Tag Archives: The Flatliners

Album Review: The Flatliners – Inviting Light

I consider myself a pretty big Flatliners fan and have been for most of their career.

The Toronto foursome caught my attention with their debut – even if it was just speedy, loud ska tunes.  It was their followup, The Great Awake, however, that blew me away.

The Flatliners have a punk rock style that is so addictive to me.  They have been playing for almost 15 years now without a single change up in members.  I have seen them live on multiple occasions, including in 2011 at SXSW just before the Ben Weasel blowout.  To this day, Cavalcade remains one of my top albums.

Last week, the band dropped their fifth full-length release on Rise Records.  Having heard a couple songs beforehand, I was pretty damn excited to get my hands on a copy.  Since then, I have listened to it dozens of times and each listen just gets better for me.

Inviting Light has Cresswell singing way more than screaming throughout, and it is extremely likable.  I was set back a little as I was expecting the band to unleash just like some of their older material, but the more I absorbed this release, the more I appreciated how much the band has matured.

Opening track “Mammals” slowly emerged into a pretty catchy track.  Cresswell and crew took it easy but had no problem creating a song that begged to be sung along with.  “Hang My Head” followed sounding more like a well-defined rock tune with a punk edge.  This song in particular got stuck in my head the moment I heard it and I was totally ok with that.

“Indoors” was another track that was more drawn-out without the band’s style jumping ship completely.  The Flatliners if anything, showcased their musical talent to the fullest on this track that seemed to revolve around insecurities and support.  I especially loved Ramirez’s drumming throughout.

I adored “Unconditional Love” as it was to me a spaghetti-western punk rock song.  It moseyed along, but was so impactful especially with Cresswell’s bellowing voice at times.

I found myself getting into “Infinite Wisdom” immediately with Cresswell’s singing style hitting lows and highs in a single breath.  The energy in this song alone had me nodding my head to the beat instantly.

“Chameleon Skin” had Cresswell singing and wailing about adapting to surroundings through others.  The song slowly built up into a great tune that clearly was far-fetched from a traditional Flatliners song, and honestly, I loved it.

Inviting Light is not quite like previous Flatliners albums, but that is not really anything that should be concerning at all given the talent that fills this tenured act.

A couple years back, Cresswell teamed up with Joey Cape for a One Week Records album and I seriously think he took to heart what he learned about himself playing with Cape and propelled that in the creation of Inviting Light.  If you call yourself a Flatliners fan and have not heard that One Week Records album, prepared to be pleasantly shocked, it is outstanding.

Back to this album – If you are sitting there questioning yourself whether or not to listen to Inviting Light, recall what happened to Rise Against over time.  I am not making any immediate comparisons between the two bands by the way, but styles change by decision and not force, and sometimes there is nothing at all wrong with that.

The Flatliners have not sold out, they found a new niche and are going with it.  Think about it, they could still be pushing out ska jams, right?

Album Review: Chris Cresswell – One Week

Chris CresswellFor those of you who checked out the interview I did with Joey Cape months back, you may have learned about One Week Records.  For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I suggest you take a moment and read that awesome interview.

Chris Cresswell of The Flatliners was one of the first artists to hole up in Cape’s abode and record an album.  In one week, the two recorded 10 amazing songs and skipped out on any type of over-producing.  The result was just an amazing release that I was not expecting.

Cresswell is typically known for his gruff vocals in The Flatliners but he’s completely cleared his throat for his One Week Record.  In fact, I was set back for a moment on how different and appealing his singing style was.  Having known he’s stripped down his style before, I suppose I just did not know what to expect prior to checking out this release.

Listening to “Meet Me in the Shade” was just so heavy on the heart.  I could almost relate in my past to the feelings Cresswell transformed into song.  Full of lyrics of dismay and solitude, Cresswell seemingly dumped heavy emotion into this track.  I really fond myself enjoying the song even more so when the piano playing snuck in.

