Chill Reviews

There’s something to say for local music

Review #26

Single: Done.
Artist: Colosseums

It starts with light atmospheric electronics. The song then punches you with a guitar riff reminiscent of Linkin Park’s Meteora, that riff is followed by vocals worthy of a Tyler Carter project. Finally, visceral and modern Bring Me The Horizon screams are thrown into the mix of this 2019 summer rock bop.
The above is just a blueprint for the Colosseums’ track called “Done.”.

Colosseums is a four piece, melodic hardcore band from the UK trying to bring some welcomed uniqueness to their genre of choice. According to band bios, the unit intends to blend elements of hip-hop and r&b with their grungy modern emo sound. 

While I didn’t notice too many of those elements in their first single “Done.”, I do feel that the sound portrayed in this song will definitely have them on the fast track to genre success and recognition. Having already shared the stage with similar bands such as Palisades, Normandie, and Young Guns, it seems Colosseums is making friends in good places. They are lined up to have a guest appearance from Spencer Charnas (Ice Nine Kills) on one of their upcoming singles as well. This group is certainly one to watch if you are a hard rock/hardcore fan. 

As for “Done.”, I mentioned above the chosen guitar tone brings me pleasant memories of Linkin Park, and that pretty much sold me off the bat. The gritty distortion is just something I love in these types of songs, especially when paired with more “shout-like” (for lack of a better term) screams. I personally feel these types of harsh vocals blend and flow better when there is just one singer doing both clean and screaming vocals. Not to mention the fact that it’s not easy to do. Screaming alone (while many music fans will argue that it’s an acquired taste to begin with) takes a lot of vocal talent and practice to do so without eventually harming the vocalist’s voice. So if you can do any of those techniques and seamlessly switch between clean and unclean styles, kudos to you.  

The full song consists of a typical “verse/chorus/bridge/chorus” structure but it certainly is catchy and memorable mainly for its atmospherics, guitar, and vocal parts. Overall, a strong first single to have out in the music-verse. I do hope to hear how the band intends to dabble with vastly different genres on future tracks though. I think these deviations will help them stand out even more effectively. I mean just look at what these types of experiments have done for artists like Landon Tewers and The Dillinger Escape Plan. These artists have carved out their own corners in a very overcrowded genre, and I would love to see Colosseums do the same. 

The song can be found on Spotify, Soundcloud, and YouTube (where you can also see the song’s official music video). Definitely be sure to follow the band on Instagram and Facebook as well so you can be up to date on new singles and content. Okay, now I’m “Done.”

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #25

Artist: The Atom Age
Singles: Never Looking / Walk Through Walls

This is one of those crossovers that you never really expected to get, but you’re pretty okay with it once you see it. What we have here to me sounds like The Menzingers meets Jet
Together, they form The Atom Age!

Releasing their first new tracks since 2015, The Atom Age has unveiled the two singles “Never Looking” and “Walk Through Walls” via “Tiger Dream Records”. Both songs live on the brand spankin’ new album “Cry Til You Die”, which dropped today (August 23rd, 2019). 

The Oakland band will be rocking a release show tonight at Slim’s in San Francisco, CA and then will be coming to the east coast for a December 27th gig at Philadelphia's own, 
Kung Fu Necktie.

Firstly I would to say that I enjoy the band’s Tom and Jerry-esque single artwork (which can be seen on their Spotify page) because it matches quite well with the tone of these two tracks. The aggressive and in a way, cartoonish form of polished punk rock is made unique through the inclusion of saxophone licks, which act as minimal lead guitar parts which develop on top of traditional guitar riffs. I find this to be something very new and refreshing for the genre and I’d love for more punk bands do it.

The vocals on these two energy-filled pieces, strike me as what I can only describe as harsher and more “reverbed” (if that’s an acceptable adjective) Greg Barnett vocals. However, another band that comes to mind when listening to Ryan and Peter’s singing parts, is an English group called, Eagulls. They too feature a wet harshness in their singing.

You know, and finally I’m glad yet another artist has begun to rediscover the long lost art that was the short punk rock song. The longest song on Cry Til You Die is only three minutes and four seconds! While I think we can go shorter, this is a good start, haha!

If you’re interested, or in Cali tonight, go check out The Atom Age on Spotify, Google Play, Apple Music,
and Amazon Music. 

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #24

Artist: Rory D’Lasnow
Single: Never Be Mine

So Rory D’Lasnow is an emerging solo artist grabbing his music career by the nards. Not only has he been releasing his own music since 2011, he is now beginning to play gigs with a full band behind him and at larger venues such as New Jersey’s own, Debonair Music Hall. Oh and by the way, this guy plays upside down.
Like he learned to play that way… and I thought math was hard.

Rory’s newest single, titled “Never Be Mine” was released on July 19th and it features vocals from the singer and guitarist of The Victory Drive, Jaime Mcclanahan. Jamie also happened to have produced and recorded the track
at his personal studio, Audio Faktory.

This pop rock summer jam kicks off with what one might think is a surf rock type chord progression, and then suddenly it becomes this abrupt “f@#k you” guitar riff, that I wish we heard more of! While the lead guitar does carry throughout the track, it falls to the wayside of the song itself. And hey, I’m no fan of long solos or even showing off on guitar too, too much... but when I hear a good riff I want to let it have its time in the spotlight so that I can appreciate that this thing frickin’ rips.
I know many bassists out there that crave the attention of which I speak.

Moving on! One of D’Lasnow’s biggest selling points is his voice. He has a tonality that reminds me of singers from bands such as Nine Days, Spin Doctors, Matchbox 20, Default, and maybe even a little bit of O.A.R.. His smooth rock vocals definitely will be something he can really lean on when trying to draw in new fans with future releases. That said, he is no slouch with a pen. 

If you ever get the chance to hear Rory play live, or the next time you listen to some of his material, pay attention to the lyrics. While most of his songs cover darker subject matters, they are deep, well thought out, and well structured pieces. Ironically, “Never Be Mine” is much lighter and brighter, this could be beneficial to many first time listeners trying to get into his music. That said, we will see how he adapts his other original songs on his upcoming recordings which will more likely than not be full band arrangements as well.

So while we wait for more D’Lasnow jams, let’s keep this new single on repeat shall we!? However, once you do that and are itching for more, go check out the original version of “Never Be Mine”, alongside the other past recordings that Rory’s has made available on his Spotify page!

Ryan hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #23

Artist: The Darling Fire
Album: Dark Celebrations 

    Reviews are back! This is a pretty neat one too.

If you haven’t heard of Florida’s The Darling Fire yet, it may tickle your fancy to know that this band is an under the radar supergroup that consists of ex-members of Dashboard Confessional, Poison the Well,
and The Rocking Horse Winner.

    Starting things off big, TDF went right for the debut album release this June with their label, Spartan Records. “Dark Celebration” is an 8 track LP, produced by J. Robbins, who is most known for his work with bands, Government Issue and Jawbox. The songs are expertly recorded and have a soundscape vibe which I think is pretty rare in the alternative/punk rock genres. 

