Sunday, December 30, 2012

Song Of The Week: 12/30/12

Song: "If You Could See Into My Soul"

Artist: Silverstein

Album: "Arrivals And Departures"

Year: 2007

"If You Could See Into My Soul" is a song that appears to be about two people that cannot co-exist together in a relationship anymore. It seems the vocalist has put up with her lying ways for too long. But, he's not just breaking up with her, he has some information that would scar her to her soul. A "dagger" if you will. He's letting her know that he has something juicy on her, but he's kind of just dangling it out there. It doesn't seem like he broke the news to her yet but it's something he's kept in his back pocket. Most of the songs on "Arrivals And Departures" are said to be about Silverstein's lead vocalist, Shane Told's tumultuous relationship with his ex-girlfriend. Silverstein formed as a band back in 2000. They are from Ontario, Canada. In 2000, the band released their very first EP entitled "Summer's Stellar Gaze". They followed that up with another EP in 2002 called "When The Shadows Beam". These two EP's caught the ear of Victory Records who signed Silverstein in 2002. Their very first full length album with Victory was released in 2003, called "When Broken Is Easily Fixed". It was their second album, however, that garnered the band it's most critical success. That would be 2005's "Discovering The Waterfront". Thanks in part to the hit single, "Smile In Your Sleep", Silverstein definitely secured a spot on the rock and roll map. 2005 also saw the band release "18 Candles: The Early Years". This was a compilation of songs, including the band's old EP's as well as several remixes, demos and acoustic tracks. In 2007, Silverstein released "Arrivals And Departures". This album saw Silverstein stray away from their post-hardcore/punk style and was a much more straight forward rock and roll album. Critics and fans were not very happy with the abrupt change in style. The band did however have their first tours of Australia and Japan in support of that album. In 2008, Silverstein played their 1000th show, which was performed in Paris, France. 2009 saw the band release their fifth studio album entitled "A Shipwreck In The Sand". This album was a return to the style that their fans accustomed to. In 2010, Silverstein recorded some live shows in Toronto, Canada that eventually were to be made into a live cd/dvd. That live album was called "Decade (Live at the El Mocambo". The band also left Victory Records in 2010 and signed with Hopeless Records. Their first release with Hopeless was 2010's "Transitions" EP. In 2011, Silverstein released their sixth album, "Rescue", through Hopeless Records. In 2012, Silverstein recorded an album of eleven original songs as well as eleven cover songs, all the songs being no longer than ninety seconds long. This album was called "Short Songs". For the past twelve years, Silverstein has been going non-stop it seems. They release new material at least every two years, sometimes even quicker. They also seem to be endlessly touring. Currently, it was announced in November of 2012 that their new studio full length album will come out in February of 2013. This hard working band just doesn't seem to sleep!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Song Of The Week: 12/23/12

Song: "Doesn't Remind Me"

Artist: Chris Cornell

Album: "Unplugged In Sweden"

Year: 2006

"Doesn't Remind Me" appears to be a song about perhaps taking a step back and appreciating the small things in life. It seems the vocalist wants to get away from all those things in his life that he held very sacred, things he's invested so much of himself in. Some which have caused joy and some which have caused pain. He just wants to appreciate the small things in life that maybe don't mean much to anyone, but to him, they are little things that he enjoys. The original version of "Doesn't Remind Me" comes off the 2005 Audioslave album "Out Of Exile". This version was recorded in 2006 on one of Chris Cornell's solo acoustic tours. The concert was recorded in Stockholm, Sweden at O-Baren's on September 7, 2006 and was made into a bootleg recording, never officially released. Chris Cornell is one of the greatest hard rock singers ever and one of the forefathers of the Seattle grunge movement. In 1984, he helped form one of the greatest band's of all time, Soundgarden. From the mid to late 80's, Soundgarden was very much in the Seattle music underground, but right around 1990/1991, the music from the great northwest began to explode on the music charts. Soundgarden, along with Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Pearl Jam changed the musical landscape forever. It was also around this time that Cornell and the remaining members of Mother Love Bone (Jeff Ament and Stone Gossard) would hook up with an aspiring guitarist, Mike McCready and a San Diego surfer, Eddie Vedder and create the Temple Of The Dog, which began as a tribute from Chris Cornell to Mother Love Bone lead singer Andrew Wood, who passed away from a heroin overdose. Soundgarden would continue on until 1997, dropping five full length studio albums as well as various live albums, compilations and EP's. Internal conflicts caused Soundgarden to disband in 1997, much to the dismay of their fans and the rock world in general. Cornell would begin to focus on a solo career in 1998. In 1999, he released his very first solo album, "Euphoria Morning". This album showed a "lighter" side to Cornell, but his vocal range remained impeccable. In 2001, Chris Cornell joined forces with the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine after their frontman Zack de la Rocha left the band. The supergroup Audioslave was born. For six years Audioslave stood atop the rock and roll world, releasing three Grammy nominated albums and embarking on several successful tours. Internal conflicts would once again rear their ugly head in the band setting and Cornell departed Audioslave in 2007. Cornell would again focus on his solo career, releasing "Carry On" in 2007. This album featured the Grammy winning song "You Know My Name" which was featured in the James Bond movie "Casino Royale" along with a cover of Michael Jackson's hit song "Billie Jean". In 2009, Cornell teamed up with R&B producer Timbaland and created the album "Scream". This was quite the departure for Cornell as this album drifted away from his rock roots and focused more on R&B and soul music. Critics panned the album as fans called for Cornell to get back to his rock roots. Fans would have reason to rejoice in 2010 as rumors of a Soundgarden reunion were found to be true. The long time grunge giants reformed and were set to headline the 2010 Lollapalooza festival. In 2011, Cornell donated the new song "The Keeper" to the movie "Machine Gun Preacher". He also embarked on a solo acoustic tour which resulted in a live acoustic album entitled "Songbook". 2012 was a year to focus on Soundgarden. They released a song for "The Avengers" movie soundtrack called "Live To Rise" as well as releasing their long awaited new album, "King Animal". Currently, Chris Cornell is embarking on a major tour with Soundgarden in support of "King Animal". Not sure if or when Cornell will do any more solo stuff but for now, it's time to enjoy the Soundgarden wave. Hopefully, it lasts for many more years!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Song Of The Week: 12/16/12

