Tag Archives: Egypt Central

Album Review: Devour The Day – Time And Pressure

Devour-The-Day-Time-Pressure-Cover

Devour The Day Album Review

Formed from the remains of the Memphis-based Egypt Central, Devour The Day are part of the wave of American hard-rock bands that want to prove themselves as having somewhat of a harder edge, while also demonstrating the ability to be eclectic.

The album starts off with a contrasting one-two punch of “Respect”, and “Good Man”. Respect is a somewhat typical blend of staccato riffing and screamo vocals. It’s an impactful opener, but atypical of the rest of the album. Combined with “Good Man”, they’re the obvious choices for singles airplay, but after repeated listenings, to me they’re really nothing more than the gateway drugs for the rest of the album. They’re highly accessible so that the masses can get into it. Think of the album like an onion – you have to peel off the outer layers to get to the good stuff.

From “Blackout” to “Reckless” they display a variety of styles and influences, even if they are sometimes too overt. “Blackout is a tighter and more refined attempt at what they tried to do with “Respect”. “You And Not Me” is eerily reminiscent to me as sounding like coming from the latter-day All That Remains playbook. “Move On” unabashedly takes on the Linkin Park style. “Get Out Of My Way” would be one of the highlights of the album if not for the Disturbed-like trigger-sampled-background-barks plaguing its chorus. “Oath” brings the intensity down just a slight bit….

… setting up the money-shot of the album, “Reckless”. A perfectly constructed  piece of songcraft with an innocent-enough sounding verse in D-Major, so as to evoke optimism, one layer of harmony added on the quick pre-chorus, and then another on the chorus. Take heed of my word – this chorus ought to be the very definition of ‘hook’. Because I am a sucker (I mean, connoisseur) for well-done harmony and counterpoint, this one hit me real hard, even if on subsequent listens the impact was lessened because I knew it was coming.

What of the rest of the album after that lofty endorsement? Well they don’t quite match it’s height, but it’s not for lack of trying.

The album as a whole is a sign of promise.  The arrangements are tight (nothing over 4 minutes) without being trite. Virtually every song follows the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-out formula, with nary a solo and barely an interlude. Nearly every song had me thinking afterwards “if it were 30 seconds longer and with no breaks or bridges, I might’ve gotten bored”. At times, this would make me almost write them off for lack of exploration (though an occasional drum-pattern variation saves the day for me), but I do have to respect that they know how to keep the songs just concise enough. If they are willing to let loose, and free themselves from the conventions of tight pop-song structure, they’ll develop into a fine hard-rock band worthy of your further attention.

Your iPod – It’s What’s on the Inside that Matters

Recently, I was talking to an old friend who grumbled that there was no good new rock music on the airwaves.  Oh, how wrong he was.  There’s plenty – you just need to know where to look.  Hint: Sirius XM is a good start: XM Radios Starting at $29.99

In reality, there’s lots of damn good new music out there.  Here are 10 new tunes that are clearly worth a listen, probably even worth digging $1.29 out of your piggy bank (follow the links to visit iTunes). Download these to your iPhone or iPod and begin to impress your friends.  I’ve added in a few older tunes, too, for your consideration, giving you a nice Farmer’s Dozen.

Danny, Dakota & the Wishing Well – A Silent Film – This song is addictive.  The first single from the band’s forthcoming second album reminds me a bit of the Killers.  Great stuff from these lads out of Oxford, England. I have a feeling this one is destined to be one of those classic songs that ends up being a defining song of that summer.

Stay Useless – Cloud Nothings – Great Indie Rock out of Cleveland. This is pure, rough alternative with a punk flare.  It’s a ton of fun, and unique in today’s marketplace. Want to sound cool to your friends, play them this song.

Away Frm U – Oberhofer – The Beach Boys meet Oingo Boingo.  It’s a unique, cool sound from 21 year old Brad Oberhofer and his band. The album was produced by Steve Lillywhite, that’s impressive!  Based on this first single, the band has a ton of potential.

Girls Like You – Naked and Famous – Another hip cool band out of New Zealand.  This one has been out for a few months, but is just now starting to get airplay.  Thom Powers’ vocals are fantastic and the synth-laden song is a perfect alt-rock dance track.

