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issue 44

HIGHLIGHT

MAGAZINE

ALLISON WEISS – THE DELTA SAINTS – THE HEIRS – PHOEBE RYAN – NORTHLANE & MORE

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editor-in-chief jenn stookey

IGHLIGH

co-founder – art director cara bahniuk co-founder – photo editor ashley osborn managing editor jessica klinner online editor nick yacovazzi digital marketing manager olivia adams design assistant benjamin bacon co-founder – legal – finance mckenzie hughes contributing photographers

cara bahniuk, demi cambridge, jordan fischels, lori gutman, rachel kober, casey lee, charlie martel, natalie montaner, savana ogburn, ashley osborn, heather phillips, sam polonsky, taylor rambo, sam roenfeldt, nicole fara silver, kara smarsh and clark terrell

contributing writers (online & publication)

haley black, jennifer boylen, geoff burns, haley buske, colleen casey, rebecca del castillo, ally fisher, trevor figge, annette hansen, jessica klinner, zoe marquedant, bridjet mendyuck, theresa pham, alyssa schmidt, alex shimalla, catie suliga, nick yacovazzi and bailey zeigler

digital marketing team

geoff burns and tim mcgovern

news posters

laura arthurs, kristen torres, samia mirza, sarah akomanyi and brad laplante

_________________________ website twitter highlightmagazine.net @highlightzine facebook instagram facebook.com/highlightmagazine @highlightzine _________________________ thank you

thank you so much debby ryan + the never ending, stef tate, secret service pr, capitol music group, columbia records, 37 media, side one dummy records, road runner records, 8123, new community management, fearless records, brixton agency, equal vision records, our amazing staff for continuing to stick with us month after month, and of course our readers and supporters!

_________________________ 06 the never ending sam polonsky

07 northlane charlie martel

the delta saints sam polonsky

allison weiss courtney coles

phoebe ryan cara bahniuk

microwave sam polonsky

the heirs demi cambridge

bring me the horizon ashley osborn


september

05 this or that 08 label highlight 09 venue highlight 10 industry highlight 14 highlighted artists 15 film highlight 16 microwave 20 allison weiss 22 the delta saints 26 the heirs 30 phoebe ryan 34 northlane 38 the never ending 46 tour round up george ezra the maine bring me the horizon slipknot clay cages lamb of god best coast zz ward 60 reviews

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THIS

OR

THAT

BRING ME THE HORIZON - THAT’S THE SPIRIT

40%

60%

BRING ME THE HORIZON - SEMPITERNAL

CARVING PUMPKINS

70%

30%

DRINKING PUMPKIN SPICE LATTES HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 5


THE NEVER ENDING 38

THE DELTA SAINTS 22

PHOEBE RYAN 30

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THE HEIRS 26


34 NORTHLANE

20 ALLISON WEISS

16 MICROWAVE

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46 TOUR ROUND UP


YOU MAY WANT TO LISTEN TO...RED BULL RECORDS A record label always seemed like a logical expansion for the worldwide lifestyle brand, Red Bull. The empire is responsible for countless music events and also owns several recording studios across the globe. Founder Dietrich Mateschitz has always been a music lover. In 2010, Red Bull took the leap, and the label has been thriving since. Marketing, publishing, A&R, radio and licensing are all done in house, and any artist on their roster can use their studios for free whenever inspiration strikes. The label values supporting their artists’ visions above all else and aim to build careers with diverse artists. Even as such a massive company, they strive to not over-brand and let the music speak for itself.

TWIN ATLANTIC This four piece from Glasgow, Scotland, has put out three releases with Red Bull Records. Their rock style has landed them worldwide touring gigs, tons of BBC radio spins and global recognition. After forming in 2007, they took their time building a following before releasing their debut full-length album in 2011. Their sound is guitar-heavy and arena-huge with a touch of their native Scottish accent.

Listen To: “Rest In Pieces”

BEARTOOTH Beartooth began as a one-man show of Caleb Shomo, who produced and played everything heard on the 2013 debut, Sick. Beartooth have toured extensively during their minimal years and are on the road consistently. Although the project started as a mere “distraction,” it quickly became a full-time gig once Shomo left Attack Attack!. This metalcore outfit’s music is the tangible reflection of its frontman.

Listen To: “In Between”

AWOLNATION Awolnation had several options to chose from before ultimately settling with Red Bull Records because they wanted to support frontman Aaron Bruno in following his vision for the project. Similar to labelmates Twin Atlantic, Awolnation dropped their debut full length in 2011, which featured six-time platinum song, “Sail.” The follow-up to that record was met with mixed but overall positive reviews and put Awolnation in an electronic rock class all of its own.

Listen To: “Windows”

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WORDS: Jennifer Boylen


VENUE HIGHLIGHT ROUGH TRADE - BROOKLYN, NY HISTORY In recent years, Brooklyn has become best known for boutique coffee shops, elaborate mustaches and gentrification. The name Brooklyn no longer conjures scenes of old New York or that one shot from Saturday Night Fever. These days you are more likely to visit the borough for an artisanal doughnut than for an authentic slice of pizza. Williamsburg, one of the trendier parts of Brooklyn, is the last place you’d expect to find a venue like Rough Trade. The shop-concert space hybrid is one in a series. Similar to the O2 Academy venues that have cropped up across the U.K., Rough Trade has sibling stores in Nottingham as well as in West and East London. The space’s goal is to “shorten the distance between artists and audiences, to faithfully represent the creativity and artistic talent of the music [they] recommend and sell.”

WHY PLAY HERE? The space itself is as hospitable as its statement sounds. With table tennis, free wifi and row upon row of CDs, cassettes, vinyl, books, record players and various other music paraphernalia, it’s a rare and welcoming site. Behind the cash registers and coffee shop lays Rough Trade’s concert space. The stage is inornate, set against the back wall and bookended by two long bars that stretch back to the door. The main floor is a simple, open space, uncluttered by tables or chairs. The second level is a balcony with bench-like seating. Both features are fairly standard when it comes to concert spaces, but what makes Rough Trade special is its dual purpose. You can buy a record in one room and hear it played in the next. This is super convenient, but it’s also affirming. It says this is a space for music fans. The venue isn’t going to convert back into a bar or basement as soon as the amps are cleared out. It’s here to stay. So come for a coffee, a concert or the latest Andrew McMahon release. The shelves will be re-stocked, and the band will play on.

