Album Review: Artificial Agent-Brain Grenade (Score=100% )

SONY DSCBy Alexis Simpson

We first saw this band perform when opening for Steel Panther. Since then, we’ve spotted Derek enjoying rock shows at venues such as Small’s and Royal Oak Music Theatre. Also, you may have spotted his brother on Instagram with a deluge of photos of his new bride-Congrats! They released their new CD a few months ago, so we wanted to see what it was all about and relay our first impression of the album.

Members Derek Jendza
Mike Elgert
Brad Jendza
Karl Crafton



1. Master Blaster: Catchy and simple with great guitar work! 🙂

2. Brain Grenade: Fuzzy sounding, slower tempo song about love gone bad. Strong instrumental intro and ending! 🙂

3. Out of Time: Sung with conviction. We prefer the faster tempo songs such as this one. So far we are hearing solid classic Detroit-sounding rock songs that make drinking more fun. 🙂

4. Another Punch in the Face: This song is on the right track…It’s about a guy who has a bad day and feels like he got punched in the face again. We like this song, but it might create more mosh pits if they changed the lyrics to “I Want to Punch you in the Face.” This way the character in the song would sound more victorious rather than beat down. Maybe on the next album Artificial Agent will write such a song:) *hinthint* 🙂

5. Psychomotor Agitation: What is this psychomotor agitation they speak of? We are not sure, but it’s fun to say. 🙂

6. Some Things Never Die: This sounds like a good Halloween song to play outside for the tricker treaters with all the talk about dying, creeping and bleeding. 🙂

7. Not For the Innocent: Lock up your daughters! We approve when Artificial Agent aims for the dark side and gets a little aggressive such as in the last two songs! 🙂

Overall, there isn’t anything NOT to like on this album. Great job, maybe next time write that “Punch in the Face” song and add a song about aliens. We still are a big fan of your robot song on “The Valley of the Ashes”!!!

Score=7/7 100%

Album Review: Stars In Stereo Self Titled Album (Score=82%)


By Alexis Simpson

We stumbled across the band “Stars In Stereo” when they opened for Drowning Pool and Flyleaf at St. Andrew’s Hall earlier this year. New female-fronted rock bands are fairly rare, and we wanted to support and share today’s new release of  Stars In Stereo. Click HERE to stream. This is a good first effort from Stars In Stereo-a step in the right direction. The group is radio-friendly, marketable, and  the AP Mag/Warped audience will latch on quickly. Here is my first impression/track by track review! Let us know what you think of the album.


Bec Hollcraft – Vocals

Jordan McGraw – Lead Guitar

Justin Siegel – Bass

Frogs McCormick – Rhythm Guitar

Drew Langan – Drums

1. The Broken-Vocally this band sound like an edgier/harder version of Paramore with a little bit of Amy Lee of Evanesence thrown in. Bec’s voice is just the kind female vocal I admire-clear, fluid, and feminine. Her voice is quite lovely, and the best part is that she doesn’t try too hard to toughen up her vocals to sound more “rock.” The opening song is solid.

2. Violence-The drumming makes this song. Lyrically it’s a little repetitive.

3. All Together-Great instrumental openings. On the fence on the “ooooh ohhh ohh” part but Bec’s upper register makes up for that when she belts out “LOSE IT ALL!”

4. Dealing Secrets-Solid track, but gets a 🙁 because it sounds too similar to other tracks. It appears that this album is at its strongest after track #5. Perhaps they played it a little too safe in the beginning?

5. Lie Down-I don’t get this one. “Lie down if you want me?” What? 🙁

6. Red Eyed Romance-The vocal intro sound very pop-rock but vibrant, almost as if Bec was starring in a new Jem & The Holograms cartoon. One of the stronger tracks of the album.

7. Open your Eyes-The beginning sounds like an EDM song. Becca’s voice is so versatile that she could sing anything. The first 45 secs are the best part of the track.

8. At the Stroke of Midnight-Solid

9. Every Last Thing-Another album standout. Their first single?

10. Queen of Catastrophe-Beautiful intro reinforcing my admiration for Bec’s voice. Catchy chorus. I think many of us feel like fuck-ups more often than not. Album fave! I hope they make a video for this one:)

11. Every Last Thing (Alternate Version)-Entertaining version of a great song. I enjoyed the more mellow parts of the song. Would love to hear a ballad on the next album or live performance!


