The Crash Years’ New EP Breaks The Emo Mold

Courtesy:  Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Songs about loved lost and love regained are a dime a dozen.  There are more songs throughout the history of music that are based in relationships than those based in any other lyrical topic.  Yet few bands out there can actually stand up and say that they have taken said topics and used them as the basis for a virtual concept album about facing  one of life’s most difficult situations.  Enter The Crash Years.  This Clarkesville, Georgia based band’s new EP Cope has done just that.  Whether or not it was intentional, the band has crafted in its new release, a collection of songs that tells a story.  It tells the story of a figure going through the mixed emotions that come with a breakup until he or she finally reaches the point of coming to terms with his or her situation, and begins to move on.  The EPs sequencing is just the first part of what makes Cope such an interesting record.  The ability of the band to fully capture the mixed emotions felt by someone that has gone through a breakup is another reason to check out this record.  And by direct connection, that ability to fully interpret those emotions leads to a powerful and lasting emotional impact on listeners.  By the EP’s end, listeners will find for themselves just how true each of these statements stand.  In turn, they will agree that Cope is deserving of a spot on the list of the year’s best new EPs.

The sequencing of the songs on Cope is the foundation for this EP’s success.  It all starts with the deeply emotional piano driven introduction in which singer Joel Cox pours out his heart to an unnamed woman.  The song is short.  Its run time comes in at a little less than three minutes.  Cox does so much with so little here.  This applies both in terms of his musically minimalist approach and in terms of the song’s relatively short run time.  Cox sings in an almost pleading tone, “Please tell me I’m wrong/Tell me I don’t need to worry/If I’m back on my doubt/Don’t let me lose it all/Prove me wrong.”  Cox is singing in the chorus of his own self-doubt in regards to having gone through the breakup in question.  His words set against the gentle strains of the piano make the song all the more emotionally powerful; so much so that there really is no need for it to have a title.  Thus it is simply the EP’s Intro.

The ‘Intro’ to Cope is just the first example of how the EP’s sequencing contributes to its success.  Over the course of the EP’s next four tracks, Cox and his band mates—Tyler Brantley (guitar), Ethan Watkins (bass), and Drake Kent (drums)—take listeners on a musical and emotional journey which audiences of every age have taken at one point or another.  It ultimately leads to the EP’s closer/ title track.  It’s fitting that the band closed Cope with its title track.  As listeners will hear in this song, Cox’s subject has gone through the varied emotions that come with a breakup, but has finally “learned to cope” as he sings.  As with the EP’s other tracks, this song’s musical side compliments these lyrics quite well.  There’s still a certain amount of self-doubt and uncertainty in Cox’s voice as he sings.  But at the same time, there is also a certain amount of determination to move on, too.  Again, that mix of music and lyrics makes the song easily relatable to listeners of any age.  In turn it makes it one more part of the whole that makes this EP well worth the listen.

Listeners should be able to tell by now just how important the sequencing is to the overall success of Cope.  Just as important to this EP’s success is the band’s ability to capture the myriad of emotions that people go through in the process of a breakup and what follows.  As has already been noted, the band does quite the job of capturing that emotion in the likes of the EP’s ‘Intro’ and its title track/closer.  They aren’t the only points at which the band exhibits its ability to capture the pure emotion felt in the different stages of a breakup.  ‘Always Wrong’ is a good example of the band’s ability to capture said emotions.  It starts out with a certain energy that eventually builds to an almost frantic level before pulling completely back in the song’s chorus.  Cox sings sadly in the chorus, “I keep thinking a change of scenery will get you out of my head/But I’m wrong/I’m always wrong.”  The emotion in his voice mixed with that sudden contrast of dynamics makes the song all the more powerful and relatable to any listener.  Who hasn’t wanted to just get away after a breakup and start over?  Again, the band has done quite the job of capturing the very real emotions that people feel in just such a situation.  Believe it or not, what the members of The Crash Years have done throughout this record is rare.  They have shown real originality and appreciation for their talents.  This is rare both in the emo scene and in the music industry as a whole.  Far too many emo bands out there have vocalists that just sound like they’re crying and whining when they take the mic.  And their musical side is just as unoriginal.  Because the members of The Crash Years have taken that road less travelled, it has made their music longer lasting and more impactful.  This is the last part of what makes Cope a record worth taking in at least once.

