Show Review: I See Stars 2/17

The Light in the Cave tour
Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Soundstage; Baltimore, MD
Review by Caitlyn Willard

The Light in the Cave tour, headlined by I See Stars, hit Baltimore for the first date of the run this past Wednesday at Soundstage. The tour lineup includes Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Get Scared, Palaye Royale, and The White Noise.

First to hit the stage was The White Noise, an up and coming band from Los Angeles. These guys set the bar high for the opening acts. They came out with full energy from the beginning as frontman, Shawn Walker, jumped into the crowd during the first song. It seemed that most of the crowd hadn’t heard of them before, but The White Noise left them with a performance they won’t soon forget.

Next up was Palaye Royale who also hail from the Los Angeles area. Genre wise, this group are definitely the odd balls on this tour, but that’s not a bad thing. Palaye have a mixture of smooth rock n roll with a slightly bluesy vibe and  raspy vocals from singer, Remmington Leith. Despite having a different sound than the rest of the lineup, Palaye were still able to win over the crowd and gain fans.

Unfortunately, Get Scared had vehicle issues and were unable to make it to the show, so Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! took the stage early, but had the crowd engaged instantly. A definite crowd pleaser was their cover of “All Star” by Smashmouth. Whether they had heard of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! or not, everyone in the room was singing along and jumping up and down. They ended their set strong with their most popular song, “In Friends We Trust.”

It was now time for the band that everyone came to see, I See Stars. This was my first time seeing them live and I was definitely impressed with their performance. I See Stars played a variety of songs, and didn’t fail to satisfy fans who hope and pray for older songs. From the die-hard fans shoved up against barricade to the mosh pits in the back of the room, I See Stars brought the house down with their never dying energy and enthusiasm for playing shows.

Show Review:: Brian Fallon 2/18

Brian Fallon & The Crowes
Thursday, February 18th
Ace of Spades; Sacramento, CA
Review by Bryce Hoffman

From the early days of The Gaslight Anthem, to his various
side projects, Brian Fallon and the musicians he surrounds himself with have
always managed to give respectful nods to the classics, while adding in their
own attitude and style to the mix. While we still have to wait a few weeks for
his solo album, the singles he has released have proved that not much has
changed in that regard.

To say I was excited for his set last week in Sacramento is
a dramatic understatement. Like many
others, I was introduced to The Gaslight Anthem through the success of their
debut single “The ’59 Sound”, from their sophomore album of the same name, back
in the summer of 2008. While they’ve toured and come close to my area in the
past, I hadn’t been able to catch them. This was my first time seeing any
semblance of The Gaslight Anthem/Molly and The Zombies/The Horrible Crowes, and
it was well worth the wait.

Opening the set with the piano and organ-heavy, vocally
driven “Last Rites,” taken from his work with Ian Perkins as The Horrible
Crowes, Brian and his phenomenally talented band set the tone for the rest of
the night. Immediately following the closing notes, they jumped right in to
“Red Lights,” an upbeat song with an incredibly infectious hook that Brian
originally wrote for his side project Molly and The Zombies years prior. It
became evident very quickly that not only was the band as a whole exceptionally
talented as musicians, but they also seemed to be having a genuinely good time.
It was easy to see how much they enjoyed the songs they were performing and
they fed off each other’s energy, which only enhanced the experience for those
of us in attendance.

Brian Fallon’s set overall was a fantastic mix of songs from
The Horrible Crowes, Molly and The Zombies, as well as a handful of select
songs from his debut solo record Painkillers, out next month (March 11 via Island Records). It was great getting to hear some of those songs, like “Among
Other Foolish Things” for the first time, in anticipation of the new album. The
night ebbed and flowed nicely, with energetic, groovy songs (”Go Tell Everybody,”
“A Wonderful Life,” “Mary Ann”) balanced perfectly alongside more somber, stripped
down performances (”Sugar,” “Honey Magnolia”). Brian kept the energy up even
between the more intimate moments, often joking and sharing stories and
observations. The flow of songs was perfect, and my only complaint is based off
of my own selfish desires to have the set last another hour.

