Monday, November 30, 2015

Announcing 25 Days of Alternative Christmas Music Reviews

This year, Sell Out Records is doing something absolutely special. We will be reviewing as many Alternative Christmas music records as we can. These will be featuring genres like punk, metal, hip hop, hardcore, and so much more. These are NOT traditional records, they are alternative. You will hate them, you will love them, you will probably ignore them as you ignore a lot of the things that we post.

25 days of Alternative Christmas Music begins tomorrow or today, I don’t know, I haven’t decided yet.

Relient K Self Titled Review

Relient K "Self Titled" LP
Relient K put out their debut in 2000 and it was one of those records that I immediately gravitated towards. It was pop punk, and it had a slice of religious ideology that I had started to collect. At the time, I was going to a cult, er, I mean church that damned everyone that bought a secular record. I had a TON of them, but I wasn’t about to let anyone in on the massive collection of music that I had. The good thing about that period was that I would be exposed to a TON of great bands from the “Christian” scene. Relient K is one of the talented bands that I got stuck in my head all the time. The guys put out this incredible debut, and it still rings true today.

From the start of “Hello McFly” you get a sense of joy and fun from the band. These guys, to me, were like The Aquabats in many ways. Going through some jovial tunes, throwing down some interesting takes on being a good person, and overall, just having fun. There’s a few serious notes here and there, but the band put together a great record that was a step below Mxpx “Life in General”. While the boys in Mxpx were a bit more “punk”, these guys were like the younger brothers of Mike Herrera and the trio from Bremerton.

That being said, this record has a lot of highlights, before fizzling out towards the end. The first 8 tracks are killer, then it starts to become a bit boring, and it fizzles out at track 14. However, the strength of the first half of the record with songs like “My Girlfriend”, “Wake Up Call”, and “Staples” really does do well to get through the muddled second half. This is a record that is as good today as it was when I first heard it. I mean, what other band had the balls to say, “Marilyn Manson ate my girlfriend” in a repeating chorus? Come on, you know you like it.

Pick up Relient K’s Self Titled Debut for less than a cup of coffee here, or don’t, no one listens to me anyways.

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Relient K The Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek Review

Relient K "The Anatomy of The Tongue and Cheek" LP

Ah yes, 2001, the year that Relient K were seniors in the world of punk rock high school. Their first record was good, no doubt, but the guys came back with 17 tracks and nearly an hour of pop punk goodness. It’s here that the dual singing punkers really put on a showcase for the immortals. Whether you are a fan of punk in the Christian scene or not, you have to admit this this is a record that is well composed, easy to digest, and right on par with Screeching Weasel, and others. It’s poppy, it’s punk rock, it’s “safe”? Yeah, “The Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek” took on a whole new world of punk rock when released, and I was thrilled to hear them put on a showcase on tour with the likes of Five Iron Frenzy and Mxpx.

This is a much harder record than the original, at least in regards to the guitar work. The lyrical elements are funny, then there are serious topics like that of “Down In Flames”, which talks about hypocrisy in the Christian world. But it’s not so serious as the boys lament about the “Sadie Hawkins Dance”, and lots of carefully crafted laughable tunes. Again, these guys put on a showcase of comedy, and serious notes here and there, but mostly through the lens of pop punk.

Stand out tracks on this record abound including, “Pressing On”, “Sadie Hawkins Dance”, “Down in Flames”, “Breakdown”, “May The Horse Be With You”, and “Failure To Excommunicate” just to name a few. 17 tracks, nearly an hour of pop punk glory, and the guys seemed to really jump far from their initial release. This broke down the doors to mainstream success because with the success of this record, the band really made waves with their 2003 release, and of course that went Gold. Then they hit it big with “Mmhmm”, which got them on Late Night Programs such as Conan, etc.

Overall, “The Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek” is a stellar example of how good the “Christian” scene was for some bands. Don’t get me wrong, there’s some terrible records out there, but these guys have been putting on a great showcase of punk sensibilities and pop songs for so long, it’s hard to compare them to others.

For those that still buy records, pick up Relient K’s “The Anatomy of The Tongue In Cheek” by clicking here, and see why I’m so compelled to review records by them and others from my past.

Friday, November 27, 2015

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones Let’s Face It Review

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones "Let's Face It" LP 
Let’s go back to 1997 for a minute. That was when I was young and dumb, but loved ska music. A lot of my friends thought that the genre was dumb or lame. I didn’t care, I still love the world of ska music and will recommend a ton of records to people that ask. With that in mind, one of the most popular and outstanding works from the genre is none other than The Mighty Might Bosstones “Let’s Face It”. This is a record that absolutely skyrocketed the band from being a third wave ska act into the mainstream circus of music. In fact, it was their lead single that seemed to get the band the recognition that I had been trying to give them since I first heard their debut on cassette.

Whatever the case is, the band saw significant success in ska music and the mainstream as a result of this compelling record. The tracks that stand out here include “Noise Brigade”, “The Rascal King”, “The Impression That I Get”, “Numbered Days”, “Nevermind Me”, and “1-2-8”, just to name a few. If you got the Japanese version of this record you got a bonus track, and if you bought the vinyl you got another bonus track.

This is a great recording with a lot to offer. The horn section is great, the polished recording is good, and the 12 normal tracks are very much akin to the third wave ska music movement that took over the late 1990s. However, as fast as the guys saw success, they were discarded with the rest of the lineup of alternative ska music acts that were proliferating rock radio. Today, you will still hear the main single from this record, but honestly, you will have a hard time finding people that will sing the praises of this stellar recording. Most have forgotten.

Then again, the band still does shows, and will be performing with Rancid in Los Angeles for New Year’s Eve. So maybe I’m just wrong about it all. “Let’s Face It” garnered the band a platinum record, which is a lot more than most ska music bands were doing in 1997, that’s for sure.

If by chance you haven’t picked up this ska music opus, then you can easily find The Mighty Might Bosstones “Let’s Face It” for under a few bucks, sometimes for a penny. Click here to pick it up, and relive the glory days of modern the boom that ska received in the late 1990s.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Foo Fighters Drop A Free EP With Saint Cecilia and You Can’t Help But Love It

I’m not a big fan of the Foo Fighters, but the band did put out one of the first compact discs that I ever purchased. The first two discs that I ever bought were Foo Fighters and Nofx records, so there you go. With the Paris attacks that occurred recently, the band decided to pen a note to their fans and the world and released this EP for free. It is 5 songs, 18 minutes of the bands signature style of alternative rock. Each song has a different element to it that makes it grand, and you know what, it’s catchy, it’s poppy, and it’s a standard release for the band.

