don’t feel like I’m doing it justice. I’ll just give them a high rating, and let you all check it out for yourselves.

“Oblivions Peak” Knocked Loose

Rating: Great. 

Genre:  Hardcore, Metalcore, Beatdown 

The Verdict: 

Knocked Loose is one of those bands that does the Hardcore thing right. Where my usual opinion is that to me, this genre is tired and worn out, when it incorporates elements from metalcore and deathcore, I tend to really love it. This song opens up with a really cool melodic deathmetal feel, with a super hard harmonized guitar riff. Of corse, it then evolves into a much more straight forward hardcore song. The drums move around a lot more than a traditional beatdown song, which keeps it interesting, and the guitars are HEAVY. If you haven’t checked out this band, do it. 

“Omni: First Temple” Eidola

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore, Progressive Metalcore

The Verdict: 

This is pretty much just a progressive metalcore song, but, it’s a great progressive metalcore song. It’s formulaic, but the riffs, the vocals, and the drums are just inventive enough, as well as just enough of a throwback to stay interesting. The guitar solo stood out to me particularly. I really thought it was going to go one way, the way most of these solos go, but it took an interesting turn, and I really liked that. The vocals feel much more real to me than most songs like this. A lot of other bands put a ton of emphasis on the squealing high male vocals, which is absolutely not a lot of these guys normal register. Fans get used to it one way, but throughout the tour, a lot of the bands end up down tuning for the live show, which throws fans off, and makes for a difficult show. Eidola’s vocal style conjures images of Bruce Dickinson, or Rob Halford. In other words, this song feels classic, even though it only came out a few years ago.

  

“Always Focused” Tiny Moving Parts

Rating: Great

Genre: Emo, Midwest Emo, Post Rock

The Verdict: 

I do like this band. They feel “midwesty” but don’t go all the way with it. They’ve got the twinkly guitars, but it’s not overbearing like a lot of bands in their class. They’ve got the goofy lyrics, but they feel just a little bit more adult than most. The song itself is great. It’s quick, the production is perfect, and its intricate, but not too much so to loose its fun factor. The addition of the cello at the end is a perfect touch. I agree it’s sorely overdone by now but “Always Focused” gets a pass, as it came out back in 2014, during the middle of the American Football, Foxing emo resurgence.

Bleeding In The Blur” Code Orange

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Rock, Hardcore, Grunge

The Verdict: 

I wrote this one off the second I saw it. I’m getting real tired of Spotify thinking I’m the worlds biggest hardcore fan. Giving it a listen, I realized immediately how wrong I was. This had that “soft-grunge” feel, with the heavy guitars we know Code Orange by. It had this feel like if Nirvana was still around, their stage performance would be proceeded by Code Orange playing only this song. I had to question myself, “was I just completely wrong about this band?” So I took a moment to listen around their catalog, and nope. I was right, they’re a hardcore, deathcore, slam band, and this was the only song I found that sounded like this. The chorus line was awesome, this guys clean vocals over such heavy guitars is a perfect melding. It felt like being lost in waves of chaotic crunch, and your only guiding light through it is this echoing voice reciting the top line, “bleeding in the blur.” Great top line, awesome production, killer songwriting. Code Orange, do more like this.

“Too Late to Dream” The Venetia Fair

Rating: Good

Genre: Progressive Metalcore, Rock

The Verdict: 

I usually hate these way to pretentious, super clean, “progressive” metalcore songs. They all seem to share the same chord charts, the same singer, and the same feel all together. This one was saved from the “Fine” rating by the use of horns, and it was kind of fun. There’s not much to say about it other than, it’s fast, it’s loud, it’s super silly, and I liked it.

“Every Pain in Monochrome” Gatherers

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This is definitely not the best song I’ve heard from this band, but I generally enjoyed it. It feels just as sad, and cold as any good post hardcore song should, and it’s a solid listen. I feel this song would go better juxtaposed, as it should be, to the rest of the album it’s from (“We Are Alive Beyond Repair”). They do a very good job coupling very soft clean vocals, with wailing screams that sound, as they should, like the dude is sobbing to the heavens. I like that interesting take on the genre. For too long the high up, clenched nuts, male vocals have dominated this movement. I love the sound as much as the next person, but it’s always a breath of fresh air to hear a more sombre, softer voice carrying a song like this.

“Fear” Cursed Earth

Rating: Great

Genre: Deathcore

The Verdict: 

Beatdown beats at their finest. Deathcore is good for one thing in my world, aggression relief. If I’m listening to it, and my heart starts beating a little faster, my blood starts boiling, and my hair stands on end, it has done it’s job. Cursed Earth gets it very right with this song. Unfortunately I fear, like hardcore, there’s only room for a few of these bands on my pallet. If I get in too deep, it’s all going to wash together into one big sea of blood red noise. For now, I listen to enough of it to keep alive the thirst for more, but not enough for it to all together bore me. I like the sound these guys get, and maybe I can squeeze in one more deathcore band before I hit peak. Good job Cursed Earth, for making me want to punch a kitten instead of finish this review.

“Thrush” My Ticket Home

Rating: Good

Genre: Alternative

The Verdict: 

Pretty interesting. It reminds me of Trust Company, or The Exies. I like that a group of people had enough appreciation for that weird 2002 transitional time in music to make a whole band of it. I really liked the use of chorus pedal over distortion, if nothing else, that’s just a true and perfect homage to the era they are springing from. The production was even similar sounding to a lot of those older records. “Thrush” came out in 2017 by the way, so I’m not just raving about a song that’s actually older as if it’s an amazing modern throwback. Check this out if you like that kind of stuff.

