New Album Review

ALBUM REVIEW: Macseal – Super Enthusiast

ALBUM REVIEW: Macseal – Super Enthusiast

BEST TRACKS: Picture Perfect, Always Hazy, Upside Down Again

FCC Clean

Recommended If You Like: Oso Oso, Slaughter Beach Dog, American Football, Remo Drive

Macseal has been teasing us ever since 2015, releasing EP after EP, giving us small morsels of delicious music but keeping us ravenously hungry for a proper full length album. Finally, earlier this month, our prayers were answered and Macseal released an exciting, vibrant album that I am gobbling up. From Long Island, NY, Macseal is a 4-piece American indie rock band with pop influences that have a unique talent for forging sunny melodies supported by relatable lyrical narratives. They have an impressive track record for putting on exhilarating live shows and are currently touring the eastern and southern United States and they are coming to Carrboro, NC @ Cat’s Cradle on February 4th!

This pop-infused punk album is bliss from start to finish, featuring elements of insane math rock rhythms, light, glittering guitar work, and crystal clear vocals. Super Enthusiast is a romantic, breezy listen, spotted with small emotional outcries that are easily accessible to anyone. With bittersweet tracks like Mystery Inc., which is about outgrowing people, and Graduating Steps, which is about revisiting your old school after many years, this album could easily soundtrack a rebellious teenage coming of age movie.

When I listen to this album, I can’t help from picturing the sun glistening on the surface of a lake. But don’t be fooled, because even though the music is upbeat, if you get into the lyrics, you’ll find that they’re pretty glum, confronting the rapid passage of time and the challenges of getting older in such a cold, unforgiving universe. I find that I can listen to this kind of happy-sad music through thick and thin and it always finds a way to resonate with me. If you like drawing on the sidewalk with chalk or taking bubble baths, you’re probably going to love this album.

-Safia Rizwan

DJ Highlights

Top 2017 Tunes: Big Brother’s Picks!! (Thus Far)

If you like a mixture of reggae, punk, and rock, you’ll love these songs released in 2017. Give these bands a listen and you might find a band you really like 🙂

  1. Something Strange – Sticky Fingers

  2. Home Soon – Dope Lemon

  3. Mary – Dune Rats

  4. Joker – The Vanns

  5. Overgrown – Ocean Alley

  6. Rough as Guts – Peach Fur

  7. Soaking It All In – Skegss

  8. The Truth – HOAX

  9. Jetblack – Rambutan Jam Band

  10. With You – Bootleg Rascal

Concert Review

Tigers Jaw- Cats Cradle 5/23


Due to work, I arrived late to the show, causing me to miss the two openers- Smidley (a side project of emo stalwarts Foxing), and the folksy-country group Saintseneca. I came in right as Tigers Jaw took the stage and opened up with a cut from their newest album, Spin, entitled “Follows”. I was shocked to see the crowd’s reaction as a small, but considerably aggressive mosh pit opened up. Considering their newer material is a far cry from their much faster-paced emo/pop-punk days, the pit seemed very out of place and continued throughout the night to new and old songs. Three songs into the set, during fan-favorite
“The Sun”, a young concertgoer stage dove into the audience. Due to the smaller attendance, the crowd did not catch the young fan as they fell to the floor. The band immediately stopped playing, requesting help and for the audience to clear way for the injured fan. 911 was called and the fan was taken to the hospital. The atmosphere in the room was somber as everyone was uncertain of the fan’s safety.

After a few minutes after the concertgoer was taken to safety, the band returned to the stage and made a statement on taking care of each other at shows, as things like this happen far too often. With incidents like these happening so often, one has to wonder how to make them stop. Should there be no stage diving? Should there be no moshing? These are rather tough questions that defy why so many people got involved in these scenes. The bottom line is people need to respect each other’s space. This could mean not moshing if people around you are visibly crushed for space, catching people when they do stage dive (don’t part the sea like Moses), and being wary when deciding to crowd surf. I have been to many shows and have seen way too many people that are struggling to be held up by the crowd. It should come as common sense that a full-grown person shouldn’t be crowd surfing if the audience is either sparse, unwilling to support them, or made up largely of younger concertgoers, yet it happens all the time. Shows can and should always be fun, but people just need to respect everyone and be considerate of their situation and others’. If people took this consideration, then maybe incidents where an attendee getting taken to the hospital and possibly missing one of their favorite’ bands set would happen less often.