Brian Fallon is an important artist, and one that is absolutely
worth noticing. His writing has always been raw and uniquely his; there hasn’t
been any niche or act within the lyrics or musicality of his art, and it’s
evident that the songs he write come directly from his own experiences. While
some bands or artists may fade with the ever-changing tides of music, I feel
confident saying that the majority of music he has written will absolutely
stand the test of time, and his live set is no exception.

Show Review:: Jack’s Mannequin 2/4

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Everything in Transit
Tenth Anniversary Tour
Thursday, February 4th 2016
The Royale; Boston, MA
Review and photos by Eric Riley

A few months back, I was lucky enough to cover the
Wilderness Politics Tour when it rolled through Albany. LOLO was wonderful, New
Politics crushed it, and Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness was as great as ever.
Writing up my review for that show, I almost
got carried away with talking about my undying love for Everything in Transit. But, I contained myself. This time around,
however, I feel a pretty good rant building up. So strap in.

I wasn’t all that subtle last time around when I was talking
about how impressive this record is. Nor have I ever been very subtle when
talking about how impressive this record is. It isn’t just the flawlessness of
it, and it isn’t just the story surrounding it. It’s not about how I felt when
I first heard it, nor is it about how well it holds up (Hell, it’s probably
even better a decade later). It’s all of these things and then some; it’s about
all of these things coming together for one final run.

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Openers Leisure Cruise did a commendable job setting the
tone for the evening. Their set was upbeat and fun, without seeming to try too
hard. Unfortunately, the 35-minute happened to drag for what felt like longer
than the half hour time slot. And while that seems like a dig at the artist, it
says far more about the headliner and the situation. Much like when NK were given
the nod as the opener for Fall Out Boy’s return tour, or Mike Herrera beginning
the nights of Anberlin’s farewell run, the openers for these special tours are
given little slack. On any other evening, the applause would have been greater,
the cheers probably a bit more sincere. But, the room was there for Jack’s
Mannequin, and anything else was just standing in the way.

Moments before the main set began, the stage began coming
together – McMahon’s piano taking center stage, setlists taped to each station,
a large, brightly-lit asterisk hung in the background. The first flash of white
light brought a surge of energy from the eager crowd.

With
a soundtrack of beach winds, SoCal traffic, and seagull caws playing, the
reunited five-piece took the stage beneath blue lights, welcomed by deafening
applause.

The
first half of the setlist was obvious – the near-dozen chapters of Everything
in Transit
played in succession. While we knew the songs and the order
they’d be coming, the additions of the little soundbites throughout the record
were a nice touch – the aforementioned background noise before “Holiday
from Real,” Andrew’s spoken words throughout “I’m Ready,” the
ending monologue following the closing half of “Made for Each
Other." 

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To
help give things a nice 10-year update, some minor additions and adjustments
were made here and there. "La La Lie” was simplified and stripped
down to the basics, done so without losing any of its impact. Later, the break
between “MFEO” and “You Can Breathe Now” was transformed
into an extended vamp, giving McMahon a chance to walk around the stage,
addressing the audience and thanking them for not only coming out for the
evening, but sticking around for the last decade, making an anniversary tour
not only possible, but highly sought-after.

The
encore brought a mixture of songs from other JM releases, both fast and
slow.

Though,
as the band mentioned, it wasn’t your traditional encore. McMahon spoiled the
trade secret of bands exiting stage and standing off to the side, waiting for
applause to draw them back out – “it’s just a lot of extra work, to go
stand, like, ten feet over that way behind the curtain and wait; we’d rather
just keep playing music.”

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Traditional
or not, a grab bag of other favorites capped off the night, throwing in a few
songs fans may have not expected to hear. “Hammers and Strings” and
“Swim” tugged at the room’s collective heartstrings, while
“Crashin’” and “Bloodshot” (which gets a surprising amount
of play – it was used last time around, too) kept the floor spinning. The night
came to an end with a Jack’s Mannequin favorite – a cover of Tom Petty’s
“American Girl.” It’s interesting to see a cover song act as
such a staple in a band’s arsenal, but when it is performed this well, even
with the lead singer crowdsurfing his way around the venue the entire time, why
not keep it going?

