Issues Return with New Single “Tapping Out”

I’ll be honest – with three years passing since their last album and the loss of vocalist Michael Bohn in 2018, I wouldn’t have been surprised to hear that Issues were hanging it up. What a treat then to receive new music in the form of single “Tapping Out” last Friday.

I’ve been a fan of Issues since their inception in 2012 when the band formed from the ashes of Woe, Is Me’s first fallout. While the Black Diamonds EP showed their potential, it was 2014’s self-titled debut album that has remained a summer staple of mine. Full of infectious hooks from Tyler Carter and a manic blend of pop, electronic and metalcore, Issues is the kind of album you can let down your guard with and have a good time.

“Tapping Out” feels like it has the potential to tap back into (no pun intended) that kind of energy – something that felt lacking from the band’s 2016 follow-up Headspace. For over a year, fans have wondered what this band would become with Bohn’s absence, and unsurprisingly, Carter holds his own here atop a track as heavy as any the band has written. Sure, the screaming is nearly gone, but those drop-D tuned guitars provide a nostalgic crunch that keeps your head nodding.

It’s clear that Tyler and company have some bones to pick, and it’s likely that the as-of-now unannounced third album will dig deeper into those feelings. Regardless of what’s to follow, it’s exciting to know that Issues are still here and still capable of writing the kinds of songs that make you want to turn up the volume and roll down your windows. Take a listen to “Tapping Out” below and hear for yourself.

You can download “Tapping Out” here.

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.

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Review: Issues – Headspace

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Ever since their inception in 2012, Issues have marched to the beat of their own drum. Call it metalcore if you have to, but Issues’ brand of rock draws from a variety of influences that don’t necessarily make sense on paper. Nevertheless, the band’s concoction of R&B, soul, nu metal, pop and whatever else sounds good in the moment have vaulted Issues near the top of the scene mountain at the arrival of their sophomore release.

When reviewing the band’s self-titled debut, I addressed Issues’ need to commit to a sonic identity in order to avoid being a flash-in-the-pan gimmick. In my estimation, the band was at their best when leaning either heavy or light – everything in between seemed to muddy the waters.

So it should come as no surprise that Issues’ new album, Headspace, is more varied than ever. It’s also going to be a huge hit.

You can buy Headspace on iTunes.

You can buy Headspace on iTunes.

Instead of whittling down to one particular thread to follow, Headspace is a melting pot of instruments and influence. At times, Issues is creating some of the most accessible music you’ll hear from this scene. At others, they’re pushing themselves as far down the metalcore rabbit hole as their abilities will allow. Most of the time, though, Headspace is trying something completely new, resulting in wide range of outcomes.

When Issues is at their best on this release, they’re allowing their pop persuasions to guide the way. “COMA” opens with the signature guitar crunch the band often relies on, but sheds nearly all pretense by the track’s massive chorus. Here, Michael Bohn drops his screams in favor of a gritty sung delivery that serves as the perfect volley for Tyler Carter to bring down the house. With a dose of passion, Carter crafts his best chorus to date, singing, “I want to be all you think about / Anything and everything you dream about / As if I had it all figured out / I want to be the one you can’t breathe without”.

“Home Soon” follows a similar suit with some of the band’s poppiest instrumentals so far. Carter’s vocal transitions to falsetto and back are otherworldly and pair perfectly with Bohn’s own pendulum swings from light screams to cleans. “Hero” and “Someone Who Does” also find a new, smoother flow for a band that has relied a bit too heavily on coarse guitar riffs to carry the band’s transitions in the past.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, “Blue Wall”, the heaviest song Issues have ever written, feels misplaced and comes across as forced aggression. Still, the band deserve credit for tackling a topic like police brutality head on, with Bohn sounding pleasantly passionate while screaming, “Empty your clips on the victim / And then you look the other way”. You might argue that the song’s angry demeanor fits the subject matter, but it’s this Jekyll and Hyde routine that makes you wonder if one of these sides of Issues wouldn’t be better served as a side project.

Unlike the band’s debut, though, Issues seem to find an acceptable middle ground with much more efficiency. “Lost-n-Found (On a Roll)” comes across as a pleasing Underoath tribute with Carter and Bohn’s back and forth vocals atop rolling guitars. “Yung & Dum” manages to add a dash of country influence to the band’s mix without coming across as cheesy (for the most part). Still, Bohn’s screams feel out of place on a track that features a fiddle.