“Sight” Wolf & Bear

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Math Rock, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This is cool! I really liked how the guitars came through. There’s a sweet transparent overdrive on them that just layers over a little bit of crunch, but keeps the true tone of the guitar unfettered. The drums sound very clean, which I usually dislike, but here it works. It’s really the guitars that are being showcased anyway, so the drums don’t need to be at the forefront with a bunch of crazy processing on them. One thing that is absolutely terrible about this piece are the lyrics. They. Are. Bad. If you can get past that, the song is great. It uses the tried and true musical movements for this genre, and also throws some bits in that most listeners probably won’t be expecting. I always like when guitar lines start generically, but throw you for a loop at some point. This song is full of those moments. I definitely recommend this.

“How to Taste” Violent Soho

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Punk

The Verdict: 

Perfectly imperfect. That’s the best way I can describe this song. The writing is beautifully simple, the production is raw in the best sense of the term, and it’s heartfelt. My biggest issue with all things post recently is that it’s so over worked. It’s so meticulously crafted, and so perfect, that it loses sight of its entire purpose. Lost amongst all the edits, the hours of mixing, the producer, the expensive gear, and everything else, is the underlying feel of the genre. I fought myself on this for a while, I was recording guitars on a project I was working on at home, and I couldn’t get them to sound right after WEEKS of edits. Finally I just bussed the mix out, as it was, to an old blank cassette tape, recorded it back into Logic, and then had a listen to it. All of a sudden I had what I’d been missing, perfect imperfection. Let’s get back to making cheap and dirty records like this. Not all of them, there’s a time and place, but there are a lot of songs out there that could benefit from a little grit. Violent Soho get’s a big recommendation from me. I’m going to be listening to them for the next whole week.

 https://open.spotify.com/track/02M7Q68pgTW3LWGSHeV08N?si=RqVrOfWcQuyJPZnCuMVxew

“Live from Hell” Glowbug, Eddie Hermida

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Electronic, Pop, Dance, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Remember a while back when I said something about needing more cheap and dirty records? Yea, so the opposite is true with stuff like this. This song can only work as the egregiously overproduced garbage heap of pop madness that it is. Autotune, steel drums, bongos, faux horns, and scream vocals. WHAT IS THIS, AND WHY DO I LOVE IT? I think it works because it’s so unapologetically insane. I think it works because the artist had zero predispositions before writing it, and nobody over their shoulder saying “Hey I don’t think that steel drum is working for me right there…” Sometimes artists need producers. They need them to wrangle their weird ideas, and to keep them on track. But some artists have this innate musical sensibility. They can just know without knowing that certain things are going to jam. Why do bongos, autotune, and screams work together? Only Glowbug knows the answer, and I’m glad he does.

“Doesn’t Feel Pain Like He Should” KEN Mode

Rating: Good

Genre: Noise Rock, Punk

The Verdict: 

I loved the strange riffs, the wild overdriven vocals, and the drums, which had their moments. What bummed me out was the fact that it was two straight minutes of pretty much the same thing, and then right at the end, all of a sudden, they must’ve stomped a different pedal or something because the guitars got WAY heavier. It was different to the point where it sounded like a totally different song, from a totally different record. The two parts were sick though, I ultimately enjoyed this piece, I just wish it would have gone a little further, I wanted more.

“Pleased to Meet You” Trapped Under Ice

Rating: Good

Genre: Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Okay, it’s the chords. It’s the cool harmonies they get with the dueling guitars. It’s the fact that it’s short enough, and the movements change quick enough to not stagnate. This is JUST a hardcore song, I hadn’t heard it specifically before, but I found that I liked this one. It’s no Candiria, but it was still pretty good. I know I trash bands like this constantly, but something about this song works for me. I make no excuses for my vacillating taste.

“March to the Sea” Baroness

Rating: Good

Genre: Metal

The Verdict: 

This band is cool, but this is probably one of their weakest songs in my opinion. It’s just not nearly as weird and cool as some of the other choices from their catalog. Somehow this is their top song on Spotify, but considering everything they’ve done, I’ve always liked their 2015 release “Purple” the best. If you’re looking to get into this band, I suggest starting with that record.

“To the Wolves” Mandroid Echostar

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Post Hardcore, Progressive Rock

The Verdict: 

I’m not going to go very deep into this band or this song. They may or may not come up as a topic in a future project I’ll be a part of. Listen to this band, they have a special place in my heart. That’s all I’m gonna say.

“Unbowed” To Kill

Rating: Good

Genre:  Metalcore

The Verdict: 

It’s good if you like old school metalcore, or hardcore. I already gave one hardcore song a good rating this time around, which is more than I usually give, so I must be feeling particularly HxC this week. Come to think of it, I’m currently wearing Adidas, and I’m eating a salad. Well, better get my “VEGAN STRAIGHT EDGE” face tattoo soon before the world explodes from the overproduction of deodorant. The song’s got a cool breakdown, and the production is just right there on that perfect edge of being bad. It was a fun tune for the 2:20 it lasted. It’s good.

“Amber” Stick To Your Guns

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I haven’t listened to this song in forever! Metalcore at its finest I think. This record came around near the end of the golden era for my relationship to this style. It was like the last bastion of hope for the style against hordes of fill-in-the-blank-core bands. Don’t get me wrong, I love that trashy “Stick Stickly” type stuff more than I probably should, but this was equally great. I really do love it, but I’m not going to call it my favorite thing. Honestly I’ll probably never seek out to listen to it, but it’s got some nostalgia cred’ so I’m happy it came up.

