Gates- “Not My Blood”

Gates are one of few bands that seamlessly blend indie rock, post-rock, and emo to create a unique and captivating sound that makes me feel as though I’m falling in love with music for the first time, all over again. The only other bands who evoke a similar feeling in me are the now defunct Moving Mountains; one of my all time favorites, The Appleseed Cast; and one of my more recently appointed favorites, From Indian Lakes.

Much like the trajectory of Moving Mountains’ catalog, it has been fascinating to watch Gates progress from the diamond in the rough sound of their debut EP The Sun Will Rise and Lead Me Home to the more finely tuned, intricate stylings and impressive production that made their follow up EP You Are All You Have Left To Fear so stunning. If the lead single, “Not My Blood” is any indication, I’m sure that their upcoming LP Bloom & Breathe will build upon its predecessor’s blueprint to produce an even more spectacularly detailed, cohesive sound. The guitar work calls to mind some of Explosions In The Sky’s most poignant moments, and Kevin Dye’s well-honed vocals have the same kind of almost crystalline, yet still slightly gritty beauty and strong emotional impact as Gregory Dunn of Moving Mountains.

Bands like Gates are a rare find, and their music certainly deserves and will command your full attention. Sit and listen to “Not My Blood” and be prepared for an especially moving experience that might alter the way you think about rock music in general, regardless of the somewhat meaningless genres and sub genres we can be so eager to impose on bands who don’t quite fit the mold.

Stream the song below and pre-order the album here.

Sir Sly cover Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife”

Sir Sly have been on my radar since they covered Drake’s “Marvin’s Room” earlier this year. Since then, they’ve released an excellent single, the title track from their upcoming album “You Haunt Me” (out 9/16 and now streaming in full on their website). They recently put out a cover of Arcade Fire’s “Afterlife,” and I have to say I enjoy it more than the original. The darkly ambient, moody electronic backdrop, coupled with Landon Jacobs’ sultry, wide-ranging, emotive vocals create a well-orchestrated, uniquely imagined cover that will entice listeners to seek out more music from this up-and-coming indie/electro-pop band.

Coheed And Cambria Cover Jimmy Eat World’s “A Praise Chorus”

Coheed and Cambria did a live cover of “A Praise Chorus” from Jimmy Eat World’s 2001 album Bleed American, reinventing the song as a slower, acoustic ballad that still manages to pack a pretty powerful punch. Although this cover is closer in sound to the softer tracks on Bleed American, such as “Cautioners,” Claudio Sanchez’s signature vocals add an exciting dramatic flair and a heightened sense of vulnerability and yearning to the more chilled out, gently paced instrumentation.

Light Years- “Temporary” EP

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What can I say about Light Years that I haven’t already said? Their incredibly thoughtful, mature songwriting skills and strong musicianship put a whole new spin on the often scorned, misunderstood genre known as “pop punk.” And with their new EP Temporary, the band further prove that they can deliver tightly crafted melodies and introspective lyrics that make them memorable and outstanding in a scene filled with younger, more run-of-the-mill bands.

If you grew up on bands like Blink-182 and are looking for more nuanced, but still anthemic, pop-punk-inspired music that will resonate more strongly with twenty-somethings as opposed to teens, look no further than Light Years.

You can stream Temporary via the link below, but be sure to purchase the actual album here and support this underrated and extremely talented band. Also, catch them on tour this fall with Turnover and Malfunction.

http://www.purevolume.com/news/PREMIERE-Stream-Light-Years-Temporary-EP

Saves The Day and Say Anything cover each other

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Saves The Day and Say Anything, who will embark on a tour in November to celebrate the respective 15th and 10th anniversaries of (arguably) their most popular albums, recorded two acoustic covers of each other’s songs. See the link below to stream Saves The Day covering “Belt” and Say Anything covering “You Vandal,” and also to view tour dates. The two bands will also be supported by Reggie and The Full Effect on tour.

http://savestheday.com/throughbeingcool2014

Ace Enders previews new song, “Undecided”

Ace Enders released another video of a new song from his “voice memo sessions” called “Undecided,” and based on this and his previously released song from these sessions, I think Ace’s next album might be his strongest body of work to date. I’m not sure whether these sessions will lead to another “I Can Make A Mess” album or whether he’ll record them under the “Ace Enders and A Million Little Pieces” moniker. I would guess the latter, as this song in particular is pretty similar in sound to some of the songs on his 2009 AMLP album When I Hit The Ground. If you loved The Early November’s most recent album In Currents, you’ll most likely love this.

Read what Ace Enders had to say about these sessions and stream “Undecided” below.

a few months back i was mixing a record for another band. while each track was bouncing down (roughly 3-4 minuets each) i wrote 8 songs in that time, playing and singing the first thing that came into my mind. i recorded each as a voice memo in that moment and then built the song around that. so no metronome and very little edits. just a cracky voice memo that you can hear all over the album. thankfully trevor from el.de.te was there the whole time to document it.. here is a small piece of it!!”

Ryan Adams (Self-Titled) album review

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One never knows quite what to expect from a new Ryan Adams album. He has definitely thrown his fair share of curveballs throughout his prolific career, from 2003’s all-out rock album, the aptly titled Rock N Roll, to a trilogy of three very different albums all released within months of each other in 2005, and most recently, a more acoustic-based return to form with 2011’s Ashes And Fire. Adams’ new self-titled LP picks up where Ashes and Fire left off, and builds on his newfound sense of clarity and cohesion, drawing upon elements of the sounds and styles he so beautifully crafted on several of his previous albums.

While the album’s overarching style is most similar to the early-mid 2000’s portion of his catalog- one can definitely hear pieces of Demolition, Love Is Hell, and Cold Roses in much of the composition and delivery- it seems more to be the product of an artist who, with his refreshed perspective in the wake of some transformative life experiences, has taken the best elements of his varied body of work and built upon them quite skillfully and impressively. Several of the songs, most notably “Trouble” and “Gimme Something Good”, rock out with all the glory of the best moments on Demolition and Rock N Roll, while others like “Am I Safe?” and “Stay With Me” recall the lush, sprawling qualities that made Cold Roses such a standout album. One can also hear hints of his seminal solo debut Heartbreaker in what is perhaps the album’s strongest track, “My Wrecking Ball.” And it seems that Adams has laced this somewhat retrospective journey through the strongest phases of his multifaceted catalog with a common unifying thread of the same poppy-yet-melancholic quality that made Love Is Hell such a standout body of work. But rather than simply being a forced attempt to recapture his glory days, this collection of songs conveys a more refined, carefully honed version of the genre-bending genius that has finally emerged after weathering a long storm of substance abuse, health problems, and other personal demons.

What’s especially impressive about this latest album that has been missing from his work for quite some time is a true sense of cohesion and flow from beginning to end. Instead of being patched together unevenly with parts that don’t quite fit within the whole, this piece of art has been thoughtfully sketched out and detailed to create harmony, complements, and beautiful contrasts among its many elements. Now that Adams has stepped back from the insanely prolific, drug-fueled writing and recording habits he came to be known for a decade ago, he has truly hit his stride and is now able to create albums that feel fully formed, intelligently designed, and altogether both fascinating and pleasant to listen to.