Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Love and Death 'Between Here & Lost' Review Brian 'Head' Welch

Love and Death's Between Here & Lost is an inspiring foray into the world of former Korn member Brian "Head" Welch's mind and past demons as he transitions into a Christian. The message conveyed through the album is about finding a way through being stuck between complacency and misdirection.

The album opens fittingly with the lyrics, "Wake up sleepy wide awake!" as Welch screams of not giving up on "The Abandoning." This song has a killer melodic chorus with lots of harmonic layers. A great start to the album.

The second track is a cover of Devo's "Whip It." However, that's where the similarities end; this version is amped up with crunchy guitars and grungy vocals. Love and Death truly made this song their own; not to mention a guest vocal appearance by Spoken's Matt Baird.

"Watching the Bottom Fall" is about falling for the same lies and promises we make to ourselves and yet still expecting to have a different result. The bridge into the last chorus has a nice flow to it as it changes up slightly.

This song is very personal and deep for Welch as reflects over a death in his life and while the song is mostly heavy the chorus mellows out more into a heartfelt angst free cry of sorts. "By the Way" is LaD's version of a rock ballad.

"Meltdown" opens with brutal guitars into Welch's signature deep songy whisper that he so often uses on verses which then leads into a growling mini breakdown before the chorus. Later on into the song it completely drops out into a chanting and soft bridge before kicking the adrenaline back in.

"Disaster" focuses on the Welch's inner turmoil with God as he feels sometimes he is left to fend for himself. He's not blaming God, but rather asking Him why He allows periods of loneliness to occur. Some of the highlights of this song is the instrumentation. The drums are great and the cool effected guitar riff over the chorus fits perfectly.

Next up is "I W8 4 U" featuring Mattie Montgomery of For Today. He contributes some heavy screams to the track as he blasts lines "Tell me you lost it, tell me you lost it." It makes the song feel like it's up in your face, a very nice touch.

"Fading Away" goes back into the theme of lies and encourages all those who fall for them to "Lie down and let go" before they fade away.

"Paralyzed" opens up with synthy guitar sounds reminiscent of the work he used to do in Korn. It's easy to see why this song was chosen as a single. It's one of the more catchier tunes on the album, and would appeal to a good spectrum of rock fans as it has multiple changing styles to it.

"Chemicals," which was also selected as a single and had an EP of the same name may very well be the best track on the album. It's crazy to hear how Welch gets his voice so low on parts like, "You're the killer and I'm the kisser." The song rings out almost as if it were an anthem for what the band stands for.

The final song on the album is, "Bruises." Everything about "Bruises" is powerful and hauntingly beautiful. The keys and light guitar work compliment Welch's mellowed out soft singing. It picks up for a little bit within the last minute of the song but never enters into the realm of brutality like the other tracks. The best part of this song are the lyrics. "Show us how to live/How do we forgive...Show us how to die/How to give our lives/Living sacrifice."

Overall Between Here & Lost tells a story of a broken man looking for a change. "This record was birthed from trials, tribulations, pain, suffering, anxiety, depression, and drama. However, we came out on top and the end result is a very real, raw & honest record," Welch said to With that being said, the album encompasses everything we'd expect, awesome nu metal heaviness with a positive message and amazing musicianship. Love and Death is just scratching the surface of their musical journey, and I can't wait to see what's next.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Link Drop - New Music, Free Music , and More!

My boys in FigureHead are back! Thank God! Check out some footage of them at their return show at Sullivan Hall a few weeks ago.

Fairday Skyline
Check out their music video for "Spread the Disease" filmed on Staten Island at Rustic Music Center.

Breaking Even
Hmmm...Does this count as a music video? Who knows, but it's awesome. Shout out to the guys in Breaking Even for having fans who care enough to make fan videos. Check it out, it's pretty funny!

Had the privilege of meeting these guys on Sunday after they connected with my band and helped get us a show in Brooklyn at Five Spot Soul Food (awesome venue, staff, and food by the way). Audioscar kind of has a similar sound to my band, but with a mix of Evanescene and Linkin Park. Download and stream their EP.

