Tag Archives: Alt-Rock

Add Some Cafeine To Your Musical Diet


Cafeine – New Love Album Review

The new album from Cafeine somehow slipped past my radar the first two times it ended up in my InBox. Thanks to a persistent PR Rep, I finally took it for a spin a few weeks ago, and can’t get enough of this sweet, catchy alt-rock.

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Cafeine the group is really the multi-talented Xavier Cafeine, a French Canadian multi-instrumentalist who sings, plays all of the instruments and recorded the album himself. The result? A hip, cool collection of pop-laced rock tunes that at different times feels like new wave, punk or ska, but a collection of songs that are always eminently listenable and enjoyable.

New Love is drenched with infectious hooks and catchy riffs, and simply stated is a blast to listen to. Periodically, I conjured up happy memories of classic Oingo Boingo and of more recent Bloc Party, but the music is distinctively fresh and stands on its own. At times the tracks are saccharine sweet, but just as often the songs deliver an engrossingly gritty edge.

A wave of fuzz and distortion immediately demands attention as the album kicks off with the title track which quickly evolves into a melodic pop rocker. New Love delivers hard charging guitar riffs intermixed with dreamy synths and clever lyrics. Cafeine’s voice is not particularly beautiful nor tremendously gritty, but it is undeniably likeable.

The majority of the tracks on the album carefully navigate around the topic of Love, and the inherent trials and tribulations associated with all of the joy and angst brought out by that emotion; on this album, more of the latter. On “I Love You” we hear him exhort “Hey bitch I got a message for you. I don’t like you, you don’t like me, I don’t care anymore.” Aside from the great lyrics, it’s an interesting juxtaposition of poppy bouncy keyboards and edgy vocals.

And then there’s “Fucking Time,” which is just pure musical genius. It’s a hearty rocker, with raging drums, addictive riffs and wonderfully casual lyrics. If not for the title, this one would be a fantastic choice for a summertime radio hit. I’ll leave you with my favorite line from the song, “Wish my life could be a bit better, but there’s no fucking time; wish my songs were a little more clever, at least they fucking rhyme.” I strongly implore to check out the album now, while you still have some fucking time!

Grab the album now on iTunes: New Love – Cafeine

Rock On!

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Echosmith Puts Their Young Talent on Display

Sydney and Noah Sierota of Echosmith at The Social Orlando
Sydney and Noah Sierota of Echosmith at The Social Orlando

Echosmith Concert Review

Half of this band is still in high school, and until a few months ago, none of these four siblings could legally grab a drink. Still, Echosmith has managed to quickly establish themselves as a pop rock band just dripping with rock star potential and worthy of being on your Alt-Rock radar.

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(See a link for photos and the setlist below the review)

These four musicians are talented professionals honing their craft in front of packed rooms filled with dedicated (typically young) fans. As I witnessed Friday night, they still offer a few glimpses of their youthful and developing stage presence, but it is abundantly clear that they are all already becoming seasoned performers. The sold out Social in downtown Orlando was the perfect venue, offering the band and their fans to get close in an intimate environment.

17 year-old Sydney, the lead vocalist is the pretty focal point commanding center stage, but all three brothers were engaging and entertaining, as well. 16 year-old Graham on drums is the youngest, and decked out in his fedora cap, was steady all night. Jamie at 21, is the elder statesman and dished out vintage guitar riffs throughout the show, while nineteen year-old bassist Noah bounced around the stage constantly.

Many of Jamie’s guitar riffs were reminiscent of the 80’s rock that I grew up listening to, including more than a few of which reminded me fondly of the unique stylings of Echo & The Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant. It’s clear that these relatively young musicians have a strong 80’s influence, as they also chose to cover New Order and Talking Heads. The Heads’ selection, “This Must Be the Place,” was creatively re-imagined and one of the early set highlights and a creative choice for a cover song.

The focus of their set was music they’ve written themselves, primarily off of their recent release Talking Dreams. The title track was a poppy rocker that found Sydney dancing around under a parasol. My favorite track from the album was “Safest Place” which had strong, hard-driving bass and drums, and featured an excellent guitar solo from Jamie. Additionally, the raw “Tell Her You Love Her” was a nice opportunity for Sydney to share her vocal range, on a song that eventually meandered into a nice crowd singalong.

