By: Nick Manduley
Lo-fi alternative rock solo act Lavender Sky released their sophomore LP “Technical Limitations” on July 26th. “Vines”, the first of thirteen tracks, opens the record with a casio keyboard drum loop followed by the strumming of a very twinkly, clean-toned guitar. The listener is quickly enveloped in a hazy fog of psychedelic guitar and synth tones, combined with reverby, melodramatic vocals courtesy of vocalist and guitarist Luke Hoffman. “This Car Climbed Mt. Washington” opens with an infectious but gentle guitar riff that is reminiscent of bands like Turnover. Tracks such as “Stop H8in”, “When I’m Not Sick”, “I Don’t Know (RIP)”, and the album’s outro were completely improvised, and surprisingly wound up being some of the most profound songs on the record.
“It really helped recording stuff just from my brain and heart on the spot into the tape recorder,” says Hoffman in the description of the record on his bandcamp account. “Some of them ended up being the deepest tracks on the album.”
“Winter Is Over” shows a bit more of a country, Bob Dylan-influenced side of Hoffman’s musical range. The track opens with a sweet harmonica melody over the strumming of a twangy guitar, and leads into Hoffman singing about cherry blossoms blooming in the spring. The record’s title, “Technical Limitations” is derived from Hoffman’s dedication to create his art using only the equipment directly available to him. “From the beginning of this project, I never wanted to use drum samples I could easily download or use from a pad. I wanted to be constricted to using the given drum settings and synth tones from my casio keyboards that I’ve collected over the past couple years” says Hoffman.
On July 19th, Hoffman held a release show for the new record at the Meatlocker in Montclair, New Jersey. A live album of Hoffman’s set that night was released on the 22nd. Fans can purchase “Technical Limitations” (as well as the rest of Lavender Sky’s discography) for the name-your-price option bandcamp. Fans can also stream the new record on all major streaming platforms.
In early July of 2009, All Time Low released “Nothing Personal” and dropped their music video for “Weightless” the same day. “Weightless” peaked at number 4 on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart, courtesy of Billboard.
By: Nick Manduley
Jersey Shore-based emo rockers This Year’s Comeback independently dropped their latest record “Missing Pages” back in March. “Missing Pages” is a follow up and thematic sequel to the group’s 2018 debut LP “Far From Fine, A Garden State Tragedy.” ‘Far From Fine’ told the story of an unnamed protagonist who falls into a pit of emotional distress as a result of being in a toxic, mentally abusive relationship, which is continued on “Missing Pages.”
‘Missing Pages’ shows the band in a more dynamic light. The record opens with frontman Brian Matthew fiercely strumming an acoustic guitar and singing passionately about our protagonist feeling like he’s being “torn out of missing pages,” but then segways into the upbeat, distorted sound the boys gave us on “Far From Fine.” However, this time, the band puts a heavier, more metal edge on their sound. Tracks such as “Dropout” end with an electrifying breakdown and intense screams courtesy of Matthew. Other songs such as “Speedkasket,” “Monotony” and “Young & Angry” delivers the raw, emotional punch that leaves fans screaming every word.
“The purpose of ‘Missing Pages’ was to tie any loose ends that may have been left on ‘Far From Fine,” wrote the band in a social media post. “[We] further develop the psyche of the protagonist, and finally, give a proper resolution to the tail. If anything is to be taken from this, it’s to always persevere in the face of adversity.”
However, while the pop-punk tale has drawn to a close, it’s clear the boys in This Year’s Comeback are eager to push forward; they’ve been pretty busy since “Missing Pages” dropped earlier this year. After a slew of shows across the state, including a performance at the famed Stone Pony in Asbury Park, the band is once again writing new music. The band is reportedly halfway through recording their new EP, which they say could be out by the end of the summer at the earliest. For fans who are itching for new content, the band plans on releasing a compilation of unused demos and songs from their time recording “Garden State Tragedy” and “Missing Pages” later on this week, so be sure to catch up with This Year’s Comeback on social media to stay updated! Links to the band’s socials are conveniently located on their bandcamp account, where listeners can also download all their music for the “name-your-price” option. Fans can catch This Year’s Comeback in concert on August 31st at The Clubhouse in Toms River, New Jersey with other local acts such as The Open Minds, Ventress, and Night’s Edge.