    One of the first things I did as soon as I began listening to the record was unintentionally compare TDF to The Cranberries! To me, I think this is a fantastic and positive comparison (I hope the band feels that way too) but I do wish my brain hadn’t done so right away. And that is because I wanted the band to have it’s own identity in my mind due to the fact that their sound is truly interesting and gripping. With that said, though it felt intentional, I did struggle at times to understand where I was on the album. Several of the songs tended to mesh into each other a little too well at various points (I won’t say which songs because I want people to form their own opinions on the record).

    Additionally, there are some great guitar treats on “Dark Celebration”. Doing both guitar and vocals is frontwoman, Jolie Lindholm, and she is supported by Jeronimo Gomez and Matthew Short. Now, I’m not sure who is doing what, but the riffs incorporated into the bridge and throughout the ending of “Saints in Masquerade” are both moody and haunting. I love it. The rhythm part featured on “For the Loveless” is one of the more memorable guitar treatments on the record for me as well. Placing this as the first song immediately lets the listener know they are about to engage with a grunge/alternative experience similar to that of Bush
and as I said earlier, The Cranberries.

    Vocally, Jolie’s voice is perfect for the band’s current sound. She delivers a solid performance on each song, and the lyrics she sings paint a picture fitting of the album’s title. 
On future releases though, I would love to hear what she can do when displaying a wider vocal range.

    A couple of things to note about “Dark Celebration” are that you can purchase the album on vinyl in three differnet design schemes titled “Wildfire”, “Night Sky”, and “Timber”. The band currently has no scheduled tour dates, having just finished their most recent tour at the end of July, but you can listen to them on Spotify, YouTube, Google Play, and Apple Music too. 

Until next time, check out their track, “Saints In Masquerade” below!    

Review #22

Artist: Wormtooth
Album: BREACH

So this one is going to get weird! Wormtooth is a Philadelphia based hip-hop artist who dropped their first full length album, “BREACH” this past April via Bandcamp. Remaining anonymous, the musician(s) that make-up this industrial horror-core rap act, declare their sightings to be few and far between.
So good luck getting an unobstructed view of these talented creatures.

    Sounding very much like Mindless Self-Indulgence, Hollywood Undead, The Avalanches, and Mike Shinoda all rolled into one, Wormtooth brings unique beats, atmosphere, and guest appearances to this debut release. One track that stands out to me is “Legend ft. Harrowgrove”. Found towards the end of the album, this track acts as one of the more melodic pieces on the record. “Legend” uses distorted vocal techniques and well-crafted lyricism to keep listeners interested and wondering where the song might be heading next.

While this album is anything but predictable, the industrial tonality “BREACH” offers does at points feel a bit overly aggressive and repetitive. This is broken up however, through the clever and unique use of popular media samples throughout this ten track LP.

The full length’s mid-way point, “Untitled 04”, is in fact one of the most intriguing songs on BREACH, but it merely acts as an interlude. Made entirely of samples, which maintains but also breaks up the ongoing glitchy themes set by the first half of the album, the creepy one minute track reminds me of a mission from the games Fallout or Bioshock.

If you’re interested in hiphop music that challenges the norms of the genre this might be very much for you! I for one am very glad that this record takes these risks and tries to meld ideas of modern rap with the tastes of The Crystal Method and Paul Okenfold. You can find Wormtooth on Bandcamp, YouTube, Google Play, and Spotify.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #21

Artist: Jackie June
Album: Wildflower

    Jackie June is probably one of the most promising pop artists to come out of 2019 so far. I’d like to start out by saying it’s been quite awhile since I have heard five consecutive tracks off a pop album or EP that each have maintained lyrical and musical substance. This release brings me back to the days when Michelle Branch, Vanessa Carlton, Avril Lavigne, and Sara Bareilles first came out, and that’s a very good thing.

SPOILER ALERT!


So, I will happily be going over a few tracks off Wildflower, but if you are interested in reading about what I thought of “Chasing Nightmares”, definitely scroll down our review feed to find the posting for that
single’s release!

SPOILER ALERT!

    Anyway! As I stated above June’s debut breaks the mold for today’s typical pop music, well at least when referring to the brand of music that is heard on the radio lately. That said, Jackie’s first track, “Find A Way” is honestly the closest to contradicting my previous thought. While a strong track, this song plays out and feels much like a pop country song, that found its way (get it?) into a dream-pop setting. A warm love story guides the instruments through and feels very much like the perfect track to a mushy summer Netflix movie. Nothing wrong with that at all though, because Jackie’s songs impressively enough, in my opinion, carry a cinematic tonality
very well.

    “Reckless” is where I start to notice mementos appearing from the pop classics of my past. Immediately, when this song begins I get a nice healthy dollop of Sixpence None the Richer style vocals accompanied by Vanessa Carlton inspired piano parts. On top of that, this song has already broken over a thousand plays on Spotify!
Off to a good start, Jackie!

Skipping “Chasing Nightmares” as I mentioned earlier, “All the Colors” and the title track, “Wildflower” close out the EP strong. These two songs are arguably her strongest to this point. Jackie’s vocals and emotion on “All the Colors” shine through and make this sad ballad emit powerful vibes of pain and hope. After that, we go into “Wildflower” which is definitely JJ’s Avril Lavigne inspired pop rock anthem, and whether it was intended or not, I hear Green Day’s “Whatshername” in there too.
Then again, I’ll find punk similarities in a tin can if you ask me to. Oh well!

Ultimately, what I like about this EP is that no song has the same beat or the same vocal pattern. I’ll say it again, substance, substance, substance. Maybe I just don’t enjoy modern pop music much (I don’t.), but I do hope Jackie June leads the charge in bringing us back to hearing pop songs that we won’t forget about after a week. You also need to check out her performance live, she delivers live vocals that match the EP and has great musicians backing her up!

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions


Review #20

Artist: Blue Vervain
Song: Cycle

    Sometimes less is more, and Blue Vervain’s debut single, Cycle does a great job of giving listeners a slight taste without giving away the new band’s entire vibe.

    After listening to Cycle a few times, it’s easy to understand why BV felt this was the right choice for their grand unveiling. This song is merely a wonderfully done tease of what is to come.
It’s brief, it’s interesting, and it dives into a variety of sounds.

    While there is a chance that the full album, Wounds, dropping September 6th, may sound nothing like this single, I still think Cycle is a solid choice in the sense that it’s progressive simplicity sparks curiosity. What I found in this song is a well blended mixture of genres. The beginning, well the first half of the song really, feels very much like a track produced by an artist living in the new singer-songwriter age. This odd area in music, in some scenes has picked up a punk rock mentality but screams it with an indoor voice. I can see a lot of that in Cycle’s first moments.

Following an emotional build, the full band that is known as Blue Vervain makes its first appearance with loud guitars, consistent vocal tone, and very noticeable cymbal usage. Essentially, the full band portion of this song repeats the first, leading me to believe even more so that this is but a taste of the possible post-rock/indie album that is to come.

