Tag Archives: Hard Rock

BRKN LOVE – Selftitled

By Samuel Stevens

Release Date: February 14, 2020

Genre: Rock, Hard Rock

Label: Spinefarm Records

The Los Angeles based rock band, BRKN LOVE, fronted by the twenty one year old, Toronto vocalist and guitarist, Justin Benlolo, have released their self titled debut eleven track effort, BRKN LOVE. Justin’s music career began shortly after he dropped out of high school at sixteen years of age with the encouragement of his friends and family and flew to New York City. Over the years of honing his craft in music while in NYC, he eventually went on to move to Los Angeles and form what is now, BRKN LOVE.

“All I could ever focus on was being on stage, screaming into a microphone, and playing my guitar in a rock and roll band for the world to hear,” says vocalist Justin Benlolo. 

BRKN LOVE’s debut album was produced by Joel Hamilton (Highly Suspect and Pretty Lights), which is a full circle type of occurrence for Justin and his band. BRKN LOVE was formed out of the emergence of bands in the likes of, Royal Blood and Highly Suspect, to name a few. These said bands were what inspired Justin to go forward with this project. Justin draws influence from other acts as well from, Led Zeppelin to Soundgarden as well, which can be heard throughout the band’s eleven tracks.

The album was recorded entirely live to tape to capture the band’s pure essence that flows within their sound and in their relatable and emotional lyrics. The band formed just last year in early 2019 and while still being relatively new to the music scene, the band have taken the United States by storm with a handful of tours and festival appearances under their belt.

Justin Benlolo and BRKN LOVE, tackle the lyrical subjects of love and loss on their debut self titled record. Perfect subject matter for an album released on Valentine’s Day. Throughout the eleven tracks on the album, Justin Benlolo speaks on his experience of love and loss of loss in various forms in friendships, significant others, and so forth. Despite the theme of love/loss, the entire album’s track list is full of upbeat, fast rock anthems, with a drizzle of a couple of slower rock ballads, that are all in their own ways, very well emotionally driven by Justin Benlolo’s lyrics.

The album opens up right out of the gate with the rock anthem, “I Can’t Lie,” a song about a friend who stabbed Justin in the back for no reason whatsoever. It sets the tone for the remaining ten tracks. The immediate second that Justin plays his first note on guitar and those vocal harmonies hit, a rush of electricity hit me. You can feel the true genuine, raw power of the song as if you’re in the room with the band as they were performing it live to tape. Effectively getting the true feel of the album as it was intended it, with no editing to the tracks in any shape or form.

“Shot Down,” has one of the most massive sounding guitar riffs on the entire album with Justin belting out the lyrics on top of it all. However this track is full of sexual innuendos, but take the track as you will. As Justin states, “It can be interpreted as a massive disaster song;” “My heart doesn’t bleed for you / I’m a dire wolf, gonna see it through / How long till your legs give out / Gonna be hard times, there will be no doubt.”

On the track, “Papercuts,” Justin’s falsetto shines bright throughout while tackling the topic of returning to a former lover, when you know it’s better not to; “You’re just a drug I love to take / You make me sick, I love the taste / Another wound I can’t keep shut / Another one, another papercut.”

The self titled album comes to a climax with the track, “In Your Hands.” The track is “an ode to life, that we’re going to ride the universe’s wave without worrying,” says vocalist, Justin Benlolo. Notably the song features one of the most remarkable vocal performances on the eleven tracks from vocalist, Justin Benlolo.

In conclusion, BRKN LOVE has a little something for every rock fan. Some catchy rock anthems throughout the album, a slight amount of slower rock ballads mixed between, quite the amount of tracks with a faster tempo, and most importantly, the guitars on the album remain consistently heavy for the duration of the album.

“The name represents who I am,” Justin leaves off. “You can honestly be a hopeless romantic and play tough music. Most of the lyrics deal with love and loss. That’s the vibe. You can share your feelings and still rock your face off at the end of the day. It’s what I’m going to do.”

Check out more from BRKN LOVE:




Warpaint Tour

By Samuel Stevens & Matt Harrison

Warpaint Tour featuring Buckcherry and special guests, Joyous Wolf and Wreckin’ So

March 13, 2018

Burton Cummings Theatre

To commence the evening’s line up solely made up of Rock ‘N’ Roll was Manitoba’s own, Wreckin’ So. Comprising of members, Brent, Ronnie, Clint, and Claude, the four of these guys have made a name for themselves rather quick with their irresistible blend of hard rock and blues. In recent years the band has opened for a ton of talent including Blue Oyster Cult last August and now Buckcherry, for the second time. Be sure to watch out for more from these four fellows as they’re sure to take the world by storm.

Wreckin' So
Wreckin’ So. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

Following Wreckin’ So was the Los Angeles based rock band, Joyous Wolf. The band brought an incredibly high energy that was felt throughout the band’s nine song set on the Burton Cummings Theatre stage. Vocalist Nick Reese was performing front and back flips, contorting on stage, and even running up and down the Burton Cummings Theatre’s aisles during the band’s last song of their performance while guitarist Blake Allard’s infectious guitar solos never let up on the audible energy.

Joyous Wolf brought high octane Rock ‘N’ Roll with them in songs like, “Undesired” or “Holy Driver,” to name a few. As well as ballads such as their song, “The Mechanic.” Near the end of Joyous Wolf’s set, vocalist Nick Reese sang the hook, “American woman, get away from me / American woman, mama let me be” to the Winnipeg audience with a massive loud cheer to follow. These lyrics are from The Guess Who’s 1970 smash hit, “American Woman” which was fronted by Manitoba’s Burton Cummings. This lead to Joyous Wolf dedicating their track, “Mother Rebel,” to Burton Cummings himself. Joyous Wolf took their new Winnipeg fans for a wild ride during their debut performance, which even saw the band receive a standing ovation at the climax of their final number of the evening, “Quiet Heart.”

Joyous Wolf - Nick Reese

Joyous Wolf. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.

After Joyous Wolf’s fantastic high energy set, it was time for who everyone came to see, Buckcherry. Buckcherry have been to Winnipeg numerous times during their 20+ year career at various venues and musical festivals throughout the city, so the band has built quite the loyal fan base within Winnipeg and its neighbouring cities and towns. Buckcherry is currently on their Warpaint Tour throughout North America right now in support of the album of the same name that was released earlier this month on March 8th.

Buckcherry brought their classic no tricks style with them to the Burton Cummings Theatre to perform a fourteen song set for their Winnipeg fans. Starting off with their cover of the Nine Inch Nails song, “Head Like a Hole,” which is featured on their brand new album, Warpaint, it set the tone for the rest of Buckcherry’s performance. The band did bring along some ballads to slow it down during their time on stage, with the tracks, “Radio Song” and “Sorry.” Vocalist, Josh Todd told a few stories throughout the night including one told after performing their song, “Lit Up,” in which Todd told the crowd that his first ever line of cocaine was done off of a Ouija Board, even saying, “It was some straight up devil shit.” Buckcherry played many of the fans favorites in the likes of “It’s a Party,” “Everything,” “Somebody Fucked With Me,” and of course the band’s 2006 smash hit, “Crazy Bitch” to end the night off with a bang.

Buckcherry - Josh Todd
Buckcherry. Photos by Samuel Stevens Photography.