Album Review: “The Stories We Tell Ourselves” by Nothing More

18766020_10155371710959287_3595486704059865356_nWhen I decided to review this album by the band Nothing More, I just figured it would be with the standard 12 track setlist and I’d get through it fine and dandy. Well, the day it came out and I saw the exact amount of songs it actually included almost talked me out of it. The only reason why I voted against myself is because I wanted to listen to it and not just hear the singles throughout the rest of the year and beginning of 2018 on the radio, so I figured I would suck it up and do the review no matter what!

The alternative metal band Nothing More has been creating music since 2004. The members are Johnny Hawkins, Mark Vollelunga, Daniel Oliver, and Ben Anderson. They had released two albums but they have been growing in popularity after the release of their hit “This Is The Time (Ballast)” in 2014 and I really began to keep an eye out for their newer stuff but I haven’t actually listened to the other albums. This is my first one!

Everybody knows how much I like little introductions or skits as they’ve been called in the past. Several artists and bands put them in front of a song or batch of songs to start a certain theme. Swedish singer Tove Lo has done this before, especially on her first record “Queen Of The Clouds” so I find it very interesting whenever metal and rock bands do the same thing, it kind of gives the album a different edge to it. So we’re starting with the first intro track called, “Ambition, Destruction” which sounds interesting doesn’t it? It’s very static-y and you can hear a faint scream sort of build before it stops and the actual first song starts and this is “Do You Really Want It?” and I really like the lyrics and meaning of it. It’s true, if we really want to change something we have to do something about it. It has a great sound, very heavy and could be a great workout song! Second track is “Convict, Divide” and you can hear an older men speaking and it sounds like an old tape of a lecture. After we begin the second song “Let ’em Burn” and it has the same tone of the skit playing before, the beat itself is pretty tame despite the very rushed vibe you have before the choruses, but I like it.

Third song is “Ripping Me Apart” and this has a true rock and roll feel to it in the beginning, I loved the gritty guitar strumming through my headphones. It’s nothing but that and Johnny’s vocals in the first parts of the verse before it breaks and the rest of the band joins in, this continues for the second verse as well! I like it, it’s smooth and explosive at the same time! I think it could be one of my favorites!  And next is “Don’t Stop” a song that came out with another track in early June, I don’t think this one has been played as much as the other but I like it just as much! I like the electronica vibe it gives off in the beginning, very much an alternative angle that I love a lot! I also like hearing the bass guitar, sometimes it can be hard to spot in the fast paced songs that we all love so it’s nice to clearly hear it every once in a while! “Funny Little Creatures” is just a funny thing to say out loud, but when I first saw it I had figured out the meaning of it. It’s playing on the idea of our demons and running away from them or so I got when listening to it. I like the lightness of the sound, it’s not too chaotic but it spiral feeling you get while you listen to it. It’s good!

Now we’re back on the skit train with “React, Respond” and again, you hear this static-y voice and this old man is back. This is actually longer than the previous ones, so you have the lecturer and the soft music in the background. It’s kind of interesting to hear this piece together. Once it’s over, you have the next song and it’s called “The Great Divorce” and again, it has a great alternative sound that I feel like I haven’t heard much in this album. It’s soft like the skit, but not as quiet. Surprisingly, I go back and forth whether I like it, because I just like the softer moments and wish it was like that throughout. I really like the section of the bridge, it’s very echo-y and almost dreamlike, it does build in tempo but it’s not annoying. So I’m pretty conflicted by it really. Next is “Still In Love” which sounds about right, considering titles alone. This also has a calming beginning, like you’re drifting out in the sky. I have the weirdest metaphors sometimes! I like this though, it’s very sweet. It has a nice sound, mellow and almost pop-rock. How many people will freak out that I just said that?

We have another skit called, “Alone, Together” and after the last one I’m glad it has a softer tone. I like the melancholy sound of the orchestra in the background, but considering what is after it is the perfect balance. We have “Go To War” now and it has been everybody’s new favorite (mine included!) and it’s heavy and commending. Ahh, it’s the perfect rock song honestly! Next is “Just Say When” and it’s surprisingly a ballad. You have the acoustic guitar and string sections coming in clear as day and it’s actually very pretty; totally not what I was expecting to hear after such a banger of a song before. We move on to “Accept, Disconnect” and we have another beautiful guitar, just strumming by itself and I just liked the “alone-ness” vibe you have of Mark but then towards the end you have that same lecturer speaking but it’s faint and goes in and out, before the next track starts up. “Who We Are” has become another favorite of mine. The moment this song was put up on Spotify, I haven’t stopped listening to it. I like the meaning of it a little more, I think it’s the perfect finish to all of these skits.

