A Deathbed Promise is a band located in Bryan, Texas. Over the span of a decade knowing each other and jamming together, they have a lot to be proud of. Some of their recent accomplishments involve just releasing their first EP (about time!). Their seven-track EP entitled Carry It With Me is certainly an interesting listen for a band’s debut, though they’ve obviously had some years to practice and perfect their sound. They consistently manage to get out of town shows, and it’s no wonder why.
“Drown with the World” is the opening track. It wastes no time getting started. A burst of drums, screeching guitars and passionate vocals smoothly harmonize with one another and create an infectious pop-punk/post-hardcore sound. There are hard elements to the music, of course, but something about the vocals does carry their sound above being a clichéd rehashing of an outdated sound. That being said, I did far prefer the singing to the screaming; not that I don’t like screaming elements in some music, but I didn’t think it added a whole lot here. Then again, it probably adds a lot of punch to a live performance.
‘’’92" is a track that certainly feels like a throwback to the ‘90s, as the title promises. Driven by a heavily crashing drum beat, metallic guitar riffs that sizzle and bring this track to life, and emotive vocals, yet again, this is another strong track in the listing. There wasn’t a whole lot of variety in this track, but I did like the gradual build to an explosive finish with a slowly chugging guitar rhythm that created an ominous, growing vibe in the track. There was a powerful energy to this track, but I was left wanting something slightly different or more engaging in terms of the melody. Still, I can’t fault the vocal performance and the screeching, energetic nature of the guitars. I preferred it to the opener in many ways.
“Beautifully Unplanned” opens with a softly muted electric guitar arpeggio that creates an atmosphere onto which the vocals can lay themselves. This is arguably the most suited instrumental to the vocal style out of any of the songs on the EP, and I thought everything came together on this track. The melody was a lot more infectious, and the wall of sound created by rhythmic power chords and metallic lead guitar created a head-banging-worthy piece overall. I definitely appreciated the variation between the verses and choruses. The short burst of screaming towards the end was fitting to the explosive climax. It’s hard to explain what made this track different to the first two; stylistically, it was the same, but I think the songwriting just came together the best on this song. There was a lot going on. It certainly felt like a “Beautifully Unplanned” moment in the EP.
“Puppeteer”is driven by a rapidly-chugging guitar riff, a precisely-throbbing beat and those distinctive vocals, yet again. This was possibly one of the best vocal performances on the album given some of the powerful, elongated notes that make an appearance throughout the song. It wasn’t my favorite track as a whole, in terms of melody or energy, but it was certainly an impressive performance; some of the drum fills were nice stylistic additions too. By this point in the EP, A Deathbed Promise has certainly showcased all their strengths.
All in all, this EP was a short snippet of this band’s potential. I do feel like they need the confidence to really go for it with some of their future songs, but there’s no denying the talent of the singer (and the instrumentalists, for that matter). I look forward to seeing what comes next from them.
Every week we mention a couple of artists that are worth your time to check out that were not featured in our weekly reviews.
Artist Album Rating
Volka Equate 3.5
Atomic Cafe Sacco + Vanzetti - EP 3.3
Bad Hoo Two Tin Cans & a Lollipop 3.7
The New Arlenes Aviators EP 3.5
Council Of Giants Falling Down E.P. 3.5
Alide Seed 3.8
Loser is the solo project for Aaron "Al" Loss. I was wondering why he called the project Loser. It seems so self-depreciating and a call for attention was the first thing that came to me. I wasn’t crazy about the name and I think he could be a little more creative in coming up with a moniker.
Names aside there is some creative music that combines elements of rock, shoegaze and post-rock. He opens with “New York Rat.” I was enjoying the Sonic Youth-esque guitar. That being said the vocals are covered in way too much reverb. I promise you this. The reverb at the very least needed to cleared up around the 200 hz and 700hz range to provide some clarity. The high point in the song comes towards the end with the experimental lead guitar.
The same issue surface on “Shallow” to a lesser extent with the vocals. That being said the music is even better. It has a clear shoegaze vibe. I was reminded of My Bloody Valentine but an emphasis on higher frequencies.
