Heritage, the album released today by five-piece downtempo deathcore band Distant, is the band’s third album, and the second with their current line up – joined by Jan Mato on drums and Eise Smit on guitar in 2020. While their second album Aeons Of Oblivion showed what the band was capable of, especially on the four-part “Ritual,” an almost deathcore suite, Heritage is the band at their full power.
While the band is legendary for the brutality of their music, the opening track “Acid Rain” is almost beautifully melodic with an undercurrent of doom, like a fairy tale that starts with a welcoming path in the forest but portends darkness buried deep in the woods.
That darkness erupts on “Paradigm Shift,” and if a paradigm shift is a fundamental change in approach or underlying assumptions, then the song represents that for the band. Building off of “Acid Rain,” the track announces the band’s new direction, like their first two albums were the hunt, and now with Heritage, they’re here for blood.
The third track, “Born of Blood,” builds slowly, propelled by guitarists Vladimir Golic and Nouri Yetgin’s twin-assault pulverizing riffs. In the background of the song, though, is a swirling rhythm pulling the listener upwards with the song. Alec Grnja’s vocals seem to swirl throughout the song’s vortex before casting you out of the apex into the ether.
The centerpiece of the album is “Agent Justice,” a seven-minute epic that sounds like the score for an cult-classic horror film. The video for the song sees the band performing live, trapped behind a staticy red and black color palette, like you’re seeing it on a channel you’re not meant to watch, and the band is fighting through the static to the surface. While everyone shines on the track, Jon Mato’s blast beats are so relentless that it is astounding to realize a human being is capable of maintaining such a persistent beat. The song is a rollercoaster, taking you to its very peaks and then dropping you, screaming face-first into an almost-calming piano interlude that only gives to another sharp climb. Grnja’s vocals threaten to tear you in half as they run at you full force.
Tracks such as “A Sentence to Suffer” and “Human Scum” are played at such furious intensity that you can feel blood dripping from the tracks, with each member of the band going hard on both songs. The one-two punch of closing tracks “Orphan of Blight” and “Plaguebreeder” both start with the same kind of haunting, almost orchestral sound that then pulls you down sharply into an audio demolition derby, throwing you around and around until the merciless conclusion.
For a band that describes their own sound as “bone-crushing, thick-as concrete heaviness,” Heritage might as well be a hydraulic compactor, the kind that could pancake a military vehicle. The band has never sounded tighter and more in tune with each other than ever before. Grnja’s vocals are intense, working in conjunction with Golic and Yetgin’s guitars – which would be intense enough on their own, but combined with Elmer Maurit’s steady basslines and Mato’s blast beats, they are out to destroy everything in their path. Distant is at the forefront of European deathcore for a reason, and Heritage moves them firmly to the top of the mountain .Heritage was released on February 10th on all platforms, with physical copies available on Distant’s website, including a badass limited edition Heritage vinyl pressing on marbled white and red smoke – with only 500 copies available.
Be sure to catch the band when they play The Underground in Mesa on March 13th, along with Bodysnatcher, AngelMaker, and PALEFACE (CH).
“When we announced that we were working on Amends our intention was always to honor Chester’s memory and to finish the work he had begun with us. Amends means so much to his family, our families and the millions of fans worldwide who embraced Chester that we feel we owe it to everyone involved to ensure that Amends receives a proper release.” – Sean Dowdell
PHOENIX – Grey Daze, Chester Bennington’s pre-Linkin Park band, in partnership with Loma Vista Recordings, have re-scheduled the release of Amends to June 26.
The 11-song album, which was created to honor both the legacy of Bennington and to see one of his final dreams, the reunion and re-recording of the band’s long out-of-print and largely undiscovered catalog, to completion.
With an abundance of concern for those that need to spend time with their loved ones over the coming weeks due to Covid-19, the band and label came to the difficult decision to postpone the album’s release.
“This album means so much to Chester’s family, and to us and our families, that we didn’t want to release it in the midst of this crisis,” explained Grey Daze co-founder, drummer Sean Dowdell. “Having said that, we know there are a lot of fans who pre-ordered the album, have been watching the various videos and behind-the-scenes footage we’ve been sharing and we didn’t want to let them down either, so we came up with the idea of an April 10 worldwide listening session.”
Amends will be live streamed in its entirety via a series of fan-hosted, worldwide listening parties on April 10, across a variety of online platforms. Tune-in times and additional information for these listening parties will be revealed over the coming weeks via the Grey Daze socials. People who previously pre-ordered the album will receive their order on, or by, June 26.
