avoid. to release new EP ‘Everything Ends’ on February 16th

On Friday, February 16th, melodic-hardcore band avoid. will be releasing their second EP ‘Everything Ends’, an EP full of passion, compelling stories, heartbreak, intensity, and sadness. For anyone who is familiar with avoid. know that storytelling is a huge part of what makes their music what it is, and ‘Everything Ends’ is no different. Behind the clever instrumentals that create a feeling of despair and melancholy, the words bursting above the accompaniment tell of stories that leave the listener feeling a tug at their heart strings…all making the listening experience that much more real.

The lead track on the EP Father’s Eyes opens up this story for the listener, describing the story of a man who is dealing with the loss of his mother and his resent for his father, but trying to grapple with the burdens laid on his life and wondering if he’ll be a spitting image of a man he grew to hate. The EP takes the listener throughout many moments in the character’s timeline, including points of view from his childhood and his present feelings about how his past defined him.

The following track Mercy feels like a follow-up to Father’s Eyes in which the character goes more in depth with the reasons of the resentment towards his father. The character brings us inside the final days of his mother’s life and how his father did nothing to care for her (Call me a cancer/You left your love dying in the dust/Don’t call, you know I wouldn’t answer/I can’t bear to hear you call me your son).

The best stories are often the ones that make the listener feel captivated and can imagine themselves within a storyline…and that’s what avoid. have done with this EP. It tells a tale of heartbreak, sadness, regret, and hate. An underlying message exists though, which is there’s always hope for those who are struggling, even after going through traumatic experiences that make them feel like all hope is lost. I urge you to dive into this story and please listen to this EP, because you will not regret it. Check out an interview with vocalist Nick Booth who goes a little more in-depth with the meaning behind the EP.

You can also stream their lead single Home below:

27951003_2013189762031417_2115506562_o (1)

From what I understand, your new EP ‘Everything Ends’ is a little bit of a departure stylistically than your debut EP ‘There Is Always A Reason To Carry On’…can you tell me a little bit about what’s changed from the first EP to now?

“Definitely. I really think the change has come from a multitude of things. This is our first release with our drummer Alex and bassist Jon so automatically having those member changes effected our landscape a bit.

Though, above anything, as we’ve gone through the past couple years as a band we’ve really just learned more of what we like and don’t like in what we make. Lyrically and instrumentally it’s darker than our last EP and I think when people hear it they’ll recognize that change pretty easily and hopefully enjoy it.”

Can you tell me a little bit about the story behind the title ‘Everything Ends’ and how you decided it should be the title for the new EP?

“The title actually comes from one of the lyrics on the track Lullaby. Nothing truly stays forever besides a feeling or memory. It’s important to embrace them because eventually it’s all we’ll have.”

In the lyrics on this EP, it seems like the main theme is a man that claims to be a father but really left the two people he claimed to love with unanswered questions and a feeling of brokenness. Am I right to assume that or is there a deeper story going on within the songs?

“That’s a big part of it. The full concept behind this record is that of a prequel to our most recent release ‘Once | Again’. This EP switches between his childhood in songs like Mercy, and Lullaby while songs like Home, Father’s Eyes, and Regret show his life in more of the present day while Parasite shows his struggle with mental illness which has an evident effect on his view and mindset throughout the rest of the EP.

The major points in the story deal with the death of his mother from cancer and his inner-conflict following the death of his father who he resents for the treatment of his mother throughout their relationship and during her last days but notices their similarities and struggles further with spending time trying to make him proud. Something he hadn’t done since he was young. His character is thrown out into the world with these huge burdens and a lot of hidden baggage and expected to function normally. Ultimately it’s about the search for self and love which at times feels like a hopeless task.”

avoid. has always been a band that has used very effective storytelling tactics within their songs. Is that something you feel is very important when writing songs? If so, why do you feel it’s so important for musicians to be open and honest in their music?

