All posts by AndrewCorbit

BornandraisedinFlandmusic

Sufjan Stevens

The Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts was a bustling scene for the Friday night show of Sufjan Stevens. Fans both young and old(er) alike anxiously stood in lines for vinyls, shirts and drinks before the show began.

Sufjan Stevens at Dr. Phillips Center Performing Arts Orlando
Sufjan Stevens at Dr. Phillips Center for Performing Arts in Orlando

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Sorority Noise Album Review

Sorority Noise – Joy, Departed

Andrew Corbit

At first glance, an all male emo band named Sorority Noise would be enough for me to stray away. But after listening to their latest release, Joy, Departed, I remembered the dangers of judging the proverbial book by its cover.

Continue reading Sorority Noise Album Review

Wilco – Orlando Concert Review

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Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

Wilco Impresses Hard Rock Live Fans

Illinois natives WILCO stopped by Tuesday to grace the Hard Rock with rock and twang, the mellow and explosive stylings of the group led by Jeff Tweedy had a big night planned for Orlando.

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Opening act ROYAL THUNDER started off the night with their rock revival style harrowing Joen Jett in a modern twist. Lead woman Minny Parsonz covered the room in loud riffs and piercing vocals as the crowd mingled around the bar and slowly filled into the venue. Royal Thunder protrude rock out of every orifice. Well done yet they have yet to make it their own, give them a bit more time and and perhaps another album. Big sound mixed with big attitude, Royal Thunder sound like the band in your neighbors garage that should be playing the Hard Rock. Good thing they got out.

The first band ended and I made a lap around the venue, The Hard Rock is a beautiful place, swanky and expensive, but still able to promote itself as a rock venue with history. Wilco took the stage with might. The crowd was mostly older, thirty plus, mostly due to the $50 tickets and the tuesday night during finals week. But the crowd was active, devoted fans, most had probably been fans since ‘95’s A.M.

Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit :Edwin Makon-Morales
Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

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Starting the night off with A Ghost is Born’s opening track, At Least That’s What You Said, a perfect soft opening into the crash and screech of the guitar work and multi layered ending that left the room in a dizzy state of excitement. The show had begun, the room finally settling in for the ride. They played Red-Eyed and Blue and I Got You(End of a Century), both off their second album exhibiting the great mix of albums they withheld throughout the show. Tweedy whistling towards the rafters filled with fans and critics alike.

Wilco is able to progress yet hold onto to their style and sound. The wide array of music spread across their discography is always inheritably Wilco, yet we can sense the difference in even Yankee Hotel Foxtrot and A Ghost is Born. The themes and song configurations are all traits of Tweedy that will always exist but the execution and delivery is different, the stylings have progressed. Always evolving and re casting in the mold of alcohol and Chicago.

The live performance of Wilco is casual, yet perfected. They are able to blend all aspect of their catalogue into the show. A.M.’s searching southern twang is heard throughout the song, but the cosmic guitar freakouts of A Ghost is Born isn’t lost when playing SummerTeeth tracks. Most significantly is Via Chicago, when during the dreamlike verse, the other members of the band rapidly explode into a crashing tyrant, as Tweedy stands calmly strumming and singing his song that has been washed out by the noise.

The setlist for the night was perfectly paced and the setlist flowed across all albums, even the Mermaid Ave that Billy Bragg had adapted with Wilco of unpublished Woody Guthrie songs. The newest Album, The Whole Love, was played and well received by old and new fans alike. The standout track of the album being The Art of Almost, a driving psychedelic daydream that is the progression I mentioned earlier. This track is distinguishable from the most wilco songs, yet the album is layered with different sounds. Showing the band has grown, yet been able to cultivate the sound that started them. Later in the night, they performed another track of the newest album, Born Alone, which echo’s SummerTeeth Wilco. The ability to adapt to the change and master the tried and true is what makes Wilco a standout band, both live and in the studio.

Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit :Edwin Makon-Morales
Wilco at Hard Rock Orlando. Photo Credit: Edwin Makon-Morales

I’d like to add to this, that if you haven’t seen Wilco live yet know them, you will be happy to know that Tweedy’s live vocals are as haunting and hallowed live as the album recordings. Able to sing at low decibels in moments of vulnerability, then scream out his frustrations in the times of anger and climax. May the vocals of Jeff Tweedy stay strong, I hope to hear five more albums from this glorious band.