Picking things up was “Little Bones”, a track what sounds like some serious swooning until the moment you realize that the lyrics on this track were pretty much Cresswell tearing a certain someone apart for being a cold, heartless human being.  The lyrics were amazing on this album.

“Stitches” really collaborated Cresswell and Cape’s talent in a great way in a song about healing and moving on.  Perhaps the best part of this track is when Cresswell belted out “I fall in love again with the silence in this song” over and over at the end.  Hands down, this was best track on this album.

Hearing the cover of Dead To Me’s “Arrhythmic Palpitations” was a nice bonus on this album.  Cresswell recorded a damn fine version that I may seriously now prefer over the original.  Everyone needs to hear this track.

“On the Day That You Died” was beyond somber and yet so beautiful.  This is the kind of song that brings tears to eyes while saying goodbye to a loved one.  Seriously, this track should be in the next Zach Braff movie he releases.  So sad…

Overall, this album far exceeded my expectations and I am going to be pre-ordering the vinyl release soon as I know this will be an album I will listen to quite frequently.

I think the thing I like best about this album is knowing that Cresswell and Cape recorded all of the songs in 7 days in Cape’s home.  I also love knowing that at the end, Cape handed Cresswell a Sharpie marker and told him to draw up the album cover.

The album is available digitally now on One Week Records for just 5 bucks.  The album is also going to be pressed on vinyl (as previously mentioned) thanks to Fat Wreck Chords and will be dropping soon.

Chris Cresswell

Album Review: The Flatliners – Dead Language

The Flatliners - Dead LanguageDead Language, as expected, has blown me away and turned me into an even bigger Flatliners fan.

I am not even sure I need to write more than the above sentence when talking about The Flatliners most recent release on Fat Wreck Chords.  It has been three years since the punk rock band have put out new material and the wait was well worth it.

After making music and hitting the road for most of their 10+ year career, Dead Language really showcases the band in a mature, collective way without missing a beat.  Having been on the Fat roster for a good part of their existence (this is their 3rd release on Fat), many music lovers are well aware of  them and cherish everything they do.

Opening with “Resuscitation Of The Year”, the album started off strong with the band taking no time to get down to business.  With heavy drumming, appropriate gang vocals, and fun guitar playing (that at times reminded me of 90s Fat Wreck songs), I couldn’t help but think that this really was one of the best tracks on the album.

Although carrying a slightly slower tempo, “Birds Of England” was just a solid track to listen to.  I really dug the lyrics that hinted about the band’s extensive touring during their  career.  This is one of those songs I feel would be fun to see the band play live.  “Hounds” was another song that I feel the band would really have fun playing live with all the sporadic shouting and crazy guitar playing.

“Drown In Blood” continued with Chris Cresswell just giving it his all vocally.  I was seriously impressed listening to him clear his throat throughout.  Just wait till the gang vocals pop in.  This song was one of my favorites on the album.

“Sew My Mouth Shut” was the track that really had me thinking to myself how much this band has grown together.  Everything just sounded so right on this track and I just loved it when Cresswell crooned “sew my mouth shut so I can’t say a word, just gets me in trouble, trouble I’m not worth.”

The one song on here that I even remotely scratched my head at was “Quitters” and honestly I think it is because it was just a lot to take in.  At just over 2 minutes, I think song could have been stretched out in some parts.  Overall, still a good jam, but there were a couple of drumming moments that seemed overly compressed.

“Brilliant Resilience” closed down the album with as much fury as the opener did.  Once again the gang vocals were fun to listen to.  Non-stop drumming, fun guitar playing, and of course Cresswell doing what he does best.

I will say that Dead Language is no Calvicade, but it is damn close and who knows, maybe after I listen to it about 15 more times, I’ll change my opinion.  Still, I’m pretty sure The Flatliners were not looking to repeat Calvicade, but rather continue forward with it.  For a band that started more of a ska band and then changed their sound because they wanted to, I would have to say they are matured and exactly where they want to be.  Dead Language really proves that.

