Review of Halo Circus' New Album "Bunny"

Review of Halo Circus' New Album "Bunny"

A genre-defying debut endeavor succeeded by a record-breaking tour
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For those of you who were devout American Idol fans in your youth (like myself), you may remember the name Allison Iraheta. On Season 8, she made it to fourth place with her rock star sensibilities and edgy vocal and musical choices, but since her time on TV, she has formed a new band: Halo Circus.

Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus was co-founded by Iraheta and multi-platinum producer, producer and bassist Matthew Hager. They are joined on drums by accomplished Cantonese and orchestral drummer Veronica Bellino, who’s previously worked with Jeff Beck and DMC of Run DMC; and on guitar by Brian Stead. Late this past June, the band released their first album, Bunny, which features a wide array of tracks that cover a variety of genres, tempos, and languages.

In fact, if there is one point I would drive home about this album from the start, it is that Bunny is most impressive and successful due to the skill and passion required to deftly traverse these varying styles. This is possibly a result of an extra year spent re-recording the album after a first attempt in 2015 and lots of sound changes resulting from their live shows. There are glimmers of soft-spoken ballads; moments of late '90s and early '00s style pop; hard-hitting rock riffs and vocals reminiscent of other contemporary progressive rock bands; Latin-inspired tracks accompanied by bilingual lyrics; even other cuts with a big band sound and booming vocals; and a couple of uncanny interlude-like tracks even sneak their way in. The way Iraheta's voice transcends these disparate sounds is especially notable, with the roughness that made her stand out on Idol returning with the feel of a throwback, of sorts, to raspy lounge singers.

When tracking the shifts between these songs, the album--which I might point out the band suggests to be listened to in its entirety, in order--starts out with a nearly seamless transition from the first song, "He Promises the Moon"--which is slow, retro, and a little eerie--to the second, "Nothing At All"--a bombastic and fast-paced rock song which showcases Iraheta's sassy vocals, and gives me fond Idol flashbacks. This track and the third, "All I Have," feel, to me, like the most fully realized examples of their unique brand of rock that is simultaneously broody and aggressive, similar to the band Muse.

The album shifts at this point, away from its "rock-y" start, to Iraheta's "Salvadorian background and her youth growing up in South Central Los Angeles." Three songs (tracks four, six, and seven, with five as an interlude to tie them together) in total take on a Latin-inspired musicality and bilingual lyrics that add a distinct extra edge as the album tones down its punky vibe. The fourth song, "Desire (Lo Que Vale La Pena)," the standout single from the album, uses this edge especially well as a more pop-inclined track with a bilingual chorus and title. Sixth, "Yo Me Voy" is a crescendoing all-Spanish ballad that slows down the tracklist after the transition provided by "Far From Eden," but maintains the vocal and emotional power behind the music thus far. Finally, there is "Verdad," another Spanish song with a great beat driving strong tunes and vocals, with occasional delicate instrumental pauses.

At this point, the album shifts again, turning more towards the inclinations of pop. "Guns In Our Hands" is the first example of this, infusing the new school of pop with some old school sounds lounge sounds, this song is impactful, sounding as if could be on the soundtrack for a big movie. Next, "Band-Aid" keeps the momentum, starting out slightly more grungy, and building into a loud pop-rock anthem that takes on slightly political overtones. And then, "Out Of Love" continues the trend, as a pop-rock single that could and should currently be on the radio...end of story.

For track eleven, "You Can't Take You Away From Me," again a change occurs, returning to the vessel of the ballad but with a new gospel and orchestral feel. It's loud and intense, and about love, as all good songs like that are. But after a beat-heavy transition provided by "Dawn," the pop is back in full swing with the album closer "Something Special." I love this song because while it starts slowly when it gets going it reminds me of radio singles from the aughts (especially Hillary Duff for some reason I have yet to be able to pin down). It's a great way to cap off the whole record, especially with its sweet sound and lyrics.

The variety of styles that Halo Circus plays with serves them well on this album because each genre stands out on its own, with a few very strong tracks from each category that showcase their unique and versatile skill. If interested, the album is available on an eco-friendly CD that includes an eight-page lyric booklet with artwork by Patty Palazzo of Punk Masters and photography by famed artist and video director Nick Egan. Reviewers got a furry version of the advance CD--the cover art was reversed and a huge swatch of pink fake fur covers the front.

Halo Circus also offers their album as a "stylish and convenient" "Faux Curio" keychain. Vaguely, but not entirely reminiscent of a rabbit's foot, that version offers enhanced quality audio and includes an exclusive bonus song, the music video "Desire," and digital lyric and artwork booklet. But unlike any other record album, "Faux Curio" buyers will get exclusive future free content that's theirs alone. The band also produced an amazing micro-short film/commercial “Take Back Your Music Collection” to promote it here:

All physical album formats come with a free MP3 download of the record. Halo Circus’ site also offers fans other goodies including signed CD’s, handwritten lyric sheets, t-shirts, and, for superfans, dinner with frontwoman Allison Iraheta herself.