You can check out Cycle now on Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, YouTube, and Apple Music. Until their next release however, you can also find two acoustic tracks on their Spotify page as well. If you really did enjoy what you heard, hopefully Kelsey and All On My Own will hold you over.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

REVIEW #19

Artist: All Systems Go
Album: Garden State Skies

    So basically All Systems Go decided it was time that us creatures of Earth, also known as the human race, needed to be hit with a bomb filled with the long lost angst of our teens. They called this explosive music device, Garden State Skies and god damn, am I okay with it! If you were a fan of popular rock music between the years of 2000 and 2008, you will find something to enjoy on this nine track record.

    In a general sense, All Systems Go’s debut record plays as a 30 minute love letter to the blink-182 pop punk nostalgia that many wish the latter band still held onto through today. Putting aside your feelings on the status of today’s major label pop punk bands however, ASG definitely delivers the tone, feel, and mood that you are craving. They do this by blending the angst, humor, and emotion of mid-2000s blink, with flavors of music history created by the likes of Dashboard Confessional, The Early November, and Hit The Lights.  

    Ironically, the album’s opening track “Moonview Highway”, begins with a riff very reminiscent of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” before merging with a melodic guitar phrase that welcomes us to a “way back when” sort of song that is certainly suitable for a drive on the west coast. Moving on from there, we hear the fantastically done harmonies on “Anywhere Tonight”, which is probably one of my favorite tracks on the record. Reaching the chorus of this song leaves you with such a warm feeling, and I hope the band continues to create “young love” tracks in the vein of this one in the future.

    This next song, I have heard both live and on the record, and both times the track has resonated with me. “London Lights” acts as the finale to Garden State Skies, and according to guitarist and vocalist, Matt Pezza, is about the euphoria one experiences on a trip to Europe, and the feeling of wonder you receive when encountering other pieces of the world first hand. So far, I think this is the band’s best track and I encourage listeners to let this be your first taste of All Systems Go!    
   
Some of the humor I mentioned earlier can be found in the form of a short skit located on the track, “Flight Deck”. This song...well I suspect is about being high. Just a guess though… but seriously,
I definitely think it’s all about that “giggle bush”. #LegalizeIt

Ahem, regardless… for pop-punk fans, Garden State Skies is for sure an album that you should pull from the local music pool and add it to your rotation or playlist. The band captures the full essence of what pop-punk was when I was a teenager and establishes what I consider to be a valiant effort in bringing the genre into today’s wayward musical pallet.

You can check out Matt, Devin, August, and Joe’s debut recording appearance on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Bandcamp! You should also watch this live video shot at The Union Firehouse in New Jersey by
Frosted Green Productions!

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

REVIEW #18

Artist: SarGasm
Album: Monster of the Week

    My whole life real metal music has never really resonated with me. Seventies metal, I always saw it as classic rock, Eighties metal, hell no…, Nineties metal, to me it meshed a lot with grunge, and the 2000’s, well it became a weird offshoot punk. I never could sit through full albums by Metallica, Megadeth, Lamb of God, or Behemoth though. Not that I at all disrespect the genre, I just can’t truly appreciate the songs the way they deserve to be appreciated. So going into SarGasm’s 2018 EP Monster of the Week I expected have the same lukewarm reaction.
Well I was very wrong.

SarGasm is a four piece band from Long Island, NY with a healthily growing discography. Monster of the Week is the group’s third multi-track release since they formed in 2015 and it is by far their peak to this point. Professionally recorded by Front Row Recording and mastered by Westfall Recording Studio, this five song EP brings a much needed spark of life to modern metal. Without breaking the mold, SarGasm has brought a variety of sounds to this release that I think should lure in most fans of rock music as a whole.

The very metal-like vocals provided by Brian Kjellgren are well done. Without using much grit, his clean singing style and smooth building range together evoke plenty of emotion in his lyrics, while other vocalists may resort to screaming or gravelly vocal tones to do so. This paired with the musicianship provided by Matty Marcus, Billy Santoro, and Sean Ageman creates a ferocious musical canvas for these in your face jams.

Two songs off of Monster of the Week stood out to me, the first is the title track. The song, which I’ll refer to as MOTW for clarity, is a super fun opening rock number that says hello with a great energetic riff that continues throughout the track’s three minute and thirty eight second runtime. Lyrically the song has a semi-complicated plot, that I can only guess is about a murderer that has met their match (in a way?) but I may be way off base there. MOTW as a whole however, does not led up and even has guest vocals from Anthony Copozzi of fellow New York metal band, Thracian.

My second favorite of the five, which are all solid in their own rite by the way, would have to be the second track, Bon Voyage. I will be honest though, this was a tough choice for me because I really enjoy the fourth number, Patient Over the Knife. That thought was overridden however, by the fact that Bon Voyage has circus/carnival themed verses. If you want me to immediately like your music just hit me with your best circus/carnival themed tracks, that’s it, that’s the secret! I’m weird, I knew this. Don’t try to change me!! Ahem...hmm, anyway.

Overall though, Monster of the Week is an expertly crafted five song EP that deserves professionally recognition. All metal fans should keep a keen eye on this band to see what the future has in store for them. Again, as someone who doesn’t really enjoy metal music to its fullest, these four gents pulled me in and made me a fan. Take a good look at their complete discography on Spotify, Bandcamp, Google Play, and Apple Music.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #17

Artist: The Brothers Union
Albums: Paper Hearts / Little Blue Room

2018 was a busy year for the two O'Reilly brothers that make up fifty percent of the alternative rock band, The Brothers Union. The four piece musical outfit released two fully produced EP’s last year, the first called “Little Blue Room” and the second called, “Paper Hearts”. Both releases were expertly produced and can be found on
Spotify, as well as all other major music streaming platforms.

Starting with overall sound, one can not help but note that this band definitely understands what it is to be “alt rock”. Their musicianship captures the current atmosphere of the genre while also taking influence from artists who forced the genre’s creation in the first place. I once read somewhere that “alternative rock musicians were are just punk musicians who learned how to play their instruments”. While I’m clearly paraphrasing and this may be true in some cases, The Brothers Union is most assuredly an exception. The many layers and well thought out lyrics certainly bring adjectives such as “experienced” and “diverse” to mind.

For music fans that are unsure if they are willing to let yet another alternative rock outfit into their ear holes, here are a few  major artist comparisons I think fairly represent what I took away from these two EP’s. Vocally, I 100% think the O'Reilly brothers sound just like a combination of Mark Hoppus (Blink-182, Plus 44, Simple Creatures) and Jason Wade (Lifehouse), especially during their harmonies and dual singing parts. I feel this thought is brought out strongly in the song “Whispering Words in the Wind”, off the Paper Hearts EP. This may also the case with the guitar parts on these tracks, I can easily hear a combination of pop-punk and adult alternative riffs working together to create a more mature and polished sounding rhythm section. Finally, and bear with me on this because I have zero expertise in percussion, I also want to note that there may be some influence pulled from the atmospherics and drums found on the third Mumford & Sons album, Wilder Mind. I know it seems like I’m totally pulling these thoughts out of my ass but I’m dead serious! You should just find out for yourselves though by listening to both EP’s on your own! As I mentioned earlier, they are available everywhere.
See, you’re curious now. HA!