West by God” Left Behind

Rating: Great

Genre: Sludge, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I feel like someone needs to give this guy a hug. If anyone knows the lyricist, please just give them a hug, and tell them I sent you. I loved the guitar tone, it was super hard. The filthy riffs totally made up for the lack of much lyrical content. Of course, I always love the slow down parts designed to deliver even more mosh pit fuel. Whenever I get around to working out, I’ll remember this one.

“Charisma” Pianos Become The Teeth

Rating: Good

Genre: Alt Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I have to be transparent with you. This song is suffering the effects of being so late in the playlist. Especially this week with all the Memorial Day festivities. I didn’t have a lot of time to space out my listening, so I’ve had to crunch a lot of music into a short time. I like the feel, I like this band, it’s got a fun soft-grunge edge to it which I wasn’t expecting, and the production sounds killer. It’s got everything it needs to bump up to a higher rating, but I’m not feeling it. I suspect that’s because of the aforementioned listener fatigue. I’ll review this song again at some point this week with fresh ears and get back to you.

“Daymare” Portrayal Of Guilt

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore, Noise Rock

The Verdict:

Despite having one of the all time dumbest song titles I’ve ever seen, I really liked this. It was filthy to its very core, and shared a similar level of controlled chaos to Norma Jean’s first outing (which also has really dumb song titles, maybe it’s a trend?). I really would like to understand how bands like this maintain an atmospheric, and distorted wall of sound with the guitars. I love it, and I would really like to incorporate it into my own stuff, but I’ve never been able to replicate it to a degree that it works as well as it does here. I can’t believe I missed this band, I can’t wait to delve deeper. What’s exciting is that they’re newer, finding them only 2 years after their first release gives me the opportunity to follow their career closely, and see how they develop.

“Your Skull Is Red – Live” Team Sleep

Rating: Great

Genre: Djent, Djazz, Trap, Electronic, Pop

The Verdict: 

I absolutely adore everything Chino Moreno has ever been a part of. Team Sleep is a killer band, but they feel the closest to just being Deftones recordings that never made it. I still love the whole catalog though. This being a live recording, makes it even more impressive. Chino always sounds great, but this is even cleaner than usual. If you haven’t listened to Team Sleep, and you like music, definitely give them a shot.

“Fake Dinosaur Bones” The Callous Daoboys

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Progressive Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Starting with “This may be the most chilling message you will ever hear” is a bold statement. Especially when your lyrics are shrouded in poetic allusions, and leave much to interpretation. “Did you know that we play house on the same moon?” We’ll did you? Do you even know how to answer that question? I’ll admit I’m not the best interpreter when it comes to lyrics, but I’m pretty sure the intention of this song is buried real deep. Musically, I loved it. I know things just took a sharp turn right there, but I know how I feel about stuff. I said it for the last song, I’ve got a thing for controlled chaos.

“Love Let Me Die” END

Rating: Great

Genre: Death Metal

The Verdict: 

Just your good old friendly neighborhood death metal band here. END doesn’t stand out in any particular way other than their production. Whoever worked with them got it so right. The guitars are so angry sounding, and the vocals are so chillingly distorted. If you you’re in a relationship that you don’t want to be in, and you’re way too much of a pushover to just break it off, just tell the parents of your insignificant other that this is your favorite song, and watch those people slowly disappear from your life. Again, there’s not a whole lot to say about it other than its very heavy, a little scary, and listening to it too much will slowly turn you into a very single person.

“First World Problem Child” Stray From The Path, Sam Carter

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Hardcore, Nu-Metalcore, Punk, Hip-Hop

The Verdict: 

This is one of those instances where you listened to a song a bunch, and then got over it, and stopped listening to it. Spotify sees that as an opportunity to be like: “hey remember that song you had on repeat during the 2016 election cycle?” Yes Spotify, I remember it, and I’ll listen to it again when I want to listen to it. Probably around 2019. If you haven’t Listened to Stray From The Path, they sound like if the Beastie Boys had the political charge of a punk band, a jazz drummer, and a bunch of metalcore guitarists. It’s super cool, and I absolutely love everything they’ve put out, but do I really need to get all hopped up on politics right now Spotify? Is that what you want from me? I’ve already got Cursed Earth, and END trying to get me all punchy, and now I’ve got Stray From The Path trying to get me all politically punchy. Anyways, definitely check this band out, I’m going to take a break from this for a minuet and talk to my dogs about the climate problem.

“A Live Nativity Scene” Six Gallery

Rating: Good

Genre: Emo, Midwest Emo, Alternative, Indie

The Verdict: 

Tappy lead guitars? Floating undercurrents? Unprocessed vocals? Sounds like Midwest Emo to me. I liked it for its constant rhythmic theme. It felt like I was floating in the middle of the ocean, being jostled by constant mild waves. The tapping from the guitar would be the through of the wave, and the drums constituted the crest. I really enjoyed when it sped up around 2:00 in. I thought that was a really smart move, and it gave the song more texture overall. I didn’t love their choice of tone when it came time to distort the guitars. They were very sharp and in a song like this, I would think it best to keep everything as rich and warm as possible. It really was a beautiful piece, but I always seem to struggle with the vocals in songs like this. Not that I dislike the unprocessed feel, but the fact that there’s another human directly involved, takes me out of the calm isolation I would be experiencing if there was no vocals at all. Explosions In The Sky is a perfect example of the feeling I’m trying to describe. It’s guitar driven, it’s got the same floating undercurrents, and most importantly to my case, it’s instrumental. Ultimately, this song got a favorite, and I added it to a playlist, but I think I did that as a “just in case” move. “I better save this just in case I ever want to hear it again,” because honestly it didn’t stand out enough. I’ll forget who it is, or what it is, almost immediately after I’m done reviewing it.  

