CD & SHOW REVIEWS
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
It took me a little bit to fully swallow what this album DISTORTED NATION was all about, I had to give it a few spins and now I have realized what the problem was, I haven’t heard good ol’ fashion rock music in ages and the band UNDERRIDE is pretty much making the listener secure that seat belt and blow 100mph onto the highway to hell again!
At first listen you might hear some current influence, Velvet Revolver but to be real these dudes also pull from the old fashion rock also, so let’s just say this influence just brings the “hip” to the sound but deep down inside they are laying out that old school rock that made you want to just open a beer and hang out with friends and let you pause everyday life for a minute and loosen up and have fun.
Although this band delivers that type of flair to the music my first “hell yeah” moment was not a rocking vibe at all, it was the melodic ballad that got me. LOVE IS LIKE DYING, with just the name itself made me take notice but the overall music sentiment and the way the rough vocals laid a more sentimental soaring atmosphere really drove me to repeat this track several times and has to be my most favorite song on the record.
CANDY GIRL drove that Velvet Revolver style into my sou. The attitude, the sassy vibe it’s just purely sexy an animalistic; and probably gets a live setting up and getting pretty rowdy.
SAY GOODBYE TO EVERYTHING THAT’S GONE is my second favorite track off the disc; it starts with a smooth and clean guitar intro and just blasts into this upbeat rocking vibe. The vocals deliver clean seduction gliding into a catchy chorus, and come on who doesn’t like a bit of a guitar solo.. The different layers of this song really make it a standout for the record and shows that rock attitude, melodic ability and catchiness any good rock song needs.
With any rock band you need a song like PORN STAR cause sex and rock n roll go hand in hand. You might think this song would just ooze rock n roll and well yea it does but this song shows a whole new ambiance and sound of the band, still rock but with different tones and the vocal deliverance that is so different from the rest of the album it intrigued making me believe these guys have so many different ways about them that they probably would be recreating themselves with each new record; but please guys don’t cover anymore female pop stars songs because our ears have to be sentenced to listening to it from the media already and you doing it just makes people believe we want more, although the rendition is OK I still don’t want to have to listen to it. So no more Lady Gaga in the future please.
Other then the cover I think UNDERRIDE will bring back the good old rock days and will be experimenting with sound for years to come. Good Luck BOYS!!!
BY STEPHANIE STEVENS
Production by Brett Hesla (Dark New Day, Creed, Virgos Merlot) really put the finishing touches on music that already had that radio friendly rock n roll vibe. SOULICIT sends your senses into the reality of good times, fun sing along punches and radio friendly approaches; creating a soaring ballad or a pumped up rock anthem. I personally saw some Three Days Grace and Theory of a Deadman kind of vibes throughout the record but the band also puts a flash of their own personality into the sound. Rock albums are sometimes hard to review at times cause there is not much experimenting you can hear with the sound but what I look for is a killer voice that can get in my soul, memorable songs and captivating moments that make you want to learn more about the songwriting process and the band themselves. My “like” of the record was due to the fact there were moments of intrigue like in GETTING HIGH, with its sinfully real lyrics and that soulful sound that wraps around the entire song really pushes the band onto national stardom level. HELL YEAH the bands single is just that strutty, uplifting drinking song that will get your fist pumping and the booty’s shaking. Another track was BEAUTY QUEEN because when you have sexual undertones in a song it is just that much more alluring and the song has a solid rock vibe and catchy as hell. BLOW ME AWAY is solid also but without the catchy chorus I don’t think it would of blown me away but the track STICKS AND STONES really made a impact on me as a listener, the vocals are melodic and doesn’t use a lot of different levels, the chorus is rememberable and the transition from verse to chorus was so smooth and endearing. Lyrical I love the passion and storyline and for me this song really sums up what I think SOULICIT is really all about. So take a chance on this new rock band and see if the music moves you like it moved me.`
BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
RATING: 7 /10
FEEL NEVER REAL is a band from Texas who has been performing and releasing music since their inception back in 2004. My first taste of them is on VS. THE SEA OF DISEASE, the bands second album. What every rock act needs is that even balance of some gutsy ballsy songs and some lighter softer appeal and this band makes a conscience effort to supply all on this record.
This disc consists of 7 tracks, where I want to begin is with DRUNKSTAR ANTHEM the southern grit is shining bright in this song, this song by far claims the bands stomping grounds; its packed with guitar punch, lyrics about wild nights, wild girls and just has that upbeat and melody driving foot tapping rock appeal.
LESS HOPELESS has to be my favorite track it creates a different harmony and melody approach from the rest of the album; it displays more layers, provides compelling vocal change ups with active and interesting guitar sounds to make the song a singled out track and captures the more darker and harder rock elements of the band. Plus the semi growls throughout the song made this girl smile wide.
ANYMORE TRUE, with the beautiful piano to introduce this song and the way the melody smoothly creates the base of the song shows what a good ballad is all about. Melodic vocals captivates the storyline and shows a beauty and mesmorizing element that any fan of the softer side of rock will be pleased to listen to.
Another solid track is SEA OF DISEASE, the deep compassion and the rasp and dark vocal approach makes the song a valid rock anthem.
FEEL NEVER REAL isnt doing anything out of the ordinary when it comes to rock music, they do have a good sound, do I feel they will make it to superstardom? Maybe not, but I think they have good qualities and will make a mark around the rock scene of Texas. If they experiement out of the box a bit more with their sound they may just make a leaping strive to rockstar status.
Catch 22 Records
REVIEW BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Sophomore records are very tricky ones to tackle especially when a band like STEMM comes out with a explosive debut disc in BLOOD SCENT, but these guys took a challenge and made some good decisions musically and songwriting wise and made a 2nd disc that is pretty close to as killer or can I say better, although BLOOD SCENT will have a close place in my heart, I think CROSSROADS has a special place in my soul.