Check out this video for “Drown In Blood”:



Rapid Reviews: Brett Detar, JuiceheaD, Transit, Coffee Project, The Flatliners and I Am The Avalanche

Let’s face it, this site is a one man show for the most part and as of late I have been living quite the busy life.  I am continually presented with amazing music for review consideration and sadly there is not enough time in the day for me to not only get through work and school, but to also write nice things about all these awesome bands.

So today I decided to throw out a few quick reviews on a couple of bands that have been sitting in my “cool” stack.  I wish I had more time to go into complete detail as I hate writing little reviews on bands, but I am thinking this might be a good idea to just spread the word out.  If you like what I said about the band, check them out, support them, share their music and help them continue to do what they love to do.

This week proves to be a busy one for me with tomorrow’s Strike Anywhere / Dead To Me / Menzingers / Holy Mess / Signals Midwest show as well as Wednesday’s NOFX / Anti-Flag / Old Man Markley show.  I thought perhaps I should be proactive and hammer out a few reviews while I had a moment.

Enjoy and as always, thanks for wasting some of your day on my site.

Brett Detar – Bird In The Tangle

With having the history of being a former guitarist/bassist of metalcore act Zao and also the lead singer of The Juliana Theory, it came as a great surprise to me when I was told that Brett Detar recorded a country / folk album.  The solo attempt by Detar, titled Bird In The Tangle,is actually a damn good listen too (it was released almost a year ago).  Hearing this album, you would never think that Detar, who grew up in PA, could have so much outlaw in his blood.  The moment the album started with “Empty House On A Famous Hill”, I was completely overtaken by his singing and music writing abilities.  “The Devil’s Gotta Earn” was my favorite cut off this album and “Cocaine Whiskey and Heroine” was a close second.  Following the likes of Nick 13 and Tumbledown, this genre jump from a guy who used to provide fast paced ear-pounding music has captured a style of outlaw country that is welcomed in my world.  Detar reminds me a lot of Justin Townes Earle but with more of a folk feel as well as had some Murder By Death tendencies.  Want to check it out?  Head over to Brett Detar’s website and download it for free!

JuiceheaD – How To Sail A Sinking Ship

Chicago punk rockers JuiceheaD has been off the charts for a bit but have recently dropped How To Sail A Sinking Ship. This is their second full-length release since their 2007 debut The Devil Made Me Do It. Sure, 7 years is a long time in between albums, but in their defense, there are 20 songs on this new release, a rarity in today’s punk rock recordings.  Not familiar with their sound, I gave it a listen hoping for the best.  The album started out a little slower than anticipated, but things picked up during “Lorraine” and brought back an old school punk rock vibe that I enjoyed.  “Deadly Nightshade” was an entertaining track that had some nice 80’s punk rock vibes contained within.  Hoping that the rest of the album would spark my interest, sadly it did not.  It’s not a terrible listen by any means, it just lacked that extra “oomph” my ears were hoping for and was more rock n roll throughout with a good drum beat that sounded a tad under-produced.  I won’t lie, I was not stoked to see that their album was released on Misfits Records (it should be called MISFIT Records as it’s solely owned by Jerry Only) as most of their releases do not entertain me at all.  Melodic punk rock would be how I would describe How To Sail A Sinking Ship.  It is nothing beyond that to me and I really was hoping for something a little more from these guys.

