Jonathan Golian

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Music Review: The Cheerleader’s EP “On Your Side”

Cheerleader, Courtesy of consequenceofsound.net
Cheerleader, Courtesy of consequenceofsound.net

 

Having debuted just this fall, the Cheerleader’s are off to a powerful start with their new EP, “On Your Side.”

Cheerleader is an Indie/Power-Pop collaboration out of Philadelphia, Pa.   featuring a five-man gathering, two plus the original trio. The group got its start through the late-2000s from a three-piece demo and hard work across various distances. Their story is the dream of several sparking to life from the momentum of their recent EP release and the decision to start touring around the USA.

The “On Your Side” EP is a different sort of life that seems to draw its essence from overpowered instrumentals to match up with the pop portion. This shows equal strength and a balance between the four songs with an occasional spilling of energy placed into the selections. The title track definitely exhibits the more instrumental side while also giving the listener an almost instinctual notion of head-nodding.

Where “On Your Side” was a moderate start to the EP, “Perfect Vision” is where the power-pop really starts to unveil itself with tremendous results. The vocals take a more relaxed approach and a slower tempo as well, chilling down the mood while keeping the flow from the first track. The gentle jingle in pairing with the guitar riffs definitely helps in this, making for a dream-like state of mind.

“Future Stars” is by far the most outlandish out of the quartet of tracks. The vocal track is almost a shouting visage giving a slight reminder of the B-52’s in the pauses given. The pop hits a high-note here as well, jolting the listener to take instant notice. The flow is kind of interrupted here from the previous two tracks, which could be a good or bad thing depending on the expectations. Yet, in essence this is something to be desired when starting out as well. Grabbing the listener’s attention mid-CD makes sense rather than my original thought of putting the song at the end.

Finishing out the short stack, “Tomorrow Always Knows” in title and in vibe reestablishes the previous song’s momentum and heightens the tempo, giving a strong ending to what is a curiously wonderful set. The first track can be comparable to this one in terms of structure and establishment, which I feel could always be used.

As a whole, Cheerleader’s first outing is a good one with a strong foundation of tracks, though a bit different from the status quo. The dream/power-pop sensations are excellent ones, and the surprise track “Future Stars” is felt in the midst of it all. This EP does everything I think an artist or band’s initial entrance should, thus this band will be something to keep a watch over in the future as well as present.

Cheerleader’s “On Your Side” EP was released on October 7. Be sure to listen to it on Spotify and iTunes.

Game Roundup: Week of November 11

 Copyright of Ubisoft
Copyright of Ubisoft

Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (PS3, X360)

The fight through history gets taken to the Templar’s side in the newest Assassin’s Creed opposite of Unity. Set during the Seven Years War (1753 – ’64), the story follows Shay Patrick Cormac, a new recruit to the Brotherhood, as he starts to question his allegiances with the Assassins and their methods. Slowly driven away from what he thought was right, our “hero” is taken in by Assassin’s Creed III antagonist Haytham Kenway and turned to hunt his former comrades. Dire consequences lie here for the future of the Brotherhood, making it an essential part of the story and a must play for AC diehards. Assassin’s Creed: Rogue comes to our shores on Nov. 11, alongside its brother game, Unity.

Copyright of DC Comics
Copyright of DC Comics

 

Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham (PS3, PS4, X360, XONE, PSVITA, 3DS, PC)

Reenter the Lego DC Universe to take on multiple worlds in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham. Brainiac has found a way to shrink multiple universes into his own personal collection, not distinguishing himself from friend or foe. In an effort to return our world to its original status-quo, allies and enemies must join forces, utilizing the Lantern Corps powers to travel the vast reaches of the cosmos. The character roster is upped yet again to over 150 to choose from, giving players the ability to become practically anyone, ranging from Black Hand to Composite Superman, or even 1966’s Batman himself, Adam West! Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham comes out on Nov. 11 for every current console and handheld available.

Copyright of Blizzard Studios
Copyright of Blizzard Studios

 

World of Warcraft: Warlords of Draenor (PC)

Coming into its fifth expansion to date, the World of Warcraft proves it’s still got the strength to carry on in this newly upgraded addition to a world rewritten. Following the Mists of Pandaria arc, Garrosh Hellscream is taken in for his crimes against the newly discovered country. In the midst of this, he escapes, finding his way into the old timelines dating all the way back to Warcraft II. The old world of Draenor is now brought back into the picture as time and space are crossed and the battle rages anew back where it all started. Players will now be able to push their characters to further levels, maxing out at 100, and as well be able to build their own custom guilds and guild buildings in order to gain special items. The fight for our world and theirs begins again on Nov. 13.

