Wednesday, December 24, 2008

All American Rejects make comeback with long awaited release

By Sarah Rutz

It’s been three years since the world has heard any new music by Oklahoma’s The All-American Rejects, and for diehard fans of the band, the wait was well worth it. When The World Comes Down, AAR’s third studio album, has the band rocketing back onto the scene with as much power and vigor as they did with 2005’s Move Along. It’s a good, easy listen, and worth the extra few weeks of waiting that listeners had to endure for it to be released.

The first single off the CD and quite obvious as the standout track, “Gives You Hell,” is a pop-rock infusion that is probably the only song on the entire disc that somewhat reminds listeners of what the Rejects’ old stuff sounded like. In itself, it’s a high-energy track that really establishes this Oklahoma quartet as a band. The rest of the songs on the CD, like “Fallin’ Apart,” incorporate the piano and string ensembles with guitar, bass and drums to give listeners something new to experience, while Catherine and Allison Pierce appear as guest vocalists on “Another Heart Calls,” giving the song even more expression.

Compared with some of The All American Reject’s older recordings, When The World Comes Down may not be able to produce hit singles like their previous release. This time around, however, they do deliver a full-length CD with all of the elements that people look for—a few sappy songs, some rather edgy, and a couple that we’re not quite sure how to absorb, but still enjoy. Regardless, When The World Comes Down is AAR’s homecoming for the music scene, and it’s proven to be a hit with their fans, and the single has won over a new group of listeners.

It’s a good effort at combining their old sound while dabbling with something new. The All-American Rejects is the same band that they’ve always been, and they’ve stayed true to the music that their fans adore in addition to throwing in some experimental, but successful new sounds out to the crowd.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fall Out Boy pleases with "double madness" in 5th release

By Sarah Rutz
photo by Amy Willard
Joe Trohman of Fall Out Boy performs at the 9:30 Club in Washington DC.

After delaying the release due to Election Day conflicts, Folie A Deux, Fall Out Boy’s highly anticipated fifth studio album, has left little to be desired from fans who have been there from the beginning, and those who maybe have just started listening to the Illinois quartet. Even for people who haven’t had the opportunity to go out and purchase the CD yet, chances are they’ve already heard the catchy single, “I Don’t Care,” a high energy anthem with lyrics to match, which gives a little taste of what else Folie has to offer to listeners.

The entire disc demonstrates Fall Out Boy’s dedication to their music and need to develop each CD as individual and maybe even better than the one before it. In this case, Folie a Deux supercedes 2007’s Infinity On High, showing how the band has matured musically in just a little over a year, and as a band in general. Produced by Neal Avron and Pharrell Williams, the thirteen track effort is a little different from what most people would probably expect from Fall Out Boy, but still distinctly carries their name and a somewhat signature sound that the band has managed to create over the years.

The opening track, “Disloyal Order Of Water Buffaloes,” echoes the achievements made by 2007’s Infinity with a mix of organ, powerful guitar, and of course, Patrick Stump’s distinctive vocals as well as gang vocals in the background shouting a catchy mantra of “detox just to retox.” As an introduction into Fall Out Boy’s latest conquest on the music world, the premiere track blends both their old sound with something new and unexpected from the band— almost an infusion of all of their previous albums, creating something both new and exciting. Following the first track come other strong sounds, including the danceable "Ameica’s Suitehearts” and “The (Shipped) Gold Standard,” with creatively strong lyrics and distinct messages.

Several tracks on Folie A Deux are backed by an all-star cast: Fall Out Boy brought in acts like labelmates William Beckett (The Academy Is…), Brendon Urie (Panic at the Disco), Gabe Saporta (Cobra Starship) and Travis McCoy (Gym Class Heroes), and also Lil Wayne and Elvis Costello to assist with songs like “What a Catch, Donnie” and “Tiffany Blews,” giving the CD even more vigor and power than it already had. If that’s not enough, there are several remixes out there of both hit tracks “I Don’t Care” and “America’s Suitehearts,” and the latter is soon to be followed up by a music video featuring Hey Monday’s Cassadee Pope.

