Pittsburgh's Four Chord Music Festival rocked Washington's Wild Things Park on Friday. With a stacked lineup consisting of Four Chord staples like Eternal Boy and Patent Pending to larger artists like The Used and headliner Rise Against. People of all ages came out to enjoy a fun filled day of music, food and vendors. It was a nice sunny day for a festival, to beat the heat plenty of people took turns running through the mist by some of the vendors or taking quick naps in the shaded areas by the stage.
The festival started off with artists Look Out Loretta and Keep Flying, opening up the Born Dead stage and artists Future Teens and Bearings opening up the Revival Stage. Each of them brought in more and more of a crowd. By the time Bearings hit the stage, crowd surfing was in full swing, thankfully there was enough security to keep everyone safe. Speaking of safety, just a quick shout out to the four chord crew for doing their best to keep COVID cases down by implementing a safety protocol and for offering testing at the gate.
Sad Summer alum Just Friends and Mayday Parade kept the crowd going and gave everyone their second wind and while Real friends, Four Year Strong and State Champs kept the energy going with up beat setlists. Closing out the Born Dead Stage was The Menzingers and they did not disappoint, everyone young and old were singing their hearts out. After their set was finished everyone migrated over to the Revival Stage to finish out the night, by this point the baseball field was PACKED from the outfield all the way past the pitchers mound the crowd gathered to see The Used and Rise Against give us some of the best performances Pittsburgh’s seen this year.
Although there were a few setbacks and date changes due to covid numbers spiking this festival is just what we needed to come together again and enjoy the music scene once again. We want to thank Rishi for all the hard work he puts in every year to make this festival happen and for allowing us to come experience it and share it with you all. This festival is definitely worth the trip to Pittsburgh, and only gets better each year. We can not wait to see what they have planned for next year, until then wash your hands and wear your masks so we can all party again next summer at Four Chord Music Festival 8!
Review/Photo By: Cheyenne Simmons
What a beautiful day it was for an outdoor show at Pittsburgh's Stage AE. The show opened up with Claud, a pop band from Illinois. The vibe they gave off their whole set was upbeat yet relaxing, playing songs such as That’s Mr. Bitch to You and Wish You Were Gay. They had the crowd swaying back and forth and definitely got everyone excited for the next act.
Bleachers, an alternative pop band from New Jersey took the stage by storm next while the crowd cheered with excitement. Something about their sax excited the childhood sax player in me and I was hooked the rest of the show. They had so much energy on stage it was hard not to get caught up in it all. The crowd sang along to every song, including favorites like everybody lost somebody and even brought out Claud to sing secret life. Tour is just beginning so if they're passing through a city near you I wouldn't miss out on seeing them live.
September 15th : EXPRESS LIVE! - Columbus, OH
September 17th : Summerfest - Milwaukee, WI
September 18th : Ovation - Newport, KY
September 19th : PIEDMONT PARK - Atlanta, GA (Music Midtown Festival)
September 22nd : Leader Bank Pavilion - Boston, MA
September 23rd : Skyline Stage at the Mann - Philadelphia, PA
September 24th : The Anthem - Washington, DC
September 25th : Citi Field - Queens, NY (Governors Ball Music Festival)
September 28th : Avondale Brewing Co. - Birmingham, AL
September 29th : Jannus Live - St Petersburg, FL
October 3rd : Fillmore - New Orleans, LA
October 5th : House of Blues Houston - Houston, TX
October 6th : House of Blues Dallas - Dallas, TX
October 8th : Zilker Park - Austin, TX (Austin City Limits Music Festival - Weekend Two)
October 11th : The Van Buren - Phoenix, AZ
October 13th : Humphreys Concerts By the Bay - San Diego, CA
October 15th : Hollywood Palladium - Hollywood, CA
October 16th : The Masonic - San Francisco, CA
October 19th : Showbox SODO - Seattle, WA
October 20th : McMenamins Crystal Ballroom - Portland, OR
October 22nd : Union Event Center - Salt Lake City, UT
October 23rd : Mission Ballroom - Denver, CO
October 24th : Uptown Theater - Kansas City, MO
October 26th : Fillmore Minneapolis - Minneapolis, MN
October 27th : The Sylvee - Madison, WI
October 28th : Byline Bank Aragon Ballroom - Chicago, IL
October 30th : Old National Centre - Indianapolis, IN
October 31st : The Fillmore Detroit - Detroit, MI
November 2nd : The Factory - St. Louis, MO
November 3rd : House of Blues Cleveland - Cleveland, OH
November 4th : GLC Live at 20 Monroe - Grand Rapids, MI
November 6th : Harrisburg University at XL Live - Harrisburg, PA
November 7th : History - Toronto, ON
Photo/Review By: Cheyenne Simmons
Being at Star Lake is always a treat and brings back such fun memories, seeing friends for the first time in over a year at a show is definitely a great way to start making memories again. When I got there the parking lot was full of fans rocking out and enjoying each others company before the show which is a sight I haven't seen in a long time due to the current state of the world. It was nice seeing people having fun again.
Starting off the night Staind took the stage and the crowd cheered. Spending the whole set playing crowd favorites and engaging with the crowd showed how excited they were to get back to doing what they love. Korn came on after a quick break to set up and just as expected killed it. Although their singer seemed to be under the weather they didn’t let that stop them from giving the crowd a great show. I spent a few of my teenage years hearing these artists on the radio or whatever playlist I was listening to at the time but to finally hear them live is something else. They have a few shows left on this tour and if I were you I wouldn’t miss it.
September 15 - Albuquerque, Nm
September 18 - Austin, TX
September 19 - The Woodlands, TX
September 21 - Dallas, TX
Photo/Review By: Cheyenne Simmons
What’s an outdoor show without a little rain? Modest Mouse and Empath rocked Pittsburgh’s North Shore at Stage AE on August 18th. The show started out with Philadelphia punk band Empath. They warmed up the crowd with a mix of their trippy and fuzzed out unique sound. They are definitely a band worth checking out further.