Copyright of Nintendo and the Pokémon Company
Copyright of Nintendo and the Pokémon Company

 

Pokemon Omega Ruby/ Alpha Sapphire (3DS, 2DS)

Travel back in time to the third generation as Ruby and Sapphire get a major overhaul in this retelling of the Hoenn region’s story. All visuals are getting the next gen treatment as the world is fully realized in 3D. Multiple Megastone evolutions are made available in this edition as first introduced in X & Y, pushing as far as now enabling more legendary Pokemon new forms and abilities, as well as giving the star figures Groudon and Kyogre the chance to possess their primordial forms. Pokemon Omega Ruby and Alpha Sapphire launch worldwide on Nov. 21.

Rachael Yamagata at the Visulite Theatre

Rachael Yamagata, Courtesy of rachaelyamagata.com
Rachael Yamagata, Courtesy of rachaelyamagata.com

 

Coming to Charlotte on Nov.  7, Rachael Yamagata brings her light, melodic symphony to the Visulite Theatre.

Yamagata’s been in and out of the spotlight for multiple years, lending herself to collaborative projects with names such as Jason Mraz and Mandy Moore, and as well being included in multiple soundtracks which she gives much more life to, including shows as far back as “The O.C.” and most recently “How I Met Your Mother” and “30 Rock.”

Her sound directly emphasizes her mastery as a pianist with much of her music being slow and sweet, going so far as to establish a mellow mood upon the first notes played. She first established herself as part of the Chicago-based band Bumpus as a vocalist until leaving in 2001 to pave the way for her solo career. Since then, she’s contributed much through her soft melodies, putting together 3 full-length studio albums and 5 EP’s, the most recent being Heavyweight. Her next studio album is currently in the works and is due out in early 2015.

“I work the sounds based on the story. I was lucky to grow up listening to my parent’s favorite singer songwriters like Paul Simon, Carole King, Rickie Lee Jones, Stevie Wonder, The Beach Boys and so on, and so the story and lyrical content was always my starting point.” As well as taking her parent’s generation of music for inspiration, Rachael Yamagata’s also been compared to the likes of Rufus Wainwright and Ryan Adams, a few of whom she’s also toured with. “I love strings and dramatic orchestration, but also the power behind simplicity. For every album I try to create a backdrop of sound that lifts the song.”

This tour accompanies the 10th anniversary of Happenstance, her first studio album recorded back in 2004. Looking back at it, she did not go for a particular theme on her first solo outing, yet in a sweet, sad kind of way it included a “chock full of romantic heartache.” “It was my first record 10 years ago and I was focusing heavily on the different stages on love and separation.” It’s evidenced in this that much of her music plays lightly upon the heart, drawing forlorn memories of love near and far with a mix of emotion.

Yamagata will be at the Visulite Theatre this Friday, Nov. 7. Whether it is to find an end to the week with a sweet draw of the heart strings or to celebrate her 10-year anniversary as a solo artist with multiple accomplishments, it looks to be a lovely evening. Why not spend it on a guided tour of warm emotion?

 

Album Review: Bobby Bazini “Where I Belong”

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“Where I Belong” by Bobby Bazini (photo courtesy of artist’s official website)

Bobbi Bazini’s debut album, “Where I Belong” pegs his sound as soul-enticing.

The introductory track, “Heavy Love”, leads one down the winding road that envelops the collection in a casual sense, filled with light jams and a toe-tapping chorus that keeps the head nodding. “Cherish Our Love” is a more slowed down track bringing the uplifting beat from the previous track to a slow dance, mellowing the music just a tad along with enabling listeners the ability of having the sounds sink in with the words and mood.

“Cold Cold Heart” provides a bit of funk to add to the mix, with background vocals providing a sort of jerk-angle with the light guitar and beat to carry the track. The carefree feeling returns with “Bubblegum”, mixing in more of the swing-folk sound per the vocals and slight instrumentals, bringing the tone to a more upbeat nature.

