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Tanner EP Review

NYC indie rocker Tanner is making a splash onto the music scene with the recent release of his debut self-titled EP. This New York local tells stories of addiction, love, and heartache with upbeat choruses and rocking lyrics. “Where You Go” kicks everything off as a slow but beat appreciating compilation intro to the rest of the tracks. Up next we have “Satellite,” a soothing ballet of guitars, drums, and heartfelt vocals. “Come Alive” is definitely the heart and highlight of this EP, with a catchy chorus, steady beat, and perfectly timed guitar solo, it’s only a matter of time before this song is being played on radio stations across the nation. Rounding out the last half are the two tracks “Lonely Girl” and “Slow Release,” both of which continue what “Come Alive” started, tempting the listener to get off his/her feet and just have a good time. Ending the EP is “Mend,” a slow emotional but rhythmatic tune which showcases a very talented musician in Tanner both lyrically and instrumentally.

Be sure to check out Tanner’s Facebook page for updates and pick up a copy of his EP out now! Also, you can watch the videos for his 2 singles “Come Alive” and “Where You Go” on his YouTube channel (links below).

-Annette V.



Warped Tour 2014 St. Petersburg Photos

The Amatory Murder Interview 2

Chelsea Grin “Ashes To Ashes” Album Review

Chelsea Grin just came out with their new album Ashes To Ashes. This album is very different then what they were putting out in the past. The vocals are more musical and the lyrics are a lot easier to understand and relate to. The first track, “Playing With Fire,” starts off the album on a rapid hardcore start, saying that they are fed up with society and that it should be rid of the negatives and release us from conformity, “cleansing all the hate of the wicked. Liberate our life from oppression.” The following track just amplifies that feeling saying “we’re all living a lie” and that we are fed up being treated “like puppets” and we need to “take control” or just give up. Musically, each song is quite different but still have some similarities in the bass and drums to keep them all coherent with each other. This album is very unique to Chelsea Grin and seems to be a cleaner and clearer one as well. This band has done a great job from every level, lyrics to bass line, everything fits perfectly like a puzzle.

-Raquel P.


Hodera “Reset to Default” EP Review

New Jersey based quartet Hodera released their debut EP “Reset to Default” on June 17th. Matt Smith’s vocals accompanied by the raw and simple guitar riffs make this five-track EP an easy listen. Right off the bat, “Just My Instinct” welcomes us with a soft acoustic introduction that sets the tone for the rest of the album. This band is nothing short of talented, and each song holds a different message with a different listening experience.

It is very rare that I see a band with this much potential and if they continue what they’ve been doing, they’ll set themselves up for headliners in the near future. After the easygoing track “Tell Me Something I Can Do,” “Creative Comfort” speeds up the EP enough to forget what you’re doing and really listen to the poetry this foursome wrote. When I was listening to this track, I could not only hear the passion through the vocals and the lyrics, but I could feel it.

After thoroughly listening to “Reset to Default,” I could tell they were being their own band and not trying to merely copy another band’s style. With creative lines such as “microwave my frozen heart” the message of love and heartbreak became clear and relatable. “She Knows Because She Read It In A Book Once” is the perfect finisher to this EP because it ties all loose ends and leaves you wanting more. While I was listening to this track, I couldn’t help but wish it were in the ending of an indie romance film that I could watch over and over when I get sad and lonely. It’s one of those songs that you cling to and want to make your own.

My favorite part of the entire EP was at the very end of the fifth track with their short outro track. I fell in love with the acoustics of the song and couldn’t help but hum along.

All in all, Hodera’s debut EP made me wish I lived in New Jersey just so I could see them live all the time. I can’t wait to see what they hold for the future. For such a new band, they really seem to know what they want. Keep doing what you’re doing, boys. It’s working!

-Brooke B.


Hodera Q&A

All questions are answered by Matt Smith of Hodera.

1. Introduce yourself and your role in the band.

I’m Matt Smith. I’m the lead singer and rhythm guitarist in the band Hodera.

2. How’d you come up with the name Hodera? What’s it mean to you guys?

I was researching literary symbols one day and I came across an ornamental Ivy leaf called “hedera.” Hedera is the scientific name for Ivy but I didn’t like how it sounded. So I changed the ‘e’ to an ‘o’ and came up with “Hodera”.

3. How did you guys meet and form the band? 

I met Matt C when we started the band Epilogues. When Epilogues ended we formed Hodera. Matt C brought his friend Nick V in and then we found Nick B through an ad we put out.

4. What made you guys go for that Alternative / Indie Rock sound?

I don’t think we’re trying to go for a certain sound. That’s just how I write and how we all play. Our sound is developing and changing as we go.

