Blue Robot

The Wonder Years Rock the Suburbs with New Album “The Greatest Generation”

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 06/07 at 04:10 PM

Grade: A

Pop-punk is a genre that is hit or miss for many people. In my experience, there are those who are die hard fans and those that just prefer to listen to something else.  Lansdale, Pennsylvania’s The Wonder Years bridge the gap for me between the alternative and indie rock I usually prefer to the pop punk sound with their soaring melodies and their sincere, meaningful lyrics sung with compassion by the group’s front-man, Dan “Soupy” Campbell.  They describe themselves as “Realist Pop Punk” and after a string of great albums, The Greatest Generation seals the deal.  These guys just seem to get it.

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2013 Will Be Ellie Goulding’s Year

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 12/18 at 05:54 PM

Ellie Goulding arguably had one of the biggest breakout years music saw in 2012.  Her single “Lights” finally began climbing the Billboard Hot 100 in August 2012 after spending more than enough time hovering around the bottom of the chart since it’s United States release in May of 2011.  It seems as though it’s been everywhere ever since.

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‘Tis The Season! Some Songs to Put You in the Holiday Spirit

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 12/06 at 06:21 PM

It’s that time of the year again, State College. Allen street looks spectacular adorned in lights and a full evergreen stands just outside the Allen Street gate. I see bright blue snowflakes on street lamps of Beaver Avenue as I walk to class each day and I could not be happier. With final papers, projects and exams looming over us, let’s take some time together to relax and enjoy some tunes before these next few weeks and think fondly about the family and friends who await us once we return home. Here are some Christmas/winter/holiday songs I hold very dear. I hope you might like them as well:

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Album Review: Matt & Kim Release Thunderous New Album, “Lightning”

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 11/21 at 02:18 PM

Grade: B+

Brooklyn duo Matt (Johnson) & Kim (Schifino) are back in action with the release of their new album Lightning, released on October 2nd by FADER Label, an independent label based out of New York City.  The album is their first since 2010’s Sidewalks  and the duo returns with the same contagious pop symphonies their fans have come to love them for.

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Springsteen and his E Street Band Rocked The BJC

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 11/12 at 05:05 PM

Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band rolled into University Park’s Bryce Jordan Center on November 1 and they made sure to rock while they were there.  They set started off with a couple of new tracks off of Springsteen’s latest release Wrecking Ball.  While new songs like “We Take Care of Our Own” and “Death to My Hometown” may not have been known by all in attendance, they were still very fun to listen to and got the crowd on their feet from the beginning of the set.

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Album Review: Bad Books II

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 10/26 at 05:07 PM

Grade: A+

Since Bad Books, the indie supergroup made up of members of Manchester Orchestra and singer/songwriter Kevin Devine,  released their debut self-titled album in 2010, a lot has gone on.  Manchester Orchestra released Simple Math, their third studio album in May of 2011 and Devine released his sixth studio album Between the Concrete and Clouds in September 2011.  Heck, in addition to that, Manchester Orchetra’s singer, Andy Hull, finished the final edition of his trilogy of solo albums under the moniker Right Away, Great Captain!. The first two albums were released in 2007 and 2008 respectively but Hull took his time with the third installment, entitled The Church of the Good Thief, and released it in June of this year.  So with all this recording, along with touring, many were afraid that Bad Books first album might be a one and done operation.  However, the group made it known that there would be more Bad Books and on October 9, they upheld that promise, as their second album, Bad Books: II, was released on Triple Crown Records.

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Album Review: The Carpenter by The Avett Brothers

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 10/08 at 12:54 AM

Grade: B+

Scott and Seth Avett, the guys who comprise the Avett Brothers, are back at it again with their new album, The Carpenter, which was released on September 11th on Universal Republic with producer Rick Rubin. The brothers, who play banjo and guitar respectively, are joined by figurative brothers Bob Crawford on bass, Joe Kwon on cello, and Jacob Edwards on percussion. The album is the group’s first since 2009’s I and Love and You and it does not disappoint.

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Sunday, 9/30, SOMA and Roustabout! Team Up to Bring Crocodiles to Chronic Town

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/26 at 03:35 PM

The State College-based promotional company Roustabout! has joined with Penn State student organization Students Organizing the Multiple Arts (“SOMA”) to host indie pop band Crocodiles. The band hails from San Diego and are fresh off the release of their latest album Endless Flowers, out now on Frenchkiss Records.

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Mike’s Song of the Week: “Forest Whitaker” by Bad Books

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/24 at 09:07 AM

Bad Books is somewhat of an Indie/Alternative super group consisting of members from Manchester Orchestra and singer/songwriter Kevin Devine. The group released their debut self-titled album in 2010 on Favorite Gentleman Recordings, the record label Manchester Orchestra started themselves. It was well-received but was not as popular as the albums Manchester Orchestra and Devine released on their own. Their new album, appropriately titled II (referred to by some as Bad Books II) has already seen a bit more prominence, as the first single from the album, “Forest Whitaker,” was debuted by Rolling Stone on their website this past August.

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Canadian Duo, Japandroids’ “Celebration Rock” is Spectacular

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/19 at 04:56 PM


Grade: A+

Japandroids, the Canadian indie-rock duo, released their new album, Celebration Rock, this past June 5th on Polyvinyl Record Co. Clocking in at just over thirty-five minutes and consisting of only eight tracks, one might think this record wouldn’t have much to offer. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. From opening guitar riffs on the opening track, “The Nights of Wine and Roses” the group - made up of guitarist-vocalist Brian King and drummer-vocalist David Prowse - doesn’t slow down. It’s a classic rock album that just happened to be recorded in 2011, and released worldwide on June 5, 2012. “Don’t we have anything to live for?,” they ask in their opener: “Well of course we do, but until they come true we’re drinking. “ So begins an idea that continues with each track on the album: Enjoy being young while you are young.

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Artist on the Rise: The Front Bottoms

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/15 at 06:00 PM

“Please fall asleep so I can take pictures of you and hang them in my room,” begins “Flashlight,” the opening track on the self-titled debut album from New Jersey indie-rock-pop-punk outfit The Front Bottoms.  These lyrics may come off as a little creepy at first, but they turn into something beautiful.  “So when I wake I’ll feel like everything is alright,” the song continues. It’s a song about a lover who has moved on and how the one left behind is trying to cope. With this opening track, the listener gets the idea of what The Front Bottoms are all about. These lyrics will be personal, they might get uncomfortable but you can be sure they will always end up being meaningful.

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The Jersey Boys of The Gaslight Anthem, Release a Solid Album: “Handwritten”

Posted by Mike Moynahan on 09/13 at 03:27 PM

Grade: A-

The Gaslight Anthem, the New Jersey quartet who has been going strong for just about six years now, released their latest effort, Handwritten, this past July 24th on Mercury Records, a subsidiary of The Island Def Jam Music Group in the U.S.  Handwritten is the band’s fourth release and is without a doubt their best produced and most polished work yet.  The album, like their previous releases, is a testament to their beloved state of New Jersey.  Their discography could be used as the soundtrack to driving down the Garden State Parkway.

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