Album Review-Jamaican Queens-Wordfood (Score-111%)


Genre-Alt/Indie Rock, INdie Electronic, Indie Pop, Neo-Psychedelia

My biggest critique of this album is that I wish there were a few more tracks. MORE! I WANT MORE! Jamaican Queens, when not touring, are out on the town checking out fellow Detroit musicians’ sets. (Read their Twitter HERE, it’s entertaining:) Their sound is indeed their own, and makes me proud that a group from the Detroit are is putting out something so original, moody, smart and stylish. Here is my first impression review:

1. Water-I love this song. I can’t really imagine liking another song so much this year. I proclaim this the Song of the Year woo woo, and I don’t give NO SHITZ that it is only March. Why do I like this song so much? First, I love the way  they “talk” or sing-it’s the lilt of their voices, their charming way of pronouncing words…The way they say: “I’m sorry,” “heart,” “love” “couch” “time”  “you’re scared alone, I know.” ARGH everything! This is also the ultimate “sway song” meaning that when you hear it, you sway. Check the video, they sway too in it. Well, Adam Pressley does with a bunch of chicks. Props to Adam for managing to make every cool girl crush on him after seeing this video. JQ’s singer Ryan Spencer states that this song is about falling in love while on ecstasy, only to realize that it wasn’t love after all.  Whatever this song is, it gets a +1. (I never gave anybody a +1 before.)

2. Kids Get Away-Love the electronic effects added. Bouncy drum beats add to the vibe of the song. I first saw this video on Noisey: where it is explained that this song is a reminded to stop “being an idiot” so that bad things don’t happen. Great song, great video. Nevertheless, this year I will not walk around the streets of Hamtramck after and before the Blowout alone. Thanks JQ, you just saved my life:)

3. Black Madonna-Bongo drumming, a smooth falsetto voice. A title like “Black Madonna” is bound to grab some interest. I look forward to when I can google this song and how the lyrics displayed in front of me.

4. Annie-Wind chimes for a whimsical song. You can lick my earlobes if you want to=lyrics. Relatable- many of us have had someone who we couldn’t say no to. Like the uncontrollable sobbing at the end of the song and the messed-up drumming at the end. Damn that Annie.

5. Wormfood-Adds the female vocals of Abby Fiscus to their trippy sound.When things blow, just remember we are all Wormfood. I like Abby on this track. She is the face on the cover and does a lot of their photos as well.

6. Wellfleet Outro-Trippy duet. The high pitched parts take a little getting used to. Forlorn and fuzzy. Did I hear a clarinet? I like the lyrics, but the deep dark fuzz saves this track. I think i’d like this better live. Abby would bring an interesting element to their stage show. Good breakup song for grieving. Fiscus’ vocals remind me of the Meg White of drums meaning that the sound is meant to be more raw and organic.

7. Sharkteeth-Dig how he says, “I want to settle DOWN” and says the DOWN in a low voice. It adds just a bit of drama that reminds me the theatricalness of their old band Prussia. It’s nice to see signs of Prussia, but one thing I prefer about Jamaican Queens is that it’s much less theatrical. Instead of being “theatrical” the Jamaican Queens come off more as eccentric in a cool way so that when I listen to their music, I can pretend I’m cool too. Thanks. Folky and tender. These guys have lots of personality mixed with some playfulness.

8. Asleep at the Wheel-Another album favorite. Slow pulsing beat with great synth work and nifty noises. Ryan Spencer=Charismatic.

9. Caitlyn-UGH so good it hurts. “I’m sorry about the earth around you caving in.” I enjoy how this song builds as the drums and snyth come in so simply as it all blurs together.