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Wilco ended the night with a double encore. The first being traditional, while the latter was a grand surprise. The stage crew brought out a small drum set and the members played unplugged with two guitars, a lap steel guitar, banjo and melodica. The started with a cover of the old band of Tweedy and bass player John Stirratt called Uncle Tupelo. They followed with a Doug Sahm cover and ending with the beautifully haunting Being There track, Misunderstood. With Tweedy and the crowd chanting together, “I’d like to thank you all for nothing, nothing, nothing.”

Andrew Corbit

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Gasparilla Music Festival Exceeds Expectations

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Check out more pix from the event here: Gasparilla Music Festival Photos

GASPARILLA MUSIC FESTIVAL

Beautiful downtown Tampa was the scene for a day of music and picturesque weather for this year’s Gasparilla Music Festival.

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BANDS REVIEWED
The Hip Abduction
UNRB
Saskatchewan
Roadkill Ghost Choir
Mutemath
Dumpstaphunk
The Gaslight Anthem
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr.
Modest Mouse

The first thing I noticed about this year’s festival was how prepared and together it was. It seemed that all had been taken into account for the weekend. Stepping through the gate into Curtis Hixon Park there was an apparent conscience of space. Of the festivals I’ve been to, Gasparilla has the most palpable arrangement. The two major stages are separated by a short walk and two flights of short stairs. This difference in elevation gives each stage its own area, no bleeding over from the other stages interrupting the experience of any one band.

Outside of the usual cliché Florida tourist art, there were a number of vendors who were of the professional level. Artists and sculptors who were spotted in the vending areas were diamonds in the rough, but if you were to peruse long enough, any potential customer could be surprised with something truly unique.

Wandering around alone, waiting for my photographer and others to join me, I came upon my first act of the festival. THE HIP ABDUCTION took the stage and surrounding area with an air of dance and reggae undeniable to even myself, who tends to stray away from the inheritable happy styles of music. I danced my way near the front surprised by the band’s composition. The stage was pale, yet had as much soul as any. Echoing islands’ shores and a lack of any and all cares. THE HIP ABDUCTION were a perfect introduction to my Gasparilla music experience. At ease and ready for where the night should lead me.

I wandered about the park a little more, found myself on top of raised rows of bench seats overlooking the park where I could see it in its entirety. The spotted and towering building seemingly encasing us inside the Music. Laughs and shrieks of joy wafting about the park, Gasparilla does not attempt to rival the larger festivals, it creates a proportionate dose of a scenic location, a well selected array of talent and a feeling of something great happening with you amongst it.

The next act I made a point to see was UNRB, a seven piece band from St. Petersburg, Florida. My interest was sparked by the size of the band and the use of an electric ukulele instead of a guitar, based around a four piece horn section.

UNRB have presence, with the bass, drums and Ukulele giving direction and the horn section driving the performance above and beyond. The crowd was at attention at the start of each song, yet seemed to lose spark throughout, coming to at the end for the outro. I should say this for myself, I am not a fan of Ska or Reggae, yet there was something undeniable about a four horn section blasting along with a ukulele. UNRB had panache, and I liked that.

Wandering again, I realized how small the park was, or what was accessible. I cannot stress how well designed the setup is. After a pork taco, which was delicious, from the food stands, I took to walk by each stage, waiting to be picked up and carried to the next show I would enjoy.

A dreamy 80’s sound caught me, turned into a nightmare droll and dropped before me – SASKATCHEWAN. It seems that a piece of how the 80’s lo-fi was supposed to sound survived, it takes the form of four awkward musicians from Orlando. The air was taken, and replaced with groove, then growing into a sporadic synth wave. It recedes into an obscure chant that mirrors the odd surrealist band that plays the Roadhouse in Twin Peaks. Laura Palmer would have loved doing drugs to these guys.

Saskatchewan have the ability to blend with current popular styles and create a sound of their own. I believe that these guys could headline this festival with two more albums. My first recommendation to listen to now, SASKATCHEWAN turn that sulk and sorrow into a dreamy lucid bike ride.

My photographer made it out and was admitted easily with help from festival staff, a testament to how well run Gasparilla is. It glides upon well-constructed and greased tracks. A wonderful experience, since I’ve had problems with communication and shared information in other shows I’ve reviewed. We made our way to ROADKILL GHOST CHOIR and a sense of happening was around. The festival was in full swing and everyone in attendance was moving happily with it.

