Boxer and Eyes Wide: Spilt EP

My trip to Europe begins in exactly three days, which is why I’m currently wearing my new kicks around the house to break them in for a solid month of walking.  Taking new things and wearing them out/in is quite possibly the easiest way to make something unknown ­– familiar. I approached Boxer and Eyes Wide’s Spilt EP the same way. For a little over two weeks, I let the music cultivate on my hard drive and broke in the songs to break into thought.

The Spilt EP contains six tracks – the first three belonging to Boxer. “Contempt” opens the album with that Ataris End is Forever vibe, reminding me particularly of “I.O.U. One Galaxy.” The angst and energy of emo music is alive and thriving. This movement continues well into the next track with a little evolution. “Weight,” has the essence of A Day to Remember jam, with harmonies in the form of screams. Yet it is the final Boxer track, “Grow,” a punk ballad that slows down the tempo and sets the mood for Eyes Wide.

At first, I couldn’t differentiate from Boxer and Eyes Wide. Both lead singers sound incredibly similar, maybe with a little tonal variation. Despite their similarities, the energy of Eyes Wide is a little gloomier than what Boxer produces.  Although Eyes Wide’s first track, “Gem” is comparable to “Grow,” it’s in their second track, “Leaving Feels Right,” that defines their presence on the record. If you’re having a bad day, this song won’t pick you up like Daniel Powter’s hit. Even with change in tempo, Eyes Wide remains the downer band as they close with, “Ordinary.”

Whatever your taste in music is, Boxer and Eyes Wide bring an interesting combination to the table. If you’re into ice cream sandwiches (preferably the Neapolitan variety) then you might want to consider which side to listen to first. For me, Boxer is the strawberry – a must save for last, while Eyes Wide is the chocolate – should be consumed first. In terms of rock and roll, they meet in the middle as easy as vanilla.

Spilt EP is now available for digital download, courtesy of Reveille Records, on iTunes, Amazon, and BandCamp.

The New Regime: Exhibit A

1106-1It’s amazing how we often glaze over the process of recording – forgetting that there are real people in the studio behind the instruments. We almost never know their names, or care to look at their Instagram because to the average listener, they’re nothing in comparison to those who take the stage and sing over the instrumentals. Illan Rubin is a new name in my musical dictionary, and it shouldn’t be. I’m familiar with his beats on Paramore’s latest self-title album, and am no stranger to Angels & Airwaves. Recently, Rubin’s project, The New Regime, has released one of it’s first of many installments, Exhibit A.

Exhibit A features 8 tracks of pure alternative rock. “Hope is Gone,” is the first track encountered by listeners, and is a nice preface of what is to come. The high-energy head-banger leads into a more dissonant sounding piece, “Touch of Reality,” with “Don’t Chase It,” to follow. The hook on this particularly reminds me of something heard on Good Charlotte’s Good Morning Revival album. You will be happy to find a tie to daydreams on Exhibit A, but it’s not exactly as whimsical as Paramore’s.

Admittedly, after the initial four tracks, I found myself to get a little bored with the sound. It didn’t help that “This Is A New World,” fell right into the middle of the album with a Coldplay/Radiohead ambience. Luckily, the album picks up again with “Say What You Will.” Surprisingly, the final track, “Know How It Feels,” is a little acoustic jam. The acoustics is a nice turn from the heavy guitars and the even louder drums (which seemed to dominate the majority of the space).

Although I wouldn’t go so far as to saying that I’m The New Regime’s biggest fan, I would go so far as to say that I have a great amount of respect for Illan Rubin. He’s clearly a gifted musician who is capable of shaping the musical world one pedal to the kick drum at a time. The New Regime’s, Exhibit A, is now available on iTunes and Amazon.

Banquets: Banquets

Banquets LP layoutThere is such a thing, at least known to me, as “summer music.” Summer music is crisp, light, and carefree without too much philosophical digging – just fun. It embellishes the energy of the moment, whether that is something as mundane as driving your car late at night after a show, or parking it to overlook the city lights with the windows rolled down. Jersey City band, Banquets, and their sophomore, self-titled LP, could easily fit into this category.

Compared to the likes of Gaslight Anthem, Banquets delivers the same intense rock energy, but with a less matured voice. That isn’t to say that lead singer Travis Omilian delivers a poor vocal performance, just that there is less texture to his chords. For a rock band, it caters well to the genre. If you pay close enough attention in “Little Shallow,” you may catch a hint of Dave Grohl.

Banquets is your standard rock record, beautifully mastered and professional. However, there are some songs more than others that I would highly recommend adding to your playlist. “March 19th” is a haunting little number, regarding a loss, maybe a break up, that doesn’t pull at your heartstrings, nor makes you want to break something. It’s a happy medium between contemplative and nostalgic without getting overtly dramatic about it. “Starts and Stops,” is the kind of song us “privilege white kids,” blare in our rooms hoping our parents will listen to our feelings of entrapment.  “Bums in the Breeze,” the slow jam,” cools the sweat off your back significantly, but keeps the heat in your cheeks.

Every song on Banquet‘s new album will add a little something to your step, and make you want to continue to drive straight down the highway to the next city over. Banquets is now available courtesy of Black Numbers/Disconnect Disconnect for digital download or your record player.