Review Rundown - Light This City, Dear John, Yashin, P!nk, Queens Club

The Review Rundown features a whole host of overachievers. The ‘Head of the Class’ edition of the RR is taking the time to shine the spotlight on the latest releases from Light This City, Yashin, P!nk & Queens Club as well as a look at the soundtrack for the movie Dear John.

File Under: (Now Defunct) Female Fronted Mayhem
Light This City – “The Hero Cycle” (Prosthetic): “The Hero Cycle” has everything you could ask for in a metal record, even if it is a re-release, but kudos to Prosthetic for letting this body of work see the light of day once again. Light This City’s 2003 debut seeing a reissue should make us all a bit sadder for seeing this band go their separate ways, but at least it is a chance for us to see them go out on top so to speak. Before Prosthetic was able to ink this band on the dotted line, Reflection of Ruin had the honor of dropping “the Hero Cycle,” a record that shines a light on the talent of Light This City. Swirling, ambidextrous guitars and furious drumming run rampant across the board here, and when the sheer vocal aggression of frontwoman Laura Nichols comes into play, it’s clearly a winning combination. The bands ability to transition between melodic and death metal is noteworthy, proving they can do so pretty effortlessly time and time again, with songs like ‘Sierra’ and ‘the Weight of Glory.’ Oh yeah, and the band tosses in a kick ass cover At the Gates ‘Cold’ for good measure. Again, thank you Prosthetic for reminding us what we’ve had for the last eight years. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Next to Godliness’

File Under: Screamo from the Highlands of Scotland
Yashin – “Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them:” While listening to Yashin’s debut “Put Your Hands Where I Can See Them,” it may be hard to sit back and imagine the highly touted Glasgow, Scotland band being unsigned, but hey, that’s the world we live in. It’s clearly evident that Yashin have a good handle of this whole screamo thing, and after only a few moments with this record, it should also become clear that these guys are comfortable in the scene they call home. The band does well in avoiding most of the scene pitfalls other bands fall headfirst into, though they’d do best to avoid deathcore ala Bring Me the Horizon (‘Friends in High Places’). Yashin is at their very best when embracing their keen sense of melodic infusion in their otherwise churning, guitar laden tracks (‘Remember Me,’ ‘Black Summer,’ ‘Down, but Homeward Bound’), but don’t be quick to label them as a heavy verse-melodic chorus act because these guys have a progressive element to their music (‘Hope,’ ‘36 Hours’). And their cover of Britney Spear’s ‘Everytime’ is definitely worth mentioning here. After a spin of “Put Your Hands where I Can See Them,” you should be of the realization that these guys probably won’t be without a record label to call home for long. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Down, but Homeward Bound’

File Under: Indie Movie Soundtrack
Various Artists – “Dear John: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack” (Relativity Music Group): No offense to other recently release movie soundtracks, but this collection of songs culled for the film “Dear John,” starring Channing Tatum (G.I. Joe) and Amanda Seyfried (Mean Girls), shows that you don’t have to be flashy to be effective. These songs seem carefully, almost meticulously, selected, and that attention to detail drives the soundtrack. It’s not often that a movie soundtrack can please even the most discerning of listener, but the inclusion of bands like the Swell Season (‘the Moon’) and Wailing Souls (‘Things & Time’) work to that effect, while a band like 311 (‘Amber’) can draw some mainstream interest. Amanda Seyfried even makes an appearance on the disc with her song ‘Little,’ a song which delights pleasantly, and at the same time sets the table for Fink’s ‘This Is the Thing,’ one of the albums brightest moments. “Dear John” allows a number of different artists, both big and small, to enjoy their time in the spotlight and shine through, something that is this soundtracks strong point. (
Grade: A
Go Download: The Swell Season – ‘the Moon’

File Under: Girl Pop Rife with Attitude
P!nk – “Funhouse Tour: Live in Australia” (La Face): Although the audio version of P!nk’s “Funhouse Tour: Live in Australia” is nearly an hour long and includes the songstress performing a cover version of Queen’s uber-classic ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ (holy cow – talk about doing a song justice, Sheryl Crow listen up), among a slew of other hits (‘Bad Influence,’ ‘U & Ur Hand,’ ‘Funhouse’), the DVD portion of the this release is really where it makes its money. P!ink has jam-packed this DVD with so much content, its overflowing. Not only is there a full 22 live performances, including the afore mentioned Queen cover in addition to a DiVinyls ‘I Touch Myself’ cover, there is an additional two bonus songs and, no folks we are not done yet, a bunch of bonus features including a mini tour documentary, skits and bloopers. Now just imagine all of that DVD footage – over the course of 3 hours – yes, 155 minutes, and then try to tell yourself this CD/DVD set isn’t worth owning. Hurry up and get yourself a copy of this record or just stop calling yourself a fan. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Funhouse’

File Under: Indie/Alt-Pop/New Wave Euphoria
Queens Club – “Young Giant” (Tooth & Nail): Queens Club is a band that may house former members of the Chariot, but the two bands could not be further apart musically. Case in point, take the bands full length debut for Tooth and Nail, “Young Giant.” Right from the start this band is an enigma. Queens Club? That mysterious name causes thoughts to race immediately. What could it mean? But all analytics aside, this music speaks for itself – “Young Giant” is a stunning affair, a record that ultimately sounds fresh and inviting, with a forward leaning tilt. Although a good portion of this disc is full of textured new wave brevity ala Kasabian or the Bravery (‘Nightmarer,’ ‘Family Ties,’ ‘Cutt Me Off’), Queens Club mix things up from time to time, tossing in alt-pop tracks with a deep rock-soaked bounce (‘Dust,’ ‘Upstart’), and rich, electronic flourishes sure to make sweat drip and bodies writhe on the dance floor (‘Danger Kids’). One thing is for sure, Queens Club is sure to cause a stir with “Young Giant,” an album destined for any number of Year End Best Of lists. (
Grade: A
Go Download: ‘Dust’