After a quick break Modest Mouse took the stage and the crowd cheered. It was so great to see Stage AE come alive again with the sound of music and cheering. Part way through their set someone blew up a blue polka dot balloon and thus began the largest game of keep the balloon up I've ever seen. It’s funny to think this one balloon can bring a group of strangers such joy. The night went on and the crowd only intensified, and the amount of balloons grew. Modest Mouse can definitely put on a show and get a crowd going.
Modest Mouse will be on tour now through October 24th. They are definitely a show worth catching if they are passing through your city. Check out a list of upcoming shows below.
SAT, SEP 11 : REDMOND, WA - MARYMOOR PARK
SUN, SEP 12 : REDMOND, WA - MARYMOOR PARK
THU, SEP 16 : SAN FRANCISCO, CA - NOB HILL MASONIC
SAT, SEP 18 : LAS VEGAS, NV - LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL FESTIVAL 2021
SUN, SEP 19 : PHOENIX, AZ - COMERICA THEATRE
MON, SEP 20 : TUCSON, AZ - RIALTO THEATRE
WED, SEP 22 : SAN DIEGO, CA - CAL COAST CREDIT UNION AMPHITHEATER
FRI, SEP 24 : PIONEERTOWN, CA - PAPPY & HARRIET'S
SAT, SEP 25 : LOS ANGELES, CA - ACE HOTEL
MON, SEP 27 : SANDY, UT - SANDY AMPHITHEATER
TUE, SEP 28 : MORRISON, CO - RED ROCKS AMPHITHEATRE
THU, SEP 30 : OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - DIAMOND BALLROOM
FRI, OCT 1 : AUSTIN, TX - STUBBS BBQ
SAT, OCT 2 : AUSTIN, TX - AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2021
MON, OCT 4 : NASHVILLE, TN - ASCEND AMPHITHEATER
TUE, OCT 5 : CINCINNATI, OH - THE ANDREW J BRADY ICON MUSIC CENTER
THU, OCT 7 : IRVING, TX - IRVING MUSIC FACTORY
FRI, OCT 8 : HOUSTON, TX - WHITE OAK MUSIC HALL
SAT, OCT 9 : AUSTIN, TX - AUSTIN CITY LIMITS MUSIC FESTIVAL 2021
MON, OCT 11 : HUNTSVILLE, AL - MARS MUSIC HALL
TUE, OCT 12 : NEW ORLEANS, LA - FILLMORE NEW ORLEANS
THU, OCT 14 : ORLANDO, FL - HARD ROCK LIVE
FRI, OCT 15 : MIAMI BEACH, FL - THE FILLMORE MIAMI BEACH
SAT, OCT 16 : ST PETERSBURG, FL - JANNUS LIVE
SUN, OCT 17 : ST AUGUSTINE, FL - ST. AUGUSTINE AMPHITHEATRE
TUE, OCT 19 : RICHMOND, VA - THE NATIONAL
THU, OCT 21 : RALEIGH, NC - RED HAT AMPHITHEATER
FRI, OCT 22 : ASHEVILLE, NC - RABBIT RABBIT
SAT, OCT 23 : ATLANTA, GA - MASQUERADE (HELL)
SUN, OCT 24 : ATLANTA, GA - SHAKY KNEES 2021
Photo/Review By: Cheyenne Simmons
LIVE MUSIC IS BACK! Between The Buried And Me played a sold out show at Mr. Smalls Theater on August 15th. The crowd roared when the band took the stage to begin their two part set. This being my first show in over a year due to covid had emotions high. The feeling of being surrounded by people singing at the top of their lungs and coming together again after the hell we’ve all been through this past year was indescribable. People of all ages coming together to enjoy a night of live music is something I truly missed.
The band definitely put on a great show, engaging with the crowd and matching everyone's vibes. They kept a great pace throughout the show, mixing slower songs with fast upbeat songs kept the show feeling fresh. Seeing the excitement the band had on stage transfer into the crowd was a sight to see. Nothing beats seeing a huge pit open up in the middle of an old church. My favorite moment of the night was seeing a little kid sitting up on their parent’s shoulders rocking out to the show. It’s always amazing to see kids falling in love with music.
Between The Buried And Me just released the newest album “Colors II” last week, and is available to stream on all platforms. You can catch them on tour now through September 17th! Check out a list of upcoming shows below.
Tue, AUG 31 : Sacramento, CA - Ace Of Spades
Wed, SEP 1 : Garden Grove, CA - Garden Grove Amphitheater
Thu, SEP 2 : Los Angeles, CA - Teragram Ballroom
Fri, SEP 3 : Las Vegas, NV - Fremont Country Club
Sat, SEP 4 : Phoenix, AZ - Crescent Ballroom
Mon, SEP 6 : Dallas, TX - Trees
Tue, SEP 7 : San Antonio, TX - Vibes Event Center
Wed, SEP 8 : Houston, TX - RISE ROOFTOP
Fri, SEP 10 : Pensacola, FL - Vinyl Music Hall
Sat, SEP 11 : Tampa, FL - The Orpheum
Sun, SEP 12 : Fort Lauderdale, FL - Culture Room
Wed, SEP 15 : Nashville, TN - Marathon Music Works
Thu, SEP 16 : Charlotte, NC - The Underground - Fillmore Charlotte
Fri, SEP 17 : Charlotte, NC - The Underground - Fillmore Charlotte
Photo/Review By: Cheyenne Simmons
A deathcore band hailing from New Jersey, Lorna Shore had captured the attention of many people including those who are not heavily into deathcore music. The band formed in 2010 and are now scheduled to release their newest EP in August of 2021 along with a tour. Their song, To The Hellfire, has made it to the Spotify Viral Charts top 10 according to Loudwire.com.
First hearing Lorna Shore’s song, To The Hellfire, it has amazing transitions where it starts off with that dark vibe before it picks to an adrenaline rushing chaos. The meaning behind the song lyric wise is quite dark and depressing where it talks about giving into the darkness, yet can be quite motivating for listeners to keep on going and not give up. There have all been dark times among all of us, but the message it gives where there can be a glint of hope. Now going into the music itself, it gives off that devilish and chaotic vibe, but it makes a person want to headbang to the song.