Song: "Duality"

Artist: Bayside

Album: "The Walking Wounded"

Year: 2007

"Duality" appears to be a song about a relationship that is starting to dissolve but it seems like the battle is more with the vocalist himself rather than between him and his partner. He realizes that she is the only thing that makes him feel alive yet he is torn as to which way he should be to make the relationship last. He's fighting with himself, almost as if he's two different people or has a dual personality, hence "Duality". Bayside is a band that formed back in 2000. They are from Queens, New York. In 2000 the band managed to pass along a demo tape to the band New Found Glory. This allowed some strings to be pulled so that they can release their very first EP called "Long Stories Short". In 2003, they released a split EP with the band Name Taken. They also garnered enough attention to be signed by Victory Records. In 2004, Bayside released their Victory Records debut entitled "Sirens And Condolences". This album featured the single "Masterpiece". 2005 saw the band release their second full length album, the self titled "Bayside". While on tour to support "Bayside", tragedy struck the band when their touring van was involved in a serious accident which led to the untimely death of the band's drummer, John Holohan. Bayside would release an acoustic cd titled "Acoustic" which featured a new song "Winter" which was written as a tribute to their fallen bandmate. In 2007, with a new drummer in toe, Bayside released "The Walking Wounded". This album saw some success due to the hit single "Duality". 2008 would see the band drop their fourth album, "Shudder". They would also release their very first live album, "Live At The Bayside Social Club", in 2008 as well. During this time Bayside was a featured act on such festivals as Bamboozle, their third stint on that festival, and the Vans Warped Tour, their fourth stint on that tour as well. When 2010 rolled around, Bayside had fulfilled their commitments to Victory Records and decided to move on and sign with Wind-Up Records. In 2011, they released their fifth album, "Killing Time". This album spawned the singles "Already Gone", "Sick,Sick,Sick" and "Mona Lisa". In 2012 Bayside was once again featured on the Warped Tour and lead singer Anthony Raneri would also show up on the Warped Acoustic Basement Stage and perform some solo acoustic sets as well. The band also created their very own record label at this time called Gumshoe Records. Their very first release on Gumshoe was an EP titled "Covers Volume 1". This EP contained songs that Bayside covered from artists such as Van Morrison, Elvis Costello and Billy Joel. The band also intends to release more volumes of cover songs in the future as well. Besides all the frequent touring and releasing of new music, Bayside frontman Raneri also managed to find some time to perform some solo acoustic tours and even released a solo EP called "New Cathedrals" in 2012. Currently, Bayside is on tour supporting the band Taking Back Sunday on their "Tell All Your Friends" 10th anniversary tour. Raneri has also stated that Bayside will go in the studio to work on a new album in January of 2013.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Song Of The Week: 12/9/12

Song: "Weary Saints"

Artist: Dustin Kensrue

Album: "Please Come Home"

Year: 2007

To understand the meaning of "Weary Saints", you should first be aware that Dustin Kensrue is a very spiritual and religious person. With that said, many of his songs and lyrics deal directly or indirectly about God and religion. "Weary Saints" is no different. It's basically about not losing your faith. In life, you will face various trials and tribulations and adversities. You will also sin and at times question faith. When it is all said and done, however, if you keep your faith in God, you will feel His light and love and embrace which is bigger than your imperfections and bigger than even death itself because you will live in immortality in God's light. Dustin Kensrue was active musically since 1998 when he helped form the band Thrice as their vocalist and rhythm guitarist. From 1998 till 2012, Thrice would drop eight studio albums, one live album, two compilations and five EP's. Their early material was geared more towards a post-hardcore sound, even with some punk elements. As the years went by, they became very experimental with their music without compromising their edge. Thrice was definitely a well respected band and hugely influential in rock and roll circles. I personally believe them to be one of the best bands to come out. Everything is strong about the band. Their musicianship, their lyrics, their songs and their live performances are all top notch. In 2007, Kensrue completed his very first solo project entitled "Please Come Home". This album featured Dustin in a more relaxed, acoustic guitar setting and consisted of songs that reminded him of some of the music that he enjoyed to listen to as a kid. The album debuted at number 142 on the Billboard 200 charts and was reviewed favorably by most critics. In 2008, Kensrue completed a Christmas album entitled "This Good Night Is Still Everywhere". This album would feature eight Christmas song covers as well as two new original songs. In 2012, Thrice announced that they would be going on a hiatus. Kensrue, himself, declared that the band has not officially broken up, just that they would not be as active as they were. 2012 also saw religion really come to the forefront of Dustin's life. He became the worship leader for the Mars Hill Church, which is located in Washington state. While there, he also formed a band called The Modern Post, which is a spiritual based band. So far with The Modern Post, Kensrue has released one EP entitled "Grace Alone". Currently, Kensrue's primary focus is on his church work and The Modern Post. Hopefully the door is still cracked open for Thrice to continue on as well but that appears like it will be something that will be down the road. It would be a shame if the book officially closes on Thrice because, as I said earlier, they are a very solid band that definitely shouldn't be underappreciated. I guess we should have faith just like Dustin!!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Song Of The Week: 12/2/12

Song: "Make It Wit Chu"

Artist: Queens Of The Stone Age

Album: "Era Vulgaris"

