A Lot Like Birds End "Rock Yourself To Sleep" Tour With Pillow Fight

Last month we held a competition offering OurStage artists a chance to open for multiple dates of the “Rock Yourself To Sleep” tour with Dance Gavin Dance, A Lot Like Birds, I The Mighty, Hail The Sun, and The Orphan, The Poet. Judging from the following video, it looks like the tour was a blast. A Lot Like Birds seem to have taken the theme of the tour pretty seriously, ending their set on the last date with an all out mosh pit pillow fight on stage and in the crowd. Check out the comfy carnage below:

If you like A Lot Like Birds, then you might also like OurStage’s own The Origin Animate.

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Album Review: Deftones – "Koi No Yokan"

After more than 20 years, Deftones are still going strong. In fact, they may be stronger than ever these days. Their newest, highly-anticipated album, Koi No Yokan, is clearly the work of a well-seasoned group that is truly in touch with their sound and who they are as a band. However, something about the album still leaves more to be desired.

First off, if you are a fan of Deftones, then you can rest assured, this is definitely still the band you know and love. They haven’t changed very drastically (not for the worst at least), and when you listen to this album, all of the components that drew you to the band in first place are still there. It is a well-produced, well-written, and meaningful record that has been graciously welcomed by fans and critics into the band’s discography. Still, something about the work as a whole just does not have as lasting an impact as it’s 2010 predecessor Diamond Eyes. It could be considered a close second though.

Right off the bat, Koi No Yokan”a Japanese phrase for the sense that a person feels upon first meeting someone that the two will fall in love”hits the listener hard with the deep Meshuggah-like tones of Stephen Carpenter’s 7-8 string guitar in opener “Swerve City.” This sound sets the stage for most of the album, especially in the tracks “Poltergeist,” “Tempest,” and “Rosemary,” which repeats a dark and brooding riff in the breakdown with surprisingly similar tones of The Acacia Strain. While Carpenter’s guitar is the first distinguished trait in the song, it’s Chi Cheng’s smoothly ascending and descending bass lines that carry the verse of “Swerve City.” Vocalist Chino Moreno leads the track and the album as fluidly as ever, with his signature “soaring-over-the-mountains” reverb and elongated melodic phrases.

The second track, “Romantic Dreams,” follows up this feeling with a pulsing 3/4 groove that alternates to optimistic riff-laden sections in 4/4. “Leathers” ups the intensity with dissonant sections of chugging and screaming, while still interlaced with emotively grandiose and flowing choruses. As mentioned before, “Poltergeist” utilizes the lower and grittier qualities of the guitars, which accompany an intense 7/8 polyrhythmic intro held down by drummer Abe Cunningham”with handclaps that are sure to make this song an interactive crowd favorite.

“Entombed” is a nice change of pace for the album. The feeling of this track can largely be accredited to Frank Delgado’s synth work, which provides a harmonically rich and ambient foundation for an overall uplifting song. When combined with droning delayed guitars and Moreno’s expansive vocals (“Shapes and colors are all I see/Shades of colors are all I feel“), this spacious and electronically grounded track sounds like it could easily be on a Team Sleep album (Moreno’s side project).

The variations between the first half of the album are more or less reflected throughout the second half as well, making for an overall pleasant yet somewhat unmoving experience. The song “Rosemary” contains an interesting dynamic balance between dark intensity and soaring ambience, but the closing track, “What Happened To You?” is the only song on the album that seems to stand out slightly more than the others due to upbeat rhythms by Cunningham and a sort of “bouncy” bassline by Cheng. If Deftones want an honest answer to the question posed by the title of this final track, I would have to say,”nothing.” Nothing happened to me. I enjoyed the album for what it was, but no part of it stuck with me afterward.

