Reviews


Concert Review: Emarosa at Baltimore Soundstage

Sunday, December 9th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

On Tuesday, November 27th 2018, five bands rolled up to the Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore, MD to liven up a welcoming crowd. Arlington, the Faim, Devour the Day, Emarosa, and Hands Like Houses made for an interesting line-up for sure.

I’ve found that Soundstage always has amazing opening bands, and Arlington was no exception. In fact, I’m listening to them as I write. Anyways, the show started off with Arlington, a three-member band from southern California. The first thing that I noticed besides their incredibly full sound and high energy performance was that the lead singer, Tyler Benko, sounded like Alex Turner from the Artic Monkeys. Then I realized that this band had the sound that I wish the latest Artic Monkeys album had. Amazing. Arlington was definitely one of the best performances that I’d ever seen. They even played a cover of “Reptilia” by the Stokes, which the bassist Channing Peake took on the vocals. It was Peake’s birthday, and “Reptilia” is one of his favorite songs. I also have to give credit to drummer Grant Whitson. I honestly wish they could have played longer, as I would have loved to hear so much more! Arlington’s sound, stage presence, mastery of instruments, crowd reaction, and style were all around incredible, and I definitely recommend checking them out. (more…)



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Review: Pompeii Graffiti- Internet World Tour

Thursday, April 26th, 2018 by Cara Hullings

Artist: Pompeii Grafitti

Album: Internet World Tour

Release Date: 04/29/18

RIYL: Turnover, Bong Wish, ManDancing

Rating: 7/10

Recorded at a bunch of different locations with a bunch of guest musicians, each song on the local band’s new album, Internet World Tour, has its own personality. Although all the songs are unique in their own way, they still all blend to create a cohesive album, representative of Pompeii Graffiti itself. The whole album keeps you jamming out to its inviting lyrics, sonic depth, and upbeat percussion.

Internet World Tour takes the fun, nerdy pop-punk of the old Pompeii Graffiti and adds a level of maturity, reinventing and evolving the band that WLOY knows and loves. With its various guest musicians playing string instruments, songs like “Vanishing Act” and “Black Aggie” feel full and have an element of mystery that is new to Pompeii Graffiti’s sound. I like to call this the new nerdy pop-punk: representing the pop-punk concepts of failure with a more indie and modern rock sound.

My personal favorites are “Pulling Teeth,” which makes you want to jump around, “White Coat Syndrome,” which brings out some 2000’s alternative nostalgia, and “Gaius,” which is more mellow with playful violin. However, I had a hard time even choosing three favorites, seeing as each song has its one merit, whether it be an alternation in female/male lead vocals, melancholy lyrics, kick-ass guitar solos, arena-like energy, or even a horn section. You can find your own favorite here once the album is released on April 29th, or watch the live performance of each song off the album here. With all these different sounds to choose from and all these videos to watch, it’s almost impossible to pin Pompeii Graffiti down, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.

 



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Review: Seaway – Vacation

Wednesday, April 18th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Seaway
Album: Vacation
Release Date: 09/15/17
RIYL: State Champs, Neck Deep, Real Friends
Rating: 8/10

Seaway has done it again, man. I was really impressed with Colour Blind, and Vacation has a sound that I can really appreciate, especially when my taste for pop punk is declining. Vacation is a powerful pop punk album marked by Seaway’s signature upbeat, in-your-face style that makes you want to happily stomp on air. Certain aspects of the album remind me of Weezer and Blink-182, which is wicked awesome. Seaway also has a way of taking topics such as potential hostile and emotional situations, and twisting them into really rad songs with funny lyrics and music that vicariously relieves aggression through heavy rhythm guitar and drums. Vacation carries the air of a tropical vacation at a luxury hotel on a beach. (more…)



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Review: Born Animal – Celebration Revolution

Thursday, April 12th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Born Animal
Album: Celebration Revolution EP
Release Date: 12/1/17
RIYL: Cage the Elephant, Harvey Danger, R.E.M.
Rating: 7.5/10

Based out of Nashville, Tennessee, Born Animal is a rock band consisting of Ryan Stowe, Stephen Luther, Sean Rosettie, and Evan Miranda. Their second EP, Celebration Revolution, has the energy of a celebration and a revolution. So. Much. Umph. Let me tell you. What’s awesome about this album is that everything is clear—you can distinguish each instrument and Stowe’s prominent voice. Two rocking songs that I highly recommend you listen to are “I Think I Think Too Much” and “Do You Want My Blood?” Celebration Revolution’s lyrics are ones that every person can connect to. (more…)



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Review: THRILLCHASER – A Lot Like Love

Thursday, April 5th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: THRILLCHASER
Album: A Lot Like Love
Release Date: 02/16/2018
RIYL: The 1975, The Naked and Famous, Two Door Cinema Club
Rating: 7/10

A Lot Like Love is the debut album of THRILLCHASER, which was previously known as American Wolves before undergoing a shift of sound from heavy to poppy. THRILLCASHER accurately describes themselves as an alternative rock pop band. A Lot Like Love is interesting because between the songs there are shifts—one may have more of a medium rock pop sound with a synth-y backdrop, while the next song sounds slightly more like the melodic vocals of bands like Issues. As a whole, A Lot Like Love has a cool mixture of different sounds, and the sounds of “Emptiness,” “Like That,” and “Juliet” are definitely ones to lend your ears to. (more…)



