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“Get Wet” Krewella

Krewella

Get Wet Album Review

Columbia Records

Released September 20, 2013

Genre: Electro House, Progressive House, Dubstep, Drum & Bass, Drumstep

Get Wet is an absolute masterpiece. I expected a lot of Krewella through the Party Hard EP and the #GetWetWednesdays leading up to the album release. Then they streamed the album on SoundCloud, and that was the moment I fell in love. From start to finish, Get Wet is a journey through the amazing group that is Krewella. As Jahan (one of the three members of Krewella) puts it, “[Krewella has] carefully crafted every lyric, instrumentation, song order, and nurtured this album like it’s our new born baby”. Many people are used to the all-out and upfront nature of Krewella displayed through their earlier music, but this album displays every dimension of the trio.

The themes of partying and sex that are associated are still there, but there is a new, deeper feeling present in this LP. Songs like “Human” and “Enjoy the Ride” take the listener off the usual superficial vibe of Krewella’s music with sentimental chords and meaningful lyrics. Now, although there is a certain necessity for a dynamism in their music, if you come for Krewella, you come for a party, and their first album doesn’t disappoint.

From start to finish head-bobbing is a must, and at many points it’s hard to stay in your seat and resist jumping up and down with abandon. As if to add to perfect the album, they cut the fat from their earlier EP, only allowing the best songs into Get Wet. Barring their cut of “Play Hard,” they did a perfect job in only allowing the premier songs into their album. The krew’s song selection couldn’t have been better. From their classic drum & bass style, they expand to big-room style house, hardstyle, and more progressive house (though some accuse them of “selling-out”). This expansion is an amazing step forward for them, still staying with classic Krewella style, but also having a new vibe that has me excited for the future for this trio.

“Get Wet is clearly just BOOM, sexual in your face, that’s how many people take it. But how I want people to take it is in a different way. You’re getting wet, you’re jumping in, like when you jump into a pool wearing all your clothes, you’re just letting loose, you’re just kind of letting go, you’re doing something you’ve never done, you’re being free, you’re being a kid no matter how old you are.” – Yasmine Yousaf.

If you aren’t a fan of EDM or a seasoned veteran it is hard to hate this album. In fact, it’s hard not to absolutely love this album. The second I heard this album I pre-ordered it, and I hope that
everyone enjoys it as much as I do. Get Wet today and listen to this amazing album.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Live for the Night, We Go Down, Enjoy the Ride, Human, This Is Not The End (ft. Pegboard Nerds)

LEAST FAV TRACK: Ring of Fire

Score: (9.4/10)

Lorde_Royals

“Royals” Lorde

Lorde

Royals Track Review

Universal Records

Released March 8, 2012

Genre: Art Pop, Minimalism, Pop, Chillwave, Grime

By Michael White and Jon Birondo

So this song has had tons of rotation on popular radio stations, populating the airwaves with it’s claps and clanks. So what do we think? Well…

The song is definitely different from a lot of the overdone dance-inspired music on the radio nowadays, but is it necessarily better? The beat is minimalistic, but it’s not even interesting. It’s TOO simple: it’s like lukewarm water, easy to swallow, but not necessarily enjoyable. The subtle synths in the background do absolutely nothing for the rest of the song, nothing. Even incredibly minimalist artists like Youth Lagoon create songs with interesting instrumentation and catchy hooks that give his songs some more flair, here Lorde doesn’t deliver. I’ve heard people say “oooh, what if people like “simple” music”. I wholeheartedly agree, but it has to at least be interesting. Here, there isn’t anything musically to grasp, remember or enjoy. Nothing.

Now, vocally speaking, it’s slightly more interesting and a tad impressive. Lorde has a pretty good voice in the beginning, solid and steady. However, when the chorus comes in, with the echo of the word “Royals,” something is off. The echoes sound like banshee screams and are slightly off pitch, like someone was singing on a cliff and then was pushed off. They are graceless and irritating, totally detracting from the song If that is Lorde doing the backup vocals, than that is unacceptable, especially if you are a pop star.

