Review: Hello Luna – Ghost of You

In April of 2016, Columbus, Ohio-based alternative rock outfit Hello Luna (@hellolunaband) released the well-received debut single “Stitching Holes” leaving aficionados craving more. This year, the band dropped the EP Ghost of You in a sold out PromoWest venue and to solid reviews thus far. For those desiring a throwback to the late 1990s alternative sound with a modern twist, this record is the thirst quencher.

The bookend tracks on the five-song album are the most mainstream Alternative and Top 40 radio ready of the bunch. The first tune is “Sound & Sorrow” for which Hello Luna shot a spot-on video to premiere the song, directed by the company Loose Films. It starts slow with vocalist/lead guitarist Kenzie Coyne playing lightly and crooning and then drummer Michael Neumaier tickling the cymbals shortly thereafter. The song’s middle absolutely rocks listeners’ socks off with superb play from Coyne, Neumaier, and bassist Diego Villasmil before the band takes it down several notches to how the song started.

 

The fifth track “Half Asleep” is the other standout track that with label support will easily climb the charts. All three Hello Luna members play their roles vigorously with the image of each rocking out during the song’s recording. Performed live, this is clearly the most headbanging track of the night. This not a band to mess with and they are not one to miss on tour.

 

The EP’s middle tracks are solid works that fill the album out nicely. The bass-heavy “Empathy” is where veteran musician Villasmil really gets to shine and compliments Coyne’s dove-like vocals well as she repeats the album’s title multiple times. The third tune ‘Underwater” is a favorite live in concert with Neumaier’s drumming syncing up with Coyne’s guitar playing perfectly. As for Ghost of You’s shortest song “Tell Me”, figurative decapitation is mentioned on more than one occasion and Coyne is short and to the point with the guitar and vocals.

 

Hello Luna is back to being a quartet with the recent addition of Eric Morgan, giving them even more firepower when they record again. It certainly gives them a great deal more ammunition when gracing a stage. This four-piece is a hybrid of old school favorites Superdrag and new school favorites Wolf Alice and anyone lucky to hear Ghost of You via CD, live streaming, or in person is in for the ride of their lives.

Review: “Get Loose” by The Old Adage

Detroit pop duo The Old Adage (@TheOldAdage) look to dance their way up the charts with their newest single.  24 seconds into the video for “Get Loose”, the party gets popping and craziness ensues. It is a trippy video with the cocaine scene from ‘Scarface’ re-enacted, people in animal outfits living it up, a live dog wearing a shirt, and glitter everywhere. Directed by the tandem of Justin Collins and Randy Williams, “Get Loose” is a very wild wide for approximately four minutes and it appeared everyone making the video had a blast.

Siblings Mimi and Nino Chavez express a great deal of charisma in the video and show this is not their first rodeo. The group has been around the block several times having formed the band nearly five years ago under a different name and with lineup changes along the way. They have started to find their groove, though, with two records under their belt. The first being the EP Matches and last year’s full-length Cycles, the latter of which contains “Get Loose”. Both albums are available at the band’s website and major streaming outlets everywhere.

On “Get Loose”, Mimi’s vocals are on par with the other pop divas invading Ryan Seacrest’s Top 40 each week. The beats are on point with the vocals making for a dance track sure to get clubs worldwide jumping and bumping. Although the album containing this gem has been released without label support, if it gets in the right hands or heard by the right ears, there is no reason “Get Loose” cannot become a bonafide smash. The chops and professionalism are certainly there to make it happen.

Ultimately, this single and accompanying video are about escapism and letting it all hang out. Those who hear and see it will surely get that vibe real quick and have themselves an awesome time.  The Old Adage will do their part in making sure they bring the party at their live shows and hopefully, dance pop fans will show their support by viewing the video, buying the record, and spreading the word to make it the hit it ought to be.

Review: Two Years Later’s ‘Say It To My Face’

Columbus, Ohio’s alternative rock act Two Years Later (@2YLBand) ambitiously released two records in 2016 with the latest (and third overall) being Say it to My Face. As evidenced by the title, the record is themed as a revenge record with songwriter/lead vocalist/guitarist Jamie Rogers exacting payback against those who wronged her by way of melodic pop-punk music and a few ballads mixed in. In turn, these tunes can be relatable to others who have experienced similar dilemmas and seek healing, which they can also get through Rogers’ creative venting. Fans are forewarned that although disappointing relationships and/or life experiences are the norm on the album, one-third of the tracks is a departure of what they have heard on prior albums.

