Four Year Strong

Four Year Strong

Taking influence from the likes of Lifetime, Gorilla Biscuits, and New Found Glory, Four Year Strong built an aggressive and melody-riddled combination of hardcore, emo-pop, and pop-punk upon their formation in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Comeback Kid

Since dropping their debut full-length, 2003's Turn It Around, COMEBACK KID has been an undeniable staple of the hardcore community. Each subsequent release has built upon the foundation of its predecessor while continually experimenting with and incorporating new musical elements from beyond the confines of modern hardcore. Five seconds into the band's latest release, Symptoms + Cures, though, it's made clear that this time around, COMEBACK KID has pushed their output to a new plateau.

Originally formed in 2000 by members of Winnipeg, Canada's underground music scene, COMEBACK KID has amassed a catalog of four full-length international releases along with a live CD/DVD. Says vocalist Andrew Neufeld about the band's origins: "We wanted to keep the intensity from our other bands or those we looked up to at the time, but also took influence from '90s skate punk and more melodic acts." He continues: "We wanted the music to be heavy, but the vocals were meant to incorporate a bit more melody than was found in traditional hardcore. Still, I don't think we knew how far we could go with it at the time."

The band's sophomore effort, 2005's Wake The Dead, affirmed their position atop the heap of modern hardcore bands; however, when writing commenced for 2007's Broadcasting…, vocalist and founding member Scott Wade announced his departure from the group, finding Neufeld abandoning his axe to take over vocal duties. But Broadcasting… didn't miss a beat. With Neufeld more than capably filling Wade's shoes, CBK delivered a powerful record that was undeniably COMEBACK KID while incorporating further-developed musical ideas and a more colorful vocal performance.

Having delivered their pure and passionate brand of hardcore to fans around the world since 2002, COMEBACK KID released a live CD/DVD package dubbed Through The Noise in 2008. On top of accurately relaying the intensity and attitude of a CBK performance through a 17-song set list comprised of favorites from the band's three previous releases, it also included an hour-long documentary entitled Our Distance that shared the band's story to date. Since then, the band has dominated stages on several continents and worked on an array of other projects, musical or otherwise, all while composing the fourth COMEBACK KID record.

Officially dropping August 31st, 2010, Symptoms + Cures is the latest offering from the lineup currently consisting of Neufeld on vocals, founding members Kyle Profeta on drums and Jeremy Hiebert on guitar, as well as guitarist Casey Hjelmberg and bassist Matt Keil.

The album is firmly rooted in the brand of hardcore that its three predecessors helped established, yet incorporates more musical layers and vocal variance than we've heard from the band thus far. "We really found our mesh with Andrew singing," says Profeta about the effort. "Our last album was more of a 'feeler.' We were just getting in the mode of Andrew becoming our front man. With Symptoms + Cures, we've really found our sound with him and we're all really excited about it."

Trademark elements of the band's sound are abundant on Symptoms + Cures – gang vocals, half-time bridges, and tastefully-placed breakdowns among them. However, the record also features a more dynamic vocal performance than we've previously heard, weaving a much harsher and urgent vocal delivery with sing-able passages, not to mention new musical expansions that stray from the straight-up simplicity of hardcore.

Still, these new elements only serve to enhance, not overpower, the core of COMEBACK KID's sound – and this is assuredly a COMEBACK KID album.

Once the record's been delivered to the masses, COMEBACK KID will embark on a world tour, hitting North America, Europe, Asia, and South America and sharing stages with acts like Madball, Sick Of It All, Four Year Strong, A Wilhelm Scream, Parkway Drive, Bleeding Through, and others. Says Neufeld: "It'll be nice playing with some new bands as well as some of our hardcore heroes – bands we all really respect."

While fans will undoubtedly find much to embrace in Symptoms + Cures, it's notable that the band members themselves believe this to be the pinnacle of their cumulative output. "It's a good feeling that despite how long we've been doing this, we can still get so collectively excited about our music," shares Neufeld. "We love doing this. There's no better feeling for any of us than being in a room, losing our minds, and watching others lose their minds to the music."