Would I have purchased this record if the band didn’t release for free? Probably not. But the songs on it, are getting stuck in my head right now. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I would have purchased the record because I’m still sinking a lot of money into buying music. Then again, maybe you agree with me. I don’t know, I am just rambling at this point. If you haven’t heard it yet, you should really do so. Foo Fighters “Saint Cecilia” EP is another brick in the Hall of Fame production that Dave Grohl and company are putting out. I like it. You’ll like it, listen up. My favorite tracks are “Saint Cecilia”, “Sean”, and “Iron Rooster” so far.

You can check this out via their website Go to it, listen, download pick up the vinyl.

Robert Plant Band of Joy Review

Robert Plant "Band of Joy" LP 
You already know who Robert Plant is, and if you don’t, then you are way behind in your music history. Robert Plant was a member of Led Zeppelin. If you aren’t familiar with this hard rock world, that’s ok, he’s done a lot more than just throw down some serious musical moments. In his solo career, he has transformed musical genres and created compelling compositions with thoughtful lyrics, and beautiful musical arrangements. It’s with “Band of Joy”, that I really started to love the solo work of Plant. I loved Robert Plant as a kid, as I even named my first pet hamsters Robert and Jimmy. They both died. I have cats now, they are well taken care of, though, so no worries there. As for “Band of Joy”, I was floored by how I missed this record in 2010.

I first started seeing this record out at Starbucks. I lived next door to Starbucks in Seattle for many years. I would drink it daily, and sometimes 3 times a day. I miss those days sometimes, and it’s hard to think about those times without connecting myself with the musical landscape that I was involved with. When this was released, I didn’t pick it up immediately. In fact, I didn’t listen to the record until now, 2015. This is a great, moody record. It’s a work of acoustic, and pop balance that you wouldn’t expect from this rocker. If you haven’t heard any of his work before, this is going to shock you.

The tracks on this record that got me hooked include “Angel Dance”, “House of Cards”, “Silver Rider”, “The Only Sound That Matters”, and the whole recording as a whole. It has guts, it has folk tidings, it has country elements, it has rock moments, and overall, it’s a record that has very important elements to it. Through the 12 tracks, you really get a sense of a larger sounding musical landscape. Robert Plant has found a way to balance so much with this album, that you really have a hard time not liking it. It’s compelling in a lot of arenas, it’s thoughtful, introspective, and downright good. I’m surprised by how much this record sticks in my mind, which is why I’m talking about it now.

If you haven’t picked up “Band of Joy” from Robert Plant, I highly recommend it. It’s a good pop and rock record that focuses on lyrical balance and composition that you may not expect from Robert Plant. I’m still floored by how amazing this record truly is.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Myke Clements Time Has Come For A Review on Sell Out Records

Myke Clements The Thunder Quiet LP
Excuse the terrible opening title, I didn’t know what else to lead in with. I guess I could’ve stated, “review”, but come I reserve that for unsolicited random thoughts on records that I have. Myke Clements shouted me out via my Scary Film Review twitter account, which I sometimes promote links for this page on. He’s a fan of Falling Up, and well he threw me a link, and now it’s time to talk about the record he’s put out, “The Thundering Quiet”. I wasn’t sure what to expect, as I’ve never heard of Myke at all, and that’s a shame. I would’ve been trumpeting for him for a while now, but the good thing is that today, is the day we discuss his latest opus.

This record is fascinating. It’s a record that feels like a movie score. There’s so many ethereal elements at play. When you start to break down the pieces, you are driven through a lot of different arenas. Close your eyes and you can even find yourself skateboarding through the streets, jumping through hoops, dropping in on ramps, and creating a magical experience of frenetic musical landscapes. I found myself lost in the emotions of the music, and the impressive use of layered instruments and recording. “The Cold Open”, “A Meeting In Time”, and “The Dance”, are like connective tissue that unite the body of a record that is nothing short of impressive.

Instrumental music is always hard to peg, because most people assume it’s jazz or classical. That’s not the case here. There’s modernity to this, not too unlike some of the work that Joy Electric did when they went “unplugged” for a spell. There’s a magical sensationalism to this recording, and something that takes you on an 8 track journey through sight, sound, and well, imagination. If you close your eyes, and just listen, you can very well hear the concepts that Myke Clements puts out so well.

Overall, “The Thundering Quiet” is a magical record. There are only 8 tracks, but the precision that has been placed on each movement is spectacular. It features a lot here. It’s an important record of instrumental elements, and it really does start to seep into your mind’s eye. If you like instrumental music, here’s a record you should pick up, and listen to.

You can check out “The Thundering Quiet” via Myke Clements Bandcamp here, and follow him on Twitter here. This is really solid record, and definitely worth more praise, in my opinion.

Bootsy Collins - What's In My Bag? Amoeba Video

Amoeba posted an update to their "What's In My Bag" series. This is a video in which Bootsy Collins, famed bass player from THE FUNK, talks about what he's picking up at Amoeba Records. Check it out below.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Beauty To Ashes Reproduce The Common Practice Review

Beauty To Ashes "Reproduce The Common Practice" 
In 2002, I was delighted to see that one of the best bands in Southern California had finally inked a deal to release their first record. Of course, the band had done a few things on the independent tip, but they finally put out a full length and I was excited to see them grow. The band was Beauty To Ashes. The record was titled “Reproduce The Common Practice” and it blew the doors down on the hardcore scene, for about a few weeks. What happened to the band? Well, like a lot of other hardcore bands, money, family, and reality hit them hard. Not only that, this record is only 21 minutes long, which means that the band didn’t exactly put on the best showing.

The songs on “Reproduce The Common Practice” are a far cry from the initial EP that they put out. However, they were able to harness some of their best studio work and create a good overall sound. “Bystandards of a Lifestyle Obsession” for instance, is a definitive showcase of how amazing the band’s overall power was. They could turn subject matter into compelling arguments, they could turn riffs into strong powerful moments of hardcore and metal fused into a comfortable pop noise. They found a way to push the boundaries of the sound with a lot of tech, and lots of emotion.

Then there are moments on the record that aren’t so grand. It seems like it’s two different bands, and that’s the thing about this record. The band put a “best of” their studio recordings into this, and it wasn’t all the same production value. What should’ve been an EP turned into a full length, and something that doesn’t have the gusto that you’d expect from a full length record. That being said, this isn’t a bad one. It’s a solid release that focuses on a spiritual side that you already know was happening in the southern California hardcore scene. Beauty To Ashes has to be one of the best bands I saw live, and yet they did nothing more than go out with a whimper. Like many other bands in the scene, one solid EP and an exciting opening full length isn’t enough to sustain a career. I still love this record, and recommend it, for the lights of glory that come through on several of the tracks.