Also, the lyrics are not as innovative as everyone wants them to be. A lot of bands put down the concept of lavish living (which I’m pretty sure Lorde will participate in after she receives her paycheck). Also, it bothers me that she describes this lifestyle for an entire song because she disagrees with it. I mean, I feel like she could say something else to solidify her point that living like this doesn’t make you a better person. Just saying “we didn’t come from money” doesn’t mean that rich people suck. She “doesn’t care about [their] love affair” yet she “wants to live that fantasy”. Irony is a great start to becoming one of them Lorde, get your head in the game. If she was trying to display sarcasm with that lyric, it sure didn’t sound like it. With the success of this song, that fantasy is going become her reality and she’s not going to take it to heart easily.

Score: (2.3/10)

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Depeche Mode with Crystal Castles

Gexa Energy Pavilion

Dallas, TX

September 20,2013

Delta Machine Tour

By Jon Birondo

CRYSTAL CASTLES

crystal-castles
Crystal Castles are a Canadian chiptune, experimental synthpop band who emerged around 2006. They recently opened up and toured with Depeche Mode on their Delta Machine Tour.  Opening up the band was silhouetted with a strobe light flashing sporadically in the background. However the sun was beginning to set so the effect didn’t quite work but I could see what they were going for. The band went through their set fluidly with robotic tuned vocals and house/dance beats. The vocals needed work, particularly the volume cause half the time I didn’t know that she started singing.  The entire experience felt trance-like and was bombarded with stellar drumming, busy, hypnotic synths and an overall evasive attack that definitely hyped concert goers for Depeche Mode with their experimental, interesting blend of dance/trance electronic synth pop. It feels like Sleigh Bells but without the electronic guitar riffs.  Definitely check them out.

 

 

Depeche Mode

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If you haven’t heard of Depeche Mode, you’re missing out. Depeche Mode are the epitome of 80s music, with their catchy lyrics, playful synths, and hit after hit (Enjoy The Silence, Policy of Truth, Just Can’t Get Enough), the band still astounds me at how they are still performing to this day.

After Crystal Castles, the band took almost an hour took get ready and at that point  became incredibly impatient. The band however opened strong with “Welcome To My World” from their new LP Delta Machine. The bass, synths and especially the drums were well mixed and every detail was heard perfectly. There were lasers, flashing lights and stunning imagery to accompany the synth heavy tracks. The best one performed was, IMO, was “Walking In My Shoes”.  The middle of the show slowed down with the acoustic tracks but the band picked themselves again, playing most of their #1 hits. There were Frisbees, beach balls and the crowd was hype and the age demographic ranged from 1-59, which I was really surprised at. Everyone was dancing and seeing them live is much better then their recordings because their music has so much more to it then the synths and when you realize the other aspects, it will reward you greatly.

Plus  the encore at the end was great. Definitely see them if you can.


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"The Things We Think We're Missing" Balance and Composure

Balance and Composure

The Things We Think We’re Missing Album ReviewNo Sleep Records

Released September 10, 2013

Genre: Alternative Rock, Post-Hardcore

Imagine all of your favorite 90’s rock bands. Now pretend that there is a band that sounds like an amalgamation of all the sounds produced by your favorite 90’s rock bands. Well, you don’t have to pretend, because that’s what Balance and Composure is. Part passionately emotional alternative rock, part diaphanous post-hardcore, this Doylestown, Pennsylvania quintet released their sophomore effort, The Things We Think We’re Missing.

