Remember in 1993 when Bon Jovi put out “Keep the Faith,” and it was their attempt at doing their crappy songs with the “grunge” image? This record is like that.
When we last checked in with Diamond, they had just released their EP “Don’t Lose Your Cool” on vinyl and were demoing new material. Now, they have a new name, a new label (Topshelf Records), and a new record that will no doubt bring in a much wider audience for the power-pop quartet.
“Orange” is a quirky record that definitely stands on its own. If you’ve never heard “Don’t Lose Your Cool,” you can pick up this EP and find a band that is coming into its own. Whereas “Cool” took liberties with the Beach Boys and “Blue Album”-era Weezer, the off-time parts and unorthodox song structures puts “Orange” more in line with bands like Rival Schools or Creeper Lagoon.
There’s still a huge melodic influence (check “Cannonball” and “Separator” for example), but it’s woven with challenging parts (like in “Come Down”) to create a very huge sound for the band.
Honestly, “Orange” is the first record that I’ve preordered in the last 12 years and I’m not disappointed by it at all. Diamond Youth’s growth is exponential in a short period of time and this record exemplifies that they understand how to write perfect pop songs that aren’t dumbed down.
— Ryan Pangilinan
Tegan and Sara
If you’ve paid attention to Tegan and Sara in the last few years, then this album shouldn’t be that much of a surprise. Yet, many people around me only have “If It Was You” or “So Jealous” as their benchmark records of comparison. Both “The Con” and “Sainthood” were steeped in producing just as many dance jams (check the Alligator remixes) as rock songs. “Heartthrob” is the first step in the Quin Sisters taking their love of EDM a notch by producing a record with nary a rock song.
Not to say that “Heartthrob” is like Skrillex-lite. Far from it, actually. “Heartthrob” is many ways picking up where bands like The Killers, Bloc Party and The Bravery left off. The difference is that there’s not really a trend to hook “Heartthrob” to. Tegan and Sara have long been making pop music, albeit in different incarnations. Whether it goes back to their acoustic roots or powerpop jams, the Quins have never shied away from putting hooks into their songs and “Heartthrob” is different version of what they’ve successfully been doing for years.
— Ryan Pangilinan
The ebook version of my short story collection, Another False Alarm, is up for download. You can donate to the cause or download it and share it with your friends. Physical version will be available soon.
Camp Lo, “Black Nostaljack (Come On)” Live in Seattle
I had the pleasure to see Camp Lo on their 15th Anniversary tour of “Uptown Saturday Night” and they fucking killed it. They ran through most of the songs (minus tracks that featured Nicky Barnes and Trugoy) from the record and obviously still have it. Easily one of the best shows I’ve ever been to.
Dates for this year’s 2013 Revival Tour have been announced. If you remember our review from last year, then you know that it was a hell of a time. This time, Chuck Ragan is bringing Dave Hause (The Loved Ones), Tim McIlrath (Rise Against), Jenny O, Jenny Owens Youngs, and Rocky Votolato (Waxwing) along for the ride. Check the dates, buy a ticket and get ready to have a blast.
If you click on the picture, you can download your own copy of “Another False Alarm” for your tablet, smartphone, etc. This is a collection of short stories that’s been a long time coming. I’ve spent a lot of time writing, rewriting, editing, and including and excluding stories. If you’d like, feel free to donate to the cause via Paypal or just share it with your friends. I’ll have a limited print run available very soon if you prefer old school styleeeeeee.
Broadway Calls, “Suffer the Kids” (Nervous Energies)
Photog/videographer Ryan Russell recently hooked up with my bros/former tourmates in Broadway Calls for his Nervous Energies series. Check out this reworking of one of my favorite songs.
I genuinely feel terrible for missing the initial email I got on this band. Had I stayed up with my emails a little bit more diligently, I would’ve championed this album much sooner.
With a tinge of Piebald and Smoking Popes in their sound, Run, Forever is hands down one of the more exciting new bands that I’ve heard in the last year. Heart wrenching tunes like “Basement,” “Good Enough,” and “Postcards” are a reminder that despite the vapid world of bands that appeal strictly to the ap.net audience, we can get the occasional group that succeeds by crafting a record so damn earnest that it’s like discovering Mineral for the first time.
If you don’t check out Run, Forever’s “Settling,” you’d be doing yourself a huge disservice.
— Ryan Pangilinan