Anyway now that my tangent is over, these two releases combined give you a total of seven unique alternative rock tracks to listen to. Songs that I would suggest you start with are “Paper Hearts”, “Whispering Words in the Wind”, and “Other Thoughts”. I cannot say that I found one EP to be stronger than the other, but I do feel Paper Hearts sounds a bit crisper production wise.

Well, I hope my ramblings have convinced you to give The Brothers Union a chance at infiltrating your ear holes. There is talent here that deserves to be heard and shared, so check them out, and begin following them on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and Bandcamp!

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions


REVIEW #16

Artist: Freddie Bourne
Album: Vulnerable Commercialism

There is a lot to enjoy on this release, but the three most important things are that it is unique, it is heartfelt, and it sounds amazing. Freddie Bourne is a solo singer/songwriter from Jackson, NJ who shows off his professional vocal and piano skills in this new Live EP called Vulnerable Commercialism.

Being his fourth release, Bourne clearly felt like it was time to try a different approach to releasing new music. These new songs were recorded infront of a live audience in what seems to be a very intimate setting. Not knowing where the show took place I think enhanced the listening experience for me. I spent a lot of my time listening, trying to place where the performance could possibly be. My brain for some reason placed him in a hotel bar, but I mean a good one. Not like a Holiday Inn, but like Hilton or something fancy! Okay, I’ll stop now. I’m clearly showing that my wallet has not taken me to many fancy places. Moving on!

You might be saying right now, “Well Ryan, that’s called a “LIVE ALBUM”. Well… to that I’d say two things, A) how do you know my name? and B) you’re correct, but this is different. Vulnerable Commercialism doesn’t play out like a collection of hits that you’d expect to hear at your favorite artist’s show. They aren’t coming from a giant arena or even a well run bar venue necessarily, though they very well could be. What is special here is that Freddie creates an emotional atmosphere for his audience, and this is not something that I have experienced on live albums many times before, if ever.

So if you are a fan of acts like Augustana or Five for Fighting, possibly The Fray, this is a new, young, and polished artist that you should probably get into. Another notable characteristic about this EP is it’s sad, it feels sad, but it’s real. These pretty piano songs don’t feel like “one-size-fits-all” ballads, they are specific and paint the listener a picture rather than show them a stock photo. And to make it even more personal, between in each song, just like at a live show, Freddie talks to the audience (or the listener) and tells “us” what really is driving these songs. While it is sometimes fun to try and figure out what a song is about on your own, with these pieces I feel it’s better to just listen and appreciate the story.

I think my two favorite songs presented here were “RX” and “A Girl”. These are two of the darker tracks on the record and definitely draw you in. What was interesting about “A Girl”, and this explained on the release, is that it is an adapted poem written by a friend of Bourne’s. Without giving away further details, because I think it best you listen to the song’s explanation to fully appreciate it, Freddie does a fantastic job of adapting these words to his sound and live performance seamlessly.  

After you give this EP a listen on March 29th when it is available for streaming, be sure to check out Freddie’s past works, “The Childhood Birthday Party That Nobody Came To”, “Only Human”, and “I Wrote These Songs With Heavy Vibes and a Piano”.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

REVIEW #15

Artist: Nude Shoes
Album: Suburban Ceremonies

    Break out the time machine folks, the mid-2000s are back! I mean between 2019’s Warped Tour lineup and this Nude Shoes’ release, let’s all just move back to 2008, yeah? I’m all for it, except the recession.
Let’s skip that part.

    Meanwhile in the present day, Suburban Ceremonies dropped, via Know Hope Records, onto the New Jersey music scene’s radar on March 1st, and I do apologize for being late to the party. That said, I hope traditional and new wave (?) pop-punk fans have so far appreciated the work of Andy Katz’s latest musical endeavor for its quality lyrics and light melodic hardcore tone. I know I do a lot of comparisons in my reviews, but I feel as though fans of A Day to Remember, Spitafield, and The Spill Canvas will all find something to enjoy in this freshman EP.

My personal favorite track would have to be “Headache for a Debacle” because of its energetic intro and invitation to a good hipster head-bob throughout. Seriously though, the song covers harder to discuss topics such as depression and mental health, but in a way that keeps you caught up in an upbeat melody. This is not so different from another recent release by previously reviewed New Jersey band, Halogens. The final track on Suburban Ceremonies, “Gamma Jack”, also plays hosts to similar themes and tone.

I definitely think it’s a strong step forward that more and more artists are presenting the significance of these issues in a bright and positive way. I feel as if that method of presentation makes them easier to acknowledge and understand in some cases. That said, this is all of course dependent on the listener and their taste.

    My one criticism of the EP would be that this set list of songs sound a bit too similar to each other for my liking. While each track for sure has its own defining qualities, I ended up noticing that each chorus felt like it could fit into the other songs surrounding it. However, one could argue that is merely the nature of the genre, and I can happily say is by no means a reason to pass over this quality debut.

Having followed Andy Katz’s musical career for some time now, I can easily declare that to this point, Nude Shoes has become his most ambitious, polished, and professional work yet. I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #14

Artist: Grey Goes Black
Single: Break Apart Again/Don’t Stop

    Having worked with Grey Goes Black several times live and in concert, I can promise you that they know how to put on a show. The band’s equipment is top notch, they are massively talented, and the even bring their own deep sea blue stage lighting that sets an interesting mood throughout their performance.

    Now that you know what you’ve been missing, I can tell you about the latest “single” release from GGB that you should give a listen. Searchable on Spotify as Break Apart Again/Don’t Stop, this experimental rock band goes a little further down the rabbit hole with two tracks that act as a follow up to 2017’s And Inside There Was Only Water.

    While the trio’s past release definitely leaned on the experimental side, it certainly emitted more of a stadium rock vibe that could be found in the music of U2, Nine Inch Nails, and 90’s Radiohead. These new discography additions however, let a lot of that fall away and allowed “the freak flag to fly” so to speak. In what seems to be a journey down new avenues in genre and sound, we start Break Apart Again with synth atmospherics reminding me strongly of the XX. From there, the seven and a half minute song turns entirely into what one could consider a redefining of the typical rock ballad. I personally think it would be very interesting to hear an instrumental version of this song, and of the following song for that matter, so that the listener can truly appreciate the many different layers of these complex pieces.

    The second number entitled, Don’t Stop clocks in at just over five and a half minutes using a much more unique vocal melody that sort of reminds me of lyrical patterns found in Our Lady Peace tracks (remember them?). Additionally, the song’s ongoing soundscape eventually works its way into the single’s latter half, which is overlaid with spoken word and well mixed backing vocals.

    While I have made my stance on long songs very clear in the past, I can easily appreciate the many evolving parts within these two lengthy numbers. From the synth, to unique guitar tones, and masterful mixing, there is a lot to be appreciated in these rabbit hole creations. Still however, I find myself feeling as if their 2017 release was stronger in terms of lyricism and energy.