The record starts off with a handful of tracks that feel like listening to dew-touched spiderwebs, if that makes any sense at all. The guitar melodies glide over the hard bass and consistently groovy drums. The vocals warble questioningly, adding to the interesting musical idea at hand. The opener “Parachutes” starts out with a triplet rhythm, driving the song, maintaining good musical flow and driving the song smoothly; this is definitely a song that you NEED to hear this year. Even when the triplet rhythms transition into a regular quarter note feel, it’s absolutely beautiful. Even the pauses in between guitar melodies and vocal patterns are beautiful. The song segues smoothly into the next song ,“Lost Your Name,” another great song with the same great qualities as the first. The imagery in the lyrics is captivating, with lines like “I Need your spark to light this house,” drawing you into the connection that the musicians want to make with you. The guitar melodies will get stuck in your head easily also.

Other tracks like “Tiny Raindrop” also include the vivid and colorful imagery, and they maintain a rocking 90’s rock feel, making the song familiar but innovative at the same time. The chords are full, and the vocals drive the song like a car in a sad rainstorm. Intriguing lyrics of raincoats draw you in and don’t let you go, but there are other tracks on here with lyrics that just alienate the listener. “Notice Me,” starts out with some interesting lead guitars, but then slowly dive into bored and rehashed lyrics about wanting someone. “I’m a spider in your room, and I got eight eyes, they’re all on you.” I cringed, just a little. The song teases you, because you know that with a few minor change-ups, this could be a great tune.

Other pot-holes in this multicolored road are not everywhere, but too apparent and not consecutive, breaking the flow of the entire album. Other songs like “I’m Swimming” take up air time on this record, leaving the ears irritated, yearning for more rock in their roll. There are too many awkward lines about x-ing me y (i.e. laying me down, painting me a color), and it’s tiring. The Things We Think has a positive turn around towards the latter 3 tracks, with a nice track featuring Anthony Green of Circa Survive (fans of Balance will like Circa Survive, and vice-versa).

Balance and Composure make a very good, but not great, experience. It’s different, but accessible. Solid, guys, very solid.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

 

FAV TRACKS: Parachutes, Lost Your Name, Tiny Raindrop, Reflection, Keepsaker

LEAST FAV TRACKS: Notice Me, I’m Swimming
Score:( 7.9/10)

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“Bitter Rivals” Sleigh Bells

 

Sleigh Bells

Bitter Rivals Track Review

Mom + Pop Music

Released September 2, 2013
Genre: Noise Pop, Indie Rock

Juxtapositions are a powerful medium. Take for instance a spiky pillow, Deafheaven’s mix of post-rock and black metal or a razor sharp bubble gum, it’s examples like these that are so compelling, imaginative and lucid in imagery and context that grab everyone’s attention. This is what Sleigh Bells specialize in.

Sleigh Bells are a noise pop duo from Brooklyn composed of former guitarist for experimental hardcore rock outfit Poison The Well and former singer for some manufactured girl band that never reached past MySpace (RubyBlue). Together the two compose compelling tracks filled with catchy hooks, harsh guitar riffs, hip hop influenced beats and pop, dreamy like vocals. Noise Pop, electronic punk, dance punk, whatever you guys want to call it, they’ve mastered it and have the style hands down.

“Bitter Rivals” is their first single off of their third LP, Bitter Rivals. Compared to their other stuff it’s pretty rewarding. On their debut album Treats the band made a very harsh but grand entrance and the whole experience was rewarding and interesting but production wise, it was pretty crowded and blurred. On their second LP, Comeback Kid, they bumped up the atmosphere on the production and air began to seep through as their music began to sonically take shape. What the band serve up here on “Bitter Rivals” is more soft though. Vocalist Alexis Krauss, contributing the pop vocals to this project, delivers more creative input this time. “It’s fair to say that the first two records were my records and this is the first one that’s our record,” says Derek Miller in an interview with Billboard. That I fully can believe.

There’s still the spacey, open atmosphere found on Comeback Kid, but the harsh guitar riffs take a step back here and Krauss’ vocals are brought up more opposed to her whispers and screams in the middle of Miller’s hurricane of distortion. There’s an acoustic guitar riff that appears and it brings out a more melodic touch onto their style, opening the band up even more in style and overall atmosphere. However they do really meander around with the lack of abrasive riffs, dog samples and even Krauss’ squealing which appear sprinkled all over the track. It gets a little underwhelming and just a tad bit disappointing but I’m as happy as any fan that a new record is scheduled to be released. October 9th cannot come any sooner.

