Above the Mendoza: Fast Forward

Above The Mendoza

An album review.

Above the Mendoza is a Alternative/Pop punk band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. With a hopeful, bright sound, Above the Mendoza has written a very inspirational album. This album really stands out to me in the way that their sound comes together. This is a band that knows how to play, and play fast. A lot of pop punk bands that I’ve listened to tend to leave behind the punk, but Above the Mendoza has really found an excellent balance between styles. Not only fast in speed, there are so many quick transitions, stops, staccato moments and soft choruses that make this band so interesting to listen to.

The drumming on this album is amazing. The speed, skill, and clarity are astonishing. This level of skill is present in every single song. The personal touch, the lyrics about life and reality are great. I love a good story teller, and this is an album full of life. Full of stories, expressions of their experiences and the way that Above the Mendoza writes music that documents and reflects life is masterful. The bright, optomisitc tone of Fast Forward is rare, pleasant, and makes for a great listen. I love this album, and I highly recommend it if there’s ever a time in life you need to feel strong and hopeful. This is a strong album, filled with hope and heart.

Listen here: https://abovethemendoza.bandcamp.com/album/fast-forward/

Above the Mendoza: Fast Forward

Bay Faction: Self Titled

BayFaction

An album Review

Bay Faction is an Indie Rock band from Boston, Massachusetts. A softer sort of rock, Bay Faction in their debut has gathered a mellow, guitar driven, smooth album. What stood out to me from the first track was how guitar driven this band is. Almost every song is full of amazing, well composed leads and complex structures with an expert sense of timing and song structure. Bay Faction is the kind of band that can reach out with a series of notes, which still sits underneath the brutality of the lyrics. Songs about the harsh reality of self harm, blood, loss, and despair. All of these subjects, so often never spoken of are put into the spotlight on this one. The melodies of the bass and guitar, the almost jazzy tones add a sense of reality and pain. The pains of reality, life, and mistakes are an ever present theme.

The presentation and mixing on this album is top notch. What really keeps me thinking about Bay Faction is the way I related personally to almost every song. There’s something about the way these songs are written, painted scenarios with sound on the canvas of our collective consciousness, the strength of the writing is in it’s universal appeal. A majority of the tracks on this album rely on the skill of the rhythm section, the bassist and drummer have a clear connection that enables the vocals and guitar to flow within and around the melodies of each track. I couldn’t identify one song where each instrument wasn’t contributing something wonderfully dark and reflective. Of the dark parts of life represented in these songs, to me it’s more of a mirror. The way we see the low points, the desperation in the singing comes across so passionately. This is band that knows how to express itself, and has come together to make an intense album. Bay Faction is a one of a kind band, with the sort of sound that really stands out. Although they are from Boston, they are planning a tour of the east coast soon! This album debuts September 29th, so keep that date open for something incredible!

Follow Bay Faction here: http://www.bayfaction.com/

Bay Faction: Self Titled

A Collegiate Affair: Full Disclosure

A Collegiate Affair

An album review

A Collegiate Affair is a pop punk/melodic punk band from Richmond, Virginia. From the very first track on this album, I was blown away. The high quality production, the clear and precise tone of all the instruments, the skill and effort put into all these tracks is astounding. This sounds like a band that’s been together for 20 years, and already signed to a major record label. This is the kind of album where every song is even more interesting and engaging than the last, the tracks are all layered so well, everything from the guitar to the backup vocals has been implemented perfectly to create something amazing. Catchy, upbeat, and with a touch of a heavier sound, A Collegiate Affair defies and subverts all expectations with a five track masterpiece. Full Disclosure is a phenomenal listen from start to finish, and I found myself listening to all of the tracks several times.

