Thursday, April 25, 2013

Chase This City - Everything I Never Told You

"Everything I Never Told You" offers a sneak peak to  Chicago's Chase The City's full length, "Life Stories" currently scheduled for a sumer 2013 release. But for all I know this just as easily could have been the lost tracks from
Taking Back Sunday's debut "Tell All Your Friends".
I say that in the highest of praise, considering the feeling this little sampling of the band gave me.
Excellent Pop Punk with a little more bite than I've come accustomed to hearing  from this sub genre in recent years. Songs relay a certain warmth along with a sense of honesty and urgency. I felt an instant connection to each of the three songs. With the opening track "I Could Just Cave Right In" being my favorite. I look forward to hearing what "Life Stories" has to offer. Hopefully it won't be a long wait. Until then... James Damion

Chase This City  Facebook

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Courtesy Tier Debuts New Video for the Song "Cold"

Brooklyn's Courtesy Tier debuted a video that was so good, I couldn't help but share.

Official Music Video for the song "Cold" by Courtesy Tier From the Holy Hot Fire EP 
Recorded and Produced by Jeff Berner at Galuminum Foil Studios in Brooklyn, NY
Available here: Courtesy Tier
Courtesy Tier is;  Omer Leibovitz - guitar/vocals Layton Weedeman - drums/vocals

Directed by - Cameron Zonfrilli & John Welsh III
Produced by - Cory Choy & Silver Sound
AD/Producer - Reed Adler
Editor - Adam Abada
Colorist - Vladimir Kucherov
Director of Photographer - Andres Cardona

Production Assistant - Evan Zonfrilli
Production Company - Parlay Films

Gaffer - Terra Gorman
Grip - Brian Patierno
Art/Props/Swing - Danielle Pruden
Art/Swing - Peter Dodenhoff
Hair & Makeup - Sabrina De La Torre
Playback/Swing - Louis Gordon & Alex Portilla

Filmed at Parlay Studios

The Courtesy Tier  Official

Modern Chemistry - We'll Grow Out of This

Back in High School there was no fear quite like the fear of chemistry class. Year after year I struggled with the subject to a degree where it almost kept me from graduating my senior year. I'd long since put the subject on the back burner and focused on subjects I can conquer without the help of cheat sheets or lowering myself to any other devious levels. So when I was sent this new offering with a note attached that read "No testing required". Let just say I was up for the task.

On "We'll Grow Out of This"
the sophomore release from New Brunswick's Modern Chemistry. The band delivers a six song EP that builds on all the strengths and promise "An introduction" offered. Guitar driven post core that features emotive vocals and inspiring harmonies. And though the recording is tight and professional sounding. It manages to maintain a certain edge and grit that is evident throughout;
Giving it somewhat of an intimate and personal feeling. The EP's third track"Remember this Bridge" stands out with it's tasty guitar parts and Geoff Rickly (Thursday) inspired vocal delivery. While the following, "Part Two" is an emotional acoustic that just might get the ladies panties wet. Kind of a "Hey there Dellilah" for the Jersey kids. Overall, it was a good listen that offered a little bit of everything to this listener.  James Damion

Modern Chemistry  Facebook

In My Coma - Magnets and Miracles

When I was twelve years old
I was in a coma for eight days. My parents had been notified less than a month prior that, due to an inoperable brain tumor, I only had a month to two months to live. Looking back at the prognosis, I don't think many people felt I would ever return from that deep sleep. Somehow I made it out that coma and even lived years beyond that emotionally and trying episode.

Fast forward thirty years and Canadian Alt Rockers
In My Coma finds it's way into my review box.

