Records In Stores Today
Here are records in stores today, what are you buying?
Here are records in stores today, what are you buying?
Four Year Strong is back at it with their latest EP, Go Down In History, making a strong statement that the band that completely blew us away with its first two original full-length albums hasn’t gone anywhere.
Four Year Strong’s last album, In Some Way, Shape, Or Form, was considered by some to be a disappointment. It wasn’t bad, per se, but it lacked much of what makes the band so unique in this genre.
Well for those that felt that way, have no fear, because the super crunchy guitars, gritty group vocals, and unpredictable musicality are back in full force with Go Down In History.
There’s nothing shy about this EP at all. Much like the opening track to their 2010 album, Enemy of the World, Four Year Strong starts us off with a punch to the face with “What’s In The Box?” Not only does this song immediately greet us with many of the familiar styles and sounds from past work, but it also presents us with continued growth and maturity in the band’s songwriting.
The chorus features the lyrics “when the push comes to shove, I’ll shove it down your throat. Before you mess it all up, make sure like hell you don’t.”
Upon first listen, I thought: Welcome back, boys.
It normally takes a little while to listen to an album or EP before I feel comfortable writing a review. Not with this one. From the very start, I was getting chills to hear Four Year Strong hit us with the familiar, yet new punch we all love.
“Living Proof Of A Stubborn Youth” starts with a walking guitar riff that leads you to wonder what’s coming next. The song halts to a bridge that nearly resembles a whisper before breaking into their trademarked belt-it-out finish.
Upon listening, by now you’re likely already convinced on this EP, and then “Tread Lightly” takes you on another walk along a guitar line that drives the song into a group chorus that is sure to fill up whatever speakers you’re sampling the tune from.
What once again took me back to the days of Enemy of the World is the way this EP closes itself out. Enemy of the World ended with two powerful tracks, the first being the album’s title track.
This time around, Four Year Strong begins to walk us home with the title track, “Go Down In History”. Quite simply, it’s everything you’d want in a song from these guys.
The track starts off with an anthem-like introduction, only to break down to a verse that builds and builds and builds until you find yourself in a chorus belted out in call-and-response-form between guitarists/vocalists Dan O’Connor and Alan Day. They blast you away with as catchy a chorus as the band has written to date.
“Live like a time bomb, that doesn’t have long. Go down in history!” are lyrics that are sure to be a crowd pleaser at live shows for years and years to come.
Finally, the guys close out the album with “So You’re Saying There’s A Chance”, summing up the album with another catchy, unpredictable, and musically impressive song.
Four Year Strong puts it all together with Go Down In History. It’s a great chapter for the band and its fans. Many were left to wonder what was next for the band after its last album, and it appears they’ve made a statement that the same combination of sounds and songwriting that made the band so unique is back and here to stay.
Personally, listening to the EP was extremely exciting. Four Year Strong blew everyone away over a four-year span (clever, eh?) from 2007-2010 with its full-lengths Rise Or Die Trying and Enemy Of The World.
There’s something that connects you to the pop punk bands you love, and oftentimes it has to do with the sounds and messages you first heard. With Four Year Strong, a lot of that familiarity has come back along with a bunch of new and unexpected twists.
This EP will reconnect many fans with Four Year Strong.
NEW MUSIC VIDEO: ‘Go Down In History’ - Four Year Strong
NEW SONG PREMIERE: “Living Proof of a Stubborn Youth” - Four Year Strong
Their new EP, Go Down In History, comes out on Tuesday, July 22nd!
NEW MUSIC VIDEO: ‘The Loved Ones Who Hate Us’ - Handguns
Pure Noise must be excited with what their bands are doing these days. ” Life Lessons”, the latest release from Harrisburg’s Handguns is a pop punk bullseye. With tons of music to choose from, especially in this genre, picking a start to a new highly anticipated album is crucial. It really has to create a spark, to shape and form the album, similar to, dare I say, an anvil.
The first track off the new record is a quick shot from the hip. Fast, loud, and short. “Anvil” weighing in at 1 minute and 22 seconds picks up where the band left off. We were patiently waiting for the new release, and judging from the first track, we won’t be let down.
