Browsing Category

Reviewing the debut album, Madeline, from Tickle Me Pink is overshadowed by the sudden death of bassist Johnny Schou on the day of the album’s release, however from a perspective of the music presented by the formerly indie band, Madeline aims for the fences and delivers a thought provoking, sometimes hard, sometimes soft, look into the demons of life. Produced by Lee Miles (Red Jumpsuit Apparatus) the disc screams about the terrors of drugs, love, loss, and addiction which radiate through nearly every track within.

The band put it best in Entertainmentopia‘s interview with them last week that, “A lot of the songs on the record are incredibly personal and others may be extremely superficial, however they all manage to maintain a truthfulness to them. I think collectively we could all agree that “Madeline” (our self titled track) holds the most significance to us. “

The title track does indeed stand out as the most poignant cut on the album as lead singer Sean Kennedy belts (presumably about the title girl), “Only girls who would ever compromise / Strike a deal with the devil to save the night“; and later “Oh oh oh oh I couldn’t hear her cries / As she filled her veins with lies / Till she saw the light“;. The song radiates the regret of overlooking someone’s problem before it’s too late, never taking a stand to correct something that they may never be able to see. Nestled comfortably between the slow starting “The Lush Life”; and followed by the mediocre “We Still Dance“; it holds the album together, exemplifying its themes.

Several of the tracks diverge away from the more pop punk aura and strike pretty hard. “We’re Not Alone“; starts off slow with an acoustic guitar introduction before pumping in hard. “I Can’t Breathe“; roars out of the game as the hardest track on the disc and speaks of a doomed relationship only held together by “painful pleasures”; and the thought of change that will not happen. Unfortunately the album doesn’t finish as strongly as it starts with the more single ready tracks, like the strong hook-packed “Typical“; and the aforementioned “Madeline.”;

Madeline is a fine album from the indie darlings who have been propelled to the commercial stage. Working with a producer for the first time posed challenges to the band; however, as evident by their music throughout the disc, it’s clear that they were able to overcome it. While the latter half doesn’t compare to earlier tracks on the album, as a complete package you could do a lot worse in today’s musical environment.

From the loud, bombastic opening single, “Hell Yeah“; (not to be confused with the band of the same name) Rev Theory’s Light It Up is a force to be reckoned with as the album starts pumping from its opening and never lets up the adrenaline push until the final cord is strummed and snare hammered.

Shortening their name, the band formerly known as Revelation Theory gives us an album that’s over far too soon, clocking in at only ten tracks, the disc’s length is its biggest hindrance, as there isn’t enough material to successfully sustain an audience for more than half an hour. Still, the tracks that do make it on the disc have a great replay factor, livening up a session of late night gaming or taking out some aggression away from the company of others.

Too often bands will fail to come through after a promising start (see Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight) as they draw you in with the fast paced, hard rock song and you’re later ambushed by songs full of feeling and a brooding so deep an emo band would be turned off. Yet, Rev Theory knew of this pitfall enough to liven up even the slower tracks with wicked hooks and a propelling chorus that breaks from the monotony of the melodramatic.

Tracks like “Ten Years“; start slow, drawing you into the sound, encompassing you in with a collection of slick riffs before opening up the floodgates and beginning the closing act of the disc with style. While the aforementioned “Hell Yeah“; is a modern stadium rock anthem, the title track “Light it Up“; and “Wanted Man“; each do their part in solidifying the band as one that is sure to stick around between periods at a hockey game or propelling through a sound system during a TV timeout this season in the NFL. Having already been picked up by the WWE, the band’s exposure is rising dramatically.

Aside from the shortness of the disc, clocking in a hair shy of 40 minutes, the only major stand out issue is some inconsistency in the tracks and a lack of variation. While it may seem interesting to praise a disc’s songs, and then call them too similar, the style of the music is great, you just wish there was a little more variety to them to make each one stand out as a work of its own. As it is now several bleed together at times, getting lost in the shuffle, and while this isn’t a major problem by any means, it is noticeable.

In any event, Light It Up is an excellent disc from a group of relative newcomers in the public’s eye. After heavy play on satellite and terrestrial radio the band has the momentum to light up the charts and keep rocking.

Brendan James’ The Day is Brave, an extension of his EP, The Ballroom Break In, has all the makings of a lyrical and musical masterpiece at times, but certain elements hold the album back from turning into a pure experience and leave it merely teetering on the edge where fans of the genre and related artists will gobble this it up, whereas non-fans aren’t likely to indulge for too long, or at all.

The Day is Brave, spanning eleven tracks and nearly 45 minutes of music, has a fatal flaw: consistency to the point of almost exasperation. From the second the album starts, only the lead off track “Green“; picks up a faster, more energetic tempo, leaving the remaining cuts in the doldrums of slow, sometimes plodding, yet melodic music. The album bleeds together like water colors doused in a bucket of water, almost forming one endless stream with no breaking points in between. Consistency isn’t usually something that would hamper an artist, and we’ve called out bands before for maintaining or breaking that unfailing sound (see: Linkin Park’s Minutes to Midnight), but James’ finished work seems to be hampered. It isn’t because the music is any less well done, quite the opposite in fact, but you’re listening to a 45 minute track rather than a masterful, well built collection.

