Hello and welcome to the brand new music blog titled The Ty_RockCity Music/Entertainment Blog. My name is Ty Jamar. I go by the name Ty Rock around the local music scene in New York City. I have been involved in music for a few years now since late 2008 while pursuing a career in entertainment. Over the years, I have experienced the atmosphere of being at a local show as opposed to a show taking place at a big venue, too many bands coming and going, fierce competition with the scene and a lot more. I decided to start this music blog due to high demand of peeps within the scene who look at me like I’m this big music/entertainment news geek (Which I am. Not going to lie. Lol) and I should get it all out there by writing a blog any chance I get and they would read it. I said ‘Sure. Why not?’ Well here it is. And what better way to start off the first blog than with the year 2015?
Overall, the year 2015 has been a year of musical evolution, focusing on the rock scene for the youngsters (Metalcore, pop punk, post-hardcore, etc). Bands who have been playing music and touring for years have released their music to positive, mixed and negative responses from critics and music listeners all over the world. I happen to be one of them of course. The way I decided to list my favorites of the year 2015 is by splitting them into two groups. One group being the big name bands which I will list ten of them and the second being the bands from my hometown, New York City. Long Island bands are included as well. Nothing against bands in other parts of the Tri-state area like Currents (CT) and Sentinels (NJ) as they are doing their thing and are currently working on their new music. Focusing solely on bands in New York makes it much more easier for me to be connected with the local scene here because I’m obviously more familiar with it. You may be wondering what my favorites are so let’s get to it.
Group A (10 favorite releases from big name bands):
– Bring Me the Horizon – That’s the Spirit.
What was once a heavy yet melodic metalcore band fronted by Oli Sykes’ strained screams as he blew out his voice in the band’s early years, returned after 2013’s Sempiternal with a complete game changer which very few people saw coming. Abandoned are the breakdowns and in came Oli Sykes singing, melodic riffs, catchy choruses and tracks that can create powerful energy within stadium arenas. In conclusion, you get Bring Me the Horizon as an alternative rock band. First time listening to the album, I really enjoyed it even if I was iffy about one track, that being “Run” but it has grown on me. And there’s even a dance rock track at the very end of the album, which is enjoyable. It’s safe to say that Bring Me the Horizon really accomplished what they wanted to achieve musically and is a fresh start for this group.
– Lions Lions – Changing the Definition.
This EP has been a constant play for me with no hesitation. Just like their live set, the EP is very energetic and somehow more pop punk than their last couple of releases. But hey, it makes for a good listen for the most part. If you’re looking for anything heavy on this EP, listen to the tracks “Alt-Delete” and “Standards” (which features Garret Rapp of The Color Morale). The EP in general whenever I listen to it always reminds me why Lions Lions is definitely one of my favorite bands.
– While She Sleeps – Brainwashed.
Anytime I throw on an album from While She Sleeps, it’s always an onslaught of passionate heavy music that never lets up. Saw them at Warped Tour during the summer and they always put on a show. Always energetic and makes for good workout music at the gym or a fun time with the blokes in the UK. “Our Legacy” will always be the jam.
– Parkway Drive – Ire
Once I saw a video on Youtube of frontman Winston McCall talking about how the album was going to be different from their past releases, it wasn’t shocking at all. He has said before that he has heard one too many breakdowns and the band was going to be incorporating musical influences from bands like Rage Against the Machine. The first single and video they release of the album titled “Vice Grip” which is catchy as it reminds you of 80s hard arena rock but with a current day twist to it the best way Parkway Drive can do it. “Crushed” is definitely the Rage Against the Machine inspired track with it’s buildup intro after an awkward Arabian sounding vocal intro and the riff which can take you back to when you used to rock out to Tom Morello’s open string guitar riffs. It’s very different musically for the band on some of the tracks and many people have had mixed reactions to the album but what can you expect from a band that chooses to grow up and evolve?
– Lamb of God – VII: Sturm Und Drang
This is as angry and powerful as Lamb of God can get. Of course, the tough time period the band went through as vocalist Randy Blythe was going through a legal situation, which thankfully he made it through, definitely influenced the writing for the tracks on the album and honestly gave the music a kick that I felt the Desolution album needed and was lacking in some ways. The biggest surprise to me comes in form of the track “Overlord”. Randy Blythe really shows his vocal talent by singing in half of the song then going back to the heavy raw screams for the other half of the track. I posted on social media that it was Lamb of God’s first bipolar track ever. Overall, it was definitely a big release for the band for the year. I recommend the track “512”.
– Veil of Maya – Matriarch.
