Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

When Summers Gone rocks out naturally and comfortably

January 5, 2010

There is nothing wrong with the genre of modern rock. When done correctly, it can be just as powerful as your best indie-rock songs or indie-pop tunes. It’s just that there aren’t very many bands like Chevelle, Bush, Glori-H and (okay, I’m prepared to take some flack for this) Linkin Park. There are, however, plenty of sucky bands like Three Days Grace, Nickelback, Staind, Puddle of Mudd, and the like. It’s a true statement that modern rock has a disproportionately amount of sucky artists in its ranks. I don’t know why this is, exactly. But just because there are lots of sucky ones doesn’t stop me from being able to laud a good one when it appears.

And When Summers Gone is a good modern rock band, despite the horribly punctuated name (I have to stop myself from putting a [sic] after every use). Their debut album December features catchy riffs, a solid rhythm section, intense vocals that fit well without sounding forced (mostly), and a general mood that makes it feel real and honest instead of overproduced and bloated.

“Ocean Boulevard” is the standout here, with a charging guitar line accented by syncopated drumming and snarling yet melodic vocals. Every part meshes together, and the song feels like a whole. It doesn’t feel forced or contrived, but like the natural outflow of the band. In the same way that Anathallo sits down and indie-pop glory comes out, When Summers Gone sits down and modern rock comes out. It’s almost definitely not that simple, but the finished product makes it feel that way. And that’s good news for the listener (which is good news for the band).

“Embers” is another hard-charging tune that only misses being the highlight by having a slightly out-of-control vocal line throughout. If the vocals weren’t so passionate as to miss bits here and there (this is, after all, an indie release), the song would easily top “Ocean Boulevard,” as the start/stop, loud/quiet songwriting is the tightest on the album. The band plays with emotions effectively on “Embers,” and that’s a good sign.

If When Summers Gone can hang together and make some more songs, I see good things for them. Their songs are tight and their sound is cohesive. They can write and make it feel natural, which makes me want to listen to their music over others in the genre who just feel contrived as a marketing ploy. They do have issues with vocals in places, but that’s stuff they can smooth out. December is worth picking up if you’re a fan of Bush, Chevelle, or modern rock in general.

Glori-H – S/t

August 16, 2003

Read: www.mp3.com/glorih
Listen: www.mp3.com/glorih
Buy: www.cdbaby.com/glorih

I have the worst luck with bands….I always find the best ones after they break up. Glori-H is gone, but the music is not, thankfully…

“September Waltz” slams out of the starting gate with fuzzy, distorted riffs and dark rock slam. It never falls into any other genre, it’s just dark rock.  The vocals are rough, low, and powerful. They drive with a passion and emotion unmatched by any independent band I’ve heard. “Dissatisfied” sounds like the Counting Crows with dark rock flair inserted. It’s an extremely interesting track, as the vocals switch to a much more melodic, soft, and moving tone. Dark but clean strumming opens “Still Shaken”. Another darker piece, it churns with emotion. The lyrics here are amazing.  A return to dark rock and the graveling, reverbed, inviting vocals shows up in “Turn it On”. The chorus is amazing, with a great progression, nearly screamed vocals, and haunting words: “Soon….she’s all I have….when she turns it on again….you’re going to sacrifice.”

“Rhythm and Friction” is the best of both worlds, smacking of acoustic melodic creativity and the dark rock power that they possess. A pointed use of silence occurs for the second time on this album. “Goldenone” has an upbeat, Lifehouse feel to it, but overall dark feel of the album is maintained. A return to the style of “Dissatisfied” greets us on “Wire Frame”. It has a hollow feel that can be felt by the listener….not to be listened to by happy people.

“Refrain” is the best song on the album. It  starts out with only acoustic guitar and a nearly silent vocal line, then blasts you in the face with the closest to a scream as he gets and wild guitar in the style of “September Waltz”. It’s shocking, amazing, and genius. The awesome solo sounds like a cross between an Audioslave solo and a normal solo.

“Chair”, a true acoustic song, feels overshadowed, and doesn’t continue the feel of the album at all. It’s a good song in itself, but it doesn’t fit too well in the overall theme.

Amazing. I could not find a single problem with this album. I even looked for them. Passion, fury, emotion, creativity…if only the acoustic song were a bit better, it would’ve been a perfect album. Amazing. Get a copy. Now. 9.5 out of 10

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

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