Sunday, December 25, 2011

Song Of The Week: 12/25/11

Song: "Oh Comely"

Artist: Brand New

Album: Unreleased Live Cover

Year: 2008

"Oh Comely" is a song that was orignially performed by 1990's indie rock band Neutral Milk Hotel and released on their 1998 album, "In The Aeroplane Over The Sea". Neutral Milk Hotel's frontman and chief songwriter Jeff Mangum is very much known for writing extremely vague lyrics in many of his songs and "Oh Comely" is no different. Many have said the song has some connection to Anne Frank as Mangum did have an apparent deep fascination with her story. Long Island, New York band Brand New has covered "Oh Comely" several times, both at their own shows and when Brand New frontman Jesse Lacey has performed solo. The version of the song I chose as my song of the week was performed by Brand New in February of 2008 in Perth, Australia. Brand New formed as a band back in 2000. With their first album, 2001's "Your Favorite Weapon", Brand New seemed to be on a path of that of a pop punk band. However, with each album thereafter, Brand New's sound would evolve to feature a more experimental or indie feel. Suprisingly, the changes in musical style actually helped Brand New achieve more success. In a time when bands get crushed for evolving their sound or branching out into new territory, Brand New was actually praised for it and it showed. Their third album, 2006's very dark "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me" would feature the band's highest charting single, "Jesus Christ". Also, their most recent studio release, 2009's "Daisy" would go on to be the band's highest charted album. It's not often in today's music world that a band is offered the freedom to explore their style and sound and not be forced to put out the same old same old that made them successful. When recording "Daisy", Brand New frontman said he felt the album felt like the ending of something or a closure of sorts. He wondered if the band had run it's course or if he was content that Brand New had said everything he wanted it to say as a band. Luckily for fans of the band, Lacey and bandmates confirmed that the band was not breaking up. Currently, Brand New have been focused on performing on the road as of late. They also re-released their first album, "Your Favorite Weapon" which featured some unreleased demos. The band is also considering whether to release full albums in the future or just release music digitally a few songs at a time. After fulfilling their record contract, Brand New has total freedom to make these decisions as they see fit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Song Of The Week: 12/18/11

Song: "In The Air Tonight"

Artist: Lostprophets

Album: "Last Summer" EP

Year: 2004

"In The Air Tonight" was originally written and recorded by former Genesis frontman Phil Collins and released on his 1981 album "Face Value". The song was written about a failing relationship between Collins and his then-wife at the time. The song is full of bitterness and anger towards his former wife and at the betrayal with which she did to him. "In The Air Tonight" is arguably one of the most popular songs which came out of the 80's decade. Lostprophets covered "In The Air Tonight" and in 2004, released the song as a b-side to their hit single "Last Summer". Lostprophets formed as a band back in 1997, hailing from Pontypridd, Wales. The band's first album, 2000's "Thefakesoundofprogress" definitely garnered the band some attention but it was their next two album that really blew up for the band, especially in America. 2004's "Start Something" and 2006's "Liberation Transmission" really put Lostprophets on the map in the music world, mostly thanks to successful singles such as "Last Train Home", "Wake Up", "Last Summer" and "Rooftops". They were a hard band to actually label because so many musical styles influenced their work. Sometimes they were referred to as nu-metal, other times alternative rock or just plain hard rock. They definitely used various elements to help create their own signature sound. You can hear elements of metal, pop, and even punk at times in their music. After releasing "Liberation Transmission" it took the band some three years to finally release their follow up, 2010's "The Betrayed". By the time of this release, Lostprophets lost some steam in the States as far as popularity goes, but in the U.K., they were still largely successful. Due to their past successes, they are still considered "headliner" material when it comes to tours and various festivals around the world. Currently, Lostprophets spent most of 2011 hard at work on their soon to be released fifth album which is slated for an early 2012 release.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Song Of The Week: 12/11/11

Song: "Jeffrey Lee"

Artist: The Explosion

Album: "No Revolution" EP

Year: 2005

"Jeffrey Lee" is a rare song or a b-side if you will recorded by Boston, MA punk band The Explosion. The song was a tribute to Jeffrey Lee Pierce, who was the frontman of 1980's punk band The Gun Club. Pierce passed away in 1996 due to a brain hemorrhage. The Explosion formed as a band back in 1998. They built a steady following and slowly but surely began joining the ranks of the many Boston punk bands that were part of the scene, including Dropkick Murphys, The Ducky Boys, Far From Finished and the Street Dogs. Their debut album, 2000's "Flash Flash Flash" was a definite critical success for the band. Spin Magazine even went on to say that the album was one of the top twenty albums released in 2000. The band would even be courted by major label Virgin Records who would release their follow up album, 2004's "Black Tape". "Black Tape" would see the band gather an even bigger following, mostly thanks to the singles "Here I Am" and "No Revolution". After having released two studio albums, six EP's and a couple of live albums, The Explosion began working on their third studio album which they hoped to release in 2007, however Virgin Records decided to drop the band from their label. An album was supposedly completed and was entitled "Bury Me Standing". It was thought that the band worked out a deal with Paper + Plastick Records and that they would release "Bury Me Standing", however some three years later and the album has still not been released. From 2008 to 2011, it was generally believed that The Explosion were broken up or at the very least on an indefinite hiatus. The good news is that legendary punk band The Bouncing Souls have confirmed that The Explosion will reunite to play on the Bouncing Souls' "Home For The Holidays" concerts scheduled for late December 2011 in New Jersey. Perhaps this is a good sign that The Explosion will be releasing new material in the near future.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Song Of The Week: 12/4/11

Song: "Apparition"

Artist: No Use For A Name

Album: "Keep Them Confused"

Year: 2005

"Apparition" appears to be a song about complete and utter depression. The vocalist feels so rejected by the outside world that all he wants to do is lock himself away in his room and lay in bed. Even trying to sleep his life away comes with it's problems as well, as his sleep is often interrupted by constant nightmares. While he tries to call on his ego to help him get out of this funk, his ego appears to him as nothing more than an apparition to him. Therefore, the one thing that might possibly save him ultimately can not. No Use For A Name is a punk band hailing from San Jose, California which started out back in 1987. Early on, No Use was more of a hardcore punk band, especially with original lead singer John Meyers at the helm. By 1989, Meyers would be replaced by guitarist and vocalist Tony Sly. Sly would eventually become the driving force of the band, becoming the chief songwriter and changing the musical direction of the band. In 1993, No Use joined historic punk label, Fat Wreck Chords. No Use along with NOFX and Lagwagon would give Fat Wreck it's signature sound. At this time, No Use began becoming less hardcore and more melodic/skate punk. In the mid 90's, when punk rock began having a resurgence of sorts thanks to bands like Green Day, Offspring, Bad Religion and Rancid, No Use started achieving it's best success as a band, right around the releases of their 1995 album "Leche Con Carne" and 1997's "Making Friends". No Use was kind of in that second tier of punk bands that emerged on the scene at that time. They didn't quite manage the success of Green Day or Rancid, but they always managed to get their respect. They were regulars on punk festivals such as the Warped Tour throughout the years. As the band entered the 2000's, they weren't quite as active as they had been in the 90's but still managed to release new material, their last album being 2008's "The Feel Good Record Of The Year". Much of the sporadic tours and releases as a band were mostly because of Tony Sly working on his solo material, which was more singer/songwriter acoustic stuff. The band is still very much intact, however. No Use For A Name still tours when Tony Sly isn't focused on doing some solo shows. Currently, the band has been comfirmed that they are working on a new album with a tentative release date scheduled for early 2012.