Nick Manduley is a publicity intern with Muddy Paw PR, and a senior at Monmouth University where he is studying public relations and journalism. Manduley is also a staff writer for Monmouth’s student-run newspaper, The Outlook. Since 2016, Manduley has provided guitar and vocals for Jersey Shore-based punk outfit Drive, Kid. Drive, Kid has shared the stage with notable and upcoming artists such as Slaughter Beach, Dog, Rarity, and The Ones You Forgot. Their music can be streamed here as well as all major streaming services.
By: Nick Manduley
So you’ve decided to finally start a band! Maybe you’ve been wanting to do this for a while, or maybe deciding to start a musical project was a bit of a new development for you. Either way, you know this is something you want to do, and you want to take this band as far as you can take it. Here’s a few things you should understand before you start searching for bandmates or thinking about hitting the studio.
1. You need bandmates you have chemistry with.
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you need to actually like, respect, and enjoy making music with the people in your band. Ideally these are people you consider family; some of the best friends you’ve ever had. You should all be on the same page about the kind of music you want to create; writing and practicing should be something you view as fun, not simply work! Having good chemistry with your bandmates is vital to writing good songs- and just enjoying being in a band in general.
2. The Three P’s
Let’s say you’ve dreamt about being in a band your whole life, and now you’re finally at the stage in your life where you’re ready to start a band that you want to take as far as you possibly can. Well, chances are you’re not gonna blow up overnight. Or in a week, month, a year, two years…. My point is that if you’re trying to go somewhere with your band, you need to have patience, perseverance, and passion.
(1) Patience. Writing, recording, and promoting an album, single, or EP can be exhausting and time consuming. Always remember to pace yourself; the mental and physical health of you and your bandmates should always come first. Let’s say you’ve got a debut single or EP completely recorded and ready to go, you’ve marketed and promoted the hell out of it, you’ve racked up loads of likes and follows on your socials, maybe even the preview you posted of the music video you made for your single got a decent amount of views. Release day finally comes, you’re checking Spotify plays, views of your music video, your bandcamp stats, etcetera- and it’s not what you hoped. Maybe it’s nowhere near what you hoped, not even a little. This may leave you with a bit of a sour feeling, but remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day! You’ve got march to the beat of your own drum, sure, but the thing is you actually have to keep marching; which leads me to……
(2) Perseverance! Keep moving forward, keep playing shows, keep writing music, keep at it! If writing/playing music is what makes you happy, then by all means you should keep doing that, no matter what. The world will not suffer from a surplus of music. How long it takes for you to “blow up” shouldn’t matter really at the end of the day, and as long as you’ve got a….
(3) Passion for what you’re doing, you’ll continue to move forward at your own pace!
3. Be realistic.
Let’s say you want a really professional sounding single or album. Or maybe you want a professionally shot music video. Or maybe you want to hire a PR firm to run a campaign for your next release (wink-wink!). The fact of the matter is that these things cost money- a lot of money. Of course, spending money on stuff like this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when you’re a band that’s just starting out, you should be asking yourself whether or not that professional recording/pro-shot video/expensive PR campaign is something you legitimately need (or can afford) at this stage in your band’s life. Look into doing these things yourself; record your own music, film your own videos, advertise yourself. It’ll save you money and give you loads of good experience.
It’s also important to recognize when something like a professionally shot music video or a professional PR campaign may be right for you. Let’s say your band is 3-5 years old, you’ve got an album or two under your belt, and you think it’s time to take your next release to a more professional level. Put together a budget and see what you can afford, and consider what specific services may be of most use to you.
4. Be kind, especially when there’s a networking opportunity in your midst.
Call me a dirty hippie, but I completely subscribe to the notion that we, the human race, are all one; and therefore, when you hurt others, you’re also hurting yourself. That’s why it’s important to put your best foot forward, to do good things without expecting a reward, and to do your best to put out positive energy into the world around you. Specifically at any shows you play! Talk to the other bands, watch their sets, make friends! These people can get you connections to folks in your local scene who record music, shoot videos, etc. Being active in your local scene can do a lot for your band; these are the people you want to be interacting with when you’re just starting out! Also, attend local shows in your area that your band isn’t billed on. Go out to support your friends bands, because one day you might need their support too.
After the dissolution of My Chemical Romance in 2013, Alternative Press released an article that reviews all of the band’s appearances in the magazine throughout the span of their career. Read the full article here.