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There are the has-beens. The never-was. And then there are the "how the hell did we all miss this?" That is what I describe En Serenade. The North Carolina pop-punk act was a diamond in the rough of the genre. Comprised of members of bands like Farewell and The Athenian Mercury, this was a band that had a great lineage already. When breakdowns and chugs were just as commonplace as an excessive of abuse of pitch correction among these bands, En Serenade was the odd man out. Although some of the band's discography included the sound of the times, the band was at its best playing homage to the Drive-Thru days.

Driven by the confident and powerful vocals along with a knack for weaving...
Christian Wagner on 05/01/13 - 09:20 AM
There's a tender spot in the '90s alternative rock scene that is held deep down in most avid of music listeners and musicians alike. It could have been the likes of Mudhoney and R.E.M., or the cold calculations of Unwound and The Jesus Lizard for those who sifted through the best college radio worship of years past. Then there's Nirvana - but that goes without saying. What's invested in bands such as Jawbox and Sunny Day Real Estate is the tone in which sets the mood for much of their greater pieces of work. While we certainly have seen our share of homage in bands such as Balance and Composure, Sainthood Reps, O'Brother, Cut Teeth and Brand New's "Drive Like Jehu for beginners" work...
Adam Pfleider on 08/22/12 - 02:38 PM
There's something about the last year that has grappled me back into my "heavy" diet I weened off of some years back. With bands like Code Orange Kids, MilanKu and Full of Hell entering my life - I've definitely enjoyed the more sinister, unnerving and angrier side of music in 2012. Then there's Mountain Man's upcoming record. Two is unforgiving. From the opening beat down of "Home is a concept" to the closing exhaustion of "Take out the sun" (one of the best tracks of 2012), Mountain Man stake a claim in this decade's competition of tearing down walls and walls of inner ear structures. It's angry, violent and shows little to no remorse - everything a good hardcore record should be. It...
Adam Pfleider on 08/01/12 - 12:04 PM
It's very rare these days that I find out about a band through a press release. It's just me. I don't trust anyone besides my friends. While the tracks I heard from Alta previously caught my attention. they didn't stick. The band's new album, Places, kept blowing up my news feed, so I decided to give it a spin earlier this week. This time it stuck. It's abrasive, heightening, and unnerving. Alta have honed in on their sound with confidence and released an album that should place them atop the contemporary underground of young bands. The tension built in "Ray" and the opening siren of "Winter/Mute" are notable standouts. You can listen/purchase Places here.
Adam Pfleider on 07/18/12 - 10:57 AM
Lush tones, harmonious vocals and a perfect blend of savant guitar noodling and well flushed-out songwriting. This is the best way I can describe Brighter Arrows' Division and What It is to Abide. With only a handful of releases under their belt, the band make an impressive first listen. I've talked about my fear of good music eventually being turned over into copy-cats like every musical cycle ends up becoming, but Brighter Arrows is one of those bands that stick out in blending their own ideas into something fresh, yet contemporary to what's going on around them. Hearing the opening "Departing" reminds me of Gatsby's American Dream meets Native meets The Snake the Cross the Crown. Do...
Adam Pfleider on 07/12/12 - 10:43 AM
From Code Orange Kids to the new Mountain Man 7" to the first album from Old Man Gloom in eight years, the challenge to make heavy music heavier is not only in full effect, but to make it more interesting seems to be the true key as well. One band you may not be hearing much about yet is Kansas City's best onslaught, Canyons. Reminicent of Breather Resist's fury and Coalesce's math skills, Canyons is easily the next big thing when bringing up the terms "brutal," "unforgiving" and "smart" in the same sentence. Yesterday the band released their entire discography via Mediafire here. I suggest downloading immediately and turning heads to your cubicle or taking it to the streets of five o'...
Adam Pfleider on 06/28/12 - 10:02 AM
If you haven't picked up Japandroids new album Celebration Rock yet -- I highly recommend you check it out. It's streaming in the replies, and on Rdio and Spotify. I know Blake already reviewed it, but I need to call more attention to this gem. One helluva great album ... exactly the perfect blend of punk and sing-a-long choruses. Exactly what I need right now. Don't miss "Fire's Highway" or "The House that Heaven Built" -- but the album works best as a whole, and it works best turned up very, very loud.
Jason Tate on 06/06/12 - 10:32 AM
I scratch my head and wonder why All The Day Holiday wasn't one of the biggest bands on the planet. A group that never even saw an inkling of its true potential, the Ohio based indie rock act bedazzled audiences with breathtaking performances utilizing every single inch of sonic space to put you in a trance of ethereal bewilderment and question if you would ever feel satisfied watching another band perform remotely close to the level they did. Every time I saw them live it was the same reaction from an unfamiliar bystander: jaw to the floor, paralyzed in silence unsure of how to process what they witnessed from kids that weren't even old enough to touch alcohol. For those "in the know,"...
Christian Wagner on 05/01/12 - 11:25 PM
So far this year a lot of my most anticipated records have lived up to my expectations or have even exceeded them completely. When I heard about Marriages late last year, my interest was peaked since the band contained three members of Red Sparowes. Being that it was a new venture for the musicians, no one really knew what to expect - instrumental? post-rock? twang? As Kitsune plays through, it's a well blended mix of shoegaze and brute force. As heavy as the record flows, it's Emma Ruth Rundle's melodic voice that truly carries everything together. "Ten Tiny Fingers" is heavy enough for Russian Circles and Silversun Pickups, but carries like the best Warpaint song in its overall wash....
Adam Pfleider on 04/11/12 - 01:15 PM
Do you ever listen to an album and discard it, only to revisit it at a later time and completely blow you away? Whether you weren't emotionally ready for it or didn't give the record the proper listen it truly deserved, somehow it suddenly clicked with you. I recently came across this issue with Brighten's latest EP, I'll Always Be Around. For myself, I don't think I was mature enough to listen and actually get the music. Yes, it was only released in August 2011, but the world moves so fast, seasons change and so do we. I've gone in and out of relationships, been through some of the most incredible experiences I've ever seen, and am about to make life-altering decisions regarding my...
Christian Wagner on 04/04/12 - 08:36 AM
When our parents were growing up, "pop" music was the norm. For the most part, it was really good too. Besides the obvious Beatles and Beach Boys catalogs, there were also bands like The Kinks and The Zombies making great strides in keeping that three letter term more refreshing than the processed and stale state some of us see it as today. I remember buying The Format's Dog Problems and remembering how it pulled me out of the general radio gutter. I might be connecting the dots too much seeing how frontman Nate Ruess is the only line between his former band and fun., but Some Nights is one of the best tastes of the genre I've heard in some time (no pun intended). Like most of what Ruess...
Adam Pfleider on 02/22/12 - 12:41 PM
I had always been a casual fan of Eisley. I enjoyed their first two full length albums, Room Noises and Combinations (both released on Reprise Records), but I never went crazy for them. After moderate success with those two albums (both debuted in the Billboard 200), they became free agents and signed with Equal Vision. This got my attention as Equal Vision has always been one of my favorite labels and Eisley was definitely a lot more indie and whimsical than the hardcore and punk heavy roster on EVR. In late 2010, I was sent an advance of their upcoming 2011 EVR debut The Valley and everything changed. I was immediately hooked as songs like "Smarter," "Watch It Die," and the title...
Drew Beringer on 02/15/12 - 03:22 PM
I've been through so many genre phases, but the one that seems to have always stuck with me hardcore (no pun intended) is hardcore punk. Gimme Kill Your Idols or Ignite any day of the week. We've watched No Sleep Records' roster diversify itself over the past few years or so, and founder Chris Hansen admits it's a result of him just sticking to "what he loves." And that's exactly how it should be.

