Memphis May Fire-This Light I Hold

8/10

Hailing from Dallas, Texas, metalcore giants Memphis May Fire were born with a heavy southern influence evident in every part of their music. As they progressed through the years with the help of a new vocalist Matty Mullins, they quickly became favorites of the scene. However, with each new release, they slowly lost their southern edge, adopting more of a cinematic, yet standard approach to metalcore. At the same time, each new release leaves most fans wishing for the older days.

This Light I Hold is Memphis May Fire’s attempt at finding middle ground between their older, harsher sound and their newer, more melodic sound. And they succeeded in doing so. “Sever The Ties” and “Out Of It” hit hard for those who adore the band’s heavy side. For those who love the more accessible songs, “Carry On” and “Better Things” will do the trick. With exceptional guitar work and positive lyrics throughout, the album is an intriguing listen from start to finish. The southern twinge that set them apart in the beginning returns in a few tracks such as “Wanting More”, and it benefits the album in a huge way. Some songs fail to deliver, but they don’t necessarily damage the album as a whole. As a standalone, this album is amazing, a definitive improvement from their album Unconditional. Conversely, it is not The Hollow or Challenger, which may disappoint many longing fans. But that’s the point fans fail to see. This Light I Hold is not their previous albums. It is unique to itself. Thus, fans should discard any expectations that the album will be more like the old days and less like the new (or vice versa), and they should just embrace the album for what it is. Because in the end, Memphis May Fire crafted an album that mixes the old and new elements without sacrificing integrity and maturation.

Top vibes: “This Light I Hold”, “Unashamed”

For those who vibe to: We Came As Romans, The Word Alive

Check out the lyric video for  “Carry On” below.

“Drug Dealer”-Macklemore

With the help of producer Ryan Lewis, Macklemore has garnished many fans. Just like any other artist, he’s also gathered a horde of haters, perhaps more than what is normal. However, Macklemore continues to drop great songs, from the classic “Thrift Shop” to the anthem “Downtown”. The Heist was the album that put his name everywhere, but This Unruly Mess I’ve Made was also successful, despite falling into its predecessor’s shadow. Macklemore is back with a new single, and it’s quite the opposite of the energetic paeans mentioned above.

Trading Ryan Lewis in for Ariana Deboo, Macklemore dives deep into the dark world of addiction on the new single “Drug Dealer”. Thoughtfully rapping over a calm piano beat, Macklemore sheds light on the true effect of drugs. Speaking from personal experience and alluding to other’s, Macklemore crafts a song that is reminiscent of a diary entry that exposes the repercussions of drug addiction. Lyrics take the stage on this track, proving that lyricism can truly take a simple beat far without extra bass or added synth. In the first verse, Macklemore describes a personal account of how he got introduced to drugs. Then he lists a bunch of artists who had overdosed due to drugs, such as Prince and Whitney Houston, laying down more reasoning to why addiction is so damaging. After mentioning how it’s a nationwide epidemic, Ariana Deboo croons a chorus, further pushing the fact that drug addiction is promoted by pharmaceutical companies under the guise that they will heal individuals. Instead, it gives them emptiness, the same emptiness that drives Macklemore into rapping an emotional second verse that serves as a plea of desperation. The rest of the song follows suit, adding to the description of a serious situation.

You can love or hate Macklemore. However, you cannot deny the fact that he can drop poignant lyrics on real issues. Instead of creating a fantasy where drugs are idolized like other rappers tend to do, Macklemore paints a picture of the reality of the matter. It is music with a message and a purpose, rather than a song that glorifies a certain vice. Now, I am not saying that songs that do this are bad; however, they are not necessarily adding substance or providing insightful change. With this in mind, Macklemore’s “Drug Dealer” is a simple, yet deep track that describes the complex reality of addiction with a high dose of emotion that carries it a long way.

Vibes like: “Love Yourz” – J. Cole

For those who vibe to: Chiddy Bang, Mac Miller

 

Saint Motel-saintmotelevision

8/10

Los Angeles indie pop/rock band Saint Motel showcase why indie music is so infectious with their latest album saintmotelevision. Drawn from the same well as Two Door Cinema Club and The Mowgli’s, Saint Motel are an exceptional act in the indie sphere. Prior to this album, they had released one album and two EPs. They played their single “My Type”, which has 52 million streams on Spotify, on Jimmy Kimmel Live! in 2015. However, their first album came out in 2012. It was time for them to release an overdue sophomore album.

Saintmotelevision is an album full of happy vibes. From start to finish, each song is full of energy. “Move” acts as the band’s statement that this album will make you do just that. The last song “Happy Accidents” is the only tame song, but it’s a strong closer to a solid album. The way the band blends synth with actual instruments is impressive, as it sounds cohesive throughout. Each song stands out from each other, a strong indicator of not being a dull album. “Destroyer” is really catchy, due to the fact that the chorus is a copy-and-paste of The Wanted’s popular hit “Glad You Came” just with different lyrics (better lyrics, if I might add). In terms of lyrical content, “Born Again” is intriguing as it is centered on Christian ideals. With that in mind, it’s hard to tell if the lyrics are actually truthful or come with a high dose of sarcasm, which adds to why the song is so interesting. Each song is packed with well-crafted choruses and instrumentation. In fact, “Getaway” has some Latin percussions in the middle of the song. Overall, the album is great, filling listeners with happy vibes one track at a time.

