The Milestones EP: Honey

Local band The Milestones recently dropped their EP titled Honey, a collection of four songs titled “Edgar Allen Poe”, “UFO”, “Shadow Enemies”, and “True Love Never Waits”. All of the songs are guaranteed to remind you of someone, or something in your life, that made you feel something. Whether that be a good or bad memory, this EP will make you feel everything.

The first song is “Edgar Allen Poe”, their most rock-and-roll song on this EP, with intense guitar work and a more head-banging beat than the other songs. This song starts slower then erupts into heavy instrumentals. The band has a Kings of Leon sound as they sing about a girl who is not around anymore. “I fell for you I was so naive, now I am dead on the ground beneath that willow tree”, sings the band in this emotionally-charged song, that also provides a more empowering beat to an otherwise sad song.

“UFO” follows “Edgar Allan Poe”, a more alternative-indie sounding song than the previous harder rock tune. This song talks about a girl that every guy wants, and every girl would want to be. This girl takes no mess from anyone, and loves a good time. This song is a catchy, dance-inducing beat, singing about this girl saying “so she stands beside me, just wanted you to know”, as a way to let everyone know about this perfect girl. This song features a hardcore drum and guitar solo towards the end of the tune, a unique touch to an otherwise more mellow song.

The next, slightly more mellow (although not entirely) song on this EP is “Shadow Enemies”, another sadder tune, touching on the demise of a relationship. This girl is essentially leaving because of issues that the couple has had, saying that she can no longer put up with the mess that she’s been dealt from the guy. This song is relatable to many, and the chorus is, to me, the most powerful chorus on this album. This song has a way of striking an emotional chord (or maybe I’m just more emotional than most), and making the listener want to drop all the bad things in their life.

As a fitting goodbye, the final song is titled “True Love Never Waits”, a song that is about exactly what it sounds like. This is a slower love ballad (although not quiet), with more uplifting guitar solos. This song does not necessarily inflict a negative or positive vibe on the listener, but is essentially up to how the listener interprets the situation. This song is a solid ending to the EP, and leaves the listener wanting more.

To listen to Honey on the Milestones SoundCloud – click here.
To figure out more about the band on their website – click here.

American Holly EP: Four Ways to Say Goodbye Forever

Released September 5, DC-based folk-rock band American Holly dropped four emotionally-charged, but soothing songs. With the sound of a modern-day Beatles, American Holly creates an EP of four songs that also doubles as a guide for getting away from whatever relationship you need to get away from.

The first song, “Sensitive Skin” advises the listener to escape via an honest confession. The second song, “Singapore Song” creates a sadder, more lullaby-esque vibe, instilling a little more emotion and providing a little more insight into the sadness of the situation. After that, “Sound Sleepers” highlights the difficulty of the situation, and the final song “Speaking Spanish” emphasizes the fact that there isn’t anything else to say.

These songs provide a relatable situation, in both an upbeat and more mellow way. Two of these songs are more charismatic and supportive, while the other two are slower and  highlight the struggle and negative emotions. This EP is a must-listen for anyone needing inspiration, or quite frankly anyone looking for a new folk-rock band.

Check out Four Ways to Say Goodbye Forever here.

Album Review: Fight Night Singles

Local group Fight Night consists of GMU alumni Josh Grant and fellow musician Andy Gruhin. This group has recently released 2 songs as part of their upcoming EP: Underground. The first song released, Call Me Back, was dropped on August 12th, and since has gained an enormous amount of traction with reviews by EDM blogs and over 8,000 plays on Soundcloud. This electronic-pop song is relatable on many levels, with an extremely catchy chorus and the voice of singer Andy Gruhin is nothing short of captivating. The sound mixing and instruments in the background are unique, and the heavy bass makes the song more passion-inducing. This song is about never hearing back from someone, whoever that may be to the listener.

Follow Through is the second song dropped on September 9th. Starting a little more aggressive and passionately, the listener is immediately sucked in. This song tunes more of a punk-rock/EDM mixture, and the sound mixing after the base drop is more of a quirky, different approach to an otherwise emotional song. Gruhin’s voice in this song is more passionate, and more aggressive than the more mellow Call Me Back. Fans on Soundcloud were more than excited about this single, and openly expressing their excitement for the whole EP. This song has over 6,000 plays on the bands page.

