LIFESTYLE #YELPLESS | Dayna Drum blindly explores the east-meetswest cuisine of Little Sister restaurant, sans Yelp!
MUSIC Intro to So Calâ€™s Hardcore Community | Chris Pigao highlights this thriving, yet misunderstood L.A. subculture.
HIGHLIGHTS ISSUES | Asking Alexandria, The Neighbourhood The Maine | Best Coast and much more!
VOLUME 01 // ISSUE 01 April 2016 acentricmagazine.com
ANGELICA NICOLLE ABALOS Founder, Editor-in-Chief
DAYNA DRUM Managing Editor
NINA CALABRETTA CARLY EVANS Copy Editors
BRANDON ARCHER SHANNON DODSON MARTIN FREDRICK RYAN PANNY CHRIS PIGAO DEANNA SOUKIASIAN Writers
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NICOLE BUSCH MEGAN MEAD ANDI SAKOWSKI Contributors
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#YELPLESS: LITTLE SISTER Dayna Drum
INSTAGRAM JOURNEY: TOP 5 PLACES Andi Sakowski
ARTIST ALERT: ALEX MCDONELL Martin Fredrick
THE MIRACLE MILE: A SATURDAY Shannon Dodson
ALBUM REVIEWS Brandon Archer, Deanna Soukiasian, Angelica Nicolle Abalos, Ryan Panny
INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY Chris Pigao
Q&A: DEAP VALLY’S LINDSEY TROY Deanna Soukiasian
HIGHLIGHTS: LIVE PHOTO GALLERY Zoe Dillman, Amanda Huerta, Brittany Isaacson, Megan Mead, Carolina Rivera, Brianna Stacy, Zeltzin Vazquez, Caleb Yee
Photo by Amanda Sakowski 5
A salute to a time when we didn’t choose dinner destinations based on raving reviews. Food lover, Dayna Drum, will remain sans Yelp to add a little mystery back into this taste-filled love affair.
Words by Dayna Drum
Little Sister 523 W 7th, Los Angeles 90014 littlesisterla.com $$
et me preface this by saying that I have never felt like more of a newb at a restaurant before. Most times that I’ve been to some type of Asian restaurant I have had someone with me that confidently tells me what to order, and I happily oblige. This time, my date and I were equally confused looking at the single page menu of Asian Fusion dishes. All of the dishes at Little Sister are meant for sharing and the waitress suggested we go with four items. But I like to leave a trail of broken rules behind me at all times, so we went with three instead. Pacifying our carnivorous natures and fairly confident in our blind picking, we settled on all meat dishes. We were sat at the Chef’s bar where we got to see one of the chefs making various dishes, so we were definitely entertained while waiting for our food. Maybe he was just showing off for us, but the chef kept using a blowtorch to heat up spoons. Or maybe he really gets to do that all night long and I’m in the wrong profession.
The small dining room was crowded for a Wednesday night. The low-light atmosphere and communal tables suggest the proprietors don’t want you to shy away from your neighbor. The Balinese Fried Meatballs with cilantro-mint chutney and pickled okra was the first dish to arrive. The meatballs on their own had just the right crunch from the fried outer layer, and paired with the sweet and spicy chutney, they were delicious. The Bo Kho with marrow, tendons, oxtail and rib meat came next. Figuring out how to eat this took longer than I would care to admit, and it might have involved telling the waitress that we hadn’t ordered it. She told us we had. Once we found a rhythm, the bo kho was pretty tasty. There was no shortage of tender meat inside coupled with soft tomatoes and sliced red chilis, which gave it a pleasant, spicy aftertaste. A fresh baguette with butter and marrow paste was served on the side, as well as a citrus dipping sauce. This sauce was shocking, and it was the only thing in our spread that I can’t say I was a fan of. By far my favorite item was the red-braised pork belly with crispy shiitake on top of a leek fondue. The pork belly was cooked to perfection and, to my surprise, the leek fondue was fantastic. Each of the dishes were unique and full of flavor, with little spices hidden in every bite. My date said his palette was so overwhelmed that he didn’t know what to do. So although Little Sister started out bumpy, I can definitely say it finished strong.
#YELPLESS | LIFESTYLE
INSTAGRAM JOURNEY: TOP FIVE PLACES Photos and words by Andi Sakowski
I started my journey on Instagram in August of 2014 and with that, I have been able to explore some of the most beautiful places and as well as make lifelong friends. I have combined my adventurous heart and love a photography to create what I hope becomes a career. Here are the top five places I have been lucky enough to visit within the last year.
MUIR WOODS NATIONAL MONUMENT I recently took a trip to Muir Woods with my best friends from home while visiting UC Davis
for one of their 21st birthdays. The weather was telling us not go as it had been raining all weekend and our trip to Point Reyes the day before was fog filled, but we decided to make the drive anyway. Thankfully we did. Although it was pouring, the trees provided a canopy and turned the rain into a drizzle. The Redwood trees smelled absolutely amazing and the rain gave the forest a Pacific Northwest vibe. If I could have bottled up the scent and taken it home with me, I would have. I didnâ€™t get as many photos as I would have liked, but it was nice to just enjoy the trees and spend some time with friends I donâ€™t get to see often. Muir Woods is great whether you want to take a nice stroll with your family or do some serious hiking on the back trails.
LIFESTYLE | INSTAGRAM JOURNEY: TOP 5 PLACES
BIG SUR — I have been able to go to Big Sur three times within the last year and a half, but I still have the urge to go back. Its beauty is unlike anything you will ever see, which makes a road
trip on Highway 1 a bucket list item. I have driven both north and south on the famous road, but I recommend the south route as you are able to take in the stunning coastline much better. The key to Big Sur is taking your time and that is what I have done each time. My most recent trip was with my best friend on our way to UC Davis, the same trip where we went to Muir Woods, and we took every opportunity to explore the rugged coast. We stopped at every turn out and even found some hidden spots below the road. I will continue to make this drive over and over again, bringing new people along to experience the beauty of the California coast.