****rant over****

As for the actual show, Tigers Jaw ripped through a vast collection of their songs, new and old, sounding pretty tight on both. Their older songs definitely packed more of a punch given the intensity and nostalgic value for many of the fans, while the new songs shined in maturity and progression as a band. The new songs, more or less the first time I heard many of them, definitely enticed me to listen to them on record (as the album had just come out a few days prior). They are perfect for the summer; elegantly pleasant and perfect for a nice night cruising down a lake.

Tigers Jaw just released Spin on Black Cement and can be found just about anywhere in the vast new world on streaming platforms (maybe not Grooveshark).          

Festival Coverage

Artist Profile: Priests


If you’ve been to Hopscotch before, you know that sometimes the best shows are the ones you weren’t planning to go to. The bands whose names your eyes skipped over when perusing the schedule, simply due to unfamiliarity.

Washington DC’s Priests probably don’t care if you have no idea who they are. In the 80’s, DC gave rise to a legendary punk scene – but that doesn’t matter because Priests’ members (vocalist Katie Alice Greer and hip-name band mates Daniele Daniele and G. L. Jaguar) weren’t born yet.

Priests are a relatively new band, with only a few releases since 2012, most notably a full length release this summer, ominously titled Bodies and Control and Money and Power. While punk bands are a dime a dozen these days, and at times the genre can seem played out, Priests have gained some well-deserved attention for their energetic live shows and their politically charged lyrics.

Bodies clocks in at less than 20 minutes but it doesn’t let up once. That’s the same kind of overt energy and in-your-face attitude that you can expect from a Priests live show. Greer takes the stage like a woman possessed (is there an exorcism joke in here somewhere?) while her band mates contort and exhort their respective instruments with an eerily focused intensity. Punk done well is a visceral, raw, crazy experience, and Priests will surely deliver when they play at Deep South on Friday.

-Meggs Benedict

New Album Review

Fresh outta high school, Astro Cowboy releases Hedonism Colosseum

Wilmington indie rockers, Astro Cowboy, released their first full length album last weekend titled Hedonism Colosseum. Complete with a release party at Bourgie Nights in Wilmington on July 12th, the band handed out a hundred free copies of their album and also released it on bandcamp the following day. 

Hedonism Colosseum explores the feelings, relationships, drama, and juvenile joy of being in high school. As the band writes on their bandcamp page: 

“Remember when you thought that high school was going to last forever? When you thought that it was the apex of real? Every relationship, decision, and action you made, you thought was going to remain relevant and important for the rest of your life? This album is the result of those feelings.”

Hedonism Colosseum album art

The album features 10 brand new, original songs. It includes the heavier, punk influenced songs like “White Shoes“ and ”Suntan“ which share a similar sound with the band’s first EP Rat-Man Vann, but on more than a couple tracks, such as “Inhale” and “Goodbye, A.E.G.” the band takes instrumental explorations with intricate guitar riffs and drum fills that sound reminiscent of Modest Mouse’s The Lonesome Crowded West.  

All in all this is a very solid record, and my only complaint is that it’s not longer! Clocking in at 40 minutes, the end of this album leaves the listener wanting more. 

Astro Cowboy follows the release of their album with an East Coast tour supporting fellow Wilmington band, Museum Mouth.

