Incubus HQ Live Album Review and First Impressions (Score 98%)

This live cd was recorded in a storefront space that was renovated into a high-tech arty performance space.  For six nights, Incubus performed the tracks that makes up this album for their most loyal fans. This year Incubus celebrates their 20th anniversary as a band. This Wednesday they will be performing at The Palace of Auburn Hills, MI with Linkin Park. Below you’ll find our review of  the”HQ Live” album. Overall we rated this album so highly because we are a fan of their instrumentation and meanings found in their music. We also got to preview their live DVD that shows a visually-appealing Brandon Boyd and his band recording HQ Live.

Also, in case you missed it-we had a chance to sit in on a group interview with Brandon Boyd this past month and were impressed with his poise, intelligence, and ability to communicate his ideas.


Brandon Boyd
Mike Einziger
Jose Pasillas
Chris Kilmore
Ben Kenney



1. Intro-Good lead into first song…

2. Nice To Know You-Refreshingly raw, classic song with a great beginning

3. Circles-Stellar live version, another good intro. Interesting instrumentation-dig the flute. Incubus knows how to grab your attention by starting out w a great intro and holding the intensity. Good reminder to not be a jerk ‘cuz karma will get you. (PS Brandon-Don’t chew gum on stage!: Alcohol is ok tho.)

4. Wish You Were Here-A solid classic

5. 11am-Hardcore fans will enjoy the chat time at the beginning of this track. Great lyrics.

6. Are You In?/Riders On The Storm-“Adaptive thing”-Entertaining blend. Dig the scratchin’. Sultry:)

7. Aqueous Transmission-Exciting to hear the pipa played in the live version. Smooth blend of styles. Chill/artistic/existential? Thought provoking!

8. Privilege- Good message and yet another stellar start.

9. The Warmth-Good song for when you’re down.

10. Stellar-A classic! Can’t go wrong with this song

11. Make Yourself-fast-paced fun. The best lyrics. Words to live by.

12. Drive-Our fave on this CD.

13. I Miss You-Lovely and simple

14. Crowded Elevator-Solid. What’s the secret? We want to know.


1. Megalomaniac-Rockrockrocks!

2. Just A Phase-Interesting instrumentation and sound effects. Melodic song about a phase. Wonder what?

3. Sick Sad Little World-Best part of this is how the guitars and drums interract. Who is he talking about?

4. Anna Molly-good lyrics. The part where he sings “Anna-Molly” sounds like “lonely, lonely, looonely.” Drum parts makes me want to bang on things.

5. Pantomine-Fave track on disk two!

6. Promises, Promises-“This song is not about boogers.” HA!  Melodic song about a girl…

7. In The Company of Wolves-Amazing track with poignant lyrics. 4:11 and beyond sounds kinda sexy.

8. Love Hurts-Solid and smooth

9. Switchblade-More-rap like but not feeling the word switchblade 🙁

10. Pardon Me-A classic!

11. If Not Now, When?-Grew on me…

12. The Original-Who wouldn’t want someone to write a song like this about them?

13. Adolescents-Good overall mid-tempo sound blend.

14. Tomorrow’s Food-Melancholy ending perhaps not meaning to be, but it works.


Album Review: Fun. “Some Nights” 2-21-12 (Score 100%)

By Alexis Simpson

Genre: Rock

Members: Nate Ruess
Jack Antonoff
Andrew Dost

Fun. has grown immensely in popularity due to a heavy touring schedule, word of mouth, and Glee’s cover of “We are Young.” They remind us a lot of the voice of Mika with the theatricalness of Queen. The album is a hodgepodge of different styles smoothly blended together. We loved the drum and percussion sections.”Some Nights” is an exceptional album not without risks. The musicianship, personal and sometimes sad lyrics entwined with the general theme of overcoming obstacles make this album shine.

1. Some Nights-Intro: Intro? Sounds like it could stand on its own. We like how he says “Fuck” and the opera wails. Reminds me of how funny it sounds when a band like Ion & Wine curses.

2. Some Nights: African drum vibe, the vibe of the song would make you think it’s a Happy Happy Fight Fight song but the personal and deep lyrics reesemble rambling thoughts or a prayer spoken before sleeping. Great sound.

3. We Are Young-feat. Janelle Monáe: Uplifting, Great Singalong song, Brilliant! This song will be EVERYWHERE. It practically is already.

4. Carry On: Lyrical Stress Relief

5. It Gets Better: Electronic Synth that reminds us of an 80’s Workout song. Song gets more interesting half way through. Out least fave song of the track but chorus is catchy.

6. Why Am i the One: Pleasant, Strong Intro

7. All Alone: Fun Electronic Harpsichord melody

8. All Alright: Good Rhythm, Strategically Paced, Repetitive lyrics but it works

9. One Foot: Spirited, More personal lyrics, more religious references

10. Stars: Entwines his troubled relationship with a woman with the loss of his Mother. Highly relatable for those dealing with loss

Well, Some nights I rule the world
With bar lights and pretty girls
But most nights I stay straight
And think about my mom, Oh God
I miss her so much

Out on the Town-Bonus Track: Indeed a bonus!