The title track, ”Where I Belong”, brings out the best in the set thus far. Bobby’s raspy vocals in connection with the slowed again track gives the listener an image of a younger Joe Cocker. Looping back with the flow of how the tracks are placed, “Ain’t No Love In The Heat of The City” tones down the mood again, bringing up the guitar for a more jazzy feel. The back-up vocals do start to overshadow Bobby a bit here, which could either be a bit much or serve to resonate with him.

“I’m Going to Be Your Man” continues the slow crawl with a more upbeat set of lyrics, though pulling a bit more of a melancholy vibe. “Take Me Home” starts back up in the direction of a country-folk tune, giving more to the acoustic guitar in carrying the music and providing a nice relaxed feel.

Starting up with the tambourine in the next track, “Down On My Knees” brings a delightfully deviant funk to the album. A faster beat adds more life into the song to pair with the tone of the song. “Worried Again” hands carrying duties back to the acoustic guitar, providing more of a spotlight at first to that particular instrument. It’s a good pairing with the last track per the faster beat, linking them in rhythm.

The second to last track “There Ain’t No Words” Brings the tone back down as the CD starts to close out. The emotion laid barer here to give the spotlight to the vocals and guitar. Lastly on the CD, “Wish You Were Here”, keeps it slow to round of the collection of tracks for a more thoughtful moment. The longest track is also the most enjoyable with the relaxing vibe given and the gentle sound to caress one into a delightful mood.

Overall, Bobby Banizi’s “Where I Belong” definitely captures the slow folk soul very accurately at times speeding up to a more upbeat pick-me-up while slowing down for the more emotional an dramatic outpourings. The last track brings both feelings to a head in a genuinely enjoyable mix, becoming more haunting with the closeout of the CD. If you’re hitting the dusty road at any point or want to place your mind in that setting which laying at home, Bobby brings out a truly restless vibe that exists in us all.

Look for “Where I Belong” on iTunes as well as on Spotify to gets a piece of this collection as well as the many other tones he’s bringing to the stage in his fall Tour. Bobby Banizi plays his heart at The Evening Muse at 7 p.m. , come out and see where the road will take you in his imaginative travels.

The Hypnotic Atmosphere of My Brightest Diamond Comes to the Visualite Theatre on Sept. 30

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Shara Worden (photo courtesy of artist’s website)

Coming to the Visualite Theater on Sept. 30 as one of their first stops on their world-wide tour, My Brightest Diamond sweeps into the Queen City with their hypnotic vibes and rhythmic to-the-beat presence.

This tour comes off of the recent release of their latest album “This is My Hand”, featuring one haunting melody after another courtesy of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Shara Worden.

“In this record, I really wanted, as a testament to marching bands and synthesizers, I kept having this vision of this sort-of outside festival where there were marching bands and the audience is in the middle of them, eluding to a 2-D/3-D experience, all while the audience was on the stage.”

Shara also describes the experience she feels the newest record to capture as a “tribal, ritualistic gathering where people may be doing a collection of assorted dancing, all while ghost stories were told and maybe the shaman would come and lead the listeners into an ancient chant.”

Many of the sources she describes as her various influences range from Rihanna, Lady Gaga, and Missy Elliot to the early arrangements from the James Bond themes courtesy of John Berry and much of the symphonic tracks from various pieces of horror music. Shara also embodies a love for utilizing a swing quartet as well as the instrumental funk provided by names like Quincy Jones, though trying to “create less of a feel here than that of James Brown.”

Many of the tracks from her new album have their own inspirations as well. The title track “This is My Hand” was inspired by Phillip Glass. “I was working in Chicago with the chamber ensemble 8th Blackbird and they played a piece of Phillip Glass’s work called ‘Two Pages’, and it’s where everybody is playing on a five-note scale and hearing it I thought to myself, ‘Oh man, I’ve got to use this! This is just fun!,’ and this track from there is definitely P.G. inspired.”

The other track off of their new CD include “I Am Not the Bad Guy”, a stand-out departure with a more up-tempo backbeat and an amazing vibe overall and “Apparition” which utilizes its wording like a forlorn ghost story and a haunting atmosphere that draws the listener in for the capture.