Moreover, the sound is very intense and complex where it’s super heavy. The drums are very fast and give that crazy rush. The guitar is very dirty and gives off quite a bit of distortion and reverb. It really gets the heart pumping. Some viewers on YouTube admitted that they tried so hard not to headbang to the song as it wasn’t the right time or place, but in the end, they gave in. The guitar has some intense riffs and sweeps where it gives off the dirtiest feel. In the end, it all comes together beautifully.
Coming from a person who was not much into deathcore before, it makes me sit back for a moment to take it all in and let their music play over and over in my mind. In fact, I embrace it and how branched out music has become. It’s also fresh for the old school listeners. It helps build up this band’s audience, and it helps learn to have an open mind to all types of genres.
Overall, I do recommend Lorna Shore to friends, family, and acquaintances because their music is extremely heavy and very complex, and it gives that huge adrenaline rush. The vocals give off that distinct sound where one can tell it’s Will Ramos singing. Also, big kudos to how tight and intense the vocal work is. It definitely takes a lot of skill to pull it off, especially with that screech like effect in the voice. The thing that captured my attention the most were the transitions of the music which it’s done very well, not too sharp at all. Next time one seeks out new music, definitely check out Lorna Shore’s … And I Return to Nothingness which will be available on Friday the 13th of August — Freaky Friday as I call it.
Review By: Christine Bennett
Standing by the stage door waiting for the show to start I was feeling really anxious and really excited. I didn’t know what to expect and The Backseat Lovers are my favorite artists, so I was pretty anxious. The band came down the stairs and stood by the stage door. The lights went out. The crowd started yelling. They huddled together as a pre-show ritual. I could feel the excitement for their second time ever playing in New York City, the previous night being their first. Then they went out. Just like that it started.
As a huge fan of the band, the show could not have been better. I went around the venue for the first few songs. I was mostly looking through my viewfinder and focusing on the photos. Then I was pulled away from the lens and into the room. The beginning notes of a personal favorite of mine, “Kilby Girl”, began to play. The cheers were deafening. I’m sure we’ve all experienced that moment when the crowd knows the words and starts singing, but what pulled me away from my camera and into this moment was the intensity of these fans. Never have I experienced a crowd like this. They yelled the words to the whole song without stopping once. They were louder than the band. The love and excitement for this song, and this band, was real and very apparent. This wasn’t a last-minute stop for people who had nothing else to do that night. This was an anticipated and counting-down-the-days kind of show. I know it was for me, but to see everyone else experience what I was feeling was amazing.
For the last bit of the show I decided to wait where I was originally waiting for the show to start, by the stage door. Here I ran into Christian, guitarist of the opening band, Sleepy Gonzales, who asked me if I would like to shoot on stage. (I am new to this whole press pass experience, so I didn’t know my boundaries here and I had been playing it fairly safe. I was watching the photographer hired by the band, Brandon Minton, in awe as he went where he needed to, no matter where, to get the shot he wanted.) After a very confidence boosting conversation, where he told me essentially that as long as you are confident and act like you are supposed to be somewhere, then no one will question you and if they do just leave, he opened the stage door and I was there. If I thought the show was great before, I don’t even know what it was I was feeling as soon as that stage door was opened. The band loves what they do so much it is obvious to anyone watching. As Josh, lead singer, moves with his guitar in a way that is so Mick Jagger-esque that it is completely his own. As Juice, the drummer, is playing so hard that I can’t even get a clear picture. Ethan, bass, and Jonas, guitarist, put all of their passion into their instruments.
When the band came off after their final song, of course there was an encore. They went out for one last amazing cover. I really took the time to enjoy the music. I was honestly sad when they were really done and heading off upstairs to get ready to leave for the next state on tour. It was a truly amazing night.
Review/Photos By: Tharynn Hook
Ehahn is a 19-year-old singer, songwriter, and producer from Chicago and is currently based in Philly. She fell in love with music at a Taylor Swift concert in middle school and has been writing and playing instruments such as guitar, drums, bass, and cello ever since. Her first taste of performing was with her high school band, Wilde, that performed all around her home city. Though she may have started out with a bit of T-Swift influence and an indie rock group, Ehahn’s current musical style touches on so much more.
“Forget My Name” is about the type of relationship where someone is using you just to have someone that wants them. They don’t really care about you until you move on and then all the sudden, they want you back, but it’s too late. In that situation you feel really vulnerable which you can feel in the verses with the soft and simple piano, but it can also make you really mad and frustrated which is represented by the heavy chorus.
The song starts out slow and soft, talking about how they met and reminiscing about the moments and whether they were doomed from the start but realizing that she was too far in already even though she wasn’t sure the feelings were reciprocated. But the tune soon gets harder and louder when she starts wondering where they were when she needed them, thinking that maybe she didn’t need them after all. It plays on a like a loop, she talks about what went wrong and where you can see the red flags in the relation before turning back to the chorus, realizing that it’s been enough and you don’t need someone like that in your life.
The bridge at first didn’t have a feature on it but Ehahn explained that she didn’t like it and then reached out to Real Remy, who she went to school with, because she knew he was good and she didn’t lie. The two voices together in a song make It unique and it brings the song up to a new level.
You can listen to ‘Forget My Name’ here:
Connect with Ehahn here:
Review by Anissa Steijns
Japanese metalcore band, Sailing Before The Wind, have a new single out on May 28th! The anticipated single, “Break the Silence", is a re-recording of an original track from the bands 2nd EP “A Ray of Light" which was released in 2012. In celebration of the band's 10th anniversary, original founding members Kneeya (vocalist) and Takaya (guitarist) have reunited to feature on this track. Bitoku Sakamoto, the bands only constant member and ex touring bassist for Crystal Lake, has recorded, produced and mastered this new song.
Break the Silence has beautiful riffs building up to Kneeya’s screaming vocals and breakdowns that will make you want to throw yourself back into a mosh pit. The opening melody to the song sounds like what you’d expect to hear in the build up to a boss in a video game, exciting and full of anticipation of what’s to come next. The lyrics are powerful, meaningful and literally say to “shout out loud", as the singer screams throughout the song about not giving up.
