Artists To Watch: Vesta Collide

If you have never heard of Vesta Collide, then you are definitely missing out. The Detroit outfit’s debut album New Obsession via StaySick Recordings came out back in January, and it has been in current rotation ever since. Why? Because this band is fresh and brutal.

It’s rare to find a debut album from a band that is extremely well-written, polished, and entertaining. Most times debuts are jumbled up and don’t sound as professional as New Obsession does. Vesta Collide delivered an album that is a cut above the rest, an album that sounds like it belongs to a band who has been in the game for some time. The entire album is an entertaining experience. The instruments sound so crisp and clear, and the unclean vocals from Mark Pfromm are too delightful. He can hit the highs and lows equally well, which helps in enhancing songs. Moreover, the cleans are solid, contributing to the large amount of versatility present in each track.

Versatility is the key facet of this band. That’s why I find them to be a fresh find in metalcore. To be so versatile on a debut album is mind-blowing. I can only imagine how fresh and dynamic Vesta Collide’s future releases will be. That is why this band is an artist to watch. Because they’ve only got one album under their belt yet they are making tremendous waves in the scene. So keep an eye on them because I’m sure they will become your new obsession.

Vybes like: Blessthefall, Crown the Empire, My Enemies & I

Top vybes: “I Can’t Sleep”, “The Lights”, “Hallucination”

image via Vesta Collide’s facebook

 

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“On Her Mind” – Volumes

Volumes is a metalcore/djent outfit that prides themselves on the laid-back vibe of Cali that they infuse into their music. From their releases of Via and No Sleep, its clear to see a shift into more polished music that retains the excellent musicianship of each member. Instead of staying stagnant, they’ve always been prone to switching things up a bit, whether its bring the heavy on tracks like “The Mixture” and “Wormholes” or adding a ton of melody on tracks like “Across the Bed” and “Erased”.  Therefore, to see them switch it up on their newest single “On Her Mind” is not a surprise. I’ve come to expect it.

“On Her Mind” exceeded my expectations because I was wondering how the band would follow up “Feels Good” which was released last summer. The track was satisfying, but it wasn’t better than anything they created prior. It served as a good introduction to new vocalist Myke Terry. Now, “On Her Mind” was a great follow-up because for all the things that it lacks it makes up elsewhere. And that’s why I’m amazed by the track.

The song infuses rap and metal so seamlessly. Most bands or songs that attempt to blend to two genres fail in creating something that feels genuine and not forced. Other bands just throw in rapping, but fail to blend both genres into one uniform entity. I believe Volumes succeeded in doing just that. The best move was in bringing Pouya on the track. Pouya is an actual rapper who floods the song with both the flow and the vibe that fits Volumes. He kills his verses and was a bright spot on the track. Moreover, the transition from rapping verse to soothing chorus is impeccable and the cleanest I’ve ever heard. It seems natural rather than forced. Moreover, both the vocals from Gus Farias and Myke Terry are on point throughout the entire song. They combine with Pouya to really push to the forefront the vibe that sets them apart from others in the scene.

The only thing that lacks in this song is the instrumentation. Don’t get me wrong the chugging and sick bassline works for the track and gets me moving. However, in comparison to what they’ve done instrumentally on previous releases, the instrumentals on this track are lackluster. I’m used to the intricate, vibey djent instrumentation Volumes is known for, so the repetitive and simple nature of the instrumentals of “On Her Mind” are somewhat disappointing.

Yet does that ruin the song? Absolutely not! The positives outweigh the negative. The song flows, is incredibly vibey, and does what it’s supposed to do as a single, which is to get people talking about the song and craving more. Rap and metal have rarely been done in such a polished and fluid manner, so I’m exceptionally proud of Volumes. I expect great things on their upcoming release Different Animals available June 9th, as should you.

 

Five Grammy Results That Made No Sense

The Grammy’s is American music’s biggest night. Yet not everyone is a fan of the award show. Many cite unfairness in terms of nomination and the showering of awards to the same few artists. This year’s results were no different. In fact, it had its fair share of selections that honestly were deserving of a Nick Young meme. Here’s five Grammy results that made no sense.

