Reviews

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November 6, 2023

Teeth for Eyes - Teeth for Eyes EP

This punk rock supergroup features ex-members of Crux, Empty Tomb, Cicero, and Gov’t Hate Mail. So you can see why I was excited about hearing this disc. The EP contains 7 songs, clocks in around 17 minutes, and comes as a pro-CDr in a standard jewel case with a single panel insert with credits and no lyrics. Musically what we have here is no frills punk rock and roll. It’s not quite as spastic as Crux, and doesn’t have the hardcore/thrash leanings of Empty Tomb. When comparing to its members previous projects, it’s probably closest to Gov’t Hate Mail, but just slightly heavier than that project.… Continued →

October 28, 2023

American Arson - Sand & Cinder // Tide & Timber

Life often moves in cycles; sometimes those cycles repeat, while other times the seasons are delineated more clearly. American Arson has been an IVM favorite since its inception, and many readers are familiar with Evan Baker from Good Luck Varsity even further back. While there’s always been a core of rock, pop punk, and post-hardcore at play, American Arson’s independent EPs were all adorned in unique personalities and moods. And when the band signed with Facedown Records to much acclaim, their sound continued to shift even further.… Continued →

October 20, 2023

Joseph Cutshall - Stay Close

Marc Cohn’s “Walking in Memphis” meets The Assembly Line’s “Tonight” on “You Will Find”, the first track off Joseph Cutshall’s latest release. While Stay Close is branded as folk rock, there’s something a bit more intricate at play here – hints of 90s and 2000s singer-songwriters, subdued ambience of acts like The Frozen Ocean, and even more standard indie fare in general. Don’t expect a mostly-acoustic, Americana-flavored release. This is a record adorned in dynamics, evident from its first notes. Neither so is the record fixated on any singular subject for too long – a true theme might like wrestling in the valleys between sight and certainty that we call faith.… Continued →

September 5, 2023

Puddleglum - Where the Wondering Got Us

This album came out last October, but I was only recently made aware of it when guitarist/vocalist Craig Phillips reached out for coverage, just before moving to Eurasia to work overseas. Although released on Roxx Records, Where the Wondering Got Us is a distinct departure from the label’s usual heavy metal roster. On the contrary, Puddleglum have a sound that revels in reminiscence of the 1990s. It’s what one might call ‘slacker rock.’ It’s fairly simplistic alternative rock, or maybe just rock and roll. The songs, musically speaking, feel lazy though not necessarily in a bad way.… Continued →

July 10, 2023

Sally Grayson - The Darkness in Me

While I was first introduced to Sally Grayson formally in 2020, during the covid-quarantine era, it turns out that I had already heard versions of her music many years prior. She’d fronted Black Swift (based in Germany where Grayson transplanted) for a number of years, but long before that she was in Michigan-based (her native homeland) Standbye, an emo/indie rock band by whom I owned a CD. All that to say that while Sally’s name may not be familiar to the masses, she’s been making credible musical art for well over two decades now.… Continued →

May 28, 2023

Former Ruins - No Creature Is Hidden

I’ll be honest – Former Ruins’ (Levi Dylan Sikes) latest album is one I’m cautious to provide any sort of commentary on. It can be easy to be flippant with certain, or, to be frank, a majority of albums and not fully grasp the humanity behind them. And in many ways, that is the essence of No Creature Is Hidden – what does it mean to be a creature, to be seen, to hold fast to our weaknesses and beauty alike in the eyes of Christ Who saves?… Continued →

May 26, 2023

Fepeste - What You Don't Know

Borrowing its namesake from a Watashi Wa song, Colorado Springs-based Fepeste craft similarly-intricate, chill songs. Fepeste’s second album expands on its predecessor, opting for a greater focus on electric instrumentation and guest collaborations. The result is a surfy/psychedelic approach to songwriting anchored firmly in Scripture. These latest offerings may feel oddly seaborne given their origins in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains, but rest assured Eric Jett and crew know what they’re doing. There’s a strong sense of simple honesty at play – the ruminations of an adult with children, navigating hectic life in our post-truth world.… Continued →

