Friday, August 21, 2020

Neck Deep’s All Distortions are Intentional Will Haunt You or Save You (Album Review)

By Vanessa Donadio

Neck Deep is back and ready to impress with their new album All Distortions are Intentional. In an age where pop punk is not nearly as popular as it once was, Neck Deep continues to contribute to its relevance in a modern era. With clever storytelling and captivating sounds to go with it, this concept album reveals itself to be one of the reasons for Neck Deep’s formidable success as a pop punk band in 2020.

The album, which opens up with the mind-provoking “Sonderland,” (a mix between the words “wonderland” and “sonder”) tells the tale of a guy named Jett. The first track, while already very catchy, is even more fascinating with the knowledge of the word “sonder”- the realization that everyone else in the world is living their own lives, and that these lives are just as complex as your own.

The next track, “Fall,” is surely a standout on the album, focusing heavily on the chorus and mesh of long melodious guitar notes. This is when we discover that Jett is no stranger to addiction with substances, and that he uses them to cope. During one crazy night out, Jett meets Alice, a girl who makes him feel like he may have a chance at a normal life. A glimmer of hope in an otherwise chaotic existence. 

“Lowlife,” while not the most musically interesting song on the album, begins to describe how Jett thinks of Alice and his new life that includes her in it. Lyrics like “My dreamworld is Alice and me / My life is one big jamboree” showcase their feelings for each other. They judge other people together and appreciate being outcasts together. It’s all one descriptively colorful party.

A few tracks later, “Quarry” breaks things down to produce a slow, steady beat that eases up on the instrumentals. It’s calming and simple, nearly taking on its own genre. A sense of loneliness is on display, confirmed by the desolate lyrics that match it. Clearly a moment of darkness on the album, the band has stated it to be about Jett’s mental health issues, specifically his bi-polar disorder. It all comes together enchantingly with lead singer Ben Barlow’s spoken-word slow rap toward the end.

After a few more songs (the album has 12 and is 39 minutes long), Jett and Alice’s story comes full circle with a straight-forward talk of death and where we all eventually end up. As tragic as the subject material may be, this track manages to be one of the most beautiful on the album. 

While Jett learns how to love and deals with the trauma of his own self-destruction, something about his story is relatable. Whether on a literal or metaphorical level, as listeners, we are all able to feel what he has felt at different points during his life. All Distortions are Intentional is both a reminder of how hard life gets, and a saving-grace for those struggling from all of the real-life devastation going on this year. 

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Suntitle’s Pure Forever (Album Review)

by Vanessa Donadio

Alternative emo band, Suntitle, from Port Republic, New Jersey, recently joined Know Hope Records for the release of their second EP, Pure Forever. With only two EPs so far, they have already played for bands such as Movements, Turnover, Set It Off, Seaway, Knuckle Puck, X Ambassadors, and many others. As a follow-up to 2018’s debut release, The Loss Of, the band has mustered up a few new strong tracks-each worth listening to. Pure Forever contains songs that prove this band has a promising future ahead of them. 
“Big Jawn,” which was released on March 4th with a trippy music video to go with it, hits hard with a captivating chorus and heavy guitar riff. It may be one of the band’s best songs so far. It is sure to be remembered. 
“Miligram” is another stand-out, filled with real emotion, particularly anger and pain. In fact, each track is sung passionately and performed in a way that is bound to make its listeners truly feel something. It seems as though these songs were written from personal experiences, which has helped to create an even more authentic sound. There is a certain relatability that each of our sadder selves can connect to. 
Pure Forever will be released on April 24th. If you’re looking for a band that you can listen to when you feel like jamming out, or you need a new addition to your sad boy hours playlist, definitely check out Suntitle. They are picking up heat in the alternative rock world, and just like in their lyrics, they “can’t slow down.”

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Old School Blues - Desk Job (Single Review)

By Maryann Turoci

This song immediately hits me with memories of high school. It reminds me of sprinting on my bike to my best friend’s house after getting off the bus and staying up late running around town or sneaking booze to the bridge in a water bottle just so we could laugh and watch the sunset. It reminds me of crazy summer days driving with the windows down and stopping to get milkshakes with friends. It makes you think of old Blink 182 songs as well as Green Day. The name of the song comes through as the singer says he wants to get rid of these “old school blues,” which is also the name of the song and it goes perfectly with the genre. It goes back to the punk rock or alternative rock of the late ‘80s through ‘90s. Simple lyrics like trying to get rid of anger and “I hope nobody asks me about the books I never read.” As if those iconic books most people read in schools are also the one’s a lot of kids pretended to read. It’s a nice reminder that not everyone’s perfect like in all those movies that show how things go on in high school (save the Breakfast Club).