We spent every bit of daylight in the park exploring, taking photos, but not forgetting to take in the beauty as it looks like it is straight out of a postcard.
YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK My family used to visit Yosemite once a year around New Year’s Day, which means that I have
only seen it in the snow and I would not mind keeping it that way. I believe that snow makes anything ten times more beautiful and although it may seem hard to make Yosemite any better than it is, the snow does the trick. Recently, I did a 24 hour road trip for an Instameet hosted by my friends @jaredsphotos and @anthaang and like Muir Woods, the weather didn’t look promising. The forecast called for a 100% chance of snow, but we decided to make the trek anyway. We packed up the car at 2 am with my friend, @cblightfoot, whom I met through Instagram, his daughter, and two new friends. Once we arrived at the park, after driving through some snow falling, the clouds began to break and blue skies were the new forecast. We spent every bit of daylight in the park exploring, taking photos, but not forgetting to take in the beauty as it looks like it is straight out of a postcard. Anyone you meet who has been to this park will recommend it over and over. It isn’t my number one as it is a bit touristy, but it is a must see in your lifetime kind of park.
INSTAGRAM JOURNEY: TOP 5 PLACES | LIFESTYLE
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK — The trip to Olympic National Park was a little last minute as I had just flown into Seattle two hours earlier, but there was no way I was going to turn down this
opportunity. My friend, @andrewtkearns, had an extra spot in his car and offered to drive into the city to pick me up with the purpose of filming some footage for @ mrtommyblades new promo video. Like most trips for Instagram, we were aiming for sunset at Hurricane Ridge. With that, the drive up the mountain was incredible as the warm summer sun began to hit the peaks and break through the trees in front of us. Deer were plentiful is this park and I got up close and personal with one for a photo op, which I assume was not within the legal limit. It was an easy going evening as we filmed and had the opportunity to meet some people I knew of from Instagram. The sunset was reminiscent of a Southern California one as the sky turned pink and orange, which the native Washingtonians claimed as one of the best they had seen in awhile.
NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK The North Cascades have been by far my favorite place I have visited. A few days after our trip to
Olympic National Park, Andrew picked me up along with a few friends I was traveling with and we headed up a few hours north. This trip showed me the true generosity of most photographers you will meet on Instagram. Andrew had to drive south to downtown Seattle to pick us up, back up north, south again to drop us off, and then back north to where he lives. I still can’t even thank him enough for driving out of his way to show us a little piece of his beautiful state. While driving through this park, I was in awe of its beauty. The otherworldly green water of Diablo lake and the picturesque peaks of Liberty Bell made the three hour drive beyond worth it. I highly recommend this National Park as there aren’t many tourists and the park remains very untouched, yet accessible.
LIFESTYLE | INSTAGRAM JOURNEY: TOP 5 PLACES
ARTIST ALERT: ALEX MCDONELL Words by Martin Fredrick Photos by Alex McDonell
oin the squad”, a pitch that – although simple in meaning –carries much weight in today’s generation of emerging businesses. Such a phrase can be found in the biography section of the @feelingsbyalex Instagram account, a prominently dad hat-focused merchandise company designed by creator Alex McDonell. Based in Los Angeles, feelings first took to social media in late July of 2015 with three-to-six piece photo spreads that lay across its Instagram feed creating a singular image full of color and simplicity. Whatever branding it intended was left to its followers’ imaginations – images included french fries, one large cotton candy, color-cased pills and a swimming pool full of inflatable flamingos. What soon followed by late October/early November were the first samples of “feelings” hats brought to life by the man himself. But before we venture into the man’s taste in fashion accessories, let us explore what makes Alex a standout artist in a field that is saturated by others trying to make a quick buck. Like many artists of the 21st century, photography became Alex’s staple form of creativity. With his first photos posted circa 2013 on the most popular form of visual communication, Instagram, Alex captured moments of quirkiness by humans surrounded by eye-capturing environments. Many of the images seemed staged and understandable indeed, however his knack for timing made such moments also seem so natural that it could have been a distant memory of my own. His unique vision in photography – which is
considered to have been before its time, meaning what is constantly seen now – led him to the set of Big Sean’s music video “I Don’t Fuck With You”, off his Platinumcertified album Dark Sky Paradise (2015). Alex revealed his involvement with the video on Instagram with behind-the-scene photos of Big Sean and Kanye West on set of the shooting. It coud be assumed from that moment Alex McDonell was feeling like he was nearing that “finally famous, nigga” point in his life. Yet, there was so much more for this aspiring creative. He then followed this act in collaborations with Raesremmurd, Neff Clothing, Yellow Claw, Nike Football, Jaden Smith, Pacsun and G-Eazy – brands that have made a name in their own respective work. If you continue to scroll up his feed, you will see image after image of captivating movements and color that reflect the kind of photos he took three years ago, but with a noticeable evolution in every new post. Each one ultimately led to his unveiling of feelings, a hatdriven business that emerged during a time lucrative for fashion entrepreneurs, specifically hat ones. The reveal included a three-piece collection of hats piled on top of each other in denim blue, tan and light pink. To no amazement, Alex failed to conform to many of today’s start-up marketing strategies. Instead of attaching a popular face to the brand or involving half-naked women, Alex built legitimate campaigns for his product. He envisioned and created stages with vibrant color and filled it with people that oddly fit the scene to perfection. He then elevated the level of production with simplistic video promotions of his subjects dancing on camera to The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction”. These descriptions alone are unable to give justice to the style of marketing he employs throughout his campaigns. However, many are beginning to realize that his style of marketing is not a style more or less his actual personality when dealing with art. His creativity has brought him to work with other unique visionaries such as Austin Simkins, a director, photographer and founder of Salty State Collective –
ARTIST ALERT: ALEX MCDONELL | LIFESTYLE
Like many artists of the 21st century, photography became Alex’s staple form of creativity. With his first photos posted circa 2013 on the most popular form of visual communication, Instagram, Alex captured moments of quirkiness by humans surrounded by eye-capturing environments. projects include directed and edited music video of “She Go” by Skipper featuring Jay Ant (produced by IAMSU!). Alex has also worked with Dante Marshall – also known as Dante Digital – who was featured in a recent Wells Fargo campaign honoring creatives of the African American Community. He has acknowledged early in his career as a businessman that one avenue of work isn’t enough for a person who began his journey with art. Because art takes many forms and Alex McDonell is discovering just that. Although young in the hat game, the feelings brand is welcomed with open arms by much of the company’s audience. Even actress Keke Palmer, who recently performed in the live television version of “Grease” on Fox, was seen repping a feelings cap. Remember not to limit Alex’s work to only dad hats because you’ll probably take an L for that. But do keep your eyes on his brand feelings, for more R&B/Soul artists are popping up that might force you to carry your heart on your hat and sleeve. Plus, he has a pretty sweet color palate of hats to choose from. Stay tuned for what’s to come from Alex McDonell as an entrepreneur, a feelings supporter and as an artistic visionary. Follow Alex on Social Media Twitter: @thealexmcdonell Instagram: @_alexmcdonell Feelings Brand Instagram: @feelingsbyalex Online Store: www.feelingsbyalex.com.
