"This CD sounds like it has a lot of potential, but lets you down when you most expect it to rise to the occasion. The guitars are a bit too angular and scratchy, and maybe they arent recorded well, but theyre a little grating on the ears. The tunes aren't really catchy, not that "catch" makes a band, but the tempos, off tune sound, echo effects and over all feel of the music is just hollow and lacking in that edge that could set this band apart. The songs are rock with mathy tendencies, sorta like if Sonic Youth tried to do the emo thing. This band has potential though."
"Stillwell are another indie band off the indie label Force Again Records with their new cd "Don't Face A Problem, Burn It". Coming in I was thinking that this would be another soft indie type band, but I was wrong. I found out that they use the approach of fast guitar riffs and screaming type vocals all throughout their songs. Honestly, there was nothing that really struck me on this album, in my opinion, most of the songs sounded very similar to each other. Although I did like how the album was started with the introduction song "The Bull Starts Here". All the other songs sounded the same to me with track names such as "Quit Quitting Only to Quit Again" and "We Were A Tabloid Dream Team" I couldn't tell the difference between the first and last basically, besides "The Bull Starts Here". I really didn't enjoy this album, but I will have to give the band credit because this is their first album on the label, maybe next time."
"There must be extra angst-generators in Chicago. Stillwell is a four-piece band playing math-rock laced with hardcore tendencies and hailing from the city that spits out good music like a Carter Burwell soundtrack. Originating in the suburbs of the Windy City back in 1997, they gradually emerged from the background of the multitudes of local bands to make a name and a fan-base for themselves. Stillwell kicks off their first full-length with "The Bull Starts Here," an energetic introduction to their experimental sound. A lingering electric opens to the rolling drums, which set the stage for the chugging unison of instruments and the inset of Brian Henry's anguished vocals, "My sense ends with a come on / It says what you don't / This heart beats to be beaten." The second track, "Phone Rings. Wake Up. Remember Nothing. Repeat Cycle," reminds me of Andy Kaufman and "Man on the Moon." Remember when Andy got to make his own TV special, and he decided he was going to purposely add in 10 seconds of reception error to make the people wonder why their TV was malfunctioning. Well this track will make you think your CD is scratched. It opens up in order, but about 10 seconds in, it starts to skip and jerk around. Either this was intended, or I have a scratched CD. See, you just can't tell! "Okay, Man, Sure. No Problem. Um, Thanks." rounds off the CD with the band's first indications of melody. This is my favorite track because it's somewhat easier and organized then the other tracks, which is good for my untrained ear. "You said it erased / I hold you no more / I bet it erased / So much more." Stillwell seems to have some trouble with originality. Not to say that the sound itself isn't original, for the most part, it is. But the sound of each song doesn't seem to vary much within the album. It seems like I hear the same exact sounds on each song, just rehashed. Like there is a total "sound bank" and they can only choose from those sounds to compose the songs. These guys are talented and I respect the music they are making, but like random jazz, I can only listen to it for about 15 minutes before it starts giving me a headache."
Delusions of Adequacy
"Slashing through styles of snotty punk, crunchy hardcore and rough rock; Stillwell create emocore that would sound more appropriate in punk's nihilism than in emo's tear-driven tendencies - which, undeniably, is a good thing. The tense shots of vocals peppered throughout Don't Face a Problem... Burn It is what ultimately gives Stillwell the intense, brash reputation that they surely deserve. Although similar to the Blood Brothers - one of the most promising acts in the hardcore community - in tone and delivery, Stillwell lack the fire-breathing nature and fevered intensity that perspires from their work. Nonetheless, Don't Face a Problem... Burn It is a triumph in the sterile state and contrived angst of hardcore and the river-of-tears flowing from the mass emo market. Although the vocals ignite brash excitement with their larynx shrieks, they are surprisingly one-dimensional and rely on that sole dynamic to slash through the 25 minutes worth of material on this disc. The instruments rock along in similar fashion, revealing themselves in much need of dynamism and rougher, more serrated edges. The guitars lack the energy their art-school hardcore should bring and the rhythm section is limp in comparison to the intensified vocals. But, despite all setbacks, Stillwell bring refreshing noise to the banal punk culture as of late and lay a firm, promising groundwork for them to build their future hardcore endeavors upon. Let's hope those guitars soon scream as feverishly as the vocals and the drums tighten up their skins."