Score: (7.0/10)

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“Jake Bugg” Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg Album Review

Mercury Records (UK) , Island Records (US)

Released: April 9, 2013 (US)

Genre: Indie Folk, Indie Rock

Nottingham Singer-Songwriter Jake Bugg unleashes undeniable talent and heart on his eponymous debut, where he draws influences from artists like Bob Dylan to The Beatles to Johnny Cash. His music overflows with authenticity but still holds true to his influences as he glides through his fourteen track album with ease and grace.

Opening the album is “Lightning Bolt” a charged, swaggering opener filled with Johnny Cash influenced instrumentation that introduces you to his world, style, and paradigm of life. His youthful vocals and lyrics keep this song as his own as he drifts frequently across the line of Cash’s musical territory. “Two Fingers” is an astonishing, catchy track that arrives unexpectedly considering its critical success and is probably the only track a non-Jake-Bugg fan has even heard of. Bugg flashes his departure from youth into adulthood, ironically as he “skins up a fat one, and hides from the feds” not yet old, but not too young.

On “Seen It All” the song opens with a night out in a bar but quickly escalates to violence and the night becomes intimate and horrifyingly lucid as “someone stabbed [his friend] with a knife”, quite a night for a kid of only 19. The track also boasts melodic passages and and great drumming, “seen it all” he says. Not quite Bugg.

Continuing on, the folksy tune “Simple As This” slows down as his strumming wraps around his words: he’s learning his lesson here, Bugg learns from his past and recounts his failures, disappointments and expectations, as melancholy violins round out the edges. Big dreamer we’ve got here. The track “Broken, album pinnacle, toned down drums and his malleable strumming quickly climaxes as he belts out with passion and emotion: “I’ll lead them over to your eyes”, Bugg’s ready to try again, growing from his past.

On “Slide” he shares his putative perceptions and the disappointing outcomes that followed, maturing. What Bugg dishes up here is reflective, authentic, heartfelt and solemn. It isn’t new but at his age it’s quite sudden and impulsive. But he’s learning and growing and in a way he gets better, interesting even.

I do however feel that what he gives on this LP isn’t really what he wanted to go for. Although Bugg is filled with talent and heart he does however lack ambition, maybe pretension even. The amazing songs on this LP really don’t vary much from the uptempo ones (Two Fingers, Taste It) to the slowed, subdued ballads (Slide, Country Song) and even emotional ones (Note To Self, Broken) really don’t bring enough risky edginess or ambition. From what Bugg has delivered he’s proven himself to be capable of so much more. Maybe a little distortion pedal or a drum fill or solo, any kind of subversiveness to his style could amp his game up and really cement his name on the music scene. On second thought, his name is already emblazoned on the music scene, some subversiveness could really light it on fire for the world to see.

Looking forward, Bugg is going to become big, his name striking marquees everywhere. If the words “JAKE BUGG WORLD TOUR” doesn’t pop up anytime soon, not only will his future will be finished, but the fall of a new, talented star and adorned musician will leave an empty, deserving gap in the hearts of many. This album will leave you content, refreshed and hooked. Hopefully even leaving you charitable for his cause but that’s already skyrocketing up and his reign is beginning.


PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS: Lightning Bolt, Two Fingers, Seen it All, Broken, Taste It, Slide
LEAST FAV TRACK: Note To Self

Score: (9.0/10)

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“Better Off Dead” Flatbush Zombies

Flatbush Zombies

Better OFF DEAD Album Review

Electric KoolAde Records

Released September 11, 2013

Genre: Hip Hop, Psychedelic Rap, Cloud Rap

Trippy, grimy, and erratic: these are the words that describe the new mixtape from New York oddballs Flatbush Zombies. This three-emcee outfit hits hard with bold lyricism and adaptable flows. These guys straddle the line between hilarious and
scary, making “Better OFF DEAD” a project that any rap fan does not want to miss.