The band interacted with the crowd all night, and seemed comfortable doing so. They pulled their grandfather and Lauren, a young fan from the crowd, onto stage to fete them with “Happy Birthday;” grabbed a selfie with the crowd as Noah slipped into a quick snippet from “Uptown Funk” and then really offered up a special moment during the playing of their new single “Bright.” Sydney stopped half way through the song and pulled up Kristen and her fantastically surprised girlfriend, Shelby. Kristen dropped to a knee, Shelby said ‘Yes’ and the band, huddled together, serenaded them with an a capella chorus. A very nice touch!

Jamie and Graham Sierota of Echosmith at The Social Orlando
Jamie and Graham Sierota of Echosmith at The Social Orlando

They closed the set with a highly interactive version of “Cool Kids,” and then for the encore, offered up “Bizarre Love Triangle,” the New Order cover. However, it was stripped down as I never imagined, and was an entirely different song – a different version that would have made Hook and Sumner proud. They kicked it up a notch and delivered a fun version of “Nothing Wrong” to close the show.

I left The Social feeling excited for this band. They still have some maturing to do as a band, but they have plenty of time to get there. In the meantime, they’re offering entertaining, original music and delivering passionate performances that should keep their fans happy for years.

See our photos from the show on our Facebook Page (and Like Us while you’re there)

Rock On!

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Ran Off in the Night
Let’s Love
Come Together
Talking Dreams
Safest Place
This Must Be the Place (Talking Heads cover)
Tell Her You Love Her
Come With Me
Surround You
Uptown Funk snippet
We’re Not Alone
Cool Kids

Bizarre Love Triangle (New Order cover)
Nothing’s Wrong

Sheppard EP Review


Sheppard – Geronimo EP Review

Riding a huge wave of success fresh on the heels of their smashing breakthrough hit single, “Geronimo” I was intrigued by this fresh six-piece Brisbane, Australia band.

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As the catchy lyrics bounced around in my head, I had an instant thirst to hear more. Were they a one-hit wonder, or rather an artist that truly deserved a spot on our new music radar?

It didn’t take long to get my answer. This band has “it” and we are going to be listening as their sumptuous pop rock dominates the alternative rock airwaves for years to come. If you’re not nodding your head, tapping your feet and smiling incessantly when listening to this band, you just don’t have a pulse, because the Geronimo EP is absolutely filled with poppy, cheerful indie-pop rock that’s a blast to listen to. ¬†And, let me be clear, this is not toss-away bubble-gum rock, this band has plenty of artistic talent.

In Australia, they are dominating the charts, but in the US, most of us have only heard “Geronimo,” the title track from this EP. It’s an addictive rocker that is all over the radio. Tribal beats, soaring synths, clever guitar riffs, powerful vocals and dreamy boy/girl harmonies. It’s probably the best effort on the EP, but all of the other tracks are compelling in their own way, as well.

“Flying Away” is a fun rocker, with the best vocals on the EP. Powered by great keys and hard-driving drums, it’s got a bit of a harder edge at times, but at its essence is another catchy pop rock hit-in-the-waiting. Next, we hear a more tender offering, “Smile,” a bouncy pop tune with purely Australian female vocals. I absolutely guarantee that this intoxicating tune finds it’s way onto American commercials in short time.

The EP closes with a more diverse offering. “Something Missing” is performed at a lower key, but is just as captivating. Acoustic guitars dominate, and the song features a slick surf guitar feel. It brought back pleasant memories of RARA’s Farm favorite’s The Mowgli’s and Cayucas. Good, good stuff!

It’s excellent pop-rock, if you’re one of our fans more into heavy rock, you probably won’t love the EP, but fans of Indie rock and Alt rock need to get Sheppard on their radar. After sampling the music, I’m anxiously awaiting a full-length from this band, and am quite curious to see how this fun invigorating music translates live on stage. In the meantime, I’ll be wearing these four tracks out, and suggest you grab them below, and do the same.

Bombs away…

Rock On!

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 ūüôā

Fort Lean Releases Catchy New Single

fort lean

Cut To the Chase – Fort Lean

We’re a bit late to the party, as this Brooklyn-based quintet released EPs in 2011 and 2012. The received plenty of critical appreciation, but thus far, no huge breakthrough hits. That just may be about to change.