EDM Tunes says Fight Night is “definitely a group to keep your eyes on for original productions that actually have a sheen of quality around them.”

To hear/download Call Me Back or Follow Through, check out Fight Night’s Soundcloud here.

Honor By August: Four Sides

Rock band Honor By August is one of the better known bands from the DMV. Playing frequent shows at Jammin Java in Vienna and other DC-area venues, a lot of students have already heard of this impressive band. Their most recent album, Four Sides was released on July 9th, and consists of four songs, all with great rhythm and inspiring lyrics.

‘Mad Mission’ is the first song, and a song often played on our radio station. This song is a very relaxing, and catchy song with a repetitive chorus that’s bound to stick in your head. The following song, titled ‘The Way You Move’, is a more emotional love-ballad. While it’s a very moving and beautiful song, I found myself waiting for a more exciting portion of the song. It seemed to go along a little too long for a song so slow and repetitive.

‘Scarecrow’ is the third song on the album, with the instruments in the first couple seconds reminding me heavily of the beginning of a Kings of Leon song. After the unexpected intro this song begins and sounds a little different than the other songs on the album, but this is not a bad thing. There seems to be a little more passion in this song, with the lead singer putting more behind his voice, and effectively showing just how great he can be. The final song is ‘Hey Mamma’, another slower song, but the vocals and the rhythm of the song are perfectly aligned. The passion and message of the song are matched perfectly with the instrumentals and the emphasize behind the vocals.

This album is a moving and extremely satisfying compilation of songs. While there are only four songs, they all have very different messages and different tones. For any local rock or alternative rock fans, these four songs are a must-listen. Keep an ear out for ‘Mad Mission’ and ‘Scarecrow’ on our station!

Walkabout EP: It’s All Make Believe

Fairfax-native band Walkabout released their EP on June 30th. It’s All Make Believe is a set of seven punk-rock songs that are bound to channel your inner-angsty self. The seven songs remind me of a Simple Plan meets My Chemical Romance, with some songs instilling a lot more emotion.

While the EP in its entirety creates an empowering and relatable feeling, the guitar playing in the songs stands out to me as being most impressive. The rhythm and the background sound created by the guitarist make these songs particularly stand out. In the third song, Headlong Into Walls, the guitarist almost contrasts with the vocals creating a very unique sound and catchy sound.

The expertly played instruments combined with a Pierre Bouvier-voice makes this album stand out as a more empowering 90s punk-rock sound; a sound that we don’t hear as often these days.

Check out It’s All Make Believe here.

The Duskwhales Self-Titled Album

The Duskwhales self-titled album was released in 2014, and has not gotten nearly as much attention as it deserves. This indie-pop-rock band plays music outside of our usual local artists, they play music we’re not necessarily used to hearing here in Fairfax. Some songs sound more relaxed and easy-going, like their song “Lavender Ladies”, and “Honeycomb” while other songs are more motivating and pump-up songs like “I Won’t Be Your Sun” or “Peggy Sue”.

This album is refreshing, and gives local listeners a high quality indie-rock album from right in our back yard. There are three members of the band, one of which is a senior at George Mason (see the Fourth Estate article on The Duskwhales here). The band, and their album, creates catchy, yet thought-provoking music. This album is the kind of music I’d want to see live, I’d want to dance to and hang out to, and it provides a modern twist on what sounds very similar to 60s rock.

If you like rock, if you like supporting local bands, and you like good music, The Duskwhales self-titled album “The Duskwhales”, is for you. Their album is available online, and keep an ear out for their songs in our radio rotation.

Meet Andrew Tufano, and Listen To His Music.

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Photo courtesy of Luke Levenson

 

Mo Bailey – Local Music Director

 

Based in Nashville, TN but hailing from Sterling, VA, Tufano is a local artist to be reckoned with. His most recent record, Fireworks in Autumn, channels a young Jason Mraz with his singer/songwriter vibes combined with more optimistic messages.

The album itself sets in image similar to that of the title. Fireworks in Autumn is a mellow, relaxed album that could appeal to a wide range of listeners. This album is the kind of music to be played while doing homework, or just hanging out with a group of people.