Score 10/9=111%

Album Review: Ghost Vapors “The Valley of Ashes” (Score=91%)

By Alexis Simpson

ghostvaporsGhost Vapors is a musical project formed by Brad Jendza and Steve Swanson. Brad was kind enough to send me a copy of their album, The Valley of Ashes, and I am quite pleased that he did. Overall, I really enjoyed the album and added it to my mass of music that I listen to on a daily basis. Furthermore, Brad Jendza is a joy to watch live so I’m always open to listening to his musical projects. Great original work! Here is my first impressions track by track review. Find it on iTunes HERE

1. Hang Up Your Guns-Any song that talks about “choking on mastodons” is fine by me! This is a catchy and bouncy rock song that is perfect for opening an album. The song switches gears after 2:15 and showcases some great guitar work later on in the song. The only teeny tiny thing I’d change is the “radio” dude talking at 2:15. 🙂

2. Scars To Hide-I dig the easy-going instrumentation and simple lyrics. Those things bring a sincerity to the song that makes it work.

3. Robot Girlfriend-Uh-oh a robot song. We are especially tough on robot songs. I think it’s because as a child Styx’s Mr. Roboto song got on my last damn nerve. To date, the only robot song I like is Beastie Boy’s “Intergalactic.” Therefore, despite there being nothing intrinsically wrong with this song, I am pre-disponisioned to not like this song. I do recognize it might be fun to perform live though! 🙁

4. We Are Lost-Beautiful intro, and love the lyrics. Vocally the song brings back to older times, but that’s what I like about this song. Earnest. And who can’t relate to being lost and over-medicated these days?

5. Exit-This track is a short musical interlude that highlighting someone’s exit from this world…Interesting. If this track was placed at the end of the album, it would have quite an impact because it would be like saying goodbye in a dramatic albeit depressing way. It’s probably better placed where it is:)

6. Arc Of Descent-Another song about being lost. I like it. It’s dreamy and a little trippy. Relaxing.

7. Astronaut-Hmm, an astronaut song-what a great analogy for life and fab idea. I can’t really think of too many astronaut songs other than REM’s “Moon on the Moon” which is more about conspiracies. The song is a little repetitive, but it’s clever.

8. The Ballad of George Dickel-One of the things I like about this cd is that it’s musically diverse with songs from different genres of music. This is a fun ‘lil track that is one of my favorite off the album. What’s that I hear, a ukelule? I think it would be entertaining to sit around with these musicians and sing songs:) Fave track of the album! Quirky love song.

9. Give In To This-Solid rock song.

10. Tomorrow’s Just The Same-I dig their style and vibe on all their songs. Easy-going, surprising instrumentation with interesting lyrics.

11. Lifeboat-A song about survival-It appears that the theme is this album centers on carrying on in this crazy world.

12. Amputated Phantom Limbs-Solid track. The song writer certainly shows creativity when choosing subjects to write about on this album such as mastodons, robots, astronauts, and phantom limbs! Very imaginative!


Album Review: The Rose Cult “Welcome to the Rose Cult” (Score=100%)

By Alexis Simpson


The Rose Cult band reached out to me to check out some of their new material, and I’m so glad I did! They too, like my current obsession, Jamaican Queens, possess that crazy-cool Detroit vibe that makes me want to head downtown and vibe with the city. I love their sound, and want to help spread the word about what they are doing. Check out my first impressions review of their album Welcome to the Rose Cult. There was absolutely NOTHING to not like about this album. I’m gonna buy it. Check out the streaming album here:
Genre: Psychedelia

Andrew Maslowskly – Lead/Vocals
C.N. Pratt – Rhythm/Vocals
JD Whiting – Percussion
Miles Hubbell-Organ and Keys

1. Mary/Like a Charm-Great instrumentation on intro. I like how he sings “my Cigerettes, my cigerettes, my cigerettes! Love this track, want to hear it live! This is my album fave:) It has a certain charm to it and it’s quite catchy.
2. Shoreline- Surfer track with a little hippie thrown in. I can imagine Peter Doherty singing this song for some reason.
3. About a Convict’s Daughter-Dig the guitar work and instrumentation. Simple but perfect drumming. Vocals are nice-weird, sexy, fun, and trippy style. Love this track too. UGH why did I not know of this band sooner?
4. Cass Corridor-Sounds like uhmm the cass corridor. Instrumental track.
5.Revolution #2-Great intro. More of the drunk sounding,  weird sexy & trippy singing. (That’s a compliment) Solid song.
6.Elizabeth-Slow tempo, unrequited love song? A-LIZ-A-BETH!
7.I’m a Surfer Now-Did you know surfers do surf in Michigan’s Great Lakes? Regardless, Do these guys surf? Now, I’m listening to this song to see it’s not really about surfing…Maybe it’s about drugs? I don’t know. Oh well, I dig it anyway.
8.The Daisy Chain-Simple but Solid
9. The Initiation Ritual-Simple but solid


Album Review: Hell Or Highwater Premiere New Album, “Begin Again” (SCORE 86%)

431358_389164964430203_221402791_nHell Or Highwater was in Detroit January 25th, when they opened for The Darkness. We got the chance to preview their new album, Begin Again, and wanted to share our first impressions of each track.

