Muddy Paw PR

December 9, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: PHELLER

By: Nick Manduley

New Jersey punk outfit Pheller independently released their latest EP, No Blood, on July 27th. Diving into the 6-track effort is “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs,” which starts with some crunchy palm-muted guitars backing guitarist Matthew Piserchio’s passionately punk vocals. The track has a lot of energy; the pounding drums, dirty guitars, and larger-than-life melodies had me thinking “Alright, this EP is about to melt my face off.” 

To my surprise, however, “Bobby Briggs” is followed up by the somber and rather mid-tempo track “Down.” Though it wasn’t the continuity I was expecting, the track won me over with its cheeky lyricism: “You watched my fall from grace / Just as the floor met my face.” This track features an acoustic guitar which, in my opinion, really rounds out the song, especially when that heavy chorus kicks in. “Down” is an almost anthemic tune, good for anyone who feels they “can’t seem to catch a break.” 

The release pushes forward with “Vlog #2 Soaked on Splash Mountain,” which re-captures some of that initial momentum that was set by “The Ballad of Bobby Briggs.” This song feels like a party; the soaring harmonies and and catchy guitar riffs will have the listener hooked, and just like any good party, it flies right by. The song is a brief 2 minutes, and leaves the listener feeling like it ended almost as soon as it started. Luckily, this isn’t a party, it’s a song, and I can simply play it over and over again. 

The album charges into its second half with “The Bottom” and “Dual Suns.” There is a lot of duality between these tracks, but I think they just might be my favorites from No Blood. “The Bottom” is an explosive, upbeat track, guaranteed to open up a push pit in your DIY basement venue. “Dual Suns” chases it with a 6/8 tempo and a catchy chorus to boot. As Piserchio belts “What’s the point anyway? Everything changes,” against that monstrous chord progression and spacey lead guitar, it’s clear that this track is the emotional powerhouse on No Blood. The album draws to a close with “Wounds,” which acts as one last upbeat, power-punk hoorah. Guitarist Nigel Pierson along with Piserchio offer some great lead guitar work; Corey Granese provides some soul-pounding unclean vocals as well. 

No Blood is currently available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can download it for the “name-your-price” option on the Pheller bandcamp page

December 2, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: DESTINATION DIMENSION

Connecticut progressive metalcore outfit Destination Dimension independently released their debut EP Mantodea on October 30th. Running at just under 20 minutes, Mantodea is a soundscape of soaring harmonies and teeth-cutting riffage. The first track, “Outlander,” comes right out of the gate with a fantastical guitar riff that immediately sets the energy of the track. Guitarist Tony Nap, who is also responsible for the EP’s vibrant artwork, delivers a fantastic performance on this track. The energy carries over as the song flows directly into “Robot Tears,” which features a beautiful vocal performance from frontman Chris DaSilva against an atmospheric clean-toned verse. DaSilva’s vocals starkly contrast with bassist Jeremy Rogoz’s screamed vocals, and adds to the dynamic of the band’s sound.  

“Smoker” is a prog-powerhouse that afflicted me with a rather vicious case of stank-face. The grimey-toned bass clicks away seamlessly with drummer Chaboy Anthony’s mighty chops. That drum and bass section about 40 seconds into the track was a firm “oh shit” moment for me on this release, second only to moment I heard that catchy main riff from “Outlander.”

Mantodea draws to a close with “Schilmore” and “Exposure,” the two longer songs on this release, which clock in at just under 5 minutes and 5 and a half minutes respectively. “Schilmore” opens with big, pretty chords and switches between upbeat riffage and more relaxed, bass-driven sections, which sort of makes this track somewhat of a dynamic rollercoaster; “Exposure” is similar in this sense, creating contrast with aggressive metalcore and more psychedelic “math-y” sections. As someone who believes that good music can take you on a journey, I think “Schilmore” and “Exposure” fit that criteria quite well. 

Mantodea is now available on all major streaming platforms, along with their 2017 single, “Future Cougar.” Fans hoping to catch them in concert can roll up to Boontunes in Boonton, New Jersey on December 6th, where they will be sharing the stage with The Rocky Coasts, With Sails Ahead, The Scissorfish, and Cephalopods And Their Allies.

November 25, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: SAINT LORETTO

By: Nick Manduley

Austin, Texas alternative pop artist Saint Loretto released his sophomore LP, Passage / S, on March 29th. Clocking in at 30 minutes, this album is on the shorter side, but if there’s anything Saint Loretto mastermind Evan Crowley has clearly figured out, it’s that less is more. The release kicks off with the brief yet catchy track “In Honor of Progress” which almost acts as a proverbial cover page. “Aisles” follows up with infectious synths, upbeat drums, and a guitar lick that’s sure to stay in your head. Crowley’s vocals meld wonderfully with the track; he has a sound and style that is reminiscent of acts such as The Killers and The 1975, but very much holds his own flavor. The track ends with a beaming guitar solo before charging into “Paris,” which is driven by a punchy bass guitar. As Crowley sings about spending “another weekend in paradise,” I can’t help but picture a place far away from my bedroom in the frigid, manic climate of New Jersey; preferably with warmer weather, great hispanic food, and reasonably priced mixed drinks. 

