#Review: The Story So Far – Proper Dose 🏔


   

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The Story So Far are a five-piece band from Walnut Creek, California, consisting of members; Parker Cannon (lead vocals), Kelen Capener (bass), Kevin Geyer (guitar & keyboards), Will Levy (Guitar) and Ryan Torf (drums/percussion). The band are currently signed to Pure Noise Records and Proper Dose (produced by Sam Pura, mixed by Eric Valentine) marks the band’s fourth studio album. Here’s what we have to say about it…

The Story So Far - Proper Dose.jpg

In honesty, this is the first album I’ve listened to by The Story So Far (I’ve failed as a pop punk fan…I know!) but right from the very first listen, you can tell it’s something special; at its core, it is a pop punk album but there is something incredibly mature about its sound too. I remember being blown away by Sugarcult when they released their album, Lights Out; this feels just like that!

This is an album that doesn’t mess around; right from the start, it kicks into gear, exactly as it means to go on! Title track, ‘Proper Dose’, is a beautifully chaotic introduction to the album which continuously builds into a euphoric crescendo that you just can’t help but be consumed by.

It leads straight into ‘Keep This Up’; a personal and intense track that sees singer, Parker Cannon, look at disconnecting himself from the world around him, using drugs to help, but facing the fact that he could lose those around him.

Some of the must-hear tracks include: ‘Take Me As You Please’ – a rather enchanting track, led by the hum of the acoustic guitar, seeing Parker Cannon facing some relationship woes; ‘Let It Go’ is rich in texture and tone due to the blend of acoustic and electric guitars – it’s a track you just want to play loud, drive fast, windows down, with the sun in your face and wind in your hair whilst ‘Need To Know’ is more a traditional pop punk song with it’s fast-paced, double-time drums that are so indicative of the likes of early New Found Glory, yet towards the end it completely changes pace and becomes far more mellow and reflective.

It’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be.

Other tracks that also grab your attention are ‘Out Of It’ with its rather in-your-face verses that switch up to a far more epic, drawn-out chorus, ‘Upside Down’ is a truly tear-jerking ballad that will bring a tear to the eye and ‘Line’ is a really wonderful interlude that leads out of ‘Need To Know’ – it has great drum pads, beach-like guitars and hauntingly distant vocals; it’s like something you’d expect to hear from the likes of Moby or The Avalanches but it’s a welcome difference from the rest of the record…only adding further dynamism to it.

This is an album that truly takes you on a journey – it’s a self-reflective look at finding your way from the person you were and paving the way to the person you want to be; it’s about transformation. Evolution. Maturity.

I truly believe this record has achieved something incredible – it’s managed to maintain a well-loved and often, over-saturated genre but at the same time, taken it in a completely new direction, with a wonderfully dynamic sound to it. This is sure to be a very exciting time for the band – it is certainly a very exciting record to listen to!

Rating
4.5


‘Proper Dose’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/proper-dose/1412097802


Proper Dose on Spotify

Upside Down (Official Music Video)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jgc8a7ikd2w

Let It Go (Official Audio)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2hrXCeXtrY


We hope you’ve enjoyed our review! What do you think of this band’s fourth offering? Are you as much of a fan as us? What would you rate it out of 5? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or via our social media.


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#Review: Story Of The Year – Wolves

 


 

   

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Story Of The Year first captivated my attention with their debut album, Page Avenue, back in 2003. Since then the band have had a string of albums, been involved in a whole host of side-projects, taken a hiatus, reformed and run a successful PledgeMusic campaign, which all lead to this, their sixth studio album, Wolves.

SOTY - Wolves.jpg

The album opens with the title track, ‘Wolves’, which sounds like some sort of background, cinematic sound effects from a horror film, before leading into the intense, fast-paced, gang-vocal-packed song, ‘How Can We Go On’, which perfectly represents the band’s roots in alternative/hard rock. From there, the album weaves its way brilliantly throughout a whole range of powerful, thrashing, metal-like songs and emotionally-driven, rock ballads that you just can’t help but want to belt out loud.

One thing’s for certain; the band have truly poured out their honest feelings and inner-most emotions into every track on this record. It’s also the band’s first album to be recorded in pieces, across several, separate locations, meaning they could really afford to take their time to focus and perfect the sound they wanted to achieve. The album title, Wolves, was chosen to embody the concept of life circling you and closing in on you, just like a pack of wolves.

Some of my favourite and most stand-out tracks on the album have to be, ‘Bang Bang’ (dubbed “a fast-paced, electro-infused rager complete with a catchy chorus” by AltPress), ‘Youth’ (which is a short guitar track that feels anthemic beyond words), ‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (a synth-driven ballad-esque belter), ‘Can Anybody Hear Me’ (probably one of the catchiest tracks on the record and a real sing-along tune) and ‘Like Ghosts’ (which is just epic and in places the use of synths remind me a little of the Stranger Things theme – this song was born to be in a movie).

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut.

