Hey Violet Release Music Video for “Hoodie”

American rock band Hey Violet have released a music video for their new single, titled “Hoodie”, which you can view below. The track is the third single from their latest full length album, From the Outside.

The new video was directed by Jessie Hill and is sure to add additional fuel to Hey Violet’s rapid breakout. “Hoodie” showcases the band’s EDM influences and melodic sensibilities, capped by a killer hook from vocalist Rena Lovelis. Take a look:

Like what you hear? You can buy From the Outside on iTunes and learn more at Hey Violet’s website.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

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Review: Palisades – Palisades

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Whether you’re a national restaurant chain, a digital news outlet or an indie rock band, re-branding can be a gamble. Do you risk alienating your core consumer base in favor of a new identity? In the best-case scenario, these kinds of shifts can not only enlarge an entity’s platform while maintaining their original audience, but also provide an honest representation of the brand in its current form. Such appears to be the case with Palisades.

The New Jersey rock act spent their first two releases on Rise Records attempting to force fit their electronicore leanings into a rather insincere and cluttered package. By the time the unnecessarily-salacious Mind Games dropped in 2015, it was hard to view Palisades as anything other than a gimmicky party favor, even as the band showed signs of real talent.

You can but Palisades on iTunes.

You can but Palisades on iTunes.

After one listen, it’s no surprise that the band decided to self-title their latest release. Palisades is not only their best record, it’s a welcome left turn for a band once affixed on bad girls and party fouls. Along with a complete sonic overhaul, Palisades feels, dare we say, thematically genuine.

The EDM influences and siren-y synthesizers that were once the band’s calling card are now completely absent. Instead, Palisades pulses ahead as a straightforward rock record with traces of nu metal and post-hardcore sprinkled in. The production is slick and airtight with crunchy guitar tones and rattling drum patterns pushing the tracks forward without the needless, clunky breakdowns the band relied on in the past. The back-half of “Hard Feelings” even finds Xavier Adames busting out a quick guitar solo that melds nicely into the mix.

In keeping with the upgrades, vocalist Louis Miceli stands out as most improved. With former bass player and backing vocalist Brandon Reese out of the equation, Palisades now rely solely on Miceli to deliver – and that he does, channeling his inner Chester Bennington throughout the record. On Palisades, his voice transforms to a powerful roar, displacing his various tedious deliveries from past albums. Miceli still finds time to scream on this album, but those moments are far more reserved and natural.

With a much more credible sound firmly in place, the band have allowed themselves to expand their subject matter beyond the banal as well. Surprising opener “Aggression” tackles gun violence with Miceli belting a chorus of, “Can we disarm the loaded gun? / Can we survive what we’ve become? / The hate is slowly choking me / American aggression for free”. It’s a stark progression for a band that sprinkled gun cocking samples onto their previous album.

All of these improvements might merit little discussion if the songs weren’t all that good – but they are. They’re really, really good. “Better Chemicals” is a diverse rocker with a pounding chorus that gets stuck in your brain, while a new and improved version of last year’s “Fall” feels like the best evolution of the band, even tastefully implementing programming elements without ramming them down your throat. New bassist Brandon Elgar joins Miceli during the song’s re-worked bridge, resulting in an explosive moment that may top anything the band has ever done.

“Memories” grooves hard as a track that highlights Palisades’ newly discovered nu metal bent with a delightful verse-chorus transition. And speaking of hooks, “Hard Feelings” is a triumph. The decadent melody behind Miceli’s simple lines of, “I’ve got some hard feelings I’m working through / I’ve got some hard feelings I could put on you” blends perfectly with the grinding guitars that power this energetic track ahead.

You wouldn’t have trouble getting almost any song on Palisades stuck in your head, but this time around, you don’t have to feel guilty about it. Sure, a few of the tracks start to blend together upon repeated listens, and save for some scattered candid moments, Miceli’s lyrics still have room to grow, but overall, the album is a forceful step forward for a band that seemed to be flirting with irrelevancy.

If this self-titled venture is the definitive sound that the band has proclaimed it to be, Palisades very well could have found a niche that might propel the band to new heights. Whatever the case may be, the band is clearly coming into their own at just the right time, making this is one re-branding effort that was well worth the risk.

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: Breathe Carolina – Savages

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After 2011’s Hell is What You Make it and the explosion of lead single “Blackout”, it appeared that Breathe Carolina were on the brink of stardom. Having abandoned their early electronica/screamo sound in favor of straight-up synth-laced pop, the duo landed a major record deal with Columbia and were primed for a crossover.

By 2013, Breathe Carolina had already walked away from the label due to an apparent disagreement over creative control. Later in the year, founding member Kyle Evan left the band, leaving David Schmitt as the sole original member.

Now, nearly three years after their near-breakthrough, Breathe Carolina (now comprised of Schmitt and a new backing band) are back to their original home of Fearless Records and have released Savages, a peculiar follow-up, to be sure.

Savages prides itself in its EDM influences, but at its core, it’s a summer pop record with a few oddly placed curveballs. At its best, the album begs for radio play with its infectious dance-pop sound. “Bang it Out” is case-in-point – a fittingly shameless, slightly sultry dance track that features none other than mindless pop poster children, Karmin.

It’s these moments that allow the listener to roll down the window, turn up the stereo and let the pulsing synth, womping bassline and catchy hook sing the sounds of summer. For better or worse, this is where Breathe Carolina excels and is the sole reason for their near-mainstream breakthrough.

However, with every dose of sugar provided by Savages, there’s a heavy-handed helping of sobering salt. On “Sellouts”, Schmitt decides to take issue with fans who long for the “good ol’ days”, going full metalcore with the help of Asking Alexandria screamer Danny Worsnop. There’s a clear sneer implied as Schmitt sings “You’re fascinated with the old me / And I bet you hate it when we don’t scream / You’re stuck in the past and I’m not looking back”.

We get the irony. The reasons requiring this indiscreet moment remain unclear, but one thing’s for certain – David Schmitt and the rest of Breathe Carolina don’t care what you or some major label executive think. They’re going to do whatever they want, thank you very much.

That’s all good and well and perfectly within an artist’s right. But why muddy the clean water for the sake of sarcasm or statement? The truth is, so much of Savages is right within Breathe Carolina’s wheelhouse that any good swing could produce a hit. Opener “Bury Me” is catchy as hell, while “Shots Fired” weaves a slower beat without losing any movement. “Shadows” is a refreshingly dark and painful track juxtaposed by its pulsing tempo.

Others songs sound lazy and uninspired. “Chasing Hearts” relies far too much on the vocals and R&B vibe of Tyler Carter. The album’s title track flashes moments of promise before becoming too convoluted, often sounding more engaging during the brief music-only interludes. Other tracks flirt with a pleasing dance-pop vibe before retreating from accessibility, seemingly for the sake of experimentation.

If Schmitt’s statement on Savages is that he doesn’t feel a need to please anyone but himself, he may have done just that. All in all, the album has a few bright spots that highlight the group’s affinity for crafting catchy pop songs while remaining stubbornly unwilling to embrace that very knack.

That is to say, Savages sounds very much like a Breathe Carolina album. Pick out a few of the bangers and skip the rest. As long as the group chooses to keep eager listeners at an arm’s distance, this is likely the best we’ll get.

2.5/5

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.