Sam Carson


In Elsie, the debut from Gaslight Anthem lead singer Brian Fallon’s side project The Horrible Crowes, Fallon shows off much more soulful and introspective songs than those found on his day job CDs. Showing off a clear Tom Waits, PJ Harvey and Afghan Whigs influence, Elsie relies more on Fallon’s voice, and some quiet guitar and organ tracks to set the tone of the record.

Flogging Molly is a band that knows exactly what their fans expect from them, and their latest release, Speed of Darkness, doesn’t fail to deliver their brand of fast, catchy, semi-traditional folk/punk music. Though there isn’t a lot of new ground covered on this album, songs about drinking, love, death, politics, and history are what this band does best, and the writing has yet to get stale.

Three years after the release of their debut album Make Your Mark, Vancouver’s Living With Lions are back, with a new bass player and singer, and new album Holy Shit. I’ve been looking forward to a new Living With Lions record since the first recording video diaries went up on YouTube over a year ago, and Holy Shit more than lives up to my expectations.

Franz Nicolay, probably best known as the former keyboard player of The Hold Steady, has just released his second solo album Luck and Courage. I’ve had a really hard time trying to write this review and describe this album, because I really haven’t listened to anything else like it, so I don’t really have anything to relate it to.

Live It Out’s debut EP, Little Bear. Big Forest, is appropriately named, for sure. They play a style of fast, aggressive punk that really reminds me of bands like In Bear Country, Living With Lions, early Polar Bear Club – and a shitload of other Hardcore inspired bands. Not to say that’s a bad thing.

Fake Problems released their third full length, Real Ghosts Caught On Tape, earlier this month, and the band has taken the eclectic sound from their last CD, the excellent It’s Great To Be Alive, and made it entirely their own, producing a CD full of songs that are catchy as all hell.

I’ve listened to this CD a few times trying to figure out what the best way to explain it is, and all I can really come up with is that it’s lots of fun. I don’t tend to listen to a lot of hardcore; I tend to find a lot of it sounds too much alike.

For some reason when I read the name ‘Atomic Tom’ I assumed this band would make some kind of weird fuzz/punk/garage/indy music. I don’t know why that’s what I was expecting, but it was. I was really surprised when it turned out to be a traditional, serious rock record.