Year: 2007

"Make It Wit Chu" is a pretty straight forward song. It's basically about sex. The vocalist doesn't know about all the other things that comprise and make up the perfect relationship with someone. What he does know is that in this particular relationship, the sex is what makes it go. It's not a love song. He's not promising the stars and the moon. He's just promising the sex!! "Make It Wit Chu" originally appeared on Josh Homme's side project, "Desert Sessions" and also appeared on the band's 2005 live cd/dvd "Over The Years And Through The Woods" before seeing official release on the band's fifth album "Era Vulgaris". Queens Of The Stone Age formed as a band out of the ashes of the band Kyuss back in 1996. Vocalist and guitarist Josh Homme is really the only constant member in the band as it usually has a revolving door of other artists and contributors. To name a few of the people that have either played on entire albums with Queens or have just contributed here and there are Troy Van Leeuwen, Dave Grohl (Foo Fighters), Billy Gibbons (ZZ Top), Mark Lanegan (Screaming Trees), Matt Cameron (Soundgarden, Pearl Jam), Nick Oliveri, Rob Halford (Judas Priest), Alain Johannes, and Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails). Queens Of The Stone Age's very first release as a band was 1996's EP "Gamma Ray". Shortly after they released their debut full length album "Queens Of The Stone Age" in 1998. 2000 would see the band begin to hit their stride with the release of "Rated R". Their popularity began to rise on the heels of the drug inspired single "Feel Good Hit Of The Summer". In 2002, "Songs For The Deaf" was released and the album would wind up achieving gold status, thanks in part to the Grammy nominated hit singles "No One Knows" and "Go With The Flow". This album also featured the drumming of Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters but would also be the last album to feature bassist and fan favorite Nick Oliveri. 2005 saw the release of "Lullabies To Paralyze" which debuted at number five on the Billboard Music Charts. The band also released their very first live cd/dvd that year entitled "Over The Years And Through The Woods". In 2007, the band released their fifth studio album, "Era Vulgaris". After ten plus years of recording and touring, between 2009 and 2011 the band took a little break from each other. Most members began taking up various side projects, most notable of these was Them Crooked Vultures which featured Josh Homme on guitar and vocals, Dave Grohl on drums and legendary musician John Paul Jones of Led Zeppelin on bass and various other instruments. Homme also found time to remaster, re-package and re-release Queens Of The Stone Age's first two albums, the self titled and "Rated R". In 2012, it was also announced that the band was back in the studio, hard at work on what will be their sixth studio album. Dave Grohl has officially signed on the be the band's drummer on the new album as well. Currently, the hope was to have the new album released in late 2012. However, it's looking more and more like new music will see the light sometime in early 2013. Be sure to expect more of the same big guitar riff orientated rock and roll that compares itself more to the likes of Led Zeppelin than most of the band's contemporaries!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Song Of The Week: 11/25/12

Song: "Tomorrow Starts Today"

Artist: 88 Fingers Louie

Album: "Back On The Streets"

Year: 1998

"Tomorrow Starts Today" is a typical "break up" song. The vocalist has found out about her cheating and lying ways, mostly from her "so-called" friends who basically ratted her out. He's basically saying in the song that what they had is over and he's living for today and his future. A future which definitely does not include her. 88 Fingers Louie was a punk band that formed back in 1993. They were very much a part of the growing Chicago punk scene, which included fellow bands such as Alkaline Trio, The Lawrence Arms and Rise Against. In fact, 88 Fingers Louie band members Dan Wleklinski and Joe Principe actually were the founding members of Rise Against. Joe Principe is still the current bass player of Rise Against in fact while Wleklinski left that band to pursue other projects in 2001. From 1993 to 1995, 88 Fingers Louie dropped several EP's and splits and wound up catching the ears of legendary punk label Fat Wreck Chords who signed the band and put out their full length debut, 1995's "Behind Bars". Amidst all kinds of inner turmoil and constant fighting amongst band members, they still stayed intact to release a few more EP's. In 1997, Fat Wreck Chords decided to release a compilation album of all of 88 Fingers Louie EP's and 7" releases under the name "The Dom Years". In 1998, the band released their second full length album entitled "Back On The Streets". After just about a year from that release, however, the tensions within the band reached a boiling point of no return. 88 Fingers Louie decided to disband in 1999. For the ten year span of 1999 to 2009, all the band members began doing their own thing, as I said earlier, the most notable of these projects was the formation of Rise Against that guitarist Dan Wleklinski and bassist Joe Principe were a part of. In 2009, the band reunited, minus Principe, and played at Chicago's annual "Riot Fest". The band also recorded and taped a live set at Chicago's Bottom Lounge on August 15, 2009. This show would be released as a cd and a dvd under the name "88 Fingers Louie Lives". By 2011, 88 Fingers Louie decided to call it quits again and focus on their other projects. Currently, it appears 88 Fingers Louie is officially done as a band. They were a well respected band in punk circles, especially in the Chicago area, but they could never quite keep it together to have any significant impact with their music.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Song Of The Week: 11/18/12

Song: "On A Wire"

Artist: Funeral For A Friend

Album: "Tales Don't Tell Themselves"

Year: 2007

To understand what "On A Wire" is about is to understand that "Tales Don't Tell Themselves" is a concept album. According to Funeral For A Friend's lead vocalist, Matthew Davies-Kreye, the story of the album is almost like "The Perfect Storm" meets "Castaway". It's about a fisherman who's ship is wrecked at sea. He loses his whole crew in the disaster and eventually washes up on a deserted island all alone. He eventually builds a raft and weathers the rough seas once again in hopes of reuniting with his wife and daughter. "On A Wire" is the part of the story after his ship has wrecked and he is stuck on that island really feeling isolated and lonely. Funeral For A Friend are a band from the United Kingdom that formed back in 2001. They were very much influenced by bands such as Iron Maiden, Deftones and The Get Up Kids and you can really hear elements of all of those bands in their music. Early on, they had a post-hardcore, almost metal feel to their music and it showed on their debut album, 2003's "Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation". That album would reach gold certification on the heels of three top 20 singles in their home country. In 2005, the band released "Hours". This was Funeral For A Friend's major label debut on Atlantic Records. The band recorded "Hours" in two Seattle studios, both of which were owned by grunge icons Pearl Jam. The band also went on some major tours during this time including the Warped Tour alongside bands such as Thrice, Hawthorne Heights and Atreyu. They also headlined the British leg of the Taste Of Chaos tour with fellow bands such as The Used, Rise Against and Story Of The Year. 2007 saw the band release the concept album "Tales Don't Tell Themselves". This was the band's highest charting album, peaking at number three on the U.K. album charts. With singles such as "Into Oblivion (Reunion)", you could see the band go in yet another musical direction, less post-hardcore and more melodic, almost atmospheric. In 2008, Funeral For A Friend would release "Memory And Humanity". This album would see the band get more into the aggressive style and screaming vocals that were prevalent on their debut album. In 2009, the band fulfilled their obligations to Atlantic Records by releasing a greatest hits album, "Your History Is Mine: 2002-2009". This compilation also featured four new songs as well. In 2011, Funeral For A Friend returned to their original label, "Good Fight Music", and released "Welcome Home Armageddon". For ten plus years, Funeral For A Friend were a very active band and remain so today. They've released five studio albums, seven EP's, two live albums and also some DVD's. They are a very influential post-hardcore band, especially in their home country, the United Kingdom. Currently, the band is expected to release their sixth studio album in early 2013. With all the music they've created and continue to create and the constant touring, their doesn't appear to be any stopping Funeral For A Friend any time soon.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Song Of The Week: 11/11/12