On "Magnets and Miracles", In My Coma live up to their gag inducing name by delivering a shit fest of instantly forgettable songs that are part Nickleback, part Disney. The bands style mixes airy ambiance with an attempt at soaring rock n' roll importance. (Just look at the cover. The figure seems to be debating on whether to go to heaven or get a taco.) Singer, songwriter, guitarist Jasper James (If that's your real name) provides some decent guitar riffs here and there, but they seem overmatched by unbearable singing and song structure. Thus washing away any of the bands promise (as if there ever was) like only the strongest female douching product can. In My Coma really live up to their namesake on this fifteen song (Yes, I sad fifteen songs) album. Listen and you will find yourself in your very own coma. James Damion

In My Coma Band Page

Monday, April 15, 2013

Fuck the Heartless - Bluebeard

Having been blessed with a very short attention span.
I'm more than equipped to handle single and shorts bursts of energy, creativity and pure power. So when some old friends asked me if I would share my thoughts and a few words on a recent burst of fury.... Let's just say, I was up for the task.

F.T.H. features three quarters of the band My Rifle.
With Hobi Klapuri being the only absentee on this track.
And though one can't help but draw comparisons to My Rifle. "Bluebeard" takes on an even darker, heavier approach. Driving guitars and pounding rhythms compliment dark, heavy and powerful vocals.
Unlike a lot of the heavier stuff I'm hearing these days, these guys don't rush through things. The mid paced "Bluebeard" decides to stick around a while. Coming in at 5:26, it does a good job of leaving a lasting impression.

Though the future of My Rifle remains questionable. The pieces assembled for this particular track really deliver. "Bluebeard" was recorded and mixed by Andy Guida at Six III studio in Forest Hills, Queens. It features Lewis Dimmick on bass and guitar. Andy Guida on drums and Jason O'Toole on vocals. James Damion

Bluebeard Download

Empire - Shedding Skin

On "Shedding Skin", Raleigh North Carolina's Empire waste no time introducing themselves.
The five song EP opens with "Set in Stone" A gripping track that introduces itself with a vocal attack that almost perfectly describes the EP's title. Painfully stark vocals that evoke feelings of pain and loss. Screamo vocals complimented by a sweeping emo inspired guitar sound that adds an element of beauty while forging a dissonance. It's a common thread throughout the five songs that give the EP a nice balance. Though "Shedding Skin" is delivered in just over eleven minutes, it left me with a lasting impression. One that had me looking forward to more in the future.
James Damion

Empire  Facebook

Toothgrinder - Vibration / Colour / Frequency

After catching Toothgrinder at Montclair's Meatlocker last month I was given the bands latest CD to take home and remind myself of what I had just witnessed.
A follow up to the bands official 2011 debut "Turning the Tide". This three song EP is a tormented mental patient who's been looked away with a sign on the door the reads "Tormented by nightmares.
Do not attempt to resuscitate." "Vibration", "Colour" and "Frequency" are heavy ragers that have a sense of collusion that I found interesting. I found "Colour" to be the most impressive of the three tracks with it's progressions and changes. The songs vibe is epic, making me feel as if I was caught up in a battle for the soul itself. It beautiful, dark, evil and to say the very least, moving. The EP itself is highlighted by deep guttural vocals belted out over hammering guitars and a punishing rhythm section. It's heavy, evil and gripping. Toothgrinder may prove to to be more heavy and damaging than anything that's hit this coast in recent years.
As harsh as that may sound, it just might prove to be true. James Damion

Toothgrinder Bandcamp

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Pity Party, Young Ladies, Feral Babies and Rubrics at Greenpoint Brooklyn's LuLu's

As I headed to the bar to order a drink. The guy next to me looks over and says,
"Hey, didn't I meet you at that show the other night?" Somewhat confused, I took a moment to do the math before replying "You're going to have to be more specific."
"I've been to four in the last five days." At the moment, I became fully aware of how much I had been going out lately and how the late night, early mornings had begun to take their toll on me. Turns out the enquiring mind was none of than Fid from the band Pity Party.
Me and Fid met just a few nights before at the Knitting Factory. Shortly before that show we bonded over our love of vinyl records and our favorite record stores.

