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Review: Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue Acoustic”

Yellowcard – “Ocean Avenue Acoustic”

Yellowcard  Ocean Avenue Acoustic
Released: August 13, 2013
Label: Hopeless Records
Purchase: Digital | CD

Pop punk band Yellowcard have been considered by many to be one of the most iconic pop punk bands of the new millennium, their powerful melodies and catchy choruses taking the country by storm. The same people almost all agree that their 2003 album Ocean Avenue is their most memorable work; songs such as Only One, Breathing, Back Home, and (of course) the title track itself topped the playlists of our childhoods. And to celebrate its 10 year anniversary, the band have decided to release a “re-imagining” of all thirteen Ocean Avenue tracks in a new acoustic album–a piece of art that invokes both nostalgia and innovation.

One of the most impressive features of Yellowcard songs has always been the inclusion of the violin (thanks to Sean Mackin), a long-considered classical instrument that meshed perfectly with the band’s modernized songs. Ocean Avenue Acoustic continues to masterfully use this amazing instrument, from the strong notes in the beginning of Believe and in the chorus of Breathing to the much more reserved but equally impactful tunes in Only One and Empty Apartment. All in all, the violin that got us loving Yellowcard in the first place does not disappoint in the new album and continues to add strength to each song.

Regarding the songs themselves, Yellowcard manages to create a new breed of intensity in some of their more explosive songs. The sound of the acoustic Way Away is just as enormous as its older counterpart, but in a different way; while there isn’t as much overwhelming noise that highlights pop punk, the speed and brawn of the acoustic instruments evoke a sense of desperation and excitement that is just as empowering as the feelings received from the original 2003 version. The same can be said for Miles Apart, Life of a Salesman, View From Heaven, and Ocean Avenue itself. And on the other side of the spectrum, emotionally riveting tracks such as Only One, Back Home, and Empty Apartment have become even more moving. Their softer melodies paint the message of their songs, whether it’s loss of love or the falsity of an expectation, in a way that feels even more genuine and true than before.

Holistically, Ocean Avenue Acoustic takes thirteen amazing songs and alters their sounds to make dissimilar but equally powerful songs. Not only do the songs lend heavy doses of nostalgia and remembrance for the songs that help define a decade, they feel refreshing and new when one listens to them. Overall, this album, being both the same and different as the groundbreaking album ten years ago of the same name, deserves a rating equivalent to the original Ocean Avenue.


Standout Tracks: “Back Home,” “Only One,” “Empty Apartment,” “Breathing,” “Miles Apart,” “Ocean Avenue”

Track listing:
01. Way Away (Acoustic)
02. Breathing (Acoustic)
03. Ocean Avenue (Acoustic)
04. Empty Apartment (Acoustic)
05. Life Of A Salesman (Acoustic)
06. Only One (Acoustic)
07. Miles Apart (Acoustic)
08. Twentythree (Acoustic)
09. View From Heaven (Acoustic)
10. Inside Out (Acoustic)
11. Believe (Acoustic)
12. One Year, Six Months (Acoustic)
13. Back Home (Acoustic)

Listen: Suntrapp – “All The Seas”

Suntrapp - "All The Seas"

All The Seas is the debut single from Newcastle indie-folk outfit Suntrapp. The song is from their forthcoming EP titled Yannina, “inspired by Neil Young’s emotive narratives and The Beach Boys’ carefree pop but most importantly, the overlooked simplicities of day-to-day life.” Singer-songwriter Jake Houlsby delivers a soulful acoustic number with light relaxing melodies and vocals throughout. Alongside the release of the single, All The Seas is also accompanied by a music video which you can watch here. Stream the track below and for more information check out their Facebook and website.


Listen: Lucy Wilson – “Wake up Alone”

Lucy Wilson by Ian Laidlaw

This September Jackknife will be releasing the debut 7″ from Lucy Wilson titled Full To The Brim. Known for her collaboration with Wil Wagner as the second member of Mulder & Scully and on The Smith Street Band‘s track The Belly of Your Bedroom; Lucy has also been performing solo in the pub festival circuit at The Poison City Weekender in her hometown of Melbourne, Blood Sweat & Beers in Sydney and All Tomorrow’s Shoeys in Tasmania.

“Drawing inspiration from the present day Bic Runga and Gillian Welch to the past in Hank Williams, Lucy Wilson frolics between folk, pop and poetic storytelling with a seemingly casual ease. . . Arming herself with a six string acoustic and her trusty ukulele, Lucy recently headed south for the hills of Hobart to record her debut EP with Lincoln LeFevre at The Infirmary studios, built on the grounds of the old Tasmanian Women’s Prison. . . From the nonchalant narratives to the raw romance of her lyricism, the strength of Lucy’s music lies in its honesty and openness.”