Song: "A Fear Of Being Alone"

Artist: The Exies

Album: "A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth"

Year: 2007

"A Fear Of Being Alone" appears to be about exactly what the title says. The vocalist fears losing the only person who is his hope and his light. He feels almost paralyzed by the fear of losing this person. She is what he lives for. No matter what's wrong with him, when he's with her, she makes everything right. She's his reason to breathe, his reason to live. The Exies formed as a band back in 1997. They are from Los Angeles, California. After toiling around for a few years, in 2000 they released their debut self-titled album. While touring in support of that album, The Exies caught the ear of Virgin Records who promply signed the band. In 2002, The Exies released their Virgin Records debut, "Inertia". Thanks in part to the single "My Goddess", "Inertia" turned out to be The Exies most successful album. "My Goddess" would go on to reach number 12 on the Modern Rock charts in fact. In 2004, the band released "Head For The Door". This album spawned another successful single, "Ugly". This also led to the band opening for Velvet Revolver which would be The Exies very first arena tour. In 2006, after just two albums with the label, Virgin Records decided to drop The Exies from their roster. In 2007, the band hooked on with a smaller label and released the album "A Modern Way Of Living With The Truth". In a span of ten years, The Exies were a very active band, releasing four albums during that time. The band has been inactive however since last touring with the band Trust Company in 2008. Lead singer, Scott Stevens, did go on to co-write some songs for the bands Theory Of A Deadman and Halestorm in 2011. Currenty, as I said earlier, The Exies have not been active since 2008. While there has been no confirmation of a break-up, there has also been no confirmation of any activity, whether that is recording new material or playing any live shows. For now, it appears that the band is on a hiatus.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Song Of The Week: 11/4/12

Song: "Big Dumb Sex"

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: "Louder Than Love"

Year: 1989

"Big Dumb Sex" was written by Soundgarden vocalist Chris Cornell as kind of a parody of glam rock, hair metal and all the "cock" rock bands of the 80's. He basically said what those bands all wanted to say without using cheesy metaphors for sexual intercourse. Lyrically, the song shows that Soundgarden could also be humorous and not always dark and depressive. Soundgarden is one of the forefathers of the Seattle "grunge" movement and is one of the most successful and influential bands in heavy rock music. They are closely tied with the famous Seattle record label Sub Pop with whom they released their first two EP's, 1987's "Screaming Life" and 1988's "Fopp". 1988 also saw the band release it's first full length album, "Ultramega OK". In 1989, Soundgarden signed to major label A&M Records and released "Louder Than Love". It was after this release that original bassist Hiro Yamamoto left the band and was replaced with Ben Shepherd rounding out the band's line-up, Cornell on vocals and rhythm guitar, Kim Thayil on lead guitar, Shepherd on bass and Matt Cameron on drums. In 1991, the band released "Badmotorfinger". Thanks to the singles "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage", as well as the emergence of fellow Seattle bands, Alice In Chains, Nirvana and Pearl Jam, Soundgarden began to propel into the mainstream of what was going on in the music scene. Their appearance on the 1992 Lollapalooza Tour further solidified them in the alternative music scene, playing along side bands like Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chilli Peppers and Ministry. The "grunge" movement was now what was relevant in music and the "hair" metal days were dead and buried, thank God!! In 1994, Soundgarden would release it's landmark album, "Superunknown". This album debuted at number one on the Billboard 200 charts, thanks in part to the hit singles, "Spoonman", "The Day I Tried To Live", "Black Hole Sun", "My Wave" and "Fell On Black Days". This album was certified five times platinum and won several awards, including Grammys and MTV Video Music Awards. What should have seemed like the best of times for this hard working band, also proved to be the worst of times. In the process of making 1996's "Down On The Upside", internal conflicts began to arise within the band, especially between Cornell and Thayil. Cornell wanted the band to expand in different musical directions while Thayil did not want to compromise the heavy sound that they were known for. To the listener, Soundgarden just made another great album featuring tracks like "Pretty Noose", "Burden In My Hand" and "Blow Up The Outside World". On the inside, however, the cracks within the band were becoming unfixable. In 1997, Soundgarden announced to the world that they had broken up. They released a singles compilation called "A-Sides" to sum up their career. From 1998 till 2009, the members of Soundgarden worked on various projects. Cornell focused on his solo albums and also joined the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine after their frontman Zack de la Rocha departed. That supergroup was called Audioslave and they had a short, but successful career as a band. Thayil would go on to work with people like the Dead Kennedy's frontman Jello Biafra as well as former Nirvana members Krist Novoselic and Dave Grohl. Matt Cameron focused on his side band, Wellwater Conspiracy for a while, then wound up joining Pearl Jam. Shepherd also worked with Wellwater Conspiracy then played bass for Mark Lanegan. In October of 2009, all four members of Soundgarden showed up at a Pearl Jam concert in California. It marked the first time that all four members appeared together in over ten years. It also sparked rumors of a possible reunion. Those rumors were changed to truth in January of 2010 when Cornell announced that Soundgarden would be riding again! In April of 2010, Soundgarden played their first live show since 1997. They also announced that they would be headlining that year's Lollapalooza festival. "Telephantasm: A Retrospective" was released that year as well, basically a new compilation of Soundgarden hits. 2011 saw the release of the band's very first live album entitled "Live On I-5". It was also announced that the band was officially working on a new album. A new song, "Live To Rise", was featured on the soundtrack to the movie "The Avengers" as well. Currently, Soundgarden has been touring and are excited, as well as their legions of fans, to announce that their brand new album, "King Animal", will be released in November of 2012.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Song Of The Week: 10/28/12

