Living Decent - 'Living Decent' (ep review)

Living Decent – ‘Living Decent’ (ep review)

Fall in Florida is weird. One day, you feel like you’re floating in the middle of a PSL, nuzzled-up watching trees slowly die. The next, that unforgiving bitch summer shows her nasty head like the ex you can’t get rid of. This back-and-forth, bipolar game of love can stretch throughout winter, and can suck the holiday spirit out of old Santy Claus himself. On their debut EP, Living Decent encapsulate this feeling with a release that soundtracks both the cool breeze of fall, and the hot hell of fall. Enjoy.

At first glimpse — or whatever the auditory version of a glimpse is — Living Decent seems like a full on summer EP; it was released back in July and the guitar often sounds like soft swells, running onto warm sand. But on the intro, “Close Enough to Keep You Close,” Victor Alvarez’s voice sparks a sentiment that thrusts me  into the cool isolation of autumn. His ghostly tones engulf the release in a sense of longing — hauntingly abundant on the hook of “Borrowed Bike”: “You feel like home.”

This theme of nostalgia as pain is further exemplified in the song’s video. In it, we watch an old home video, a flashback to a time where the American life was simpler, more pure. Although the instrumentals in their openness create the sensation of freedom, the EP as a whole tries to recapture a lost feeling. “Bad Collections” cries, “Your glowing lights are now receding.” Like a Floridian longing for jacket appropriate weather, Living Decent look at the skeletons in their closet and wish they were still flesh and blood.

Take me back
Back before the day we met
Back before we had any consequence

Free Throw – “Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer”

Nashville indie rockers Free Throw have succeeded in melting the heart of the grumpiest of Christmas grumps. They went right for the feels with this one. “Grandma Got Runover By A Reindeer” has always been my favorite Christmas song about Santa pulling a hit-and-run. If you wish, you can check out the boys original tunes at their Bandcamp. Enjoy.

You Blew It! – “Lanai”

You Blew It! are having very productive 2014. In January, they released their second full-length LP Keep Doing What You’re Doing, an album that I reviewed and loved. Then in August, they dropped an EP of covers celebrating the 20th anniversary of Weezer’s The Blue Album. Today the band gave fans an early Christmahanakwanzika present. The Orlando foursome teased their upcoming EP Pioneer of Nothing with the release of “Lanai.” Here, the song remains the same: sugary guitar riffs, a groovin’ bass line, and Tanner’s emotive lyricism. Enjoy.

Music Video: Flashlights – “Islands”

Flashlights played one of the first shows I went to after moving to Orlando. Since then, the band has done incredible things for themselves. They’ve earned infinitely more fans; their music has continually progressed, and they’ve toured the country. Their latest video is for “Islands,” a horribly conflicted song where emotions of the past crash in a dramatic car accident. The video plays off these emotions. We see an old slide projector. Memories flicker through the lens and into our brains. Our reflections of these events lead to fond nostalgia and cold regret. Sometimes about the same recollection. The video’s film-like warmth adds a personal attachment – it may have actually been shot on with film. The haunting piano that closes the song/video is painful reminder that the past is just that. Enjoy.

THIS FRIDAY!! A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Diamond Youth, Prawn, & Field Mouse @ BACKBOOTH

There are going some dope – yes, I said dope, that’s how real I am – shows coming to Orlando in the next few months, and this one just happens to be the closest. On Friday, Topshelf Records invades Orlando, and their bringing the moderately loud noise. Enjoy.

Buy your tickets now!

A Great Big Pile of Leaves

AGBPOL are riding hot after the re-release of their 2010 album, Have You Seen My Prefrontal Cortex?. In the past, they’ve toured with Orlando act You Blew It!, a longtime live favorite, but I haven’t yet gotten the chance to see AGBPOL live. Look at this gorgeous limited edition vinyl. You just want to lick it.

Hear the whole album at AGBPOL’s Soundcloud!

 Diamond Youth

In February, Baltimore boys Diamond Youth released their second EP Shake. “Can’t Shake the Feeling” is a particularly rad song from the EP, but don’t take my word for it, listen to the whole thing!

