Various - Warehouse Sessions: Volume 1 (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Warehouse Sessions: Volume 1 (2013)

No Sleep Records

Seriously, there needs to be more of THIS from labels. Warehouse Sessions: Volume 1 strips down No Sleep Records' artists in such a musically efficient and exposing manner, it's perfect for fans of the bands. I need Volume 2 as soon as possible. The praise comes because you get insight into the raw narrative, the juxtaposed passion of live performances, and an overall acoustic emblem that each band should wear proudly. It's a vulnerable, personal record - no other way to put it.

Jon Simmons does his usual Balance and Composure thing to open things off. "Untitled" comes off as a sequel to "Stonehands" off Separation and with his straining, slightly throaty and calm lull on the mic, there's ample room for Simmons to toy and fiddle with. The musical vanity's tagged marvelously here because he flows into "Echo", off the aforementioned album, and continues to show the strength he can have as a solo act. "Dirty Head" off 2013's Things We Think We're Missing rounds up his act and fans can feast on one of the celebrated songs off that album. Simmons' demeanor leaves a giddy taste because he's lyrically proficient and his guitar prowess, in the most simple of chords, evokes so much internal pull and emotions.

Sainthood Reps' Francesco Montesanto is also featured and his clean, somewhat lax delivery, as 2013's Headswell showed this year veers his vocals into newer territory in terms of the band being more gutsy, instigating in their lyrics and spreading the spirit of their dialogue. You hear the outtakes in between tracks which flashes another relatable note to the listener and guys like Montesanto echo how good they are off the electric vibe when it comes to acoustics like this. "Hunter" in its relevant context is as stimulating as it was on Monocultures as it thrashes his take on the cavern called our rough world and the soldiers needed in war-torn dilemmas. "Drone", their 2013 sleeper hit, allows Montesanto to build his brand more but also add infrastructure to his band. This acoustic platform shares messages and as an accessible audience, things like this are a huge bonus as we hear the raw, unrefined honing of bands chatting about social capital and leverage it for non-partisan objectives - all via their broken down sound.

Nic Diener of The Swellers shows his hand with a more candid juxtaposition and poppier-punkier turn come "Should". Then the grittier "Running Out Of Places To Go" adds even more tremendous strength with an intractable and visceral feel to his acoustic melodics. A band I was unfamiliar with until last summer proceeds to stun in an out-of-tune yet poignant manner. It's a harsh, rough grace come Adventures' (via Kimi and Reba) set. With not too much of a reputable name, they deliver in fine fashion as they stem away from their Code Orange Kids' hardcore roots. The ferocity and torrential punk is blended into indie-punk riffs, fueled with acoustic passion, and the most raw, cathartic vocals on the album. "Like Seed" off their 2012 7" adds a lot of credibility to this album. It has a nice tone that under the circumstances, not only brings exposure to the frontline, but sidelines the record's other bands due to that symphony of grainy punk brought out. It's the mainstay of the record for me, and rings most true off this No Sleep initiative. 'I said things to you that I never said / I know I probably shouldn't have / I have never been so scared' is a simple line that exemplifies the energy this album ushers in. Adventures stewards their message of hopeful liberation to the forefront via sturdy picking and a neat disheveled set of chords that somehow, sounds so fucking sweet and real.

Then comes the bludgeoning State Faults. After their hard-edged Resonate/Desperate this year, they decided to tune down the hard-edge screamo/black metal sounds they love to cultivate and showcase the clean-cut pop-punk mindfuck of a voice which "Vespers" (off 2012's Desolate Peaks) and "Ugly" pulls you in with. You would swear it's two totally different singers from their studio stuff with Jonny Andrews casting his Mr. Hyde hat off and using this set for his Dr. Jekyll calmness. This softer, melodic session then closes off with Mixtapes' 2013 "Happy And Poor". Dual vocals weigh in on yet another dynamic acoustic that ices the cake and pans out so restless, in such a good way. Charismatic and melody. What more can you ask for? Maura Weaver upstages the talented Ryan Rockwell on the mic and if you're a Brianna Collins or Now, Now fan - then make sure to remember her name!

The album traverses so many themes and feelings and it jogs the soul. What acritical move by these artists to throw their names in this hat. It's a stroke of genius.