As you listen to The Day is Brave you’re relaxed as James’ voice shifts you into a tranquil mood, accompanied by masterful piano work, you drift off and take in the sound. Its almost as though you’re being smoothly hypnotized, but the album never breaks out with that sudden hit, that energy you are looking for to change your mood, change your feelings, make you feel something else besides being in a perpetual state and completely static.

Brendan James is a true songwriter, this is obvious from the high production values and tracks contained within, however the aforementioned qualms make the album sometimes hard to listen to simply because you can’t tell where one track, one thought, ends, and another one begins.  Leading us to the original point, fans of the genre are going to find a lot to love here with a smooth voice, great songwriting, and great production values; James is bound to attract Elton John-like fans. Those looking for even a single track capable of breaking the cycle are going to be disappointed as the album finishes much like it began.

Channeling the energetic, unique voiced Bobcat Goldthwait, New York comedian Dov Davidoff presents his act to the masses in his first Comedy Central Records CD, “The Point Is…“; a collection of random ramblings ranging from Starbucks coffee sizes to the reason women get breast implants.

It’s not common for comedians to really stay on one topic for an entire act, but Davidoff is all over the map, sometimes with messy transitions between topics, but never to the point where the audience is distracted, or the act becomes any less funny. Whether its part of the act or not, Davidoff comes off as very nervous, compulsive, high strung, and almost like he’s scared of the audience at first, but as the act warms up, so does the comic, and the room into much bigger punch lines and jokes. 

Some of the material is a bit of a rehash from long standing jokes, such as dogs licking your peanut butter spread genitals, “Who’s getting hurt here?!”; Davidoff asks after explaining how the dog is eating, and you’re getting cleaned. The constant jokes about Starbucks and the non-traditional sizes of their coffee has been done many times before, in many different mediums, and those bits fall a little bit flatter than others. There’s a fair amount of topical humor as well that won’t stand up especially well after a few years, but in the here and now they’re funny.

However there is some stand out segments, such as Dov’s description of a woman who got rather large breast implants for herself, not for men to stare at her. Davidoff gives a rather insightful commentary to these revelations by the woman, pulling the audience along with him into the mind of someone who just doesn’t get it.

The final track, describing himself attempting to use a Magnum-sized condom, and the process of setting up the correct mood lighting with a shirt over a hot lamp is a strong finish to a strong debut.

Tourgasm alumni Robert Kelly is a funny man with some interesting takes on everyday habits, the very funniest of which deals with tube socks and the constant need to wear them, naked, in bed. It’s these little visual flairs that add so much to Kelly’s work on his debut album, Just the Tip from Comedy Central Records.

The album is about 50 minutes of descriptions about life, the universe, and everything from Kelly whose style seems like a manic Dane Cook constantly yelling to get his point across, and all over the place as far as content goes. The central theme to the album is the fact that he loves his life, but that married life, and the things that happen in it, are just ludicrous. His humor centers mainly on the guys for a good portion of the disc, with concerns like how to take a pee with the different states of the penis and his ultimate defiance for colorful poems from his wife about sprinkling on the seat is almost worth the price of admission alone.

One of the portly Kelly’s biggest weaknesses is food, and this is where a good chuck of his humor comes from constantly lambasting himself for being overweight and 3AM freak-outs about lost cupcakes in the trash. Like other plus sized comedians, mainly Kevin James in The King of Queens, the big guys can get all the laughs when making fun of themselves.

The disc has its gross out moments, such as “Nickelodeon Award“; which almost has you cringing in disbelief that someone would actually think this stuff up as well as its sweet and sentimental ones, well as sweet as you can get in the namesake track “Just the Tip“;. Other highlights include “Dude with a Sword,”; “She Knows Nothing About my Penis,”; and my personal favorite “Restaurants.”;

Some topics don’t work as well as others including “Punching Butter“; and the tired bit on Vegas and its all-too-familiar slogan. But more often than not Kelly hits his mark, and when he doesn’t his presentation is what brings even a dead joke back to life with a little flair.

Kelly’s material is nothing dramatically new or explosive, but he does a great job of bringing it to the stage with enough style, emphasis, and oomph that you’ll be laughing along with the live studio audience. Included with the disc is a DVD featuring a documentary so for the MSRP you’re getting a great package with enough material that you’ll be coming back to for a few selected bits time and time again.

Never hearing anything before receiving The Limit’s second full length release, Reinventing the Sun, the band certainly takes you by surprise as they don’t really look the part, especially lead singer Mark Daniel’s flowing golden locks. The sound produced by this trio is also as takes you by surprise, but in a generally good way.

The Limit’s sound is mixed throughout the release, starting off hard on lead off track “House of Sand“; which plays as a great introduction to the album and the band for newcomers alike. As a whole the band isn’t entirely hard rock, sometimes diving into acoustic instrumentals and much slower, melody driving pieces. If anything the band’s closest comparison in my catalog is The Foo Fighters’ Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace which also provides much harder tunes coupled with more rhythmic, quieter pieces as well to fill out the album.