So should you be in a experimental or industrial rock mood, this is a band that will happily give you riffs and melodies that will make your machine heart swoon. On top of that, their showmanship and always tight performances make it easy for you to remember the name Grey Goes Black.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #13

Artist: Suspicious Minds
Album: Electric Elvis

Suspicious Minds’ debut album, Electric Elvis, can be best described as a love letter to rock and roll. The band’s name alone is a shout out to The King himself as is the releases’ memorable title. Hell, if there was ever a genre called “Swing Metal” (which there very well may be) these four rockers have brought it back with a vengeance. This here is something special.

One of my favorite things about listening to records is finding what artists have buried between the proverbial and musical lines. Discovering the artists that inspire your favorite musicians can always help you appreciate the history and hard work behind every song. So when going through Suspicious Minds’ first record, I couldn’t help but hear literally a whirlwind of influence coming from artists such as My Chemical Romance, Green Day, The Struts, Hinder, Metallica, and Volbeat. I could honestly go on about all the cool and “possible” easter eggs that I have convinced myself that are there, but I’ll leave that to diligent YouTube reviewers of the world. However, I think the one sure truth here is, these boys love music.

Let’s start with the alleged genre. There is something about the term “Swing Metal”, which I am classifying this band with, that sounds like a fancy banquet taking place in the middle of a mosh pit. To be truthful though the band prefers the term “"Heavy Swing Rock & Roll" so I’ll be musically correct for here on out … maybe.

That said, what I hear in Electric Elvis’ Hampton Jig is the blasting of a very angry Brian Setzer Orchestra mixed with guitar riffs similar to those of Volbeat and Biffy Clyro. This “jig” isn’t kidding around though, so don’t let the beginning of the track fool you. While the first eleven seconds may have you scratching your head and wondering what the hell you got yourself into, you soon find out that this music is exactly what modern rock needs more of. I honestly feel that this song’s large sound truly may be bringing to light one of more fun and catchy melodies in local/rising music scenes.

Between tracks you’ll catch some fun skits too, these reminded me of albums from the old Eminem days and the infamous My Chemical Romance record, Danger Days. These bits star a character who is a radio personality interviewing the band, Suspicious Minds. While it isn’t the most original material, it is cool to see a young band thinking outside the box in this way.

Another song that stood out to me was When I Hear Your Name, which for whatever reason was throwing me callbacks to Green Day’s Good Riddance and F.O.D.. Definitely more of a ballad, this track slows things down but builds progressively to a polished rock number that I found to be very thrilling.
   
Personally, I rate and recommend this debut very highly. There is only one song though that I found to be underwhelming. You Never Knew (Things You Do) is the most pure metal song on this release and in my opinion the most generic. When placed next to it’s album counterparts, it leaves me wanting more and just feels like another hard rock metal jam that landed on a list of true gems. I WANT MORE SWING METAL IS WHAT I’M SAYING!
Sorry, but I do.

And with that and all jokes aside, “YNK(TYD)” and the rest of Electric Elvis is a skillfully produced and professionally crafted setlist that will be available to your beautiful ears on March 1st, 2019. In the meantime, you should follow the band on Facebook (@themsuspiciousminds) and Instagram (@besuspicious). Once you do that, support the rise of swing metal, baby! I’m seriously all for it.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #12

Artist: Halogens
Album: Happy Hour EP

Like a millennial sledgehammer to the face, Hologens’ opening track, “Pretty Enough” from their new Happy Hour EP, slings all too relatable lyrics at our misunderstood and all too stressed out generation. There is something about the line, “I’ve been slacking, off too much and drinking, you’ve been making sure I promise to eat” that just triggered the thought, “yup, been there” inside my head. I hate it when this happens because I’m never sure if that’s a good or bad thing. **sigh**

    While fitting in to the current “in-style” version of pop punk, once you look past The Front Bottoms and Sorority Noise flavored surface, you may find that this four piece has a taste for the more complex parts of bands like The Wonder Years, Have Mercy, and Tiny Moving Parts. The lyric paintings and subtle complex guitar parts nudge the listener to see these musicians as a little bit more than just another average pop-punk band.    

This can also been proven through the fact the EP was written in such a way that each song represents different parts the human experience. I’d rather not say which song represents what but each track shares this character’s time spent with grief, mental illness, body insecurity, heartbreak, closure, and acceptance. Outside of the lyrics, you can also hear changes in the tone and tempo that help relay these serious and very real scenarios.

Out of the six tracks that Halogens has shared with us, I’d have to say my personal favorite is “O’Gorman”. I mean, it starts with cowbell. COWBELL!!! Not to mention, it has that bright and sing-along vibe offered by artists such as Mooseblood, New Found Glory, and Paramore. You just wanna join in, you know?

As a pop-punk fan myself, I see a lot to be appreciated in this release. Great writing, storytelling, and very effective musicianship. That said, the Happy Hour EP is for fans of the aforementioned genre, while it won’t be reintroducing this brand of music to the long lost emo kids of 2008, who now find their mixes fronted by “thank you, next” and Calvin Harris, it will find its place in the warm, tear salted arms of the great skater punk in the sky.

    You can follow Halogens on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, and Soundcloud.

Ryan Hanratty

Frosted Green Productions

Review #11

Artist: The Victory Drive
Album: Before I Self-Destruct

    Jamie McClanahan is a jack-of-all trades, he can play, produce, mix, and master. Over the years, those skills has have shown and evolved in the work of his clients Eliot Feldman and Jackie June, but most notably in his personal venture, The Victory Drive. While not containing my favorite track, 2018’s Before I Self-Destruct was expertly produced at Jamie’s self-owned studio, Audio Faktory. A studio named after his love for German made instruments and music production. Behind these doors, The Victory Drive has been releasing music with varying stage lineups since 2009 and has grown to perform with acts such as Sparks the Rescue, Rookie of the Year, and The Used.

    The first track on this “newish” release, Hey Anxiety!, in a way sets the tone for the following four songs. Sporting a pop-punk mask, this beginning number lacks the energy and brightness of the aforementioned genre but captures the essence of what it feels like to experience anxiety or extreme stress very well. You can tell in the way the lines are delivered that Jamie was going for a mood translation rather than a genre connection.

    Moving onto track two, we reach my preferred track on this EP. The Countdown Part II also provides a melancholy atmosphere, but does so in the form of a powerful ballad about the stressors musicians place on their significant others and relationships. While this might not connect as strongly with some listeners, there will be those who definitely get where Jamie is coming from even before the ending of the first verse.

Ashley has certainly become the favorite child on this release. It has shown off it’s lovely production in it’s own music video, band advertisements, and other avenues of promotion. An inquisitive music consumer may pick up the pain in this song, which seemingly is about a man who loses the love of his life due to misunderstanding and assumption. We’ve all been there, it sucks and this track makes sure you remember why it sucks. Thanks a lot, Jamie. =P

While these are my personal highlights, you can find quality music in the last two tracks Dynamite and Hollywood as well. As mentioned before, Before I Self-Destruct is available now on all major streaming services in addition to the project’s past release, Almost Famous.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #10

Artist: Mike Oregano
Album: Livin’ On Love

Mike Oregano isn’t the rude boy ska needs, he’s the rude boy ska deserves. Okay, well making him the Batman of ska right off the bat may be a little hasty considering he’s more reggae than ska but I wanted to say that so… yeah.  

