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.

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