Tag Archives: Bad Christian

House of Heroes – Colors

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Many years ago I had a co-worker, who used to be a drug addict, explain that the first time you get high on cocaine is other worldly. It’s great. But every time after that first time is a letdown and you keep chasing and chasing that initial high, only to never get it again.

6 years ago House of Heroes released Suburba and I became an instant fan. I dove in to the band’s back catalog and have waited for each new release. But I still feel like I’ve been chasing the high I got from hearing Suburba for the time. (See, my crazy drug story had a point)

To use a tired cliché, Colors is a raucous rock & roll record. Yes, that’s lazy ass writing on my part. But it fits the record. And honestly, I’ve struggled to find words to adequately describe Colors. Because let’s be honest, it would be much easier to write a review of Colors if I wasn’t a fan of House of Heroes. But a personal connection and expectation colors (no pun intended) the way you view and listen to music. And when I try to step back and detach my personal expectations, I find a really great rock & roll record.

Which leads me to say, Colors does not feed my personal House of Heroes high. But it comes close. (What is it missing? A Song like God Save Us The Foolish Kings)

House of Heroes give us a big bombastic anthem to kick off Colors. Colors Run is a mid-tempo jam that feels both part ballad and part arena rock song. It’s a great “classic” rock type song. Rat is one of those punk infused songs that House of Heroes always seems to deliver with ease.

On a number of tracks is feels like House of Heroes was going for a huge sound. The riffs and drums on Pioneer, Feel, and Matador all hit on the same note and feel over compressed to create this enormous wall of sound. Even the bridges of God and Crash, relatively low-key songs, the wall of sound makes an appearance. House of Heroes pulls it off and scatters it throughout the record so it doesn’t feel like you’re being beaten over the head by a giant wall of guitars.

We Make Our Stars is a beautiful little ballad. In The End, Shots Fired, and Get Away are about as stripped down as I can ever remember hearing House of Heroes get. The band lulls you into thinking they’re closing he record on the lighter side before the four on the floor of Colors Die Out hit. Colors Die Out is another one of those classic rock anthems. They bookend the record nicely and if you ask me both the album’s opener and closer are the highlights of the record.

There’s a lot I like about Colors. It’s an enjoyable listen, when you’re just listening. When I got critical it seemed to not have the same punch as it did when I just put the record on in my car and drove around jamming to it. So take that for what you will. And even though it doesn’t fulfill this musical need I have from House of Heroes, it’s still a great record. 4.5 our 5 Stars.

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Emery Working With Mike Herrera

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Mxpx frontman Mike Herrera posted the image above with the caption “Love having these guys around the studio! Emery doing #TRËNCHWØRK. Thank you for getting down and dirty here in #Bremerton. Looks like Emery is working on some music, with Devin. I haven’t listened to the Bad Christian podcast recently enough to know if Emery has mentioned new music in the works, but hopefully this means at least an ep is on the way.

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House of Heroes Joins Bad Christian Music

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House of Heroes has announced that they are teaming up with Bad Christian Music for the release of their new full-length, Colors. If you missed the band’s IndieGogo campaign you’ll be able to pre-order the record starting next Monday, April 11.

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Abandon Kansas – Alligator

Alligator
Hearing that the label had quite a bit of sway and say in the making and direction of Ad Astra Per Aspera, it made me want to give Alligator a listen. I liked Ad Astra Per Aspera well enough but it’s not like the record was a game changer. And knowing that Abandon Kansas might have something different to offer, makes Alligator an instantly more compelling listen.

Mirror is a dark note that kicks off Alligator. I instantly connected with the song, but Abandon Kansas wanted to make sure I was sold on the track so they invited Everything In Slow Motion frontman Shane Ochsner to sing the second verse. The song is simple, but the darkness and Ochsner’s unmistakable scream punctuating the track make it a compelling opener. It doesn’t give you an indication of what Alligator will sound like as a whole. but it’s a killer track. Alligator, the song, is similarly dark, but only as an undertone and not a theme. It’s got a great early 2000’s indie rock vibe. Yes, Ad Astra Per Aspera had these dark and “moody” undertones, it was subtle and the band felt reigned in. There’s a freeness on Alligator that I didn’t hear on Ad Astra.

