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Hogan’s Albums of the Week – 11/17

Posted by on Nov 17, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So I totally missed Thursday, which means this week my new music Thursday is on a Friday, and this week is actually a pretty special one. Two of these albums are from bands that are actually pretty special to me, they’re both bands that I crossed paths with in one way or another back when I was living in Boston. It’s always really nice to see new material from those guys that I used to hang out and play shows with. And the other albums aren’t ones to sleep on either, there’s actually a lot of good new music coming out this week.

Actor|Observer – I came across these guys as my time with Like Waves was coming to an end, but I was so impressed by them, and basically our entire band became instant fans, and have been ever sense. I remember I reviewed their last album, The Longer Now, after I had moved back to DC, and aside from being a great album, it was a huge nostalgia trip. Everyone knows about that Boston sound; you really don’t hear it anywhere else, and it kinda transcends genres, Vanna has it the same way that A Loss for Words has it. And Actor|Observer captures that hard-edged northern grit better than anyone else. Full disclosure, this is a 7”, not a full length, but this is a really incredible band and they deserve to be heard by as many people as possible.

Que Sera – So these guys broke up awhile ago, but they’re just so fucking good. I got to know these guys back when I was living in Boston, I met them through a friend of mine and ended up playing a few shows with them over the years, and have been a fan ever since. These guys are the perfect embodiment of New England post-hardcore that was popularized by The Receiving End of Sirens. Clean, impossibly technical, emotional, with just immense depth with layers upon layers of sounds, vocals, melodies… It’s just brilliant, all of it, I can’t say enough good things about these guys. So anyway, they broke up a little while ago, but have been sitting on this unreleased EP since then, and they finally shared it with everyone earlier this week, you can get it for free on their SoundCloud, so please check it out.

Ghost Atlas – I’ll try and keep these short since I was a bit more personally invested in the other two and already went overboard. This band is the side project of the clean vocalist from the metalcore band, Erra. This is another technical post-hardcore band, with some hints of Cove Reber-era Saosin, or Secret & Whisper.

Electric Wizard – This is the quintessential doom metal band, they really set the standard with their 2000 album, Dopethrone. We’ve been waiting on this album for a long time now though, it was supposed to come out last Halloween, but here we are. And I’d say it’s well worth the wait. So if you’re into some sludgey stoner metal, this is the album to check out. A few other doom albums have come out this year, but this is by far my favorite so far.

Phinehas – There have been a ton of metalcore releases this year, and this is another one. It’s really good, don’t get me wrong, but it’s very hard to stand out in metalcore right now. They’re up against August Burns Red, Veil of Maya, Oceans Ate Alaska, Like Moths to Flames, etc, all with new albums out recently. This is a very good album, but I think I prefer those.

Emancipator – Of course, most of you know Emancipator, but maybe some of you don’t know about the new album, so here ya go. And if you don’t know, Emancipator makes really excellent trip hop and is some of the only electronic music I actually listen to.

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Hogan’s Albums of the Week – 11/10

Posted by on Nov 9, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

So I initially thought my new music post was gonna be kinda short this week, I really didn’t have much I wanted to talk about when the day started, but things kinda fell in my lap over the past few hours, and predictably, it snowballed quite a bit from there. Much to my surprise, I’ve actually got some really good albums for you all to check out this week. Some of them have actually been pleasant surprises for me, as well. The last album on this list, for example, is from a band that I discovered probably 30 minutes ago, so this post has proven informative to myself too, which is always nice.

Hail the Sun – When today started, I thought there was only one album that I was gonna write about, but just this morning, these guys dropped a new single and announced a surprise 5 song EP, to be released tomorrow. I’m actually listening to it right now, and it’s incredible. But that should come as no surprise to any of you that are familiar with Hail the Sun. They’re a part of that kind of unofficial collective of progressive post-hardcore bands that orbit around Dance Gavin Dance, so bands like Eidola, A Lot Like Birds, Stolas, Sianvar, etc. Basically, the Blue Swan Records crowd. Sonically, it’s just organized chaos; how these guys can weave so many different rhythms, melodies, time signatures, etc and make it all come together in one cohesive piece of music is absolutely beyond me, but they pull it off brilliantly. The only way I’d be happier with this is if it were a full length. If you’re a fan of Dance Gavin Dance, or any of these other bands (which if you’re a fan of DGD, you should be), you’ll love this EP.