This dude is going to be doing big things real soon. His newest project, Lyrics vs The Weeknd, is dropping 2/13/13. Check out his first track below.

Antonio Yhap
My man Antonio has been releasing tracks every other day. This kid has some serious skill. Listen to some of his tracks below.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Ock Cousteau Advanced Copy of 'Nautical Audibles' Review

I had the pleasure of booking Ock Cousteau back in December along with Spose and Cam Groves. The pair is made up of emcees Mike Be and Jay Caron, who are also two-thirds of the Educated Advocates.

These guys had a ton of energy and brought out old school boom bap beats with signature 90s rap styles. In other words, it was exactly what I wanted to hear! These two do all of the hard work themselves, serving as their own DJ's, producers, and of course, artists.

During their most recent tour with Spose, The Yard Sale Tour, they were giving out a special advanced  copy of their upcoming album, Nautical Audibles, which were also specially marked out of 100 (I had number 49).

The first track, "All Season," was a great intro to the album and showcased just what they are about as they rap about grinding all year.

"Mortal Kombat" is the second track on the album, and their single. The song features witty boasts by the duo as well as showing the world that they "put it down." Watch it below.

"You Two" features a solo performance by Jay Caron. He goes off on the track dropping knowledge on sell outs and people who are looking for a "hand out." I love his flow and his narrative on the song. Everything about it is really solid.

Jay and Mike then go two bars for two bars on "Golden Harvest." Their voices compliment each other well regularly, but on this track with such tightly knit verses, the chemistry stands out. The isntrumental loop is quite nice as well.

"One For The..." is Mike Be's foray into a solo track, and he rips it as well. The best part of the song is the chorus from where the track gets it's name from.

"B.A. Baracus" opens up with a great sample from Mr. T. Even better is the sample to the beat, with nice guitar riffs, and then a roaring southern sounding little solo that gets worked in through out, and fully played at the end. The song reminds you of a full on bar room throw down and kind of takes you there.

Opening right into the chorus, "Ock Cousteau" is the self-titled anthem for the group. Again, good wordplay dominates this track, and has one of the better choruses of the release. Mike and Jay's chemistry as emcee's shines through on this song as they lay the lyrical pipe down.

All in all, Ock Cousteau's demo is a great look into what's coming for these two. If I could compare them to anyone, I'd dare to say a white Black Star, not so much because their lyrics are insane like a Mos Def and Kwelli, but because they are so confident, comfortable, and smooth over their beats. It's really refreshing to listen to, and they are great at what they do.

However, I have two problems with this record, it's too short! I must have more songs, and longer one's too. You'll burn through this album in 20 minutes with only seven tracks averaging just under 3:00 minutes. However, this is merely a complaint and not an actual problem. The fact of the matter is these guys can spit and are some dope lyricists. So stayed tuned for what's coming next!

Follow Ock Cousteau on Twitter -

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Benefit Show - "Get Young"

Spread the Rumor, Sandy Benefit show
I don't know why but I have been putting this blog post off for a awhile. I almost felt like it had to be written the night the show happened, but I have a clear head and a goal in mind. First and foremost I would like to thank everyone for the love on the Sandy documentary. I put a lot of hard work into it, and now we'll have a complimentary piece to go with it.

Please listen to this as you read and download it for FREE! 

E.N.D. performing at the benefit. Photo by Vlad Grach.
December 23rd 2012 will forever go down as one of my favorite memories as a musician. One day I'll tell my children about the night their father helped usher in some of the best moments of his youth while  uniting friends, family, and a community to do something amazing. I'm not trying to sound pompous or gloat in this fact, but I will say that I take great pride in the event that was of course made possible with everyone who played, the Full Cup, and those who spent their hard earned money to give back to people in need, and Jay Campbell who saw my vision as well...amazing.

