Review: Dirt and Dust | Stop Dead

For his third release, Stop Dead (side project of This Century’s Ryan Gose) steps out from behind the drum kit and grabs the microphone once again. Diverging from the pop/punk of This Century and tackling a more indie-rock sound, Gose’s work with Stop Dead illustrates his diverse skill set.

The short EP – which is four songs, totaling just over thirteen minutes, is enjoyable throughout its entire stay, as short as it is. Taking the Ace Enders via I Can Make a Mess Like Nobody’s Business’ Gold Rush route and recording vocals and instrumentals on his own, Gose delivers a performance that impresses on its own, but really makes an impression due to the individual effort.

“Light My Fire” and opener “We Own the Night” are textbook new-age/indie, with crisp guitars, shaking tambourines and cymbals, and a bit of extra rasp added to the vocals to make sure it sticks.

On the infectious “Supernova,” Gose channels Gin Wigmore-esque hooks to produce a real standout, while the title track not only closes the EP, but acts as its shining moment.

Gose gets creative on Dirt & Dust, taking a step away from his pop roots and finding himself and his music in grittier territories. Luckily, he handles the transition cleanly and serves up a handful of songs that show that he’s proficient in much more than just the rhythm section.

Rating: 3.5/5
Runtime: 13:21
Release Date: March 10th, 2014

1. “We Own The Night”
2. “Supernova”
3. “Light My Fire”
4. “Dirt & Dust”

Written by Eric Riley

Review:: Eagles In Drag EP | Eagles In Drag

Side projects are a touchy subject for some.

On one hand, fans sometimes see a member from a band venturing off into some other direction, causing them to worry about the future of the initial group.

Then, at the other end of the spectrum, a side project can be a blessing – an artist’s chance to momentarily reinvent their sound, to blow off some steam in a new arena, to reignite their creativity and bring a new life back to the main project (which is why I’m constantly thankful for The Horrible Crowes, but that’s another story). Here, we have the latter.

As a whole, Eagles in Drag – which is built from The Maine’s John O’Callaghan and Jared Monaco, Eric Halvorsen (ex- A Rocket to the Moon) Trey Nickelsen, and Ryan Gose of This Century and Stop Dead, takes the members’ various musical backgrounds and styles and compresses them into a mix that’s heavier, darker, even psychedelic at times, and a good way’s away from anything we’ve heard from their main projects.

Within the first seconds of “Pretty Girl Monster,” which carries a vapor-like eeriness and a heavy bassline, it’s clear that, while these may be some familiar names, this will be anything but customary. Later, “One Four Six” thrashes its way in with an introduction that feels like it caught a flight from ‘90s Seattle, while the masterfully-scattered “Dog Days,” which is the baby of the EP just shy of the 3:30 mark, could find a home just about anywhere.

On the chanciest of the five tracks, the 5-minute “Buzz” perfectly captures what a side-project should be. With its unusual instrumentation and O’Callaghan’s vocals being pushed to their limits (and impressively delivering), the end result is something exceptional. By the end, the group musters any last traces of energy and madness and crams it into the six and a half-minute finale “Black Dolphin,” concluding with a four-minute instrumental outro filled with cackling voice samples, reverberating guitar feedback, thumping basslines, and plenty more.

As I had mentioned before, there’s a danger that comes along with trying something new. But, O’Callaghan has preemptively calmed all doubts and worries over this new endeavor, assuring that this was just the product of his “thirst for songwriting and passion for creating music. … The Maine is my true baby.“

So, we can breathe easy over that. And if this project is just “a few dates with a chick you know you’re never going to call again,” as he puts it, then let’s hope that this hypothetical metaphorical couple bumps into each other on the street again sometime in the future.

Release Date: March 25th, 2014
Rating: 4.5/5
Runtime: 24:43

1. Pretty Girl Monster
2. Dog Days
3. Buzz
4. One Four Six
5. Black Dolphin

Eagles in Drag are:
John O’Callaghan – Vocals, guitar
Trey Nickelsen – Guitar
Jared Monaco – Guitar
Eric Halvorsen – Bass
Ryan Gose – Drums

Written by Eric Riley

Show Review:: The Art of Tour 3/25

Photo by Caitlyn Willard

No one ever expects a Tuesday night to be anything more than JUST a Tuesday night. Things change, however, when one of your favorite bands decide to play a venue near you. And then of course, your Tuesday night gets a million times better.

This was one of the first shows in quite some time where I actually got to the venue early enough to catch every single opener – and I was so glad that I did. Walking into Starland Ballroom, there was already a huge crowd formed when openers, The New Royalty, took the stage. We actually interviewed these guys about two years ago (which you can see here). The New Royalty aren’t new to performing in front of large audiences since they’ve performed at Bamboozle and opened for Big Time Rush at Six Flags back in 2011, but this was quite different. Most New Jersey bands dream of performing at Starland Ballroom, a venue that hosted shows for Brand New, Taking Back Sunday, Blink 182, and Twisted Sister (this May)! For a band that has been slowly making big strides, the crowd was completely into The New Royalty’s set and their excitement radiated throughout the room.

