Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Various Artist ‎– Stay Tuned For The Holidays (A Crank! Sampler) (2000)

Collecting some of the best music on the Crank! label, Stay Tuned for the Holidays brings 17 young bands together to showcase their talents. This album is actually very interesting, as it basically shows off the bands who have now been influenced by the alternative music rush of the '90s. That influence can be felt all over, as the spirit of bands from Unsane to King Missile to the Goo Goo Dolls hang over the proceedings. Being what it is, there are a few weak tracks, especially towards the middle. But several artists manage to impress with their songwriting skills. Some of the more notable tracks include Gloria Record's fuzz pop gem "Arctic Cat," Far Apart's lurching emo rocker "Hazel," Icarus Line's brutal hardcore burst "We're Never Gonna Make It," and Christie Front Drive's angular noise ballad "Valentine." This is a pretty good compilation that features several young bands who could easily be the dreaded "next big thing." Still, it is always nice to be in on the ground floor, so anyone looking for a good collection of solid alternative rock songs from some promising young bands should look here.


1. Vitreous Humor - Sharin' Stone (4:11)
2. The Gloria Record - The Arctic Cat (4:52)
3. Far Apart - Hazel (5:44)
4. Errortype:11 - I Wonder How (To Make It Real) (3:10)
5. Onelinedrawing - Better Than This (Live) (3:51)
6. The Icarus Line - We're Never Going To Make It (Previously Unreleased Version) (2:41)
7. Cursive - Tides Rush In (4:02)
8. Fireside - Elevation (4:21)
9. Jupither - Friend (4:18)
10. Sunday's Best - Winter Owned (2:54)
11. The Vehicle Birth - Marathon (2:42)
12. Mineral - If I Could (5:59)
13. Acrobat Down - Beaver Falls Expected (2:49)
14. Silver Scooter - Bob's B.B.Q. (2:17)
15. Boys Life - Temporary (2:22)
16. Christie Front Drive - Valentine (5:17)
17. The Regrets - India Ink (4:20)

Various Artist ‎– Stay Tuned For The Holidays (A Crank! Sampler) (2000) 320kbps

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Inside - Seven Inches To Wall Drug (1999)

Formed in August of 1995 - Inside spent it's four years together touring the United States and Europe. The band broke up in the summer of 1999 shortly after the release of their final album. Long Island's favorite sons, a late 90's emo band compared favorably to Mineral and Sunny Day Real Estate. This 5 piece formed from hardcore band Word Of Mouth, went on to spawn Blood Red, Babyteeth, Tinsnips, The Dearly Departed, The Movielife, Taking Back Sunday, etc...

Newsday – Oct 22, 1998
Performance: A
Song Writing: B
Sound: A-

Inside describes its music as "emo-core," a brand of hardcore that melds melodies (sometimes pretty, hummable ones) with the charging, distorted guitar sound of punk. It's basically what would happen if Morrissey, instead of Maynard, was the lead singer of Tool. 

That said, Inside singer Michael Malamo does an impressive job of bringing touchy-feely lyrics to hard rock without sounding like a sap. Where the poetry of most punk bands reminds you of a bloodied scab, Mallamo's incantations read more like the diaries of an outraged but admirably starry-eyed high school senior. 

Although lyrics such as "You hold my heart, now hold my hand, mold me anyway you can," don't look like much on paper, when joined with the driving guitar work of Jonathan Florencio and Vincent Corrigan, they become the kind of heart-rendering chorus that most musicians dream of writing: the one that could save your life or change it forever.
Issac Guzman 

I really liked this CD. Its really melodic indie w/great guitar harmonics. The vocals are good too, only I wish they would get a little harder and edgier sometimes to complement all the soft melody.
Punx Against Inbreeding #2

I first heard these guys about two years ago and instantly loved them. Sometimes slow and emotional, sometimes fast and rockish. I don't feel right putting them in a certain category, because they don't belong in one. Very talented at the music they play describes these guys enough. Fans of Texas is the Reason and Sensefield should most likely enjoy this. Even if you like straight hardcore or punk, you might like this, I know I love it. Track one is excellent.
Trydent #2

