We Feel Broken but we are good [single reviews]

By Ryan G

To Kill A Monster – “The Broken”: TKAM are a long time friend band of Tuned Up and we are stoked to hear this new outing from them. Joey Lawson is a master when it comes to singing anthemic rock and roll; this was evident early on when I heard “Hardcore Drummer” live. The band loves to have fun, but “The Broken” is a song aimed right at your heart. Kind of like 30 Seconds to Mars before they became too corny. Minus the sketch vibes of Jared Leto of course (TKAM is very wholesome). The production might be the best I’ve ever heard from a song by the band, too. I can’t wait to sing this one live. [By the way, the featured photo is of the band and is by Vanish Point Photography]

Zonezero – “Halo”: The last hard rock song with this title was by Boston Manor and set a high bar. Not that I should pre-judge a song by its title – but ya know, psychology or something. As Columbus’ resident kings of new numetal (I just made that term up) “Halo” might be the band’s catchiest outing so far. I’m hearing some distinct parallels with Breaking Benjamin in this song, and Jordan Sloan’s vocals are as strong as I’ve ever heard. Is this a sign of what’s to come? I certainly hope so.

Lost Stars – “Dead Man Walking”: A creepy song in January? Count us in! The band, who we met at a networking event in Nashville a few years ago has seen some significant success on Tik Tok and in the past few years their level of polish has grown exponentially – this song being exhibit A of such. Scary song released “at the wrong time of year” be darned. Actually this track is the furthest thing from scary. The reasons people might be quick to write it off (allegedly corny lyrics and release not close to Halloween) will be the reasons people listen, and the fun quality overall will be the reason the song succeeds.

Carver Commodore – “Fantasy (feat. Abby Holiday)”: Well, this is a fantastic coincidence! Carver Commodore released one of my favorite records of 2021 in Welcome To the Modern World and they are releasing Fantasy as a single, now featuring Abby Holiday, a 2022 Tuned Up Artist to Watch! The theme of this write up seems to be heavy hitting, anthemic tracks, and “Fantasy” hits the mark on all fronts. Abby’s vocals make the song even more all encompassing than before. Geez, this is starting to feel like a cheerleader post. Nothing wrong with that! On a serious note, this line from the second verse really resonated with me: “Whatever feels good today and keeps the dread out of our way.” I’ll let you think about that one and how that might speak to the bigger meaning of this song.

Of Two Minds – “At A Distance”: Well – I felt like throwing a math rock curveball into this singles round up full of rock bangers. But who says an instrumental math rock track can’t be a banger?! Look at Mutemath’s “Reset” – one the GOATs if you ask me. “At a Distance” is polished and fans of CHON should love this. It retains just enough accessibility to be suitable for a math rock newcomer though. Which isn’t an insult. Shoot – one of the most unlikely trifectas of bands we’ve ever experienced was Of Two Minds, Bonelang, and Label Me Lecter; which ended being my last show before quarantine in 2020. But I digress – “At A Distance” packs a lot into its relatively short length, and leaves me wanting more.

OK Cool – “Time and A Half” – On the theme of catchy math rock, OK Cool is here to satisfy with a quick little music ditty. The vibe I get while watching and listening is similar to when I watched the music video for Snarls “Walk in the Woods” for the first time. The genre is different but the spirit is the same. The tones are bright. The band doesn’t take themselves too seriously, and delivers from a genuine grassroots point of view. This Chicago duo penned this song as their reaction to dealing with the twisted perception of time that the pandemic has given us all- one of the most striking things about 2020.

Check out all of the above and more on our New and Nifty playlist:

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