In comparison to the original track, the new version sounds cleaner and more refined. The vocals in the original version of Break the Silence sound a bit deeper and rough compared to the new version. Sailing Before The Wind often feature twin guitar leads and metal riffs leading up to badass breakdowns across their tracks, paired with screaming vocals, thus creating songs that are enjoyable for true metalcore fans. The band has released 6 EPs and 3 Singles since their debut in 2011.
You will be able to enjoy the re-recorded version of Break the Silence from May 28th 2021 across streaming platforms worldwide!
By Sarah Perry.
The band’s socials:
Ludovico Technique have released their new music video for “Becoming Numb", the fourth song to be released from their forthcoming album “Haunted People". Ben V., and his band Ludovico Technique are a gothic industrial metal band from Orlando Florida, drawing inspiration from the likes of Skinny Puppy with touches of Rob Zombie and Type O Negative. Becoming Numb literally sends chills down your spine with its gothic and eerie tones. The riffs compliment Ben's vocals and give the song a familiar sound.
The video has icy blue tones and a visually dark aesthetic throughout. The gazes from the singer’s cold blue eyes paired with the long claw like nails, posture, smoke and instrument close ups all perfectly depict “Becoming Numb”. The video is entertaining and definitely one to watch on repeat! Both the song and video reflect the complex and thoughtful depth of Ludovico Technique's take on the gothic genre.
The music video for "Becoming Numb" premiered on Alternative Press but can now be seen at the following link: https://youtu.be/78lgKae6CbU
By Sarah Perry
Idle Minds is a new punk project hailing from the Cleveland, Ohio music scene. The band is a collaborative effort between Trevor Stout and Tom Stankiewicz. Trevor is the frontman of Idle Minds; the singer-songwriter got his start playing at local open mic nights and then began performing bigger shows with his indie rock act shelter pup. He also enjoys the art of poetry, a notable feat that can be observed with the release of ‘Rain Smell,’ a collection of poems and lyrics.
The influences of Idle Minds are a bit different, but they come together so well — Trevor lists Citizen, Sleeping With Sirens, Dance Gavin Dance as a few of his personal inspirations, while Tom cites the likes of The Menzingers and Pentimento. Idle Minds have recently unveiled their debut single “Blossom” and first music video.
Trevor provided some insight regarding what “Blossom” is about:
“The lyrics narrate the search for something better — coming from a place of not knowing how to get there quite yet. It explores the transitional phase between everything crashing down around you and building it back up into something new. The second verse solidifies the fact that sometimes it’s okay, and even necessary, to put up a front of being in a good place in order to manifest it into existence. On a big picture scale, “Blossom” represents new beginnings, new friendships, and all the background pieces in motion that brought this song to life.”
The band’s debut correlates with flowers and the nature of the Spring season, when the plants are in full bloom. “Blossom” lyrics paint a vibrant floral landscape with its metaphors and poetic execution.
The music video illustrates the beginning of this new chapter — the frames transition between shots of Trevor and Tom crafting a moodboard to document their memories; the pinned photographs are accompanied with the following captions: “vibin’,” “band pix,” jammin’,” “weekend run,” and “sound check.” Footage alternates between clips of the band members performing this new song in a living room and loading their gear into one of their local venues, Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood. There’s even a special feature of the band’s name on the marquee in their debut video! The concept of these visuals are simple and effective as it shows two friends putting in the hard work to form a band and get their project off the ground.
“Blossom” is a chill pop-punk jam that showcases a flourishing debut for the early beginnings of Idle Minds. Keep an eye on this talented duo as new music will be coming soon from them — they’ve been sharing the progress of their work on their social platforms; the band’s been working hard in the studio, recording material for their EP.
“Blossom” is streaming everywhere now.
For more poetry by Trevor Stout, check out the hashtag #pressedpoetry on Instagram. Connect with Idle Minds on social media and be sure to stream their debut single “Blossom.”
Review by: Bri Rodriguez
Salt Lake City based indie alternative band Brother. share a reassuring piece of advice in calming new track “EZ”. Like many other artists, the band had big plans for 2020, but the pandemic changed all of that, which took a heavy toll on them. It led them to reevaluate their art and their approach to overcoming the personal obstacles they faced throughout lockdown. Together they realized that maybe the solution to the anxiety and uncertainty they were facing in their career, was simply to slow things down and take it easy on themselves, which is something I think a lot of us felt at some point or another over the last year.
The dreamy, soothing vibe of the song, paired with the thoughtful lyrics felt authentic and sincere, reminding us that we need to take it easy sometimes and give ourselves room to breathe and process what we’re experiencing. Like a scene from an indie film, I pictured myself laying on a blanket in the grass, on a sunny, breezy day, looking up at the sky as the clouds pass by and I felt more at peace than I have in a long time. “EZ” serves as a reminder that things will get better as time moves along, but in the meantime, we need to take some time to realign ourselves, take it easy, and make the most of the journey ahead.
Check out the song and new music video here!
Be sure to check out Brother. on their socials to see what they’re up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Nashville based singer-songwriter Alyssa Joseph shares her personal experiences with navigating relationships in a raw, relatable track titled “sadboy”. With her tongue-in-cheek perspective on the kinds of relationships we often find ourselves in, she also provides a refreshingly honest take on something I think many people struggle with: recognizing and accepting that maybe the person we think we want most, isn’t really who we want. Maybe we just get stuck on the way we idealized them and what that meant to us, rather than who they really are.
Upon first listening, Joseph’s grungy, soulful sound is what initially drew me in. When I focused on the lyrics, I couldn’t help but reflect on my own relationships. The subtle sarcasm and her vulnerability were all too familiar for me, as I’ve also had an experience dating a “sadboy”. Looking back at how exhausting that relationship was, I felt a connection with this song because my feelings about the situation felt validated. It’s quite freeing when music can play that role in your life and I think Alyssa Joseph has found a way to share her feelings and experiences in ways that empower and encourage other people to be honest with themselves. With this in mind, I’m really looking forward to what she’ll do next!