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“Cut To The Chase,” is the addictive first single off of their upcoming 2015 release, Quiet Day on Ooh La La Recordings. Ooh La La has a habit of mining superb talent from the New York Alternative Rock scene, and they’ve got an intriguing act in Fort Lean.

It’s a dreamy synth-driven hit just waiting to explode on the alt-rock scene. The track boasts an intoxicating retro rock feel juxtaposed against artful modern twists. They sound nothing like Milky Chance, but this song has that feel, and I’m sure the infectious lyrics and catchy hooks will be bouncing around in my head for weeks.

Check out the song below, and keep on the lookout for their 2015 release, Quiet Day, and if you happen to be in New York for CMJ, these guys will be all over the city as noted at the bottom of this post after the music link.

Rock On!

Buy: Cut To the Chase – Cut To the Chase – Single on iTunes

Tuesday October 21 @ 9:15PM
158 Ludlow St
New York, NY
CMJ Official: Banners Showcase
admission: free w/ CMJ badge or $10
ticket link: http://www.ticketweb.com/t3/sale/SaleEventDetail?dispatch=loadSelectionData&eventId=5403395

Thursday October 23rd

Piano’s @ 7PM
158 Ludlow St
New York, NY
Siren Sounds PR Showcase
admission: free

Radio Bushwick @ 10:45PM
22 Wyckoff Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Out In The Streets and Bushwick Daily Present
admission: $5
ticket link: http://www.eventbrite.com/e/out-in-the-streets-bushwick-daily-annual-cmj-party-tickets-13545064653

Friday October 24 @ 3:10PM
The Living Room
134 Metropolitan Ave
Brooklyn, NY
Buzzchips and Myfreeconcert Present
admission: free

Saturday October 25 @ 3:45PM
Brooklyn Night Bazaar
165 Banker Street
Brooklyn, NY
The Wild Honey Pie presents The Bee Hive
admission: Free w/ RSVP
RSVP Link: http://thebeehive.thewildhoneypie.com/

Leanne Kingwell Album Review


Album Review – Choking On Halos

First, let me just say that I absolutely hate my iPhone. Sadly, challenges with my over-priced piece of crap with its incessant software updates made it damn near impossible for me to preview the album during recent travels across the East Coast. Bummer, because this creative album would have been a wonderful accompaniment. Depriving me of the opportunity to enjoy this fine album is the last straw – Android here I come.

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Kingwell is an Aussie chanteuse just dripping with potential. Her self-released new album, Choking on Halos is a breath of fresh air on the music landscape and boasts a handful of songs worthy of significant radio play on an album that offers non-stop diverse creative rock tracks.

The vocals are consistently strong, powerful and attention-grabbing. Kingwell has a broad range and seemingly spotlights her voice in a different way on every song; gritty and edgy on one track, saccharine sweet on the next, but throughout, the vocals are consistently tender and vulnerable – quite captivating.

“Saviour,” which boasts a dirty surf rock guitar amidst a bed of the mainstreamiest (yup, I’m sure that’s a word) of pop rock is one of my favorite tracks.¬†¬†Her song, “Sunshine,” which was penned as love song to a rescued cat, is an absolute blast to listen to, particularly at max volume.

My two favorite tracks again are quite diverse, “My Flag On the Moon,” is an offbeat rocker with a slinky feel, and fantastic lyrics, while “Slingshot” is an active popular rock track destined for big things on the radio (if we could only find a radio station somewhere nearby that played good new music).

The album produced by David J Holman, (No Doubt, Bush) was created as Kingwell shuttled between Australia and Los Angeles.  Clearly, an endeavor worthy of the effort and all of the late nights and flights, as it is eminently listenable.  Not a perfect album, but a damn good offering in a day where solid albums from start to finish are increasingly difficult to discover.

Check it out and grab it on iTunes below.

Rock On!

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Smile Empty Soul Refine Their Success Formula

Smile Empty Soul's Jake Kilmer - rarasfarm.com
Smile Empty Soul’s Jake Kilmer – rarasfarm.com

Jake Kilmer (Smile Empty Soul) Interview

A decade ago, three brash young Californians exploded onto the Alt-Rock scene with a smashing breakthrough single “Bottom of the Bottle.” Their first release peaked inside the Top 10 and they were on everyone’s list of band’s to watch. ¬†But then, they seemed to slip off the Alt-Rock radar.