What can I say about Veil of Maya and the crazy sick riffs and songs courtesy of my guy Marc Okubo? I found out about the new album because of the release of the music video for the single “Mikasa”. Immediately, I took interest and it’s Veil of Maya how I know them to be. But little did I know, the new vocalist brought a new melodic approach with the throat vocals and also clean singing, which is a first in Veil of Maya because they have never had clean vocals on songs before from what I can recall hearing. I was shocked by how good the track was and it got me looking forward to the rest of the album. Of course, people are not going to be welcoming of the clean singing and look at it as them going for the chipmunk sound. Lmao. Still the sick band known as Veil of Maya last time I checked but with a little something called change. *clicks tongue
– Fit For an Autopsy – Absolute Hope Absolute Hell.
Before this album, I never really took it upon to listen to the band altogether. I have always heard the name around when bands I listen to go on tour with them and maybe have come close a few times to seeing them live. Probably with Thy Art Is Murder or another band. Since I love anything that guitarist/producer Will Putney touches, I decided to give the first single a listen. In the end, I loved it. All in all, the product is deathcore but without the long string of breakdowns/dragging sections of blast beats and includes more musical variety. Fit For an Autopsy definitely won me over with this album and they slay it live when it comes to live performances. If you’re looking for deathcore with more musical variety and with the golden touch of Will Putney’s production, even if he’s a member of the band, go pick up the album. I did.
– From First to Last – Dead Trees.
The hype was real when Matt Good announced that From First to Last was getting back together after a few years hiatus/side projects and Spencer Sotelo, vocalist of Periphery, was brought in as the official lead vocalist for the band and is singing on the album which is to become the one known as Dead Trees. It was a long wait for the people who were dying to hear the album as they heard the remake of the classic song “Note to Self”. The album shows a rejuvenated band as they come blasting in with a sonic onslaught and you can hear a bit of a djenty influence on some of the tracks but still had the From First to Last flavor. Also, the guys were nice enough to release the album with 3 old song remakes including the aforementioned classic jam especially to those who wanted Skrillex formerly known as Sonny Moore to come back when he’s already too far gone into the Grammy world. Looking forward to more music in the future and if you haven’t, listen to Periphery’s Alpha and Omega albums while at it as they were released in 2015 as well.
– Phinehas – Till the End.
Till the End was one of the albums that I was looking forward to hearing this year as I have been following them since the albums before this one and also working sound at show they were playing in Queens. This one is another step in the band’s career especially with newest member in the form of Daniel Gailey of the band Becoming the Archetype. With the new flavor Daniel brings to the band, their style of metalcore with some southern rock seasoning has definitely kept my attention and will continue to do so in the years to come.
– The Plot in You – Happiness in Self Destruction.
First Born and Could You Watch Your Children Burn were hits amongst The Plot In You’s fanbase and Landon Tewers is definitely a musical genius. Don’t care what no one says. Take a listen to his solo material, if what I said isn’t convincing enough. When the single “My Old Ways” dropped, people were eager to hear more as some were reluctant to hear a band like The Plot in You go in a more “commercial” direction. Landon has said himself that the new album was going to be a little different from CYWYCB as he has come out of many personal situations in his life whether it involved the passing of his grandfather or him getting over drugs. It shows as you listen to the album in songs like “Pillhead”, “Take Me Away” and “Time Changes Everything”. Once you listen to the albums, you definitely feel a lot of the emotions Landon went through in writing the songs while still keeping it The Plot In You. The album is definitely worth checking out.
Honorable mentions: August Burns Red – Found in Far Away Places, Stick to Your Guns – Disobedient, Stray from the Path – Subliminal Criminals, Counterparts – Tragedy Will Find Us
Group B (Top NY local scene music releases):
– Varsity – Risen.
The new single released from the Post-hardcore/metal/ambient 5-piece is just a preview of what to expect from them later in 2016 as they are currently working on new material. It’s definitely a step up from the Lights EP and the vocal duel of clean vocalist Joey Varela and bassist/screamer Javy Dorrejo (ex-Five Cases of a Tragedy) really give the track it’s well known edge. Peep the music video done by Alex Kouvatsos of Blackwolf Imaging, as that shit is fire.
– Made In March – Hara-Kiri EP.
A heavy chugging intro and five tracks equals Made In March’s strongest offering to date. With the incorporation of the rap lyrical style from Fil Fury’s old-school bar spittin’ days in the rap game, it adds a whole new dynamic to the traditional also evolving MIM sound their fans have grown to love. Even Patrick Somoulay of the metalcore band Reflections lent his guest guitar solo talent to a song of theirs on the EP. Recommended tracks include “The Reaper” (which you can watch the music video for on Youtube), “Firefly”, and “Lead or Follow”.