LIFESTYLE | ARTIST ALERT: ALEX MCDONELL
THE MIRACLE MILE: A SATURDAY
Photos and words by Shannon Dodson
here’s a lot of things your average Orange Countian could do in the OC with their next free Saturday, but when you want to do something special, something adventurous – the cool thing to do is go to LA and pretend to be cool. For someone who doesn’t actually live in Los Angeles, though, trying to see the LA sights can be hard to manage when you GoogleMap it only to find that your chosen spots are all half an hour from each other. Yikes. But fear not, non-LA-dwellers: pick an LA neighborhood to metaphorically drill down into and soon your Instagram will be just as hip as everyone else’s. Next time the weather’s good, (which is always) take your most fuel-efficient car and a few friends down the I-10 and plant yourself in the Miracle Mile. You can start the day with brunch from Republique on La Brea Avenue. It’s a sweet hipster cafe by day but a fancy French restaurant/bar by evening. Don’t be scared off by a long line when you get there. The dine-in and take-out lines are combined, and it’s bigger inside than it looks, so there’s plenty of seating. And it’s worth the wait: their hot dishes are delish and so are their pastries displayed just so in the glass case. The ambiance inside is delightful, with multiple large skylights and community tables and a mix of new and old architecture. Of course, if for some reason kale-gruyere-asparagus quiche, cranberry-marmalade bread pudding, and
blood orange mimosas aren’t your cup of tea, you can pop across the street to La Brea Bakery for some more American-style breakfast foods. Just a few minutes’ drive from Republique is the LA County Museum of Art. LACMA’s collection covers an impressive range of styles, centuries, and continents. It’s always got cool new exhibits, too, though they may cost extra – just check online or ask when you get your ticket. The current popular exhibit is Random International’s Rain Room, but it’s so popular its pre-reserved tickets are sold out right up until it leaves in May. There’s plenty of other limited time exhibits to see, though, if you can’t get into Rain Room. One of the free ones is James Turrell’s Breathing Light. (You know, the one Drake f*cks with.) You’ll have to check in at one of the iPads near the entrance to reserve a time to see it, and the whole experience feels kind of like walking into an episode of Star Trek. But it’s one of the good episodes, not the ones where someone turns into a lizard or walks around without a brain. Trust me. Due to the recent opening of The Broad Museum in DTLA, whose collection used to be housed at LACMA, the LACMA is in some transition. Much of their contemporary building was closed off when I was last there to make way for new installations. Even so, that’s only a tiny bit compared to their permanent collection. Depending on how much time you have to spend at the museum, you may or may not see everything they have to offer. Highlights and best Instagram photo-op spots
THE MIRACLE MILE: A SATURDAY | LIFESTYLE
include Michael Heizer’s Levitated Mass, around the back side; Matisse’s La Gerbe, in the Ahmanson Building; Chris Burden’s Urban Light, along Wilshire Boulevard; and Jesús Rafael Soto’s Penetrable in the Plaza. The area around LACMA on the Miracle Mile is called Museum Row – there’s even a Snapchat geofilter for it. You can pick from any of the museums that strike your fancy: The Petersen Automotive Museum, La Brea Tar Pits and Museum, Craft and Folk Art Museum, and LACMA are all within walking distance from each other. Spend a whole day or spend a few hours taking in all the history, art, or cars. Keep an eye out for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Museum, which is set to open across the street from LACMA in 2017. When you get hungry, The Farmers Market is only another short drive (and search for parking) away. There you can pick from a huge variety of food – I tried the Cajun food from The Gumbo Pot, and my friends went for falafel from Moishes. There’s definitely something that’ll make everyone in your group happy. Pro Tip: head up the stairs near Magee’s Kitchen for less crowded seating. The Farmers Market is connected to The Grove, so take a spin through there to let your lunch digest and do some of your mid-to-high-end shopping, all while keeping an eye out for celebs (sightings not guaranteed). And if you’re not tired yet, the Miracle Mile is also home to a lot of other things. But one personal favorite of Yours Truly is Whimsic Alley – a store designed to look like Diagon Alley, featuring merch from Harry Potter, Doctor Who, Supernatural, Sherlock and Tolkien fandoms. Check their Facebook page for upcoming nerdy events like book signings and their annual Yule Ball. You can stop on your way down the street for an afternoon pick-me-up at Black Dog Coffee or Milk Jar Cookies. You can always leave the Miracle Mile entirely, if something else strikes your fancy, but even that can be interesting when your GPS takes you through the hilly, hidden neighborhoods I can only dream of living in (someday, someday). But if you want to stay in the area, you can end your day with a show. While the iconic Troubadour isn’t technically in the Miracle Mile, it’s only a hop, skip, and a jump northwest up to Santa Monica Boulevard. The Wiltern and The El Rey are both on Wilshire east of LACMA. Post-show, treat yo’ self to an empanada at El Diner next door to the El Rey. It’s greasy, delicious, satisfying, and a little overpriced – kinda like Los Angeles itself. Waze yourself back home fully content with your social network-worthy day, and remember not to Instagram and drive.
