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Arms & Hearts-Fortitude EP Review

Next Monday (11/20/17), Manchester acoustic/folk punk singer Arms & Hearts (Steve Millar) will be releasing a two-song digital EP titled Fortitude via Real Ghost Records. Fortitude will be Arms & Hearts first release since the Too Much Sleep, Not Enough Dreams EP earlier this year.

The first of the two songs on the EP is the title track and my favorite, “Fortitude”. “Fortitude” is an upbeat and catchy song, with a bold and memorable chorus. The song is a relatable anthem about trying to get the most out of your life. It really serves as the perfect introduction to the EP and the artist behind it.

The second song is “Dagger Eyes”. “Dagger Eyes” has a bit more of a dark sound to it. It’s a somber, slow building track about the pain of losing a friend. The contrast between this song and “Fortitude” really helps the listener appreciate Arms & Hearts as a musician.

Overall, I think the stripped-down feel of the music, which relies heavily on acoustic guitar, really helps give the EP a heartfelt feel. It makes the listener feel like the singer is really pouring out his heart and soul into every word and every note, making it an excellent listen. Fans of bands/musicians like The Gaslight Anthem, AJJ, The Loved Ones and Ben Elliott should definitely check out this EP!

Album Score: 4/5

You can pre-order a digital copy of the EP from Real Ghost Records’ website here:

http://www.realghostrecords.com/products/602910-arms-hearts-fortitude

Check out Arms & Hearts’ previous releases on his Bandcamp page here:

https://armsandhearts.bandcamp.com/

Like Arms & Hearts on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/ArmsandHearts/

Check out the music video for “Fortitude” here:

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Wicked Bears-Tuning Out Review

Last month (10/13/17), SLC pop punk trio, Wicked Bears released their debut album, titled Tuning Out via Hidden Home Records. Tuning Out is Wicked Bears’ first release since their self-titled EP in 2016.

On Tuning Out, Wicked Bears deliver a near perfect debut album. The band flawlessly updates their sound from their previous EP, giving Tuning Out a stronger and more cohesive sound, while still staying true to the spirit of their music.

Wicked Bears use Tuning Out’s ten tracks to showcase how they’ve matured as a group since their first release. The band’s fast-paced music and smooth melodies provide the perfect vessel for their funny, light-hearted and upbeat lyrics, helping each one of the album’s songs to shine.

Tuning Out’s incredibly catchy songs cover a diverse array of subjects, including: the flaws of capitalism, trying to understand death metal music, being robbed and the large number of generic and disappointing shows on cable T.V. Before you know it, you’ll be singing along with a big grin on your face!

Wicked Bears really put together a terrific debut album! The best thing about the album is that you can tell the band had as much fun recording the songs as you’ll have listening to them. In a year packed with so many great albums, this really helps Tuning Out to stand out. Hopefully, it won’t be too long before Wicked Bears have more new music for us!

Fans of bands like Bothering Dennis, Joyce Manor, Antarctigo Vespucci, Modern Baseball and GUTS will love Wicked Bears! Notable tracks from Tuning Out include: “Nickel Arcade”, “Mega Powers”, “60 WPM” and “Tuning Out”.

Album Score: 4.5/5

Stream/purchase a digital copy of Tuning Out from Wicked Bears’ Bandcamp page here:

https://wickedbears.bandcamp.com/

Purchase the album on CD or cassette from Hidden Home Records’ website here:

http://hiddenhomerecords.storenvy.com/products/21764756-hhr016-wicked-bears-tuning-out-cd-cassette

Like Wicked Bears on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WickedBearsSLC/

Check out the lyric video for “Reebok Classics” here:

The Run Up-S/T Review

Next Wednesday (11/15/17), Bristol punk band The Run Up will release their self-titled debut album via Real Ghost Records and Get Party Records. This will be The Run Up’s first release since the Sink Or Swallow//North EP earlier this year.

The first thing I noticed when I started listening to The Run Up’s self-titled album was the band’s energy. The album immediately kicks off with a bang! Its first track is a song called “WKND”, a fun and over-the-top anthem that serves as the perfect introduction to the band’s sound and sets up the rest of the album nicely.

The next nine tracks don’t disappoint either. The entire album is packed from front to back with bouncy, energetic jams that make its 30-minute runtime fly by. It’s punk rock as it should be: loud, obnoxious, and fun as hell, regardless of where you are and what you’re doing when you listen to it.

The album is also the band’s most cohesive sounding release to date. It does a terrific job updating and evolving the band’s sound from their previous EPs, without sacrificing any of the things that make them so good.