Speak the Truth… Even if Your Voice Shakes – You know how I said there was only one album I was planning on writing about this week? This is it. To start things off, this band features the final lineup of Finch, with Buddy Neilson, the singer from Senses Fail. I honestly think that tells you everything you need to know about this album. It sounds like a more mature version of early 2000’s emo bands like, well, Finch and Senses Fail. For some reason, be it coincidence or clever mindfuck marketing, Finch has been popping up in my life rather frequently lately, and this really feels like the perfect follow up to what was, honestly, a band that was terribly underrated mostly due to their commercial success early on in the early 2000’s emo movement’s surge of popularity. That sort of mainstream adoption didn’t really fly very well back then, but I think people are starting to look back and realize how special they actually were. And Buddy Neilson does an excellent job of helping the guys continue that legacy.

Spook the Horses – This is the band that I discovered maybe 30 minutes ago, and I’m just so impressed with them. I will admit, they are kind of out there. Spook the Horses appeal to that weird side of my musical taste that loves some of the less accessible things like Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Bell Witch, or Year of No Light. Which are, incidentally, all apt comparisons. These guys are a kind of really dark, atmospheric post-metal; they aren’t as avant garde as Godspeed, or as sludgey as Bell Witch, but they’re still kind of out there, and really just straight up spooky, and I love it. The guitars permeate what is already a massive soundscape with this unsettling dissonance that sounds wonderful, but you can never quite get comfortable with. You know in some horror movies where the monster or whatever moves in a really weird way? Like the way they walk isn’t quite human, but you can’t figure out what it is, and that fact alone makes everything all the more eerie? That’s what this is. Which if, of course, exactly what they were trying to accomplish, and they did so brilliantly. I’m in love with this band from the get go, I’ll be checking out their back catalog for sure.

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Hogan’s Albums of the Week – 11/3

Posted by on Nov 2, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Time for another new music Thursday. I’ve only got three albums to talk about today, but if I’m honest, I only care about one of them, for reasons you will understand shortly, but I’m saving the best for last.

First off, Anti Flag put out a new album today, which is pretty cool. I’ve said that if one good thing comes from all this political bullshit going on right now, it’s going to be good punk music. And if anyone is suited to do that, it’s Anti Flag. I’ll level with you though, I haven’t listened to the new album yet, I’m sure I’ll get to it at some point. I’ve heard it’s actually pretty good, but after 30 years or so, I think I get the idea. So I’ll check it out when I’ve got the time.

Next up, Like Moths to Flames put out a new album that’s a bit of a style change for them. Some people aren’t into it, but I think it’s pretty cool. It reminds me a lot of Hands Like Houses, who, of course, I’m a very big fan of. We’ve lost a lot of the screaming and stuff, which has always been a hallmark of LMTF, but to be perfectly honest, these guys never struck me as particularly remarkable in that regard. They were part of that Rise Records cookie cutter metalcore trend that came out around 2009/2010, and they never really moved past that. At least with this they’re gaining a little bit of individuality, so I’ll take it. Plus, if you’re not into it, it’s not like there aren’t 20 other bands that sound exactly like they used to.

But the big one for this week, is Converge. Converge is my favorite band, I have two Converge tattoos. I do not fuck around with Converge. I would say there is no way that I could write this without being biased towards it being awesome, but that’s the cool part about only writing about releases that I’m excited for – it doesn’t have to be unbiased. I suppose the only way to explain Converge to someone that doesn’t listen to them is just chaos. This band is pure chaos and emotion, and it’s amazing. Kind of in a way that Dillinger Escape Plan is, but in the way that Dillinger is very calculated, Converge is very unhinged. And this album is exactly that. But in a different way than their previous efforts. The Dusk in Us has a different feel to it, Bannon’s lyrics are less vengeful and hopeless, but still maintain the sadness and depth that you’d expect from Converge but with more perseverance and growth. And musically, just… Jesus Christ, this album is just straight bonkers. This might be their best album since You Fail Me. In the same way that Anti Flag feels a bit stale after three decades, Converge is still pushing boundaries and feeling cutting edge. There is a reason these guys are my favorite band. This album is damn near perfect.

Favorite new music this week: Just listen to the new Converge album, please.

