Discover Briefly #5 June 19, 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.

Twice 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! 

“Doublespeek” Veil Of Maya

Rating: Whatever

Genre:  Djent, Progressive Metal

The Verdict: 

If you like your djent as pop sensible as possible, look no further than Veil Of Maya. I don’t hate this, but if I’m in the mood for mind blowing guitar chops, and beautifully written technical music, I certainly don’t seek out this band. They have a fairly large fan base, and I definitely understand the appeal, but a lot of there music recently as been totally lost on me. My go to technical metal bands are Intervals, Erra, Animals As Leaders, and a few others. I don’t really want to go on and about it, there were only a few sections of the song that I thought were interesting. The outro being one of them at first, but upon a second listen, I realized it wasn’t that it was interesting, it was that the rest of the song wasn’t.

“New Dark Ages” Bad Religion 

Rating: Good

Genre:  Punk

The Verdict: 

I have a weird relationship with bad religion. Sometimes I absolutely love their work, other times I could take it or leave it. My favorite era of there career is, like most people, their ‘88 to ‘94 string of releases. “Suffer” is fantastic all the way through, “Recipe For Hate” has a lot of great moments, and the lyrics are still relevant, and “Stranger Than Fiction” is this perfect melding of political punk, and the grunge that was so popular at the time. 

I thought their run from 2002 to 2007 was not nearly as impactful as their aforementioned releases, and I think I can mostly attribute that to one major shift. Post hardcore and emo. Those bands we’re exploring such interesting stuff at that point, while Bad Religion was just a punk band like so many others. This album was fine for a punk record, but compared to what else was coming out in 2007, it just wasn’t nearly as interesting. 

Just as an example, Fallout Boy released “Infinity On High”, The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump” drooped in ‘07, the rise of easycore had begun with Four Year Strong’s first release “Rise Or Die Trying”, And “In Defense of a Genre”, one of my favorite records ever, was released by Say Anything. Thats a pretty wide spectrum of new and interesting music for a aging punk band to compete with. I enjoy a lot of the punk bands that were at their biggest in the ’90’s, but I feel like all of them really dropped the ball in the mid 0’s.

Of course, Bad Religion is a punk band, nothing more, nothing less, and I commend them for staying that way. I just didn’t have the same connection to this record, or any of the songs it contains, as I did with many other great records that came out that year. 

Also, Daft Punk’s “Alive 2007”, arguably one of the best live records, and certainly the most notable one of our time, came out that year. Competition was rough!

“Antpile” Kublai Khan

Rating: Skip It 

Genre:  Hardcore, Metalcore 

The Verdict: 

What a bore! My god, I mean it’s a minuet and 12 seconds of the same big, beefy, crunchy deathcore riff, and nothing else. It gets really old in a very short amount of time, before FINALLY, they chant “son of a bitch,” which are the only lyrics in the song, and then change to a slightly more interesting big, beefy, crunchy deathcore riff, and play that until it gets old. This could have been interesting, but they forgot to write the rest of the song. It’s like they had 2 of leftover riffs they had written after the recording session was over, and they just thought to smash them together and make another song. Those parts individually could have worked very well had they not been played out, and written into a more flushed out piece.

“End Of The World” The Living End

Rating: Fine

Genre: Punk, Rockabilly

The Verdict: 

I have room in my life for maybe two punkabilly bands, and I’m at capacity. Check it out if you want, it’s just faster rockabilly with a lot of horror themed lyrics. When you’ve heard one song, you’ve heard all the songs this genre has to offer. Occasionally someone will come around and shake up the scene, but its usually pretty standard stuff. It’s fun when I’m in the mood, but that mood usually comes to me around the end of October, although I have no idea why that would be.

“Wish” Nine Inch Nails

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Industrial, Electronic, Rock

The Verdict: 

Although I really want to, I’m not going to go too deep into it. Nine Inch Nails is a huge influence on my music. I listen to Trent Reznor very regularly, and I don’t know how I haven’t listened to this song on Spotify in enough time for it to pop up here. It seems like this song is Reznor’s only really dedicated circle pit song, and I think it was a really cool departure from a lot of his other, very danceable work by that point in his career. 