My Brightest Diamond comes to the Visualite Theater on Sept. 30. For a preview of what is to come, check out their latest record “This is My Hand” which is available on iTunes and Spotify, and see why a viewing of this band is an essential start to the fall season.

The Kongos with Young the Giant and Kings of Leon, Sept. 16

KONGOS
KONGOS (Photo courtesy of band’s website)

Coming to the PNC Pavilion on Sept. 16, opening for Kings of Leon on their Mechanical Bull Tour, are alternative-rock newbies The Kongos, playing through their international smash CD “Lunatic.”

Hot off their single “Come With Me Now,” the band has come a long way from their South African origins. The sons of John Kongos, a singer-songwriter who rocked the airwaves in the ’70s, much of their success is derived from their excessive touring in their home country and around the world.

Much of their support came in the form of promotion off of the BBC1 for their first promotional tour. Since then, they’ve played around the world as frequently as they had from the start of their journey, hitting such foreign festivals as Firefly and Sasquatch and being included in the future list for Lollapalooza. Along with their touring with Kings of Leon, they’ll also be playing with One Republic in the fall. This year alone, their number of shows will total at 140 concerts.

“Come With Me Now” is the first single from the group’s latest album “Lunatic” (Epic Records). The song clinched the No. 1 spot at Alternative Radio for five weeks and enjoyed the quickest ascent to the top of the chart by a new band ever. It was No. 2 at adult album alternative radio and soared up the Top 40 charts as well, where it rose to No. 18. The song is also starting to buzz internationally. It hit No. 1 at modern rock radio and has been certified platinum in Canada while also reaching No. 1 on the Colombian rock charts. BBC1 in the United Kingdom also played the track after the band did their first promotional tour there. Other notable hits off “Lunatic” are “I Want To Know,” applying a soft rhythm and a reggae beat with tings of guitar strung in. “I’m Only Joking,” their next single in the United Kingdom, presents a drum march with an attitude kick that will bat you senseless.

The brothers themselves are multi-instrumentalists, with Dylan and Jesse handling vocals live and playing bass and drums respectively onstage. Eldest brother Johnny plays accordion and piano, while Danny is on slide and regular guitar.

The Kongos will be opening for Kings of Leon along with Young the Giant on Sept. 16 at the PNC Pavilion. Tickets right now for lawn seats into the stadium seating are $35 and up for the moment. Come out and see how they’ve taken the world by storm.

Arc & Stones delivers heavy hitters on “As You Were”

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Arc & Stones. Photo courtesy of Arc & Stones official Facebook page

Looking for some new music to get into this summer? On the alternative beat and straight off their second EP, Arc & Stone’s “As You Were” is a quick and soulful entry into the band’s style and vision.

In an infused follow-up to their first entry, their goal for “As You Were” was to combine classic soul into their already revved up alternative feel. What comes out feels like a flavor of today while bringing a call back to the 90’s and 00’s along. With vocals radiating the feel of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell and The Foo Fighter’s Dave Grohl, taking each for a complete twist on the guitar riffs thereby cementing their own style.

First up from the EP starts off with a vision of their struggles and work to keep up with their own personal mantra with “Control.” I loved the opening, the announcement of taking back the reigns before blasting into the rush of drums and guitars was an instant hook. The blurry vocals added a bit of emphasis to what was being accomplished here, making everything work together. “Walkin’ In” brings a mournful scene to mind, throwing kickback to the drums and providing a mellow mix together with the lyrics, a little sweet but definitively sour.

The attitude really comes out in their music with “Sweet and Vicious,” which adds in a hard country hook and a serious sway with the guitar riffs. “Too Late” brings a range of tales in the words, doing well to accompany the first track in its general direction while also giving the EP a faster paced track to run with the rest. Last but not least, “Caught on Fire” finishes out the list with a collective thought on the other tracks, as well as being an explosive end to this collection of songs in putting a tremendous amount of soul and energy behind the instrumentals.

All and all, for a second release from a relatively new band, Arc & Stones forming in 2010, “As You Were” quickly shows just where the band is heading and the road only goes up from here. The EP is a great introduction to the band itself, as poised through its lyrics and symphonic styling in the alternative genre.

Look for more from Arc & Stones as they tour the east coast this summer as well as play the Musikfest festival in Pennsylvania. Be sure to check their site at  www.arcandstones.com for information on upcoming tour dates and releases from the band.