Where the band falters the most on this release are tracks that re-hash old tricks. “Rank Rider” and “Flojo” sound like b-sides from Issues, failing to latch onto the unique progression that makes most of Headspace a step in the right direction. Here, our attentions are distracted by awkward guitar riffs and record scratches that make the songs sound hollow. Thankfully, these in-betweeners are becoming fewer and further between.

Things end on a high note when Headspace closes with another new trick. A spacey and stimulating interlude leads into “Slow Me Down”, the best example of where the band could excel going forward. Laced with perfect programming elements and emotive keys, Bohn and Carter have never sounded better as a duo. Bohn’s explosive clean vocals on the track’s pre-chorus make you wonder if Issues should drop the screaming altogether, even before Carter blesses the chorus with syrupy vocal runs as he belts out, “Slow me down / I’m burning out of control / So far from heaven now”.

The individual talents of Issues, along with their willingness to experiment without bucking current trends, make Headspace a satisfactory step forward. Even with its flaws, the album is still effortlessly catchy, even when addressing deeper subject matter. Issues continue to be a fascinating outlier, refusing to cave to their detractors’ demands or fall in line with the crowd. It’s all just noise to a band that’s happy to keep making their own.

3.5/5

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.

Issues Release New Song “The Realest”

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Issues have released their first new song in two years. Today the band dropped “The Realest”, the first single from their upcoming album titled Headspace. The new album is set to release on May 20 via Rise Records. You can watch the music video for “The Realest” below:

Pre-orders for Headspace are now available here. What are your thoughts on the new song? Share in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: Tyler Carter – Leave Your Love EP

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Hayley Williams. Patrick Stump. Travie McCoy. Brendan Urie. The Warped Tour scene has produced a handful of household-name vocalists over the past decade. Frontmen and women who possess the charisma and vocal chops to hold their own amongst the mainstream crowd and be recognized apart from the bands that made them famous. This sort of transition isn’t common, but it’s not impossible, either.

Tyler Carter has been on the cusp of a breakthrough of similar proportions for a few years now. Ever since his departure from Atlanta metalcore act Woe, Is Me in late 2011, Carter has been in pursuit of a pop crossover. After releasing a few solo singles, he was once again reined back into the post-hardcore circuit and reunited with former partner in crime Michael Bohn in the form of Issues.

That band has since gone on to become a scene sensation, thanks in large part to Carter’s smooth croon amidst the crushing breakdowns. His constant guest appearances on tracks by other scene contemporaries have aided in expanding his fame, but he seemingly has yet to have a big breakthrough.

Enter Leave Your Love, the new solo EP by Carter, released by Rise Records. Yes, it’s only six tracks, and no, it doesn’t include any of his past material. What this long-awaited solo endeavor does do is give Carter a chance to shine on his own stage and perhaps serve as a launching pad for Tyler Carter the brand.

Leave Your Love is a solid effort, to be sure. It’s nothing like anything you’ll hear released on Rise Records this year, and it’s certainly a departure from the heavy crunch of Issues and Woe, Is Me. Instead, you’ll be getting a whole lot of Carter’s syrupy smooth delivery across an array of relaxed R&B beats

Take opener “Sophisticated”, a groovy synth-driven track that goes down easy. Here we find Carter serenading that special lady with his signature bravado and melismatic delivery. Even when he’s singing lines like, “Pretty face, nice thighs” or “If you fancy and you know it / Got your Louis bag to show it”, you can’t help but sing along. The pleading title track adds fantastic percussion and keys to the mix, and takes a more serious thematic turn.

In fact, much of the rest of Leave Your Love follows suit, showcasing an intriguing maturity. Lead single “Georgia” feels as authentic as anything Carter has ever put out and wouldn’t sound that out of place on The 20/20 Experience. By the time he delivers the explosive line of, “By the morning light, she’ll leave” right as the chorus hits, you can feel the corner being turned. This is Tyler Carter primed for the big stage, executing the best vocal work of his career.

While “So Slow” could do without the wispy spoken word vocals that open the track, the bass filled beat makes you move, as does Carter’s sultry chorus of “When we dance so slow / By the way we dance, you’ll know”. His chopped vocal samples atop the bridge serve as an extra instrument, blending into their surroundings and contribute a unique sound that lands miles away from his metalcore offerings.

You get the feeling that with the right producers and the right co-writers, the silver-tongued Carter could hold his own amongst the Timberlakes and Ushers of the world. If you think that’s an overstatement, try to name another vocalist in this scene that can match his charisma and range. Even Jonny Craig’s past solo material has been littered with missteps and odd stylistic choices. A great voice can only get you so far.