A couple stand out tracks including personal favorites “Closer“; and “Gravity“; which show a little more mainstream push, almost single and radio-ready, but other tracks like the all instrumental “Mother Maria“; and “Hard to Say Goodbye“; and its reprise certainly show the variety The Limit puts forward on this album. While it has become common to throw in an instrumental track halfway through a record, more times than not, and especially here, a track like “Mother Maria“; proves a distraction with its distinctive sound seeming inherently out of place, never meshing at all with the progressive sound on the rest of the album.

Along with the sound, the songwriting generally good and Daniel’s vocal range is excellent, going from near screaming to a soft, melodic and coupled with the drumming by Bob Chmiel and bass by Todd Grosberg there’s a raw sound to this music and at times it feels as though its just three guys jamming in a garage.

A lot of people are never going to have heard of The Limit even after opening for such bands as Disturbed and Alter Bridge, but this is a band to watch as the new album streets and hopefully radio takes notice. While not the most amazing album ever released, Reinventing the Sun is a solid release for those who enjoy a mixing of genres, creating something that’s fresh and new in an industry that has become so stale.

Dane Cook’s latest release, Rough Around the Edges: Live from Madison Square Garden, the follow up to his multi-platinum Retaliation, comes across as mixed bag of tricks that, in the end, disappoint. This isn’t to say you won’t laugh at any of the jokes on the disc, but there isn’t  that one joke, or one hook to make it an immediate celebratory album like Harmful If Swallowed and Retaliation. Where Harmful had the memorable BK Lounge and Video Horizons, and Retaliation had people defecating on outerwear, Rough‘s material never approaches that level.

Cook’s type of observational humor, akin to Denis Leary and George Carlin, is immediately accessible to just about anyone, sure the older generation may thing its vulgar and crash, but the these are the jokes of an everyman, someone you can relate to, which usually gives them a much bigger punch. Here, more often than not, you’ll have a smile on your face if not much else.

Memorable tracks include “15 Cents“; as the albums real stand out performance relating to the starving people in third world countries and the old white guys who attempt to get you to help. “Benson’s Animal Farm“; continues the tradition of early life memories and has the funniest build up and punch line, but is still predictable.

There’s complete throwaway tracks like “Copy Machine“; which makes light of how they made copies hundreds of years ago with a bunch of educated church employees. Then there’s the morbid “Regrets“; which just never approaches any level of funny.

War Flute“; gives a memorable mental aside of a flute and drum player during war time which basically boils down to what we’re all thinking anyway. “A Condom?“; relives every guy’s greatest fear about scoring the hottest chick at the bar, only to realize you might be missing something incredibly important. The rest of the tracks hold chuckles and laughs here or there, but nothing like the tear-inducing belly laughs we’ve come to expect after many of his previous work has entered into the American lexicon.

Dane Cook has been accused of a lot of things over the years, and whether you believe it or not, he’s still an admirable, funny comedian who has the ability to make the girls swoon and the guys laugh out loud. You can’t say that about just anyone. Still, for his third outing after two platinum discs and successful movies and DVDs you would have just expected more. The good thing with comedy is you’re never down, nor out, and the world is ripe with material, let’s just hope Dane finds some of that earlier magic and treats us to it once again.

Media hound Rob Zombie’s latest musical release, after the successful re-launch and re-imagining of the Halloween franchise this past August, is a live collection of songs recorded in 2006 as part of the Educated Horses tour. The disc, popping in at over an hour, and containing 18 songs, is a great mix of big radio hits and somewhat lower key songs dug deep from within the artist’s long career, even harking back to the days of White Zombie.

The massive production values of the live shows certainly come out to play here as the overall sound of the disc is loud, amplified, and certainly live with the banging drums and screeching guitars sometimes drowning out Zombie’s vocals. The crowd is ever present throughout, but, in opposition to most live albums around, either Zombie’s interaction with them is cut for the sake of time, or each concert is just one song after another until its all done kind of affair. The former could be understood, while the latter would certainly be disappointing. For those who have never made it to a Zombie show, they may feel as though the very fan-oriented singer/songwriter/director lacks that extra bit of stage presence.

As mentioned before, track selection ranges from the big hits like “Dragula,”; “Living Dead Girl,”; and “More Human than Human“; to deeper cuts like “House of 1000 Corpses“; and “Sawdust in the Blood.”; Zombie took a bit of flack for the entire Educated Horses album do to its decidedly different tone in comparison to the more macabre earlier works by the artists, so it’s nice to see him so vehemently include even deeper tracks from that disc.

The biggest disappointment of all is the once promised live DVD and highly anticipated art book were not released in tandem with the album, as once suspected, and will be streeting early 2008. Fans may take this as a way to grab even more money from them by selling the two sets separately, albeit a bundle pack containing all three items is all but a given next spring.

Overall, Zombie Live is a standard live album with great production values, no real surprises or new material, and just a general, middle-of-the-road type release to let Zombie’s legion of fans know that he’s still making music, touring, and coming to get you.

Page 3 of 9« First...2345...Last »