Citizen’s As You Please reports from ground zero of an epidemic. Two years removed from their previous Run For Cover LP, Everybody Is Going To Heaven, Citizen’s perspective is far less sublime. As You Please is a confrontational record, incapable of turning a blind eye toward the inescapable strife. And so, songwriter Mat Kerekes pursues the source of discontent that is ravaging his friends, his family, and his Rust Belt city of Toledo, Ohio with the band’s most dynamic record to date.

On As You Please the epidemic is bigger than addiction and overdoses. There is no longer a Dream to be pursued for the friends and family surrounding Citizen. The band explores that absence and the misguided ways in which it gets filled. On opener “Jet” the kids move slow and there’s a stranger living in the narrator’s home. Both are Kerekes’ discreet way of expressing the wreckage of widespread opiate addiction. “In The Middle Of It All” might be Citizen at their most hopeful, but it also reads as agonizing expression of the ruin in the Heartland.

As You Please also showcases the growing versatility of a band seven years deep and still restless. Citizen has fully outgrown the pop punk, but also refuses to brood in post-hardcore dirges. Written over the course of a year, the record is devoid of the brutish and sinister elements found on Everybody Is Going To Heaven. Here, Citizen go beyond the grunge to shoegaze contrasts and strive for something benevolent.

There’s a spiritual core to the record that manifests in subtle ways like the ethereal vocals echoing in the breakdown of “Control,” the droning organs on “You Are A Star” or the almost operatic refrain on “In The Middle Of It All.” The finespun ways in which Citizen has written this record mark a cataclysmic breakthrough for the band. There is damage and disarray in the band member’s daily lives, but within this record all the pieces have been restored in an ornate arrangement befitting a stained glass mosaic.

In the end, As You Please tries to give strength to those in need. There are illitic factors that control, but Citizen has written a guiding light of an album out of the debris. It concludes with “You Are A Star” and “Flowerchild;” one an unstable request of confidence set to soaring progressions, the other a blistering finale that subverts expectation. As You Please might read as meek, but it represents Citizen in its most confident and expansive state.

SORORITY NOISE write important songs. They go to uncomfortable places, unafraid to let the darkness in – but they’re also not shy at kicking back until the sorrow subsides. They’re songs of confusion, anger, life, death, mental health and, most importantly, hope. They’re what it means to be human.

That vulnerability has been Sorority Noise’s hallmark since they formed in 2013, but it’s never been as precise as it is on YOU’RE NOT AS ___ AS YOU THINK, their third album, set for release March 17th via Triple Crown Records. The album, produced by Mike Sapone (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday), is anemotional bulldozer. Singer/guitarist Cameron Boucher, who prefers not to edit or overthink his lyrics, empties both his pen and soul on songs like “No Halo,”“Disappeared”and “A Portrait Of,” tragically vulnerable vignettes that find him coming to terms with the death of close friends.

So what you’re getting is an emotional bulldozer – an unfiltered, inward look at the last year of the band’s life that’s filled with intimate, visceral details yet remains universally relatable. But even amidst weighty subject matter, Sorority Noise want to give you a sense of resilience: “No matter what I feel, it’s going to be OK,” Boucher says. “Things are going to be tough, but it’s going to be fine in the end –and you have to keep going because you just have to. This is how it’s going to be. You’ve just got to do it.”

Great Grandpa

Great Grandpa began in Seattle in 2014 when guitarist & vocalist Patrick Goodwin recruited bassist Carrie Miller, drummer Cam LaFlam, and vocalist Alex Menne to form a humble rock band. Inspired by the pop-sensible alternative rock of the 90’s, and offset by a mutual love for noise and math rock, the group set forth to write and record their first EP.

During recording, guitarist Dylan Hanwright joined the group, solidifying the lineup. Great Grandpa began performing in the Seattle area in late 2014, frequenting the city’s DIY venues. In March of 2015, their debut EP Can Opener was released on Broken World Media. The EP was met with considerable praise, and has been described as “warm, slightly off-kilter grunge pop”, and “knotty, twisted, and warm rock music that’s as melodically satisfying as it is, at times, confounding”.

Great Grandpa began writing their debut LP soon after, and found themselves touring the western US and performing extensively in the Seattle area. Written in 2015 and 2016, Great Grandpa’s debut LP Plastic Cough continues to explore the sonic territory visited in Can Opener, exhibiting infectious melodies across a range of backdrops, from quiet bedroom-pop to explosive, anthemic rock. Plastic Cough is out now on Double Double Whammy.

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Box Office is open Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm and All Show Nights, 410-244-0057. Unless otherwise noted Maryland State's 10% Admissions and Amusement Tax is included in the ticket price.

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