Digital Noise Network
"Stillwell. Well a name doesn't always tell what you can expect from a band. I had never heared anything about them until this day. But I have a good reason for this. Although they have been playing numerous gigs in the USA, they've spent the last 5 (five!) years working on this album. I don't know wether that's dedication or madness... Anyway these Chicago based weirdoes have managed to pull through and delivered a very interesting record on ForgeAgain Records. The minute I put this disc in my CD player I knew this would be an interesting album. It took me until halfway through the disc to find a name for the type of music they play. Well here we go: post-hardcore emorocking chaotic mathcore. How many bands in that genre do you know? Let me say I found a lot of influences in it, from experimental jazz to emo, from hardcore to rock... This album has it all. It's not something I can easily relate to and I guess many people will have trouble getting into such releases. But what do I think about it? The truth is that I consider it a bit over the top. This is a bit too chaotic and a bit to extreme for me. I won't deny that these guys have talent or anything but after listening to this I was tired. It couldn't hold my attention for any longer than 3 songs. Like I said this is an album that affects you. There is something about the cover that fascinates me. It's a post modernistic painting. It features some kind of masked individual holding a book in front of an apocalyptical background. Freaky stuff! And those songtitles are great as well. Or what would you say about titles like "okay, man. Sure. No problem. Um, thanks" and "what's going on with the word fuck?" ?!? All in all Stillwell doesn't leave one unaffected. They released an album that some may hate and others love! If you are in an experimental type of music, this just might be a release for you. If you have an open mind about music this might be your release! Stillwell mixes up hardcore, emo, rock, jazz and chaos. What a band!?!."
"Stillwell's debut full-length (five years in the making) went in one ear and out the other. Uninspiring math-y rock that some might call post-hardcore, but it isn't really post-anything. More like pre-fabricated and pre-conceived. With songs titles like "Phone Rings. Wake Up. Remember Nothing. Repeat Cycle." and "Okay, man. Sure. No Problem. Um, thanks," and a totally non-enthralling sound that is a downright chore to listen to, this gets old pretty fast."
"Sometimes, a record comes along that you just don't know what to say about it. Stillwell's Don't Face a Problem is one of those records. Cacophonic hardcore/emo weirdness screams through eight tracks, with winning names like "The Monet Shot" and "What's Going on with the word 'Fuck?'" but are kind of hard-pressed to make any sense sonically. Though they sound really nothing like At the Drive-In, it's one of the easiest comparisons to come across, just for Stillwell's energy and complete lack of coherence. There's definitely points for originality here, but past there, I really don't know what to say."
"Stillwell formed in a southern suburb of Chicago called Homewood in the summer of 1997. Since then, the band has put out a plethora of releases both by themselves and on various labels in the midwest, but never a full length. In 2002, the band went into the studio with Mike Lust (Sweep The Leg Johnny, Bob Nanna, Volta Du Mar) to record Don't Face A Problem... Burn It - the band's first full length in their five year history. From just looking at the titles of these songs quickly, I thought Stillwell was a joke band or something. With titles like "What's Going On With The Word Fuck?" and "Okay, Man. Sure. No problem. Um, Thanks.," it's tough to take a band seriously. But once I actually played the cd, my whole perception of them changed. Well, I still think the titles are stupid, but I'm into the music. Stillwell has a very original, mathy post-hardcore sound which was honestly an adventure to listen to. Every time I listen to their songs, I notice something I didn't before, and their odd time changes take you by surprise, but don't seem out of place at all. Although I enjoyed this record, by the time the fifth track rolled around, I was ready for it to be over. I wish there was a little more variation in the vocals to distinguish each song from one another, but at least they've found a sound they can call their own sound. I would totally recommend Don't Face A Problem... Burn It if you're a fan of slightly obscure, off-beat rock music an are looking for something new and interesting."