Following The New Royalty was Crash the Party – a band I had heard of before, but never really listened to. Though you could hear some off-pitch notes here and there, there was so much energy from the band that just made the audience want to hear more. And that’s exactly what they got. Mid-set, Crash the Party announced that their EP released the same day as Frozen…so of course, they covered “Let It Go”….and it was pretty amazing. Makes me really wish that Fearless (or any other label, for that matter) would put together some sort of “Punk Goes Disney” CD. Come on, how awesome would that be?! Regardless, the band put together an awesome set and in conjunction with The New Royalty, the crowd was even rowdier than before!

The last opener was one that I’ve been familiar with for years. I first saw This Century back in 2011 and I honestly have not really listened to them since, but the second they hit the stage and started their set, I immediately regretted it. These guys have grown so much as a band and it was amazing to see how much energy they put into their set. You could really see how much they loved performing in front of a room full of people and just making everyone dance, sing, and have a freakin awesome time! If you haven’t seen or listened to these guys before, please do yourself a favor and check them out because I only expect even bigger and better things to come from them.

Finally, after nearly 2 hours from first walking into the venue, it was time for We The Kings. The room immediately burst into screams and cheers as each member appeared on stage and started off with “Queen of Hearts”, which the band was recording the music video for throughout the tour. Each night, one of the members of We The Kings (or one of the crew-members) would be wearing Google Glass to film the crowd and the bands performance. This was my third time seeing the band perform and this ultimately topped any other performance they’ve given. The band played a mix of songs from their new album, Somewhere Somehow, and even included some old favorites from their first/self-titled album, We The KingsOne of the highlights from the night would be when the band performed “I Feel Alive.” This is probably my favorite song from their latest album, so I was pretty excited when they started to play it. The best part – lead singer, Travis Clark, told the audience prior to performing the song that they would need to know 2 different dance moves: the Sorority Squat and another which including flailing your arms around as if you were going crazy. What I didn’t expect was for the entire audience to actually follow along with both dance moves during the song, but they did and it was one of the most hilarious things I had ever seen.

We the Kings put together an amazing set and ended the night with “Check Yes Juliet,” a definite crowd favorite. During one point of this song, the band had stopped performing and the entire audience was SCREAMING. And I don’t mean that they were screaming for a couple seconds because of how much they loved the song. What I mean is that the entire band literally stopped playing every instrument as the entire crowd screamed for a good minute or two. It was fucking loud. Now, I’m only 21, but I was definitely one of oldest people in the crowd and somehow managed to stand next to all the parents who had taken their kids to the show, and looking at them you could see every parent covering their ears because of how insanely loud it got. And even though it gave me the worst headache afterwards, it made me love the night that much more. The amount of excitement, passion and energy that was in Starland Ballroom that night was incredible and was something you wouldn’t understand unless you were in the room yourself.

The band recently wrapped up their tour, but you can catch We The Kings on Warped Tour this entire summer. Trust me when I say that you’ll definitely want to check them out.

Eagles In Drag Release Debut EP

Constructed by lead singer of The Maine, John O’Callaghan, Eagles In Drag formed in 2012 with bandmate Jared Monaco. The group also includes Trey Nickelsen, Ryan Gose (This Century, Stop Dead), and Eric Halvorsen (ex-A Rocket To The Moon).

You can pick up the EP on iTunes by clicking here! Below you’ll find the album art and track listing. 

Track listing:
1. Pretty Girl Monster
2. Dog Days
3. Buzz
4. One Four Six
5. Black Dolphin

Interview With:: Nick Santino


We recently interview Nick Santino of Nick Santino & The Northern Wind. Nick is currently on a co-headlining tour with This Century. Check out our interview below!
Photo by: Sarah Hoffman

Most people would be familiar with you as the frontman of A Rocket To The Moon. What has been the biggest difference between playing in a band and doing more of a solo project as you are now?

It’s a little more honest. I can be myself. I don’t care about being this front man rockstar type that a lot of guys in bands want so badly. I just like being me and playing songs about my life. 
 You’ve actually released two EPs under Nick Santino and The Northern Wind, one back in July and one last month. What is it about these albums that really represent who you are under this new project?

Life stories. Tour stories. Honesty. 
 What has the fan response been to these EPs? Was it what you expected?
It’s been real positive so far. It’s really showing me who the true fans are and they are nothing but kind to me. 

 In the past you’ve mentioned that Tom Petty and Ryan Adams are some musical influences of yours. Was the title Nick Santino and The Northern Wind inspired by them and their backing bands? (I.e. Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers, Ryan Adams and The Cardinals). 
I’ve always had The Northern Wind as an idea in my iphone notes for if I ever went solo. I’ve always loved the heartbreakers and the cardinals. I think it’s an easier way for people to remember my name. 

On this tour you are playing most of the songs off of The Ones You Meet Along The Way live for the first time. What was your favorite song to write and record off of this EP? Do you think you have more creative control now that you are writing as a solo artist?
They were all fun.  Too good was fun because I was different. Very raw. One take guitar and one take vocal. I wanted that one to feel as real and painful as I could. 

 I’ve heard that you like to occasionally include a cover in your set. What is your favorite song to cover and why?
I love playing anything from Petty to Ryan to whatever’s cool these days. 

What can we expect next from Nick Santino and The Northern Wind?
More touring and a hell of a lot more music. 
 Thanks for your time! Anything else you’d like to add?
Come see a show and check out the music!

You can check out an interview with tour-mates, This Century, in Amplified Magazine’s latest issue, which can be viewed here!