Song: "Ordinary Girl"

Artist: Chris Cornell

Album: "Scream"

Year: 2009

"Ordinary Girl" appears to be a song about a woman who's beauty is so mesmerizing that you fall totally in love with her. The problem is that she uses that against you. She uses her beauty to draw you in, then she takes you for everything you have. She not only wants to take you for your money, she also wants to take you for your soul. Basically, the vocalist is saying that looks can be deceiving. What's beautiful on the outside is cold and evil on the inside. Chris Cornell is one of the greatest rock and roll vocalists of all time. He has one of the strongest vocal ranges of any lead singer in rock history. His story starts in Seattle, Washington back in 1984 when he helped form one of the most influential hard rock bands to ever come out, Soundgarden. In the mid to late 80's, Soundgarden was very much in the underground of a music scene that was about to explode. Soon bands like Soundgarden and Alice In Chains began creating a buzz. Along the way, there was also the band Nirvana which was set to change the way people looked at hard rock music. Cornell's roommate and best friend, Andrew Wood, lead singer of the band Mother Love Bone, would fall victim to the abuses of heroin. This left a huge void in the whole Seattle music scene and personally affected Cornell in a big way. Now it's 1991. Cornell has put some song tribute songs together for his fallen friend Andy Wood. He enlists the help of former Mother Love Bone members Stone Gossard and Jeff Ament as well as a San Diego surfer, Eddie Vedder and a shredder on guitar Mike McCready. A couple of songs turn into a whole album, "Temple Of The Dog". The Seattle grunge explosion is on the verge of happening. Vedder, Gossard, Ament and McCready form Pearl Jam and release "Ten". Nirvana rocks the world with the release of "Nevermind". Alice In Chains strike gold with "Dirt" and Soundgarden drops "Badmotorfinger". The music world has turned upside down and "hair" metal is dead!! Cornell and Soundgarden would go on to drop landmark albums in the 90's. Along with 1991's "Badmotorfinger" came 1994's classic "Superunknown" and 1996's "Down On The Upside". After 13 years as a band, however, tensions began to arise and a break-up was inevitable. In 1997, Soundgarden officially split up. In 1999, Cornell released his first solo album, "Euphoria Morning". This album began to show Cornell's range as an artist. It was definitely a softer side compared to the aggression that was Soundgarden but it really highlighted Cornell's songwriting abilities and showed he could still shine on different kinds of music. The solo career would prove to be short-lived however, as the remaining members of Rage Against The Machine would come calling Cornell after the departure of their lead vocalist Zack de la Rocha. The supergroup would officially get together in 2001 and take the name Audioslave. Audioslave saw huge success as a band. The meshing of one of the greatest vocalists of all time, Cornell, and one of the greatest guitarists of all time, Tom Morello, proved to be a smash. Audioslave sat atop the rock world from 2001 till 2007. During that time they dropped three successful albums, "Audioslave", "Out Of Exile" and "Revelations". Once again, however, tensions arose in the band setting that would ultimately cause Cornell to leave the band. In 2007, Cornell began to focus on his solo career once again. He contributed the theme song to the James Bond film "Casino Royale" titled "You Know My Name". He also dropped a new solo album called "Carry On". In 2009, Cornell wanted to expand in an even further direction musically when he hooked up with R&B producer Timbaland and created the album "Scream". Though "Scream" was Cornell's highest charting solo album, #10 on the Billboard 200 charts, it was also mostly panned by music critics. The R&B feel to the album just didn't click with longtime fans and critics who felt Cornell should stick with what he does best, heavy rock. There were rumors that Cornell was going to rework the entire album as a rock album, but he would only do two alternate "rock" versions for the songs, "Never Far Away" and "Long Gone". In 2011, Cornell released an acoustic live album entitled "Songbook". It's a real treat to hear the power of Cornell's voice in an acoustic setting. Before the release of "Songbook", Soundgarden fans rejoiced with the news that the band was getting back together. After headlining a few festivals such as Lollapalooza, it was announced that the band had been working on new material and a new album, titled "King Animal", would be released in November of 2012. Currently, Cornell's focus is on the beast that is Soundgarden. Fans couldn't be happier because, really, this is where he belongs, fronting one of the heaviest and most influential bands of all time!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Song Of The Week: 10/21/12

Song: "Blue Times Two"

Artist: Avail

Album: "Front Porch Stories"

