Music Recommendation – Single – Falling In Reverse, “Just Like You”

falling-in-reverseIn an attempt to go out of my comfort zone and dive into the genre that is “Punk”, I gave Falling In Reverse a chance when I saw they released a music video for their hit “Just Like You”. I have never been a good nightly companion for the kinky Punk music, but I did find a spot in my heart for “Just Like You”.

The song is perverse, angsty, and talks about being lonely. It follows all of the rules to be “Punk” and might go even a bit overboard. I do find it quite catchy and found myself coming back to it more than I expected until it ended up becoming a favorite song of mine.

That being said, some of the vocals come off a bit raw and may not be your shy friend’s favorite tune. Falling In Reverse are not exactly known for light-hearted lyricism, but this might have a lower appeal rate. This is because it just tries too hard to check off every requirement in the “Is this really punk?” checklist.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.5/10

You can give the song a listen below (Song starts at 1:02):

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Throwback Thursday – The Get Up Kids, “Holiday”

the-get-up-kidsThe Get Up Kids are Indie-rock music back when it was good. The Kansas City-based band have released a number of albums and singles over the years since their formation in 1995, but “Holiday” might be one of their best songs. Their second album, Something To Write Home About, has always received mixed reviews since its release in 2000. However, it was ultimately the band’s biggest push as an Indie-rock band into mainstream.

“Holiday” is melodic and a great introduction into the album. The instrumental is compelling and the lyrics are signature early 2000’s punk, so hop aboard the teenage nostalgia train. The lyrics’ awesomeness makes the fact that the band wrote all of their music on this album even cooler.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.25/10

You can check out the throwback below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Gemini Syndrome, “Stardust”

Gemini-SyndromeAnyone who was here for Rock music has probably left by now. It has been a good while since I have shared any kind of pure Rock or Alternative music, but Gemini Syndrome’s “Stardust” should start a pattern of writing about your parents’ favorite genre again.

That being said, Gemini Syndrome are probably closer to Metal than they are Rock. However, “Stardust” is most likely their most universally appealing track from their debut album Lux. It is everything your punk girlfriend will adore in a love song.

I don’t have a whole lot to say about the song. Vocals are a bit shakey, but conviction comes off alright and instrumentals are superb. The lyrics are slightly repetitive but the song finds a way to stay interesting. Overall, I would rate the song at:

8.75/10

You can hear the song below and see what you think:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Brick + Mortar, “Bangs”

brickandmortarBrick + Mortar have had a rather quiet career since forming in 2008, but the duo of Brandon Asraf and John Tacon are at their best when coming together to create the title track for their second and most recent EP Bangs.

The song begins with an intense lone guitar riff, and transitions into a thick sound before leading to the catchy, though sometimes slightly contradictory lyrically chorus. The song has a unique Rock sound, which is difficult to pull off in a genre so vague with common similarities between artists.

While the vocals feel pitched well throughout most of the song, the bridge feels out of rhythm and a bit too raw in comparison to the earlier parts of the track. The opening track to the EP does give a reputable preview of what to expect from the remaining songs, though “Bangs” is the clearcut winner in quality.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

7.75/10

You can check out the song and its music video below:

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Throwback Thursday – Counting Crows, “A Long December”

counting-crowsOnce upon a time, it was the year 1996 when events transpired. I would narrate to you some of those events, but I was not born yet, so what does it matter to me? According to my parents, one of the highlights of 1996 was not the discovery of my conception (for whatever reason), but the song “A Long December” by Counting Crows. If anyone came back through time from a future century and asked what the 1990’s was like, you could show them this song and your work would be done.

Now that I have established that I am a conceited ass, “A Long December” is one of the best Counting Crows songs out. It’s popularity came at a time when Alternative-Rock was about as big as naming your sons Brandon and Dylan (90210 reference for the win). The incredible piano and guitar support always made the vocals sound less raggedy, but I doubt that ever affected the song for anyone.

The song almost resembles Country music, save for the guitar solo on the bridge. While I could never relate with the love for the song, it is still a classic and solid pick for an “I’ve had a terrible month” song. The subject and message are deep and meaningful, though are hardly conveyed when half the words are butchered throughout the song. Overall, I would rate “A Long December” at:

7.5/10

So if you had a terrible December, go ahead and remember the song below:

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Music Recommendation – Multiple – Mat Kearney, “One Black Sheep”; “Just Kids”

mat-kearneyMat Kearney has been bringing on new singles and I felt like both deserved mentioning. I don’t think I could make a snarky sarcastic crack on this guy, as he always seems like such a cool and nice dude. His music feels genuine and has an energy to it that makes it some of the last good stuff left in Soft-Rock.