@RoughTradeNYC

/roughtradenyc

WWW

roughtradenyc.com

OCTOBER 6TH

OCTOBER 15TH

NOVEMBER 7TH

NOVEMBER 10TH

Matt Nathanson

Clean Cut Kid

Cymbals Eat Guitars

Surfer Blood

REVIEW: Zoe Marquedant

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F EL D M CLIENTS:

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NAME: John Feldmann LOCATION: Los Angeles, California JOB: A&R at Red Bull Records, Producer & Songwriter Black Veil Brides and 5 Seconds of Summer in the last year; Full list at johnfeldmann.com


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a great song is a

great song,

and I believe if you have a great song,

you can do anything with it. ”

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WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL STORY? WHY DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN THE INDUSTRY? I started writing music when I was 12, learning how to play the bass guitar to Black Flag and the Buzzcocks. I started a band when I was 12 called Family Crisis, and we toured a little bit in California with 7Seconds and Bad Religion back in the early 80s. That’s how it started. I started as a musician in a band, and as far as getting into production, I met a band in Chicago called Show Off that opened for my band called Goldfinger. We were playing Fireside Bowl, and I really loved them live. Then I heard their demo tape, and I knew I could make it better, so I did it as a favor to them and recorded them. That was in 1996, [and] then I just kind of kept going. WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR INSPIRATION FOR PRODUCING? Ultimately, my initial inspiration was trying to be a service, and I would question how I could be a service to a band I was a fan of. I’d ask: “How can I help them write better songs and have their music sound better?” It came out of a place of knowing what I knew from making my own albums. I was in a metal band, and I made an album with Tommy Lee and Mark Dawson. I watched them produce our record, and I knew I could do that. I became obsessed with equipment and effects. As a kid, I wanted to be on stage [in] a band, and then later on in life, I became more interested in sounds. WHAT IS YOUR PRODUCING STYLE? DO YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE ARTIST OR DO YOU LIKE TO TAKE A MORE HANDS OFF APPROACH? Every project is different. Today I’m starting a project with Andy Black, so we are going to sit down today and listen to 30 songs and talk about what he likes about the guitar sound, the lyric, the melody, or the vocal styling. Every project is different though. Some bands have a defined sound. Like All Time Low and 5 Seconds of Summer are pop punk bands. The melodies have to be strong, and the lyrics have to be focused on what is relevant to the artists. When it’s a new project, I know the parameters such as how [the] voice sounds and the style of music they play. So we will talk a lot about how to get to the style [they] want to create. IN THE SAME VEIN, DO YOU LIKE ENGINEERING AND PRODUCING AT THE SAME TIME OR DO YOU LIKE TO HIRE OUT AN ENGINEER? The first 10 years of my career I was really micromanaging the albums, and I was a real control freak about the albums. I had to be there to create all the sounds, all the edits, the vocal tuning, and all the drum sounds. I’ve been doing a lot of projects to make a living so I have a team of people I rely on and trust. Once I have the song written and I’ve

laid down the foundation of it and laid down all the vocals, I’ll have people come in and record more guitars and other material while I’m writing other songs, so I can keep the process moving forward. YOU HAVE RECENTLY BEEN QUOTED SAYING THAT 5 SECONDS OF SUMMER ARE THE BEST POP PUNK BAND YOU’VE EVER HEARD BECAUSE OF THEIR COMBINED TALENT. DO YOU THINK THAT THE NEWER POP PUNK ACTS DON’T HAVE THE SAME LEVEL OF TALENT OR DO YOU JUST LOOK AT THEM IN A DIFFERENT VEIN? I haven’t worked with any of the newer pop punk bands so I don’t know the ins and outs of the newer bands. But within my experience of working with a few pop punk bands, 5 Seconds of Summer just have amazing musical abilities. They’re great writers and great singers. A lot of times it just isn’t that way. A lot of times in punk rock, you play that kind of music because you are not a shredder. You’re playing it because you can write a cool song or a cool lyric. But these guys are just incredible. They’re so young. I was so blown away by the fact that there is not a single weak link in the band. They’re all amazing at what they do. DO YOU HIRE MUSICIANS TO PLAY ON ALBUMS OR DO YOU HAVE THE ACTUAL BAND PLAY ON THE ALBUM REGARDLESS OF TALENT? When it comes to the band, I like to have the players that are going to play live play on the album so there is some continuity between the two. Once in a while, the drummer will be able to play to a click or the dynamics of the drummer won’t work in the studio so we will hire someone out. However, we try to stray away from that since it creates a lot of conflict in the band. If that does happen, I try to sit down and talk with the band so they know what would be the best use of our time. DO YOU THINK POP PUNK WILL EVER BE AS BIG AS IT WAS BACK IN ITS HEYDAY IN THE EARLY 2000S? With Green Day, Blink-182 and that era of running the radio, I just don’t know if radio will ever be that genre specific any longer. When you listen to pop radio, you’ve got Ariana Grande next to Mumford and Sons next to All Time Low. It’s not just one kind of music anymore. A great song is a great song, and I believe if you have a great song, you can do anything with it. INTERVIEW: Trevor Figge

t @JohnFeldy i @JohnFeldy

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HIGHLIGHTED

ARTISTS DIVIDES Location: Portland, OR/ Anchorage, AK Current Single: “Supersymmetry” Straight out of the Pacific Northwest, DIVIDES is here to rock. Blending metal core guitars over bright, clean vocals, the band’s synergy gives their music purpose and emotion.

SKINNER Location: Leeds, U.K. Current Single: “Dangerous Game” Laying down heavy beats and soulful melodies, Skinner is forging her own place in her genre. Based out of Leeds, U.K., Skinner’s take on pop music creates a bluesy twist with modern beats.

VECTOR_XING Location: Los Angeles/London Current Single: “Wild Child” Explosively soulful, R&B fused duo Vector_XING. Blending provoking beats and meshing the vocal styles of the Weeknd and Frank Ocean, Vector_ XING may just earn themselves a slot as one of the hottest rising pop-soul acts this year.

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WORDS: Nick Yacovazzi


HIGHLIGHTED

FILMS

HORROR HIGHLIGHT

Halloween 1978, Director - John Carpenter You can’t have a Halloween movie list without including the ultimate classic, Halloween. This movie is always a must see in my household come October. Your attention will instantly be grabbed when the first thing you see is a six-year-old murdering his family. Everything about this movie will give you the chills. There is something about how the camera pans the screen and creates a stalker like feeling by antagonist Michael Myers that will have you feeling terrified. Director John Carpenter does a fantastic job of frightening the audience with this eerie storyline and violence, but especially with his musical compositions. This is one movie that will have you scared no matter how many times you see it.

The Conjuring 2013, Director - James Wan Any time a movie - especially horror - is based off of a true story, I am instantly drawn

in. Taking place in the ‘70s, The Conjuring follows two of the most famous paranormal investigators of the time, Ed and Lorraine Warren. They investigate a haunted house in Rhode Island owned by the Perron family, a case that is claimed to be their most terrifying. The horror elements that director James Wan uses are simple yet effective in giving the audience a scare. Not to mention, Wan also has Saw and Insidious on his resume so it’s no surprise that The Conjuring is nothing short of amazing.