The title track is a brilliant clap-along 40-second intro to the album that takes one right to “#sorrynotsorry”, which was featured on the band’s first record. With its solid guitar and drum work, it is a rock anthem would fit right in on Alternative radio stations’ playlists. “That’s Not Ladylike” calls out the contradiction of women’s current beauty standards and Rogers’ vocals are on fire as she awesomely rants about the hypocrisy within mainstream and social media.

Say it to My Face’s fourth track, “Linger”, is different from Two Years Later’s trademark sound as it is reminiscent of the Santana and Michelle Branch collaboration “The Game of Love” sped up a tad. The song is one to salsa to and has potential to be a crossover hit across multiple formats. “Tonight, Tonight” is a standard part of Two Years Later’s playbook with sheer brilliance on guitar from Chandler Eggleston (also the tune’s co-writer), banging on-point drumming out of the group’s co-founder Zak Toth, and bombastic bass work and backing vocals by Mike Johnson. It is one of the album’s headbangers, making it a crowd favorite at live shows.

Yet another popular song at concerts that made the album is the call-out “Let Me Down Easy”, in which Rogers expresses self-depreciation for falling for false charms all the while chastising the culprit for his cons. Those not familiar with Two Years Later’s work should be warned that although Rogers writes and performs PG songs, this one contains strong adult language. Without approval of a radio edit, the song will not see the light of day on terrestrial radio stations. It makes those who love it obligated to hear it by attending a show or buying the album, but that is only a benefit to Two Years Later’s economic success.

An atypical track from Two Years Later, “California is Calling” slows the album back down as the ballad explores escaping a bad experience through an entire change of scenery. It also criticizes the antagonist’s actions and insufficient compensation attempts as the protagonist moves on with her life. Formerly a concert exclusive, “Never What You Wanted” is on millennials’ soundtracks as it deals with monkey wrenches getting in the way of society’s life manifests. The final tune on Say it to My Face is “Lullaby of Bitter Things”, which showcases Rogers’ vocals with some wicked ukulele playing. If the group wishes to take a huge risk, they can release it as a single and see it soar up the Adult Contemporary chart gaining them even more fans.

The band is on indefinite hiatus from touring and recording as for the time being, principal songwriter and lead singer Rogers is focusing on electronic/acoustic side project Kitty Pause. Thus, casual and diehard fans need to stay interested in the group’s work as it may encourage a reunion sooner versus later.  Much like Say it to My Face, when Two Years Later does return they will come back with a vengeance.

Review: Two Years Later’s ‘Dropping Anchor’

Columbus, Ohio’s Two Years Later (@2YLBand) is an alternative pop-punk rock quintet formed in 2013 by principal members drummer Zak Toth and singer/guitarist Jamie Rogers. The duo recruited bassist Mike Johnson and guitarists Chandler Eggleston and Mike Leibrand to fill out the lineup. Two weeks ago, the group made their second album Dropping Anchor available to select fans and on February 20 was released it to online outlets. The official release occurs this Saturday, March 5 at north Columbus’ Spacebar with physical copies available to the public. Given the record’s craftsmanship from top to bottom including Mark Abrams’ mastering and Matt Hagberg’s engineering, the band is ready for the record as well as themselves to go viral. After 20 minutes of taking in Dropping Anchor, the group proves they have the style and substance to succeed.

The EP’s first track, ‘Learn to Let Go’ displays Rogers’ sharp vocals and Toth’s solid drumming skills. The tune is pure pop-punk greatness with fine work from all guitarists. With Rogers as the band’s sole songwriter, listeners will hear songs grounded in a reality that is not all rainbows and unicorns. If one fancies Rogers’ voice on the first song, they will be blown away with what she serves up on ‘You Win’. The song is about the dilemma to sacrifice and concede, even if those are not the ideal things to do. The guitar work is actually more solid here than on the previous tune and each player comes together to concoct a rock radio dark horse.

Dropping Anchor’s third song ‘Pieces’ is pure awesomeness from the arrangement to the lyrics to the musicianship. The theme here deals with experiencing heartache, but ultimately dusting oneself off and moving forward. ‘More Than This’ holds its own on the record as a fantastic song with a fine message put to a wonderful melody. Young people’s empowerment, especially for females, is important in today’s society with the rise of bullying and shaming prevalent due to never-ending technological connections. Whether intentional or not, Rogers has created the next Saturday morning PSA.

