Hands Like Houses to Release “Dissonants” This Fall

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Australian rock band Hands Like Houses will be releasing their third full length album, Dissonants, this fall on Rise Records. While official release details are still forthcoming, the band has announced that they will be kicking off their first world tour on October 9 in Australia.

“We are unbelievably excited to announce our very first world tour!” says singer Trenton Woodley. “We’re hitting the roads and skies in support of our brand new album Dissonants this October-December in Australia, the US and UK.”

You can view US tour dates below:

Oct 23 – San Diego, CA – SOMA
Oct 24 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock
Oct 26 – San Antonio, TX – Korova
Oct 27 – Dallas, TX – Trees
Oct 28 – Houston, TX – Walter’s
Oct 30 – Orlando, FL – Backbooth
Oct 31 – Tampa, FL – Epic Problem
Nov 2 – Atlanta, GA – Hell @ Masquerade
Nov 3 – Greensboro, NC – Greene St.
Nov 4 – Richmond, VA – Canal Club
Nov 5 – New York, NY – Marlin Room @ Webster Hall
Nov 6 – Allentown, PA – Crocodile Rock Cafe
Nov 7 – Worcester, MA – Palladium Upstairs
Nov 8 – Howell, NJ – Gamechanger World
Nov 10 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland
Nov 11 – Pontiac, MI – Crofoot @ Pike Room
Nov 12 – Indianapolis, IN – Emerson Theater
Nov 13 – Chicago, IL – Bottom Lounge
Nov 14 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave
Nov 15 – St. Louis, MO – Firebird
Nov 17 – Denver, CO – Marquis Theater
Nov 18 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue
Nov 20 – Seattle, WA – El Corazon
Nov 21 – Portland, OR – Analog
Nov 23 – Sacramento, CA – Boardwalk
Nov 24 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill
Nov 27 – Pomona, CA – Glass House

Are you excited about the new album? Share your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

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Review: All Time Low – Future Hearts

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There’s a level of excitement that surrounds a new release from All Time Low that most bands will never see. Each of their albums becomes an event for the pop punk community, whether that be for better or worse. Where the issue lies is that a core group of their fans (myself included) can’t stop hoping for the same connection to an album like So Wrong, It’s Right, even as the band matures and grows artistically. Even though they’ve delivered time and time again, writing some of the best songs in the genre in the process, there is still a level of disappointment that follows them from record to record.

Future Hearts is the best record All Time Low have written since So Wrong, It’s Right. It is the culmination of the best elements of their last releases finally put together to create their most concise record in years. It is an album that, like Harry Potter, has aged itself with the fans from throughout their career instead of appeasing the appetites of teenagers just wanting something to sing along to. The sacrifice though, is a lack of power songs that will forever define them the way that “Dear Maria, Count Me In” or the best songs from Nothing Personal did.

Future Hearts sounds like a sister album to Dirty Work, or rather it’s what Dirty Work should have been. The songs lean to the edge of alternative rock and hone on anthemic choruses and radio-ready pop warfare. The sophistication of the writing coupled with the production make it sound much more mature than the album probably deserves.

This is also the ATL with the least amount of New Found Glory-esque popping guitar melodies, opting instead for melody driven by vocals backed with rushing guitars and heavy percussion(“Kids In the Dark”), which at times hampers the sound. It’s a testament to each members’ musicianship; from focusing so heavily on vocals, each instrument still pushes through brightly.

Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth play some heavy guitar parts that shifts from raging power chords to melodic acoustic based ballads (“Kicking and Screaming”, “Cinderblock Garden”). Zack Merrick’s bass bolsters the guitars heavily, keeping them from feeling flat at times and sharking just beneath the surface. Rian Dawson’s percussion is arguably the second most relied on instrument after Gaskarth’s vocals. The drums are powerful, heavy and moving.

Gaskarth’s vocals are standard fare at this point; he’s an amazing singer with remarkable range. He makes full use of it throughout the record, and provides small background snippets during songs just before launching into the chorus. Gang vocals are dropped generously throughout the record. However, for relying on Gaskarth’s vocals so heavily, he sounds slightly muted and uninspired compared to what we know he’s capable of. Still, he’s wickedly impressive. More impressive though are how well he melds with the guest vocalists Mark Hoppus and Joel Madden.

One of the catch twenty-twos of the album is the lyricism. There are clichés aplenty to hamper any growth thematically, as it’s impossible to count how many “in the dark” phrases are splayed throughout. It pays off as it attempts to slant a ‘grown up’ vibe to themes of heartbreak and drunken mistakes, as well as reflecting on youth as a disjointed and possibly even broken concept of freedom. On the opener, “Satellite”, Gaskarth sings, “Wishing on a star that’s just a satellite / Driving in a car with broken tail-lights / Growing up with eyes glued shut”.