If you want to pick up a solid metallic hardcore record with pop sensibilities, “Reproduce The Common Practice” isn’t half bad. You can get it here.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Tribe Called Quest People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition) Review

“Can I Kick It?” is the stand out song that I recall from Tribe. It has been 25 years since the hip hop group threw this out to the masses. With the anniversary here, the group has decided to re-release the record and has been received very well. You may already have this record, as I have purchased it several times time in my day. However, today, it just feels like a new day, because the recording is a bit crisper than I remember.

Perhaps it’s due in large part to the fact that A Tribe Called Quest has grown up, or my audio recording devices are light years away from where it was in 1990 when I first got a hold of this record on cassette tape. With the release of this special edition, you are going to get the original release, plus a few remixes, new artwork and more. There are 17 tracks found on this record, with over an hour of samples, rhymes, and the thing that you expect from the guys in tribe.

This is a classic hip hop record as it showcases the power of a laid back sound that the group put together. This is the type of hip hop that doesn’t spend a lot of time throwing up gang signs or anything like that. Tribe was never like that, they were more chill about life, rhymes and thoughts. With this release, you really get a sense for the art that broke through back then. Even today, a lot of rappers try to emulate what these guys put together with their release on this record. Of course, the group would put out some classics after this, but it’s still as solid of a recording as it was way back when. The production and samples on this record are stellar, and stand out above all else even when the rhyme schemes seem a bit “easy” to put together in my view.

I’ve always loved the production value of these early hip hop records, and “People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition)” is a reminder of just how far we’ve come, and stalled in terms of musical production. If you put this on, turn it up, and listen to the beats and rhymes, you’re going to be taken back to where you were in the 1990s. This is a great record, even after all of these years. Stand out tracks remain the same, “Push It Along”, “Luck of Lucien”, “Footprints”, “I Left My Wallet in El Segundo”, “Bonita Applebum”, “Can I Kick It?”, and so much many others.

If there are any cons in regards to this release, it’s that the special features leave a little to be desired. I don’t really know what to expect. But this doesn’t seem like others in terms of extras, but I guess it’s ok. I’m not a big fan of the remixes, but I guess that’s ok for a re-release. Is this an essential record to pick up? Perhaps. Do you still have a good copy of this on vinyl? No? Then what are you waiting for?

It goes without saying, I highly recommend A Tribe Called Quest “People’s Instinctive Travels and Paths of Rhythm (25th Anniversary Edition)” just because it’s amazing.

Monday, November 16, 2015

The Goo Goo Dolls A Boy Named Goo (1995) Review

The Goo Goo Dolls "A Boy Named Goo 
Let’s rewind to the year 1995. It’s the year that I purchased an alternative rock record in cassette form that would end up breaking over time. It was none other than the Goo Goo Dolls release “A Boy Named Goo”. The band was riding high on the release of “Naked”, but I picked up the record when I first saw the movie “Angus”. If you remember that movie fondly, you know that these guys had a track on the record that would go platinum. Right? I think it went platinum, I’m not sure.

Whatever the case is, “A Boy Named Goo” is a strong contender for the best alternative record of 1995 in my opinion. It embodies the slick production, and killer guitar work with distortion, solos, and vocals that were prominent at the time. Even though I’m not a fan of the band’s work past this album, this record had me tripped up and my cassette tape was on replay non-stop. The opening track alone is enough to get any rock fan interested, as the guitar work is solid, the drums kick nicely, and the bass guitar work is right on par with some of the better punk stylings that you heard coming through the late 1980s. “Long Way Down” has pop sensibility, but it’s the driving vocals and guitar riffs that made this one of the best openers of all time. The drumming too is solid here, which I can always appreciate.

The record doesn’t immediately launch into a heavy laden track of epic proportions, however, as “Burnin’ UP” switched the singers. Yep. When I was a youngster I didn’t like that, but with cassettes, you couldn’t just fast forward easily, so I powered through the track, and waked for the hit single “Naked” to start. That being said, I am different now, I’m an adult, and I appreciate the bass work and drums on the tracks with Robby Takac singing. Plus, this let Johnny work his guitar magic, which is a highlight of “Burnin’ Up”.

Of course I can go on and on about this record from 1995, but I won’t. Instead, I encourage you to go back to listen to this record and see why it sold so well, and became a standard in alternative music circles. Again, I didn’t really get into the records after this one, but I feel that it’s still one of the best examples of mid 1990s alternative rock music. It features some great guitar work, solid bass, and standout drumming in 13 tracks and 42 minutes of good rock music. If you haven’t heard this in a while, go ahead and buy it for the 25th Anniversary Set HERE, which I recommend.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Eddie Vedder Into The Wild (2007) Review

Into The Wild by Eddie Vedder
Eddie Vedder’s voice is one of those iconic rock elements that you can’t really compare. I have heard a lot of bands try to emulate him, but no one has he’s garble at times, and strength at others. The lyrical elements that Vedder has been able to place through music is also grand. While I wasn’t the biggest fan of the movie “Into The Wild”, I did find it to be fascinating enough to pick up the soundtrack. Mainly for Vedder’s solo work, and I was blown away at the time. This is a very mellow Vedder at times, but the lyrical companions work towards pushing you into a Pearl Jam kind of mood.

Over the course of several tracks, you swear that some of the songs must be Pearl Jam B-Sides, but I assure you, they are not. The lack of gusto in some of the rock compositions is proof of that. “Into The Wild” plays so well if you combine it to the movie’s central themes of adventure, isolation, life, and death. Without that companion piece in the back of my mind, I’m not sure that this record would get such a big push.

The songs are solid on this release, and some of them are things that I recall fondly as I set adrift to Seattle long ago. I found myself at a crossroads, after graduating college. College was a weird world, as I went to an art school, had no friends, and managed to pull a degree in something that no one pays for. All that aside, this record could very well be the soundtrack for my life, and of course, your life as well. Some of my favorite songs on this one include, “Rise”, “Setting Forth”, “Tuolumne”, “Hard Sun”, and “Guaranteed”. This is Eddie Vedder at a vulnerable stop. It’s a beautiful recording at times, and it’s an urgent one at others, and I can’t find a better time to review, reflect, and listen to it.

If the measure of a record today is the price that it costs used, "Into The Wild" is one of the better releases you can purchase. I recommend it, especially if you find the Vinyl release. You can buy it here, if you'd like.