Both songs are soley done by Kearney and neither has a feature. So let’s go through each of these songs and break them down:

1. One Black Sheep – The motivating One Black Sheep deals with being different and handling it. Again, I love Mat Kearney’s song lyrics and the tone in which he presents it is superb. While I have to say I like the “oomm-bada-ba-dae” part, I can see others not enjoying it. The song is a bit more Pop-y and is similar to how Ships In The Night sounded. Overall, I would rate it at:

9/10

2. Just Kids – Just Kids is a bit longer and is focused more on love than One Black Sheep was. The song slows down a bit and features an estimated 43% more piano. I also liked the Wu-Tang Clan reference. The vocals are a bit raw on this song compared to his other music, but the distorted vocals on the chorus are definitely worth the wait. I like listening to One Black Sheep better, but I do appreciate the lyricism and sound of Just Kids and how each is different but manage to be good songs. Overall, I would rate this one at:

8.5/10

So these two average out to 8.75/10. Both songs are relatively recent releases, so you can enjoy hearing them early as well. I recommend listening to both, so go ahead and check them out below:

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Music Recommendation – Single – Kiki Rowe, “Demolition”

kikirowe2Only a couple of months after her self-titled debut album released (and was reviewed by AMP here), the rising RnB singer is back with another distorted-voiced love song. Solid production finds an excellent balance behind the entrancing voice of Rowe. Demolition starts out the path to a sophomore album right and offers listeners an insight into Kiki Rowe’s sound before, what I believe is on the horizon, her big break.

Kiki Rowe has already worked with important names in the music industry, including the hit-maker DJ Mustard on Trust Issues. I have always used The Weeknd comparisons to Kiki Rowe, but Demolition is a bit more unique this time around. Her voice and production give her the perfect sense of originality while striking a slight resemblance to give first-time listeners something to compare with.

Demolition is a bit over-mechanized at times, but for the most-part, production went quite well. The song keeps a steady pace on a long chorus, but can be entertaining to any RnB listener due to all the stops that the voice of Kiki Rowe pulls out to impress listeners.

I have big hopes that Kiki Rowe ranges her music a bit more to appeal to a wider demographic than just the RnB/Soul fan. Alternative fans might find love for Rowe’s music, but currently it feels a bit too focused on one brand. This is, however, coming from somebody who claims RnB to be a favorite genre, so basically the same as a baker talking about an overpopulation of cupcakes in a bakery; we don’t really mind it one bit! So this is more professional opinion than criticism.

Overall, I would rate the song at:

9.25/10

The song is a huge return for Kiki Rowe and reminds me of Go Getta quite a bit in its potential. I recommend a listen below:

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Artist Recommendation – Sleeping Wolf

sleeping-wolfOftentimes I write about bands with a lack of publicity, but sadly this can lead to cheap sound. However, I was seriously impressed by the Alternative-Pop sound of Los Angeles band Sleeping Wolf. The duo of Jake Newton and producer Steven Solomon come together to make exciting music that features both upbeat rock and complex Pop beats.

Sleeping Wolf is working hard and finding their music slots in Netflix films for promotion. While working on their debut album, which is slated to be released anytime now, Sleeping Wolf has released plenty of excellent new music.

The songs have a Rock-influenced design and sound thanks to Newton, while each also has unique production and lyricism that can be often credited to Solomon. Together, these two make enjoyable music that can be quite the great pump-up to cause hype for anything. Hell, this stuff could make an accounting firm business party become a Rock-out-fest.

sleeping-wolf-2

My favorites by Sleeping Wolf are topped by Blindfold, which is one of my favorite tracks currently. Other favorites include one of the group’s bigger hits, Jennifer, and Come And Get Me. There is yet to be a song release that I do not like, and I have to chuck Sleeping Wolf into one of my favorite all-time artist recommendations.

Overall, I would rate the sound of Sleeping Wolf at:

9.75/10

The music is highly appealing and I would not hesitate to show anyone this group, though in a couple of songs either autotune can be a bit apparent for some tastes or would not hurt to add to high notes. While the vocals can have their ups and downs at times, the music as a whole is quite remarkable and I would highly suggest keeping an eye on this band with me as I write about them in the near future.

You can check out their SoundCloud and at the very least check out my favorites below:

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Album Review – Tyler Carter, “Leave Your Love” (EP)

leave-your-love-tyler-carterTyler Carter has the ability to make some excellent and diverse music, ranging from Pop to Metalcore. The lead singer of Issues released his new EP, Leave Your Love, earlier this week to stream on YouTube. The album has a bit more of a Soulful Pop tone and includes only one feature.

So how does the solo work of Tyler Carter compare to that of his popular hits with his band? Let’s break down this album track by track and find out:

1. Sophisticated – The beat is rather basic and the vocal production feels a bit subpar, but Sophisticated is an enjoyable song. The hook seems to just go on for too long, though. I can nitpick this song quite a bit, as little aspects just feel overlooked. It focuses more on the hook than anything else, which while catchy, reaches a point where it is not as enjoyable and just makes the song feel shorter than it actually is. There is something about the song that makes it easy to listen to, however, and Tyler Carter’s voice sounds passionate and flows well with the beat.

7.25/10

2. Leave Your Love – The title track of the EP is a bit more mellow and soulful than Sophisticated, showing the diversity of Tyler Carter’s music.  Leave Your Love‘s tone reminds me a bit of The Weeknd but has a bit more vocal editing and extra notes behind lyrics. These can be a bit excessive, but otherwise the song is enjoyable. The end of the chorus is especially catchy and the fade out instrumental is beautifully composed and executed.

