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.