Full To The Brim will be available to pre-order with an instant download in August through Jackknife. The 7″ will be out this September but for now you can stream a song about a dead beat dude, Wake up Alone below. For more information check out her Facebook page.

Watch: Alasdair Bouch – “Bed Of Happiness”

Alasdair Bouch

Folk blues artist Alasdair Bouch has released a music video for Bed Of Happiness a track off of his debut album titled First Person Singular. Bouch’s work is a combination of urban folk and blue-eyed soul which in turn produces melodic hook-filled tracks. With twenty years experience, his trademark confessional autobiographical tone is very much so present in his slower track, Bed Of Happiness. Watch the video below!

Alasdair Bouch has three albums in his discography so far which you can stream selected tracks of here and purchase on iTunes. Currently living in the Czech Republic, Bouch has played more than four hundred shows across Europe and has just released Third Time Lucky, which sees him take a more rhythm-‘n’-blues-infused rock style approach to his songwriting.

“Fans who came regularly to shows would pester me doggedly about particular songs by name, asking me when I would commit them to disc,“ says Alasdair.  “I’d been sitting on a lot of songs, waiting for the album with the right vibe, but the audience definitely helped out with the tracklist!  Then once I got the band in the rehearsal room, it quickly took shape.  Our new drummer Míra is a powerhouse – it clearly wasn’t going to be a quiet album!” Pick up a limited edition hand-numbered CD in record stores worldwide or get the digital version here. For more information follow him on Facebook and check out his Twitter and be sure to catch him on his European Summer Tour!


Listen: Gogol Bordello – “Lost Innocent World”

Gypsy Punk band, Gogol Bordello, is set to release their sixth album Pura Vida Conspiracy on July 23rd. Gogol Bordello is not your everyday band. Rising from the New York underground scene, frontman Eugene Hutz hoped to mix his Gypsy heritage with an energetic punk style. Gogol Bordello has a very wide range, they can bring an electrifying stage presence or turn the volume down a bit and play a sweet acoustic set. Whether you feel like moshing in a giant pit of sweaty bodies or just head bobbing in the back, you’re bound to have a good time. I’ve found that the album work doesn’t always convey the intensity that they can bring to a live concert but the message the band hopes to convey through their work is always refreshing.   If you even slightly dig their recently released single “Lost Innocent World” it’s worth the effort to see them live.  Their summer tour dates are available through their website. You can also stream “Lost Innocent World” and “Maladrino”  below. Even if you don’t enjoy the music, you have to respect a man with a wonderful mustache.

Stream: Jen Buxton – “Desperation Demos”

Jen Buxton
Jen Buxton‘s Desperation Demos are set to be released on a 7″ by Midnight Funeral records with pre-orders available now. Jen Buxton, hailing from New South Wales, recorded the songs over the course of two hours in Wil Wagner’s (The Smith Street Band) spare room. The demos include lyrically self-deprecating acoustic originals, a Fences cover and a mention of Lincoln LeFevre. If you missed out on her debut release, Don’t Change Your Plans on Poison City Records be sure to give it a listen too. The pre-orders are available on black and grey vinyl. Red vinyl 7″s can be purchased solely from Poison City Records, and half purple/half green vinyls will be purchasable at The Weekender. You can stream Desperation Demos below or on her Bandcamp and be sure not to miss out on the pre-order of the 7″.

Interview: The Front Bottoms

The Front Bottoms Promo Image

The Front Bottoms recently released their highly anticipated sophomore album, Talon Of The Hawk to critical acclaim. You can read our review of the album here. I got the chance to talk to Brian Sella, vocalist/guitarist of the band, just before he and the rest of The Front Bottoms head off on their nationwide tour of the US beginning on June 1st. You can pick up the record in vinyldigital or CD form and read the full interview below!

Your highly anticipated new album Talon of the Hawk came eight days ago, how excited were you to share it with the fans? Where did the album name come from?
Extremely excited!! We are super proud and stoked for people to hear it. The name came from our imaginations.

How has the addition of two new members, Tom Warren and Ciaran O’Donnel, impacted the band’s sound compared to the self-titled? How did you choose them?
We didn’t choose them… they’re handsome friends of ours. They added a edge to Talon of the Hawk that made the sound fuller than the self-titled album.

So you chose to work with a producer and record in a studio for this album, how did that experience go? 
It was a great experience, one that all of us are glad we got to be involved in. The record sounds the way it sounds because of the circumstances we recorded it in.

Where did the inspiration come from for the songwriting process?
A lot of the inspiration for this record came from the road and the experiences we have had over the past two years.

Oh, I see. So while on the road what bands do you all listen to in the van? 
A lot of different stuff. Off the top of our heads: Foxy Shazam, Built to Spill, K.D, The MenzingersBad Books, Modest Mouse, Cheap Girls, Tigers Jaw..

On the topic of touring, after your month-long tour of the United States, what’s next?
We plan on touring a bunch more. Just keep on keeping on.

