Album Review:: Saved | Now, Now

It’s been 6 long years since Now, Now released their emo indie album Threads, that gave us the contagious taste of aggressive strumming and vocals filled with ethereal emotional tension. With years to write and produce the follow up, there comes pressure to deliver the perfect album of originality, newness, and pleasing the masses. Though Now, Now already teased us a year in advance with “SGL” that left us anticipating more. The first single only showed a glimpse of Saved–some slow ease into the departure of the familiar gritty sounds of guitar and the first introductions of an indie pop beat.

It’s not an easy feat to switch music stylings, unless you’re Taylor Swift of course. Though Now, Now saw an opening with Saved. With the introduction of the new softer acoustic tones and upbeat synths, Saved is a more subdued emo that focuses more on moody upbeat melodies. It’s more trendy indie pop. Tracks like “MJ”, which pays tribute to the King of Pop, and “Yours” showcases this new direction with electric melodies at the forefront. Though, not songs you’d want to dance to if you listen closely, which creates a bit of confusion. Instead we enter a new realm of taking serious lyrics of love and creating a new feeling of melancholy around it.

However, the duo behind Now, Now have not completely ditched their emo roots that brought their claim to fame. Dalager’s unique and lazy alto vocals float heavy melancholic lyrics about lovers through songs like “Can’t Help Myself” and “Window.” You’ll find yourself coming to terms with a road trip album with songs like “Drive,” which is a personal favorite of mine. Emotional tension delivers strong in the midst of synths, drum machines, and vocals as smoke in a smoke filled room. We see this in the title track, “Saved,” where as the tempo builds, so does the electric drum beats and echoed vocals. Meanwhile, “AZ” will entice older fans to revisit and unravel the layered vocals of Dalager’s the synth lead guitar solos.

Now, Now delivers a solid album that maybe older fans weren’t expecting, but it gives the band much needed space to shape their own style and fill an cross between of indie pop and emo music that doesn’t overlap often. I hope to take Saved on solo road trip into the horizon one of these days.

Release Date: May 5th, 2018
Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: ~45 minutes

Track listing:
1. SGL
2. MJ
3. Can’t Help Myself
4. AZ
5. Window
6. Holy Water
7. Yours
8. Saved
9. Knowme
10. Drive
11. Set It Free

Sylar Announce New Album

New Hopeless Records signees Sylar have shared the details for their upcoming album Help! The album will be released August 26th and features the band’s latest song “Assume” (check out the music video here).

Check out the artwork and track listing for Help! below!

Continue reading Sylar Announce New Album

DREAMERS Announce Debut Album

Los Angeles trio DREAMERS recently announced their debut album, This Album Does Not Exist. Back in 2014, vocalist Nick Wold began living in his Brooklyn practice room, writing more than 100 songs with many of them finding their way onto the album. Check out the latest single off the album, “Sweet Disaster,” and you can find the track listing and album art for This Album Does Not Exist below!

Continue reading DREAMERS Announce Debut Album

Silverstein Announce New Album

Silverstein have announced details on their upcoming album, I Am Alive In Everything I Touch. The album is split into four chapters: “Borealis” (North), “Austeralis” (South), “Zephyrus” (West) and “Eurus” (East). Each track’s setting is a different city that geographically falls into that region, with real life recordings of each city incorporated into the songs. 

Below you can find the artwork and track listing for the album!

To pre-order I Am Alive In Everything I Touch, click here for digital and here for physical!

Track Listing
1. Toronto (abridged)
2. A Midwestern State of Emergency 
3. Face of the Earth

4.  Heaven, Hell and Purgatory
5.  Buried at Sea
6.  Late on 6th

7.  Milestone
8.  The Continual Condition
9.  Desert Nights 

iv.  EURUS
10.  In the Dark
11.  Je me Souviens
12.  Toronto (unabridged)

Spencer Sutherland Announces New EP

Pop singer-songwriter, Spencer Sutherland, has just announced he will be releasing an acoustic EP! The EP, Unveiled, will be released on January 13th and is available for pre-order by clicking here!

Below you can find the EP’s track listing!

Track Listing:
Heartstrings (co-written by Johnny Andrews)
Nothing Can Hurt Me (co-written by Andreas Carlsson)
Playing Games (co-written by Kevin Lankford)
Make It Better (co-written by Jerry DePizzo and Ben Levels)

Submit An Album For Review!

In a band? Work with a band or an artist? We are accepting submissions of albums to be reviewed! Please send an e-mail to with the below information. The EP or album must either have been released between September to today OR will be released within the next few weeks. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!