A collection of compilation and single tracks from yet another "emotional" post-punk band, but this one has a few key differences. First, they can write songs, rather than just a series of "parts" strung together. Second, they have a singer who can sing. Really sing, like somewhere between Mike Stipe and Adam Durwitz (yeah, I mean that as a compliment). Unfortunately, the production varies wildly from track to track which makes this a bit uneven at times. Still, I'd love to hear Inside in a real studio with a few bucks to spend. 
Sal Cannestra
Jersey Beat #64

Here's a collection of songs from Inside's previous releases. Inside is a really great band that just needs the right label to help them break out. Emo tinged and rocking in every sense.
Muddle 15/16

Gutar oriented modern rock alternative band. The lead singer reminds me of a combination of Fish from Marrillion and Dave Matthews without the power or smoothness. Smart lyrics and a tight sound makes this one enjoyable.
Mutant Renegade #10

A very passionate emo CD laden with catch choruses and a unique melodic quality. The vocals are a bit higher pitched than I expected, and at first this turned me off, although I later found myself going in the completely opposite direction and totally digging the vocalist's unique approach and soul-bearing delivery. With appropriately introspective lyrics, Inside crafts an album that is thoughtfully energetic and provocative, but without attacking the senses. The songwriting is very poppy, containing just enough noise to batter the ears into anesthetized numbness so that the tender, melodic moments can infiltrate without hindrance. As is the case with most emo and indie rock bands, Inside can kinda overdo the emotional aspect, although the band backs it up with enough hard-hitting chops to satisfy me. Probably not for everybody, although I found myself digging Inside after a few listens, particularly the first three tunes.
Probe #8

I wish more bands sounded like this: good, honest melodic hardcore with clear vocals that nevertheless sound like the vocalist is putting all they have into it. This kinda reminds me of Hot Water Music meets Into Another meets Roadside Monument, as odd as that sounds. The lyrics pretty much fall into the personal category, and the music is pretty straightforward. The recording quality could be better, but overall, I like this a whole lot.

Inside is seriously one of the best emo/indie rock bands that I've heard in a really long time. The vocals are soooo good. Music is fantastic. Live they rock as well. All fans of the indie rock/emo genre should really check this out. Pretty parts accentuated by a few heavy parts, great vocals, what more could you ask for? This CD contains all three 7"s, a few comp songs, and a live recording recorded last spring when they played A Sometime Promise’s last show. What more could you want?

t's really a shame to come into a new band after they broke up. I did it with Mineral and a bunch of other emo bands, and now I've done it with Inside. Their most recent and last full-length, My Funeral, was reviewed here recently. This album, which was released before My Funeral but not by much, is all tracks from the band's 7-inches, B-sides, and a few live tracks thrown in for good measure. Like most compilations of 7-inch releases, it doesn't have the maturity and crisp production of a full-length LP. But, also like many 7-inch releases, these songs have a hefty dose of intensity and edgy rock. I think that a band has trouble writing an entire album's worth of songs with that dose of intensity at the same time, but with 7-inches, you're bound to get the gems.

"Stumbled on a Penny" starts off with what was likely a My Funeral cast-off. It's a great song, rocking and flowing quickly and featuring Michael Mallamo trademark high-pitched but beautiful voice. "Wait Until Tomorrow" starts off slow, like an emo ballad, but it picks up at the end, becoming beautiful and powerful as Mallamo sings passionately, "Don't break the silence!" "Postcard Memories," in addition to having a great name, is a flowing, bass-driven slower rock song. The chorus picks up, while the verses slow down and feature the intricately written and deeply personal lyrics. "Ray Brower" is a driving, powerful song with vocals just barely on the edge of being screamed as Mallamo shouts out, "maybe just one more time and I'll close my eyes forever." "Broken Promise" (a good emo name) starts off rather mediocre, but at 2 minutes, it kicks in with a chugging, driving guitar riff and screaming vocals. Now that's emo-core! "Regarding Time Lost" is a wonderful song, slow and fast, amazing lyrics, and a great chugging guitar part that makes me feel good inside. Heh...inside, get it?