This album features songs like Fireworks in Autumn, Every Man for Himself, and Fireflies, which are more upbeat and empowering. Alternatively, there are songs like Fall and Brother of Mine that are slower, more insightful songs. There’s a song to appeal to any mood, and relate to any listener.

Being the young artist that he is, Tufano is has plenty of room to grow and build his audience, especially with Fireworks in Autumn topping his previous albums with a more mature and popular sound. This album is a transition to a break-through album, as Tufano continues to fight for the recognition he deserves.

Among over 400 shows over the last four years, Tufano toured 25 cities to perform and promote his new album, attempting to build on his audience and gain acceptance in a large music world. His over-1,600 Facebook followers and his country-wide bookings are bound to help both Tufano, and his music ,take music, take-off.

Jesse’s Journal: Food, Fun, Foxcatcher. A Charlottesville Weekend

This week’s journal will examine the food and film experienced during my stay in Charlottesville, VA for the Virginia Film Festival.

Before we get started, here is the jam of the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YfEgHK94Bc0

Inspirational Video of the week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HFIQIpC5_wY

THE CHARLOTTESVILLE ADVENTURE

Let’s start with the weekend’s food. All around, Charlottesville has a great food selection, as the town tends to avoid chain restaurants and sticks with what is local and tasty. Four male improvisers eating over the course of a weekend would be too much to spell out, so I have made an “All-Star Game” menu with the favorites from the weekend:

BREAKFAST: 1. Hogwaller Hash (sausage, bacon, potatoes, red/green pepper, onion) from Blue Moon Diner.

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(Despite the expressions, they really did enjoy Blue Moon!)

2. Everything Bagel with Jalapeno-Lime Cream Cheese Spread from Bodo’s Bagels.

(This has always been a C-Ville favorite of mine! Do yourself a flavor and try it!)

 

LUNCH: 1. Take a stroll down the Old Town Charlottesville walking mall. Next to the Regal theater is a Taco shop. Pork Carnitas taco with the Salsa Verde to spice up your afternoon! You could also stop at one of the street vendors. One I know to be delicious is a BBQ street vendor that does a great layered mix (my family’s recipe is called a “Doc’s Mix”) of Carolina BBQ, Baked Beans, Sauce, and Cole Slaw. Mac and Cheese layer optional, but let’s be real, who wouldn’t take that option?!

2. Make lunch yourself with some delicious sauces and spices from The Spice Diva on Main Street. I found some delicious Creole and Chili seasonings, and even splurged and bought a bottle of Blueberry BBQ Finishing Sauce, Carolina Style. A gift for mom, the BBQ caterer!

DINNER: The 50-Wing Platter from Wild Wing Café near the train station. Our wing selection included a dry rub wing, a traditional hot buffalo wing, a lemon pepper sauce wing (group favorite) as well as a BBQ and chipotle based wing option. A great atmosphere to enjoy good grub and watch the UVA game (like we did, except the crowd died down when FSU started laying on the points).

DESSERT AND DRINKS: 1. A “Cheesecake Bite” prepared by Erik’s parents, our gracious hosts. It is what it sounds like, and it’s amazing.

2. A pot of “Golden Monkey” tea from the Tea Bizarre and Hookah Lounge on the walking mall. A nice way to warm up the night!

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THE FILMS:

– The first film we saw at the festival was “The Humbling”, starring Al Pacino, directed by Barry Levinson (Good Morning Vietnam, Rain Man). The film follows the tribulations of struggling veteran actor Simon Axelrod. Pacino portrays a being who is fully immersed in the idea of “the character”, treating everyday situations and activities as staged scenes. These scenes play out in his head until he wakes up to reality, giving viewers a look within this struggling mind. His longing for the “escape” in to character is his eventual demise…or is it a blessing in disguise? The comedic moments at the beginning of the film bring levity and enjoyment to a debilitating character. However, as the film progresses we see the inner struggles of the mind and body that the inevitable factor of time control. 3.5 stars for film, 4 stars when combined with experience, as director Barry Levinson came out after the film to discuss the picture in further detail for the Charlottesville faithful.