Top vibes: “Sweet Talk”, “Local Long Distance Relationship (LA2NY)”

For those who vibe to: Atlas Genius and Magic Man

Check out the music video for “Move” below.

Daya- Sit Still, Look Pretty

8/10

Pittsburgh native Daya jumped into music scene last year with her single “Hide Away”, which had a nice run on the radio for someone who was quite unknown. Catching the eye of the electric DJ duo The Chainsmokers, Daya featured on their huge hit “Don’t Let Me Down”. It was her appearance on this track that really catapulted her into an astounding rise to fame. She was ruling the airwaves and booking tours, all with only an EP to her name. Daya was doing in the span of a year what artists hope to achieve in the span of three years. Although Daya was already successful, she was ready for more. She released a smashing single “Sit Still, Look Pretty” which was the precursor to her debut album of the same name.

Sit Still, Look Pretty is an exceptional album as far as debuts go. It showcases Daya’s artistic skill as she shows that she’s able to reach across the whole spectrum of pop. From the reggae-infused “Love of My Life” to the traditional “Legendary”, Daya shows variety on her album without trading in the integrity of her identity. The album is filled with great tracks that can get you singing along with ease. Even for those who detest pop, you’ll find yourself humming along. The album is also littered with many hits that are suited for radio play such as “Cool” and “Words”. In terms of albums released in 2016 thus far, Sit Still, Look Pretty falls short, not being as memorable. However, knowing that this is only a debut album for a young artist who continues to achieve success despite being quite new to the music scene, I confidently believe this album is great enough of an album to bolster Daya’s continue success.

Top vibes: “Talk”, “Thirsty”

For those who vibe to: Hailee Steinfeld and Selena Gomez

Check out the video for “Sit Still, Look Pretty” below.

“The Silence”-Amongst Thieves

Amongst Thieves, a five-piece post hardcore band from the United Kingdom, released a single “The Silence” back in July. Reminiscent of Attack Attack! before Caleb Shomo took over vocal duties, “The Silence” is a riveting song with a chorus that is catchy enough to get you singing along. Vocalist Josh Nash switches between clean and unclean vocals with ease. Drummer Andy Ackroyd delivers a solid drum performance that get anyone two-stepping along. The breakdown towards the end is short and hardly noticeable, but it’s good to see the band refrain from use of many breakdowns in a scene that is known for countless breakdowns scattered throughout for no essential purpose.

In terms of bringing anything new to the scene, “The Silence” does not succeed in that department. However, any fan of Asking Alexandria or A Day To Remember can appreciate the solid effort put into the single. In fact, the single proves the band is not content with just releasing a decent EP in 2015 called March for the Sun and another EP Revise.Reform in 2014. Amongst Thieves has its eyes set on delivering more tunes that showcase the young band’s improvement in all areas of songwriting. “The Silence” is not a song that changes post-hardcore, but it is a solid release nonetheless for a band that could potentially be on the rise.

Vibes like: XX (Sew My Eyes) – Capsize

For those who vibe to: Asking Alexandria, Capsize

Check out “The Silence” below.

Two Door Cinema Club-Gameshow

8/10

After three years of silence, Two Door Cinema Club is back with their third studio album, Gameshow. The three-piece alt-rock band is back and better than ever, as they trade a trace of indie for a taste of 80s pop. A funky album from start to finish, it is nearly impossible to notice the pronounced 80s vibe on the album that is accompanied by the heavy use of synths. The track “Invincible” is reminiscent of Queen, while the track “Surgery” seems as if it was synthesized by Daft Punk. Other bangers are scattered across the album. Some tracks are so catchy that other songs get lost in their shadow, which can be interpreted as either good or bad. However, the album closes with “Je Viens De La” which is more than memorable due to its ability to make you feel like you just entered a funky disco party. All in all, Two Door Cinema Club went above and beyond with Gameshow, delivering a flavorful album that was worth the four-year wait.

Top vibes: “Lavender”, “Je Viens De La”

For those who vibe to: The 1975 and Foals

Check out the track “Are We Ready? (Wreck)” below.

“Drum” by MØ

MØ is back!

After several appearances in the EDM scene with popular hits “Lean On” and “Cold Water” both by Major Lazer (the latter featuring Justin Bieber), the Danish singer MØ drops the single “Drum”. This single also follows her original rising hit “Final Song”. “Drum” is a bouncy song with a sort of tribal island beat to it that can get anyone moving. With a simple, yet infectious chorus, you can’t resist the urge to sing along. Positive lyrics about taking hold of your life and marching “to the beat of your drum” allows this song to become an anthem for anyone who just wants to be who they are without any insecurity or shame. MØ seems to be doing just that, riding her unique sound to the top and taking her fans along for the ride.

Vibes like: “Step Down” – Elliphant

For those who vibe to: Tove Lo and Mapei

image source: idolator