Fall Out Boy has certainly put all of their effort into this album and everything that went along with it--from relentless promotion and letting listeners stream the album via MySpace, to the Citizens For Our Betterment phenomenon that went along with all the album’s hype. And all of the buzz surrounding this release is completely worth it—Fall Out Boy’s Folie A Deux is one that is worth picking up, listening to, and is a great addition to any pop/punk music collection.

Monday, December 15, 2008

We're Not Friends Anymore wows audiences

By Kevin Cortopassi

We're Not Friends Anymore might sound to you like something coming out of the little body of a 7th grader mad at their best friend. But in this sense, We're Not Friends Anymore is a group of very close friends doing what they love.

Mid-way through 2007, We're Not Friends Anymore started as a side-project of the and My Unsaid Everything members.

As My Unsaid Everything split up, We're Not Friends Anymore took on the main focus. In January of this year they recorded their first three songs at Light-ning Studios and put them on their MySpace page.

"I remember the first day we ended up getting like 3,500 plays, it was freaking crazy. I think its funny that those three songs still carry us on till this day," said Mike Çast, a former vocalist of the band, in an email interview.

We're Not Friends Anymore is a band based out of Stockton, California, consisting of: Mariano Lopez, vocalist, Alex Casillas, guitarist, Dom Sacco, guitarist, Ethan Layton, bassist, and Anthony Hampton, drummer.

The style the group has is "happy positive music with raw breakdowns and r&b style vocals," described Casillas. "We've succeeded so much and we've only been a band since February. Also, Mariano's voice is pretty unique," wrote Hampton.

They have a large fan base in the 209, and are starting to expand out of the local area. "It's the most amazing feeling ever when people recognize you and want to take pictures," said Layton.

Right now they are working very hard at Castle Ultimate studios on their self debut EP. "We're putting a lot of work into this and we hope to see it done and pressed soon at the turn of the year. So far it's coming out very well. Five new songs that we would like to share with everyone," Casillas said.

The band is planning on having a tour in spring of 2009 to promote the EP.

"For the readers, listeners, and fans, expect to have more fun, because that's what we are planning. We feel responsible as sending a message out to everyone we know who listens to us because that is what our music really describes. Life and how it continues and how to deal with it. So we're happy to get people's attention," explained Casillas.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Senses Fail comes up short with new album

Life Is Not A Waiting Room
Senses Fail

Reviewed by Chris Douglass

To date, Senses Fail have put together several solid full-length albums. Still Searching presented a power that many may not have thought they had in them and although it wasn’t a ground breaking album, it stood strong in its time. Today with Life Is Not A Waiting Room, the band continues to make mature steps in their writing without ever denying who they are.

Fans who have high hopes for Life Is Not A Waiting Room may feel that Senses Fail simply fell short this time. The opening track, “Fireworks at Dawn,” is relatively sub-par and may make a new listener question whether or not they just threw their money away. This song probably should have given up its position to its follower, “Lungs Like Gallows” (which kicks so much ass it would be a surprise if it wasn’t a “Still Searching” B-Side that was just too good even for the deluxe edition). So for those doubting their purchase, rest assured this album is still a 10-spot well spent.

If it wasn’t apparent before that vocalist Buddy Nielsen has a drinking problem, he continues to let it be known on this album—seriously, it would not be a surprise if their merch table started selling shot glasses. Nielsen wastes no time in the opener by singing “Fireworks at dawn as I sip for assistance. This flask keeps me calm…” or by beginning “Four Years” with the words, “I take a shot of Jameson or Jack to start the morning off with old friends.”

Continuing on one will hear lines like “Here is my own family tradition; Following footsteps into addiction. So is there a way that I can find peace while still numbing my pain?” This is the self reflection that listeners have come to expect from Senses Fail’s lyrics about feeling sorry for one’s self. As long as one can piece together the positive aspects of the message, it can actually be a motivating album.