However, the legendarily catchy lyricism is alive and well over all, such as during “Tidal Waves” as Alex sings serenely, “I earned my place with the tidal waves / I can’t escape this feeling that something ain’t right / I called my name as I crashed the gates / Still I can’t escape this feeling that something ain’t right / Why don’t you think before you speak? / Cause you don’t know me at all”.

Future Hearts isn’t perfect, but it’s the reason why we wait so anxiously for each new album from All Time Low. They are so far and above where they should be as musicians for a band that seemed to fill the party-punk void left after Blink-182 disappeared. It’s easy to write them off as just another pop-punk band, but that would undercut the ever growing talent and patches to older efforts.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and has seen All Time Low there at least four times. You know, like a stalker or lonely mountain goat.

Review: The Dead Armadillos – The Dead Armadillos EP

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The Dead Armadillos are the type of band you always wished you and your friends would be; authentic, relaxed and writing about what you love. There are few folk-alternative bands out there that don’t feel forced, and even fewer that make me want to visit the band’s native Oklahoma to see what it was that inspired this EP.

The Dead Armadillos EP is something that feels familiar and comforting while maintaining a sense of identity. There is a loving mixture of Death Cab For Cutie and The Early November circa The Mother, The Mechanic, and the Path (mostly The Mother). The sound is recognizable, but it still feels distinctive from most anything else out there.

One of the most redemptive qualities is that each instrument is given its due. The bass isn’t under-produced, the vocals aren’t hidden beneath layers of music, and the guitars aren’t the focal point of the EP. Mark Hine’s drumming thunders through on “The Only Thing” and leads the band before knowing when to settle and provide only a ghost of strength during the EP’s slower moments.

Travis Lyon’s bass is a highlight as it bounces the album along at a crisp pace, even as the guitars take their time. As such, Lyon never stagnates too much on a single chord progression and provides a strong melody to boost the song. There is a slight tint of Chicago’s Lucky Boys Confusion and The Insecurities to the melodic structure that makes the songs sound local and birthed next door.

As lead guitarist, Bert Hughlett knows when to steal the show and when to lay in wait. The music itself seems to flow smoothly until Hughlett jumps to add a bluesy burst of energy before hiding again for the next opportunity (“I Can Change Your Life”). Nick Lyon, the group’s vocalist, guitarist and resident harmonica player avoids being drowned out by the music and finds the exact spots where he can pull to the forefront. While his guitar might be a bit stifled by Hughlett, the harmonica and vocals take center stage when the chance calls for it.

Lyon’s vocals are deep for a folk inspired group, but he manages to keep the lyrics on task. He also has a knack for bursting out harmonica solos that sounds absolutely necessary to each song. The only downside to his vocals is that they sound a bit monochromatic after a while, but this band is focused on the power of the vocals as opposed tracing as many notes on the scales as possible.

Lyrically, the EP focuses on relatable and down to earth tones that base themselves in Oklahoma. “Boston” is a prime example, as Lyon sings, “I know that I’ve got to leave / But I don’t want to go / Boston, I miss you / But Oklahoma, I’m heading home”. The country influences are few but strong; it is Oklahoma after all. “My Hometown” has Lyon singing about the double standard of remembering where you grew up – a mixture of wanting to leave and wondering how anyone could ever want to. “Everyone drives the roads / That seem to lead to nowhere / They follow everyone / In hopes they’ll lead out of here / In my hometown, my hometown / If you find the road in / You’ll have trouble leaving”.

The Dead Armadillos are a hypnotic mixture of country influence, blues, folk and rock. That’s not to pin anything against them; they’re not afraid to test the bounds of genre and blend a healthy mix of sounds together to create what they want. Each song feels home-grown, down to Earth and fleshed out. Unlike many bands’ initial EPs, The Dead Armadillos know who they are and aren’t trying to feign genre and inspiration to impress. The biggest gripe about this EP is that I am so curious about what their first LP will entail that The Dead Armadillos EP feels like a tease.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and actually put Oklahoma on the map of places to visit because of this EP. Although to be fair, he’s easily influenced and susceptible to propaganda. PROPAGANDA!

Review: Anberlin – Lowborn

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Goodbyes are never easy, but having a little prior notice certainly makes the event a touch more palatable. For Florida alternative rock powerhouse Anberlin, goodbye comes in the form of one final album – Lowborn – a fitting farewell in nearly every capacity.