Roadkill Ghost Choir at Gasparilla Music Festival
Roadkill Ghost Choir at Gasparilla Music Festival. Photo by Edwin Makon Morales

ROADKILL GHOST CHOIR is a powerful indie-rock-southern-shoegaze band from Orlando that has recently made a move in both location and success. With the release of last year’s In Tongues, as well as playing Letterman, RKGC have made great strides. They possess an undeniable southern charm with a back alley grit mixed with quiet pines. These Florida natives held the crowd before them as well as the mixing masses around the stage. Beer lines moved to the beat and patrons passing by couldn’t help but walk in step to the rhythm. I recommend any and all to take a gander at this on-the-rise band; you will surely not be disappointed.

The sun began to drop down little by little and I followed the crowd across the park to the main stage. GMF projections danced across the buildings near the park, the day drinkers stumbled and the night kids lights were turning on one by one. MUTEMATH started with the drummer taping headphones to his head with thick tape and I knew something good was taking place.

Mutemath at Gasparilla Music Festival
Mutemath at Gasparilla Music Festival. Photo by Edwin Makon Morales

MUTEMATH is an old flame for me, I enjoyed them in length at a younger age yet fell out a few years back. I had seen MUTEMATH at a northern Florida festival two years prior and was amazed by their live energy and showmanship. My expectations were high. The men of MUTEMATH were well dressed and well-rehearsed, controlling the crowd with a blend of songs and beat driven synth breaks that had any and all bodies moving in unison. A wide base of fans as well, some sang along to the newest songs and swayed to older ones, while others like me belted out the first albums and hummed the newest tunes. This is progression, keeping old fans happy while cultivating new fans with each album released. Beside the music, they possessed a real sense of performance as well as a choreographed motion. Jostling about the stage in a rehearsed yet seemingly sporadic manner. They are at place on the stage, perhaps having the best time of anyone there. Some bands cannot be fully appreciated until they are witnessed live, MUTEMATH is like this, as well as MODEST MOUSE, but they are another story. Finishing with an encore of the song that started it for them, MUTEMATH and the packed crowd crooned “Typical” and the night was upon us.

I crossed the park again, taking in the sights and smells of a festival, and all around pleased with Gasparilla Music Festival. Came upon the proverbial group of college students playing hacky-sac, joined them for a moment. Then bought a cup of overpriced and over sugared lemonade for $5, drank it too fast and made my way to DUMPSTAPHUNK, not prepared for what was in store.

DUMPSTAPHUNK are a dirty funk and bass band from the sweet big easy, New Orleans. With two bass players and a non-stop drum monster, they possess a groove and grind that is undeniable. Long bouts of enviable funk that led to a rock chorus belted with a fiery guitar solo to smolder back into the underlying funk groove that never ends. I have not been back to New Orleans in a few years, and it was as if The Big Easy had been delivered. Raunchy funk infused with debauchery, Dumpstaphunk was a Cajun fueled release for this panhandle native. I wanted crawfish etouffee, I wanted a fish bowl and a walk through the French Quarter. I had two bass players and a groove that could have carried me there with ease, so I enjoyed the ride. I finally allowed myself a drink, the sun had gone down and the moon was out.

Gaslight Anthem at Gasparilla Music Festival
Gaslight Anthem at Gasparilla Music Festival. Photo by Edwin Makon Morales

Making my way back across the park to the main stage again, I was engulfed into the moving tide towards THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM. I had surprisingly never heard one song from them, yet I seemed to be the only one. I joined in the excitement that surrounded me and made my way with it. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM channel their New Jersey roots with a mix of Bruce Springsteen and the guttural vocal styling’s similar to later AGAINST ME! A blend of Pop-punk with an occasional twist and shout, then a crawling ballad enticing lighters and cell phone screens as everyone sang along to “Great Expectations.” For some reason it blended like AGAINST ME! and THE KILLERS. The lead singer had the crowd sing Happy Birthday to a young boy named Eddie, and he was the happiest kid in the area code. I saw the accessibility of the band, and how so many could love them. Perhaps due to my first experience being a live show, yet I couldn’t shake the comparison. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM have a spiritual sound, I remembered a youth trip to a Christian retreat, the band playing major chords as everyone raised their voice in praise. I felt that again. The communion of others led by a heartbroken band, I felt the manifestation of a higher connection with those that surrounded me. THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM took me to church, yet as church always seems to do. It ran a bit longer than the feeling.

I scraped and crawled from within the depths of the crowd anticipating MODEST MOUSE to make my way back across the park for DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR. A dance party I just had to attend.

DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR. were the band that I had yet to truly hear but anticipated. Coming from THE GASLIGHT ANTHEM and the wonderful surprise they had been, I was ready for whatever followed. This power synth odd pop duo are a sight to be heard! Seamlessly blending the dance theme in an indie vibe. Un-deniable music ensues and the crowd was thick, and since they were sharing time with the headliners MODEST MOUSE that is a very big compliment. DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR. share a number of things with the man their name is a satire of. They possess an inherent power that should lead them to success. Perhaps the most notable remarkable aspect of this power duo is the stage presence they carry. Bounding energy that led the crowd with remarkable strength, DALE EARNHARDT JR. JR. leading the pack and taking to the outside. Keep an eye on these guys.

I got out of the pit and made moves toward my final show of the night, MODEST MOUSE! My main interest of the day and long standing obsession. For me personally, I will always be a Fruit that Ate Itself, or Lonesome Crowded West kind of guy. The last few albums from these humble mice have seemed to progress in an off kilter, apathetic stream of music that strokes the forgiving fan base they cultivated with the first seven albums. Yet, they are a band that is unlike any other. Two drummers and a cast of multi-instrumentalist that have complete control of their sound. The crowd was frothing with anticipation and the show began.

Isaac Brock, head mouse king, led the others with a sense of entitlement. Blasting old favorites like “Dramamine,” “Doin the Cockroach” and even the Ugly Casanova track, “Here’s to Now.” They also debuted two new songs from their upcoming release “Strangers to Ourselves.” Starting the show with the live debut of “Of Course We Know.” They also premiered “The Ground Walks, With Time in a Box,” and “Shit in your Cut.” Good news for MODEST MOUSE was the crowd’s reaction to the single off the album, “Lampshades on Fire.” They also visited they’re most successful album GOOD NEWS FOR PEOPLE WHO LOVE BAD NEWS, playing six songs off the album. Limited to one encore due to sound restraints, they finished the night with “A Different City.” The festival emptied into the streets of downtown Tampa full of joy and satisfaction.

The Gasparilla Music Festival was a weekend of great music in a perfect setting. I’ll have post Gasparilla blues for a week or so. If you have the way, make a plan to get out to next year’s Gasparilla Music Festival. It is an experience to begin your Florida spring off in the best way.

Check out more pix from the event here: Gasparilla Music Festival Photos

Andrew Corbit

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Okay, well if you made it this far in the article, you are obviously a rock music fanatic like the Rock And Roll Animals at RARAsFarm. Do us a big favor and like our Facebook page for future updates, rock news and photos. Thanks and please spread the word to other intelligent, creative, beautiful music fans like you 🙂

Soko Concert Review

Soko photo courtesy of  Purehoney Magazine.
Soko photo courtesy of Purehoney Magazine.

SOKO shines at the Peacock Room

Andrew Corbit

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The weather was sporadic Wednesday night as light rainfall turned to cool breeze and back again. The Peacock Room was filled with a fine crowd as the night’s talent mingled with the crowd, made up of fans, as well as those who were in the room in search of a night of music and art.

The show began with VSN QST playing a collection of obscure tracks mixed with beloved favorites. Phil Santos, whenever he wasn’t behind the sound booth was playing the room, reading the vibes and matching them with his playlist of originals and remixes setting the tone for the night. Blending the roles of DJ and host seamlessly.

The stage began to take form as Orlando local TIGER FAWN perused the venue with jewels on her face and a flowing skirt wrapped around her. Taking the stage with her rhythmic accompaniment she describes as he “lemur drummer” with long hair, long limbs sitting atop a box drum with face paint and a flashing light grill in his mouth.

TIGER FAWN initiated the show with sultry layered loops of her soulful vocals and ukulele. Dancing while layering minimal loops that blend into an orchestral collection of smooth vocals that pierced the air. The lemur took to a bass drum and the crowd sang along to “The Fire Licks the Wood.” A crowd favorite was the rhythmic “Praise Jesus and Pass the Pipe” consisting only of the box drum while TIGER FAWN played the bass drum as her seductive vocals and movements captured the room. The duo was a spectacle of the strange, setting the mood for the acts to come.

VSN QST took back to pumping the room with lo-fi dance music and the night was in full bloom. Artists and audience smoked cigarettes together as SOKO and band blended into the crowd, yet stood out in there mannerism’s. After the smokes were done and drinks were gathered, the room filled up once again as SWEET BRONCO began to take the stage.

The sons of Ft. Lauderdale were on point as well as in place, SWEET BRONCO filled the room with powerful atmospheric indie rock with distinct vocals, interjected with background vocals. The four piece blended a number of styles to create their own. Tastes of surf rock revival with a line of psychedelia that was melodic and sewn tightly.