The Phoenix-based band re-launched their website this morning, offering a unique glimpse into Chester Bennington’s original band and offering fans an opportunity to get early access to downloads by signing up for the band’s newsletter, dive into the deluxe CD, LP and merch offerings and learn more about the story of Chester, Grey Daze and the making of Amends.
Since the band announced the forthcoming album release, they have released a pair of singles: “Sickness” (the accompanying video, which tells a story from Dowdell and Chester Bennington’s long-running friendship can be seen here) and “What’s In The Eye”. “Sickness” is expected to enter the top 10 on the Active Rock radio chart this week.
Amends is the origin story of one of modern rock’s most recognizable voices and also a full circle moment among friends. The album is the fulfillment of a planned Grey Daze reunion that Chester had announced prior to his untimely passing. The remaining band members – Dowdell, Mace Beyers (bass) and Cristin Davis (guitar) – along with Talinda Bennington (Chester’s widow) and his parents, made it their mission to see the project through with assistance from Tom Whalley, the founder of Loma Vista Recordings and former Warner Bros. Records Chairman during Linkin Park’s tenure at the label.
Dowdell, Beyers and Davis selected the tracks from the band’s mid-90s, but largely unknown, catalog and re-recorded the music in 2019 to accompany Chester’s re-mastered vocals. Produced by Jay Baumgardner, several musicians leant their time and talent to the album, including Korn’s Brian “Head” Welch and James “Munky” Shaffer, Page Hamilton (Helmet), Chris Traynor (Bush, Helmet, Orange 9MM), LP (Laura Pergolizzi), Jaime Bennington, Jasen Rauch (Breaking Benjamin), Marcos Curiel (P.O.D.) and Ryan Shuck (Orgy).
Amends is available in a variety of collectible formats with several iterations available exclusively via the band’s website. The CD comes as a 16-page case-bound book; a first pressing, ruby red vinyl variant exclusive to the band’s webstore; and a numbered deluxe edition featuring both a CD and LP, which includes the first ever disc tray designed for vinyl, a 60-page book with never-before-seen photos, 180g red and white splattered vinyl, and a collectible set of band memorabilia dubbed the “Grey Daze Archive.” Digital and other standard versions of the album are available here. Pre-orders include instant downloads of “What’s In The Eye” and “Sickness.”
Released on October 18th, Surviving is the tenth studio album by Jimmy Eat World. Available in every imaginable format; it can be streamed, purchased as a download, a CD, vinyl pressing, and if you really wanted to throw it way back (as frontman Jim Adkins loves to do) it can be found as a cassette tape. Surviving is an expertly crafted journey, one that explores the time Adkins spent battling depression and self-doubt. There are ten songs on the record — a theme, perhaps, given the release in the tenth month of the year.
From the first notes of the driving guitars, before the kick of the drums, before the ever-recognizable voice of Adkins kicks in, it is apparent that this will be familiar but new ground. The first lines of the title track “Surviving” appear toconfirm this:
Don’t hide your face, what you were before it doesn’t have to be you anymore
The song“Surviving” could be considered a confrontation of sorts. One could interpret it as the singer confronting his past, and simultaneously the listener could perceive it as a confrontation of their own past. It is relatable in every line, and because of that, powerful.
“Criminal Energy” was my favorite to watch live at the Crescent Ballroom a few weeks ago, and the album version is just as good, if not somewhat muted compared to the live version. That is not to say it is bad in any way; rather, this is a song that is designed to get the blood pumping and the crowd dancing. And it is delightful — Adkins’ voice soaring behind the crashing guitars and drums. Just as quickly as it comes, it fades to a softer, slower song in “Delivery”.
While “Delivery” is paced more slowly than “Criminal Energy”, it is deep. There is a subtle beauty in the lyrics, an essence of yearning for the love of the years gone by. This is the genius of Adkins: the ability to relate to each listener even without meeting them, and to draw a picture in such a way that they don’t always realize the scope of the art.
Adkins continues this in “555”. The art could be lost if you got lost wading through the shock that longtime Jimmy Eat World fans will undoubtedly feel: the shock of a song that sounds more like it came from M83. However, it fits with the message from this song so very well. The expectation of Adkins, and in turn Jimmy Eat World, is that there will be an album that sounds much like what has been done before. There is a danger in that expectation, and it is daring to break it. That is exactly what they do, with synth clapping as the backing and one of the oddest and yet entertaining videos you will ever see.
“One Mil” starts the ramp up back into the heavier songs on the album. The story of wasted chances will resonate with the masses, though I would argue that most of them have never fallen for a camera girl.
Camera girl, you still there? If I look you’ll disappear Worse, you might wanna talk I’m so underprepared
To some it is the classic story of the introvert attempting to find love and upon finding a chance at it, wasting it. To others, it is like a remnant of teenage love, which we would all like to think that we eventually grow out of.
