Archive for February, 2012

Grammy Winners: Big Four

Posted in News on February 14, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Like I mentioned before, the four biggest and most important categories in terms of the awards that the Grammys dish out (what i’ve dubbed “The Big Four”) include the following: Best New Artist/Record of the year/Song of the year/and Album of the year, all of which are very prestigious, but arguably predictable more so than any other category.

I’m sure by now all of you have heard that Adele won three out of the four aforementioned categories as well a few others. I’ll be brief  then and quickly compare my guesses to the actual winners:

Best New Artist

My choice: The Band Perry

Winner: Bon Iver

Well done recording (or should i say Short Bus) academy…you’re all fucking clueless pieces of shit. I can’t believe you actually let Iver win when he’s clearly been releasing music since 2008!!! You just contradicted yourselves in the most pathetic and obvious way. Well done, you’re all idiots. And don’t get me wrong, I love Bon Iver. I think he’s great, but he should not have won that award.


Record of the Year

My choice: Rolling in the Deep

Winner: Rolling in the Deep

No surprises there really I guess and I think she actually deserved to win that one.


Song of the Year

My choice: The Cave

Winner: Rolling in the Deep

Again, no surprises, but Mumford & Sons should have won that award. As far as songs go, that song much more well written, stronger lyrically, and all around I think a much better and more musical song.


Album of the Year

My choice: Wasting Light

Winner: 21

Don’t get me wrong, 21 was a great album and I thought this was the hardest category to judge, but here’s my problem with Adele winning this. Let me preface this by saying that I love her and think she’s brilliant. I thought 21, as good as it was, was just the same song refined and redone over and over again in some different manners and styles, whereas something like Wasting Light was completely different with every song, going in different directions,  and not recycling the same theme over and over again. So in that respect, that’s why I still think Foo Fighters should have gone home with that award (at least they got Best Rock Album)


Well so there you have it. That’s everything and anything to do with this years Grammys….I feel like I wasted my time doing something you guys already don’t give a shit about. Regardless, I enjoyed the opportunity to share my opinions, whether they were angry or happy, and be able to maybe influence you readers in any way shape or form. Until next time,

Luke Helker


Grammy Winners: Alt/Dance/Pop/Rock

Posted in News on February 13, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Alternative: Best Alternative Music Album

My Choice: Codes and Keys (Death Cab for Cutie)

Winner: Bon Iver (Bon Iver)

Personally I thought every album on the list was a fantastic record and they all deserved to win best album and i said that before when I initially discussed this particular category. Good for Bon Iver for winning a legitimate award (he won Best New Artist, but he’s not a new artist) even though the Recording Academy is clearly brain dead.


Dance: Best Dance Recording

My choice: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Skrillex)

Winner: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Skrillex)

…and so it has begun. The dubstep-apolcalypse will soon be upon us. Just you wait, you think some of it is bad now, Skrillex is only but a taste of this dubstep craze.


Best Dance/Electronica Album

My choice: 4×4=12 (Deadmau5)

Winner: Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites (Skrillex)

I only voted for Deadmau5 because Skrillex’s “album” is clearly an EP. Seven songs is not enough for an album, and therefore, Skrillex should not have won. But the Recording Academy has gotten away with an enormous amount of bad calls like that, so I guess I should’ve known from the past that Skrillex would have won no matter what.


Pop: Best Pop Vocal Album

My choice: Born this Way (Lady Gaga)

Winner: 21 (Adele)

I hate it when there are no surprises. As soon as i saw this, I knew that Adele would completely run train on the competition and  since there are no more surprises, yes, Adele won everything. You’ll see in full detail soon enough.


Best Pop Duo/Group Performance

My choice: Body and Soul (Tony Bennet & Amy Winehouse)

Winner: Body and Soul (Tony Bennet & Amy Winehouse)

Thank fucking God this won. If any of the others would have won, I would have shot up the Academy.


Best Pop Solo Performance

My choice: You and I (Lady Gaga)

Winner: Someone Like You (Adele)

I just wanted Gaga to win SOMETHING! Come on.