We Are Young-feat. Janelle Monáe (Acoustic): Interesting reprise. Janelle sounds amazing. Beautiful!

Score: 10/11=100%

Album Review: First Aid Kit “The Lion’s Roar” 1/19/11 (Score 82%)

By Alexis Simpson

It’s interesting how Noize favorites, Jack White and Conor Oberst, both chose to work with First Aid Kit this year. Conor Oberst toured with them, and Jack White produced and released a 7″ record featuring First Aid Kit on Third Man Records. Jack and Conor were obviously on to something! First Aid Kit put out a great first album, and their second effort just as good. The duo is made up of Swedish singers, Klara and Johanna Söderberg. The girls are known for their song writing, blended melodies, simple/pure sound, and rich vocals.  The album could have used a few more standout ethereal-type tracks and elimination of some of the “filler” quaint tracks. Nevertheless”The Lion’s Roar” is a strong start to a year that will hopefully produce even more great music. You can preview the album HERE.

Album Track List

1. The Lion’s Roar-Perfect beginning

2. Emmalou-Easy-listening, Weakest track of the album, lyrics could be better 🙁

3. In the Hearts of Men-Passable

4. Blue-Passable

5. This Old Routine-Interesting storyline

6. To a Poet-Album Fave! Great lyrics…”I miss you more than I take and I will surely break…There’s nothing more to it, I just get through it.”

7. I Found a Way-Lovely

8.Dance to Another Tune-Dream-like, Interesting tempo-changes

9. New Year’s Eve-Haunting, Catchy chorus, a highlight of the album

10. King of the World-Bouncy, Conor Oberst!

11. Wolf (Bonus Track)-The Aye Yie Yie part is annoying. 🙁

Score: 9/11=82%

Album Review: Steve Aoki “Wonderland” 1/10/12 (Score 81%)

I adore Steve Aoki. I got the chance to see him live this summer at the Identity Fest and loved his presence. He’s a star-the hippest of the hip. I also am a fan of several of his well-known tracks such as: “Misfits” “Wake Up Call” and “New Noise.” I’m excited to see him finally release a full-length album. Other than a few songs that failed, it’s an interesting album in the genre I like to refer to as pop-techno. His music is so damn likable and catchy, even if it’s a ‘lil heavy on the dubstep.

01. Steve Jobs (feat. Angerr Dimas)-Love the build-up! Bouncy. Video-gameISH. Aoki’s unique tribute to Jobs. Clever.

02. 05. Emergency (Feat. Lil Jon & Chiddy Bang)-Lil Jon is played out. Yuck. Chiddy Bang almost saves the track but not quite. 🙁

03. Earthquakey People (The Sequel) (Feat. Rivers Cuomo)-Better version than #10 thanks to Aoki.

04. Ladi Dadi (Feat. Wynter Gordon)-Typical Female vocal techno track. Boring 🙁

05. Control Freak (Feat. Blaqstarr & Kay)-Not bad. Passable.

06. Ooh (Feat. Rob Roy)-Sassy fun.

07. No Beef (Original Mix) (feat. Polina Goudieva)-Passable.

08. Come With me (Deadmeat) [feat. Polina Goudieva]-Typical Female vocal techno tack. Boring 🙁

09. Heartbreaker (Feat. Lovefoxxx) Smooth. “Dripping Dripping Dripping”

10. Earthquakey People 9feat Rivers Cuomo) Love Rivers Cuomo, do not love this song, 🙁

11. Livin My Love (Feat. LMFAO & NERVO)Yah Shake it!

12. Dangerous (Feat. Zuper Blahq) Fun lyrics!

13. Cudi The Kid (Feat. Kid Cudi & Travis Barker) Sweet Collab-o!

14. The Kids Will Have Their Say (Feat. Sick Boy With Former-Love! Fave track! We love when Aoki mixes techno with heavier screamo stuff.

15. Turbulence (Radio Edit) (feat. Lil John) [Bonus Track]-This is one of his older tracks but glad it was added so everyone can hear it. Smart move.

16. Misfits (feat Steve Aoki) {Bonus Track] Another one of his older tracks that I adore. At Identity, Aoki left his tables to perform this song. Ahh memories!


Check out the pics of Steve Aoki and the Identity Festival here:


Album Review: Young Jeezy “TM: 103 Hustlerz Ambition” (Score 83%)

Genre: Hip Hop / Rap / Hardcore

If you want something hardcore, this is the album for you. Young Jeezy is all about sex, weed and guns. I can’t see myself listening to this album on a daily basis because it’s so hard. Young Jeezy must not like recording alone because he has a lot of collaborations. Despite these things, he does deliver some witty punchlines.

