K.Flay – Every Where Is Some Where

Illinois indie hip hop artist K.Flay is a name that has been thrown around heavily in the underground hip hop scene since 2009, but one that rarely seemed to be mentioned by mainstream radio DJs until recently. A successful debut major label album in 2014 led to widespread recognition and new connections. From here, she found herself opening on sold out tours for the likes of Twenty One Pilots and PVRIS, making her future look brighter by the day. Does Every Where Is Some Where live up to the hype? 

I'll admit that when I was approached to review her sophomore album, I'd never heard K.Flay before. Less than halfway through the first track of this album, I was already kicking myself for that oversight. Her sound combines the darker, hollow pop sounds of artists like Lights and Hozier while utilizing the hip hop production of acts like Twenty One Pilots. This combination makes for an unexpectedly fresh and rock-tinged pop record that's not to be missed. There wasn't a single moment during my multiple plays of this record that I wasn't engaged. The mixing and arrangements are minimalistic, but rarely ever allow the songs to feel empty. There's always a clear path and a reason for the songs to be the way they are. Anti-anthems like "Giver" and "High Enough", as well as rockers like "Blood In The Cut" beg to be performed live with their infectious melodies. The rap tracks like "Champagne" and "You Felt Right" interspursed throughout bring a passion and raw energy not found in the rap scene dominated by 'Future' and 'Drake' clones that seem all too happy to keep things mellow and fairly emotionless. The varying genre switches don't stop there though. Tracks like "Hollywood Forever" and "It's Just A Lot" evoke a feel similar to Switchfoot of all bands, reminding me of classic songs of theirs like "Stitches" and "Happy Is A Yuppie Word." I can't find a single major issue with this album, which is a testament to the production and performances of everyone involved.

This album can easily be considered a gateway drug to this darker brand of pop. From deep lyrical themes and infectious hooks to near flawless production, every song feels deliberately placed and there isn't a single song that I would label as filler. Every Where Is Some Where is out April 7th through Interscope Records and on all major digital outlets.

Standout tracks: Dreamers, Giver, High Enough, It's Just A Lot, You Felt Right

Rating: 9/10

Check out K.Flay on tour throughout Australia this may.

In Her Own Words Show Promise With “Unfamiliar”, But Ultimately Fall Short

In Her Own Words are a pop-punk band from Los Angeles, CA that have always fought to differentiate themselves from other bands in the genre, but they've never truly succeeded with past releases.

Sadly, this album is no different. There are some positives to find, but there are almost as many negatives to rival any complements I can give. On one hand, the choruses they write are some of the catchiest you'll find in the scene. They rival that of State Champs and taking heavy influence from the likes of Neck Deep and Handguns. On the other, the verses are so bland and generic that they feel like a chore to get through, and I often found myself losing focus when trying to listen through the whole album in one sitting. A glaring exception to this are the tracks "I Would Sit Alone In Silence", "I Was Honest, You Were Lying", and "Silver Lights". All of these songs stand alone and show the true potential that lies beneath the surface with this band, only making the flaws of tracks like "Sink Your Teeth" and "Strangers" all the more disappointing.

This album is riddled with shoddy production choices that sometimes lead to accidental moments of clarity, but more often than not lead to a muddy, jumbled mess of a record. Vocals are drenched in reverb during some segments of songs, while remaining virtually untouched in others. The vocalist is clearly talented, but the pitch correction is so shaky that it makes it fairly obvious the vocals have been altered, occasionally distracting from an otherwise decent song. It all sounds like the producer wasn't sure whether he wanted the record to sound like With Confidence, Handguns, or Neck Deep, so he ended up mixing all of the worst elements of each band's signature styles together.

The one thing I can praise about the production is the choice in arrangements throughout the album. The harmonies and dueling lead vocals are used sparingly and have been placed masterfully in places that need the mix filled out, while letting the vocalist speak for himself in the verses and bridges. The guitar lines complement each other well (often some of the most memorable elements of the record) and the drums lock in perfectly with the rest of the rhythm section.

In the end, Unfamiliar feels lopsided and rushed. You can clearly tell which tracks had more time and effort put into them, and it leaves the album feeling truly unfinished. As a whole, In Her Own Words put out a new release which is too flawed to give a solid recommendation. On a track-by-track basis however, some real gems are buried within. If your interests are piqued, I'd suggest giving the tracks "I Was Honest, You Were Lying", "Silver Lights", "I Would Sit Alone In Silence", "Collapse", "Drag Me Down", and "Reverie" a listen. Pretend the other half of the album never happened.

In Her Own Words – Unfamiliar Album Info

Unfamiliar by In Her Own Words is available for purchase now as well as streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

By Mike Casselman.

Upon a Burning Body Burns Bright with “Straight from the Barrio”

Deathcore act Upon A Burning Body were a band that flew pretty far under my radar for a long time. Despite hearing their name thrown around from numerous sites and seeing them billed on successful tours, I never got around to picking up anything from their discography. From their latest release Straight From The Barrio I now see just how much I was missing out on.

The album starts on a strong note through the track "'Til The Break Of Dawn", with spanish-infused guitars blending surprisingly well with traditional hardcore elements and some of the strongest screams I've heard in the genre. The lyrics are fairly bland and par for the course in a hardcore party song, but this doesn't detract from the raw energy the band emits.

Luckily, that's a sentiment that can be shared with virtually every track on the album. The production is top notch, highlighting the masterful guitar work and vocals, opting to push the drums more towards the back, though not so far back that you forget they exist.

Throughout the album, this band doesn't really add much to the social or political commentary of today, but then again they never tried to portray themselves as a group who would. The rare times the band decides to utilize clean vocals on tracks like "Already Broken" and "Leave The Pain Behind", they truly shine and manage to stand out among a highly populated crowd. These are the moments when they feel the most genuine and vulnerable, combining haunting and anger-fuelled vocal lines with blistering breakdowns.

Overall, I'd recommend this album to fans of the genre. I wouldn't suggest showing it to anyone outside of the fanbase unless your end goal is to get a horrified or confused look or two. This album doesn't break new ground and won't convert anyone who isn't already open to their harsh style of music, but Straight From The Barrio is sure to bring a smile to any hardcore or deathcore fan's face.

Upon a Burning Body – Straight from the Barrio Album Info

Straight From The Barrio is available for purchase now and is also streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Catch Upon A Burning Body on the Sumerian Records 10 Years In The Black Tour with Asking Alexandria, Born Of Osiris, I See Stars, After The Burial, and Bad Omens now through 11/21.

Written by Mike Casselman.