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Album Reviews

Camera Shy: Self-titled
★★☆☆☆

This laid back indie group, and a recent run for cover records recruit, has created a mellow album that perfect for a lazy day in your pjs working on homework. The fault of this album is that every track has the same mood and the vocalist always has the same timbre. one song melts into the next, no distinction. The album starts with the angsty "remember." This track is about the vocalist's recollections of a former flame, hence the name of the song. There is an impressive drum solo about 3/4 way through the song. Track 2 "Your only one" is a song that I relate to. A song about being head over heels for someone, but they aren't in the same boat. The vocalist spends the song convincing their crush to take a chance. "Colors radiate" has an all too long introduction, even when the vocals begin the song is a snooze."Glowing" is a song that lets the guitar player show off. There is an interesting acoustic guitar solo at the beginning. As I said before, this album is thematically uniform, here is yet another song about romantic longing and emotional unrest. "Glowing for you for you you, I am here alone thinking of your eyes." “Underwater days" is a languorous and moody, not a game changer.”New something" is by leaps and bounds the most up tempo song from this record. However the slur level is high and the vocals are hard to distinguish. The vocals come off as a bit nasally during this one. “Take your time" makes me annoyed because it is yet another song on the same topic, this group needs a dose of originality, desperately. The vocalist, at least, loses her nasally-ness. “Seemingly ill", the last track, is a somber piece. The tone is emphasized by slow guitar rhythm and the introduction of a trumpet at the beginning. This song is so slow as to be somewhat annoying. I will put you right to sleep. The vocalist, at least, loses her nasally-ness
Review written by: Avery Sapetko

My Love is Cool: Wolf Alice
★★★★☆

Wolf Alice is and up and coming band from Europe, but they definitely know what they’re doing when it comes to music. They climbed the charts with their hit “Moaning Lisa Smile” and that’s just the start. “My Love is Cool” is a new revolution of music that stimulated me in a way only fantastic music can. “Turn to Dust” is an indie-rock alternative track, featuring stellar vocals from Ellie with a mystifying, edgy trace of sex, drugs and rock n roll to back her up; definitely the perfect sound for the opening track of the album. “Bros” has a more upbeat, relaxed feel to it, hence the name. Joff joins in with vocals on this song, creating harmonies to send chills up the spine. This is a perfect Summer single, something you would expect to see at the end of a romantic movie; the epitome of what it sounds like to fall in love. “You’re a Germ” is one of my favorites from this album, and it actually happens to be an older song from the band. It was originally released through SoundCloud and got a lot of hype, understandably. It opens up with smooth and soft whisper vocals, alongside some acoustic guitar, then explodes with electric riffs, hard drum smashes, and a whole lot of energy. Moral of the story, everyone makes mistakes, and we’re all bound to go to hell; so why not dance and scream your lungs out? “Swallowtail” is another favorite, hosting most of Joff’s phenomenal vocals over a beautiful acoustic melody. This song also had a lot of blank space; time to just sit and listen to the music being made, vocals not necessarily needed. Great music always makes me sit and ponder things, separating myself from the rest of the world. This song definitely did that but also completely cleared my mind and put me at ease. “Silk” is the track I’ve listened to the most. It has a captivating sound, something unexplainable. It begins very quiet soft and slow, but changes fairly quickly. Ellie has a lot of emotion in this song, and the harmonizing backup vocals have a demonic, neurotic sense to them that drove me crazy in the best of ways. I’m in no way comparing this album to what pop-punk used to be or sound like in the 80s and 90s, but if there were to be a new genre of music to take over and go down in history, it would be anything and everything that Wolf Alice put into this album. It is very edgy and different, but there are a few tracks for those more fond of calmer songs, including “Freazy,” “Giant Peach,” “Soapy Water” and “Fluffy.” There’s even a hidden bonus track if you can dig the new millennium sound all the way through until the end. I would definitely recommend this album to all.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence

Howzit!?: Def Tech
★★★★☆

This band made a new genre of music, Jawaiian reggae in Japanese music scene. Almost all songs are English, so you will really enjoy their songs if you like reggae or R&B. I believe their songs are similar with R&B, but still reggae. The name of genre came from Japanese, Hawaiian, and Jamaica. So, the genre is Japanese Hawaiian reggae. The members of this band are Shen from Hawaii and Micro from Japan. Actually, the title of this album originates from the greeting in Hawaii, “How`s it!?” According to them, Hawaii people do not usually say, “Hello.” Instead of this, they greet by saying, “How`s it!?” So, they think that if tourists to Hawaii say, “How`s it!?” they open the first door to Hawaii. They want us to open the Def Tech`s door. It has been two years from the last album released, so the fans have been looking forward to this album. The cool songs in this album bring you to Hawaii. You will imagine that you are relaxing with the big sun, beach, and tropical juice. All songs make you dance and sing, so when you are feeling down, you should listen to this album. Especially, the song in this album, “One way” brings you to Hawaii. You can listen to this music with a ukulele. The music sound fits the ukulele. Also, they rap in almost all songs. I could not imagine rap with reggae, but the rap fits reggae. Definitely, you can enjoy this song and will dance with the music. You have to check this out and just dance with it. Actually, their voices are matching together. Micro`s voice is little bit high- toned, but not too high and low. Shen`s is middle- toned and beautiful. Overall, their voice and music are matching with Jawaiian reggae. Please check this album, and you will open the door to Jawaiian music.
Review written by: Wataru Orihara

Bad Girls EP: MKTO
★★★★☆

Being a huge fan of MKTO since they started out, and seeing them perform live 4 times, I was stoked when they dropped an EP out of nowhere! They’re known for loving their fans and have hinted at new music, but decided to give us a sneak peek. The first track on the EP is their latest and greatest hit “Bad Girls.” This song embodies the guys so well, spitting rhymes about hot girls in Vegas, dancing, drinks and everything the high life is known for. Not only are the lyrics catchy, it has that classic catchy pop beat with a jazzy twist MKTO is known for. “Afraid of the Dark” is definitely different for MKTO, but sexy and seductive in every way possible. The lyrics speak for themselves, “Even if you’re afraid of the dark, let’s be dangerous, surrender your heart.” The track has a catchy club beat to it, but also a spicy Latin chorus to it as well. It also has an intense rap solo to it, adding to it’s seduction. “Monaco” is a bit slower, reminiscing on love and what it takes to create a beautiful relationship. The chorus is INCREDIBLY catchy, “Why don’t you close your eyes, and we can leave it all behind. Wake up in paradise, where the sunset never dies. We’ll never say goodbye, goodbye, goodbye.” This song also has some rap parts, which are on the softer side. “Just Imagine It” is probably my favorite from the album. It starts off soft and sweet, but then some sharp and quick violin is added, incorporating energy and adrenalin. This song is all about using your own imagination to make what you want of life, something MKTO has always been big on throughout their music. Overall, definitely a great EP from the guys, and I can’t wait for the album.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence

Tragedy Will Find Us: Counterparts
★★★★☆

This album by Ontario’s ‘counterparts is not something I would expect from Purenoise records. This album is brutal straightforward hardcore at its finest. The album starts off with the lyrically powerful “stillborn.” A calm rushes over me As I picture my corpse Ill-fated with the faults I can’t escape(A sigh of relief) A sigh of relief used to signify the blight That infects the last few fragments of my skull” Second is the equally powerful “thread.” The brutal sound of the song makes the lyrics somewhat unintelligible. I’ve been through a breakup this week, this song’s message of moving on from love encouraged me.“Resonate” is the one track where the drummer gets his chance to shine. “I fight the fact that I’m a nervous wreck.” This song is about overcoming insecurity to become stronger. Following that is “Stranger”, a song that contradicts the former, a song about pity and self-loathing that rivals anything that I have heard all year. “Lay me to rest Lay me to rest inside of a glass casket So you can remember me with a smile on my face Adorning me in my own failures So you can count them as you stand above my bones”This song has the best breakdown of the entire album right at the end of the track, like 90% through.“Burn” takes a break from heavy vocals to include a speaking interlude; this seems to have become a staple of every hardcore album since… well… ever. Next up is the album’s title track, a mediocre song in my opinion; which is sad because the title track should be the strongest. The next two tracks, “Withdrawal” and “Choke” are both good but not mind-blowing songs that add to the overall turbulent theme of the record. “Choke” does have my favorite lyrics from the album. “Intoxicate with a layer of loss and Dissension of lips Again I lay a tulip to evoke attractions” “Collapse” made me realize the pattern of the album. Every other track seems to be inspirational while the in-betweens are tortured and wrenching. The album is completed by “Drown and “Solace” the last track of the album is my second favorite beside “thread”. This song is almost completely spoken word and is about begging someone to not give up on them. We can all relate. We all screw up, during those times we hope that there is someone that will to give up no matter what.
Review written by: Avery Sapetko