Prawn

New Jersey folk Prawn have a couple releases of their own, most notably their two LPs with Topshelf, 2011’s You Can Just Leave It All  and 2012’s Ships. “Why You Always Leave A Note” is off their 2014 split with Joie De Vivre.

Hear more from Prawn on Spotify.

Field Mouse

Field Mouse is destined to be the pleasant wildcard of the evening. They’re a bit different from the other acts, but their different is refreshing. Listen to the swirling synths and sweat vocal melodies off the band’s July 2014 release, Hold Still Life.

Hear all of Hold Still Life on Field Mouse’s Soundcloud.

You Blew It! to release Weezer cover EP, “You Blue It” on 7/15

Still riding the wave of popularity behind their sophomore album, Orlando natives You Blew It! are set to release an EP of choice Weezer cuts from the band’s 1994 album, Weezer (The Blue Album). Two songs, “My Name is Jonas” and “Surf Wax America,” have already helped build anticipation for the EP. You can pre-order You Blue It over at Topshelf Records. Good job boys. Brilliant pun. Enjoy.



EP Review: Among Giants – ‘Back and Forth’

Among Giants are a emo-esque post-hardcore collective whose debut album Truth Hurts was released back in 2012. I got my hands on the album sometime last year, and really enjoyed the blunt lyrics and personal atmosphere. Since then, they released a handful of split 7″s, but there second complete project Back and Forth just dropped in April. Enjoy.

among giants back and forth

Compared to Truth HurtsBack and Forth is a very different sounding Among Giants. They’ve grown. There’s more attention to detail: heavier use of electric guitar, expressive drums, added background vocals, and an overall more polished sound. The songs feel heavier, and there’s more to listen to. The drums and guitar on “The World is Not My Friend” are fast and abrasive; they add angst to the already uneasy message. On “Art School,” Greg Hughes guitar during the verse is very similar to those off of Truth Hurts, but because he’s using a more distorted electric guitar, they’re injected with an extra punch.

But, this thicker and fuller sound is double edged sword. The songs on Back and Forth don’t come off as personal as they were on Truth Hurts. Because there’s more to listen to, you’re distracted from Hughes’ vocals, and his once piercing lyrics don’t have quite the same effect. Another gripe I have is with some of the less-than-memorable guitar melodies. “Hardwood Floors” is a good example. The opening riff sounds like a reused Rise Against guitar melody, and I think the song would have sounded much better without it.

Overall, I have mixed feelings about Back and Forth. It’s nice to hear from Among Giants again, and they’ve released a couple of solid tracks here, but I miss the highly emotive feel of Truth Hurts. This EP tries for that same ethos, but is over-shadowed by the instrumentation.

 

Peace Treats Records – “Greetings from Orlando” PART THIRD

Today we got tracks by Zap Dragon & The Attack, Among Giants, and Fast Preacher! Enjoy.

CHECK OUT PARTS ONE AND DEUCE NOW!!!

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Zap Dragon & The Attack – “Sicko”

I love this song. The lyrics are brash, hilarious, and catchy as hell. This is without a doubt the most postmodern track on Greetings from Orlando, and it’s that self-awareness that makes this song so damn good. “And this is a bad, bad song with a sorry excuse for a laugh-line. It’s not that I don’t like it, no it’s just that it’s so simple of a rhyme.” Who writes a song that makes fun of itself? Zap Dragon & The Attack, that’s who. Also, I can’t think of a better analogy for the entire Orlando music scene than, “I got a problem with everything, and everything’s got a problem with me.” They’re playing @ Will’s tomorrow with Yogurt Smoothness. Shit’s mint.


Hear more from Zap Dragon & The Attack on their Bandcamp! Go on. I believe in you.

Among Giants – “Somebody Kill Me Please”

What Orlando compilation would be complete without an Adam Sandler cover? My dear buddy Kevin and I saw these guys last year, and they were incredible. The combination of punk, folk, and emo that make up their debut album Truth Hurts, hits hard both sonically and emotionally. Among Giants are able to capture the isolation and confusion of being a twenty-something with big dreams and a foggy future. But, any band that covers a song from The Wedding Singer must have a good sense of humor, and Among Giants are able to have fun with their highly emotive sound.


