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The Top 7 Warped Tour Stage Dives-Jumps

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The Top 7 Warped Tour Stage Dives-Jumps

Written by @MattCrane

7. Bert McCracken (The Used) – Warped ‘04

Because Bert gives the lyrics, “Get Down!” a whole new meaning.

6. Ronnie Radke (Escape The Fate) – Warped ‘07

Because back in 2007, Ronnie could get away with this kind of stuff (without having charges pressed).

5. Wil Francis a.k.a. William Control (Aiden) – Warped ‘09

Because it takes balls to jump into a crowd that small.

4. Jonny Craig (Emarosa) – Warped ‘10

Because on this day, the crowd almost got their MacBook money back—ba dum tss—we love you Jonny.

3. Craig Mabbitt (Blessthefall) – Warped ‘07

Because Craig pulling these crazy stunts generated some serious buzz for a young blessthefall—making them Warped Tour 2007’s must-see band.

Honorable Mention: Craig Mabbitt – Bamboozle Left ‘08

Because it’s not Warped Tour, but Mabbitt sure came down on that crowd like a Guillotine.

2. Pouyan Afkary (Scary Kids Scaring Kids) – Warped ‘07

Because that looks scary… doesn’t it kids? He only plays the keyboard because daddy never came to his gymnastics competition.

1. Sonny Moore a.k.a. Skrillex (From First To Last) – Warped ‘04

Because note to self: that drop is bigger than any bass drop (skip to 2:07 for the climb & jump).

Album Review: Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines

blurred_linesReleased: July 30, 2013

Label: Interscope

HHM Rating:

Rating: ★★½☆☆ 

“Does it feel good? Does it feel good?” Robin Thicke rifle repeats on “Feel Good,” the retro dance swoon-turned-Mike Posner club bump. “Does it feel real good?” Does it ever Robin. Six LPs in, the R&B Casanova is excited but stranded between disco funk and electro fist-pumps. The best bits are dazzling with a healthy dose of earth, wind and fire (“Get In My Way,” “Ooo La La”), while the worst are smeared with an invasive slop of EDM wobble effects: the low point being his LMFAO-clone grinder single, “Give It 2 U.” Thicke sings, “Big dick for you/Let me give it to you.” Just shut up.  @MattCrane

Blurred Lines is available for pre-order on iTunes today.

Album Review: Chimaira – Crown Of Phantoms

PromoImageChaimiraReleased: July 30, 2013

Label: eOne Music

HHM Rating:

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Seven LPs in, Chimaira’s lineup has been completely gutted and retooled: “We have died a million times before/Every struggle opens a door,” Mark Hunter growls on “The Machine,” a declaration of his band’s rebooted endurance. It’s an appropriate opening to the newfound intricacy that is heard on Crown of Phantoms. Chimaira 2.0 maintain their sledge of dingy thrash and metallic grooves (see the slow-grinding “Love Soaked Death”), but the rhythms are mechanically tweaked—more Imperial Star Destroyer than mythological beast this time around. Along the way, the sound is dotted with unique (sometimes electronic) inflections: the title-track channels a Slipknot vibe in the chorus; “Spineless” is toned with horror (sounding ripe for feature in the next Rob Zombie film). Perhaps most notably is “The Transmigration”—an operatic instrumental—skating somewhere in-between ‘80s sci-fi, early melodeath and The Battle of Stalingrad. @MattCrane

Crown of Phantoms is available for pre-order on iTunes today.

Album Review: Counterparts – The Difference Between Hell and Home

PromoImageVRReleased: July 23, 2013

Label: Victory

HHM Rating:

Rating: ★★★★☆ 

These road warriors from Ontario never catch a break: stolen guitars, broken vans, border security (you name it). In the spirit of their predecessors, they shove any such misgivings into a pressure cooker of defiance—the perfect storm of chaos and personal strife for their new LP to sound like an erratic spawn of hardcore and emotive melody. The Difference Between Hell and Home feels very post-hardcore-oh-four’ when the band’s percussion slam meets Saosin riffing on “Lost”—or when singer Brendan Murphy’s pre-scream, throat-pull shrieks like Spencer Chamberlain’s (“Ghost”). Not without contrast, Counterparts polarize the sound significantly. “Outlier” channels pop punk delight; “Slave” dirties it up, with a ratchet of bass runs and distortion-heavy grooves. In any case, the arrangements are tight, and the album spins as engaging as it does changing. @MattCrane

The Difference Between Hell and Home is available for pre-order today.

Album Review: Skylar Grey – Don’t Look Down

sgcoverReleased: July 9, 2013

Label: KIDinaKORNER/Interscope

HHM Rating:

Rating: ★★★☆☆ 

Holly Brook Hafermann, a.k.a. Skylar Grey, was a hook-seeker’s vocal gloom-gun-for-hire, seemingly abetting the growth of all careers but her own. Grey’s manifesto of bruised ego and insecurity is truly its own beast—stung by such grievances as having Rihanna sing her pain—though grateful for the career steppingstone, the singer is jaded on some level; she wanted to sing it (who wouldn’t?): “Writing for other people was never part of the plan…I wrote “Love the Way You Lie” thinking I would sing it.” Sidelined, having a model play her part and “mouth” her vocals, in Dr. Dre’s video for the song she co-created—just another cold shoulder, on a long list of such—blatantly shallow (at times, ridiculous) in their disrespect. But the Wisconsin native finally seems to have carved out a proper niche, with her de facto, full-length debut.

Her strength is in somber, McLachlan-esque delivery—especially, when harnessed into a catchy surge of dark pop: she vulnerably lashes at an ex, who “can’t just come back now, like a demon uninvited,” on the album’s opener, “Back From The Dead”—jolting with a blend of dark-wave synth and key-driven grandiosity, not to mention; a killer verse from Big Sean (“Now I’m trying to find an answer in this Bottle girl/And I’m drownin’ slow, drownin’ slow/Don’t let the piranhas know”). She delves in baroque while condemning her mother (“Wear Me Out”), and even touches on dream pop with a hypnotic indifference: one reminiscent of Fiona Apple (“Final Warning”).

Grey’s manic sense of insecurity should lead to a parallel of sonic friction—and while transitioning from the excitement of her own orgasms (“C’mon Let Me Ride”), to a haunting visit with a familiar lover (loses his cool, prone to punching) may achieve such on a consecutive basis—as a whole, Don’t Look Down feels a bit too safe. Occasionally, Grey’s range is needlessly tamed and artificially fluffed: while her (emo) Natasha Bedingfield, harmony jam, “Religion,” pulls it off; the effect is completely lost on catastrophic numbers like “Pulse” and “Clear Blue Sky”—only adding to their aimlessly melodramatic drag. She dips her feet in ‘90s trance, on “Glow in the Dark,” but barely gets wet with it.

Still, Skylar Grey (and team) have successfully transitioned her alt rock/hip hop/ghostly/ambient allure to a pop sensibility—and with surprisingly little help from rap collaborations. While the LP lacks that raw charm of woodland, cabin scribe (from an indecisive artist’s sojourn into isolation), its closing track does jar up a fever dream of its own: at home with loneliness, in some empty, dark and dreary jazz bar. Alright Em, Holly did her part (your protégé delivered)—maybe next time, you won’t let The Grammys block out her face during the entire performance? @MattCrane

Don’t Look Down is available for purchase on iTunes today.

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