Wish I had mastery of wit, luck and fearless confidence Then shred majestically to your heart
This story changes in “All The Way (Stay)”, a song that is raw, raw in sound and lyrics, the clang of a guitar and then the echo of a snare drum your only companions at first. It is not comfortable in the first 30 or so seconds, and that discomfort draws you in to listen to lyrics like:
We get discouraged by the pointlessness And we’re pretty quick to judge things pointless There’s what I want and what I need And the latter takes a while to see
Behind it all, you realize that this is again urging the listener to show who they really are, to allow others, or possibly just one other, to see under the layers where you hide. While the song starts with a crashing drum that may force you to shift uneasily, by the end you will find yourself swaying to the catchy beat and powerful vocals. It is a great lead into a song that has a far more comfortable feel, “Diamond”.
“Diamond” is the song you didn’t know you needed to help you through a really rough time. Hopes, dreams and careers take time, and it’s easy to want to take the easy way out and get a quick payout. After over a quarter of a century playing with Jimmy Eat World, Adkins can say with the utmost confidence in the lyrics:
That’s how a diamond grows, yeah Give yourself the right chance over time Don’t believe them If they try to sell you something quicker, yeah
This theme extends to “Love Never”, where Adkins vocals are on display second only to “555”. This is another life lesson, this time a reminder about love, set over a near frantic beat. Depending on your stage in life, it either serves as a warning for those who still romanticize the ideal love and the idea that cute, fat angels will shoot you with an arrow shortly before you meet the perfect match, or a reminder that love looks a whole lot more like you summoning the strength to not murder your partner for not picking their socks up. At any rate, it is a fantastic, underrated song on this album.
“Recommit” feels like something that all of us have wanted to sing, or yell really, at that one person in our lives who sits on the fence when push comes to shove. To some, the music may feel a little underwhelming in comparison to the rest of the tracks. However, one can appreciate its beachy pop revivalist vibe that flows and ebbs from the verses to the contrasting heavier chorus that barrels in between them.
The album closes out with “Congratulations”, a song that seems so far out of place that it is a bit jarring. Unlike much of the rest of the album, this seems to almost take a political stance, with lyrics such as:
Suspiciously, through editing The facts are disappearing With discipline and message You’ll take awkward possession Of nothing you really wanted Welcome, congratulations
The defiance and air of dissonance present throughout the rest of the album melts into the background, as sarcasm seems to run rampant in this unusual and yet enjoyable song. It should also be noted that Davey Havok of AFI and Dreamcar lent his vocals to this song, something subtle you can pick up on once you know to listen for him.
Surviving is an incredibly solid album overall. It harkens back to the energy we all bore witness to in the fantastic journey that was Bleed American (later re-released as Jimmy Eat World). Adkins is a master of self-awareness, weaving life lessons into the verses in much the same way a master weaver would work threads into a rug. While the frontman has been given much praise in this review, the entirety of the band deserves recognition for this album. While it is the norm for the music world to decide to try to build an architectural masterpiece like the Empire State Building, often falling far short of that lofty goal, Adkins and his bandmates decided to build a comfortable mansion in the Midwest overlooking a lake. The band succeeded in doing exactly what they set out to do, giving the world a sometimes odd but overall enjoyable work that will stand the test of time.
Providence, Rhode Island-based modern metalcore upstarts Absence of Despair have made waves in the scene since their formation in 2008, but are set for national acclaim with their brand new album, Desolate, scheduled for release on September 13, 2019. The album features 12 brand new, heavy-hitting anthems that showcase this hard working up-and-coming band’s undeniable raw talent. Ripping, intense metal grooves blended with addictive hooks poise Absence of Despair‘s Desolate as an undeniable metalcore favorite of 2019.
Desolate pre-orders are available here via the band’s website, and will be available via all digital retailers very soon.
Today, Absence of Despair are thrilled to reveal the first single cut from their upcoming album, entitled “Bite My Tongue”. Fans can witness the brand new, high octane music video for the headbang-inducing track now:
Watch New Music Video for “Bite My Tongue”
The “Bite My Tongue” video was shot by Matty LaBonte of Crown Media Collective.
Bassist Rob Bryant says:“The main concept of the video is to not be taken over by anxiety, but to overcome, and breakthrough it. Crown Media Collective did a fantastic job on the video. They were able to purge the anxiety concept well with the static televisions placed around us.”