It speaks for itself, in a way. There’s a certain kind of music that can’t exactly be articulated. The bass, drums, and vocals all work together expertly, the flow is so great and there are a lot of great dynamic touches on the songs. Shock Value, my personal favorite track is a condemnation of the way that the systems in place work to oppress so many people. It’s always great to see such skilled musicians using their creativity to stand up against what can seem like an endless, faceless machine. A Collegiate Affair is a band that stands up for the world, in defiance of the corruption and fear mongering in the world. There’s a sense of strength and power in this music, that comes across effortlessly. That takes real talent, skill, and courage.

This is an album that has a clear, high quality sound that really makes Full Disclosure stand out above the rest. This is the kind of album that I’ll be listening to years down the road, it’s got such a timeless sound. This is a sincere, deep representation of the minds behind A Collegiate Affair. Full Disclosure is an album that lives up to it’s name. Highly recommend.

Check it out here: https://acollegiateaffair.bandcamp.com/

Music Video for Shock Value: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=beaLVJCAAC0

A Collegiate Affair: Full Disclosure

Talya Tavor: An Introduction

TT

A music review

Talya Tavor is a Singer/Songwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. The first thing I noticed about this music is the power of the voice and songwriting. There’s a warmth and brilliant energy behind it. The honesty expressed in songs and music like this is what makes it so accessible, and interesting. Not only music written to entertain, or express something broad, this music is intimate. Every song has different qualities and structures, like the individual thoughts and life experience that shapes the melodies. Talya Tavor knows how to use her voice and her acoustic guitar to reach out to the world, and carve into it an honest message. Somewhat of a folk sound, somewhat of a bluesy sound, and a lot of influence from here and there, there’s also something very dynamic about these tracks.

Darkness, that hard part of life that is so rarely spoken of face to face is a thread that ties all of these songs together. Not focused on the hardships themselves, but more the way that we deal with them, and our mutual understandings. The way that we see ourselves and the way we see others, those who struggle in ways that we may have before, or at least known someone that can relate. Talya excels at writing in a way that draws people in, and leads to becoming quite invested in these melodies. The track Not Much of a happy song ended up being my favorite for these reasons. The sweet and subdued chord structure, the gradual rise and fall of the singing and the guitar, and the message itself are all a part of what makes this music have a universal appeal. Appealing to the way we adapt and overcome issues, even if the only way to make someone feel better is to sing them a song. The kindness in the message is what I took away.

Talya Tavor has a collection of truth, anger, disappointment, bitterness, and the gradual process of getting better. Life, as we all experience it has lots of rough spots. We are so often sold the idea that everything is fine, and not to allow yourself to feel openly the negative. This collection of recordings is, to me, a journal of the struggles we have in life. Sometimes, the only way to get out of a bad place is to hear something that can inspire change. In this introduction, Talya Tavor shows that she is a serious musician, with deep, complex messages. I recommend these songs to anyone that needs to feel that they aren’t alone, or some kind of encouragement. There’s a powerful sound in these songs.

Listen here: https://soundcloud.com/talya-tavor/

Talya Tavor: An Introduction

Yellow King: Communion

yellowking

An album review

Yellow King is a hardcore post-metal band from Harrisonburg, Virginia. Blending the droning breakdowns, complex rhythmic patterns, heavy distortion and bass leads, Yellow King has subverted genre definition and crafted something entirely new. Communion is an album that will challenge the way that bands are labeled, the way music is though of as fitting into a certain box. The riffs are powerful but catchy, these songs have strong hooks that will leave the melodies in your head long after the song has finished. The way the bass and guitar play off each other is very technical and impressive, each track on the album gives a new insight into the minds of those writing these songs and all the energy that goes into that. I’m reminded a lot of bands like The Melvins, Le Butcherettes, and many more bands with grunge or post grunge roots. Yellow King knows how to write good music, and Communion has some of the most creative writing I’ve heard in some time.

The opener, Offering, opens with a pounding drum beat. I love when a drummer can assert themselves like this, and it’s a very engaging way to introduce the listener to the kind of music that they are in for. The way the instruments build on each other during this track is great to hear, the energy of the song picks up as the melodies go along and flow together, everything is mixed very well. The bass is just as crisp and clear as the guitar, the vocal growling is audible and consistent, the vocals on this album are really well done. There’s a mixture of rage, desperation, and violent release in this sound.