Unfortunately, Life Is Not A Waiting Room is not undeniably catchy like prior albums. This isn’t to say that fans aren’t going to enjoy the music, but it just won’t hold high to the memory of songs they’ve grown to love, sing, and scream.

Optimistically, guitar riffs and solos find themselves magnificently littered throughout the record, leaving one to think it was submitted as a Guitar Hero 4 tryout. Senses Fail doesn’t try to drown the songs in any sort of musical expertise or experimentation, but what has been written makes the album that much more pleasant to listen to.

It seems apparent that only a few fans are going to find a new favorite song off of this record. On the same note (and as a means of precaution), no potential fan should be introduced to this album first. Life Is Not A Waiting Room does, however, hold Senses Fail’s spot in credibility and ability to record, tour, and thrive as a band.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Attack! Attack! makes U.S. debut

Pop-rockers, Attack! Attack!(the UK band... not the one from Ohio) will be making their debut this week with their self titled album thanks to Rock Ridge Music. Barricade Buzz had the chance to check out the album produced by Stuart Richardson of Lostprophets over the weekend.

Our first thoughts? Nothing new. Although we enjoy pop-power-rock-whatever you want to call that catchy stuff with a full band line up, there just wasn't anything truly remarkable about this album.

Don't get us wrong, we liked what we were listening to, but we felt as though we have heard it all before. To us, tracks 1-8 could have been all one song had the iTunes icon not been scrolling down the screen as we listened. The similar melodies and parallel tempos were indistinguishable. We did, however, find the last two tracks, "Lost For Words" and "Time Is Up" a good change of pace for the album, taking a more edgy approach to the pop melodies.

It seems as though Attack! Attack! was playing the "audience safe" card when pulling this record together. It wasn't until the very end that they decided to dip their toes into some instrumental experiments with more solos.

Attack! Attack! reminds us of the early days of Fall Out Boy with Fall Out Boy's Evening Out With Your Girlfriend, and Take This To Your Grave. It's definitely a good start for these South Wales rockers to gain some U.S. fans, hopefully they will take their sound one step father.

If you're looking to add to your collection of catchiness with some potential, pick up Attack!Attack! on October 7th.

Our Buzz: 2 out of 5 volts

Suggested fans of: Kids In Glass Houses, Fall Out Boy, Boys Like Girls

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Wertz release: just a broken record

By Angelyn Thornton

Matt Wertz is back again with his newest album, Under Summer Sun, which hit stores and iTunes on September 16th. Unfortunately, it doesn’t fully live up to the expectations this time around. Those who have heard his music and have a strong allegiance to his talent, built up from hard work and experience, will find the quality of this latest release somewhat baffling.

Under Summer Sun is a collection of slightly-tweaked old favorites with a sprinkling of newly-minted tracks. These new songs, though undoubtedly crafted with the best of intentions, somehow lack the passion of his earlier work, serving more of a superfluous role rather than providing any sizable contribution. Wertz’s new recordings seem to just fill space on an album that feels haphazardly put together in a rush to be released. (Note: for a Summer titled album, it barely made the season. )

This newest project would have benefited tremendously from a little more patience and care. Wertz would have been better off delaying the release, and taking the time necessary to deliver a polished collection of all-new material. Despite the letdown, there is one track to mention off of this album.

"Keep Faith" shines brightly amid the other, not quite as intriguing new material. With heartfelt lyrics and catchy melodies that have become Wertz’s trademark, this song aims to please. With the exception of aforementioned hit, Under Summer Sun is disappointing as a whole.