Transit – Listen & Forgive

Boston’s Transit could be classified as just another pop-punk act, but there is just something about them that makes them stand out over other similar acts.  They have a tougher sound on a few of their songs that proves to me that they have the ability to attack if threatened, but overall have a soft side to them that stands out.  Regardless of how they are viewed by others, I dig this band and I really enjoyed their recent Rise Records release Listen & Forgive. Think Taking Back Sunday meets Saves The Day meets a calmed down New Found Glory.  “You Can’t Miss It” opened the track with a memorable track.  I could have done without Patrick Stump offering vocals on “All Your Heart”.  Seriously, that song did nothing for me.  “Cutting Corners” was, on the other hand, a track I dug a lot with “make every song your anthem and every night your last”, a lyric that pretty mush defined me growing up.  “Long Lost Friends” was a more aggressive track that stood out over the rest.  This band may be unknown to most music fanatics out there, but I have the feeling that will not be for long.  I hope just it has nothing to do with that song Stump was on…

Coffee Project – Concrete Boots EP

Love them or hate them, Coffee Project is a catchy and unique act that many have been talking about recently.  What you need to know about this is this: They are a duo consisting of trombonist Buddy Schaub and Rehasher’s Jake Crown, they are fun, they are catchy and they specialize in brassed out punk pop acoustic rock.  Recently the band dropped an EP titled Concrete Boots that includes their version of “Little Boxes” , the Malvina Reynolds written song turned Weeds intro that has been recorded over and over by all sorts of bands, as well as 4 brand new songs.  The opening track “”Shenandoah” was more of a bluegrass boot-stomping jam that seeming proved the duo has been taking this project seriously.  The accompanying female vocals on the title track was enjoyable although I have no idea who it was.  “Exit Stage Left” was more of an indie rock track that was not half bad while “Laid Up” led back to their standard sound – singing with acoustic guitar and a trombone.  Regardless on how far this band plans on moving in the music scene, they are fun and enjoyable to listen to.  This EP hopefully is just a sample of what they have up their sleeves for their next full length release.

The Flatliners – Count Your Bruises EP

The Flatliners are a Fat Wreck Chords band that I have adored since their early days.  Hailing from Ontario, Canada, they have this great punk rock sound that I appreciate and always seem to release the catchiest punk rock albums.  Seeing how much I dig this band so much, I am shocked to have missed the memo that they released an EP back in August.  Titled Count Your Bruises, the three song EP (also available as a 7″) straight up rules from start to finish.  The title track glided past me quickly as I immediatly found myself trying to memorize the lyrics so I could sing along.  “Sticky Bastards” really sounded like a gritty Gaslight Anthem  song but was in no was a ripoff.  The final track, “This Guy Reads From A Card”, was just as amazing as the first track and by the song’s end I just wanted more.  I suppose I will have to wait though and I will be sure to follow this band and their future releases.  The EP may have been just three songs, but they were all kick ass tracks.  Now all I can hope for is a new full-length from this great band and pray that the next time they roll through my neck of the woods I can see them live.  I caught them briefly at SXSW earlier this year, but it just was not enough.  Wishful thinking right?

I Am The Avalanche – Avalanche United

After 6 long years, Brooklyn’s I Am The Avalanche has dropped their all new album titled Avalanche United. There is no point asking what took so long for Vinnie Caruana and crew to release new material.  All you need to do is listen to Avalanche United once and it is perfectly clear that no explanation is needed as the band has dropped a superb follow-up.  With a mostly positive attitude throughout, the band references NYC and has lyrics that almost coach their friends to embrace the life they life especially heard in opening track “Holy Fuck”.  With that said, there are a couple dark spells throughout like “Amsterdam” that seemingly carries a couple of references to personal separation.  “Brooklyn Dodgers” was an anthem of awesomeness.  I loved this track start to finish.  It was a fist pumping sing along that was just refreshing to listen to.  The beer chugging invite “This One’s On Me” probably sounds a little better mixed with friends – and beers.  Bayside’s Anthony Raneri may have jumped in with some vocals on “The Grave Digger’s Argument”, the the song still just was missing something.  Perhaps I am just more into the tougher singing throughout the album.  Closing track”Gratitude” threw me for a curve at the beginning as it sounded like a 90s alt-rock song but soon picked up and continued on with a good jam that ended this album in a good way.  If you are looking for a catchy album to listen to that leans a bit on the heavy side, check these guys out.