Passage / S moves forward with “Control (Fool for You)” and “Closing Time (The Best of Times).” These tracks offer a bit more pop-rock tendencies, with the bass and drums clicking away together on “Control” and the driving force set by the guitars during the chorus of “Closing Time.” However, Crowley doesn’t skip on his flavor of synth-pop with these tracks. “Head Over Heels” features some amazing synth and keyboard work which paints the track with good vibes. “American Kids” is a powerhouse track that is pure party fuel, complete with a memorable guitar solo. The album begins to wind towards its end with “‘68,” a mid-tempo track with a lot of heart, and “Wide Awake (All This Time),” a slower jam befitting of a late night car ride with the windows rolled down. Passage / S ends with an acoustic guitar-driven, eponymous track, which is a chill and catchy conclusion to this release. 

Passage / S, as well as Saint Loretto’s previous full length endeavor Depth / S, is now available on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon. 

November 18, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: ENSO ANIMA

By: Nick Manduley

With the progressive post-hardcore genre flowering into a vibrant online community over recent years, the interwebs have become flooded with wildly talented bands influenced by iconic progressive, math-rock, and alternative acts new and old; these acts include but are in no way limited to Yes, The Fall Of Troy, Thrice, Dance Gavin Dance, and so many more. Northern California experimental post-hardcore outfit Enso Anima put out a record in 2018 called Instability that not only draws on that type of influence, but also dips ventures into the realm of blues rock and the wide spectrum that is emo. 

I’m not entirely sure what to call this release; it clocks in at a whopping 40 minutes, which one could argue is too long to constitute as an EP. At the same time, however, there are only 6 songs on the record. We could spend all day going back and forth about whether or not this release is an EP or LP, but it wouldn’t change the fact Instability is a must-have for anyone finding themselves getting into progressive post-hardcore. 

Lead vocals are handled by drummer Nick Creary-Scher and rhythm guitarist Whitney Schuster. Together, their vocal performance helps to cultivate a melodic and, at times, aggressive atmosphere on Instability. From the haunting spoken word sections in tracks like “Cold in Atlantis” and “First Flight,” to the aggressive borderline-screaming and bone-chilling harmonies on the bluesy behemoth “Steam,” it’s clear that Enso Anima isn’t holding anything back in their latest release. Lead guitar and keyboards are provided by Shane Ward, who along with Schuster, paint each track with their musical prowess; if you’re somebody who appreciates quality guitar playing, you need this record. There is no shortage of spacey delay-laden tapping sections, screaming solos, or face-melting prog riffage on Instability. Tyler Francis is the bassist any band would be lucky to have in their lineup; his performance on tracks like “Cable Cars” and “Atlantis” are extremely tight and are in no way short on fills. It sounds like he truly feels his basslines rather than simply play them. 

Though the band has yet to formally announce any new material, nor do they currently have any shows book for the end of 2019, I eagerly await to see what they have in store for us at the turn of the decade. Until then, Instability is available on all major streaming platforms. If you’d like to help support Enso Anima through their future musical endeavors, I highly recommend subscribing to the band on Patreon.

 

November 11, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: BONSAI TREES

By: Nick Manduley

Hartford, Connecticut alt-rockers Bonsai Trees independently released their latest record Learn to Grow on May 3rd, 2019. In a bit under 40 minutes, the 3-piece from New England takes the listener on an emotional, rock-and-roll, hook-fueled journey leaving them anticipating what they’re going to do next; and if you’re a new listener, chances are this record will make you want to go back and listen to their previous releases. 

Filled with cheeky indie rock tendencies, biting riffage, and the occasional emotive ballad-esque tune, Learn to Grow has a dynamic that any alternative rock fiend will feel a sense of familiarity with. Vocalist and guitarist James MacPherson has a singing voice that at times evokes the same feeling in my gut that I felt when I first heard The Killers’ Hot Fuss or Taking Back Sunday’s 2011 self-titled record. His performance on the opening track “Don’t” left me without a doubt in my mind that this was going to be an album I needed to review. The hook-filled, harmony-heavy song starts off with an infectious beat from drummer Nick Sokol and is guaranteed to get people dancing. 