His older material is wonderful, but let’s save the reprises for the Matt Wertz greatest hits album and give the fans something unexpected. As for the majority of his new stuff, there is simply something missing; that special something behind the music and the lyrics that Wertz has come to be known and appreciated for by his fans. Hopefully, he can regain his soulful powerhouse the next time around. Matt Wertz is currently on tour through November.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

New stuff from The Gaia Corporation

Another Rome based band,The Gaia Corporation (an alternative group featuring Vincenzo Mario Cristi and Danielle Brian Autore of Vanilla Sky) has posted a new song to their MySpace and announced the scheduled release of The Corruption / I Am Revolution for 2009.

New Fall Out Boy album set to release in November

photo by Amy Willard, 2007 Friends or Enemies Tour

Island Records' Fall Out Boy announced earlier this week at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, Co that their latest album will be released November 4, 2008. The news broke after the band headlined the 2008 "Rock the Vote Ballot Bash." The new release is titled Folie a Deux, with the first single, "I Don't Care," to be hitting airwaves in the coming weeks.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Format frontman launches new project

Early this year the underground indie-rock band, The Format, officially went on hiatus. For eight months, the Arizona natives had little explanation for the break, other than they were not going to be making another album. Lead singer, Nate Reuss, has moved from the desert to New York and returned to the music scene with a new project called Fun.

You can sample the new endeavor now at

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There are some things country should never touch

and one of those things is Matt Nathanson (pictured above, performing in Boston last Summer).

By Amy Willard
(photo also by Amy Willard)

I was kind of excited when I checked my inbox today and had some updates from, which featured 1. new tour dates (sadly none of them are in the DC/VA/MD region) 2. news that Sugarland has recorded a cover of "Come On Get Higher" from his '07 release, Some Mad Hope.

Being the cover enthusiast that I normally am, I immediately hit up the iTunes store to check out the mp3. But all I have to say is THANK GOODNESS there is a preview feature these days.

I'm not going ot lie, I was pretty hopeful on this cover. I mean, "Come On Get Higher" has go to be one of my favorite songs and I saw Sugarland at the WMZQ Festival in Virginia about a month ago (and actually enjoyed what I heard), so I figured this would be promising. (I also happened to catch Sugarland on Good Morning America this morning performing "All I Want To Do," so maybe, just maybe that was a sign or something.)

I couldn't be more wrong. I can tolerate country... to an extent-- mostly "All I Want to Do" and some songs by Rascal Flatts, but there some things that should not be done. This cover of "Come On Get Higher" has got to be one of them.

There is just some sort of passion within the vocals of Nathanson that matches the genius of the song overall. Unfortunately Jennifer Nettles, lead singer for Sugarland, doesn't quite have that same magic. Now, I'll give her some "props" on the pre-chorus. I did enjoy the female vocals for that, but once the chorus fully set in, I just had to call it quits.

Obviously for a popular band to cover a virtual unknown is a high compliment, and I'm sure the Nathanson crew is beyond flattered. I just wish it was a good cover.

So if you're sitting at home debating whether or not it's worth it to invest in the Love On the Inside's bonus track, I'm going to say pass.

I love Nathanson, and I can appreciate Sugarland, but no, iTunes will not be getting my .99 today.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Atmosphere shows different side with new album

By Jonathan Juliano

I’ve seen promos at the end of MTV dating shows for Atmosphere and his new album When Life Gives you Lemons, You Paint that Shit Gold. This seems appropriate because the criticism against rapper Slug has always been that he talks about relationships, and girls, and that he is too much of an "Emo rapper." I feel bad for anybody that makes this their first album by them because when Slug was in his prime, he was amazing. The beats from producer Ant might not have been as complex, and Slug’s rhymes were always about the same girl, but there was something you could respect because of it. Bits and pieces of songs helped you construct his personality and how bad this girl was for him and how much he loved and hated her. It was obvious that he was only a rapper because it put money in his pocket where as seeing a psychologist would burn his pockets clean off.