Despite some dynamic variations, the whole experience of Koi No Yokan felt very one dimensional. One could argue that, since their formation, Deftones have only gotten better with each album, but this one leads me to believe that they may have finally plateaued. That being said, Koi No Yokan isn’t a bad place to level out. There is nothing overtly groundbreaking about it, but it is still better than a lot of other music coming out these days. I just feel like whatever edge that Diamond Eyes may have had seems to be missing from Koi No Yokan.

If you like Deftones, check out OurStage artist Moving Atlas.

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Stream New Deftones Album

Alt-rock band Deftones will be releasing their long-awaited seventh studio album, Koi No Yokan, next week, but you can hear it right now! While it is still inherently and unmistakably a Deftones record, the crew have taken their sound to a whole new level of heavy riff-laden prog-rock that Rolling Stone describes as “adventurously agressive.” If you enjoyed the band’s previous album Diamond Eyes, then prepare yourselves for the powerfully emotive Koi No Yokan, due out Tuesday, November 13th on Reprise Records. Click here to listen now!.

If you like Deftones, then you might also like Ourstage’s own Vicesiadmire.

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Exclusive Interview: Ben Sharp from Cloudkicker

For many artists, music is about “making it big” and living the proverbial “dream” but not for Ben Sharp, solo artist behind the DIY instrumental post-rock/metal project Cloudkicker. In fact, Sharp is comfortably living his own version of said “dream” from his home in Columbus, Ohio. While his career as a musician may seem like more than just a hobby, with eight impressive releases available on Bandcamp and a considerably large international fan-base, Cloudkicker remains as such. In fact, his music is even available for free online. It was only within the past few years that he started to accept payment for downloads, with a humble “name your price” option. This started in 2010 with the release of his breakthrough album, Beacons, a full-force bludgeoning of rapid instrumental and musical proficiency that would bring any musician or metalhead to their knees. Upon first listen, one might expect this to be the next big band of skilled musicians to take over the world of post-rock and metal (or “djent” as some music fans have called the genre), but upon more research you will find that it is just Sharp’s sole ambitious and talented efforts. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about the comfortable and fortunate position he has found for himself in the music world, as well as his thoughts on the music industry, how the Internet is changing the way ideas and music are shared, what his journey has been like so far, and what lies ahead for Cloudkicker. (more…)

Between The Buried And Me Premier New Video

Progressive metal lords Between The Buried And Me are back with some more trippy, mind-bending space jams and an equally intense video to match. Their new video for the song  “Astral Body” is beyond fitting for the title and for the band’s new album, The Parallax II: Future Sequence, which is their second installment of a two-part concept album about two characters at complete opposite ends of the universe who share an inherent etherial and psychic bond. Head over to AltPress.com to watch the video, but be prepared to have your mind blown. The Parallax II is due out October 9th, but you can find a whole bunch of cool pre-order packages here. My favorite is the one with the space suit!

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Riffs, Rants & Rumours: The Strawbs Story – From Prog Rockers to Acoustic Alchemists

There we were with the two most successful producers of the 1970s working together, says Strawbs leader Dave Cousins, recalling the initial sessions for his band’s first proper album. The producers in question are Gus Dudgeon, who helmed all of Elton John‘s biggest albums, and Tony Visconti, whose work helped make stars of David Bowie and T. Rex. Unfortunately, the punchline that finds parallels throughout The Strawbs’ career is that the band’s aforementioned sessions took place in 1968, when both producers were unknown quantities. The original version of what would become 1969’s Strawbs was scrapped by an unhappy record exec, and the band was made to start over again.

It’s part of a phenomenon that’s practically a running joke in Strawbs lore for instance, the bass player on those ill-fated sessions happened to be a young John Paul Jones, but in that pre-Led Zeppelin period, the name impressed no one. At the start of the ˜70s, The Strawbs’ acquisition of hotshot keyboardist Rick Wakeman hastened a move towards prog rock, but Wakeman would soon depart to fulfill his true prog destiny with Yes, leaving Cousins and company in the lurch. (more…)