May 22, 2023

Nick Webber - All the Nothing I Know

There are certain things that are assuredly deceptive in their simplicity – like the grainy, low-res, underexposed photo of some non-descript church which adorns Nick Webber’s latest album. In fact, if I hadn’t stumbled onto it prior to seeing the art, I think I might have skipped it entirely. I’ve crawled through Bandcamp quite a bit and I’m come to realize that bands who take their music seriously tend to pair it with artwork of a similar level. While the picture might not adequate describe the quality of All the Nothing I Know, it perhaps describes the thematic form – one that hazily trudges through pain, uncertainty, and cynicism.… Continued →

Dylan Case White - Remind Me Your Name

Dylan Case White’s debut LP, Remind Me Your Name, has been a long time in the making. Its genesis is fraught with the loss of entire songs, working remotely with Allen Odell for production, and the realization of musical concepts that go back years at this point. White’s previous work includes a project under the Spoken World moniker (which is NOT spoken word) and some demos from Glow in the Dark. And while these hinted at what he was capable of, Remind Me Your Name feels like the awaited fulfillment of some distant promise.… Continued →

May 6, 2023

Craig's Brother - Easily Won, Rarely Deserved

I’ve been sitting on this review since last November and since I tend to move slower these days with my writing contributions, it’s better later than never. Let me start off by saying that Craig’s Brother have been a favorite of mine since I first heard “Homecoming” all those years ago (25!). Their blend of melody, aggression, and thought provoking lyrics set them apart from the rest of the pack. I once had a label spinoff of Indie Vision Music and in 2019 I put out their “Devils in the Details” EP, one of the best accomplishments in all my years of running IVM.… Continued →

April 28, 2023

March 21, 2023

World Gone Cold - World Gone Cold EP

Last October, Rockfest Records announced a new band on their roster, but not just any band. World Gone Cold is a hard rock band known as a “supergroup”. In case you’re unfamiliar with the term, this indicates that the group is comprised of artists from other well-known bands. The group is rounded out like this: Ryland Raus (vocals) of Inhale Exhale and Attack, AttackTraa Daniels (bass) of P.O.D.Tim “Yogi” Watts (drums) of Demon HunterMark Anthony (guitar) of The Letter BlackAndrew Stanton (guitar) of Disciple Nice, right??… Continued →

March 7, 2023

Chase Tremaine - Accidental Days

Nashville songsmith Chase Tremaine has not slowed down one bit over the past few years, from releasing his debut record to releasing (and re-releasing, to incredible effort) his sophomore album in a short span of less than three years  (as well as a stripped-back album). This is an all-the-more impressive effort given Tremaine finds time to juggle all vocal and instrumental responsibilities while also working full-time and being (mostly) newly-married. Now, in partnership with Post Emo Records, he has unveiled his third album, Accidental Days.… Continued →

December 13, 2022

Jacob James Wilton - Life Wide Open

Brandishing a not-so-subtle love for the likes of Starflyer 59, Jacob James Wilton has finally arrived with his latest LP after months of waiting. Life Wide Open is ambitious, dreamy, and infectious just as much as it is pensive and energetic. Wilton has dabbled in a number of disparate styles over the years, but this album feels like the pinnacle of his work. There are tastes of shoegaze, Americana, indie rock, and alternative. While his approach is undeniably modern, he pays respects to artists of two decades ago (writing this made me feel old).… Continued →

October 30, 2022

Jonathan Allen Wright - Doorways & Tombstones

Every now and then, an artist comes along that makes it clear they mean business. These aren’t typically the arena-rockers or bombastic pop acts. Instead, like Elijah’s encounter with the Lord, these artists employ a certain mundane simplicity in their presentation that places the focus on the message before all else. Don’t mishear me – that’s not to say these artists don’t write incredible compositions with powerful production. But all of this is very much secondary to the lyrical focus. I can’t help but think of Former Ruins, Zambroa, Allen Odell, or Benjamin Daniel who all, to some degree, subvert the typical expectations of the singer-songwriter niche.… Continued →