Fresh on the heels of their debut full-length album, Allison Iraheta + Halo Circus have hit the road for their highly anticipated US tour underway now and running through Fall 2016. The tour made history when announced with a successful crowdfunding campaign: the band declared that any town in America that raised $600 would get to host a Halo Circus show. Within weeks, the campaign reached 100% fan backing, setting a record for the largest US crowdfunded tour to date, with 30+ US cities on the schedule.

Iraheta concludes, “Our aim was high: play as much as possible and try to develop a reputation as a great live band before releasing an album. Somehow along the way, we learned how to play these songs to an audience and the band actually started to take on a life of its own.” Now, with the album release and tour, Halo Circus will bring their fans a trove of new material to satisfy their musical cravings.

Want to catch Halo Circus in your town? Check out the dates and locations below or search the tour schedule here.

September 23rd

Lion's Lair Lounge— Denver, CO

September 27th

Curtain Club—Dallas, TX

September 29th

Texas Mist— Austin, TX

October 1st

McGonigel’s Mucky Duck—Houston, TX

October 3rd

The Basement— Nashville, TN

October 5th

Will's Pub— Orlando, FL

October 14th

Joe Squared— Baltimore, MD

October 15th

Tree House Lounge— Washington, D.C.

October 17th

Bourbon & Branch— Philadelphia, PA

October 20th

Rockwood Music Hall— New York, NY

October 21st

The Red Room at Café 939— Boston, MA

October 26th

Double Happiness— Columbus, OH

October 27th

PJ's Lager House— Detroit, MI

October 29th

uncommonground — Chicago, IL

Cover Image Credit: New Transcendence

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35 Major Life Facts According To Nick Miller

"All booze is good booze, unless it's weak booze."
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Fact: If you watch "New Girl," you love Nick Miller.

You can't help it. He's an adorable, lovable mess of a man and you look forward to seeing him and his shenanigans each week. While living the infamous and incomparable life of Nick Miller, and obviously Julius Pepperwood— he has learned many valuable laws of the land. And, although Nick refuses to learn anything from anyone besides his mysterious, old Asian friend Tran, he does have a few lessons he'd like to teach us.

Here are 35 facts of life according to 'Nick Milla Nick Milla':

1. Drinking keeps you healthy.

"I'm not gonna get sick. No germ can live in a body that is 65% beer."

2. Dinosaurs never existed.

"I don't believe dinosaurs existed. I've seen the science. I don't believe it."


3. A paper bag is a bank.

"A bank is just a paper bag but with fancier walls."


4. Having sex is similar to delivering mail.

"I'm like a mailman, except instead of mail it's hot sex that I deliver."

5. Moonwalking is a foolproof way to get out of any awkward situation.

Jess (about Nick): "Now he won't even talk to me. I saw him this morning and he just panic moonwalked away from me. He does that sometimes."

6. Using a movie reference is also a great way.

Cece: "Come on, get up!"

Nick: "No, I don't dance. I'm from that town in "Footloose."

7. There's no reason to wash towels.

Nick: "I don’t wash the towel. The towel washes me. Who washes a towel?"

Schmidt: "You never wash your towel?"

Nick: "What am I gonna do? Wash the shower next? Wash a bar of soap?"

8. Exes are meant to be avoided at all costs (especially if/unless they're Caroline)

"I don't deal with exes, they're part of the past. You burn them swiftly and you give their ashes to Poseidon."

9. IKEA furniture is not as intimidating as it looks.

"I'm building you the dresser. I love this stuff. It's like high-stakes LEGOs."

10. You don't need forks if you have hands.

Jess: "That's gross. Get a fork, man."

Nick: "I got two perfectly good forks at the end of my arms!"

11. Sex has a very specific definition.


"It's not sex until you put the straw in the coconut."

12. Doors are frustrating.

"I will push if I want to push! Come on! I hate doors!"

13. All booze is good booze.

"Can I get an alcohol?"

14. ...unless it's weak booze.

"Schmidt, that is melon flavored liquor! That is 4-proof! That is safe to drink while you're pregnant!"

15. Writers are like pregnant women.

Jess: "You know what that sound is? It's the sound of an empty uterus."

Nick: "I can top that easily. I'm having a hard time with my zombie novel."

Jess: "Are you really comparing a zombie novel to my ability to create life?"

Nick: "I'm a writer, Jess. We create life."

16. All bets must be honored.

"There is something serious I have to tell you about the future. The name of my first-born child needs to be Reginald VelJohnson. I lost a bet to Schmidt."

17. Adele's voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus.

"Adele is amazing."

