Tag Archives: Album Reviews

The Virginmarys: Our Passion That They Could Not Shake

In a world of Divides, our love of The Virginmarys brought us together – Simon

the-virginmarys-divides

Eva

We were riding out to meet the sun, we were shaking from the things we’d done
We were breaking every pattern, straying from the map to make a new life on the run

It was early 2012 and one of my friends made me a playlist featuring a bunch of new bands for me to check out. Little I knew that this particular playlist included one band that would inspire my entire world. Their name was The Virginmarys.

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Featured EP / Morningside Lane – A Fifth of Elvis

It’s been exactly one year since I’ve interviewed New Jersey’s Morningside Lane for MGMB, and it looks like the guys have been working really hard towards their brand new 6-track EP A Fifth of Elvis. The record, produced and mixed by Pete Steinkopf from The Bouncing Souls is a clear step forward for the alt rock four-piece. The music and lyrics on the EP show the band have come a long way since their previous release. MSL’s guitarist Jon says: ”This record is something that doesn’t sound like our first two. It’s broader and it covers more ground. We’ve grown a hell of a lot as a band and we’re still growing. Our sound is always being upgraded and new influences are always coming about. This album is more about wasted youth and anger. It’s about remembering the past, the way things used to be and kissing those days goodbye. It came out better than we could ever dream and it’s everything a Morningside Lane record should be.” That’s right. A Fifth of Elvis certainly features all the right elements of a well mastered record.

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Album of the Month / Whales In Cubicles – Death In The Evening

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I have been waiting to write a review of this album for over two years now, but mostly, I’ve been waiting for the day to finally blast this record out loud in its full beauty. And today is the day when Whales In Cubicles‘ debut Death In The Evening officialy comes out, so excuse me if this review might sound a bit personal, but as some of you may have noticed, I’ve been a huge supporter of the London based 4-piece ever since I first saw them live at the Green Door Store in Brighton a couple of years ago. I immediately fell for the band’s raw sound and a unique realness in their music. There was a real heart in the music then and there is a real heart in it today. I have seen Whales play at various venues in London and Brighton a number of times, and with each experience of watching them rocking the stage, nevertheless the line up, my admiration towards their sound and lyrics grew closer with each time. And now, I am extremely proud to see the guys finally unleash the beast of a debut record extraordinaire for everyone to hear.

Death In The Evening dazzles with ten remarkable tracks and each one of them carries its own message. The record kicks off loud and clear with an opening killer riff in Yesterday’s News,  followed by We Never Win – a striking favourite of a tune that shows off the outspoken songwriting of the lead singer Stef Bernardi. Things slow down with the hypnotizing All The Pretty Flowers and most definitely one of the greatest tracks produced by the band. Strong melodies, fierce guitars and a true lyrical mastermind flow through the whole record and whether you’re taken to the heavier side and let your hair down with Golden Medal and Disappear, having a sing along to Nowhere Flag or simply absorb the intense beauty of Across America, Wax & Feathers, I knew It and Find Your Way; the fact is you will find yourself surrounded purely by a raw, mind-altering music mastered by one of the best and realest bands to hit the current UK music scene. So don’t you dare thinking that honest guitar music is dead because you have it right here in front of you. So go on, don’t be shy and grab yourself a copy. Death In The Evening is a must in everyone’s record collection.

Buy ‘Death In The Evening’

www.whalesincubicles.com

Album Review / Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Guest Review By Brendan McGroggan

Transgender_Dysphoria_Blues_The last time I saw Against Me! live was in June of 2012. It was Laura Jane Grace’s first tour and the place was full. Their set that night was absolutely incredible, and a good portion of it was new material. Really, really killer new material. Not only that, Laura Jane was the happiest lead singer I have ever seen. I mean, her grin was ear to ear the entire set, and her voice was epic.

After waiting a year and a half since that night for their new album, I can tell you, it was more than worth the wait. Transgender Dysphoria Blues is here. It is the first great album of 2014 and the most powerful punk rock record I’ve heard in a long time.

Since Tommy Gabel became Laura Jane Grace, the music of Against Me! has changed, becoming even more revolutionary and outspoken than before. In the opinion of this fan, better. This change, inspired by Laura’s change, and fueled by a pure punk rock engine, birthed something truly remarkable on “Transgender…”. It’s as if the album is a molten fire punk rock fist smashing through the icy waterfall of hate that breeds ignorance. I’ve heard albums that speak out before, but this one takes it to a whole new level.

It’s Laura Jane Grace, not Buch Vig, as producer on the album and it’s obvious that she knows what she’s doing. James and Laura’s guitars sound like punk rock jet engines, the drums remind me of echoes from a war machine, the bass destroys, and the vocals are nice and loud. NOFX’s very own Fat Mike even played bass on two of the songs, with Laura Jane playing bass on the others.

Atom Willard (RFTC, Angels & Airwaves) plays drums on “Transgender..,” and has recently become AM!s official drummer. His chops are noticed right from the start of the first song. After several options were considered, Atom was clearly the right person to join Against Me! on drums. He has that Against Me!-style animal inside of him, the one that comes out when he performs, both on the stage and in the studio.

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When you hear the lyrics to the opening song, “Transgender Dysphoria Blues,” you will know what I mean when I saw the band’s new direction is revolutionary. The lyrics pull no punches and neither does the energy. Though Laura Jane doesn’t swear much on the record as a whole, when she does, it sounds absolutely warranted and more than appropriate.

Songs “True Trans Soul Rebel” and “F***mylife666” are up next and both appeared on the TRUE TRANS EP released in June of 2013. They were great then, but it’s really something to hear them with a full band.

“Dead Friend” also appears on the album. Again, I’ve been waiting to hear this song specifically on a record for the last year and a half. Again, I was not disappointed at all. Anyone who’s lost a friend will want to hear this song. In it’s morbid nature is pure beauty. Any friend you have in heaven knows these lyrics are how you really feel about them being gone.

“Two Coffins” is an acoustic number that comes toward the end of the album. After hearing “Dead Friend,” this acoustic ballad is welcoming to the ears. The two songs are opposite sides of the same emotional coin. “Two Coffins” also, in its morbid nature, holds pure beauty. “How lucky I was to see the way that you smiled at me. Your little moon face shining bright at me. One day soon there’ll be nothing left of you and me. Two coffins for sleep.” Laura reminds us again, life is short.

The album ends with “Black Me Out,” which is perhaps the most powerful song on the album. The guitar line is so inspired, erasing any doubt of the talent behind Laura’s songwriting. It sounds like another song that was raised on the acoustic guitar, before being unleashed by the full Against Me! beast. When the last hum of distortion goes quiet, you might want to hit “repeat all” to take the ride again. I know I did, many times.

Since this album began streaming for free on NPR, I have been listening to it on repeat at work. I highly recommend it to fans of punk rock (both old and new), all Against Me! fans, all fans of rock music, and anyone out there in the world feeling trapped. Set yourself free.

Pre-order Transgender Dysphoria Blues here.

www.againstme.net