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Review: Coach Phillips – Learning How To Swim (EP)

Friday, March 23rd, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Coach Phillips

Album: Learning How To Swim (EP)

Released: 02/13/2018

RIYL: Rat Boys, The Obsessives, Weezer, Cloud Nothings, Car Seat Headrest

Rating: 9/10

Coach Phillips’ latest release, Learning How to Swim (EP), is one that will take you back to the late 90s and early 2000s with the characteristic guitar sound of that era. Based out of Seattle, Washington, Coach Phillips consists of guitarist and lead vocalist Wade Phillips, percussionist and vocalist Jessica Kim, drummer and saxophonist Chet Baughman, guitarist Sabee Grewal, and bassist Tom Moskal. Learning How to Swim is an EP that brings together indie rock and garage pop, which is a beautiful combo that is accentuated by Jessica Kim’s dream-pop style voice and Baughman’s savvy saxophone playing. (more…)



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Review: Lenore. – Lenore.

Saturday, March 10th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Lenore.

Album: Lenore.

Release Date: 09/15/2017

RIYL: The Civil Wars, Iron & Wine, Joy Williams

Rating: 9/10

Lenore.’s self-titled album weighs heavy on the heart. It feels as if Edward Cameron, Lenore.’s guitarist, is picking on the audience’s heart strings. Everything about Lenore. just flows incredibly well, especially the voices of Rebecca Marie Miller’s and Joy Pearson’s voices. The sound that binds all of the instruments heard on Lenore. is that of the cello, which is made to sing by Jessie Dettwiler. Lenore.’s peaceful vibes will put you in a trance with it’s perfect folk blend of percussion, sultry string instruments, and soothing voices. Lenore. is an album of empathy and comfort for those lonely lovers and loners out there. Tracks such as “The Sun” and “(I Just Thought) That You Should Know,” can be heard on WLOY. My recommended three-song-sampler consists of “Ether’s Arms,” “Heavy Eyes,” and “Blue.” (more…)



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Review: Shy Kids – In A State

Saturday, March 3rd, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Shy Kids

Album: in a state

Release Date: 02/23/2018

RIYL: Future Generations, The Kooks

Rating: 8.5/10

In a state by Shy Kids is a dynamic rock pop album that gains points in the areas of originality and creativity. It’s a well-thought-out album that should be listened to on a sunny day while you’re driving around with the windows rolled down. As the name of the album suggests, the tracks of in a state fit the theme of travel as well as the sentiments that go along with travel. This being said, Shy Kids does an awesome job of capturing the energy of the places that the songs are about. Shy Kids is able to do this not only through the copious instruments used, such as the sax, piano, and violin among others, but also because of the background sounds that are infused into most of the songs, such as the honking horns of traffic, the ringing of a telephone, and even a rooster. (more…)



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Review: Surf Harp – Mr. Big Picture

Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 by Cara Hullings

Surf Harp by Micah E. Wood

Photo by Micah E. Wood

Artist: Surf Harp

Album: Mr. Big Picture

Release Date: 2/23

Rate: 9.2/10

LIYL: Talking Heads, The Strokes

Surf Harp’s sophomore album, Mr. Big Picture, is a new, unique sound for the 5-piece local band. Drawing from their garage pop origins as well as their psychedelic 90’s sound from their first LP, Peel, Surf Harp has finally found their own rhythm. This new album perfectly blends their previous style with a hint of 80’s new wave in sound and in concept. A lot of the tracks take the average aspects of a mundane office life and make it interesting by exploring concepts that are not-so-mundane like not fitting in, death, and even what seems to me like dissociation. Such lyrical writing reminds me of Talking Heads, which is exactly what this self-proclaimed art rock band is going for.

Their song writing blends perfectly with these new wave lyrical themes. Mr. Big Picture not only includes varying, layered vocals, synth, and layered guitar, but it also experiments with distorted, lo-fi samples from everyday objects, such as a vacuum cleaner and power tools. Such experimentation allows each song to have its own personality, giving the album a holistic integrity as an art piece. My favorites are “D.I. Cig,” “Mirror Maze,” which makes you want to dance with its post-punk feel and alternating vocals, as well as “Mr. Big Picture,” which gives you the band’s pop roots with an art twist. However, all the tracks rock in their own way, making this an album you absolutely need to listen to. Find it here on Friday when it’s released by Friends Records or on iTunes. The record release party is being held at The Windup Space on Friday night.



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Review: Marty O’Reilly & The Old Soul Orchestra

Saturday, February 10th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra  

Album: Stereoscope 

Release date: 02/09/2018  

RIYL: Civil Wars, The Dead Tongues, Bon Iver 

Rating: 8/10  

 

I have the chills, but that’s not because this winter has been brutally frigid here in Baltimore. In my short life, I have found that great music is goosebump-inflicting, and I am afflicted, thanks to Marty O’Reilly & the Old Soul Orchestra. Released on February 9, 2018, Stereoscope is the four-piece’s second full album. Compared to Stereoscope‘s predecessor, Pray for Rain, which has a lot of blues and traditional folk influences, Stereoscope sounds like Bon Iver with a twist. Stereoscope has a lot more string instruments, modern folk influences, and light rock influences. All in all, it’s a great album to listen to while reading (or prepping for a philosophy exam), in bed, under the covers, on a rainy Saturday. Here’s why:   (more…)



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