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Track Reviews

This category contains 19 posts

Track: CHAMP – “Burnt Alive”

Track: “Burnt Alive”
Artist: CHAMP
Release Date: February 18th 2014
Label: Fleeting Youth Records

Hailing from San Diego four piece outfit, CHAMP‘s single Burnt Alive lays testament to the re-emergence of catchy as hell garage punk bands e.g. The Orwells, FIDLAR, and Mumblr. The song kicks off with a little bass lick followed by frontman Joel Williams howling over fuzz drenched chords, “I don’t wanna walk down memory lane / it’s all the same / it makes me feel like nothing’s changed”. With arpeggiated riffing and thematically weary verses, you just can’t wait for the anthemic chorus paired tastefully with squealing feedback to kick back in. CHAMP’s debut self-titled album on February 18th will be released in both cassette and digital formats via Fleeting Youth Records. Pre-order the album here, and stream Burnt Alive below!

Rating: 9.25/10

Track: Mumblr – “Puke”

Mumblr Press
Track: “Puke”
Artist: Mumblr
Release Date: November 12th 2013
Label: Fleeting Youth Records

Four piece outfit Mumblr from Kensington, North Philadelphia play a genre of music that they dub “fuzz punk”. With the stylings of second-wave emo bands such as The Promise Ring and an early Modest Mouse alternative punk feel their track “Puke” off of their upcoming release is one hell of a listen. Rapid distorted guitar strums, clamouring drums, and frantic vocals combined with the refrain, “I don’t know anything why do you lie to me?” is a recipe for distress leaving you eager for more. Mumblr have combined both of their EP’s to be released on a lush red cassette titled White Jesus/Black God via Austin, Texas based Fleeting Youth Records. Stream Puke along with the entire release below and pre-order the cassette and digital album here. Follow the band on Facebook for more information.

Rating: 9/10

Track: The Story So Far – “Clairvoyant”

Acoustic The Story So Far

Track: “Clairvoyant”
Artist: The Story So Far
Release Date: May 13th 2013
Label: Pure Noise Records

Clairvoyant is the first song by Californian pop-punk band The Story So Far has released off of their upcoming split 7″ with hardcore band, Stick To Your Guns, which you can currently stream here. The song is a soft acoustic number, differing greatly from the band’s usual brand of fast, hardcore-influenced pop-punk. Lead vocalist, Parker Cannon, sings over a poignant guitar that consistently drives the track. Cannon is typically known for his powerfully raw singing style, which some describe as “angst-y yelling”. Having said this, vocalization on the song will likely come as a surprise to many fans who are accustomed to the band’s heavy vocals. Clairvoyant features a vocal melody akin to the likes of softer acts such as Into It. Over It. and Koji.

Despite the heavy amount of versatility that the song demonstrates, Clairvoyant comprises of a couple of familiar elements of The Story So Far’s music. The lyrics of the song feature certain rhythmic and rhyming qualities consistent in many of the band’s tracks. Lines like “I think you’ll notice when things become different the good vibes in our lives won’t feel so consistent” and “You might hate my words but you know that I’m right, you know that I’m right” seem to fit perfectly in any The Story So Far song. The track almost feels like it could be an acoustic version of their usual, heavier material. Overall, Clairvoyant is a very satisfying change of pace, which also serves to demonstrate the multifaceted talent of The Story So FarThe 7″ split with Stick To Your Guns will be released on June 18th, 2013. You can pre-order the vinyl LP from Pure Noise Records here!

Rating: 9/10

Single: AF THE NAYSAYER – “Imagerial Denouement (feat. Myka Nyne)”

Imagerial Denouement
Track: “Imagerial Denouement (feat. Myka Nyne)”
Release Date: April 23, 2013
Label: ReSERVED Records

Producer AF THE NAYSAYER teamed up with Myka Nyne of Freestyle Fellowship to produce Imagerial Denouement a tribute to Japanese producer Nujabes. The track combines a jazz base, looped drum machine samples, and harmonic tones, accompanied by Myka Nyne’s rap verses. Originally an instrumental, which you can stream below, produced before Nujabes death, the track has now been transformed into a pioneering musical eulogy. AF THE NAYSAYER stated, “The title is a play on words of his song Imaginary Folklore. This song was my tribute to Nujabes, because he has such a large influence on my work.” ReSERVED Records is offering the digital version (iTunes), and a 7″ limited-edition vinyl or a poster of the cover art by Wes Sumrall for a special price on their Bandcamp page.


Rating: 8/10

Single: Pusha T – “Trouble On My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)”

Track: “Trouble On My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)”
Artist: Pusha T
Release Date: July 9, 2011
Label: GOOD Music/Def Jam

Pusha T always has his drugdealer past on his mind (and in his verses), but this time, the Clipse rapper teams up with Odd Future‘s Tyler, The Creator to discuss the trouble on his mind. The first single from Pusha’s upcoming mixtape Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray, “Trouble On My Mind” features simplistic, atmospheric, and ultimately haunting production from The Neptunes and three on-point verses. Pusha spins a story about his troubled past before handing the mic to Tyler, who delivers a maniacal verse in his signature style. The two then split the third verse, with Tyler referencing his highly-successful single, “Yonkers”, and Pusha T closing by addressing the mismatch between himself and Tyler: “This is for the critics who doubted the chemistry/Two different worlds, same symmetry.” Thankfully for us, he’s right; despite the stylistic differences on paper, the collaboration simply works.