“Lip Gloss And Black” Atreyu

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore

The Verdict: 

Whatever part of Spotify’s algorithm thought I had never heard this song needs an update. I don’t want to insult it, because I would like to be favored during the robot uprising, I’m just suggesting it maybe get a few things worked out. Of course I love this song. I listened to it religiously when it came out. This was one of the first of the skramz bands I was really in to. The first was The Bled, “Last American Cowboy” was the first metalcore song I got my ears on, but not too long after that, I was introduced to Atreyu, and it was all down hill from there. Seeing that it’s 2019, I’m 27 years old, and I’m still listening to, and raving about emo, metalcore, and post punk, I’d say the introduction to this stuff had a most devastating effect on my faculties.

https://open.spotify.com/track/2Hy81a71pPf5lPWTq1o8ub?si=ogZ8Q-TYRDGDShFPQsq-AQ 

“Good Set” Sawce

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Alternative, Math Rock, Instrumental

The Verdict: 

Damn that opening riff is smooth! Thankfully the songwriters obviously realized that as well, because they play it a whole bunch. I tend to be on the fence with this style. Its usually way to conceited to be listenable, like every band is a bunch of white jazz elitists who want to play jazz, but their from Ohio so they’re contractually obliged by their local government to make emo music. I straight up love this song. It jams in all directions. That last statement means nothing, but if I keep saying it it’ll become a thing. Anyways, the use of the synthesizer is perfect, I’m not too sure I’m well versed enough in this genre to know if I’ve ever heard such a 80’s sounding synth patch be used to this effect. Killer guitar tones, awesome guitar work, the drums sound amazing, production is perfect, I’m not sure I’ve got anything bad to say about this. Hopefully the rest of their catalog holds up, I’ve been wanting to love this genre for a long time, but haven’t been able to find a band that vibes with me. This song VIBES with me.

“Fate I & II” Black Peaks

Rating: Fine

Genre: Alternative, Post Hardcore

The Verdict:

I think this is the first negative rating on the list, and check this out, this is a great song, and I think you all should go listen to it. Be aware though, it’s very similar in chordal structure to the whole of the 2017 release “Melancholia Hymns” by Arcane Roots. All together “Fate I & II” is a great song, it’s extremely epic, it tops out at near 7:00 long. It’s got killer high energy all the way up until it drops out for a huge build for the outro. The song sounds clean, and stays interesting throughout. Had I never heard of Arcane Roots before, this would have gotten a “Great” rating, or higher. But, I have heard of Arcane Roots, and particularly the song “Off The Floor” blows this one completely out of the water. If you haven’t heard of either of these bands, I suggest listening to this one first, enjoy it, let it sink in for a while, and then later listen to Arcane Roots. That way you don’t wreck Black Peaks’ chances before they even get a shot. Honestly I could be totally wrong, and this “Fate I & II” might be more your style. I’m not telling you how to live your life, I’m just saying Arcane Roots did it better. Fight me ‘bout it.

You know what, I’m still a little amped up from that Cursed Earth tune, I apologize for that outburst about Arcane Roots. So… I’m gonna go. Thanks for stopping by and chatting. We have a new one of these every Tuesday so drop by next week to see what Spotify makes me listen to.

Stay Ghostly,

Kolby Bergquist

5 YouTube Channels I Use To Find New Music

Ready for some new tunes?

1. underrated

If you like dreamy synth pop, verb drenched indie rock, shoegaze, post rock, experimental electronic, or anything that sparkles, this is a place for you. It seems like the channel has become a bit less active recently, but there’s still plenty of gold to pick through from previous years. Scrolling through the postings feels like you’re thumbing through the bins at the weirdest record store on the edge of the known universe. There’s live performances from Japanese acts, vinyl rips from funk bands you’ve never heard of, full album streams, as well as the normal single track videos. The consistency of feel this channel has is unlike most music channels I’ve come across. And that consistant feel, is almost surreal.

Favorite Finds

Yukako Hayase

https://youtu.be/MgmhVJ0v8c4

Manow Bale – The Lost Smile

https://youtu.be/S-i_XNE7XSM

Number Girl

https://youtu.be/WUYACnZNkvM

2. Anti

This channel is the home of the misfit bands. Everything posted here is deep underground, and beautifully odd. The material consists of mostly full album streams, specializing in all the ultra low budget, noisy, messy punk tunes that no label wants to touch. Every now and then, some really scrappy new wave bands will be thrown into the mix, but it’s mostly punk stuff. It seems to be run by one person, one of those collector types that will dive into oncoming traffic in order to get their hands on a crappy, run over, beat up cassette tape from a band that no one otherwise cares about. I’m glad these character types exist, because if not, how would we know about great bands like Moist Boy, or my favorite, Judge Judy, and Executioner. I remember one time, a band from around the Phoenix area called Heavy Breather was featured on this channel. Strangely enough I found them there before I’d ever heard about them by word of mouth. That’s the power of having your stuff featured on one of these channels. Your weird electro-punk record, that you recorded in your closet through a single microphone powered by a potato that you named Gregory might not be able to get the views, but they can for you. That’s why these YouTube music hubs are important.