– Mutiny Abroad – Vultures and Vices EP.
This Long Island band really got my attention with their style of Hardcore while taking influence from bands like Every Time I Die, Converge, Poison the Well, and Pennywise. First time that I saw them live in Amityville, I felt like I was listening to metalcore and hardcore from my late teenage years and early 20s and immediately went looking for their EP. For fans of the aforementioned bands, support them and purchase their EP at a show or on Bandcamp. They are well on the way up.
– Overcomer (now known as Restwell) – Humanly Speaking EP.
I was put on to this band by a long time familiar face from the Long Island scene. His exact words were ‘these guys sound like Counterparts if they went in a more metalcore direction”. Once I heard them play the first song of their set, He was right. To me, they are bringing back the vibe of Christian metalcore but without the Mattie Montgomery constant preaching. This four-piece from Long Island is slowly growing, as they are a fairly new band. The Humanly Speaking EP is sonically pleasing for any metalcore fan and I recommend a spin or two or three. Recommended tracks: “Faces (In My Head)”, “15:5”.
– The Bryan Durieux Project (now known as Durieux) – Living With Other Things.
For anyone who is a fan of Bad Rabbits, this band is your go-to band. I have had the pleasure of hearing the band whether they are performing as a full band or just vocalist/guitarist Bryan Durieux performing solo, and it’s nothing short of musical goodness. If my future wife and I do end up making a baby to the music, then we all know who really is to blame. Lol. Whenever you want to chill out and relax and get a jazzy vibe, the full length ten track album is worth listening to and available for purchase on Bandcamp and keep an eye out for future performances. Tracks to check out: “Crazy”, “Memories”, “Back-up Plan”, “The Disappearing Act”.
– Call It Home – Just a Dream.
This 5-piece post-hardcore/pop band from Long Island is getting bigger every day. Now armed with a new Cameron Mizell mixed and mastered full-length album that is coming soon, this single has held down their diehard fans to this day until the album is released. The track definitely gives you a That’s Outrageous vibe, not that it is anything wrong with that. You’ll definitely find yourself headbanging to the heavy grooves, the powerful screams provided by vocalist Chris Cristofi and the poppy clean singing of former guitarist/clean vocalist Andrew Rothberg. Keep up to date with the band because they’ll be coming to a city near you on tour for 2016 as they tour with some signed bands.
– I, Awake – Heart/Home and Instance singles.
New up and coming progressive metalcore band out of Long Island who had a good and steady first year as a band closing 2015 down with a opening spot on Texas In July’s final U.S. tour. These lads are adding onto the melodic progressive metalcore landscape as it was missing in today’s scene, as bands tend to rely on open string breakdowns, no melody and no musical range. 2016 should be the year of I, Awake’s growth as a band and should have more good music coming out during the year. Not a band to be sleeping on.
– Above the Empty – Inside My Mind.
Formerly known as Deistruct, the duo of musicians Peter Lanza (vocals, guitars, bass) and Mike Martinez (drums, lead guitar) came back as a whole new machine as their previous band dissolved. The single Inside My Mind really showed them at their fullest potential and yes, while the chorus may remind people of a Make Me Famous song but you still listened long enough as they grabbed your interest with the song as it has your dose of melody, punchy drums, catchy lead guitars and the dual vocal style of clean singing and throat vocals of Peter Lanza. Looking forward to that they have in store for this year.
– As Beings – Self-titled EP.
I watched these dudes evolve from the ashes of Edge of Existence and become a whole new band after much needed minor lineup changes and taking on a new musical direction. For fans of Volumes, The Contortionist and Aristeia, the tracks are pretty good and never stray far away from the melodic sounds while retaining the heaviness of the Djent style.
While the year of 2015 may have been full of worldwide chaos and many tragic losses, the year has also been about new beginnings and fresh starts. Especially for bands whether they are signed, DIY or locals. 2016 should be a continuation of that and is definitely being talked about as the year for a lot of talented bands. For this year, I’m definitely looking forward to releases from bands such as Killswitch Engage, Thrice, Deftones, Korn, Saosin and some unsigned tri-state bands that are looking to start their careers in music. And who knows what else we can expect this year? Maybe more band comebacks? We’ll just have to wait and find out this year.
“Don’t be afraid to start over. It’s a new chance to rebuild what you want.” – Brooke Addison
R.I.P. Kenny “BreedMachine” Batista