October 20, 2022

LN - Monkeys & Spoons

It’s so great to have Gary Murray and co. back to making music again after almost a decade of quietude. Gary had to retreat for a few years beginning in 2014 while taking care of aging parents and other personal matters. Monkeys & Spoons certainly reflects that solitude, as well as the grief of losing someone you’ve had close. While the album cover nearly depicts contents of jazz fusion or post-rock (both Koinonia and strangely, Talk Talk are evoked by the artwork), don’t be led astray there.… Continued →

September 28, 2022

Zane Vickery - Where is Your Faith?: Volume One

Zane Vickery broke onto the scene last year with his debut album, Breezewood, an album of mythic proportions where the real and fantastical coalesce in parable fashion. It’s an album of love, loss, and lessons that assumes the posture of piano-driven indie pop. Now, he’s following the album up with a collection of decidedly-different songs – both musically and lyrically. Where is Your Faith?: Volume One is, per the title, part of some larger body of songs yet to come. Self-contained, it’s fairly concise. It sits at four songs of which two (“Is There Room Enough for Me” and “I Never Left”) were released as singles.… Continued →

September 23, 2022

Too Bad Eugene - Distance

California based melodic punk act known as Too Bad Eugene, have just released their epic 3rd full length album via the label People of Punk Rock Records and I feel it’s their best so far. The band draws upon past influences, mixes it up with some modern takes and superb production style then delivers the goods the only way they’d know how to. All those group vocal harmonies and mass sing-a-longs are without a doubt sweet music to my ears. The 13 tracks run the gamut between a sense of discontentment and imbalance while looking toward hope and finding the strength enough to keep the fire lit and ultimately carrying on.… Continued →

September 15, 2022

Rackets and Drapes - Chapter One: Welcome Home (New album)

Shock rockers R&D have released their new album which is the first of the Sanatorium collection & is currently on all digital networks as of tomorrow. I have been friends with Kandy for many years & have enjoyed all the music I have been sent that they have been working on. If you are a long time fan, you will recognize the reworks such as Milk & Cookies & Stix & Stonz. There is also a new one Suicide Machine which I had the opportunity to hear a demo probably a year or so ago now.… Continued →

August 9, 2022

Rob Ray - The Twilight Gospel

The Twilight Gospel is a culmination of years of spiritual and musical wanderings for Rob Ray. This album is the firstfruits of two previous EPs – Yours is the Day and Yours is the Night – and appropriately finds the midpoint of both, musically and thematically. Even the title itself finds itself somewhere between day and night. There’s a stillness and gentleness of the night here, but the light has most certainly not been extinguished. The album features 11 tracks of Ray’s unique brand of playful indie pop, sultry lofi, and pensive alternative worship.… Continued →

July 31, 2022

Ronnie Martin - From the Womb of the Morning, the Dew of Your Youth Will Be Yours

Most of you will know that Ronnie Martin has been making music since the late 80s (at least) with Morella’s Forest 1988, Dance House Children, and most famously Joy Electric, not to mention a host of side projects like Ronald of Orange, The Foxglove Hunt, The Brothers Martin, and so forth. While there’s a lot of history with Martin’s expertise in making quirky, electronic pop music, in a sense none of that matters. Not that the history isn’t respectable–but what we really want to know is, is this record going to be good?… Continued →

June 11, 2022

Cicero - You Can't Outrun Your Mouth

Hailing from Portland, OR, Cicero began in the mid-00s and called it quits a few years later, only to reform last year. Greg Dimick (Crux, Empty Tomb, Govt Hate Mail) got me a copy of their new album so I could review it, and I’m grateful for the opportunity. You Can’t Outrun Your Mouth is being advertised as 90s emo, but in some ways that’s a disservice to the band. While there are certainly hints at Midwestern emo, particularly the more subdued Christie Front Drive-take on the genre (listen to “Monsters in Masks” and tell me you don’t hear it), YCOYM is more nuanced than that.… Continued →

May 19, 2022

LEVVY - Bury EP

Sometimes it feels like the wave of faith-based post-hardcore bands the likes of Least of These, sosaveme, Matter, Attalus, and so on has come and gone. It’s a shame – there are plenty of bands that have opted to go to the saturated metalcore market, and it’s obvious that indie is still a thriving genre – but high-octane, technical bands with captivating lyrics have become a rare breed. DENS feels like a beacon of hope here, but they’re certainly not alone in trying to bring new life to this space.… Continued →

