RSS Feed

Author Archive

  1. The Mission District

    April 9, 2009 by Cassie

    photo credit:

    Upon listening to The Mission District’s “Heartbreaker”, I am instantly reminded of bands such as Metro Station, Melee, and Cobra Starship – bands that I enjoy regularly on warm and sunny days. The keyboard and upbeat tempos lend to a rather energetic and unbelievably catchy chorus that compel me to repeat the song after the first go-round.

    But there is something different from the other bands here. In some points of the verses, the lead singer, David Rancourt’s voice, sounds straight out of the 80’s. Rancourt says, “We didn’t want to write a self-indulgent and arty record. We wanted to write a pop record. We wanted to have big choruses that you could sing along to…” and that is something that comes across in a big way. After a couple of plays, I already know those choruses and am singing along. Apparently these guys are very familiar with catchy.

    photo credit: Gemma Conway

    Other Mission District songs like, “So Over You” and “The Age of Pretending” showcase some 80’s style synthesizer and vocals highlighting dance-inspiring qualities. On “The Best of You and Me”, a whole different sound is displayed – one with more typical pop-rock beats, without the electronic feel. Their songs don’t all sound, which keeps me entertained. With lyrics like “I will break your heart tonight cause this is what we do/This time I swear I’ll get it right/ I’ll break your heart in two,” some might say that these tracks aren’t too profound, but The Mission District succeeds in what they set out to accomplish: catchy, fun, and genuinely good pop music. This will definitely be in my stereo next time I’m thinking of having a dance party.

  2. The Academy Is… on Bill and Trav’s Bogus Tour

    November 11, 2008 by Cassie

    The Bill and Trav’s Bogus Journey Tour was a tour a lot of people were definitely stoked on. With opening spots given to Hey Monday, Carolina Liar, We The Kings, and headlining going to The Academy Is…, there was a good sampling of good old pop alternative at this show. Coming in, I had only thoroughly listened to was The Academy Is… but I was excited anyway because they are definitely one of my favorites.

    My show-buddy and I pull up to the House of Blues, Sunset Strip just in time for the doors to open. There was a pretty impressive line but things seemed pretty calm until someone yelled “Cassadee!” and there was some screaming and carrying on. It wasn’t until later that I realized this was the singer from Hey Monday.

    I couldn’t have been more excited for Hey Monday to come on because it’s pretty rare that you hear a rock band with a female singer. As they started their first song, Josey, I realized I had seen a band like this before…I felt like I was staring at the brunette version of Haley Williams from Paramore. Even her mannerisms on stage were similar. Let me just clarify, there is nothing wrong with looking or sounding like Haley Williams. I am a huge fan of Paramore, but I felt like it was nothing new. One treat during the set was when William Beckett came out and performed during Hey Monday’s “Homecoming”. It seemed as if they were really enjoying themselves and I, in turn, enjoyed myself. Just goes to show that if you look like you’re having fun up there with your band mates, the crowd will have fun too.
    Cassadee whipped out an acoustic guitar for the beginning of “Candles” and the crowd was impressed with her abilities for sure—the guys next to me trying to act cool in the back even perked up a little.

    While I feel like Hey Monday on stage resembles Paramore a lot, I don’t necessarily think there’s anything wrong with that. Both are perfectly respectable bands. I enjoyed watching Hey Monday on stage and I would definitely seem them again.

    Considering the other bands on the tour, Carolina Liar was absolutely not what I expected as far as image. They were long-haired, cowboy boot-wearing, guys who reminded me of Kid Rock. I didn’t know what to expect from the performance. I was actually pleasantly surprised. I was impressed when the vocals were super clear too, actually reminding me of Brandon Flowers from the Killers at some points. Usually I can’t tell what a band is singing unless I already know the words, and this was a different story.

    One song they played, “Show Me What I’m Looking For” was introduced as a song for anyone who is confused. I was also impressed with “Coming to Terms”, a tragic song about lost love. The fact that not all their music sounded the same is something I admired immensely. They gave me something to be surprised about. They finished their set off with “I’m Not Over”, a song that more people knew due to it’s exposure on MTV and Vh1. It is definitely a fun song with a very catchy chorus that people can sing along to and a great way to end the set.

    Although I must admit I wasn’t looking forward to We The Kings due to their what seemed like overly-fanatical fan base at Warped Tour this year, they put on a pretty good show. No matter how hard I tried to contain myself, I found my head bobbing during most songs and doing a little dancing of my own. You could definitely tell this band was well-liked by the crowd due to the amount of teenage girls swooning and asking the band members to marry them…very entertaining but not for the faint of heart.

    They opened with “Stay Young” which was a fun, poppy song that really got the crowd going. They also included a cover of the Gorillaz “Feel Good, Inc.” to a crowd of mostly confused individuals. I, on the other hand, was quite excited. Some other well-known songs they played were “Skyway Avenue” and the closing song, “Check Yes Juliet”. I must admit, We The Kings put on an entertaining show, jumping around the stage and being crazy.