We’re on the last ones, starting with “Tunnels” and this was another shocker as it’s soft but the tempo has more of a pop-rock feel to it. Honestly, I didn’t really like it. I just didn’t mesh well with it like I figured I would because it’s a little bit boring. Next is our last skit of the album, called “End; Begin” and I thought seemed interesting in a way, because this could also be a metaphor for something else entirely, but I could be playing into the title a little bit. It has the previous song faintly turning into a game boy tune. Now that I think about it, that sounds appropriate for this type of thing but again we have that same dude speaking. I’d love to know if I’m right and it’s Sigmund Frued but I could be wrong. Anyways, the last song is “Fadein, Fadeout” and it’s the longest song out of the whole thing, over six minutes long. It’s pretty tame, not at all like I figured, but then again I actually like the lyrics. What is with me today? The words saved it I think; honestly though it is good all around so I don’t think it needed saving.

This album was very good. I liked the stories in the lyrics themselves. I was very surprised but also very proud of myself for getting through the entire album. I really committed to it, but honestly I just wanted to hear what the next one sounded and that actually helps the reviewing process! I definitely don’t want to do another deluxe like album again, but if they are as good as this, I might make an exception!

What do you think of Nothing More’s new album “The Stories We Tell Ourselves”? Do you have any favorite songs? Let me know!

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Music Haul | Pop & Metal

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Howdy!

So I’m back with my second music haul post! Ironically, the day the first post went up, we went back to the Record Cellar and purchased the next batch of albums! I did not plan that whatsoever! It just happened.

Before I go too into this post already, while I was busy taking pictures of the CDs I bought I thought I’d attempt to do my own little header for this post using the materials I had for the whole thing! A CD, foam board, and different colored bandanas! So yes, that is my “footwriting” if anybody is wondering! I actually put three pictures of the banner in three ways and I had everybody on my Facebook vote. Everybody seemed to like this one the most!

I kind of talked my parents into taking me after I got my tooth filled at the dentist. I spent the rest of my Christmas money plus some that I raised while working for my nana! I purchased six albums! The first one I got, well technically I looked over at the new releases before we went to the back of the store, I almost bought MGK’s General Admission because I’d seen it there down at the bottom, it was in reaching distance, I should have went for it but I didn’t feel like explaining to my dad that I wanted to get a rap album. I would have heard about that choice the whole way home! I did finally get Adele’s new album though! I like sweet, melodic music I really do, but I found out that when I’m angry and want to sort of stay that way, it’s not smart to switch from heavy metal to a pop album. It was a total buzzkill! Despite this, the album is really good!

While my mom and dad were looking for music that they’d enjoy, my dad bought like two albums and had to listen to an acoustic album by Joe Bonamassa the whole way home, which by the way wasn’t that bad! Anyways, the other two albums I remembered in my head before my brain really did go blank. I had to order both Butcher Babies’ “Take It Like A Man” and Like A Storm’s “Became The Enemy” and I had to wait a week or two to get them because that was the week of the big snowstorm! So I had to not only wait to get my CDs but also my teeth fixed all in the same week! It was worth it though!

The next batch of albums I’m about to discuss were pure recommendations of the owner of the place. Like, I said my brain kind of went blank after I got the three I wanted (so I should have bought MGK’s album!) and Rick came up to me and asked if I liked Bullet For My Valentine and/or Of Mice & Men, which I do and I should have asked if he had anything by them! I’m pretty sure my medicine was just kicking in at this point! He suggested the band Myka Relocate new album “The Young Souls” and I have to say out of the three he offered, this was my favorite! Gosh, it’s so good! It kind of kills me though that I hadn’t even heard of them before! What’s wrong with me?! If anybody out there wants new(ish) rock music, this is thee band you need to hear!

The other two, I feel like one of them was meant for my dad and not me, even though I bought it! It’s from a band called Danielle Nicole and the album is called, “Wolf Den” It sort of has that bluesy rock that he’s been really interested in lately, like Joe Bonamassa! I tried to listen to it the next day and I couldn’t get past track three. The other one is a little interesting! It is in different packaging then the previous albums which makes me think it could be more of a demo? I don’t know honestly, I hardly ever see folded album cases unless they’re by unsigned or demo. They are called Mercury Rev or Red, I couldn’t tell by the packaging what exactly they were called nor could I find anything about them on Google/Facebook. Anyways, this album is very mellow, it sounds more alternative than anything else! I like that and it’s really not bad, I just wouldn’t buy it on my own!

After I told my dad that two of the six were “duds” and that he could have them, he got mad at me for not liking them or listening to them on Spotify. First of all, if I couldn’t find their band pages on Facebook, there’s a pretty guaranteed that I’m not going to find them on Spotify! He thinks I wasted money on purchasing them, but in ways I don’t see it that way. He can listen to it and have a complete outlook on them. I do see his point in a way, but I will take recommendations on different, new music. I just shouldn’t buy three of them at a time! That part I’ll admit was a little dumb, but I just can’t turn down everything. I have the ability to listen to almost every genre and I take pride in that, so I don’t necessarily hate myself for wasting my money on them.