Download link or link to stream album:
Release Date:
Link to artist’s website:

Review:: Once | Mandolyn Mae

“Once” is the first full length album from Mandolyn Mae, and it is a bit of a mixed bag. Before being given this album to review, I had never heard of Mandolyn Mae. For all I knew it could have been a band of mandolin’s covering Mae songs. I was going in blind but ready to take the trip. The first time I listened to the album all the way through it was while driving home from work in the rain. Admittedly I wasn’t paying too close of attention to any of the lyrics and was purely interested in how it sounded. If I were to base this review off that one half-assed listen, it likely wouldn’t be a kind one. That being said, even during my completely surface listen I found myself humming along or repeating a chorus out loud.

Due diligence. I always try to give an album several tries and really truly listen, and when I did for this one I found that my opinion was beginning to change. The voice of Mandolyn Mae is really strong and has a very sweet and soft sound. She is also a really solid songwriter. I have a soft spot for songs about love and heartbreak, and you’ll get a healthy dose of both from the songs on this album. Where the album misses, however, is that it seems like a disjointed collection of songs that just feels like it has something missing.

When the first song on the album, “Here We Are”, begins playing I’m instantly taken back to 2002 and envision Vanessa Carlton. Not a bad thing as “A Thousand Miles” was a huge hit for Carlton. It doesn’t take much to imagine hearing this song or many of the others on the album. The next song could, “On and On”, could potentially be on that list, if it wasn’t for the strange choice of vocal distortion. I don’t fully understand why someone with a voice like this would hide it behind distortion. The song itself is sweet as can be and feels like it is one that could be a hit if it wasn’t for the distracting vocals.

Track three has me thinking Vanessa Carlton again. “Hurricane” is a great song and the piano and string combination really makes the song, in my opinion. Much like the distortion on the previous track, this song could be even better without the unneeded drum machine.

Thankfully “Drive All Night” sticks to the simplistic acoustic approach. This song is as barebones as you can get and really makes it stick out on this album, in a good way. This track doesn’t distract from her beautiful voice or songwriting, instead it amplifies it.

“Adrenaline” takes us back to the piano and kicks you square in the face with pure pop. This song may be the most complete one on the entire album. It just works. It is hard not to want to dance and sing along to it. If I were to nitpick, my only complaint would be that at 2 minutes and 30 seconds, I was left wanting more. With “Hello Hurricane” I feel I get more of what I enjoyed of “Drive All Night”, simple song construction that really lets Mandolyn Mae shine.

“Tonight” finally manages to merge the sounds of all previous songs in a way that works. It’s a darker yet still catchy and poppy song with strong piano and I feel like the drum machine works in nicely. That being said, it feels like something is missing that would really put it over the top. Mandolyn Mae follows it up with another catchy tune in “Just a Little Bit”. This may sound like a strange comparison, but it the song sounds like a mash of Colbie Caillat, old Never Shout Never, with just a pinch of Relient K. I’ll give you a minute to wrap your head around that.

“For the Girls” could easily be a huge girl anthem hit if it had a bit more power behind it. The only instrument involved in the song is a ukulele that is so soft that it gets lost in the song, making it sound more like an acapella. It has the potential to be an extremely catchy song, but it just falls short.

I’m going to give “The Only Person” its own paragraph here. Take my complaint from “On and On” and turn it up to 11. The vocal distortion is so distractingly bad that I can’t tune it out and simply listen to the lyrics and composition. The vocals are distorted up until the very end of the song, where they are cut and she repeats a line in her own natural voice, showing just how well done this song could have been.

Ultimately I feel that this album had the potential to be truly great, but lacked direction. Some songs worked, some missed because they had too much going on, and others missed because there wasn’t enough. All of that said, Mandolyn Mae writes the kind of songs that I enjoy listening to. I enjoy lyrics with substance and not just cleverly worded rhymes that can help sell albums. Take the musical imperfections of early Bright Eyes, with the ability to put emotion to paper like Chris Carraba, and add in the vocals of someone like Jenny Lewis and you still have something worth listening to. To me, that is what this album is. Despite it all the beauty and heart is there.

Release Date: June 25th, 2013
Rating: 3/5
Runtime: 34:16

Track listing:
1. Here We Are
2. On and On
3. Hurricane
4. Drive All Night
5. Adrenaline
6. Hello Hurricane
7. Tonight
8. Just a Little Bit
9. For the Girls
10. The Only Person

Written By: Mark Northern