Sunday, September 26, 2010

Song Of The Week: 9/26/10

Song: "Out Of My Depth"

Artist: Everclear

Album: "Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 2: Good Time For A Bad Attitude"

Year: 2000

Everclear's "Out Of My Depth" is a song about being in over your head. You get a sense that the vocalist is quite overwhelmed by his situation and finds it very hard to get out from the dark cloud that seems to be following him throughout his everyday life. The song definitely exudes quite the negative vibe. Everclear formed as a band in Portland, OR back in 1992. Lead singer and main songwriter, Art Alexakis toiled around in a few bands, most notably Colorfinger before finally creating Everclear. The band's roots stem from a mix of punk and grunge but as they became more and more successful, their style tended to shift to straight-forward rock with definite pop sensibilities. The height of Everclear's popularity would take place between the years 1995 and 2000. This five year span saw the band release three successful albums that spawned hit singles such as "Santa Monica", "Father Of Mine", "Wonderful" and "Everything To Everyone". In 2000, the band released two albums just four months apart. The "Songs From An American Movie, Vol. 1" would prove to be the last major success for the band while "Vol. 2" wound up being nothing more than a bad marketing ploy. Promotion was still heavy for "Vol. 1" so when the second volume hit stores, it basically confused the buying public as none of the hit songs on the radio were found on "Vol. 2". The waining popularity started affecting the band internally as well. In 2003, longtime members, Craig Montoya and Greg Eklund decided to leave the band. In the ensuing years, Alexakis kept Everclear alive though the other band members were a revolving door. Even though Alexakis is the main creative force for the band, I believe they trully lost some of their spark and energy with the departures of Montoya and Eklund. Also, since their departure, new releases by Everclear have become more and more sporadic. Alexakis seems to spend more time playing solo acoustic shows and being a staunch Democratic activist. Currently, there was some news that Alexakis has reformed yet another version of Everclear and were said to be working on a new album which was slated to be released in August of 2010. August has come and gone however with no new material from the band.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Song Of The Week: 9/19/10

Song: "Before I Go"

Artist: Unwritten Law

Album: "Unwritten Law"

Year: 1998

"Before I Go" is a song written as if it's someone's dying words to the person who is closest to him. It's ironic in that the person who is about to die is offering comfort and support to the person who is mourning him so. He's basically telling the person to remember the good times and that he will always be alive in the person's heart and in their memories. Though Unwritten Law's 1998 self-titled album was officially their third release, it was a defining album for the band. It was at this point where the band started shifting away from a pop/skate punk style and began branching out creatively with their music. If this album put the band on the map, it was 2002's "Elva" that really blew up success-wise for Unwritten Law. On the heels of the hit single "Seein' Red", the band's popularity would reach it's peak here in the United States as well as globally. Since forming in 1990, Unwritten Law has released seven full length albums, a live release and a greatest hits compilation included. Though it's been a little more than two years since their last release, currently their is news that the band is working on a new album tentatively titled "Swan".

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Song Of The Week: 9/12/10

Song: "Sick"

Artist: Pulley

Album: "@#!*"

Year: 1999

"Sick" is a song about finding out the news that you have been diagnosed with a terminal disease (cancer most likely) and the constant struggle between fighting to stay alive and beat the disease or succumbing to the disease feeling that death may be the better path just to make the pain go away. Pulley is a skate punk band from California that broke on the scene in 1996. Lead singer, Scott Radinsky got his start in the late 80's with the band Scared Straight, which would later change their name to Ten Foot Pole. Due to Radinsky's commitments to Major League Baseball (he was a relief pitcher for the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Dodgers among others), he was asked to leave TFP so that they could focus on their music full time. Thus, Radinsky went on to form Pulley as a vehicle to put out his brand of punk music during his off-season from MLB. I believe Pulley is a very underrated band. Perhaps they would get a little more love and respect if their touring schedule and music releases were not so sporadic due to Radinsky's hectic MLB schedule. They did put out five studio albums as well as their latest EP release "Time-Insensitive Material" in 2009. Currently, Radinsky is the bullpen coach for the Cleveland Indians, so with the MLB season coming to a close, I'd expect to see Pulley either doing some tour dates or possibly even working on some new music for a future release.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Song Of The Week: 9/5/10

Song: "Cold And All Alone"

Artist: MxPx

Album: "At The Show"

Year: 1999

"Cold And All Alone" is yet another "relationship on the brink" type of song. It's written from the perspective of a guy who sees that he's been wrong to his partner and has been constantly struggling to change his behavior and make things better in the relationship. He probably sees that it may be a losing battle but he's not quite ready to give up and be alone. "Cold And All Alone" was originally recorded for 1998's "Slowly Going The Way Of The Buffalo". The version I chose was released in 1999 on MxPx's live album, "At The Show". MxPx formed as a band back in 1992. Hailing from Bremerton, WA, MxPx was a combination of Christian punk, skate punk, pop punk and even a little bit of hardcore on some songs. I think their longevity and their workmanlike approach to recording and touring has given MxPx a little more street punk cred than some of their contemporaries. As carbon copies such as Good Charlotte and Yellowcard started achieving crossover fame, MxPx just kept chugging along, always with their hardcore fans by their side and always showing the imitators how it's supposed to be done. Bassist and songwriter, Mike Herrera has been focusing most of his creative attention lately to his country/punk outfit Tumbledown and in 2010, original MxPx member Yuri Riley announced his retirement from the band. Currently, while the band is still very much intact, there is no news on whether new MxPx material will surface in the near future. I'm quite positive, however, that new information will surface probably sooner than later as the band does not rest for long periods of time usually.