Rock: Best Rock Performance 

My choice: Walk (Foo Fighters)

Winner: Walk (Foo Fighters)

That one was practically a free-bee


Best Hard Rock/Metal Performance

My choice: Curl of the Burl (Mastodon)

Winner: White Limo (Foo Fighters)

I’m seriously pissed about this. The only sliver of a representation of metal music in the Grammys and they fucking give it to the worst Foo Fighters song on that album. Metal music never gets goos representation in the Grammys and it’s an utter sin.


Best Rock Song

My choice: Walk (Foo Fighters)

Winner: Walk (Foo Fighters)

Another dead giveaway


Best Rock Album

My choice: Wasting Light (Foo Fighters)

Winner: Wasting Light (Foo Fighters)

Excellent album. Foo Fighters and Adele swept the Grammys this year and for good reason. Both put out stellar records with an arsenal of stellar songs.

Grammy Winners: Production/Country/Rap

Posted in Album Reviews on February 13, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

If you’ve been keeping up with me and my posts concerning the Grammys, then you’ll have seen my comments and opinions on who I think should win and why. Well now that the Grammys are tonight, the Recording Academy has already released the winners for all the categories, except for the handful of awards they’ll announce tonight. Now I’m going to go through the categories that I reviewed earlier and we’ll see how I matched up with the Academy’s decisions.

Production: Producer of the Year

My choice: Butch Vig

Winner: Paul Epworth

It kinda makes sense that Paul would win considering his work with Adele this year and he did do a great job like I said in my earlier post, I just thought Butch deserved a little more recognition.


Best Remixed Recording

My Choice: Rope (Deadmau5 Mix)

Winner: Cinema (Skrillex remix)

One done for Skrillex. He’s up for four more awards. Let’s see how lucky he is.


Country: Best Country Album

My choice: My Kinda Party (Jason Aldean)

Winner: Own the Night (Lady Antebellum)

I honestly thought Jason Aldean was going to run train on the rest of the competition this year. I, mean, he was the most talked about country artist of the year and I figured that would equate in Grammy success. Good for Lady Antebellum though because that record was really really good.


Best Country Song

My choice: Are you Gonna Kiss Me or Not (Thompson Square)

Winner: Mean (Taylor Swift)

I’m not surprised really, Taylor Swift is an amazing artist and her songs were great. Like I said in my posts, I’m no expert on Country music so I don’t expect to be right on everything. I should’ve known though that Taylor was going to win.


Best Country Duo/Collaboration Performance

My choice: Are you Gonna Kiss Me or Not (Thompson Square)

Winner: Barton Hollow (The Civil Wars)

This was honestly the last nominee I expected to win because Jason Aldean and Kenny Chesney were also on the list and they’re both really famous. But you know what, good for The Civil Wars. I thought the song was great and I hope we hear a lot more from then soon.


Best Country Solo Performance

My choice: Dirt Road Anthem (Jason Aldean)

Winner: Mean (Taylor Swift)

It totally makes sense. She won best album, so it only makes sense that she win for her solo performance in Mean as well. Good for her.


Rap: Best Rap Album

My choice: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy  (Kanye West)

Winner: My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (Kanye West)

Even though I hate Kanye and I think he’s an idiot, he really did have the best album out of all the others. Good for him.


Best Rap Song

My choice: I Need a Doctor (Dr. Dre…)

Winner: All of the Lights (Kanye West…)

This was a hard one to figure out because they were all really good and strong songs and they were all deserving of this award. I’m no expert on Rap and I’m not sure how you would exactly judge Rap, so like Country, I need some more time to sharpen my skills and knowledge of these genres.


Best Rap/Sung Collaboration

My choice: I Need a Doctor (Dr. Dre…)

Winner: All of the Lights (Kanye West…)

(Insert previous statement here)


Best Rap Performance

My choice: Otis (Jay-Z/Kanye West)

Winner: Otis (Jay-Z/Kanye)

Great song! I love this song and the fact that it pays respects to an R&B legend and obvious influence on both men, it’s just a great song.