    Anyway! To be honest, if Livin’ On Love doesn’t get Mike Oregano to the next rung of the professional music ladder, the rest of us are sure in trouble. This crisp, clean, and beautifully produced 10 track LP is the equivalent to a soon-to-be high school grad’s reach school. You remember those right? The school that you know you want, that you think you can get it into but aren’t quite sure how yet. Yeah, that one! Well, Mike just got his acceptance letter.

    For first time listeners, Mike Oregano is a traveling professional musician who knows well over 100 cover songs, can play parties, book your event, create original music, and even season your meal. The guy is the whole entertainment package, not to mention he plays everything himself… like literally… himself… at once… it’s f#$king crazy.


    Not to keep the strange comparisons going but I almost want to say Mike’s music is a cross between a modern Santana, Sublime, and Third Wave Ska. In my opinion, you can get the best taste of this on the record’s third track, High Tonight. Between the sick guitar licks, consistent upstrokes, and lyrics that are reminiscent of bands such as Pepper and possibly Ballyhoo!, you may see what I mean.

    My favorite two tracks on this release are hands down Always Irie and Meaning of Mankind, both tracks demonstrate the versatility Oregano can bring to the table (god damnit, that wasn’t an intentional cooking joke…). There are a lot of things in these songs I would love to see more of on future albums, such as gang vocals, memorable style changes, and professionally crafted choruses. Unfortunately, while every song on this LP is solid, and I mean solid, the peak quality of these two numbers does draw attention to the similarity of the rest of the setlist. That said, if you’re biggest problem as a musician is using too many similar chord progressions, you’re in pretty good shape.    

    With that in mind, this brings me to my least favorite song, Get Irie. Now please consider the fact that I’m a strange bird before taking my thoughts to heart … it’s too long. I dislike long songs. I’m sure you were expecting something horrible there, no it’s that simple. I just can’t do long tracks. HOWEVER, (cue dramatic hamster) Get Irie sounds very similar to a certain song I made into a music video for this man. **glares intensely at Mike**

    Okay… okay… I’ll calm down. Honestly though, Mike Oregano is an incredible talent to be reckoned with and an artist that you NEED to check out in 2019. I know for many, local and rising music is hard to jump into, but please do yourself a favor, as this album is for everyone. I don’t care if you like rock, rap, pop, or yodeling.

Seriously, I can’t speak higher of Mike Oregano’s talents. Livin’ On Love is just a feel good record that wants you to appreciate good music and good times, it’s not political, there are no hidden messages, it’s just meant to be fun and that’s ultimately what music is supposed to be.

Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #9

Artist: Sweaty Boy
Album: Live from WPU

Take it for what it is, and to a degree it may be unfair, but Sweaty Boy’s LP, Live from WPU, is

reminiscent of The Font Bottoms’ idiosyncratic, playfulness. And that isn’t a bad thing, in fact,

it’s good company. The first song off the LP, The Lego Star Wars Song, is an example of this;

the band’s vocalist sings, “I just unlocked all the ghosts the other night. I got Mace Windu, I just

copped Count Dooku. But Yoda’s usually my go to,” over a flanged, melancholy rhythm guitar

and beautifully crafted guitar harmonies.

If listeners appreciate Sweaty Boy’s playful opener, then Live from WPU is worth your time. The

album contains thirteen songs and sits at thirty-two minutes, with the band practicing the art of

brevity; it doesn’t drag one second longer than it should. If you’re interested in listening to more

songs by the newcomers, be sure to check out Catfight, Flock of Sheep, The Beach, New Friends,

and My Feelings.

In short, the most notable of the five, are Sweaty Boy’s Catfight, a two-minute semi-melancholy

jam with a catchy chorus that consists of sped up guitars and memorable lyrics: “I like a girl,

who likes a girl, who likes the girl I like. I like a girl, who likes a girl, I don’t feel I’m your

type…,” and their My Feelings track which is not as lyrically sound as the rest, includes a

blistering, head turning guitar solo.

While one could view Sweaty Boy’s music and themes as “predicable,” Live from WPU never

fails to bring a smile, and sense of truth, to the listener. From reminiscing about classic video

games (Lego Star Wars) to being in love (Catfight) to even remembering shitty friends (New Friends),

Sweaty Boy forces us down memory lane with a sense of nostalgia!

Please check out Sweaty Boy’s SoundCloud, Bandcamp, and Spotify, as well

as their Instagram and Facebook accounts (@sweatyboynj) to stay up-to-date on their doings.

- Jonathan Ferguson
Frosted Green Productions

Review #8

Artist: Wyndup Kid

Singles: Jaycee & Party in the Desert

Whenever a local band from the Garden State pings the radar, I’m never surprised. As Frosted Green has

alluded to in the past, the State of New Jersey is a never-ending “water well” of over-saturation,

and yet, here I am listening (borderline dancing) to Wyndup Kid’s “Jaycee” and “Party in the

Desert”; two very ambitious releases. “What’s this sorcery?” I rage, half-naked as my arms and

body flail to the dance-like atmosphere of their music.

Before the dancing commenced, and the “play” button was smashed, I tried to decipher the bands

cover art for their single, Jaycee. It’s argued that sometimes a band’s cover art can reflect a

band’s music (hey, don’t bash me, this article said it first!), but I couldn’t come to a conclusion.

Here’s what I observed: a pin-up portraying a glamorous-looking Sid Vicious look-a-like

trimming his own hair. So… is it punk, pop, glam? Anyways, I hate categorizing, let’s just

appreciate the music.

Critics argue, rather fervently, that a songs “money-maker” is its refrain, or chorus. But to be

fair, this isn’t the case for Wyndup Kid’s Jaycee. Hold on, calm it, I didn’t state their chorus was

bad. In fact, it’s completely effective, listeners experience: twangy, strummed chord

progressions, groovy-dance-like bass lines, pulsing, rhythmic drumming, and soaring baritone

vocals, which belt out, “Ohh, Jaycee! Ohh, Jaycee! Ohh, Jaycee! What have you done to me?”

However, Jaycee’s attention grabber lies at its beginning (0:00-0:23). Right from the get-go,

Wyndup Kid’s Joey J. (vocalist-guitarist), Zach Shectman (bassist), and Matty Khan (drummer)

create a “feel good” vibe reminiscent of a summer-esque-window’s-down anthem. Jaycee’s

repetitive, yet catchy, guitar strumming, lively bass lines and accompanying drum build-up, and

soaring “woo-woo!” put listeners in a good space.

Then, while still on my Jaycee listening high, I proceeded to Wyndup Kid’s Party in the Desert,

an equally ambitious and arguably stronger project then the first. Once again, Wyndup Kid

reaches in their bag-of-tricks, starting off at a slower tempo and transitioning into a punk-driven-

party jam. There’s no doubt that the lyrical content in Party in the Desert is sparse; however,

Joey J’s vocals are front-and-center when the music stops and he says, “I am the Pharaoh, and

the sun will rise!” It’s safe to say that these guys know how to jam!

Please check out Wyndup Kid’s SoundCloud, BandCamp, Spotify, Instagram, and Facebook

(@wyndupkid) to support their music and stay up-to-date on their doings.