To truly cross over, it takes a charm, a vision and a willingness to step outside your comfort zone. Along with his golden voice, Tyler Carter possesses a certain magnetism and ability to shapeshift that’s hard to come by. Leave Your Love may not be the release that breaks him big, but rest assured, he’s dangerously close to the tipping point and he’s only 23 years old. It’s only a matter of time.

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.

Tyler Carter Streams “Leave Your Love” EP

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Tyler Carter, vocalist of metalcore band Issues, is streaming his debut solo EP, titled Leave Your Love. The album is set to be released in early 2015 on Rise Records. You can listen to the entire EP below:

Like what you hear? You can currently preorder Leave Your Love on MerchNow.

What are your thoughts on the new EP? Let us know in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Tyler Carter and Luke Holland Release “Ain’t it Fun” Music Video

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Tyler Carter (Issues) and Luke Holland (The Word Alive) have teamed up for a cover of Paramore’s hit single, “Ain’t it Fun”. The song will appear on Fearless Records’ upcoming Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6 release, which is set to drop on November 17. You can see a music video for the song below:

Like what you hear? You can preorder Punk Goes Pop Vol. 6 on iTunes.

What’s your favorite Punk Goes cover? Tell us in the replies

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Issues Premiere “Mad At Myself” Music Video

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Issues have released a new music video for their song “Mad At Myself”. The track is from their self-titled debut, which released earlier this year on Rise Records. The video, a dark tale of a twisted relationship, was directed by Dillon Novak, who also directed the band’s videos for “Hooligans” and “Princeton Ave.” You can watch the video below:

If you haven’t already, you can buy Issues new album on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Who should replace Jonny Craig in Isles & Glaciers?

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It’s been nearly four years since post-hardcore supergroup Isles & Glaciers released their first and only collection of songs. Their 2010 EP The Hearts of Lonely People was just as exciting as it was unexpected, combining the music fortitude of a slew of the scene’s biggest names.

Fronted by heavyweight vocalists Craig Owens (Chiodos), Vic Fuentes (Pierce the Vel) and Jonny Craig, Isles & Glaciers’ styles ranged while playing to each member’s strengths. To this day, the band has only played one live performance – a surprise set at SXSW in 2009, nearly a year before the release of The Hearts of Lonely People.

Because of each member’s prior commitments to their day jobs, it’s clear why there would be a lack of activity from the band. However, it’s become increasingly obvious that Isles & Glaciers have no intent on ever making music together again, largely due to a falling out with Jonny Craig.

The infamous Macbook scam, continued drug issues and erratic behavior all appear to have lent a hand in breaking the relationship. But without Craig’s lower register tenor croon to balance Owens’ and Fuentes’ high end, it’s clear that the band wouldn’t be the same without him. So what to do?

We’ve decided to compile a list of options for the remaining members of Isles & Glaciers to consider before laying the band to rest forever.

Tilian Pearson

It’s true that the former Tides of Man vocalist has a much higher upper registry than Craig. However, it’s worth noting that Pearson has filled Craig’s shoes on more than one occasion. Tilian was the the fill-in touring vocalist for Emarosa in 2011 before taking over Craig’s role as clean vocalist in experimental post-hardcore outfit Dance Gavin Dance in 2012. If anyone knows how to sing to Jonny’s tune, it’s Tilian Pearson.

Trenton Woodley

If you’re unfamiliar with Trenton Woodley, you would do well by getting to know him. As lead vocalist for Aussie rockers Hands Like Houses, Woodley has proven himself to be one of the most promising singers in the scene. His croon is smooth like Craig’s, but may be even more versatile. His work on recent Hands Like Houses release Unimagine shows that he’s capable of an array of styles and we’re thinking he would sound swell alongside Owens and Fuentes.

Tyler Carter

Tyler Carter is perhaps the best fit to pick up the soulful slack in Isles & Glaciers as Craig’s replacement. Their vocal styles are eerily similar. Both possess a self-indulgent, melismatic delivery that is as much about swagger as it is about vocal style. Carter’s wide range helps him fit into a multitude of sonic environments, perhaps best displayed on Issues’ recent self-titled debut. Both singers have a touch of soul that sets them apart from the typical scene clean singer. Without a doubt, Carter could hold his own in Isles & Glaciers.

Jonny Craig

Truthfully, as great as the previous three singers are, there’s no one we’d rather see fill the third vocal spot in Isles & Glaciers than the man himself. It’s true that Craig is a bit of a rascal and has had his issues in the past, but he appears to be clean and back on the grind, currently working on a new project with Kris Crummett. It may be that past scars have cut a bit too deep with the rest of the group, but if there’s ever a chance for reconciliation we’d love to see it happen.

