Review Rundown: Vampires Everywhere, Elogy, Standing Shadows, T-Mills and Michael Charles

This Review Rundown takes looks at new releases from all across the music world, featuring reviews of Vampires Everywhere, Elogy, Standing Shadows, T-Mills and Michael Charles.

File Under: Electro-Laden Screamo
Vampires Everywhere – “Lost in the Shadows” (Century Media):
Team Jacob, eat your heart out – this group of vampires is one you’ll never be able to defeat. Team Edward, eat your heart out too because no Cullen will ever shred this hard. Vampires Everywhere, the best synth-soaked screamo band Rise Records never signed, might be the new kids on the block, but their new two song teaser, “Lost in the Shadows,” shows they have an ear for this whole ‘scene’ thing. Vampires Everywhere are part early Underoath, part I Am Ghost and part awesome – OK, all awesome, though that’s pretty easy to say since this CD is only two songs – ‘Immortal Love’ and ‘the Embrace.’ The autotune vocal parts are unnecessary since vocalist Michael Vampire doesn’t have a bad voice, or anything close, but they don’t go so far as to detract from the bands dense, atmospheric combination of scene setting electronic flourishes, drum work Avenged Sevenfold would approve of and guitars that should be played at a volume higher than what your stereo goes to. Having already conquered Hot Topic store shelves nationwide, “Lost in the Shadows” proves these boys are primed to become future darlings of the scene. Let’s not be too quick to crown them, but it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘The Embrace’

File Under: Expansive Atmospheric Rock
Elogy – “One:”
This record has the ability to come across as mainstream pop rock one moment, then completely immersive the next. Its engulfing atmospheres paint sonic tidal waves that crash down upon the listener, completely enfolding them in the bands stirring, technically precise sound. It shouldn’t take too long into the disc to realize Elogy are incredibly adept musicians, something they waste no time showcasing, and something they continue to do throughout this record. Technical abilities aside, this is truly a stunning affair. Its expansive nature saves it from the atypical redundancies you’d normally expect to see with any release, and at only nine tracks the disc never fails to come off as fresh and vibrant. This record might be best summarized in one word – grandiose. Just about everything this disc entails – its guitars, vocals, drums, melodies, hooks, musicality – can very easily be described as grandiose. The only thing this record asks in return is for you to press play and let it surprise you. (http://www.elogymusic.com/)
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Welcome to Inertia’

File Under: Textural, Dark Indie
Standing Shadows – “Five Years of Darkness” (Riptide):
Dark, effectual indie that is unafraid to test the waters of progressive rock, not unlike a band like Muse, though on a substantially lesser scale, while taking the time to along the way to sprinkle in ambient touches of electro-pop, alt-rock and obscura. There’s a good chance “Five Years of Darkness” isn’t the first time you’re hearing these guys either. The bands music has been scattered across some of the most popular TV shows of recent memory, including the new 90210, the Shield and Harpers Island. The band also provided the soundtrack to in-game trailers for ‘Guitar Hero 5.’ With “Five Years of Darkness,” an album aptly named for the time put into making it become a reality, Standing Shadows have created such a rich and contextual sound, embellished with sincere amount of passion and emotion that it’s hard to ignore once you begin listening. The fact that the band, namely Dan Silver and David Miltenberger, put so much of themselves into this record shines through brightly. Most everything about this record is both honest and beautiful – the instrumentations, vocals, structures, etc. Take the time to find out for yourself. (www.myspace.com/standingshadows)
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘One Way Ride’

File Under: Autotuned Hip-Hop
T-Mills – “Finders Keepers” EP:
If his “Finders Keepers” EP proves nothing else, it proves that T-Mills sure loves him some T-Mills. Yeah, that much should be pretty evident about 20 seconds into the EP. His overall vocal aesthetic is intriguing, if not somewhat refreshing really. Oh yeah, toss in beguiling as well. His flow is substantial and the beats are surely serious, while his ultra tongue-in-cheek wordplay is entertaining and easy to follow. T-Mills really is unabashed to say the last, if not abrasive at points, in his approach, but hey, that’s just part of his charm. Sure, the misogynistic lyrics wear on after a while and all of the over-the-top, exaggerated autotune might give you a toothache if not consumed in moderation, but keep in mind that this is a scene kid rapping, so it’s all in good fun right? The “Finders Keepers” EP is so catchy that you might not be able to get it out of your head for a while. Don’t say you weren’t warned. (www.myspace.com/tmills)
Grade: C
Go Download: ‘Knockout’

File Under: Blues Rock/R&B Fusion
Michael Charles – “Connected” (Moonlight):
On paper, the premise of Michael Charles new record “Connected” might not seem too keen – Charles, a six-string maestro, and Magisty, a skilled wordsmith rapper, but by the time ‘Right Here’ hits the speakers, all doubts are washed away. The combination is surprisingly smooth, and Magisty’s voice and rhymes only work to enhance the overall project. Charles still sings on some songs – his voice smoky and utterly lounge-worthy, and thankfully for all listening – he still plays guitar. Charles’ riffing is stunning, full of Santana-esque plucking that creates a lasting atmosphere, while Magisty just continues to succeed track after track in exacerbating the enjoyment level throughout “Connected.” Charles’ guitar work feels comforting, while Magisty’s vocals cause the effort to feel constantly refreshing, so it may be easy to assume that “Connected” hits its apex when the duo works harmoniously (‘Let You Down,’ ‘Emotional,’ ‘Merge’). Magisty is an undiscovered gem, sounding a shade like a young Jay-Z. “Connected” is a potpourri of sound, drawing elements from the worlds of jazz, blues, rock, hip-hop and R&B in order to achieve its unique aesthetic, so rest assured the record offers something for most every listener. The eight minute ‘Another Time’ sends “Connected” out on a high note, a record that is pretty hard not to like. (http://www.michaelcharles.us/)
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Six Out’

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