The vocals sounded much better on “Nothing.” It’s less than two minutes but very well may be the highlight. The vocal melody is really catchy. He sings, “No respect for anything No meaning Oh nothing.” He closes with “You Should” which is atmospheric and doesn’t have a whole lot of energy. It’s a solid song with some creative noise and panning techniques. I would have liked a little more dynamics.
There are some production issues that could be more consistent in a number of areas. The vocals were obvious but there was some other sonic issues that I can guarantee would have been tamed by a top notch mastering engineer.
Overall, this EP is far from perfect but I thought his style and general aesthetic were on point. I predict more and better things. This is for fans of noise bands ranging from My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth and many in between.
Mrygld, pronounced “marigold” is an alt-rock/pop band bringing their debut self-titled album Mrygld from Birmingham, Alabama. The album is six tracks long and filled with lively guitar riffs combined with a digital sound that pays big homage to the ‘80s. Many of the songs are catchy with fun lyrics. The group utilizes two vocalists being Brandon Snipes and Alyssa Jewell. These two are excellent and even better when combined. Shane Jewell (guitar) proves himself to be quite an asset with his elaborate riffs. This album is airy, fun and can even has thought provoking moments.
Starting off the album is “Cool Kids.” It sets the tone for the light and poppy riffs and key work that will define the album. The song is pleasant enough but compared to other tracks, I was left wanting more on this one.
“Only the Lonely” caught my attention right off the bat. Great lyrics, the music is infectious and unique. This track was a great example of the two vocalists working so well together. It’s also an ideal blend that hits all their genre notes with even a little folksiness thrown in. This may have been the better choice for an opener.
“One Foot” also features fantastic, motivational lyrics. It’s as though they taught the old dog phrase “put one foot in front of the other” a new trick. This is one where you get to hear Jewell work her magic. There was something about the arrangement of the music on this one that did not pair well. I think the track was meant to showcase Jewell’s lovely vocals but the music needed a little more distinctiveness.
“Bed of Roses” starts off with a standout tone and then leans into guitar riffs that fall in line with the rest of the album which came off as a little “meh” for me. The fifth track, “All the Rage” brings a lot of fun and a musical change up as well. I loved the guitar work. The album closes out on “Love Will Survive” which got a little more somber and again, didn’t make much of an impression on me.
The strengths for this group are vocals, lyrics and guitar. Where I struggled was with some of the music’s arrangement. Some of tracks fell into a rut of very specific riffs and key sounds that stitched some of the tracks way too close together. Even when there were enticing deviations off the path a lot of the songs wouldn’t commit to that; instead they would revert back to the familiar.
The ‘80s influence in the key performance stuck out like a sore thumb at times. There is a solid modern sound here and there that just didn’t blend in with the high-pitched synth. It may need an update.
Mrygld is interesting. There’s lots of things I can appreciate in their work. The music is good. I would like to hear them step out a little more from their root sound. They clearly understand their aesthetic and where they want to take people. All in all the band is solid and the music has a lot of potential.
Cal is an artist from Lisburn, Northern Ireland who is just getting his start. With minimal gear and guitar in hand he made a demo entitled The Bedroom Sessions. Suffice it to say there are plenty of issues in a number of departments but he shows some potential here.
Up first is “Stay Another Day” which starts off with guitar and vocals. The guitar tone needs a lot of work but I thought the melody was fairly catchy. As the song progresses he adds an additional guitar with distortion. The song touches upon love and loss. He sings, “Everything's so bleak when you're not next to me / This song just made me ten times more ugly but I can either sit here and waste away or I can make you stay one more day.”
Up next is “Crash” which doesn't require much explanation. It revolves around a couple of major and minor chords which are aggressively strummed. He sings, “I'm sitting all alone in my room /Looking at our photographs / Thinking about all the times your face has shaped my path / The places we used to roam from the forest to the beach / The mountainsides skylines green fields and seas.”
The next song “Happiness” is arguably the best song. It's definitely a bit of a downer but the vocal melody was awfully catchy. I would have loved to have heard more instrumentation like orchestral string. Food for thought on his next effort.