LIFESTYLE | THE MIRACLE MILE: A SATURDAY
THE WORD ALIVE // GRAND PRAIRIE, TX Photo by Zoe Dillman 15
SUPERDUPERKYLE // MADISON, WI Photo by Grant Brooks
ALBUM REVIEWS lyrical content of the album is primarily based on Urie’s life prior to his marriage in 2013 (hence the title “Death of a Bachelor”).
Artist: Panic! At The Disco Album: Death of a Bachelor Release Date: January 15, 2016 Reviewer: Brandon Archer
anic! At the Disco, a pop-rock band from Las Vegas, NV, has recently released their fifth studio album, “Death of a Bachelor.” It was released on Jan. 15, through DCD2 and Fueled by Ramen records. The album has earned them the top spot on the Billboard top 200, and rightfully so. Unlike previous releases, frontman Brendon Urie, is the primary songwriter. Writing the majority of the content as well as playing the majority of the instruments on the album, Urie has greatly showcased his growth as a musician and as a songwriter. “Death” is a great follow up to Panic!’s 2013 release “Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die”, in that it continues to show to listeners growth and maturity in their sound. With this album almost being a complete pop album (with exceptions of the songs “Crazy=Genius” and “Golden Days”), it showcases major jazz influences. Which shouldn’t be too surprising, due to the fact that Urie has stated in multiple interviews his love for Frank Sinatra and jazz music in general. The
MUSIC | ALBUM REVIEWS
The album opens up with the the track “Victorious”, a fun pop song that will have every listener singing along by the end of the song. This song sets the the overall tone for the first half of the album. It gives listeners fun, head bobbing sing-a-longs that anyone could proudly blast through their speakers. The album takes a slight turn with the title track “Death of a Bachelor”. A slower pop song that greatly showcases Brendon Urie’s jazz influences by using subtle samples of old big bands from the 1920’s. While adding a dominant, yet fantastically arranged horn section to the track, the song holds a classic jazzy vibe while the bass line and percussion help the track maintain its overall pop sound. Urie’s heavy jazz influences carry over to the next track “Crazy=Genius”, a straight swing song with a fun drum beat that will get anyone out of their seat and onto the nearest dance floor. Though the song is primarily a swing song, it offers a refreshing twist with the addition of distorted rock guitars in the chorus which elevates the song to a new level. The use of guitars carry out through the next few songs, adding contrast and overall depth to the album. Tracks like “Golden Days” and “The Good, the Bad and the Dirty” show clear influences from classic rock, slightly reminding the older Panic! fans of the “Fever” and “Pretty. Odd.” days. The album comes to an end with the track “Impossible Year”, a song that further showcases Urie’s love for Frank Sinatra and jazz music in general. “Impossible Year” is a strong, dramatic ending song that stands out from the rest of the album in that it is just piano, horns and vocals. This last song undeniably leaves the listener wanting more. Overall I would say that this is a strong album, and personally one of my favorite Panic! At the Disco releases. The jazz and classic rock influences infused with modern pop show transition and maturity in Panic’s sound. I can see some fans being disappointed due to the fact it’s sound is steering further from their earlier albums such as “A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out” and “Pretty. Odd”. But regardless, this album is solid. I would highly recommend this album to anyone who’s never heard of Panic! and to those who, like myself, have grown up listening to their music.
PLANTS // SANTA FE SPRINGS, CA Photo by Angelica NIcolle Abalos 19
Monkees and The Beach Boys. An excellent feel-good throwback to when rock was in its infancy. This makes me want to pop in an old movie and bask in the nostalgia. “Swamp Descent” is a short and funky mostly instrumental tune that mixes some surf vibes and futuristic synth and just carries you away to another planet. The song that spoke to me the most was definitely “Engineer Says”, not saying it was my favorite…but it was pretty close… like really, really close. This track has a New Orleans blues/jazz feel to it,which rocked me super hard. With the death and love in this song, I could only relate this track to the New Orleans Jazz/Zydeco king himself, Dr. John.
Artist: Dr. Dog Album: The Psychedelic Swamp Release Date: February 5, 2016 Reviewer: Deanna Soukiasian
r. Dog is a Psychedelic Rock crew hailing from Pennsylvania. The current group lineup consists of Toby Leaman (bass), Scott McMkicken (lead guitar), Frank McElroy (rhythm guitar), Zach Miller (keyboard), Eric Slick (drums), and Dimitri Manos (multiple instruments).
This fusion of retro and neoteric beats confuses me, and I like that. Each song on “The Psychedelic Swamp” is better than the last. This album is seemingly cohesive, the arrangement and transitions are almost perfect, and it was balanced. I actually ended up falling in love with “The Psychedelic Swamp”. I took a risk and bought this album I had never heard of, and it paid off big time. I urge you to pick up a copy on your next trip to the record store. You won’t regret it.