Of course, if The Hearts of Lonely People is the only music from Isles & Glaciers we ever get, we can at least be thankful for what we had, even if it only felt like just the beginning.

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.

Issues stream new song “Sad Ghost”

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We’re only a day away from the release of Issues’ debut self-titled album on Rise Records. You can stream the opening track “Sad Ghosts” below:

Additionally, you can check out our review of the album here and you can also preorder the album on iTunes.

What are your thoughts on the tracks released so far? Is the new album meeting your expectations? Share your thoughts in the replies!

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Review: Issues – Issues

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Before you’ve even read a word of this review, you’ve likely already made up your mind about Issues. The Atlanta-based metalcore newcomers are undoubtedly one of the most polarizing scene bands in recent memory, and there’s a good chance you’re reading this to confirm a stance that you’ve already taken.

In truth, there may not be a conclusive answer about the aesthetic legitimacy of Issues just yet. But does their self-titled debut full length at least offer us a conclusive answer about who the band is?

Once again, the answer is a bit tricky. Their debut Black Diamonds EP picked up where the core members left off after their departure from Woe, Is Me, with a dash of nu-metal and hip hop elements thrown in for good measure. Issues is a whole other animal, rife with influences from post-hardcore, nu-metal, R&B, hip hop and pop, all blended together in a furious mix. The results are quite conflicting.

At their best (“Sad Ghost”, “Stingray Affliction”, “Never Lose Your Flames”), Issues find a wheelhouse for combining their sounds in a way that sounds fresh, exciting and pleasing to the ears. At their worst, (“Late”, “Life of a Nine”, “Personality Cult”), the band sounds over processed, amateur and pandering to a few too many audiences.

The rest of the time, Issues is somewhere in the middle – not necessarily heavy, but too aggressive to come across as strictly pop. Instead, they waver back and forth, never putting their foot down, inevitably leading to awkward transitions and corny breakdowns that seem to only come as a reminder that the band is signed to Rise Records.

To say that there’s a little something for everyone on Issues would be a bit misleading. Instead, the final product is more akin to the idea of too many cooks in the kitchen. Tracks like the R&B/pop-rock inspired “Tears on the Runway Pt. 2” transition awkwardly into the faux-heavy sound of “The Settlement”.

Other tracks like “Late” have the gall to revive the Nintendo-core sound that we all agreed to forget ever existed, while “Old Dena” brings back the uninspired nu-metal DJ interlude courtesy of Tyler “Scout” Acord. These moments almost parallel the feel of any number of mixtapes your friend made for you in high school.

So Issues is bad, right? Well, not totally. Whether you like his style or not, the consensus on clean vocalist Tyler Carter seems to be a relatively positive one. Even in the midst of the most convoluted moments on the album, Carter is able to right the ship with some of the catchiest hooks and fantastic melodies you’re likely to hear this year.

Take “Mad at Myself” as an example – the track is a messy one, filled to the brim with the aforementioned over-compensating genre-blending. However, Carter’s croon is undeniably memorable as he delivers one of the best choruses on the album. Even as he sings atrocious lines such as “I got this old girl, I know she’s trying to play me / She’s like a Honda, these days I drive Mercedes”, you’ll find yourself singing along once you’ve recovered from a heavy facepalm.

As the album wears on, Carter begins to outshine screamer Michael Bohn on nearly every track. Bohn starts off ferocious on opener “Sad Ghost” with the lines “Standing in front of this bed with some matches, watch it burn / I’ll pray my body burns, too”, and has scattered moments to shine. Unfortunately, so many of the songs cater to Carter’s pop/R&B style that a large number of his screams feel forced into place.

So what’s the consensus? Issues excels by attempting fresh new sounds, and the band deserves credit for trying something different, even when it falls flat. There are moments in which the band sound polished enough to stand alongside metalcore giants like A Day to Remember or Of Mice & Men.

The other side of the coin includes all of the usual suspects. Issues often comes across as cheesy, both in its lyrics and its sonic execution. There’s room for experimentation in this genre, but not by experimenting with everything at once. What results are a few gems when everything works right and a few duds when it all comes crashing back to reality.

If nothing else, Issues is fun and will have you singing along to its syrupy hooks well into the summer. If the band wants to stick around and rise above the rest of the now incomprehensively large pack, they’ll need to pick a sonic identity and stick to it.

For now, it seems fitting to consider their debut the good kind of bad. Or maybe the bad kind of good. How’s that for ambiguity?

3/5

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.