Favorite Finds (couldn’t pick 3, heres 5 instead)

PINKSLIME

https://youtu.be/VGDtkUlz4bQ

D.L.I.M.C

https://youtu.be/2nMPaOEB_QI

Color TV

https://youtu.be/j7ieq3oE_hw

Permanent Body

https://youtu.be/NV4rsz3nAaQ

Booji Boys

https://youtu.be/aryBt9QzFWk

3. OdiumNostrum

Mountain Dew is kvlt right? Black Metal, doom metal, death metal, all the metal, in all its glory. A trip through this channel’s archives is like taking a walk through the infinite void itself. Littered with album art that really could be none more black, this dark corner of the internet truly could be your new soundtrack for your midnight summoning parties. It’s a gold mine for stuff that you won’t find on Spotify or Apple Music, all the dark, and moody, heavy, and chaotic stuff that only finds it’s way onto tiny labels out of places like Norway or Germany. The channel’s regular twice a month posting won’t satiate your eternal thirst for blood, but it will satisfy your need for crushingly heavy metal. I LOVE this channel.

Favorite finds

Convulsing

https://youtu.be/GMIvf7N5dco

Terra Tenebrosa

https://youtu.be/oxKbX-2z4V8

KENOSIS

https://youtu.be/DgGnR4XOY5w

4. Punkers TV

Not really a place for me to find “new” music on YouTube anymore, but it’s a great place to watch a ton of old live performances. If you’re just getting in to punk rock as a whole, this is where I suggest you start. It’s absolutely full of legendary live performances from just about every notable punk band ever. I found Punkers TV, which is just run by the one guy, as a Facebook group. Then I started following him on Instagram where he regularly posts videos of his viewer’s bands, so you get a taste of a bunch of cool stuff from all over. Along with that, you also get the usual live videos from the lords of punk like Black Flag, Bad Brains, Dead Kennedys, and the like. As well, he posts a lot of Indonesian punk bands. Indonesia has a HUGE punk scene, and I’m glad to see someone here in the west taking notice, and exposing these kids to a much wider audience. Below I’ll post a few videos from his YouTube channel, as well as a few bands I found through his Instagram. @punkerstv

You can follow me on Instagram too! @coffinbuster

Punkers TV YouTube

Discharge 

https://youtu.be/8hcHKBeqwMM

The Clash

https://youtu.be/aFG0vnkf8YM

The Dead Boys

https://youtu.be/zY87CUlAIU4

Punkers TV Instagram Bands

Johny Comes Lately

https://youtu.be/zY87CUlAIU4

Matamoska!

https://youtu.be/Dgurft27dHE

5. Rap & Undergound Hip Hop – DOPE

Hip hop heads beware! The earth shakes, windows shatter, as something big is stirring in the underground. East coast boom bap is king on this channel. All the videos are long format DJ sets, and are expertly done. The songs are choice, they flow perfectly, and they hit so hard, it’ll cave your chest in. The last post on this channel was 10 months ago, so it’s possible the channel is dead, but with 85 different mixes, all about an hour long, there’s plenty of material to check out. Weather you’re hunting for new tunes, looking for a soundtrack to your relaxation, or just looking to play something while you scrub the floors, this is the perfect channel to just turn on, and let go.

Favorite Find

Rap & Underground Hip Hop Especial Mixtape

https://youtu.be/mkj_S6HsNOk

Thanks for the read, now go listen. New stuff coming all the time on the website. Discover Briefly on Tuesdays, Record Reviews Saturday through Monday, and random things like this whenever I feel like it.

Stay Ghostly,

Kolby Bergquist

Discover Briefly – May 21, 2019

A weekly breakdown of my Spotify playlists.

By Kolby Bergquist

Every week I pray that the Spotify gods be good to me as I check my Discover Weekly playlist. They’ve lead astray once or twice, but they’ve also lead me to find some truly awesome tunes. So I’ve decided to use this platform to share my findings with you.

Once a week, I’ll share with you my playlist, rate the songs, and give my opinions on each track. Hopefully, you can use this as a way to discover new artists, find what to avoid, and grow your catalog.

Scale from best to worst

Awesome – Great – Good – Fine – Whatever – Skip it

I’ll pick a favorite of the week, you’ll know it when you see the ghost. I will not pick my least favorite. You should be able to figure that out for yourselves anyway, and I’m already ripping into a band’s hard work, so theres no need for me to add insult to injury with a stupid sticker or something. Anyways,

Enjoy the read! 

“No Love From Above” Death of a Nation

Rating: Whatever

Genre:  Hardcore, Post Punk 

The Verdict: 

We get it, you’re not a fan of Mr. Jesus. Unfortunately it seems this topic has become worn out. Im all for expressing whatever you feel whenever you feel it, but it seems its become required for every hardcore band to make a song about this exact thing. Theres just not enough substance in this song to justify the simplicity of the lyrics. Topically worn out and it just feels silly. Moreover, the mood of the song is rather depressing, as if he’s going through a crisis as he’s realizing that he doesn’t need god. Maybe that was the point, or maybe they just missed the mark.

“The Baker Act” Artifex Pero 

Rating: Good

Genre:  Progressive Rock, Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Structurally, it was a little derivative. Very comparative to bands like Emarosa, Chiodos, Memphis May Fire, etc. I did however like the addition of the piano, and organ work. There are plenty of bands that do the same thing, but in this case, the addition put this song just above the rest. Vocals are okay, but a little drab, and fail to carry a song that has some interesting parts, but all together doesn’t explore everything it could have been. I’ll admit, I did favorite the song. I’ll be listening to the rest of this bands catalog, I’m not willing to give up on them just yet.

“You’ll Understand When You’re Older” Kaonashi

Rating: Great. 

Genre:  Progressive Hardcore. 

The Verdict: 

This song opens up like a sledgehammer opens up your head, and ends gracefully, with a cool, calm, and melodic breakdown. The vocals are raw and in your face, and the lyrics are almost painfully direct. Guitar tones are just the right amount of heavy, and just the right amount of warm. I wouldn’t call this the greatest show of hardcore technicality, but the simplicity works for this song. I recommend this band for fans of Knocked Loose and Varials, who are looking for something a little weirder.