Quiet Company, The Tontons, Driver Friendly.. Oh My!

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The Tontons (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Kovach)

With a trio of different sounds that combined together for a completely electric vibe, Quiet Company, The Tontons and Driver Friendly really rocked The Evening Muse on the rare Friday the 13th.

Coming off of their previous run with Warped Tour ’13 last year and starting off their ’14 season on the road with Quiet Company, Driver Friendly began the night with the indie/alternative flair that I love the summer season for. The kind of performance they brought to the stage reflected much of their influences, including those also signed to Hopeless Records such as Yellowcard and Taking Back Sunday. After being together for ten years while breaking out officially for only four, they’ve been all over the east coast with this being their second time in Charlotte.

Their set on Friday was only a taste of their upcoming album “Unimagined Bridges,” set to release on July 15. Look for it on their online store and on iTunes.

Second up were the Tontons, whom not only had been in Charlotte before, but were previous players at The Evening Muse in 2012. Together for six years, the band is comprised of Asli Omar with her soulful vocals and very expressionate performance onstage, which when combined with Tom Nguyen on bass and the brothers Adam and Justin Martinez on dual guitars makes for a mellow-rock sound, almost remnant of early Coldplay. What I’d perceived as possible slide into indie-pop blew me away with rock, thus leaving me to say that their videos do them no justice and the best way to see them is live.

They recently made the list of “Top New Artists” with their recent release “Make Out King and Other Stories of Love.” Look for it on iTunes and their official pages while we wait for them to rock our area once again.

Rounding out the evening, last but in no such way least was the main event, was Quiet Company. Right from the start the band was on fire, bringing the songs and sounds written for their upcoming release of “Transgressor.” Their set was absolutely electric, sending me for a ride with an onstage performance that reminded me of the liveliness Foxy Shazam breaks it down with, pitted against the vibes of The Foo Fighters and Green Day with vicious yet contained alternative sound. Taylor Muse was simply amazing to watch and listen to, breaking halfway through the set to call out the guys in the audience, bringing the band and listeners into a slight dance frenzy. Finishing out the evening, Quiet Company, along with the other two bands, bring something that must be seen to believe, and I for one look forward to their return, which potentially might be in the fall.

“Transgressor,” their latest album, will be coming out on an undisclosed date later this year. Look for it in presale on iTunes and their main site page.

All in all, the combination of the indie-rock set the stage for the summer as all three will be touring around the Carolinas and along the east coast, all three debuting new music to bring to the masses. Their sets at The Evening Muse were a great way to start off the main portion of concert season for the summer season in Charlotte, and I hope each come back very soon for us to have a second taste.

 

Preview: An Evening with Quiet Company and The Tontons Alongside Driver Friendly

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The Tontons (Photo courtesy of Rebecca Kovach)

Fresh from their shows up north, Quiet Company will be making their premiere and starting the southern leg of their east coast tour at the Evening Muse on June 13.

Since their initial forming in 2006, Quiet Company has put out three full-length albums, their third one “We Are All Where We Belong” winning them various awards, including 2011-12 Band of the Year, Best Indie Band, Best Rock Band and Album of the Year in the Austin Chronicle’s 30th Annual Austin Music Awards. The 2013 re-release of their first album “Shine Honestly” brought them further onto the national stage and gained them a seventh place holding on iTunes two years after “We Are All Where We Belong.”

A band hailing from Austin, Texas, Quiet Company has gone through multiple evolutions; from the changes in the band line-up to the sounds and feeling they exude. Through their travels, “Quiet Company” has made themselves known for their “energetic live shows and their anthemic, dynamic, indie-rock.” Critics have likened them to other bands such as The Beatles, Death Cab for Cutie and Weezer, ranging from articles in The New York Times, Paste Magazine and Last Call with Carson Daily.

Quiet Company’s latest upcoming album, “Transgressor,” take a departure from any sound they’ve touched on before. Helped and highlighted from Evan Smoker on drums and Bill Gryta on keys/synthesizer, their latest outing invokes sounds comparable to The Foo Fighters and Manchester Orchestra when placed in sync with lead singer/guitar Taylor Muse’s confessional lyrics and cathartic tenor.

