Past Releases

The Amity Affliction "Not Without My Ghosts"

From New Noise Magazine:

The Amity Affliction continues its steady release pattern, an album every few years since 2008, with a smashing new record titled Not Without My Ghosts. The metalcore band hold no punches. The Amity Affliction blitzes at breakneck speed while embracing a contemporary cultural message touching on suicide, gun violence, mental illness, and a number of nerve-touching topics.

Stylistically, this sounds like typical The Amity Affliction. The musicianship, versatile vocals, interesting pacing, and a sound that bridges gaps between the emo, metal and rock scenes are all there. But the wherewithal of the band and knack for prodding the sensitivities of American culture is a welcome addition.

“Show Me Your God” has been out since September. After a light piano opener, the track switches into overdrive, providing an emotional examination of America’s gun culture. “It’s Hell Down Here” is uber aggressive and potentially a reflection of singer Joe Birch’s battle with bi-polar disorder.

“Fade Away” mixes paces with a soaring, stadium-rock chorus. The anthemic background guitar riff in the track’s later half is one of the album’s many high points. “Death And The Setting Sun” features Canadian hardcore vocalist Andrew Neufeld. His addition makes for a fun UK-Canadian scene blend.

“I See Dead People” features the late New Zealand hip-hop artist Louie Knuxx. The fist-slamming song is an album standout, providing a juxtaposition between it’s aggressive style and the somber feelings up-to-date listeners will feel about the Knuxx’s tragic passing. “When It Rains It Pours” features the thick vocals of former Before Their Eyes member Landon Tewers. The track’s chorus is excellent, commercial rock.

“The Big Sleep” provies an emotional cry that plays like an intuitive conversation, constantly building on itself until it’s massive crescendo in the final chorus. “Close To Me” is one of the poppier songs on the album, with the touching chorus “I am so lost and lonely/ Always destroying what I love.” Theocratic symbolism is ever-present in “God Love” with a vibe that is, at times, dark and heavenly. “Not Without My Ghosts” is a toned down and touching way to close the album, featuring alternative artist Phem.

From the writing to the musicianship, Not Without My Ghosts is an excellent album fitting of Amity Affliction’s legendary canon. The band presses on as a needed voice in the scene.

Dragon Inn 3 "Trade Secrets"

The long-anticipated sophomore release from Dragon Inn 3. Features 10 brand new songs plus a fantastic cover of Yazoo’s “Only You.”

Braids "Euphoric Recall"

From Secret City Records:

Over the past decade, Montréal’s Braids — musicians Taylor Smith, Raphaelle Standell-Preston, and Austin Tufts — have devoted themselves to exploring their art, together, making for one of the more daring and fluid catalogs in contemporary experimental pop. JUNO Award winners and twice-shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, Braids see their story as a series of actions and reactions, a collective expression that swings like a pendulum between process-driven precision and open-hearted freeness. For their fifth full-length, Euphoric Recall, the band embraced the latter, intuitively pursuing the playful joy and spontaneity they’d been craving in the absence of live performances —  the “kinetic and exciting” (The New York Times) energy that’s become their superpower across over 500 shows played worldwide.

Standell-Preston found herself in the rush of new love, drawing generously from her tender heart space, which Smith and Tufts, renewed by recent collaborations and studio work, understood intrinsically. As songs emerged, the rhythms and textures became brighter and looser, unhurried and brimming with life, the result of greenlighting the ideas that simply felt good the second they hit the air. Often written on the spot in just a few takes, Standell-Preston’s lyrics are vivid, exhilarating, and evocative, a directness indicative of fully knowing oneself and engaging the moment. Organic and electronic elements weave in and out, shading a rich universe without crowding it. Self-produced and for the first time composing and arranging string parts, the band welcomed the guiding flourishes of an ensemble on cello, viola, and violins. The sound is lush and sprawling yet captured with in-the-room clarity; it grooves viscerally, freer, and wholly anew.

Braids abandoned strategy, burned it down, and realized their love record. Love, all of it; the unbound bliss, the budding impulses, and the messy imperfections, a supernova swirled up in a suite of bold, patient, symphonic pop songs surrendered to the present, Euphoric Recall.

Dommengang "Wished Eye"

Dommengang exudes the wild freedom and seeking spirit of the American West Coast. The rock trio delivers guitar innovation, serpentine grooves, and propulsive drumming with gleeful abandon. Guitarist Dan “Sig” Wilson switches from explosive to expansive on a knife’s edge, laying down wailing hooks before evaporating into bristling fuzz. Bassist Brian Markham and drummer Adam Bulgasem’s foundations play with time, galloping forward or stretching out into the cosmos. Wished Eye is an expression of the sheer joy of making music together. Fans of Danny Kirwan and Peter Green will find plenty to love in the guitar lines of Wilson, but Wished Eye is not a look back. The irresistible guitar is infused with deep psychedelia, powerfully expressive drumming, and some devastatingly dirty bass tones. Markham and Wilson’s dual vocal delivery and thoughtful lyrics only propel this force. Dommengang provides a rock punch while ushering the listener into deep space. It’s a glorious romp and a tribute to the power of holding nothing back.

Wished Eye is the studio album of a band that, live, ignites chaotic release and otherworldly meditation. To capture this energy and freedom in the studio, the trio tracked all the songs together to tape and let experimentation run wild. This journey of exploration was indeed linked to all members relocating to Portland, Oregon, finding a new home for their ideas to flourish. Markham explains: “We jammed several times a week for two years, at times with no real goal but to play music and make noise together. Lots of nights were followed by backyard hangs around the fire.” Sig elaborates: “We went into rehearsal with no expectations other than to let every idea breathe and let it go as long as needed.” Working without time constraints or limitations, they could dig deeper than ever into their shared experiences.

“Runaway” conjures the serenity of the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty, melodies slowly blossoming from ambiance like an oncoming trip in the woods. “Society Blues” shatters the illusion right out of the gates with explosive solos and a rounded, syncopated cadence. Bass clarinet from Golden Retriever’s Jonathan Sielaff pushes the track to its euphoric apex. The smoldering wreckage is followed with the introspective “Last Card,” a ballad delivered with true vulnerability and sincerity. Instrumental “Little Beirut” invokes Portland’s revolutionary spirit, while “Blue and Peaceful” explores a need for stillness with anthemic riffing crumbling into a shimmering folk-rock spiral. Title track “Wished Eye” delves deep into the unconscious with a dream-state jam, the name revealing itself to the band via a looped lyric from a scratched Meditation Singers gospel LP.

Delivered with greater confidence and exuberance than ever before, Wished Eye captures the force of a Dommengang show and their explorative nature — from euphoria to transcendence. Where previous Dommengang albums evoked a restlessness and a yearning for the open road, Wished Eye takes you on that journey with a seasoned band that has found the key to traveling without ever leaving home, and what a trip it is.