Listen to the song here!
Be sure to check out Alyssa Joseph on her socials to see what she’s up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Seattle based pop singer-songwriter and producer CANNXN has released her debut EP Will I Always Feel This Way featuring songs “Will I Always Feel this Way,” “Lonely in the Morning,” and “Nightmare (Demo)” available on all streaming services on Wednesday, April 21.
CANNXN is about capturing lightning in a bottle. Based out of Seattle, WA, CANNXN is the homegrown musical project of singer & songwriter Megan Cannon. She has been writing and performing locally for the past five years, and has garnered a reputation for interweaving conversational lyrics with soundscapes that are both emotional and vibrant.
1. Will I Always Feel This Way
2. Lonely In The Morning
3. Nightmare (Demo)
In the first song, CANNXN talks about the time she was having a hard time with a fixed schedule every single day and not being able to catch a break, trying to juggle everything that was going on in her life. She says that it got hard to keep putting on the happy demeanor that people knew her for when she felt drained, to the point where it felt like there was no point anymore. CANNXN talks about being burdened by multiple panic attacks every day and being held back and not being able to function in her daily life anymore. Luckily, she says that writing this song helped with lifting a weight off of her shoulder. In Will I Always Feel This Way, the rough patch CANNXN went through is easy to recognize through the lyrics. For me personally, it feels very relatable and I think that for people who have had the same experiences and thoughts, this is a good song to let every emotion out to. The upbeat music softens up the lyrics which somewhat washes away the dreading feeling behind the song and make it easier to feel more energized. This is the reason why this is my personal favorite of the EP, because while the lyrics are very heavy it sounds like a song to dance all your worries away too.
Lonely in the Morning explores the fear of being a burden, while Nightmare (Demo) is about the insecurity and uncertainty that comes with growing up through a raw, authentic production.
CANNXN is able to put her feelings and pain into the songs with the help of her powerful and smooth voice. Because of the wonderful vocals, the melody and beats don’t overpower the meanings behind the song but instead they are able to strengthen it and even push the songs to the next level.
Listen to the EP here: https://distrokid.com/hyperfollow/cannxn/will-i-always-feel-this-way
Connect with CANNXN here:
Review by: Anissa Steijns
Chicago duo OK Cool made their debut in 2020 with the release of Anomia. Bridget Stiebris and Haley Bloomquist are friends who have collaborated together on previous projects, such as The Weekend Run Club. With ample free time on their hands due to the global coronavirus pandemic, they decided to write a song, which developed to become “I Can’t Stand in Ice Skates.” This material led to the formation of their latest project, OK Cool.
The band is now back with their sophomore EP entitled Surrealist. The record is composed of five tracks and kicks off with an opening line that earnestly yearns for a connection:
“I never thought I’d be so desperate for awkward human interaction.”
Bridget and Haley have released a set of tracks that explore an array of raw emotions, while remaining cohesive in nature. Surrealist infuses punk guitar riffs, emo melodies, crashing drums, and indie rock vocals — blending everything together with punk attitude and pop elements. Songs make references to the “Kill Bill” movie series with alludes of swords and death punches.
The opener “I Should Buy a Sword” sets the mood for what’s yet to come with its DIY vibes and vulnerability. The infectious “Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique” presents an open narrative about the experiences and challenges that women uniquely face; including the dangers of walking alone, being catcalled, and all of the unwanted attention — a topic that’s extremely relevant now more than ever.
“It’s just a little too bright when I stand outside. If anyone sees, I hope they don’t recognize me. I don’t wanna be perceived as anything.”
“Hertz 2B” is a dreamy atmospheric shift in sound. While it is the lengthiest track on this EP, it still manages to flash quickly by. “Hypervigilant” and closing track “Divers” sonically expands that atmospheric scenic route and otherworldly sense of escape. The melancholy driven “Divers” is the perfect finale as the EP winds down — as the last note fades out, listeners are left longing for more (“I tread in the water for a minute, hoping that I won’t drown.”)
Surrealist captivates with its strangely inspiring messages of resilience. The prominent highlights of Surrealist are its honesty and resonating lyrics that sentiment the struggles of life and the hard times we endure.
“I Should Buy a Sword”
“Five Finger Exploding Heart Technique”
Release Date: March 26, 2021
Check out Surrealist here:
Connect with OK Cool on their social platforms:
Review by: Bri Rodriguez
Zenia is an alternative pop artist and songwriter from Bellevue, now living in Los Angeles. She released her first single of 2021 last February. The song is called ‘Favorite Song’ and it’s about being manipulated in a relationship and it being a never-ending loop. The song has various influences from many different artists such as Maty Noyes, Billie Eilish, and XYLO.
Zenia reveals that she loves writing songs that convey a feeling, a purpose or activism. “I wrote “favorite song” because of many experiences I’ve had in human bonds, romantic as well as friendships and relatives, where I got caught in the performance of fabrications they were putting on. I thought I was their “favorite”, a priority, or of some importance at all, but in truth was just being led on as though I were. Eventually, as easily as hello, came goodbye, as easily as goodbye, came hello. It was never ending, yet consistently intense. I came to realize they never had the capacity for compassion or respect, for themselves and least of all for me. The severity of that level of manipulation was shattering, to believe you’re cared for only to realize it was a deception based on their need to be in control” Zenia says.
The experiences she talks about are apparent in the song. The song can be relatable to many people in many different situations or relations. “If I’m right, no I’m still wrong” is a phrase that would speak to many people as most have experienced it at least once in their lives, someone would never admit that they’re wrong or if they’ve made mistakes even when they themselves are aware that it’s not right. The song itself sounds calm and mellow, with Zenia’s sultry vocals yet there is a synth in there with a darker sound which fits everything perfectly. It gives the feeling of the actual meaning.