Last Life Media
"Stillwell are smart, very smart. They make the complex catchy and the obscure seem palpable. Their latest release don't face a problem..burn it could be labeled as math rock, or post-hardcore, but it is, in fact, much more than that. Stillwell have presented the unique ability to harness their brand of fragmented rock and fuse it into cohesiveness. The music is schizophrenic, full of guitar palpitations and frenetic drumming, while at the same time maintaining the consumption qualities that rock fans desire. Steering away from old vocal styles, Stilwell has chosen a sneered approach to their lyrics. They challenge the listener to fight; they dare you to fight back. The charm of the band is not lost on song titles either. "Phone rings. Wake up. Remember nothing. Repeat cycle." "Quit quitting only to quit again," "We were a tabloid dream team," and "Okay, man. Sure. No problem. Um, thanks.," present some of the most ingenious labeling released by an outfit recently. The quartet hail from Chicago, IL and have undoubtedly been influenced by the post-rock that has emerged from the Midwest over the last decade or two, but have crafted a style and sound that they can call their own. Think Stillwell; think hard, Think-rock."
"Finally, after Good Clean Fun and Death by Stereo I have a new name to add to my category "bands with funny song titles". They're totally different in style from the above-mentioned bands, but still they crack me up. "Phone rings. Wake up. Remember nothing. Repeat cycle", "What's going on with the word fuck?", "Quit Quitting only to quit again" and "Okay, man. Sure. No problem. Um, thanks" sure are funny titles but let me be clear: They do have serious content. Too bad the musical part of Stillwell doesn't reach as high a level of entertainment. While listening to the music it seems to me that the guys in Stillwell couldn't figure out what kind of music to play. It's too soft to be real complex metallic hardcore and it's too complex to be soft emo-rock. And you would think that this mixture could be something nice, new and fresh to our ears... well, it started to make me yell to words 'make up your mind' to my cd-player. Well not really, but you get the idea right? Not bad, maybe just not my cup of tea!"
"With Don't Face a Problem... Burn It, Stillwell has created an album akin to Muselix. Equal parts math-rock, post-hardcore, post-rock, and some emo sentiment complete with high-pitched screaming. It is a post-genre cereal with style. This ground has been covered by forbearers of the aforementioned categorizations, but Stillwell is good at what they do. The guitar work is catchy and stylized, the music is tight, the drums booming, and the changes erratic. The vocals deliver some anger colored with common sense observations. Fans who dig the likes of June of 44, Drive Like Jehu, and Don Caballero, will be happy to discover Stillwell. It is a solid rock affair. Maybe not entirely new, but certainly not tired. Face this problem and rock it... LOUD."
"Stillwell is a brightly innovative band. The obscure commotion of the sounds on this new record are rightly reminiscent of an abstract and mathy Blood Brothers, holding even much more than any common intruder by actually demonstrating talent as opposed to falling back on pop cluttered and desperate emotional padding. Very unapparent twists and blind corners continue to surprise the listening ear and unmelodically pirate distracted attention that is rightfully theirs. The catching technique of entertaining the short spanned listeners by coming up with witty and clever song titles is carried on here as well, such examples including the titles "What's Going on With the Word 'Fuck'?", "Quit Quitting Only to Quit Again" and "Okay, man. Sure. No Problem. Um, Thanks." All of which is a quick demonstration of raw talent, Stillwell should be hoped to continue what they have done with this release."
"This is for sure nothing that is easy to digest. Stillwell are doing dissonant and even chaotic or call it hectic post hardcore with IndieRock influences! You think that must be sound crazy? You are right. Lots of tempo-changes, starts and stops. Pretty weird stuff these four guys from Chicago are doing on their first full length. You can compare their sound with post-hardcore where all parts have been riffled! There are some nice melodic pieces and when you think the whole turn into something more harmonic stuff Stillwell directly start their hectic confusion. The hectic guitar rhythms create that chaotic atmosphere and are responsible for that bewilderingly record, of course the other instruments like drums and bass also support than sound! At first I thought that an album with only 25 minutes is not that much but after hearing that piece of music I must confess that 25 minute are the right dose for those dissonant post-hardcore release. The song titles of that release are also very crazy like "What's going on with the Word "Fuck"?" but the lyrics are more in a personal and cryptic way! The artwork of that album is amazing. The front cover shows a weird creature (fits good to their sound) with a book in its hands!"