Bring it Back to the Streets Tour

Posted in Concert Reviews on February 13, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Last thursday, a couple of friends and I traveled on down to The Championship in Lemoyne PA to see a show featuring some of the biggest names in hardcore music including Counterparts, Structures, and headliners Stray from the Path. After making a few pit stops, we arrived at the venue just as the local opening bands were wrapping up (the champ always features at least one local band to open up no matter how big the other bands are). The first band on the “Bring it Back to the Streets Tour” was Betrayal, a hardcore/metalcore band from the San Fernando area in California. I came into the show with fairly low expectations of the band considering I never really heard of them before and I didn’t think I would need to pay much attention. They were actually really good and I was pleasantly surprised. They were so good, in fact, that I decided to look up all of their music as soon as I got back that night.

Following Betrayal were Counterparts, who are just so amazing. I was slightly disappointed that they were so low on the bill because I think they’re better than half the bands on the bill. One of friends who I was with put it best when he said, “they’re a heavier Bayside”, Bayside being an emo band that never seemed to explode like Taking Back Sunday or 30 Seconds to Mars. I really love Counterparts because they’re such a true and pure hardcore band in a sea of copycats and frauds. Where most bands thrive on beatdowns in order to fuel their publics’ interest, Counterparts barely have any beatdowns and are proving that you don’t need that in order to be successful. Counterparts put on a spectacular show and besides the headliner, I don’t any other band got the crowd going quite like Counterparts.

Structures followed and I was a big fan before this show, and I really wanted to love their performance, but their vocalist really proved how weak he was when he could barely sign a full phrase without having to clean sing for a bit and give his screaming a break. He’s not a terribly good singer and when you’re in the studio, you can take as many takes as you like in order to get it all down, but the live shows really prove the forcefulness of a singer and Nick just isn’t that good. I still love the band on record, but I won’t go out of my way to see them live again.

Following Structures was a band called Cruel Hand, who at times I felt sounded like a a group of guys playing Load by Metallica at 100 miles and hour. It was so fierce and so stripped down in terms of heaviness and in the low end that it was actually quite thrashy. They were another really pleasant surprise and I looked up their back catalogue as well when I got home that night.

Finally, Stray from the Path, who I’ve been a fan of ever since the band made a name for themselves through Sumerian records. I loved their raw intensity and historical references in their songs, but not in a overtly anti-political way. They’ve always been about the streets and their new album, Rising Sun, is a testament to that creed. I’ve heard stories about how crazy their live shows are and how much of an animal (singer) Drew York can be on stage, but I knew I had to be right up there front and center for this show. The band were simply phenomenal. For about forty minutes, it was as if a nuclear bomb exploded in The Champ. Everyone was going mental and doing everything they could to try and get Drew’s attention. The band were on top of their game, sounding better live than on the record and bringing such a sheer, raw amount of anger and intensity that you can’t get across on the CD. Every breakdown was like an explosion in the room and the excitement and chaos never let up. For their last song “Damien”, Drew indirectly invited everyone on stage to sing with him for this last song, so you can imagine how insane it was for those three minutes. Everyone was stage diving and jumping onto the stage to sing with Drew and their were easily more people going crazy on the stage than on the floor. At one point, I even got on the stage and stage dived, which is something I’ve never done before. It was truly a magical evening.

Luke Helker


Concert Predictions: All Stars Tour

Posted in Album Reviews on February 13, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

Hey kids, it’s time for everyone’s favorite part of this show…festival maths!!! A few weeks ago we discussed the Mayhem Festival and the bands that were announced for this years tour. Now I think it’s time to discuss this years All Star Tour. Who could forget the excitement that was generated from last years tour. For those of you that were just born yesterday, the All Stars Tour was an all day event that showcased some of the hottest bands in post hardcore/melodic hardcore genres to bands in technical death metal/deathcore genres and split the bands into respective teams…like a baseball game. Such bands included After the Burial, The Ghost Inside, Born of Osiris, In this Moment, For Today, Motionless in White, Alesana, Emmure and so many more. It was very popular and got a lot of great turnouts from what I understand and hopefully it’ll be even bigger this year now that it has had a year to establish themselves.

Without wasting anymore of your precious time, let’s get right down to it. This is a mock up of what I think the bill for this year’s All Stars tour might look like:

Green Team:                     

Winds of Plague

Veil of Maya

Upon a Burning Body

Stray From the Path

Within the Ruins




Blue Team:


I See Stars

Close Your Eyes

Like Moths to Flames

Tonight Alive

My Ticket Home

Memphis May Fire


So that’s what I think the billing might look like. I don’t know when the official announcements will be made, but they better do it quick, because I really want to know and after the success of last years tour, I really just want to be excited again for this summer.