Slowly Going The Way of The Buffalo Mxpx Review

When Mxpx jumped to A&M Records, I heard a lot of rumblings about how they sold out, and they weren’t Christians any longer. I didn’t care. I first heard a single from this record on KROQ in Los Angeles during Jed The Fish’s Catch of the Day segment. Released in 1998, produced by Steve Kravac, and the major label debut of the band, this is a solid outing. It’s not “polished” completely, it’s raw, it’s more interesting than “Life In General”, and it had a great treble to the bass sound. What I find cool about the history of this record, is that it took the band 2 years to get certified Gold (500,000 sales) for this one. That’s a sizable accomplishment for the trio from Bremerton, Washington. Stand out tracks here include “The Final Slowdance”, “I’m Ok, You’re Ok”, “The Downfall of Western Civilization”, “For Always”, “Self Serving With A Purpose”. The treble is too high in my view, but that’s what the band wanted. It’s a shining moment for them.

You can pick up “Slowly Going The Way of The Buffalo” by Mxpx new for $9.99 here, or you can get it for $0.01 used by clicking here. I love the artwork on this one, so get the physical release. The vinyl is rare too.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Renaissance EP Mxpx Review

I remember when Fat Mike of Nofx announced that they signed Mxpx for a release. That’s what happened in 2001, which you got a 9 track EP that really changed the pace of the band. This came after “The Ever Passing Moment” that netted the band some MTV and Radio Play as well as a Pepsi commercial. With this EP, the band toned down a bit, and you hear it with the raw sound. Yuri and Tom played producers on here, with some great tracks, including “Lonesome Town”, and “Party II (Time To Go)” as highlights. It’s short, 9 tracks for 18 minutes, but it’s an interesting release from Fat Wreck Chords, none the less. “The Renaissance EP” is one of my personal favorites from the band, as it really was a bridge between full length releases. Classic West Coast Punk rock, with a DIY style of production, you’ll hear it when you hear it.

You can pick up “The Renaissance EP” from Mxpx for $5.75 new here, or you can get it for $0.01 here. It’s a great one, but look for the Vinyl LP, which I prefer.

Secret Weapon Mxpx Review

I was living in Seattle when Mxpx decided to put out “Secret Weapon”. It was officially put out July, 2007, and I had just moved in March. Living in Seattle was grand because that meant the band was doing a lot of in-store appearances. It was one hell of a record, and I had the special edition, plus the double 12” vinyl. The CD version was also grand, and I had them all signed when I met up with the band at Silver Platters. Anyways, this is a strong record with a lot of great songs, and possibly the best from the band since their 1996 record. Some of my favorites include “Secret Weapon”, “Shut It Down”, “Angels”, “Drowning”, “Chop Shop”, and “Bass So Low”. Overall, these songs are great, but the whole record is a huge release that deserves a lot more attention. It’s polished, it sold well, it’s a favorite, what can I say? Produced by Aaron Sprinkle, this is a killer sounding album.

You can pick up “Secret Weapon” from Mxpx for $5.99 new here, or you could pick it up used for $0.23 here. It’s possibly the best from this band.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Buddy Rich The Roar of 74 Rare Vinyl LP Review

Lore City Kill Your Dreams Elevates Your Perception Through Spatial Musical Flight

I got an email out of the blue about Lore City. Usually people don’t email me, or find me through this blog. It’s not that I’m elusive, it’s just that I’m not writing for Alternative Press or Spin. Believe me, I’ve tried several times to get there, but for whatever reason I always get passed up. That’s neither here nor there, I’m just making it a point to say that it’s rare to get an email about music. All that aside, Lore City “Kill Your Dreams” is my introduction into a unique duo of music that has surprised me. I haven’t been this surprised since I saw Talk Demonic play in Silverlake, California with The Velvet Teen. (Ha, hipster references)

There’s a fascinating quality to the record, something that you would definitely pick up on the first sounds. Lore City finds a way to get into your head. Take the beauty of Mazzy Star and mix in Denali, a little Portishead, and you may get a sense for what this musical duo is doing. You’ll find that it’s hard to peg them into one genre, but if you’re going to box them in, you’ll find that this is the kind of stuff I was recommending to friends from Jade Tree Records long ago. There’s a prowess here that is evident, with singing, piano, drums, and elemental sound.

Lore City creates a kaleidoscope of music that can be quite cerebral at times, and translucent at others. I know what they are doing, as a musician and a music fan, but yet they surprise me, the layers, the emotion, the thought process, all works so well here. Stand out tracks include “Gone Past”, “Hush”, “Glitter on the Garbage”, and “Big Intersections”.

This is definitely a unique, and transcendent record. “Kill Your Dreams” may be ahead of its time, because many won’t connect the dots that I have to try and explain this. But then again, isn’t that always the case with genius? Sometimes you just can’t explain it. Just listen to the record, chances are you’re going to love it. I know I did, do, or something. My vocabulary isn’t doing so hot these days, back to the dictionary I go.

You can learn more about Lore City via their Twitter here, Facebook here, and Their Official website here.

Nevermind Colbie Caillat Here Comes Electrets With Try

Terrible title, aside, “Try” is the latest single from Electrets and guess what? It’s amazing. I’m not a fan of Caillat, but I am a fan of this punk rock cover that absolutely blows me away. I threw this on and immediately was floored by the semi sonic sound coming through my Marshall. (yeah I have a Marshall rig for my music) I don’t need to sell you on this do I? You have ears, so let them hear the magic of this cover. I truly think this band has something special. If I still had my record label, I’d sign them, and send them on the road to punk rock celebrity status. Listen to the track, and wake up from your music slumber.

Check out more from this band by hitting their Sound Cloud page here. Also, remember I talked about them before Right HERE cause they're rad and that's that.

Hepcat Right On Time Review

Hepcat "Right On Time" LP 

Hepcat is a band that should be on every jazz fans list. This is a jazzy ska record that doesn’t get enough respect, if you ask me. There’s something special about “Right on Time”, from the introductory phone call from one of the member’s father, to the way that the music flows through time. This was released in the 1990s, and yet it sounds like something that you’d find on a juke box from your favorite 50’s diner. This is a very intriguing ska record because of the way the vocal harmonies work. If that doesn’t grab you and take you back in time, then at least consider the way that the music works.

Hepcat’s “Right on Time” presents a lot of jazz momentum. The trumpet alone is beautiful, and the horn section just puts on a showcase of interludes, bridges, and moments that are too much like jazz to call ska alone. Through the record you get a feeling that these guys are traditionally trained, and not just a rag tag grouping that were picked up on Hell Cat Records. Tim Armstrong really knows how to pick up bands, as this record is such a great one for the label.

With “Right On Time”, you are treated to a lovely wave of ska mixed with jazz and reggae for good measure. Even though the way the band plays is slated as “first wave” style, this record came out in 1998. I’m always astonished by how good these records are from the genre. I spoke about Hepcat in the past, but this time around, I am listening with fresh ears. There’s just something so grand about this record, and yet so many people don’t even listen.