Were they a one-hit wonder bereft of potential? No, far from it.  The rock music business is a fickle one, record companies are unpredictable, and radio stations schizophrenic.  While the trio still churned out excellent music, they lost some of their presence. But, fortunes are changing, and the trio is again on the cusp of big things.

We recently caught up with talented drummer Jake Kilmer after a rousing set in front of a few thousand rabid fans at hard rock’s premier music festival, Welcome To Rockville in Jacksonville. ¬†The band symbolically kicked off the set with “Black and Blue,” the title track off of their latest release; then powered through a nice sampling of their past decade of music, both new and old.

We took a few moments to chat about the band’s latest project, and their plans for this summer, shortly after they left the stage.

RARAsFarm: So, you guys had a big crowd out there. What did you think of the Jacksonville fans during your set?
Jake Kilmer: I thought they were into it. There was some good energy there. I got an awesome picture with the guys in it and the crowd in the background, we had a lot of fun.

RARAsFarm – here’s the photo Jake referenced, and it is pretty damn good (we’ll provide our link to their show photos below)

Jake Kilmer crowd shot Welcome To Rockville
Jake Kilmer with his great crowd shot at Welcome To Rockville

RARAsFarm: You’ve been together for about ten years now, and just released your sixth album, Chemicals, how’s it doing?
Jake Kilmer: It’s going good and fans dig it. They know more and more songs each day. Our second single “Chemicals” is out on Sirius XM’s Octane and it’s being picked up on radio stations all around the country.

RARAsFarm: You mention Octane, and truthfully there’s parts of Florida with no good rock stations, so Octane is where I hear most of these Welcome To Rockville bands. Has it become an important station for a band’s success these days?
Jake Kilmer: Now it is, sure; Sirius XM’s Octane is bad ass, because it’s nationwide. If you’re on there, you are doing something right because you’re pleasing them.

RARAsFarm:  What are your plans for the summer?
Jake Kilmer:¬†¬†We’ll be touring. We just put a shitload of dates on our SmileEmptySoul.com site. We’re going all over.

RARAsFarm: Are you guys just focused on touring, or making new music now?
Jake Kilmer: We’re just focused on touring. Sean’s always been writing. Collectively we all work on the tunes together to put them together, but he’s the songwriter. I’m sure he’s been writing a bunch. It’s never been hard for Smile to get together and produce new material; it’s only been hard to get the right label team who aren’t douchebags, to become a part of the team and support us.

RARAsFarm: It sounds like you have a lot of company. A bunch of bands I speak to are facing the same challenges.
Jake Kilmer: That’s why it’s bad ass that we’re doing our own thing label-wise. We’re in control and that’s why we didn’t come back so fast. We got off that label because they didn’t do shit. We found a new opportunity with a friend of ours willing to invest. We put together this team, found a great radio team and publicist, and we’ve been working hard at it. ¬†And, we’re not going anywhere.

RARAsFarm: Well, the new stuff sounded great today and it was nice to hear, and you guys killed it live. Hopefully we’ll see you again soon on the East Coast.
Jake Kilmer: Cheers.  Thank you.

Check out the latest Smile Empty Soul album below. It’s jammed with solid straight-forward American alt-rock, and some of their best stuff in years.

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Our Smile Empty Soul concert photos are here on our Facebook (Like Us, please): Welcome To Rockville Photos

Rock On!

New Artist Spotlight: Sir Sly

Sir Sly – Artist Profile


sir sly (640x369)

Suddenly, Southern California has become a hot bed for emerging rock bands hitting the RARA’s Farm radar. ¬†We’ve recently written about bands like The Neighbourhood, The Mowgli’s and Blondfire, all SoCal bands producing excellent new rock. ¬†The newest artist to add to the list? It’s Sir Sly, a talented three-piece out of Los Angeles.

Sir Sly are riding the recent success of their initial single release, “Gold,” the title track off of their new EP. Featuring the captivating vocals of lead singer Landon Jacobs, “Gold” is absolutely addictive and destined to be a defining song of 2014. ¬†Drummer Hayden Coplen and keyboardist Jason Suwito round out the trio, and fill the song with a deep dark musical bed that accompanies Jacobs’ vocals perfectly. The writing is polished and distinctive; what you would expect from a much more mature and established artist. Listening to this quick four-song offering, it was quickly apparent that their future is extremely bright.