And, finally, track 10 is 21 minutes long and consists of about five songs played by the band live. Here is where you hear Inside's true beauty. They've proven they can produce their songs well on this and My Funeral. But, live, they prove they are amazing musicians. Sure, the quality of the live tracks isn't so good, but the intensity here is just phenomenal. The band plays so hard, and the vocals are so blaringly screamed and intense. This sounds like Indian Summer's live album in parts, except Inside can slow it up and sing so prettily when they want to.

So, Inside has proven to be one of my new favorite bands. Their brand of intense and finely crafted emo is powerful and beautiful, something that's missing from other emo-posers out there. They still take more from Mineral and Christie Front Drive and Cross My Heart than Indian Summer and I Hate Myself on their album tracks, but this album, with their intense live tracks, proves the band can rock it hardcore style as well. Yet, they broke up. It's a shame, because I am definitely an Inside fan.
Delusions of Adequacy - Online Magazine

Inside - Seven Inches To Wall Drug (1999) 320kbps

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Dashboard Confessional – The Swiss Army Romance (2000)

Originally released on Fiddler Records with only 1000 copies or so made, Dashboard Confessional soon would become one of the worlds best acoustic bands ever. Shortly after its release on Fiddler Records a decision was made to move to a more well known label so that it could reach more ears. So on November 14, 2000 Drive Thru Records bought the rights to Swiss Army Romance and had them until 2003 when Carraba and Vagrant records bought it. Starting as only a side project, Chris Carabba of Further Seems Forever, tried to use Dashboard Confessional as an outlet. But after the success of Swiss Army Romance it seemed like the side project would become Carraba's main project.

The name Dashboard Confessional comes from the song "Sharp Hint Of New Tears" which contains the line "On the way home/This car hears my confessions". Dashboard originally was just front man Chris Carraba, until about 2002 when he had a definite line up. When questioned about why using the name Dashboard Confessional instead of using his own name he replied. "What rulebook says it has to be called your name if your one guy?"

Since Swiss Army Romance Dashboard/Carraba has been quite busy. With three EPs ,"The Drowning EP", "So Impossible", and "Summer's Kiss". Five full length productions, "Swiss Army Romance", "The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most", «MTV Unplugged 2 , "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar", and recently "Dusk And Summer." With huge success of all these records it doesn't look like Dashboard Confessional has any signs of slowing down.

Carraba opens this album off with "Screaming Infidelities" a great track with heartfelt strums on his guitar and whinny vocals set the stage for the entire record.. The song itself is about a guy who is full of an overwhelming sorrow about the woman of his dreams who shatters him with acts of infidelity. The best thing about the song is how much emotion Carraba pours into it, which is why I believe this rendition of the song is better than on «"he Place You Have Come To Fear The Most". The second track delivers us with the epic name Dashboard Confessional. The song is about a car ride home, and the racing thoughts of a failed relationship, I especially like how Carraba mentions the minor details of the ride, like the wind blowing and the damp air fighting the defroster.

"Living In Your Letters" has another session of soothing strums of the guitar, and more whinny love sick lyrics, and a sensational whinny voice of Carraba. The only draw backs to this song and many on the album are they all mostly sound the same. So stand out tracks will be few and far between. The title track has a very catchy sound, it is about a girl who is fake in front of everyone, and Carraba says "I would like to see you undone" meaning he would like to see the real her. Again very emotionally charged track.

"Turpentine Chaser" truly a beautiful song, although when it is on an album with such craftsmanship, it is the kinda track to fall between the cracks. "A Plain Morning" is extraordinary, due to its back up female vocalist, her voice compliments Carraba perfectly. "Age Six Racer" also has the back up female vocals and melds with Carraba's voice tremendously , the raw emotion from this song, about a summer that he misses makes this track a winner!