I’m
not sure what else there is to say about the show, the album, or the band in
general, really. There are plenty of classic records out there, and a handful
of them are “no-skippers,” as my sisters and I call them. Elton John’s Captain Fantastic, an album that I
heard, and I’m not exaggerating here, more than once a day while I was growing
up, is on that list. Boston’s self-titled is pretty close to perfect, and Born to Run is a masterpiece. In
more-recent history, the numbers get a bit smaller – Thrice’s Vheissu is beautiful from start to
finish, Razia’s Shadow is one of the
most underrated records of [at least] this generation, and then there’s Everything In Transit. When it first
came out, I was a skinny, pale, shy 14-year-old high schooler, and I had never
heard anything so incredible. Now, as a less-skinny, equally-pale, still
moderately-shy 24-year-old, I’ve still yet to find an album that holds a candle
to it. It’s been a decade, and I still find myself listening to it from front
to back a few times a week. And, if they decide to give us Twenty Years in Transit, you can bet I’ll be right back in the
front row once again.

So, that’s the record.

Until the next time, it’s been, uhh … it’s
been interesting.
But I’m glad that we
have her done.

Jack’s Mannequin.
Everything in Transit.


Setlist:
Holiday From Real
The Mixed Tape
Bruised
I’m Ready
La La Lie
Dark Blue
Miss Delaney
Kill the Messenger
Rescued
MFEO: Made for Each Other
You Can Breathe Now
Into the Airwaves

Hammers and Strings
Crashin’
Amy I
Bloodshot

Swim
The Resolution
American Girl 

Review:: Suicide Songs | MONEY

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Money’s Jamie Lee is certainly not a stranger to self-doubt.
The band’s second album, Suicide Songs,
wears it on its sleeve. Literally—the album cover is a picture of the band’s
singer with a knife stabbing into his forehead, not to mention its overwrought
title. But despite lyrics that reflect the Manchester native’s neuroses, the
band’s work shows a confidence that outstrips any worries Lee or his mates may
have about their own worth. They take an ambitious swing, and it pays off.

Money
had a debut album in 2013 that did an impressive job of sounding as epic as an
indie band of Money’s stature (and, *ahem*,
with their lack of actual money) could. They sounded like a normal-sized band
with the kind and amount of instruments fledgling indie rock bands normally get
their hands on, playing them with a bunch of studio tricks to make them sound
bigger and more momentous than they are. They fit into a trend that’s not uncommon but definitely not unfortunate—rock bands that use digital studios and artificial reverb to create a wall of sound instead of through the cramped recording style that Phil Spector and other analog wizards worked hard to make.

Money brought talented songwriting to the formula, elevated
with spacey textures that reached for magnificence. But for all the enormity of
the scale, their first album ends up feeling almost safe. It certainly had good
songs played well, but it fell short of true greatness, lacking a sense of intention
and immediacy that could have really pushed it ahead.

Two and a half years later, Suicide
Songs
builds on the best parts of the band’s debut with the kind of
maturity that allows the band to revel in youth. They continue the sense of a
vast landscape that made their debut work, but they fill in the gaps of immense
space in between the reverb, building with energy and vitality in the places
that had before become inert. The instruments still echo—a single note on a
high guitar string will do the work of six for most of a verse, playing on and
sustaining until it melts into the background; the vocals call from across a
distance, like shouts to a microphone too far away.

But in between the standard rock instrumentation come more
baroque instruments to weave around the soundscapes—a string section and a
brass one take their part here and there to fill the songs with a substance,
along with a robust percussion section. All of it fades into the wall of sound
anyway, creating an especially full and lively texture. Money proves impressive
at finding the big moments, the crescendos and sudden reversals, building up
and tearing down the energy with excellent precision. It’s a sound rich with
emotion, highlighting the best parts of the song craft.