Reloading for the next blast of a song, “Sleep Deprived” keeps Handguns’ going. Fast poppy, and riddled with muted crunching guitars and head nodding drum beats, this song guides us smoothly along to a scream a long pop punk type of breakdown that seemed to dissipate over the years. Way to bring it back boys. With these first two tracks as evidence, Handgun’s hasn’t strayed to far from what they know. What they’ve learned. And what we love.
Next in the chamber “Highway Robbery” holds us up for another pin point accurate pop punk heavy hitter. With lyrics that will surely be shouted by fans across the US, everyone will feel at home and not like they’re wasting away. Fast, in your face, and abruptly ending to make for the perfect get away into one of the more catchy songs on the album.
Starting off like the first three ” Heart vs. Head” is just on par with how the album is going. Fast guitar and drums we’re almost expecting what will happen. But Handgun’s has a refreshing reload for a moment, breaking out the slowed down sing song chorus. Repeating this fast to slow formula, the Harrisburg five show what they have composition wise with a belted symphonic pop punk “breakdown”. With a swinging baseline to lead us into an open chorded serenade to finish up track four.
One that we can probably all relate to, as pop punk fans, is ironically titled “I Can’t Relate”. Topics such as happiness, student loans, societies views and living lives for ourselves, are all covered in this shorty but goody. Guaranteed to be a crowd pleaser and dog-pile maker. Don’t lie, you can’t wait to scream ” NO I DON’T, NO I DON’T, NO I!”
Properly living up to the album name “The Loved Ones Who Hate Us” covers exactly that. Wondering if anyone still cares and trying to balance family and friend relationships, Taylor Eby (vocals) carefully orchestrates a call and answer type chorus. With a guest appearance by Soupy of The Wonder Years, the first single off ” Life Lessons” (check out the video if you haven’t, pretty funny) somewhat shifts the gears into a more personal direction the record seems to take from here.
Bringing in the more spacey and technicality Handguns’ has to offer, “Queens” illustrates the fearlessness the band holds. Upbeat and moving, this one touches on a more physical aspect of life lessons. Getting punched in the face is never fun, but sometimes, a life lesson that needs to be had.
It’s unclear if there is an unwritten rule in the pop punk handbook, but songs about looking into the past are always the slow jams of the record. Definitely true with “Give and Take”. Not the slowest song you’ll hear by any means, this reminiscent jam is still the slower guy of the album. Catchy and fun, “Give and Take” is a great breather from what Handguns’ has shot off so far.
Touching on the tender subject of losing a loved one is “Waiting For Your Ghost”. With a fun poppy sound, it’s easy to miss the subject matter being belted out. While it may be a tough one to play live, this is without a doubt going to get kids off their feet.
The closing track shows that something was learned from all these life lessons. “New Years Resolution” covers how the world is a testing world and backing down and not putting up a fight is no option. Keeping the “in your face” styled song going strong, “New Years Resolution” is a solid ending choice for the album. Fast verses, heavy hitting choruses, climactic build ups, and vocal driven quotes of positivity. “Life Lessons” has everything wanted in a pop punk album, and is proof that Handguns’ learned this lesson and learned it fast.
Heart to Heart - Dulce
Release Date: June 17th 2014
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Review by: Mike Mule’
We’ve all had them. Those long deep talks with friends and family members. About everything real that hurts, that you love, that you can’t seem to grasp. The sweet and the mild, The heart to heart. Living up to the act, Heart to Heart’s newest release Dulce is anything but sweet and mild. Lyrically at least. Tending to stray from what pop punk is today, Heart to Heart sparks a revival flame in the early 2000’s scene. With faint similarities to Senses Fail and AFI, Dulce engages the listener immediately and follows through until the last tickle of the ivory’s.
Strumming in an anthem of good bye and good riddance, AMF is clearly a statement that vocalist, Nick Zappo, and family are moving on without the father figure in the picture. Adios Mother Fucker! Keeping the song catchy and rhythmic in it’s entirety, Zappo tells it like it is. With tales of heartbreak and feeling of helplessness, it’s clearly apparent that it will take more to break this home than by leaving them alone. Keeping the traditional structure of song alive, it’s refreshing to see a band show how simplicity can still work. No unnecessary breakdowns, overproduction, or soundbites, the intro track segways us into the rest of the record with a spoken word, angst filled reminder that giving up on family isn’t a possibility.