9.25/10

3. Georgia – Already reviewed this song here. Sidenote: This song has become incredibly catchy due to its simple lyrics and soulful sound. Though the rating was not incredibly high, it does deserve a listen.

7.5/10

4. So Slow – Despite starting the musical aspect way too late, So Slow actually becomes a great listen. The song sounds similar to Chris Brown’s F.A.M.E. sound. You know, amazing RnB? The flow in the second stanza is a bit off at times, but the whole song is a great pace and my only wish it that it had ceased the talking part earlier. Though the random pitch sounds for a bridge could have been dealt with any other way perhaps.

6.5/10

5. Tears On The Runway (Pt. 1) ft. Nylo – Two-parters are always interesting, especially when lined up together. Sadly, this one will not get a part two for a while. The duet is rather low-key and features heartfelt lyricism. The chorus is a bit brief, but it is enjoyable. This is my first encounter with Nylo, and her voice is unique, though not very ranged. Tyler Carter’s synth-based and tuned vocals sound a bit too much like the Jonas Brothers for me on this song, but it is still a fine listen.

7.25/10

6. Find Me – Find Me caps off the album decently, as the song capitalizes on the mistakes of the previous songs by adding a bit more emphasis on the points put into the verses. The song is a bit explicit, but feels more emotionally connected with Tyler Carter. The vocals are a bit rough, but have points where they are more impressive. The song is a bit average and hardly stands out as making the album great, but is not difficult to enjoy.

8/10

So overall, the EP averages out to a score of about:

7.75/10

The EP is a bit messy in its sound quality and composition, but the songs are diverse and interesting to hear. There are plenty of catchy melodies worth hearing and I would say listening to the EP in full is not a mistake, but is not necessarily going to be considered a “slept-on album” if it does not get the attention it was made to receive.

I still enjoy Tyler Carter’s solo music quite a bit, though this EP had its flaws. I just want to see these flaws practiced on and a full EP released with a couple of features and better faith in Tyler Carter’s voice. I have seen mixed reviews, and mixed is exactly how I feel about these six songs.

You can stream the EP below on YouTube, along with pre-ordering it on iTunes for its January 2015 release here (So I don’t feel like such an industry killer by only sharing the stream and have Taylor Swift show up at my door):

-Austin Heath

Music Recommendation – Multiple – twenty one pilots, “Ode To Sleep”; “Screen”; “Trees”

twenty-one-pilotsI have a close friend going through a tough break-up, and between her love for twenty one pilots, my love for twenty one pilots, and the incredibly complex and interesting sound that is twenty one pilots, I felt as though this would be a good day to cite my three favorite songs by 21P, as I refer them. I understand when people find it hard to enjoy twenty one pilots’ music and sound, but something about its nature and how unique its sound is makes these songs notable.

So let’s go through each of these songs and break them down:

1. “Ode To Sleep” – This was one of my first 21P songs, and when it began, I expected something Metal-based. The instrumental begins so superbly, but the introducing verse is a bit disappointing. The Hip-Hop-like sound of the beginning slows it down a bit, then at about the one-minute mark, everything picks up until at 1:20 the whole song comes together into what it should be. The chorus is complex and long but just feels perfect. The second stanza is more like the first, but capitalizes on the pace set from the previous hook. After a minute, the song comes together and stands out as unique and intriguing.

9/10

2. “Screen” – While Ode To Sleep is my favorite by twenty one pilots, Screen is a close second and takes the mistakes of Ode To Sleep and crushes them like a walnut under the shoe of a misfit teenager trying to get aggression out. The instrumental progresses throughout the song to become bigger and louder and the vocals have their signature tune but appear at a higher key. Hell, even the verse and its flow are great, despite what the performer says. While I believe this song is better, it is not as entertaining and bizarre as Ode To Sleep. Regardless, it will get a higher rating for its design and style while fixing Ode To Sleep‘s errors. Only disappointing part is the bridge and its repetitive lyrics, though it is not necessarily bad.

9.5/10

“Trees” – Trees has a bit more of a tone of morality and love, and feels genuine. The instrumentals and production continue to impress, and it picks up quickly by transitioning into a bit more of a Pop-y feel. The song is similar to Screen while having a sense of easier lyrics to pick up and retaining its own uniqueness. Of any twenty one pilots song, this feels the easiest to show a friend without worrying about them being offended by showing them a song so outlandish and unlike much modern music. Solid song with mostly-decent execution, style and form, though the whole work cannot seem to commit to a particular sound.

8.25/10

So that averages out to about 8.75/10, though that hardly matters. That there is just a general artist rating, mainly due to the complexity and varying sound of twenty one pilots’ music that is worth noting. It is a bit difficult to enjoy many songs by 21P for each’s uniqueness and individuality, and their vocals are hardly natural often. It seems just as many listeners find the music disappointing to listen to as those who find it pleasurable.

Regardless, check out the songs listed and reviewed above and find some more if you like those.

-Austin Heath

P.S. I hope you are doing better Louise, keep your chin up and enjoy some 21P for me.