DATE BREAKDOWN: Every Time I Die – “Low Teens”

File Under: Hardcore, Punk, Glam, Stadium Rock

Look, I’d heard the name Every Time I Die before. I knew they fell somewhere in the punk/hardcore sphere. Not gonna lie. I’ve been to stores. I’ve visited Epitaph Records’ site before. I frequent PunkNews practically by the hour. But. I’d never heard ’em. Never, not even once. Get off my back. Sheesh.

I anticipated some pretty shitty Hawthorne Heights meets Slayer bullshit, but honestly that’s only about 10% of ETID, at least on Low Teens, their newest album. If there’s one (but really two) word(s) to encapsulate this album, it’s mood swings. You get everything. You get. Everything. But is it for everyone? Fuck no. The predominating sound by far is hardcore. The screaming is immediately going to turn off a lot of people. It took me years to stand listening to scream bands (not to be confused with screamo bands), but when you hear something done well you gotta recognize. And I’ve heard it done better, but this ain’t half bad. 

In fact, it’s only the more classic rock, grandiose stadium moments of the album that make me cringe. Starting most notably with “Two Summers,” lyric “I ain’t your crystal ball,” my ears took note of Low Teens ability to lure in a more mainstream audience. It’s a bland, out of place passionless shit song blanketed between two real bangers. It’s the first of the album’s overstayed change-ups, whereas before the spastic tempo and style changes felt like brief 10-second day dreams, well placed glimpses of a subconscious in the bigger picture. But if there’s one song that vomits arena rock everywhere, that award goes to “It Remembers,” a track whose verses felt promising at first until that goddamn “Burn Slow” chorus. Goddamn that chorus. It’s like Finch and Chevelle were back and leaving fliers on your windshield daily to remind you that they’re never truly going away. 

I don’t want to get bogged down in the nauseating negatives though, because I really do enjoy Low Teens, and I’ll gladly endure the bullshit to get graced with the jams. I mean, have you heard that change-up about a minute into “Glitches“?! That’s some good shit. It might not break away from that change, but its introduction is so well executed I can’t help but smile. Fast-forward to “Awful Lot,” which goes on an unrelenting tear almost immediately, and while the song barely changes things up until the end, the rebel yell of “BARBARIANS” more than makes up for its shortcomings. Thankfully, the hardcore pummels through even harder into “I Didn’t Want To Join Your Stupid Cult Anyway.” A particularly strong song for ETID, the band sounds refreshed and more impressively in sync than any of the preceding tracks, before slowing things down for the aforementioned shitstorm that is “It Remembers.” 

Thankfully “Petal” wipes away the glitter and gets back to the gold. The formula stays pretty true to form for the rest of the album, with brief moments of mainstream glam (actually done enjoyably on the incredible “Religion of Speed” and “Map Change“) followed by a few glorious crashes of chaos (with the occasional bore like “Just As Real But Not As Brightly Lit“), but it bears repeating how absolute killer “Map Change” is, especially as the album’s closer. It’s truly one of those closing tracks that is so good it propels the urge to start the album over again immediately. If that’s not the mission of every album closer it should be.

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Highlights Include: see above

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Going on a blind date with Low Teens

4.25/5 

DATE BREAKDOWN: The Captain’s Son – “So, Who’s The Son?”

Alright. Well this has been a journey. Suffice it to say, I really blew it this time. What’s it been? Two months? Between not really knowing what I was reviewing, to figuring out I’d have to be tethered to wifi to listen to it, to starting a new job it has been a goddamn journey. But here we are. Review time. Goddamn review time. 

File it under about goddamn time. Goddamn.

But no, for real. File Under: Hippy Rock, Jam Band

The Captain’s Son are a SoCal groovy rock outfit, baby. They mix a bit of bubblegum into their bring-back-Woodstock-right-fucking-meow sonic aesthetic and I’m gonna say it helps. Also a touch of folk. On the surface this is nothing I want to listen to, which is maybe partially why it’s taken forever for us to get to this point, but once I resign myself to hitting play it’s not half bad. What is it about certain artists that cause you to write them off even after you’ve had several positive experiences listening to them? Or is that just me? Not even sure how to perfectly capture this in words. So let’s move on, because words are all I do here.

So, Who’s The Son? is a pretty tight ship for a first EP. It’s well recorded, it’s clearly well rehearsed, and I’d estimate it’s well written although I’ll leave that to the experts. Thematically it seems to be all about peace. Peace with the universe, peace with the earth, peace with the wind, really far out shit man. Love takes center stage and really just evokes a ’60s hippy vibe. You know, vibrantly painted van, drum circle on a lawn, grass-stained clothes and headbands. Not quite acid trip hippy though. Pot hippies for sure. They’re at peace with the pot. They don’t need the acid.