That Old Black Hole – Dr. Dog Fun, fun stuff from the suburbs of Philly. It’s got a reggae, ska, funky feel and is just a blast to listen to.  Surprised this band has seen more success over the past decade. They are playing at the Hangout Festival in Alabama next month, with the next band…

Apartment – Young the Giant – The album is a year and a half old, but the third single is just now getting airplay.  It’s as good as the two predecessors “My Body” and “Cough Syrup.”  I’m truly bummed I missed the chance to catch these guys touring with Grouplove earlier this year.  Highly recommend this one.

Simple Song – The Shins – They’re a guilty pleasure, this quintet out of New Mexico. They play kid rock (that’s, kiddie rock, not Kid Rock), alt rock and bubble gum pop, but it’s all pretty damn good.  This one is a nice simple love song.  I love it…

Bloody Mary (Nerve Endings) -Silversun Pickups – I was a huge fan of these guys three or four years ago.  They’re prolific, and continually release new stuff.  Think it might be time for a break.  I find this track to be absolutely mediocre.  Check it out for yourself and see if you agree…

Rocky Mountain Way – Godsmack – It’s a nice cover. You’ll find a few of the staples from Joe Walsh’s original masterpiece as well as a few unique Godsmack-like touches.

Sirius XM’s Octane is featuring Egypt Central’s “Enemy Inside” as featured new music.  It’s a great tune, that we featured last year.  Check out Kerri’s review: White Rabbit

Life’s a Song – Jets Overhead – This one is about five years old now, but new to me.  Love the sound of this Canadian Quintet.  The lyrics are cool, too.

I Don’t Want to Grow Up – Ramones – It’s a timeless classic off of their Adios Amigos album.  Probably the best guitar work on any Ramones tune.

Your Love – Outfield – This song crosses a few genres of Rock, and it’s really an under appreciated classic.  Tony Lewis’s vocals on this 80’s hit are timeless.

There you go; thirteen tunes worth checking out, adding to your playlist and dazzling your friends, family, co-workers, and that dude at Starbucks.  Guaranteed you’ll like at least seven of them. OK, there’s no guarantee, but you’ll like most of them. Trust me…

Rock On – Cretin

The Best Albums of 2011

When I started this, I suspected that when we look back on 2011, we wouldn’t consider this an amazing year for music.  Unlike the amazing contributions we heard both twenty and forty years ago, this year’s contributions seemed a bit  more mediocre.  Nonetheless, after digging through the candidates, it became clear there were a few future classics out there.

So, grab your favorite beverage, crank up the music and check out the RARA’s Farm Farmer’s Dozen, the Top 12 albums of 2011.  Take a look and a listen, and let us know what you think:

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Bonus Selection: The Last Royals EP (read the RARAs Farm review)
This eponymous debut from a talented band out of New York City was one of the best discoveries of 2011.  Everyone knows their wildly popular “Crystal Vases,” but the rest of the EP is just as good, and quite diverse, especially for a four song sampler.  These guys have a ton of potential; look for their first full length album, Twistification hitting the streets soon.

12. Angles, The Strokes
Returning after a five year respite, the lads from New York are back, and in great form.  All of the classic garage sound we’ve come to love from the band, as well as some more modern stuff, and an occasional retro rock flashback – the result is a long overdue strong return. The first cut “Machu Pichu” is a great example of their newer sound.

11. White Rabbit, Egypt Central (read the RARAs Farm review)
The second album from this Memphis based quartet was one of the best hard rock offerings of the year.  Kick Ass features a wide variety of polished powerful rock and has prompted well deserved airplay on stations like SiriusXM’s Octane. The title track is an excellent hard rock tune, while “Goodnight” spotlights more of the ballad side of their repertoire.

10. Move Like This, The Cars
These guys are back for the first time since the eighties.  The only original member missing is the late Benjamin Orr who passed away ten years ago.  The rest of the band sounds eerily similar to their trademark sound that made them New Wave royalty.  It’s odd that so many other bands are tapping into that 80’s vein nowadays, but these true masters couldn’t get a sniff of airplay.  Nonetheless, it’s a nice overlooked return effort.