“Writing has always been something therapeutic for me and more so a way for me to cope with what’s in front of me so it’s really not something that crosses my mind often. I think growing up in this scene and sort of subculture, going to DIY shows, I’ve found a sense of honesty and relation through so bands and friends. We’re here to share our stories and express ourselves authentically. It’s important for us all to keep ourselves in check that way.”

Why did you feel that Home was a good choice for the lead single from the EP?

“Funny enough, Father’s Eyes was supposed to be the lead single with Home following as a second single. However, we had issues with finishing our video in time for it. We wanted to show Home before the release because we felt it was a good representation of what the EP heads towards.”

Best 15 Albums of 2017

2017 showed a lot of different types of music, changing sounds, emotions, and a lot of other awesome things. Typically, I only have a top 10 list, but this year, I had to open it up to 15 because there was so much great music released this year. So here it is…my favorite 15 albums of 2017!

15. Like Moths To Flames – Dark Divine

I was genuinely surprised with this release by LMTF this year. To me, this band had always been a band that made decent albums and they always had potential to make great albums but they couldn’t find what made them great. With this one, they did. LMTF strayed away from fitting as many breakdowns as they could on one album and decided to hone their musicality and their talents to create a hard-hitting and beautiful album. Vocalist Chris Roetter’s has never sounded better until this album and the musicianship has never been better. Let’s hope any future albums will be just as good or better than this one.


Check out the single “Nowhere Left To Sink”

14. Citizen – As You Please

Somehow, Citizen managed to create an album better than Youth. The emotions, the feeling, the musicianship; it’s an album that really makes you want to sit down and hone in on the lyrics and really feel the album instead of just listening to it. I was a little worried after Citizen released Everybody Is Going To Heaven because I never really understood or liked that album, but it seems that Citizen remembered who they were and what they loved to do, because they just created their best album yet.


Check out the single “Jet”

13. Being As An Ocean – Waiting For Morning To Come

After leaving fans wondering if this album was ever going to be released, Being As An Ocean pulled through after buying out their contract from Equal Vision Records. They took a different direction on this work, mixing a lot of elements of post-rock, ambient rock, and few instances of melodic hardcore that honestly, took me a minute to understand. After giving it a few listens all the way through, it almost sounds like a movie soundtrack. It has a lot of dynamic contrast, very intense moments, and very mellow moments that really keep you on your toes as a listener. For old BAAO fans, it was definitely hard to get used to it, but I promise it’s worth the listen once you appreciate it.


Check out the single “Thorns”

12. I, The Mighty – Where The Mind Wants To Go/Where You Let It Go

This is an album that caught me completely by surprise with how good it is. I listened to this album on a whim and had never paid much attention to I, The Mighty beforehand. Post-rock has consumed yet another band, but this band knows exactly how to do it right, with soaring choruses, catchy hooks; in all essence, the best post-rock/pop-rock album of 2017. This album sounds like something that could get I, The Mighty competing with other Top 40 artists, and honestly, I hope it does.


Check out the single “Degenerates”

11. Rain Check – Things Change

Hands down, my favorite pop-punk album of the year. I’ve had the pleasure of becoming good friends with these guys over the past year. With young bands, it can sometimes take a while to figure who they are and what their sound is as a band. But it already sounds like they know exactly who they are and people are noticing. You can check out my full review of the EP here so I’ll keep this short. Seriously, do. not. sleep. on. this. band. They’ve got great things going for them.

3899_1500341652475 (1)

Check out the single “Life Lessons”

10. Blood Between Us – Let It Kill You

Another young band that I’ve become great friends with over the past year are the dudes in Blood Between Us who released an AMAZING album this year. BBU have found their own style of chaotic and melodic metalcore, citing influences like Underoath, Norma Jean, and The Chariot, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for them. Be sure to check out their music video for their single “Blanco”, directed by Daniel Wand of Capsize. Again, do. not. sleep. on. this. band.


