Adam Astbury: From Here We Can See Forever – A Music Review

Adam Astbury CoverBritish indie pop-rock artist Adam Astbury’s second feature length album, From Here We Can See Forever, hit shelves on December 9, 2013, and what a breath of fresh air it is. Astbury hails from Leeds, UK and over the past 2 years has now released two studio albums, one EP and the single Balloon Hearted Boy which appears on his current album. From Here We Can See Forever definitely steps up the indie scene’s game as Astbury exudes a professional sound, an intense musical talent, and an emotional range of lyrical expression.

Astbury ProfileMusic is supposed to elicit an emotion. It’s supposed to connect you to a person, an event, or ultimately the medium (artist) who is baring themselves in front of you. Adam Astbury does this. I’ve only listened to his album a handful of times, never met the man, and yet I feel like I know him. I feel connected to him through his music. The feeling I get when I listen to this album is the feeling that keeps me looking for new bands and artists all the time. As I’ve been writing this review and going back over and editing it I find myself constantly being distracted because I have the album playing on repeat in the background.  I just keep getting so caught up in the album that I have to stop, close my eyes and just soak in the music.

Astbury Playing

The first time I listened to this album I was instantly hooked. I was sitting at work, had my headphones in my laptop, turned to a co-worker and said: ‘you need to hear this.’ When I pulled out the headphones and let the laptop speaker take over we both just sat there and soaked in the rich melodies and profound depth to the music. In that instant two new Adam Astbury fans were born.

Recording Session

The first track on the album is Living in Colour and it’s a great start to a great album that continues to get better with each song. Living in Colour features Sarah Lloyd on vocals alongside Astbury and he gives her room to shine throughout the entirety of the song. Throughout the album it is clear that Astbury has a great voice. It is controlled and yet has a great vocal range that allows him to really take a lead and keep it, yet there’s something humbling about the way that when he shares the mic with a featured artist, you know he is giving them his spotlight and it doesn’t faze him in the least bit.  Just by listening to a single song on this album you can tell that Astbury is truly in this profession for the musical integrity, and not for any personal gain. The other album featuring an artist is the final track on the album I Guess It’s Over Now which features Lucy Mizen, who I’m assuming has some relation to Dan Mizen, the amazing producer on this remarkable album.

Astbury NightOther notable tracks on the album include the already mentioned single Balloon Hearted Boy whose acoustic opening sucks you in and holds you until the last beat. My favourite song on the album is Vaccine. I don’t fully know what it is about this song that gets at me, but lyrically it tugs at my heart strings, musically it just stays with me. It’s haunting, yet hopefully optimistic and manages to make me as, an individual, feel very much like the music that Astbury is deconstructing: stripped down and raw. Making Rain Clouds is another favourite as it adds a brassier touch to the Astbury feel. I wish there were more songs that incorporate the brass band backing, but I’ll definitely take what I can get!

AstburyThe more I listen to this Adam Astbury album the more I want to see him live. His musical styles (not his vocals in this example) are very similar to that of Chris Carrabba, formerly of Dashboard Confessional and currently of Twin Forks. As someone who has had a blast every chance (and it’s been multiple times) I’ve had to see Carrabba live with either band, I just imagine that Astbury would carry the same energy, professionalism and fun-going spirit that would make a small, intimate concert in a local bar, by far one of the greatest musical events I would ever attend. Adam, if you ever read this and ever end up touring Canada, please make a stop in Ottawa and play at Zaphod Beeblebrox, it is by far the perfect venue for you! I’ll show up and bring a crowd!

Check out Adam Astbury’s website

Check out Adam Astbury’s Music Videos

Stream some of Adam Astbury’s songs here


Twin Forks – Music Review

I haven’t written a music review in a few years, so I figured no better way to start off the site than start getting back into old habits.

Twin Forks LogoTwin Forks is made up of Dashboard Confessional’s Chris “Ender” Carrabba, The Narrative’s Suzie Zeldin and Jonathan Clark and Bad Book’s Ben Homola. The folksie-americana and somewhat modern bluegrass quartet were formed within the past year and have really started to form a loyal following.  A large part of this following are the Dashboard fans that came along for the ride. What they, along with the new fans, are going to enjoy the most about the music of Twin Forks is that Carrabba has really put an effort to grow musically along with the fans he brought in through Dashboard Confessional. Hands Down, Dashboard fans will always want more Dashboard, but most of the teens and young adults that followed them heartily are now in their mid-twenties or early thirties and want something different, yet nostalgic. And Twin Forks fits that role to near perfection.

Twin Forks currently has 2 EP’s out. The first is a Tour EP featuring: Back to You, Scraping Up the Pieces of My Heart, And She Was & Hard Times. Back to You and Scraping Up the Pieces of My Heart are both very catchy tunes that grab you right off the bat. I imagine being in a pub with live music and “sociables” and a crowd of people who happen to know these two songs well enough that a cover band is up there playing them… and everyone is singing along – because that’s how they work. They are definitely the strongest songs on the album and they really give prominence to each of the key players in the band, especially the legendary talent and beauty, Suzie Zeldin on mandolin and back up vocals. The weakest track on the album, not that I’m saying it’s actually a weak song by any means, is the the band livethird song And She Was. The first time my wife heard it she turned to me and asked if it was a theme song for a sitcom, and maybe it’s simply the power of suggestion, but now whenever it plays that’s all I can think of. In my mind’s eye all I see is an 80’s sitcom, with playful characters that the camera will zoom up in on and freeze as the credits roll their name across the screen. The final song on the EP is Hard Times. I’ve chatted with a few Twin Forks fans who feel that this is the weakest song on their short EP, but I would disagree. This song is just so beautiful. The lyrics are simple, yet seemingly poetic. The music is haunting, yet hopefully optimistic. If I listen to it when I’m in the right mood it sends shivers down my spine.

The EP is short. They have recently released a self titled EP that consists of 5 songs, 2 of which are from this initial Tour EP (Back to You & Scraping up the Pieces – which start and end the EP respectively). The other 3 songs are highlights at their show that I was actually disappointed about not being on their initial tour EP. They include: Something We Just Know, Cross My Mind and Can’t Be BrokenSomething We Just Know has the grown up Dashboard Confessional feel to it that I was explaining earlier on in this post. It’s very Carrabba heavy, and he falls back on his passionate yelling in which he is famous for with Dashboard Confessional, in parts. You can literally hear the rest of the band taking a break through this song as they clap and cheer behind Carrabba for parts of the song. Cross My Mind is one of my favourite Twin Forks songs not only on this EP but of their entire repertoire. It’s just a fun song. It’s singable. It’s danceable. It features the entire band. It’s a party live. Can’t Be Broken is the final original song that they have recorded for albums, and by the time you hit this song you have a great feel for what to expect with Twin Forks: an americana-folk quartet who want their audiences to sing along with them and have a great time.

the bandI currently only possess their Tour EP, yet it is on almost constant repeat in my car as I never get tired of listening to this great band. Twin Forks has been live in Ottawa twice already, and they put on a phenomenal show. They will be back in town at Zaphod’s on Saturday, November 9, 2013. I will definitely be picking up their self-titled EP at this show! Tickets are only $12.00. Definitely a show to check out! Definitely a band to check out!

Check out the band’s website.

Check out some of their music on Soundcloud.

– Champ Out