Tag Archives: punk

Shawna Virago Delivers Strong Messages With Punk Twists In Heaven Sent Delinquent

13 Apr

Shawna Virago dazzles the music scene with her newest album Heaven Sent Delinquent. Combining visual storytelling with singing about emotions, Virago does an amazing job of painting pictures within the tracks on this album. Drawing inspiration from typical folk sound, Virago spins it into a world of her own. Also, deep within her music lies the themes of punk rebels, stories of the queer and transgender community, and pioneers of society. Overall the album takes the listener through a ride of journey as they listen to stories of love, adventure, and reflections. In conclusion, Virago crafts a sound that’s a perfect blend of new age Americana, folk, and punk into one album.

For more listening:

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Departure Delivers A Wave of Emotion Within Gateways

14 Aug

With emphasis on heavy synths and the electric guitar, the track titled Gateways from Salt-Lake City based group Departure’s newest EP called Gateways delivers angst and agony all wrapped within this heart felt song. Lyrics such as “shut the lights off”/” I’m exactly what you think I am”/, you never know how deep my sorrow goes/ all make the listener ride the wave of intense emotion within the tone of the song.  Additionally, the theme of personifying lyrics makes the listener connect even more; “agony has a new face, it looks just like me”. The vocal talents within Departure are strong, drawing similarities to Copeland and the early days of Coheed & Cambria. Setting an impressive mark in the music world so far with opening for Phantogram Neon Trees, Cold War Kids, and many more Gateway is here to stay with their lasting mark within their music.

Stuck In My Head — Bear Hands

30 May

bear-hands

I’ve had a chance to listen to a lot of Sirius XM radio lately, and in my listening binge I have found myself on the Alt Nation channel much of the time. On it, Bear Hands, an Indie Rock/Punk band formed in Brooklyn a decade ago, has found much play with a song called “2 a.m.” from the band’s 2016 studio album You’ll Pay for This. The song is just one in a vast library of excellent music Bear Hands has released since its first LP was introduced to the listening populace in 2010. Let’s explore two of Bear Hands’ most popular songs.

“Agora,” an ode to the phobia that shares the prefix, is a jaunty, paranoid song with fragmented guitar, pleading harmonies, and a spooky key motif. With the repetition of agora in the verse it almost sounds like the band is the music video’s protagonist’s deranged mind. Oh, and the song is pretty awesome too; a sub-3-minute ditty that hits the ears hard and sticks.

“2 a.m.” has marked differences that demonstrate the band’s multifarious skill. The song is more methodical in its pace, featuring slow keys and muffled drums. The vocals reflect the instrumentation; at times they even some strained and depressed. The song serves a wonderful contrast to “Agora” and other fast-paced Bear Hands songs, and the slowed down style is impressive. It also reflects the lyrics, which sings of getting older.

 

You can find out more about Bear Hands at the band’s website

Violent Femmes Want Love

8 Apr

Violent Femmes

When one hears Indie Rock, he/she immediately thinks of the plethora of eclectic music that crowds the airwaves today. Violent Femmes has a lot to do about that sound you hear; the band served as a major forerunner to Indie music that bent genres and refused to give into mainstream sounds. Violent Femmes, who has developed a tremendous fan-base that can’t really be termed cult, is on the comeback train, releasing its first new music in 15 years – a 4-track EP – on April 18. The EP, HAPPY NEW YEAR, was recorded this past New Year’s Eve in Hobart, Tasmania, after the band performed a sold-out concert at the Sydney Opera House.

The EP is highlighted by a cover of Jake Brebes track entitled “Love Love Love Love Love,” a gritty track that highlights one of the Femmes’ greatest strengths – creative eccentricity. The Femmes, who returned to action in 2013 with a renowned Coachella performance, will now tour the new EP (as well as all the old stuff) as a guest on The Barenaked Ladies’ “Last Summer On Earth 2015” tour. That’s a killer show.