So what do you think of my latest purchases? What was the last song or album you bought? How open are you in finding new music?

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Song Review: “Shine On” by The Amity Affliction

I love The Amity Affliction so much! I found the band through Sirius XM Octane when they first started playing their song “Open Letter” and I was so hooked! They’re from Australia and I’ve talked about them a lot less than I probably should on here because these guys are really awesome! Every song that they release I like a lot! I saw the cover photo for this song first on Facebook before I even heard it and I instantly got really excited for it! I think it took me three days after it was out on Octane to finally hear it.

This song is called “Shine On” and it sounds a lot more mellower. It’s not a ballad, but yet it’s not as powerful in sound overall to be considered heavy either. I didn’t think I would like it as much because I do love their heavier songs more than any other band (and that’s saying something!) the harsh vocals do give it that edge, but in a way not enough to lose the feeling of it. In every almost every artist or band I’ve come across in the last six years, they have a signature sound. The Amity Affliction have one clear stable. There’s always a choir somewhere, usually it’s a children’s choir. There’s nothing wrong with it. I love it. It is always a great add-in during live shows.

So what do you think of The Amity Affliction? How do you like their new single?

Song Review: “Do You Know Who You Are” by Atreyu

Since I’ve been listening to a lot of dance music in the last few months, I haven’t found a lot of great rock tracks. I know even I’m a little disappointed at myself! I’ve been listening to Sirius XM Octane like crazy though trying to break this cycle a bit and I think I’ve found the song..

I’m technically not a big fan of Atreyu. I’ve only liked maybe two songs over the last four years and for some weird reason I was actually excited when I heard they were releasing new music this year, but unfortunately I haven’t been keeping up with the band or listen to their album “Long Live” all the way, but then again I still haven’t finished listening to FFDP’s album either! My dad isn’t too happy about that, but I heard this song “Do You Know Who You Are” the other night and when I heard it the first time it was like in the middle of the song and I didn’t care much for it. And then I heard the beginning of it and I had to rewind my TV just hear that introduction again. Those types of drum intros make you think of Queen’s “We Are The Champions” and I HATE when songs remind me of other songs but this one is really badass so there!

Besides the straight drums at the beginning, I also love the harsh screams of the lead vocalist too! At first I wish there wasn’t any singing involved but then the more I listened to it, I started to fall for that too! There’s something very weird about this song, because I normally hate like great, fierce introductions but a slow, easy-going track all the way through. There’s nothing about it that I really hate and that is unheard of with me. I usually have something bad to say but I don’t, I fucking love it!

What do you think of this song? 

Tune Tuesday: Lacey Sturm

tunetuesdayffThis week is going to be a different from the rest, well on here at least! I’ve decided to make both Tuesday and Thursday all about one rock band with a female vocalist(s).

Flyleaf is a heavy metal band from Texas. At the start of the group it consisted of five members: James, Pat, Jared, Sameer, and Lacey. In 2012, shortly after releasing their third album together Lacey left the band, so the lead role was given to Kristen who was a member of the band, Vedera. Today I am only focusing on Lacey’s time in the band while I’ll talk about a new song that was recently released as a single featuring Kristen on vocals on Thursday.

I found Flyleaf at the time their song “All Around Me” came out. I was still using MySpace at the time and one of the girls I was friends with at the time was obsessed with the song, she did many surveys on the Bulletin thing (do you remember doing those?) and she used to say it was she and her boyfriend’s song. It seemed like everybody was into that song! I had a late start of course! I could NEVER figure out the middle and what Lacey is singing. I never figured it out until like six or seven years later, still have trouble remembering the right words. A year or two later, I found “I’m So Sick” and “Fully Alive” because my sister was really big on finding other Christian rock bands, and Flyleaf was one of five bands she had on her iPod at the time.

I still remember hearing both “Again” and “Beautiful Bride” on the radio and watching the music video on MTV for “Again.” I’m still really addicted to these songs to this day! And yes, I know every word! In 2012, I started following the band on Twitter and within late 2012 or early 2013 I think Jared was on doing a follow spree and I got a follow back. I loved seeing the updates of the members on how the new album was progressing. They released “New Horizons” and a little bit afterwards the bomb dropped about Lacey’s departure and we all a bit shocked and upset (some of us still are apparently!) and after announcing Kristen as their new singer, they released the second single and music video for “Call You Out” the only thing I didn’t like about it was the fact they released the song for radio play but it was still in Lacey’s voice. I still think they should have rerecorded it with Kristen’s vocals and maybe that would have made a little bit more sense to move on with another singer. By the way, NW is the only Flyleaf album I’ve got a physical copy of and I still listen to it daily!