As the song ends with the chorus still reverberating in the listener’s head, the album pushes into the vicious tune “Vice Grips.” The track explodes with a mean riff, showing off some of the superb guitar work featured on this record, not to mention that wailing solo. “Shotgun” is similar in the sense that it’s also riff-centric; these songs are rather reminiscent of the Arctic Monkeys’ work on their earlier releases Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and Favourite Worst Nightmare. But these tracks do not speak for the whole record; songs like “I Love an Artist,” “Dark Parking Lot,” and “We Talked” showcase a more pop-influenced side of the band’s flavor of indie rock. They add to the dynamic of the record; it’s a sign of quality songwriting when an album has songs with a diverse range of style and sound, but still sounds like the same band playing throughout. 

The album offers a darker, more somber tone with the track “Away From Me.” The pain conveyed on the track can be sensed by the listener as lyrics about gasping for air and one’s skull hitting the bathroom sink give way to an explosive full band chorus ladened with the lyrical hook, “would you get away from me?”

As the album draws to a close with the mid-tempo banger “Rose,” the listener is left with a sense of satisfaction, as if they’ve just closed the back cover on a really good book. Learn to Grow is currently available on all major streaming platforms as well as Bandcamp. The band will be embarking on a 12-day tour on November 12th, kicking off in New Haven, Connecticut at Cafe 9, and concluding on the 24th at Muchmore’s in Brooklyn, New York. The tour will make stops as far north as Toronto and as far south as Birmingham. Tickets can be purchased via the band’s website.

 

Bonsai Trees November Tour Dates

11/12 New Haven, CT       @ Cafe 9 (tix)

11/13 Malta, NY           @ Wired Coffee

11/14 Buffalo, NY         @ Sugar City

11/15 Toronto, Ont CN     @ Indie Week: Cherry Cola

11/16 Muncie, IN          @ Be Here Now

​11/17 St. Louis, MO       @ FUBAR (tix)

11/18 Memphis, TN         @ Hi-Tone Cafe (tix)

11/19 Birmingham, AL      @ The Nick Rocks

11/21 Chapel Hill, NC     @ The Cave

11/22 Richmond, VA        @ Garden Grove Brewing

11/23 Washington, DC      @ Velvet Lounge

11/24 Brooklyn, NY        @ Muchmore’s

November 4, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: GOOD GAME

By: Nick Manduley

Pennsylvania math-rockers Good Game’s latest release, Good Luck Have Fun, is a soundscape of inventive musicianship, melodic vocals, and haunting harmonies. The three-track EP starts promptly with the explosive track “Supercollider? I Just Met Her.” The listener is immediately bombarded by beastly clean-toned guitar riffage, chase by vocalist Addy Harris belting out unapologetic lines about the “heteronormative sleep-paralysis induced American Dream.” The track then gives away to a cacophony of guitar tapping as the drums begin to break and Harris paints the mix with her soaring harmonies. 

Good Luck pushes forward with the track “Rat City” which starts with some fun syncopated clapping as Harris and guitarist Brock Benzel sing the oh-so-catchy chorus. The track then bursts into a full band arrangement. There is absolutely something to be said about the musicianship here; these songs are as busy as they are executed with deadly precision and feeling. Guitarists Nate Sherman and Brock Benzel demonstrate their musical prowess quite effectively; bassist Chance Wells and drummer Dan Getty hold down an absolutely air-tight rhythm section. 

The EP ends with the mid-tempo jam “First Snow.” This track is easily a go-to for a breezy autumn afternoon spent on your porch wearing your favorite hoodie, sipping on your hot beverage of choice. As the winter months creep over the horizon, I’ll definitely want to have this song in my Apple Music queue when my roommate and I are making the first snowman of the season. While the track remains consistent in tempo, the band changes the dynamic at several points, varying in levels of volume and intensity, while also giving way to calmer, more atmospheric sections. 

Good Luck Have Fun dropped in March of 2018 and the band has not teased much new music, outside of a playthrough video of some new material which was posted to the band’s Facebook page last November. I eagerly wait to see what Good Game has in store for the world next. In the meantime, Good Luck Have Fun  is available on all major streaming platforms and is available for free download on the Good Game bandcamp page. Fans who download the EP get these three tracks as well as instrumental versions for anyone who wants to learn these amazing pieces. The band has a tab book available for purchase on their bandcamp site, which contains tablature for every song off Good Luck Have Fun and their July 2017 release Don’t Blow It.

October 28, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: SHRED FLINTSTONE

By: Nick Manduley

New Jersey rock trio Shred Flintstone independently released their newest record Lois on June 21st. Lois showcases the band’s groovy, psychedelic take on gritty garage punk. The release opens with “The Flood,” which starts gently with a reverb-laden guitar riff before a jangly drum beat picks up the track as fuzzy vocal melodies begin to paint the mix.