Need more? Among Giants keep the tunes rolling on their Bandcamp!

Fast Preacher – “Tracks”

Fast Preacher is a tough group to pinpoint. On “Tracks,” there are elements of soul, alternative, funk, punk, and rock n’ roll. The bass line that starts around 1:15 is stanky! The funk reeks so bad, I need a shower after writing this review. Also, there’s a guitar solo at the 2:50 mark that incorporates an almost ska sound. This song is all over the place, but good vibes are constant. Fast Preacher has a show coming at on March 6 @ The Peacock Room with Each Other and Southern Nights. If this review hasn’t convinced you to go, let smooth sounds of Fast Preacher persuade you.


Do you feel aroused by Fast Preacher? Keep those feelings going on their Bandcamp!

Album Review: You Blew It! – “Keep Doing What You’re Doing”

A few weeks ago, You Blew It! released their second album, Keep Doing What You’re Doing. Since then, the band has received hefty buzz after being featured on Pitchfork. I can’t describe how rad it is that an Orlando band is gaining speed in the rest of the country.  With Keep Doing What You’re Doing, You Blew It! unleash 10 new tracks in the same melodramatic vain as their debut album, Grow Up, Dude. I use that term, not as an insult, but as what I think is a fitting description. The songs on KDWYD, as with other releases in the emo-revival genre, deal with themes of rejection, isolation, and self-discovery in a raw way. These songs don’t pull any punches. Enjoy.

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It was like “The Real World”, only in a Subway parking lot.

You Blew It! and I’s origin story goes as follows: On the second day of Fall 2012 semester, my car was totaled in a four person accident, resulting in almost a year of bumming rides. Tanner Jones, lead singer and guitar player in You Blew It!, also had the pleasure of having his car wrecked on that rainy Fall day. For almost four hours we and two other miserable souls chatted in a Subway parking lot waiting for the cops. It’s safe to say it was a fairly shitty day. However, Tanner mentioned that his band had just released their first album through Topshelf Records: Grow Up, Dude, my first exposure to the emo-revival movement that is plaguing the United States. And I was infected.

Grow Up, Dude captured my speakers, and when the fellow Orlando natives were playing a show, I was there. Try listening to “Medal of Honor” and “The Fifties.” Let me know how they make you feel.

“Don’t take this the wrong way: I know you can’t relate to feelings you don’t have personally.” From the first lines of the album, Jones’ vocal delivery is downright blunt. I feel for whoever these songs are written about, because they have no chance to defend themselves from the onslaught of harsh lyrics. In “Regional Dialect” Jones doesn’t let up. “I’m typically not the type to expose my vices, but the habits you’re forming are making me sick.” Sticks and stones can’t do half the damage dealt by You Blew It! 

But other moments on KDWYD deal with internal struggles. “Strong Island” explores feelings of regret. “I’m still clutching onto things I should have said and the bonds that I’ve been ruining.” Later on in “A Different Kind of Kindling,” Jones finds “solace in anything that isn’t this.” Although he likes to point the finger, at times Jones is his own worst enemy.


Sonically, You Blew It! is a band who wears their influences on their sleeve. This unfortunately makes the music take a backseat to the quality lyrics. Many of the tracks end up melding together, which can make the album drag. However, there are standouts, and overall the album isn’t overly hurt by the similar songs. “A Different Kind of Kindling” and “House Address” have some incredibly rich guitar melodies, and the rhythm section on “You & Me & Me” and “Gray Matter” is kicking. Fans of the emo-revival sound will love You Blew It!’s latest effort, and new listeners should try my recommendations.

KDWYD‘s closing track, “Better to Best” is my favorite on the album (possibly in You Blew It!’s entire catalog). The transition from calm intro to a chorus of sweaty bearded men makes me feel empowered. Here, it’s easy to draw comparisons with Canadian duo Japandroids. The subtle yet noteworthy chorus is sung over a punchy guitar harmony. As the album winds down, the final line of You Blew It!’s second album leaves the listener with closure after an exhausting battle with others and with oneself. “Maybe things aren’t quite as bad as I let myself believe.”