Quarters for the Jukebox

Album — Anthems for the Damned by Filter

Anthem for the Damned
Filter is back after a six year hiatus and musically picks up where it left off. The album cover art features a helmet propped on a rifle, gazing over a darkened wasteland with little room for the sun to shine through. The visual cue is dead on for the music inside. The songs dwell largely in a world of war, consequences, hatred and uncertainty with a splash of hope. Per usual for a Filter album, the songwriting feels very personable and unguarded. The songs work well with each other and the whole thing feels somewhat like a concept album, creating a very bleak landscape. Within that landscape are a couple of songs with a shot at being successful singles: “Kill the Day” (or its remix) and “Cold” (echoes of “Take My Picture”). Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Kill the Day; Cold; Hatred is Contagious; Lie After Lie.

Worth listening, if you like: Army of Anyone; Audioslave; Sound Garden; Deftones; Nine Inch Nails; Stone Temple Pilots.


Album — The Black Swan by Story of the Year

The Black Swan Cometh
Story of the Year makes a run at staying socially relevant after slumping with their sophomore album, In the Wake of Determination. The anthemic emo-ish-post-grunge group keeps an edgier sound to a point, but adds a bit more melody and pop influences than their last album. The lyrics are also more politically focused, along with some dissertations on humans’ “delusions” of “a privileged position” in the universe.

Several of the songs are structured similarly with the “opening big riff, drop-off for singing, back to loud chords, scream a bit, get quiet, big finish” format. The album is constantly moving from screaming to piano solos to pounding drums to wind blowing to reverb to emo to power chords (often all within a three minute span). This balancing of differences (rock/pop, sing/scream, loud/soft) should attract fans of Page Avenue back to the band, with the potential of a return to radio play garnering some new attention as well. We will just have to wait and see if this particular breed of the genre has any legs left to it in mainstream play. One thing is for certain though—when they head out on tour—bring back New Empire! Also, props for the marketing and graphic design. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: Wake Up; The Antidote; We’re Not Gonna Make It.

Worth listening, if you like: Rise Against; Hell is For Heroes; Fightstar; Lostprophets; New Empire; One Minute Silence; Coheed & Cambria; Deftones; Thrice; Used; AFI; Saves the Day.

EP — Heart is Long by Idiot Pilot

Idiot Pilot

Idiot Pilot produces moody, meandering indie rock. The acoustic “Last Chance” and (non-acoustic) “Mercury” are soft backdrops for Michael Harris’ engaging vocals, and then the EP shifts to the harder, muddled electronica rock of “Wolves.” The final song, “The Reigns,” is a complicated dose of reflection and might be the best of the bunch. Check for yourself.

Quarters for the songs: The Reigns; Last Chance.

Worth listening, if you like: Rufus Wainwright; Aqualung; Ed Harcourt; Death Cab for Cutie; Radiohead; Deftones; Sigur Ros, The Postal Service; Digital Shades; Nick Drake.