Desolate immediately bursts into a brutal assault of fast-paced grooves on the album’s opener, “ESC”, and continues to traverse a melodic-yet-darkened metalcore landscape on tracks like “Bite My Tongue” and “Godkiller”. Anthemic tracks such as “Fearless” and “This Reckoning” solidify the band’s keen ability to write unforgettable hooks without sacrificing sinister riffage, while “Lost & Hopeless” provides an example of Absence of Despair‘s more extreme side. Beyond these tracks, there’s even more to love on Desolate.
Vocalist Joe Reynolds says: “Desolate is focused on gaining the strength to look at obstacles in your life and overcome them. Each song represents a different side or emotion of a person and tells the story of what’s going through their head. At the end of the day, we want the listener to find meaning in themselves and the world around them.”
Desolate was recorded, mixed and mastered by Josh Schroeder (For The Fallen Dreams, King 810, The Color Morale) at Random Awesome Studios in Midland, Michigan.
Bassist Rob Bryant says:“Josh Schroeder really brought possibilities to light for us musically, helped shape the songs the way we needed them to be, and brought us out of our comfort zone. He pushed us, and helped us push ourselves into creating what we feel is our most dynamic and heavy hitting project yet.”
Desolate Track Listing:
1) ESC 2) Bite My Tongue 3) Wild 4) Godkiller 5) Fearless 6) Lost & Hopeless 7) This Reckoning 8) Die Primitive 9) Shadowbreaker 10) I Am Catastrophe 11) The Skin We Live In 12) Pathwalker
Absence of Despair will perform at the Providence, Rhode Island date of the Summer Slaughter tour, taking place on August 2 at Fete Music Hall. For more information, visit this link. The band is currently booking fall tour dates in support of Desolate.
Absence of Despair endorses Fishman, GHS Strings, Empire Ears, Coldcock Whiskey, InTune Guitar Picks and Sennheiser.
Stay tuned for more tracks and videos coming from Absence of Despair soon!
Absence of Despair Is:
Joe Reynolds: Vocals Tyler Caruso: Guitar/Vocals Dillon DeSimone: Guitar/Vocals Rob Bryant: Bass Mike Perrotta: Drums
First Full-length Record, State of Mind, to Be Released September 13 via BMG
Los Angeles, CA — The Faim have shared “Humans,” the first single from their forthcoming debut album, State of Mind,which will be released on Friday, September 13 via BMG. The track was produced with Patrick Morrisey (Weezer, Pharrell, Hayley Kiyoko) and David Dahlquist (Aurora, Fletcher) in New York and Los Angeles, and includes a great balance of unique pop-rock sounds, rounded out with lush live band elements and a massive, resonant chorus. Stream and download “Humans” HERE, and pre-order/pre-save State of MindHERE.
“ ‘Humans’ is about embracing the unique qualities that make up who we are, from our individual character and personality traits, to our strengths and weaknesses. These diverse characteristics, and how they evolve throughout our lives, show us what it means to be human and how connected we all actually are,” the band explains.
The Faim unveiled their debut EP, Summer Is a Curse, last year and wasted no time creating music for their first full-length effort, State of Mind. Over the course of two years, the group worked with numerous writers and producers to craft a collection of songs that showcase a vast range of styles and tones. The tracks, recorded mostly in Los Angeles in various studios, reveal how The Faim has evolved since their inception. The lyrics come from emotions or experiences personal to the musicians as a whole, with each song centering on an idea that’s relatable to both themselves and their listeners. Overall, State of Mind reveals a band on the rise, and a group of artists who are all about making genuine songs that bring people together and create a community.
“We write from an honest place, and that’s something we always want to stay true to,” says frontman, Josh Raven. “It has to resonate with us for it be relatable to our fans. On this album it was about connecting with ourselves and exploring our influences and our own talent. If we stick to who we are and what we feel, hopefully everyone else will find something in the music too,” he elaborates.
State of Mind includes eight brand new tracks in addition to previously-released singles“Summer Is a Curse” and “Amelie.” If you were able to catch The Faim on tour earlier this year, you may have also heard them play “Beautiful Drama” and “Infamous,” two additional standout songs on the album.The complete track listing can be found below.
State of Mind Track Listing:
1. Tongue Tied 2. Humans 3. Summer Is a Curse 4. Beautiful Drama 5. Buying Time 6. Infamous 7. Amelie 8. Words Apart 9. Where the River Runs 10. State of Mind
About The Faim:
Over the past year, The Faim has built up a strong following around the world, from Australia to Europe to the States. They’ve performed at Download Festival, Slam Dunk, and Reading & Leeds, and toured with PVRIS, Against the Current, Sleeping With Sirens, and Andy Black. In 2018, The Faim performed 100 shows across three continents and 13 countries, while in 2019 the band embarked on their first headline tour, selling out shows in cities like London, Sydney, Amsterdam, and Hamburg. “Summer Is a Curse” has become a bona fide hit Germany, hitting No. 12 on the airplay charts after being played 24,000 times on German radio in 2018. The track, which appears in a Jeep commercial in France, hit No. 2 at radio in the Czech Republic. The group also scored the soundtrack to Coca-Cola’s global advertising campaign for Coke Zero, which was shown in 18 countries worldwide.
