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The World As We Know It
First Impressions: Yellowcard - Southern Air
07/09/12 at 07:43 AM by Ryan Gardner
Growing up with Ocean Avenue in constant rotation in my stereo, Yellowcard have always held a special place in my heart. Seeing them on their headlining tour and on Warped Tour reminded me of all these memories.

Well, Southern Air is the accumulation of every Yellowcard release into one powerhouse of a record - think Paper Walls on steroids. There's a level of confidence here that is unmatched by any of their previous material. The opening track is everything we love about YC openers - huge chorus, massive build up, hooks galore.

This record just has it. It's easily the most…powerful and energetic record they've ever done - and I'm saying that after only a week of listening. Never thought they'd top Paper Walls, but Southern Air just feels huge, and it very well may with more listens. There's no other way to describe it.

The guest appearances all add different elements to the record, but the main thing I'm noticing here is how much more powerful the entire band sounds. Mackin's violin defines many moments, while the guitars and drums really affect the melody and mood of the songs - it's a full band effort in the best way yet. And Key has more confidence and power in his voice than ever before, as noted by how varied his range is this time around.

The album has addictive pop-punk tunes with gritty guitars, violin solos, songs that are more "pop" than anything YC have done, and a heartbreaking ballad - it has it all.

Simply put, this record is special. It could easily top Paper Walls as my favorite YC record, given time and experiences that tie memories to it.

August 14th isn't too far away, and Southern Air will surely be the soundtrack to most of our summers.

Hear "Always Summer" here.
Tags: first impressions, yellowcard, southern air, hopeless records
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Show Review: Yellowcard, Go Radio, Every Avenue
11/16/11 at 03:38 PM by Ryan Gardner
Yellowcard with Go Radio and Every Avenue – House Of Blues in Dallas, TX on November 13, 2011

Growing up with Ocean Avenue constantly in my stereo, Yellowcard have really meant a lot to me throughout the years. With Paper Walls being a monumental record for them and When You’re Through Thinking, Say Yes being a wonderful return, the guys continuously prove why they still have such a name for themselves. Therefore, when I found out about their show, I couldn’t wait to attend. Likewise, my love for Go Radio – it was my second time seeing them this year – and Every Avenue made my anticipation for the show grow even greater.

Go Radio
started the night relatively early, but they didn’t waste any time. Sticking mainly to Lucky Street cuts, Lancaster and crew tore through the set list. As full of energy and excitement as ever, the band was incredibly entertaining, as expected. Racing through “Kill The Beast” and slowing down with the beautiful “Goodnight Moon” – joined by Yellowcard’s Sean Mackin on violin for that one – Go Radio really killed it. They even played their energetic cover of “Rolling in the Deep,” demonstrating Lancaster’s vocal abilities first hand.

Every Avenue followed with their Southern rock swag. Opening with “Tie Me Down,” the fellow Fearless band were quite a blast live. Other Bad Habits numbers such as “Whatever Happened To You” and the mellow “Only Place I Call Home” proved the skill of vocalist David Strauchman on the stage. The guys were amped up and ready to rock, finishing with the addictive “Tell Me I’m A Wreck” to a crowd belting out the hooks.

After an impressive light show and intro, Yellowcard took the stage. Simply put, the crowd went nuts the whole time, as it was the first tour Yellowcard have headlined in six years. Opening with “For You, And Your Denial,” Yellowcard played over 20 songs – just about a two hour long set. The guys knew exactly what the fans wanted to hear, playing various hits from all their records – and even some surprises (yes I mean you “Avondale”).

“Only One” had the whole crowd absolutely screaming their lungs out with Key, while the poignant “Empty Apartment” and “Sing For Me” – which Key played alone, acoustically – were sentimental and intricate. LP also played an impressive drum solo piece in there, as well. Although being such a long set, Yellowcard never lost an ounce of energy, being as fun and amped up as ever, with a crowd that couldn’t wait for the next song.

Key came into the crowd multiple times, while Mackin, Mendez, and O’Donnell were incredibly amusing on the stage – talkative, friendly, and excited. Older cuts such as “Breathing” and of course “Way Away” were colossal, while the rare “Cut Me, Mick” and new “See Me Smiling” really brought everything together, making the whole show really timeline Yellowcard’s discography in brilliant fashion. The set list couldn’t have been better.

Playing not one but four encores, the guys made it clear that this was a show all about reuniting for the fans – that the band is centered around the fans. Finishing with the huge “Ocean Avenue,” Yellowcard could not have played a stronger set or show. The show proved all the more that Yellowcard are still just as young and lively as ever – not that that should be a surprise to anyone.