Songs of God and Whiskey: Airborne Toxic Event
★★★☆☆

The Airborne Toxic event definitely chose to take a chance with their latest album, “Songs of God and Whiskey.” Although you can definitely still hear the band’s roots and the band is very recognizable by lead singer Mikel’s voice, the album is a lot more edgy, yet acoustic, then previous work. “Poor Isaac” is the opening track, and it’s the epitome of this album; very rock and roll, yet laid back and easy to listen to. The second track, “Cocaine and Abel,” is similar, but has a twist. The trumpets half way through are a great surprise but play into the song so well. “A Certain Type of Girl” is the classic love song that every album contains, but this song has so much soul and happiness compared to others. “Change and Change and Change and Change” is incredibly similar. So similar, I thought I was listening to the same song twice in a row, which was quite disappointing. A slower song on the album is “April is the Cruelest Month.” It has a sound very in tune with the rest of the album, but it’s mostly acoustic guitar with some violin, which makes the song even more beautiful, on top of the lyrics reminiscing on an old love. Other tracks on the album include “The Lines of the Cars,” “Strangers,” “Why Why Why,” “California” and “The Fall of Rome.” As much as I wanted to love the second half of “songs of God and Whiskey,” I couldn’t. The Airborne Toxic event definitely took a risk with this album, and I will admit their music is still good. The problem is that every song sounds almost exactly the same. Each is happy and upbeat, embedding a memory into a story with clever lyrics, but very similar in sound. Each reminds me of Summer and sitting around a campfire with friends, which is never a bad thing, but I feel like I can listen to the whole album with the first track. There was no differentiation anywhere, or any wow moments for me. I definitely recommend this to previous Toxic fans, but not for anyone looking for new and different music,
Review written by:Nikki Lawrence

Beneath the Skin:Of Monsters & Men
★★★★☆

Of Monsters and Men prove that they are a force to be reckoned with in the indie-alternative world with their album “Beneath The Skin.” The title of the album should give you a hint as to what lies ahead in the album. This is one of the most poetic albums I have ever listened to. Each track seems like it’s reaching down into the depths of your soul and revealing everything you have ever felt in life. The album starts off with the hit single “Crystals.” It’s doing insanely well on the alternative charts, and for good reason. The song is powerful and dynamic, with haunting lyrics and a unique beat. The vocalists’ voices harmonize really well together as they sing about seeing things clearly through crystal eyes. It’s one of the better songs on the album. There are a few other songs that are similar to “Crystals,” including “Human” and “Winter Sound.” There seems to be a constant haunting theme throughout this entire album, and it’s actually quite beautiful, especially with the slower songs. “Hunger” is a softer and slower song on the album and is filled with raw emotion. It’s a song about desperately wanting to move on from the one you are with, yet feeling as though it’s too hard. It’s haunting and beautiful all at once. After listening to it you may feel an odd combination of sadness and revival, and if you do, just embrace it. My favorite song on the album is “I of the Storm.” It’s a poetic, beautiful song about the self-doubt we all face in this world. The vocalist sings about asking someone if they actually do need them in their life, and it’s sung in the most hauntingly beautiful way. It’s full of raw emotion and will resonate with you deep down to your core. A song similar to this on the album is “Backyard.” It has that same haunting-yet-beautiful sound to it and contains some of the most poetic lyrics I’ve ever heard from an indie-alternative band. For every slower song there is on this album there’s a faster, more aggressive one to balance it. One of these tracks is titled “Wolves Without Teeth.” It sounds very indie and dynamic. The vocalists do an amazing job balancing one another within the song – it’s not too aggressive, but it’s aggressive enough to know they mean to deliver a message within the song. A song similar to this on the album is “Thousand Eyes.” Of Monsters and Men have proved that they can successfully shake up their sound with this album. Their last few songs released before “Crystals” were very mellow and whimsical, but this album shows another side to the band. It takes confidence to do this, and with the way this album sounds, Of Monsters and Men have everything to be confident about.
Review written by:Kelly Kuehn