9. My Ticket Home – Unreal

Continuing on with the theme of genuine surprises this year, we have My Ticket Home’s newest album coming in at number nine. This was another band that I hadn’t ever payed attention to but I listened to this album on a whim to see what it was like and it was completely different from anything they had done for their comeback album. The album is tarnished in ’90’s grungy alternative rock a la Korn, Nine Inch Nails, and Tool and really isn’t anything like anything else I’ve heard released in the past five years. Hopefully we can see more from them in the coming years because this is a sound that will get them to where they want to go.


Check out the single “Hyperreal”

8. END – From The Unforgiving Arms of God

Easily one of the best hardcore supergroups to come out in recent time, this EP is a whirlwind of brutality and never keeps the pressure off through the whole listen. Consisting of members Brendan Murphy (Counterparts), Will Putney (Fit For An Autopsy), Gregory Thomas (ex-Shai Hulud), Jay Pepito (Reign Supreme), and Andrew McEnaney (Trade Wind), this EP will make you want to hate mosh practically wherever you are listening to it. There’s not much more to say. It’s HEAVY.


Check out the single “Love Let Me Die” and listen to my favorite breakdown of 2017.

7. Tyler, The Creator – Flower Boy

This was the album that we all wanted from Tyler ever since the release of Wolf. This album shows Tyler taking a much less angry and angsty approach to his rap style. This album truly shows that there is no better musicianship in the rap industry than Tyler, The Creator. Fusing elements of hip-hop, soul, funk, and many other genre styles, this album is truly an experience for anyone looking for a breath of fresh air within the rap genre.


Check out the single “Foreword”

6. Limbs – Sleep

Limbs is another one of those bands that caught me by surprise, but I was instantly hooked by their new EP Sleep. Along with an announcement of signing to Equal Vision Records, the Tampa metalcore outfit released this hard-hitting label debut, filled with unmatched riffage and ferocity, this EP put the band on the map and will be a great stepping stone for them in their career. I can’t wait to hear more from these guys.


Check out the single “Poison”

5. Code Orange – Forever

Anyone who pays attention to music will know that this album basically changed the game in hardcore and sent Code Orange on a crash course to being one of the biggest hardcore bands in the scene right now. After touring with bands like System of A Down, Gojira, and many others, this album truly put this band on another level and will only continue to give them success in the future. With elements of hardcore, nu-metal, and punk, this album showed hardcore fans and the hardcore community that Code Orange are truly a force to be reckoned with. Get ready to watch them take over the world.


Check out the single “Bleeding in The Blur”

4. Ghost Key – If I Don’t Make It

One of my favorite things about this band after talking to them is their message of vulnerability and how it’s okay to allow yourself to be vulnerable and share with others the struggles and hardships that you’re going through. That message is evermore apparent in their debut full-length If I Don’t Make It. Lyrically, this album explores topics that are rare to be found in hardcore music and puts Ghost Key on the map with their own twist to the genre. This album isn’t only heavy musically, but lyrically, it can really make you think about the context of the song and understand the struggles and hardship this band faces.

ghost key

Check out the music video for “Solstice”

3. Hundredth – Rare 

Also for anyone who’s been paying attention, Hundredth certainly ruffled some feathers in their fan base with the release of Rare, which shows the band taking a completely different direction musically than in past albums, trading in their hardcore elements for a more dreamy, shoegaze approach, but hanging on to some of their punk elements, and forming something completely fresh and new. I had honestly not been a huge fan of Hundredth’s albums before this, and I only liked maybe a few songs off each album. But I feel that this album is where they’re supposed to be and once you appreciate it for what it is, it’s truly an amazing album.


Check out the single “Neurotic”

2. Counterparts – You’re Not You Anymore

There’s really not much you can say about this new Counterparts album. It’s beautiful, it’s heavy, it’s just all around incredible and showcasing what Counterparts does best in their best album to date. If you haven’t listened to Counterparts or this new album before, crawl out from under the rock you’ve been living under and grace your ears with some great music. FFO: good music


Check out the single “Swim Beneath My Skin”

1. Movements – Feel Something

Coming at #1 is obviously going to be Movements, another band that is taking over the scene one day at a time. Ever since the release of their debut EP Outgrown Things, everyone was wondering what Movements were capable of next, and I don’t think they let anyone down. Vocalist Patrick Miranda puts himself on display, tackling heart-breaking topics such as knowing that you’re not good enough for someone, dealing with the loss of a close family member, and the feeling of yourself breaking down after you’ve tried to be strong. The smartest move was teaming up with producer Will Yip who I believe was an integral part of making this album as amazing as it was. Check it out if you haven’t.