I find myself comparing Sir Sly to both Coldplay and the aforementioned Neighbourhood. ¬†There are sonic similarities for sure, but these guys are a bit more synth-driven than the first, and might possibly have more of a pop hook to their tracks than the latter. ¬†“Found You Out” is a perfect example of this, and another melodious song with an edge; a song with the likelihood to be receiving copious amounts of airplay in the near future. “Ghost” is a bit more dark, but just as aurally appealing. Good stuff, and probably the one song most similar in feel to The Neighbourhood.

Over the next few months, you can catch Sir Sly opening for the very talented The 1975. Having recently caught the band with their charismatic frontman Matthew Healy, it seems the perfect match for this talented threesome who join the tour with a great performing reputation themselves. The tour kicks off in mid-April and brings the bands to Florida on the following dates:

5/19/2014:¬†Jacksonville, FL –¬†Free Bird Live
5/20/2014:¬†Ft Lauderdale, FL –¬†Culture Room
5/21/2014:¬†Orlando, FL –¬†House of Blues

Rock On!

Mike Mains Album Review

MMTB_3 (1) (640x351)

Mile Mains & the Branches, Calm Down Everything Is Fine.

The pressure on a singer-songwriter is likely never more intense than in that brief period that bridges a highly-acclaimed debut album and the recording of an artist’s sophomore effort. ¬†As ¬†difficult a task as that normally is, it’s virtually impossible when you’re trying to channel your inner-Boss. Fortunately, Shannon Mains reminded her husband that he needed to focus on being the first Mike Mains instead of the next Springsteen. The result: A damn good release from a talented performer.

Mains was working on the successor to his popular debut, Home, when he found himself constantly listening to Springsteen’s 1978 classic Darkness On The Edge of Town. Fortunately, with a bit of urging from his wife, he eschewed the Bruce influence and focused on his own strengths as a writer. The result, like Darkness, was a more mature and diverse offering than its predecessor, but the Springsteen comparisons end there.

Calm Down Everything Is Fine is a rock masterpiece that just oozes cool Indie Rock swagger while still offering superb pop hooks. The album is impeccably produced, courtesy of Matt Hoopes of Relient K; featuring nicely layered guitars and keyboards and highlighted by Mains’ distinctive vocals which are a perfect voice for today’s Alternative Rock landscape. I was pleasantly surprised by the prominence of Nate Wethy’s bass throughout the album, as well. The bass lines are fantastic and never lost in the mix.

The opening track, “Played It Safe” is a creative, yet dark ode to pessimism. But, it’s immediately juxtaposed with an optimistic future hit, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright.” It’s just one of a handful of masterful sequencing touches on the album. Another example is the transition between “Noises” and “Slow Down.” The former¬†is a pop punk anthem-in-the-waiting. I love the vocals but this one is all about the slick layered guitar and memorable riffs that absolutely demand your attention. “Slow Down” is a perfectly placed ballad that offers a chance to catch your breath and admire Mains’ more tender side.

Shannon Mains makes a mark in more ways than as a creative adviser, as we hear her tight harmonies nicely slipped into several songs, as well as a few shining moments on the keyboard. ¬†Other strong offerings include the rocking “In The Night” and the stark and haunting “Where Love Dies.”

If there’s any downside to the album, it’s that Mains’ vocals at times feel occasionally restrained. ¬†He lets loose at times and sounds superb, but more often than not he seems a bit reined in. Make no mistake, the vocals are catchy and¬†provocative, and it might just be my¬†impression, but I suspect there’s a more edgy, gravelly sound to him that’s even more appealing.

But, I’m being a bit nit-picky. This diverse offering is a must listen for fans of Pop, Alt-Rock, Indie-Rock and Pop-Punk. It’s good stuff, and an album likely to re-appear on these pages in our year-end Album of the Year listings. ¬†Check it out below and let me know what you think.

If you only download one song: Noises – Calm Down, Everything Is Fine

Good for fans of Young The Giant, A Silent Film and Sum 41.

Rock On!