9. Codes and Keys, Death Cab for Cutie
Benjamin Gibbard and Chris Walla took a new approach for Death Cab on this album, eschewing their previous guitar laden sound for more of a keyboard driven groove.  It’s a refreshing change and makes the album more enjoyable than their previous six.  “You Are a Tourist” and “Stay Young and Go Dancing” are prime examples of the excellent new sound.

8. Torches, Foster the People
A nice debut from the L.A. trio includes their huge breakout hit “Pumped Up Kicks.” Their sound is modern through and through and Mark Foster’s vocals truly unique.  Admittedly there are a few weak tracks on the album, but the good far outweighs the bad.  Make sure you check out “Helena Beat” and “Don’t Stop.”

7. Covering Ground, Chuck Ragan
The long-time punk rocker turned folk troubadour gifted us with this excellent collection of introspective songs early this year. His gravely voice is paired perfectly with the stripped down instruments: an acoustic guitar, a fiddle and a stand up bass.   The songs reflect on a tough life on the road and the loved ones in his life.  Grab a whiskey and give it a listen.

6. Suck It and See, The Arctic Monkeys
Album number four is the band’s best yet.  It’s a different sound for the foursome, and a welcome change.  “She’s Thunderstorms” is a great opening cut on an album packed with excellent tunes all the way through to the closer  “That’s Where You Belong.” “Piledriver Waltz and “Black Treacle” are two of the stronger offerings. Listening to the band I’m reminded of a comfortable old favorite: Echo and the Bunnymen – good stuff!

5. Eureka, Mother Mother (read the RARAs Farm review)
In our album review, we described their unique sound as a diverse collection of alt-country-dance-funkadelic-harmonic rock. It’s impossible to classify their sound as anything but original; they sound like Mother Mother, period. Their sound is all their own, and it’s great stuff. The group revolves around the infectious harmonies of brother/sister combination Ryan and molly Guldemold. The Canadians really shine on “Baby Don’t Dance,” “The Stand” and “Chasing It Down.”

4. El Camino, The Black Keys
The Akron based duo broke through last year with the hugely popular album Brothers. This one might be even better.  There’s a bit more commercial appeal to this one, and the songs will translate well into live versions on their forthcoming tour. It’s straight forward, stripped down raw rock and roll; sounds a bit like a modernized version of Bad Company, if you can imagine that.  “Lonely Boy” is one of the best songs of the year, and has plenty of competition on the rest of the album. “Money Maker” and “Hell of a Season” are two other powerful tracks.

3. Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Noel Gallagher and friends prove that there is life after Oasis for both brothers.  Liam’s Beady Eye project was decent, but Noel’s new offering is great stuff.   The talented guitarist penned all of these tunes and nails the vocals throughout. Some of the tunes will remind you of What’s The Story Morning Glory era Oasis (“Dream On” and “AKA What A Life”), which is a good thing, and all of them are well produced and written. Favorite track: “The Death of You and Me.”

2. Never Trust a Happy Song, Grouplove (read the RARAs Farm review)
A great collection of songs from this quintet who met by chance at an artists’ retreat in Crete a few summers ago. The band has put together a fantastic assortment of Alt Rock anthems.  The feel of each song is distinctive yet they weave together nicely thanks to the consistent strong vocals from Hannah Hooper and Christian Zucconi. “Chloe” is the best cut on the album, but has plenty of company including “Colours,” “Lovely Cup,” and iPod favorite “Tongue Tied.”

1. Thank You Happy Birthday, Cage the Elephant
Fantastic album that also has a cool back story: The band basically had an album in the can ready to release when they realized no one was really passionate about what they recorded. They started over leveraging songs that the band members were planning to use for their own side projects.  The result is a tremendous passion-filled trip from the opening notes of “Always Something” through all dozen tunes.  “Around My Head,”  “Aberdeen” and “Shake Me Down are already classics for the quintet from Kentucky. It’s only their second album, but these guys are key linchpins for the future of American Rock and Roll.

There you go, twelve great albums that will define 2011 music for years to come.   Let us know what you think; what did we leave out? what doesn’t belong? And, if you want to take a trip down memory lane, check out how these discs compare with some classics: The Best of 1971 and The Best of 1991.

