The Amsterdam Red Light District’s Latest LP Proves Again This Band Belongs In The Mainstream

Courtesy: Red Light Records

The Amsterdam Red Light District has finally returned. Early this month, the band released its latest album Sapere Aude. The band’s third full-length studio recording, this 10-song record is another solid new effort from the French four-piece and another work that shows the independent music scene has just as much to offer audiences as the mainstream realm. This is made obvious right off the top in the album’s opener ‘Nobody Moves Like You.’ It will be discussed shortly. ‘Carry On,’ the album’s mid-point — and possibly the album’s best offering –also shows what makes this record so strong. It will be discussed later. ‘Evil Stakeholders,’ the album’s penultimate track, is yet another example of what makes this album so impressive. It will also be discussed later. Of course it is not the last of the songs included in this album that shows its strengths. The other seven songs included in the album’s body are strong points in their own right here. Those songs, together with the works directly noted here, the whole of the album makes this latest effort from TARLD an easy candidate for any critic’s list of the year’s top new independent albums and hard rock/metal albums.

Sapere Aude, the latest full-length studio recording from France’s The Amsterdam Red Light District, is easily one of this year’s top new independent albums and one of its top new hard rock and metal albums. It is another of those albums that shows — over the course of its 35-minute run — that independent bands deserve just as much attention and credit as their more well-known counterparts. This is proven in this album right off the top in the album’s opener, ‘Nobody Moves Like You.’ In regards to its musical arrangement, it wastes no time at all grabbing listeners. Rather, the band launches almost immediately into the guitar-driven opus and keeps the energy full throttle right to the song’s end. That energy is a great compliment to the song’s lyrical content. That’s because,as it would seem, the song is one of those works that centers on a woman. That is inferred as front man Elio Sxone sings, “I see a smile growing up on your face/You can close your eyes, but your whole body shakes/Stop looking at me like this/And let your body feel the heat.” He also notes at one point in the song, “Nobody moves like you/You used to be so cool/What the f*** happened to you/You don’t feel different/But you don’t feel the same/I’ll give you something you don’t want to forget.” Considering all of this, the song seems to come across as the song’s subject singing to a woman to whom he perhaps had a connection but maybe no longer does. The Sxone’s energy in his vocal delivery, coupled with that of the song’s arrangement, hints at some pretty strong emotions of frustration and sarcasm; sort of as if this is someone saying, look at what you lost. It’s really an interesting work and certainly a strong first impression from the band this time out. It is only one of the album’s strong points, too. ‘Carry On’ is another of the album’s strongest offerings, if not its strongest.

‘Carry On’ is such an interesting work because as with the album’s opener, the pairing of its musical energy and lyrical content creates yet another powerful overall statement. As with ‘Nobody Moves Like You,’ this adrenaline-fueled rocker is very much a guitar-driven piece whose foundation is only strengthened even more by its rhythm section and Sxone’s powerhouse vocals. It is a song that will certainly appeal to fans of Stone Sour and Buckcherry. That sounds like an offbeat comparison, but those are the first bands to come to this critic’s mind. Interestingly enough, those influences work quite well here in keeping listeners engaged and entertained. This time out, the song seems centered on someone who has just been absolutely beaten down by the world and is struggling just to keep it together emotionally. This is inferred as Sxone sings, “I’m not the man I used to be/I am the one you never wanted to see/It’s not that I don’t like you, baby/It’s just that I hate everybody.” The seeming frustration doesn’t end here. He goes on to sing, “It comes alive when I lose control/My state of mind is so unstable/The only thing I know/You have to stop yelling at me when I try to talk/If you think I’m in trouble/Have you ever felt so paranoid?/The only thing I know/If something strange happens to me/You’ve got to keep control/This world makes me feel like I’m losing myself/If you’ve got a solution/I don’t need your help/Carry on.” Again, this seems to hint at someone who has just been torn down emotionally and psychologically. This is inferred even more in the song’s final verse in which Sxone sings, “I promise I’m not as bad as you think/If I don’t know myself, how can you know me anyway/My clear mind is doomed/F****** locked in a room.” This is a pretty strong statement, and one that is certain to reach plenty of listeners. What makes all of this so much more interesting here is that it’s not one of those brooding, goth songs that it could be, considering this wording. Instead, Sxone and his band mates have crafted a song that captures the frustration of someone angry over dealing with this seeming instability, someone who wants some form of stability. This makes the song all the more engaging for audiences, and in turn all the more clear an example of what makes the album in whole stand out. Even as strong as it is, it is not the last example of what makes Sapere Aude another enjoyable effort from TARLD. ‘Evil Stakeholders’ is one more example of what makes the album so impressive.