I’m always surprised by prices on records, and if you want to pick this up on CD, the original 1998 release, you can do so for under a buck by clicking here. Overall, Hepcat’s “Right On Time” is a lovely, soulful ska record that deserves far more attention than it received.

Punk Rawk Christmas Mxpx Review

One of the shining lights for me in 2009, was when I picked up this record from Mxpx. This is a collection of Christmas tracks from the band. “Punk Rawk Christmas” is a very awesome record, and if you’re savvy, you can find the limited edition 7” record that has a couple of acoustic B-Sides. Other than that, you can get 14 tracks or 16 tracks on the bonus edition. Either way, the record is a compilation of tracks that were released to PxPx members, but other than that, 2 extra tracks came through. Ok, this is a punk rock Christmas album, and it’s one of the best alternative Christmas records that you’re going to find today. I love it. The fun mix of punk, and even hip hop is great. Mxpx does amazing things with the traditional and non-traditional songs. My favorite is none other than “Christmas Night of the Living Dead”, which is rad.

If you like alternative Christmas records, Mxpx Punk Rawk Christmas is $9.99 new and used, it’s out of print. It’s worth it!

Few Left Standing Regeneration of Self Review

Few Left Standing "Regeneration of Self"

I’m not sure what it was about the late 1990s that made so many Christian youth pull together some of the most incredible music. There hasn’t been a time before or since that I’ve followed music as a whole and had so many amazing records hit my desk and speakers. One of the many records that I remember being floored by was Few Left Standing’s 1999 release on Takehold Records. It is called “Regeneration of Self” and it is by far one of the most complete metal core records that can be labeled Christian and still be very much heavy. Yes, there are other bands that put out great records, but nothing really coalesced with the spiritual side as much as it did with the heavy sound of Few Left Standing. The flow of this record and the all-out onslaught of progression through heavy gut wrenching speech is second to none.

Chris Stafford goes to nail down some of the most outright religious lyrics, while maintaining a signature sound that cannot be mistaken for any other band. It’s tough to be unique when you’re playing heavy music sometimes, but Few Left Standing is one of those bands that is very recognizable. This first full length from them is by far one of my favorites from the time frame. There’s a lot to digest with this release, and if you’re a fan of heavy metal, hardcore, and the fusion of the two, you’ll love the way this album hits you in the chest with pure noise. Stand out tracks on this one include, “Scourge”, “Blistered Spirit”, “Fruitless”, “Tears of a Fallen Man”, “Prevail” and “Solomon”. If you have yet to listen to Few Left Standing, pick up “Regeneration of Self” by clicking here. It’s one of the strongest heavy records to ever get released from the Christian music scene.

Max Roach Drums Unlimited Rare LP Review

Max Roach Drums Unlimited (LP) 1966

Drums Unlimited” is one of the key releases from the Max Roach catalog of records. It came out in
1966 via Atlantic Records, and it’s one of the essential records that you should be purchasing right now. There are 6 total tracks in the original vinyl release, and an extra take when you pick up the Rhino Records reissue on CD. This is a rare one, and it’s one of the better records that you’re going to hear for melodic, logical drumming. Even though there is some improvisation on the record, it’s really good overall, focusing on Roach’s killer drumming approach.

“Drums Unlimited” isn’t going to break the bank, go ahead and buy it by clicking here.

Who The Hell Is Max Roach?

Max Roach is one of the most iconic jazz musicians. He died in 2007, but before he left us, he worked in civil rights, education, and created some of the most iconic jazz records of all time. People talk about his influence in bebop, but I like to stick to the defining line of just jazz. In the coming posts, I will be recommending you listen to and pick up some of his best iconic jazz records, as I’m finding them to be quite amazing.

You can learn more about Max Roach via WIKI Here.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Move To Bremerton by Mxpx Review

In 1996, Mxpx put out what would become their insanely popular “Life in General”, and with that came a few singles. One of the singles that I really sought out was “Move To Bremerton”. Now, this was a time before you could hear this band on the radio, and before you could get the songs from YouTube, or Napster or anything. So I read about this release, and sought it out via mail order. The record features 5 songs, with 4 of them being ones I hadn’t heard. “Rock and Roll Girl”, “Circumstance”, “Easier Said Than Done”, and “Chick Magnet (live on KNDD)”, are the stand outs, aside from the title track single. “Circumstance” alone is the reason to pick up this EP. If you check out the video, you get a good look at the band’s home town. I know, this is an odd pick up, but if you’re a record collector, this is no doubt one of the pieces to the Mxpx discography you should pick up.

You can pick up “Move To Bremerton” by Mxpx for $6.99 new, or you could get it for $0.01 by clicking here.

Jazz Findings

One of the most amazing things that you will find in music is jazz. I didn't agree with that notion at first, but as I got older, I had a new found appreciation for jazz records. Today, I find a lot of penny records, and love the sound. I wanted to write about jazz, so here is my humble attempt to discover, and promote jazz for people that may not have heard the cool sounds.

This blog covers jazz, ska, swing, big band, and the likes.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Drums Unlimited by Max Roach Review

 This has moved to

Life In General Mxpx Review

Ok, so after we discussed so much jazz, let’s discuss a little punk. I love punk. Ever since I first heard The Ramones, I was hooked. RIP CBGB’s! “Life In General” is the 1996 release from Mxpx. My nephew told me that these guys were and I took him to see them with Less Than Jake, and The Hippos. I felt old. But you know, these guys really were good. Anyways, this record features 17 tracks, and it’s done in 44 minutes or so. The drumming is what really stands out here, but it’s Mike’s bass delivery, and Tom’s guitar work that really puts on a rocking showcase. Stand out tracks include “Middlename”, “Move To Bremerton”, “Andrea”, “Southbound”, and others. I’ve seen these guys too many times, and they seem so much bigger than a punk band. Steve Kravac’s production stands out on this record, making it a must own for punk fans. Oh, and I love the artwork by “Coop”, so cool.

You can pick up “Life In General” by Mxpx new for like $10 around, or you can get it for $0.01 by clicking here. It’s a must own, especially the limited edition vinyl release.