Music, the kind of music that Yellow King has made on this album is cathartic. Not limited to those playing the music, listening to communion is stress relief. The wall of sound that comes blaring out of my speakers is an way to let go of frustrations, and get lost in the driving force of the drums, to lose all sense of self doubt with the ferocity of the vocals. The bass here is more than a backbone, it’s a cornerstone. The keystone of the arch, holding all the songs up and freeing the other members to explore within the context of the song, and bringing it all back together. Yellow King has made a great album with communion, and I highly recommend listening to it for something that’s familiar, but done with great finesse.

Listen here: https://yellowking666.bandcamp.com/album/communion/

Yellow King: Communion

My Ransomed Soul: Trilateral

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An album review

My Ransomed Soul is a Metalcore band from Baltimore, Maryland. Not only is this an amazing album from the first song to the last, it’s music with an intense, direct message against the corruption of the government. Not presented as a matter of questioning, but a demand for action. A call for those responsible for the endless, countless crimes that exist in the shadows to deceive nations and line their own pockets. My Ransomed Soul is a manifestation of dissasisfaction with the world we live in. That takes courage, inner strength, and resolve. Every member of this band should take great pride in what they have created, because this kind of music needs to exist.

Everything from the vocals to the drumming is done so well. The guitar shreds in every song, the breakdowns will send a shutter down your spine, and the album is so well produced. Every song comes through so clearly, with further highlights the skill of the members and the talent of every member. I can’t pick a favorite track, this is an album that needs to be experienced from start to finish. In this way, My Ransomed Soul has made something that will always be in my head, and always have a place in my heart. I indentified so much with every song, it was as if I was having my own thoughts shouted back into my skull. Rehab is the song I listened to the most, it has an air of brightness and beauty in the middle of a raging storm.

My Ransomed Soul is now one of my favorite local bands. I can’t even Continue reading “My Ransomed Soul: Trilateral”

My Ransomed Soul: Trilateral

Escape Point: Ghost Signs

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An album review

Escape Point is an experimental post-hardcore band based out of Washington, D.C. This is very atmospheric music, and one of the most interesting albums I’ve heard in a long time. Touches of heavy, touches of shoegaze, I love the direction that Escape Point has on this album. Though it reminds me very much of the more instrumental focused and complex writing styles a lot of the scene in D.C. is going for, Escape Point subverts those expectations, blending guitar driven writing with moments of bursting intensity, this band has an excellent blend of genres that will span over anyone who enjoys punk, rock, shoegaze, or grunge.

The band that I was the most reminded of was The Melvins. The drumming on Ghost Signs is fantastic on every track. Powerful, while still maintaining subtlety, quiet when the need arises, ¬†Escape Points has an innate sense of timing and direction that can take bands years to develop. Both guitarists in this trio are very skilled, and I’ve never heard such an interesting way of layering sound the way that they do. Where talented musicians come together, anything that they want to accomplish is possible, and Ghost Points is clear evidence of this.

My favorite track on the album is Goonerang, and not just because that word is really fun to say. The heavy drone of the guitars over a very catchy riff is just intoxicating, and the vocal track here is so well done. Everything fits together in a satisfying way, the drumming is fast and intense the whole time, dropping in and out masterfully. The musicianship of this band is top notch, and I look forward to seeing what this band comes out with next. I think that D.C. Needs more bands like this, bands that bring back a good dose of heavy in a world that’s getting a little too gentle.