Lee’s voice becomes overwrought and tortured as he sings about
loneliness and frustration. His pipes are wounded and scarred, belting far
beyond his comfortable range. It brings to mind Patrick Stickles of Titus
Andronicus, a suitable comparison for someone so drenched in mopiness,
ambition, and somehow through all that, hope. On the two more stripped down
tracks—the title song, and the dramatic closer, “Cocaine Christmas and an
Alcoholic’s New Year,” which is exactly as overdone as it sounds but totally
pulls it off—he wails over instrumentation as basic as a piano. His voice
cracks and shatters, and he transforms into a drunken lush, shrinking from the
epic scope of the album’s biggest sweeps into a solitary moment.

It’s this mastery of scale that is the truly impressive feat of
Suicide Songs. It masters the bigness
of Money’s previous album, and it masters these smaller bits as well. But most
importantly, Suicide Songs is an
album that understands the vast expanse between.

Release Date: January 29th, 2016
Rating: 4.5/5
Run Time: ~43 minutes

Track listing:
1. I Am The Lord
2. I’m Not Here
3. You Look Like a Sad Painting on Both Sides of the Sky
4. Night Came
5. Suicide Song
6. Hopeless World
7. I’ll Be The Night
8. All My Life
9. A Cocaine Christmas and an Alcoholic’s New Year

Written by Jon Hecht

Review:: Boroughs | Boroughs

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Full of regrets and recollections of heartbreak, Boroughs’
self-titled release is an honest, introspective look at internal dialogue
during hard nights. Though this description may make the EP seem dismal,
there’s an underlying theme of hope in each of the tracks on the six-song
release.

In opening track “Keep it Up,” singer Kyle Neal repeats
“Nothing’s quite as bad” as the song closes out. The line comes off as a
personal mantra and reminder rather than a statement that’s meant to be
believed. The afterthought of “…until it is,” feels almost like defeat, but a
defeat that’s accepted based wholly on Neal’s delivery.

This cycle of guessing and second-guessing keeps on through the
rest of the EP, even more so in standout, “Stay With Me.” A wistful track
accented by spacey acoustic guitar work, the third song brings to light the
doubts of the first half and is the first of the selections that seem to dispel
some of the doubts of the internal dialogue.

Finishing out strong with final track “Enough,” the mood of the
EP pulls an about-face. Beginning with a rousing chorus, the themes in “Enough”
of acceptance and optimism are sure to stick in the minds of listeners even
after they move on to the next selection. Though Boroughs’ brand of
indie-folk-meets-alt-country may not be everyone’s cup of tea, it’s the
relatability factor that will have even casual listeners finding something
within the songs that resonates with them.

Release Date: December 4, 2015
Rating: 4/5
Runtime: ~25 minutes
Check Out: “Stay With Me”, “Give it Time”

Track listing:
1. Keep It Up
2. Alive
3. Stay With Me
4. Give it Time
5. Anytime
6. Enough

Written by Carina Browder

Show Review:: LOLO 2/3

LOLO
Wednesday, February 3, 2016
Brighton Music Hall; Boston, MA
Review and photos by Kara Kokinos

Last Wednesday, LOLO took the stage at Brighton Music Hall in Boston, bringing a solid set of power ballads and dance jams. Her set started off with the angry, heartbreak driven “Heard It From A Friend,” Donning a fur coat, the petite singer belted her lungs out, welcoming the enthusiastic crowd forward. If you are unfamiliar with the singer, her 2013 video for the song is a fantastic introduction. Rhythmic and self-driving, the track carries the same energy across live. And if her killer voice seems familiar, you have probably heard it on Panic! At The Disco’s, “Miss Jackson,” “Fall Out Boy’s “Centuries,” as well as the original cast recordings of “Spring Awakening”.

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Not afraid to get close to the crowd, the singer had beckoned those in attendance towards the stage and discarded restrictive layers and fallen to her knees by the middle of her second song, “Comeback Queen.” The performance aspect of LOLO’s set is not to be understated. Clapping along with the track, dramatic gesturing, eye contact with the audience, and ripping through her vocals all seemed to be second nature to Pritchard. “Comeback Queen” is an incredibly danceable track that calls for gospel backup vocalists and invokes plenty of “girl power” imagery.