Kicking off the album with bangers like “Amerikkkan Pie” and “Nephilim,” it’s apparent that Zombies pull-no-punches. They are not afraid to venture into uncomfortable territory, and expound upon gritty themes, like racism, with skill. Every rapper can switch topics multiple times in each song and stay interesting. Also, Erik Arc Elliot, a member of the trio, produces most of this project, finding wonky beats to match the idiosyncratic nature of the group. The beats, just like the emcees, are unpredictable, innovative, and diverse. Whether cloudy, grimy or psychedelic, they are captivating and nasty (in the best way possibly). For example, “Live From Hell,” has a trap-influenced beat, but is far from rudimentary. It is atmospheric and eerie, but intriguing. They can also be hilarious. The banger “MRAZ” features a genius sample of “Boyz N The Hood,” a reference that will surely have the listener laughing uncontrollably.

Despite the abundance of great tunes on this project, there are a few downsides. A handful of tracks in the second half of this album fall flat, tracks that don’t represent what Zombies are good at. The sleeper “222” meanders around, never finding an interesting groove or hook. Lyrically, it’s lazy, talking about things unrelated to the listener. Other tracks delve into girl problems, promoting misogyny to a disgustingly gritty degree.

Overall, this is a tape to definitely check out. Despite the flaws (which are few and far between), a
hardcore rap fan will love this, and a casual fan will dig it.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

FAV TRACKS:Amerikkkan Pie, Nephilim, G-Tears, Regular and Complex, Club Soda, MRAZ, The Results are In

LEAST FAV TRACKS: 222, TP4, My Team Supreme

Score: (8.6/10)

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“The 20/20 Experience” Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake

The 20/20 Experience Album Review

RCA Records

Released March 15, 2013

Genre: Pop, Neo Soul

Actor, businessman, singer/songwriter and entertainer Justin Timberlake, clad with his backup band, The Tennessee Kids and a wide array of instrumentation, returns to the music scene after his last superb effort, 2006’s Future Sex/Love Sounds with The 20/20 Experience. A collection of cleanly produced pop tunes filled with great instrumentation and catchy hooks.

The album opens up with “Pusher Love Girl” which features a grand opening of strings as Timberlake sings in his falsetto as he compares love to drugs, which isn’t anything new but the instrumentation becomes engaging as the song goes on. “Don’t Hold The Wall” features an exotic sound as he beckons everyone to dance as does “Let The Groove Get In” which is an amazing track; JT celebrates the joys of dance and song, with talent and exuberance and ” Strawberry Bubblegum” Timberlake is back with his sappy, sweet lyricism “smacking that strawberry bubblegum” which isn’t a big leap from his work with *NSYNC, but I appreciate the addition of strings.

Strutting along with jumpy, high pitched vocal samples and choppy beats arrives “Tunnel Vision” which flows with R&B induced vocals as he closes in romantically, tunneling through. Following, JT invites you into his “Spaceship Coupe” again with his high falsetto and with “That Girl” he brings his all, album pinnacle. There’s great, great instrumentation and the band is at its most consistent chemistry as they groove along the track, each note and beat meshed perfectly with each other. He lyrically incorporates the entire mood of the album with this song: “I’m in love with that girl, and she told me she’s in love with me”, evident clearly at this point that his infatuation is a strong mood conveyed throughout. He’s just celebrating that feeling.

At this point JT is the center of attention, the life of the party. The swirling synths and psychedelic samples on “Blue Ocean Floor” are quickly given a pop touch from JT’s “Midas” touch, ” If my red eyes don’t see you anymore, And I can’t hear you through the white noise, Just send your heartbeat I’ll go to the blue ocean floor” an examples of love meets heartbreak. Here the emphasis is more towards the rhythm and not so much on how catchy the music is. It’s here that he shows how natural of an entertainer he is and his virtuosity with pop music and knack for rhythm and grooves.It’s a well applauded effort. There are some notable influences on this album ranging from Michael Jackson to Prince to Usher to Marvin Gaye, but that range is very narrow. On this LP, Timberlake delivers a sweet, catchy and ambitious effort that’ll have teenage girls squealing in their seats.

