Greta Van Fleet – “Anthem of the Peaceful Army” Album Review

A time when rock stars wore their hair down to their shoulders, and music allowed you to escape into heavy guitar riffs and deeply poetic lyrics. That is what Greta Van Fleet encompasses in their new album “Anthem of the Peaceful Army.”

The band faces constant comparisons to Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant and Jimmy Page causing a response of appraisal or in some cases backlash, and although there will always be critics out to say the worst, Greta’s first work was a radiant start to something beautiful. The band of brother’s first EP “From the Fires” caused a boom in the rock world landing them on lineups across the country from Coachella to Lollapalooza. They received approval from Elton John, Tom Hanks, and even Robert Plant. It is apparent when listening to the band that they are inspired by a dense vinyl collection from rock of other generations.

The album begins with the feverous song, “Age of Man;” its slow start entices listeners to embark on a 10 song journey. It is the first of many layers the band created on the album. The record quickly moves towards the hard rock sound they’re known for, as songs such as “The Cold Wind” and “Lover, Leaver” show their ability to successfully pull off complex guitar solos. To juxtapose these heavier moments, rock ballads such as “Anthem” and “You’re the One” bring a sense of peace and tranquility to the album by having acoustic guitars string the songs along. The record additionally finds a middle ground between these two styles; the songs “Watching Over” and “Brave New World” utilize some eerie guitar riffs which bridges the styles into something in between.

Unfortunately, the band still has some work to be done on creating a more personal and unique aspect to their music and lyrics; something bands like the Beatles, Nirvana, and Cage The Elephant have seemed to accomplish through drawing personal stories hidden beneath their epical lyricism. As it is their first full length album, in time there’s a strong possibility that they will be able to use their platform to discover their own unique sound and voice in the rock world.

Rock music of the 70’s was inspired by political and social strife. Currently, we are experiencing a similar social divide among us. Greta Van Fleet’s desire to bring back the themes and sounds of that time only makes sense. It is about time that a band takes the risk of continuing on a sound that got lost in the future generations. The band has the potential to excel, they now just have to prove to the world they are ready to take it.  

Written by: Kelly Kerrigan

Astronomyy hypnotizes us with fresh single on #NewMusicFriday

You’re traveling at a steady seventy on the highway. Beyond the illumination of the car’s headlights is asphalt blending in with a speckled black sky. Sitting shotgun could be a best friend or lover, maybe just the thoughts you force to take the backseat during the day. The car stereo blasts at a positively deafening volume, and oozing from the speaker grilles is a pop opiate perfect for night cruising: Astronomyy’s brand new single, “Hypnotized.”

Not familiar with the name? Don’t feel too out of the loop — Astronomyy releases his dreamy, surf guitar-laced R&B on his own label, Lunar Surf, and he’s also an enigmatic lone wolf — the UK singer-songwriter and producer seldom posts to social media, and virtually no videos can be found of the guy performing live. In a contemporary sphere where visual aesthetics quite often and ironically trump a musician’s sound, the virality of Astronomyy’s songs attest that good music is still what gets people listening. Thousands of SoundCloud users are addicted to the Englishman’s sound, which is something he likes to call “guitar’n’B.” Such a label is genre-blurring, but a quick listen to tracks like 2014’s “Nothin on My Mind” and the newer “Hypnotized” proves its aptness.

A Bonnie and Clyde-esque short film by Blake Atienza accompanies the new track, and the showcased romance will appeal to fans of Drugstore Cowboy or the 1975’s “Robbers” music video.

Check out “Hypnotized” and its clip below. Astronomyy is on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and his website.

Neighborhood Jams: Alive & Well

Happy Monday, KCR readers!  There’s something happy about this Monday, and I think it has a lot to do with this week’s neighborhood jams.  On my morning show from 9:00-11:00 a.m. I got the opportunity to sit down and interview a member of Alive & Well. We were also joined with Hard to Hit’s lead singer, Jason Kubo.  You can check out my write up on Hard to Hit right here. It was a fun morning of discussing music, boy bands, middle school nightmares, and hitting up the San Diego music scene.

Alive & Well has three members right now including: Matt Vernon on vocals and guitar, Mike Mule on bass and vocals, and lastly Eric Brozgold on the drums.  This trio is really hitting up the scene all while looking for a new lead vocal and guitarist.  The band is labeled as a pop punk and alternative rock band, which I personally think fits them perfectly.  They sound like a combination of Saves the Day and The Starting Line. I spoke with Mike, and he gave me the inside scoop of where the band gets their inspiration for their songs – the answer is the struggle moving from the east coast to the west coast.  Their lyrics are real and relatable; their sound is happy yet extremely meaningful; they are a perfect combination for a great rock band.

Their single No Winter in the West has great visuals including locations all over Ocean Beach, San Diego and the east coast.  This is THE song and video that got me hooked.  Mike shared with us how difficult it was for the band to carry their equipment on Sunset Cliffs and people passing by thought there was going to be a show.  I would love to see Alive & Well performing right by the ocean.

The boys just performed at the Casbah last week, and they are scheduling more shows in the near future including Jawsfest at The Legacy Room in Chino, CA on May 7th. You can buy tickets here. They will also be playing at Soma in San Diego on May 21st – get tickets here! I also heard we should keep our ears open for a band spankin’ new EP in early June!

It was such a pleasure to interview Mike and hear all about the great things Alive & Well is working on. I am extremely excited to see where these boys end up – maybe main stages instead of Sunset Cliffs – either location I am rooting for you guys. Give them a like on their Facebook and let’s get them to a 1,000 likes – they are so close! Hope you guys are listening good!