This badassery was highlighted not only on her more upbeat tunes. With touring guitartist Josh Hoisington, the duo live mixed some beats and slashed through pre-recorded tracks but on the slower tracks they performed, including new track “The Courtyard” and “I Don’t Wanna Have to Lie,” there was a clear ache behind the words being sung. It would be difficult to compete with LOLO’s vocals but on her slower songs, they were given the opportunity to glisten against the more basic guitar/piano backings. That being said, there was an incredible build to every track performed that night as well as a clear narrative that went into the writing and performance.

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Straddling the soul and alternative rock genres, LOLO’s writing is incredibly nuanced and with an obvious jazz atmosphere within a pop track. While on her recorded material the singer’s power is more implicit and backed by more muted instrumentals, her live material is full of raw energy.  Closing out the night, LOLO’s “Hit & Run” brought the same hard hitting energy as her opening two tracks, with the attitude of a late 2000s Carrie Underwood with the gritty tone of Juliet Simms. LOLO’s unabashed gesturing and use of the smaller Brighton Music Hall Stage transformed the venue. It was impossible not to be sucked into the space she created.

While on the shorter side, LOLO’s set packed a hefty punch and her natural stage presence reminded me of a set I caught from Halsey at a small, coffeeshop venue at the start of her career. If the new tracks that were performed that night, “Devil’s Gone to Dinner” and “No Time For Lonely,” are any indicator, it shouldn’t be long until LOLO is on everyone’s radar.

Review:: Death of a Bachelor | Panic! at the Disco

Now in the fifth installment of the Panic(!) at the Disco
story, we’ve seen the changes the band has made from album to album, tweaking
everything and anything – sound, image, theme, roster (though that last one
can’t change much further). This time around, after visiting everything from
cirque-pop to psychedelic marching band to dark cabaret and everything in
between,  Urie and Co. give us one
of 2016’s first noteworthy albums by delving into a brand new chapter –
matrimony.

With the first notes of the caffeinated chant-along
“Victorious,” Death of a Bachelor
starts quick and sharply. Followed by “Don’t Threaten Me With a Good Time,” the
pair risk canceling each other out. I enjoy champagne as much as the next guy,
but hearing it sung in back-to-back choruses is a bit sobering. On their own,
both are fun and catchy, though playing them in succession takes some of the
buzz away from each.

Luckily, single “Hallelujah” follows as a saving grace. Booming
and radio-ready, Panic! are the latest Fueled By Ramen alum to deliver using
this title. Urie’s vocals are crisp and focused, and the bandstand introduction
is one of a handful of Bachelor’s vintage
elements. “Crazy=Genius” brings along a horns section and dancehall drums to
swing to, while “Death of a Bachelor” enters sounding like an old file that had
trouble updating onto new media.

Unsettling of a statement as that may seem, it shouldn’t
eclipse that the title track is one of the album’s strongest songs, as well as
one of Urie’s strongest performances in Panic’s catalog. His voice is smooth
and suave throughout the verses, while soaring to massive heights in the
falsetto chorus. An optimistic, heartbroken ode to his departing lifestyle,
Urie serenades over the transition into the married life – “Happily ever after,
how could I ask for more? / A lifetime of laughter, at the expense of the death
of a bachelor.”

“LA Devotee” and “House of Memories” carry over some
leftover Too Weird to Live vibes,
adding in a brass section to help them adjust to this record. Bursting with
‘80s charisma and neon charm, they dig deep into your head and don’t give up. “The
Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” loosely follows this same formula – a mixture of
new tempo and classic elements – and the end result is good, though isn’t quite
as successful.

It’s tough to think that it’s been about two and a half
years since Too Weird to Live was
released (I had to double-check – late 2013). In that time, Panic! at the Disco
has gone through yet another metamorphosis. In the end, we were given the
footnotes of the process. With a new life on the horizon, Urie treats Death of a Bachelor as his final crazed
night out with his old friend bachelordom, their one last hurrah under the city
lights before heading home to the suburbs.