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Hogan’s Albums of the Week (10/27)

Posted by on Oct 25, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Alright guys, so I’m doing this a day early this time since I leave for Nightmare Festival tomorrow. Here are the new albums coming out this week. (Disclaimer: Since it’s only Wednesday, I haven’t heard any of these yet, just a few singles, and I’m familiar with all these artists’ previous catalogs.)
Julien Baker – This girl is just fucking incredible. Amazing singer/songwriter, but I feel like calling her that just doesn’t do her any justice. She has a great voice, and a wonderful way with words that will really resonate down to your core. You can really feel her music, as simple as it can be. I think the greatest benchmark I can set for her music is the fact that Brand New covered HER song. And that’s really all I need to say.
Hotel Books – This is another feelsy one. In fact, that’s also not doing Hotel Books any justice. This band will absolutely ruin your life and destroy you emotionally in the best way possible. You know how La Dispute and Being as an Ocean can really weigh on your soul like, hours after you listen to them? These guys are like that turned up to 11. You really have to prepare yourself for this one. It’s kind of a spoken word project like the two aforementioned bands, so if you listen to them, you have an idea of what you’re getting in to.
The Used – I’m actually downloading this one as I write this, but I’ve heard the singles. I mean, it’s The Used, I loved these guys when I was like 15 years old, but that whole quirky mid-2000’s emo image doesn’t really stand have the lasting power of some of the other bands from the era that were a little more restrained. The weird thing is, they’ve kind of figured out how to mature with it. I mean, don’t get me wrong, Bert McCracken is definitely still Bert McCracken, but their sound has kind of evolved in a way that is still very much The Used, but kinda… works, but with more pop driven sensibilities, I suppose is what you could call it. I don’t know, this is an interesting one. I’d say it’s definitely worth checking out if you were ever a fan of The Used, which I suspect a lot of you were.
Winds of Plague – This one was kind of a surprise. Confession time: I’m really not that into deathcore. But Winds of Plague kinda went a different route with this one, it’s more like melodic death metal than deathcore, so I have to say, I’m into it. Or at least what I’ve heard so far. However, walking this line between genres leaves it feeling sort of confused at times. BUT it’s still pretty damn decent. I’ll listen to this more often than, say, the new Rings of Saturn album, at the very least.
Summary: take this with a grain of salt cause I haven’t heard any of these albums in full, but I seriously can not recommend Julien Baker and Hotel Books enough. Check out Hotel Books if you like La Dispute and being sad. Check out Julien Baker if you like music.
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Hogan’s Albums of the Week – 10/20

Posted by on Oct 19, 2017 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Alright folks, time for another addition of New Music That Hogan is Excited About. Lots of great new albums coming out today, so I’m going to try and group them together a little bit, if I can.
Post metal/doom metal – Both Bell Witch and Amenra put out really really phenomenal albums today. Bell Witch is super dark and sludgey, it’s only 2 tracks long and spans over 80 minutes, it’s absolutely epic. Amenra is a more avant grade post-metal sound that’s seriously dark. If you’re into Neurosis and Pallbearer, you probably already know these guys, but check out this album, it’s probably their most dynamic work yet. These are the two most inaccessible albums on this list, but are very rewarding and well worth the effort.
Post rockAnd So I Watch You From Afar, this is like super weird math rock/post rock nonsense that’s a lot of fun to listen to. It’s not your usually drawn out, theatrical post rock, this is a really fun album.
MetalTrivium and Gwar. If you don’t know who Trivium and Gwar are, I don’t know why you’re even reading this. This is the best album Trivium has put out since Shogun though. And Gwar is Gwar, you know what you’re getting in to.
MetalcoreWe Came as Romans and Veil of Maya both put out a new albums. I haven’t listened to the new WCAR, but from what I heard it’s their best album in years. I honestly haven’t paid attention to them since To Plant a Seed in 2009, but I’m actually looking forward to checking this out. Veil of Maya, on the other hand, is great. I don’t know how many times I’ve said this this year, but metalcore has been killing it this year, and this album is another prime example of why.
EmoMovements. This album is ridiculous, you can really feel this one; it’s heavy. Not like metal heavy, but it will weigh on you, for sure. There will be at least one moment in this album that you identify with in this album that’ll cut you pretty deep. They’re like a more melodic La Dispute, if that gives you any context.
Favorite release of the week: Bell Witch. But it’s not for everybody, if you’re into really sludgey doom metal, give it a listen though. Or, you know what, if you just want to listen to something vaguely Halloween-y, this is the sort of shit you’d put on as background music to scare trick or treaters. And that’s a hell of an endorsement.
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