Unsigned Buzz: The Winter Passing

The Winter Passing Yo

Hailing from Midlands, Ireland, The Winter Passing are a deceptively jagged quintet bursting with enough youthful energy and sopping-wet hooks to leave any devotee of jangle pop salivating in glee. Recently The Alt Review sat down with Rob, their guitarist/vocalist for a quick Q&A about his history of crappy punk bands, their recent EP Scrapbook, Ireland’s morphing music scenes and their upcoming debut LP.

 

Mind telling us a little bit about yourselves? Individually or as a band, whichever is more comfortable.
I’m Rob and I play guitar in The Winter Passing and do some singing. The Winter Passing is a band made up five friends from the Midlands in Ireland.

How long have you guys been making music — by yourselves I mean — life-long musicians or late-bloomers?
I’ve been playing/writing/whatever music for about ten years, since I was a teenager. I was always in crappy little punk bands from an early age and the idea of writing original music stood out for me more than playing other people’s songs. We’ve all been in other bands together through the years previous to this band. So yeah, life long so to speak!

Tell us a little about Scrapbook your debut — was it a long process of writing/recording? Do you feel you pushed all you could out of yourselves with the EP?
Scrapbook is a collection of  a bunch of songs we had wrote from when we first started the band, some of the songs are newer and some of the songs are a little old (basically some of the first songs we ever wrote when we started the band). We recorded it at the back of my parents house with our friend Ciaran from the band, Starters. It was a comfortable enough environment to record in and Ciaran was really helpful with the process. I don’t think we pushed ourselves on the release though to be honest, I think it still could sound better. We didn’t have a lot of time to do it really but I guess it sounds good for what it is. I’m really glad it got released on 7 inch.

The name ‘Scrapbook’ in general denotes a certain sentimentality — are these an intensely personal set of songs?
Yeah they are — all the songs deal with a particular time in my life and I feel like I used this record to make account of that period for myself. The title Scrapbook comes from the songs themselves on the release, some of the songs are old and some are new. Like a scrapbook, where you place old and new bits of material into them traditionally, you know?

Do you guys feel any legitimate personal comparisons to other European (broad I know) dual-vocal rock bands? Or more traditional indie rock a la Built to Spill or The Feelies?
Yeah I would feel like we have similar sounds, alright yeah, especially with Built To Spill. I’ve got a cousin who lives in Egypt right now who use to visit us a lot when I was growing up, he was such a big Built To Spill fan and he use to always play the riff from “Car” on my first acoustic guitar. I’ve listen to them a lot recently, bands like them and The Get Up Kids play a big roll in the sound of our band. The Feelies are also a cool band. Cool question, brought back some cool memories.

Would you say Ireland possesses a bustling music scene? Is The Winter Passing in some way a reflection of this?
The music scene in Ireland is weird. It goes through periods of being very good and then goes through some sketchy times. The scene we are affiliated with is mostly based in Dublin. We have a lot of friends there and people support the punk/emo/indie scene which is cool.

Any plans for an LP in the near-future? Do you think Scrapbook’s set of songs would make the cut?
We are actually currently writing our debut LP which will be released later this year through Fist In The Air Records in the UK. None of the songs from Scrapbook will be on the release. We have so much new material that I’d rather just have a fresh set of songs for the album. The writing process has been hard, it’s difficult to write so many songs for one release and you need to make sure all the songs fit the release also you know?

You mentioned a few shows you had lined up in our initial correspondence — any tours, of any nature, looming on the horizon of 2013?
We’ve had shows throughout Ireland all this month which were cool. Once we get the album finished we’re planning on touring the UK and Europe later this year.

I know this seems sweeping but — what are the ambitions of The Winter Passing? You guys content to keep playing music or is this something you’re trying to turn into a life style?
We just want to write music, travel and have new experiences with the band, so whatever else happens is a bonus. The idea of the band means we get to hang out with each other a lot more than we would if we didn’t have the band. Everyone has always wanted to tour and release records so it’s cool that we’re doing it now. It’d be cool if we could make money off it too or for it to pay for itself, I guess that’s the goal. Just taking each day as it comes, I’m still having fun with it, which is sick.

Any personal favorite artist/songs/movies/tidbits of pop culture that you cannot help but (or at least try to) weave within your own output?
Brand New, we couldn’t help but not reference them on our song ‘’Nowhere Still.’’ Bands like Weezer, Jimmy Eat World, The Get Up Kids and The Gaslight Anthem also play a big roll in the bands sound. We always take ideas for songs or album plans from movies we watch also. I think the album is going to tell a story in two parts, it’s not finished yet or anything but I’d like for all the lyrics on the LP to be connected to each other and tell some sort of a story.

Any specific books/artwork/movies/TV that has been catching your eyes and ears as of recent?
I’m currently listening to a lot of Manchester Orchestra, Best Coast and Modern Football recently. I’m reading Pulp by Charles Bukowski. I’ve just finished all the seasons of Dexter too which was so good. The last film I watched was The Perks of Being A Wallflower which was really good too.

