Blog Archives

When You’re Too Busy For New Music

The worst part about being in college is it feels like I’m doing a lot of nothing, but never in an environment when I can listen to music. It seems like I’m missing all the best things: I still haven’t heard Pvris’ new song, no I haven’t listened to A Day To Remember’s new jam, I didn’t even know Simple Plan had a new album – who knows what else I’ve missed while I was “out” and away from my headphones.

Sometimes it gets so frustrating, because I want to be up to date and I love having a rotation of CD’s in my car, but now I’m out of the house most of the day and my car’s CD player is broken! I’m surprised it hasn’t caused me more distress.

Just like reading, listening to new music is a luxury some of us (college students) feel like we can’t afford. But you probably have more free time than you think you do.

Listen to the radio

There’s nothing wrong with tuning into one of the many pop stations for your ride to work, because there’s plenty of great hits out there to enjoy. You’ll for sure come across things you don’t want to hear for the several dozenth time that day, but when you tune into rewind stations or hard rock stations, you’d be surprised what throwbacks and new songs come into your life. It’s usually a last ditch effort, but try pausing that Fall Out Boy CD you’ve played over and over again to see if something catches your ear.


Ask your friends for suggestions

This won’t always be the best idea, but worst case scenario you never listen to those bands. Usually you’ll find you have a lot more in common than you thought, and best case scenario you learn about a new musician you love!

It’s even more fun when your friends make you ‘mixtapes’ for the road.

Go back to your roots

Sometimes, new music isn’t the answer at all. It’s sometimes more comforting to go back and listen to a band you heard in concert last summer, or the first band you ever called your favorite, or just something that really gets you moving in the mornings. No one is going to criticize you for being behind the times. I also recommend movie soundtracks if you’re desperate.

All in all, it’s not so hard to find new music, even if you are falling behind on binge-listening your favorite bands’ new records. Just remind yourself to take a break once in awhile to enjoy the big stuff, and appreciate the little stuff when you’re less free.

What new songs have you been enjoying?


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New Band: SugarBear and the Monkey Tangs

I know, I know. This is the mother of all strange band names, but hear them out.

I found this band on StereoMood, a website where you enter how you are feeling and it gives you a playlist that falls under that “mood”. I was using it out of pure boredom, when I fell upon a song that just captured my attention.

“Mother” is laidback; soft, low instrumentals with Lynden Segura’s gravelly blues-esque voice, that continues to build in power and then falls back down for a fading ending. It’s the kind of song that is soothing and powerful without being overwhelming or distracting.

This four-piece blues rock band is from Louisiana, and they released their first EP, Meet The Monkey Tangs last summer, and have a unfairly small fanbase. All their music is really diverse, but still maintaining their basic influences and style. These days, it’s normal for music to be overpowered in it’s guitar and their drums, or have virtually nothing but vocals, and so it’s amazing to see a great blend of all members in this band.

This is different from what I usually recommend listening to, but it’s really worth it. So, go check out their Facebook and ReverbNation and enjoy.


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Seether: “Seether” cover on Seether

A certain well known, alternative grunge band from South Africa is back in the studios for their six album as the band Seether, a compilation album from their 11 years as a band with singles from every record, including the big favorites “Remedy”, “The Gift” (my personal favorite), “Broken (Feat. Amy Lee)” and “Country Song”.

The first single from this record is a cover of Veruca Salt’s song “Seether”, which the band accredits to it’s own name. Veruca Salt, by the way, announced it’s reunion and we’re expecting an album from them too. It’s a great cover, and on both ends a pretty clever publicity stunt (although I can’t be sure that’s what it was, of course).

I still hold true to Disclaimer II and Karma And Effect, so I know I’m excited to hear those songs again in this album, but I’m also really excited to see what else Seether has up their sleeve. This band has been going strong for over a decade now, and there’s no telling wher  they’ll go next!

I digress, what’s with this album cover?! Does anyone have any ideas?

File:Seether 2002-2013.png

Enjoy, and come back again when the album is released!


