Saturday, June 25th, 2005
The Mint / Running From Dharma / The Jealousy Curve
The Crowne Plaza, Harrisburg, PA
For the past nine years, Harrisburg has been the host of the Millennium Music Conference, featuring 3 days of panels, clinics, workshops, mentoring, demo listening sessions, and music business trade show. The conference has served to celebrate emerging talent since its debut in 1997 as a winter event. Since then, the conference has grown into one of the premier music conferences and showcases on the East Coast of the United States. This year, I was lucky enough to attend one night of this showcase accompanied by managing editor and reviewer Scott for a night of constant music- sans ear plugs, unfortunately.
The first band to take the stage was one that I had seen perform several years before at Creation, the premier Christian music festival in the nation. The Mint, from Lancaster, PA, is a 5 piece indie rock/emo band complete with a keyboardist for an added bit of originality in a sometimes bland genre. Their passion was clearly visible throughout their set, and despite their Christian roots, they were easily accessible to the secular crowd as well. It was clear that in the time between my first experiences with The Mint, they had taken the time to tighten and polish their sound to near perfection live.
The next band I had the opportunity to hear was a local favorite, Running from Dharma. While their live performance was not obviously lacking in any one specific way, the music itself had something to be desired. They played run of the mill indie rock that sounded like it could have been taken straight out of Scott Stapp of Creed’s repertoire. Though they were clearly a favorite of the local drunken girls complete with Miller Lite’s in hand, in my humble opinion, they would fit in quite well on a tour with Three Doors Down and Staind.
The Jealousy Curve was up next, and by sheer coincidence, being that they were supposed to go on at 1 AM, when I would have been long gone. However, luckily for me, their set was bumped up to a couple hours earlier and I had the pleasure of seeing them perform. Their brand of progressive rock with an edge, albeit a soft one, was reminiscent of Coheed and Cambria, sans the excessively high distinctive falsetto vocals of C&C lead singer Claudio. Classic rock influences including Led Zeppelin and the Beatles were obvious, though the Jealousy Curve’s sound was by no means merely a carbon copy of either of these bands. Their cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain” as a closer was excellent, though it was somewhat overshadowed by the noise of another band playing in the next room. I wish it was possible for all cities to have such an amazing music fest as here in Harrisburg, being that it truly was an excellent all-around experience for any music fan.
Band Name: Atharva
Album Name: Ivy Day in the Committee Room
Best Element: Like nothing you’ve ever heard.
Label Name: Torched Records (www.torched.net)
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Honestly, it is very hard to find something to say about Atharva because their unique style prevents direct comparisons to any style of music or artist. A very preliminary impression points to old Nine Inch Nails or Skinny Puppy, but at the same time Atharva is very different from both of these artists.
This undertaking sounds very much like a movie soundtrack, as Joshua, the man behind the music, states in the “sounds like” section of Atharva’s My Space profile (www.myspace.com/atharva). As I listened, I could very much imagine hearing this as the soundtrack to a late night party scene in a movie. Most of what we have here is a blend of random and abstract instrumentation with the occasional distorted vocal.
Although I don’t much care for electronic music, this, for some strange reason, held my interest, if for no other reason than I was waiting to find out what new sound was just waiting around the bend. It is trancy and psychedelic; dark, yet soothing. As he says in the bio on Atharva’s myspace page, he really has thrown away everything that makes sense, yet come up with something unique and rather enjoyable in its place.
Album: Vampires are this Years Pink
Best Element: The solid structure of the music
Genre: Eat my heart out Emo
Band E-mail: email@example.com
Lyrics are a sensitive subject with me. I feel that lyrics can not make or break an album. Though they are an important part of the album, it is more important to have a tight band with a vocalist whose voice works with the music. A lot of (well, most people) will tell me I’m crazy, but a band is not the one person who writes the lyrics, but the 4-6 people who write the music and make everything work together. Kapone does a really great job at bringing every element of the band together seamlessly.
Kapone is an unsigned five piece emo band out of Charleston, South Carolina. They put out the cleanest and tightest sound I have heard from an unsigned band. The bassist and drummer are incredibly tight together- The bassist provides a solid beat while playing around enough to give all the songs a very cool feel. The entire band sounds great.