Listen here: https://escape-point.bandcamp.com

Escape Point: Ghost Signs

Cassie Urbany: She Can Have Him

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An album review

Cassie Urbany is a singer-songwriter from Washington, DC. This is an album about being left behind, letting go of the past, and making peace with the endless list of things in life that we will never know. In other words, what could but never will be. This five track album has the contrast of very pretty, catchy guitar riffs with a darker subject matter. This is another example of the creativity and power of acoustic music. It’s quite a task trying to pin down exactly what this sound is, to me it’s sort of a mix of country, blues, modern rock, and folk music. Not exactly precise, but like most music, the best way to enjoy it is to listen with an open mind, and see what it means to you.

Heartbreak, She Can Have Him has a lot of heartbreak in every song. What I found really interesting is that the co writer is Cassie Urbanys mother. After a mutual breakup, they began writing together. I remember after my last breakup the only person I was talking to was a big old bottle of vodka, arguably the writing about it method might have been a less nauseating way to get over it. At only five songs, it seems to end shortly after it begins, but every song was beautiful, catchy, relatable, and a little dark. Check this out if you’re a fan of brave, honest songwriting or acoustic jams.

Listen here: https://cassieurbany.bandcamp.com/releases/

Cassie Urbany: She Can Have Him

Morning Banana Diet: Songs For Salamanders

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An album review

Morning Banana diet is an ambient post-hardcore band from Waneysboro, Pennsylvania. This is a different kind of album, from the first song to the last I found new and interesting songwriting, guitar fills, harsh guttural vocals blended masterfully together to create something really impressive. This is an album that gives the feeling of being right there with the band, a good live sound isn’t easy to pull off, but this five piece has it down perfectly. ¬†There’s a lot of ambience mixed in with clear, strong messages.

There’s something very comforting about the way a band screams out about how we are nothing, and our lives don’t matter. Not because I necessarily feel that way, but that someone else out there is feeling the same way that I am. That it’s not out of place or isolating to have those thoughts or ideas. The second track, Lemons, is the one I’m talking about, it’s such an amazing song. It doesn’t end lost in that late night headspace that leaves us lost, floating adrift in the oceans of our minds. The song ends with hope, and I found that really inspiring. Taking the things that make us feel small and using them to make us feel unstoppable. Morning Banana Diet isn’t like any other band I’ve ever heard, they are masterful storytellers as well as songwriters.

The musicians, all of the musicians in this band are so talented. Every musician ha a clear and solid line, the bass and drums keep the beat going while the guitars are busy shredding hard almost constantly throughout. It’s like an entirely new genre of music, something that can’t really be explained exactly. It can only be heard to be fully understood. I urge anyone looking for something new, fun, unique, and groundbreaking to check these guys out.

Seriously. Do it right now.

Listen here: https://morningbananadiet.bandcamp.com/

Morning Banana Diet: Songs For Salamanders

My Friday Anthem: Self Titled

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An album review

My Friday Anthem is an alternative/indie rock band from my hometown of Frederick, Maryland. This is an album about life, love, and the shared experiences that connect us all. The songs are romantic, self deprecating, honest, and very pretty. Listening to this album is a lot like reading one of my notebooks from when I was somewhat younger, when I believed more in the ideas that the world revolved around the girls I was chasing and those inevitable first heartbreaks and the growth that came after. Much like the first track on this album, listening to My Friday Anthem gives me nostalgia for my own life. This is music for anyone who has ever fallen hard in love, anyone who has gained strength from pain, or anyone that can appreciate well written, emotional music.

Anyone seems to be the key word to me, on this album. We all, in our lives go through painful experiences that make us who we are. Inherently, much as there are two sides to any coin, there is as much sadness as there is joy. The way we overcome it, the way we express these feelings is what unites us. In sound, we cease to be seperate, and in that moment when those false fleeting fabrications that work to keep us apart are broken down, there is a glorious experience. This is the glory in sound, the unity of our collect of consciousness that My Friday Anthem has tapped into so well.

This is an excellent, darkly beautiful, well composed album. I highly recommend listening to it and supporting My Friday Anthem.

Listen here: https://myfridayanthem.bandcamp.com/releases/

My Friday Anthem: Self Titled