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New Single: A Love Like War

Many All Time Low fans cheered when the pop-punk band unveiled the news of a re-release of Don’t Panic, their latest album that featured “The Reckless and the Brave” and “Backseat Serenade”, but even more were thrilled to hear that Pierce The Veil vocalist Vic Fuentes would be joining the band to record a song that was titled “A Love Like War”. A music video featuring the band and Fuentes was released last week, and is almost at 900K views!

This song has all the makings of a classic All Time Low song; driving guitar power chords, upbeat drums, and choppy verses with powerful choruses. The addition of Fuentes enhances the song by adding a dynamic contrast to lead singer Alex Gaskarth’s voice, without bringing in a tone that doesn’t fit the song.

If you were looking for the next song to get stuck in your head for days on end that you can sing along and dance dramatically to, that would be “A Love Like War”. The video is entertaining- All Time Low has a great sense of humor- and was an interesting idea to go along with the tune.

I’ve already gotten this song stuck in my head several times, and I think this will go down on the list of songs that were definitely meant to be made!


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Shinedown: Unity

Shinedown had been a big thing when Sound of Madness came out, with songs like “Second Chance”, “The Crow & The Butterfly”, and of course “Sound of Madness”. However, I think they quickly became underrated when their fourth studio album, Amaryllis, came out. This album is more diverse, and a good deal of their songs are relatable on an all-age scale, which is unique as well as important. I think a lot of people just let the album go unrecognized, myself included. While I like all the songs on this album, their second single, “Unity” is the song that really reminded me that Shinedown was still around and that they were a good band, even beyond just their music.

This video almost brought me to tears for some strange reason the first time I watched it. I’ve put it up on this website once, but I don’t think I ever really talked about why I think it’s important.

And your moment of truth

Is the day that you say “I’m not scared”

The way Brent Smith sings this line sends shivers down my spine, and the emotion behind it is how you know that this line is why the whole song was written. It’s a reminder to everyone that no one is useless and everyone is important, even to the people we think are bigger than we are in life.

I don’t know, it’s just a good song and a good video. Think what you want.


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The Summer Set: Lightning In A Bottle

The Summer Set, a small pop rock group from Scottsdale, Arizona, just released their new album Legendary, which symbolized a big turn in the lives of all the members. Jess Bowen, the sparky female drummer, finally came out with her sexuality, and Brian Dales used the album to look back at his life and reflect. Not to mention the start of their career with a new label (Fearless Records), I would say this album meant a lot to the whole band. Nevertheless, it’s very poppy and upbeat.

I posted the cute lyric video for “Boomerang” already, but I think that this song is just as cute, if not better because it’s got less allusions. So, enjoy this for today, and I’ll have some more music for you guys to check out tomorrow!


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There And Back Again: Mikefest 2013!

Life continuously surprises me, as a person that doesn’t set extremely high standards for most things. I was ready to spend my Saturday night in my room, listening to music I’ve heard dozens of times and scrolling through [insert any website here]. That is, until I was offered to go to this…Mikefest 2013. What was this? I had no idea, but there would be bands there, along with one of my best friends. Which sounds better? Well, a free outside concert of course!

Let me clarify now, Mikefest is a celebration held every year to celebrate the life of Michael Charles Russell, and this years donations went to SGT Keith Hale, who recently medically retired. There were tents set up for local businesses of all kinds, as well as raffles that went towards the donation money. It was a free, all ages event, with children running around on the inflatable slide and bounce carousel. There were also four very excited and well-behaved wild Border collie’s running around: One, Two, Fluffy, and Troublemaker.

We arrived right before Inveyn’s set; a Nashville band that I have heard once before at Rivers & Spires. Their bassist’s strap fell off a good number of four times in total, even when he switched into the frontman’s extra strap. He played it off well, in fact; I didn’t realize he wasn’t just kneeling for affect until he stood up at the end of the song to fix it. They played a few of their own songs, as well as Cumbersome by Seven Mary Three, Simple Man by Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Seek and Destroy by Metallica. They’re great performers, like a mix between Metallica and Godsmack (don’t ask, just accept it), and hopefully next time they play I’ll be there again!