Drake winning Best Rap Song with “Hotline Bling”

There’s no doubt about Drake’s track “Hotline Bling” being a banger that eventually got overplayed like most hits these days. The music video—more notably Drake’s dance moves—provided an endless stream of memes for us to laugh over. But to have this song win Best Rap Song? Over solid tracks like “Famous” , “Ultralight Beam”, “All The Way Up”, and “No Problem”? “Hotline Bling” is hardly rap, the same way The Chainsmokers are hardly good. That’s why I had no problem with the track winning Best Rap/Sung Performance, even though Kanye and Beyonce got snubbed for that. The track fits that award. The fact that it won that award should’ve made the committee pick another song for Best Rap Song rather the “Hotline Bling” again.

David Bowie winning three Grammies

I know this man was iconic and influential, but c’mon. The only reason he got those awards was because he died last year. He won Best Rock Performance for his track “Blackstar”, which is puzzling because it beat out the highly successful “Heathens” by Twenty One Pilots. Moreover, Bowie won Best Rock Song with “Blackstar” and Best Alternative Music Album with the Blackstar album. Now he may be worthy for at least one of the last two awards, but the man is dead! Yes, he was iconic, and people can be sad for his passing. But I’m not so sure he cares about receiving three Grammy’s at this moment. Thus, give them to people more alive and deserving.

Maxwell winning Best R&B Song with “Lake By The Ocean”

“Lake By The Ocean” is a pretty good song. But simply enough, I believe it lacks the overall clout and impact of the songs it beat: “Exchange” by Bryson Tiller, “Kiss It Better” by Rihanna, “Come and See Me” by PARTYNEXTDOOR featuring Drake, and “LUV” by Tory Lanez. All of these songs were worthy. The only thing that makes this one make more sense that the other confusing results is that the Maxwell track is truly written with skill and is a pretty good song on its own. Still though. I would’ve much rather had any of the others win.

The Chainsmokers winning a Grammy

It was bound to happen. This EDM duo wrecked charts all of 2016 and seem poised to continue to do it in the future. However, not everyone’s a fan of these guys. Everybody who’s on top has haters, but the Chainsmokers just attract haters. I actually like their music, but I can definitely see where people come from when they say they don’t like the duo. In fact, I am often frustrated with the duo in how they carry themselves and the aura they give off. Nonetheless, they won a Grammy. But Katy Perry, Nas, and The Queens of the Stone Age—all huge names in music—still are Grammy-less. So the Chainsmokers won before those three. Try to let that sink in because I’m having trouble doing so.

Adele winning almost everything

To keep it brief, Adele is an exceptional artist. But the same way people get on ESPN for talking up Steph Curry and ignoring other great players is the same way I disagree with Adele winning 5 Grammies. Yes, “Hello” was a terrific song from a terrific album, but you really have to be blind to not notice the other awesome nominations for each award that Adele got. Look at the list of nominees she beat, and you will realize that she should only have at most 3 Grammies. Topping Beyonce, Rihanna, Twenty One Pilots, and Drake in almost all of the five Grammy categories she won just doesn’t add up to me. Regardless of it being the amazing Adele.

But who cares about all that? Chance won two Grammies. That’s all that matters.

 

“Fool’s Gold” – Chapel

Chapel has dropped another single titled “Fool’s Gold”, and it is foolish of you to not give it a spin. The indie alt-rock duo has only two songs released via the label, but those two songs were the perfect tracks for introduction to the world. The first track, “Caught Up”, is heavily pop-induced alt-rock, while the newest single “Fool’s Gold” is slightly more grittier and leans more toward what Rise Records is known for.