18. Beyoncé is extremely trustworthy.

"I'd trust Beyoncé with my life. We be all night."

19. Fish, on the other hand, are not.


“Absolutely not. You know I don’t trust fish! They breathe water. That's crazy!"

20. Bar mitzvahs are terrifying.

Schmidt: "It's a bar mitzvah!"

Nick: "I am NOT watching a kid get circumcised!"

21. ...so are blueberries.

Jess: "So far, Nick Miller's list of fears is sharks, tap water, real relationships..."

Nick: "And blueberries."

22. Take your time with difficult decisions. Don't be rash.


Jess: "You care about your burritos more than my children, Nick?"

Nick: "You're putting me in a tough spot!"

23. Getting into shape is not easy.

"I mean, I’m not doing squats or anything. I’m trying to eat less donuts."

24. We aren't meant to talk about our feelings.

"If we needed to talk about feelings, they would be called talkings."


25. We're all a little bit too hard on ourselves.

"The enemy is the inner me."

26. Freezing your underwear is a good way to cool off.


"Trust me, I'm wearing frozen underpants right now and I feel amazing. I'm gonna grab some old underpants and put a pair into the freezer for each of you."

27. Public nudity is normal.

"Everbody has been flashed countless times."

28. Alcohol is a cure-all.


"You treat an outside wound with rubbing alcohol. You treat an inside wound with drinking alcohol."

29. Horses are aliens.

"I believe horses are from outer-space."


30. Turtles should actually be called 'shell-beavers.'

Jess: "He calls turtles 'shell-beavers."

Nick: "Well, that's what they should be called."

31. Trench coats are hot.


"This coat has clean lines and pockets that don't quit, and it has room for your hips. And, when I wear it, I feel hot to trot!"


32. Sparkles are too.

"Now, my final bit of advice, and don't get sensitive on this, but you've got to change that top it's terrible and you've got to throw sparkles on. Sparkles are in. SPARKLES ARE IN."

33. Introspection can lead to a deeper knowing of oneself.

"I'm not convinced I know how to read. I've just memorized a lot of words."


34. It's important to live in the moment.

"I know this isn't gonna end well but the middle part is gonna be awesome."


35. Drinking makes you cooler.

Jess: "Drinking to be cool, Nick? That's not a real thing."

Nick: "That's the only thing in the world I know to be true."

Cover Image Credit: Hollywood Reporter

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6 Ways To Decorate Your Dorm Or Apartment For The Holidays On A Budget

Baby, it's cold outside.

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As the holiday season approaches, it's easy to get sucked into the Pinterest vortex of holiday decorations, party favors, clothes and more. Unfortunately most of us college students don't have the money for all of this cute stuff so we have to watch for bargains or DIY it. Here are my six recommendations to get into the Christmas spirit:

1. String some festive lights in your room

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/199565827208188172/

I have Christmas lights hanging up in my room all year around because I love them so much, but you can find some cheap lights at Target or Walmart. You can get snowflake lights, lantern lights, normal Christmas lights or anything else that you want. Use command strips to hang them up, and soon it'll feel more relaxing and you'll be more in the Christmas spirit.

2. Use window clings

https://guide.alibaba.com/shop/merry-christmas-window-clings-north-pole-train-snowflakes-penguins-gingerbread-men-1-sheet-15-clings_1005699551.html

I love window clings! You stick them on from the inside (obviously) and then you can see them from the outside. I have different window clings for almost every season. If you have some old window clings that don't stick anymore, just put a little bit of water on the back of them and they'll stick like they're brand new.

3. Raid the Target dollar section

https://corporate.target.com/article/2015/11/bullseyes-playground

So, this depends on where you live and how often your local Target changes out their dollar section, but you would be surprised in what you could find there!

4. Hunt around for a mini tree (real or fake)

https://www.yourbestdigs.com/reviews/best-artificial-christmas-trees/?nabt=1&utm_referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

I used to have a fake little green Christmas tree with cute little ornaments but sadly I don't have it anymore nor do I have room for it anywhere in my room. A little Christmas tree in your room or on your dresser just makes everything a little bit more festive. I used to have my little Christmas tree on my dresser until my cat found it. Yeah, you know where that is going.

5. Make easy DIY decorations

http://findinghomefarms.com/10-minute-christmas-decorating-idea-chalk-pen-galvanized-buckets/

Pinterest is the best website for this, well actually they're known for DIY projects. Why spend $50 on one Christmas decoration when you can do a DIY and spend only $20?

6. Use Winter themed candles

http://www.bathandbodyworks.com/e/christmas-gift-guide.html

I love Bath and Body works because they always have the best sales and you can usually get something half priced or sometimes something for free! Plus everything smells so good in that store and it's so tempting to buy everything but if you come into the store with a goal, you'll leave with your goal.

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