    By the time The Academy Is… came on, I was pumped. The way that William Beckett, the lead singer, struts around the stage gets me every time. They started off the set with “Summer Hair = Forever Young”, a release off their newest album Fast Times at Barrington High to get the crowd going.

    I was very impressed with the way they mixed up old and new songs. It was a fear of mine that we wouldn’t get to hear anything from their first release Almost Here but I my fears were calmed with “Slow Down”, “Checkmarks”, “Classifieds”, “The Phrase That Pays”, and more. In addition to the faster, dance-y songs they played, William played an acoustic guitar for “The Test”, which was absolutely amazing, as I think it’s one of the less-known songs off the new album.

    Several times during the set, William decided it would be a good idea to get on the barricade and let all the fans grope him. Whether that’s your bag or not, try to avoid getting caught up in the current if you go see them. Chaos will ensue. Even so, the amount of talent these guys have is even amazing live. If you haven’t ever seen them live, do it now; the tour continues until late November.


    *More photos available in our Myspace albums

  3. Sing It Loud’s upcoming album Come Around

    September 21, 2008 by Cassie

    Sing It Loud – Come Around

    Let me just say that I am a new listener to Sing It Loud and it takes at least a little bit of deviation from the same old release to catch my attention. This five piece from Minneapolis seemed to be able to do just that. [more]

    The first time I listened to the first track of Sing It Loud’s new album, I was instantly reminded of Motion City Soundtrack. It’s no surprise that MCS guitarist, Josh Cain was a producer for the record.

    Most tracks on “Come Around” are upbeat and sure to inspire some serious dance parties. “Best Beating Heart” is undeniably catchy with lyrics that will make you feel good and force you to start singing along. Also in this category of feel-good, head-bopping tracks is “Come Around”. “I’m all tied up and I’m trying my best to get down. Come on, girl. Come around, come around,” while not sounding incredibly profound, does accomplish the pop sound they admittedly categorize themselves into.

    This album does have some awesome guests singing on it. Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low sings on “No One Can Touch Us” and Justin Pierre of Motion City Soundtrack sings on “We’re Not Afraid”. Sing It Loud seems able to keep up quite well with these guys from more well-known bands, so their future seems promising as well.

    In general, the melodies are light and easy to swallow, with the keys only adding to that quality. This being the case, the entire sound makes for something you could easily put on for background music or enjoy for a sunny car ride. For people who need deep lyrics and complex intertwining melodies and harmonies, Sing It Loud might not be your favorite. But for those who enjoy a more care-free approach to good music, I recommend giving “Come Around” a spin.

    You can hear “Come Around” when it releases September 23 and catch Sing It Loud opening for Cobra Starship this fall on the SassyBack tour.

  4. Fast Times at Barrington High – The Academy Is…

    August 24, 2008 by Cassie

    I had been eagerly antici­­pating the release of Fast Times at Barrington High, the 3rd full length release from The Academy Is…, since one blistering hot June day at Warped Tour Pomona. William Beckett, TAI’s lead singer, had led on that things had strayed from their origins on their sophomore album, Santi, but–not to fret–would be back to normal for this new CD.

    Fast Times… does indeed stray from Santi , but not in a way that is reminiscent of Almost Here. It almost seems as if this new release was crafted in order to be a little more mainstream for a more diverse (perhaps younger) group of listeners. Some tracks are downright poppy, like “Summer Hair = Forever Young” and “The Test”. With lyrics that reflect the high school anguish of growing up, many tracks seem to coincide well with the title of the album.  Beckett begs “Tell me you’ll remember forever young. I’ll never let you fall, it’s not over yet. You and me forever, forever young” and I am surprisingly convinced to remember those days like they were yesterday.

    It seems that Beckett was willing to do a little experimentation with his voice on this record. One song that stands out is “Crowded Room”. The intro he sings is different from  the vocals on any of TAI’s other tracks and I think it’s interesting and not comparable to any music around these days. Unfortunately, that intro only lasts for 15 seconds and then we are back to normal Beckett.

    In general, the beats on Fast Times… are lighter than on TAI’s previous releases. I would even go so far as saying that some are dance-able. Take, for instance, the chorus of “Beware! Cougar!” when Beckett sings, “Do you wanna tie me up? Do you wanna tie me down? Go ahead and do it now.” I could definitely see people in a pit dancing, jumping around, and having a grand time to this song.

    While seemingly not too lyrically or melodically complex, the beats and nostalgic, carefree lyrics are infectious enough to keep me listening over and over. And while some might believe this release could never live up to the hype of being a throw back to Almost Here, if you can just delete your expectations, you might be in for a nice surprise of a very pleasing summer album that is sure to be topping your artist list for a while to come.