For those that don’t know, Hell or Highwater was founded by Brandon Saller, the drummer/vocalist for Cali rock band, Atreyu. You can preview the album on Revolver’s site:

You can order the album here!

1. Gimme Love-Sold opener. Love song about a guy who loves a girl. Nothing not to like. Simple.

2. Hail Mary-This song is also directed at a girl, except the love has gone wrong. I like this one a little better than the first track. Maybe messed up love is more interesting? HA! This song is a little more exuberant musically.

3. Terrorized in the Night-I like this song because even tough rock guys get scared in the night sometimes:) So far I’m liking this even more than track #2. Album is well-produced/smooth.

4. Tragedy-Starts out slowly..A ballad? Nope, they tricked me. Addresses a “tragedy” as if its a person and tells it to “go away.” Honest sincere song…Nifty guitar work. Saller’s voice sounds great.

5. Find The Time To Breathe-I like the line about “But it seems to be the same things over and over.” But then he later says he’s afraid of change, so it appears that he wants change but he’s a little nervous about it. Maybe this song is about some of the changes in his career. Speculations!

6. Rock Waters Edge-This song takes us back to the subject of relationships. This song is missing something. Perhaps it’s just too mid-tempo. We like it slow or fast! 🙁

7. Go Alone (Featuring M. Shadows)-Slightly twangy guitar. Intro sounds 3 steps away from rock-country. Catchy lyrics, bouncy music.

8. When the Morning Comes-Hmm, just ok 🙁

9. Crash & Burn-Yay, they picked up the pace again. Back to rockin’…

10. Come Alive-We like songs about skeletons and bones:) One of the top 3 tracks on the album. Sounds like a possible “radio” song. Stay turned to hear this one on Detroit’s 89x.

11. We All Wanna Go Home-Another radio-friendly song. Well-written and musically strong with a chorus that everyone can sing along to.

12. Tragedy (Villain Remix) – Bonus Track-The electronic version of Tragedy. Different but it works out ok.

13. The Boxer – Bonus Track-Cover song…A fun listen. It’s also a good idea to add a cover to see a band’s interpretation of an old favorite. Sallor can sing, so why not show off a little? Nice work.

14. Pretty Penny – Bonus Track-Sallor seems to let loose on this track. Solid ending to a solid album:)

Overview: There isn’t much to NOT like about this album. I wish they had one stripped-down ballad because I’d like to get a closer look at Sallor’s voice. I haven’t yet picked out a stand-out track that spoke to me right away. This happens sometimes-it just means I need to listen to the album a little more and let ir marinade! Next time we will hve to check them out live to see what kind of performers they are:)

SCORE: 86%


Review: Bassnectar in 2012 (Score 91%)

Last week we were supposed to attend the Bassnectar show in Detroit, but got assigned to cover Madonna last minute so we figured we would take photos after the Madonna show. Security wouldn’t let us bring our cam in that late so we were bummed, but judging from all the drunk people outside of the Fillmore and in the lobby, a good time was had by all. So instead of photos from the show, we made a Spotify playlist of all of Bassnectar’s 2012 released tracks on Spotify and wrote down our first impressions of each song. Also, congrats to Bassnectar for being listed on Rolling Stone’s list of “The DJs that Rule the Earth.”