Truthfully, it takes a lot of guts to go out this way. For a band with one of the most solid front-to-back discographies of the past decade, there’s a bit of a risk of tarnishing the band’s legacy with a faulty final step. Then again, Anberlin has never been known to disappoint.

The band returned to their original home at Tooth and Nail Records to release their final record, and hit the studio with their self-proclaimed dream team of Aaron Marsh, Matt Goldman and Aaron Sprinkle to record in a creative, pressure-free environment. The resulting product is not only a solid album in its own right, but also serves as an honest depiction of the band as they truly are in 2014.

Throughout Lowborn, Anberlin sidestep many of their own conventions, slighting stark tempo and atmospheric changes between tracks in favor of a slow burn. Lowborn’s songs seem to brood from one to the next, creating a steady swell that keeps you on your toes. Yes, “We Are Destroyer” serves as a combative opener and “Dissenter” refuses to fit within the album’s gentle flow, but as a whole, this might be the most concise and moody album in the band’s discography.

Lowborn finds Anberlin finally chasing a synthpop/alt-rock blend head-on throughout most of the record, sounding more like late-80’s New Order or Depeche Mode than a band you’d find on Warped Tour. The band has dabbled successfully in this sound before on their 2010 album Dark is the Way, Light is the Place, but this 2014 version is a more fully-realized effort.

“Armageddon” lays down grooving synthesizers and bass that flow subtly underneath vocalist Stephen Christian’s haunting lower register. Single “Stranger Ways” starts slow as well, but picks up pace behind Nate Young’s drums to push the song to a breathtaking crescendo at the end of the song’s second verse. Meanwhile, the synthesizers and guitars find their perfect blend on “Atonement”, allowing Christian to carry the song over the top during a chorus of, “Don’t want to be here / Don’t want to be here without you / I need to know you / I need to know you believe in me”.

Thematically, Lowborn is all about brevity, and fittingly, goodbyes. Even without any backstory, you get the uncomfortable urge to grasp at an unknown, fleeting moment. Throughout their history, Anberlin has had a knack for conveying story and emotion throughout the course of an album – the same stands true here. Lowborn moves patiently and darkly, remorseful of its own end while still managing to capture hope and reflection inside of the songs’ often surprising melodies.

So where does Lowborn fall within Anberlin’s superb discography? Its lack of oomph and diversity keep it from landing alongside Cities or Vital as the band’s best work, but it’s undoubtedly a more mature album than early releases like Blueprints for the Black Market or Never Take Friendship Personal. Instead, Lowborn fits well alongside Dark is the Way as an expression of the band’s obvious 80’s influences and ability to branch far beyond the typical alt-rock boundaries. That is to say, it’s a damn good album.

It’s hard to imagine the rock scene of the past decade without Anberlin. The band not only sparked a fire in the early-aughts post-punk landscape, but also managed a number one single on rock radio and became a nationally recognized name associated with intelligent and thoughtful, but aggressive rock. Their final lineup of Christian, Young, guitarists Joseph Milligan and Christian McAlhaney, and bassist Deon Rexroat has been one of the most formidable and talented lineups in recent memory.

Anberlin will truly be hard to replace. But then again, maybe we don’t have to. With seven solid albums released over the course of 11 years, the band left behind more than a few memories to carry on. Bookending that list is Lowborn, a proper and commendable final chapter.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Review: Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is

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Happiness Is, the new album from Taking Back Sunday, is as much a return to form as it is an evolution of their self-titled record. As the third album to feature the band’s ‘classic’ line-up, Happiness Is is more paced than its recent predecessors and sounds more in line as a spiritual successor to Tell All Your Friends than any other album the band has released.

While it doesn’t pack the energy or punch of an album like Louder Now, Taking Back Sunday has arguably put together their most cohesive record to date.

TBS have gone back to the basics for Happiness Is, taking their time to build strong and layered songs that cap with a hugely rewarding payoff instead of a power hungry punk record. It’s the most mature the band have sounded in their career and a full step ahead of their self-titled. Happiness Is can be off-putting at times, as it really does bring back memories of early TBS, as well as some of the best aspects of old-time rivals Brand New.

Musically, the band is much more patient, drawing out their songs systematically for the long haul. “It Takes More” sits in the middle of the album and is a slower paced song for TBS. Lead single “Flicker, Fade” always felt a bit off for me, and an odd choice to lead the album until put into context. The short “Preface” that starts the record off is a minute and a half instrumental build-up that leads into “Flicker, Fade” that demonstrates the pace as perfectly as you could hope.