- Jonathan Ferguson
Frosted Green Productions

Review #7

Artist: Jackie June
Song: Chasing Nightmares
(Produced by Jamie Mcclanahan of Audio Faktory, Co-written by Jes Hudak)

Jackie June is a new recording artist from the music soaked state of New Jersey. She debuted her first single, Chasing Nightmares this past summer to some pretty positive reviews. Having worked with Jackie in the past on a professional level, one can easily see her drive and determination to push her music forward. Chasing Nightmares is definitely a solid step toward a serious music endeavor.

    When re-experiencing the single purely as a listener, I was able to appreciate the personal message being communicated to Jackie’s audience. The song is telling a story we’ve all heard before in one way or another. That tale however, never stops being relatable and of course can be comforting to some whom may be experiencing similar pain and stress.

While I do hear some lyrical and vocal similarities to emo/pop-punk bands like Mayday Parade, Marianas Trench, and even Go Radio, I think this song could easily fall into a genre most likened with that of Frozen’s “Let It Go” or other Disney inspired tracks of that nature. This is by no means a negative by the way. Many of those songs, as overplayed as some may be (looking at you Idina Menzel), are beautifully produced ear-worms that are not easily forgotten.

Speaking of production, Chasing Nightmares was produced by fellow musician, Jamie Mcclanahan of The Victory Drive. A fan of his or even just an astute local music lover, can tell he too put many of his personal connections and tastes into this song’s creation. Jamie does a great job of developing a melancholy, yet hopeful atmosphere when mixing the haunting piano melodies of Jes Hudak with additional pop oriented instrumentals. These things combined with Jackie June and Ms. Hudak’s songwriting make for a pretty memorable track.  

Jackie June is currently performing solo shows around New Jersey, most recently with rising artist, SayWeCanFly at Stanhope House, one of North Jersey’s most notable venues. We certainly hope to hear more recorded music from Ms. June very soon (sorry for the rhyme, couldn’t stop myself) but until then, you can hear Chasing Nightmares on all major streaming outlets as well as in the song’s lyric video produced by Frosted Green Productions!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #6

Artist: Joe Billy
Album:
Don’t Mind Me

    Being an all out folk punk artist takes guts. In my opinion a lot of what makes these types of songs what they are is the songwriter’s ability (and courage) to say the things that the lay listener doesn’t want to hear. It means calling out much of the bullshit in the world that most of us do our best to gloss over or shove to the back of our minds. Joe Billy, while also being one of the kindest musicians I have met, does exactly that.

    Don’t Mind Me is this singer/songwriter’s third album released to date and as a returning listener, I can tell you he gets better every time. A mix of fantastic songwriting, solid guitar playing, well-placed lead parts, and a delightful kazoo solo make this LP his best yet.

    While I am a bit biased having filmed this song at a past Frosted Green concert event, I stand by my opinion and belief that Hey You, number 4 on the 7 song tracklist, is Joe Billy’s best and also most genre neutral song on the album. While “calling out” isn’t the best way to say it, Hey You “calls us out”, rather politely might I add, on our constant need to be everywhere else but where we are at the moment. “That fancy phone that is practically a part of your face”, and my face as well, is just one of the many distractions Joe is suggesting we set aside for three minutes to appreciate the atmosphere and people around us. This message, while working well with his genre and themes, is a pretty widely needed in today’s society and I feel as if this track is a good olive branch to those music fans who have yet to find their way to the folk punk genre.

As for the rest of the album, folk punk fans will undoubtedly be pleased. Songs such as, A Song About How I Piss Myself Off and i wont miss any of u, tackle several of the tough issues I mentioned previously. The creative writing and wordplay make these tracks stand out to me and honestly, they don’t mince words… and they shouldn’t. Joe Billy says what is needed here and that is pretty much that.

    Outside of lyrics, a folk punk fan like myself will more than likely enjoy the simple acoustic guitar and repetitive riffs that this artist and the genre naturally provide. A stumble upon listener however, depending on the method of consumption, may not be able to decipher when one track ends and the next begins without glancing back at the player. While that is not even a true critique, the style, sound, and delivery this singer/songwriter provides can very much find a comfortable home in the ears of Bob Dylan, Frank Turner, Chuck Ragan, and Laura Jane Grace fans.

With all that said, if you’re so inclined go check out Don’t Mind Me on Bandcamp, Spotify, Google Play, Amazon Music, and Apple Music. Keep an additional eye out as well for an upcoming music video that he has been teasing on social media!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #5

Artist: XXI Gold
Album:
XXI Gold
(Produced by XXI GOLD studios)

One of the things I look at very closely when listening to a new hip-hop artist is their delivery. To get this out of the way, I typically prefer rapid fire verses, intricate rhymes, and studio instruments over beats. With that said, one of the most interesting things about this debut XXI Gold record are the very unique music beds that lie underneath each vocal track.

Now if you sat me in a studio and asked me to produce a computer generated beat for a song, I would just look at you, laugh, and then probably sob. I would have zero idea where to begin. It is not at all lost on me that producing beats is just as much work as is creating one with real-life instruments. The process is an art form that can only be perfected through experience and skill, I just carry a personal preference where I find authentic instrumentation more compelling. So when experiencing XXI Gold’s first track, Therapy, my reaction was much different than expected.

Therapy opens with an shocking soundscape that lets you know this self-titled record is going to be anything but typical. Carrying on throughout the song, this eerie atmosphere is joined by a gentle but quick metronome that cues in emotional and punchy lyrics detailing what could literally be a therapy session. The song’s energy continues to build and then ultimately comes to an intense conclusion kicking off this eight track album right. Therapy is definitely my favorite track by XXI Gold so far.  

Track 2 however, does not slow down! Golden, carries over the momentum and energy of its predecessor, and delivers an intense rap that name drops The Golden Girls in its chorus. Unfortunately, I didn’t catch any Betty White references, and I will say that was disappointing. All is forgiven however, as this song is a kickass track that should not be skipped.

    From then on, XXI Gold treats us to a lot musical and studio creativity. While some tracks, like the two mentioned above, definitely stand out as stylistic hot spots that break new molds, there a few others that I do feel as if may be lost in the fray to casual listeners. Songs like Drunk Sex, California Dreaming and SHE, all have shining moments but for me, were not as strong as the album openers.

I very much look forward to hearing what XXI Gold has in store for us in the future. His music, especially once it becomes more known and widespread, I believe could very much rival the originality of Kanye West and
Childish Gambino.

This debut release received contributions from talents such as Dandy LXIX and Talar Amira Ouzonian, and was released on November 21st, 2018. You can stream or download the album on all major music services!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

Review #4

Artist: Christian Diana
Split: Weight & Sea
(Produced by RJ Pasin)

    Christian Diana is best known for his work as the lead singer of New York based indie rock band, The Foxfires. Defining themselves as their own mix of shoegaze and pop called seagaze, the band’s lyrics and songs are comprised of positive themes promoting self-worth, equality, and good times.

