20-Something Take: Heidi says, Go Ask Alice.

20-Something Take music critic Heidi Bolduc looks at Alice Cooper's "Greatest Hits" album from the 1970s.

Editor’s Note: Tonight, 70s rock icon Alice Cooper will be performing at Universal Orlando’s Hard Rock Live, as part of his “No More Mr. Nice Guy: The Original Evil Returns” tour. The concert begins at 8 p.m. A major star in the 1970s, Cooper retains a following today — but is it all just nostalgia, or does his brand of shock-rock still hold up for audiences today? Freeline Media’s 20-something music critic, Heidi Bolduc, takes a listen to Cooper’s “Greatest Hits” album, and has some advice for Central Floridians on whether Cooper deserve a packed house — or not — tonight.

Sit back and take a few seconds to think about what comes to mind when you hear the name Alice Cooper.
Truly, what comes to mind? Whether you’re 45 or 25, the answer to that question is about the same — the image of a man with long hair and heavy makeup, covered in a layer of stage makeup. But still, what’s the music like behind the makeup?
After examining Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits album, I can honestly say that his music is not quite as frightening as his live show and branded image may lead you to believe.
Released in August of 1974, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits reflects the period of time from the band’s third album (Love It to Death) to their last released album under the band’s original lineup (Muscle of Love). Although Alice Cooper is commonly thought of as a frontrunner to the heavy metal genre, a majority of the songs on this album have a sort of pop/rock levity to them, which in a lot of ways reflects the transitional period that popular music was undergoing during the early 1970s.
For example, the relaxed bass line and slow tempo of the band’s first major single, “I’m Eighteen,” almost feels reminiscent of the acid rock common to the previous decade. The doo-wop vocals and inclusion of tambourine on a track like “Be My Lover” provide further proof that the band’s brand of “heavy metal” may not be quite as dense by today’s standards.
In fact, I can’t quite imagine a group of fans from the genre today huddled in a room at a party rocking out to classics like “No More Mr. Nice Guy” or even “School’s Out.” But at the same time, the pop element that’s embedded within these songs seems to have given each single an incredible amount of staying power.
From start to finish, Alice Cooper’s Greatest Hits is able to draw the listener in and hold their attention for its entire track listing of 12 songs. Call it classic rock, hard rock, or heavy metal — but at the end of the day Alice Cooper is still a man, a legend, and above all a cultural icon.
Alice Cooper performs at Hard Rock Live at Universal Orlando at 8 p.m. tonight. Tickets are available by calling 407-351-5483.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

20-Something Take: Heidi looks at Rocket Summer’s latest.

Rocket Summer's new LP is "Of Men and Angels."

Editor’s Note: The Rocket Summer will be performing tonight at The Social in downtown Orlando. Freeline Media music critic Heidi Bolduc takes a look at the band’s latest LP, “Of Men and Angels,” and asks: is this band worth a trip to see them live in the City Beautiful?

 To most musicians, writing, recording, and producing every single song on a 15 track album would seem like an arduous task; but for Bryce Avary, the voice behind Christian pop rock “one man band” The Rocket Summer, an album assembled any other way simply isn’t an option.

On his newest release, Of Men and Angels, Avary uses this approach to his advantage, seamlessly weaving a wide array of instrumentation into a seemingly never-ending series of poppy power chords. And yet, an overwhelming theme of struggle seems to pervade this album — an element that is sure to take many longtime fans of The Rocket Summer by surprise.
Packing a strong punch of inspiration, the two tracks “Roses” and “You Gotta Believe” open the album on an upbeat and optimistic note. Pounding drum beats and chorus-styled vocals on both songs help to set this tone throughout the first half of the album.

But fast-forward to Of Men and Angels’ fourth song, during which Avary speaks of his personal difficulty in attempting to “stop fearing death and never look back” and an impending sense of reality begins to creep in. In this respect, it doesn’t come as quite a shock that the first single released off of the album, entitled “Walls,” is in the style of a somber ballad.