Originally Dr. Dog came about when Toby Leaman and Scott McMicken started playing music together in junior high. They opted to only play original works rather than cover other artists’ work, and even today, they maintain a purely unique sound and image. I had no idea what I was getting into when I went in search of some new tunes at my favorite record store. I took a chance on a random new arrival that looked cool, and it was probably the best decision I have made in an exceedingly long time. This brand new album is actually a re-visit of their very first album with the same name. Previously owning a lo-fi sound, they have polished up their recordings but have stayed true to their style of folksie sweetness. It’s an impossible task for me to pick a favorite song off this album because each one is so different. However, there are a few songs that particularly appeal to me. “Fire On My Back” has a seriously 60’s pop feel, with some retro chord progressions and the choral workings of The
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ALBUM REVIEWS | MUSIC
the highway or in the quiet of one’s own home. Hands Like Houses fully embrace a movement towards a more heavier, darker sound than their previous releases, and successfully accomplish this task without losing any lyrical integrity. It is evident that Dissonants is an excellent, highenergy album created by a band that is ready to take the world by storm.
Artist: Hands Like Houses Album: Dissonants Release Date: February 26, 2016 Reviewer: Angelica Nicolle Abalos
ustralian rock band Hands Like Houses are back with a new 12-track studio album titled Dissonants, set to release on Feb. 26. For this album, vocalist Trenton Woodley, lead guitarist Matt Cooper, rhythm guitarist/backing vocalist Alexander Pearson, bass guitarist Joel Tyrrell, and drummer Matt Parkitny found themselves working once more with producer James Paul Wisner and Erik Ron. With Dissonants releasing almost four months later from its original release date (Oct. 2015), the extra time spent in the studio was undoubtedly well worth the wait. While the word “dissonant” is defined as lacking harmony, unmelodious, or cacophonous, this album is anything but. Hands Like Houses’ new record is not one set on being a compilation of musical dissonance, but rather, is an anthemic album that defines what it means to be dissonant. The three singles preceding the album, “I Am”, “Colourblind”, and “New Romantics”, only merely scratch the surface of what Dissonants encompasses and has to offer. The blend of striking musicianship on this album is incredibly well done. The ethereal sounds and crisp vocals provide songs for fans to sing out wholeheartedly. No matter the setting, this record demands to be sung, or screamed out, in a packed out stadium, driving along
MUSIC | ALBUM REVIEWS
Dissonants carries a unique sound and vibe throughout the album. Each instrument has been highlighted in such a way that listeners can pick them out individually without any one instrument being overshadowed by the others. Trenton Woodley’s distinct, clean vocals especially ring through the instrumentation in its own remarkable way. The album flows flawlessly well as a unified piece; no song feels out of place as they seamlessly fade into each other. When played on repeat, a new listener would find it a difficult task to tell where the album starts and ends, which, in this case, is not a bad thing. Though the Dissonants carries a consistent sound, it is anything but repetitive. Right from the get-go, Dissonants starts off with a strong first track that demands attention. “I Am” begins with a distinctive guitar riff and distant drum beat that lures the listener in before immediately bursting into raging instrumentals. To say “I Am” sets the tone for the rest of record would be an understatement; Dissonants only gets better from here. Throughout the album, Woodley’s lyrics touch on the struggles in life, one’s journey through dark times and pushing through to overcome obstacles throws in your way. “Perspectives” showcases tension in a person’s relationship. As lyrics such as “all my life, I’ve tried letting you inside… you just don’t get it” are screamed to no end, this song can easily be identified with for those feeling misunderstood. “New Romantics” continues on with hard-hitting instrumentals, and highlights bassist Joe Tyrrel’s bold, groovy beats. There is a wonderful balance of calm and chaos that builds up into an eccentric storm. “Glasshouse” is filled with thrashing instrumentals and booming beats. Listener’s are uplifted as they sing at the top of their lungs – “I will say I was brave until the sky collapsed on me / Can you hear the thunder in my chest?” Riding on the momentous waves created by the preceding tracks, “Stillwater” is filled with chilling lyrics and Woodley’s sharp, cutting vocals and can be considered an anthem for the underdogs. Dissonants rages on into a “Momentary” stillness, but does not come up short of delivering a powerful punch as the band takes the album down a more mellow route. Even these toned down songs show a perfected and intricate production
TONIGHT ALIVE // NEW YORK, NY Photo by Carolina Rivera 23
that only adds to the story they aim to tell. The album finishes up in the same way it began: boldly, full of energy and filled with emotion. Hands Like Houses has shown themselves worthy of the spotlight and all attention they have been getting, and they have only begun to show us just what they are capable of. Dissonants is proof that it’s better to get it right than to get it done. They definitely got it right with this album, and there is no doubt that they’re not done yet. The future looks bright for Hands Like Houses, so don’t sleep on this album and keep an eye out for their next big move.
be considered successful or “selling out.” Limitless, regardless of the verdict, is clear evidence of a maturing band as it breaks new ground and showcases a group that is willing and able to defy genre limitations. Compared to their previous releases, Tonight Alive takes a sharp turn towards a more mainstream sound with Limitless. From the first few moments of the opening track, listeners will notice the obvious change in sound. The album leans towards being more pop heavy with the amount of electronic influence on each track. It is overwhelmingly uplifting with airy, atmospheric synths included in the band’s instrumentation, Jenna McDougall’s elevating vocals, and the empowering anthemic lyrics spread throughout. Listening to Limitless as a whole begins with a burst of energy that lulls into an array of calmer melodies to contrast the explosive, upbeat moments. The tracks range from mellow ethereal/atmospheric sounds to catchy pop tunes, each erupting into a full chorus. There are moments of calm in between overwhelming instrumentation with Jenna’s vocals uniquely highlighted throughout the album.
