Exclusive: Life On The Sideline EP announcement, music video premiere

Since releasing Honesty Is A Dying Breed two years ago, Life On The Sideline has remained active on the road and is now ready to unveil its upcoming EP, Never Settle. To kick things off, we're premiering the music video for the band's new single, "Echo", which tells the sad story of a young girl reminiscing times spent with her deceased partner. While not a pop punk song per se, it's as catchy as one with an infectious chorus that you'll inevitably get stuck in your head. The band's sound could be compared to that of Transit's and The Early November's. Fans can pre-order the EP on iTunes and CD here, before it's released on June 7th. […]

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Review: When We Team Up - "To Where Mustangs Roam" EP

Release InfoWhen We Team Up - To Where Mustangs Roam EP
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Record Label: Unsigned
Download: Digital

Portland, OR's When We Team Up have successfully secured the title of "most productive act" thus far into 2014, having already followed up March’s From Where Monsters Come EP with a successor effort, To Where Mustangs Roam, after a mere three months.

The opener and first single, “I Got You Something”, stands as a return to form, resembling the sonical incarnation of the band that was evident on January 2013’s Not For Me, But For My Friends and yards away from the melodic hardcore-influenced From Where Monsters Come.

“I Got You Something” displays When We Team Up miles ahead of the little brother of Not For Me, But For My Friends, where the band glimmers in a coating of a warmer quality of production as well as a technical potency. When We Team Up dust off the utensils utilized to form a classic breakdown and do so in the manner of veterans.

On “Asian Me” and the following track, “Aquariams”, the band forcefully (while brandishing fast tempos and a chromatic charge of riffs) carves a hole for listeners to observe the extremes of its falls and plights as a touring band. When We Team Up remould the riches they are handed down by fate as they set their sights on making their own mark on the road. On “Asian Me”, vocalist Sean Smith laments about the extremes of transitioning from the discontent of home life ("Front porch always crowded with beer cans and cigarette butts from the weekend") and the events of typical shows on “Aquariams”, where they are forced to directly square off with the pretence of appearance ("image") of musicians as opposed to the substance of the music ("We should’ve known they couldn’t bottle us up and the folks move towards our image. Fuck the pros; we’re about the scrimmage"). It is on these particular tracks where Smith mirrors the satiric realism-drenched rhetoric expressed by Dan "Soupy" Campbell on early Wonder Years efforts, which is endearing and somewhat nostalgic.

“This Is Everyone's Fault But Mine” is easily the strongest track on the record, where the band clutches at various time signatures to accurately display the heightened drop and rise of emotions expressed in the defeatist, yet hopeful, demeanour of Smith as he says "Young and hooked on hope, I’m an addict; I’m drinking it till I choke".

The comical counterpart to When We Team Up’s lyrical content and general aesthetic gives the band another dynamic edge that is refreshing in a scene flooded with a plethora of morbid-fuelled and sombre-driven acts. The humour and irony is laced within To Where Mustangs Roam, from the distorted recreation of the leading riff from The Vapors' ('80s new wave band) classic “Turning Japanese” on “Asian Me”, as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the song’s title, which shares a loose oriental theme with the former classic. On “This Is Everyone’s Fault But Mine” the band also incorporates an excerpt from the '90s spoof western comedy “Almost Heroes” to satirize the maniacal tendencies of beings when facing adversity, for comical effect of course. An excerpt from the '90s classic comedy “Tommy Boy” also makes an appearance on the record.

Listeners are also presented with the conventional punk rock-minute rager on “Tommy Boy”, where the technical metallic riffs push When We Team Up into fiery terrain yet again. “Tommy Boy” leads smoothly into closer “C.H.D.”, which again reinforces the distinct sound of When We Team Up with an off-kilter rhythm-based track that threatens to shake listeners with its ruckus pace as a lasting impression.

There surely couldn’t be any more "pieces" left to find after having achieved the sheer quality of this record.

1. I Got You Something
2. Asian Me
3. Aquariums
4. This Is Everyone's Fault But Mine
5. Tommy Boy
6. C.H.D.
7. Best Of Me (The Starting Line Cover)

RIYL: Anywhere But Home EP-era Handguns, Get Stoked On It!-era The Wonder Years, Syracuse Me


More reviews by Aaron Akeredolu