50 Minutes of Bad Religion History Was Put Out On All Ages

Back when I used to buy compact discs at the mall, I begged my stepfather to hook me up with a few discs. The Sam Goody in the mall was having a killer sale. Their sale was simple, buy 5 get 5 free! That’s 10 total discs, and my stepdad saw that as a way to bolster the collection for his brand new truck. So he went all out and bought 20. That’s 10 free discs, and 10 for each of us. That’s where my collection grew by leaps and bounds. One of the last discs that I picked up that day was none other than “All Ages” by Bad Religion. This record goes back to 1995 and it features a lot of really cool songs on it, which serves to be a “history” of Bad Religion on Epitaph records. If you happen to come across a friend that hasn’t heard of the band, or just isn’t into punk, play them this 50-minute blockbuster, and you’ll convert them quick.

With “All Ages” you get a lot of tracks from the band, and it’s all from their releases on Epitaph. Some of their biggest songs are on here, and if you aren’t familiar with the band, then this is the record that you need to pick up today. There are 21 tracks on this, and it came out right before “The Gray Race” came through the major label that the band signed on. If you get the special edition version, you can get a couple of extra live tracks. This is a 50-minute introduction to the band, and it’s amazing. Some of the best songs ever are on here.

Ok, I’m pushing this a bit, but if you’re going to buy “one” Bad Religion record, and that’s it, here you go. The stand out tracks include, “Modern Man, “The Answer”, “Flat Earth Society”, “Against The Grain”, “Generator”, “Suffer”, “Faith Alone”, “No Control”, “21st Century Digital Boy”, “Atomic Garden”, “Sanity”, “Walk Away”, and so much more. This is one record that I keep spinning all the time, and it will one day crack and I’ll buy a new one.

Ever since I picked this up in 1995, I have been a huge fan of the band. My fondest memory of this record came in Seattle. In 2008 at El Corazon, I was able to see Bad Religion play live for $20. They put on a 2-hour marathon of music that I will never forget. If you’re not familiar with the venue, it’s a small place that can only fit like 200 – 300 people max, or maybe a bit more, I’m not sure. It’s small, like Pizza Hut small. Anyways, this is a great release, with a ton of punk rock for you to listen to.

If you have yet to listen to Bad Religion, or you just aren’t sure where to start, pick up “All Ages” by clicking here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Jakob Dylan Put Out An Outstanding Country Folk Record With Women and Country

I don’t know one person that picked up the Jakob Dylan record from 2010. In fact, I have recommended it to a lot of people. “Women and Country” came out in 2010 and I was impressed with the change of pace for the singer. The band The Wallflowers being as big as they were, I figured that Dylan would be putting out another rock record, but that’s not the case with this one. This falls in line with the work his dad was doing, and really impressed me at first mention.

I was really into Neko Case in 2009 – 2010, listening to anything I could get my hands on from her. I saw that Jakob Dylan had her singing on “Nothing But The Whole Wide World” live on late night, and I was immediately sold on getting the record. Dylan does well to promote that country vibe here, and the topics of “Women and Country” flow through the same kind of roots that you’d expect from Dylan, Cash, and Nelson. The laid back vocal style of Dylan works very well here, and the band is stellar backing his lyrical elements. This is not a rock record and he is not stretching to meet the notes here, it’s an easy, care free movement that beckons to a simpler time in America.

With this record, you get 11 songs, 42 minutes of country and folk mixed in for good measure. I really enjoyed the pacing of the record, relying heavily on the tropes of what you’d expect from Nashville. This is not “modern country”, or anything that you would get from CMT. In fact, I was shocked to pick up this record and realize how introspective it really was. When you settle into the lyrics, you really feel as though this is a religious record more than anything else. When you hear “Down On Our Own Shield”, you may very well shed a tear thinking about your own life, struggle, and that’s the sign of a good record. There’s true magic found on some of these tracks, albeit, not without detailing slow moving progressions track to track. Some of my personal favorites here include the aforementioned, plus, “We Don’t Live Here Anymore”, “Holy Rollers For Love”, “Truth For A Truth”, and “They’ve Trapped Us Boys”.

Overall, Jakob Dylan’s “Women and Country” is an example of how a rocker could tone down everything and show new colors, without losing an edge. There’s a lot to this record, and you really do get emotionally attached to some of the lyrics. If you give this a chance, you’ll find that Dylan’s talents are not just in putting out modern rock, as his roots are firmly planted in the same path that Bob Dylan traveled down previously. Like father, like son, right?

If you haven’t heard or picked up Jakob Dylan’s “Women and Country”, check it out, it’s a really good record that doesn’t get a lot of mention today.

Gene Ammons Heavy Sax Review

this has moved to

Max Roach Records To Pick Up Today

If you're going to pick up anything from Max Roach's discography, I recommend the following records. Click the links for reviews posted.

Max Roach Live in Berlin LP

Kind of Roach Box Set LP

Deeds, Not Words LP

Drums Unlimited LP

Max Roach Trio Featuring Hassan Ibn LP

At Basin Street LP

Max Roach Live in Berlin Max Roach Review

This has moved to

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Philip Masorti Brings A Seriously Heart Felt Record To The Masses With Into The Woods

Philip Masorti is a name you’re going to hear come through a lot, because with “Into The Woods”, the singer songwriter is poised to become a big name in music. It’s with this release, that you get an incredible rush of emotions coming at you. This folk, country record is an outstanding release with a lot of lyrical elements to share. Masorti finds a way to tell you a simple story, and with each line, make it far more vivid, and at times more complex than anything you’re probably listening to right now. It’s a testament to the prowess he has as a song writer. It’s with “Bridges on 80” that the story telling really hits, and then never pulls away. The opening track “One World” is grand, but it’s the second track that you settle in to something altogether unique.

With “Into The Woods”, you really have a cinematic story on your hands. If you let this come over you in the stillness of night, you’re going to find a lot of balance between emotional lyricism and great musicianship. The song writing is great here, putting together some great notes of song and guitar work. There’s a lot more to this than the “folk/country” tag I mentioned earlier, this is a type of music that hits your soul, with unbridled emotion.

As the sun sets, you’re going to find yourself mesmerized by how “Into The Woods” plays so well with the day’s end. It’s a record that has some serious weight to it. By the time you get to “Truth Be Told”, you start to realize that this very well could be a huge record for Masorti. This could very well be that record you pick up right before he gets really famous, at least that’s my opinion, upon hearing the record and getting a sense for the many elements at hand.

There’s a lot to this record. There’s 8 tracks, but there’s a mix of country, folk, and even a little blues thrown into the mix. It’s a record that tells you a story with each track, and does so with an emotional gut check at times. Not everything is so deep, as there’s a playful nature to some of the tracks. Masorti is a natural story teller here, lyrically putting you in the middle of a movie yet filmed. Standout tracks include “Bridges on 80, “Lean on Me”, “Truth Be Told”, and “Willow”. However, this is another record that you’ll want to hear whole, not just with singled tracks.This is the type of album that doesn't leave you after you're done listening. It sticks around, it makes you reflect, it's that type of attention to details that makes music grand.