Artist: Tonight Alive Album: Limitless Release Date: March 4, 2016 Reviewer: Angelica Nicolle Abalos
ustralian pop-punk quintet, Tonight Alive, recently released their third studio album Limitless on March 4. The album is filled with a variety of songs spanning a multitude of musical genres. Seeming rather ambitious, Limitless bears little to no resemblance to their first two albums What Are You So Scared Of? and The Other Side. Many will agree the album feels like a full force effort to reinvent their sound, and the band’s loyal fan base will be split on whether they feel Tonight Alive’s attempts should
Limitless begins with an energetic opener that descends into a valley of softer tracks. The album slowly builds from the pop tune “Drive” into the dynamic “How Does It Feel”, which may be the track closest to the familiar Tonight Alive sound on this album. Limitless then travels into more medium paced songs and hits a climax with “I Defy.” This hard-hitting track explores Jenna’s lower range of vocals and boasts a musically stirring sound, making it one of the strongest songs on the album. The album then begins its descent towards the finale with a medium-energy track, “We Are” filled with empowering lyrics on top of mellowed out instrumentation. “The Greatest” completes the album as more of a ballad, which slowly fits after the previous song. Its full acoustic intro accompanied by strings and subtle percussion makes for a perfect end to the album. Those expecting an identical follow-up to The Other Side will be completely disappointed. Limitless is an album independent of the band’s previous releases and stands on its own merits. Those willing to embrace new changes may find themselves enjoying this new release. Tonight Alive have shown maturity and growth with the risk taken to incorporate a wide variety of sounds. Though the album may not fit every listener’s taste, one thing can be agreed upon: Limitless is a clear sign that Tonight Alive have more to offer than we realize and their journey as a band has only just begun.
ALBUM REVIEWS | MUSIC
Artist: Killswitch Enage Album: Incarnate Release Date: March 11, 2016 Reviewer: Ryan Panny
ith Incarnate, the Massachusetts quintet’s seventh full-length LP, Killswitch Engage faces a similar challenge that Thrash Metal veterans Anthrax faced on last month’s For All Kings. In 2011, Anthrax’s reunion in the studio with classic-era frontman Joey Belladonna yielded Worship Music, an album that shot past its impossible hype and thrust itself into the top tier of their storied discography. But once the reunion magic fades, delivering an equally worthy follow-up is the ultimate test, one that Anthrax, by all accounts, passed with flying colors on For All Kings. Despite Killswitch Engage being part of a different generation of Metal, 2013’s Disarm the Descent was, in a sense, their Worship Music – the riveting return of original vocalist Jesse Leach that exceeded all expectations, wrestling its way into consideration for KSE’s best since 2002’s groundbreaking Alive or Just Breathing, the landmark that established a blueprint for the entire Metalcore genre. Arriving in the wake of such a triumph as Descent, Incarnate is thus a pivotal record, as the band has the opportunity to reassert their staying power, something they achieve in superb fashion here. Before the band streamed over half of Incarnate ahead of its release in true 2016 fashion, the two initial singles were “Strength of the Mind” and “Hate By Design,”
MUSIC | ALBUM REVIEWS
both quintessential Killswitch: delicate balancing acts between rage and beauty. Riff-wise, “Strength of the Mind” is pure Pantera, with an uplifting Jesse Leach chorus slapped on top, while “Hate By Design” takes an impassioned stand against the destructive legacies that prejudice and discrimination can leave, urging listeners to “redefine your life.” Both tracks undoubtedly hinted at greatness, a standard that is upheld by the majority of the remainder of the LP. The aforementioned singles – both standouts in their own right – are surrounded by a remarkably consistent track list. There’s the defiant opener “Alone I Stand,” the soaring “Cut Me Loose,” and the sludgy “It Falls On Me,” which brings sharp contrast with its desolate aesthetic. “Embrace the Journey… Upraised” is perhaps the album’s apex, boasting one of Incarnate’s most crushing guitar riffs, a chunky bass riff, and an impeccable mixture of heavy and melodic, which is perhaps Killswitch’s strongest asset when firing on all cylinders. “Until the Day” is another highlight as the band channels Colony-era In Flames for the song’s lively refrain. Elsewhere, the riffs continue a familiar Thrash worship, answered with thunderous double bass drums and the occasional blast-beat. Even when Incarnate does lose momentum, it’s not until the final pair of tracks – the relatively forgettable “We Carry On” and “Ascension” – which by then are easily forgiven. And perhaps most importantly, from a sonic standpoint, the listener has access to every instrument; the production doesn’t stray from guitarist Adam D.’s winning, accessible modern Metal formula – crystal clear and pristine without being glossy. Where Incarnate shines brightest is vocalist Jesse Leach, who outperforms himself as a clean singer, as a screamer, and as a lyricist. Lyrically, Incarnate is a deeply moving affair, transitioning from an empowering, hopeful first half to a bleak, despair-ridden second half (Leach spoke about this here). What makes his lyrics resonate with such strength is that Leach is the everyman when it comes to depression and mental illness – Incarnate finds him seeking solace in his pen and paper in the same way his fans seek solace in him. The aura surrounding Leach’s words is that of a very public exorcism of demons, of a man determined to conquer his own internal struggles through occasionally brutal but thoughtful catharsis. And his intense soul baring allows listeners to have a similarly powerful experience. By the LP’s conclusion, one particular lyric embodies the Incarnate journey for both fans and for Leach: “Ghosts of the past no longer torment me / I release the anguish.”
For more reviews, check out AcentricMagazine.com
KID CADAVER // SAN FRANCISCO, CA Photo by Samantha Toy 27
INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY Words by Christopher
Photo courtesy of Miguel Del Angel
os Angeles is a huge place inhabited by many
couldn’t get into the venues. Those bands were heavily
different people. It’s a microcosm of different
influenced from the DC and New York hardcore scenes
subcultures, ideas and is often interpreted from
and it’s straight-edge culture they abided by. Come the
outsiders as a city made to make it “big.” Whether it is
turn of the decade, the 90’s still brought bands into
film, art, writing or in this case, music, L.A. is the place
fruition like Strife, Ignite and Inside Out while other acts
to find unique and interesting subcultures, making it
such as 411, Statue, and Farside were expanding and
the “prime capital” or “the place you want to be” in the
pushing the limitation of the atypical sound of hardcore.
