Review: CryFace – Suds

CryFace - Suds

CryFace kicks off Suds with “Stone Me,”  which instantly gives you a taste of their influences. With “Favorite Interaction,” things slow down a little from there. The song heavily includes an acoustic guitar. However, it does pick up the pace, showing the versatility that the band employs when writing their songs. If you want an album that brings quite a bit of variety in its songs, this is something you should check out.

It’s clear that CryFace pulls from various types of rock music and blends it so well that this isn’t like anything I’ve really listened to before. You get a tinge of surf rock at times, with some psychedelic rock, but not too much of it. There’s no doubt that this album is guitar heavy, and they use it to their advantage. In “Night of the Living Dead,” there’s a Misfits vibe to me. The subject matter and the tone of the music make it a song that I could see the Misfits coming up with themselves, and that by all means is a compliment.

CryFace closes out the album with a song, “Temptation,” that runs about 5 1/2 minutes. It’s by far the longest song on the album and feels like something you’d possibly hear in the 70s. The overall tempo never really speed up, but the guitars definitely do to give a good contrast with the rest of the instruments. That closes out the band’s debut album and it’s a solid effort.

Overall, the twelve song album runs under 40 minutes. It’s not going to be your typical rock album, but it’ll give you a great blend of various styles of rock. I’m undecided on where exactly I’d place it on my current iteration of my list of favorite albums so far this year, but it’s absolutely at least worth a mention. Rock fans of all kinds should be checking this album out. You can do so over at Bandcamp.

Monday Musings: Allie X, Manchester Orchestra, and More

monday musings

Monday Musings is back with some music from Allie X and Manchester Orchestra. Plus we have a couple articles that you should check out.

Allie X – CollXion II

I gave this album a listen last week and instantly loved it. If you’re looking for some new pop music to check out that isn’t quite as mainstream as Lorde, put this on your list.

Manchester Orchestra – “The Alien”

Manchester Orchestra are returning with some new music. Their latest single is “The Alien,” which comes with quite the interesting video.

What Took You So Long?: ‘Goodfellas’

Goodfellas brings together a killer cast and a bit of a different look at the mob life. Sometimes when you watch a mob flick, it’s something you’re looking at as an outsider. What Goodfellas does so well is it starts out with a young kid and lets you in on how he got his start with the mob. He wasn’t in one of the families; he was just some kid who knew how to hustle. That character is Henry Hill (Ray Liotta), who quickly earns his keep and in the present day, is one of the top players.

I’ve slowly been starting to write about film over at Substream. This piece was a bit of a process, but I plan to continue it as an ongoing feature with various movies.

The 10.5” iPad Pro: Future-Proof

I’ve been testing this iPad doing what I usually do – research for MacStories articles (including my future iOS 11 review), reading in Safari and Twitter, email, and collaboration with multiple apps in Split View, including Working Copy, Slack, and Messages to communicate with other team members. Coming from a 12.9” iPad Pro, multitasking and interacting with two apps at once isn’t as flexible or fast because you’re dealing with compact UIs that have to pack more elements in toolbars at the top and bottom of the screen.

Federico Viticci always provides great, interesting takes on the iPad. This time, he’s looking at the new 10.5 inch one. If I had the funds to do so, I’d consider this as an upgrade from my iPad Air 2 in an instant.

Monday Musings: Lorde, NBA, Paramore, and The Ringer

monday musings

The new edition of Monday Musings includes a track-by-track podcast from Lorde, NBA new, Paramore covering other artists, and a big movie feature from The Ringer. 

Lorde: Behind the Melodrama

Lorde talks The Spinoff’s Henry Oliver through the lyrics, songwriting and production of every song on her new album Melodrama.

There’s a new podcast on Melodrama and Lorde is breaking down each track for The Spinoff. I just started it, but it’s some cool insight into the album and her thought process throughout it.

Sources: Paul George tells Pacers he plans to leave franchise, prefers joining Lakers

In the past 24 hours, Pritchard has become more aggressive in pursuing trades for George, league sources told The Vertical. Pritchard has yet to show an inclination to engage the Lakers, but has discussed deals with several teams – including Cleveland – in which the expectation of teams would be that George is a “one-year rental.” The Cavaliers are devoid of the kind of young players and future picks that Indiana might want in return for George, and George has never mentioned the Cavaliers as an intriguing destination.

Adrian Wojnarowski is a reporter I’ve been paying to more and more throughout this recent NBA season. He always has the scoop on whatever is going on around the league and this Paul George scoop is some must-follow news for NBA fans. It’s also nice news for a Lakers fan like myself.

Paramore covers Drake and Fleetwood Mac

Check out Paramore covering two huge artists at recent live performances they did.