‘Evil Stakeholders’ speaks for itself just from its title alone. This is a sociopolitical commentary on the current state of the world. It expresses both musically and lyrically, anger and frustration at what the world’s political and other leaders have caused to happen to the planet’s people. Sxone sings here against a metalcore style arrangement, “I try to understand what they’re telling me on TV/Remote control in my hand/Are they watching me?/Spending our time like a flock of sheep/Mind your step/Keep your head up and follow me/Can’t you see that they try to split the world/Spreading their words/Tell us we can’t live together/How can’t you see/Look at me/I cannot breathe anymore/Who is right, who is wrong/How many tons of evil stakeholders/Now don’t you feel paranoid?” He goes on in similar fashion from here on out, even indicting those leaders for trying to bribe the masses to get the votes. Once more, Sxone and company have crafted another powerful statement here, a statement that is just as relevant today as it has ever been. A statement that likely will be relevant for decades to come, sadly. That statement, when coupled with its musical counterpart, goes a long way toward showing even more why the song stands out in this record, and why the record in whole stands out. It is a work that both musically and lyrically is certain to appeal to audiences around the world, yet still not the last of the album’s notable works. ‘Need,’ with its Prong-esque arrangement and commentary on capitalism and consumerism is another stand out effort, as is ‘Over The Fence’ with its defiant call to action against those who control the world and ‘Wild Life,’ which seems to encourage individuality versus being just another drone in the masses. Between those songs, the works more directly noted here and the remaining four songs not discussed here, it becomes clear what makes Sapere Aude a strong new offering from a great independent hard rock band.

Sapere Aude, the third full-length studio recording from The Amsterdam Red Light District, is a powerful new effort from the French hard rock outfit. It shows over the course of its 10-song, 35-minute run that independent acts deserve just as much credit and attention as any major name band. That is proven time and again here, as already noted, beginning with the album’s opener, which seems to center on a broken relationship that is anything but brooding. Rather it is empowering. ‘Carry On’ is another of those works that could have been brooding as it seems to center on personal emotional and psychological strife. Instead of being that brooding work that it could have been, is another impacting work that is certain to give listeners their own strength. That is because it lets them know they are not alone in their struggles. ‘Evil Stakeholders,’ with its blatant commentary on what’s happened to the world thanks to its political and business leaders and its equally stinging musical arrangement, helps the album stand out, too. There’s also the commentary on consumerism in ‘Need’ coupled with its Prong-esque musical arrangement, ‘Over The Fence’ with its defiant, fist-pumping call to action by the world’s people and ‘Wild Life,’ which seems to encourage people to stand up for themselves rather than just being another number, that stands out here. These songs, and the album’s other offerings taken into consideration, make Sapere Aude a great new effort from The Amsterdam Red Light District and — again — more proof of why independent acts deserve just as much attention and credit as their more well-known mainstream counterparts. It also collectively proves this record to be easily one of this year’s top new independent albums and hard rock/metal offerings. It is available now and can be ordered direct via the band’s website. more information on Sapere Aude is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

Website: http://www.tarldtheband.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tarldtheband

Twitter: http://twitter.com/tarld

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‘Give Up The Ghost’ Is A Solid Start For Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights

 

Courtesy: High Road Publicity

A little more than a month ago, a little band by the name of Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights released its debut EP Give Up The Ghost. The five track record is the type of presentation that shows how easily today’s unsigned band could be tomorrow’s next big mainstream hit.  It shows this through the diversity in its musical arrangements and the depth of its collective lyrical content.  From the infectious southern rock riffs and happy-go-lucky lyrics of ‘Hollywood’ to the Foo Fighters-esque arrangement and equally playful lyrics of ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ to the Jimmy Eat World style arrangement and thoughtful lyrics of ‘Burn It Down’ and beyond, this record is a solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights.  It is a record that leaves listeners hoping this band won’t give up the ghost any time soon.

Paul Johnson & The About Last Night’s debut EP Give Up The Ghost is a strong start for the Mississippi-based unsigned rock outfit.  That is due to the solid mix of musical genres on which the band touches over the course of the record’s five-song, 18-minute run and its lyrical content.  The record’s penultimate song ‘Hollywood’ is just one of the songs included in this record that supports that statement.  The song’s guitar-driven musical arrangement is easily likened to arrangements composed by Black Stone Cherry, Buckcherry, The Black Crowes and other similar acts.  Band namesake and vocalist Paul Johnson even conjures thoughts of Buckcherry front man Josh Todd (at least in this critic’s ears) through his vocal delivery here.  When that is set alongside the amalgam of musical influences evident in the song’s arrangement, it makes the arrangement instantly infectious and certain to be a fan favorite.