April 16, 2022

Nate Parrish - Soul Surgery

Nate Parrish creates music unlike the majority of “popular”, “mainstream”, “indie”, and/or “punk” bands of today. He takes his years of experiences, wraps them up in a 14 song epic arrangement, and unleashes it on a weary music scene ripe for hope and change. From the artwork to the song choices, you can’t help but feel the music running through your body and infecting you with nothing but pure positivity. I liken the music of Nate Parrish to music of yesteryear that spoke truth without boundaries and shared honesty in ways most of the modern day brethren are too afraid to venture out into.… Continued →

April 12, 2022

Light The Way - Long Story Short

Light The Way began in 2016 and started off releasing their fantastic debut ep, “Grace”. They followed that up in the following 3 years with – “Dude, Lame” (EP) in 2017, “False Memory Syndrome” in 2018, and “Dad Gang” (EP) in 2019. I’m proud to say I had the most excellent opportunity to be involved in the album release process for all of those releases. I will forever be grateful for the chance to live out my dreams releasing positive, faith-centered, pop-punk music with a strong message about hope, love, grace, and peppered generously with fun and witty lyrics.… Continued →

October 10, 2021

Wage War - Manic

Wage War hit the metalcore scene with a ferocity in 2015 with the release of their debut album, “Blueprints”. Prior to this, they were known as Empires and had an ep called “The Fall of Kings” which is quite impressive! The first two albums, “Blueprints” and “Deadweight” were very well received by fans of the genre, however the third, “Pressure”, which was released a little over 2yrs ago, had something of a mixed reception. While ardent fans of the band’s previous material thought they were getting too poppy or mellowing out, others applauded some of the new directions the band was branching out to.… Continued →

September 30, 2021

Relent - Heavy

Relent has been around and making music longer than most realize; most likely myself included. A 2 song ep in 2016, the Heart Attack ep (2019), the re-release of the Heart Attack ep (2020), with 2 new tracks, and now a full length, aptly titled, “Heavy”. And yes. Yes, it is. From the first listen to these guys a number of yrs ago, I was hooked. I’m a sucker for downtuned guitars with well constructed grooves, thunderous drums, and a mix of rapped/sung/screamed vocals. So this band has really checked all the boxes for me since day 1.… Continued →

September 4, 2021

Meadows - In Those Days & Also After

I first found Meadows in 2014 with their debut EP. Since that time, I lost pulse on the band – that is, until their signing with Facedown Records. Stylistically, the band follows an emotional hardcore style similar to Touché Amoré, Defeater, or older La Dispute. In some ways, they’re more reminiscent of older melodic hardcore acts like Life In Your Way. While Facedown Records has shifted a bit with the addition of more “rock” flavored acts in recent years Meadows feels like a perfect bridge between the old and the new, melding some of the artistic nuance of DENS with the straightforward aggression of Take It Back!… Continued →

July 29, 2021

Ischus - Blessed Assurance

Troubling times call for “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” alike. And man, are times troubling. Thankfully, Ischus’ six-track debut satisfies all of these qualifications. From acoustic, folk-adjacent arrangements to lofi songs to whatever the sonic expanse of “My Soul Belongs to Thee” might be called. If you’re looking for the quick hits, fans of My Epic’s Broken Voice will appreciate this collection of restrained-yet-lyrically-rich tracks. Ischus begins with a unique rendition of “Doxology” – there’s in inherent irony in that Pauline doxologies typically end their respective letters.… Continued →

June 4, 2021

Rob Ray - Yours is the Night

Rob Ray’s latest EP follows in the path of his latest release, Yours is the Day. And while the two EPs were written concurrently, much in the manner of say Thrice’s Alchemy Index, there’s certainly enough distinction between the two. Much like its predecessor, there are strong spiritual truths and three singles preceded release of the full EP. But Yours is the Night feels more quieted and barren. It’s not necessarily deeper or more solemn than its counterpart, but the stripped-back, acoustic-driven nature results in a mood akin to laying awake at night, restless ruminations coursing through your mind.… Continued →