 It’s a perfect homage to people in college now or people who maybe find themselves stuck where they don’t want to be. The lyrics show that although it’s rough right now, although there’s a lot of anger and “old school blues,” that it’s going to get better. The song brought back memories of Blink 182’s “Adam’s Song.” Mark Hoppus sings about how “16 held such better days” but towards the end of the song he changes the lyric to sing “tomorrow holds such better days, days when I could still feel alive.”

  This song is so similar but also has its own beat and is good at bringing back memories of the past while simultaneously making the listener excited for the future. Lines that speak about how there were chances that could’ve been taken the chances that are no longer possible. “Maybe one day I’ll see a little more than two feet in front of me.” The song takes a lot of depression and even angst and anger from the past but pushes it to show a brighter future. Just like songs from Blink 182 it takes all these emotions and somehow creates a song that you can listen to when angry or when you’re having a good time at a party. It can be a song that’s listened to during good or bad. It’s a reminder that we can be clouded by things that are happening right now or by issues of the past. It’s a reminder that sometimes depression or even just depressing or anxious thoughts can take hold, but just like in Blink 182’s song, it later brings some sense of hope while still pumping your blood and making you want to jump around the room.


Sunday, March 8, 2020

Hot Mulligan's Sophomore Album Is A Masterpiece (You'll Be Fine Album Review)

by Daniel Nelligan

The #1 hot new band Hot Mulligan has done it again. Most bands struggle to find a comparable follow up from their first release often called the "Sophomore Slump." However Hot Mulligan said fuck that and released an album that probably could be album of the year in their genre.

So what makes this album so great? It features another collection of songs that will make you want to jam out while on the flip side cry for a few hours with your head phones on. You'll find yourself playing this album over and over finding more greatness in the lyrics while be caught up in the drums and emo guitar sounds that transport you to another world.

Songs that really stand out to me are "SPS" and "We're Gonna Make It To Kilby!" Now this album is for you if you really enjoy the current pop punk sound which has taken that 90s Pop Punk sound and evolved into something I believe is super beautiful.

This albums means everything to them as they stated and I think it will mean just as much to their fans.

Checkout the music video from one of the songs on this album *Equip Sunglasses*

Monday, February 3, 2020

Marquee Grand EP Release Show (Concert Review)

By Daniel Nelligan

I was fortunate enough to attend Marquee Grand's EP release show on January 24th at the sold out Rec Room in Buffalo, New York. According to Marquee Grand this is the first time that Rec Room has sold out for a local show. To be honest you could not have a better lineup than the one on hand, it was no wonder how they sold it out.

The night kicked off with a rather rad band called Johnny & the Man Kids who put on a great opening performance. They came out with sparklers and light sabers. They also lit incense. This band is self described as lo-fi pop rock and I really dig it. If you like the band Fernway you'll love this type of music.

The show continued with one of my favorite live acts of all time The Burkharts who always leave me wondering what I actually just saw along with some great tunes. They are an Alt Rock band but I think their sound is best described like my friend said "imagine if early rock and roll became super dreamy and had a baby with today's Alt Rock scene." They have some great songs but their live show is what blows everybody away. They are something different when you get the opportunity to see them live doing what I would describe as Rock Parkour. The picture above really gives you an idea of the craziness of these shows that the Burkharts put on.

The semi main event was Canetis and if you are a fan of a pop punk sound these would be your go to local band. They are more on the tame side of the pop punk sound being more Alt Rock based however if you are a fan of that sound these guys have you covered. They put on a great show and had me absolutely rocking through their entire set.

It was finally time for Marquee Grand and they absolutely killed it. They played their songs that everybody knows and you have probably heard on Alt Buffalo if you listen to that station along with their new EP that has some really great songs on it (review coming soon). Their set started with balloons everywhere of the colors of their new EP. Which seemed like a cool idea but turned into a game of kick the balloons into the crowd. The game of keep up in the crowd was great. The band had great energy through their set and had a very big band feel. The future is bright for the boys of Marquee Grand.