Crisp, clean, and heavy, Mentirosa starts off with well punctuated gang vocals. Holding a darker AFI type feel, the Heart to Heart boys hold their hearts on their sleeves in this one still. Lyrically and instrumentally this one is a reminder of what the scream scene was like at the beginning of the millennium. When skinny jeans and swoopy bangs reigned supreme , Mentirosa will for sure be a fun one live. Easy to sing a long too, dance to, stage dive to, and protect your girlfriend from flying fists to. This is definitely going to be a crowd pleaser that will linger in your head. Even if you are the ‘last to know’ about it. Short and to the point, it will keep you wide awake for Daydream. Subject to daydreams of flirting with suicide and one’s own death (what’s up early 2000’s!) Nick keeps the choruses catchy and the verses moving. A nice collaboration of simple verses and heavy open choruses, Daydream will be sure to snap you right out of wherever your head was at and back into the sweetness that is Dulce.
No matter the sub genre, no pop punk album is complete without the song about the girl. Firefly lights up our hearts and ears with a pretty little ballad about a pretty little something. Veering away from the darker theme the record was in the direction of going, this little tune tells how a special someone may be the color of light in a world of black and white. Or maybe it’s actually about a pet firefly. Either way, it’ll be a nice intermission in the live set. Smooth and bouncy, it’ll give time for the band and audience alike to gain a second wind for round two before they’re all Hellbound.
Hopefully not the same focused individual as the previous track, Hellbound focuses on a nice one way trip to hell for a young lady and her boyfriend. Sticking with the typical song structure, the middle track has a nice crunch to it. Starting off somewhat sweet, Hellbound ends with a heavy, chanty breakdown that mosh pit enthusiasts will fully enjoy. Pit hard! Following Hellbound we have a bit of a Backdraft. Fits the record well, heavy chorus and tamer verses, it brings the listener back into the tempo and mood Dulce started with.
Which brings us to the title track itself. Title tracks have unspoken rules. They have to be memorable, moving, catchy and different from the rest of the album. I mean why would you name the album off of this track alone if it was the same as the rest? Well, Heart to Heart, you’ve outdone yourself. All powers combined, Dulce has everything anyone interested in the genre will want. Shoegazing, circle pits, crowd surfs, sing alongs, ripping guitar solos. They’re all possible with this one. The band came together extremely well on this one, showing all musical influences in one 3 minute and 46 second experience. This song, like the album, is anything but sweet and mild.
For all the “rainy day”, “nothing is ever right” folk out there, you’re in luck! Bad Habits is right up your alley. Focused on regret, loss, and poor advice from the devil, this track prepares us for the end of the album. Staying heavy, it still slows us down a bit and gets us thinking about our bad habits and maybe actually changing something in our lives to finally make everyone proud. Or just skip to the next song. Either way, gotta respect a song that gets you re-evaluating your self.
After a solid 3 minutes of inner self exploration, Your’ s Truly, You brings the speed up just enough to not shock us from coming out of our inner struggle comas. Glimpses of early 2000’s are scattered throughout this jam. A dose of shreddy guitar intros and scatter beated palm mutes with a dash of slow guitar picks and chugs, sprinkled with vocal heavy sing a longs makes a perfect recipe for audience involvement. If your lucky, you’ll probably get to yell into the mic for this little number.
Closing with Blackwidow, Zappo tells a gruesome tale, backed by echoed guitars, of a blackwidow’s kiss of death. Slow and spacey, Heart to Heart almost loses you after the first couple of verses and choruses, but wait. Just like a spider plotting in a web, there’s the bite. Cranking it up in a fit of survival, a jolt of unrelenting energy crashes down with brutal screams and bone breaking guitars. All you mosh kids, be ready. Ending with a sweet and mild piano outro, Dulce will keep you craving more and more Heart to Heart, that only the live show itself can tame.