By Ashley Gallagher
In late 2013, Albany-natives State Champs released their debut studio album, The Finer Things. The album debuted at number two on the Billboard Heatseekers chart, and it is safe to say that the fire never stopped for this band. Since then, the band has released two more albums, played the Warped Tour main stage, released a DVD, and went around the world and back again, and again, and again.
However, no matter how many people they play to, they never forget the feeling of smaller more intimate shows and of course, their hometown.
On December 28th and 39th, the band headlined House of Independents in Asbury Park, New Jersey and the Upstate Concert Hall in Clifton Park, New York, making it a hometown show, as a part of their two-day Holiday Tour. They brought Young Culture, In Her Own Words, Save Face, and A Will Away along to support them at the show.
Young Culture, a fellow Albany band, started the show with songs off of the various EPs they have out. They had energy throughout the whole set and got the crowd to move along, even if they didn’t know the who they were. The energy for this band differed in New York as it did New Jersey and you could tell how much they enjoyed playing to fans from where they are from.
Next was In Her Own Words and Save Face. In Her Own Words started off good, but as the set went on it sounded rather repetitive, however, their stage presence was very good. Save Face, who are from New Jersey, have grown from the last time I saw them in a small bar venue. They are one of my favorite bands to watch due to their energy on stage.
A Will Away travelled from Connecticut to support State Champs and told a story about how the first time they saw State Champs was at another holiday show where they were supporting Hit The Lights. From that moment on, they knew State Champs were going to be a very successful band.
State Champs set up their stage with a mix of Christmas trees, Christmas lights on the drum set, faux presents, and inflatable dogs with Santa hats. Even the tiger logo on the drum set had a Santa hat on it.
They played The Finer Things from start to finish before continuing with their newer songs, and a fan favorite (that is never played) Shades of Gray. In Albany, they played If I’m Lucky, which was played after album was finished because it is on the acoustic EP that featured a bunch of songs from The Finer Things.
Lead singer, Derek DiScanio stated that they hope to make the Holiday Shows an annual event, so hopefully, we can look forward to that in the future.
Stream The Finer Things here:
Review by Mark Ventrice
RIYL: Paramore, We Are The In Crowd
Recommended Tracks: “Gravity”, “Talk”, “Brighter”, “Dreaming Alone”
It’s February and we may have a contender for pop punk album of the year. While they originally started out doing covers of songs on Youtube with guys like Alex Goot, they have been slowly evolving into one of the best pop punk bands around. Gravity is the EP that cements their spot. They bring a lot of energy to the table along with a maturity not often seen in the genre. They also show near mastery of several different musical stylings on this EP.
“Gravity” is the opening track on this EP, and it quickly shows maturity and energy combined. The lead singer Chrissy Costanza shows much of her vocal range as well on the hook. Of all six tracks on the EP, this one puts the most emphasis on the hook and since it’s so great and catchy it works. “Talk” is more about energy and less about maturity and there is absolutely nothing. It’s lyrical content is about jealousy and trash talking a guy which is probably overused in the genre but honestly this song is so good that it’s overlookable. This is the song you will be going back to over and over again.
“Dreaming Alone” introduces the vocals of Dan Gow , one of the other two band members along with Chrissy. This is a love song and its a lot softer than the last two songs. Speaking of vocals, Dan has an expansive vocal range and he shows it in his verse of this song. The last song of note is “Brighter”, the most mature song on this EP. With this being another one of the softer and more mature songs, Chrissy is able to show off her vocal talents and she shows her ability to, like she says in the song, “Set the world on fire.”
This band has nowhere to go but up. And since they are so young, they can also only get better. They may even surpass Paramore.
Review by Marissa McCall
RIYL: Fleet Foxes, Perfume Genius, The War on Drugs
Recommended Tracks: “Chateau Lobby #4 (In C for Two Virgins)”, “I Love You, Honeybear”, “True Affection”
On February 9th Josh Tillman, known as Father John Misty, released his second studio album titled I Love You, Honeybear on Subpop Records. Early last November Misty previewed the song “Bored in the USA” on Letterman to give his fans a taste of his new album.
Misty’s first album, Fear Fun, was released in 2012 and became a huge hit among critics and fans. His style of music is very similar to the music he preformed with Fleet Foxes. The music is soft yet hard hitting at the same time, which gives it a natural sounding vibe. By that I mean the guitar riffs are soft but complex, and a complexity of instruments are used throughout the album such as trumpets and pianos. Misty’s roots are in folk music and you definitely get the feeling of folk on this album
The lyrics that he writes are very satiric and humorous. In the song “Bored in the USA” Misty highlights the way he feels about the United States and where the future of the US is going. He is almost making fun of the “first world problems” that middle class Americans have. By saying that “They gave me a useless education/ And a subprime loan/ On a craftsman home!” Most songs on the album take this satiric humor turn, but all give the hard truth. Some of the humor on the album is funny humor and other songs it is a dark humor.
The album draws from Tillman’s recent marriage to Emma Elizabeth. This album is heavy on the emotions you experience when you fall in love. In the song “I Love You Honeybear” Tillman refers to his wife as honeybear, but he admits he has never called her that, but he uses it to play up the emotional sap that you’ll hear on the album.