1. Freestyle: Good start off song.

2. Breathless: Passable. Not loving the female vocals but like the space vibe.

3.. Hologram: Kinda relaxing…

4. Infinite: Gets movin’ 1/4 of the way in. Solid.

5. Human: Yes! Very danceable…Fave of the album.

6. Ego Killer-Bassnectar & Timeline Remix: Perfect beginning. “WOW.”!

Up All Night Vol. 2-Dark Room

1. For the Love of Girls: We’re bouncin’…

2. Bomb the Blocks-Majik Johnson Remix: Interesting sounds. steady smooth rhythm.

3. Bullfrog: Perfect title. Amazing! Sounds like a quirky little frog catching bugs in the woods. YUM.

4. You Know: Like the beeps and the CUPCUP noises. Best on the album!

5. Magdalena: Ten songs in one.

6. Woman of the Sun-Magik Johnson Remix: Skillfully mixed. Dig 2:04 beat. Track lasta a little too long.

7. Yo-Max Renn’s Sticky Beats Dub: Werd.

8.Chickon on the Wing: Reminds me of the beepbeep cupcup song. Wonder how it got its name?

9. Breathe You In-Juan de la Madre Mix: Solid

Divergent Spectrum Remix EP

1. Upside Down (Bassnectar & Terravita Remix): Good remix of his 2011 track.

2. Red Step (Steve Aoki Remix): Sounds like Aoki:)

3. Voodoo (Bassnectar & Ill. Gates Remix): Nice noize.

4. Heads Up (The Glitch Mob Remix): Do songs that say “bounce” make ppl bounce? Prolly.

5. Voodoo (Beats Antique Remix) Oriental Voodoo mixed with some gypsy and hiphop. Somehow it works!

6. Color Storm: Just OK🙁 

Vava V0om

1. Vava Voom: Perfect as it should be since it’s the album name.

2. Empathy: Makes me sleepy🙁

3. Ugly: Perfect dance song because it inspires you to make your own “ugly” dance.

4. Ping Pong: Clever.

5. What:Hyper/up-beat. Best part stats at 1:23.

6. Pennywise Tribute: Nice change of pace.

7. Do It Like This: Laid back with strong beats and fancy noises.

8. Laughter Crescendo (2012 Version): Too much giggling. It would be better if there were laughter-like noises kinda like the “Bullfrog” song🙁

9. Butterfly: Nice keys, dig the vocals. nice slow pace. Lovely:)

10. Nothing Has Been Broken:

11. Chronological Outtakes: We like bASS in the face.

SCORE= 29/32=91%

Album Review: Aaron Lewis “The Road” (Score 90% )

Aaron Lewis, frontman of Staind has made a significant impact in the alternative rock space. All signs point towards a successfully leap into the country realm as well. His 2011 debut EP made it to spot #1 of the Billboard’s Country Sales Chart. Debut single “Country Boy” went gold and earned him multiple award nominations. His new album The Road is scheduled to be released on November 13th. In fact, Aaron Lewis credits Kid Rock with helping him to re-explore country music back when he first toured with Kid Rock in 1999. Perhaps this calls for a Kid Rock collaboration in the future?! We had the opportunity to preview the new release and are happy we did. “The Road” is a simple album with strong lyrics and instrumentation that highlight the beauty of Aaron Lewis’ voice. Here is our track by track breakdown:

75-The title refers to I-75 which happens to go through Detroit. My Grandpa listened to the country in the car so this song reminds me of him and it’s entertaining to hear a song about a highway we travel on so often. This track is a melancholy tune that sets the tone of the album.

The Road-Aaron’s voice sounds clear and strong. We admire his low range on this track that resumes the travelin’ theme.

Endless Summer-Coulda used a little more soul. Not quite as convincing as Kid Rock’s song “All Summer Long” but we may be a bit biased. Good video though. 🙁

Red, White, Blue-Personal lyrics always make for a good song!

Lessons Learned-Aaron’s low voice shines on this song, and it was during this song that his voice in indeed perfect for country music although we hope he still sings rock ballads from time to time! Nevertheless, his voice is “one of a kind” regardless of what genre of music he sings.

Forever-This is another song already drumming up some touching comments online about how this song has helped people repair their relationships or move past them. We love how his voice sounds on the line, “Now I’m laying beside you…”

Granddaddy’s Gun-Solid storyline

State Lines-We enjoyed learning about his life on the road as a musician, and got a kick out of his declaration of “carrying contraband across state lines.”

Anywhere But Here-A soldier in Afghanastan commented on Youtube: “i listen to this song every curntley stationed in Afghanistan,its like hell here i would do anything to be back home with my lil boy!but im proud to say im a U.S marine.this song keeps me going everyday!” Touching comment for a touching song!