The lyrics are the one thing some people will see as a problem. The lyrics are cliché emo lyrics, and statements such as “I’ll drown in my tears” lead the charge. Personally, I find the lyrics fit the music and the singer’s voice. It’s not that I’m a huge fan of cliché emo, but I enjoy this album.
This is a band that really cares about its music. They really worked at this album and put out a quality product. Check out “Hell and Good Company”.
Band: Legal Insanity
Best element: Very original sound
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
First order of business, I’d like to say that Legal Insanity KICKS MAJOR ASS! Legal Insanity has a very original sound, which is hard to find in a time filled with sell-out-ism. They are like the bastard child of punk, nü-metal, and Slayer (thrown in for spice). I would like to see this band get signed, make lots of money, and become famous. You can tell the members really care about music.
These guys are pure energy. On all of their songs, there is a very gut wrenching, almost growl-like scream coming from bass player the Beast which drives the songs. The deep yell is complimented by super heavy guitar parts and fast drums, which are pretty tight. There are some shaky parts, but you forget all about that when the vocals kick in. The lead singer Chase has one of those voices that cuts through the music and just hits you. You can tell that Legal
Insanity has roots in punk and metal, as Whambam’s fast double beat drumming keeps the songs together. Over all, the album is very tight and just damn good.
Unfortunately, the quality of the recording was not the best. The quality of recording is not the most important thing though- their music is excellent. It could have been a few songs longer as well, but it was still awesome.
When I listen to Legal Insanity, I want to break something. Not many bands move me in that way. I would like to hear these guys make a full length CD, as I think it would sell very well. You can hear everything the band puts into their music. It comes from deep in their souls, which seems to be a fading quality during the second glam era. I have found my new favorite band, and if you are interested in good thrashcore or metal, definitely check out Legal Insanity. They will rock your socks off.
Band Name: The Mars Patrol
Album Name: Turn it Around EP
Best Element: Flawless from start to finish.
Genre: Poppy indie rock
Label Name: Outtasight Recordings
Band E-mail: email@example.com
I beg you, Mars Patrol, please help me get your songs out of my head! I’ve been listening to Turn it Around for two days now and I can’t help but sing along. Your melodies and harmonies are so infectious, your vocals so sweet and beautiful- I can hardly tear myself away.
All drama aside, this is one of the best CDs I’ve had the pleasure of reviewing to date. This oh-so-talented Scottish duo, consisting of Davina Divine and Ross Nelson, has created a masterpiece in that every song is flawless from start to finish.
Stylistically, The Mars Patrol resembles a more mature Lisa Loeb with a twist of alternative rock. The band’s slogan says “Reaching your soul, not bleeding your ears” and they hold true to this. Their music is infused with passion and emotion without the harsh vocals and music used by so many artists. Replacing these harsh tones are sharp, clean vocals and guitars that please the ears to get you singing and tapping your toes.
This is the kind of act you would typically see at a local bar, playing songs while people drink and listen – but their talent screams that they are destined for more. It will be a pleasure to watch their fan base grow so that they can touch the hearts of others with their wonderful sound.
Album: The Boy with No Face and No Sound
Band: Neil McWilliam
Best Element: Intricate song structure
Genre: Acoustic Emo
Band E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Neil McWilliam is an extremely talented song writer and guitar player. He needs a band. The Boy with No Face and No Sound is an acoustic solo album that reminded me of the entire Punk Goes Acoustic album. And just as Punk Goes Acoustic sounds a little empty without the bass and drum backing, The Boy with No Face and No Sound sounds a little empty.
The quality on the recordings is not the best, but you can really feel the emotion that was put into the album. Even though the songs were very well done, they blended together because the all had the same acoustic mellow structure. There was no song were Neil went off into a solo or changed the structure. Things like that make an album, and while I’m confident that Neil can do it, he needs a band to support him in that regard.
I really enjoyed this album, but because it is acoustic I have to be in a certain mood to listen to it. I think that if Neil would hook up with a band to record his material he could have one of the top ten albums of the year. Neil McWilliam really has the potential to have a great solo career- provided he hooks up with backing bands along the way.