"Again I Go Unnoticed" is stand out track, alittle bit faster paced than the rest of the album. The song is about a relationship that is losing its passion. Down to the lack of conversation due to the TV, the closed lip kiss that is lacking passion, and the mixed signals. "Ender Will Save Us All" is another stand out track, alittle background about the title, Ender is Chris Carraba's middle name. The song itself is beautifully written and performed excellently. With such lyrics as "I wanna give you whatever you need? What is it you need? Is it what I need? I wanna give you whatever you need? What is it you need? Is it within me?" This is also my favorite track on the album.

"Shirts and Gloves" is yet again another song about a failing relationship! Go figure! It is however very elegant. With extremely soft strokes of the guitar, and very Carraba produces a very, very soft voice. The last original track is Untitled. It is different from the rest of the album, it kinda sounds like a good ole folk song turned rock song. It again has great lyrics.

In conclusion, we now know that Carraba is the master with a pen and a piece of paper. One of the most emotionally charged albums I have ever heard. I like this album almost as much as I like "Places You Have Come To Fear The Most" and more than "A Mark, A Mission, A Brand, A Scar", "MTV Unplugged 2", and "Dusk and Summer". Making this my second favorite Dashboard Confessional record. The plus side to the album is that every track is filled with pure emotion and every word spoken is from the heart. The back up vocals on "A Plain Morning" and "Age Six Racer" are superb. The draw backs to this album are that most of the tracks sound extremely similar, but you can only mix it up so much when you are a one man band! The other major draw back is the damn synthesizer! I have no idea what Carraba was thinking!

Tracks to listen to "Screaming Infidelities", "Sharp Hint Of New Tears", "Swiss Army Romance", "Age Six Racer", "Again I go Unnoticed", and "Ender Will Save Us All"

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Dashboard Confessional – The Drowning EP (1998)

Pros: Great Acoustic Guitar and Familiar Dashboard Sound!

Cons: Very short...

The Bottom Line: Great CD!! Short but Sweet!!

Obviously a little pricey for just seven minutes of songs, Drowning [EP] is great for any Dashboard fan. The EP features pretty much only acoustic guitar and vocals, so if you didn't like The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most, than you probably will not be a fan of the Drowning [EP]. Enough chit-chat though, let the review begin... 


Drowning | Anyone, Anyone? | For Justin 

1. Drowning [3:18] - Obviously the title song of the EP, Chris Carabba features a lot of vocals and acoustic guitar in the song, sounding very similar to Dashboard's debut release, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most. The song starts out with Chris strumming on his acoustic guitar, and the lyrics kick in around the seven second mark (mmm... specificity...). The vocals are not overly powerful in the beginning of the song, but they are still strong. About thirty-five seconds into the song, Chris almost harmonizes with a string instrument (I believe it's a cello, but I'm not sure... I'm not up to par with my string instruments...), and then plays off of it vocally for a little while. The guitar is fairly simple and repetitive, which is a trademark of Dashboard Confessional, but also one of Carabba's (seeing as he was the whole band in the debut CD and the EP) stronger points because his vocals and emotional lyrics become somewhat catchy. There are a few background vocals to be found in Drowning, but they're scarce. It sounds great when he pulls them off, but they're just not around enough. My favourite lyrics from this song are: And time has been spread so thin / and it's just hours till the day begins / And the things that are keeping you here are not keeping me here / and the things that are keeping you here will keep me away. / And you'll be sorry / isn't that what they'll say. / Don't follow your heart cause it just seems to get in your way. / And don't ever leave here / and mope at your leisure / and straighten out your crease here / and truth is in a tall beer. / Are you drowning your fears / in a glass of deception? / When everything is hazy than everything will be ok. / When everything is hazy than you won't be sad that you stayed.