Local Music Music News and Interviews

Local Artist of the Month: Whatever Brains


When it comes to describing Raleigh’s experimental punk outfit Whatever Brains, quite a few things come to mind. The band dabbles into plenty of unfamiliar territories for a band that most would pigeonhole into the “punk” category, one the band doesn’t even sound too privy to. Rather, they see themselves firmly within the realm of modern electronic music, morphing together elements from aggressive rock like punk and garage while melding in elements of psych-rock to create a caustic conglomeration of sounds. For our November Artist of the Month feature I sat down with Whatever Brains to talk a bit about the music that inspires them, their opinions on the North Carolina punk scene, and what we can expect from the band in the future.

What resulted was a spastic interview that covered everything from the band’s origins with local music to their favorite cereal and youtube videos. The conversation is a bit indicative of what you can expect from the band’s music, regardless of how the direction you’re taking with it you know that you’re in for something that’s entertaining. While Whatever Brains’ past three untitled full-lengths have displayed a gradual progression from spastic punk stand-outs to electronically leaning front-runners, the band’s humility continually shines through. Whether you’re looking to find out about the band’s upcoming release, slated to be a “rock opera” split-single, or to hear about what they’re listening to in their free time, our Local Artist of the Month feature pinpoints what makes Whatever Brains tick.

Vocalist Rich Ivey delves into his songwriting process and the importance of lyrics while one of the band’s numerous keyboardists William Evans tackles the topics of contemporary influences. For the next forty minutes you can immerse yourself in our off-kilt conversations about the past, present and future of one of the region’s most underrated acts, Whatever Brains.

Concert Review

Abuse. Record Release/Hounds of Hate/Violent Reaction

Tuesday night at The Maywood was a totally killer show. Featured on the bill were Abuse. (Raleigh’s own power violence trio), Child Support (Raleigh hardcore – first show), Pennsylvanian straight edge-cool-dudes  Hounds of Hate, and U.K.’s straight edge punks Violent Reaction.

Child Support were not bad at all for it being their first show. They definitely ruled and brought a decent mosh! Probably the coolest first show I’ve ever seen. The vocalist is a high school kid who goes nuts running around, pushing everyone violently away as he rushes through the crowd. Definitely looking forward to future shows.

After Child Support were Violent Reaction, a straight edge hardcore punk band from the UK with a hint of Oi!. Glad to see a band bringing a taste of their homeland sound over to the States. This band ruled!

Violent Reaction – Photo by Will Butler, used by permission

After Violent Reaction were Hounds of Hate. These dudes bring a fresh  sound to oldschool 90’s NYHC. Reminded me a lot of Cro-Mags or Sick of It All. They have their new self-titled LP out on Painkiller records. Check it out!

Last but not least was Abuse. These dudes always put on a great show, pumping out song after song of brutal, unforgivable power violence. Abuse. just put out a 7" on Hygiene Records, owned by Jordan of Priapus. Be sure to check that out!


Concert Preview

Damaged City Fest

For those of you who have no idea about modern punk bands, there’s an insane fest coming up that definitely destroys most punk shows I’ve seen popping up recently. Damaged City Fest is a huge fest taking place in DC (get it?) on April 12th and 13th at St. Stephen’s Church. And coolest of all, Double Negative (Raleigh hardcore) is playing.

At the top of the poster is legendary hardcore punk band Negative Approach, whose song ‘Ready To Fight’ has been covered by literally half of the good bands I’ve seen in my life, if that says anything. Dropdead sits at the top as well – their plain-looking logo says nothing about how brutal the band is. Last time I saw Dropdead was in DC with Magrudergrind – they definitely play harder than most younger dudes.

Double Negative (Raleigh’s own hardcore outfit) earns a top spot as well on the poster. Their psyched-out style of hardcore has earned them a much-deserved, worldwide reputation.

Prisoner Abuse, a band that has been receiving a lot of hype recently, is playing as well, featuring the vocalist from Think I Care. Other bands I’m definitely looking forward to are Sick Fix, Tenement, and Ilsa.

This fest is being put on by cool dudes for cool dudes, so if you’re a cool dude, it would only make sense if you went and supported the Raleigh and DC scenes.