The 50 Best Good Bad Movies

There’s just something enjoyable about a movie that’s hopelessly committed to its (very bad) vision. Whether it’s due to bad special effects, awful acting, or a completely absurd or nonsensical plot, these films create a sense of sheer wonderment and force you to exclaim, “How is this a movie?!” But the mere fact that something so illogical, or low-budget, or ill-conceived exists is at the root of why we like these movies. They’re so bad that … they’re actually kind of good.

The Ringer is having “Good Bad Movies Week” over on the site and they kicked it off with this big feature. It’s quite the long read, but a lot of effort went into this and it’s worth your time.

Review: In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs

In Their Lives

In Their Lives: Great Writers on Great Beatles Songs is an anthology edited by Andrew Blauner. Various writers talk about a single Beatles song. Some are written by other artists and some are writers who you may be familiar with. Chuck Klosterman covers “Helter Skelter,” while Rosanne Cash writes about “No Reply.” Those are just a couple entries in what is a great read on various songs and how they relate to the writers.

In one passage, David Duchovny admits to not even listening to the song again and going off of pure memory. It’s a fun section to read simply because it’s an unorthodox approach. Most writers will try to make sure that they have all of the facts straight before writing about something (although, one could argue that a lot of writers don’t actually do so). However, Duchovny just wants to talk about the song as he remembers it because he doesn’t want to ruin his own memory of it.

I wouldn’t say that the book on the Beatles is revolutionary in any way, but it is an approach to music writing that I personally haven’t come across before. Sure, there are plenty of anthologies out there, but this one allows the writers to approach the songs from a personal aspect rather than an academic one. It’s not pure fact in here, but it’s also how the songs make them feel.

If you’re a fan of the Beatles, there’s a good chance that you feel the same way about some of these songs as the writers do. Overall, I found the book to be an enjoyable read from start to finish. Even with different writers and styles each chapter, there’s a strong sense of general agreement on how great the Beatles were. Be sure to check In Their Lives when you have the chance. You can grab a copy of the book over at Amazon.

Playlist: HAWKING

Hawking

HAWKING took some time to put together a playlist of songs that influenced their music. Check out the songs from each of the band members and the playlist below.

Protest the Hero – “Drumhead Trial” (Saul)
This band’s guitar duo have been one of the biggest influences on my guitar style. This track showcases the airtight traversal of technique, dynamic range and interlocking melodic layers they’re known for. Not to mention the guest trade off guitar and vocal sections are a treat.

The Contortionist – “Language I & II” (Tom)
Lush, emotive and heavy soundscapes, plus some of the grooviest and most inventive use of polymeter in modern progressive music. This is the album that taught me a hook can be anything, and that hooks can be as subtle or as obvious as you want. Impeccably composed chord progressions and tasteful arrangement as well. This track is inspiring in its sheer excellence.

Plini – “Electric Sunrise” (Chris)
Lately I’ve been listening to instrumental music and finding melodies outside of vocals. Plini has been very creative on that front. This song especially helped me write the bridge for ‘Catalyst’ as it uses a similar guitar tapping technique as this song.

Underoath – “Writing on the Walls” (Chartwell)
One of the first tracks my sister and I got into when we first started listening to heavier music. Hard hitting, very emotive drummer who sings. This is what I aspire to live up to — ask anyone who’s been to one of our shows. Aaron will always be an idol in how he plays live and on record.

Saosin – “It’s So Simple” (Saul)
This track brings me back to where I started with guitar. I’ve always been a fan of Justin’s lead style and this track exemplifies that combination of dissonant and storytelling riffage I aimed to write a chapter of on Diverge.

Crooks – “Above Me” (Tom)
Lyrically, melodically and thematically a huge influence on my writing for Diverge. Genius tempo changes that inspired us to push ourselves on that front as well, and superb vocal technique that encouraged me to excel there.

Intervals – “Sure Shot” (Chris)
Running with my theme of instrumental artists, Intervals made me appreciate the use of seventh chords and other extensions to make progressions more interesting while still keeping the song high energy and listenable. A nice blend between “pop-sounding” chords and melodies with adventurous progressions was a goal I had throughout writing Diverge. Plus from a production POV, their use of reverbs to transition between songs was something I really wanted to try out.

Periphery – “Prayer Position” (Chartwell)
This track was one of my main influences while writing the drum parts in Diverge. Finding that careful balance between being intricate and not overplaying the part. This song embodies my style to a T.

Polyphia – “Ivory” (Saul)
More on the modern end, their newest album Renaissance was a staple in finding instrumental inspiration before the writing sessions for Diverge. This track is infectious throughout and has a great build up and drop to conclude it.

