My brother is living in Philly right now, and I always catch myself wanting to ask what the music scene down there is like. And then I remember my brother is an honors student and plays a sport of some kind and probably has not had the time to attend a single concert since he moved down there and I'd be better off just looking for PA bands on my own time.
I love a good all girl band- and I really love a great all girl band, which is what we've got with Dirty Purple. Lead singer Scotlyn Brewer's voice has the depth of a pop diva belter with the edge of a hard rocker, like a melodic Lacey Sturm or punk rock Christina Aguilera. But instead of relying on solid vocals, Dirty Purple creates a full sonic experience, the kind that isn't always expected of modern bands. The layering of guitars creates an atmosphere that pulls you in heart first, like a forest filled with fog that only becomes thicker as you walk through it. And the strength of the strings, on top of Ashley Ferrante's pulse pounding drumming, makes it impossible to ignore Dirty Purple as a standout not only amongst their peers but amongst any great rock band of this generation or the last.
Who We Are
In addition to great all girl bands, I love beautiful voices soaring over music that conjures images of unbelievably haunted catacombs underneath old churches. Like early A Day To Remember if Shayley Bourget had been part of the lineup and I See Stars had snuck in during recording and left a glittery trail over the programming boards. If that sentence was too much of a clusterfuck for you, imagine beautiful rolling hills being overtaken by a thunderstorm followed almost immediately by a double rainbow, and you'll have some semblance of what I mean.
Not every band can incorporate the dark, heavy elements of post-hardcore without being afraid to bring in pop influences. It takes some sonic bravery and a lot of talent, both of which Adalie very much have. It's not pop punk so much as punk pop, a distinction that may seem pointless, but one that needs to be made. Adelie takes the tropes of pop and funnels them into honest, emotional, jaw breaking rock, which makes it impossible to be bored by their discography. There's no way to expect what's coming next, and that's one of the best things a band can do for their listeners.
The last (and long, long, long awaited) of the "my mother lived here before moving to the east coast" trilogy is coming at you from Ohio, which is one of my favorite states for no real reason other than it having a great name and some great music.
If These Trees Could Talk
We've discussed my love of experimental post-metal whatever you wanna call it before... probably. I never really stop babbling on here so it's pretty likely that we have. If These Trees Could Talk bring the experience to a whole new level-- a sonic cinema that builds forests from scratch. It's like watching a thousand years pass as a redwood forest emerges from nothingness into a towering canopy of life, or as stars convalesce, illuminate, combust, and die, from the safety of your headphones.
Let's keep on the same beautiful track with Wide Eyes, another instrumental whatever you wanna call it metal band that makes the world unfold in your earbuds. There's a lot more drop tuning here, and a much darker edge, which is something that for me, makes the whole sound even more enticing, because, on one side, you have this wide open night sky with spinning technicolor nebulas, and on the other, you have the same nebulas being torn to shreds by black holes. That was all the astronomical terminology I have for today.
Breathe Till Dawn
Heading in a slightly different direction, let's talk about how unbelievably good Breathe Til Dawn is. And that their singer is 16 years old and has one of the most beautiful, mature voices I have heard in my life. If you want something orchestral and still pop punk and still kind of metal, you can not go anywhere but here. Not only have they found the sweet spot between music and vocals, they've coordinated clean and unclean vocals in a way that lot of bands fail to-- so that the unclean vocals not only sound great, but sound like they were meant to be where they are, that nothing else could make sense. Fantastic. I'm raving. Excuse me.
There's such a beautiful feeling of the sky ripping in half when you listen to Worthwhile. It's this melancholy angst that isn't demanding pity, just a voice and maybe an ear to hear it. The melodic side of hardcore is a side that, when touched this fantastically, deserves as much attention as possible.
In part two of our trek across the motherland, we're hitting up Illinois, home of the greatest pizza my New York roommates won't admit to liking. In addition to controversial pizza, Illinois is home to a fantastic music scene, which we'll be sampling in this segment of State of The Union.
She's Alive are a solid pop punk outfit that follow well in the footsteps of those that have come before them. In certain cases, they have a poppier mentality and more straightforward lyrics, a good match for All Time Low fans that want to dance to loathing and loss. In other instances, however, there's a heaviness that, paired with the sweet, youthful voice of lead singer Alex Rogers, pairs well with fellow Chicago band Fall Out Boy.
I hate working out. I love work out music. I love Workout Music even more. I live for shameless exuberance. I am the world's most low profile party girl, if you will. Workout Music brings the party to me when I'm sitting on the floor in my living room watching South Park reruns. This place has everything*: 80's synths, 70's disco beats, early 2000's pop-rock, and vocals from Tom Muldoon that could put Gabe Saporta out of a job. Workout Music are the band to listen to when you want to raise the roof on a Tuesday morning on the way to work.