I don’t really get why this guy gets so much hate. Every time I bring up Nine Inch Nails in conversation, people literally fake like their gaging. I don’t get where that came from, I guess it must be fashionable to dislike Nine Inch Nails or something. Must’ve missed that memo. 

Here’s a proposition. Go listen to it for yourself, then make a judgement on weather or not you enjoy the music. I have a theory that maybe, say, 30 percent of the people who hate on this band have actually heard any music by them. Start with “Pretty Hate Machine” and work your way through. 

Stick ‘Em Up” Masked Intruder

Rating: Great

Genre: Pop Punk, Punk

The Verdict: 

I like this band, I like this song, how do I know I like this song? Because it comes up all the time on my “Made For You” playlists. Spotify is really trying to get me to like this song. I do Spotify, I really do, just not enough to download it, or save it to a playlist.

I think in today’s world, straight up pop punk bands have to have a funny gimmick in order to stand out. I like the colored ski mask look, and the lyrics about stealing your I.D. off the internet, stalking people, and general crime related subjects; I think it’s just goofy enough to not be really unsettling. 

All together I think their production is just a little bit too clean, but otherwise, the songs are fun, especially this one. Check it out.

“Worship the Serpent” Zealot R.I.P.

Rating: Skip It

Genre: Hardcore, Metalcore

The Verdict: 

DUMB. I can’t do stuff like this anymore. I probably would have been into it at some point in the past, but it’s so insufferably boring to me now. It’s just a few very basic riffs, drop tuned, and backed by a man shouting the name of the song over and over.

But, even though I hate this as much as I do, I’m still going to go check the band out. I feel like this could be a case of a bad song on a good record, so I’ll give them a shot. As for this particular song, SKIP IT

“Rise Above” Black Flag

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Hardcore, Punk

The Verdict: 

Please listen to Black Flag. Everyone, go listen to Black Flag. Start with this song, and loose yourself in the mess for a few hours. 

I absolutely love this record. I think I gravitate mostly towards Robo’s approach to punk drumming, which is showcased in the forefront of this particular song. Of course, you can’t forget, Henry Rollins is an absolute icon, and no one else could have carried the intensity of this band like he did. Listen to Black Flag. 

After about an hour into your journey, you’ll have gotten to the old singles. Once you’ve come across “Six Pack” and “Wasted” you’ll have made it, and then, and only then, can I direct you to the late great Jesse Morris, who did fantastic outlaw country style covers of some of the best black flag tracks. Listen to Jesse Morris.

ghostly“Little Hospitals” Biffy Clyro 

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Post Punk

The Verdict: 

This had a pretty good chorus line, but I think the shining moments from this one were the verses. Again, in a very similar vein to Angel Du$t from yesterday, it was all the offbeat melodic choices that made this song awesome. I thought all the guitar riffs were very cool, in that they didn’t really follow any basic rules for a lot of their time in the forefront. Whenever the song fell back to feature the guitars, they did some strange atonal lick that sounded almost childish; and therefore very thought out.

I’ve been whining about overproduction for two days now, but I actually think the extra mixing hurt this song at all. I thought everything sounded well put together, and nothing stood out further than it should have. The vocals were pretty straightforward, and a little bland, but I think if they hadn’t been, this would have been a very difficult song to listen to. They managed to make a very progressive song that sounds like a very basic song. I’ll give it a good ol’ fashioned Roger Ebert two thumbs up; and unlike Roger Ebert, I didn’t get paid for this good review… Come to think of it… Hey, Kublai Khan! Wanna make a deal?

“Bigger Than Kiss” Teenage Bottlerocket

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Punk

The Verdict: 

Yes of course I love this song, KISS friggin’ sucks! This is a really basic skater punk track from the late 90’s, but it has the added bonus of ripping on the most corporate garbage heap of a band that ever wore black lipstick on stage. What’s absolutely crazy to me is the proven fact that half of everyone reading this is actually an illegitimate child of Gene Simmons. Oh, you didn’t know? Crap. I suggest sitting down with your mom and having that talk just to make sure, dude got around.

