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Record Review: The Ongoing Concept – ‘Handmade’


The Ongoing Concept is, without a doubt, one of the most unique bands in the alternative/metal/hardcore music scene today. They are a band of brothers plus one—Dawson, Kyle, and Parker Scholz, along with friend TJ Nichols—who are a powerhouse of chaotic sound. Handmade proves that with every track.

“Amends” kicks off the album with attitude. Starting with snapping fingers and a sassy drum beat, the song lets you know you’re in for a ride with this record. Horns and a big band sound guide you from the very beginning, in addition to the aggressive guitars and vocals. The chorus makes you want to dance and the verse makes you want to start a fight. “Feel” is much like “Amends” in its feisty sound, and its chorus is another that makes you want to get down with your bad self and then some. These two tracks start the album off strong and are reflective of the unconventional sound of the record. 

“Prisoner” has a more rock and roll vibe to it and, although still a great song, is not as fun as the first two that begin Handmade. “Melody”, one of the most eclectic songs on the album, is a depart from the screams and loud guitars. It projects a more folky, summer vibe with a catchy, sweet chorus: “Come back, come back to me/ Don’t turn your back on me/ Come back, come back to me.”

“Unwanted” is one that, after hearing, is hard to forget. The verse is belligerent, but the chorus is vivid, memorable, and definitely a sing-a-long. It switches back and forth between melodic and turbulent, much like the lyrics: “I wanna fall in love and I wanna fall in love with you/ You’re everything I’ve wanted/That’s it. I’m sick of it all. I can’t keep my mouth shut anymore/ I’m not your pawn. I’ll break your vice. I won’t idolize the unwanting.” It’s an emotional ride.

“Soul” is next on the record and is another rock anthem that catches you by the ear and doesn’t let you go. “I sold my soul to the devil”, the theme of the song repeated on a number of occasions, caters to the darker side of vices, temptation, and how far one is willing to go to get what he or she wants. “Falling” closes out the record with a passionate showcase and was definitely the right choice of song to end Handmade. With an amazing bridge full of emotion and powerful vocals, the end gave me goosebumps and, just like that, I fell in love with The Ongoing Concept.

by Kelly Fay

Four Star Rating

The Ongoing Concept Play The Place 06.22.15

Photo by Alexander Chan.
Show booked by Hollow Grounds Booking. Photo by Alexander Chan.

“Hey, where you going?”

“The Place.”

If you had that conversation with someone, they would probably think you were being intentionally vague or even rude. But no, The Place is actually the name of a one of a kind venue in Brooklyn, NY. It’s the kind of place that, as Jack Sparrow would say, “can only be found by those who already know where it is”; or, by the signpost of kids in black band t-shirts standing outside.

To the unknowing eye, The Place is nothing more than a pizza joint/bar. If you’re a hardcore kid looking for a show, however, the employees will nod you through a door toward the hidden venue in the back, where DIY locals frequently go. The deep human-sized dents in the wall and the amount of bro hugs people give each other will tell you that this room has seen a lot of bands and a lot of familiar faces mosh through it. The wood floor and wood left wall will tell fans of The Ongoing Concept that it’s the perfect place for them to play some new tracks off their latest record, Handmade.

Photo by Alexander Chan.
Photo by Alexander Chan.

The album that takes DIY to a whole new level, Handmade is a title that describes the process of how TOC made their new work. In our interview with vocalist/guitarist Dawson Scholz, he tells the tale of how the band literally chopped down a tree to make all of the instruments by hand for their most recent tracks. It was in this room half made of wood with instruments entirely made of wood that The Ongoing Concept banged out new songs like “Unwanted” and “Soul” to something like 20 or 30 kids. The low body count was no matter, however, as the intimate number made for an up close and personal floor show. And for those of you who have never seen TOC live before (like I hadn’t), you don’t know up close and personal until Kyle Scholz is screaming wild-eyed two centimeters in front of your face with his shirt off and leaving a puddle of sweat at your feet. “I’m sorry if I sweat or spit on you,” he says calmly after a song. “I’m just trying to have fun.”

The band finished with crowd favorite “Cover Girl,” and the word “insane” does not adequately say all that needs to be said about these last few minutes with them. The whole room went berserk with kids unafraid of marching up to the mic and getting just as much in Kyle’s face as he was in theirs. The room reverberated with cries of “Stop being the print of someone else’s painting,” and the echoes of the end rang out.

As for the opening bands, Heroes and Outlands were two whose live performance stood out, showcasing great energy and crowd involvement. Heroes’ set brought the sense of community you crave when you think of local hardcore, while Outlands members bounced from wall to wall like an epic and chaotic game of pong. Despite having recently released a rather successful album, the energy dipped low and got pretty depressing during Dayseeker’s set. Lastly, on the whole, the attendance of bands whose sets had finished was rather spotty. There’s such a thing as show etiquette, folks. You stay for all the bands, not just one or two, and not just your own.

Overall, HXC Magazine‘s night at The Place was a fun reminder of why we became so dedicated to the hardcore scene in the first place. You don’t need a room with hundreds of people to make something special happen. You just need good people who aren’t afraid to get a little weird.