Greenville, South Carolina's Rubrics got things started on a frantic note. This was my first exposure to the touring band. They always say, "Don't judge a book by the cover."
But if lead singer/guitarists "Fifteen"shirt wasn't a clue of what was to come. I don't know what was.
There were a few stop, start moments where the singer guitarist would go into a
1, 2, 3... 1, 2, 3... miss-launch that had the feel of a North Korean missile launch. He had the super hyper personalty that made it feel like he was running a few blocks ahead of his band on the way to the candy store. At times, it felt like a show within the show or an after school special about the kid who takes meth to get that extra edge for the SAT's. It all worked out in the end as the trio ripped through a set of fast, raw punk with a socio-political edge. Though that style of preachy, unoriginal copy and paste lost my interest years ago when "Save the Children" and "Greenpeace" began setting traps on the streets of Hoboken. The Rubrics seemed to deliver a more focused and simple message in tune with my basic beliefs. "Respect yourself and others." "Don't be a Douche bag." Keep it simple, rock out, have fun. Mission Accomplished!
Rubrics  Facebook

I was really stoked to see the Feral Babies return to the area. They've been a steady presence on the blog since day one, being featured in record reviews, a show review and an interview. Getting to finally see them perform live within the cramped, yet intimate space of Brooklyn's Stolen Sleeves Collective was enough to file papers to have the Tampa Band become official citizens of our tristate area. On this night they played what seemed like an all too short set. The bands fast, aggressive sound finds inspiration in a lot of the straight up Hardcore acts of the 80's with a little more musical punch. Justin Arnold attacks each song with a noticeable passion and energy. Pacing the stage like a caged lion often growling towards the ceiling. A great set but like I said before. It all went by so fast. At this point, one can only hope it won't be an entire year before they return.
Feral Babies  Facebook

Initially, I didn't really know what to think about the next band. Young Ladies (they're actually not so young men)
At first they sounded like just about every other nondescript bar band. Good Rock and Roll with Hard Rock edge. But nothing that would make them particularly stand out. These locals feature Pat Schramm of The Latterman / Bridge and Tunnel and Ryan Seagrist (Discount / Monikers)
I remember seeing
Bridge and Tunnel on Record Store Day a year or two back. At the time I remember thinking the same thing. "Good band but nothing I'd write home about."
Young Ladies  Bandcamp

Headlining the intimate gathering were Brooklyn's Pity Party. Now, the only exposure I had to this band prior to tonight was the little Fid, the bands guitarist, had relayed to me a few nights before at the Knitting Factory. For whatever reason, perhaps the feeling they weren't completely foreign to me. I was somewhat excited to see them. In a sense, Pity Party's performance almost mirrored that of The Unlovables (The band I saw a few nights before at the Knitting Factory.)
An energetic female singer (Cassady) who spent the entire set on the dance floor engaging the crowd with songs that perfectly conveyed bratty pop punk angst with a sense of inner strength. The only notable difference was that the band itself looked and played like they could be headlining a local Hardcore show. With guitarist Fid often launching in the air as if was the second coming of Youth of Today's Porcell. Add to that bassist Joel who mirrored a younger Matt Warnke (BOLD). The band also features local legend Mikey Erg on drums. Add that to your checklist and you've got everything you really need.
Pity Party Facebook

Tampa's Feral Babies; L to R Sulynn, Justin, Andy, Marc
I really enjoyed my first trip to LuLu's. The place has great drinks, good prices and free personal pan pizza. (Believe it) The bartenders are laid back and despite it being a really nice place. It still manages to maintain the vibe of a good dive bar. There are lofts on either side of the bar with seating and a vintage Galaga video game. There's also a pool table on the way to the stage in the back. All of that nestled in the deep of Greenpoint Brooklyn. How can you go wrong? James Damion

Friday, April 5, 2013

Invisible Lines Return to Headline Maxwell's

Keith Laviola "Touch me, I'm sick."
If it were a perfect world, a musically perfect world. All rock related shows in New Jersey would take place at Maxwell's. For me personally, there is no better place to play or experience music. Now, of course, we would have have to extend twenty four hour days to thirty six and me might have to fiddle around with that three hundred sixty five day year thingamagig. There would be work to be done. Things like turning the entire street into a "Maxwell's Only" event space with numerous areas to accommodate various stages and such. It sounds difficult; But we are talking about a perfect world. Work would have to be done. Sacrifices would have to be made. The simple truth is, the is no better club, bar, stage, sound, door man, ticket taker, bar or booking guru.
I've seen everyone from The Avengers to X
play there. It is one of the reasons I moved to Hoboken. It is the only reason I still live in Hoboken. If it were not for Maxwell's, I would be musically homeless.

