Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Joy Formidable The Big Roar
The Big Roar is the perfect title to describe Joy Formidable’s sound. Roaring in like a wild beast with singer Ritzy Bryan’s vocals and the band’s thunderous sound, this Welsh three piece sounds like they are a 10 person band. With roaring guitars, melodic hooks, seductive vocals and style, The Big Roar is an instant classic debut from one of the best new bands out there today. We named Joy Formidable one of the “15 Artists To Watch in 2011,” The Big Roar is proof why.

Pains of Being Pure at HeartBelong
Most buzz band’s tend to suffer the sophomore slump, not Pains of Being Pure at Heart. This Brooklyn band only has gotten stronger and tighter, with a much more mature sound and style, Belong will find a place in your headphones. Taking new wave 80’s hooks and combining it with modern indie, Pains of Being Pure at Heart are on a path to not just musical glory but longevity.

BurialStreet Halo EP
Three magnificent songs is more of a tease than for anyone to give a proper critique to, but dubstep hero’s Burial know how to tease their audiences. Their latest, Street Halo EP, is a glowing three song escape into hypnotic unknown and power as they leave us only wanting more. If this is any indication as to what their next full length will sound like, the dubstep world as we know it, is about to change.

Protest the Hero – Scurrilous
This Canadian metal outfit is always one to keep an eye out for and a eye on. Shining with blistering rythems, shredding guitars and thunderous – yet – melodic vocals, Protest the Hero are the metal superstars for the modern age. Only getting better as records are released, they mature in all the proper ways. Scurrilous sees member and songwriter Arif Mirabdolbaghi taking a back seat in the lyrics department as singer Rody Walker begins to tell his stories and spew a vicious array of stories of discontent. Scurrilous is a metal record that will even please the non metal fan.

Pharaoh MonchW.A.R.
Standing for We Are Renegades, the socially conscious Queens born and bred rapper returns with an album of spitfire words tossed over an impressive array of music. Monch speaks about the issues that face our inner cities today and what needs to be done to fix it, featuring appearances by Vernon Reid of Living Colour, Styles P, Citizen Cope, Jill Scott, Immortal Technique and a slew of others, Monch and friends give more of a reason that we need to pay attention to the surroundings around us.

Peter Bjorn and JohnGimme Some
The Sixth album from the Swedish rockers shows the band, as always, using a tongue-in-cheek method of rock and roll. This is a band that clearly knows how to have fun and why their fans the world over appreciate every second of music they give them. Gimme Some is another classic Peter Bjorn and John disc that packs no surprises but still sets the tone in a worthwhile listen.

Chemical BrothersHanna Soundtrack
The electronic pioneers return and this time it is not for themselves but for a major motion picture. Taking queues from their contemporaries, The Chemical Brothers score their first feature film and bring on their own display of heavy electronic and trance that move along as quick and fast as the story of Hanna herself. Much like their last studio effort, Further, it features no vocal contributions and just straight beats but unlike further this is textbook Chemical Brothers action and flair.

MaritimeHuman Hearts
The Milwaukee band returns and ona new home, Dangerbird Records but this time they pack a punch unlike before. Maritime is the band born from the ashes of The Promise Ring and Dismemberment Plan and deliver a great post-hardcore / post-punk album that is a sure fire hit. A great listen that keeps drawing you back for more.

Broken BellsMeryin Fields EP
The duo of Danger Mouse and James Mercer of The Shins give us some left over music from their 2010 self-titled debut and for them it packs a punch. Not as moody or melodic as their album, but a bit more fierce and tight, Meryin Fields maybe an EP but leaves you wondering if this is the next step for this band.

The Strokes Angles
The iconic New York City rockers return, but seem to fall flat on their big comeback. While Angles maybe one of the most talked about records at the moment it will not be one of the most talked about records for years to come. The Strokes create a enjoyable album but fail to deliver the chutzpah needed to give their comeback the steam it fully needed and deserved.

Volbeat – Beyond Heaven / Above Hell*
After seeing them command a live audience like few other bands can, Volbeat's Beyond Heaven/Above Hell will leave you disappointed and frustrated. If you want the same rush the band brought to Irving Plaza last month (which you can read all about HERE!), you'll need to look somewhere else. It's hard to pinpoint whether the blame lies with bad production or the band failing to bring the same excitement they exude live into the studio. While many lead singers envy Michael Poulsen's stunning vocal range, the mix on songs like "The Mirror and the Ripper" features him so heavily it becomesdetrimental to the galloping drums and infectious riffs that bring the song to life on stage. Even where the bass does come shine through, like during the positively EVIL intro to "Who They Are," the music lacks teeth. Sing-alongs like "Fallen" and "16 Dollars"--which had complete strangers arm in arm, belting out the lyrics--don't capture any of the fun Volbeat's live shows are all about. The only track you might lose yourself on is "A Better Believer," where the rhythm comes through just enough to compliment Poulsen's arguably best vocal hook on the album. Beyond that though, if you haven't experienced Volbeat live yet, you might feel inclined to dismiss the band as one of a hundred others trying to cash in on the rockabilly trend but please, give them a chance in person first. Remember--Pro-Tools can make anyone sound impressive in the studio but real musicians earn their stripes on stage and Volbeathas certainly done that. –

Snoop Dogg The Doggumentary
On the 11th studio album from the legendary California chronic rapper and what was to be a sequel to his massive and explosive 1993 debut, Doggy Style, Snoop is back and still doing what he does but like The Strokes Angles, Doggumentary fails to reach the impact it was going for. With 21 tracks, less than half are classic Snoop and the others are easily forgettable, even with the help of heavy weights like Swizz Beats, Gorillaz, Willie Nelson, Kanye West, John Legend and others, Doggumentary is a forgettable ambitious rap record.

JavelinCanyon Candy
This Brooklyn via Providence electronic duo are known for getting the party started but Canyon Candy hears the band venturing west…to the old west. Taking inspiration from spaghetti western films and old dustbowl music, Javelin combined those elements to make a record that is in some areas easily forgettable and some parts down right redundant. For Javelin, this better be an experiment and we hope they go back to the entertaining matter.

The Sounds Something to Die For
Somewhere between their mega successful and brilliant, Dying to Say This to You and their forgettable Crossing The Rubicon, the Swedish electro rockers lost their edge. Whether they were and still are trying to become more commercial and trying as hard as they can to write a radio hit, Something to Die For are all those pressing elements that have made The Sounds not as enjoyable as they once were. You can hear a band trying as hard as they can to get the masses attention, but they need to look back when they were started and didn’t need rule book and just did it and did it to perfection.

*indicates that this review was written by contributing writer Kyle Andrucwicz aka The Rock(jock). Rock(jock)'s other articles include live review of Volbeat and Glassjaw.