Ouija 2014, Director - Stiles White I’m sure most of you, if not all of you, have played the game Ouija when you were younger. It was probably at a slumber party when you were 13, and everyone fought over who—or what—was actually moving the game piece. This movie takes you into the world of that game and shows you exactly what will happen when an evil spirit is awakened through the board.  A group of friends must investigate the reasoning behind their beloved friend’s sudden death and what they find isn’t pretty. The beginning of the movie has a great initial set up, especially with a strong cast, but as the movie progresses, it just goes too far. You would think Ouija would have some great potential, but unfortunately it fell short in the horror aspect. I wouldn’t say it is a terrible film, but it’s not one I would go out of my way to watch again.

REVIEWS: Catherine Suliga

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HOME: Atlanta, Georgia NOW JAMMING: “But Not Often” CURRENTLY: On tour with Have Mercy

IT’S A RAINY SUNDAY IN NASHVILLE

as Microwave step out of their van, trudging toward the venue. It’s been a long few days on the road for the boys, and their 7 a.m. shifts the next day back home in Atlanta are the last things on their mind. Heading inside to grab anything that has a semblance of caffeine, the group recollect about the show in Columbus the night before, marveling over how they couldn’t believe so many people came to watch. That seems to be a common theme— being delightfully surprised at how far they have come. As Microwave take the stage, you can tell the band are feeling something. There’s electricity in the back room of Café Coco, feeding into their emotion, frustration and ambition. It’s hard to figure out exactly where it’s coming from. Maybe it’s because the band just inked a deal with SideOneDummy Records, maybe it’s because they have new music on the horizon, or maybe it just radiates from drummer Timothy “Tito” Pittard’s beautiful, bald head. One thing is for sure, and that’s Microwave have earned the right to be this confident. With an unanticipated response to their debut album, Stovall, the band have gained fans across the nation and beyond. Touring over the summer with You Blew It! and gearing up for a U.S. run with Transit, Microwave are grateful to those who paid attention to that band from a small Georgia suburb. Microwave were forged from the greater Atlanta music scene, with the group claiming that Pittard was the glue that brought it all together.

girlfriends, first relationships and first personal issues,” Hardy said. “I was a missionary in the Pacific Northwest for about two years, but I was Mormon with my family my entire life.” A driving influence behind Stovall’s gritty and harrowingly honest lyrics, Hardy takes veiled jabs at his time in the Mormon Church while still hesitating to sing scathing resentment—something that he believes will change as he and the bands’ songwriting capabilities grow. “There were a lot of things I was nervous to talk about because of how it would be perceived by family and people I knew within the Mormon community, so I tried to mask some things behind words so it wouldn’t be as obvious and I could deny things if I wanted to,” Hardy said. “Throughout the duration of us being a band though, the fear has been wearing off and I’ve gotten less afraid to talk about things.” As Microwave take the next step in their career, their music has begun to do the same. Writing a slew of songs for their upcoming album, the band are ready to launch their brand new split with Head North. Their two complementing tracks off the split, “Thinking About You” and “But Not Often” already suggest Microwave settling into their identity as a group. “I’ve spoken with my family about how I’m no longer religious, so I am going to be talking about things more on this split,” Hardy said. “It has more of an open, less poetic feel to it. I’ve given up on trying to preserve those past relationships and hardships in a way that requires a filter and isn’t complete honesty. It’s much more straightforward, direct and that layer of ambiguity no longer exists.”

“I met Nathan [Hardy] through an old friend and we began jamming,” Pittard said. “Our guitarist Wesley Swanson and I became close through various shows that our old bands, Some Mistakes and Darksided, would play together. I met our bassist Tyler Hill at a bar in Kennesaw, Georgia, but we had known each other before as acquaintances, and that solidified us being friends. Then one day Nathan was bugging me about playing some music, so we did and from there Microwave was born.”

“In other words, he’s no longer afraid of saying bad words,” said Hill as everyone laughed.

For vocalist/guitarist Hardy, the beginning of Microwave was the first day of his life—well, his next life anyways. Now 24, Hardy never expected to come this far, or at all really. In fact in Hardy’s two decades, he has lived two lives—one as a punk vocalist and the other as a Mormon missionary.

Suddenly, it becomes a little clearer what is driving the energy behind Microwave, and why these men are all in— it’s belief, ironically enough. Each band member believes in the music they play, the people they play the music for, and most importantly, they believe in each other. They share the common theme, and surely they have said it out loud at some point, that they have a shot at something great.

“I was raised in the Mormon Church, and I was really active as a Mormon missionary until I was 21, which is when I started experiencing life for the first time I suppose. Stovall is the story of the experiences I had for the first time, first 18 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET

When asked about the future and what they would like to accomplish in the coming year, the group had one unanimous goal—quitting their day jobs. Currently, the band spend their daytime as a chemical plant worker, pasta deliveryman, software salesman and freelance stagehand, but they are pursuing the ultimate dream of playing music full time.

PHOTO: Sam Polonsky | INTERVIEW & STORY: Nick Yacovazzi


ALLISON WEISS


HOME: Flowery Branch, Georgia NOW JAMMING: “Who We Are” CURRENTLY: Getting ready for a fall tour in support of her new album, New Love

NEW TOWN, NEW LABEL AND NEW LOVE—

there have been several new chapters in the life and career of singer/songwriter Allison Weiss. Known for her catchy melodies with a punk rock twist, Weiss has let these changes serve as inspiration for her recently released third full-length record, New Love. In recent years, Weiss has captured listeners with punchy songs about love and heartbreak, but more than any breakup, what inspires Weiss to create music is, well, her love of music. As a pop music fan, Weiss found a voice in music through the songs of her favorite musicians. “Growing up, music was sort of like how I got my emotions out whether it was by listening to it or by getting started writing it. But for me, my favorite bands were always the ones who were able to say the thing that I couldn’t figure out how to say myself,” Weiss relayed. “Once I had the ability to make [music] myself, then I started creating the things that I wanted to say or that I wanted other people to feel.” In 2013, Weiss made waves in the music scene with her second album, Say What You Mean. Now after moving to California, changing record labels and even getting engaged, the singer is back with a new album and a few refreshing changes. “I think with Say What You Mean—I still love that record—I was just so excited to have a [record] that I went very much in the pop-punk rock direction, and with New Love, I really wanted to write a few more songs that were a little slower pace but still driving… the kind of thing you want to put on when you’re driving on a sunny summer day,” she explained.