In a lot of ways, the haunting piano melodies serve to convey the newfound maturity embedded within this album, an element that truly makes it stand out among the band’s discography. And the good thing is that behind every solemn ballad, there seems to be an empowering anthem of hope, which provides a pleasing balance. It seems like no coincidence that just as there is “light at the end of the tunnel,” there also happens to be “Light” (literally) at the close of this album.
All in all, Of Men and Angels is perhaps a much more complex release from The Rocket Summer. In questioning the world around him, Bryce Avary manages to achieve in his fourth studio album what many musicians work towards for decades.
The Rocket Summer performs at the Social at 7 p.m. Tickets are $17 in advance, and $20 on the day of show. The Social is at 54 N. Orange Ave. in downtown Orlando. To learn more, call 407-246-1419.

Contact us at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

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20-Something Take: Heidi reviews Title Fight’s new LP as they head to Orlando.

Editor’s Note: The indie punk band Title Fight is coming to Orlando tomorrow as part of the Alt Press Fall Tour, performing at Beacham Theatre. Freeline Media’s 20-something music critic, Heidi Bolduc, takes a look at the band’s new album, Shed, offering her thoughts on whether this band is worth checking out on Tuesday.

ORLANDO — Despite years spent touring the punk and hardcore community circuits, Pennsylvania-natives Title Fight were missing one thing that set them apart from a majority of bands in the music industry: a full length album.

Title Fight's LP "Shred" was released in May.

That’s right, up until the May 2011 release of the 4-piece hardcore band’s debut Shed, the only music available to fans was in the form of a string of successful demos and EPs. Although admittedly not a fan of the post-punk genre myself, I was recently offered the opportunity to listen to Shed in its entirety and found the album to have a form of musical cohesiveness to it that I’m sure a wide variety of music fans can appreciate.
Opening the album, the track “Coxton Yard” bursts forth with only a slight two-count warning, forcing the listener to play close attention via a barrage of drums, guitars, and of course vocalist Jamie Rhoden’s scream-out-loud lyrics.
And if the opener wasn’t enough of an indication, the album’s title track “Shred” further confirms that this is not a collection of songs for the faint of heart—there is a definite theme of raw energy that bleeds itself through this album.
It’s probably not until the listener reaches the CD’s seventh track — which serves as a musical interlude — that his or her ears are given a well-deserved rest. Including a relaxed blend of guitar distortion, softly sung vocals, and light drums, “Safe in Your Skin” serves as the perfect introduction for the soul-searching ballad “Where Am I?” In a lot of ways, this particular song seems to reference the band’s history — a majority of its members either dropped out of high school or left to tour full time shortly after graduating.
But that somber side gets lost once again as “Your Screen Door” cranks back up the tempo.
Still, out of all 12 tracks featured on Shred, the album’s closer “GMT (Greenwich Mean Time)” is able to accomplish a feat that is difficult for most bands to deliver; this song as a whole really does an amazing job of capturing the spirit of Title Fight’s first release. With a series of melodic arrangements to accompany the harder, faster sound that is characteristic of the genre, this song is my personal favorite off the album.

The indie punk band Title Fight will perform in Orlando on Tuesday.

Overall, as an up-and-coming hardcore band who have been compared to the likes of Jawbreaker and Lifetime, I would have to say that this first full-length clearly won’t be the last for Title Fight. And with a slated performance on the upcoming Alternative Press Fall Tour, the band shows no signs of letting a later-than-anticipated debut album release slow them down.
Title Fight’s Shedwas released on May 3, 2011 on the SideOneDummy Records
label.
The Alternative Press Tour starts at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The Beacham is at 46 N. Orange Ave. in Orlando. Call 407-246-1419 for tickets, which cost $16-18.

Contact Heidi at FreelineOrlando@Gmail.com.

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