The Faim Is:
Josh Raven / Lead vocals Sam Tye / Guitar Stephen Beerkens / Bass, keyboard Linden Marissen / Drums, percussion
PHOENIX — Holy Fawn, the Phoenix-based band who describe themselves as “four creatures making loud heavy pretty noises, release a video for “Dark Stone” as the band’s buzzed about under-the-radar album, Death Spells, gets a proper release via Triple Crown Records (home to Caspian and Covet).
“This record came out of nowhere and absolutely knocked me on my ass. I knew nothing of it, had zero idea what to expect and literally had goosebumps for a majority of my first listen.” – Riley Breckenridge (Thrice)
Death Spells initially received a DIY, regional release in 2018, with the band’s friend putting out the 10-song album via his label, Whelmed Records. Word about the young band began to grow out of the Southwest with fans and friends sharing the songs and “Drag Me Into The Woods” video via social media, eventually tipping off a handful of in-the-know writers and musicians.
Stereogum proclaimed it as one of the “Top 50 Records of 2018,” New Noisedubbed it a “sonic adventure,” and Heavy Blog Is Heavy/Arctic Drones’ writer David Zeidler saying, “a little-known indie band from Arizona being touted as the next big thing by respected musicians isn’t something I’m likely to gloss over lightly… I was sufficiently impressed, but it wasn’t until the band released the first single from Death Spells, ‘Arrows’… that I fully realized how exciting and potentially important this band could be.” Thrice’s Riley Breckenridge said he “literally had goosebumps for a majority of my first listen” and Lamb of God’s Randy Blythe offered, “listening from top-to-bottom will take you on a trance-inducing journey.”
“The album is beautiful, heavy, & hypnotizing- listening from top to bottom will take you on a trance-inducing journey” – Randy Blythe (Lamb Of God)
Holy Fawn kicks off a western U.S. tour this evening at Club Congress in Tucson. Dates are:
March 28 Tucson, AZ Club Congress March 29 Tempe, AZ Yucca Tap Room March 30 San Diego, CA Space March 31 Los Angeles, CA The Echo April 3 San Jose, CA Ritz April 4 Oakland, CA Elbo Room April 5 Eugene, OR HiFi Music Hall April 6 Portland, OR High Water April 7 Seattle, WA Vera Project April 9 Salt Lake City, UT Diabolical Records April 10 Las Vegas, NV Shawteau
Los Angeles — Tilian (Pearson)’s highly-anticipated third full-length studio album, The Skeptic, is out today! The Dance Gavin Dance frontman’s 10-track effort is his first solo release with Rise Records and serves as a follow up to his previous work, Material Me(LP, 2013),Future Friends(EP, 2014),Perfect Enemy(LP, 2015), and most recently, thePatientEP (2017). Prior to creating DGD’s latest offering, Artificial Selection, Tilian retreated to Portland for three weeks to record The Skeptic with producer and frequent collaborator, Kris Crummett. The result is a solid blend of pop-punk and indie-pop anthems that highlight Tilian’s powerhouse vocals and heartfelt, raw songwriting.
The Skeptic Track Listing:
1. Made of Plastic
4. Handsome Garbage
5. Hold On
6. Blame It On Rock n Roll
7. Let Her Go
8. Drunken Conversations
9. Right Side
10. Ghost Town
The Skeptic signifies a formative chapter in Tilian’s career where the more questions he asked, the more inspiration he found. The Florida-born, Los Angeles-based singer, songwriter, guitarist, and producer continues his existential search on this record. “Musically and in my personal life, I kept thinking, ‘I’ve got to find and explore some new ground,’ ” says Tilian. “I’ve always been so much more questioning than most people around me are. I never really bought into things the way 90% of the crowd does. That sentiment communicated the idea of The Skeptic to me,” he adds.
As Tilian continues to pose questions on his journey, he has a better grasp on himself as an artist than ever before, and that ultimately shines through on The Skeptic. “I’m optimistic and excited,” he notes. “I’ve been through the ringer, but I’ve had a pretty awesome and fortunate life. The whole journey is ongoing, and I get to be responsible for it.”
Additional news from Tilian will be coming soon – stay tuned!