Release Date:
Run Time:
Rating: 3.5/5
Check Out: “LA Devotee,” “Death of a Bachelor,” “Hallelujah”

Track listing:
1. “Victorious”
2. “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time”
3. “Hallelujah”
4. “Emperor’s New Clothes”
5. “Death of a Bachelor”
6. “Crazy=Genius”
7. “LA Devotee”
8. “Golden Days”
9. “The Good, the Bad, and the Dirty”
10. “House of Memories”
11. “Impossible Year”

Written by Eric Riley

Review:: The Kids Will Be Fine | Young Rising Sons

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They’re young and they are
definitely rising, at least in popularity.
Up-and-coming band Young Risings Sons is keeping to their style of heavy
drum work and creative arrangements. The band’s debut EP, The High, received high praise with hits like “High,” which was
featured in a Pepsi commercial, and “King of the World.”  With their new found success, the band has
refined their latest EP, The Kids Will Be
Fine, 
for a more radio-friendly sound and melancholic lyrics. The five new
tracks definitely feature some highlights, but there is still polishing to do
for the perfect set of songs for their next record.

While Young Rising Sons has the
characteristics of any other alternative band trying to make it big, the unique
vocal arrangements make the quartet stand out from the pack. I have high
appraisal for lead singer Andy Tongren.
The consistency that Tongren carries in his tone melds perfectly with
the acapella-style chorus on tracks like “Somebody” and “F**ked Up.” The
layered vocals stay in the background with Tongren’s voice at the forefront.  This is certainly a different way to approach
a chorus in a rock song.

The EP resembles a sort of bell
curve of energy.  The Kids Will Be Fine starts off with a softer, slower track, but
then jumps into three high energy songs, and then finishes with a soft,
uplifting ending. The first song, “Coming
Home,” is the soft-rock opening which may tempt you from listening to the rest
of the EP.  There is an element missing
which doesn’t really quite hit the mark, but the lyrics delve into a
nostalgic path.  

The second track, “F**ked up,” is the party song that not only
will make you question why you are partying, but also keep you dancing. The track features pretty pessimistic lyrics set to infectious drum
beats and signature gang vocals. The next two tracks, “Flesh and Bones” and “Ghost of Me,” are
the highlights and where the band really nails it in the technical works and
rawness of the words that are sung. The bell curve dips to a perfect spot where
the melody has just enough energy to keep these songs on repeat. “Somebody” wraps the five wraps the EP with a
wistful and slow ending.  

Young Rising Sons takes us through a bit of a roller coaster of
tracks, but it is definitely worth the ride.
The band is trying different things, where some elements work and others
don’t. It’s only a taste of what to expect in their full-length album
and trust me – you’ll want to listen.  

Release Date: October 16th
Run Time: ~18 minutes
Rating: 3.5/5

Track listing:
1) Coming Home
2) F**ked Up
3) Flesh and Bone
4) Ghost of Me
5) Somebody


Written by Zarrin Alam

Review:: New Fangs Old Pangs | Yellow Red Sparks

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The California band Yellow Red Sparks exude a fresh new
perspective on the indie-folk genre. The duo, Joshua Hanson and Sara Lynn Nishikawa, emit a joyful and quirky vibe that immediately caught my ear from the start;
they don’t hesitate to embrace a full range of instruments making them sound
much bigger than themselves.

Yellow Red Sparks takes the core of the classic folk genre and runs
with it to make it their own in this EP through elements of an upbeat and
whimsical ambiance that is contagious. Paired with the lightness of their
music, comes with some seriously melancholy and heart wrenching lyrics.

The lighthearted first track “I Want My Knife Back” is a fun
introduction to the album as it encompasses their signature care-free energy.
There is true emotion, hardships and life struggles being discussed that are
all juxtaposed cleverly with their overall exuberance.  The track “I’m Fine” is similar in theme and
is one of the only tracks where I clearly hear the voice of Sara throughout,
while most vocals seem dominated by Joshua.