Party In Hell-One of our favorite songs of the album! And no it is NOT the party track of the album despite what the title may imply.

Score= 9/10 

Album Review: Larry and His Flask “Hobo’s Lament” (Score 92%)

By Mitch Planamento

At first glance, the cover of Larry and His Flask’s six songs EP, Hobo’s Lament, looks like Jack Nichloson is flipping you off—which would be hilarious if it was actually him. Moving past that, half of this six song EP is made up of older songs (“Closed Doors”, “My Name is Cancer” and “Swing”). Although it would be preferable to have more than half the songs be new, the older songs do add to this overall wonderful work of intense prose hopped up on speed, dreams and ironically played music. LAHF do not disappoint with their consistent style of smoking strings plucked to the point of breaking, percussion like a rhythmatic stomping foot gone mad, thumping bass breaking its restraints and rich, carnival sounding horns with either a gruff sounding pirate voice filled with glee or a rolling, at times gritty tenor with backup vocals.

“Big Ride” is about living your dreams before you die. Played with Prominent banjo strings, and keys that sound like they belong in a saloon, this is not a song that you stand still to. It makes you want to bob your head, tap your feet and shake your body—especially to the bright horns that play coordinated chaos and could be from the era of swing.

“Hobo’s Lament” is like a sad, upbeat waltz. It’s a sorrowful anthem filled with strings that fiddle on high notes, a marching percussion and a too softly played bass. The vocals are haunting and truly take on the style of Barbershop music, emphasizing the frustration of the loss of home, self and the sheer frustration of it all with well placed yells or lines like, “This diry city this filty city has robbed me of my soul please these lonely streets… and no place for me to call my home.”

In particular, “So Long” was really well done with its contemporary 40s style crooning melody. It’s a simplistically beautiful song about yearning for summer and the anticipation that becomes uncertain at times, “So long, so long have I wated for it to be here. So long, so long that I don’t think it’s coming this year.” The vocals, with harmonizing backup vocals at times, as well as the muted trombone(?) make the word yearning, into an actual sound. This happy-bluesy tune is the last song on this EP, a solid ending.

In case you missed it, I did an interview with LAHF this year and Alexis photographed them a few weeks ago when they were in Detroit performing with Frank Turner.

Check Out Slightly Stoopid! (Concert Photos & Album Review) Score 81%

Slightly Stoopid drew us in when they opened for 311. They played a long set that impressed the laid back and fun-loving Detroit crowd. They are a groovy group of white boy reggae masters with an impressive backup band. Their performance made us want to check out their new album. Here are our first Impressions of Top of the World and concert photos from their performance last month. One of the band members was making eyes at me, can you guess who?:)

1. Top of the World-Solid intro song

2. Don’t Stop-Makes me want to go back to Jamaica.

3. Devil’s Door-Muffled sound, good bass line

4. Serious Man-Nice bouncy tempo about a serious man who doesn’t gossip. Gossiping is fun tho? Oh well, good enough track anyways.

5. Way You Move-Groovy

6. Drink Professionally-Gotta love a song about drinking, Cheers!

7. Ur Love-We love you too.

8. We Don’t Wanna G0-Nostalgic Loveliness

9. Ska Diddy-Up-beat, gotta have a city shout out song at some point…

10. Just Thinking (fest. Chali 2na)-Fave song so far..Love Chali. Lyrically strong

11. Deal With Rhythm-Needs more rhythm…🙁

12. Pon Da Horizon-The “Oooh Ah” grunting distracts me. Prefer their up tempo songs. 🙁

13. Work-I can see playing this song after work while having a drink:)

14. Mona Lisa (feat. Angela Hunte)-Angela sounds a lil like Rihanna. Interesting duet.

15. Rhythm Streets-Not feeling the “rhythm” again. 🙁

16. Hiphoppablues (feat. G. Love)-Blues? 🙁

17. New Day-Pleasant and good instrumental ending

18. Underneath the Pressure-Jam!

19. Marijuana (feat. Don Carlos)-Nice groove altho we aren’t smokers:)

20. I’m On Fire-Good cover:) Very nice! They smooth blend makes me want to hear them do more “ballads.”

21. Intro to Organics (feat. Dan Papala)-Hmm…smooth to metal? Different ending but it works.

17 /21 81%