JT’s unexpected comeback does begin to falter in terms of length and at some times lyrical depth. Although the varying instruments used begin to feel retro and numerous, “groundbreaking” some say, they begin to fall in a pattern in terms of composition and the rhythm becomes pretty predictable. The first track released to promote the album, “Suit and Tie” is incredibly annoying. Despite its irritating airplay on the radio, the track has great instrumentation and a good after party vibe but features instrumental aspects that can poke through the track. Anthony Fantano first brought this to my realization in his review of this LP, the sample of the piano gliding along the track begins to become incredibly obnoxious as it is laid out along the track and the horns are incredibly distorted to the point where the opening is nothing but a coordinated cacophony. If this is his way of reaching out to Classic Pop and 60s pop then at least return the commanding and grand sound of a trumpet to back it up.

And on the track “Mirrors”, although the hook is catchy, you can only hear so much of it and then what does Justin do? He drags it on for about 3 more minutes, at this point I don’t care about how catchy it is, it’s already stuck in my head, in the wrong way too. Justin gets the point across fine on the songs but on most of them he extends it with the same beat for about 3-4 minutes and the corny, tired, shallow lyricism doesn’t help his cause either. “Smacking that strawberry bubblegum”, “my cocaine”, “going out so hot, just like an oven” just to list a few. It’s like stretching a piece of bubblegum until there isn’t much depth to it and one tap makes it fall apart till it’s as tasteless as cardboard.

I do applaud the ambition on this LP compared to his previous albums: Justified and Future Sex/Love Sounds, however Justin tries too hard to make his songs stick and become memorable. They do become memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. He does still retain that pop style to keep his listeners attracted while challenging them stylistically but he doesn’t really follow through with the sound he’s giving. Just keep it short and sweet Justin, consistent even. For now his pop signature continues to shine with a few blemishes. He barely misses the mark he has set for himself, which doesn’t really make this experience all to clear (20/20). But that’s what Timberlake has to offer here, and his croon and intriguing enigma makes it almost impossible to resist.

FAV TRACKS: Pusher Love Girl, That Girl, Let The Groove In, Blue Ocean Floor

LEAST FAV TRACK: Suit & Tie

Score:( 7.4/10)

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“Reflektor” Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

Reflektor Track Review

Sonovox Studios

Released September 9, 2013

Genre: Indie Rock, Dance Rock

Canadian Indie Rock Band Arcade Fire’s new track “Reflektor” features great instrumentation and stellar production encapsulated within its seven minute and thrity four second length. Despite its length the track progresses quite impressively as it nears the end as Win Butler sings of how art is a “reflektor” of our perceptions, mirrored, “just a reflektor” opposed to it as a connector to our inner self. Pretty cool eh, well that’s what I got out of it. The song incorporates many elements such as disco, funk, rock and it’s kept very dark and smooth, focused even. There are bouncing synths, dance-rock style drums and a grooving bass line that will make anyone bounce in their seats. The song then intensifies into a big, epic conclusion that overflows with mood and Arcade Fire’s touch on disco. Added to this is a vocal contribution from David Bowie and singer Régine Chassagne’s dual vocals in French provide an intresting aspect for the track. Produced by LCD Soundsystem (James Murphy) many other instruments are brought out such as a piano, horns even. The band’s sound on this track is a great progression from their past works on Funeral or Neon Bible; hopefully giving a glimpse as to what to expect with their next LP, Reflektor, which will be released October 29,2013.