I'm getting married in April, reality check, I'm not growing up anymore, I'm grown. Some of you are there with me, and some of you are getting there. It's tough, it's scary, it's a little depressing. Everything I once knew, or "still" think to be true is going to change. I'm not a kid, I'm no longer in school (I finished), I have to work and make money. I can't sit around and play music in my basement all day while fantasizing about rocking the Garden someday. (I now do that at my desk at work ha). I'm not trying to be a buzz kill, but the point is as we grow older we lose a lot of what we used to love in the shuffle of life. So for one night, and perhaps for the last time, the 23rd helped me remember and relive everything I ever loved about being a musician from Staten Island and rocking the faces off the crowd with my "musical family."
Patrick, Justin, Mike. Classic POF.

When my band Process of Fusion started out in 2007, it was just Patrick and I and we were terrible. We played our first show on a two hour notice. I played drums and rapped a little, and Pat sang and played bass. Our friend Mike came and learned two songs in half an hour. That show we met EveryNight Drive, It's Not Over and the Corrao Q. It's Not Over was really tight and we could tell they were serious about what they did. Corrao Q's drummer, Simon, had been a good friend of mine but I never saw his band. They blew me away with their musicianship and passion on the stage. Til this day I think they are my favorite local band from S.I. and at the time they were 15 and 16 years old, I was 18 (24 now).
Steve, Justin, Pat. POF

The event we played was called Purge the Purge. PTP was started up by a friend, Carissa Sutter. It was an organization that raised awareness and money for girls with eating disorders. (Funny that we met during a benefit and reunited for one...) The next show Pat and I played, I switched between drums and frontman while our friend Steve switched between guitar and drums. It was weird, it was bad, but we received so much love from Corrao Q and the other band we really connected with that day, EveryNight Drive.

EveryNight Drive were like the good guys of the music scene. Everyone loved them, everyone pushed for them to make it, everyone loved them as people and as musicians. Pat and I wanted to be like E.N.D. Everything they did was great, the sound, the music, the performance, their characters. They liked us when we started out and we developed a great relationship with them that had us playing CD release shows, Halloween shows, and even Roseland Ballroom together. Their drummer, Manny, filled in for us several times (Simon too), and was even in the band for a brief period of time as we could never keep a drummer after I made the switch to vocals.

Backslashes & Bad Ideas, Sandy Benefit show. Photo by Vlad Grach
We met most of Backslashes & Bad Ideas (Cobalt Sky, kinda) at a PTP show where EveryNight Drive played a showcase for a record label. That was sometime in 2008, early 2009, I believe. Cobalt Sky was fronted by Nick DePalo who would become a friend over the next couple of years as he played with various projects and bands that we played shows with.

To my understanding, we met Spread the Rumor at a Purge the Purge show that was held at the Cup in early 2009. They were another band we would "grow" up with and play shows with all the time. Those girls became my little sisters of music. They were amazing and tough too! Pat and I had asked if they needed help with equipment, and refused us!

I like to joke that these bands became the Superfriends of sorts because of all the time we spent performing and hanging out together, also, I'd like to shout out Pete King and his bands at the time, Groove Revival and Through the Year. They were an integral part of our scene as well.

By the end 2010 the Superfriends started falling apart a little bit with various problems I won't get into. Corrao Q was no longer a band, E.N.D. after several lineup changes was breaking up, Cobalt Sky was no more but Backslashes was born, and Spread the Rumor played their last show, not to mention our beloved home, the Cup was closing! On August 31st 2010 Manny ran a toss up between this last show, for the show of all shows at the Cup. That "last" show at the Cup featured ten frequenters/all-stars of the Cup minus Corrao Q. (READ ABOUT THAT HERE).

That show was very emotional as some of the scenes favorite bands disbanded and our home closed, (not for too long though). People were crying, dancing, hugging, and singing along. The house was packed with about 250 people who stayed from start to finish. I never experienced anything like that in my life. There was so much love and respect. After that show I didn't feel like music would ever be able to fill that experience in my heart, and for the most part it didn't, until this last show. The memories came flooding back as the familiar tunings of guitars and melodies of choruses came off the stage and into the speakers. It was beautiful, it was perfect, it was the best moments of 2007-2010, it was home.