“Rhythm in my heart,
Replay, I fall apart,
Listen to me,
Before I’m just a memory, /
We keep on with this echo,
Distortion we can’t let go,
So here we are again and again, ”
The lyrics portray that even though she knows that the situation she’s in doesn’t benefit her in any way and could even be damaging, she doesn’t want to let go or isn’t ready yet to do so. It’s a heartfelt song and even without the lyrics, you can easily feel the pain within the melody.
Zenia is a wonderful artist with an amazing set of vocals who is ready to create more music to inspire others. She’s planning on releasing a series of singles over the next year, so be sure to keep up with her.
Stream the single here:
Apple music: https://music.apple.com/il/album/favorite-song-single/1553673854
Keep up with Zenia on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/zeniasmile/
Review by Anissa Steijns
New York based artist CJ Arey is the creator behind NO SHADE. What started out as a way to get through a breakup transformed into something bigger than he could have imagined. With his music, he goes against the notion that artists should stick within a particular genre by incorporating elements of various styles of rap, hip hop and rock, drawing from influences like Machine Gun Kelly, Pierce the Veil, Issues and nothing, nowhere. His debut EP “Broken Down” blends these musical styles in a way that draws in a wider audience, offering a space for people to freely connect with their feelings on a deeper level.
One of the most notable things found throughout the EP was his conscious effort to make each track unique to itself. Rather than stick to one genre or style, he manages to flow from hip hop to rock and then to rap, mixing these styles in ways that allow the songs to build off each other. “Comeback” starts the EP with a heavy guitar riff and incorporates other elements from various styles of rock music. “Alone” and “Fading Away” both feature hip hop styled beats layered with heavy guitar lines that make you want to dance, while “Fading Away” and “Suffice” give off more mosh pit, headbanging styled vibes.
My personal favorite was “Stay Too Long”. If I were to choose one song from the EP to represent the piece as a whole, it would be this song because it embodies the core styles and elements of NO SHADE. Combined with the deep cutting, relatable lyrics that resonate within the listener, this is where the essence of this artist can be found; his vulnerability and willingness to open up about his feelings are comforting because I think it reminds us to allow ourselves to fully experience and process what we’re feeling.
Like mentioned before, “Suffice” is the kind of song I imagine would open up a mosh pit at a show, so people can unleash their emotions while singing and headbanging along. When I listened to “Go” for the first time, I was reminded of the early years of bands like Bring Me The Horizon and Linkin Park, with their alternative and nu metal rock styles. Overall, the contrasting musical styles throughout each track were able to come together to bring the EP to a close.
As a fan of the artists who influenced his music, I was curious to see what his music would be like and it instantly drew me in. NO SHADE brought together the best musical elements from various genres and turned them into a unique sound of his own. The honesty and transparency of his lyrics allow him to create meaningful connections through his music. For fans of rock, hip-hop and rap alike, NO SHADE offers not only the perfect mix of those musical styles, but a reminder that sometimes we need to allow ourselves to open up to our own feelings in order to move forward.
Listen to “Broken Down” here!
Be sure to check out NO SHADE on his socials to see what he’s up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Keep an eye out for the versatile force that is Jen Janet. She’s already accomplished so much throughout her experience in the entertainment industry and has developed her artistry; utilizing her skills as a photographer, makeup artist, model, videographer, and musician. Jen has stepped up to fulfill her role as frontwoman for multiple rock bands and as a solo artist.
At the start of the new year, Jen released the alluring “Shadows,” debuting her first single of 2021. “Headache” dropped in February, marking her second reveal of new material.
Jen is now back with her latest single “My Garden.” She shared the details that it has been a work in progress for quite some time now. She started writing the song a while ago, but didn’t finish it until more recently. About the track, Jen explains, “I was inspired by a large mix of emotions, but the main point of the song is the feeling of suffocation and being overwhelmed.”
Through its garden imagery, the narrative explores those intense sentiments. Jen states, “It’s the idea that someone might want you to grow, and they push you, and this can end up pushing you away even if they didn’t mean to.”
The metaphor symbolizes the growth that takes place; you can water a flower and give it so much love — but there is a risk involved as it’s possible to over-water it, resulting in its death. It’s possible to give too much.
“My Garden” introduces a heavier fusion of haunting magnetism and dark ambience.
Jen’s opening vocals pierce the silent void and eerily linger within the atmosphere, before the percussion suddenly kicks in, accompanied by heavy guitars, electronic instrumentals, and an intense choral backing arrangement.
“I got what I want from you,
and you got what you want from me.
I got what I want from you,
now you can be on your way.”
Introspective lyrics spin an unfortunate tale of a decaying love; initially this bond was strong and vibrant, it started off as a nourishing relationship
(“Entwined in your vines. Plant the seed..
And then I feel you again.
Planting roots in my head. And there’s love in my garden again.”)
However, too much of a good thing can present dire consequences (“And when the rain floods my garden. Too much of a flourishing. Drowning. Too much life in my garden.”) — breaking down the healthy components that kept this greenery alive, leading to the harsh conditions of decomposition until its eventual demise.
The single’s music video beautifully correlates with the song. Gothic visuals are set in an enthralling rose garden, with scenes that showcase different variations of Jen; she is adorned in black attire in one frame, before the sequence shifts to her wandering the garden in a white dress with an intricate black pattern.
This changing scenery closely examines the nature of both elements — the light and dark — ultimately revealing the underlying toxicity of the once powerful connection.
Jen Janet has a fierce, compelling presence that brilliantly shines in her art. She crafts her songs with authentic lyricism that bleeds out pure emotion and honesty. Be sure to follow Jen’s journey as she will be releasing new work in the future.
Stream the single now, and watch the captivating music video for “My Garden” below.
Connect with Jen Janet on her socials:
Review by: Bri Rodriguez
Candice Lee is a down to earth, authentic and inspiring powerhouse with a wholesome spirit. Her music displays a pop/rock edge with a hint of EDM. She is a multi-talented singer-songwriter, guitarist, harpist, pianist, bassist, and ukulele player. At the end of January, she has released her new single ‘How We Used To Be’
The melody of the song feels calm all throughout, it has a soothing sound when you look at the music without the vocals. It sounds like something you’d sway to while closing your eyes. The combination of the guitar and harp gives it the calming feeling, carrying this out even when the song starts to get rougher to get the message across. Even without the lyrics the general message of the song is clear. The calmness is bittersweet when you start to look at the lyrics.