Kaaris – “S.E.V.R.A.N” (Tom)
Sprinkled throughout the album are lots of Trap-inspired beats. American mainstream hip-hop has been a turnoff for me lately, so I actually wound up being inspired by some French artists I found thanks to Spotify. Kaaris has been the main one though; he influenced some of my lyrics on Diverge as well. French can be a very poetic and inspiring language even when the song’s subject matter could be considered un peu ignoble.

Periphery – “Lune” (Chris)
This song influenced the new album in three ways. One, the orchestral arrangements they composed are incredible. I really wanted to experiment with strings and piano after listening to this song. Two, the quality of recording is off the charts. Everything mixes so well together. Three, they end their album with an emotionally epic song. We decided to end with “Leave You Behind” for this album. Even though it doesn’t sound like Periphery, it was still influenced by them heavily with the placement and arrangement.

Death Cab For Cutie – “Brothers on a Hotel Bed” (Chartwell)
This is the track I will always go back to regardless of what musical phase I’m in. I love keeping ghost notes at the forefront of my playing, and Jason McGerr embodies that style. I will always love this band.

Playlist: RadioBlack

RadioBlack

TJ Courtney of RadioBlack took some time to make a playlist of some of the songs he wish he wrote. He wrote a bit about each song and you can check it all out below.

Soundgarden – “Fell on Black Days” – Superunknown

I love the way Cornell framed these lyrics… as if he literally slipped and fell on black days. Its genius because you don’t know exactly which moments or events bring you to that place until you’re there — “How would I know, that this could be my fate.” Particularly chilling given recent events.

Silverchair – “Ana’s Song (Open Fire)” – Neon Ballroom

I think this is one of the most interesting and well constructed melodies of the 90’s. It blows my mind that Daniel Johns wrote this when he was 18. It has a uniqueness and maturity to it that is hard to come by. The key change to kick off the chorus feels like a natural progression of the melody somehow, which is so hard to pull off.

Foo Fighters – “Times Like These” – One by One

I’ve been trying to write something like this ever since I first heard it. Its nostalgic without being cheesy, the chorus melody drops down lower than the verses yet the chorus still feels like a lift. They play with time signatures too without it taking away from the song, which isn’t easy to do.

Nine Ince Nails – “HURT”

Such a dark and haunting melody — apparently Johnny Cash recognized this one as one he wish he wrote too. Doesn’t get any more badass than that.

Stone Temple Pilots – “Creep” – Core

The slow, draggy, bluesy verse builds up to the chorus in such an awesome way. The chorus has a really distinct melody and feel, yet the song still feels cohesive. This is one of my favorites from STP.

Nothing But Thieves – “Tripswitch” – Nothing But Thieves

This is a newer band and I think this song should have been bigger than it was. The subject of the lyrics is interesting — what would happen if all our technology suddenly stopped working… the fact that they made a chorus that feels uplifting out of that subject matter really caught my attention.

Radiohead – “Go To Sleep” – Hail to the Thief

This song gets me amped up and gets my adrenaline pumping as much as anything else out there, yet its a slow acoustic-driven song. That has always blown my mind. My person all-time favorite Radiohead song.

Nirvana – “Heart Shaped Box” – In Utero

Classic Cobain — melodic apathy in the verse, and busts into a huge chorus. This is probably my favorite Nirvana song. I’ve always wished I wrote the line “forever in debt to your priceless advice.” It perfectly sums up people who overstep and expect a pat on the back for giving unsolicited advice…

The Offspring – “Gone Away” – Ixnay on the Hombre

This song captures the feeling of losing someone so well. Dexter’s vocals on this are so great. This is one I’ve often thought about covering with RadioBlack.

Matchbox Twenty – “Bent” – Mad Season

Matchbox Twenty is one band I get a lot of heat for liking — but you’ve got to own up to your guilty pleasures and stand by them! This record is a hidden gem and “Bent” is the best it has to offer. Its on the darker side for them and you can feel serious pain and soul-searching behind the lyrics. The way the pre-chorus builds to the chorus and starts the chorus melody and cadence before the chorus actually starts is really interesting and unique.

Puddle of Mudd – “Blurry” – Come Clean

I’m usually not a huge fan of Puddle’s lyrics, but they got it right this time. I remember the first time I heard it and I wished I had come up with the harmonic guitar intro, and then the rest of the song blew me away.

Our Lady Peace – “Superman’s Dead” – Clumsy

I stick this in the category with RadioHead’s “Go to Sleep,” because the opening acoustic guitar riff immediately gets me amped up. This is Our Lady Peace before being overproduced, with a lot of quirky tendencies that really make the band great in my opinion. I love songs that can be dark without thick guitars and production tricks making them dark… the song is just coming from a dark place. This song accomplishes that incredibly well.