The record was produced by Aaron Sprinkle (Anberlin, New Found Glory, Acceptance) and mixed by none other than Tom Lord-Alge and J Hall – which probably explains why it sounds particularly epic! It soars to incredible heights and tantalises the melancholic heart-strings in all the right places.

Undoubtedly, the quartet have demonstrated how committed they are to making what could well be the best album since their debut. It’s an inspired body of work that shows off a real depth to their songwriting and evolution in their style. They have managed to record a soundscape of vulnerability, fear and anxiety and present it in a really exhilarating and cohesive body of music. This is certainly an album not to be missed.

Rating
4


‘Wolves’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/wolves/1300989796


Wolves on Spotify

‘Bang Bang’ (Official Video)

‘I Swear, I’m Okay’ (Official Audio)


We hope you’ve enjoyed this review of Story Of The Year’s latest album! What are your thoughts about it? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us about it via our social media.


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#Review: ROAM – Great Heights & Nosedives


   

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ROAM are a British pop punk band from Eastbourne, consisting of members Alex Costello (vocals), Alex Adam (lead guitar and backing vocals), Matt Roskilly (bass), Sam Veness (rhythm guitar) and Miles Gill (drums). The band formed in 2012 and since then have performed on the Warped Tour ’16, signed to Hopeless Records and have now just released their second album, Great Heights & Nosedives.

ROAM - Great Heights & Nosedives Cover2.png

The band’s new record opens with the hard-hitting track, ‘Alive’, and doesn’t really let up from its high-energy, bounce-inducing pop punk for the majority of the album. It is undoubtedly a good effort from the band and a strong follow-up to 2016’s debut, Backbone, however it’s not really taking any great strides to revolutionise the already saturated world of pop punk.

Sadly, ‘Curtain Call’ feels a little like it’s trying too hard to be profound but slightly missing the mark, whilst ‘Home’ is quite a letdown – it really doesn’t finish the album in as strong a way as it started, with just a quick fade out at the end, making it feel like the band weren’t sure quite how to finish the track – I really expected some long and explosive grande finale.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some really great moments on the album too, such as the banger that is ‘Alive’, thundering guitars and mosh-inducing rhythm of ‘Left For Dead’, the grungy, fast-paced ‘Open Water and the varying tempos of the somewhat funky, ‘The Rich Life Of A Poor Man’, which overall, make it quite a thrilling record, however I still feel like it’s nothing that hasn’t been done before. I find myself reminiscing some of the earlier days of New Found GloryAll Time Low and We The Kings and at points even Four Year Strong.

The album was produced by Kyle Black (who’s worked with the likes of State Champs, New Found Glory and Comeback Kid) in Los Angeles, California. This explains the authentic American sound to the record and might account for Alex Costello‘s pseudo-American accent throughout. Whilst this is synonymous with the genre, it’d be nice to hear an English-sounding pop punk band, just for a change.

This is an album which is undoubtedly going to sit well within a hardcore, pop punk lover’s collection…and it should; it’s a decent record. I just think that in order to really stand out from the masses of similar bands and achieve longevity in their career, they’re going to have to really push the boundaries of the genre on their next album; consider the likes of ParamoreFall Out BoyGood Charlotte and All Time Low.

Rating
3


‘Great Heights & Nosedives’ is out now and can be downloaded from iTunes – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/great-heights-nosedives/id1270970229


Great Heights & Nosedives on Spotify

Alive (Official Video)

Playing Fiction (Official Video)


We really hope you’ve enjoyed our latest album review! What are your thoughts on ROAM’s Great Heights & Nosedives? What would you rate it? Please leave your thoughts in a comment or chat to us via our social media.


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Matt – Muzik Speaks
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#MuzikSpeaks: An Interview with Cyrus Bolooki from New Found Glory

With the recent release of their 9th studio album, Makes Me Sick, I had the opportunity to catch up with Cyrus Bolooki from one of my favourite pop punk bands, New Found Glory. We caught up about why the band chose the title for their latest album, which current song he’d like the band to cover, who he’d love to work with and which chocolate bar he’d be. It’s all here…


   

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Hey, how’s it going for you guys?
Going great, thanks for asking! We’re currently wrapping up our 20 Year Anniversary Tour here in the US and it’s been nothing short of amazing!

So you’ve just dropped your 9th album, ‘Makes Me Sick’ how exciting! Where did you take inspiration for some of the songs from? What’s the title of the record, in reference to?
As with pretty much all of our albums, the inspirations for our songs, both musically and lyrically, comes from within. Musically with this record we wanted to allow ourselves to explore any idea that had come to mind, which is where the extra layers of guitars and 80s-sounding keys come from, whereas on Resurrection we specifically went for a more stripped down sound and didn’t want to overdo any of the production with additional elements besides the core drums, guitar, bass, and vocals.  There was a lot more freedom this time around, which was a great feeling while writing and recording this album.