Phoenix-based hardcore punk-infused metal band American Standards is known for their “piss and vinegar” sound, boasting a well-crafted amalgamation of heavy-handed, technical instrumentals, and brutal yet poetic lyrics that confront societal divides such as corporate greed, media corruption, loss, materialism and personal struggle. Presumably due to their focus on DIY ethics, the group attracted a devoted following in response to their leadership of what has come to be known as the “guerrilla punk” movement in Phoenix. Think of the gritty, raw basement shows we all know and love, except this time American Standards would be there to distribute self-produced compilation CDs as a method of raising money for local causes and charities. Pretty rad, isn’t it?
Online you’ll find American Standards listed as “chaos-driven noise punk” also noting themselves as self-proclaimed “purveyors of fine noise” and “Voted Least Likely to Succeed in 2011″ – the year the band was formed. Don’t let their humor fool you though, the message packaged within the chaos tells something of a deeper story. The group has since been recognized in the form of a regular presence on local radio stations like 98KUPD, RadioPhoenix and TheBlaze in addition to sharing the stage with acts like Atreyu, Comeback Kid, Norma Jean, Every Time I Die and many more.
American Standards’ most recent album “ANTI-MELODY” (which premiered in Revolver Magazine, Alternative Press and Lambgoat) is the group’s fourth release, delving into topics that are undeniably more personal than ever before for its members while simultaneously continuing to deliver on what the band has always been known for: pungent commentary on societal divides and anti-consumerism. This time around however, the development of this album is a distinct reflection of American Standard’s ability to focus through times of struggle while baring it all despite battles with depression after the loss of founding guitarist Cody Conrad to suicide, followed shortly after by the loss of the vocalist Brandon Kellum’s father to cancer.
What would have broken so many other bands transmuted into a powerful point of resonance for American Standards, empowering them to produce an album that not only cuts deep, but holds true to the spirit of the band’s fiercely integral essence.
Writers Block Party
“Writer’s Block Party” might at first sound like pandemonium to an unfocused ear, but with closer listen you’ll quickly discover a lyrical contrast that highlights societal pressures imposed on those who desire success or any place in the limelight. The song immediately portrays the immense impact of these pressures through the band’s eyes; “dancing around like we’re marionettes, a stutter in our step, a cadence in our breath, to the unimpressed…”
This is an opening number that comes out swinging, keeping things hyped while immediately addressing the lyrical heart of the matter which made it an ideal choice for a single. And despite seeking an “easy fix” it’s clear things weren’t so simple as the song goes on to say, “I gave up my heart to find a soul… The clouds came in and the lights went out. We were guided by the roar.”
The metaphorical nature of their lyric choices leave much to interpretation and making space for further connection with their ever-growing fan base, but it can be speculated that this track alludes to the many struggles of avoiding corporate sponsorship in the music industry and beyond. This line in particular encapsulates the track well:
“Remove the spine and the heart. Safe bet, mindset. And claim what’s left as art.”
Carpe Diem, Tomorrow
Although brief in content, the technical aspect of instrumentals included in “Carpe Diem, Tomorrow” are placed well as both a striking opener and stout interludes that highlight a wake-up call just beneath the surface:
“Concrete minds cannot change. Don’t stand still, keep moving. You’ll become what you say you hate.”
Encouraging fans to seize the day, this track utilizes the concept of time to motivate listeners and warn them of the consequences of stagnancy in life. Audibly this track has an underlying rhythm that is a bit similar to that of System of A Down, Throw Down, or Tool; while offering unique lead guitar, which in contrast offers similarities to bands like From First to Last, Trivium, and Hatebreed.
“Church Burner” starts off with an eerie chorus which repeats throughout, but not before laying down some seriously chunky guitar riffs that bring a daunting undertone. The lead guitar and bass notes are undeniably the highlight here, although this is the first sing-scream track to be found on ANTI-MELODY which is to be noted as well.
Lyrically this track is beautiful in the simplicity of its resounding metaphor while still managing to communicate the intensified angst that American Standards fans long for.
“An extremist in boldface type. We’re all people, but compassion doesn’t sell. And there’s no time for independent thought. There are no divisions outside the ones that we create.”
While chaos and hardcore don’t exactly scream “empowerment”, American Standards is clever in the execution of their message. They scatter calls to action throughout each song and foreshadowing for what is to come if the previously mentioned social obstacles aren’t addressed in a way that keeps things moving, so-to-speak. The lyrics go on to say:
“Tear down the walls and build a bridge… We don’t want another title to tell us who we are.”
Bartenders Without Wings
“Bartenders Without Wings” slows things down a bit, sounding more like a classic punk ballad that explores a struggle between man and self. The energy of this track is especially solemn, suggesting the song may be addressing the unexpected loss of founding guitarist Cody Conrad as well as Kellum’s father. “Bartenders Without Wings” also spotlights some inarguable similarities to the sound of now infamous As I Lay Dying.
