Sunday, October 30, 2011

Song Of The Week: 10/30/11

Song: "Messages"

Artist: Velvet Revolver

Album: "Libertad" (Itunes Edition)

Year: 2007

"Messages" is a song that was written from the perspective of those passengers that were on the airplanes that were hijacked and crashed on 9/11. It was based on the phone conversations that the passengers were having with their loved ones. You can see with the verses that the conversations start light, saying that they'll see those people when they land at their destination and the next verse, you sense that the hijacking has taken place and there is a fear in the calls and a fear of not knowing what is happening. The last verse, you sense that the passengers know their fate and they just want to tell everyone that they love them and hoping that their loved ones can make it through without them. They know they are going to die. "Messages" is definitely one of the better 9/11 songs i've heard so far with a very unique perspective on the events, a very personal touch. "Messages" was released as an iTunes bonus track if you digitally ordered the album "Libertad" through them. Velvet Revolver formed back in 2002 and was a definite hard rock supergroup featuring ex-Guns 'n' Roses members Slash, Duff McKagan and Matt Sorum along with Stone Temple Pilots frontman Scott Weiland and Wasted Youth guitarist Dave Kushner. Their debut album, 2004's "Contraband" was a huge success for the band while garnering several awards for hit singles such as "Slither" and "Fall To Pieces". 2007 would see VR release their second album "Libertad" which didn't quite live up to their debut, but still kept Velvet Revolver at the top of the rock and roll world. A long and problematic tour in support of "Libertad" would ultimately create dissensions within the band, however. Battling old dependency demons as well as each other began creating the rift in the band that would eventually lead to Scott Weiland's departure in 2008. Velvet Revolver has since been on an indefinite hiatus with Slash putting out a solo record, Weiland returning to Stone Temple Pilots, McKagan and Sorum both working on previous bands and solo stuff and Kushner working on music for various television programs. Slash and McKagan never fully closed the book on VR however. New material was worked on and the endless search for a replacement singer was underway. The most rumored replacement was Myles Kennedy of Alter Bridge. Though working with Slash on other projects, Kennedy seemed to not be in the running for Velvet Revolver. More recent news was that there was in fact a new singer for the band and that they are rehearsing together. The band has kept this information a secret, only saying that the band is going to have a much heavier feel. Now the rumors were that the secret vocalist may be Corey Taylor of Slipknot and Stone Sour fame. These rumors have not been confirmed nor denied as of yet. Currently, the fans of Velvet Revolver just have to sit back and wait until the band finally sheds some light on the new lead singer situation but it definitely seems that VR is far from calling it quits.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Song Of The Week: 10/23/11

Song: "My Last Known Address"

Artist: Reach The Sky

Album: "Open Roads And Broken Dreams"

Year: 1999

At first glance of the lyrics to "My Last Known Address" by Reach The Sky, it seems that this song is about a relationship that is ultimately doomed. After reading it several times, I do feel it's about a crumbling relationship, but i'm not so sure it is a boyfriend/girlfriend or husband/wife relationship. I get the feeling it's a mother/son or a father/son situation. You can see the boy is starting to fall apart, perhaps by the pressures of trying to meet the ideals or the standards of the parent. The parent has essentially turned their back on the boy. I sense that the boy is at his breaking point, possibly suicidal and he says the weight of his actions will fall squarely on the shoulders of the parent. The other reason I feel that suicide could be the ultimate theme here is in the title of the song, "My Last Known Address". Reach The Sky was a hardcore punk band from Boston, MA that formed back in 1997. Their style reminds me of bands such as Good Riddance and A Wilhelm Scream, definitely punk with a harder edge but without totally losing some melodic qualities. Reach The Sky was definitely an underground band, never quite breaking out into the mainstream and mostly garnering a local following in the Boston area. During their six year career as a band, Reach The Sky released two studio albums, 4 EP's as well as a split 7". By 2003, the band had dissolved but most of it's members stayed involved in the music scene, a few of it's members joining the band Bane. In 2009, Reach The Sky members got back together in hopes of re-igniting the spark that the band once had. This reunion would prove to be short lived however, basically closing the book on the band's existence. Currently, there have been no signs that Reach The Sky will reform, whether for creating new music or just playing a few shows. They're pretty much a done deal.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Song Of The Week: 10/16/11

Song: "Radio"

