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Allyce Andrew

Zombie – EP review

TDWP’s new album has most creative tracks.

The Christian, metal-core band The Devil Wears Prada (TDWP) from Dayton, Ohio was formed in 2005 and started gaining recognition in the hardcore scene in 2006 after the release of “Dear Love: A Beautiful Discord”.

But with their 2007 release of “Plagues”, the band really took the scene by storm and attracted the attention of Ferret Music Label in 2008.

In 2009, TDWP released its highly anticipated album “With Roots Above and Branches Below” which reached the #1 positions on the Billboard Top 100 Christian, Independent and Hard Rock Album lists. 

These metal-vets can seemingly do no wrong, and their latest release of the “Zombie – EP” only furthers this conclusion. The five-track long Extended Play (EP) album is exactly what you would think the soundtrack to a metal-zombie apocalypse would sound like and even led to a spin-off, a 14 page comic that was included with the EP’s pre-orders written by JL Bourne and illustrated by Kevin Mellon.

The first song, “Escape”, is a mind-blowing, heavy track which incorporates a zombie movie sound bit, sirens, intense vocals and short, creepy piano pieces. The absolutely best part of the track is the short pause as someone loads ammunition into a gun followed by heavy drums instead of a shot. It’s genius and definitely creates the atmosphere of hardcore, zombie warfare.

The rest of the album is consistent with this theme, revolving around choruses like “We cannot restore, we cannot recover, all is lost in the flood of the risen dead” in “Revive” and standard metal-core sounds. Zombie is a must-have for zombie and metal lovers alike.

Relationship of Command review

At the Drive In’s new album is one of rock’s most defining albums

In the days of generic pop-punk bands around every corner, stumbling across an album like “Relationship of Command” by “At the Drive-In” can be a bit of a religious experience.

The album exudes energy, from Cedric Bixler’s screaming vocals on the very first track “Arcarsenal” to the distorted breakdown of “Quarantined”. Finding an album as raw as this is unfortunately, a very difficult thing to do. All of tracks on “Relationship of Command” deserve attention but ‘”One Armed Scissor” is the most striking – reaching the number one position on AP’s Haircut 100 and featured on late-night performances with Conan O’Brien and David Letterman.

“Relationship of Command” was released in 2000 from the Beastie Boys Grand Royal Record label and has sold nearly one million copies. It also marks the band’s last full release of original material. Various tumultuous experiences have led the members to take an indefinite hiatus in 2001 and follow their own musical paths:  Bixler and guitarist Omar Rodriguez began The Mars Volta, and guitarist Jim Ward, bassist Paul Hinojos and drummer Tony Hajjar formed Sparta.

“At the Drive-In” originally formed during the summer of 1994 in El Paso, Texas, and as a band stayed true to this album’s chaotic energy. From their entrancing live shows to their two other full length albums, the band left a legacy strong enough to sustain their followers for now.

It seems unlikely that “At the Drive-In” will ever unite again to save our mainstream rock world, but I have my fingers crossed.

Florence + The Machine

Florence + The Machine sweeps music scene

From Lily Allen to Amy Winehouse, America loves England’s bands headlined by quirky girls. Florence + The Machine is the newest British craze and, thankfully, her new album has nothing to do with rehab.

Florence Welch’s debut album, “Lungs”, is a mind-blowing way to start a career.  Welch’s stunning voice is blended in with a ethereal, magical landscape of harps and pianos in tracks “Howl” and “Cosmic Love”, but has a bit of a grungy bite in “Kiss With A Fist”, Welch’s first single, released in 2008

Overall, “Lungs” is a breath of fresh air from the standard pop acts and amazingly original album about the up’s and down’s of love and ultimately being free. 

The charming 23-year-old England native has been gracing America’s shore with her presence at events like the Video Music Awards, Voodoo Fest and Coachella.  Her performances never cease to impress and prove to be just as elaborate as her songs, since they are notorious for her wardrobe of leotards, capes and flaming red hair. 

Welch’s track, “Heavy In Your Arms” was also featured on Twilight’s, “Eclipse” album,  along with contributions from The Black Keys, Dead Weather and Vampire Weekend. As if this were not enough success for a new artist, Florence + The Machine will even make an appearance on U2’s, June 360 Degree tour in Michigan and Miami.

Mumford & Sons album review

Mumford & Sons capitvate music lovers with their heartfelt lyrics and submersive performances

Mumford & Sons are not new phenomena to the music world. 

Originating in 2007 in the underground, folk scene of London, Mumford banded together with the intent of formulating “music that matters, without taking themselves too seriously.”

“Sign No More”, released in October of 2009, was their first full-length album. Unsurprisingly, the phenomenal album was produced under Markus Dravs (Arcade Fire) and licensed under Glassnote Entertainment Group (Phoenix, The Temper Trap).

The most winning quality of this band is their endearing and sometimes dark lyrics, catchy songs and spell-binding live performances.  Some of the most memorable tracks performed live, surprisingly, were “Awake My Soul” (their very first song written together) and “The Cave”.

The Mumford & Sons craze has recently ignited in the U.S., a testament to the fact that every single date of their U.S. fall tour was completely sold out. Mumford even received recognition for Little Lion Man from MTV as a regularly played music video and by Mark Hoppus (Blink-182) as one of his current favorite top songs

They can also be found on the Billboard charts, peaking at fourth and 16th  positions for Best Rock Song (Little Lion Man) and Album.

The energy of their live sets is undeniable, so if you missed out on their most recent visit do not fret because Mumford & Sons have established a set home in Americans hearts.

Jenny and Johnny album review

Jenny and Johnny’s new album offers a different take on the boyfriend/girlfriend collaboration

Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice have been making music for years, but now, they’re having fun.  The boyfriend/girlfriend collaboration, Jenny and Johnny, released “I’m Having Fun Now” in August of 2010 .

The album, produced in the middle of the worst Nebraskan winter since the 1860’s, was recorded at ARC Studios with Mike Mogis  (of “Bright Eyes” and “Monsters of Folk”)

The album originally came about from the work of mainly Rice and Lewis, with a few collaborations from bandmate Jason Boesel (“Rilo Kiley”, “Bright Eyes”) on drums and Pierre De Reeder (also from Rilo Kiley) as the track/demo engineer .

What is so intriguing about “I’m Having Fun Now” is that it has a She & Him vibe, due to the distinct folk sound of Lewis’ voice entwined with Rice’s corresponding droning vocals.  Mixed in with this is a sometimes dreamy, half-stoned sound similar to Beach House’s album “Teen Dream” and Surfer Blood-esque guitar riffs (especially in tracks “Just Like Zeus”, “My Pet Snake” and “Slavedriver”). These alternative elements blended together seamlessly to form a satisfying, indie album. 

Do not be fooled into thinking that this record is just another typical boyfriend/girlfriend collaboration, since there is a distinct underlying bite in Jenny and Johnny’s sweet sound. The upbeat song “My Pet Snake” is filled with Lewis’ lyrics about how she does not “believe in sucking your way to the top,” and trying, “everything from heroin to Guinness.”  “Big Wave”, possibly the catchiest track on the album, even touches the underlying issues of bankruptcy in California

Jenny and Johnny are just too cool for the standard lame, bubble gum love songs, and the addition of these lyrics clears away any skepticism of “I’m Having Fun Now” falling into the category of another typical heartbreak album. Essentially, this record is a necessary buy for anyone who likes good, catchy songs.