Any last words?
Just a big thank you! Rock and roll.

Review: The Front Bottoms – “Talon Of The Hawk”

The Front Bottoms – Talon Of The Hawk

Talon Of The Hawk

Released: May 21, 2013
Label: Bar/None Records
Purchase: Vinyl | Casette [Sold Out] | Digital | CD

The Front Bottoms’ sophomore album Talon of the Hawk integrates the addition of two new members, Tom Warren (bass), and Ciaran O’Donnel (keys/trumpet/guitar) to play alongside Brian Sella (vocals/guitar), and Matt Uychich (drums). The album gives off a more band orientated sound, instead of simply a two piece bouncing off of each other’s energy. However, Sella’s familiar stream of consciousness implicit lyrics are very much so still present, alongside Uychich’s punchy drumming.

The first track from the release Au Revoir (Adios), is the most similar sound-wise to their self-titled and provides a nice transition to the fuller band sound which kicks off near the end of the song. Twin Size Mattress encompasses everything about The Front Bottoms; the repetition of a familiar melody throughout, and figurative lyricis. Sella loudly singing, almost yelling, “I want to contribute to the chaos, I don’t want to watch and then complain, because I am through with finding blame; that is a decision that I have made” enforce the sentimental connection that is almost guaranteed with each song. The track, Santa Monica incorporates the use of trumpet and synth melodies, and is reminiscent of their earlier song, Father as Sella promises”to be stronger than your Dad was for your Mom.” Funny You Should Ask, a personal favorite, is one of The Front Bottoms’ distinct obscure love songs, that provides an esoteric view of relationships. The lyrics, “Honey, you got to learn that love is simple, just like mud, if you play the dirt, and I’ll play the water, all we got to do is touch” leading to the refrain, “Because I was young and I thought I didn’t have to care about anything, but I’m older now and know that I should” provide a sense of realism differentiating the band’s style to others. Backflip, a fast paced anthem of regretting tattoos, good vibes and Sella’s familiar breathing techniques, shows the progression of the band sonically despite sticking to similar thematic ideas.

Talon of the Hawk may not have as many standout tracks as the self-titled, but in hindsight the bar was set so high that it would have been almost impossible to create two perfect albums in a row. This being said, due to the immense talent of the band this album does stand testament to their ability to continue to create captivating songs that will be adored by fans. After spending the last two years touring, (shown in their recently released music video for Twin Size Mattress) The Front Bottoms will begin their journey of touring again starting June 1st with a national tour. You can purchase tickets for the tour here and stream the album in its entirety via Noisey.

Standout Tracks: “Twin Size Mattress”, “Funny You Should Ask”, “Backflip”


“I just want this to mean something to anyone even if they don’t know who I am.”

Track listing:
01. Au Revoir (Adios)
02. Skeleton
03. Swear To God The Devil Made Me Do It
04. Twin Size Mattress
05. Peach
06. Santa Monica
07. The Feud
08. Funny You Should Ask
09. Tattooed Tears
10. Lone Star
11. Back Flip
12. Everything I Own

Listen: Noel Thrasher – “an introduction to noel thrasher”

Noel Thrasher
Noel Thrasher, a folk pop solo project from South Carolina through Mat Cothran has released an album titled an introduction to noel thrasher. These tape tracks include an introduction by Justin Blackburn, the intuitive inner healer, a collection of acoustic melancholic sing-alongs, and the original version of cry babies, a track also recorded by Elvis Depressedly. Pick up an introduction to noel thrasher from her Bandcamp page for free or stream it below.

From the Coma Cinema Facebook page, “years ago, before i ever made any records i knew a girl named noel. she changed the way i looked at the world and i tried my best to find what i could of her music and offer it to you. there has been no bigger influence on my art and my life and there never will be. i miss you noel and i love you eternally.”


01. into (justin blackburn)
02. hmm, i was born
03. cry babies
04. flower song
05. swift swoop
06. friend of all matter
07. dead moon
08. us angels are real
09. untitled
10. outro (you can spill your heart out)


Manchester Orchestra Record Store Day Collaboration

Split Cover
Manchester Orchestra have collaborated with both Grouplove and Frightened Rabbit to produce a 12″ vinyl for release on Record Strore Day. The first of the two tracks, Architect by Manchester Orchestra and Frightened Rabbit, contains the layered vocals of Andy Hull and Scott Hutchison. Throughout this acoustic number you identify with the despondency of the lyrics but are left in awe of the talent of both bands. However this is then juxtaposed with the second track Make It To Me, the Manchester Orchestra and Grouplove collaboration. It is a much more upbeat indie pop song with a sudden influx at various times throughout the song of electronic techno-esque synth which seems out of place. You can stream the collaboration below and tell us your opinion in the comments. It will be available to buy on Saturday, April 20 at participating independent record stores that you can find about here.