Check out one of my favorite songs of the year “Daylily”


Thanks for reading, everyone! Let me know what your favorites were this year!




Downtown City Radio to release new EP “Real American” Nov. 21st

Welcome back everyone! Today, I’m going to introduce you to one of your new favorite up-and-coming pop-punk bands and tell you a little bit about their new EP Real American set for release this Tuesday, November 21st. Hailing from Lubbock, TX, the band are proving that both the genre and the Texas music scene are alive and thriving, mixing familiar pop-punk elements, a splash of soul, and bringing it all crashing down with heavy-hitting breakdowns.

The new EP can be characterized by a bright and sunny sounding brand of pop-punk, but don’t let that distract you from the very real lyrical topics explored within the tracks. An album created from raw, unfiltered twenty-something angst, this EP is meant to explore the feeling of growing up and coming into your own in a world that you just don’t seem to fit in and you feel misplaced.

“Passionfruit”, the third track on the EP and the heaviest, opens with a punch in the face breakdown followed by hands-down the catchiest chorus on the EP that’s sure to get you singing along in no time. The lyrics explore the idea of being there for someone through their tough times and trying to be the reason that they see life a little bit differently. “21st St.” explores the idea of urban decay and how the world has left some things behind and left things to be forgotten in our modern society. Opening track “Sad Endings!” talks about trying to figure yourself out and figure out who you are when you thought you had no idea who you are.

Real American will be a game-changer for the band, showing everyone what they’re truly made of. It has something enjoyable for music listeners of all types. Be sure to check it out when it drops on Nov. 21st and check out a brief interview with the band below!


Tell me a little bit about the history of the band and how you guys came together.

“Downtown City Radio started in 2016, and we started writing and playing lit local shows, which led up to our first EP, Hazy Nights. This last year, two of our members graduated from college and decided to move on, so we added two guys who had written and toured with us during the past year, Caleb (guitar) and Travis (drums), to fill their spots. We all really gel together, so we were able to put together this latest EP as an A1 team with the old and new line-up.”

Your new EP Real American comes out in just a few days on November 21st. Can you explain a little bit about the story behind the EP and what kinds of topics are explored lyrically?

“The title, Real American, is kind of a tongue-in-cheek jab at the middle-class lifestyle, as told by twenty-somethings looking for a place to fit in. Lyrically, we wanted to write about the people around us and how they pursue the American Dream. ‘Sad Endings!’ is an ode to getting your headspace right. ‘Alicia’ is sort of a spanish Romeo and Juliet story. ‘Passionfruit’ is our version of Same Love (by Macklemore). Finally, ‘21st St’ talks about urban decay and the culture it creates.”

What does the EP mean for the band and what are you most excited about leading up to the release?

“We’re super proud of this EP, and finally being able to record music we love was awesome. We had a sort of rough experience on our first EP, so going into the studio with the guys at Blackdoor was a great experience because they really helped us make our sound happen.  Literally since the moment we finished recording we have been dying to release it.”

Is there anything specifically you hope people will take away from the EP after listening to it?

“We absolutely hope that when people listen, it stands out to them as something different. The style we built is pretty different from what you hear in the scene right now; we kind of married our pop punk roots with breakdowns and R&B melodies, which is definitely not something most bands are working on. I think overall, we hope people take home new ideas and it opens doors that inspire them in some way.”

Any specific plans in the near future after the release of the EP?

World domination. Also, we’ve got an upcoming tour we put together ourselves that will take us through Texas. Around that same time, we’ll be taking some demos we’ve been working on and heading back into the studio.