to her songwriting. When things are going good, it can be a difficult task to seek out inspiration, but Weiss found a way to channel her past and make it happen. “New Love was written from within this place where everything’s pretty fine in my life like I’m feeling good, and I’ve found the person who I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. I guess I taught myself how to look back to things that had happened in the past and… see how they inspired me and see how I can write about that,” Weiss explained. Weiss says she’s grown a lot through this process and through taking a new approach to how she writes her songs. “I’m able to write songs outside of the moments I’m inspired… I feel a little bit more well-rounded in my music taste and my writing style,” she said. By breaking free of her potential writer’s block and letting old feelings inspire new melodies, Weiss was able to create a record that feels more whole and cohesive than anything she’s done before. “I’m really proud of my songwriting on New Love,” she said. “I think I’m proud of the fact that I was able to say ‘I’d like to make a new record’ and then write all these songs specifically for this record. This is the first record I’ve ever made where it wasn’t just a compilation of songs that I had lying around.” Along with her new record, Weiss has teamed up with a new label. After her contract with No Sleep Records ended, Weiss opted for some new scenery by signing on to Side One Dummy Records, who she feels has offered valuable support since day one.

New Love showcases this change of pace with colorful synths and more laidback melodies that are perfect for driving with the windows down. The album takes clear inspiration from Weiss’s love for listening to and creating pop music.

“I think even before I signed with No Sleep, Side One Dummy was always there at the sidelines just cheering me on, and I love them,” Weiss expressed. “They’re so excited about everything that I’m doing and that I want to do, and I feel like they’re the best team I could ever ask for.”

“I’ve always been a pop song writer, and I just produce my songs in a non-pop way. My favorite style of songwriting is the kind that tells a story and makes people feel things with catchy choruses and big hooks,” she expressed. “Whether you’re doing it with a three piece punk band or you’ve got Dr. Luke producing a track for you, it’s all pop music. That’s my favorite thing, so I’ve always been pop, and I’ll always continue to be pop.”

With a promising new album and a positive outlook, it seems like Weiss couldn’t be in a better place than she is right now. Change can inspire us and push us to better ourselves. Weiss seems to have taken this idea to heart, and the results on New Love are quite spectacultar.

As well as the shift in her sound the singer has found that her new positive place in life has brought some challenges

“I feel like this record is the highlight for me,” she said. “I feel about it like I don’t [think] I’ve felt for previous records.” PHOTO: Courtney Coles | INTERVIEW & STORY: Annette Hansen

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HOME: Nashville, Tennessee NOW JAMMING: “Heavy Hammer” CURRENTLY: On tour

COMING OFF AN INCREDIBLE

performance at Live on the Green Music Festival, a fantastic album, and another string of shows in Europe, the Delta Saints don’t show any sign of slowing down. Then again, they never have. With a constant workflow of writing, recording and touring, this group manage to pull it off flawlessly by playing over 200 shows a year and constantly exploring the musical directions their sounds take them. One key talent that this group has is how they are able to stay connected to their roots while still thinking ahead stylistically. Lead singer Ben Ringel explained how they really took a step back to refocus their identity. “We built this band into somewhat of a self-sustaining machine over the course of the first five years, but then took a step back and realized that it wasn’t really representing what we all wanted,” he said. “The band started as a delta blues rock band, and we grew it as such… About two years ago, we all kind of realized that none of us were really listening to blues music anymore. The band was picking up momentum, and we didn’t know how to change the direction of the ship.” This refocus was completely necessary. Ringel described Bones, the group’s latest album, as a huge turning point for their identity. “I’m not sure when or how it actually happened, but we started making music that was more like what we wanted to hear as opposed to what people might expect us to make,” Ringel said. “I think that right there is one of the most important lessons that we have learned and it’s led us to a pretty healthy place of finally figuring out the band identity after 7+ years.” Bones charted some new territory for the Delta Saints by delving into a more improvised writing process. Ringel loved the spontaneity of it all. “We were coming into the studio each day not really having much of an idea as to what we were going to leave with,” he described. “I love the unknown element of that. It lets the song breathe and tell its own story.” However, he willingly admitted the downfall of this method being never getting a good grip on outside perception of the song. He described it as being a trial and error process. “Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t and knowing the difference is huge,” Ringel said. “I think it just comes with practice.”

Ringel seems more than eager to take these risks though, because it really pays off when it works. “Obviously a song comes from somewhere inside of you, but I think that a lot of times we get in the way by trying to force it out and into a certain box,” he said. “I really love when a song just pours out of nowhere and then being left with this raw story that can be polished at the end.” Despite the obvious creative drive, Ringel prefers touring over writing and recording. “Oddly enough, I enjoy writing and recording the most but I think I’m most comfortable on stage,” he admitted. “I still get nervous sometimes, but playing live, especially when we are all locked in, is such a spectacular feeling.” The Delta Saints are very strong musically, but they throw just as much dedication into performing by constantly touring. As the band gain more momentum, Ringel mentioned how he loves seeing the production quality grow. He added that seeing the world is another wonderful bonus in itself. The group have made sacrifices for this dream, though. Ringel described how it’s a balancing act because of how hard it is to leave home behind for extended amounts of time. “There are always sacrifices, but I think we’re all working to get to a place where the scales balance,” he said. It’s also clear that their entire career has been a growing process on many different levels, and that balancing so many different aspects of the job is hard. “We’ve had periods where we stressed so hard over trivial things, and that got in the way of a lot of creativity,” he said. “One of our strengths has always been a very focused approach to both the music and business sides of the band, and there have been times when we’ve stressed so hard on the business side, that we lost sight of why we were actually in a band in the first place.” Overall, if he could go back and tell himself one piece of advice, it would be to not take everything too seriously and also get a good lawyer. It’s all been worth it, though. “For me, [our work] is really about two things,” Ringel said. “One, I want to be able to listen to a new song/record/ recording and have a small pang of worry about how we are going to do the next one better. It’s all about challenging yourself to be better than you are at that moment. Two, it’s


just always about trying to connect with people through the music. It’s one of the most gratifying things in the world, to see someone connect with your song and to watch it take on a new meaning in that moment.” That’s what music is all about. Based on their description of what it’s like to interact with their fans, it’s apparent that they believe that as well. “We’ve had people tell us about times when our music has helped them through some really hard times. Those stories are always so wonderful because, a lot of times, writing these songs did the same thing for us. It’s a great thing to be able to connect with people like that. It just shows you that you’re not alone.”