The tracks “Seven Seas” and “If I Get It, Then You’ve Got It” is
a perfect example of the bands mastery of the depressingly beautiful theme of
love lost through the dramatic musical composition and somber lyricism. Other
slower tracks like “New Fangs (Darkling)” oozes of a classic love song that
highlights the vocals of Joshua paired with the acoustic guitar.

“Violet” is blunt and quirky love song framed in a haunting,
bitter light lyrically that contrasts perfectly with the joyous guitar and
percussion. Unexpected beachy-esque guitar riffs throughout the album added a
unique flare to their folk sound, especially in this track.

This band has the ability to take the mundane, every-day problems
of relationships and life and create an exciting, unpredictable whirlwind of
sounds revolving around pure jubilation. There is an honest and genuine
component to them that makes their music naturally relatable and lovable.

Release date: October 16th, 2015
Run time: 21 minutes
Rating: 5/5

Track listing:
1.  I
Want My Knife Back
2.  Seven
Seas
3.  If I
Get It, Then You’ve Got It
4.  I’m
Fine
5.  Violet
6.  New
Fangs (Darkling)

Written by Kelsey Rzepecki

Review:: Fever Dream Anthology | Jaeger Wells

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Some people have those voices I could listen to for hours
and never get tired of hearing. There’s something about the scratchiness or
smoothness in the way he or she sings that floods my eardrums with goodness.

Jaeger Wells has a smooth voice that oozes out a feel-good
sound. Wells, an indie singer-songwriter, recently released his new EP Forever Dream Anthology produced by The
Early November’s Ace Enders. This 5-track EP made me feel like I was transported to and from different points in time.

My toes started dancing along to the first track, “Sao Paulo
Liars Club,” immediately thinking it sounded like an indie Christmas song. The
song was a feel-good one, but the lyrics weren’t. He sang about loneliness and the
anxieties over the demons that are haunting. It was oddly comforting to hear
about something so dark but with an upbeat, good tune to drown out the bad
parts of waking up in the middle of the night by whatever haunts you.

“What It Feels Like” should
be in an indie movie soundtrack, and I’ll be that girl in the movie theater
singing along to this upbeat and quirky song. The beginning notes of the following track, “For The Jilted, For The Broken,”
reminded me of a funkier version of an Arctic Monkeys song. I replayed the
beginning of the song almost half a dozen times and my eyes turned into the
heart-eye emojis. Towards the end, Wells’ voice was a mix of haunting, funky and
strong. This is one of those tunes you listen to on a drive home, late at night,
probably on Halloween.

The guitar in “Rotten Apple (of My Eye)” had me envisioning
greasers in the 1960s. His voice in the bridge and transitioning into the
chorus was strong alongside the piano. My favorite part about this song was the
lyrics; he sang about a typical “love-hate” relationship. He found the love in
his heart, but realized how much this person was the (rotten) apple of his eye.
I loved it.

The last track on the EP, “East Coast Ghosts” resembled an
angsty early 2000s song. Jaeger’s voice, once again, reminded me of Arctic Monkeys mixed with some Modern Baseball. It was smooth, mixed well with the strumming guitar, while the drums
were booming powerfully and his voice jumbled up
with others.

Jaeger Wells sang lyrics that were so much more powerful
than basic love and heartbreak. He sings about heavier experiences with his
anxieties with love and life. Forever
Dream Anthology
was an EP full of talent and haunting lyrics with a
powerful voice to top it off.

Release Date: November 20, 2015
Run Time: ~15 minutes
Rating: 3/5
Ultimate Jams: “Sao Paulo Liars Club,” “For The Jilted, For
The Broken,” “Rotten Apple (of My Eye) 

Track Listing:
1. Sao Paulo Liars Club
2. What It Feels Like
3. For The Jilted, For The Broken
4. Rotten Apple (of My Eye)
5. East Coast Ghosts

Written by Kelly Peacock