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Album Review: Imagine Dragons – Night Visions

From 2010 to 2012, while many people were gambling and drinking in the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, the members of the up and coming indie group Imagine Dragons were focusing on an album entitled Night Visions. After four previously released EP’s Read More…

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Album Review: Atlas Genius – When it was Now

Brothers Keith and Michal Jeffery better known as Atlas Genius released their first album earlier last week to great reception. The band sounds like a blend of Vampire Weekend and Walk The Moon, two very unique sounds themselves. The result is a synth filled songs of clever lyrics and tight pop riffs. It also happens to sound similar to tour mates and recent artist Imagine Dragons. When It Was Now hits the right note for the alt rock crowd. First off the record is “Electric,” a prime example of the unique sound that Atlas has. The second single off the new album, “If So,” is very reminiscent of Imagine Dragons’ Amsterdam. The main single off the album and for the band itself for the past year has been “Trojans.” This song has everything you could want in a hit alt rock song, including catchy tight guitar rifts and a unique voice with meaningful lyrics. It’s a solid piece and considering it was written, recorded and released within two weeks and peaked at #4 on XM’s Alt-18, it’s pure talent. Bottom line, you will be hearing more of these two in the near future.

-Owen Paterline
XTSR Music Director

Album Review: Stacked Like Pancakes – Odd Times

This year is proving to be a big year for ska armed with new albums from the likes of Suburban Legends and Reel Big Fish, and with their huge summer of ska tour with Goldfinger and Big D and the Kids table. There’s also Five Iron Frenzy coming back from the dead; Streetlight Manifesto VS. Victory Records; even the old timers are still kicking, with the Mighty Mighty Bosstones’ new album from last year, and a new Pietasters album allegedly in the works. It’s a good time to be a rude boy. Our favorite local ska band: Stacked Like Pancakes, is looking to make a splash with a demo for a new song, and a new album in the works, slated for Spring 2013.

“Odd Times” starts off strong and grabs you, because it’s ready to go for a ride. The horns are as strong as ever, and this new tune may remind one of “The Robbery” from SLP’s previous album. The style bounces between Streetlight Manifesto’s dark and edgy punk and Suburban Legends’ upbeat pop shtick. A bit more on the Streetlight scale, since it’s not about the up strum as much as the horns and guitar working together. Either way, it sounds cool, and breaks down in a few solos that rival the biggest names in blaring horn sections today. It’s definitely worth picking up, no matter what your musical tastes are.

Are we in the new revitalization of a genre that, in my opinion, really needs more attention? Maybe, there are plenty of dedicated fans who would want to rave about the next big thing, and it does my heart good to see a local ska band standing up and playing what they want to play. Stacked Like Pancakes are even getting some real recognition too, as they played with Ballyhoo at the Baltimore Soundstage last Friday, and the Skalloween show at the Ottobar on the Tuesday before Halloween. I’m excited for the new album, which is in the works and will be coming out this spring. You can download this early version of the demo for free on their new website: http://stackedlikepancakes.com

-Adam Bezold
Promotions Director

Album Review: Mumford & Sons – Babel

Mumford & Sons, the hit folk group from West London best known for songs such as “the Cave” and “Little Lion Man,” has just released their second album, Babel. The record hit shelves in late September of this year and retains what fans from all over the world have loved about their music.

With the release of the single “I Will Wait,” the wait for the album became almost unbearable. Followers everywhere reveled in the beauty of the lyrics and the emotions evoked from the fusion of percussion and acoustics. At long last, when the album finally was released, listeners everywhere gathered together around their iPods, stereos, laptops, and turntables to listen to Babel.

In comparison to their first album, Sigh No More, Babel lacks the new taste and originality many listeners were searching for. It felt more like a continuation of Sigh No More as opposed to a new album. The songs on the album are fairly hit and miss if listened to as singles, but when listened to in one sitting, the album speaks volumes. The songs show the feelings of the band as they are on tour, the basis of the album, and allows fans to join them in their longing for home and their personal lives.

The band shows their true talent and ability as they seamlessly go from heavy folk to relaxed tones, which is what many felt made Sigh No More so enjoyable and moving. Babel shows the same display of talent throughout its journey, which gives it the signature feel of a Mumford & Sons album. Each song is diverse from the others, but without them, the album would not be complete.

If you are searching for a new side of Mumford & Sons, don’t expect it from Babel, but if you are searching for the same perfection in sound and lyrics of Sigh No More, definitely take the time to listen to listen to this record. Fans will not be disappointed, unless they longed for more diversity and a new sound, which was not the path taken with Babel.

-Eddie van Osterom
Music Team

Album Review: Go Radio – Closing the Distance

Watch out Baltimore, All Time Low isn’t the only band giving our city a little love. The song “Baltimore” premiers off of Go Radio’s third studio album, “Closing The Distance,” as a ballad of lovers trying to make it work in this crazy world. The new album follows the familiar structure of Go Radio’s previous album, “Lucky Streets.”

“Close The Distance” feels less like something brand new and more like a fine-tuning of a sound that is already exceptional. On this album Go Radio managed to keep their songs sounding consistent without being repetitive, something the band has run into in the past.

Go Radio spices up their sound on this album; the sound that many associated with their previous album takes on a brand new feel. Taking that into account, none of the singles from this album seem to be able to touch their predecessors. “Goodnight Moon” and “Fight, Fight” are top songs from the band, but this album’s line-up is nothing to be laughed at. Jason Lancaster lends his voice and breathes his emotion into this album, far more than he has done in the past.

“Collide,” the first single, has a catchy melody and lyrics to match. It is nothing shy of great. “Go To Hell” on the other hand raises the bar and has a unique take on a break-up, before it happens. Both singles will quickly become fan favorites.

“Close The Distance” manages to be a solid album and won’t take long to find its way into your CD collection. With seven less songs than the deluxe edition of “Lucky Streets,” it ends up being a more concise album and the band gives a better performance all around. Fans of the band have no need to fear and newcomers, this is a perfect place to be introduced.

-Owen Paterline
Music Director