Year: 2002

"Blue Times Two" appears to be a song about biting your tongue during an argument. Sometimes it's better not to say anything and accept that mistakes were made by both people and move on. You get a sense that this relationship is most likely on the outs however. Arguments are making it worse and talking about their problems seems to be getting them nowhere. The vocalist clearly hates himself for the way things turned out, but I believe he sees the writing on the wall, that the relationship is moving towards an end. Avail was a hardcore/punk band that formed back in 1987. They are from Richmond, Virginia. Vocalist Tim Barry actually started out as the band's drummer on their early demos. By the time the band self-released their first album, 1992's "Satiate", Barry was the lead singer. The band was signed to Lookout! Records who would re-release "Satiate" as well as the band's next three albums, 1994's "Dixie", 1996's "4am Friday", and 1998's "Over The James". These three albums would also receive the re-release treatment when the band signed with Jade Tree Records later on in their career. In 2000, Avail joined prominent punk label Fat Wreck Chords and released "One Wrench". Fat Wreck would also release what would be Avail's final studio album, "Front Porch Stories" in 2002. After almost twenty-one years of toiling in the underground of the hardcore punk scene, Avail decided to call it quits and focus on new projects. Tim Barry has said in interviews that the band is on "permanent standby" and that basically Avail is a thing of the past. All in all it was a long run for the band however. Along with their six full length studio albums, Avail also released two demos, four EP's and three live albums. Their legacy in their hometown of Richmond, Virginia still remains strong as well. It's quite common to see the band's "Dixie" logo in graffiti or on sidewalk impressions as well as on tattoos all over the Richmond area. Currently, most members of Avail are focusing on new projects. Some members went on to form the bands The Ghost Run and Freeman. The most notable side project however, proved to be Tim Barry's solo career. Like many punk rock frontmen, Barry caught the wave of folk/punk, turning down the distortion and picking up an acoustic to focus more on his songwriting capabilities. As for Avail, it appears safe to close the book on that band for now.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Song Of The Week: 10/14/12

Song: "Millstone"

Artist: Brand New

Album: "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me"

Year: 2006

"Millstone" is a song that appears to be about looking back on your life and having some regrets about the way things have turned out. It could be as simple as losing your faith or perhaps not just a religious angle. It could just be about losing who you are as a person. This person, the vocalist, places no blame on anyone but himself for the way things turned out in his life. He wears the burden around his neck and he is remorseful for the mistakes he's made. Whatever he's walked away from, whether it's family, friends, relationships or even God, he owns up to it, regrettably. Brand New, from Long Island, New York, formed as a band back in 2000. Their first album, 2001's "Your Favorite Weapon" saw the band use sort of a pop punk style and was mildly successful. When it was time to record their second album, 2003's "Deja Entendu", Brand New changed up their style a bit and the maturity of the music and songwriting really shined through especially on the hit singles "The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows" and "Sic Transit Gloria...Glory Fades". This album would go on to be certified Gold. In 2006, Brand New signed with Interscope Records and released "The Devil And God Are Raging Inside Me". This album saw the band descend into some darker material. Vocalist/guitarist Jesse Lacey was really exploring his inner demons on this record almost to the point of leading him to depression. The first single "Sowing Season" was dark and emotional while the second single "Jesus" would go on to be the highest charting single in the U.S. for the band. In 2008, Brand New formed their own record label called Procrastinate! Music Traitors. In 2009, they released their fourth studio effort, "Daisy". This album proved to be the highest charting of all the Brand New albums, peaking at #6 on the Billboard 200 charts. Despite the success of "Daisy", Lacey felt that a lot of the songs on the album focused on the possible end of the band. He began to wonder if the band had said everything that it wanted to say and if it was time to move on. Thankfully, he would later squash that notion, however he did say he was unsure if Brand New would release a new full album in the future. Due to the way music is received today with all the new technology in place, he pondered if Brand New would just release songs digitally, perhaps a song a month or a batch of songs all at once instead of a whole album. All these things would possibly affect the way that the band would release material in the future. By 2012, it was said that Brand New had indeed secured some studio time and were, in fact beginning the process of working on a new album. Brand New has turned out to not only be quite a successful band, but also a very influential band. Lacey is credited with being a well respected songwriter, his songs containing extremely personal and emotional meanings. Since the band's existence, they have either opened, headlined or co-headlines some of the biggest music festivals around the globe, Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds, Bamboozle and Big Day Out just to name a few. They have also shared the stage with the likes of Thrice, Senses Fail, My Chemical Romance, Alkaline Trio, Bouncing Souls, Flogging Molly, Taking Back Sunday and Finch. Currenty, as I said earlier, the band had been in the recording studio as late as April of 2012, reportedly working on new material for what would be their fifth studio album.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Song Of The Week: 10/7/12

Song: "Final Transmission"

Artist: Street Dogs

Album: "Fading American Dream"

Year: 2006

"Final Transmission" is a song about a young man who joined the military to get a college fund. His dreams were to become a school teacher but, ultimately, after only six months of battle, he caught an IED a died, a casualty of war. The "final transmission" was a note he wrote to his family which he tucked in his helmet. They only way he intended for his family to read it, tragically, was if he did not make it. The song is an anti-war song that begs the government to bring the troops back home and end this war (the Iraq War). Street Dogs are a band that formed back in 2002. They quickly became a staple in Boston, Massachusetts along with fellow Celtic punk band, Dropkick Murphys. In fact, Street Dogs frontman, Mike McColgan was the original lead singer of the Dropkick Murphys, however in 1998, he decided to quit that band to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a Boston firefighter. In 2002, McColgan decided that he could not stay away from music and he formed the Street Dogs. In 2003, the Street Dogs dropped their first album, "Savin Hill" which established their place in the Boston punk scene early on. The album also featured guest appearances by Dropkick Murphys members Al Barr and Ken Casey. In 2005, "Back To The World" was released. This album led to opening slots on tours supporting the likes of Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Millencolin and Bouncing Souls. The Street Dogs would also embark on their very first headlining tours at this time. 2006 saw the release of "Fading American Dream". By 2008, the Street Dogs would sign with Hellcat Records and release their fourth album, "State Of Grace". That year they would also join the Vans Warped Tour as a main stage act. In 2010, the band released their fifth studio album, "Street Dogs". 2011 saw the band as a headliner at the Warped Tour once again. For ten years the Street Dogs have established themselves as a punk band for the common man, or the working man if you will. They are pro-middle class, pro-union and definitely wear their hometown on their sleeve, representing Boston and especially their childhood neighborhood in Dorchester, MA. They come from a blue-collar backround and they play a blue-collar brand of punk rock. Currently, bassist Johnny Rioux has stated that the band plans to help Mike McColgan release a solo album as well as possibly put together a Street Dogs b-sides compilation. They are in the process of mixing a live DVD as well. He also said that he is excited about the Street Dogs making their very first trip to Australia to play some shows and hopes that the band joins up in some Celtic festivals after that as well. No new news about a new album being in the works is out there as of yet however.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Song Of The Week: 9/30/12

