The New Year Ticket Giveaway

ATH is teaming up with Touch and Go Records to give away 2 tickets to the upcoming The New Year show at Emo’s on Saturday, September 20th. If you read our recent review of their new self-titled album, you know this is a must see event. The contest is simple. In the comments section, tell us why you want to see The New Year this weekend. We’ll judge the best responses, and announce the winner on Thursday, September 18th. 

I Saw Death Vessel at Emos

After months and months of spinning this album in my room I was finally able to put a face to the band. Sure, I had seen a few pictures of Joel Thibodeau, frontman and main songwriter of Death Vessel, but I desperately needed to put a face to that voice that continuously haunted the speakers on the floor next to my IKEA bed. Read the full story after the jump. Read more

The Stills – Oceans Will Rise

Rating: ★★½ · ·

Following their 2003 full-length debut, Logic Will Break Your Heart, The Stills received critical praise on par with their Montreal counterparts, and in the following years toured with Interpol, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Kings of Leon (with whom they’ll tour again next month). Yet on their third album, Oceans Will Rise, they have produced an overblown, overreaching record that attempts, to an overwhelming effect, to make itself heard.

As evidenced by its title, and songs like “Snakecharming the Masses,” “Panic,” “Hands on Fire,” and “Dinosaurs” Oceans Will Rise is full of grandiose proclamations. On “Snow in California,” singer Tim Fletcher sings “Oh the world is changing / So rally up your friends.” “Snakecharming the Masses” includes the line “Bodies full of rattling bones / Fall into a pitch black hole.” Hamelin sings, “There’s blood on the lines / Of every page I turn / When the ones you love / Are the ones you burn,” on “Being Here.”

Lyrics like these – amorphous, vague, far-reaching but directed to nobody – reveal a band trying far too hard to evoke a response in the listener (see: Coldplay). The music tends to follow suit: mid-tempo, droning, gradually building in intensity, still aping the precision of Interpol, but ultimately forgettable. Credit should be given to drummer Julien Blais for breaking up the monotony and attempting to light a creative spark on “Don’t Talk Down,” and the otherwise outrageous “Snakecharming the Masses.”

At their best, which they are on “Everything I Build,” The Stills, while still lyrically ambiguous, trade in their musical posturing for a slow, muted approach that serves them – until an unfortunately out-of-place bridge – much better than their failed attempts at catharsis via grand chorus. A compliment, if slightly backhanded: The album’s strongest song is “Eastern Europe,” where the melody is so immediately memorable and catchy that it doesn’t matter what the band’s singing about.

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