Artist: Hot Water Music

Album: "Alkaline Trio/Hot Water Music" Split EP

Year: 2002

"Radio" is a song about a relationship that is so far gone that the vocalist doesn't just want her to leave, he wants to kill her!! The classic lines "I wish you would take my radio to bathe with you. Plugged in, and ready to fall" really say it all when you think about what he really feels about her. "Radio" was originally written by Chicago based punk band Alkaline Trio and was released on their 2000 album, "Maybe I'll Catch Fire". When Alkaline Trio and Hot Water Music decided to record a split EP together, both bands decided to cover the other's songs. One of the songs Hot Water Music chose was "Radio". I believe Hot Water Music's version of "Radio" really captures what the song is about much better. It probably has to do with Chuck Ragan's raspy vocals in contrast to Matt Skiba's on the Alkaline Trio version. Either way, both versions of "Radio" are great songs. I could make an argument that "Radio" is Alkaline Trio's best song. Hot Water Music formed as a band back in 1993, hailing from Gainesville, FL. They built a strong following due to their great live shows and their tight musicianship. Though the band never really crossed over to achieve huge amounts of fame, they were well respected in punk rock circles and would become a very influential band. Some bands that drew clear inspiration from Hot Water Music are The Gaslight Anthem, The Loved Ones, Flatliners and the Polar Bear Club. After constantly touring and releasing albums at a steady clip for some thirteen years, in 2006, Hot Water Music went on a bit of a hiatus due to lead singer Chuck Ragan having to step away from the band to care for his family. During this break from Hot Water Music, the remaining three members went on to form The Draft and released the album, "In A Million Pieces". Chuck Ragan also began dabbling in acoustic/folk orientated music and began releasing some solo material. When 2007 rolled around, rumors began to circulate that Hot Water Music were planning to get back together. By January of 2009, the rumors became fact as Hot Water Music got back together to perform a small tour. The band would also self-produce a 7" entitled "The Fire, The Steel, The Tread/Up To Nothing". Currently, the band has signed with Rise Records and are working on a new full length album. Chuck Ragan is still recording solo material as well, most recently 2011's "Covering Ground".

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Song Of The Week: 10/9/11

Song: "I Luv I Jah"

Artist: Cave In

Album: "Never Give In: A Tribute To Bad Brains"

Year: 1999

"I Luv I Jah" appears to be a song about not being accepted for who you are, how you act, what you wear, etc. The vocalist gives you the impression that people look down on him for the way he lives his life, even his own family tends to disagree with who he is as a person. In the end, it doesn't matter to him because as long as he has the love of his God, then he can continue to be true to himself and be himself and it's his faith that makes everything ok. Some say this song was written in response to the band Bad Brains joining the Rastafari movement, which some fans weren't happy about or left some fans feeling alienated by Bad Brains. Bad Brains was a legendary hardcore punk band from Washington D.C. that formed in 1977. Their original recording of "I Luv I Jah" was released on their self-titled album in 1982. It was their fusion of hardcore punk and reggae that influenced several reggae/ska/punk bands in the future such as Sublime and Fishbone. Boston based Cave In covered "I Luv I Jah" for a Bad Brains tribute album in 1999. The song was also re-released in 2010 as part of Cave In's b-side album, "Anomalies, Vol. 1". Cave In formed as a band back in 1995. They started out very much a screaming metalcore/hardcore band. Over the years, however, they would change their style from album to album. Sometimes their music is very spacey, featuring long instrumentals while other releases are more alternative rock based. Their 2003 album "Antenna" is very much an alternative rock album and thanks to the single "Anchor", became their most successful album to date. From 2006 to 2009, Cave In went on a bit of a hiatus from recording and touring. When they did get back together and record, the band seemed to revert back to their old hardcore days using less and less clean vocals and more screaming/shredding vocals. Currently, Cave In recently released their last studio album entitled "White Silence" in May of 2011. The band has said that they plan to start releasing future projects in mainly digital format while touring a little less frequently as well.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Song Of The Week: 10/2/11

Song: "Sleep"

Artist: Lagwagon

Album: "Live In A Dive"

Year: 2005

"Sleep" is a punk rock love song. It's a story of longing for someone who is far away from you. The vocalist is on tour with his band and is yearning for the day that the tour ends so he can be back with his girl. He is full of hope. Hope that his band will return from the road successful as well as hope that he and his girl will eventually have children and become the family that he has always envisioned would happen. The version of "Sleep" I chose as my song of the week comes from Lagwagon's live album "Live In A Dive". "Live In A Dive" would be a series of live recordings released by Fat Wreck Chords. Other notable acts to have released "Live In A Dive" albums were Fat Wreck bands No Use For A Name, Strung Out and Swingin' Utters. The original version of "Sleep" could be found on Lagwagon's 1995 album "Hoss". Lagwagon along with NOFX and No Use For A Name really define the skate punk sound that dominated Fat Wreck Chords since the early 90's and beyond. Lagwagon is a band that doesn't take itself too seriously. Much of their material is written with tongue very much in cheek. There is no denying, however, that this band has earned the respect in punk circles for paying their dues and always staying true to themselves. Lagwagon formed as a band back in 1990. During their career, they have released seven studio albums, one EP, one live cd, as well as a collection of b-sides, compilation tracks and demos. The last official release by Lagwagon was 2008's "I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon" EP. Since then, most of the band members have been working on other projects, most notably lead singer Joey Cape has released two albums which are mostly singer/songwriter, acoustic type projects. The band has got together to do a few small tours during this little hiatus they are on however, and Cape has said that Lagwagon has not broken up. He is, however, not sure if the band will ever release a full album again. They may get together to record a few songs here and there for release in the future and perform shows from time to time. Currently, Fat Wreck Chords is planning to re-release the band's first five albums in November of 2011. These re-issues can either be purchased separately or as a boxed set entitled "Putting Music In It's Place".