Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Falcon Five-O Sampler

January 20, 2004

No art

Falcon Five-O Sampler

Falcon Five-O is a power-pop band from Norman, Oklahoma. This small town was put on the map when the All-American Rejects burst forth from there. If you said that FFO sounded somewhat like AAR, you’d be right. In fact, if you said it reminded you of Fountains of Wayne or Bowling for Soup, you wouldn’t be too far off either.

But Falcon Five-O takes the best of all three bands and melts them together, making something much cooler. For example, the vocals on this sampler are much more lower, stronger, and more accessible than AAR’s whiny yelp, the lyrics are wittier and more inspired than Fountains of Wayne, and they can write a hook better than Bowling For Soup.

Their best song is the mildly masochistic “I Suck”, which features a bright-shiny hook and a hilarious concept backed up with equally hilarious lyrics. As both of the other songs are just as enjoyable, the nearly 12 minutes of this sampler pass much too quickly. There may be no new ground here, but this is the most pristine, fun, power-pop I’ve ever heard. This has no detractors. Seriously.

Links: www.falconfive-o.com

The Anatomy of a Broken Heart

Crash Addict “The Anatomy of a Broken Heart”

Everyone knows at least one purist. You know, those people who want their music to be completely devoid of pop influence, of money, or of anything that interferes with the essence of what they feel the music should be. In this day and age, purists are suffering. People are fusing genres left and right, trying out things that haven’t been done yet, and generally making categorization a very hard and lengthy process.

Crash Addict is what critics would call “Post Hardcore”. They have all the elements of a hardcore band: screaming, hard-hitting riffs, double bass pedal on drums, haunting spoken word sections, and a generally dark, loud sound. But they’re “Post Hardcore” because they’ve also enlisted a great singer, who can sing a haunting melodic line well enough to make you shiver.

The concept of that sounds challenging to pull off, and it is. Crash Addict has some songs where it works beautifully, such as the powerful, punchy “So Many Years”. The singing that dominates this album is of a more melodic style, for high contrast, but on “So Many Years”, he adopts a harder style which meshes better with the music. Couple that with excellent riffs and an AFI-invoking scream-along section, and you have a rockin song post-hardcore song that everyone can enjoy.

Unfortunately, not all the songs here are as inspired. Most have one or two awesome features, then feel normal and languid for the rest of the piece (See the screamed bridge from “Amongst Friends”, the intro from “Falling From the Inside”). But no song completely is normal. The vocals are too good for any one song to completely stink.

Crash Addict is a pretty hard-hitting band who’s still discovering their sound. This is a good debut, but it leaves a little more to be desired. Some of these songs will rock your face off….and that’s ALWAYS a good thing. They just need to mature and grow some more and they’ll be awesome.

www.crashaddict.com

A Second Chance

If I were asked to give a definition of an ideal emo band, I’d have two definitions:

1.        A slightly dark fusion of rock, hardcore, and punk, played by white guys with two guitars, aggressive rhythm section, and a singer with a solid voice and emotional problems.

2.        A Second Chance.

Yes, A Second Chance personifies emo to me. There is no genre-mixing here. This is straight-up emo, the way it should be. And it rocks hard. All four songs on this EP are fantastic, and fantastically memorable (Yes, you can have a song that sounds awesome, yet is hard to remember – see Modest Mouse for details).

Take “My Silhouette” for example. One of the best songs here, it is also the best display of their sound: a driving, dual guitar attack: solid, haunting vocals accompanied by occasional well-placed screams; excellent drumming; and fist-raising, scream-along passion. Any of those things separately could catch my attention, but together, they make this impossible to pass up. Another plus is the fact that use their screamer as tactfully as I have ever seen. He is used enough that he is not ignored, but not too much that he is overexposed. It’s just enough to give an extra punch of adrenaline to all songs.

While “My Silhouette” is good, it’s not the only song here. “You Tell a Tale” starts out tough, but drops down to a delicate bridge before exploding into back the most emotionally chaotic minute of the album, with three singers each singing their hearts out over crashing, wild riffs.

A Second Chance is one fantastic emo band. This CD is the first excellent CD I’ve heard this year, and all others will be measured against ASC’s brilliant EP. This CD will be a jewel in any emo lover’s crown, and I can’t WAIT for their next album.

www.ascrock.com www.purevolume.com/asecondchance

A First-Hand Glance at A Second Chance

A First-Hand Glance at A Second Chance

Taking over the music world, one place at a time: A Second Chance. After hitting a nerve in Purevolume.com (Go to their page and see for yourself), A Second Chance has taken their melodic emo show on the road, and is making tracks all over the indie music scene.

IC: Hey, how’s life been treating you lately?

Andy: Things have been going really well! Thanks.

IC: How was the “Don’t Cry, Just Dance” tour?