United States. Southern California has had a thriving
As punk rock integrated into mass media, the hardcore
punk rock and hardcore community ever since it’s
scene always stayed at a relatively low-level. Regardless
inception. Currently, the hardcore community is still
of the the mainstream attention, there were great
prevalent in the Los Angeles and greater areas, making
bands that dominated the SoCal hardcore community
it a scene that is unified by progressive minds in this
throughout the 2000’s such as Internal Affairs, Violation, Final Fight, More to Pride, Rotting Out and countless others.
subgenre of rock. There’s obvious history behind LA Hardcore & Punk Rock. There were bands ranging from the Germs, Black Flag, Descendents, Bad Religion, X, and a whole lot more that dominated the city from the late 70’s to the 80’s. These bands adopted the standard punk rock attitude and ideology. In Orange County, bands like Uniform Choice, Chain of Strength, Insted and No For An Answer were playing at small all-ages clubs for kids under 21 who
Currently, the Southern California community is still heavily active. Promoters and bookers including the likes of Crash the Clubs, SOS Booking, East 7th Punx and Suburban Fight put on shows to help both touring and local, punk and hardcore bands. These bookings happen at venues such as PBW’s, Union, Bridgetown DIY, etc., usually holding 150+ kids at most. The people involved in the community are more active, either starting bands,
INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY | MUSIC
Photo courtesy of Arron Herrera
It is commonly misrepresented as a tough, violent scene, but behind the music and aggression is the passion and the values a “hardcore” kid faces in life. taking live shots of bands, making record labels, zines, and in-turn, booking their own shows at their homes and such. What makes this community special for many is that it has maintained the core values and beliefs since its inception. It is commonly misrepresented as a tough, violent scene, but behind the music and aggression is the passion and the values a “hardcore” kid faces in life. It brings up issues such as racism, sexism, and prejudices happening in modern day society. Hardcore makes people feel unique about themselves and coming to terms with who they are. These quality characteristics that make up a person aren’t shunned in the community, rather they are accepted and well-received amongst
MUSIC | INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY
each other. A person’s gender identity, ethnic background, or sexual preferences are not what the most important issues in this scene. What matters most is promoting acceptance and tolerance for each other. The community is not a popularity contest; it doesn’t adopt the stereotypical rock star mentality. No matter who you know or what bands someone is in, these egos are put aside and everybody is treated fairly and equally. Members of hardcore bands are very humble and contribute to the community by donating the majority show proceeds to touring bands or housing them for a night or two. One of the great things that hardcore does is it promotes good-will and helping out others, even if they are not associated with the hardcore community.
SOS Booking has been putting on an annual Toy Drive fest every December for families who can’t afford Christmas gifts for their children. They get bands to play out of their own free time and an attendees admission was just to bring an unwrapped toy. In the end, it not only satisfies a child’s happiness during the holidays, it gives back to the community itself by giving a person a chance to see their favorite band. At certain instances, some bands get back together for shows to raise money for certain causes. They hold shows to raise money for keeping music venues around if they can’t keep up with a lease, medical causes like hospital bills, recovery, and rehabilitation, home damages (i.e. burned down houses), and most frequently, helping out other bands in times of need like stolen music gear or damaged tour vans. Southern California’s Hardcore scene is just as prominent as any other subculture in the Los Angeles or Greater Area. It’s more than just the music: it’s a community built on respect and acceptance.
Photo courtesy of Kiabad Meza
INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY | MUSIC
MUSIC | INTRO TO SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA’S HARDCORE COMMUNITY
BEST COAST // WASHINGTON, D.C. Photo by Krystina Gabrielle 33
Q&A: DEAP VALLY’S LINDSEY TROY They say that you shouldn’t meet your favorite band. I was terrified it would be a mistake. The real mistake was drinking the largest coffee Dunkin’ Donuts offers right before meeting up with Deap Vally’s Lindsey Troy, but meeting her was not a mistake at all. It was awesome. She is an amazingly cool human being who I had a great time hanging out with.
Deanna Soukiasian: I just wanted to know a little bit of the brief history of the band and how you guys got started.
Lindsey Troy: Well Julie and I both come from very musical backgrounds and have been in other bands and we were both at a point where we were looking to do a new project when we met so we met in a knitting store in LA where she used to work, so I went in there for a crochet class and we just really really hit it off. I kind of knew right away that she was going to be an important part of my life and we were gonna have a project together afterwards. And then after we kept in touch, and eventually she was like “do you wanna jam together” and I was like “it’s all coming together” (evil professor voice) DS: What were you guys doing before you connected and formed the band? LT: Well, I grew up doing a kind of family band type thing with my sister and my brother sometimes. And we had like a dadager (dad manager) ya know when we were younger. So there was a lot of that growing up. I had to take some time away from music to figure out that was what I really wanted to do because there was a lot of pressure on me to do that, so getting time away from it and getting to come back to it on my own terms was really important. And Julie grew up doing a lot of musical theatre; she was a theatre nerd, as she would say. So if you were to ask her about her favorite music that influenced her when she was young she would name you like nerdy musical theatre stuff. I think its cool; she’s the one who calls it nerdy. DS: Is that where the theatrics in your show and the costuming come from?
LT: Uh maybe. I don’t know, but we have a joke before we go on stage, sometimes we’ll be like “do we look showbiz 34
enough?” it’s a good joke. We just like glam, over the top costumes so yeah.
DS: Who are your musical and non-musical influences for your show, your music and life? LT: Hmm, musical influences. I like cross-genre, but growing up Abbey Road was a very influential record for me. Live through this by Hole was incredibly influential. I had a Best of Marvin Gaye record, which was a big influence. Um the doors were a big influence on me. But yea just a lot of classic rock, soul, and Motown. I’m really into folk stuff these days. The yeah yeah yeahs were a huge influence on me. Peaches is also, she’s great. DS: I saw you guy’s tour with Peaches, what was that like? LT: It was awesome! She’s so chill and just rad and down to earth and a cool person.