“Trouble On My Mind (feat. Tyler, The Creator)” is from Fear of God 2: Let Us Pray, set to be released on August 23, 2011 via GOOD Music/Def Jam.

Rating: 8/10

Single: The Knux – “Run (feat. Kid Cudi)”

Track: “Run (feat. Kid Cudi)”
Artist: The Knux
Release Date: July 1, 2011
Label: Cherrytree/Interscope

Kid Cudi-featuring “Run” is the second song to drop from rap-rock duo The Knux, who will be releasing their sophomore effort later this year. It’s the same fresh, innovative sound that we’ve already heard from the hip hop duo, combined with the experimental rock sound that Cudi has been focusing on lately. But while Cudi’s new individual work has fallen quite flat (see “Perfect Is The Word”), “Run” is fun — it’s light-hearted, good-natured rock-rap, perfect for the summer months. There isn’t much substance here, but if you’re going to be anywhere near the sun for the next few months, it might be a good idea to keep “Run” on your playlist.

“Run (feat. Kid Cudi)” is from Eraser, set to be released in September via Cherrytree/Interscope.

Rating: 6.5/10

Track: Curren$y & Alchemist – “Scottie Pippen (feat. Freddie Gibbs)”

Track: “Scottie Pippen (feat. Freddie Gibbs)”
Artist: Curren$y & Alchemist
Release Date: April 20, 2011
Label: Jet Life Recordings/Warner Bros.

This cut, taken from Curren$y‘s fifth studio album Covert Coup, features Curren$y and Freddie Gibbs trading verses over a dark, moody backing track courtesy of The Alchemist. Although only two verses long, “Scottie Pippen” is a nonstop showcase of both rappers’ lyrical and technical talents. Curren$y’s distinctive New Orleans drawl opens the track, bringing in a few basketball references and his signature punch lines before allowing Freddie Gibbs to take over the mic — and take over he does. Gibbs’s verse highlights the rapper’s incredible flow and rhymes, with the Indiana-based rapper spitting perhaps the strongest verse on the entire album. Seriously, is it even allowed for a feature to go this hard on a track?

“Scottie Pippen (feat. Freddie Gibbs)” is from Covert Coup, out now via Jet Life Recordings/Warner Bros. You can download it for free here.

Rating: 9/10

Track: Emery – “Scissors”

Track: “Scissors”
Artist: Emery
Release Date: January 26, 2011
Label: Tooth & Nail Records/Solid State Records

Although post-hardcore band Emery released a preview clip of “Scissors” back in January when they announced the release of their fifth album We Do What We Want, the entire track is worth a listen. We Do What We Want was released on March 29th and is noted for being their heaviest album yet, but Devin Shelton’s melodic vocals keep Emery’s sound to what listeners have always appreciated. The first nine seconds of the track could fool listeners, because right away, it appears that the entire track could be covered in screams and double-bass hits, but then Shelton’s voice takes over, delivering passionate lyrics that shine the whole way through, especially during the build-up to the breakdown. “Hands held towards the sky in the cool air of October, the whispers were always there, but they never caught up to your words, so will December find me all alone,” sets up an ending to “Scissors” that closes as hard as the track begins.

“Scissors” is from We Do What We Want, out now via Tooth & Nail Records and Solid State Records.

Listen: Via Emery’s Myspace

Rating: 7.5/10

Single: Explosions in the Sky – “Trembling Hands”

Track: Trembling Hands
Artist: Explosions in the Sky
Release Date: March 8, 2011
Label: Temporary Residence Limited

Four years after the Texas-based post-rock band Explosions in the Sky released All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone, they have finally released a new song. “Trembling Hands” is the first official single off of Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, the band’s sixth official studio album. If you’re already familiar with the band’s old music, you will know that this song is much different from their past work. First off, this song is no more than four minutes long, which is fitting for a single, but odd for an Explosions in the Sky song. Also, instead of having a long, monumental build-up, the song immediately starts out upbeat, with the drums kicking in from the beginning. Another thing to note is that this song has very faint, but distinguishable vocals. However, this song still has what Explosions in the Sky fans have been craving for for years: vibrant guitar riffs and ornate soundscapes. “Trembling Hands” is an energetic song which shows that the band has definitely changed their overall sound over the years. This song could be a good example of what the new album will sound like, but is it for the better? That’s for you to decide.

If you haven’t heard the song yet, you can download it here for free or below.

Rating: 8.5/10

Track: Frank Ocean – “Novacane”

Track: “Novacane”
Artist: Frank Ocean
Release Date: February 18, 2011
Label: Self-released

Contrary to what you may have heard, hip-hop collective OFWGKTA are an incredibly diverse group of musicians. The debut release from Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, titled Nostalgia, Ultra., makes this point undeniable; Frank Ocean’s music centers on his smooth, groovy vocals instead of rapping like the rest of the crew. “Novacane”, a standout from the incredibly ambitious self-released record, features Frank Ocean wearing his heart on his sleeve, spinning a tale of his confusion and frustration with a woman aspiring to become a dentist; hence the title of the song and chorus lines “Novacane, numb the pain.” Pitchfork compares his loverboy, R&B persona to that of Drake – Frank Ocean is raw, honest, and can sing his heart out. Stripped down to the core, the youthful spirit and self-confident “swag” of Frank Ocean embody everything that Odd Future represents, even if the music is noticeably different.

“Novacane” is from Nostalgia, Ultra. out now. You can download it for free here.

Rating: 9/10