Song: "The Art Of Sharing Lovers"

Artist: A Static Lullaby

Album: "A Static Lullaby"

Year: 2006

"The Art Of Sharing Lovers" appears to be a song about infidelity. The vocalist seems to have finally reached his breaking point being exposed to her lying and cheating. For his own peace of mind, he has to end this relationship, in fact, by doing so, he actually feels like he's cleansed himself of all the impurities and lies that she was drowning him in. From California, A Static Lullaby formed as a band back in 2001. Their style is that of a post-hardcore band with a little infusion of some metal elements. From 2001 to 2002, the band created a few homemade demos and toured wherever they could to get their name out there. They eventually signed to a small label and released their first full length album in 2003 entitled, "And Don't Forget To Breathe". After opening up for such bands as AFI, My Chemical Romance and Brand New, A Static Lullaby drew the interest of major label Columbia Records. Columbia would release the band's second album, "Faso Latido" in 2005. The album drew mixed reviews and the band eventually would be dropped by Columbia. Enter Fearless Records. Working with Fearless was a breath of fresh air for the band and it showed in their 2006 self-titled album. This album was the band's most focused effort and probably the high point of A Static Lullaby as a band. In 2008, the band would release it's fourth studio effort entitled "Rattlesnake". Even with the constant touring and the consistency with which they dropped albums, A Static Lullaby never seemed to get over as a band. Sometimes in music, a wave of bands start coming out that incorporate the same style, and as a result, only a few seem to shine brighter than the rest. A Static Lullaby seemed to just fall in line with the rest. They're solid but nothing spectacular. By 2010, most of the band members began focusing much more on side projects or even just gearing up for new projects. The band began becoming a revolving door with people joining and leaving. In 2012, it was finally announced that A Static Lullaby were breaking up, in fact, they played their very last show in Indonesia on July 7, 2012. Currently, it appears the book has closed on A Static Lullaby.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Song Of The Week: 9/23/12

Song: "Shaking"

Artist: Sugarcult

Album: "Lights Out"

Year: 2006

"Shaking" is a song that appears to be about two people who get together, basically for the sex. They both have their own relationships as well as seeing even more people on the side, but they are drawn together because the sex is so good. Definitely a "sex buddy" song! Sugarcult is a band that formed back in 1998. They are from Santa Barbara, California. I guess you could say their style is that of a pop punk type band, somewhat in the same vein as a band such as Jimmy Eat World. In 1999, Sugarcult dropped their debut album, "Eleven" which was followed a year later by "Wrap Me Up In Plastic". It was their third release, 2001's "Start Static", however, that really started to garner the band some attention. Thanks in part to singles such as "Pretty Girl", "Bouncing Off The Walls", "Stuck In America" and "How Does It Feel", Sugarcult started getting a buzz as well as started to get some higher profile tours. Several Sugarcult songs were also featured throughout the movie "Van Wilder", which also helped increase the popularity of the band. In 2004, the band released "Palm Trees And Power Lines", which featured even more hit singles such as "Memory" and "She's The Blade". This was probably the height of Sugarcult's success as a band. At this time in their musical careers they also earned a spot on the 2004 Warper Tour. The band went on to release a live album around this time as well. In 2006, Sugarcult released their fifth studio album entitled "Lights Out". After touring in support of "Lights Out" and basically spending ten years of their lives together as a band, it was announced in 2009 that Sugarcult would be taking a hiatus. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, Sugarcult would only play a few one-off shows and a join a couple of major festivals but their was no work on a new album and for that matter, not even any conversation about new material. Currently, their really is no new news regarding Sugarcult's status as a band. Members of the band have refuted any rumors that they have officially broken up, but really, the only thing they've done in the past couple of years is play a show in 2011 at Chain Reaction in Anaheim, California to celebrate the tenth anniversary of their album "Start Static".

Monday, September 17, 2012

Song Of The Week: 9/16/12

Song: "Wind In Your Sail"

Artist: Lagwagon

Album: "Let's Talk About The Leftovers"

Year: 2000

"Wind In Your Sail" is a song that appears about a man who basically lives his life hoping and wanting to see his ex fail. He wants her to be miserable, to be in pain and to feel how it is to be hurt. The man feels this way, because this is what she did to him when she left him. It's a spiteful and vengeful song. As badly as he treated her, in the end, he'd always crawl back to her. Now he's hoping that she gets treated the same way, and she tries to crawl back to him, seeing how wrong she was. "Wind In Your Sail" was originally recorded in 1995 during the "Hoss" sessions. It originally appeared on a Bad Taste Records compilation titled "Quality Punk Rock". Hailing from California, Lagwagon formed as a band back in 1990. Quickly they caught the ear of Fat Mike from NOFX, who signed them to his punk label Fat Wreck Chords and in 1992, Lagwagon dropped their first album "Duh". In 1994, Lagwagon released "Trashed" and at this time, they began feeling the tug of major labels who were cashing in on artists such as Green Day and The Offspring. Lagwagon decided they preferred staying in the underground, only making their relationship with Fat Wreck stronger. From 1995 to 1998, Lagwagon would release three more albums, "Hoss", "Double Plaidnum", and "Let's Talk About Feelings". The band would take a little bit of a hiatus at this point to focus on several side projects, most notably were Me First And The Gimme Gimmes, which is a punk rock cover song super group featuring Lagwagon frontman Joey Cape and NOFX frontman Fat Mike, also, Cape formed a band with former Lagwagon drummer, Derrick Plourde called Bad Astronaut. Plourde left Lagwagon after recording "Hoss" in 1995. Lagwagon resumed activity in 2002, releasing the album "Blaze". The band would spend more time between releases once again as Cape would hook up with No Use For A Name frontman Tony Sly to release an all acoustic split album. In 2005, Lagwagon recorded and released the album "Resolve" under heavy heart. The album is an homage to Derrick Plourde who committed suicide that year. 2008 saw the band release an EP titled "I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon". After this release Cape would go on to really focus on his solo career, which consisted of him playing acoustic songs, even some old Lagwagon songs that he reworked on acoustic guitar. Cape would go on to say that while Lagwagon is not broken up, he doesn't foresee any new material being recorded with the band. Perhaps a song here and there but not a whole album's worth of material. In 2011, Fat Wreck announced it would be re-issuing expanded editions of Lagwagon's first five albums on cd, vinyl and digital download. The albums can be purchased individually or can be bought as a box set entitled, "Putting Music In It's Place". Currently, Lagwagon has been touring in the United States as well as Europe and Asia. It seems that the band isn't the focus of Cape's creative energy like it once was, however