It’s for this reason that they can’t wait to get back into the studio and make their next record. Though the band is going on a touring extravaganza through Europe, they will be back in their hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, just in time to play on New Year’s Eve at Marathon Music Works. “We expect this year to be incredible,” Ringel said. “The folks at Marathon are fully behind the show, and we’ve got a killer bill locked down. We’ve already started making a list of ideas and surprises that we want to try and bring. Needless to say, we can’t wait.” PHOTOS: Sam Polonsky | INTERVIEW & STORY: Bailey Zeigler

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HOME: Los Angeles, California NOW JAMMING: Ecliptic CURRENTLY: On a break from touring

THEY’RE 18 AND 16 YEARS OLD.

They’re brother and sister. They’re a band signed to one of the most iconic record labels in America. Meet Brandon and Savannah Hudson – better known as the Heirs. The mere ability to work so closely with a sibling is an incredible feat, worthy of high praise. Now factor in 28 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET

that these two have been creating music and performing together since their childhood, and the wonderment (and slight disbelief) only increases. Savannah, the youngest of the pair, nonchalantly stated that the two work together in perfect harmony. “Our visions are the same, and we have the same goals and dreams for the band,” she said. “We rarely ever disagree on anything…It’s such a rad thing, having someone on the same page as you musically.”


Due to their parents’ love of classic rock and electronics, Brandon and Savannah were introduced to music at an early age. Their parents frequently filled the home with the comforting sounds of heavy guitar solos or unique keyboard melodies. This raw exposure to music quickly led to school performances and, eventually, a stint on America’s Got Talent in 2013, where the two made it to the semi-finals. During this time, the pair had just entered the grueling teenage years, yet Savannah claimed that there couldn’t have been a better moment for their entrance into the music business. “I think getting into the music business young is the best way,” she said. “The youth are our future, and we need to embrace and do what we love no matter how old we are.” The self-proclaimed electro-pop duo actually began as simply Brandon & Savannah when they made their debut on America’s Got Talent. Their new name, the Heirs, reflects a transition from performing for kicks to performing for a purpose. “This generation is next in line to what is to come and as are we,” Savannah explained. During a seemingly normal conversation about what the word “heir” truly means, Brandon and Savannah decided upon their new stage name. The band’s music and personal philosophies seemed to mirror the essence of the authentic connotation of the word “heir,” so the name stuck. Following their first national moment in the spotlight, the Hudsons continued to chase the atmosphere, soon landing a home within Capitol Records. Brandon said the experience has been nothing short of “fantastic.” Despite the potential to be forgotten within a label that carries well-known musicians such as 5 Seconds of Summer, Elton John, Sam Smith and Katy Perry, they haven’t gotten lost in the shuffle. In fact, Brandon happily stated that their team remains open to ideas and opportunities, all while keeping the focus on the value of their music. With the help of Capitol Records, the Heirs have been able to “[create] something unique and special, rather than recreating something that’s been done before.” Through this major label, the brother and sister team released their EP, Ecliptic, in August. After having the songs as merely well-kept secrets, the experience of possessing physical proof of their hard work was overwhelming, to say the least. Brandon referred to their four song EP as “a youthful angsty anthem, something with a voice, something to speak out with a sense of realization to some of the horrible things happening in this world right now.” After a second (or third) listen to the EP, it seemed only natural to wonder where the inspiration for their songs

comes from. At such a young age, they still have so many moments in life to experience, yet they’ve also experienced far more moments than some could ever hope for. Brandon explained the process as a diligent search for “feels.” They begin with a general concept and search for these elusive “feels” embedded in a song: the memories or emotions that evoke the song-writing process. Then the collaboration and creation commences. Like most bands, the fans play an important part in not only spreading and enjoying the Heirs’ music, but also in their role as members of the Wishbone Clan. Brandon and Savannah frequently use the hashtag “wishboneclan” on social media, affectionately referring to their fan base. “You need each half to create the whole, and without one half, the whole thing would fall apart,” Brandon explained. “We are a half, and they are a half, creating the perfect balance.” However, as can be expected from living in the limelight especially in the music scene, life isn’t always what it’s made out to be. “Every teenager experiences challenges, and especially with us being in the music industry, there have been some rough times,” Savannah confessed. Brandon expressed his reservations by referring to a glass ceiling the two must now face. This simultaneously lowering and expanding glass ceiling, unfortunately, allows the band to become more susceptible to judgement as their popularity and fan base increase. “I think the most difficult part of our career right now is bracing ourselves for a newness in a new life,” Brandon said. “We’ve always been artists creating music under our own radar, and now it all begins to pick up more and more. We will constantly be visible in this glass ceiling to opinions and criticism. The music we make can now be judged, and that’s a blessing and a curse. The glass ceiling will just continue to expand as our fan base does.” Even with the negative aspects of a life creating music, traveling the world and connecting with others, Brandon and Savannah maintain an enviable outlook on life despite the mysterious ebb and flow of it all. Their attitude almost prohibits the duo from viewing the experiences as entirely negative. “I would say everything has been positive, even if it was negative, because it’s all an experience,” Savannah said. Of course, Brandon agrees: “The experience itself is such a journey. There are so many ups and downs, but that’s what makes it so magical overall.” PHOTOS: Demi Cambridge | INTERVIEW & STORY: Alexandra Shimalla HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 29


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HOME: Los Angeles, California NOW JAMMING: “Mine” CURRENTLY: Gearing up for a national tour with Smallpools

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WITH BREATHY VOCALS AND BREEZY

pop melodies, singer/songwriter Phoebe Ryan has found herself being dubbed as one of pop music’s biggest upand-coming artists of 2015. Over the first half of this year, the positive buzz has been endless for the green-haired songstress and her fresh indie pop tunes.

“When I was writing [the Mine EP] last year, my style of writing changes a lot, my like methods of writing, and at this point, my methods were I would have an index card, and on the front I would write the title of the song, and on the back I would write all the ideas, just scribble the ideas,” she said. “That’s where pretty much all of the songs came from.”

Although, it seems as if Ryan was born to create music early on, her passions swayed her in other directions. It wasn’t until she hit college that the singer felt compelled to start a career in music.

To record the EP, Ryan, hailing from the east and currently residing in the west, found herself in Nashville, Tennessee, alone with her songs and her thoughts.

“At first when I decided to go to school for music, I was interested in everything,” Ryan explained. “I was interested in engineering and production and business. Somewhere along the way people just started calling me up to write them songs for like class projects and stuff. Eventually, I stared to be like ‘Oh, I could be good at this. If I put some time into this, I could get good.’ It became such an obsession of mine to get better and better and to just keep the ball rolling. It’s like an obsession turned passion turned career.”

“I honestly have no friends in Nashville, so I was really lonely except when I was working with my producer Kyle,” she said. “We would write Monday through Friday, but then on the weekends, I would just kind of sit around and be really reflective. It was really peaceful in a way.” The solitary experience didn’t leave a bitter taste in her mouth, though. “I would go back because maybe there’s some magic that I captured there that I would be able to capture again.”