“Teenage Rock n' Roll Love Song” is the closer which is a basic pop/rock song. I will admit the melodies are infectious and I thought it would have worked even better with additional instrumentation.
I think finding more musicians to play with and getting to the next level with production and recording quality would be the next logical step for Cal. As of right now he falls into a case of wait and see.
Rhett Repko (vocals/guitar), Dan Gallagher (bass/vocals), Stefan Heuer (guitar/vocals) and Tom Bryant (drums) are Rhett Repko. The band released a self-titled five-song EP Rhett Repko.
The songs are palatable pop/rock that are easy to appreciate. Repko and company aren’t reinventing the wheel here by any stretch of the imagination but the songs are well written and well delivered. There were some songs that stuck out to me. A clear highlight was “Inside of Me” which seemed to have a clear influence from early ’60s rock in the spirit of The Beatles. It’s a catchy tune and had a good amount of swing to it. The guitar solo also sounds great.
Another song in a similar vein was “On the Run” which is another clear highlight. It’s arguably the most infectious song and I humming along in no time. “Were You Ever Really Mine?” felt a little more contemporary. It’s a solid song but maybe a little too predictable at points. “About Last Night” is far and away the most commercial and poppy sounding song in the batch while “Bye Bye Baby” contains stellar vocal harmonies.
The last three songs on this EP were much stronger to me than the first three. It wasn’t even really close. The ’60s vibe worked much better for them and I thought it felt a little more natural.
Overall, I enjoyed this EP. On that note I think the writing needs a tad more focus on a cohesive sound. It’s not too out there as if they are attempting folk and hip-hop but I thought there was enough disparity for me to notice.
David Howe (guitar/bass/drums/shakers/effects) and Pierre Davis (guitars/bass) are we capillaries. The band recorded underwater dancing which is a lo-fi demo that showcases an eclectic sound of undefined styles.
Undefined styles is inarguably all over the place in terms of style. The band is onto something here especially with songs like the title track which show off inventive transitions and unpredictable paths. That being said it still feels like the band could have benefited from pre-production and putting a little more effort into how the songs were going to fit together.
They open with “lobster love” which contains jangly guitars and a lot of raw attitude. The song is pretty darn catchy and bears resemblance to garage bands like The Stooges. “lobster love” isn’t indicative of what's to come.
“giants, everyone” is a way more poppy and at the same time has some experimental tendencies. I liked it a lot for a number of reasons and the hooks are gold. “unword” is an instrumental piece that felt like it needed a more prominent lead.
They close with a delightfully catchy song entitled “risen apes” which veers more towards garage rock.
There is a lot of talent brewing underneath the surface. The band definitely need a boost in recording quality next time around either by saving up to go to a studio or learning a little more about production. I also would like to hear the performances tightening. You can get away with a certain amount of sloop with this style but even so there were moments that took me out of the song.
Overall, I think the duo have a good amount of potential. They know how to deliver hooks and aren't afraid to poke at possibilities. That’s a good start.
I wish I could do laughing emoji’s on this thing but alas we haven’t quite figured that out yet. The reason I wanted to do it is because when I first heard the opening track, “The Mask” by eastern Kentucky pop rock band Mirrored Image I thought “holy shit this sounds like fucking Oasis!” Imagine more laughing emoji’s here too. Just to give some perspective though I love Oasis, at least their first two records and slightly a bit of their third for mostly nostalgic reasons only. But it was the first thing I thought of. Then I read the bands bio and there it was Oasis.
I felt as though I was some sort of soothsayer or some shit. Maybe I should go down to the corner store and buy a lottery ticket. Anyway it’s not like Noel Gallagher never said he’d rip off “Ticket to Ride” over and over again if he could way back in the 90’s, something I read and will always remember. It was nice though as the tune gave me a certain sense of warmth about what would come next.