“Autumnus” Reflections

Rating: Fine

Genre: Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

It’s fine. It’s like they copy and pasted the perfect formula for a modern post hardcore song. Production was great, players were great, vocals were great. The guitar solos were sort of djenty and fun, but other than that, it’s just a post hardcore song.

“Two Birds With One Stone” Drop Dead, Gorgeous

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Emo, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I love this band. I realize they’re hokey, but I’ve always loved their production and songwriting. Danny Stillman’s voice is fantastically chaotic, and stands as a perfect compliment to his angsty lyrics, and the band’s trashy instrumentation. They’re entire catalog sounds like it was recorded during a house fire. If you haven’t checked them out, and you’re a fan of this stuff. DO IT. And while you’re at it, Stillman has a newer project, Bleach Blonde, I recommend them for fans of The Used, Senses Fail, Alkaline Trio, early Fallout Boy and “Self Titled” era Blink-182.

Complexity of Light” Children of Nova

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Rock, Progressive Rock

The Verdict: 

This is what I look for with bands like this. Instead of the usual paint by numbers rabble with their moody atmospheric chords, noodling guitars, and contrived song structures. This song makes use of tremolo pedals, soaring falsetto vocals, weirdly placed stops, and interesting structure. This song is really eons ahead of what I hear from a lot of other bands in the same vein. The wild song structure shows the writers to be extremely talented, and fluent in a multitude of styles. It opened with bongos, kept my attention throughout, and finally ended with a screaming falsetto. I’m totally sold. Definitely recommend for fans of Circa Survive, Arcane Roots, and Fall of Troy.

“Midnight: Carroll Street” Into It, Over It

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Emo, Post Punk

The Verdict: 

“Somewhere between, caffeine and nicotine…” Not too much to say here, other than I love this band. Lyricism is great as usual, the honkey tonk toned piano in the bridge is a great addition to the song, and the overall mood is perfect. Check it out.

“Nosebleed” Tigerwine

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Grunge

The Verdict: 

Fist off, the guitar tones are brilliant. The song is filled with smart guitar riffs, and great production. I know I’ve been hounding other bands about standard song structure, but depending on the band, it usually works, and it does so well here. It’s and interesting mix of a post hardcore feel, with grungy sentiments. The real selling point tho is the vocals. The singer has a perfectly weird blend of Brian Aubert of Silversun Pickups, and Scott Russo of Unwritten Law. I’ll definitely be diving head first into their catalog for more.

“The Family Disease” Oceana

Rating: Skip It

Genre: Metalcore, Post Hardcore, Emo

The Verdict: 

Unfortunately, it’s just boring. Maybe time wasn’t kind to this style, as this came out in 2009, but I for one am just over this specific sound. There were a huge number of bands that sounded exactly like this, and Oceana faded quickly into the white noise that just engulfed this scene around that time. It just sounds like everything else that came out. The only thing setting it apart is the guitar tone. Which sounds like it was recorded through a lead pipe. The vocals are just way too bland, and just can’t punch through the monotony. The choir bit during the bridge is pretty fun, but otherwise it’s just a post hardcore song. Skip it.

“Gun In Hands” Stutterfly

Rating: Whatever

Genre: Alt Metal, Nu Metal, Post Hardcore, Emo

The Verdict: 

This came out during a transitional point in time, 2005. Nu Metal was officially out, overproduced pop-hip hop was on the rise, and the weird kids needed a new underground movement to cling to. Enter the Emo bands. All things post became all the rage. They’re still existed tho some hangers on. Kids with one foot still planted  firmly in the Nu Metal scene, and the other venturing out into the post realm. Stutterfly was one of these bands, as well as Trust Company, Chevelle, Earshot, and Smile Empty Soul. I get it, I appreciate it, but I don’t really love it.

“Within My Reach” Sights & Sounds

Rating: Great

Genre: Rock, Post Punk

The Verdict: 

This was kind of fun. The guitars were just grimey enough to compliment the extreme amount of washy reverb on the vocals. At first I was hesitant, but the more they played that chorus, the more I liked it. They play the chorus a bunch of times, so I came to actually really love the song by the end. If you like your rock moody, and your guitars slightly on the harder side, I’d say check this song out.

“Stop searching” Valencia

Rating: Good

Genre: Post Rock, Post Punk, Rock

The Verdict: 

The piano backing the guitar is a nice touch, as was the acoustic guitar in the bridge, and I like the pop punk feel of the chorus. Otherwise, it’s kinda goofy. I’ve never heard a song by Valencia that I’ve really liked. They’ve always felt needlessly overdone. This one turned out better than most that I’ve heard, but I’m not sure that’s enough to make me want to listen again.

“Nothing Gold Can Stay” No Home

Rating: Skip It

Genre: Post Hardcore, Post Punk, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

Knocked Loose is fun, Such Gold is fun, The Story Story So Far is fun. No Home is not. This is extremely contrived, and there’s unfortunately no redeeming qualities here for me. The spoken word bit really tried to be serious and heartfelt with lyrics like “hope exists if you let it,” but ultimately came across as kind of laughable. Honestly though, that’s probably because I’m closing in on 30 years old. Had I heard this in high school I probably would have loved it. Im getting too old for this.