“Fool’s Gold” is a sonically pleasing track from start to finish. The drums by Kortney Grinwis and the rest of the instrumentation compliment Carter Hardin’s on-point vocals. If Pvris was less dark, you would have Chapel, and that’s not bad thing at all. The song is instantly catchy with a hook that is powerfully crafted both sonically and lyrically. As a whole the lyrics are amazing, detailing the aftermath of a relationship that was devoid of true love. The song is riddled with memorable lines, especially the bridge. The song is well-structured, and it is accessible to any and all. One facet I admire is that this song is much more powerful and raw than “Caught Up”, as I mentioned before. Both songs are extremely polished and mature, but “Caught Up” is definitely more poppy and jovial while “Fool’s Gold” is more serious in tone and has more bite, both in terms of content and sound. This shows the duo’s versatility, evidence that they can fluctuate between both sides of the spectrum.

Overall, “Fool’s Gold” is meticulously well-crafted and enjoyable from beginning to end. Keep your eyes open for them as they certainly will be on the rise.

Vybes like: Pvris, Waterparks

image via soundfiction

Five Artist’s Names That Often Get Mispronounced

There are countless bands and artists out there in the world, looking for anything that will set them apart from the rest. Sometimes they try to create their own genre/sound, and other times they try to be different in terms of style, character, and what not. Most settle for an easier route, which is to simply subtract letters or add symbols to your name. And when you do that, you open up the possibility (and inevitability) of somebody mispronouncing it. Here are five artist/bands who often have their names mispronounced on a wide scale.

6LACK

Underground but quickly emerging artist 6LACK instantly comes to mind. I would be rich if I got dollar for every time I’ve read or heard someone call the mystically dark, R&B/rap artist “six-lack”. It’s pronounced “black”, but the six is just so deceiving that people feel the intense and dire need to pronounce the number. It most likely comes from the fact that he’s from Atlanta, more specifically Zone 6. Now, I’m not going to pretend like I have always pronounced it correctly. In fact, I pronounced his name “slack”, thinking that nobody in their right mind would call themselves “six-lack” and be proud of it. Thus, I creatively mispronounced the name, thinking that it was more artistic. But simply, it’s pronounced “black”, and I, like 6LACK, only wish people would respect that and stop calling him “six-lack” on purpose.

Pvris

This alt rock band who exploded in 2015 and has sinced ruled Vans Warped Tour, toured with Fall Out Boy, and is about to tour with Muse and Thirty Seconds To Mars, is also subject to being mispronounced. Pronounced “Paris” like the French city, the letter v is only supposed to represent the letter a. Most likely because of copyright, the band deemed it fit to simply flip the a into a v. However, this automatically confuses people. To pronounce the v or not, that is the question. When I first discovered the band and fell in love, I went around telling friends to bump that new “Piv-ris”. I know, how foolish of me. However, I took comfort in knowing I wasn’t the only one. Now, I annoyingly correct those who mispronounce. But think about it, “piv-ris” is kinda cool.

The xx

This one should be simple enough. But oh no. This minimalist dream pop group have often been called “the x”, simply having people ignore the blatant fact that there are two frickin’ Xs there. Even worse is people saying “the exes”. Mispronouncing it “the female” due to the fact that two X chromosomes determines the female sex has also surfaced. Okay, nobody’s said the last one to me, but I don’t doubt that someone out there pronounces it that way. It’s “the Ex Ex”. Plain and simple.

Madeintyo

The artist who delivered the hit “Uber Everywhere” also has a name missing letters.The young rapper from Atlanta and Tokyo has a stage name pronounced “Made in Tokyo”. Why he dropped the O, the K, and spaces? I don’t know. But I, like many, had fallen short and pronounced it how it looks: “made-in-tie-o”. I’ve heard it pronounced “made-in-tee-o” and “made into you”. So I feel slightly better about how I mispronounced it.

SBTRKT

I’m not going to front and act like I know this guy’s music. I only know the the track “Higher”. But whenever I saw the artist name on the related artists on Spotify, I was always unsure of how to pronounce it. Do I treat the name as an acronym and say “S-B-T-R-K-T”, or do I string it all together in a jumbled up “sa-bay-ter-kat”? Both are incorrect, and I am ashamed of saying both, just as others should too. It’s easily pronounced “subtract”, and once you see it, you will hate yourself for not catching it sooner.

I know you are guilty of at least one of these. Comment below if you know any other bands or artists that have names that people can’t help but screw up.

image via 6LACK twitter account