Chuck Ragan returns in force with Till Midnight [Music Album Review]

Band: Chuck Ragan Album: Till Midnight Label: SideOneDummy // Release Date: March 25, 2014 // Produced by: Christopher Thorn Rating: Review by: Bill Jones As Chuck Ragan releases his fourth full-length studio album, there is not a whole lot left to be said about the solo efforts of the singer-songwriter from Hot Water Music. His music has been consistently forceful and engaging, and Till Midnight is no exception. From the outset of the album’s opener, “Something May Catch Fire,” Ragan’s bellowing vocal approach commands the same attention it always has. The lyrics, often about love, continue to offer a great Continue reading

Gaslight Anthem doesn’t dig very deep for B-Sides [Music Album Review]

Band: The Gaslight Anthem Album: The B-Sides Label: SideOneDummy // Release Date: Jan. 28, 2014 Rating: Review by: Bill Jones When The Gaslight Anthem released The ‘59 Sound, I would have wagered copious amounts of money that they would become the next big thing to come out of the punk rock scene. And in a manner of speaking they did, but the music didn’t keep up with the band’s meteoric rise. Everything that made The ‘59 Sound an exciting album was rehashed almost to the letter on the 2010 follow-up, American Slang. And then Handwritten barely even seemed worth attention. Continue reading

Mustard Plug can’t retain it on seventh album [Album Review]

Band: Mustard Plug Album: Can’t Contain It Label: No Idea Records // Release Date: Jan. 14, 2014 // Tracked by: Cold War Studios // Engineered at: Blasting Room Rating: Review by: Bill Jones Maybe it was lack of any real expectations, but when Mustard Plug released its sixth studio album, In Black and White, in 2007 — roughly 15 years after its Skapocalypse Now! debut — it was a true surprise. The Michigan band, already well into its existence, delivered its finest full album to date. It was a refreshingly edgy sound by Mustard Plug standards, while maintaining and rejuvenating Continue reading

Bayside’s Cult a return to form

Band: Bayside Album: Cult Label: Hopeless Records // Release Date: Feb. 18, 2014 // Produced by: Shep Goodman, Aaron Accetta Rating: Review by: Bill Jones Bayside has built its name on several things — an identifiable brand of key and time changes, the shredding guitar work of Jack O’Shea and the distinct vocal stylings of Anthony Raneri, who harnesses the likes of Smoking Popes and Alkaline Trio when it comes to songwriting, in particular with choruses that don’t play much like what rock fans traditionally expect from choruses. And fans who wonder if the quartet’s latest jump to Hopeless Records Continue reading