That The Crash Years have crafted a record in Cope that actually somewhat breaks the mold of the emo record.  The band’s front man doesn’t sing with the standard whiny, nasal kind of tone that is so common among other bands of its ilk.  The band as a whole also didn’t set out to make just another poppy, radio friendly record.  It actually manages to capture true human emotion through the songs on this record.  It’s real emo for lack of better wording.  Because of that, it’s so much more impactful and relatable to audiences as well as longer-lasting in listeners’ memories.  Whenever audiences can say that a band’s music is as impactful and long-lasting as that of The Crash Years on this EP, it is a big statement.  While The Crash Years may not be as big a name as certain others in its genre, that impact and longevity of the EP’s songs (along with the EP’s sequencing and the ability of the band to capture the songs’ emotions) are certain more than anything to make Cope a record that will impress any emo fan.  It is available now and can be ordered through the band’s official Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/thecrashyearsmusic.  More information on Cope, any upcoming live shows and more is also available via the band’s Facebook page and its official website, http://thecrashyears.com.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Atlanta Based Indie Hip-Hop Duo Ready To Break Out On Its Debut LP

Courtesy:  Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Atlanta, Georgia is home to some of the biggest names in the music industry.  It is home to Sevendust, Collective Soul, Stuck Mojo, and Stuck Mojo just to name a few.  It’s also home to hip-hop duo Outkast, whose members just recently announced that they are heading back on the road together after an extended hiatus to work on their own projects.  For all of the big name acts that call “Hotlanta” home, there are just as many lesser known acts that call that great city home, too.  One of those acts in question is another hip-hop duo that goes by the name of Ante Meridian.  The duo—Rozewood and Mr. Enok—re-issued its debut album this week.  At a time when mainstream hip-hop has become as tried and boring as mainstream rock, Ante Meridian’s debut proves to be a breath of fresh air for purist hip-hop and rap fans.

‘True Friend’ is the perfect kickoff to Sons of Heaven, the duo’s debut record.  Emcee Rozewood ruminates in this song about the loss of a friend to what would seem like gang violence.  He writes on the track, “Today I cried/Lookin’ at your photo/My n****s is gone/Thought about buying a gun and comin’ along/But it’s time for revenge/Return death to death givers/And dump they body in the soon to be red river/Sittin’ in my crib/On the stress mode/Loadin’ the clip…I can’t take it/The beauty of a childhood has been forsaken/Dear God please forgive me/For the acts I will do/The gats I will choose to spray s***…” There’s obviously some deep emotion expressed through this song.  What really makes the song interesting is the control that both Rozewood and Mr.Enok exhibit through the song.  The easy thing to do would have been to craft a battle rap style song.  Instead, the duo crafted a song that presents a figure with what would seem a much more collected thought process.  The song’s almost eerie, underlying piano lick set against Rozewood’s cool, collected rhymes creates a truly powerful first impression for the pair. It’s only the beginning of what fans will appreciate from this record, too.

Sons of Heaven’s second track, ‘N.Y. Thing’ is another impressive track.  The song is quite literally a lyrical love letter to the city that never sleeps.  Rozewood and Mr. Enok pay tribute to New York in this song.  It opens with a short sample with a man stating, “You’re a New Yorker/That will never change/You got New York in your bones/Spend the rest of your life out West/But you’re still a New Yorker.”  From here, the duo goes on to write of their favorite city, “If you’ve ever been to New York/You would understand what feel like to be caught in a wasteland/Trying to survive with a gun on your waistband/No matter where I’m at/I know where I am.”  The tribute goes on from here , bringing up memories of friends from the duo’s past that lived in New York’s five boroughs.  It might be pushing it, but it almost presents a song much in the same vein of Scarface’s ‘My Block’ just with a slightly different attitude.  It’s one more song that given the chance could be the duo’s next single.

The songs mentioned here are just small portions of what listeners have to look forward to from Ante Meridian’s new album.  Just as worth noting from Sons of Heaven are the likes of: ‘Remember My Eyes’, ‘Limitless’, ‘Red Lotus Blossom’ and ‘13th Floor’ with its gentle string backing. That backing set against Rozewood’s talents make this one of the highest of highs on this record.  These songs and all of the rest that make up the album’s seventeen total tracks are available now online on Ante Meridian’s Band Camp website, http://antemeridian.bandcamp.com and via Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/Sons-Heaven-Explicit-Ante-Meridian/dp/B00GYCIBRC/ref=sr_1_cc_3?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1389905971&sr=1-3-catcorr&keywords=Ante+Meridian.  More information on Ante Meridian’s debut re-issue and more is available online at http://www.facebook.com/antemeridianhiphop.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Loner’s Society Impresses On Autumn + Colour Debut