With a background in theater and acting, performing was another passion of hers, but it took a backseat as she worked on writing for other people. While Ryan found a knack and a passion in writing and creating music, performing seemed to be something in her blood that she couldn’t deny.

With her recent EP in hand, Ryan is ready to let it be heard by the masses. This month the singer will be touring with indie rock band Smallpools and bringing her ethereal brand of pop to a nationwide audience.

“I think that in the back of my mind I always knew that I was “meant for the stage.” I realized ‘Oh I could be so happy if I was doing performance and writing my songs for myself,’” she said.

“I’m definitely excited to keep promoting [Mine] on tour because I feel like there’s still so many people that haven’t gotten to hear it, so it could be so exciting for them,” she expressed.

But it wasn’t one of Ryan’s own tracks that got the attention of listeners. Instead, it was a mash-up cover of R. Kelly’s classic “Ignition” and Miguel’s “Do You.” With her sweet vocals, the singer put her own twist on the two R&B tracks and kick-started her music career.

But even with music that is still fairly fresh in the airwaves, the songwriter has yet to put her pen down. Even on a recent tour, she spent time working on tracks for a future release.

“I think covers are one of the most fun things to do to express yourself in your own way, but it’s really about the song at the end of the day, which I love,” Ryan said. “People have been doing covers forever, you know? It’s always been popular. People love covers. I love them.” Over the summer, Ryan released her debut EP, Mine, featuring the “Ignition/Do You” mash-up and three new original tracks. With this new release, Ryan pieced her ideas and notes together to create a handful of songs that showed listeners all she had to offer not only as a singer but as a writer too.

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“[It] was the first day on the bus and I was writing a song, and I finished the song,” she said. “I want people to know that have already listened to the EP, who are already tired of it, to know that I’m working on so many new songs for them.” Having put out a stunning debut and wowing audiences with her singing and writing talent, Ryan has earned every last bit of the good buzz she’s received. It’s safe to say that listeners will be hearing a lot more from this new voice and will likely be grateful for it. PHOTOS: Cara Bahniuk | INTERVIEW: Jenn Stookey | STORY: Annette Hansen


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HOME: Sydney, Australia NOW JAMMING: Node CURRENTLY: Getting ready to tour in Europe, Australia and North America throughout the fall

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THE METALCORE BAND REIGNING

out of Australia known as Northlane went through a crucial change at the peak of their career last year. After officially forming in 2009, the band released their second full-length album, Singularity, in 2013, which put the band on the map. After the album was the prime instigator to traveling the world a few times, nominated for awards and had positive critiques, the band found themselves in a tough situation. Vocalist Adrian Fitipaldes decided to step down after 18 months on the road. But guitarist Josh Smith said the change in vocalists has only positively impacted Northlane. The situation allowed the band to overcome adversity even though the odds were stacked against them. It’s something Smith considers as a major success for Northlane. “It’s great to be honest,” Smith said. “I feel like our live shows are becoming a lot more consistent. The vibes are better than ever and we’re really enjoying ourselves on the road.” “Losing our frontman was a huge test for us, but a massive opportunity at the same time,” Smith continued. “We saw past the desperation and vulnerability of our situation and realized we now had the chance to scour the globe for a perfect fit for our band. Most groups aren’t offered this opportunity and we got some great publicity out of the whole audition process too.” Fitipaldes decided to leave Northlane due to health issues. While the band was ultimately at a pause, the band knew they had to keep moving. Northlane decided to hold open auditions to find a new vocalist and more than 2,000 people auditioned. A select few of the 2,000 were then asked to write a vocal part, and the decision quickly came. Of all of the people who auditioned, the band officially announced last October that the new permanent vocalist was Marcus Bridge. “We wanted somebody with a really varied skill set who really made the songs their own,” Smith said. “Someone with flair, vocal training and experience who’s really passionate about music. He ticked all these boxes and then some. When we then asked our shortlisted entrants to write a vocal part over the instrumental song ‘Singularity,’ he was the absolute standout. He poured a sea of emotion into that song and did an incredible job of writing and recording his parts.” Shortly after Bridge’s arrival, Northlane announced they were going to write their third full-length album, and on July 24, Node was released.

Bridge incorporated several different clean-style vocal techniques on the album, something Northlane never worked with previously. Smith said the vocal talent Bridge brought to the album was the reason why the end product so dynamic. “It was difficult because he has such a wide array of skills,” Smith said. “It became difficult to choose between stylistic approaches for parts as we’d never had such a palette like this to work with before. Through the writing and recording process, we became better at matching styles to the emotions the music was evoking and I feel that this has helped to make the record more dynamic than any we’d done before.” Smith refers to the record’s title “Node” as an intersection or divergence of paths, exactly like the members’ journey with Northlane. “The record is about self-empowerment, especially through adversity, and it’s a commentary of our worldview,” Smith said. Throughout all of the traveling the band has embarked on throughout their career, their worldview was something much reflected on within the record. “All this travelling definitely has affected our worldview,” Smith said. “We’re really lucky to live in Australia. It’s a very beautiful and peaceful place, and while we still have our problems here, we’ve been exposed to a lot of different ways of life that have helped to make us realize we’re quite privileged to be Aussie, even though it’s very difficult to make a career as musicians. It’s hard to put my finger on what exactly has molded us into the people we are today, and the motivations for what we do, but the travelling we’ve done and ability to share our art with a global audience has had a profound impact on our passion and determination to do what we do.” Northlane plan on touring heavily throughout the next several months, including their first European and U.K. headlining tour this month, adventuring on their headlining tour in Australia in November, and then a co-headlining tour with Volumes in the United States at the end of November and into December. Northlane are always working on creating new music too. “You’ve got to believe in yourself,” Smith said, “even when it seems the world is working against you, and realize that through the worst times, the biggest opportunities are always hidden. You just need to find them.” PHOTOS: Charlie Martel | INTERVIEW & STORY: Geoff Burns

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HOME: Los Angeles, California NOW JAMMING: “Secondhand” (Acoustic) CURRENTLY: Writing new music

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Being a kid on Disney Channel: the ultimate, and basically automatic, claim to fame. At the same time, it can also be an all-encompassing creative outlet. Many Disney stars are a triple threat—they can sing, dance, and act, and many times including all three while starring in, and sometimes producing, their own TV shows or pursuing their musical careers.