The song’s musical arrangement is only one part of what makes it notable.  Its lyrical content, like its musical arrangement also conjures thoughts of the aforementioned acts and will put a smile on any listener’s face with its tribute to all of the things that make the south great.  That tribute is evident as Johnson sings, “You know I like to see my toes in the sand/You couldn’t drag me away from Dixieland/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood/Keep me in the south where the weather is good/Southern girls doin’ like they should/Don’t take me/Don’t take me to Hollywood.”  He goes on to sing in the song’s second verse, “I always see how they like to put us down/Don’t really care for the big town/Kinda got the feeling you won’t/Just take another breath/Don’t/Don’t take me to Hollywood.”  Plain and simple, this is a tribute to the band’s home state and region, being that the band is from Hattiesburg, Mississippi.  That upbeat, playful tribute, when coupled with the song’s musical arrangement makes the song in whole one of the record’s best offerings if not its best.  Collectively, they make this song a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost such a standout offering and solid start from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights.  It is only one of the songs that serves to support these statements.  ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another song that shows why this record stands out.

‘Hollywood’ with its simple title, lyrical content and musical approach is a clear example of what makes Give Up The Ghost a solid first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights.  It musical arrangement and lyrical alike are both so infectious thanks to their simplicity.  As impressive as it is, it is only one of the songs included in this record that makes the EP stand out.  ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ is another example of what makes this record worth hearing.  As with ‘Hollywood,’ that is due in part to the song’s musical arrangement.  The alignment of the song’s guitar and keyboards couples with Johnson’s vocal delivery to instantly conjure thoughts of Foo Fighters.  Drummer Zach Lewis’ time keeping adds to that comparison even more.  From start to finish, the song’s arrangement easily keeps listeners engaged.  It is only one part of what makes the song so enjoyable.  The song’s lyrical content is just as important to note as its musical arrangement.

Unlike the lyrical theme presented in ‘Hollywood,’ this song’s lyrical theme clearly centers on a woman.  That is inferred easily in the song’s chorus in which Johnson and his band mates sing, “She’s in love/With a fast car/Burn out…./She’s a new American story…little worry.  Deciphering the full extent of the words is difficult without lyrics to which one can refer.  However, between this and other elements that can be deciphered, it becomes clear that Johnson and company are singing about a woman.  That is especially certified in the song’s final moments as the band sings in unison, “She keeps my fantasies alive”  All things considered it is clear that the band is paying tribute to a woman or a certain type of woman.  It stands completely apart from the theme of ‘Hollywood’ and the rest of the record’s songs, and is just as upbeat as those other themes.  Keeping that in mind, when this tribute is set alongside the song’s equally upbeat musical arrangement, the pairing makes the song in whole stand solidly on its own merits; merits that make the song yet another example of what makes the EP such a surprise.  It is not the last of the songs that stands out on the record either.  ‘Burn It Down’ is notable, too.

‘Hollywood’ and ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ both show in their own way that Give Up The Ghost is one of this year’s top new EPs.  The songs’ musical arrangements and lyrical themes stand out from one another just as much as they do the record’s other featured songs.  As much as they stand out, they are not its only key compositions.  ‘Burn It Down’ is one more of the record’s key songs.  As with the previously discussed songs, that is due in part to the song’s arrangement.  This time around, listeners minds will go to Jimmy Eat World in listening to this arrangement right from the song’s outset.  This critic easily could be wrong, but the song’s lyrical content seems like a coming-of-age story of sorts.  That is inferred as Johnson sings in the song’s lead verse, “I dropped out of school to find my way/A dirty kid in football games/A loser on the street/Had a hunger for the underneath/A family divorced too much to bear/The misinformed will meet you there/Like the liars and the delphines/Is there nothing left for a kid to believe…the pain of knowing I may never feel better off than where I started.”  The story continues in the song’s second verse and ends with a mention of a “21-gun salute to disobey” in the finale.  The song’s chorus, in which the song’s subject seemingly looks back on the past in another way, adds even more depth to the song.  When this is all considered along with the song’s musical arrangement, the whole of the song’s musical and lyrical content makes fully clear why this song stands out.  Collectively, the depth of that musical and lyrical content—and its distinct identity separate from ‘Hollywood,’ ‘American Story (Adrenaline)’ and the record’s other two songs—shows even more why the EP in whole stands out, too.  When it is joined with all of the EP’s other offerings, the record in whole proves, once more, why it is one of this year’s top new EPs, an equally solid start for Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights, and a record that will leave listeners hoping the band won’t “give up the ghost” anytime soon.

Give Up The Ghost is a surprisingly impressive first effort from Paul Johnson & The About Last Nights.  The record only spans five songs and 18-minutes, but in that run, the record exhibits great musical and lyrical diversity.  From start to finish, each song presents its own identity, separate from its counterparts.  From fun-loving to truly in-depth, the songs present a wide range of emotions in both music and lyrics.  All things considered, the record proves to be one of the year’s best new EPs, and gives hope that the band won’t “give up the ghost” any time soon.  More information on Give Up The Ghost is available online now along with all of the band’s latest news and more at:

 

 

 

Website: http://www.pauljohnsonmusic.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pauljohnsonandtheaboutlastnights

Twitter: http://twitter.com/pauljohnsonsolo

 

 

 

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.