Hey Monday - Hold on Tight (2009, USA) Rating: 1/5
Favorite Tracks: Homecoming
When Paramore was new and popular, there were a few pop/rock female fronted bands that had a similar sound to them. Hey Monday was one of them. I saw their video for "Homecoming" on the channel Teen Nick (f.k.a The N). I really liked it, despite it being nothing super special. Some time ago, I was curious what the rest of their music sounded like from that album and I recently found out...very boring. There is nothing memorable or redeeming about this album at all. "Homecoming" is still enjoyable and simple, but everything else sounds like a whiny and annoying version of Paramore.
M.I.A. - Matangi (2013, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: aTENTion, Exodus, Bad Girls, Know It Ain't Right
It's hard to stay consistent and remain fresh at the same time, but this latest album by M.I.A accomplishes that. Her collection of music on this album remains eclectic in sound like her previous albums and delivers strong, thought provoking messages in her lyrics. Some songs are still clashes and collisions of noises, some have an interesting vague dance beat, and others have this awe inspiring arrangement, but it all fits the M.I.A sound. I can't quite pinpoint why I like this album so much or even why I think this is her strongest work, but all I can say is just listen to it from beginning to end and let your soul flow free through the various shifts in melodies and tempos.
Icon For Hire - Icon For Hire (2013, USA) Rating: 4/5
Favorite Tracks: Cynics & Critics, Hope of Morning, Pop Culture, Watch Me
I don't think I've ever pre-ordered a non-Asian album, but I believe this is the first. I got a little preview of a couple songs from seeing them live and it took me listening to it in the car to truly appreciate the shift in the band's sound. From what they said at the live, this was their opportunity to take control of their musical direction and sound. So, this is their true sound and something that represents them and I must say it's a very good representation. It doesn't remind me of other bands like Scripted, but it still has that signature sound that helps me identify the songs as Icon For Hire and no one else. I'm looking forward to what they have planned in the future for the next album.
Nocturnal Bloodlust - GRIMOIRE (2013, Japan) Rating: 3/5
Favorite Tracks: PANDEMIC, Sphere, Bury Me, A Day to Re:member
While I'm glad I gave this band a second chance, I will admit at times that some songs were too growly for my liking, but the music was thoroughly enjoyable. All the growls and double bass drums tend to make each track sound too similar. It's a problem I had with one of Dir en grey's albums, but I still enjoyed it. As I continue delve deeper into this band, I hope there is a better balance of singing and growling, because the vocals aren't that bad. He has a nice variation of alluring, haunting, and so on.
Pay money To my Pain (2013, Japan) Rating: 4.5/5
Favorite Tracks: Innocent in a silent room, God drive, Resurrection, Rain
Surprisingly, this was kinda hard to get through. I admit there were a couple or so tracks that grabbed my heart and squeezed it over and over again. Similar to Daisuke's last album, they treated the remaining unfinished tracks with respect and allowed close musical associates to finish up the vocal parts that K left behind. These tracks turned out wonderfully and carried the essence of K's spirit and high energy. I hope the band's last live of the year turned out as wonderfully as this album did. For PTP fans, I think this is a great album that they could cry over with pride and sorrow.
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