Side projects that deserve a listen

It has been over two years since The Get Up Kids split, spawning various bands such as Reggie and The Full Effect, Blackpool Lights and The New Amsterdams. The New Amsterdams have been front man Matthew Pryor’s side project since 2000, and with At The Foot Of My Rival, all of the band’s previous influences really come together. The New Amsterdams are a departure from The Get Up Kids’ Vagrant Records-style punk, providing a mellower, indie-folk sound.

At The Foot Of My Rival is stripped down to bare-to-the-bone acoustics, catchy melodies and simple song-writing structure. Tracks such as "Wait" and "Revenge" show off the band’s ability to be storytellers through acoustic folk songs that make you feel as though you’re sitting in on a Midwest campfire.

"Fountain of Youth" is an upbeat track that could have easily been on the last Get Up Kids album, only with an alt-country flare to it. Pryor still remembers how to rock on tracks such as "A Beacon in Beige," but seems to forget on dull tracks like "Silverlake" and "Hughes."

"Story Like A Scar" is the album’s strongest track and is the perfect medium for fans split between The New Amsterdams sound and that of The Get Up Kids.

If you want to listen to an indie-rock band that writes songs from the heart and is not pretentious, check out The New Amsterdams.

Coming Next Week

Idiot Pilot started off as two kids with a love of music and a computer. Michael Harris and Daniel Anderson return with their newest effort, Wolves. Stylistically the album is all over the place, drawing comparisons to early Radiohead and Fugazi. The band mixes electronic elements with experimental rock and crunchy power chords, as is evident in the opening tracks "Last Chance" and "Red Museum."

The vocals are clearer on Wolves than the band’s previous release, Strange We Should Meet Here, as the former features more singing and less screaming.

"Elephant" is a bombastic rock song that stands out for its mix of heavy riffs and an atmospheric sound that would make Muse jealous. Travis Barker (Blink-182, +44, The Transplants) drums on "Elephant" to give the song a speedy crunch and subdued beats.

Wolves is co-produced by +44 front man and former Blink-182 bassist Mark Hoppus. Hoppus has also produced such acts as Motion City Soundtrack, The Matches and Something for Rockets, but Wolves shows his maturation behind the sound booth. With Idiot Pilots’ dreamy soundscape mixed with aggressive moments, this band offers something new to an industry in desperate need for some originality. Wolves hits stores Tuesday.

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