Champagne Jam 2017
By Ashley Gallagher
I remember being in the middle of Costco on December 16th with my little brother. I cannot even remember what I was looking for or what I was doing, but I remember getting an email saying that I got approved for press passes for Champagne Jam 2017. Champagne Jam is a mini festival in Asbury Park, where The Front Bottoms headline. Asbury Park is where I primarily go to concerts, so it was not new territory for me. What was new territory was concert photography (or should I say, real concert photography.) Needless to say I did not want to mess this up. Not only was it for my first show, but it was for The Front Bottoms. If you are unaware of The Front Bottoms, they are huge in college radio and the alternative/indie scene. They remind me of Modern Baseball, but The Front Bottoms are from New Jersey, so if nothing else, it was going to be a huge hometown show.
There was a lineup of ten bands spread out on two stages. They had smaller bands(Strange Eclipse’ Weakend Friends; The Big Easy; Slaughter Beach, Dog; Delicate Steve) on the Arcade Stage while the bigger names (American Trappist, White Reaper, The Districts, AJJ, and last but not least, The Front Bottoms) were on the main stage. I noticed a trend of bands that had unique sounds, but none felt very out of place when comparing to the headliner. Weakend Friends were very laid back and chill. They were the embodiment of what you think of when you think of indie music. AJJ and The Districts were more similar to The Front Bottoms in that they had a better stage presence than the smaller bands and wittier, more descriptive lyrics.
The Front Bottoms came out and played all of their most famous songs, and some of the less popular, like Au Revior and The Beers. They came out with their festive
Christmas Sweaters and a bottle of Champagne for each member. They also brought a couple on stage and they got to enjoy the concert for the stage on a couch, which I thought was inventive and cool. As for the crowd itself, everyone was really carefree and having a good time. People were dancing in the aisles, on the stairs, and enjoying really good music. Overall, it was my favorite concert over break.
The Academic’s get an A+ on their new album
By Daniel Nelligan
Out of every up coming band I’ve seen this previous year, “Tales From The Backseat” was one of my most anticipated ones. The Academic is a relatively new band from Ireland and are ready to take over the indie rock scene with this new album. The sound from this album is filled with great indie rock as well as many nods towards pop-punk which creates a really addicting sounds. “Tales From The Backseat” starts off with “Permanent Vacation,” which is a great song to start off this album. It’s a great way to introduce their sound while providing a great sing-a-long song that will have you wanting more. They follow it with their single off of this album that you may have heard called “Bear Claws” has already been a solidified hit and gets a lot of plays on Spotify as well as radio air time. The entire way through, you can feel the music is confident yet it doesn’t over step its bounds. My favorite song of this album has to be “Bite My Tongue” which is so catchy you’ll be singing it long after it stops playing. They end the album with “Girfriends” which is an amazing way to end the album, and has to feature my favorite lyrics on the entire album with “she says it hurts, but she’s okay / and can’t she stay with me anyway?” This debut album just makes me excited for more from The Academic.
By: Matt Mackenzie
If you are first hearing about This Pale Fire, then you should be informed that he is a self-taught singer and songwriter, all the designs for the album/single covers are created by him, and the guitar you hear though the twelve songs on Alchemy is self-played. A triple threat in terms of artists. A singer, musician, and an artist. What more could you ask from the man? Being gifted all three of those areas means that this man has potential for greatness.
This Pale Fire, also known as Corban Koschak, is one of the most original voices I have heard in a long time. He is an easy listen that can make you forget about any little problem that may be plaguing your mind or heart. I have just recently learned about This Pale Fire but I loved every song from this album. I get an extremely soulful and melodic vibe from it, along with making me feel that he puts his whole heart into what he writes. It is almost as if he is reaching out his emotions in hope to connect to his listener. A simple sound with mellow background sound from the drums goes so far in his work. In the words of Levi Patel, “Alchemy naturally weaves together emotive, heartfelt lyrics with stripped back guitar, delicate strings and pianos.
For me, the song Delicate Words is the highlight of this album. It sounds as if Koschak is fully opening himself emotionally and relating to anyone that either had or has a significant other. Your significant other is the one you lean on in times of sorrow, turn to in hardship, and appreciate every single day just for being in your life. Delicate Words sends an undertone of love and togetherness that all who hear should hold close. A genuinely moving song that hits the heart, a truly impressive work of art.
The other runners up for the best song on the album would be Float Out and Curse. For Float Out, I find it thoroughly enjoyable mainly for the clear to hear guitar. It adds a certain level of soulfulness and a calming factor. Another factor that makes this song enjoyable is the female melodic voice that is added into the chorus. It fits extremely well with the song. The other song I mention, Curse, gives me a southern feeling while listening. A few guitar chords set a tone of seriousness and with the opening line of “I’ve left me home, a curse on my bones, a long rode I ride, with no end in sight” can reach all of us. We don’t know what the future will hold, so we travel down a blind path, taking its narrow turns and going up and down the hills or valleys on this journey. This journey may be long; this journey, however, does not have to be traveled alone.
Corban Koschak talked about how he felt towards Alchemy, saying “Alchemy is a dark and raw look into who I am as an artist. When I approached this album, I wanted to write something personal and honest. Something that left me totally exposed.” This album is thrown into the rock genre but when I listened to it, it did not feel like rock to me. Maybe it could be called Indie/Alternative. Whichever you call it, just know it is a must listen.