So what about the first single “Walking Around Purposely“? When I first announced I was going to just review that one song I had a big question about the title. Because it made no goddamn sense. Well, it still doesn’t. But I looked it up and it’s a heavily debated issue of Purposely vs. Purposefully, and blah blah blah it’s a word. Fine. Goddamn fine. I refuse to acknowledge it further. The song is fine. It’s probably the most groovy track on the EP and a good choice for first single. A lot of cool instrumental breaks here, better even I’d say than the two-minute instrumental track preceding it.

Second single “For Free” is relatively in the same vein, more upbeat groove and solid joy. But I’d argue that the more lax “I Found The Rhythm,” finds a more all-encompassing joy with more variety and feeling, ultimately making it the true standout. It’s a good fucking song and I mean that with all sincerity. The chorus is catchy as all-get-out and will earworm its way into your ears…like a worm. But then “Naww Jamm” covers the worm in mud and really tests my fingers’ abilities to not exit the SoundCloud web browser let alone throw my goddamn phone on the ground and stomp the goddamn hell out of it. Sorry for all of the swearing, but, no, no, that’s what this blog is and you walked right into it. I won’t apologize for quality. But please. Apologize for this song. The blame for the points against this album lay right here. 

I’ve already discussed the rest of the EP, albeit out of order, so I guess here goes the summary. Uh. Yeah. Groovetown danceshack. Ummm. Yeah. That’s the name of your next album. That’s your summary. I’ve kinda run out of steam here. Thanks for checking in. And if you’re the band and dissatisfied with my summary and/or review I have this to say. Um. Hold up. Still thinking. 

Hey, you (your publicist or someone) asked me to review this so don’t get annoyed with me. I’m just granting wishes dude.

Yeah. That works. Goodnight. 

Worth the wait, huh?

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Highlights Include: oh shit, I forgot to talk about “Oh My, Where The Time Goes” and that’s the best song on the EP. Well shit. I really blew it. So highlights are that and “I Found The Rhythm”.

You can listen to So, Who’s The Son? HERE.

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Going on a blind date w/ So, Who’s The Son?:

3.25/5

Long Beach, man


DATE BREAKDOWN: Throwing Stuff – “Stuff We’ve Thrown”

File Under: Hardcore Punk, Punk

In the spirit of the ever approaching Valentine’s Day, my ears decided it may be a good idea to finally follow through with their commitment to Stuff We’ve Thrown. It’s been (a few?) months in the making, but Throwing Stuff has been loosely thrown into my ears’ listening rotation since announced as Date 23 and they’re ready for analysis. 

Initially it was clear Throwing Stuff and my ears would get along. Fifteen years of listening to almost exclusively punk will form a kinship with almost any punk band except for Dr. Manhattan. And it appeared that’s all it was going to be. Stuff We’ve Thrown doesn’t break any mold or cover new territory. If you’re expecting convention shattering punk you’re not going to find it here. But while I’ve been searching frantically for who the lead vocalist reminds me of, with the name constantly on the tip of my tongue, in two plus months such name has not manifested itself. Maybe it will come to me still, but after this long of a wait I’m starting to think that Throwing Stuff are one of those bands that sound so reminiscent of everything yet are a unique entity in their own right. You’ll encounter this phenomenon in all forms of art, something so familiar and comforting that you feel like it must be ripping something else off, but you can never tell what. The reason? It does what it does with such ease that you can’t help but think it’s a copy, while in reality they’re just being true to themselves. That’s what you get with Throwing Stuff: a band that knows what they’re here to do, and they’re here to throw stuff.

So what does it sound like? British hardcore with a bounce. It’s angry, but it’s fun as hell. Fun would actually be my main takeaway from the album and what sets it apart the most from its contemporaries. They don’t take themselves seriously, they sing about hating the daily grind, enjoying what you have in life, and of course, throwing stuff. The guitar parts are usually quite simplistic, fast bursts of fury, but show more control in tracks like “Token Beef“. The drums take a larger role, almost at center stage for most of the albums duration, the primary driving force behind the majority of songs. It doesn’t hurt the album’s feel that the drum attacks are heavy, especially for a band named Throwing Stuff. Oh yeah, and the lyrics have an anthemic quality most of the time, demanding you shout along at full force. Just listen to the band’s take on “Big Yellow Taxi,” and try not to have a smile on your face.

So what if they don’t break the mold? They don’t need to. “The chances of anything coming from us are a million to one they said,” the band bellows over and over again on “Throwing Shapes“. But, the funny thing is, while maybe not reinventing the wheel, they definitely reinvented how to have fun with the wheel they already had. 

Bad metaphor. I’m done. Happy Valentine’s Day.

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Highlights include: Throwing Shapes,” “Big Yellow Taxi,” and “Steve’s Job”

You can listen to Stuff We’ve Thrown here.

