Category: Music Reviews

Blurryface, By Twenty One Pilots


 

By: Quinn Murphy

Looking for the newest alternative rock band to hit the music business, then type Twenty One Pilots in your google search bar now!  Their most recent album, “Blurryface”, which came out in the earlier half of 2015, is a stunning example of what this band has to offer with their musical talents, and is a great way to introduce anybody to the world of Alternative rock in the modern era.  Band members, Tyler Joseph and Joshua Dunn, are able to inject a sort of happy sound to all of their songs, but have a somewhat more sad, or menacing lyrical structure to their songs, which is one of the many appeals the band has to their name.  They are able to blend popular sounding music, but also put their own spin on it so they are able to do what they want, and it is obvious.  Within the lyrics they comment on what they are doing with their songs, and how they want to do more original things with their music, but they aren’t quite able to do all that yet.  There are also a lot of autobiographical elements to their music, especially lyricist and lead singer Tyler Joseph.  His lyrics talk about topics ranging from his youth, insecurity, depression, and his job as a singer, which is apparent a lot in the bridge of the song “Stressed Out”.  Another great aspect with the band’s sound is their drummer, Joshua Dunn’s abilities.  He has tons of talent as a drummer, and injects a lot of fun into the songs with his perfect sound, and variety of beats he has at his disposal, especially in this album.  Joseph has a large array of various instruments he is playing in this album, from ukulele, piano, synths, bass, and various others, which all add different feelings to their various tracks.  The band’s ability of being self aware of their fan base, and the fact they aren’t quite huge, but are starting to become a bigger deal, is very apparent, since they claim in their song “Fairly Local”, “this song will never be on the radio”.  It’s interesting to hear a band claiming how their songs will not be on the radio, but it is interesting in the best of ways, since they aren’t taking themselves too seriously, so they can still have a great time playing music they like.  

Some stand out track on this amazing album are, “Stressed Out”, “We Don’t Believe What’s On TV”, “Tear In My Heart”, and “The Judge”, as well as many others.  So if you haven’t searched their new album already do so now, on whatever streaming platform you have at your disposal.  You will not be disappointed.  

Something More Than Free, By Jason Isbell


 

By: Quinn Murphy

Jason Isbell, a recent 2 time grammy Winner, has been slowly climbing his way up the music business ladder, by releasing amazing work, and finally he has started getting the recognition that he has always deserved, thanks to his most recent master work, “Something More Than Free” released in the middle of 2015.  Jason Isbell is an Americana folk singer that has been around the music industry for a long time, mainly as a member of the Drive By Truckers from 2001-2007, until he quit for personal reasons, as well as to establish himself as a solo artist.  He has released four other solo albums, but he had only started to become more well known to his 2013 effort, Southeastern, which also received critical acclaim.  The album is chock full of great songs, not including the grammy award winning song “24 Frames”, for best American Roots song.  Some of the other stand out tracks include “The Life You Chose”, “Hudson Commodore”, “If It Takes a Lifetime”, and the title track “Something More Than Free”.  The album has an upbeat feeling to it in its sound as well as the lyrics.  Isbell talks about his new fatherhood, and the fact that he has started gaining positive momentum in the music industry.  There are songs on here for all fans of Rock, Folk, and some country sounding music.  Songs like “Life You Chose”, and  “24 Frames” definitely have a more rock tone to it.  Whereas “If It Takes a Lifetime”, “Flagship”, and “Children Of Children” have a more bluesy, Folk sound to it which provides a nice complimentary sound to the more Rock, or country songs on the album, giving it a wider, and more universal appeal.  

Jason Isbell has been slowly gaining momentum in the music industry, and this album is the one that will catapult him even higher than he could have ever imagined, and I thank him for making such a great, and personal album for his listeners, who have all stuck with him throughout his ups and downs in his long career.  

