The Front Bottoms-Going Grey

The Front Bottoms were at one time leading figures in the emo-revival.  A weird pop-punk band from New Jersey that let indie rock and folk influences bleed through.  They had lyrics that masked emotion through humor and wits.  Also, they were huge.  They could book their own festival at New York’s Webster Hall with their friends and favorite bands and sell it out.  They toured with emo-vets Brand New on numerous occasions and wrote one of the decades’ best songs about life on the roadBack On Top was a major creative leap for the band, adding much more electric instrumentation than before, and it paid off.  The best songs off Back On Top could square off with any number of songs from their self-titled album or Talon of Hawk.  Unfortunately, Going Grey shows them doing just that: greying into a mediocre band. Continue reading

Go Ahead and Walk Away: Modern Baseball-Union Transfer, 10/14/17

Even though Modern Baseball made a name for themselves with raw, uncomfortably honest, yet catchy pop-punk, they’ve always been goofy guys.  Watch any interview the quartet provides with each other, and they’re always messing around.  This screw-around attitude does not draw a line in their interviews.  They’ve never been shy about messing around onstage and cracking jokes.  Despite some dark times and no-bullshit relatable lyrics, it’s no surprise that the band’s penultimate “last show for the foreseeable future” show at Union Transfer on October 13 was not some gut-wrenching sobfest.  It was a night of strong emotional performances and a good handful of laughs to be had. Continue reading

The Wonder Years-Burst & Decay

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Acoustic albums and EPs are often a cheap attempt to cater to fans when there’s a significant amount of time between album releases.  Assuming its coming out next year, The Wonder Years’ forthcoming LP will mark the longest number of years in between two albums.  Their most recent release Burst & Decay could have been just a quick EP to knock off to make a quick buck and satiate fans with the type of stripped down performance that they’ve previously done in record stores and a few Christmas shows.  Still, The Wonder Years maintain that they’re a band dedicated to giving their all for everything they do, and Burst & Decay is the rare example of an essential acoustic release. Continue reading

Phoebe Bridgers-Stranger in the Alps

It would have been really simple to write off Phoebe Bridger’s debut album as a Julien Baker clone.  Both singer-songwriters write ambient folk rock with a large emotional weight placed on the lyrics.  Still, Bridgers’ voice is a refreshing one that really resonates within the pop-punk and emo community.  Even though she is a singer-songwriter through and through, her heart-on-her-sleeve and pop culture referencing lyrics certainly welcome her to a number of melancholy artists that have welcomed the likes of Julien Baker.  Whether it’s the sweetness of “Killer” or the sadness in “Smoke Signals,” Stranger in the Alps is probably the most exciting debut album to be released this year. Continue reading

The Killers-Wonderful Wonderful

“Run For Cover” could have been the song of the summer.  It’s upbeat, fun and has a great chorus.  In fact, a number of songs from The Killers’ new Wonderful Wonderful scream summer.  Whether it’s adrenaline-thrusting power-pop (see above) or the beachy, U2 doppelgangers (“Life to Come”), it baffles me why this album would be released on the first day of fall, but as fate would have it, the first weekend of fall were the dog-days of summer’s last gasp in New York.  It was a fluke, only Brandon Flowers could attain to maybe make some final gasps for this Killers album. Continue reading

Marc Maron-Too Real

            Only Marc Maron could get away with telling the same joke twice in a row.  It’s easy to be sick of Maron’s rote display of emotional honesty, because he’s been in comedy for decades, and he brings one of the best podcasts to listeners twice a week.  He’s been bringing listeners a manic energy regularly for years now, and Too Real is a perfect culmination of all the best aspects of Maron. Continue reading

Green Day: XFINITY Theatre (Hartford, CT 8/29/17)

Green-Day-Hartford           Even though, Green Day shows have become largely repetitive, there is still something to be said about standing in the pit at one.  Energy radiates off the stage.  Even wearing earplugs, standing close enough to hear the explosions from the pyrotechnics hurt your ears is incredible.  Despite all three core members being in their mid-40’s, they perform with the same youthful energy rivaling so many of their much younger peers. Continue reading

LCD Soundsystem-American Dream

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More often than not, when I don’t like something that I know is good (or everyone else likes), I tend to just say, “It wasn’t for me.”  That is to say, I wasn’t the target-demographic.  I said this about the Beauty and the Beast remake, Twenty-One Pilots, Serial, and countless other things that I didn’t really like.  I didn’t begin listening to LCD Soundsystem until after they’d broken up, and I was excited to see them reunite.  While I understand why fans were angry about their reunion, I could care less to be honest.  That being said, American Dream doesn’t seem like it was for me.  It seems catered to a certain subsect of fans that probably don’t mind that LCD reunited as opposed to feeling more indifferent about it.  Still, even if it wasn’t for me, American Dream is an incredible album that I thoroughly enjoy. Continue reading