The Just-Us-League / Pop Punk No Junk EP (2014)

 

Cover
Cover

 

The Just-Us-League’ is a melbourne based pop punk band with two qualifying factors for me to be really interested in them at the moment:

1# the ep is pay-what-you-want…winning.

#2 they sound a lot like set-your-goals circa ‘this will be the death of us’ era. Smashing wins.

This band is absolutely nailing the easycore/dual vocal pop punk gig on this release with some really enjoyable hooks and melodies backed by a happy-vibe pop punk and gnarly breakdown bits. It’s really solid. It isnt a new idea and there’s little in the way of experimenting with the formula we’ve come to love (thanks ADTR/Set You Goals/Four Year Strong etc) but it’s ok..what theyve done is damn good. The recording is crisp and clear, the guitars sound big, thick and tough and they work well. Bass is kept clean and sadly a bit buried in the mix..i only hear it when theres a run/line that doesnt follow the guitars..but yeh..small issue. A good mix is important in avoiding clutter and busy-ness in bands like this so compromises happen. Sometimes theres a bit too much going on with vocals/gang noise..but again .. Small issue.

The 1-2 punch of the ‘intro/forever ender bender’ combo is a fun start to things. A good set up for whats to come. The much shorter and faster track #3 ‘Art Attack’ is easily my fav track…just over a minute…gives me a smile each time 🙂 The rest of the EP flies by and the songwriting shows a bit more maturity and depth towards the end and especially on track #7 ‘I Really Hate Parades’ which sounds more like ‘The Wonder Years’ with some great lines about moving on and not wasting time and making the most of life.. PMA stuff. (>positive mental attitude FYI!)

I’m genuinely into this. It’ll get many more spins before i move on to others on the list. Hit up the bandcamp page and see what i mean 🙂

http://thejustusleague.bandcamp.com/album/pop-punk-no-junk

and..facey.. https://www.facebook.com/TheJustUsLeague

RIYL: Set You Goals, Four Year Stong, A Day To Remember, Chunk No! Captain Chunk

Sentinel – The Fabrication / 2014 (Single)

Sentinel - The Fabrication / 2014 (Single)

Melbourne based ‘Sentinel’ have released a new single for free D/L via the bands bandcamp page. This track has all the trademark “beow…djent..chugga” bits and crazy guitar noodling matched with enough deep growls and screams to scare ya Mum. But… there’s an added ambient/instrumental section in the middle with clean guitars (similar to moments that appered in some of the bands earlier work) and it really gells well and grabbed my attention! Im pretty tired of this style..but these lads will be well worth your time 🙂 Really liked it!

RIYL: Northlane, Prepared Like a Bride, Structures, Born Of Osiris .. (aka djenty metal stuff)

Outlines / Talking Walls EP

So over the last 2-3 years it became clear that grunge was making a subtle come back via the third wave of emo sweeping the states and subsequently here. If you didn’t know, there you go..grunge is coming back but not really. Bands who sprung up from a punk/hardcore background were starting to come up with gritty and moody music with hallmark punk/hardcore tones reminiscent of bands from 20+ years ago..and yet…the kids were into it cos yeh .. grunge.

Outlines are a band from Melbourne who fit the emo/grunge bill pretty neatly. This is the second release from them (equally as good as the first) and the songs are full of minor key sad-vibes but also a drive and energy that keeps it from being sooky. Vocals are a mix between gravelly/hoarse and clean sung which suits really well. If you know Balance & Composure/Citizen/Basement…then you’ll identify these guys immediately as being cut from the same mold. I say plagiarism is the highest form of flattery, and in this case that’s possibly true. The guitar sound is a wall of fuzzy overdrive..riffs and lead bits sitting pretty on top..it’s awesome! The drums are straight forward with a big roomy-sound to em, lots of noise…works great.

It’s a 5 track offering on the Pay What You Want scale via bandcamp…I suggest getting on it and enjoying the novelty of a rad young band sounding out of time!

RIYL: Seahaven, Balance and Composure, Daylight, Basement

http://outlinesmusic.bandcamp.com/album/talking-walls

facebook > outlines

Cat Or Pillar / Signals For Motion

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It’s far too easy to list other bands you might know in order to identify if this record is going to interest you. So…i wont immediately genre-cast the material….

It’s purely an observation of mine that people lately have a low tolerance for waiting even a moment longer than they have to before finding enjoyment. (>skip add in 3 sec<)

Some people wont even read this far because i havn’t yet referenced something familiar about the music. Well kudos to you!  A band can spend months, even years crafting a work which lasts only a few minutes to have it unceremoniously dismissed in seconds as being too this or too that for the listeners tastes.

This hits hard when the artist leans towards anything progressive/post-rock/mathy/ambient or alternative. I’m certain lots of people out there would probably get right into this but simply wont because there’s no chorus at the 15-20 second mark. I’m not saying everyone one who likes pop songs has ADD, but we really are fed highly polished ear candy via nearly every audible medium these days.

This band will expand your ability to appreciate music and the time taken to achieve intense and emotive peaks and crescendo’s. You don’t get that kind of shit on the radio. You don’t get anything of substance out of recycled-sugar coated pop factory off cuts.

‘Signals for Motion’ is a 7 track album which I’ll describe as melodic-progressive post-rock. Songs range from 3-7 minutes long and feature a healthy amount of noodly/mathy guitars dripping with delay & effects. The drumming is superb. It’s tight & super busy but when needed is straight forward. The bass lines that fill out the rhythm section are sublime. The overdriven/dirty bass sometimes steals the attention actually with its own busy lines and complimentary riffing with the guitar but when the drums open up and go big, the bass gets some room to carry riff/chord progressions and the sound is huge. Like.. Muse huge. Like..QOTSA huge. Yeh. And this happens often.

Each track takes the time to establish its foundational rhythm/melody/riffage and builds up to a monumental peak before deconstructing and winding back down to an end. Usually descending into an ambient intro/interlude bit. They don’t sound like Tool .. but consider the way a band like that takes you on a journey. Like that.

Vocally.. this is so next level.. i cant even. Luke’s vocal range is on show in each of his performances throughout the album. He can go high. Really high. This is a point made early on and better yet..it’s used tastefully and with dramatic effect. In equal portion to say.. how a harder band might use screaming. But hey.. he can do that too! So with the concept of dynamics clearly in the bag, the melodies are lush, layers of harmonies and backing vocals are beautiful and overall.. it’s damn hard to fault this material.

Comparisons to other great bands that have a high range vocalist, proggy compositions and noodly guitars are expected. (Closure *cough* Moscow* cough*) However .. unlike so many others .. this is really accessible and not overly complicated. There’s clever off-time stuff, straight up rock passages and then these out-of-nowhere gear changes that leave you going ‘what just happened?’. It’s quite unpredictable but the flow from bit-to bit is never lost.

The album is closed off with an instrumental piece which i can only describe as cinematic. It contains a sample of some guy lecturing/ranting some pretty inspirational stuff whilst the band soars and climbs to a huge ending. The guitars pretty much take this one to its heights..lots of delay and noise.. very ‘Explosions In the Sky’. Very good.

Overall, this is a killer album. The local scene in the Melbourne’s East hasn’t produced something this polished or ambitious in years (House*cough* Hurricane *cough*). I wouldn’t anticipate radio play but if a band like Karnivool can get it, then these guys have a ready made market set to consume Australia’s next offering. Despite all that, I think we’ll be seeing the name on some sweet posters and tour bills if there’s any justice in the world.

RIYL: Closure in Moscow, Russian Circles, Mars Volta, MuteMath, Explosions In The Sky

http://catorpillar.bandcamp.com/