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Going on a blind date with Stuff We’ve Thrown:

3.5/5 stars

DATE BREAKDOWN: Dia – “Tiny Ocean” EP

File Under: Experimental Indie, Pop Adjacent

Greeted with a little more information than desired when going into a musical blind date, I knew that Tiny Ocean would be “experimental indie,” not to mention quality enough to be “produced by Joey Waronker of Beck, Atoms for Peace fame.” Those quotes are straight from the emailed request I received, and although going against my policy of knowing nothing about the date I’m about to embark on, I was so fucking flattered anyone gives a shit enough to email me a request, that again, I let it slide. [Is that the right number of commas? I gotta go back to school, man.] Besides, I know jack shit about who Joey Waronker is, and my only real knowledge of Beck is that Lance Hahn (see: the fucking greatest, may he rest in peace) played guitar for him on occasion. So I guess nothing was really spoiled and I should stop being all butt hurt about arbitrary rules that last time I checked I made up. Yeah, checked again, I made that shit up. So I digress…

Dia, aka Danielle Birrittella, is clearly an accomplished opera singer. Her technique I’m assuming is flawless, but not having a shred of knowledge on the subject other than what does and doesn’t make me wince, I’m just going to go ahead and say 100%, fact checked, yes, flawless technique. The most similar sounding artist I listen to of my own volition from time to time would probably be Sara Bareilles, but that comparison isn’t exactly fitting. There’s an unsettling tone underneath Dia’s beautiful vocals, something dark, and in its own way also beautiful that exists outside of the Bareillesphere. In fact, the impending dread slowly creeps in from the subconscious of Tiny Ocean, showing itself the most with the mesmerizing  closer “Big Man.” It’s in Dia’s superbly finessed layering of sounds that the tide of this tiny ocean comes rolling in, washing away any and all distractions. Like an intimate, almost inviting wall of sound, these six songs transcend the human experience and leave me completely and utterly relaxed.

I’m not sure what else I could say to better serve these recordings, so I’m going to suggest that you dip your ears into the Tiny Ocean if you haven’t already, but more importantly that you really sink yourself in.

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Highlights Include: “Covered In Light,” “Tiny Ocean,” and “Gambling Man

You can stream Tiny Ocean HERE.

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Going on a blind date with Tiny Ocean:

4.75/5 stars

DATE BREAKDOWN: Love Ghost

File Under: Grunge, Adult Alternative

Okay, so yes, I am two days late on this review. Real Bush League journalism over here. Is this even journalism? Do people still say Bush League? Yes.

As I stated in my previous post, I normally don’t just review songs free-floating in the digital ether, I prefer to discuss a band’s work under the guise of a cohesive album or EP. However, with Love Ghost I am simply doing the former due to an absence of the latter.


Love Ghost is a Los Angeles based band made up of 13-19 year old members, but you wouldn’t be able to tell just by listening to their songs. In fact, they sound more along the lines of Adult Alternative, especially on “Friday Afternoon,” a grunge song that could easily hit the satellite-radio era airwaves. The vocals sound quite mature and the instrumentation is executed with precision. “Forgive Me” adds a bit more emotion and exceptional viola skills, all with a youthier angst, but still falls in line with that Adult Contemporary Radio sound. “Mystery Box*” feels like a cover, but I haven’t found any evidence to that effect aside from the asterisk in the title that seemingly leads nowhere. It’s not a bad song, it just feels less connected to their sound. Here we ramp up the emo-sphere again, while gradually building urgency and vulnerability. Perhaps the only sign of their age lies in the vocals of “Mystery Box*” where the lyrics carry more life experience than the voice belting them into the world.

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Going on a blind date with the songs of Love Ghost:

3.75/5 stars

DATE BREAKDOWN: Colorless – “Silent Gods”

Alright, my ears haven’t gone on a blind date in a while and I’m not gonna sugar coat it, it’s rough getting back out there. For a month I’ve lured myself into the comforts of my own music collection. So when Silent Gods jumped down the throat of my ears (I’ve been out of the metaphor game for a month too) I was a bit distraught. Kind of. See, Colorless leads Silent Gods off with a rather mellow instrumental track, before turning up the metal goth tortured soul theatrics. A nasty trick for someone who quickly hoped the whole album would be in a similar vein, and then realized “nope, this is exactly what the cover art led me to think it would sound like.” Honestly, just looking at that album cover is a better guide to whether or not you’ll like this album than anything I can possibly write here. 

The production of Silent Gods is quite good, the instrumentation is technical and well executed, but the vocals alternate between guttural screaming and melodic annoyance. To answer the question of whether or not I like Colorless, no, I don’t. Not particularly. The vocals test my tolerance level to a point I really can’t stand. The lyrics are hard to distinguish, but are definitely in English as opposed to Russian. As far as their importance I get a pretty strong Evanescence correlation, which is to say not very important at all. If this were simply an instrumental album, I’d likely rate it 50% higher than I will as is now. That voice just gets my goat. Oh, and there’s no reason to split up Colorless Oct. Part 1” and “Colorless Oct. Part 2” into two separate tracks. They flow together and would even perform better as one single movement. 

Not my cup of tea, but it’s certainly bound to be someone’s. That’s a testament to a well conceived album. I recognize it as well done, I’d personally just rather listen to something else.

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Highlights include: “In Three Steps”

You can listen to Silent Gods here.

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Going on a blind date with Silent Gods:

1.75/5 stars