Real american


Sink In to release “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things” on Sep. 29th

Sink In are currently gearing up for the release of their new album Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things, due out on September 29th via Standby Records. This will be their first full-length as well as their label debut and believe me, they brought their A-game, and have no intention of slowing down. With extensive touring experience under their belt, a new partnership with Standby Records, and one of the best pop-rock albums that will be released this year, you don’t want to miss out on this band.

Newly released single Higher is the perfect showcase of the talent and incredible musicianship that exists within the band. This song is characterized by the most powerful and catchy chorus of the year, smooth technical guitar riffs that drive the song, and the soulful and dynamic voice of frontman Tighe Eshleman. The track sets the tone for the whole album giving listeners only a taste of what’s to come. Other notable tracks include Get Out!, a song that will instantly grab you with its striking chorus and delicate but entrancing guitar riff, and Love Lust, striking listeners with its robust energy and compelling dynamics

All in all, this album is the perfect introduction to this band as they begin to move forward into the next chapter of their career. Characterized by powerful guitar riffs, soaring choruses, and unmatched musicianship, Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things will easily be your favorite album of the year, making Sink In the new face of pop-rock. Read a brief interview below with the band as they discuss some of the specifics of their new album and check out Higher, the newly released single.


For those who may not know, tell me a little bit about Sink In and the history of the band.

Tighe: “Sink In started after my former band split up. I knew that I wasn’t done with music, and I had no choice but to fully “Sink In” to this dream of playing music by basically selling everything I owned and hitting the road. The band was pieced together fairly quickly from guys that I had met while on the road. Its pretty awesome that because of that, this band is made up of members from all around the country.”

Cobrette: “I was actually at college at the time with Brett and decided it was time to drop out and pursue this career 100 percent.”

You guys just released “Higher”, the first single from your debut full-length “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things”. What made you guys decide that “Higher” should be the first single released?

Cobrette: “Higher was the first song we wrote for the new record and it was really the start of defining our sound and the sound of the record.”

The band also just wrapped up the Ordinary People, Extraordinary Things extensive summer tour…what was the overall experience like for you guys?

Cobrette: “The tour was incredible and it has been amazing watching our band grow across the country. We hit a few sold out shows for the first time which has been very exciting.”

Moving on to the new album, tell me what the significance of the album title is and what it means to the band.

Tighe: “O.P.E.T. is actually a bit of a concept album. The songs are written from the eyes of many different characters. I wanted to be able to write from the vision of these different minds, kind of like an animated film. I didn’t want to write within the confines of my own life for this record. There’s a recurring theme where even though each of these characters live fairly ordinary lives, they are presented with an opportunity to do something extraordinary.”

Are there any specific tracks that have special meaning to you as a band or any member in particular?

Tighe: “Tell The Kids is an emotionally draining song. It touches on the topic of drug abuse, but from the eyes of the drug abuser’s child. Every time I read a news article about someone overdosing, I can’t help but think about the other people in their lives. What if there is a wife? A husband? A child? What is running through their mind right now? This song explores that thought, and I really hope it can help someone who has gone through that scenario.”

What are you guys most nervous/excited about as you prepare to release the album?

Cobrette: “Since this record is our first release on Standby Records we are both excited and nervous to see how that partnership will go. We have certain goals set on our end for this record and are very excited to see what Standby Records does with it.”

Does the band or anyone individually have a favorite track from the album?

Tighe: “Higher”

Cobrette: “Get Out!” for sure…it has a fun, high energy guitar riff”.

If you could pick one thing that you want people to take away from this album, what would it be?

Tighe: “Be great at what you do. An ordinary person can do extraordinary things, if they fully sink in and devote themselves to whatever is necessary.”

OPET COVER 3000x3000

Be sure to check out the official music video, and pre-order the new record before it drops on September 29th!

Featured Artist: From Dust To Beating Hearts

Welcome everyone to another artist feature! Today, I introduce to you McPherson, Kansas natives, From Dust To Beating Hearts, an indie/post-rock band that formed in September 2014. They recently released their new album Consume Me on June 19th, an album that the band describes as a narrative of self-discovery and doubt that comes from their own struggle and questions in life.