Lose My Mind” featuring 103 – Dope, crisp, wild, crazy, heavily-medicated.

“Ballin” featuring Lil Wayne – Gutter, futuristic, flavorful, splendid, fun.

“.38” featuring Freddie Gibbs – Dangerous, lethal, primal, high-caliber, rapacious.

“F.A.M.E.” featuring T.I. – Glamorous, attractive, magnetic, elaborate, daring.

“I Do” featuring Jay-Z, Andre 3000 – Plain, boring🙁

“Trapped” featuring Jill Scott – Surprising, live, real, superior, uplifting. “

“All We Do” – Annoying, Unattractive

“Everythang” – Booming, famous, financially sound, thugging, reminiscing.

“Higher Learning” featuring Snoop Dogg, Devin The Dude, Mitchellel – Risky, awkward.. 🙁

“Leave You Alone” featuring Ne-Yo – Maddening, crystal clear, alluring, deafening, lonely.

“Never Be The Same” – New, reborn, positive, redemption, clarity.

“Nothing” – Aloofness, repetitive, set, radioactive, rebel.

“OJ” featuring Fabolous, Jadakiss – simple, grinding, hard, fearless, troublesome.

“Supafreak” featuring 2 Chainz – Sensual, thunderous, noisy, dynamic, rugged.

“This Ones For You” featuring Trick Daddy – Thoughtful, sincere, regular, favorable, smart.

“Waiting” – Big shot, rhythmic, dominate, earnest, remarkable.

“Way Too Gone” featuring Future – Recollect, gifted, respectful, restless, gangster.

“What I Do (Just Like That)” – Colossal, likable, album favorite, witty, determined. +

SCORE: 15/18=83%

Album Review: Real Estate’s “Days” 10/22/2011 (Score 81%)

Kevin via

The New Jersey band Real Estate has just released it’s second full-length album, “Days.” On this follow-up the band continues to combine meditative lyrics and relaxing guitar-pop to create a simple and atmospheric sound.

Real Estate is very good at using guitars to create a relaxed ‘beach-wave’ sound. Much of this is is due to the unique style of the band’s guitarist, Matt Mondanile, who also plays guitar under the name Ducktails and might also be remembered for having collaborated with Animal Collective’s Panda Bear.

Throughout their record releases, the band has shown a common underlying theme. These simple guitar songs are all reflecting the romanticized way these guys see America; a grey and unsustainable land they navigate with jingly-jangly guitars and a zen-like attitude.

Every track on “Days” rolls on with lyrics in a way that perfectly crisp and seamless. It’s excellent music for driving down the road because it’s almost impossible to be in a hurry while listening to this stuff.

 SCORE: 84 out of 100

Album Review: Evanesence’s ‘Evanesence’ 10/12/2011 (Score 82%)

Loud, crunchy guitars: check

Resplendent piano arpeggios and corresponding string arrangements: check

Crisp studio production: check

Soaring, haunting Goth-queen vocals: check

This can mean only one thing: a new Evanescence album. After listening to the band’s third studio album, simply titled Evanescence, one is immediately reassured of one thing: you know exactly what you’re getting.

Welcome back Amy Lee. She has returned in all of her Goth-glory, capturing you with her soaring, forever haunting vocals, and endless tales of forlorn loss and hurt. Opening track “What You Want” immediately takes you in with Amy Lee’s patented haunting vocals, crisp production, and catchy “Hello, Hello, remember me” refrain. Existing fans will immediately breathe a sigh of relief; they are getting what they paid for and then some.

“My Heart is Broken” picks up where “What You Want” left off, with an infectious drum groove, cascading piano arpeggios, and general melodic tone. “The Other Side” follows suit, featuring some real tasty guitar work, with a dark crunch that really gels well with Lee’s sweet minor-chording vocal work and made-for –Twilight chorus.

Then the unevenness ensues. “Lost in Paradise” showcases the raw emotion of Lee’s voice, with resplendent piano and string work in the earlier half of the song, but eventually devolves into Goth-power ballad hyperbole. “End of the Dream” and “Never Go Back” offer more of the formulaic power-guitar, riff driven punch that fans have come to expect.

It isn’t until “Swimming Home” that we hear the promise of a new direction. Subdued and fragile, it is the most frustrating track on the album because it holds the most promise of something fresh and new. Here Lee’s voice is deep and mystical, drawing you into the epicenter of her emotions. Evoking an almost 80’s feel, it would roll perfectly with the credits of the inevitable Breakfast Club remake lurking around the corner for a whole new generation of Millennial misfits. The simple, haunting refrain of “I’m sorry” grips you and drags you into a more gentle space of Lee’s heart. This track earns the album’s best song award.

Troy McLawhorn, the guitarist who has worked with the band since 2007, speaks of “The Change”: “It has a whole different feel without going too far away from what fans of the band would expect from us.”

RATING: 82/100

-Brian Correa