Lyrically, inspiration comes from everything around us, and you will notice a theme on this album where the beginning of the record starts out pretty critical of things going on in the world around us and relationships people may have, but by the end of the album the finger is actually pointed at the listener, challenging them to not always just criticize others without remembering to also look at themselves to see if they are guilty of the same things that they are pointing out about others. The title of the album, Makes Me Sick, is nothing more than a play on words, because we knew that it would be funny for people to literally say the phrase ‘New Found Glory Makes Me Sick’ even if they didn’t feel that way at all. It was to serve as a talking point, which is exactly what happened here!

What music have you been listening to most recently?
I honestly had been listening to a bunch of our old NFG material just before this tour, as on this tour we’re playing over 77 different songs from our first 6 full-length albums and quite a few that we had never played live before, so there was a fair amount of “refreshing” needed in order for us to pull all of this off!

Now you guys are no stranger to a cover, so if you had to cover a recent chart song, which song would it be and why?
I’m sure this answer will get me in trouble because it’s bound to come back and haunt me at a later time, but I personally would love to put our own spin on ‘I Don’t Wanna Live Forever’ by Taylor Swift & Zayn. I think that song would have the heaviest chorus, especially if we sped it up in the verses and then slowed it down in the choruses, typical NFG style. Plus, Jordan’s voice is high enough to hit those notes in the chorus, right? But honestly I’m sure no one else in the band would agree with me on this, so don’t expect a cover of this anytime soon!

That’s hilarious! So, you have probably had the chance to work with many people over the years, but is there anyone you haven’t collaborated with that you’d really love to work with?
As a band as a whole, I think Green Day is the one band that we all collectively looked up to and took inspiration from at one point or another in our career, so an actually collaboration with them would be sick. I’d also love to see what would happen if we were to work with some of the huge producers of the 80’s and 90’s, like Mutt Lange (who produced Shania Twain and Def Leppard amongst others) or Bob Rock (Metallica’s Black album) or even Rick Rubin (who’s done everything from The Beastie Boys to System of a Down to The Dixie Chicks and plenty of others).

Other than music, is there anything else you guys are passionate about?
We all have various interests outside of this band. Jordan is a tattoo artist when he’s not on the road with us, Ian is probably one of the biggest baseball/sports fans and collectors out there, and Chad’s a huge movie buff. My passions vary from music production to even selling real estate, but I’m also very passionate about being a dad when I’m not on the road. Most of us in the band have wives and children, and we try as hard as we can to balance between family life and tour life, and although it’s one of the hardest things to deal with while in this industry, it’s also one of the reasons why we’re all able to still be doing this 20 years later, because we all understand and appreciate each other, both professionally and personally.

What really grinds your gears?
I’m a perfectionist, so that’s a good and bad thing, and I don’t like it when things don’t work out as I expect or want them to. Lots of [the] time that just puts extra pressure on me for no reason, but in the end I think it makes me better at what I do and I’d rather spend my life trying to be the best I can be rather than just letting everything coast by without caring if it’s good or not.

What’s the best film you’ve seen lately?
I’ll answer this on behalf of everyone else. I didn’t see it but pretty much everyone else in the band recently saw “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and said it was amazing.

If a film was made about your lives, who would you want to play you?
That’s a hard question to answer, because you can go different ways with it…would I go for an actor who’s well-known for being able to perfectly translate any role they’re given (like Johnny Depp or Leonardo DiCaprio)? Or would I just settle for someone that looks like me (might be a stretch, but how about Robert Downey Jr.?). Actually, now that I’ve let my facial hair grow out in the past few years, I think Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Negan from The Walking Dead) would be a great person to cast for me…

If you could be any chocolate bar, which one would you be?
Butterfinger all the way. Snickers a close second.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?
I don’t remember where I first heard it, but I have always followed the ideology that you should take chances and go for it if you think it’s right for you, because nothing’s worse than living with regret. I’ve been guilty of not only following that, but also ignoring that a few times, and it’s true that to this day I still regret certain things that I either did or didn’t do when now looking back I realize I should have given them a chance. Also, that’s how I ended up being in NFG. Not too long after we all got together, we were presented with a choice — do we continue to play shows and write music as a hobby, or do we put our “normal” lives on hold and really give this a chance to see what could happen? For me, that choice meant giving up scholarships and dropping out of school, much to my parents’ dismay, but obviously I made the right choice, and I remember telling myself that the opportunities we were going to have would probably never come to me again, so at that time it was “now or never,” and if I turned it down I would probably regret it for the rest of my life.


New Found Glory‘s releases are all available:


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#ThrowbackThursday: The Cardigans – ‘Lovefool’


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The Cardigans released ‘Lovefool’ back in 1996; 20 years ago!

It was the first single taken from the band’s third album but found international success for the band, reaching Number 2 in the UK charts!

Not only did the single itself do well, but it was featured in the films William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (directed by Baz Luhrmann) and Cruel Intentions. Since then, it has also been covered by Pop Punk rockers, New Found Glory.

This is one of those songs that just seems to have everything that’s #PerfectlyPop going for it!

Remember this track? What were you upto back in 1996? How did you discover this song? Please share the link on your social media!

Matt – Muzik Speaks
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‘Lovefool’ is on iTunes for your downloading pleasure, right now –