2. Anyone, Anyone? [1:55] - The second (and middle) song of the EP kicks off with acoustic guitar and vocals right away. The guitar carries a better tune this time than it did in Drowning, and the vocals are a little more prominent in the beginning. This song is definitely a little more depressed and upsetting in tone than Drowning was as well. One of the great things about Carabba, and Dashboard in general, is that he can carry a tune very well. He shows off this ability here when he cuts the guitar and leaves himself with just vocals. It works extremely well. The guitar picks the pace up a little bit right before the thirty second mark, and the vocals go a little bit quicker as well, but it works. At this point, there is a little bit of vocal harmony as well, which is pulled off extremely well. Seeing as Carabba is the whole band, he is the lead and background vocals. To pull this off very well is extremely hard to do because it means that he has to sit down and sing the different parts at different recordings. At times he will haromize one word. For a little while here, though, he sings in complete harmony for lines at a time. He pulls it off amazingly and, I think, it really shows his musical talent. The best lyrics can be found right in the middle of the song. I can't see how / The way that you leave me alone / Makes us close / I must be out of touch / I won't ask you / To give up on the things / That seem to keep you gone / But I can be gone too... 

3. For Justin [1:58] - By far my favourite song on the EP, For Justin kicks off with just vocals, and then the acoustic guitar kicks in a second later. While all of the songs have the same acoustic guitar sound, the speed and chords change so drastically that you do not really notice (unless, of course, you're writing an epinion on it and you're forced to comment on little things throughout the cd...). In the beginning, Carabba puts a lot of emphasis on certain chords and it keeps the beat going well (remember... there are no drums or bass at all). He incorporates strategic pauses during the song where he cuts out the guitar or the guitar and vocals. I think it works really well. There is a little bit harmony within the vocals at time, but definitely not as much as there was in Anyone, Anyone?. The song ends rather abruptly, which is somewhat of a surprise. Instead of teetering out in usual Dashboard fashion (i.e. having the guitar have a chord go for a little while) the song ends right after the last lyric. While it makes the song feel a little rushed, I still love it! My favourite lyrics are the opening lyrics: It's been a year now / since you were here now / and I'll be tryin to heal inside / dedications have all been placed / and I see your resemblance in my face / And on our birthday I'll set an extra wish for you / for you... / and I have learned so much since you've been gone / and I have done so little for so long / so now I'll settle up my grievances / and focus on the savory / and wave all these discrepancies away / and I'll peter out these misconceptions / give out faith at my discretion / live a life that you would think was sane / sane.... 

Overall - Honestly, it's great. For those of you keeping track, Drowning [EP] is 7:11 long, so it's definitely very, very quick. It's an EP, though, so it's made to be short. If you don't like acoustic guitar, stay away. It's the famous Dashboard sound. If you were a fan of their debut album, The Places You Have Come To Fear The Most than you will definitely love the Drowning [EP]. It is a little bit on the pricey side, so you have to be willing to spend a little bit of cash to get a few great songs!! Overall, I love it.

Ryan Brennan

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Various Artist – The Emo Diaries Chapter Five: I Guess This Is Goodbye (2000)


1. The White Octave - Looking Past Sky (4:11)
2. Slowride - Daydreams Of A Future (2:51)
3. Reubens Accomplice - You Do It Awfully (4:04)
4. The Walt Lariat - 6:00 AM In Cortona (5:48)
5. Sunfactor - Frostbite (3:52)
6. Eniac - I'll Never Get Home (4:47)
7. Benji - Interlude/All At Once (2:57)
8. Kerith Ravine - Two Empty Bottles (6:43)
9. Cast Aside - Racecar Theory (4:16)
10. Billy - Accentuate (5:30)
11. The Others - For Good (3:41)
12. The End Of Julia - Landmine (5:30)

Various Artist – The Emo Diaries Chapter Five: I Guess This Is Goodbye (2000) 320kbps

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Various Artist – The Emo Diaries Chapter Four: An Ocean Of Doubt (1999)


1. Five Speed - What's Our Dilemma (4:07)
2. Red Animal War - Backbreaker (2:35)
3. The John Doe Band - Supergirl (3:40)
4. Ed Matus' Struggle - Distance (4:06)
5. Aina - Rolling Snowball (3:34)
6. Further Seems Forever - Vengeance Factor (2:47)
7. Keystone Sinatra - Twenty1 (3:46)
8. The Movielife - Valens (2:06)
9. Spy Versus Spy - Set The Spokes Alight (5:14)
10. ODG - Corners (4:22)
11. Merrick - Milk And Lots More (3:03)
12. Flux Capacitor - Sasshe (11:54)