Feature: Half Year / Top 10
5. Fireworks: Oh, Common Life.
I remember the first time I listened to Fireworks. I was embarrassingly into The Wonder Years (For The Record: Still love those guys, but I used to take Soupy’s word as gospel, and I’m just happy to be passed that point) and Soupy had talked about a record called Gospel. I wasn’t impressed my first listen through. I found “Arrows” very harsh to listen to and I didn’t listen to anything beyond that first track. I remember when Fireworks became one of my favorite bands just as clearly. I had gone on a weekend camping trip and was listening to music while laying in my bunk. I had already finished the Now Now (well: Now Now Every Children) record, Cars, and figured I would give Gospel another shot. I am so thankful I took the time to listen to the rest of this record because I fell in love instantly. I spent the three years it took for Oh, Common Life to come out listening to that record regularly and pining for new music from Fireworks pretty regularly. This record expands on themes touched on Gospel and brings them to you from a far more matured point of view. I am so happy to see the growth in this band. I cannot wait for many more Fireworks releases to come and I cannot wait for people to start paying them the respect they deserve. You can listen to that record here.
4. Tigers Jaw: Charmer
Maturation is the first word that comes to mind when I think about this record. I became a fan of the self titled record pretty late in the game (at max two years ago) and I never really took the time to get into Two Worlds for more than just a listen or two. Earlier this year, Tigers Jaw released “Hum” as a single along with an acoustic version of “Cool” as a b-side. These two tracks brought me right back to the place the self titled record had me at. Charmer as a whole is without question the best Tigers Jaw record. They have perfected their sound and released what is going to be the record people are going to refer to in conversation years from now. You can listen to that record here.
3. Lobby Boxer: Lobby Boxer
I posted a review of this record just shy of a week ago explaining how much I love this release. Everything about this record is bliss. I think I summed it up pretty well then when I said: “Lobby Boxer’s self-titled EP is one of the most refreshing records to come out of modern emo. The vocal change of pace is something that was much needed in the genre. The twinkly, indie-rock inspired musicianship works incredibly well here. These guys know what they’re doing, and I hope that they don’t have plans to stop any time soon. You can listen to that record here (not available on Spotify).
2. Somos: Temple of Plenty
I had no idea who Somos was when I got this record in my inbox. So, I went into this record on a leap of faith. To this day, I am so thankful I took that leap. Temple of Plenty is still every bit as refreshing to listen to as it was the first time. This is my go to shower record. As in, I put this record on every morning and belt out the first three or four tracks in the shower and then jam the rest as my day goes on. I still get just as flustered when I try to write about this record now as I did when I was trying to write a review for it. And I got pretty flustered then. You can listen to that record here.
1. The Hotelier: Home, Like Noplace Is There
From the moment I heard “The Scope of All This Rebuilding” for the first time I knew this record was going to be magical. The raw power of that track was just a hint of what was to come with the rest of this record. Home, Like Noplace Is There is an emotional rollercoaster that will leave you nauseous in all the right moments. The good nauseous though, like the kind you feel right before you do something monumental. This is the one release that I can tell you will not be moving in the coming six months. The number of times I’ve listened to this record alone cemented it in the top spot for me. No question. You can listen to that record here.
Issues is definitely one of my favorite bands on the hardcore scene right now for a variety of reasons, but the main reason is the power of their lyrics and caliber of their musicianship. Tyler Carter and Michael Bohn are two of the most dangerous individuals on the scene, but put them together and magic happens. With songs like “Sad Ghost”, “Mad At Myself”, Never Lose Your Flames”, and “Disappear (Remember When)”, the music can speak to anybody and being delivered by Bohn’s flawless screaming and Carter’s soulful style, I found the album to be incredibly relatable. You can check that album out here.
4. Breathe Carolina-Savages
Despite the departure of Kyle Even, David Schmitt outdid himself with the follow-up album to “Hell Is What You Make It”. Even though Breathe Carolina is primarily an electronic group, they were always able to incorporate elements of rock and hardcore music and “Savages” was no exception. With vocal powerhouses Danny Worsnop (Asking Alexandria, WeAreHarlot) and Tyler Carter (Issues) as well as new pop sensation Karmin featured on the album, this is just a feel good party album with some serious twists with the song “Sellouts” featuring Danny Worsnop. I was very impressed with this release. You can check that album out here.
3. The Word Alive-Real
I have been a Word Alive fan for a few years now and they never seem to disappoint. As a big fan of hardcore and hard rock music, the album “Real” from these guys was definitely the real deal (no pun intended). If anyone has sat and listened to the song “Light House” off of this album they know what I am talking about; words can’t even describe how powerful the song actually is, you just have to listen to it for yourself. You can check that album out here.
2. William Control-The Neuromancer
I have never li hstened to a bad William Control album, they are all just fantastic. Going from being a frontman for the band Aiden to doing his own thing with William Control cannot be an easy feat, but he pulls it off so well (although I am sure he does not care what others think of this transition he just loves what he does). “The Neuromancer” combines what I have always loved about WIlliam Control; dark electronic music with psycho elements as well as powerful synth keyboards and beats so heavy you can’t help but dance to them. Seeing this guy twice live has been a real experience and listening to the records, it can only make you imagine how great the live experience is. You can check that album out here.
Although this album literally just dropped a couple weeks ago, I have been looking forward to new music from Caleb Shomo for months. Beartooth is such a breath of fresh air because the music from start to finish is about real life issues that go unaddressed or unnoticed; Shomo brings them to life and advocates for many issues that need to be taken care of and that is what makes the music so relatable and enjoyable. On top of that, it’s Caleb Shomo and I have literally loved everything he has done musically whether it is playing or producing. Heavy breakdown and groveling screams combined with some of the most passionate clean vocals I have ever heard, that is what makes this my favorite album of 2014 thus far. You can check that album out here.