5. So you just finished up your East Coast & Midwest tour dates…how was that tour for you guys?

It was a lot of fun! We sold out of CD’s and we met a lot of friends!

6. Who are some artists/bands that you draw inspiration from?

I’d say I draw inspiration from musical experimentation and emotions more so than than specific bands. For example, finding a new tuning will inspire me to write a new song, fueled by whatever is currently happening in my life.

7. Now you’ve released “Reset to Default” back in June, what was the hardest song to write/record on the EP…which was the easiest? 

All the writing came pretty easy. The hardest to record was “Tell Me Something I Can Do” because we had to keep the emotion in the song while playing to a click track. And in an emotional song that builds and recedes there tends to be a fluctuation in tempo. The easiest song to record would probably be “She Knows Because She Read It In A Book Once” because it’s a simple and fun song that only has 3 parts to it.

8. If you could have anything happen at one of your shows, what would it be and why?

Just to have people love our music as much as we do and vibe with us while we’re playing.

9. Where is your favorite place to eat on tour?

Personally, I am not a fan of tour food haha. So I’m the last person in the band who should be taking this question. I eat healthy but have to break my healthy diet on the road. I must say I’m a huge fan of making like coffee mixed drinks at gas stations. I mix 1/3 coffee with all types of hot chocolates, steamers, and anything else in that flavored hot drinks machine. I know the band loves Cookout because we don’t have those in NJ.

10. Is there anything else you’d like to say? 

I (Matt Smith) have been thinking of putting down the guitar to explore new instruments for the next album.


The Lovebirds Q&A

1. Introduce yourself and say your role in the band.

LW: I’m Lindsay White. I write, sing, and play guitar, ukulele, and sometimes drums. I’m usually the one in the skirt.

VM: My name is Veronica May aka V to the May aka no one calls me that. I am the co-leader of the band. I’m the guitar/uke/drum/singer/songwriter.

2. What made you come up with the name “The Lovebirds?”

VM: I claim that I named it right before we were supposed to perform. We were not even quite sure we would be a band but they needed our name so I said, “The Lovebirds.”

LW: We didn’t even have a discussion about it. It just kind of stuck and even though we’re broken up now, it still works because we definitely have a positive “love is all it takes” message in our music.

3. Where’d you find the inspiration to write your songs on your album “Breakup Shmakeup?”

VM: The title says it all. Most of the songs are a chronicling of the process of the breakup. The initial sadness, the confusion, the anger, the peace and acceptance.

LW: For me it was a musical grieving process. Every song I wrote on the album addressed specific emotions I was feeling at the time of going through a breakup. “Boat Train” spoke to that ache you feel right when a breakup happens. “Whiplash” is all about anger and confusion. “Crimson Love” and “Catch the Rain” are about picking up the pieces. “It Lands” is about trusting time’s ability to heal, and so on.

4. What do you hope your fans will take away from this album?

LW: I hope fans will be able to relate to the idea of facing, feeling, and accepting whatever challenging emotions they may be experiencing at any given time. I hope they will remember to be kind to themselves and gracious to others. I hope they might be able to grasp onto the notion that immense growth and perspective often comes from loss.

VM: I hope they take away something that makes them think and feel. I hope they are able to personalize and find a deeper understanding of a situation they might be in. I hope they can scream the songs to the top of their lungs or lay down and close their eyes and feel all the feelings with the quiet songs.

5. Who has had the biggest influence on your music and writing style?

LW: Early influences include Bob Dylan and poet Shel Silverstein – that’s how I found out words and the way you use them can really move a person. I find myself influenced now by artists like Milk Carton Kids, First Aid Kit, Haim and countless San Diego artists.

VM: For myself, I think one of the biggest influences is my mother. I watched her play the piano growing up and would harmonize with her. I would try and fail at harmonizing for the first few years. I have a very patient mother. Even though I didn’t see my dad as much growing up, I have seen the way he plays guitar and I do a lot of the same things he does. Maybe it comes down to genetics. Nat King Cole and The Carpenters were other influences.

6. As far as warmups go, what helps you best before you take the stage?

LW: I’m not a huge drinker, but I do enjoy a beer or a whiskey drink before a show. It loosens me up just enough. Other than that, I really appreciate a good sound-check. We don’t always get a legit one, so when we do it feels like Christmas.

VM: If I’m really really nervous I can’t help but say a heartfelt Hail Mary. The Catholic is still in there somewhere. Otherwise I do single-string warmups or scales on the guitar. I stretch my forearms and I fiddle around on the guitar or play drums on my legs.

7. What song do you most like to play at shows?

VM: I would have to say “Whiplash” because I get to beat the crud out of the drums.

