Reviews


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: February 9, 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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Review: American Pets – Bad Dream

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: American Pets 

Album: Bad Dream-Single 

RIYL: The Republic Tigers, The Little Ones, Matt Pond PA 

Released: January 5, 2018 

Rating: 10/10 

Do you ever hear a song by a band you’ve never heard of, get excited to look them up to see what else they’ve recorded, and find squat? This is what happened when I looked up American Pets . So, here’s what I know: American Pets classify themselves as a four-piece indie-rock band, they originate from Los Angeles, California, “Bad Dream” is the only song that they have released, but they are releasing their very first EP later this month. “Bad Dream” has me highly anticipating the EP’s release.  (more…)



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Review: Captain, We’re Sinking – The King of No Man

Tuesday, January 30th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Captain, We’re Sinking  

The King of No Man  

Rate: 10/10 

RIYL: The Menzingers, The Wonder Years, The Descendents 

As a whole The King of No Man definitely has a softer tone than Captain, We’re Sinking’s last album, The Future Is Cancelled, which was released in 2013. Despite this, The King of No Man is still very distinctly the punk sound of Captain, We’re Sinking. Overall, the album has mellow verses with heavier choruses. This album’s tracks have similar sounds to that of The Wonder Years, Knuckle Puck, The Gaslight Anthem, classic punk bands such as The Rites of Spring and The Descendents, and complimenting other out-of-genre influences. I feel like this album is like the Thanksgiving meal of punk; there’s so many sub-genre punk tracks that work deliciously well together. Below is just a taste of what the album is like:  (more…)



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Review: Anderson East – Encore

Wednesday, January 24th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Anderson East 

Album: Encore 

Released: January 12, 2018 

RIYL: James Morrison, Passenger, John Mayer, Ray LaMontagne 

Rate: 10/10 

As the boyfriend of one of my favorite country artists, Miranda Lambert, Anderson East is a person of my special interest. There’s something about this soulful singer’s voice that makes it clear why Lambert swoons over him—it’s downright gorgeous with just a touch of a rocker’s raspy-ness. From the beginning, Encore has a funkier and more upbeat and in-your-face sound than East’s previous album, Delilah. Still, Encore is not without a few of Anderson East’s signature style consisting of slower love songs. A lot of different (and great) components of the album remind me of the 60s and 70s funk-rock and The Temptations. With co-writers such as pop artist Ed Sheeran, country artist Chris Stapleton, and Nashville songwriter Aaron Raitiere, this album is pure beauty. In this way, Anderson East takes southern soul and twists it making his music accessible to listeners of many different genres.   (more…)



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Review: Spice Boys – Glade

Wednesday, January 17th, 2018 by Kaili McDonald

Artist: Spice Boys 

Album: Glade 

Label: Punk Slime Recordings 

Released: January 12, 2018 

RIYL: FIDLAR, WAVVES, Together PANGEA 

Rate: 9/10 

When I first heard of the band Spice Boys, I was immediately intrigued and “Wannabe” by Spice Girls starting playing in my head. To my surprise, the Spice Boys are nothing like their flavorful, female, predecessors. Spice Boys released their first EP in 2016. After signing to Punk Slime Recordings shortly after this, Spice Boys have blessed us with their newest album, Glade. The whole album is full of distortion of all aspects of the songs—the vocals, the guitar, even the drums sound more static-y than normal. This Swedish garage rock band’s sound makes me think of kicking up some trouble with my friends on the beach in the summer. The use of echoes and wa-wa-like effects in all of the tracks just gives the album a really fun-inspiring. The fast-paced and upbeat songs make you want to dance like a fool. (more…)



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Review: Shooter Jennings and Jason Boland – Baltimore Soundstage

Sunday, December 10th, 2017 by Kaili McDonald

On December 6, 2017, Shooter Jennings and Jason Boland rocked the Soundstage on the very first night of their joint tour. The opener was Sean K. Preston (not Britney Spears’ son as he mentioned) and he was equally as amazing. With a sound somewhere between Johnny Cash and Elvis, songs of divorce and snakeskin boots, and incredible vibrato, Preston set the stage perfectly for Shooter and Boland. Preston’s classic country sound complimented the mellowness of the genuinely heartfelt performance that ensued.  (more…)



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Hitting the Jackpot with The Yardbirds

Friday, August 11th, 2017 by The Professor

The Yardbirds mark their premiere appearance in Atlantic City

by Radio RockonTour host Timothy Tilghman

Formed in London in 1963, The Yardbirds finally debuted in Atlantic City, New Jersey, on Friday, July 7, 2017, among the assorted characters who gamble their fortunes on the turn of a card. The talented musicians appeared at the Resorts Superstar Theater anchored by original drummer Jim McCarty who is the last founding member of The Yardbirds. (more…)



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Earth People! The Triumphant Return of Dr. Octagon

Monday, June 26th, 2017 by The Professor

by Earl Crown, host of Crucial Cuts on WLOY

On June 4th 2017, Kool Keith (aka Dr. Octagon) came to Baltimore Soundstage with his hip-hop super-group, and reminded us why we loved Dr. Octagon in the first place. His 1996 album, Dr. Octagonecologyst, is considered by many to be among the most important albums of that decade and a must-own LP for any serious fan of the genre. With the help of producer and DJ Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, as well as world-class turntablist DJ Qbert, Octagon was able recreate the genius of his groundbreaking 1996 album on stage.

The Dr. Octagon tour features an all-star stage band, with a live drummer and bass player, along with two DJs, the aforementioned Dan the Automator and DJ Qbert. The set list for the Baltimore Soundstage show included many tracks from the Dr. Octagonecologyst album, including “3000”, “Earth People” and “Bear Witness”. The appreciative crowd got especially wild for “Blue Flowers,” a fan-favorite from the 1996 release. (more…)



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Pretty Don amazing: Don Broco Live

Thursday, May 11th, 2017 by Margaret Jokoh

The British rock band, Don Broco, has been around since 2008, but have just embarked on their first US tour. Aside from having the pleasure of interviewing the band, I had the opportunity of seeing them live at Baltimore Soundstage.

Anyone who knows Baltimore, knows that the music fans of the city are very hard to please, especially the pop punk scene, who have seen acts like Modern Baseball, All Time Low and many more jump off to headlining acts at major festivals and their own tours. And to be honest, Don Broco is definitely the odd ball out when looking at the bill. They are lined up with bands like: With Confidence, Against the Current and State Champs. Fortunately, there were a few fans there, but Don Broco definitely had a challenge ahead of them. (more…)



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