Five freakin’ years since the last Incubus record? You heard it right folks, one of the most prominent bands of the early 2000s has been on a lengthy hiatus since the release of their 2006 LP Light Grenades. It’s hard to believe, but time certainly flies by. But never fear, Incubus has returned with the group’s seventh studio record If Not Now, When? due to out on July 12th.
Blink-who? New Found-what? Yeah, I’ve never heard of them either, but apparently Mixtapes have, so they’re filling our ears with throwback, catchy-as-hell pop-punk. The genre is blossoming once again, over a decade after it exploded into the mainstream for the first time, and bands like Mixtapes are the validity the revival scene sorely needs.
It was the winter of 2004-05 and Gary Bettman and his band of arrogant and narrow-minded cronies locked out the NHLPA. Canadians everywhere were in a huff. What the hell were we going to do with ourselves on Saturday nights without Hockey Night in Canada? Many turned to poker. Four guys out of London Ontario, however, decided on metal. According to lead singer, Johl Fendley, Baptized in Blood was a bi-product of sheer boredom, which he attributes, on the band website, to the lack of hockey on the tube. Apparently not all was lost that winter!
From the Joy Division guitars and deadpan vocals, to the cover art which nods at New Order’s seminal Power, Corruption & Lies, SWTHRT make no attempt to hide their influences. The album is almost more of a tribute to the genius of Curtis, Hook, Sumner and Morris than anything else. Though oddly enough, it’s the moments of departure from the ‘Factory music formula’ where SWTHRT manage to be the most interesting. Check out Compact Disc’s first single, “Boys With Problems” to get a sense of borderline plagiarism meeting contemporary indie music.
What band has a name that splits up the word Dracula? That would be Long Island, NY’s Dr. Acula. Such a name makes me think of teen cartoons like Undergrads, The Oblongs or Clone High. Incidentally, the band’s new album Slander boasts a cartoon-ish album cover that further emphasizes said thoughts. Could Dr. Acula’s music be made for teen cartoon fans?
For their sophomore release, Illinois based metalcore band Hope For The Dying come out swinging. The sheer technicality of the tracks on Dissimulation is phenomenal. While the absolutely insane guitar shredding and jazzy influenced metal is definitely impressive (very impressive), I think it’s a bit showy and perhaps at times a bit too much. There’s so much going on in the songs that I found it difficult to kick back and just listen for the sake of enjoyment.
Black ‘N Blue achieved a large amount of success in the mid ‘80’s with the tune, “Hold On To 18” – they sold more than a million records and received a ton of airplay. Fast forward more than 20 years later to, Hell Yeah!, the band’s first release after an extended hiatus and a few lineup changes. This CD does not stray far from the bands roots and as one would expect it is packed with pop/rock tunes that are decent at best and just never really seem to go anywhere. To me it seems that this is a bit of a rehashing of their older material.
Alex Turner and Co. are back with the lead single off of their upcoming release Suck It and See, and once again expectations will be high for the Sheffield boys. North American’s may have trouble giving a sh*t about what these guys put out, but in Britain they are without a doubt the biggest group from the guitar-rock explosion of the early 2000’s. While Franz Ferdinand went MIA, Bloc Party seemed to plateau with the first record, and countless others (The Bravery, Kaiser Chiefs etc.) just plain sucked, Arctic Monkeys have managed to retain their swagger…
Philadelphia’s Restorations offer 8 tracks on their debut full length, recently released on Tiny Engines, and although it’s a small dosage it keeps the demons at bay. The evils of imitation, the specters of sophistry, the phantoms of profit; all vanquished by 33 minutes of candid, honest and cathartic music. The sounds bristle and swell like breezes and all you have to do is appreciate it.