Hope God Don’t Mind doesn’t sound like Grandaddy, but something about the synth line and the mix of upbeat happy go-lucky music with the darker themes in the lyrics remind me of Grandaddy. Baby Please is a fun rock and roll song. Anniversary is a downer of a song about the passing of another year since a divorce/breakup. The chorus is catchy, and even though the topic of the song is heavy, you find it stuck in your head. The band decided it was a good idea to follow-up a song about heartache with a song about addiction. Get Clean isn’t as quite a downer as Anniversary because the song is about wanting to overcome addiction. It’s a little bit of a jangley pop song. The way the band plays with the music and lyrics not always matching in tone is very reminiscent of what David Bazan has done so well for the last twenty years.

The band hits you with another great indie rock track (Shadows) and then offers up What You Meant. With the sound of the ocean in the background, What You Meant is just an acoustic guitar and vocalist Jeremy Spring. It’s not a bad song. But as I often complain about, it seems an odd fit on the record. It might have worked as an album closer, or maybe even after Anniversary. But where it sits on the record, it just feels weird. It feels like it should be the end of the album, but it’s not. In the age of Spotify and digital music, where every is buying singles and putting artists and albums on shuffle, it’s a small complaint. But if you bought the cd or vinyl version of Alligator, it’s minor things like track order that keep albums from being great.

You Oughta Know and One Foot In the Grave are both upbeat rock songs with darker themed lyrics. Both are solid songs, but after What You Meant, I find myself taken out of the record and not as engaged with these songs as I was with Alligator before What You Meant.

Alligator is a great record. It reminds me of the indie rock scene that I fell in love with after high school. But that one song is so distracting for me that I can’t give Alligator a perfect score. 4 out of 5 Stars.

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Emery – You Were Never Alone

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Emery pretty much always sounds like Emery. But Emery also likes to experiment and try “different” things. That sums up You Were Never Alone in two sentences. It’s been four years since We Do What We Want and with the return of Devin, you could be sure that Emery would sound even more like themselves then they did on We Do What We Want.

Emery usually opens up their records on a strong, upbeat, heavy song. So it’s notable that Rock, Pebble, Stone is kind of unassuming and mellow. So much intact I had to check the iTunes order to make sure it was actually track one on the record. It’s one of the purest “emo” songs Emery has ever written. A great track but an odd choice for an album opener.

If you’re worried about Emery going soft in their old age, the band follows up Rock, Pebble, Stone with Trash. The band’s most metal and yet weirdest song to date. Matt Carter’s guitar riffs feel like he stole them from The Chariot or Norma Jean. But just as metal as the song is at times, you still get that brand of emocore screaming/singing balance that Emery does so well. The song isn’t heavier than We Do What We Want, but it’s more metal for sure! Yet it’s still weird. The end of the song finds the band dive bombing out of metal mode and going lounge act. It’s odd, but Emery pulls it off so seamlessly that it doesn’t feel weird or forced at all.

At this point the Emery “sound” kicks in and we’re given a taste of what made us all fans of the band in the first place. Hard Times, The Beginning, Pink Slip, and Taken For A Bath all sound like classic Emery songs. They could fit perfectly anywhere in Emery’s discography without feel like retreads. And that’s important. Fans like the chances and the new elements, but honestly, we want something familiar and that reminds us why we fell in love with a band or artist in the first place.

The Less You Say sounds like Emery’s take on power pop. The opening riff on To The Deep is beautiful and unlike anything I’ve heard from Emery before. It’s a little more of that emo taste we got on the album opener, but cleaner. Go Wrong Young Man kind of feels like a less creepy version of Faith No More, but as done Emery. Toby doesn’t rap, he just speaks really fast, and it creates another unique sound for Emery. And then there’s a little cheerleader section. It’s interesting.

I like Emery. And I knew I’d like You Were Never Alone. It’s both fresh and familiar. But it’s almost too familiar. I think it’s a fantastic record, but it doesn’t quite grip me like records they’ve done before. 4.5 out 5 Stars.

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