*if you didn't catch the Stefon reference please go educate yourself
Call It Treason
Am I too young to yearn for the early days of pop punk? Probably, since I was like 9 and still wearing shirts with sequined lobsters on them. But, I no longer have to yearn, because Call It Treason is a modern band that plays up old school style. They still have the modern-minded pop sensibilities, but with a go-for-it punkiness that's often left out of the equation in today's scene.
Jordan Benker/ Look Out Love
Back to yearning-- early nevershoutnever was inadvertently my introduction to the Warped Tour scene. Jordan Benker keeps the faith burning, like a member of One Direction going solo to perform on a Glamour Kills tour (I say this in the most positive way-- I'm mad down with One Direction). Here's the positive pop that can get along in the rock scene without turning off listeners.
I had a ridiculous time trying to find music from Wyoming bands. But I am nothing if not stubborn. Well, no. I am many things if not stubborn. But, I did it, I hunted through the ether and found some great music, and here's the cream of the crop:
Canyon Kids know how to make softness hit you hard. Their music is atmospheric, enveloping, enclosing, like being wrapped in a cloudy blue sky. Instrumental tracks and vocal tracks are equally as powerful, and accomplish the same strength through different means. Even the rougher tracks, like "Supermoon" feel gracious and welcoming, demure and sexy at the same time.
Poor Me is a misleading band name, because this is a fun band to listen to. The music is upbeat and ready to be listened to in a car barreling down the highway. There's some rawness and aggression, but nothing self obsessive, nothing exclusionary. They've got a vocal tone and a musical style that succeeds on a We Were Promised Jetpacks level and an A Day To Remember level.
Harpoon, the Whale
You don't often see a band describe themselves as both a pop outfit and a hardcore outfit, but Harpoon, the Whale, isn't the average band. Their sound is spiraling, surrounding, heightening, crashing, a full ride from the top to the bottom and back to the top. This is a band that can describe themselves as pop and hardcore, because they're radio ready and mosh pit ready, and both sides are equally exciting.
Shameless to Say
Ever wondered what it would sound like if The Ready Set's Jordan Witzigreuter was the lead singer of Fall Out Boy circa 2003? Shameless to say have the same hardcore-inspired musicality of Take This To Your Grave era Fall Out Boy, and the same sweet pop-ready vocals as TRS, but combined in a way that makes them their own breed- a band that makes pop punk in the most literal and fantastic sense. (Gigantic shout out to manager extraordinaire Amanda who directed me to the band).
My mom took a long journey through the Midwest before coming to the East Coast, and I'm following that adventure musically, beginning this week in Indiana. Please note that this music will not in any way reflect my mother's music tastes and in fact will likely consist of everything my mother hates musically.
I love good metalcore. This is good metalcore. There's the expected drop C tuning and back and forth between clean and unclean vocals, but there's also a poetic nature to Authors, an exposure of the tandem nature of slam poetry and punk rock. Because Authors make metalcore that is punk rock. They take their genre work to the next level by pulling in unexpected moments of direct contact with the listener, and this ensures that you'll stay in the palm of their hands.
Brought By Giants
Let's start with the piano intro in "A Safer Place," and talk about haunting. There's a chasm between scary and haunting, and where some post hardcore bands like to go for the former, Brought By Giants capture the latter, ensuring that their music sticks with you. Instead of simply being the demon that chases after you, Brought By Giants becomes the ghost in the shadows that follows you silently home.
The visuals for Sudden Suspension's album Second Place is like a sequel to Jimmy Eat World's Bleed American, and the classic emo nods serve somewhat the same idea. And yeah, there's the cliche desire to leave this town, but there's the skill and musicality to back it up. It's emo music you can dance happily to, not a pity party but a rallying cry.
Before pop punk became a caricature of itself, there were bands like Lost Years. Bands that made punk music with a pop mentality. Fast paced guitars, darkness battling light, lyrics that beg to be chanted and screamed at the top of your lungs. Lost Years make music that gets back to the point of pop punk, and warrants the defense of the genre.
Want a female-fronted pop punk band that doesn't fall into any of the tropes of a female-fronted pop punk band? Here's Quote Unquote, a band which garners no comparisons in the best possible way-- there's nothing derivative about this band, Tori Roper's crystalline voice has no predecessor, and the musicianship doesn't rely on the expectations of the audience. The self-titled album is a journey that needs to be experienced, a promise for great things in the future.