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Vow of Volition Make the Final Round of the Battle for Warped Tour

The Vans Warped Tour was the first festival for many of us back in the day. As young'ns, it's likely we didn't necessarily think about all that went into figuring out the bands to book and play the whole shebang. Part of that process, at least locally, seems to be through a series "battle of the bands" style competitions specifically for landing a spot on the fest. Quite a few Portland bands have been furiously playing against one another for said spot, and djent/prog metal act Vow of Volition are one of the acts that made it to the finals.

Warped Tour was always the type of festival that included much in the realm of pop punk, punk punk, emo and metal, so Vow of Volition's advancement to the final round is no surprise. Their incredibly technical, at times jazzy metal stands out in Portland's pretty linear popular music scene, and is much worthy of the attention its getting.

Those that want to support Vow of Volition in driving home the permanent spot can go to the Battle for Warped Tour finals Saturday at the Hawthorne Theatre.

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New Shelf Life LP Available for Streaming & Download

After prolifically posting multiple releases over the last few years via his Bandcamp, Philly singer-songwriter Scotty Leitch, a.k.a. Shelf Life, has cleared his page, and shared FEARLESS, Leitch's latest full-length album. The LP occupies an intimate, pensive, folk-anchored sound. However, within those contemplative melodies, there are experimental twists that create an intriguing, mysterious element. Keep them coming; please don't quit making music, Scotty.

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Hazel Bloom debuts decadently delicious EP "Space Between Words on a Page"

Boston's Hazel Bloom has created an alt-pop decadence too delicious not to indulge: once you get a taste of his EP Space Between Words on a Page you will be hooked. The richly-layered sonic confection of pop melodies is glazed with sweet R&B rhythms and topped with irresistibly syrupy synthesizer riffs. Bloom is taking the best of pop's current climate and adding whichever ingredients he sees fit to pay tribute to the recipe that makes the genre so addicting while still keeping it a signature serving of his own. The return of Madonna—for better or worse—revitalizes the genre and heats the spotlight on artists like Bloom, no matter to him though, as he has plenty of goods to bake still. "Lipstick Love" is streaming below. - Rene Cobar

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NJ's The Vaughns open for the Gaslight Anthem at Irving Plaza on 06.22

One could say that, with their influences equally split between pop-punk and brainy/noisy indie rock, The Vaughns represent the perfect balance between the most dominant musical inclinations of the Garden State and the Big Apple. But, of course, influences mean nothing if they aren't supported by good and original songwriting, and the Springfield, NJ, quartet can certainly deliver in that department. Their 2017 single Santa Cruz is still their most accomplished track to date, with its pressing arpeggiated chord progression that seems able to build up tension for an indefinite amount of time, and vocalist Anna Lies' borderline casual approach to singing. More recent single "Bring Your Kids to Work Day" (video streaminbg below) is a faster, punkier number dressed with Sonic Youth-style guitar stabs, Blur-worthy "who-oos," culminating into an orgiastic (sonically speaking) grand finale. The band just landed an opening slot for The Gaslight Anthem's show at Irving Plaza on June 22, it should be fun.

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New Greg Mendez EP Available for Streaming & Purchase

Philly singer-songwriter Greg Mendez has a new EP, entitled Heavy Metal High. Lo-fi, key-oriented instrumentation creates lighthearted feels that allow the touching sensitivity of the lyrics to shine. Endearingly relatable, you can feel free to find a bit of solace in his songwriting. Mendez is slated to perform at Bourbon & Branch on Wednesday, July 24, alongside Josh Levinsky and Thin Lear.

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