DS: I always picture her being at 100 all the time, just being Peaches, but is she like that? LT: Well she’s rad, she’s always rad and she’s super pro, and like I said, down to earth and kind. But when you’re on tour and especially like, she had her record coming out right as we were touring together. I mean she was busy all the time, she was always doing interviews, and sometimes you’re just really tired on tour and like answering emails and that’s just like how it goes. But when we hang out, like certain nights she could let loose a little bit more and when we hang out back in LA, she’s more rested up, and she’s like super energetic. Ya know playing a show and being on tour, it really takes it out of you. Especially when you have Q&A: DEAP VALLY’S LINDSEY TROY | MUSIC
an album that’s about to drop and back-to-back interview.
DS: I was super jealous you guys got to tour with her. LT: Yeah, she’s awesome, I love her so much. There’s no one like her.
DS: So who is someone you would really like to collaborate or tour with? LT: Oh God there’s so many people, ya know? I think Kevin Parker is like one of the most talented musicians around today, and I would love to do something with him. Also Savages, they are friends of ours, but we have so much respect for them and they are just such an incredible band. They take it so seriously, and it would be really cool to do a tour with them some day. DS: I kind of wanted to have a bit of a dialogue about gender discrepancies in the arts. Has that affected you at all?
LT: I mean like any aspect of being a female there’s certain stereotypes that ya know that you’re sometimes hit with as being other. But I think that’s becoming less and less in music. There are so many great female players these days and its really cool. Ya know there’s douchebags everywhere, that’s universal, but there’s also I’d say for the most part our experience has been overwhelmingly positive. And we are treated with the utmost respect, and it’s really cool, it’s really nice. I think what I’ve noticed the most, the prejudice that is the most hard to overcome is like if you’re dressed like “sexy”, that’s when there’s a lot of judgment thrown your way and that’s what really makes some peoples blood boil for some reason. There is something about that, the female sexuality that is incredibly incendiary, and that’s really infuriating to me, because women should be able to own their sexuality and be free with it, and not have it be a reflection on anything, like their art. So that’s a thing. There’s definitely a lot of women in music who play down their sexuality or are androgynous, which is super awesome and badass and cool and sexy in its own way. But it shouldn’t be that way for a women to be taken seriously. DS: Actually can we talk about this a little more? Have you ever felt uncomfortable on stage with your costume choices or anything or have fans ever mad you feel weird about that? LT: We’ve efinitely experienced a little bit of weird douchebag sexist journalism. And I just think that’s inevitable. Like I was talking with my friend Mish, from White Lung, they are a really rad Canadian punk band,
MUSIC | Q&A: DEAP VALLY’S LINDSEY TROY
and I played bass with him over the summer, I toured with them, But we were commenting, that there was this blog and we were just trolling on there, and we were saying that how that when you’re a women your appearance and the way you are dressed is the first thing that’s written about in a music review, which is like insane. I don’t know if that would happen with a male band.
DS: It never does! They don’t care what guys look like. LT: But that’s something that people really feel the need to comment on and it’s interesting. DS: How would you describe your show visually and sonically to someone who doesn’t know you guys? LT: I’d say Deap Vally is a very bombastic, unhinged, and visceral experience. Ya know, I think some of the beauty in what we do is it’s not super refined it’s like on the verge of like chaos and like a train about to derail. Sometimes its slightly uncomfortable and there’s a beauty to that. We just have fun, and we take what we do very seriously.
“I think some of the beauty in what we do is it’s not super refined it’s like on the verge of like chaos and like a train about to derail...We just have fun, and we take what we do very seriously.” DS: Is there anything new you guys are working on and what’s coming up for you guys? LT: Well, we have a new record that’s coming out this year, and that’s real exciting and Julie just had a baby! Which is really awesome, just a really adorable 2 month old baby girl. So our good friend Liv Marsico from Liphemra is filling in for her on drums right now, and she’s killing it, and it’s an honor to have her along, and Julie will be coming back on the road at SXSW and we just shot a new music video, and we are just really eager to put some new stuff out, and we will definitely be doing some more touring throughout the year! If you haven’t, try to catch them on their current 2016 tour with Wolfmother and make sure to check out all the cool things Deap Vally has coming up!
HIGHLIGHTS: LIVE PHOTO GALLERY
OUT CAME THE WOLVES // GREENSBORO, NC Photo by Brianna Stacy 37
ONE OK ROCK // DALLAS, TX Photo by Zoe Dillman 39
ASKING ALEXANDRIA // NEW YORK, NY Photo by Carolina Rivera 41
ISSUES // SAN BERNARDINO, CA Photo by Caleb Yee 43
HEADFIRST FOR HALOS // GREENSBORO, NC Photo by Brianna Stacy 45
G-EAZY // CHICAGO, IL Photo by Amanda Huerta 47
MYKA RELOCATE // NEW YORK, NY Photo by Carolina Rivera 49
FLATBUSH ZOMBIES // CHICAGO, IL Photo by Amanda Huerta 51
THE NEIGHBOURHOOD // SANTA ANA, CA Photo by Megan Mead 53
MICROWAVE // CARRBORO, NC Photo by Brianna Stacy 55
BEING AS AN OCEAN // GRAND PRAIRIE, TX Photo by Zoe Dillman 57
PALISADES // GREENSBORO, NC Photo by Brianna Stacy 59
REAL FRIENDS // WORTH, IL Photo by Zeltzin Vazquez 61
LETLIVE. // CARRBORO, NC Photo by Brianna Stacy 63
THE MAINE // PROVIDENCE, RI Photo by Brittany Isaacson 65
Cover: HUNNY // Featuring: #ArtistAlert with Alex McDonell, Q&A with Deap Vally, and more.