– The other film I saw at the festival was “Foxcatcher”, starring Steve Carrell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo. In many ways this was the headlining film of the festival, and it was noticeable with the long, snaking line that ran down the vast majority of the old town walking mall. Steve Carrell re-defines himself as a multi-faceted comedic AND dramatic actor, filling a void in audience’s hearts after the tragic loss of Robin Williams, the seemingly insurmountable giant of the comedy-drama “happy medium”. Carrell plays paranoid billionaire John DuPont, who courts Olympic wrestling champion brothers Mark and Dave Schultz in to joining Foxcatcher Wrestling, a group which DuPont hopes will become the official training group for U.S. Wrestling. Tensions flare between DuPont and the Schultz brothers, as the drama sweeps the film in to a whole ‘nother level! Steve Carrell gives an Oscar-worthy performance in a dark, dramatic sports film. One of the must-watch films of the awards season! 4.5 stars

There you have it. Food, film, fun and friends. Charlottesville, VA: local eats…what a magical treat!

Stay tuned for the next Jesse’s Journal! Expect a holiday themed piece! For now, though: Gobble Gobble!

Tune in to hear Jesse Robinson every Tuesday night from 9-10 PM on WGMU Radio for “Improv for Mason” show.

 

Album Review: Foxy Shazam – GONZO

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Foxy Shazam

 

GONZO

 

Self-Released, April 02 2014

 
 
 
 
 

Reviewed by Jon Howard

Last Fall, two years after the release of The Church of Rock and Roll, Foxy Shazam suddenly announced that they were in the process of recording a new album.  Shortly after, the band announced that they had completed said new album.  Then, months of silence. Without warning, Foxy Shazam surprised everyone by announcing on April 2nd that not only had they named their new album “GONZO”, but that it was now available to download for free on their website.  Fans eagerly downloaded the new album, wondering how it might expand on the bombastic sound of The Church of Rock and Roll and Foxy Shazam.  Simply put, GONZO doesn’t, and comes away much better for it.

[Read more…]

Album Review: Foster the People – Supermodel

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Foster the People

 

Supermodel

 

Columbia Records, March 14 2014

 
 
 
 
 

Reviewed by Jon Howard

Looking back at 2011, it really does seem as though indie pop sensation Foster the People came out of nowhere. Despite having been released nearly year earlier, their single “Pumped Up Kicks” suddenly gained massive popularity, crossing over from indie and alternative circles into mainstream radio airplay. By late May, “Pumped Up Kicks” had gone viral, garnering so much attention that Foster the People’s debut album Torches was able to break into the top ten of the Billboard 200, sitting comfortably at #8. Now Foster the People have finally released their long awaited sophomore album, Supermodel.

After the enormous success of Torches, Foster the People largely decided to take a different approach while writing and recording Supermodel. The album takes a step away from Torches’ synthesizer-heavy production for something a little more worldly. Opening track “Are You What You Want to Be” is Foster the People gone afrobeat. It’s a bold new direction for the band, but they should be careful not to tread too close to Vampire Weekend’s territory, or Foster the People could find itself on the losing side of many comparisons. Lead single “Coming of Age” is a definite high point of Supermodel, and it’s less than a coincidence that the song is probably the most similar on the album to their material on Torches. “Pseudologia Fantastica” shows what happens when Foster the People explores MGMT-style psychedelia, while also drawing influence from 1990s shoegaze outfit My Bloody Valentine. Meanwhile, “A Beginner’s Guide to Destroying the Moon” is about as close to grunge as a band like Foster the People can get, featuring crunchy guitars and shouted lyrics like “You’ll never be whole / Until you lose control / And stop drinking the wine that’s been dripping / From lips of the gluttons and envying their bloody teeth”. Supermodel largely abandons the sound of Torches, instead looking to other bands for influence while adding in a bit of Foster the People’s own flavor.

Though it may take some time to grow on you, Supermodel is certainly a good album. However, Foster the People have begun to tread dangerous waters. The band has expanded their sound beyond what we have grown to expect from them, a la Torches, but rather than evolve naturally they have tried to mimic their contemporary peers. By choosing to incorporate outside styles instead of developing its own, Foster the People have put themselves in danger of losing their own identity and falling behind the pack. Their new strategy has worked moderately well on Supermodel, but for their next album, Foster the People would do much better by looking inward rather than outward.

Recommended Tracks: “Are You What You Want to Be”, “Coming of Age”, “Pseudologia Fantastica”, “Best Friend”




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