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

Courtesy: Autumn + Colour

The Charleston, South Carolina based indie band Loner’s Society is set to release its new live EP King City Sessions next month. The five-track recording is a good introduction for those that might be less familiar with the band and just as enjoyable for those that are more familiar with its works. What’s most interesting about the band’s new release is the sound of the songs included in the recording. The songs are interesting in their own right because of their musical and emotional depth. But they don’t exactly sound like the description of the band’s sound on its official Facebook page. According to the band’s official Facebook page, the band is “comparable to Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers if The Heartbreakers had been comprised from members of: Pearl Jam, Rancid, and The Temptations.” That wording comes verbatim from the band’s Facebook page. And it’s quite a mix of influences. But as listeners will notice right from the recording’s outset, its sound is more comparable to Bob Dylan and certain classic Country Western acts than any of the acts noted on the band’s Facebook page. Where Loner’s Society does finally start to bear more of the Pearl Jam meets Rancid sound is on the recording’s fourth song, ‘Autum Breeze.’ These two songs (and the recording’s remaining trio of live tracks) make King City Sessions quite the live recording even as short as it is.

Loner’s Society opens its upcoming live EP with the song ‘LaGrange.’ This song is an interesting introduction because of the throwback vibe that it conjures up among listeners. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Megrue openly states in the song in almost Lou Reed style, “And we recorded a record/Then we loaded the van/The last thing the world needed was another punk rock band/So I spent the next five years just barely getting’ by/Cause as time goes by it’s certain/That certain things’ll change/And you can spend your whole life working/Trying to stay the same/But plan on doin’ doubles till you die/At that diner in LaGrange. The line about the last thing the world needing was another punk rock band is very telling. It goes back to the previously noted difference in the sound of the songs included on this recording versus the band’s own description of its sound. This song sounds anything like a punk rock band. It’s more of a Country Western style piece interestingly enough. Even that first verse’s remaining lines line up more with old school Country Western than punk, Pearl Jam, and especially The Temptations. For all of its deep introspection, there is one funny moment in this song in which Megrue sings about things he’s seen in his life. He sings “I’ve seen marriages, divorces, babies, and divorces.” That must be one heck of a lot of divorces. Whether or not it was meant to be joking, it’s such a subtle joke that one can’t help but laugh a little bit hearing the emphasis on divorces that have been seen. That subtlety set alongside the song’s more heartfelt introspective musical and lyrical elements make it an excellent introduction for the band in every sense of the word.

‘LaGrange’ is a solid opener for the band’s new upcoming live recording.  It’s just one of the recording’s most interesting of points.  The recording’s penultimate performance of ‘Autumn Breeze’ is another of those high points.  It is more along the lines of the band’s described sound.  It starts off gently enough, but eventually picks up and bears more of an indie-folk/rock sound.  Listeners can feel such emotion as Megrue sings, “I can feel that Autumn breeze/Blowing in from Tennessee/It soaks my nights in whiskey dreams/Old cruel winds just speak to me.”  There’s a certain pain in Megue’s voice as he sings this verse that tugs at the heart.  The song takes a more driving feel from there.  Even with that more up-tempo feel, the song doesn’t lose the pained emotional state established early on in its near five-minute run time.  It all makes for what is easily one of the highest of this live EP’s performances.

‘Autumn Breeze’ and ‘LaGrange’ are both great additions to King City Sessions.  Regardless of whether or not audiences are familiar with these songs or the others included in this new EP, every listener will agree that they and the EP’s other trio of songs make this recording a welcome new release from the band.  If the five songs contained on this EP aren’t enough for some, then fans need not worry as they’ll get their chance to hear the band live in person, too.  Loner’s Society is currently scheduled to perform at the Deep South Bar in Raleigh, North Carolina this Saturday, January 18th.  The performance is an 18+ show.  Tickets are $5.  They can be  purchased online at http://www.ticketfly.com/purchase/event/428839?__utmx=-&__utmv=-&__utmk=206623635&__utmz=1.1387914625.3.3.utmcsr%3Dgoogle%7Cutmccn%3D%28organic%29%7Cutmcmd%3Dorganic%7Cutmctr%3D%28not+provided%29&__utma=1.1393594094.1385825001.1387914625.1387926374.4&__utmc=1&__utmb=1.1.10.1387926374&wrKey=28A0D047C3315AD262485FE7F569EDFE.  The show is currently scheduled to begin at 6pm.  Fans of Loner’s Society can find out about all of the band’s tour updates, news and more online at http://www.lonerssociety.com, http://www.facebook.com/lonerssociety and http://twitter.com/lonerssociety.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment reviews and news in the Phil’s Picks blog at https://philspicks.wordpress.com.