Lastly, Dropping Anchor features the surefire rock radio staple ‘Stay with Me’. By far and away, this gem is Two Years Later’s best chance to lead them on the road to fame. #Road2Fame happens to be the group’s first (and already out-of-print) EP from 2014 that lives on in cyberspace. Although consumers will likely compare Rogers to Paramore’s leader Hayley Williams, on this song she comes off closer to highly regarded rock goddess Lizzy Hale.  Johnson’s bass work is spectacular here and Leibrand and Eggleston’s guitar play is on point with everyone else. Toth’s excellence behind the kit is noticeable here and stands out in the final 30 seconds.

Dropping Anchor is a very personal record and all should be grateful Two Years Later and especially Rogers have invited us in to experience it. To promote the EP, the band is taking to the road with stops in Louisville, Charlotte, Cincinnati, and beyond. This band is onto something huge and alternative music lovers will want to join the wild ride.

*Photo by Matt Hamilton is courtesy of the band’s official website

Sounds of Seattle Band a Strong Indicator of a Successful Future

Seattle’s Peace Mercutio (@peacemercutio) is a quartet that is on its way to big and bright things in 2014. The group originally formed in Milwaukee and made their way westward to the Grunge capital. 2011 was a very big year for the group as their full-length record Weather The Storm was released to digital retailers. Ever since, things have looked up for the band. They have received airplay on over 130 college radio stations and given their easy-on-the-ears sound, the trend should continue to mainstream alternative stations should the band secure a record deal. Honestly, they seem to be doing just fine without a contract, which gives Peace Mercutio the freedom to do things on their terms.

The group is about to go out on the road with popular Radio U artists The Classic Crime and Emery and the western U.S. tour kicks off on Friday 1/24 in their backyard of Seattle. Word of mouth from live events is a smart way for a budding artist to expand their band and build their fan base. By already having material available for fans to purchase, this group is well on the way to generating more revenue and increasing their awareness. If all goes well, it is fathomable for Peace Mercutio to take part in an eastern tour one day.

What does Peace Mercutio sound like? Per the band’s official bio, they drop a who’s who of respected groups such as Jimmy Eat World and Anberlin. There is only one true way to find out about the group’s sound and that is to check out the video included. The band, consisting of dual vocalists and guitarists Andy Lundman and Dan Buckley bring an uncommon and fresh concept to sharing the lead. Rounding out the group are Taylor Jurgens on drums and bassist David Oquist. The single posted here is just a mere taste of what this artist on the rise has to offer. It is in music consumers’ best interest to remember the name Peace Mercutio as 2014 is bound to be huge.

Song By Midwestern Duo Could Be The Soundtrack To One’s Life

Clemency (@ClemencyMusic on Twitter) is an American two-piece outfit consisting of the brothers Watkins, Paul and Jason. The track “My Heart Is the Eastern Horizon” is easily a brilliant piece of art (musically and vocally) that could be heard on AC and Adult Rock stations. Per the band’s Facebook page, the Watkins’ faith is very important to them. Could some airplay on non-profit entity Radio U be in the cards?

“My Heart Is the Eastern Horizon” could easily be in the background of heartwarming TV show or movie scenes (think of a couple’s breakup on “Grey’s Anatomy”). Coincidentally, a YouTube user wants to use the band’s music for a film. Hopefully, the band will give their consent and be handsomely rewarded for it in the end. This is one of many tunes from Clemency due to be exposed to the buying public.

This band is ready for prime time, with their music available on national online retailers Amazon and iTunes. They currently call Nashville home, but starting on Wednesday, October 16, Clemency will embark on a U.S. tour with highly regarded indie rockers Abandon Kansas and (for select dates) Seabird. Please check the group’s social media platforms for details. If they are half as good live as they are recorded, the music world should be hearing from Clemency for years to come.

Similar artists: Jars Of Clay, Turin Brakes

Hot New Artist Attempts to Crack Top 40; Has Top 10 Potential

According to MediaBase, this week the track climbed from #49 to #44. On YouTube, this is not doing too badly with 606,724 views and 4,185 thumbs up. Cute, limber, and talented. Get to know this singer and get used to this song for weeks to come.

Attention Artists: Another Cool Site For Airplay

Attention Artists: Another Cool Site For Airplay

Rocker’s Dive is an Internet-based station in which you can upload your mp3s and be heard all over the world, further building your brand. Furthermore, by using the TuneIn app on Android devices, iPhones, and Blackberries you’re able to hear the great music on this site. Your tracks could be next.