Any place you’d conclusively die to tour in?
We’d all love to tour America anyway. Europe would be sick, Canada and Japan too. Everywhere we could possibly go to we would! Touring is the best.

Rob, feel free to add anything you think we might have missed and thanks again for taking the time to sit down with us at The Alternative Review.
Thanks for asking me to do this, I enjoy reading your blog. Our album will be out later this year, make sure to check us out if you have the time. Listen to Moose Blood, Forrest and Starters. They are all excellent bands from the UK and Ireland. Peace!!!

 

Scrapbook is out now and can be found via The Winter Passing’s bandcamp here.

Read More

Conditions – Full Of War

Conditions - Full Of War3.5/5

Genre: Rock

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Record Label: Good Fight Music / eOne Music

 

 

 

 

 

In 2010 Richmond, Virginia’s Conditions lit up alt-rock with their debut full-length, Fluorescent Youth, an album full of Anberlin-meets-Saosin alternative anthems that earned them mentions in Alternative Press’ annual “100 Bands You Need To Know” issue in both 2010 and 2011. On their sophomore release, Full Of War, the guys in Conditions step out of their comfort zone and explore what they can do as both musicians and as songwriters. Full Of War shows vocalist Brandon Roundtree, guitarist Alex Howard, bass player Corey Thomas, and drummer Ryan Tinsley emulating their influences while also penning many of their best songs yet.

The album opens powerfully with the charging and urgent “Walking Separate Ways,” powered by Roundtree’s expanded vocal range — at times sounding similar to The Almost’s Aaron Gillespie. As with many of the songs on Full Of War, “Walking Separate Ways” proves Conditions’ skill at writing massive hooks, as shown by the emphasis on chorus-driven songs throughout the album. “Skeleton” keeps the energy going, this time with Tinsley being the driving force for the music. Fans of Fluorescent Youth‘s post-hardcore riffs will gravitate towards these two as well as “The Descent Of Man” due to the similarities, while new listeners may be drawn to other songs on the album.

“Open Eyes,” the lead single for the album, stands out on first listen as something new for Conditions; a Jimmy Eat World-esque, delay-laden guitar line drives the verses before Roundtree takes the lead on the choruses. On songs like “Open Eyes” and “Wonderful Lie” the band allows room for each movement to breathe, creating atmospheric and textured soundscapes that draw the listener in. The best songs on the album are those where the band walks the line between heavy riffing and textured melodies, as on “Love Elusive” and “Not Giving Up…Not Yet”  and due to their majestic choruses each song is sure to become a live favorite.

Unfortunately, the experimentation doesn’t always work out for the best. Thomas’ bass grooves are fantastic on “Best Mistake” but the song seems to be lacking the energy present throughout the rest of the album. The slower songs show potential but have the tendency to drag on a bit, while some of the more aggressive songs feel too safe in comparison to the successful attempts at growth and progression.

Stepping out of their comfort zone was the best choice Conditions made during the writing process for Full Of War. The growth and exploration works wonderfully for the most part, especially on songs like “Love Elusive,” “Wonderful Lie” and “Not Giving Up…Not Yet.” With this album Conditions have established their place in modern alternative-rock, and I have no doubt in my mind that they will continue to grow and release great albums for years to come.

 

Tracklisting:

  1. Walking Separate Ways
  2. Skeleton
  3. Open Eyes
  4. Best Mistake
  5. Love Elusive
  6. Wonderful Lie
  7. Everyday Is A New Life
  8. The Descent Of Man
  9. Long Division
  10. What We Wait For
  11. Not Giving Up…Not Yet

Band Links:

Facebook || Twitter

Buy the Album:

CD || MP3

Read More

A Rocket To The Moon – Wild & Free

A Rocket To The Moon - Wild & Free

4/5

Genre: Pop-rock

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Record Label: Fueled By Ramen

 

 

 

 

 

It has been a long three and a half years since Braintree, Massachusetts’ A Rocket To The Moon released a full-length, but the wait is finally over as the band gears up to release Wild & Free. Since the release of On Your Side in 2009 and The Rainy Day Sessions EP in 2010 A Rocket To The Moon has crafted their own brand of pop-rock with a distinct Nashville country flavor, teaming up with superstar producer Mark Bright (Rascal Flatts, Carrie Underwood) to release a more mature and more confident album.

Over the course of 2012 the band released the That Old Feeling EP as well as a single to give fans a taste of what to expect from a more grown-up A Rocket To The Moon including “Going Out” a feel-good number sure to get your foot stomping along as you spend a night out with your friends. Upbeat songs like “Nothing At All” and “You’re My Song” are spread throughout the album to keep the energy going, with the latter cleverly paying homage to some of the band’s biggest influences. The energetic title track showcases some of vocalist Nick Santino’s strongest vocal work as well as giving lead guitarist Justin Richards a moment to shine, making it a personal favorite track.

