Handguns Announce New Album ‘Life Lessons’
Handguns have announced that they will release a brand new album titled Life Lessons via Pure Noise Records on July 8th. You can already stream a brand new track titled 'Heart Vs. Head' by clicking Read More, as well as check out the track listing and album art.
ALBUM REVIEW: Elder Brother - Heavy Head
If you’re a fan of The Story So Far, you might like this album, but you might also like it slightly less than The 1975’s debut album, to which Elder Brother bears many similarities but without the polish or the focus. If, however, you’re a rabid devotee of The Story So Far who posts their lyrics on your Tumblr to describe your #feelings and have a framed picture of Parker next to your bed, you will probably love this album as much as I loved all of Rivers Cuomo’s ‘Alone’ albums despite them obviously not holding much musical value for anyone who doesn’t geek out over Weezer (which is to say, I loved them a lot).
The side project of TSSF’s guitarist Kevin Geyer, and Daybreaker’s Dan Rose, presumably Elder Brother was conceived as an outlet to allow Geyer to express a softer side, which means a lot of noodly guitar leads and plenty of reverb, and for Rose to let his full vocal range to shine, an opportunity which doesn’t seem to arise quite as often in Daybreaker. You can pretty much tell on album opener “Pennsylvania” exactly what to expect from these guys. It starts out with a steady drumbeat that sounds fit to get a crowd pumped at Coachella before revealing some not-so-subtle influence from Into It. Over It. From then on, it sounds basically as if Evan Weiss was fronting The1975 after listening to nothing but Matchbox Twenty after a 3-hour road trip. The change-ups in the emo revival formula, from the distorted yet conservative guitar solos to the radio-friendly vocals make ‘Heavy Head’ something a bit more than just another example of the influence the Kinsellas have had on indie rock over the past 15 years.
“Throw Me To The Wolves,” while probably not upbeat enough to actually get radio play, especially since it lacks a clear chorus, it is the catchiest song on the album and hard not to bob your head to. The largely acoustic “Any Sort of Plan” is pleasant enough, but it’s an example of how when the band really gets down to it and tries to be vulnerable, they deliver clichéd and cringeworthy lines like “I wanna go to heaven but I don’t wanna die,” which sounds even more corny when played to music than it does on paper. This is a huge weakness considering the type of project this is, and ultimately, the festival-ready rock of TSSF is more relatable than this experimental effort will ever be.
‘Heavy Head’ certainly has its moments, but after hearing a description of the band and its sound, you can pretty much decide if you’re going to like it or not before you even listen. While it can meander at times, this is ultimately just a project for a couple of guys to try out some musical variation that they normally wouldn’t be able to in their primary projects, and if you’re a fan of either of those bands, then you’ll most likely find something to appreciate about this album.
Kevin Geyer (The Story So Far) and Dan Rose (Daybreaker) Start New Side Project
Kevin Geyer and Dan Rose have started a brand new side project titled Elder Brother. The band technically only consists of Kevin and Dan, but Matthew and Charles Vincent (The American Scene) lent a hand in the recording process, on bass and drums, respectively.
Forever Came Calling Release New Song
Forever Came Calling have released a brand new track titled ‘Endangered Innocent’ which will appear on the bands split with Family Thief. The split will be released on November 19th via Pure Noise Records and you can pre-order that here. Click Read More to check out the track!
ALBUM REVIEW: ‘The Finer Things’ - State Champs
State Champs - The Finer Things
Release Date: October 8th, 2013
Record Label: Pure Noise Records
Reviewer: Jake Hook
State Champs may not be heralded as saviors of the genre like some of their peers in the quasi-subgenre of “Defend Pop Punk,” but for what they do, they do it quite well. They’re not great innovators, they don’t take as many risks as others, but their strong points lie in their refinement of past efforts and a keen sense of awareness of developments in the scene around them. This in contrast to many pop punk bands out there, who are equally content in their style, but whose style is unfocused, derivative, or underdeveloped due to a lack of planning. ‘The Finer Things’ capitalizes on the success of The Wonder Years’ ‘The Greatest Generation’ by coming in with concise narratives and tight, melodic playing. And singing about how much it sucks to get older rather than how much it sucks when your girlfriend breaks up with you seems to be in vogue in pop punk these days, so State Champs’ use of this device comes at a time when capitalizing on it will yield the best results, signaling a move by even the less-recognized among pop-punk bands towards more thoughtful introspection.
The opening track “Elevated” is about as catchy as they come, filled to the brim with hooks and maudlin sloganeering that’s easy to swallow but not needlessly saccharine. “Deadly Conversation” follows up with more substantial riffing and some more complex structure, standing out as an album highlight with its anthemic, fist pumping chorus. A number of these tracks fall prey to what a lot of crossover acts do, that is, standing more on the side of pop than punk, with excessive vocal modulation and predictable music, as can be occasionally detected on tracks like “Hard To Please” or “Critical.” Make no mistake, as heavy as this music is they probably aren’t going to be the next You Me At Six, in fact it’s borderline easycore in a lot of places. In a way, it feels like these tracks are simply watered down versions of tracks they worked harder on like “Over The Line,” whose strong points include poignant, memorable slogans, in contrast to when frontman Derek Discanio attempts to wax poetic about getting bummed.
But we do have to remember, this is the debut by a band still learning what it is it does best. And for the most part it’s headed in the right direction, like on “Mind Bottled.” The band never lets up in intensity or in accessibility, and Discanio is at his most charming, with lyrics like “was it all worth it/I built the highest bridge just to burn it.” It’s not gut-wrenchingly deep, but it is something to mull over when you’re singing along with some friends. Again, it’s when the songs aren’t the kind you can easily pump fists to that it falls apart. A band like Fall Out Boy may have been able to pull of writing lyrics while sitting next to an open thesaurus, but this is not that kind of band. State Champs show very little restraint, which is not in itself a bad thing, but when cramming in as many lyrics as you can into this kind of music, it tends to feel forced and comes off exhaustingly.
State Champs is a band who will see its star rise quite quickly in the pop punk community, no doubt. Likely they won’t rise to the top of the pile to rest among Tigers Jaw or the like if they continue in the same vein, but their style is incredibly endearing and I predict them to be live favorites come next summer. Their musical direction from here on out is anyone’s guess, but they’ve got some real potential for artistic triumph.