We can draw that same parallel to Massachusetts punk rockers No Trigger. We watched them hit the road on a long-winded two month tour in Europe in support of their 2006 full-length debut, Canyoneer, that hit us with a type of frivolity made for raised fists. That's why their mysterious drop...
Dre Okorley on 02/08/12 - 10:16 AM
I have been lucky enough to not be affected by band hiatuses, as my favourite bands have always managed to stay together. That all changed on April 15, 2011 when The Stills made an announcement. I expected it to be for a new album. I was sadly mistaken, however, as the band announced their break-up. The news was devastating, to say the least, and I quickly found myself throwing on Logic Will Break Your Heart, to find some comfort, to be taken back to that place where the stars glow...

Their break-up will never get any easier to accept, but I find comfort in the fact that they have left behind such an amazing discography. I consider Logic Will Break Your Heart to be the band's...
Lueda Alia on 02/01/12 - 12:32 PM
I've been needing some edge lately. I'm all for pop-punk, but I was aching for music with some teeth, something more aggressive and heavy that didn't necessarily involve screaming. Good thing I discovered Silver Snakes. Rolling raw 90's sounds with a hardcore/punk resume and solid hooks meant I was sold minutes into my first listen. There's as much At The Drive-In and Fugazi influence here as early Thrice, making Pictures Of A Floating World a damn good listen.

The record spans a few genres while remaining true to that good ol' rock 'n roll vibe. I'm a sucker for strong riffs, so "I Am The Flood" and "Constant" definitely gave me my fix. Those looking for catchy, upbeat rhythms...
Jack Appleby on 01/25/12 - 10:51 AM
With all of the commotion going on around the website the past few hours, I wasn't sure I'd have time to sit down and finish writing my Wednesday Spotlight feature today. However, if there's one thing good music will do, it's focus my mind on the task at hand. Today I want to make sure everyone knows about I Am The Avalanche. They've got a brand of rock that rolls in with a chip on its shoulder. A swagger that says there's no need to hide behind studio trickery or over glossy production. I like that. It's exactly what I'm interested in at the moment.

After the split of The Movielife we saw the release of the band's self-titled album. That was in 2005. It wasn't until last year...
Jason Tate on 01/18/12 - 05:30 PM
Anguish, catharsis and brutality. They're the first three words that come to mind after numerous listens to Loma Prieta's new album. I haven't been able to put down I.V. since I got a first listen late Saturday night. The album peaks in the stereo along with the emotional drain and intensity you would expect to come from the band. Unlike the fan herald Last City, Loma Prieta hide their melodies instead of separating the two in the explosive and draining behavior throughout their new album. The somewhat melodic shift on the opening "Fly By Night" is a perfect example of this. It's the sun shining through the clouds of a summer rain. It's really the way "Trilogy 6 'Forgetting'" keeps...
Adam Pfleider on 01/11/12 - 10:44 AM
On Wednesdays this year, we're going to start highlighting a particular band or album we think you should check out. Today I've chosen a release that has been some four years in the making. It's the long rumored Person L / Weatherbox split that was originally supposed to come out in 2008. It is now available for pre-order here. I recommend you check it out!

Track Listing
A1: Person L - OK (Listen)
A2: Person L - Winter Clothes
B1: Weatherbox - Kickflips For Weeks
B2: Weatherbox - Two Seductresses
Jason Tate on 01/04/12 - 11:05 AM

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