The next act was Kris Bell, a trio that played country-rock with phenomenal guitar solos. I stayed back for the first half of the set, appreciating the musicianship. After we went forward it was insisted that for the next song everyone had to be out from under the trees and in front of the stage. After a fifteen minute wait everyone finally yielded and stood up for the rendition of Freebird, ending a great set.

Most of these bands sounded relatively the same, but as the sun goes down, things are bound to change. At least, that’s what For Lack of Lythium brought to this Mikefest. They are to rock and metal what the Venetia Fair is to pop-punk and alternative: crazy and sporadic and good. They were obviously enjoying themselves; with the lead singer dancing back and forth across the stage. The second song they played when I stood up was something that sounded like Michael Jackson. It wasn’t until Dylan told me (thanks Dylan!) that I realized it WAS Michael Jackson. They killed the coolest rock version of Billie Jean I’ve ever heard; sorry Breathe Carolina! Even moreover, when I went back to talk to them afterwards, the whole band was extremely personable and friendly.

Oh, also, there were these girls that can’t have been older than 8 headbanging and holding up rock and roll signs. They were the stars of that show, props to them and whoever brought them!

It was so nice to get out of the house and see these great bands that performed with such energy and talent. Don’t be surprised if you hear about them again, they’re all local bands thankfully, and I’ve got my eye on them. It just goes to show you that the best things are always unexpected, and the best friends are the ones you go on adventures with.

I don’t have any videos for you guys, but I’ll link all their Facebooks below so you can go like them and keep up with them too!


Kris Bell

For Lack of Lythium


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Paramore: Paramore Album Review

One of the biggest female-fronted bands of this generation and THE biggest female-fronted band of their genre, Franklin-based Paramore seems indestructible. But when the Farro brothers left, many fans weren’t sure of what would happen to the punk-pop group. Would the band fall apart without what fans considered an essential part to the band, or would they- like a phoenix- rise from their metaphorical ashes and come back with the hardest hitting album of their career and 2013?

“Now”, however, all anticipation is over! Two singles and undoubtedly much work later, Paramore is proud to present Paramore, their self-titled album. The title may seem self-absorbed, but it represents the beautiful transformation of maturity the band has gone through, and it expresses their new sound and their new direction.

This is still Paramore. It’s undeniable that change is apparent in these songs, but they are made with love and inspiration, something that I think all fans can appreciate. Whether your favorite song is Misery Business, Emergency, or The Only Exception, you’ll love Paramore.

The album has all sorts of dynamic, with interludes that sound like nevershoutnever with a 50’s flair, tuned that sound inspired by all sorts of artists like My Chemical Romance- who’s “Na Na Na” can be compared to the driving anthem “Now”-, P!nk-whose bluesy vocal style Hayley matches in the meaningful, relatable “Grow Up”, Florence and The Machine- “Last Hope” sounds a lot like the airy style they usually bring to their records, and even Michael Jackson- which the dancing, spiteful “Ain’t It Fun” reminds me of personally. Even “Fast In My Car”, which wasn’t my favorite on the record, sounded like “Automatic Systematic Habit” in its techno characteristics and style.

The album is lyrically important to Hayley, Jeremy, and Taylor, and you can tell that in some form each song is directly from the heart of at least one of them. “Fast In My Car” was definitely a shout out to the Farro brothers, with the lines “  “The three of us were initiates/we had to learn how to deal/ and when we spotted a second chance/ we had to learn how to steal.” My second favorite on the record, “Daydreaming”, has really powerful meaning and most teenagers will be able to connect with the verse, “Not that I won’t remember where I’m from/ Just don’t wanna be here no more”.