    Since the completion of their first full length album Reawakening, Christian has branched off to work on his self-titled solo project where he is finding a new sound within the folk genre. His 2017 release, Reflection became a strong first entry to his new discography, comprised of four songs, the stand out being his single, 4AM.

    Near the end of 2018, Christian and Curly, a pop-punk influenced and New York based singer-songwriter, appeared on a split EP entitled, Weight & Sea. Diana’s contributions to the album, Lost & Found and Forgotten Dreams, echo many of his Foxfire roots. Through the well-recorded and nostalgic guitar notes, the lyrics to Lost & Found certainly focus on the aforementioned importance of self-worth. These combined aspects nudge this track forward to a soundtrack level ambiance that This Is Us fans would swoon over. Additionally, due to the song’s changed-up structure and well crafted guitar playing the listener never feels as if the track is overly long or repetitive, despite its 4 minute and 17 second run-time. Lost & Found joins 4AM as one of Christian’s best written songs to date.

    Forgotten Dreams, the second Christian Diana original to appear on the split, uses light sound design to create an old-timey atmosphere. Amplified by guitar style, this man-made vibe ironically feels less nostalgic and more synthetic. Moving around that, one could certainly find it fitting to play this song unplugged by a fireplace or around a campfire. Your date might find it very deep, so why not! ;)

    Once the final chords are strummed in these first two songs, you will only hear Christian’s voice again towards the end Curly’s second number, Closure. His voice adds a nice variety to the lengthy song and works well with the progressive full-band instrumentals that bring the split to a close.

  If you’re interested, you can hear Weight & Sea on Spotify, Amazon Music, Google Play, Apple Music, and Bandcamp. Lost & Found also has a music video available on Christian Diana’s official Facebook page. Enjoy!


- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions


Review #3

Artist: Lexy
Singles: “Don’t Worry” & “Original”  

    Regardless of your musical tastes, I think most American music fans remember the summer of 2002 when Avril Lavigne released, “Sk8er Boi” into the world. You can recall the “punk” energy, the high budget music video, and the relatable tune that arguably helped push her “pop-punk” genre towards becoming a more household term.

    While many have channeled that energy and vibe in the past decade or so, few of those artists have accomplished the feats of Lexy Cassell. The most notable of those accomplishments being, performing for Billy Joel at the Rosaline Joel Conservatory for Music & Theater in 2017. That’s tough to beat, especially when your competition is as young as Ms. Cassell.

    Starting her music career at 8 years old, the now 16 year old Long Island based singer-songwriter is hard at work producing her new EP with two singles out so far. One of the songs entitled, Don’t You Worry, carries some of that “Avril flare” I mentioned earlier, in addition to some ear-worm level lyrics and vocals. All this is built up by a nice pop drumbeat and some delightful synth licks in the chorus.

    Lexy’s other single, “Original” already has its own nautically themed music video featuring a group excitable musicians including upcoming star, Robbie Rosen who has also seen his share of enviable successes in his young career. The song, detailing the never dying dream of starting a band, plays out more like a fun rock ballad and showcases the growing talent in these young artists.

    While there is no official release date for Lexy’s new EP, you can follow her on Facebook for studio updates!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions

**
Video not produced by Frosted Green Productions **


Review #2

Band: Behind the Bullet
EP: Brothers in Arms
(Produced by Level Up Studios)

    Thinking back to music I grew up with, the first track I thought of when hearing the guitars on Behind the Bullet’s “Brothers in Arms” EP was “Click, Click, Boom” by Saliva. Back then, that was one of the ultimate pump up songs for me. After a few listens however, that haphazard comparison soon went away. I quickly realized that Behind the Bullet clearly has bigger motivations than writing simple pump up metal songs.

    The six song EP covers topics such as heartbreak, betrayal, family, alcohol, and sex. The song that certainly stood out the most to me was the title track, “Brother In Arms”. This short epic starts with a brief sample, just before the listener is met with a nice healthy pick-slide, followed by ferocious guitars and drums, matched with strong lyrics detailing a relationship between soldiers. Most comparable to an “Atreyu - like” sound, “Brothers in Arms” I can only hope opens some fun mosh-pits when played live.

“Whisky”, track five on the EP, rewards fans with Red Jumpsuit Apparatus level vocals by singer, David Alexander. He is accompanied by his guitarist and bassist who carries the song’s bar fight energy through a great sounding rock number that I can definitely see being in a mid-2000’s superhero movie and I love it! I mean come on, the soundtrack to Ben Affleck’s Daredevil movie?! Anyone? No? Okay…
(For those unsure, this is a compliment, I love that soundtrack).

    One of my favorite things about this EP though is that it never slows down. There is no cheesy metal ballad to be found! Not to say that cheesy metal ballads are bad, but in my opinion they take you out of what the genre is so well known for, massive sounds and high energy music. Level Up Studios certainly helped this New York metal outfit do their EP right!

    Now coming into it’s third year of availability, the 2016 release can be heard on Google Play, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon Music, and Bandcamp. Check it out and let’s cross our fingers for some more new music by Behind the Bullet very soon!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions


Review #1

Band: Broken Bay Coalition
Album: Sleep More, Sisyphus
(Produced by Keith Moore at Suffolk Recording Studios)

Welcome to Frosted Green Productions’ first ever online music review.
This album is great check it out. Done. Thanks for playing!

Okay fine, I’ll do my homework.

Broken Bay Coalition is a veteran Long Island rock band with a strong scent of polished punk rock.
That’s right, not pop-punk, not emo, … PUNK ROCK. These four band members have mastered the art (well I at least consider it an art) of making every track on their 2018 release feel like the final track on a kick-ass rock record. The eight track LP, Sleep More, Sisyphus, is a mosh pit of nostalgic sounds and energy bringing me back to memories of albums such as Green Day’s Nimrod, Rancid’s Indestructible, CKY’s Volume 1, and even songs by lesser known bands like England’s now retired resident punks, Sharks.

While some of the tougher to decipher vocal parts definitely remind me of Tim Armstrong, an intuitive Spotify listener can definitely tell they have stumbled upon a band with a taste for Greek Mythology (see the album title) and complex lyrics that hold deeper meaning. Being a vocalist myself, I can also very much appreciate the layers that the occasional backing vocals add to singer, Rich F’s voice.  

After digesting the words though, one should not ignore the high-note guitar licks that make sure you’re paying attention. I’d say some of my favorite instrumentation occurs on the second track, Coffee and Contemplation. This is not to say that the rest of the instruments fade into the abyss. While the guitars certainly have a major presence, there are plenty of sections where bass and drums shine out.Overall, this band is for fans of energetic punk rock likened to that of the Dropkick Murphys (minus the bagpipes) and Pennywise. There are plenty of parts of these songs where you think, “Oh wow, I feel like I’ve heard this before, but not like this”. These four gents make sure they pay their influences the homage they deserve.

    If you’re interested, you can find Broken Bay Coalition’s music on Spotify and Bandcamp. You should also follow them on Facebook, Instagram (@brokenbaycoalition), and Twitter (@brokenbayband). It is worth noting as well that they encouraged voting in the 2018 Midterm Elections. They’re patriots, folks!

- Ryan Hanratty
Frosted Green Productions