Another band playing alongside Quiet Company, The Tontons, bring their own unique sound out of Houston, Texas. Coming off of the 2014 SXSW tour in March, The Tontons present a more indie-pop sound to the stage, given light from Asli Omar’s soulful vocals to the melodic vibrations from brothers Justin and Adam Martinez.

Quiet Company and The Tontons will be playing this Friday, June 13, at The Evening Muse alongside Driver Friendly. Doors open at 10 p.m., the show begins at 10:30 p.m. Tickets range from $10 to $12.

Summer 2014 music guide

We Are The In Crowd are performing for Vans Warped Tour. Photo courtesy of VansWarpedTour.com
We Are The In Crowd are performing for Vans Warped Tour. Photo courtesy of VansWarpedTour.com

Summer might not start until June 21 this year, but summer vacation is quickly bearing down on UNC Charlotte. For most students, summer vacation means more free time, and going to concerts is near the top of the list of ways to spend it. Here’s a rundown of notable concerts coming to Charlotte this summer.

Elton John’s Yellow Brick Road Tour (June 14)

Elton John makes a rare stop at the PNC Music Pavilion for his Yellow Brick Road Tour, opening the door for what would seem to be a once in a lifetime opportunity.  The legendary performer will be playing everything from his ’70s hits to new music from his recently released 31st album “The Diving Board.” Tickets range from $40 to $164 currently, but sections are selling out fast so snagging tickets soon is a good idea.

Zac Brown Band: The Great American Road Trip Tour (July 12)

The Zac Brown Band has become synonymous with a good-old-boys brand of country music slowly making a resurgence away from the Hollywood spotlight of acts like Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood. The eight-man band is no stranger to the Charlotte area, playing Speed Street and other venues regularly. On June 14, Zac Brown Band will take the stage at PNC Music Pavilion just a few miles from campus. Tickets start at $35 for lawn seats and climb as high as $375 (resale price) for closer sections with front of stage general-admission tickets already sold out.

Monumentour: Fall Out Boy and Paramore (July 23)

Fall Out Boy and Paramore, along with a handful of other bands, are the poster-children for the early ‘00s resurgence of rock after grunge wore out its welcome. Both bands started out as small pop-punk bands who hit it big, and both have fought through some internal strife. Together they will be heading the Monumentour as it arrives in Charlotte at PNC Music Pavilion. Seats for the Monumentour start at $34 for lawn and top out around $80.

Vans Warped Tour (July 28)

With summer in Charlotte comes the Vans Warped Tour, an all-day concert playing host to a plethora of alternative musical acts. This year sees the return of tour veterans MC Chris and I Fight Dragons while welcoming newcomers like Beebs and Her Money Makers and Icon For Hire. Tickets are $46, with a $56 20th anniversary commemorative ticket also on sale.

Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden (August 7)

The brainchild of Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails has been churning out unique concept albums filled with abstract melodies and scathing social commentary for more than 20 years. Fresh back from a three-year hiatus, the rotating line-up of musicians has teamed up with a band probably more famous for a hiatus of its own than the music it made. Soundgarden dominated the ‘90s before internal conflict split the band apart for over a decade. Now back on tour, they’ve team up with NIN for show of 90s powerhouses. Lawn seats start at $39, with closer currently available seats sitting around $100 and resales topping $300.

Linkin Park: Carnivores Tour (August 12)

Following the debut of their sixth studio album, The Hunting Party, Linkin Park will be following up with The Carnivores Tour, with a new line up  for the first time this summer. Joining them along the way are last year’s headliners for Weenie Roast, 30 Seconds to Mars, as well as special guests AFI. Tickets are on sale now from $45 lawn seats to $377 (resale price) to be in the pit up front.

Gaming round-up : April 23 through May 2

"Mario Golf: World Tour" is coming out May 2. Image courtesy of Nintendo
“Mario Golf: World Tour” is coming out May 2. Image courtesy of Nintendo

With the spring semester in its last few days, it will be soon time to take a breather and relax a bit for the summer. Here’s a few games that could make the time pass by pleasantly.

“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle”

Being one of a series of imports that will be hitting our shores this year, this series marks its first territorial debut since the dreamcast. In “Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure,” the story takes place over various generations, beginning with Jonathan Joestar and his original rivalry with Dio Brando, as each discovers supernatural entities called “stands.” Each playable fighter goes by the rules of the anime story arcs they’re associated with, totaling up to seven with the last being of a different timeline. With up to 41 characters to choose from, there’s much experimentation to be had as players throw themselves towards destiny.

“Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: All-Star Battle” brings its legacy back over to our shores on April 29, exclusively for the PS3.

“Octodad: Dadliest Catch”

Fresh from its premiere on PC systems, “Octodad: Dadliest Catch” finally makes its way onto consoles by way of the PS4. In one of the odder premises for a story, the game puts players into the shoes of an octopus that has made it into human society, posing as a man and taking on such quirky tasks as normal life. Players will constantly have to move the land-bound protagonist in order to carry out relaxation with the family or going to work without giving away his secret identity to the world. Up to four can take control in a special multiplayer mode, each to balance a tentacle, bringing more hilarity through random coordination. Do yourself a favor and unwind with a laugh when “Octodad” comes to home consoles.

“Octodad: Dadliest Catch” drags itself onto Sony’s shores with the PS4 on April 22.

“Mario Golf: World Tour”

Continuing its legacy with a fifth entry, “Mario Golf” returns to take different strokes on the 3DS. Players will get to choose from thirteen golfers off the bat, including a self-made “Mii” character of their own creation, as they gallivant around the Mushroom Kingdom’s various courses. New to this version is the added element called “item shots” in which players may use such advantages as the “Fire Flower,” “Jump Blocks,” or “Bullet Bills” in order to make the fastest holes possible. As with “Mario Kart 7” and “Tennis Open,” tournaments can be made online, giving players everywhere a chance to knock your set of swings down a peg. Are you up for the challenge?

“Mario Golf: World Tour” will be taking back the green on May 2.

 

Other Games To Watch Out For:

 

  • “Demon Gaze” (PSVita, April 22)
  • “Daylight” (Win, PS4, April 29)
  • “Kirby: Triple Deluxe” (3DS, May 2)
  • “NES Remix 2” (WiiU, April 25)

 

Album review: Uh Huh Her’s ‘Future Souls’

Photo Courtesy of Uh Huh Her.
Photo Courtesy of UhHuhHer.com / Brad Thomas Ackley.

Looking for a new sound to get into for the summer? Following the release of their third album “Future Souls” on March 25, Uh Huh Her is coming to the Visulite Theatre on May 22, bringing their electro-pop soulfulness to our airwaves.

In their newest album, as with the name sake, “Future Souls” has a lot to do with the questions– Where are we going? What are we evolving into? Where does your soul go?

“It comes back to the title,” says Camila Grey, one side of the duo that consists of her and Leisha Hailey.

“I’m constantly questioning what the hell is going on with this planet. We’re on a big ball floating through space around another larger ball of fire. That constantly perplexes me, and I’m like, ‘What the f— is this? Where are we?’ Those questions culminated in a lot of the new songs.”

With a view set to the future, it seems the two artists actually have a very calm as well as resounding site of it. The music produced in this album provides a very relaxing approach on the subject, starting off with “Innocence,” playing over thoughts over the present and past in the vocals with the soft drums that add a layer of meditation.

“Shiine” takes more advantage of the synthetic beats, adding less emphasis on the vocals added in and focusing more on a grooves that’s hard not to smile at. “Fine Lines White Lies” gives a slight call back to Daft Punk’s “Crescendolls” from the start while moving into while moving into a calm call of betrayal that is the song’s namesake.

Lastly, and one of my favorites, is “Nuthin Without Your Love,” which cranks up the electric background with an added pleasure of a soulful underground symphony. It combines a few different genres into a short but extremely sweet set.

All and all, I’ve found a lot of things incredibly appealing with this album, which I hope you will as well. You can check out their site at www.uhhuhher.com to get a short taste as well as tour dates, or hit up iTunes to give your libraries an expansion on relaxation.

Uh Huh Her will be at the Visulite Theatre on May 22, with tickets starting at $15 in advance and $18 the day of the show.

Review: “The Wolf Among Us, Episode 3: A Crooked Mile”

Image courtesy of Gamespot.com
Image courtesy of Gamespot.com

(WARNING: Possible spoilers of key plot point may be in this review)

Along the paths we choose, a choice is made we can never take back. The clock winds down ever so slowly; to move or not to move, there’s a price to pay either way.

