Album Review – Johnnyrook's From Remorse We Learn

a0613834743_16Johnnyrook released their fourth album, From Remorse We Learn, on April 22nd, 2011. In it, the band shows their maturity by maintaining a balance among their influences. They meld melodic alternative metal and post-hardcore tendencies that just sounds like good rock music. Rough edges are smoothed out while the softer side still has intensity.

The vocals carry the melody and hooks throughout the album. The singer does a great job of emoting without sounding whiny. Screaming back-up vocals add texture that supports the lead. The guitar creates a thick texture with cool chords, catchy riffs, and  nice flourishes. This fullness can be attributed to the use of capos, giving the sound of multiple guitars coming out of one instrument. The bass and drums create great rhythms that carry these groove-oriented songs well. These tracks are well-written and equally well-mixed in the studio.

“Hot Tubs Just Don’t Walk Away”, “M – F”, “Chinatowne”, and “Deadweight” are standouts in a great track list.

Rating: 4 of 5 Stars

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Art Appreciation – Lewis's Bearable Etsy Work

Blue & Red
First swirl series from Bearable Artwork

Last year, Lewis took some time to get in touch with his artistic side.  This was a big part of his life before he became a musician.  While he found creative expression through music, he also wanted to share a little of his visual art.  Lewis created an Etsy store under the name of Bearable, where he sells postcard-sized drawings to add a shot of color to your walls.

I have been creating art since a very young age. I took art classes throughout high school and focused on drawing. My creative focus shifted to music in college.  I have not created many pieces of visual art since.  I started making small chalk ink works that fit simple 3×5″ glass frames in the Spring of 2011. These pieces consist of  patterns inspired by graffiti-style doodles with an attention to spatial relationships and lines.  I wanted to make colorful pictures that were simple, but eye-catching.  

I chose this medium after seeing some work by a former band mate. I saw that he was selling small, gory drawings in these frames. I thought, I can do better than that.  I had a surplus of thick cards from a former job, Chalk Ink markers from drawing on shoe canvas, and a supplier of these frames in my area.  My creative process usually involves first doodling while listening to music (emo/indie/alternative — rock). I cut the paper down and then sketch out my design. I usually pick out only 2 or 3 colors and try to leave plenty of white space.  Music, art, the cityscape, and their overlap are where I find my inspiration. I hope you like what you see! I am open to suggestions and requests as well. -Lewis

Feel free to check out more Art Appreciation posts or e-mail me suggestions for artwork you’d like to see in a future post. And if you like these posts, consider buying my music.

Album Review – Higher Rites' Refusenik

Refusenik CoverI am still subscribed to the For the Mathematics mailing list and got an e-mail about downloading the first full-length album from ex FTM members, Higher RitesRefusenik (a colloquial term for any type of protester) is a decent album overall and shows promise for things to come.  Though much less aggressive, this album shows some musical expansion and development.

The songs seem based on groove-oriented jam sessions, giving them a Gang-of-Four-by-way-of-Bloc-Party/TV-on-the-Radio feel.  However the sound lingers a bit in the post-punk/emo realm of the last decade, creating tunes with spacey guitar effects and emotive singing.

The album has a pretty consistent tone, which can be a good and bad thing.  It’s nice to have a cohesive idea, but using the same guitar effects over and over is predictable.  Outside of some of the vocal lines, this album is really at a lack of musical hooks; the riffs are mostly just chord patterns in rhythmic progression without any lead melody.  Plus, starting with “The Immanent Frame” really didn’t grab me like “Externalities”, “Res Mea”, or “DMZ” did.

It’s a solid album and a good initial public offering.  It would be fun to see these guys live and I’m curious to see what they come out with next.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Two Eyes for the Dead

While a lot of focus has been on Michael and his work in Motion Jones, the other two ex-members of Half Dug have gone on to form the rhythm section of the Twin Cities-based hard rock group Two Eyes for the Dead.

While a lot of focus has been on Michael and his work in Motion Jones, the other two ex-members of Half Dug have gone on to form the rhythm section of the Twin Cities-based hard rock group Two Eyes for the Dead.

Two Eyes for the Dead began as a three-piece, performing improvised jams based on rock riffs and technical drumming.  Lewis joined the band in 2005 with the original bassist shifting to vocals.  He became a catalyst for more structured songs in the vain of original material.  They release Outcry in 2009 before adding Lucas to the band.

After a summer of shows around the Twin Cities, the band is ready to record a new album. They were the top rock band at the Star Bar Battle Royale and took second place overall. Be on the lookout for a new Two Eyes for the Dead album in 2011!

New Motion Jones Album Coming This Fall

Write to Remember is releasing Motion Jones’s second album, One Shy, on September 21st, 2010. The first single, “Comatose”, is available for streaming.

One Shy CoverWe will be releasing Motion Jones‘s second album, One Shy, on September 21st, 2010.  It will be available via CD Baby and your favorite digital distributors.  Click ‘Continue reading’ to listen to the first single, “Comatose”.

Continue reading “New Motion Jones Album Coming This Fall”

Video Review – HEALTH's "Die Slow"

“Die Slow” is a great song with a not-so-great music video. Shots of the band are cool, while shots of the singer were boring. The visual tone didn’t match the audio tone, and the formatting was kind of distracting. The live video on YouTube is much better (see RECOMMENDED VIEWING below).

VIDEO (source: YOUWILLLOVEEACHOTHER)

HEALTH :: DIE SLOW :: MUSIC VIDEO

REVIEW

HEALTH puts on a really killer show, so I downloaded Get Color and searched for videos from the album.  I found the video for “Die Slow” and kind of enjoyed it.  It’s not great, but it has its cool moments –  images and colors flashing quickly across the screen and  shots of the band.  The shots of the lead singer were pretty weak; He looked like a bored cross between Sean Astin and Michael Cera.   The microphone wasn’t necessary either.

Layering, dissolves, or stylish cinematography would have been better than the picture-in-picture view.  It is a little distracting.  The earthy red tone of the shots starkly contrast with the synthesized metallic music.  It could use more lights and color.

“Die Slow” is a great song with a not-so-great music video.  Shots of the band are cool, while shots of the singer are boring.  The visual tone doesn’t match the audio tone, and the formatting is kind of distracting.  HEALTH Live: DIE SLOW posted by Noisevox is a much better representation of the song and band.

Click ‘Continue reading’ to see lyrics. Continue reading “Video Review – HEALTH's "Die Slow"”

Free Time and Baby Teeth Album Release

Motion Jones’s Free Time and Baby Teeth album will be coming out March 9th, but you can stream it on their Reverb Nation page.

Free Time and Baby Teeth will be available Tuesday, March 9th, 2010 via digital download. While you patiently await it’s release you can hear the album streaming at Motion Jones‘s Reverb Nation page.