DEBBY RYAN IS NO EXCEPTION. As the star of the Disney Channel series Jesse, the 22-year-old has played the red-headed role for several years but has now closed the chapter on those Disney days after four seasons of the show (scheduled to finish airing in early 2016). By the end of her work on the show, Ryan had become co-producer and director, making her one of the youngest female multi-camera directors. Beyond her experience as an actress, Ryan has also moonlighted as a musician for years and has now moved to pursue that almost completely full time. While she does have more acting plans in the works, her focus has recently been entirely on her band, the Never Ending. Ryan’s career had a relatively natural progression from being in front of the camera to behind the scenes as she grew older. While she loves building her skills as a director and producer, she said it felt like the perfect time to focus on something else. She was ready to be in front of her fans in a whole different way and to introduce them to the music she had also been working on for years. “I’ve spent the majority of my career telling other people’s stories and finally being able to tell my own has been really incredible,” she shared. Ryan began doing co-writes and writing on top lines for projects with her music producer brother Chase, which is how she initially met bandmates Johnny Franco and Kyle Moore. After working on different things together for quite some time, Franco suggested they start a band, and with Moore in tow, they decided to take the leap and start their own journey. “I decided to pursue a band over a solo project because I really like the collaborative nature and how the alchemy of it all it comes to life,” Ryan said. “The band route has always resonated more with me.” The trio are not only bandmates but best friends, and they work hard to keep that strong relationship. The Never Ending lives by the mantra, “People first, band second” because they know it can be tough to maintain the distinction between friendship and business. Ultimately, Ryan said that her friendship with Franco and Moore will always be more important than the band, and they make sure to take care of one another first and foremost. As best friends, it is only natural to know the ins and outs of each other’s lives through the good moments and bad. However, it is not always conventional to spill your heart out to your friend and proceed to write songs about those moments as well. Ryan says they all work on their music together. Ryan and Moore typically split vocals, and they always bring ideas to one another and work on them collectively. While they have had lots of amazing co-writers to help them along the way, the Never Ending always want their music to be the best representation of themselves. At the end of the day, they are really just trying to tell their stories in the best way they know how. “Of course writing is scary, but it’s cheaper than therapy,” Ryan admitted. “I started doing it before I realized I knew how or needed it, and [writing music] has become really therapeutic and really necessary for me.” For Ryan, writing music is always a priority. Whether she is writing for her own voice, as the frontwoman of a band, or for something entirely different, she always wants to be writing. It seems this affinity for writing music has helped her overcome many struggles while growing up. This form of self-therapy has been especially relevant after going through very formative years while in the public eye. “Growing up and figuring stuff out is already hard, but it’s a whole new shade of terrifying doing so when every dumb teenage move is taken as a commentary on how to grow up right,” she said. “There’s so much pressure and you start to want not even to make bad choices, but just [have] enough room to make bad choices so you can feel yourself actually decide to do it right.” HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 41


“I’ve spent the majority of my career telling other people’s stories and

finally being able to tell my own has been really

incredible.”

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Ultimately, determining what is most important to her and focusing on what she really wants in life has been Ryan’s way of overcoming those hardships instead of getting caught up in every small battle along the way. On top of that, playing music and having validation from those singing her words has been a reminder that everything is going to work out at the end of the day. “Hearing thousands of people with rainbow hair and skin and stories all singing, ‘We’re just kids; we’ll be alright’ along to a song that I wrote when I just needed to know I was going to be okay—that’s the dream and so unreal [but it] was real to me so many nights this summer.” Throughout this past summer, the Never Ending went on their very first long haul tour, the Summer Reflection Tour, with headliner Fifth Harmony, Bea Miller and Natalie LaRose. Not only did the band learn what it really takes to be a touring band, but they were also able to see audiences react to their music every night. This was exhilarating and terrifying all at the same time especially because performing live so often is not exactly what Ryan is used to in her career. “A lot of the work I’ve done in the past has been on film and TV where I get multiple takes to get it right, but when you’re performing live, you only get one chance,” Ryan said. “It is really cool getting instant feedback from the audiences.” Not only was this the Never Ending’s first full tour, but it was some of their very first shows. Prior to playing a handful of dates throughout the last year, the band made their performance debut last summer at the Glass House in Pomona, California. For a relatively high profile project, that seems a bit unexpected, but for the Never Ending, this choice was completely intentional and purposeful. While the band could have most certainly landed a gig on Sunset Strip and done a ton of top-notch promotion, they wanted to hit the ground running in the right way—in a style that fit them. The trio wanted to show that music is important to them and not every opportunity has been presented on a silver platter. “Everyone in the band is super passionate about music and how it affects our lives, and we wanted our first show to be as organic as possible,” Ryan said. After a successful tour and endless writing, an album seems like the next logical step. However, the Never Ending is not quite ready to release new music just yet. They want to keep telling stories about where they are in their lives, but don’t want to settle with music they feel they will grow out of just as fast as they wrote it. They have shared a handful of singles here and there including “Dollar Store Locket,” “The Fall,” an acoustic video for “Secondhand” and a few others, but there are no specific plans to release a follow up to their 2014 debut, One.

“For us, we really want to make sure it’s something with a really strong identity and a really strong voice before we put our name on it and release it,” Ryan shared. “More than anything, we’re just a group of best friends who are doing this together. We’re going to release new music as soon as we feel like it’s ready.” On top of her musical endeavors and her acting credits, Ryan has become quite the activist. She has worked with causes like Disney’s Friends For Change and Free The Children before, but now she is advocating for a much more personal issue. Out of rather unfortunate circumstances after her own experiences with in an abusive friendship, she has spoken out about relationship abuse and is campaigning for support of the cause. “Initially, I had no intention of opening up to the public about the abusive friendship that I was in, and honestly, I don’t think I realized how terrible the friendship was,” she said. “It’s important for me to use my voice to reach others in similar situations and let them know that they’re not alone.” She has opened up about her own encounters with abuse and teamed up Mary Kay and Love Is Respect for their Don’t Look Away campaign. Don’t Look Away is not only aiming to raise awareness about dating violence among young adults but is also opening up the conversation about this issue from mental and physical abuse to digital. The goal is to make young adults feel comfortable discussing what is normal and healthy, and what is not. The campaign also provides a 24-hour text service so anyone in need can get safe, anonymous help from a peer at anytime. “Don’t Look Away is an incredible campaign, and it’s a perfect platform for me to discuss my experiences with abuse,” Ryan said. “A lot of people feel like they shouldn’t or can’t talk about abuse that they’ve endured, and I hope that me opening up after being quiet about my experience for so long will empower others to do the same.” It seems like Ryan has a quite a bit on her plate at the moment. Between being an activist, an actress and a musician, she is staying very busy and is looking forward to everything to come. Some plans have yet to be announced and others, like that of the Never Ending, have yet to be decided on, but through it all, she is very humbled and thankful to have the support she does. “I just want to thank everyone for supporting me through my career and through everything that I’ve been through,” she said. “I have the most incredible fans on the planet and they constantly inspire me with their own stories.” PHOTOS: Sam Polonsky | INTERVIEW & STORY: Jennifer Boylen