Corrao Q, 2008. PTP show
That night Staten Island needed heroes to bring a little cheer back to our Island which had been ravaged by the Hurricane, and also a little cheer to a few humble musicians who are still on their grind who needed to be reminded of their youth. "Get Young" was the slogan of the freshly back in business EveryNight Drive after a two year divorce. They are now happily remarried and ready for new music! Corrao Q was a treat we may never see again, but they certainly felt the love and were just as good as they were in 2009. Spread the Rumor killed it, and I have a hunch we'll see these ladies again doing something together! Backslashes has been doing their thing and had a great 2012 after a somewhat not active 2011. It's Not Over is exploring a new style of music, and creating new opportunities for themselves. Process of Fusion had a great 2010 and 2011, but 2012 was really just a bad year for us musically, emotionally, and creatively. Honestly speaking, we were dead, but now our heads are on straight and 2013 is looking like its going to be a great year for us!

It's Not Over 2012
Here are some facts. December 23rd, we came together and raised $1270 that will go to help people displaced by Sandy. We performed to roughly 180 people. E.N.D. absolutely destroyed the Cup with garbage; balloons, silly string, and candy...damages not included. A scene that had went away came back for a little bit, and we all had a blast in doing so.

2012 ended with a bang, and hopefully that shot keeps ringing in 2013 as a rejuvenated bunch of non-famous musicians continue doing music whether it be solo, together, or in different bands. I love you all. Thank you for making me feel 19 again, thank you for caring about this cause as much as I did, thank you for being the amazing influential musicians and heroes I've always known you to be, and most importantly, thank you for giving me a reason to do what I love most several times a month, play music.
Corrao Q 2009 and Justin from POF.

Justin (POF), Manny (END), Simon (Corrao Q)
Please watch the documentary of the night, and share with everyone you know.

Leave your best music memories in the comments below.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Link Drop - Free Stuff!


Check out the Hurricane Sandy Benefit Show Album available for FREE download!

Here's my band Process of Fusion's new single available for FREE download!

New rhyme from Antonio Yhap, check it out!


Here's my documentary on the Hurricane Sandy Benefit show featuring interviews and footage from all the band's that performed on the night. I worked very hard, please check it and all those bands out!

Be sure to check out this mini documentary on POF's recording of "Closer." It's pretty funny at times!


POF was featured on last week's Stash Wednesday, check it out!

Here's a new band I never heard of from S.I. They are a reggae/rock group called Sweet Lucy. Here's their track, "Pinocchio."

Friday, January 4, 2013

Cam Groves Hope Something Cool Happens Album Review

By Gerard Ucelli

Hailing from Wells, Maine, Cam Groves released his album, Hope Something Cool Happens (2011). As a side note, I booked Cam Groves at the Full Cup December 2012 along with Spose, Educated Advocates, and Kristina Kentigan. I decided to buy an album from each artist to review and this is what I bought.

After listening to the first song on this album, I was instantly hooked into listening to more because of the humorous originality of Cam Groves. That first song is “Stand Still.” I can always respect when an artist perfectly explains his/her life with no exaggeration. It’s hard for rappers these days to be honest with themselves in their music. Cam Groves does the opposite and his substance is relatable to the working, middle class trying to catch a break and have fun.

One of the coolest tracks on this album is “Studio Beat-Box.” It’s rare nowadays to have beat-box on a track in a 21st century. It definitely shows the type of Hip-Hop that he’s influenced by. As far as flow, I feel like it’s one of his best tracks on the album. The multi-syllables match together concisely.
The last song, “You Can’t Stop Me” is my favorite off this album. Regina Lucchese really purifies the hook and convinces you to pay attention to the verses that Cam Groves raps. It’s a very motivating and simple song not to mention how relatable it is for everyone. The song is about perseverance. His humor is incorporated smoothly in this and there’s nothing too outlandish that would turn a listener off on this song.