Candice Lee has explained how the song shifts from anxious feelings to images of hope to remind us that, while we face common struggles, challenges and emotions, we will come to a brighter time. She’s said it was inspired by the pandemic, all the longing feelings of what was.
“The world took a pause
And has shown all its flaws
Chapter in history”
However, sometimes people are in need of stability in different situations and this song will cover all of it. While it’s been inspired by the pandemic, it isn’t limited to it. Sometimes it’s about needing someone who is no longer in your life or the need for a new person or situation to help you. ‘How We Used To Be’ will give you that exact feeling. With the amazing and powerful vocals that Candice Lee provides, this can become the anthem you might need in times like these. If you’d ask me, I’d say it’s an amazing song to loudly sing along to whenever you feel like it.
“All I'm saying, is I'm praying, that I'll wake up from this nightmare
Can't escape this, I'm so anxious, mentally unprepared
Pull me closer, when it's over, how I'm craving to feel you on my skin
Take me back to how we used to live”
Listen to ‘How We Used To’ here:
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/how-we-used-to-single/1548239286
Connect with Candice Lee on her socials:
Review by: Anissa Steijns
Latin-pop artist JChris has brought out his new single ‘Hasta Abajo’. In our interview with him, he said that he and his producer wanted to make a contrast, to make something sexy and edgy. As soon as the instrumentals can be heard in the beginning of the song, this becomes very apparent. The intro sounds smooth and it gives a nice introduction to the first words sung. Seeing as the tone of the voice seems just as silky, it gives it a very pleasant feeling to listen to. It reminds me of the songs played at clubs and therefore it gives me the urge to start dancing to it like I’m at a party or club. As soon as the chorus hits, the feeling shifts into even more of a dance song. The voice turns from silky smooth to a deeper tone which only helps the bass and the beat.
The contrast that he spoke about can easily be heard when listening to his other songs. While the other songs are catchy too, ‘Hasta Abajo’ seems to stick by me more since it’s a very captivating and appealing melody. Sounds like these get used often but that doesn’t make it any less good. JChris and his producer were able to implement this rather well into the song and the overall vibe of it. Furthermore, the concept of the song and the vibe that comes with it was carried into the music video to display the general feel of it. With this song you can let yourself feel good for 3 minutes and get lost in it without worrying about everything else around it. I wouldn’t hesitate to add it to my playlist.
Watch the music video for ‘Hasta Abajo’ here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tdGV5_gjShs
Stream ‘Hasta Abajo’ on Spotify here; https://open.spotify.com/track/0YShySHLB4KMDWTG5BfCkb?si=Gxc1RfCCSUCpwHLIyTcSIA
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/us/album/hasta-abajo-single/1545735500
Connect with JChris;
Review by: Anissa Steijns
SKAGS area Greek band described like no other. They bring theatrical and atmospheric vocals to progressive guitar-fueled soundscapes and euphoria-dripped synth lines. Their sound is described as ‘Alternative Electronic Psychedelic Rock’ and while this is a very specific genre, it’s the best way to describe it. On November 5, 2020, SKAGS released their first studio album ‘Digital Cage of a Cursed Generation’, dedicated to the generation of the band itself who grew up in the early 90’s and saw the destruction of the economical crisis. It features songs like ‘Zak’ named after Zak Kostopoulus who was a victim of law and violence. The song is about every victim of this. It’s not only criticizing the law system and how corrupt it is, but as well as the people around them and us as a community not stepping in and being there for them. The only thing that can be done now is keeping them in our thoughts and hearts, remembering their lives and standing up for their memories. It plays well into emotions especially If you or anyone close to you has ever struggled with injustice because of their race/sexuality/gender identity or beliefs.
The album talks about multiple heavy subjects like the destruction of our planet in ‘The Guillotine’. It emphasizes that the people have to come together and work it out before anything will change and the world can start to heal. With songs like ‘The Man Sitting Next Door’, the band talks about how easy it can be to feel alone in big cities and how even though you’ve got people around you, you may not even know them or anything but their names. Despite the lyrics which are full of emotion and meaning, the beats and melodies make it feel happier than it is. It’s catchy and therefore puts you in a mood to dance. Like mentioned, the band’s sound had euphoria-dipped synth lines and, these are especially heard in the first couple of songs, which somewhat looks back to the 80’s synthesizer sound used. Despite this, each track has its own ambience and feeling. It makes you question your own life and environment and whether there are things you can do yourself to make a change for the better, which was essentially intended as it was meant to alter your view on the world.
Release Date: November 03, 2020
01. Turn it on
03. Put Your Hands Down
04. The Consequence of Dream
05. The Weekend
06. The Guillotine
08. Drive Me Home
09. The Man Sitting Right Next Door
Personal favorite tracks: Drive Me Home, Zak, The Weekend
Connect with SKAGS on their social platforms:
Review by: Anissa Steijns
Artwork by: Spyretta Driva
Toronto rock artist Reid Henry recently released “The Blind”, his second single since his debut as a solo artist. Through this anthemic new track, Henry expresses his thoughts on the divisiveness of the political climate that was present throughout 2020. Amidst the turmoil of the Covid-19 pandemic, various political and social issues turned society on its head. While it united countless people in their fight for a better society, it also brought out the ugliness that lies within others.
People on either side of the political spectrum are so set in their perspectives, beliefs and politics, that in defending what they believe, they alienate themselves from those who disagree with them. Rather than attempt to have a civil conversation to try to understand views aside from their own, people try so hard to prove that their way of thinking is superior. Henry points out that regardless of what side they are on, people are blindly fighting for their respective causes, without even really questioning the bigger issues that seek to divide them from each other. This 90s rock styled track, reminiscent of bands like Breaking Benjamin and Three Days Grace, offers a space for those who haven’t been swept up in the divisive culture of politics, to enjoy the music while also reflecting on how people have been torn apart by their differing views.
Listen to the song here!
