Sunday, September 25, 2011

Song Of The Week: 9/25/11

Song: "Family System"

Artist: Chevelle

Album: "Live From The Road"

Year: 2003

"Family System" appears to be a song about a family that is crumbling apart. There does not appear that there is any possible way to fix the situation as well. It definitely feels like divorce is going to be inevitable, especially when you read the lyrics and the vocalist says things like the things he used to love (family, spouse perhaps) he's learned to hate. There's no resurrecting this family structure. Chevelle formed as a band back in 1995, hailing from a suburb just outside of Chicago. The band was made up of three brothers, Pete Loeffler on guitar and vocals, Sam Loeffler on drums and Joe Loeffler on bass. After playing live shows for a few years, Chevelle finally recorded their debut album "Point #1" in 1999. The album began generating some buzz in music circles and when their small record label folded, they would be picked up by Epic Records and in 2002, would release their most successful album, "Wonder What's Next". The original recording of "Family System" would open up this album, the version I chose as my song of the week was from the band's live album, 2003's "Live From The Road". "Wonder What's Next" achieved platinum status thanks in part to the hit singles "The Red" and "Send The Pain Below". After recording their next album, 2004's "This Type Of Thinking (Could Do Us In)", the band parted ways with brother Joe. As his replacement, Chevelle kept it in the family by bringing in their brother-in-law, Dean Bernardini to perform bass duties. Chevelle remained a very active band as they would release new material basically every two years including 2007's "Vena Sera" and 2009's "Sci-Fi Crimes". Their style can basically be boiled down to alternative hard rock with hints of metal. They are often compared to Tool, mostly because of Pete Loeffler's singing voice which is similar to that of Maynard James Keenan. While both bands feature dark elements in their music and their lyrics, Chevelle's music is definitely more radio friendly than Tool. I would probably say Chevelle is more similar to bands like Staind, Helmet and Handsome. Currently, Chevelle is in the process of wrapping up what will be their sixth studio album which is set for release in December of 2011.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Song Of The Week: 9/18/11

Song: "Speeding Up The Octaves"

Artist: Hawthorne Heights

Album: "The Silence In Black And White"

Year: 2004

"Speeding Up The Octaves" appears to be yet another song about a relationship that has crumbled to the point that it can no longer be salvaged. You kinda get the feeling like the guy has been caught cheating or has definitely been the dishonest one. He seems to be trying to win her back but she just burns his letters and pictures in the fire. I think as the song goes on, he comes to the realization that he must let her go and move on with his life. Hawthorne Heights formed as a band back in 2001, hailing from Dayton, OH. The band originally went under the name A Day In The Life and released a few things under that moniker. By the time the band had signed with Victory Records to release their major label debut, "The Silence In Black And White", they had officially changed their band name to Hawthorne Heights. The band achieved some early success with the help of singles "Ohio Is For Lovers" and "Niki FM". That success would continue on with their follow up album, "If Only You Were Lonely" in 2006. The good times come to a screeching halt in 2007 however, when guitarist and "unclean" vocalist Casey Calvert was found dead in the band's tour bus. He had died of a mixture of prescription drugs and vicodin. After mourning the death of their bandmate and friend, Hawthorne Heights decided to go on as a four piece and ditch the "unclean" vocals for future albums, though they would bring them back but not as frequently as their first two albums. By using "clean" and "unclean" vocals, Hawthorne Heights could often be compared to bands such as Silverstein, Senses Fail or The Used. They are sometimes referenced as emo, screamo, pop punk or just plain alternative rock. During their ten year career, they have release four major label studio albums, their most recent being 2010's "Skeletons". Currently, the band has formed their own record label, Cardboard Empire, and plan on releasing a trilogy of EP's, beginning with "Hate", which was released in August of 2011. Each of these EP's will be released within four or five months of each other.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Song Of The Week: 9/11/11

Song: "Lost In A Portrait"

Artist: Trapt

Album: "The Punisher" Soundtrack

Year: 2004

"Lost In A Portrait" appears to be a song about needing someone in your life that completes you as a person. The vocalist sees his imperfections and flaws and he readily admits to them. He compares his life to a portrait on a canvas. He believes, even with his flaws, that he has a solid outline, but he needs her to be the colors that fill it in and make it whole. Trapt was formed in a California high school back in 1995. These classmates honed their musical chops in garages and parent's houses, generating enough spark until eventually they won a spot opening up for Papa Roach. After releasing a self-promoted album as well as a few EP's, Trapt drew interest from major labels and eventually released their official debut on Warner Bros. Records in 2002. This self-titled album would be the height of Trapt's success as a band thanks to high charting singles such as "Headstrong", "Still Frames" and "Echo". This album would lead to the band hooking up with more prominent tours and even beginning to headline more often. It also led to them being asked if they could lend a song of theirs to the movie "The Punisher". The band gave the unreleased song "Lost In A Portrait" for use on "The Punisher" soundtrack. From 2004 to 2010, Trapt would release three more studio albums as well as an EP and a live cd. The band would also continue to headline and co-headline several tours throughout that time period. Most notably, Trapt was awarded an opening slot for Motley Crue on 2008's "Crue Fest" tour which was also supported by bands Buckcherry, Papa Roach and Sixx A.M. Currently, Trapt is still supporting their latest release, 2010's "No Apologies" which hit the shelves in October of 2010.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Song Of The Week: 9/4/11

Song: "Leave It To Tomorrow"

Artist: Rancid

Album: "Demolition Sessions"

Year: 1994

"Leave It To Tomorrow" is a demo by the band Rancid that was released as part of a collection of demos and outtakes that were recorded between 1993 and 1994. The whole "Demolition Sessions" compilation is a must have for any Rancid fan and, while considered a rarity, is not very hard to find while searching the internet. Before forming Rancid in 1991, guitarist Tim Armstrong and bassist Matt Freeman were in the influential punk/ska outfit Operation Ivy. After Op. Ivy dissolved, Freeman wanted to continue to work along side Armstrong and thus, Rancid was formed. In 1993, Lars Frederiksen would join the band as a second guitarist as well as another vocalist. Rancid, along with the bands The Offspring, Green Day and Bad Religion, were at the forefront of the punk revival of the mid-90's. Just after grunge exploded on the music scene, a series of punk bands began to attract some of the spotlight. Rancid, however, would stick with independent punk label Epitaph Records while several other bands would sign with the mainstream. This always gave Rancid that extra street cred in punk circles. 1995's "And Out Come The Wolves" would be the pinnacle of Rancid's success as a band thanks to the hit singles, "Timebomb", "Ruby Soho" and "Roots Radicals". Record sales alone would not signify Rancid as a band. To this day, they are one of the most respected bands in punk circles and beyond. Their style is reminiscent of punk legends The Clash. Rancid, like The Clash, are not afraid to delve into other genres besides straight-forward punk. They've dabbled in reggae,ska, rockabilly, blues and even some hip hop. After releasing 2003's "Indestructible", Rancid went on a little bit of a hiatus in which they focused on side projects, most notably The Transplants, Devil's Brigade and The Bastards. In 2009, the band got back together and dropped "Let The Dominoes Fall". Currently, after a short tour opening up for Blink 182, Rancid is set to hit the studio in September of 2011 and are hoping to have what would be their eighth studio album hit the shelves sometime in 2012.