When Life Gives you Lemons shows a new Slug that makes me think maybe making music helped him because the album shows growth and a maturity. On the MTV promos Slug has long greasy hair hanging out of his wool hat, and sports a creepy mustache. The look matches his blue collar album. Every song is a story about people struggling in life. Slug has always had one or two songs per album that were stories (his best being “Woman with the tattooed hands”), but every song on this album is a tale about people struggling in life, which really fits the album’s title. His new songwriting strategy makes sense because he’s too old to rhyme like in the past. The problem though, is that the songs sometimes blend together and sound redundant. On some songs it works brilliantly and on others it makes me welcome global warming for Atmosphere.

Ant is one of the highlights of the album. He gets exponentially better with every album he produces. The big experiment was using a live band but Ant has adapted and it is to the point now where a past his prime Slug may just be holding the beat maker back.

The song “Puppets” has hand claps and a deep and heavy piano. I never thought I would like a song with hand claps (excluding that Hey Mickey you’re so fine song) but it works amazingly. The story over this beat is about a guy Slug knows (he’s really talking about himself) who wants to live a rock star life but isn’t really there yet. “Who needs fame and fortune when you get the same love that the fame is snortin…” The chorus reveals the thirty-something rapper’s frustrations of never really making it and settling.

The two most compelling songs on the album are “Me,” and “Waitress.” After listening to at least six Atmosphere albums since high school, “Me” might be one of my favorite songs. He is so honest and the beat has a repeating guitar and an eerie female voice to match the grittiness of the rhymes. He tells his whole story from the divorce of his parents to divorcing his wife, and how his parents affected his views on relationships.

“And Mom and Dad were never getting back together/ So he was on some Baby we gonna make it last forever.” The story progresses to how he dated a girl for five years and had a son with her but they broke up. After all the drama, after naming an album Lucy Ford, after the song “Fuck you Lucy,” and all the hatred he put into every album, on this album he says, “Now he’s got a best friend instead of a wife/But he feels like he stole the best years of her life." I could really talk endlessly about this song but listen for yourself and I will move on to “Waitress.”

“Waitress” starts with a sad piano and Slug raps in first person as a bum who goes to a diner every day and sees this one waitress who hates him. The bum knows the waitress is sad “By the way I can see it in your eyes, you’re tired of life/Not a stranger to the fight…” She threatens to call the cops on him, and she yells at him but when he isn’t there she worries about him and wonders where he is. The song ends with Slug saying, “I had the chance to make a difference but I didn’t/in the café bathroom getting free tap water/ thinking damn I should have been a better father to my daughter.”

When Life Gives you Lemons, is just what the album is, people surviving, Slug surviving through his misery, fighting his monsters, and just trying to live one day at a time, trying to paint his life gold. The album is not is not a lemon, but it is not his goldest, it’s somewhere in between, but give credit to the group for evolving into something new entirely.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Feature Band: Sugar Glyder

image from

This week's feature band comes out of Charlotte, North Caroline. Sugar Glyder is an indie rock band with a great experimental sound. They are about to head out on tour with their 2008, full length album, We Cracked the Sky.

Some tracks to definitely check out:
"Sleepless We Seem" - indie with an experimental edge
"The Good Sheppard" - a good mellow track

for a complete list of tour dates and to hear more, please visit their MySpace at

Monday, April 28, 2008

Uh, and I can do it better

[yes, I'm aware I just quoted Avril Lavigne]

Anyways... the other day I was having a conversation about covers of Rihanna's "Umbrella." I decided to check out as many songs as I could and after finding a few versions, I ordered them from best to worst.

Check 'em out.

1. Chris Brown - "Cinderella"
2. Jay Z

1. Vanilla Sky [still the best, even with Italian accents.]
2. All Time Low
3. McFly

1. Standard of Living [love the addition of the piano]
2. Plain White T's [good vocals]
3. Biffy Clyro
4. Mandy Moore [horrible.]

Battle of the Videos:
The first is Rihanna's, the second is Vanilla Sky's.
[I pick VS, post your choice in the comments section]