Andy: That tour was so much fun. All of the bands on it really know how to have fun and the shows were awesome.

IC: Got any funny stories from there?

Andy: Oh man, so many. I’ve been sharing this one story because it doesn’t involve anything too illegal. This one time we met up with My American Heart on the road on the way to one of the shows and we started having an all out war going like 80. I really don’t think I should name what we were throwing at them but on a blind shot I (Andy) got an opened two liter of Pepsi right in their passenger window and soaked them, it was awesome.

IC: What was the best show on the tour?

Andy: I would have to say it was this one show in Tempe, AZ at this place called the Clubhouse. The kids there are so awesome to us and it’s where we got our first ever encore while on tour.

IC: If you could change one of the aspects of the tour, what would you change (other than making it longer- cause every indie band wants a longer tour…)?

Andy: I would have to say the whole clean clothes thing. I’ve got to shout out Random Entertainment for giving us enough shirts to make it through the tour.

IC: What are some of your favorite tour-bus CDs?

Andy: We probably played Head Automatica and Underoath the most while we were out.

IC: It’s been a while since you recorded anything…how has your sound progressed since the recording of the “In Your Silence” EP?

Andy: To a degree we think we’ve out grown that EP. It was some of the first songs we wrote when Dan joined the band. For the newer material we’re writing for our full-length, we’re def. maturing to a more rock based feel and we’re not going to limit ourselves to anything.

8. Are we going to hear your new material soon?

Our full length is going to be available in stores everywhere hopefully by the early side of Spring.

9. What’s the last CD that you bought and were really disappointed in? Why?

I can’t really think of anything right now, I guess that’s good.

10. What album do you really like that you wouldn’t admit to your macho-est of friends?

The Ashlee Simpson CD is definitely up there.

11. Got any memorable catchphrases to leave us with?

I’m definitely doing to get this question wrong…

-Stephen Carradini

Boss Tweeter

January 2, 2004

I’m at a loss to describe Boss Tweeter. It sounds somewhat like this: Classic Rock + Math Rock + Grunge + Guitar Rock + Emo + Blues + Surf Rock. Since I like all of these genres, I’m quickly falling in love with Boss Tweeter, although I can’t tell you what genre they actually play.

In this EP, they’ve matured substantially. They’ve refined their songwriting skill exponentially, improved their vocal performances, added drums to their sound, and refined their already amazing lyrics to a razor edge since their last demo came across my desk. Case in point: Not even Radiohead can get away with raving “The point of this exercise is simply to reveal the true nature of humanity like a gunshot in your peripheral vision” as BT does in “Untitled”. Boss Tweeter simply has the best lyrics in rock music today. Put all their elements together, and what results is one kickin’ album.

They’ve only written two new songs for this demo (“Mistress” and “Untitled”), with the other 5 being demo songs retooled. The two new songs are undoubtedly the best songs on this album, though. “Mistress” is the rocker that was missing from BT’s repetoire: not too fast and not too slow, just mid-tempo rock. Both the vocals and the guitars deliver a raw, passionate feel to this, which is fantastic. If “Mistress” rocked, then “Untitled” rocks harder. This is the best song BT has ever written, as it sees Ball ranting and raving a political, cryptic, prophetic poem over angular, fractured math-rock riffs. The intensity that is captured in this song is just amazing, as the guitars will pump your adrenaline, and then the vocals will haunt you.

The rest of the album plays out well, as all the old songs have been retooled to fit drums and tweaked to sound better. They’re very good, but the two new songs really are the jewels here. One highlight is the acoustic last track “Land of Forgotten Sun”, which reminds you that remorse is still alive and well in music today.

Altogether, Boss Tweeter is one of the most talented, creative, genre-bending bands since Nirvana. They are ready to rock your stereo right now. They’ll be rocking your radio soon, so get this album and have a collectors’ item when they become dangerously famous.

Links: http://bosstweeter.tripod.com

Mistress features guitar, bass, drums, the first song ever by boss tweeter to do so. The vocals are raw and appealing, adding a different feel to this. The harsh, attacking vocals are very interesting. Good shown on mistress. “Untitled” sees Ball ranting and raving a poem over a dual guitar attack which invokes serious post-rock vibes, certain passion invoked. ‘two decisions, equally condemnable, equally regrettable, but either a prize nonetheless’ the delivery is haunting, pained and shiver-inducing. Lyrics are emotional, political, prophetic, and altogether amazing, not resisting any irony to be provoked, no contradiction left unturned, and no metaphor or simile left unexplored. The drums give their sound much more clarity and feel than their previous work. This just feels much better. Even without bass (as in ‘untitled’) their sound is much more full. Hellbent, one of the best songs off their last album, is even better with driving drums.

Stephen Carradini and friends write reviews of bands that are trying to make the next step in their careers.

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