That’s not to say that the album doesn’t pull all of its punches. The second half of the record is much faster, with songs like “They Don’t Have Any Friends”, which sounds like it was ripped straight from Where You Want to Be and offers some of the best dueling vocals between Lazzara and Nolan.

“We Were Younger Then” offers a rock song at a quicker pace before it slows down for a gentle break down, with Lazzara crooning over lost memories, singing, “Only in pictures before have I seen, anything left from where I am standing” over and over through the song’s finale.

Once again, Adam Lazzara and John Nolan play off of each other magnificently. Lazzara shows off his vocal range to great degree, from gentle croons to shouting during songs like “Better Homes and Gardens”, where he shows his desperation and pain when he sings, “When you took that ring off, threw it at your feet, you didn’t say a word much less look at me”. The variety and energy in his voice is that of a rock star as he toys with every note in his range throughout the album.

Nolan plays a perfect secondary singer in that he never feels forced or trying to upstage the songs. Instead, he stays hidden for the most part until a chorus, where he picks and chooses the exact moments to quietly shout from the back. It keeps him from becoming tiring and instead makes him the booster that Lazzara needs to make the song pop.

Happiness Is is the comeback album we’ve been wanting since the original line-up announced that they were getting back together. It shows the strength of the band as a whole and tends to pick some of the best aspects of their past albums to create a sound that is both a natural evolution as well as a nostalgic reflex as to why they became so aggressively popular in the first place.

Happiness Is isn’t perfect, but it’s much more fine-tuned than Taking Back Sunday could’ve hoped to have been. It won’t replace Tell All Your Friends as the go-to album for fans, but will definitely be one of the showcases for why the band has stayed so relevant in the scene throughout the years.

4/5

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.

When a band breaks up – starring Daphne Loves Derby

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When a band breaks up, there is a sense of disillusionment and abandonment that can be heartbreaking. It invokes the same type of emotions as losing a dear friend: All the memories of each song, the time it took to learn the lyrics and the meaning that you found in the music. They’re powerful attachments that don’t leave easily.

Depending on what the band’s work meant to you, it can either be an inconvenience or utterly heart wrenching. More often than not, the band members just disappear for the most part, unless they start up a new project. Seeing them leave the scene can be hard, but it’s not too often that you get to know that in the end, they are happy.

The disbanding of Daphne Loves Derby hit me extremely hard. The trio was a group formed out of Kent, Washington in the early 2000s and quickly rose to recognition by being the first band on Purevolume to hit a million plays of their music. This led to the release of their first CD On The Strength of All Convinced in 2005. The band could play an incredibly catchy pop song, but what stood out about them was the ability to play slow melodic songs draped with acoustic strumming and the deeply poetic croon of vocalist Kenny Choi. Love songs were standard of course, but lyrically the albums felt like dream-filled poetic verse sung in hauntingly simple melodies.

After the release of 2007’s Good Night, Witness Light, I spent years waiting on the band’s next release. Somewhere in the haze of social media, I’d read that Kenny Choi had decided to go to college amid the release of his solo material under the name Wolftron and rumors that DLD’s third album had been recorded. And then they all just seemed to disappear.

Truthfully, I’m still waiting for an actual release of some sort from the band, even though I know it’ll never appear. Being left with that type of anticipation feels almost unforgivable at times when you think about how much you truly love the music that only a certain group of people can make. Every now and then, I Google the group members just to see if anything new has happened. Kenny released a few Youtube songs and ex-member Jason Call released a solo album, and then it appears that they went on with their individual adult lives, leaving the life of being a touring musician.

It’s easy to feel left behind, as though one of your best friends moves away and your only remaining contact is old photos. It can make you selfish and wonder why anyone would give up the musical life. But it’s that type of thinking that hinders your ability to remember that people move on and change their lives for the better. I recently saw on Twitter during one of my yearly investigations that Kenny had gotten married and seemed to be doing rather well for himself in a professional job. Jason Call seems to have moved on to bigger and better things while retaining his love of music.

The music industry is a tough one and is oftentimes a young man’s game. Seeing a band fall by the wayside is so common that we shouldn’t be affected when a group disbands. But the connection that we make is so strong and intimate that to accept the fact that their time in the scene is done is to let a small bit of yourself go that bonded to the work of someone else. Receiving no closure on what eventually happens to them only makes it all the harder.

Every now and then though, you get the chance to see that after they’ve left and been forgotten by the scene, they’re all the better for it and happy on the other side. Just getting hints towards that makes it all worth it in the end.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and yells at the rain on occasion. He also wants to play you in FIFA.