Next comes another nostalgic singer for me, Kurt Cobain, who makes an appearance via the loud quiet loud “Again.” Singer Dylan Belcher pulls no punches nor does the band consisting of Mark Chaney on guitar and backing vocals, bassist Elijah Purvis, and drummer Evan Compton as they take the listener through waves of druggy guitars and swells of anger that sound as though they could be Bleach outtakes at any point considering their angst. Next up is the more radio friendly pop rock of “Too Much” which uses the guitars in a 90s loud quiet style where the vocals take center stage.
Later on “Sensation” adopts an emo rock feel reminiscent of Sunny Day Real Estate and then the album’s title track “Pursuit of Happiness” takes it back to that late period relaxed 90s rock of Oasis but falls short of being anything too engaging. Next we are treated to the angry inflected slowcore rocker “One Thing” which sounds like a diary entry set to a Metallica riff.
Still I can’t help knowing exactly what Belcher means and perhaps felt whilst writing the heartfelt “When the Light Goes Out,” Perhaps it is because this is the song where Belcher and the band sound like themselves and not like anyone else.
It’s something I struggle with in my own life, to sound like myself and not like those gods that I so fathom. I’ll admit it’s a constant struggle. But here I hear Mirrored Image sounding most like that mirrored image that the will become, themselves. This to me is a band of talented musicians who are not afraid to wear their hearts on their sleeves, as well as their influences. When they come into their own though I feel they’ll see themselves in the mirror and be proud with the results.
Become A Fan
Jeff Brunell (guitar,vocals), Lizzy Greif (guitar/vocals), Michael Habif (drums) and Tim King (bass) are Wishing Rock. The band shows some talent as well as potential on their release Keep it Wrong.
They are a rock band at their core with well-written songs. The thing that stuck out to me the most were the male vocals by Brunell. I have to give a shout to Greif as well. Brunell has a thick voice that is predominant within the lower range not unlike Matt Berninger from The National or even Bowie.
The music is pretty good as well. They play in the pocket and are dynamic. There were times that I wanted some more flare. I wanted some synths or the guitars to sound a little less like guitars at times. Using Bowie as another example I would tell them to listen to the album Blackstar to get an idea of the types of experimental sounds I think they should think about.
On that note the production is the biggest hurdle for the band going forward. There is some rare music that thrives in lo-fi but this isn’t it. I want to hear nuances in the vocals and the sheen of the cymbals. Almost everything about this music cries to me hi-fi.
I enjoyed all the songs but there were highlights. The most immediate was the closer “Piscataway” which is a great song. I loved the smooth instrumental and the hook is infectious. Brunell sings “and i'd love to hear you say, "he went thataway." / back to piscataway.”
My advice to the band is keep refining their sound and to save up to hit a pro studio. They sound great and a little push in the production department will get them to the next level.
Overall, there is a good amount to enjoy on this EP. This is a band that you should no doubt keep your ears on. I predict good things happening.
Jayden Lynch (vocals/guitar), Jake Barry (guitar), Zac Caughey (bass) and Jonty Harris (drums) are Belrose. The band is in their infancy, forming about a year and a half ago but they have already released a five-song EP entitled Your Entertainment.
Their music felt very general to me. It’s certainly not niche and it felt like pretty straight forward rock. I don't say that in a pejorative way but the band sticks to the basics. Take for instance the opener “Standing Here” which revolves around distorted power chords, a steady drum beat in 4/4 and a supportive bass line. It’s a catchy, no frills song with catchy pop hooks. No more - no less.
Up next is “Caught In A Moment” which reminded me of Green Day in a number of ways with more dynamic singing. The highlight was “The Ballad” which also seemed to have some influence from a ’90s band like Weezer. “Get Me Out Of Here” is a radio friendly song while “Your Entertainment” is a solid closer.
The production is good throughout. I thought that everything in the mix had clarity and was dynamic. I have no complaints in that department.
Belrose is a good band that can write a song. At this point I think they should think about how they can differentiate themselves. Their music goes straight down the center and doesn't push boundaries or is the least bit experimental.
I think the band should be a little concerned about the mass amount of competition in this area. Their pop/rock style is unarguably familiar sounding and therefore harder for audiences to remember even if they are enjoying it while listening.
Overall, I think this band has a lot of potential and I am interested to see where they will be once they have spent more time together.
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