Category Archives: Music Video

Hawthorne Heights – Fragile Future – CD Review

Hawthorne Heights
Hawthorne Heights

A lot has been going on for Ohio’s screamo act Hawthorne Heights since their last release.  Having said goodbye to a friend and band mate as well as dropping a lawsuit with Victory Records, the band continues to cope and mature throughout.  Not letting the past affect them in a downward way, the band proves they refuse to stop with Fragile Future, their third release on Victory Records.

On November 27, 2007 Hawthorne Heights guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert was found dead on the band’s tour bus just prior to their sound check at a Washington D.C. music club.  The cause of death was determined to be a possible drug interaction but according to the band’s drummer Eron Bucciarelli it was not a result of hardcore partying but an accident as Casey Calvert was taking other medicines from a recent root canal.

With the death of a loved one the band stated they would continue to go on and never add another guitarist/screamer to their band.  After taking some time to themselves and writing new material the band hopes to once again achieve success with Fragile Future even though this time they are one man down.

Of course, the first thing that stands out on this release is the omitted vicious screaming.  It would appear that Hawthorne Heights did not even wish to replicate their lost friend’s talent and that, to me, is respectable.  Also dropping the lawsuit with Victory Records and patching up past decisions proved the band is on the rise.

When “The Business Of Paper Stars” started I was waiting for the well known screaming backing up lead singer J.T. Woodruff but instead imagined it in my head.  There is plenty of opportunity in the song for screaming but the band strays away from that and is now more emo. 

Their healed sound continues in “Until The Judgment Day” with memorable lyrics of being “battered and broken” as well as “don’t look back, don’t you ever look back until the judgment day”.  Looks as if the band put down the boom box to win the girl attitude and started to see there are more things in life out there.

“Four Became One” was the track I was looking for on this CD, knowing how they lost Casey Calvert.  The song really is about the band’s closure with the difficult situation they were subject to.  It’s an ode to their friend for the entire world to hear.  Having lost friends in my past, I felt their pain in this song.

“321” is the closest song on the CD that shows aggression with a mild screaming dwelling behind the singing.  The guitar playing is likable and heavier than the other tracks making for one of my choice cuts.  “Come Back Home (Reprise)” was another track that held on to the the old style, especially with borrowed lyrics from “This Is Who We Are” off their sophomore album If Only You Were Lonely.

Fans of Hawthorne Heights will be happy the band continued on and with their change of style and I can see some new folk becoming fans.  It is a change, especially if you put this CD in hoping to hear the screamo. This is not their strongest album to date but the fact that they did not let the past hold them back makes them a tough band now.  Hawthorn Heights defines the emo genre now that they have experienced true sorrow.  Mature and structured, I expect much more from this band in years to come.

Check out their lastest video for the song “Rescue Me”:

3OH3! – Want – CD Review

3OH!3 (pronounced 3-OH!-3) is far from your ordinary band. For instance, when I downloaded the CD to my iPod it was listed as an unclassifiable genre and that is an understatement. Debuting with WANT, the twosome white-boy rap/rock duo certainly have released material worth talking about as they have mixed up elements of crunk, punk, electronica, and even emo, making for an energy overload album.

3OH3!
3OH3!

Hailing from the streets of… umm… Boulder, the duo have discarded their college educations in favor of creating some of the best crunk rock dance party tracks I have ever heard. Already debuting on the Top 10 on the iTunes album chart, the band has also gained attention from Alternative Press Magazine naming them one of AP’s one hundred bands you need to know.

3OH!3 stands for the area code that front men Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte represent. Born and raised in Boulder, Colorado, the duo met while studying physics in college and discovered one another’s love for underground hip hop. The mutual fixation for a genre of music that is rarely handled in the capitol of hippies brought the two united to create 3OH!3 and before they knew it they were selling out local clubs with their high strung dancing layered on top of their truly unique genre-bashing music.

“Punk Bitch” was the first track I heard from these guys and I must admit I thought they were a Lil John wannabe project. Not until halfway through the song did I realized this was not really a rap act but something much more entertaining. The opening to the song imitated lots of crunk music I have heard before, but as you go through the song you start to hear a blend of crunk and emo, something I did not think was possible until now. The result is an infectious track that I have listened to over and over. This gangster emo track will be getting the clubs moving for sure this year.

The third track “Don’t Trust Me” has the greatest refrain ever: “Shush girl, shut your lips. Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips.” Dance like Helen Keller? Who the hell writes something like this? How offensive… I loved it. I can only see it now, a forbidden dance called the Helen Keller created from this track. Aside from the crude lyrics talking of a no-name groupie, this track is full of danceable music that is far from annoying.

Sounding almost like what Electric Six would sound like if they collaborated with Lil John & The Eastside Boyz is “I’m Not Your Boyfriend Baby”. The electronic beats alone surpass a lot of crap I have heard in the clubs or on the radio, and once the interesting, whiny, emo cry solo was slammed with their tough ass rap lyrics I was addicted.

“Star Struck” has more of a R&B feel a la Kenna mixed with hard electronics and a beat that pretty much has been stuck in my head since I first heard the sexually suggestive song. Then there are the full on rap tracks “Choke Chain” that you will be singing along with and “Photofinnish” that reminded me of the Faint but excessively crunked out.

3OH3! @ the 2008 Warped Tour in Cleveland
3OH3! @ the 2008 Warped Tour in Cleveland

Just when I thought things were insane enough, “Still Around” started up. This slow sensitive track regarding the love of a special something really proves to me these guys are not just out there to jump around and get the party rioting. The lyrics at times were predictable but the music and the idea of the song is sweet and almost depressing, especially if you have been in the situation of which they sing.

No need to be too depressed though, because “Holler ’til You Pass Out” brings back all that energy that was paused for a moment with a full blown anthem all about representing the city of Boulder. This track is tough, addictive, and fun and I wanted more once it was over.

Want might very well be the most fun CD I have heard all year and at this moment I am addicted to 3OH!3 and their crazy ass music. These guys have something a little gangster, a lot insane, and damn well genus. If you are looking for something a tad different from the norm yet catchy at the same time then 3OH!3 is where it’s at.

Already stealing the show at the 2008 Warped Tour with their high vigor, including their hilarious onstage presence, this is one band you need to experience especially if you are in need some new pickup lines to rifle off to the ladies.

Just in case you wanted to hear what they sound like or what the hype is all about:

(Warning, as with many crunk infused tracks, there is a lot of cussing on this video.  Like truck driver cussing….  Play accordingly)