The track has a neat edginess, which is amplified by the eery percussion and jazzy, deep horns. Gordon Gano’s voice has always been something special, and it is in full force with this track, which feels like it might be out of a quirky HBO crime drama. It is exactly what I would expect from the Femmes first release in years – different and infectiously unsettling. For a song about “love all around me,” there is definitely a little malicious intent hidden beneath the surface, and this, magnified by the dirty sax solo at the end, is excellent!

Great new release. Keep tabs on the Femmes on the website or on Facebook or Twitter.

Top 10 Songs of 2013: #4 – “Recovery” by Frank Turner

23 Dec

Frank Turner

Frank Turner is no stranger to this whole music thing. His road to get to now was just a slight bit unconventional. You see, Turner’s first music love was Iron Maiden metal. Yes, the picture above does juxtapositional wonders: tattoos on his fingers hugging an acoustic guitar. His folk fervor came after his initial band, Million Dead – a post-hardcore effort with songs like “Murder and Create” and “Pornography for Cowards” – split up. After coming across Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska, Turner had an apotheosis: fuse his hardcore roots with a punk-infused folk style and see what comes of it. Five albums later and fit with a full backing band, The Sleeping Souls, Turner has just reached the pinnacle of his solo career with his 2013 effort Tape Deck Heart, which coincidentally was inspired by another break up; this split was of the love variety.

Turner, of Meonstroke, Hampshire, has developed a unique style based on his illustrious and diverse career. It seems that when you blend hardcore and folk together, you get an esoteric form of punk. His music is laced with an acute acoustic vibe that maintains punk angst and power. Think Violent Femmes mixed with celtic punk mixed with Bob Dylan. It doesn’t seem to mesh, but Turner skillfully does it, and he does it particularly with the #4 song on our list – “Recovery.”

In 1962, Neil Sedaka and Howard Greenfield penned the song “Breaking Up is Hard to Do,” and this ditty concisely stated a fact of life. Breaking up is indeed hard to do. Turner wrote and recorded his new album after the collapse of a long-term relationship, and this adversity sparked some tremendous music. “Recovery” is not your usual break-up song, though. Turner’s lyric is jam-packed with candor and passion. In a sense, Turner, whose vocal is that of a strained raconteur, is pleading throughout the song, and the subject of his emotional petition is skillfully placed as the conclusion of the piece when he sings “Darling, sweet lover, won’t you help me to recover.”

Turner, in an ode to Dylan and other folk songs of the past, packs in so many words in each verse that the song plays like a short story. The music permits this lyrical burst. The Sleeping Souls help drive the piece, which is carried by a swinging piano and heavy percussion. The acoustic guitar glides with Turner’s busy vocal. Musically, the climax comes at around 2:15, when the Turner’s vocal falls out after the bridge in favor of a small piano solo and rising guitar. The strength of this song, though, is Turner’s masterful lyric.

Perhaps the strongest lyric is the full second verse.

“And I’ve been waking in the morning just like every other day
And just like every boring blues song I get swallowed by the pain
And so I fumble for your figure in the darkness just to make it go away.
But you’re not lying there any longer and I know that that’s my fault
So I’ve been pounding on the floor and I’ve been crawling up the walls
And I’ve been dipping in my darkness for serotonin boosters,
Cider and some kind of smelling salts.”

Fumbling for his ex-lover’s figure in a daze and then realizing that it was his fault that she is gone. Then following this pursuit by searching for anything (serotonin boosters, spiked cider, and smelling salts) to lift him up from the crippling depression he is feeling. Talk about truth, right? Turner does not want to paint an optimistic picture here. Before hitting the last chorus, where Turner sings of the long way to recovery, he croons, “Because I know you are a cynic but I think I can convince you. Yeah, cause broken people can get better if they really want to. Or at least that’s what I have to tell myself if I am hoping to survive!”

He, like most after break-ups, cannot shake the thought that perhaps if he changes he can convince his ex to come back. But, in honest fashion, he realizes that he is only telling this to himself to “survive.” He intertwines the metaphor of drowning into this piece, and that is a smart decision because while the listener drowns in the sound and words of this piece, Turner is quite literally drowning in his words, trying desperately to rise up into recovery but undergoing a song-wide realization that he may not be able to do it without his “darling, sweet lover.”

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