The record picks up the energy with the tracks “Nemo” and “Dit Urself.” “Dit” is what’s known in the local music circuit as ‘straight fire’- the infectious, nasty guitar riff immediately grabs the listener’s attention. This song is a textbook example of how to get a crowd moving. “Nemo” is a fun track that brings some pop flavor to the garage rock style, not to mention some super sweet harmonies courtesy of vocalist and guitarist Dan Barrecchia. Tracks such as “Bad Art!” is an anthemic, fuzzy punk song that will bring a rebellious vibe to any basement venue in the country. “What Luck” cheekily pokes fun at those who habitually opt out of attending gigs on account of being “kinda tired.”

“Kirby” takes us into the final leg of this eight-track journey with a wall of harsh feedback before breaking into an oh-so-danceable guitar riff. As noisy guitars and reverby vocals paint the tune, it’s clear that this track is a standout powerhouse of rock. The title track “Lois” shows the band’s funkier side; the track opens with an infectious bassline courtesy of bassist Jack Walbridge before Barrecchia joins in with some funky-fresh lead guitar. Drummer Joey Giambra effortlessly clicks away with Walbridge’s bassline as the track enters a wild guitar solo that slowly descends into a cacophony of noise, before breaking into one final chorus of straight-up punk goodness. The track ends with the hazy high-energy jam “Where’s My Dog?” Clocking in at a whopping six and a half minutes, this fuzzy punk ballad serves as the perfect ending to Shred Flintstone’s Lois.

Lois is now available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can catch Shred Flintstone on stage at The Saint in Asbury Park, New Jersey on Halloween night. They will be sharing the stage with Jersey rock heroes America Part Two. Tickets can be purchased via the event page on the official Shred Flintstone Facebook account. 

October 21, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: GREAT GRANDPA

By: Nick Manduley

Seattle indie rockers Great Grandpa put out their new single “Digger” on September 11th. “Digger” is the second single (following August’s “Mono no Aware”) off their upcoming record Four Of Arrows, due out October 25th via Double Double Whammy. 

“Digger” is a somber track that starts with the calming strumming of an acoustic guitar accompanied with vocalist Alex Menne’s emotive, dreamy vocal melodies. Clocking in at just under five minutes, “Digger” is a vast mountain range of musical dynamics. From soaring chorus melodies laden with fuzzy, feedback-heavy guitars to reverby verses, with a healthy dose of intricate acoustic guitar arrangements, “Digger” holds back nothing. 

Four Of Arrows drops this Friday (10/25) and will be available on all major streaming services. The band is currently touring on the west coast in support of the new record. Their next performance will be this weekend, taking the stage for two nights in a row at The Chapel in San Francisco on the 25th and the 26th.   

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October 17, 2019

Audio Addiction Shares Dog Drive Mantis Interview

Audio Addiction recently shared their interview with Dog Drive Mantis. Check it out here.

October 14, 2019

Welcome to #Music Monday! Featuring: SLEEPSPIRIT

By: Nick Manduley

Post-hardcore quintet Sleepspirit released their debut EP Silhouettes & Whispers on May 3rd via Innerstrength Records. While the release clocks in at a brief 16 minutes, the Manchester, New Hampshire natives pack the EP to the brim with haunting melodies and heavy rock guitars.

Silhouettes opens with the vicious track “Mind Games,” which starts with an atmospheric electronic intro before diving into a monstrous wall of guitars and pounding bass fronted by an infectious lead riff. Vocalist Bobby Fitzgerald has a voice that is velvety and soulful, yet coarse and crushing; his performance on this minor key track is sure to give any emo fan flashbacks to vocalists like Umbrella Academy mastermind and ex-My Chemical Romance frontman Gerard Way as well as Silverstein’s Shane Todd. The release pushes forward with the second track “Jupiter,” which features clean toned delay-laden guitars and a soaring chorus. This track shows the band’s dynamic prowess; they create emotive soundscapes with atmospheric guitar tones that simultaneously contrast with and blend into a massive rock sound that could shake arenas.

“Take Me Down” is a somber mid-tempo jam that offers some powerful lyrical content that showgoers will likely be screaming back at the band: “I know everything has to end / but only in this life / can we reimagine everything?” sings Fitzgerald passionately. Silhouettes closes with the powerhouse tracks “Breaking Your Clarity” and “Final Distraction.” “Breaking” shows a bit of the band’s hip-hop and R&B influence with soulful, fast paced vocal melodies during the verses. “Final Distraction” closes the release on a heavy rock note, featuring catchy guitar riffs during the verse and pounding screamed vocals.

Silhouettes & Whispers is now available on all major streaming platforms. Fans can catch Sleepspirit November 2nd at Wally’s in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire as well as November 10th at the Middle East Restaurant and Nightclub in Cambridge, Massachusetts.