Easily one of the most memorable nights of my life, I cannot recommend seeing this show any more. From the stellar opening bands to the absolutely monumental performance by Yellowcard, the night was an absolute blast for everyone.
Tags: show review, yellowcard, go radio, every avenue, fearless records, hopeless records
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Review: We Are The In Crowd - Best Intentions
09/27/11 at 06:15 PM by Ryan Gardner
Check out my review of the upcoming infectious We Are The In Crowd record, Best Intentions - http://absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?p=95562152

The record drops next Tuesday, October 4th via Hopeless Records (killing it)
Tags: we are the in crowd, review, hopeless records, best intentions
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War Paint
07/29/11 at 09:43 AM by Ryan Gardner
The Dangerous Summer's War Paint means more to me than most records in recent memory. It's just..a masterpiece. It's my top played record throughout the past month, and I still spin it multiple times each day.

There's something so special about it to me. It will without a doubt be my AOTY and top played record this year.

Check it out if you haven't and if you like what you hear, spread the word and buy it.
Tags: the dangerous summer, war paint, hopeless records
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First Impressions: The Dangerous Summer - War Paint
06/08/11 at 09:43 PM by Ryan Gardner
Just gave The Dangerous Summer's highly anticipated sophomore record, War Paint, my first spin.

The record picks up right where 2009's fantastic Reach For The Sun left off. It's aggressive and painfully honest. AJ sounds better than ever, and the musicianship of the band may be the most noticeable growth from the the debut to this attempt.

As Jason said, no sophomore slump at all here. This was my most anticipated record of the summer - and probably the year - and the Dangerous Summer don't disappoint at all. Fans of Reach For The Sun will fall head over heels for this one, as it's the perfect follow up to RFTS.

Great job guys. Hopeless proves yet again to be the top label of the year.

July 19th will be a great day. Pre-order this.
Tags: first impressions, the dangerous summer, war paint, hopeless records
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The Wonder Years Sampler Impressions
04/24/11 at 06:28 AM by Ryan Gardner
The upcoming The Wonder Years three-track-sampler definitely has got me more stoked on the record than I even already was.

Of course, "Local Man Ruins Everything" has already been on repeat all week. It's arguably one of my top 5 favorite songs thus far in the year, and a great single at that. Soupy is full of fervor, and his lyrical abilities are top notch once again. If you haven't heard it, go stream it here - now.

"Coffee Eyes" continues with the energy of "Local Man" only times five. Soupy's vocals are raw and cutthroat here, adding emotion to the addictive track. The chorus will have you singing along after only a couple listens, as the guitars shred in the background. A different feel from the majority of The Upsides, this track is real and honest, with the different vocal style being a welcomed change.

Lastly, "Don't Let Me Cave In" is a softer cut at first, much more similar to The Upsides sound. However, once the guitars pick up and the energy is there once again, this track could prove to be one of the best tracks on the record, it seems.

Basically, this sampler makes one thing clear about Suburbia I've Given You All And Now I'm Nothing, it will be a record of further progression - of more energy and honesty. Get excited for the best pop-punk record of the year, as it's already pretty evident that Suburbia will be just that. Yeah, these songs are that good.

The Wonder Years have done it again. Get ready.
Tags: the wonder years, first impressions, hopeless records
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First Impressions: Yellowcard
03/09/11 at 02:34 PM by Ryan Gardner
Got the new Yellowcard record, When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes, in the mail today.

Listened to it twice so far; it's such a great record. Perfect continuation from where YC left off with Paper Walls. The record makes it sound as if the band never took a break at all - it's that natural. When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes is simply everything we've all been waiting for, and more.

As always, Key's vocals are fantastic. And man is great to hear that violin again.


Be excited. Be very excited.
Tags: first impressions, yellowcard, hopeless records
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Review: The Wonder Years - The Upsides (Re-Release)
09/27/10 at 02:23 PM by Ryan Gardner
The Wonder Years' The Upsides has been graced as one of the best pop-punk releases of 2010. With their Hopeless Records re-release, the band added four more fantastic tracks.

Check out my review of the re-release here: http://www.absolutepunk.net/showthread.php?t=1916622
Tags: review, the wonder years, the upsides, re-release, hopeless records
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First Impressions: The Wonder Years - The Upsides (Re-Release)
09/15/10 at 06:46 PM by Ryan Gardner
Everyone's favorite pop-punk album of the year, The Wonder Years' The Upsides will be re-released on Hopeless Records on September 21st with four additional tracks. After receiving the album, my verdict is that as expected, the additional tracks are great. No question about it.
Tags: the wonder years, the upsides re-release, hopeless records
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