On this particular Friday night I headed to Maxwell's in order to play catch up with both
Meet Pause and Invisible Lines while reintroducing myself to the band Lost Romance.
On top of that I'd get the chance to see what New York's Face the King had to offer.

Jimmy Hot Pants (Meet Pause)
If my calculations are correct, it's been about a year since I've seen those meatheads known as Meet Pause perform live. To be painfully honest,
I had almost forgotten just how good these guys really are. My last encounter was about a year ago at Jersey City's Lamp Post and though I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Seeing them wedged between the kitchen and the bars bathroom wasn't quite the way I like to experience music. This time around there would be no chicken cutlets and fries emerging from the drum set.
No dodging Blatter challenged bar goers. I was amped. I was ready.I would not be let down.
Meet Pause really fired on all cylinders. I really can't say enough about any opening band plays like a headliner. There were so many highlights to the set which covered both familiar and new tracks from their upcoming record. Though I've thought it to myself many times I may not have put it out there. Keith "Hotpocket" Laviola is one of the best guitar slinger the Jersey scene has to offer. Add to that the often effortless vocal delivery and story telling lyric style of Scott Thompson and you're just floored. On this particular night it was Erik Lindstrom and Jimmy Haidacher that really grabbed my attention. Erik, who seemed to be on his feet for the entire set doubling on drums and keys was candy for both the eyes and ears. While Jimmy Haidacher's bass lines were tighter than his skinny boy jeans. It was an exceptional set. One that defined the night for me.
Meet Pause Facebook

Face the King "This scarf's for you."
Now I won't go as far as saying I have any psychic powers but... whenever I see a group of hot young women dressed for sin gather around the stage to check out a band. There are too two things one can almost guarantee.
1. That band will most definitely suck.
2. You will not see any of those women once that sucky bands leaves the stage. Though I won't go as far as saying these guys sucked. Excellent musicianship and a big rock sound go a long way. The bands arena rock sound just didn't match the vibe of the room or the scant amount of people in attendance. After one or two songs I found myself looking for anything else to occupy my time.
Face The King Band Site

Gerry Perlinski of Lost Romance "Jersey Strong"
Lost Romance followed bringing somewhat of a breath of much needed fresh air to the room. While I've been keeping tabs on the bands steady climb through their Facebook page for some time now. I find it strange that I haven't seen the band since they played NYC's
Bowery Electric during the
CMJ festival in the fall of 2011. The New Brunswick trio have since kept very racking up their share of trophies, awards and praise from the New Jersey music press and beyond. Gerry, Tony and Amine play a style of alternative rock that often reminds me of the pre MTV Power Pop boom.
I had put seeing Lost Romance on a high priority for 2013. Getting to see them perform just a short walk from my home couldn't have made it easier.
Lost Romance Official Site

Invisible Line ; Will and Geoff match skills
Closing an already stellar night were Kearny, New Jersey favorites Invisible Lines. I first fell in love with these guys when they performed at the Brick City Sound Riot Music Festival back in 2011. Since that time they've become one of my favorite acts on the Jersey scene and beyond. The bands 2010 E.P. "Wise Up" helped in turning Killing Horse records and the Tiny Giants Artist Collective into household names here at United By... The band has been laying low as of late, writing and recording new material due for release in 2013. One can only hope we'll be hearing something sooner than later in the year. The band played a high energy, climactic set that mixed both old and new tracks. It's been quite a while since I'd seen them live and I couldn't help notice
Will Acevedo singing lead on more songs than in the past. It also cannot go without noting the addition of Geoff Bennington. Though he's been a member of Invisible Lines for over a year now; this was my first time seeing him perform live with the band. I really like his energy and he sure knows how to play that guitar.
Invisible Lines Facebook