Musically this band shows off a hard edge style but supplies enough melody to make it borderline mainstream but still keeping the appeal to someone into the heavier side of rock. I don’t see any considerable difference musically from this album and the past one (although some reviews I did read seems to potray them as going soft or not knowing the style they want or leaping into the mainstream) the only leap I see these NY natives doing is making better quality songs and keeping true to the sound they have always had, one listen to something like MONSTER which harasses you with in your face screams to wake you up and start your day big eyed and bushy tailed tells me that these guys havent wussed out into the light rock sounds, but as any STEMM song may do it then easily transcends into this melodic gritty verse and a chorus that sky rockets to massive melody driven ability to make radio stations not stop spinning this very obvious single. A catchy guitar riff revs you up for FLEUR DE LIS, a bold chorus and a tasty bit of rock n roll rounds out this track. LEFT BEHIND is the bands newest single n video, I would say if you want to call anything mainstream then yea lets throw this one out there but although “mainstream”, the guys have the angles covered; it’s a catchy riff, the vocals are rough and rugged and displays a storyline that captivates. I just think on a whole the song has a solid grasp of what radio should be tracking and letting the public hear, a little bit of solid rock n roll, more grit and some melody shimmer will attract a rock fan far and wide. Then as we blast further into the album we get tangled up with some driving gutsy attitude in the song PULLING TEETH which has a down n gritty hard edge rock feel with a killer chorus that willl having you singing it for days on end and some attitude that always makes a song unforgetable, plus Joe’s vocals just make it exude in aggressive n gutsy appeal. Although the whole album keeps you craving for the next song, the one song that made me stop n repeat over n over was SUPERNAUT the song blasts out with a southern upbeat tempo, its driving with melody and that raspy singing appeal just gives it a homegrown feel. Attach some smokin guitar solos and a breakdown of extra groove and funk this song is set apart from the rest of the disc and for me I love a bit of different and the band made a distinct point when they intertwined this with the rest of the disc. I can just imagine the fun the boys had with this one in the studio. Lastly, we get to the sofest track on the album and also ends the disc AFTER THE TIDE, to be honest this song made me sad but in a good way the emotions I felt througout, really moved me and if anything that is what music should do spark a emotion!!!!! And STEMM knocked it out of the park for me on this track. The sentimental tone of the song lays ground to a amazing vocal performance, it displays different tones and a fresh take on rock beauty.
Overall STEMM is giving you that hard edge we have grown to love and is keeping with the melodic overtones but they have progressed leaps and bounds and what they create is happiness for ones ears. CROSSROADS should push STEMM into rockstar status for sure!!
REVIEW BY: STEPHANIE STEVENS
Long Island has been nurturing and giving the band THE THINGS THEY CARRIED a place to hone their musical style. Although they have released a EP in 09, the album THERE’S SOMETHING I CAN’T TELL ANYONE is my first taste of the band and within my first listen I was taken for a whirlwind ride of intrigue. The band plays screamy, heavy music but intertwines it with this crazy circus ambience that engulfs some songs with crazed cartoon like effects but then leaps into pure melody driven tones. Its something that will keep you on your toes and your ears will be on fire from all the chaos. The next experience you will go through is lyrical content; the band lays out reality induced storylines and it creates meaningful messages that a lot of people don’t like to talk about or keep locked inside, so I guess the album title kind of teases about some secrets but once you open up the packaging and insert this CD into the player the storys come out for you to reflect, think about and sing a long to.
Musically this type of music they play “the metalcore” the screamy/singing vocals, the heavy breakdowns is not groundbreaking but how this band builds a song and layers it, is what makes this record stand out and makes people take notice. They arent afraid to play with creativity and from my opinion the guys do not give a crap if they are conforming to what is “In” or mainstream, but once the song is written it kind of works out for the best of both worlds, and they leave the fans and music world asking what could be next??
The bands first video is for the track 364 DAY ANNIVERSARY, this song aggressively begins with pounding drums and a screaming manic vocal which quickly intertwines melodic vocals and a chorus that soars. With all that happening they still intrigue you with instances of calming sentiments, funky soundscapes and just a rollercoaster ride of emotion. THE RATIONALITY OF FAILURE has to be my favorite I think it’s the way the song flows with creative notes of melody and a big sing along chorus that will leave your heart pumping hard and your body a bit pummeled from killing it in the pit of chaos. With manic screams and deathly growls im surprised this guy hasn’t popped a blood vessel while recording. MOSELY creates that mystery chaos I was talking about almost like the sound of a circus gone wrong but with charming approaches of searing melodic tones and frantic blistering ambience. Just when you thought every song was going to twist and turn you into a frenzy the guys calm it down deeper into the CD especially when you hit MEMORIAM the song still has that signature sound but the beauty that introduces the song will make you believe maybe one day this band will soften up and write a full blown memsmorizing ballad but with chilling and searing effects. AN ODE TO RACHEL WINTERS is probably the most reasonable song I could hear on a national radio station it displays a more radio rock friendly atmosphere and is a beautiful tragic lullaby if you lived in a freakshow circus. Although the cd THERE’S SOMETHING I CANT’ TELL ANYONE came out back in dec 2010 a lot of people may be ready for new work from these NY men and right now I am sinking my ears into this delirious and exciting sounding disc but as the CD ends and I know the time is probably growing near for new material I am thinking what new amazing sounds will this band lay upon us??? I wish nothing but more chaotic beauty to come out of THE THINGS THEY CARRIED real soon. A must have for music fans looking for a combo of intensity, melody and chaos.