You can check out more from Philip Masorti via his official website here.

Malichi Presents A Fascinating Vision With Real Life

I’m always on the lookout for new music, and if you follow my blog, you know that I’m all over the map reviewing records that I find hitting my ear. This includes a lot of music that most people skip over. Malichi is one of those artists that you may not know about, yet, but here I am to say that the music he’s putting out is quite good, and deserves more attention. With the release of “Real Life”, the MC puts on a showcase of relevance, with a touch of spiritual prowess as well.

It’s rare to hear from Christian hip hop the type of flow that Malichi pushes with this recording. He isn’t emulating someone, he’s not trying to be the second coming of a secular rapper, he’s just himself here. With every track you hear a mix of fluid beats, and his lyrical points that come through with honesty, and fresh air. He focuses on a mix of rhymes, special guest singers, and a touch of reggae to mix things up. There’s so much here, 20 tracks to navigate through, and each one has a special flow to it. The mix is clear, with nice bass, good beats, and a clarity in vocals that you don’t always get with hip hop.

When Malichi jumps in to rhyme, his flows are educated, spiritually dipped, but not without relevance. Sometimes you get hip hop artists forcing the flow to rhyme with spiritual elements, but that’s not what you get here. This record features a lot of skillfully placed rhymes, and they are as important to the song structures as the lyrical material pushes. The fluidity of the rap mix is definitely on par with some of the best in the industry right now. There’s no holding back, it all seems to come from the heart.

I can really appreciate the record here, with some stand out tracks. Some of the best tracks here include, “B-Boy Stance”, “Rush”, “Vision”, “Child Soldier”, “Street Life”, and “Watch Dem Friends”, just to name a few. With 20 tracks of hip hop here, you’re not going to run out of great music fast. There’s over an hour of greatness found here, and each track differs from the next, pointing towards a positive stance. Pay attention to the lyrics, and the mix of beats here. Malichi jumps through a lot of hoops to paint a good picture, making it seem too easy. There’s a lot to dissect here, I can’t say enough good things about the mix on the record. You’ll have this on repeat, no doubt. There’s so many great tracks.

Check out Malichi’s “Real Life” by checking out his official website here, and don’t miss this creative hip hop record.

Point of Recognition Day of Defeat Review

Hardcore records come and go, but in 2002, when Point of Recognition put out their third record, I wore it out. I loved the band, and really enjoyed the work that they were able to create in a short span of time. With the release of “Day of Defeat”, the band came together to put out their best effort, and it’s not just lyrically or musically, the production stepped up. Aaron’s vocals really shined here, with a much deeper song structure, and a booming bass and driving guitar that nailed the Southern California hardcore sound. I heard a lot of comparisons when this record came out, people saying that the release sounded a lot like All Out War, and even Warzone, but I think it was a strong, bass heavy brother of Warzone and Hatebreed. There was a lot of slow down here and there, with some great break downs and sing-along parts. The band put together one of the heaviest hardcore records for the time. The title track, is by far the best on this record. It’s loud, it’s aggressive, and should’ve been the one ticket that got Point of Recognition some serious crossover success. But of course, when you’re tagged as a “Christian” band, you immediately are dismissed from playing with the other kids. It’s too bad, because “Day of Defeat” is a fist fight recorded into 11 songs and 31 minutes of non-stop hardcore. I still can’t believe how good the band got in just a short span of time. RIP Point of Rec, I miss you guys and the So Cal Scene.

Like hardcore? Then give Point of Recognition’s “Day of Defeat” a shot, it’s an injection of hardcore from 2002.

Thelonious Martin Creates A Beautiful Rap Album With Wunderkid

The only artist that I know with the name Thelonious is Monk. You know, the jazz pianist and composer that is one of the most recognizable artists of our time. But if you were to ask people to name another person with the name, you’re most likely going to hear them say Thelonious Martin. This is a rapper that has a lot going for him, especially amidst a lot of terrible rappers. I was recently in Los Angeles and my sister put on the radio, the only thing she listens to is hip hop radio from Los Angeles. Every channel was playing the most terrible and contrived rap songs, with the occasional mix of NWA, Warren G, Tupac, Biggie, and the rest of the classics. Other than that, people trying to sing, people trying to rap, and nonsense spilling from choruses of being drunk, high, or having sex. I’m not knocking that, but I need more than just the same old tropes in hip hop, and that’s where Thelonious Martin starts to come into frame.

The rapper doesn’t shy away from topics that you’d expect from hip hop, but he does so with a flow that seems all too natural. The greats make things look easy, and with the release of “Wunderkid”, he does so through 15 tracks and 44 minutes of music. It’s not just the delivery of the lyrical gems found on the record, it’s the production which showcases a well-rounded influence of genres. You get more cerebral elements in the beats, and the rhymes tell you stories of personal growth, relationships, sex, money, and bravado that you know is the key to success in hip hop.

Thelonious Martin is at his best in tracks that feature more than just his lyrical penmanship, because as you know the best records are the ones that have creative touches outside of the traditional. That’s where you find tracks like “September” mixing things up against true classics like “Atlantis”, “Corners of Your Mind”, and “The Home Team”. As far as a hip hop record, this is a great option. There’s so much to find here, so many sounds to explore, and a lot to work through. Don’t just listen to this on your radio in the background, put on some good headphones, grab your skateboard and fly through the 44 songs that will absolutely stun you at times, and give you a semblance of peace at others.

Overall, Thelonious Martin puts together a nice release with “Wunderkid”. It’s a solid outing, with a lot to offer. It’s the balance of thoughtful production, lyrical embellishments, and smooth delivery that makes this a stand out amidst hip hop records that I’ve heard this year. It’s definitely worth a lot of listens, especially if you are like me, and have to pick up on all the beats and similes.

Pick up Thelonious Martin’s “Wunderkid” if you are a fan of hip hop, otherwise, you’re going to miss out on something really cool going on with this record.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Drums Unlimited Max Roach Review

As far as jazz drumming is concerned, Max Roach is my favorite. Maybe it’s because I love the name “Roach”. With this release from Atlantic Records in 1966, Max finds himself putting on a showcase of drums and jazz music. Some people will call this “hard-bop”, to which I say, that’s elitism. Roach’s drum solos here are great, but there’s also some great bass solo work. Jymie Merritt’s bass work on “Nommo” is incredible. That song along makes this worth picking up. The line up here is Max Roach (drums), Freddie Hubbard (trumpet), Roland Alexander (soprano sax), Ronnie Matthews (piano), James Spaulding (alto sax), Jymie Merritt (bass). It’s a great record, and features some great playing.