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TOUR ROUND UP

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P

PHOTO: Sam Polonsky HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 47


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PHOTO: Savana Ogburn


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PHOTO: Clark Terrell HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 51


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HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 57 PHOTO: Natalie Montaner


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HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET - 59 PHOTO: Sam Polonsky


album

reviews ARTIST

State Champs ALBUM

Around the World and Back

SOUNDS LIKE New Found Glory All Time Low Neck Deep RECOMMENDED TRACKS “All Or Nothing” “Breaking Ground”

TRACKS 1

Eyes Closed

2

Secrets

3

Losing Myself

4

All You Are Is History

5

Perfect Score

6

All Or Nothing

7

Shape Up

8

Back and Forth

9

Around the World and Back (ft. Ansley Newman of Jule Vera)

10

Breaking Ground

11

Tooth and Nail

BUY IT ON October 16th, 2015

WEBSITE statechampsny.com 60 - HIGHLIGHTMAGAZINE.NET

State Champs bring a nostalgic, early 2000s, pop-punk sound reminiscent of Good Charlotte or New Found Glory with the release of their highly anticipated sophomore album, Around the World and Back. The follow up to the band’s 2013 debut album, The Finer Things, is cleaner, smoother, lyrically matured and packed with energy. Album opener “Eyes Closed” immediately sets the tone and pace of the album with heavy drums, loaded guitars and lyrics about misplaced trust. Following are singles, “Secrets,” “Losing Myself,” and “All You Are Is History,” songs that allow the album to flow with an effortless continuity in energy, catchy choruses and memorable guitar riffs. While the majority of the album consists of head-bobbing, knee-bouncing, pop-punk anthems, ballad “All Or Nothing” and acoustic title track “Around the World and Back” shine with lead singer Derek DiScanio’s smooth and sweet vocals about love and commitment. “Sometimes I can’t help but say, I’m falling in love and it’s scaring me,” DiScanio sings on “Around the World and Back.” These heart-felt lyrics will resonate with any listener. However, the best track on Around the World and Back is “Breaking Ground,” the second to last song on the album. As the heaviest song in the track listing, “Breaking Ground” is laden with intensity as DiScanio’s signature, raspy vocals are layered with the roaring drums and guitars, which create an off-the-wall liveliness as the album comes to a close. Overall, Around the World and Back is a solid step forward for the self-proclaimed “shot boys” of New York. Each track is well produced and exudes a young and ambitious drive for success, which hopefully won’t leave the band for quite some time. REVIEW: Ally Fisher


ARTIST A

Will Away ALBUM Bliss Bliss, the debut EP from A Will Away, is a rock solid first release. The entire project gives off a sense of confidence only heard in well-established bands with three or four albums in their discography. What’s even more astounding is how well the band matched the best parts of alternative and punk rock together. The punk vibe is apparent from the beginning with heavy drums and guitar, but it’s mixed perfectly with more artsy guitar melodies. Along with lead vocals that switch easily between the two styles, this creates a lot more intensity and movement in each song. There are no moments where the energy dies and part of that is because of this meshing of sub-genres. To top it off, every song draws the listener in with enticing melodies. The main criticism of Bliss is that the music is so good that it overshadows the lyrics. It’s not overproduced, but the arrangement of sounds is so enamoring that it’s hard to focus on the lyrics. It would have been great to see something incredibly unique sound wise that makes the songs stand out more from others in these genres. But again, that’s just one person’s opinion.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Play Dead” & “Be Easy” REVIEW Bailey Zeigler

ARTIST The

Dead Weather ALBUM Dodge and Burn The Dead Weather have released their third full-length album to hyped-up fans of singer Alison Mosshart and guitarist Jack White. Unfortunately, the two are the reason behind the downfall of their newest record, Dodge and Burn, via Third Man Records. Mosshart stated that the album was recorded without all members present, which explains the lack of balance in the record in comparison to their hit album, Sea of Cowards. The rhythm on the first two tracks has a bland and recycled sound. Starting the decline with “Three Dollar Hat,” the record’s controversy is a poor rendition of alternative hip-hop with scratchy vocals on White’s part. The song leads into a hearty riff that brings the track back up, but not enough to redeem itself. On a lighter note, “Rough Detective” utilizes both of the singers’ ranges. Mosshart and White blend their strengths together while keeping their vocal personalities separate, reminiscent of the band’s previous work. “Open Up” harbors the rawness of Mosshart’s energy and White’s building guitar but with more of a punch in between the lulls. Yet, two tracks can’t make a record, and that’s where Dodge and Burn falls flat—in the lulls. Like fitting a square peg into a round hole, Dodge and Burn tries to bring up the groovy tones of the ‘60s and ‘70s with Mosshart’s Jefferson Airplane-esque voice, but with unpleasant elements brought on by the rest of the band—the great White himself included. Even Mosshart sounds wore and weary at times. Save yourself the trouble and give the group’s previous albums a repeat instead.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS “Open Up” & “Rough Detective” REVIEW Bridjet Mendyuk

ARTIST Mayday

Parade ALBUM Black Lines You can’t expect a band to maintain a single sound. People grow. Music changes. Thankfully, Mayday Parade have moved past the dark times of Anywhere But Here. However, the hype for their fifth studio album, especially given the songs they chose as singles, might leave some listeners feeling slightly underwhelmed with the actual album. The opener, “One of Them Will Destroy the Other” featuring Real Friends’ Dan Lambton, encompasses the attempted direction of the album. Yet, for songs like “Look Up and See Infinity, Look Down and See Nothing,” the change of sound may be problematic. Despite the fact that the singles released are the stars of the album, there is still potential to unearth a few other gems. Even after ten years together, Mayday Parade continue to experiment with lead singer Derek Sanders’ vocal range. The environment of the recording space is reflected in almost every song on the album—the haunting, emptiness of an abandoned church echoes throughout songs like “Just Out of Reach” and “Letting Go.” “Narrow” begins with the intention of a slower, acoustic song but quickly changes pace, and “Until You’re Big Enough” is reminiscent of Monsters in the Closet—both in a good way. Although missing their uniquely long titles, Mayday Parade’s songs mirror the progression and growth of the individual band members and add another notch in the belt for a band that will be around for at least another ten years.

RECOMMENDED TRACKS “One of Them Will Destroy the Other” & “Keep In Mind, Transmogrification Is A New Technology” REVIEW Alexandra Shimalla


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