Be sure to check out Reid Henry on his socials to see what he’s up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Florida-based metalcore band Wage War recently celebrated the 5th anniversary of their debut album Blueprints. Their newly released single “Surrounded” was initially an unreleased track from the aforementioned album, however it ultimately was excluded. What was once unable to find its place on the album now proves to be a track that fully encompasses the essence of Wage War, from the duality of their gritty and clean vocals to the headbanging breakdowns that they are known for.
The narrator begins by stating that they are unlike those that allow other people’s opinions to change them, making them unrecognizable to themselves. They question why people allow their lives to be influenced by the decisions and ideas of others, to the point that they become surrounded by things that hold them back. Again, reiterating that they are unlike those that follow a crowd, the narrator reminds the listener that it’s not too late to find a path of their own, encouraging them to look toward the future and the possibilities it holds. The accompanying music video takes fans down memory lane with footage of live performances during previous tours and their travels around the world during the Blueprints era. The intro to the video includes a short description of the video, thanking their fans for helping the album become the success that it is today:
“5 years ago we put out an album, aptly titled ‘Blueprints’, that would be the foundation of our career as Wage War. The following song is unreleased from that album, and the footage here consists of personal videos from the 212 shows in 13 countries of the Blueprints era. We appreciate every person who has supported us from the beginning with our release of Blueprints and continue to join us on this ride.”
Watch the video here!
Be sure to check out Wage War on their socials to see what they’re up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Ohio based alternative pop-punk band Better Anyway recently released their latest EP Low, but Looking Up. The eight months spent working on the EP allowed the band to learn new aspects of the recording and production process firsthand. In addition to this, they also had the opportunity to collaborate with Tyler Albertson, vocalist and bassist in Homesafe, and Kramer Welker, vocalist and guitarist in You vs Yesterday, both of whom have inspired their band. As the title suggests, the theme of the EP shares the relatable place of feeling low, but striving toward getting into a better state of mind. With a total of six tracks, the listener is immersed into this emotional journey of what it feels like to be in that position and shows empathy as they navigate the process of figuring out how to overcome it.
The mixture of emotions in “Stay Away” sets the tone for the rest of the EP, whether it’s feeling the pressure to change and how it weighs you down, or recognizing that you need to work on yourself and create the space to do so, even if it’s uncomfortable. “Afterthought” feels more introspective, as though you’re looking inward and gathering your thoughts trying to pinpoint when exactly things went wrong, leaving you stuck in a place where you can’t help but dwell on the past in such a way that you struggle with moving forward.
“I Can’t Say This to Your Face” slows things down for a moment. As the singer begins listing all of the things that they couldn’t say to someone, it leads the listener to reflect on things they might have wanted to say to someone in their life and struggling with the weight of the things that were left unsaid. Ultimately, sometimes you have to let people go if you really want them to be happy, even if it’s at your own expense. The song starts out soft and slow, gradually building up until there’s less than a minute left and all those feelings explode into a mix of emotions that make you want to cry and scream along. This track was my personal favorite.
“Find You There” felt like a sincere apology given to make up for the person they used to be and acknowledge that they need to make some changes. “Stargazer” was more of an acoustic track, talking about missing someone before they’re gone. You can never really be ready to lose someone you love, but when they eventually have to leave, you’ll have memories of them to hold on to. “Bury Me” is the closing track on the EP and I feel like it almost brings things full circle. Not to come off as overly pessimistic, but throughout life, there’s bound to be moments or periods of time where you feel low, emotionally and mentally. Realistically speaking, these moments are inevitable, unfortunately. However, knowing that growth and progress are attainable are the things that make the future seem a bit brighter.
Overall, the honesty and relatability of these tracks is something I think anyone can relate to. Personally, I really enjoy music that I can have an emotional connection with. Some of my favorite songs are the ones that make me feel understood; even if they make me sad, it’s comforting to know that other people can relate. Low, but Looking Up offers that understanding and reminds us that getting to a better mental and emotional state may not be easy, but it’s possible. Prior to listening to this EP, I hadn’t heard of this band, but I can confidently say that Better Anyway quickly became one of my favorite musical discoveries of 2020 and I’m excited for what their future holds. If they ever come out to southern California, I’ll definitely head to a show, but until then, I’ll be streaming the EP.
Listen to Low, but Looking Up here!
Be sure to check out Better Anyway on their socials to see what they’re up to!
Review by: Cristina Herrera
Christmas magic is in the air with the release of MoAnanda’s new holiday single “Acoustmas (Oh My Dear).”
Christmas magic is in the air with the release of MoAnanda’s new holiday single “Acoustmas (Oh My Dear).” The power duo consists of two halves: singer-songwriter Moana and guitarist/bassist/producer/mixing-engineer Ananda. This acoustic composition beautifully captivates with its sensitive and direct approach; painting a vivid picture with relevant lyrics that narrate the brutal hardships everyone is enduring in 2020 — all of the personal losses and periods of isolation as we are still residing in lockdown, cut off from the rest of society and facing uncertain circumstances that we’ve never faced before:
“I wanna sit by the fireplace, laughing with you. //
But this postcard is painted in blue.”
The couple’s soft voices intertwine in flawless synchronization amongst the acoustic waves, transporting listeners with its pure ambience. The new song is accompanied by a festive music video that delicately tugs at the heartstrings, incorporating scenes of holiday traditions: decorating the Christmas tree, baking sweet treats, unwrapping gifts, and spending quality time with loved ones. The group even included footage from participants who wanted to share their memories to help commemorate the special season. This year’s holiday celebrations appear vastly different, delivering an impromptu virtual Christmas experience for many.
With “Acoustmas (Oh My Dear),” MoAnanda spread love and joy in a time of adversity with this shining holiday gem — the heartwarming song and visuals perfectly encapsulate every emotion of this socially distanced Christmas, capturing the holiday spirit in this challenging year.
“Oh my dear.
The city turns red and green.
But I’m stuck here,
Blowing kisses & love at a screen.”
Connect with MoAnanda on their social platforms:
Review by: Bri Rodriguez