A Rocket To The Moon’s strongest area on Wild & Free are the ballads and mid-tempo tracks though, lead single “Ever Enough” and close cousin “First Kiss” are prime examples of the band’s capability to write beautiful and majestic songs in the vein of On Your Side cut “On A Lonely Night” and sure to bring the band some level of success on both pop and country radio. The tender “I Do” utilizes slide guitar and piano while the haunting “Another Set Of Wings” relies on a lone acoustic guitar to tell their respective stories. The album closes on the heart-felt and emotional “Lost And Found,” a song almost solely made up of Santino crooning over a bed of soft piano — again showing his growth as a vocalist. A key feature of this album that helps it stand out are the fantastic harmonies that complement the melodies while also adding depth to the atmosphere and dynamics of each song — the previously mentioned “Another Set Of Wings” being one of the most distinct examples.

This is what progression should sound like, after one listen you can tell that this is the same band that wrote “Mr. Right” and “Like We Used To” in 2009, but more grown up. Drawing on their country and roots-rock influences helps the band to stand out from many of their peers struggling to make their own marks in the scene. Even though it took three and a half years to finally be able to hear a new album from A Rocket To The Moon, the growth exhibited on Wild & Free makes it worthwhile.

 

Tracklisting:

1. Going Out
2. First Kiss
3. Whole Lotta You
4. Ever Enough
5. If I’m Gonna Fall In Love
6. I Do
7. Another Set Of Wings
8. Wild & Free
9. Wherever You Go
10. Nothing At All
11. Somebody Out There
12. You’re My Song
13. Lost And Found

Band Links:

Official Site || Facebook || Twitter

Buy the Album:

CD || MP3

Read More

The Story So Far – What You Don’t See

The Story So Far – What You Don’t See4/5

Genre: Pop-Punk

Release Date: March 26, 2013

Record Label: Pure Noise Records

 

 

 

 

 

Pop-punk is a genre that has produced more mediocre music than most genres combined over the last decade. As a new millennium began, so did an influx of musicians picking up their tools without any knowledge pertaining to said instrument and hashing out the same three chord songs heard by their contemporaries. So in a day and age where pop-punk is the butt of many jokes, it is always refreshing to find an artist who plays pop-punk well. The Story So Far is a band who is doing just that; exploding through speakers in 2011 with their debut, The Story So Far made waves playing an honest and aggressive brand of pop-punk. Songs were filled to the brim with angst and emotion; all while implementing unique song structures, making Under Soil and Dirt one of 2011’s most overlooked gems. The Story So Far is back with more of the same with What You Don’t See, making their 2013 release one of the most anticipated of the year.

What You Don’t See is not a record that pretends to be anything that is not. From the feedback that first greets the listener to the final notes of “Framework,” The Story So Far’s sophomore record is truly a testament to properly executed pop-punk. Mixing the classic pop-punk styling with hardcore tendencies, songs rarely reach the three minutes mark, something that lends to the fact that the album is as sporadic as it is catchy. Lead single “Right Here” is an aggressive track that finds itself constantly changing tempos while twisting and turning perfectly capitulating The Story So Far’s sonic approach. In all actuality the two singles serve as the two best tracks on the entire record, as “The Glass” ends with one of the catchiest moments of the album, where lead vocalist Parker Cannon finds himself repeating: “now you’re gone.” Another album highlight is “Face Value,” a track that has without a doubt, the most infectious chorus this young band has ever written, with some of the most poignant lyrics found on the entire record.

Every song is riper than the next, leading to an album that is constantly building to the aforementioned climax of catchiness that is “The Glass.” The drums are constantly driving and the guitars will often surprise with riffs that should be out of place in pop-punk music — but they don’t feel that way. Ultimately this is the charm that The Story So Far possesses, as they find themselves playing a genre of music that is often maligned, yet they pull it off with a vigorous sense of confidence. Lyrically Cannon channels all of his hurt and anger into biting lyrics that can be found throughout the entire record. All the aggression perfectly translates to songs that will (and should) inevitably become anthems of heartbroken teens.

With their second record The Story So Far manage to avoid the dreaded sophomore slump. Nearly every track incorporates an incredible it factor — often times when songs focus on a certain sense of accessibility they forego depth and meaning, but The Story So Far seems to have found a happy medium between the two. Although this record does not live up to the lustrous expectations following a truly amazing debut, What We Don’t See is a welcome addition to a budding discography of a band that has nowhere to go but up.

 

 Tracklisting:

1. Things I Can’t Change
2. Stifled
3. Small Talk
4. Playing the Victim
5. Right Here
6. Empty Space
7. The Glass
8. All Wrong
9. Bad Luck
10. Face Value
11. Framework

Band Links:

Official Site || Facebook || Twitter

Buy the Album:

CD || MP3 || Vinyl

Read More