Last Forever: Westkust
★★★☆☆

This two vocalist group on “Runforcover records” has been making waves on the American hipster-indie rock circuit since they came here from Sweden. With the release of their newest album “last forever” they have made themselves a plaid shirt wearing force to be reckoned with. Before I begin the one negative thing about the album is the choice to purposely use vintage 90’s sounding recording methods. This causes a high slur. The album starts with the heartfelt “swirl.” Both vocalists sing in this track about being left behind by a love interest. “Dishwasher” comes second. This song, with an especially long intro, is a dialogue between a couple who are deciding on their future together. This song has nothing brilliant to offer, sort of humdrum. Perhaps the most upbeat track is up next. “Drown” is a rapid paced song about the frustrating impossibility of not following your heart “and when the sky is pouring rain my heart is skipping its all the same.” The title track comes up next. This song has interesting percussion components especially towards the beginning. The female vocals are very reminiscent of “The Cranberries” in this track. This song is very hard to understand, as far as discerning words. That being said this song is mellow and soothing. “Easy” is the second track thus far that has a too long intro, see dishwasher. This song is drawn out, boring, and almost completely unintelligible. The band makes up for any mistakes with the greatness of “Jonna.” This relaxing track echoes the feelings and thoughts of the female vocalist. I wish that the male had sung a bit. The album is topped off by “summer3D” and “another day”, both fast tempo songs great for a summer party.
Review written by: Avery Sapetko

Reflection: Mr. Children
★★★★★

This is a pretty famous J-pop, and pop- and folk- rock band. All Japanese people know them, and they are also famous in Asia and somewhere in Europe. The origin of the name of this band is funny. They had been singing as the name, “THR WALLS” before, but when they changed the name, they were thinking to put “Children” because they all like this word and were inspired by a band called by “The Railway Children” and an album, “Children” by the British band, THE MISSION. The things each member likes are including with Children, so they decided to put “Children” in this band. And, they were thinking that the name, children even though they are not children, so they wanted to show that they are not children. That is why they put “Mr.” by means of adults. Actually, before THE WALLS, they had been singing as Beatnik in their high school club. Even though they are all 45 years old, all generations know and like this band. This band is being famous in even my generation. Even though they are making difficult song, many people try to sing their songs. I think it is because we all know this band, and if men sing this song very well, they are liked by all Japanese women. We would be very proud if you sung this song perfectly. In this album, the songs are folk- and pop- rock. Usually, the vocalist sings very slow music and mild- toned songs, but one of the songs in this album called by REM is rarely sang as if his voice has a sting. The music tone is strong, but including beautiful and mild toned- voice. What I am saying is very ambiguous, but you will see what I am saying. So, overall, this is a really great song, and I am sure you will enjoy it. And all of their songs in this album cheers you up and makes you think something deeply. Enjoy this song!
Review written by: Wataru Orihara