According to Kellum, ANTI-MELODY is the result of “what started as social commentary on the growing divide in our society” but then became much more personal due to the loss of Conrad and Kellum’s father amidst recording; this track communicated that effortlessly.
Kellum went on to say that the band “went back in to re-record much of the album and in a lot of ways used it as therapy to cope with the experiences.”
Danger Music #9
“Danger Music #9” is a smashing reminder of the dreadful state of conglomerate corporate takeover and a return to the classic American Standards sound, fueled by the pain and grief that lurked in the shadows for these four bandmates at the time. It can be inferred from the lyrics that they are not simply addressing a grandiose idea of anti-consumerism, but more specifically an issue with the intentions and treatments of our healthcare system. Though often choosing to communicate through lyrics that are poetic and/or satirical in nature, “Danger Music #9” takes an unprocessed approach to its confrontation of western culture – particularly medicine, making the lyrics that much more savage in nature.
“You make a beautiful statistic, diamond eyes. Giving incentives to move these units. Prescribe more illness. And we’ll become the money they count behind closed doors. A half a million dead. A third of us next.”
The title may have tipped you off as to what this track is about. The tragic loss of Kellum’s father is uttered through every verse of “Cancer Eater”, tearing from word to word with an energy unmatched by any other song on the album. Instrumentally, “Cancer Eater” is equally as brutal, once again highlighting lead and bass guitar.
Lyrically, however, this track has got to be the most poetic:
“We’re taken hostage by the ones we love, that leave us behind. I can’t be as tough as nails, with this paper skin. And organs that fail. But life moves on, and I’ll go on too… I lived like him. I’ll die like him. Remember me, remember.”
“Broken Culture” is self explanatory in its purpose, erupting with energy right from the start with strategically coalesced vocals and a true hardcore sound that are again unique in their likeness to other tracks on the album if you listen close. Themes of anger, fear and isolation resurface once again, but this time with a more somber tone in wake of its preceding track “Cancer Eater”.
“We had more guns than bullets so, we made pistols with our hands. Where’s the good; there’s evil we must fear. So, pull the trigger and pray the rounds land.”
“Chicago Overcoat” takes all the energy from the seven songs before itself and delivers that consolidated energy as one swift punch in the ear drums before ending on a beautiful piano note. The track is in itself, a crescendo of all-encompassing instrumentals accompanied by a dominating vocal performance by Kellum. “Chicago Overcoat” starts off with the focus on bass and drums as opposed to vocals and lead guitar, making for a pleasantly unrefined, and super-sludgy combo. And yet, there is a tone of desperate release, resentment, and determination to rise above through and through.
ANTI-MELODY took things to the next level for American Standards, allowing fans to get to know the individuals behind these powerful words that leave us feeling a little less misunderstood and a little more at home in the world.
Ever-brutal. And ever-poetic.
It seems, although incredibly tragic, the struggles that American Standards experienced during the making of ANTI-MELODY created a vacuum of emotion yielding an outcome no fans could have predicted. We’re looking forward to seeing where this intimate breakthrough takes them, and eager to listen in as they continue to evolve.
ANTI-MELODY is available now on iTunes, Google Music, Amazon and Spotify or you can pick it up along with exclusive merchandise through the
American Standards Bandcamp page.
MRCH is releasing their debut album Reactions on October 12. The duo consists of Mickey Pangburn (Vocalist/Guitarist/Synth), and drummer Jesse Pangburn. Many of their songs have been featured in television shows, such as The Vampire Diaries and Famous in Love.
To celebrate the release of their album, the duo is having an album release show (also their first headline show) at Valley Bar on October 14. Come and party with the indie electronic duo!
Mickey Pangburn tells us more about the duo, their music, plans for a tour, and more in their email interview below…
Tell us about your band name, MRCH… How did you come up with it? Does it have any special meaning?
It’s pronounced like ‘march’. When people march, they have purpose. When people march together, they have a common goal. They step together. We wanted a name that showed we were in music for the long haul. For better or for worse, on the same page. We dropped the “A” because people kept coming across ‘marching bands’ when they’d do a google search of us!
What did you most enjoy about the process of making your new album, Reactions?
The playing. We had no one to answer to, so we could just try out whatever we wanted. The hardest part is calling something ‘done’… We’re already writing more though, so it’s become a vicious cycle.
When you aren’t making music or performing, what do you both enjoy doing in your free time?
Jesse likes eating street tacos. I like hanging with my cats.
Are there any plans for MRCH to embark on a tour following the album release party at Valley Bar on October 14?