Luke Helker

54th Grammys: Big Four

Posted in Album Reviews on February 7, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

In this report, we’ll discuss the “big four” is you will categories of the night. The aforementioned “big four” categories include “Record of the year”, “Album of the year”, “Song of the year” and “Best New Artist”. These are the biggest and most prestigious awards given all night (they only ever announce around 8 different awards on air). So without further adieu, let’s discuss the top four categories of the Grammys.

Record of the Year: Nominations

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

Holocene – Bon Iver

Grenade – Bruno Mars

The Cave – Mumford & Sons

Firework – Katy Perry

My Choice: Rolling in the Deep

First off I think we need be all on the same page and be sure we can understand the difference between “Record” and “Song”. Record of the year is a record based on the performance and production of the song. Song of the year is a songwriters award. That being said, I think that between Adele’s noteworthy performance and the sonically huge production thanks to Paul Epworth really really makes the song come to life. The only real contender I see is Katy Perry because that song is just as magnificent and beautifully crafted. The others are a little dull production-wise mainly because they’re a bit folkier (except for Mars of course) and the vocals alone on those songs wouldn’t be enough to win.


Album of the Year: Nominations

21 – Adele

Wasting Light – Foo Fighters

Born this Way – Lady Gaga

Doo Wops & Hooligans – Bruno Mars

Loud – Rihanna

 My choice: Wasting Light

This is a really tough category to judge because I honestly think each album is the band’s best to date (with the exception of Mars) and are all worthy of the award, but because no one really listens to albums nowadays in full value and the Grammy awards can be kinda sketchy, I think Adele might win because she’s the most buzzed about artist of the year (arguably), next to Lady Gaga, but I think the real winner should be the Foo Fighters record because not only is it the best record of their career since There’s Nothing Left to Loose. I think out of all the albums, the production is the best (and it was recorded in analog format in a Dave Grohl’s garage with Butch Vig as the producer) and the songs are better. It’s got more radio friendly and quite frankly better songs than Adele and Lady Gaga (who are the only real contenders for this award) and I think think the comeback this band has made has been extraordinary. Not to take away from Adele’s or Lady Gaga’s record because they’re all incredibly strong (as long as Rihanna and Bruno Mars don’t win i’ll be happy).



Song of the Year: Nominations

All the Lights – Kanye West (w/ Rihanna, Kid Cudi & Fergie)

The Cave – Mumford & Sons

Grenade – Bruno Mars

Holocene – Bon Iver

Rolling in the Deep – Adele

My choice: The Cave

Again, because Adele has been all over the place for the last year, I think it has a very strong chance of winning, because the Grammys can be a bit of a popularity contest. However, since this is a songwriter’s award, I think Mumford & Sons should take home the gold for The Cave. I just think the opening guitar lick is killer and lyrics are so profound and you really need to dig in order to discover the song as a whole as opposed to songs like Rolling in the Deep and Grenade where you just scratch the surface and it’s there. That being said though, most American’s can’t really seem to deal with songs that are profound and have obscure lyrical contents. Most people i’m sure prefer to have direct lyrics that are easily quotable and by that measure I think Adele unfortunately has about the same shot as Mumford & Sons.


Best New Artist: Nominations

The Band Perry

Bon Iver

J. Cole

Nicki Minaj


My choice: The Band Perry

First of all, in case you aren’t familiar with the eligibility of the Grammys, it’s October 1st 2010 and September 30, 2011 and the qualifications for best new artist states that the band’s DEBUT reocrd must have been released in the eligibility period. Bon Iver has been around releasing material every year since 2008! Just because they released a self titled and they coincidentally just started to become popular, doesn’t man that it’s the band’s debut. I’m sure it must be really confusing for you guys at the Recording Academy (panel of people who determine the awards) and it must be way too inconvenient to check your iphones for two seconds to double check the stats, but seriously, give me a break. Now Skrillex (as much as I love dubstep), shouldn’t win because he’s arguably not an artist, he’s just the next big dance craze. If he does win however, be prepared to have the airwaves flooded with dubstep. I still don’t know who J. Cole is so we’ll skip right along (keep an eye for him though because last year some Spalding chick no one heard of beat Mumford & Sons, and Florence & the Machine for this award. Now we’re down to two and while Nicki Minaj is probably the most popular, The Band Perry are the only ones with real talent (except for Bon Iver, but we technically can’t include them) and so that’s why they should win. Plus they’re country and everyone loves country music.