Combine all of that with the band’s upbeat and insightful lyrics, covering subjects like loss of friends, making mistakes and searching for clarity, and what you get is a truly fantastic debut album. This is exactly what The Run Up deliver on their self-titled album. The band adds another excellent album to the growing list great releases from 2017. Hopefully, it won’t be long before they’re back with more new music!

Fans of bands like Iron Chic, Aerial Salad, Ma Jolie and The Slow Death will love The Run Up! Notable tracks from their album include: “Learning Loss”, “Terrance”, “WKND” and “Line ‘Em Up”.

Album Score: 4.5/5

U.S./Canada vinyl and digital pre-orders can be found on Get Party Records’ Bandcamp page here:

https://getparty.bandcamp.com/album/the-run-up

UK/EU vinyl preorders can be found on Real Ghost Records’ website here:

http://www.realghostrecords.com/products/600129-the-run-up-self-titled-lp-pre-order

Like The Run Up on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/therunupuk/

Check out The Run Up’s previous EPs on their Bandcamp page here:

https://therunupuk.bandcamp.com/music

Watch the new music video for “WKND” here:

Aerial Salad-Roach. Review

Next month (11/3/17), Manchester punk trio Aerial Salad will be releasing their debut full-length, titled Roach. via Plasterer Records. Roach. will be Aerial Salad’s first release since the Roach EP last November.

I first started listening to Aerial Salad after I met two of the guys from the band at Fest last year. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to their show when they played Sunday night (So hopefully they’ll come back to Gainesville soon!), but since then I’ve been listening to them quite a bit. Ever since I found out the band was working on their first full-length, I’ve been super excited. After jamming to Roach. for about a week straight, I can tell you it is worth every second of the wait.

Roach. not only stands out as one of the best albums of the year, but it’s easily one of the best pop punk albums of the decade! If you aren’t listening to Aerial Salad already, now is the perfect time to start, these guys have big things ahead of them!

Each one of Roach.’s twelve songs (five re-recorded tracks from the band’s first two EPs and seven brand new songs) are terrific. But, they’re more than just your average upbeat and catchy punk tunes. The lyrics are intelligent and insightful, covering a wide range of topics including depression and self-reflection.

From beginning to end Roach. grabs your attention and doesn’t let go until after it’s twenty-nine-minute runtime has concluded. The only problem with it is that there aren’t at least twelve more songs! Hopefully Aerial Salad will be back with more new music soon!

In summary, Roach. is an outstanding debut album from an extremely talented band! Aerial Salad is proving that punk rock is still alive and well, and fans of the genre don’t want to miss out on them!

Fans of bands like Dillinger Four, Wonk Unit, Jawbreaker, GUTS, and Plan 37 will love Aerial Salad! Notable tracks from Roach. include: “Habits And Problems”, “97”, “Throw It Away”, “Check My Mind”, “Dunhills” and “Patricroft”.

Album Score: 5/5

Pre-order a digital copy of Roach. from Aerial Salad’s Bandcamp page here (I’ll update this page with the links for physical pre-orders when they’re available):

https://aerialsalad.bandcamp.com/album/roach

Like Aerial Salad on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/aerialsaladband/

Indonesian Junk-Stars In The Night Review

Last Friday (10/13/17), Milwaukee punk trio Indonesian Junk released their second album, titled Stars In The Night via Rum Bar Records. Stars In The Night is Indonesian Junk’s first release since their 2016 live album, So Live, So Devastating.

Several really great bands released new albums on Friday the 13th this year (I guess it’s not so unlucky after all!). While many of us, myself included, were feverishly listening to the new Iron Chic and Lillingtons albums we were missing out on the true gem that is Stars In The Night.

Indonesian Junk is like a blast from the past in the best kind of way. The band coolly harnesses the style and sound of all my favorite CBGB era punk bands and adds their own unique twist to it. Their music is fun, bouncy, and unforgettably catchy!

Stars In The Night takes all the best things about Indonesian Junk’s first album and makes them better. The band delivers a newer, more well polished sound, while still retaining the DIY spirit that made their first album so much fun. Giving fans, both old and new, ten satisfying new jams to bob their heads and tap their feet to.

Fans of bands like The Ramones, The Stooges, Hüsker Dü, and Modey Lemon will love Indonesian Junk! Notable tracks from Stars In The Night include: “Tonight”, “I Would Never Treat You Like That”, “Turn To Stone” and “Slow Down”.

Album Score: 4/5

Stream/purchase a digital, CD, or vinyl copy of Stars In The Night from Rum Bar Records’ Bandcamp page here:

https://rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com/album/stars-in-the-night

Like Indonesian Junk on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/indonesianjunk/