For fans of Foxing, From Indian Lakes, and A Great Big Pile Of Leaves, the album aims to carve out its own niche in the indie-rock genre, characterized by swelling dynamics, somber guitars, and powerful, emotional vocals that aim to not only make the listener understand the lyrics, but also understand the feeling behind them. The most powerful of this collection of songs is the title track, Consume Me, that builds up to the biggest moment on the album, started by lead vocalist Kole Waters screaming some of the defining lyrics on the album:

Is there something more satisfying? 
Is there something great on other side? 
I’m killing myself every night.

Other notable tracks on the album include Come Back, one of the more upbeat tracks featuring intricate guitar riffs and an underlying pulsing drum beat that explains the feeling of abandonment and loneliness, as well as Doubt Reassured. The perfect bookend on the album, this spoken-word track showcases spacey guitar riffs and some of the most honest and heartfelt lyrics on the album:

Then I can’t help but taste every lie and curse, 
Every inclination to run or bury myself in the earth. 
Despite everything I have and haven’t heard, 
You are my doubt reassured.

Stream the album below as well as read a brief interview with the band:

Tell me about the history of the band and how you guys came together.

We all met while attending Central Christian College of Kansas. We we’re all part of the music department, and some of us were roommates. Finding five guys who wanted to play the same music was pretty rare in a music department of only 20 people or so. After our fast jam session, we knew that we could make something good together.

What’s the meaning behind your band name?

Kole (lead singer/rhythm guitarist) and Jake K. (bassist) came up with the name. “From Dust To Beating Hearts” is basically a symbol of our growth as people and how life changes us.

You guys recently wrapped up a tour with my friends in Boys Home…what was the experience like?

Kole: “Our tour was a roller coaster of ups and downs. On the third day of tour, the van broke down. We missed to dates in Arkansas while it was getting fixed. The first show after getting our van back was in Shreveport, LA. That was by far the most energetic show we played. The whole crowd was making the floor shake. It was definitely what we need after a discouraging few days. While we were in Oklahoma City, we set up to play a show. I strummed two chords and the the power went out. We had to tear the stage down without playing anything. The timing was just uncanny. It was really great to be with our dudes in Boys Home for a couple weeks, though. We never got tired of their set. If anyone reading this hasn’t peeped their album Wishbone, they need to as soon as possible. It’s so good.”

Moving on to your new album, tell me a little bit about the story behind it and what kinds of lyrical topics are explored on the album?

Kole: “I wrote all of the lyrics on the album. The album was written over a year and half of time, so it covers some diverse topics. The central theme to our album is doubting what we know to be true and trying to become better people than we were yesterday. We covered topics from lost love to self-worth. It’s a pretty vague description, but I could write on our lyrics for hours.”

What has the response been like so far?

Silent Film has been our favorite song to perform. Even though the song is lengthy, it seems to connect with the audience the best. There’s something about large dynamics that people can really get into. It’s been amazing to see people on tour jam out to songs they haven’t heard before.

Do you guys have a personal favorite from the album, and if so, why is that particular track your favorite?

Everything is our all around favorite. I think it just connects to us and the doubts we have about what we believe. There is something cathartic about shouting, “Could you be everything we are not?”

Check out our website and links:








Thanks everyone for reading!


ALBUM PREMIERE: Rain Check release debut EP “Things Change”

This is truly an exciting day for my friends in Rain Check. I did an artist feature on them a few months ago when they first mentioned they were getting ready to record their debut EP and I knew it was going to be awesome, but it really blew me away when I finally got the chance to listen to it. Hailing from Abilene, TX, Rain Check have been quickly building a name for themselves in Texas, bringing listeners a modern pop-punk sound, but with their own influences and different musical perspectives to create their own twist on the genre.

The album is characterized by a familiar sound of energetic pop-punk but has twist and turns that make the listener really hone in on the lyrics that are the driving force behind these songs. The main idea of this EP is what it’s like to experience the feeling of growing up and realizing what comes with that, talking about topics such as realizing the effects of a bad relationship, understanding the feeling of being alone no matter where you are, and learning how to move on after being abandoned by someone you truly cared about.