Since then she’s released a memoir called The Reason and she’s had another baby boy with her husband. She’s been doing some shows with her new band that is properly titled Lacey. She’s done some guest vocals with Orianthi and We As Human and was apart of the film Underworld: Awakening’s soundtrack on a song called “Heavy Prey” that I wish you could just buy off of iTunes as a damn single. Lacey has an incredible voice and of course, you gotta love her harsh screams in the earlier Flyleaf tracks. She feels the music and lyrics in other singers and you can clearly feel and hear the emotions of each song. My all time favorite old school Flyleaf songs are “So I Thought,” “Fully Alive,” “Arise,” “Broken Wings,” “Bury Your Heart,” “Call You Out,” and “Saving Grace.”

Song Review: “Cold Blood” by Apocalyptica

I’m taking a new step into adding more music posts onto my blog. Every Tuesday will be a favorite artist/groups. What I like about them and their music styles. On Thursdays, I will be doing a different review of some sort. I generally miss doing these types of posts but they can be very time consuming to the point where they lose my interest. There are some weeks when different music comes out and I usually can’t get a review out that Tuesday, so I’m hoping having a day like Thursday will be less stressful for me. 

Since I’ve been mainly talking about female singers on my Tune Tuesday posts, it feels a little weird breaking out and talking about all-male bands again. If you haven’t heard of the Finnish metal band Apocalyptica before, you are certainly missing out. However, if you’re a hardcore metal fan it might seem a bit difficult to accept these guys into your normal outlook of what a heavy metal band should sound like. If you know me very well, you’ll know I like challenging people into listening to big female fronted metal bands like Arch Enemy or maybe Epica. Apocalyptica doesn’t have a female vocalist, they have used Lacey Sturm, the former singer of Flyleaf and Cristina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil in their tracks. What people may not be able to understand is that the group doesn’t necessarily use the normal metal-like instruments.

The group consists of three classically trained celloists and one drummer. Eicca Toppinen, Perttu Kivilaasko, Paavo Lötjönen and Mikko Siren, They started off being a cover band for Metallica. They’ve released seven albums and are about to release their newest next month. Last year, they added vocalist Franky Perez into the band and he is featured in their live shows and on their new album Shadowmaker. I heard the first single on Sirius XM Octane the other day, I’ll be honest I don’t normally listen to their music in a casual way, only a few songs have actually captured my attention in the last two or three years. When I heard the song though, I had to rewind my TV during the damn intro because I like that ominous tone. It is amazing that there are NO guitars in their songs and it’s just these classic instruments. the only sound you are familiar with are the drums and cymbals. I love the powerful stance it gives out in the first few seconds, sounds like a true metal song! It’s magic!

After hearing it, I immediately found it on my Spotify and put it on my Starred list. I can’t wait for the rest of the album. If you’re not a fan of them or have never heard of their music before, I dare you to give this song a listen! Enjoy!

Tune Tuesday: The Pretty Reckless

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I’ve been trying to save the more international ladies because I might consider bringing the Worldwide edition back. There were a few places that didn’t have any or very much and I’ve found some for them now. I might wait to bring it back around springtime. Something to keep looking forward to in the next several months!

It’s all about The Pretty Reckless.

Yup, let’s bring out the band with their lead vocalist, Taylor Momsen.  She basically inspired the artwork above. You would think with all of the female fronted bands out there that I actually listen to, Taylor would be the last person I’d found inspiration from, but I did. Anyways, TPR are pretty awesome! However, like everything else I tend to listen to, I wasn’t a big fan of them when they came out with their first album. I was hooked to “Just Tonight” because they played that song all the time on the Sirius Top 40 XM channels and local radio stations. I always wonder when female rock/metal songs get played that much on mainstream channels if listeners like rock as much as they’d like to keep quiet about it? It also could be the fact Taylor was still playing a character on the TV show, Gossip Girl. No, I never watched that show either. I’m still freaking out that this used to be the little girl in the movie, Dr. Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas. 

Yeah, that little girl!

She’s certainly grown up from those days. Now she’s a powerful force in the male based rock/metal world. After giving their first album a second chance and failed at it again, I wasn’t sure how I’d like their new album that came out early last year, “Going To Hell” but I decided to give it a go after basically falling in love with the first three singles. I’m still addicted to “Heaven Knows” and will stop whatever I’m doing to sing along to it. Taylor’s got a unique voice, it’s rough and raspy, but grabs your attention. It’s not a normal voice that would be melodic but she can definitely pull it off! Did you hear that The Pretty Reckless and Halestorm are going on tour together? Isn’t that a match made in heaven. Two powerful female vocalists and bands leading the way to inspire other young girls. There isn’t anything wrong with that.

Just for a heads up, if anybody who hasn’t heard of the band or their new album, you may not want to listen to “Follow Me Down” with normal speakers. That introduction isn’t very child or sometimes parent appropriate.