Whats up we are a pop punk band from Harrisburg Pa. We believe in hard work and having fun. We don't have famous friends we are not critically acclaimed and no one in this band was ever in some famous band who's name we could drop or coat tail we could ride. But we will get up earlier than you and work longer and harder. That has to count for something. If it doesn't then at least we had a hell of a good time trying and made some amazing friends along the way.

Mid-Western heaviness combining the groove of NYHC and west coast styled fast parts, a band that would have felt right at home during the 07/08 California explosion that brought us Violation, Downpresser, Creatures, etc. New 7 inch out soon on Six Feet Under Records.

Heart To Heart

Since when is wearing your heart on your sleeve supposed to be a bad thing? Aren't we supposed to care about the life as it happens to us so that we can reflect on those events and even (gasp!) grow from them? Yeah, I know about irony, the death of irony, and the other sorts of postmodern philosophical ramblings bandied about by self-important cultural critics. If you're not going to get out there and actually live life a bit, then I say to hell with you and your ostentatious ideas that will never be put into practice in a real-time situation.

In direct response to your grand theorizing, I'd like to introduce you Heart To Heart. Self-described as, "a real band with real emotions about real problems," this Pismo Beach, California quartet has released a raw and blistering record entitled Deathproof. Produced by Kyle Black (New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, All Time Low), these three songs hearken back to those halcyon days when people gave a damn about their music and what that music could say. Calling to mind the music of Crime In Stereo, Northstar, Hot Water Music, and The Replacements, these four guys have made a fantastic punk record steeped in rootsy, blue-collar sensibilities. From the outset, the vocals of Nick Zoppo grab you by the shoulders, shake you around, and never let go. His tough growl serves as an excellent complement to the hard-knock-life lyrics about love, growing up, and standing up against adversity. I'm also a fan of John Hayes and his guitar work – the tones are bright enough to support his tidy licks, but there's plenty of teeth present for the big chugging sections. Lest I forget, the rhythm section of Justin Bratcher on bass and Stuart Stock on drums provide a sturdy foundation for the band's pacing and energy. "Recollections" kicks things off with a bang, complete with peppy pop-punk textures. On my favorite cut – "Requiem" – we're introduced to the hard-bitten Chuck Ragan side of the band's persona, and it goes a step further by dipping its toes into post-core territory. Yet, the project comes to a rollicking conclusion with "Lessons," a buzzy, kinetic anthem brimming with the sort of production values and vigor that display a track that's primed and ready for immediate inclusion on alternative rock radio (and that's meant as a sincere compliment). Deathproof was produced, engineered and mastered by Kyle Black (New Found Glory, Set Your Goals, All Time Low, Pierce The Veil) at Treefort Studios in Hollywood, CA in June of 2011.

The 3-song offering is the follow-up to Heart To Heart's 2010 self-released debut EP,Impressions, and was released on 7" and digital formats by Anchor
84 Records on October 4th, 2011. The vinyl is limited to a pressing of 500 on transparent black (250), transparent blue (150) and transparent gold (150) colorways. Since its inception in 2009, Heart To Heart has toured the U.S. several times and shared the stage with the likes of Senses Fail, The Ghost Inside, The Wonder Years, Man Overboard, Transit, The Story So Far, The Menzingers, A Loss For Words and many more.

Tired of pissy man-children whining about how life's so unfair, but they can't seem to actually do anything about their plight? Weary of the vague, dreamy platitudes of the hipster-branded act of the moment? Then you should really give the music of Heart To Heart a dedicated listen. Deathproof might not be evidence of some nifty new micro-genre that's going to generate a shit-ton of blog hits, but these songs will definitely remind you that it's good to feel things, feel them often, and truly do something about them. And isn't that what ballsy punk rock should be about?

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