This EP is really going to set the stage for the future of this band and I’m excited to see where it takes them. Check out the full stream of the EP below and a brief interview with the band.

Tell me a little bit about the story behind your debut EP Things Change and what the writing process was like.

We feel the EP speaks a lot to what we want this band to be. We are all in our 20’s and with getting older you have a little more life experience to draw on. We wanna bring those experiences to the music we write. The writing process was very collaborative. We all pitched in with different ideas not only musically but lyrically as well. We just kind of wrote whatever we felt like. It was really nice to write that way and just let ideas flow.

What have you guys been most nervous/excited about leading up to the release of the EP?

I guess the main thing would be just seeing what people think. We really feel we bring something a little different to what most people know modern pop-punk to be and we hope its something refreshing for people to hear. A good friends of ours said that after seeing us and hearing the songs that he could tell the bands we are influenced by but that we don’t really sound like any of them specifically. We take that as a huge compliment because thats exactly what we want. We want to cut out our own little sonic space.

Do you guys have a personal favorite from the EP? If so, why?

To be honest, I don’t know if we have just one favorite. The second song “Stuck” has been a favorite from the beginning but as we have played the songs and listened to them more some of the others have really started to stand on their own.

How was the overall recording process for this EP? Did the final product meet your guys’ expectations?

The recording process was really smooth. We went and recorded with Luke Garrigus at Black Room Studios. He was great to work with and we knocked out the songs pretty quickly. We had spent a lot of time working on them before we went so we didn’t have to do a lot of tweaking in the studio. We are really happy with the way it came out. It’s always a surreal thing to listen to something you created when its done. We think people will enjoy the final product and hopefully look forward to what we do in the near future.

With the release of this EP, do you guys have any other plans in the future such as touring or playing new shows?

We are always playing shows. We like to stay busy. We have some plans for touring here in the near future but there is still some details that need to be worked out. We feel like we have a good group of songs and we wanna get out there and show them to people.

If you could pick one thing you want people to take away from this EP, what would it be?

We want people to connect with it. The reason we love the bands we love is because in some way we connect to what they are saying or what they have been through and we want to people to be able to connect with our music in the same way. Lyrically we feel there is plenty for people to relate to and musically we feel our songs cover enough ground that most people can find something to jam.

AE8A2389 (1)


Thank you so much for reading, and buy this album! If you can’t buy it, follow this band on Spotify and show them some love.

Featured Artist: Traveler

Hello, everyone! I know it’s been a little bit since I’ve gotten to write one of these but I’m happy to say that I graduated from the University of Missouri on Sunday and finishing up this semester has been pretty intensive, but I can finally say that I’m done.

Anyways, enough about me, let me introduce you to this band called Traveler from St. Louis, a band looking to reinvent their sound as they begin to grow away from the pop-punk sound that defined their last release. The band formed back in December 2013 and is now gearing up to release their new concept album Resist. The band recently released their new single “Islands” that showcases a shift into a more post-rock/emo sound (citing influences such as Brand New, The Beatles, and My Chemical Romance). You can stream the song/ check out the interview below:

Live Shot - January
Traveler is: Lyle Schmitz (lead vocals/rhythm guitar), Jordan Hageman (lead guitar/vocals), Nick Stough (bass/vocals), and Alex Kennedy (drums)

What’s the story behind the formation of Traveler?

Originally the band was a joke called Earth, Wind, and Fernandez. The band’s initial function was to just perform at a Battle of the Bands at Marquette High School (two of the members at the time attended the school). Eventually, the band solidified into Traveler as something more serious with Lyle taking the lead bringing in friends/members to write and record our debut release To Growing Old and Getting By which was released September 21, 2014. A decent amount of shows were played on that to promote it and get the word out. We ended up taking a hiatus in the summer of 2015 but eventually got back together to write and record the EP Something Blue which was released on August 10, 2016. We played shows on that and started writing again pretty quickly and here we are now with a full length coming next month.