Almost immediately in this episode, the cost is thrown straight into your face as the aftermath of finding Fabletown’s “killer” unfolds. The site of the murders is under investigation, Bluebeard is running amuck in the office, and a funeral is being conducted off the side of the Brooklyn Bridge. Without much hesitation, Bigsby and Snow head out to view the festivities and pay their respects. There’s no better or worse spot to measure your relationships with others than when their lives are greatly impacted. Holly, the sister of the deceased, let Bigsby know right away he wasn’t welcome – even with the information he’d gathered. The more sobering interaction might have been with Gren, whose arm you previously had the option of tearing off in a fight. Everyone wanted resolution and no more trouble than what was already presented. Too bad the Tweedle brothers felt otherwise. With a few latent threats and a few well placed shotgun blasts, the stage is set and the title is introduced.

An added obstacle lies in this chapter of the story; time isn’t just placed in front of you as part of the setting. Instead, it is used against you in your investigation. Not allowing you to probe more thoroughly makes your choices a lot more interesting and important. What clues have you missed? Maybe there was a better showing of what might actually be going on behind the scenes. Many things stopped me as three paths are given before proceeding to a final location, with the site I picked being under my total control and the others damaged with evidence in tatters. It was a good move, as the creators make it harder for you to avoid a second or third playthrough.

One of the biggest points in this part of the story is getting more of a peek at the old world and the Fable’s attachment to the sentiments of it. Finding everyone isn’t so far removed from their former activities, whether it’s old traditions or the objects pulled from there directly, makes one wonder if there’s a place in the near future where we might catch a glimpse of it. It wouldn’t be something that is needed, but definitely something that would be fun to look at.

Without giving too much more away, the reveals here add an extra element to what is to come. No one is worth trusting and many have unknown motives laying just beneath the surface, and knowing that always makes it harder to find the right choices. Noticeably, the time given to pick a move has increased a bit, possibly to let the player consider some of the more layered options in play. It will be interesting to see where everything goes, but for now, we players have many mysteries on our hands to keep us on our toes till next time. It will most definitely be worth the wait.

Gaming round-up: April 8 through April 20

Artwork Courtesy of Telltale Games
Artwork Courtesy of Telltale Games

“The Wolf Among Us, Episode 3: A Crooked Mile” (WARNING: Possible Spoilers)

First, Snow White and Bigsby Wolf searched for the killer responsible for a fellow Fable’s head being laid on their doorstep. Next, after a seeming end for Snow, the mystery deepened as her fairy tale became intertwined with the case at hand. Now that his identity has been revealed, the task becomes clear in capturing the assailant before it’s too late. Who else is involved? Why are the Dumms so interested in the crimes taking place? May all the curiosities be answered when our cast of characters are forced to walk “A Crooked Mile.”

“The Wolf Among Us, Episode 3” releases onto the PSN and Xbox Arcade on April 8.

Image Courtesy of EA Sports
Image Courtesy of EA Sports

“2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil”

Every 4 years, the stage is set for the global event known as the World Cup. To showcase the event, in addition to this year’s already released “FIFA 2014,” this edition expands itself around this year’s competition in Brazil. Pick from almost every country as you compete to be the best that the nations have to offer! It’s quite a long ways to go to reach the World Cup.

“FIFA World Cup 2014” kicks it up a notch upon the PS3 and Xbox 360 on April 15.

Artwork Courtesy of Square Enix
Artwork Courtesy of Square Enix

“Final Fantasy XIV”

With the relaunch of “Final Fantasy XIV” early last year, once disappointed fans turned to become totally immersed in a world structured to accompany the complaints held against it. Just within the year it has been out alone, “A Realm Reborn” has attracted over 1.7 million players who have contributed a measure of 400 million hours to the game. With the recent release of the PS4 comes the chance to test out this new world in more defined graphics, which enables players to interact with the rest of the community, from those on the PS3 to the PC owners. Make it a piece of your PS4 library, and welcome yourselves back to the world of Final Fantasy.

“Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn” launches its next flagship upon the PS4 on April 14.

Other Games to Watch Out For:

  • “Max: The Cure of Brotherhood” (Windows, April 15)
  • “Trials Fusion” (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PS4, April 16)
  • “Kinect Sports Rivals’ (Xbox One, April 8)
  • “Conception II: Children of the Seven Stars” (PSVita, 3DS, April 15)