 

Everybody’s A Good Dog, By Diane Coffee


 

By: Quinn Murphy

In Diane Coffee’s Sophomore album, Everybody’s A Good Dog, the band lets loose, and delivers a fun, funky, and bluesy sound which is sure to make anybody happy as they listen to it.  The follow up to Diane Coffee’s 2013 release “My Friend Fish” where the band arguably had a more constrained sound, and were a little more intimate and personal, as compared to the newer album.  Front man Shaun Fleming (drummer for the band Foxygen) lets loose as his alter ego Diane Coffee, and delivers soulful lyrics, and is clearly having blast while he is doing it.  He has described the new album’s sound as “Glam Motown”, and I can’t find any better way to describe it than that.  

The album as a whole is a great accomplishment, going through different tempos, song types, and throughout Shawn’s musical abilities, mainly his singing, are let loose, and the most amazing of ways.  He is able to hit everything from low, more talky songs, to crazy high belting notes with his large ballads.  An artist that comes to mind as a comparison, would be an early career David Bowie, specifically because of the theatrics that go into his performance, and his individuality.  Luckily just about every song on the album is great not only as an altogether piece, but also by themselves.  Some personal favorites that come to mind are “Soon to Be, Won’t to Be”, “Spring Breathes”, “Mayflower”, and “Not That Easy”.  

For anyone that is trying to find a new band that is a fun time to listen to, and has a diverse catalog of music, and a unique sound, look no further than Diane Coffee.  Soon enough they will get even bigger, and become a more well known band.  

Alabama Shakes – Sound & Color


 

By Quinn Murphy

Do you enjoy modern blues rock, and a slightly alternative sound to your music?  If so, then look up Alabama Shakes Sophomore album Sound and Color.  With 12 songs, each one better than the last, you will definitely enjoy the albums many different beats, grooves, and melodies.  The band is lead by vocal powerhouse Brittany Howard, who also plays rhythm for the band.  Other members consist of Zac Cockrell on bass, Heath Fogg on lead guitar and backing vocals, Steve Johnson playing percussion and also backing vocals, and Ben Tanner rocking on the keyboard.  This album has had lots of fan acclaim, as well as critical acclaim, with it garnering a Grammy for Best Alternative Album.  

Listening to albums all the way through is something I have always done, and this one works very well as one big picture, but it also works as an album you can skip around and determine your favorite songs with. Some personal favorites are the grammy award winning song “Don’t Wanna Fight”, “The Greatest”, or my personal favorite “Gimme All Your Love”.  With an album like this, every listener is going to have a different favorite song, and that is 100% ok, mainly because there are no terrible songs on this album.  The album did get a nomination for best album of the year at the 2015 Grammys, and the song “Don’t Wanna Fight” won the band two awards for Best Rock Performance, and Best Rock song, two very well deserved awards.  

One big reason you should listen to this band is just to hear Brittany Howard’s righteous vocals.  She blows it out of the water in this album, and let’s it absolutely rip in most of the songs, which to me is welcomed with open arms.  The songs to look for the best vocals from her are “Gimme All Your Love”, “The Greatest”, and “Don’t Wanna Fight”.  Lucky for me, these are my favorite song on the album, so I usually will skip around to find these.  

The band really captures the old ideals of blues rock, and brings it back to the mainstream in this modern era full of acts trying their hardest to capture the lightning in a bottle that Alabama Shakes luckily were able to catch with this album.  This album is able to go from tapping your foot to bobbing your head blues rock, to slow swaying blues feel within seconds, and they hit all the right notes.  I recently looked up videos of the band performing songs from this album live, and it is a sight to see.  Hearing Howard’s vocals live itself is something to really want to hear, but the band commands the stage and the audience’s attention with each song.  

If you have not already searched this album on iTunes, spotify, tidal, whatever your music streaming platform of choice is, then you are doing yourself a large disservice.  Everyone should listen through this album at least once in their life, and then be constantly listening around the album to their favorite songs, and be recommending this album to their friends, family, strangers on the street, even their pets.  I strongly believe this album might have been one of the best albums to come out last year, and would argue with anyone about that.