“Change (House of Flies)” Architects

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore, Rock, Metal

The Verdict: 

This was a Spotify single, recorded at Abbey Road. I was surprised that a band like Architects would be one to be selected for something like this. Not that Architects is bad, just that they’re an aging metalcore band. All together, it was amazing. Anyone who knows me knows Deftones is one of my all time favorites. Anyone who knows Deftones, knows they’ve produced some of the most inventive and interesting cover songs to date. So when I read the title of this one, and saw who the band was, I was skeptical. Again, not because I don’t like Architects, but because I’ve heard plenty of bad Deftones covers, and I just wasn’t ready to hear another one. This, to my elated surprise, was incredible. There were real strings in place of those eerie synth samples on the original track. The strings were orchestrated through the entire song adding a new layer to the already sonically dense piece. The orchestration gave the song a whole new flavor, it felt like a really dark Bond film into, instead of a cold alt Metal track. I couldn’t believe how epic it had become. Chino’s vocals on this track will never be matched in my mind, so I’m a bit biased, but I’m still going to critique. The new vocals felt a bit bored, I feel like they could have done more. Now I’m probably just nit picking, but the gated reverb on the snare was really not great. It took me halfway through the song to notice it because I was so blown away, but I did notice it. Otherwise, those STRINGS. Seriously incredible. If there was a college degree in proper cover song creation, this should be the 101 corse.

“Dads” DADS, Berried Alive, Lucas Mann

Rating: Good

Genre: Progressive Metal, Instrumental

The Verdict: 

Not really my style, but it was sure interesting. The guitar work was pretty crazy, and I liked the synth sounds they chose. They had and interesting trap, or hip hop influence, djenty time signatures, and really weird album art. I don’t love it, but I’m totally for it.

“Big Bear and the Hour of Chaos” Unearth

Rating: Fine

Genre: Metal, Metalcore

The Verdict: I’m pretty sure I remember this album coming out, and I don’t remember Unearth sounding like Amon Amarth. I don’t dislike it, there’s nothing bad I can say about it. I like that it’s instrumental, I like the feel, the bridge is cool, I just don’t love it…

Well I needed some context, so I went and listened to some of this record, and it totally DOES sound like Amon Amarth. I’m changing my rating to GOOD. I like what they were going for here, like a Metalcore approach to melodic death metal. If it was just a one off song on a record filled with the usual hardcore, post hardcore stuff I remember them for, it wouldn’t work. It has to be surrounded contextually in order for it to meld properly. Since they were dedicated to making a Metalcore version of an Amon Amarth record, and they saw it through, I’m into it.

“Caution: Dangerous Curves Ahead” Maylene and the Sons of Disaster

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Metalcore, Southern Rock.

The Verdict: 

This band rules. I listen to the so regularly, I’m wondering why they popped up on this playlist. They are so silly. I mean southern rock and metalcore, Who’da thought? Anyways, Dallas Taylor used to sing for Underoath, then he left and started Maylene. The two bands sound nothing alike so if you’re an Underoath fan, don’t expect any similarities here. This particular song rips, as a good most of their songs do. I was fortunate enough to see Maylene and Underoath on tour together years ago, and from that point forward, I was sold on both bands. If you haven’t already, check them out if you like any metalcore at all.

“Skylasher” Lee McKinney

Rating: Good

Genre:  Progressive Metal, Instrumental

The Verdict: 

If you enjoy the sound of dudes stroking their own egos, you’ll love it!

 I kid, I kid. 

The level of guitar chops in any of these types of bands is extreme. I’m talking about Joe Satriani, and Polyphia, as well as guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen, and John Petrucci. Those super high level performers that solo like crazy, and whatever band they’re in, the whole thing is about their skill. There seem to be more and more of these instrumental, guitar shredder bands popping up everywhere lately. I’ll attribute the influx to the ease of home recording, and the fact that nobody else wants to be in a band where one guy is literally the whole draw. These things are always impressive, but not really my jam.

“Rise Above” SET SIGHTS

Rating: Fine

Genre: Post Punk, Hardcore

The Verdict: 

Pretty standard. Everything sounds good, they did a good job writing a standard post punk song. I’ve heard this a million times, disguised as different songs. I bet this song would rip live, but the coffee shop patio at which I’m listening to this isn’t really the right setting. There’s an argument you could make there, “Well it’s all about the setting, it’s made for live…” To that I’ve got to ask, “if your music is only any good live, why bother recording it?” Anyways, I can really get into other songs like this by bands like Gallows, but I think there’s only room for one or two of these types on my pallet. If you’re just getting in to hardcore, post hardcore, punk, etc. I’d say check it out. If you’re a seasoned Rights of Spring fan, I’d say you’ve probably heard it before.

Flowermouth ( The Leech)” Code Orange Kids

Rating: Good

Genre: Hardcore, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I feel almost the same here as I did with the previous song. If I want beat down style hardcore, I’ve got a playlist full of Earth Crisis, Raised Fist, and Downset. I think that the rules that make the genre the genre are too constricting, there’s just isn’t enough room in the to explore. When I look for hardcore bands, I prefer those like Candiria, Youth of Today, and Gorilla Biscuits to bands like this. This song does what it’s supposed to, but again, I’ve heard it a million times.

“Luna” Invent, Animate

Rating: Good

Genre: Alt Metal, Progressive Metal, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

There’s plenty of these pretty, twinkly, and heavy Mother Earth metal bands. I’ve always kind of enjoyed it, but not enough to actively seek it out. I liked this, but I kept comparing it to the band Erra, which is a great band if you haven’t yet taken listen. If you like metal, read your horoscopes, and see sacred geometry everywhere, this might be for you.