The band’s sound progresses tremendously from their loved works (Funeral, The Suburbs) showing a maturation in their style as they bring in a nice disco-esque flair. For most people, they can’t wait ’till it comes out but till then fall under the spell of “Reflektor”. It’ll be the best decision you’d make this year.

PRETTY NEAT MUSIC

(8.5/10)

Interview With Chris Linkovich of Cruel Hand!

Recently, I was granted the opportunity to sit down with Chris Linkovich (pictured above), lead singer of the Portland, Maine hardcore act, Cruel Hand. This unabashedly heavy group tore up the stage last Saturday while opening up for Title Fight and Balance and Composure at The Door in Dallas. As this was Pretty Neat’s first interview, I was pretty nervous, but with a slew of well-thought-out questions (and my dad’s encouragement), I asked Chris for a quick interview. He could not have been nicer, and said yes; we made our way to the area outside of the bathrooms and started the interview:Me: So what’s your name and role in the band?

Chris: My name is Chris Linkovich, and I sing for Cruel Hand.

PNG: When and where did Cruel Hand start?

Chris: Well, we were a bunch of friends from different parts of Maine that started recording demos at around 2006 when our old bands (including my old band, Outbreak). We wanted to develop a reputation of our own, not one influenced by what our past bands did.

PNG: That’s cool that you want to define yourselves with YOUR sound, not the sounds of past projects. So how did you guys get signed?

Chris: We’re label-less now, but after our demos circulated, we released our debut Without a Pulse on 6131 Records. We are releasing a new 7-inch on Closed Casket Activities in the near future…That’s not really us being signed, though, that’s just us calling them up and saying, “We have some stuff we want to record.” The guys there totally know what they’re doing, and they’re awesome.

PNG: So, being in a band on the road with your friends sounds like a lot of fun. What’s the best part of touring all the time?

Chris: We aren’t vegan, so finding the best regional fast food is always awesome. You got Whataburger around here, and IN-N-OUT in California, and we love it.

PNG: Speaking of vegan, do you guys associate with Straight-Edge

Chris: I’m straight edge, and our merch guy Blair is straight edge. I have friends that partake in drinking and stuff like that, and sometimes I’ll go to the club with them just to hang out. I also like being the hero that can drive everyone home afterwards (laughs).

PNG: I’m straight edge too, and I think that’s cool that you can still accept people even if they don’t follow the same lifestyle. I don’t think that defines who a person is. I don’t get the whole radical “Let’s smack cigarettes out of people’s mouths” ideal of some kids, though.

Chris: Yeah, that’s crazy.

PNG: What’s the Biggest Challenge you guys face as a band?

Chris: For me, it’s a mental thing. I want us to stay relevant. We don’t tour as much, and it’s challenging.

PNG: What do you guys listen to for musical or lyrical inspiration?

Chris: Lyrically, since I do a lot of the lyrics, I write very angry lyrics. I’m NOT miserable; I’m not an angry guy anymore, but that’s because I vent in my lyrics. I usually just take inspiration from people in my life, and apply that to the words. Musically, we all have broad tastes (our lead guitarist is a big metal guy), and we let a lot of those sounds that we listen to pour into our music. We make it very subtle, and not everyone catches the little things that we throw in there.

PNG: I heard a little bit of southern ‘tude in your music, and I think that’s pretty cool.

Chris: Yeah, like Ian Mackaye (of Fugazi and Minor Threat) once said that once you put  your music out there, the people will take it how they take it. It’s not your decision, you can’t make them hear exactly what you want them to.

PNG: Where do you guys see yourselves in 5 years?

Chris: I hope we are still a band, a relevant band. I hope we are all the same people, and that we still want to play.

PNG: Alright, cool. Well, thanks so much, man. This means a lot to us at Pretty Neat Grooves

Chris: It was good talking to you.

Well, there you have it. There’s substance behind the screams and stage dives, and there’s another story to be told behind the scenes. You can check out Cruel Hand on Facebook on their official page, or on tumblr at cruelhandhc.tumblr.com.