LW: I agree – I have a ton of fun playing “Whiplash” – there’s this crazy vocal break where V goes nuts on the drums and I just release every ounce of tension built up inside me. Every time we finish that song, I feel like I just completed the most intense two-minute therapy session. Another favorite would be “UNI” off our second album because it’s the one the audience knows and sings with us!

8. If you could have anything happen at one of your shows, what would it be and why?

VM: Have my grandma and grandpa come back to life and watch us rock the stage…that or a really genuine agent with a lot of heart, a lot of the connections we want and a lot of money saying they wants us to work with her/him. 

LW: Have you ever seen the end of the movie Wayne’s World? Something like that. I would be wearing a lingerie mini dress and we would be performing a rousing cover of “Ballroom Blitz” in a basement for a cable access show. Various scenarios would include securing legit management, or offers to tour with our favorite bands, or securing a publishing deal. Basically anything that would give us an opportunity to make music for a living without selling our souls to a guy like Benjamin. OK, I’ve taken this too far.

9. Would you rather have a major recording company viewing your show or your biggest inspiration?

VM: Don’t make me answer this.

LW: Oh, the pressure! I think I’m going to be a wimp and say major recording company. I wouldn’t be as nervous if that happened because if they didn’t like us it wouldn’t be the end of the world. But if Bob Dylan sat in the audience and hated our show or checked his text messages the whole time, that would really mess with my mind. That said, there’s an amazing performance of First Aid Kit singing “America” for Paul Simon at a tribute show, and I would LOVE to do something like that if we ever got “big” enough to be invited to such a thing. He would probably hate every minute of a tribute show in his honor…and I would probably poop in my pants if I got to sing in front of him.

10. Is there anything else you’d like to say?

VM: I recently got a pretty bad sunburn but only on the front of my body.

LW: Stay connected with us online at www.thelovebirds.com and FB/TW/YT. We’re always posting something silly and love interacting with our fans/friends!

-Be sure to catch The Lovebirds at Rockwood Music Hall in NYC on August 2nd!-

Heart to Heart “Dulce” Album Review

Everyone has a few bands that mean a lot to them. Not just bands that you enjoy seeing or listening to once in a while, but a band that has albums or a few songs that really hit home. For me, Heart to Heart has become one of those bands in a quick year.

Heart to Heart’s 2012 self-titled release is a hard album to describe. The album reaches back to post-hardcore and some of the emo sounds of the early 2000s. One moment, Heart to Heart can be can be catchy pop-punk. The next, you might find yourself screaming along to Nick Zoppo’s grungy screams with explosive lines like, “Look at you swallowing my soul” and “I ruined you, and you ruined me!” The self-titled album easily reached its way into one of my favorite albums of recent times.

The first few listens I gave to Dulce felt somewhat hit and miss. Dulce opens with “A.M.F.,” a song which feels like a fitting introduction to Heart to Heart’s unique post-hardcore/punk-pop sound. Songs like “A.M.F.” are what Heart to Heart does best; poppy choruses broken up by hard-hitting moments. At first, the next two tracks felt like padding compared to later tracks, but the album has grown on me since. There isn’t a song on Dulce that I can pass off as ‘bad.’ However, some tracks don’t seem to hold up to the same greatness as songs like “Firefly” and “Bad Habits.”

Nick’s lyrics seem a bit darker this time around, but just as honest and catchy as fans have come to expect. Unfortunately, backup vocals are noticeably lacking in comparison to the band’s previous work. I’m a sucker for bands that can pull off songs with dual vocalists frequently, but the band doesn’t seem keen on more than a few verses and frequent layered harmonies. This doesn’t make the album poorer in quality, but does present a noticeable change in style.

One of my favorite parts of Dulce is the inspiration the band very clearly draws from. While “Daydream” sounds like something off of A Day To Remember’s Homesick, “Black Widow” sounds like Senses Fail thrown into Heart to Heart’s pop-punk blender. Even Brand New and Taking Back Sunday’s material can be heard in songs. Heart to Heart’s decision to draw from such different influences really pays off. Dulce even dabbles around in progressive structure in “Black Widow” which I hope to hear more of. The song’s three parts move from a slow ballad to a thrashy breakdown before closing with piano that fits perfectly.

While I was very reluctant to enjoy Dulce at first, the album is a greatly polished ride from start to finish.  From the album’s start, I’ve barely hit the skip button in my 10+ plays of Dulce. Even if the album doesn’t seem to soar quite as high for a few minutes, Heart to Heart’s knack for key changes and loud moments easily do the band justice. If you’re not into a song on the album, wait a few moments and see if there is something you like. Chances are there will be. Here’s to hoping for more albums with Dulce’s quality and thoughtfulness in the future.

-Sarah W.

IONIA “Captain Humility” Music Video