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chinatown-security-this-side-of-paradise-reviewThe Oscars were anything but interesting as Boyhood showed us that you can spend over a decade working on something, it doesn’t mean you’ll come out on top. Right after I hit play on Chinatown Security’s This Side of Paradise and was met with something I’m sure wasn’t 12 years in the making but hey – again, it doesn’t matter how long you work on something, it’s the story it tells. Which, in this case, I’d take this record over Birdman. I wasn’t smart enough to understand it. It may have well been that Wes Anderson movie.

Opening the record was a very punk rock song that had that Vines sound in a track that shares the name of the EP. Following that, things slowed and I was met with “Mercy.” I wasn’t really feeling this ‘90s college alternative scene. With “Come and Get It Now” I felt like all was right. We were back where we started and the energy was picked back up. “Dig! The Radio.” I had mixed feelings about this one and decided right at the start that when they slowed things down – I was not a fan at all. I could just imagine myself standing at one of their shows, this one starting and my face grimacing. The record then caps things off with “I’ve Got a Thing for Pleasure.” It’s like a mix between what I like, that Vines new-punk mentality and that slowed pace. In the end – I wanted more energy and liveliness from these guys.

It obviously took me way less time to write this then it did to make Boyhood or Chinatown Security to make this album. I can’t sit and judge one though because I’ve yet to dedicate almost three hours to a movie that’s a documentary about puberty or something. I can put my final two cents out there about the music though…It was an okay record. It was neither here nor there because what I really enjoyed – I wanted more of it and didn’t get. BUT I will say that you should give them a chance if you’re wondering why The Vines never made a comeback, or maybe they did and I just wasn’t paying attention. Either way, check out Chinatown Security’s This Side of Paradise, out now.

choke-up-black-coffee-bad-habits-reviewLast weekend I sat in a room that was not my own, salty drops escaping as low self esteem got the best of me. I managed to bury myself in writing a bit before I laid down and quit. Before that I was able to listen, really listen to Choke Up’s Black Coffee, Bad Habits and connect to music gracing these reviews for the first time in a long time. I’m sure if I listened today, I’d enjoy it just the same but like that one band says, I’m not sad anymore so who knows if it’d have the same effect. Nevertheless, it was a great record to be bummed with.

Any record that starts out strong in the lyric department, I’m a fan of. Thankfully that was the case due to “Wildflower.” Musically, the chaos found in “Don’t Wake Up” was top notch, and the wedding bells of “1301 Las Vegas Blvd.” were an interesting take. I just had to Google Map that address. I was a little scared of what would pop up with I clicked “street view.” Hey, Vegas is a weird place. All in all, I loved when things were a bit more abrupt like the gang vocals in “Thicket and Vine,” but definitely appreciated the slowed down pace at the end with “Polka Dots” and “Dry Out.”

You don’t have to be an emotional mess to mess with this well thought out punks from Boston. I just so happened to be when I first laid ears upon them. I would say though that fans of Small Brown Bike and Captain, We’re Sinking are more likely to be in tune with them though. If you’re a mess or fans of those bands, make sure to check out Choke Up’s Black Coffee, Bad Habits, out now on Black Numbers.

lola-de-hanna-the-other-side-reviewThe Grammys are all anyone can talk and tweet about as I sit in solace in a place without real cable to watch. So I’m getting my musical fix with a pop artist who takes hints from around the world to create music that’s a fit for her and those who like songstresses with an alternative beat in their step. That’s Lola de Hanna’s The Other Side in case you skimmed over the title of this review.

When an artist gets worldly with their music, I just know that it’s not for my palate. This could be due to my lack of travel, who knows. Anyways, those who indulge on other cultures will appreciate what Lola has done with tracks like “Thin Air” and will fall hard for the drums of “A Knack For These.” Things came to a halt with the weak link “Wings,” but started to showcase more of the alternative side of things with the wonderful lyrics of “I Will Follow” and “Oh So Gray.” The surprise came at the end with “Ghosts.” Remnants of a seasoned vagabond nor an alternative chick were gone. What remained was this soft ballad that really made its way to the forefront of the pack.

Those with a passport always on hand who walk to the beat of their own drum who likes that fusion of world and alternative with a pop twist should really tune into Lola de Hanna. If this sounds like a journey you’re ready to take, check out The Other Side, out now.