Rich reverb guitars that sing clear laid atop the precise drums, guitarist Dave Barnard placing his riffs and notes perfectly amongst the wall of music. Subtle yet driving bass carried the set along, Bassist Brady Newbill fingering his strings and providing backups vocals. Songwriter/vocalist Chris Horgan has the ability to remain calm yet present a sense of excitement through his songs. The set standout being Astronaut, a driving indie track featuring a chugalug guitar riff. SWEET BRONCO are in sync, they set out with a specific sound in mind and achieve it flawlessly. The band is currently touring in support of their debut album Morning Night, a recommended listen as well as show anyone will enjoy.

As SWEET BRONCO breakdowns their set, VSN QST takes back the room. SOKO mingles about in a loud floral skirt help up with suspenders over a thin white shirt, her short blonde mop waves across the room. Catching her outside she talked of her first Florida experience.

What is the vibe you are going for tonight?
“I don’t know, we’ll see what the vibe of the room is. We have a pretty wide range of punk songs and more like gothy songs and more like super mellow intimate songs. We really try to go through the whole spectrum.”

What is your impression of Florida so far?
“It’s been awesome, we went tubing two days in a row. We went first in, I don’t know how to say that river, I-chee-kin-chee-ni? In, uh, fucking Gainesville, that was so beautiful. And today at Kelly’s river, and that was so awesome. It started raining, like crazy storm and we stayed like tubing in the storm and whole scenery totally changed, cause it was like crystal clear water and in the rain it became super green trees and crazy grey sky and it was so beautiful, like that was the first time it felt like a total adventure and we were in a movie. Like it was raining and we were tubing down the river! It was really cool, we went with Sweet Bronco. It was really cool to hang out with them.

Outside of music, what are you future aspirations?
I act, too, so I have four feature films booked for next year, that’s going to be hard to fit in my schedule but that’s going to be so fun. And I also direct all my videos. Whenever I get back to LA in November I’m going to direct a few videos for my new album.

What is the meaning behind SOKO?
I haven’t been called my real name since I was five, it was my father’s nickname before he died. It’s my last name Sokolinsky. It was my nickname in school but I took it as my name when I moved to Paris when I was sixteen.

We finished our talk and the others finished their smokes and the room was once again filled, with a palpable sense of anticipation, VSN QST laying the soundtrack to the spectacle of SOKO and her band. The show began as SOKO spoke reverently to the crowd before being overcome with excitement and started the set with minimal electro indie song that captivated the room immediately. SOKO plucking the bass and crooning in her unique voice.

She was warm with the ability to connect with the crowd with banter and laughing with a timid demeanor. Her band is a grab bag of exceptional musicians each from different countries, bass player from Sweden, guitarist from Australia, another from New Zealand and drummer from California. The cast exchanged instruments and blended together perfectly as SOKO played keyboard, bass and guitar. The beautiful bass player asked to play “Destruction” and SOKO gladly complied saying, “If that’s what she wants she will get what she wants.” Lighthearted laughs followed by the song that echoes 80’s emo with angst pain lyrics.

After noticing a girl in the front row singing along to the songs, SOKO invited her onstage to dance with her. SOKO led with resonating movements that left a haunting feeling, all the while bouncing about and timidly speaking to the audience of her fears and dreams. A group of people talked loudly in the room, only to be surprised with SOKO calling them out saying, “Shut the fuck up, if you want to talk go outside.” Few claps and the room silenced as she confessed her dreams and self-reality, leading into space age dream pop. The crowd was dancing, bumping into each other and sloshing about. SOKO controlled the room completely. Her varying styles of each number staying within the obscure.

The band left the stage as she got behind the drums and performed “Nervous Breakdown” choppy drums each verse leading with “I’m getting closer to, a nervous breakdown. Can’t you see?” Picking up her guitar she stood alone before a captivated room. Began to calmly pluck “For Marlon,” a truly honest and haunting ballad to a sincere lover, displaying the pain of being in love with a drug addict. Everyone swayed in hold of SOKO presenting a vulnerable moment to a room of strangers. The band came back for cello accompanied final.

SOKO is truly a talent that deserves attention, although she may shy from it. A busy artist that you should expect great things from. Adorable composure that is confident and doubting, yet she is sure and defined.

