Friday, August 26, 2011

Free Music from Plumb!

Plumb is offering 6 free tacks for a limited time through NoiseTrade. Hurry and grab the sampler while it's available! You can view the track list by clicking on the album art. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Indie Exclusive: Liam Blake

I recently found out about Indie artist Liam Blake, a Christian folk-pop artist from England! Liam has been making music since he was 17, and he has just released "You And Other Stories". I really enjoy Liam's music; it's worshipful, full of meaning, fun, and is perfect for fans of Shawn McDonald, Aaron Shust, Jimmy Needham, and JJ Heller. His songs tell a story, and you feel a strong connection to the music. His song "Simon" is one of my favorite off "You and Other Stories", as well as "Sinners and Saints", in which Liam humbly acknowledges the state of his soul and crys out to God for redemption. I am excited to offer "Sinners and Saints" as an exclusive free download!

Be sure to check out Liam Blake on Band CampYouTube and MySpace! Here he is performing "Gypsy Fireflies". Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

"Scripted" by Icon For Hire Review

Tooth & Nail Records "other female-fronted band" have just released their debut album, "Scripted". A mixture of punk rock, synth pop and great lyrics are the result. Let's get to the review!

"Scripted" throws open the curtains with a suspenseful intro to "Theatre", a heavy-hitting song about living life beyond the script. Ariel's punk vocals hit you in the face with urgency, the music is great, and the lyrics really pack a meaning. "Make A Move" is the single from "Scripted" and urges us not to compromise. "Make A Move" is more in the style of their EP's, carrying that same raw sound as songs like "Fall Apart" and "Call Me Alive". "Make A Move" is one of the best tracks off "Scripted". 

When I first heard "Get Well", I was really surprised as Icon For Hire never did any synth pop on their EPs. However, it was a nice surprise, and I really like the "new" sound. The lyrical theme is very different than a listener normally hears, with lyrics such as "And being lonely’s only fun in a group/It sort of loses its charm when it’s true” but the lyrics of "Get Well" are a message that needs to be heard. "The Grey" follows, and is one of the three older songs Icon For Hire chose to re-do. This version is beautiful and doesn't differ much from the EP version. Ariel's vocals are more polished here, and there are minor lyrical differences. Another standout track.

"Off With Her Head" follows, and I have to say, while the "Scripted" version is awesome, I like the EP version better. The EP version had more of a raw punk feel while the cd version sounds very polished with a bit of pop influence. It all depends on your tastes! "Off With Her Head" is one of my favorite Icon For Hire songs lyrically, with Ariel pleading to God, "Don't let go I don't wanna be this, I don't wanna be this, death is mine I know, Don't let go, don't let go, Savior!"

"Fight" can be considered an anthem for all of those who have gone through their lives and taken a lot of pain. "Fight" brings crunching guitars that blend with Ariel's beautiful vocals, the unique bridge is definitely "ear-catching"  and this song is sure to be a fan favorite. "Up In Flames" doesn't bring anything new to the musical table, however it's a very good track with empowering lyrics. "Iodine" is another standout track about how we know what we need to do to recover, but keep "temporarily" fixing things. "I don't like pain but I bring it to life, I don't like scars but I'm good with a knife, I don't like tears but I'm starting to cry when I realize I'm destroying my life." "Iodine" really brings the energy as well as the message.

"Only A Memory" (Known as "Pernilla" to we older fans) is my personal favorite Icon For Hire song. That being said, I like the slight musical changes they made to this song, as well as how great Ariel sounds singing. But what I really miss in the "Scripted" version is the screaming. The screaming of "I won"t bend, I won't break, I will, not, BREAK!" made the EP version absolutely perfect. I know Icon For Hire doesn't have a screamer anymore, but I wish they would've had one of the many Tooth & Nail screamo bands guest. "Only A Memory" is still an amazing track, and Ariel did do a great job replacing the screams with her vocals. The lyrics to "Only A Memory" really pack a punch, and many fans will relate to this song.
"Pieces" closes out the album, and I'm glad Icon For Hire chose to end the song on an energetic note instead of a ballad. Ariel dishes out some tough love on "Pieces" and straight up tells us to pick up the pieces and get our lives right with God. This was a great song choice to leave the listener with.

Over the past few years, Icon For Hire's musical style has developed from punk/rock/screamo to a blend of punk/rock/synth pop. Icon For Hire has a great sound with lyrics a lot better than their secular counterparts. While their slight style change has them borrowing a lot from bands like Paramore, Evanescence, and Flyleaf, Icon For Hire still puts their own unique stamp on each song. They may not change the script entirely, but they're well on their way to re-writing it.

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Indie Spotlight: My Heart To Fear

I recently came across a hardcore band I think you'll really like! The band is My Heart To Fear, from Williamsport, PA. Their mix of screaming vocals, heavy guitars and meaningful lyrics are sure to draw listeners in. Check out their music video for "The Witching Hour" below, which I happen to really like, even though I normally don't like screamo. You can visit the band's Facebook to hear more of their music.

I'm Baaaack!

Hey all!
It's been forever since I blogged, but this has been one of the busiest summers I've ever had! I plan to get the blog back up and running, so stay tuned for more music reviews and artist spotlights!