Rock On – Cretin

 

Wednesday Evening Random Thoughts

So – Orlando Calling has come and gone.  We asked for press access to the inaugural event so that we could dazzle you with our amazing coverage, but the Festival organizers ignored us.  Truthfully, I can’t really blame them, we’re still a small player on a huge stage.  You can help us for next year – follow us on Twitter and Like us on Facebook. Then tell your friends to do the same thing.  And finally – post on our Facebook page, share your pictures, provide your thoughts, and offer tips on new music, beer tasting and your favorite Modern Family episodes.  OK – got it?

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As for the first iteration of Orlando Calling, we’ve talked to a bunch of people who were there, and all of the reports have been positive.  Personally, Day 1 was much more appealing with The Killers, Gogol Bordello, Pete Yorn and The Pixies among the many bands spread across their five stages.  Day 2 had a totally different vibe with Bob Seger, Kid Rock, The Doobie Brothers and Blake Shelton headlining.  Truthfully a little schizophrenic.  Next year, they need to decide what they want to be when they grow up and have the entire weekend gel better as far as the line-up is concerned.  Seriously, what would a Bob Seger fan think when they saw the antics of Gogol Bordello???

Although we weren’t there, a few of our website members (oh yeah – you can register there, too) did attend, and we’ll be sharing some reviews shortly.

We’ve reviewed a bunch of great new music lately to tide you over.  Here are quick links to the last handful, if you want to check them out:

They were all good – honestly (we are not just schmoozing for more free music, although we are certainly open to that).  My favorite was Grouplove’s effort – and fortunately, they’ll be hitting the Sunshine State shortly for a few shows in early December.

We also had a great interview with Lovedrug’s Michael Shepard.  The band has a great story, a unique sound and their talented front man is a helluvanice guy.

Finally, I’ll leave you with this little tidbit from The Last Royals, who we interviewed a few months back.  Here’s a recording studio that is truly a “head” of its time: Crystal Vases

 

Egypt Central’s – White Rabbit Album Review

While doing some online music browsing recently I stumbled across Egypt Central. “White Rabbit” is their sophomore album and one that took some time to produce. This twelve track CD hosts a wide variety of musical tastes, as some songs are all-out hard core rock songs, while others are slower rock.

The lyrics are all very personal and clearly based on personal experiences. Egypt Central doesn’t just make up words for their songs, they sing about things they have experienced, hardships they face, and feelings they must deal with. I think the personal side of their music makes it very easy for people to relate. They sing about such a wide variety of stuff; drugs, heartbreak, abandonment, fear and power, so that almost any person of any background can relate to at least one of their songs.

Their first song, “Ghost Town” opens the album on the calmer side. This is not one of my favorite songs, there’s no real hook and the beat is kind of hard to get into. I thought this song was an odd choice to open the album and it didn’t really leave me dying to listen to the rest of the CD… but boy am I glad that I did.

“White Rabbit,” their second track and first single is one of my favorites! I could listen to this song over and over again. The chorus is extremely catchy, reflecting about Alice from Alice in Wonderland and her magic white rabbit. The lyrics talk about how they keep diving down the hole and can’t seem to break out of this terrible addiction that they have. The more I hear this song the more I love it. There is a line in the middle of the song where John Falls sings; “I won’t be pushed aside, I will be heard. I will get what I want, what I deserve.” And then the entire band repeats the line with much more heart and you sense that they are passionate about these lyrics.

“Goodnight” takes things a little slower. Another one of my favorite songs on the CD, this one really brings out Falls’ focal talent. He spends a lot more time in this song singing soulfully as opposed to screaming and rocking out. The tune shows a softer side to Egypt Central singing about a relationship that didn’t last – “Goodnight, goodnight, this pain won’t last forever.” Once again a very catchy song that’s extremely relatable, and by far one of the best displays of vocal talent on this album.

“Are you ready too… are you ready to… Kick Ass?” The fourth song and currently the band’s most popular, “Kick Ass” has been heard on radio stations and is quickly climbing the charts. I must say I don’t completely agree that this is the best song on the album. It is catchy and a good crowd pleasing song but I feel like there are other tracks that deserve more recognition. “Kick Ass” is probably the most upbeat, head-banging song on the CD. A very hard rock beat with loud vocals, it’s sure to get any rock and roll fan going.