Andrew Corbit
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Miniature Tigers Show Review

Miniature Tigers Concert Review

The Social in downtown Orlando was buzzing with indie pop this past Sunday. Australian outfit The Griswold’s started off a night of dance and daze that had the room grooving. While offering a taste of solid indie pop, they set a perfect stage for the headlining Brooklyn band Miniature Tigers. Fans of a wide range of age, some specific in their favorite act while others simply in the building for the Social’s great drink specials and a full performance from the show’s start to end.

The Griswold’s hail from the outback with a taste for tribal beats and pounding riffs, led by front-man Christopher Whitehall, with a spectacular range for the array of styles they present. “This is our first tour in the states and we’ve been looking forward to Florida since the beginning,” Whitehill said. “We’ve heard a lot about Orlando and it was all true.” Carrying a sense of definition, Whitehill, alongside co-writer/guitar/keyboard player Daniel Duque-Perez have created a sound that is hard to ignore, much less keep a still leg to.

The climax of the set was the song “Beware The Dog” a shimmering combination of Born Ruffians structure and Vampire Weekend jive, sung in perfect key. The room shouted out,”and now you’re fucking crazy” as they proceeded to lose it themselves.

While The Griswold’s finished their performance and began to break down the stage, I caught the Miniature Tiger’s Charlie Brand and Brandon Lee plotting off to the side for a quick Q&A before the main event.

Corbit: Are you guys in Miniature Tigers?
Tigers: Yes, we are tigers.

Corbit: What kind of show are you guys going for tonight?
Tigers: Party.

Corbit: Just Party?
Tigers: Electro-jazz revival, we’re trying to evoke prohibition.

Corbit: Think Orlando is the place to do that?
Tigers: Anywhere in Florida is.

They laughed at their jokes and dismissed me to take their place under the stage lights, a wall of noise shook the room as the show began.

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Brand taking the reigns just where Whitehill had left them, an exuberant boast of melodies and pop with the crowd in full attention. The song “Bullfighter Jacket” was a crowd favorite as bassist Brandon Lee bounded about with full energy and style. melodramatic sing-along’s blended with strong pop tracks, Miniature Tigers brought the night to a full circle. A fifth member was touring alongside and celebrating a birthday, the room serenaded him traditionally before he took to the drums as a gift from the band. Spirits were high and satisfied as the night came to a close.

I paid my tab and walked outside to find Daniel from The Griswold’s in the smoking section, he told me of his first American tour and the antics that had happened, as well as life in a successful band in Australia. Both of these bands are genuine and well rounded, expect great things from them both.

Andrew Corbit

Hemingway Pretend To Care Review

Hemingway Pretend To Care Album Review

Fuzz and grunge flood out of Hemingway’s latest release Pretend to Care, reminding one of a summer in the late 90’s.

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The Portland outfit seem to fit into their mold well, echoing the style of Built to Spill with less talent. Vocals drown to the sea of distortion and play along drums, with lyrics that everyone who has been to high school can relate to.

Apart from the semantics of this album, the flow throughout is solid, songs cling together in unison and are well displayed. Vocals ranging from almost spoken verses to shouting to drive the point home. The opener, “Constellations” leads with a chug and crash repetition of 90’s euphoria; off the bat we see where this is going. If you’re one who believes that the music styles of mid to late 90’s and flannel jackets wrapped around your waist really should have survived the turn of the century, then Hemingway’s have what you desire.

The third song, “So Predictable” begins the same as the others yet transcends into bridges and breaks, showing the ability to step outside of the styling that Hemingway seem so comfortable with; more power chords pumping over loud crash drums, palm mutes and spoken vocals, yet a second verse shouted reminds one of a young Brand New, followed by a bridge that reminds one of recent Brand New. Originality is not found here, yet the music is discernible to its own influences.

On the Hemingway Facebook page, the members are listed by only their first names. A notable notion to the album itself, while the music is well played and quality of recordings are good, this album sounds like music written by Ryan, Ben, Jared and Justin in Ben’s basement. Although infatuated with the idea of four friends making music together that they all love, one cannot discern them from their influences.

Near the end of the album is the Dinosaur Jr. riddled track “Southeast,” a fuzz bass leads into a octave slide riff with the same almost spoken vocals of a coming train and “no one wants to live a life alone.” Palm mutes and chugs lead into a melodic guitar riff of pull off’s and repetitive notes, building drums and vocals, carry you away as if the train had arrived, then exploding into another chorus. Well structured and with purpose, the album resolves leaving a lingering feeling to start it over and enjoy that 90’s summer once again.

For fans of Dinosaur Jr., Brand New’s first album, 90’s Portland garage rock

Andrew Corbit