You guys just released your new single “Islands” off of your new album Resist that is due out June 10th…what has the response been like so far?

The response has been overwhelming. We weren’t sure how the new sound was going to be received at all. Plus, the track is over 5 minutes and is without a true chorus. But, everyone has loved “Islands” so far and they can’t wait for the rest of the record.

I understand that your new music is a big shift away from what your music style used to be…what was the reason for the change in sound?

It’s not pop-punk like we used to be; we ended up being influenced a lot more from post-hardcore, post-rock, and emo. It wasn’t an incredibly conscious decision at first, it was a very natural progression for us. You can look back on certain moments on Something Blue and get little hints on what we’re doing now. We didn’t want to do another pop-punk record and be confined to just that. There’s a lot of genre blending on the new record. There’s some somber emo/indie rock, really aggressive post-hardcore, moody and atmospheric post-rock, and even a sludgy post-metal song. We were also really inspired by the Phil Spector “Wall of Sound” type of production used on the 60’s girl groups, The Beatles, and The Beach Boys, so this record is far more nuanced and layered than anything we ever did on To Growing Old and Getting By or Something Blue. There’s definitely some hints of pop-punk catchiness but it’s much different this time around. We think when people listen to the record it’ll make sense in the narrative story it follows – being a concept record.

What’s the story behind the concept album and where did its inspiration come from?

Everything we’ve done has been concept or theme driven. To Growing Old and Getting By and Something Blue followed a continuity of themes more than a narrative. We wanted to really jump into a true concept record and tell a story. With the caustic divide and political/social climate we live in – we thought this would be a perfect opportunity to explore that. The narrative essentially follows a protagonist who is not directly effected by the problems of the world around him. He recognizes them and understands them – but he feels too small and insignificant to do anything. There is an authoritarian “1984” type of government in place that acts as an extreme of the right side of the political spectrum and is in place. Our protagonist has, essentially, everything stripped from him causing him to want to take a stand.

He joins a resistance full of different characters explored in different songs that represent different issues and themes. So essentially, the record reflects problems we’re going through now but with a semi-dystopian lens. The record is not to be taken as an anti-Trump record because we do not wish to alienate our fans – but there is some of that in there. The record more becomes about what we all have to do to reach the common goal of a functional and peaceful society. It’s more about the conversation that has to happen between two parties instead of a device to drive us further apart.

We really wanted to create something timely and timeless that could still translate years from now – in the same way that Marvin Gaye’s What’s Going On did in the 70’s and it’s still just as prevalent 46 years later.

Who did you guys record your new album with and what was the reasoning behind that?

We have always self-produced in the past. Lyle is a great producer and really has a unique ear for mixing and mastering. We toyed with the idea of hiring a producer or working in a studio like Gaslight or Shock City but wanted to stay DIY. We all had a hand in producing more on this record since we all had the same goal as far as how we wanted things to sound. But this record we kicked it up a notch and bought better programs and gear to achieve that goal. We love the DIY aspect of us getting our hands dirty as well as learning new recording, mixing, and producing techniques. It’s challenging and fun.

What is the band most excited about in anticipation of the release of the new album?

We’re really looking forward to seeing and hearing everyone’s reaction with what we’ve created. It is always such a humbling experience to see and hear people say they love or enjoy something you made. It makes it all worth while when you look out on an audience and they know the words and can really get into it. Other than that we’re just really looking forward to playing these songs live.

Wrapping it all up, what does the future look like for the band? Any specific plans?

First our record release show on June 10th at The Firebird with Mariner, Union Grove, Church Key, and Secondary (which everyone should come – tickets are only $10). But playing some more shows and maybe trying to do some touring? We’re not 100 percent sure at this point. We kind of plan as we go.

Release Show Poster

Spread the word and make sure to follow us on Spotify, Facebook, and Twitter to stay up to date. We hope you enjoy the new record and we really would love to see you all at some shows this summer. It’s going to be a blast.


Thanks for reading!