LA is next up. Details coming soon on that. Then, yes – touring! We probably shouldn’t hold our breath for Bleachers to invite us along with them… So, we’ll be booking DIY. Dates coming soon, hopefully up through the spring.
Have either of you toured before?
Do you know or speak any other languages?
We wish… I like to dream of being fluent in French.
MRCH formed in 2015, and the two of you were previously members of a local band named The Prowling Kind. What was the motivation to go from a five piece band, to a duo?
Scheduling and goals. It’s hard to wrangle 5 different people/opinions/lives – into sharing a common goal and agreeing on a means of reaching said goal. We kinda had to re-set, so everyone could do what was best for them. MRCH is a totally different animal than TPK musically speaking too.
Did your previous experience in the local music scene boost your success in MRCH, or did it feel like a clean slate?
We felt like we learned so much playing with TPK. Jesse and I went to school for music, but felt like Prowling Kind was kind of like an internship. We booked our first tours, got introduced to the local scene, dealt with the business side of things. So there was a lot we were grateful for from that season. However, MRCH is so different in both sound and vibe that the crossover was minimal. We never made it a goal to ‘take’ Prowling Kind fans. We hoped they’d like MRCH too, but it was a mixed bag of responses. MRCH really felt like starting over. It felt like a clean slate.
Have the Phoenix music and art communities influenced your music and image?
The Phoenix music scene has been really supportive. The thing we appreciate most about it, is really how little they influence our sound or image. There’s such an eclectic and diverse spectrum of artists, we don’t feel inclined to be much like anybody else. We never feel like we’re expected to fit in a particularly Phoenix mold. There’s room to explore here. There’s a lot of freedom.
Name some of your favorite local bands or artists:
There are a bunch, but some are : PAO, Bogan Via, Harper and the Moths,The Technicolors, The Darts, Hex Marrow & House of Stairs.
How has the exposure of your songs on multiple television series helped promote your music?
There’s definitely a broader audience. Showtime, ABC & Netflix have completely different demographics – which is cool. Mostly, it’s allowed us to pursue music more full-time, which is huge. We’re super grateful for this avenue of music in film and television. Someday, it’d be a dream to score something. *sigh*
Anything else you want us to know?
We’re so excited to be playing. Especially this release show! It’s our very first time headlining and we’re working hard to make it extra special.
Do you have a message for your fans coming to the release show?
PHOENIX — With an Arizona summer solar-powered surge of ambition, Tempe-based Alternative HipHop artist DaDadoh started recording the 6-track You Can’t Rap Forever in June of this year. In only four months between then and the release show, he worked with a perfectionistic fervor to re-work and refine his songs that had already proven popular. Regardless of unwavering confidence in the songs he’s written, DaDadoh honed his insatiable appetite for challenging himself to accomplish beyond what he thought feasible before. In fact, he mixed and mastered the album, and performed all of the songs including all of the instrumentals, himself. The result was reaching the same kind of new heights as an artist that he is regularly helping other artists achieve as a music producer with his record label TVLiFE Entertainment.
Although You Can’t Rap Forever is a cohesive addition to DaDadoh’s discography, the release brings a fresh sound that comes with his growth and evolution as an artist and a person. Lyrically, he continues to cleverly inject commentary into his verses, using music as his platform to have a voice in matters. Steering away from his cocky, comedic, and sex-saturated themes of the 2016 release Radical, he takes a more sober tone, and channels angst into his music. The new release is both melodic, and infused with punk rock. The album feels sincere and intense – like it’s made of his very soul. Get ready to get f*cked up when you dive in.
You can buy You Can’t Rap Forever on Bandcamp as a digital download only, or with a physical copy in CD format:Here
While DaDadoh is a charismatic (and somewhat-eccentric) staple in the Phoenix local music scene, he isn’t one to boast; despite the fact that one might consider him a hiphop-flavored renaissance man. If you’re not familiar with his projects and you’re reading this now, it might have taken some online sleuthing to discover that on top of his solo project and music production, he also hosts “Before The Show: The Podcast,” and is a member of bands including Exxxtra Crispy and Militia Joan Hart. And during the four months leading up to the EP release, he helped local musicians even further by recruiting 3 live band members – now known as The P.o.C. – Andy Warpigs (Guitar & Vocals), Jimmie Lewis (Bass), and Daviid Giiron (Drums).
The more you learn about DaDadoh, the more you come to understand that he passionately pours 100% into his artistic projects, and how important the community is to him. Although this release show was his time to shine, his gratitude for his new bandmates, and all of the fans and media people swarming around The Trunk Space venue, was no secret; nor was their willingness and enthusiasm to support his release show – and THAT reciprocal community is what Burning Hot Events is all about.