“Footsteps In the Distance” envy

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Hardcore, Emo, Post Punk

The Verdict:

I’ll probably do a whole piece on this in the future, but I love the Japanese scene, for a lot of reasons. This song is killer, and I’m glad Spotify realizes my love for Japanese emo stuff. It’s got great unexpected turns through the chorus, and an awesome feel. Also, I noticed these weird pauses that sound almost accidental, but consistent, so maybe they were planned? Whatever they were, they worked for me, it made the song very human. What stands out most is the spoken word verses. They might be hokey and lame, but it’s all in Japanese, so I have no clue what they’re saying. In other words, it’s nice to not have to take the lyrics into account. For me, a lot of the time, especially with this kind of music, lyrics can make or break a song. And even tho the lyrics are probably very dumb, I like not being able to tell. I will always urge readers to join me down this weird rabbit hole of Japanese post, because it’s always a surprise, and its usually a good one.

“Look But Don’t Touch” Polyphia, Lewis Grant

Rating: Great

Genre: Djent, Djazz, Trap, Electronic, Pop

The Verdict: 

Hey didn’t we just mention these guys? I love what they’re doing here, I’ve heard them release a few songs like this, with jazzy guitars over trap beats, and big djent style chorus bits. Usually they stick to instrumental arrangements, but this time they brought in a vocalist. My only real gripe, is that the vocals came in so late in the song, that it was a little jarring. Like it was two different pieces that they just slammed together. It wasn’t horrible, the singing was great, lyrics were just fine, and they tied it all together well enough. BUT. In my opinion, the song could have benefited from axing the vocals all together, or putting them through the whole thing.

“Wax Simulacra” The Mars Volta

Rating: Awesome

Genre:  Progressive Rock, Alternative

The Verdict: 

Its always funny when I find one of my favorite songs by a particular artist on my discover weekly playlist. I suppose it’s been quite a while since I’ve listened to it. Shout out to Spotify for reminding me I need to sit down with this record again. Everyone else should too, preferably while intoxicated.

“Beautiful Night” Burden Brothers

Rating: Great

Genre: Punk

 The Verdict: 

What a jam. Loved the production with the super trashy cymbals, loved the goofy sad punk boy lyrics, and the vocals were killer. I put this in the same category with bands like Lit, and Finch, or Toadies, and Future Leaders of the World. Favorited this one, can’t wait to bust it out next time I finally get the girl in a 90’s teen drama.

“On Her Mind” Volumes, Pouya 

Rating: Skip It

Genre: Nu Metal, Djent, Hip-Hop, Rap Rock

The Verdict: 

For the purpose of this project, I rarely skip tracks within the first 30 seconds. I really try not to, so I can make sure to give you my full and honest reactions, and informed opinions. But I think I get a pass for this one. I never want this genre to come back, why is it coming back?

“Disease” Beartooth

Rating: Fine

Genre: Post Hardcore, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

I look at Beartooth as the blink-182 of metalcore. I don’t hate them, I just feel like their comparatively vanilla. Caleb Shomo’s lyrics feel forced, like someone told him that in order to make it big, he has to ONLY ever sing about his drug problem. I’m not discrediting his struggles, and if this is what helps him get past it, more power to him. His simple straight forward lyrical approach just doesn’t resonate with me. The music was too well produced. Structure was very standard for a metalcore outing, there wasn’t much I particularly loved, although I did really like the breakdown bit, it was smartly put together, and I’ll bet its very cool live.

“Collector” Red Handed Denial 

Rating: Good – Great 

Genre: Metalcore, Progressive Post Hardcore

The Verdict: 

I can’t tell if I like it or love it. I have to look at their catalog to figure this out. If this is their best song, I’m not interested. But, there is the potential for me to love it. I could see myself listening to this a whole bunch if they had other similar songs to enjoy alongside “Collector”. Context is key sometimes. The mix was a little odd. Could have been my ears, but the vocals seemed way louder then they needed to be, while the selling point, the crazy noodling guitars, were way far in the background. This song has all the fixings to be great, and it was ALMOST there. I’ll report back with more information after I’ve given them a solid chance.

“Acid Rain” Cane Hill

Rating: Fine

Genre: Alternative Rock, Grunge

The Verdict: 

Well, someone listens to way too much REAL ROCK RADIO. I was surprised to find this came out last year instead of in 1997. It sounds exactly like a Pearl Jam track, or a Creed track, all the way down to the singing style. You know, where every vowel is just an R in disguise? It’s fine if you’re in to that stuff, I can’t stand it, and I feel like it’s better left in the past. Some interesting things going on here, with the mild distortion on his voice, and it works for the type of music that its trying to fit in with.

“I Killed Arbor Day For You” Panucci’s Pizza

Rating: Whatever

Genre: Midwest Emo

The Verdict:

Dime a dozen type band. Silly names, really corny lyrics about love and loss, twinkling tapped guitars, decent drumming, etc. If I was super in the mood, I could gather all the names of all the modern Midwest emo bands on scraps of paper, tape them to a wall, and do a round of blindfolded darts. Wherever the darts land are the bands I listen to. It wouldn’t matter at all, because all these bands sound exactly the same, and I’d be hard pressed to know the difference between them. Granted near the end of this song, I did enjoy the guitar riff. It was amazing, after the singer shut up about ripping his own heart out, and gave the guitar some room to breathe, I started to enjoy it. There are times when all I want to hear is Midwest emo, sometimes I’ll get a daily mix of exclusively that. This is not one of those times.

Thats it! Thanks for the read, its been real. We’ll have a new one of these every Tuesday so drop by next week to see what Spotify makes me listen to.

Stay Ghostly,

Kolby Bergquist


Dat Step Hideout Tomorrowville Chase
Follow by Email
YouTube
YouTube
LinkedIn
LinkedIn
Share
Instagram