There was a pretty big difference in style from not only previous albums but the tracks from this record itself. “Let The Flames Begin” doesn’t really stand out, and neither does “Hate To See Your Heart Break”, or “Future”, but they are the songs you really have to listen to in order to appreciate. I will point out that the almost tango “(One of Those) Crazy Girls” is only distinctive because the lyrics throw you off like Blondie’s “One Way (Or Another)”. Contrary-wise, there are a few songs that are just super upbeat and perfect for dancing. “Anklebiters” has a really punk rock beginning and would be perfect for a jumping crowd, and “Proof” has the bite that reminds me of “Feeling Sorry”, along with “Be Alone”. My personal favorite was the upbeat love song, “Still Into You” which had an Aerosmith edge with style and an impressive bridge that is the pinnacle of Hayley’s vocals for the album in my opinion.

In some ways, Paramore is a lot more pop then older albums, but it’s heartfelt and determined, and you can tell the trio put in a lot of work to make this exactly what they wanted and what they thought would be the best direction. Because of its diversity, not everyone is going to have the same favorite and least favorite songs from this album, but that’s what makes it even better. Everyone is going to love the album for different reasons, and everyone is going to connect with a different song. I love it and think it’s safe to say it has definitely set the bar for future music they will make.

What do you think?

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The Ringleader

Three words.

The. Venetia. Fair.

I’m a strong believer of “We’re all quite mad here” theology, because everyone’s got some problem or some sort of insanity bottled up inside of them; whether it’s depression, angry, or just plain crazy. I feel like that’s where a lot bands are missing their real edge. These days, they focus on the emotion that any basic teenagers could relate to. Sadness, heart-break, anger.

But The Venetia Fair takes the elements of “emo”, “theater” and “rock and roll” and puts in their own insanity that just rips through me. On their song “Ringleader”, which is my favorite, they have this bridgepiece in between the verses, where the keyboardist just slams down on the instrument. Many people complained about it, but I found it almost addicting. The chaos of it is intriguing, and it isn’t just “The Ringleader” that has it.

“The Circus” is their 2009 album but the whole album is fantastic. It’s energetic and beautifully crazy. Their lyrics are like one huge metaphor. I think it’s amazing and anyone who’s looking for a new favorite band should check them out.


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Album Review: Memphis May Fire’s Challenger

Title: Challenger

Artist: Memphis May Fire

Release Date: June 26th, 2012

Album #: 3

Rating: 8 out of 10

Album Art for "Challenger"

Album Art for “Challenger”

Even after nearly a year, this album proceeds to be one of the top albums on my listening list, for many reasons. I feel that the blend between screams and clean vocals is phenomenal, along with the emotional pull that I get from the lyrics themselves and the great instrumentals really make the album one of the best from 2012 and it’s a great marker of Memphis May Fire’s overall talent and potential. Not that they couldn’t do better, but they definitely raised the bar in my opinion.

Here are a few songs that demonstrate the album’s high points.

Prove Me Right: In what may or may not be a direct attack toward record companies, quite frankly corporations in general or even false individuals, MMF takes a stand for themselves and inspires people to do the same. I think that this song exudes a lot of anger in a very feisty yet serious manner that many people can pull emotion from.

Generation: Hate: With a new generation of technology comes a new generation of hatred and bullying which is found in every facet of the internet. At the same time as degrading these people, MMF attacks their anti-fans and the people that define the term “cyberbullying”.

Alive In The Lights: Everyone who has a dream knows someone else that feels like their only job is to lower the self-esteem of the dreamer until they have nothing left inside of them. MMF takes the understanding of hate and pain into proof that no matter what anyone else says, you are allowed to live your life the way you want and achieve what you want to do.

Miles Away: Many musicians write love songs, but how many can take real emotion and experience and transform it into a non-conforming love song? This song presents a real, unique perspective of a musician torn between music and love, with just barely less fluff. Kellin Quinn’s vocals do not harm this song in my opinion.

All in all I think this album reaches out to this generation of fans in a way that most disconnected bands are failing to do. I would like to see MMF keep moving forward in their music yet stay completely true to themselves and of course their dedicated fans.

All of the tracks on this album are on Rise Records’ Youtube:

Let me know your opinion!


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