Well there you have it. That’s my full review of all things Grammy. Tune in after the awards show and i’ll review the winners and maybe inundate these pages with naughty language.


54th Grammys: Pop

Posted in Album Reviews on February 5, 2012 by lukesreviews1014

I promise I won’t freak out  like i did in the rock section.

Best Solo Pop Performance: Nominations

1. Someone Like You – Adele

2. You and I – Lady Gaga

3. Grenade – Bruno Mars

4. Firework – Katy Perry

5. Fuckin’ Perfect  -Pink

My Choice: You and I, Someone Like You, Firework

This is really a tough choice for me because I love Adele, Lady Gaga and Katy Perry and I think all of their albums are the best they’ve ever done vocally, lyrically and sonically. Pink in my opinion has really watered down here party attitude that really made her famous and i just don’t think her songs are that great even though vocally she’s better now that ever. Bruno Mars….fuck Bruno Mars that whiny cry baby. I want to through a grenade at your supposed girlfriend (as if you’ve ever had one) and see if you catch it. He’s a singer and has horrible songs that are shoved down the throats of American’s obviously and as a result American’s are really starting to loose touch of good music. So with the three I mentioned earlier, it’s a tough decision. I feel really bad for Katy Perry because she’s phenomenal, but has always been overshadowed by Lady Gaga (rightfully so to an extent), but I love this song and would love her to win it.  Adele said in an interview that she’s happy that Someone like You will be her legacy and thats great I love 21 and that whole is near flawless, but personally i think “Chasing Pavements” is the best song she ever wrote. I think it’s most likely to win because the population of America needs songs with lyrics that are very direct and poignant with not a lot of metaphors or shit like that, and Adele’s song is the most direct out of them all. I wouldn’t mind if Adele won, but i think i’d prefer Lady Gaga to win.


Best Pop Duo/Group Performance: Nominations

1. Body and Soul – Tony Bennett & Amy Winehouse

2. Dearest – The Black Keys

3. Paradise – Coldplay

4. Pumped Up Kicks – Foster the People

5. Moves Like Jagger – Maroon 5 & Christina Aguilera

My choice: Body and Soul

Like my rant in the Rock field, you need to really ask yourself, for a band that was all over the rock and alternative categories last year, how can you honestly think that the Black Keys can be called Pop? Just because people are finally starting to pay attention to them after close to ten years and are receiving airplay doesn’t mean that they can be pop. I gave Coldplay the benefit of the doubt and kept them in the rock category and most of the songs on Mylo were pretty rock compared to their previous album Viva La Vida. Foster the People are also nowhere near pop, so I don’t what the fuck is going on with you guys in this “academy”? That now leaves us with Maroon 5 and Tony Bennet. I’m not gonna lie, this may be a bit biased because I hate Maroon 5 now. Seriously, if you like Maroon 5 now, you need to listen to their first album Songs About Jane start to finish and if by the end you still like what the band have become now, then you clearly don’t like music, because there is no way “Moves like Jagger” is an improvement to “Tangled”, “Sunday Morning” or “This Love”. And so default via process of elimination, I think Tony Bennet should win. Plus that whole duets album is actually quite good (especially the track he did with Lady Gaga)


Best Pop Vocal Album: Nominations

1. 21 – Adele

2. The Lady Killer – Cee Lo Green

3. Born this Way – Lady Gaga

4. Doo-Wops & Hooligans

5. Loud – Rihanna

My choice: 21 or Born this Way

I can’t really decide. Both album are the best of their career. Adele’s vocal style grew and improved ten fold and Lady Gaga does some crazy vocal tricks on her new album. People would call me just as biased as the academy is I put Gaga so i’m going to put both because i honestly can’t chose between the two. As long as one of them wins, i’ll be happy.