“Change” is another more alternative rock cut and one that also accentuates the singer’s vocals as well as some good guitar riffs. I didn’t love nor dislike this song, it is a good track and suits the album well but nothing extremely different. It is once again a relatable song for most people who need to step up and make changes in their lives before it’s too late.

The sixth song on the album “The Drug, Part 1” is a fun song! On this one in particular, I really enjoy the guitar and drums more so then the vocals. It’s a very fast paced track that keeps my head nodding the entire time. It’s written about drugs, hence the name, and the band’s personal preference on their choices and beliefs on the drug scene.

“Down in Flames” is my least favorite song on the album. It’s not a bad song, just nothing special in my mind. They open with a man talking as opposed to music and the lyrics and beat just don’t really do anything for me. One thing I will say about this song is the guitar has some nice solos in the middle of this song.

“Enemy Inside, Part 2” is another one of my favorites, and another very slow paced song. I really like when Falls slows down the music and you can really hear his voice – which sounds amazing in the beginning of this song. The first verse gives me chills listening to his vocals. You can feel his relationship with the song. I like the lyrics, too, talking about the enemies we all battle inside ourselves. Sometimes our dark problems take control of us – “one last time to feed the enemy inside.” This is a great song.

Ah number nine, “Blame” – This song is a completely different type of song from any song on the CD; a very upbeat, fun song to listen to. The chorus is the highlight of this song – very catchy and the music backing up the lyrics works perfectly. We hear some of Falls’ more raspy vocals in this song and also a bit of his screaming talent. “Blame it’s a dangerous game to play, you better watch who you betray”- the lyrics couldn’t be more true.

“Dying to Leave” is probably the saddest song on the album. Basically a song where a guy just needs a girl to make up her mind and decide if she wants to be with him or not. This is a typical heartache song, well written and performed.

“Surrender” opens up with a very fun guitar, bass, and drum solo. They keep this upbeat tempo going throughout the entire song. It’s a very fun almost dance type track. Definitely not a song you can sit still and listen to. I guarantee you’ll be bobbing your head and tapping your feet by the end of this one. I love this cut and I think it’s very fun.

The last song on the album, “Backfire,” is an interesting way to close out an album. I love the song, it’s very slow, and the vocals once again are amazing. At first I doubted it was even Egypt Central; it sounded so different, but after a few listens I really like it. This track also features the other members of the band singing and it adds a lot to the song. An unexpected end to the album but I was pleasantly surprised.

Check out the album at iTunes:

Egypt Central “Kick’s Ass”

So I have a question… Are you ready to “Kick Ass?”  Egypt Central sure was Wednesday night in Tallahassee. The band from Memphis, Tennessee lit up Floyds and had the crowd going crazy during their incredibly energetic performance. I spoke to multiple people during the show commenting that Egypt Central most definitely stole the spotlight Wednesday, many noting they were more entertaining than headliner Hinder, and I must say I have to agree.

The band had more energy than any other band I saw perform that night. The bassist Joey Chicago played the entire set shirtless and for good reason, he moved around so much he would have been dying with a shirt on. The lead singer, John Falls, never once lost momentum during his songs; his amazing performance was well matched by his outstanding vocals. He spent the majority of the show standing on a shadow box flailing his arms in what look like a Tae-Kwon-Do style.

The highlight of the show was Egypt Central’s performance of “Kick Ass” their new hit single now being played on the radio. As you may have seen in my album review of the band I didn’t totally enjoy the version on the album and I wasn’t quite sure why everyone found it to be such a hit, until I heard it live. Talk about getting a crowd going. At no other point did I see the crowd so involved in a performance as I did for this song. The entire crowd was on their feet screaming along with the words. Even those who didn’t know the words quickly caught on.

Egypt Central left the crowd’s ears ringing and hearts pounding after their powerful performance. I love watching a band play their hearts out, and really enjoy what they are doing. When you can tell the lead singer craves the attention of the crowd and the guitarist thrives off the screams and chants, you can tell that this band is doing what they love and that’s exactly how I felt with Egypt Central. They clearly left more of an impression then any band that night and I would recommend to anyone to give this band a listen.

Set List:

  • Taking you Down
  • Over and Under
  • Ghost Town
  • Kick Ass
  • Blame
  • The Drug
  • The Way
  • You Make Me Sick
  • White Rabbit