I really enjoyed catching up with the bands and seeing so many familiar faces on this particular night. The Spring and the coming Summer are sure to bring us many shows, events and chances to quench our endless thirst for live music. I'll definitely be seeing you. Until then... James Damion

Plow United, Iron Chic and The Unlovables Play Brooklyn's Knitting Factory

As I entered Brooklyn's Knitting Factory I almost immediately spied my comrade in arms Jim Testa of Jersey Beat. He invited me out to the show earlier in the week with the promise of good music merriment and a free pass for the night. As I met up with Jim we immediately started communicated in our shared language of music. The man stands as a testament of why Jersey Beat has stood the test of time for over thirty years. His knowledge of and understanding of music and the people who make it is astounding. Though our taste in music often differs. I feel that since my musical palette and knowledge has grown considerably since I initially became an occasional contributor to Jersey Beat and After buying Jim a beer and briefly meeting Mikey Erg and Pity Party's guitarist Fid, we headed to the ticket booth to get our free passes. Alas, Jim Testa was clearly printed in thick black marker on the second page. However, yours truly, his supposed +1 was mysteriously absent. Light on cash from my prior alcohol consumption and a little pissed about my exclusion, I looked at Jim like a man stepping up to an ATM. Jim gazed back with eyes as empty as his pockets. As to say, "Don't look at me." I was on my own. I sucked it up and paid for my ticket. I was on my own.

Love for the Unlovables
The Unlovables opened and got the show off to a good start, igniting an already full house and setting the tone for the entire night. Lead singer Hallie spent the entire set on the dance floor firing up the enthusiastic crowd. Though this my first exposure to Hallie and the band, I found myself dancing with a sense of wild abandon to each and every song. The bands upbeat, party pop sound was so addictive; Even this old, bitter and jaded old man couldn't help but be overcome by the musics warmth. Song titles like "Dance Party", "Being in Love" and "If you were here"wouldn't be my normal choice of themes to rock out to; But for Christ's sake, who wants to be normal? Later, as the show wound down. I headed over to the merch tables where I spotted the bands tasty looking colored vinyl. Unfortunately for me, I had spent my last chunk of cash earlier on other spirits. Regardless, I loved the Unlovables and hope to catch them again soon.
The Unlovables

The night moved along quickly as Long Island's Iron Chic took the stage.
The oft desribed super group features members of Latterman, Small Arms Dealer and Capital to name a few. The band played an rousing set that had the crowd singing in unison.
 Long Island's Iron Chic
Their sound blends punk and hardcore with emo influenced guitars and anthemic vocals. Vocalist Jason Lubrano prowled the stage as he worked up a very active crowd. It's always a personal pleasure for me, seeing the crowd become part of the show. I seem to have gotten used to witnessing people so involved with their electronic devices and distancing themselves from the stage to post about how much fun they're having at the moment. Iron Chic definitely kept that energy level high and kicked the adrenaline up a notch. Iron Chic

It had already been a stellar night of diverse sounds and positive energy by the time the nights headliner  Plow United launched into their set.
Plow United 
Like The Unlovables and
Iron Chic, this was my first time seeing Plow perform live.
To say they exceeded any expectations would be a major understatement.
The Unlovables and Iron Chic may have ignited the crowd. Plow, on the other hand, brought the gasoline can.
The trio, for lack of a better term, plowed through a set of sweaty, testosterone filled Punk Rock excellence.
Along the way the band was joined on stage by Unlovables vocalist Hallie Bulleit and drummer Mikey Erg playing guitar. Personally, my favorite moment came when drummer Sean Rule switched instruments with bassist Joel Tannenbaum. It added an extra notch to an already perfect night. Plow United

This was my first Brooklyn show of the year and a long overdue return to the Knitting Factory. As the weather warms I will surely be spending a lot more time in this storied borough. Until then, James Damion