“Sweet Willy Rollbar” Melvins

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Sludge Metal, Alternative Metal, Grunge, Hardcore

The Verdict: 

This very well be my favorite live band. I’ve seen them a few times, and every time it’s amazing. They just kill it every show, they refuse to play huge venues, their banter is great, and the set list is always killer. They were famous for being “the heaviest band in the world” for a time for how slow they would play, there are plenty of songs that are slow and sludgy, but this is not one of them, and therefore, not one of there most interesting. It is however a welcome rock song, that is pretty straightforward and simple, as opposed to the rest of their catalog which is extremely wild. They write technical pieces, slow droning reefer rock, epically noisy metal tracks, and a lot of the time, mix it all together in a big crazy pot. I really enjoy this song, although it is not one of my favorites, that honor goes to “The Bit”. This record is probably one of my favorites, but if you’ve not listened to them before I think it’s probably not tame enough to get people interested. Houdini is a better starting point.   

“Libra” Intervals

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Progressive Metal, Djent

The Verdict: 

There’s only one thing I can think of whenever I hear an Intervals track: “Why haven’t they done a Sonic The Hedgehog soundtrack?” I think it would be perfect! All their songs are just heavy enough, while maintaining the jazzy essence that makes this band really cool. 

Every song is pretty much the same formula, big opener to catch the attention, guitar solo, very cool melodic “verse,” solo, bridge (in this song it comes as a very welcome slow section with a lot of reverb), and then ripping solo. This song had plenty of moments that gave me a little bit of a stank face, and really no prolonged parts where I felt the need to get through it to the next solo. Intervals had really upped their writing chops for their last two records, and since it’s been quite some time since their last release, I’m hopeful, and excited to see what they’re capable of now.

“Reciprocation” Whale Bones

Rating: Great

Genre: Post Punk, Alternative

The Verdict: 

Very interesting. I really enjoyed the bass on this track, I felt like that was the driving instrument here. It had a very cool effect on the signal where there were a lot of mid frequencies, and a lot of crunch. I thought they created a very cool atmosphere by using the bass guitar as the driving force of the song. The vocals were fantastic, this guy has quite a capable singing voice, and I think he uses it nicely without going overboard with it. The frame of this track was beautifully structured, it moved very nicely between sections, and the the melody writing was fantastic. Check this out, I think it has a lot of appeal for maybe lots of different tastes.

“Sun of Pearl” An Endless Sporadic

Rating: Awesome

Genre: Math Rock, Metal, Prog Rock, Instrumental

The Verdict: 

I love how jazzy they went with this. Lots of prog rock bands lean into the “rock” part of that genre title, and then do a few parts that are a little progressive, but these guys went full on into the jazz thing. I really enjoyed every movement, I had a lot of fun listening to this. It has a very Japanese feel to it. I’ve never been able to pin down what makes Japanese groups sound specifically Japanese. It’s probably the transitional chords, they are usually similar sounding from band to band, and they’re light. 

Modern American jazz is about dirty chords that grab your attention, and gatekeeping white dudes, while Japanese jazz seems to be more about listenability and mass appeal. A lot of the movements in this song, specifically the funky slow section at 2:15 sounded very close to something you might here on a playlist of curated jazzy Japanese songs like say Road trip to Tokyo on Spotify (check it out). Yea I really liked this, it’s nice to see the playlist starting to change from nothing but post rock. 

“Aliens Exist” blink-182

Rating: Good

Genre: Pop Punk

The Verdict: 

Who knew the lyrical theme of this song would become such a problem for the band? You do you Tom, whatever makes you happy I guess. There’s nothing inherently wrong with blink-182 unless you count commercial success as a problem. And if that’s the case for you, get your head checked. A band is a business, and this band managed to build a thriving business without sacrificing their creative licenses like so many other bands must. We should be celebrating successful acts like this for bringing more attention to the genre, not chastising them for making a bunch of money.

Thats it! Thanks for the read, its been real. Drop by next week.

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


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