Fans of Max Roach will love this essential jazz record. You can pick up “Drums Unlimited” new for $11.46, or spend a lot less and get it for around $2.05 by clicking here. It’s a great jazz record in my view.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

The Dingees Armageddon Massive Review

In 1998 The Dingees released what would become one of my favorite ska-punk records of the decade. You see, I was only listening to what was termed “Christian” music at the time. I didn’t branch out into the many secular bands until about a year later, when I got my hands on an Epitaph Records catalog and bought one of every cassette, vinyl, and CD I could get my grubby hands on. The Dingees put out “Armageddon Massive” and I was immediately amazed at the mix of anti-establishment punk rock, and jazz fused with reggae. At the time, The Supertones were experiencing a huge push, and The Dingees as a result got tagged into the same framework. With this release, the band flowed through 11 songs of punk-ska in the same lines as Less Than Jake, Reel Big Fish, and Operation Ivy. You hear these influences from the starting line of “Ghetto Box Smash”, “Chaos Control”, “Bulletproof”, “Rebel Youth”, and more. This very well could be the best debut record for a ska-punk act ever. That’s pretty bold, all things considered, but it really is a standout record from the band. I saw them live several times touring on this record, and even though the band’s popularity kind of fizzled as the rest of the ska scene died a slow death, I still go back to “Armageddon Massive” as a stellar example of third wave ska.

If you haven’t heard The Dingees “Armageddon Massive”, pick it up here for cheap.

Matisyahu Live At Stubb’s Volume 3 Triumphs In Creating A Beautiful Hip Hop Kaleidoscope

I first heard of Matisyahu long ago. I was in college and found out about his reggae and rap stylings, and was absolutely floored. I picked up the original set of records, before anyone else was into him, and then he got into rock radio in Los Angeles. When KROQ started playing his records nonstop on the hour, every hour, I saw a huge influx of fans go his way. That meant that I was not going to be able to see him live because the ticket prices started to get absolutely insane. I ended up selling the out of print recordings of his initial records on a Jewish record label, and kept tabs on the rapper, reggae artist. I noticed a stylistic change in the records that he was putting out, and while I admired some of the songs, and the lyrical elements, there was a point of disconnect with the original works and the new updates. He also wasn’t the same Jewish icon that he was, and well, I moved on, like many others. However, with the release of “Live At Stubb’s Volume 3”, the artist comes back to his roots and creates an outstanding sound.

There are only 6 tracks on this record, and yet there is over an hour of music to hear. Matisyahu doesn’t hold back here. He performs with great vigor, and showcases a great deal of influence throughout. Whether he’s rapping or he’s beat boxing, or playing through the singing of his religious background, he points towards a very eclectic sound. There is no “one” way to look at this record, because there’s a lot of influences coming through. This is evident from the beginning of “Searching”, to the sounds of “Warrior”. You get a bit of reggae, a bit of rapping, a bit of singing, and a lot of musical notes.

The backing band should take a lot of attention here. They really put together an epic sound, and while it’s toned down at times, the lyrical balances come through with beauty and grace. Matisyahu really puts together a beautiful record here, and it’s all done live. If you go see the artist, you will most likely be in for a good treat, because if his live shows are anything like this, you are going to be in bliss. The backing band is tight, the rapper goes through a lot of great notes, lyrical semblances of religious thought, and so much more.

Matisyahu “Live At Stubb’s Volume 3” is a great record. It’s over an hour, 6 tracks, and really pushes creativity on so many levels. I appreciate the overall sound, the lyrical balance, and the backing band’s connection with the freestyle, dub, and reggae sound. I’m impressed.

Pick up Matisyahu’s “Live At Stubb’s Volume 3”, it’s a laid back reggae, rap album well worth your time.

What's really cool, is that you can see "Live AT Stubb's Volume 3 Live" below. With Matisyahu talking about the record, and the showcase. It's a really cool thing to hear and watch.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Falling Up Dawn Escapes Shapeshifted Into A Hybrid of Electrical Music and Alternative Sounds

A lot of people have talked about Christian music as a terrible thing. Lots of bands put together alternative rock and tagged a label of “alternative” onto it, and ended up creating subpar musical landscapes. Then there are bands that put together truly good albums but were plagued by the label. Falling Up released “Dawn Escapes” after putting out what I felt was an ok effort. Their previous record was muddied by sounds that seemed to be trying to be Linkin Park mixed with other Nu Metal bands but without the power. The record had some ok tracks, but it wasn’t until their second release that the band was able to create something grand, at least in my opinion. It didn’t start with the first track on “Dawn Escapes” however, as they seemed to be resting on their laurels. However, as the album progressed, holy crap, the band found a creative niche that was overlooked by music fans left, right, and in the middle.

The piano entrance of “Exhibition” is your first signal that the band matured from their previous efforts. Released in 2005, you may have overlooked this since a lot of record stores were stopping their stocking of BEC Recordings and offerings from Tooth and Nail unless they were Demon Hunter and Underoath. I found this record at a festival that I went to, and was blown away by the second track. It featured melody, piano heavy elements, and a good flow through the track. It still had the signature Falling Up sound, but there was more to the composition than they previously offered.

As you listen to the record, you’re going to find that there is a lot of beautiful lyrical elements. With “Flights” you end up getting hit with that emotional connection of love. For those that are religious, there’s weight to the words on the track, but the music alone is a great example of the band’s ability to flow through various musical landscapes.

All this being said, the highlights of Falling Up is the piano and electrical components. The track “Contact” shows this off very well, and you truly start to see the direction that the band was taking at the time. This would become even more relevant in their records as time progressed. The rest of the record goes well, mixing in electronic hits with choruses that really force you to sing along. Falling Up found a way to match their lyrical prowess with truly alternative music at a time where everyone was trying to be the second coming Nu Metal. They stepped aside and created an eclectic follow up to “Crashings” in my opinion.

This precursor felt like an appetizer from the band, however. The vocals were a bit too high in my opinion. But they changed things up a year later, when “Exit Lights” came out. It was with that record that I truly started to capture the message and focus of the band’s music. That electric feel was made whole when I saw them at the last Tom Fest, where they played to a handful of individuals, in what may have been the lowest attended Christian music festival I’ve ever seen in my life.

“Dawn Escapes” is a good record. It’s not a great record, but it was a transitional change over that I appreciated from the band. I still go back to listen to this record quite a bit, but only because I’ve seen the band play things live, and I liked it enough to keep it in rotation.

If you haven’t heard Falling Up’s “Dawn Escapes”, pick it up here. It’s well worth your time, if you’re a fan of BEC, Christian music, or just alternative records from the past.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...