Blue Robot

Album Review: Incubus - If Not Now, When?

Posted by Brian McFarland on 08/19 at 01:31 PM

Grade: C

Incubus released their sixth full-length studio album If Not Now, When? on July 8. Being a long time fan of the California band, I felt I had to review it. Honestly, it was a bit of a disappointment. I could tell that lead singer Brandon Boyd and the other members are in a much better and happier place than previous albums. However, the majority of the album lacked the intensity and power that they had in the past.

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Album Review: Trophy Scars - Never Born, Never Dead

Posted by Brian McFarland on 08/12 at 04:10 PM

Grade: B+

Trophy Scars are “like childhood lovers, but less sober,” as they say on their Facebook fan page. Listening to their new album, Never Born, Never Dead, puts me at a baseball game under fireworks on a summer night, or in a dark bar jamming out with a cold beer. They have the lovey-dovey lyrics with a grown-up and practiced sound that doesn’t disappoint.

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Album Review: Set Your Goals - Burning at Both Ends

Posted by Brian McFarland on 07/29 at 12:24 PM

Grade: B-

Set Your Goals is a punk-pop band out of the San Francisco Bay area and is back on the road after releasing their third album Burning at Both Ends on June 27. They have made a name for themselves by living in tour buses, but it has been more than worth it, at least from a fan’s point of view. Their albums portray the electricity and feeling of a concert. Burning at Both Ends is no different as it touches on themes to give up regrets and live for yourself in the moment.

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Album Review: August Burns Red, Leveler

Posted by Brian McFarland on 07/14 at 03:21 PM

Grade: B

It’s albums like August Burns Red’s Leveler that remind me that there is still good metalcore out there. The Pennsylvania natives released their fourth album on June 21st.  They have released yet another technically sound album with great musicianship, behind Jake Luhrs screaming vocals. In a genre that, more often than not, floods the market with a generic sound, August Burns Red drives hard enough on this album to keep you rocking out the entire time.

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Album Review: La Dispute/Koji - Never Come Undone

Posted by Brian McFarland on 07/08 at 09:30 AM

Never Come Undone is a four-song split EP with Koji and La Dispute that was released on May 3. The EP switches artists every track, blending the two different sounds into one interesting creation. Never Come Undone transcends musical differences by focusing on the emotional and ethical similarities. It shows that despite differences, where there is common ground those differences become insignificant, just as the album cuts across genres and styles.

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Ablum Review of Death Cab for Cutie: Codes and Keys

Posted by Brian McFarland on 06/23 at 01:32 PM

Grade: A

Indie rock band Death Cab for Cutie released their seventh LP entitled Codes and Keys  with Atlantic Records on May 31st. The Washington state band consists of Ben Gibbard (vocals, guitar, and piano), Chris Walla (guitar, production, and keyboards), Nick Hammer (bass), and Jason McGerr (drums). Unlike previously dimmer albums, Codes and Keys gives the listener some hope with its upbeat mix of guitars, drums, and synthesizers. Ben Gibbard’s past experience with Postal Service definitely influenced a lot of the synthesized sound on this album. The happier and deeper songs are something that obviously has evolved through Death Cab’s 14 years of music. They used this album to portray a number of themes such as belonging and finding a place to call home. It also touches on the hope that even when everything seems to be in flames there is stability in love. This album grew on me with every listen, and it left me wanting more.

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Album Review - Emery “We Do What We Want”

Posted by Brian McFarland on 06/09 at 01:45 PM

Grade: A-

The first time I saw Emery live was on a hot summer night under a dark purple sky. They were finishing up the first night of the Purple Door music festival. It was one of the best performances I have ever seen. The stage was blacked out when, all of a sudden,  “Are you listening?” screams out of the speakers, piercing the dark void. Green and red beams burst forth lighting up the stage. Toby Morrell swung the microphone around like Don Quixote’s giant windmill monsters. He dove into the crowd like a fish out of water, singing the entire time. The band reappeared from the blackness, answering the call for an encore with ‘Walls.’ Guitars were thrown into the air, falling back in perfect rhythm as if on a string. It was electrifying. That was the moment I got hooked.

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Review: Take Action Tour 2011 - Pittsburgh May 26th

Posted by Brian McFarland on 05/31 at 10:48 AM

Standing outside the old church in the strip district, I could have sworn we were in the wrong place except for the hipsters who seemed to be migrating to each other. I stood, amidst cigarette smoke, looking up at the stone basilica turned rock ‘n’ roll forum. Walking into Pittsburgh’s Altar Bar was like passing through to a different dimension. As I walked in I was shocked at the beautifully unique venue. On the right stood a bar the length of the wall with three 10-foot projection screens and nine 50-inch LCD TVs laid out like a quilt across the wall. Ahead of me were tables that circled around and ran along the left wall. In the middle of the room stood a spiral staircase, lit up with red lights, that lead up to a bar and balcony that circled the stage below. Rising even further up was an octagonal tower with eight stained glass windows above the nave, standing as a testament to the original world that once lived there.

At the front of the room stood the stage where the bands preached their sermons.

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Take Action Tour 2011: Pittsburgh, May 26th

Posted by Brian McFarland on 05/25 at 11:06 AM

The Take Action Tour 2011, celebrating its 10th anniversary, will stop at the Altar Bar in Pittsburgh on Thursday, May 26th before concluding the tour in New York City. Bayside and Silverstein will headline the tour that also includes Polar Bear Club, The Swellers, and Texas In July. The tour is run by Hopeless Records through it’s non-profit organization, Sub City.

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