Everything is 4: Jason Derulo
★★★★☆

After sweeping the nation with his latest and greatest hit, “Want You to Want Me,” Jason Derulo is back in action. Being recently single once again, he’s ready to take the music industry over once again with an album full of funk and sexual desire. The album even features some big names including Meghan Trainor, K. Michelle, Stevie Wonder, Keith Urban and others. “Painkiller” features top-of-the-charts-artist right now, Meghan Trainor. Although the song picks up quite fast and has a good beat, the song didn’t capture my attention any further than that. Their voices sound phenomenal together, but neither of them perform on this track. They kept it safe and bland not only vocal wise, but music quality wise as well. “Broke” is one for the records on Derulo’s part; something very different from anything I’ve ever heard him produce before. Within the first few seconds, you can tell Keith Urban is definitely involved. This song takes on a country-pop twist that is slowly climbing it’s way up the top 40 ladder. Aside from the twang in this one, Stevie Wonder does an incredible job on the harmonica. Julia Michaels is the next to feature, on a track much slower and serious than the rest of the album. “Trade Hearts” is constructed with power and exemplifies strength. The two artist’s definitively show off their vocal range in this one, harmonizing slightly near to perfect and balancing off of each other very well. If you’re one for the funk train to come back into town, “Love Me Down” is your cup of tea. It has all of the above, plus all of the sexual desire he teases at in his other songs, on a whole new level. “Get Ugly” is one of the fan favorites so far. I sensed a Black Eyed Peas tone from this song, taking me back to high school. It has a slight dash of funk as well, with the chorus taking a turn of events, popping out with a heavy bass and producing a catchy, upbeat dance anthem within seconds. This is sure to be the next Derulo club hit. My favorite from this album is by far “X2CU.” Not only does this set a meaningful message, but it can categorize into that perfect summer hit or a funk twist, sure to be making it’s way up the charts in a few short weeks. This song tells a story of getting over someone totally pointless, but finding that someone special once again, who also simultaneously replaced the scumbag who you just left. This song is sexy, flirty and you wont be able to help but clap and dance along. Overall, I am impressed with this album. Never being a huge fan of his music, Jason Derulo did a great job with this work.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence

VHS: X Ambassadors
★★★★★

X Ambassadors is an up and coming band, and even better, is from the local town of Ithaca, NY. This band has redefined the term “up and coming.” They were nobody, until Imagine Dragons heard their music while listening to radio on their tour bus. From there, the whole thing seems like a dream. Dan Reynolds immediately called their record label and introduced X Ambassadors to the beautiful, wonderful music world and X Ambassadors shortly introduced themselves back. The band has definitely taken the opportunity and ran with it, never looking back. While starting out, they’ve had songs with Kanye, Eminem and even Zedd, but nothing compares to VHS, their first full length album. It includes the hit “Renegades,” which has reached number one on the alternative charts in just a matter of weeks, and even featured in a new jeep commercial. Although that is an incredibly motivational song, it’s nothing if comparing to other tracks on the album. My favorites include “Naked,” “B.I.G,” “Lowlife,” “Nervous,” “Gorgeous,” “Hang on,” and “Unsteady,” so basically the entire track listing. There is even a feature from Imagine Dragons in “Fear,” another favorite of mine. All of the songs on this album are from the band’s heart, mind and soul and it’s so easy to tell just through listening. The background of each and the meaning represent what life is all about; going through ups and downs, falling in love, facing tough times and just trying to make the most of it, even when it seems the world is telling you to do otherwise. Despite the absolutely beautiful lyrics, the actual MUSIC and transitions throughout are phenomenal as well. Every song rang through my body and made me appreciate music, the way I should, once again. This album is also very unique and sentimental to the band. It includes several interludes tying the songs together; each being twenty to thirty seconds of actual audio clips from family excerpts and gatherings of the family members. From starting off as a band hosting two brothers who originally weren’t too keen of working off of each other, this band has come such a long way. Their music is beautiful and the epitome of inspiration on a whole new level in today’s music industry. I usually recommend to fans of particular bands, but for this, I recommend to all. This isn’t your stereotypical 12-pop-song-cookie- cutter-bass-drop album that will be shortly forgotten, it’s a representation of what music should be and how caught up musicians can get in fame nowadays. Even if you’ve never heard their music before, this is the type of stuff that will make you close your eyes and actually feel the music, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. An absolutely fantastic album.
Review written by: Nikki Lawrence



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