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Song Of The Week: 9/9/12

Song: "11:11"

Artist: The Black Maria

Album: "A Shared History Of Tragedy"

Year: 2006

I may be wrong about this, but after reading the lyrics to "11:11", i get a sense that the song takes place at the scene of a car accident in a desolate area. It appears that one person is trying to comfort and console the other, promising to be there for him or her, all the while knowing that both have little time left to live. With lyrics that refer to blood on the backseat and roads paved with glass, this to me describes the car accident. "11:11" could be either the time the accident occurred or the time they both died. The Black Maria is a post-hardcore/alternative rock band hailing from Toronto, Canada. They formed as a band back in 2003 and quickly were signed to Victory Records. There is not a whole lot of history regarding The Black Maria. They dropped their first full length studio album "Lead Us To Reason" in 2005. Behind the single "Betrayal", The Black Maria achieved moderate success, enough to be asked to join some successful tours and to open for some more established artists. In 2006, The Black Maria released their second album, "A Shared History Of Tragedy". This album proved to be even less successful than their debut. The Black Maria seemed to be one of those "tweener" bands, I like to call them. They would share the stage with punk acts such as MxPx, The Distillers, Rise Against and Alkaline Trio and at other times they toured with more alternative rock acts such as Stone Sour, Queens Of The Stone Age, Chevelle and Taproot. Maybe by not totally fitting into one scene or the other ultimately led to the demise of The Black Maria. I'm not sure if that's the case, but it just seemed like their audience didn't quite branch out with the band. Regardless of style, I always thought that both of their albums were pretty solid. In 2007, The Black Maria decided to call it quits, though terming it as an "indefinite hiatus". I suppose by saying that, it leaves the door open to possibly get back together. Currently, it's now 2012, a full five years since the band announced their hiatus, so I would safely say that The Black Maria is officially no more as a band.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Song Of The Week: 9/2/12

Song: "1000 Times A Day"

Artist: The Early November

Album: "The Mechanic, The Mother, And The Path"

Year: 2006

"1000 Times A Day" is said to have been written by The Early November frontman, Ace Enders, for his wife. The song is a little love song that talks about how he and his future soulmate and wife first met in 8th grade. It tells how the relationship was an on again, off again type of relationship where sometimes they didn't even speak to each other for years at a time, but they never stopped thinking about each other and ultimately, despite any problems that they had to deal with, they both felt it was better to deal with them together than to deal with them alone. The lyrics of the song really read like a love letter from a husband to his wife, a reflection of how their love has grown to what it is today. The Early November, from New Jersey, formed as a band back in 1999. Early in their career, they caught the ear of punk label, Drive-Thru Records, who signed them to their label. In 2002, the band released two EP's, "For All Of This" and "The Acoustic EP". With a buzz circulating around the band, both from touring and the release of their EP's, The Early November would release their first full length album in 2003 entitled, "The Room's Too Cold". For their next project, an ambitious concept, three disc album called "The Mechanic, The Mother, And The Path", vocalist Ace Enders nearly suffered a nervous breakdown from the pressures being put on him by the record label, the fight to keep the project as true to his vision, without compromise and several delays of the release date. The album basically is a story of a young man, his past and how he got to where he is today. The third disc basically wraps the story up, featuring the man speaking to his psychiatrist with some musical interludes. Despite the friction and tension that surrounded "The Mechanic, The Mother, And The Path", it turned out to be the band's highest charting album, reaching #31 on the Billboard 200 charts. Despite this success, The Early November decided to go on an indefinite hiatus in 2007. For the next four years the band members embarked on various solo projects. Luckily for fans of the band, in 2011 The Early November would get back together and perform a handful of shows. This ultimately would lead to getting back in the studio and working on a new album. Currently, The Early November signed to a new record label, Rise Records, and released a brand new album in July of 2012 entitled "In Currents". The band will be touring in support of their new album throughout the rest of 2012 most likely.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Song Of The Week: 8/26/12

Song: "Immortality"

Artist: Seether

Album: "One Cold Night"

Year: 2006

"Immortality" was originally written and recorded by Pearl Jam and released on their 1994 album "Vitalogy". To understand the song is to understand a little of where Pearl Jam was at during that time. "Vitalogy" was when Pearl Jam was at the total height of their career. In fact, at the time it was the second fastest selling cd in history, only behind Pearl Jam's second album Vs. This was also the time when Kurt Cobain of Nirvana had taken his own life, collapsing from the pressures of being thrust into the world of rock stardom and being basically labeled as the voice of that generation. While Immortality wasn't directly written about Cobain, Eddie Vedder himself has been quoted as saying it's about the pressures on someone who is on a parallel train. Both Vedder and Cobain were in it for the love of the music and the creativeness of the art. Both felt trapped by the pull of mainstream success and all the burdens that come with it. "Immortality" didn't totally endorse suicide as an escape from these pressures, but at the same time it didn't condemn it either. Seether is a post-grunge/alternative metal band from South Africa that formed as a band back in 1999. They were originally called Saron Gas and released one album entitled "Fragile" under that moniker. In 2002, the band officially changed their name to Seether and released "Disclaimer". One of the songs from "Disclaimer" called "Broken" would be re-worked, adding the vocals of Evanescence's Amy Lee and would prove to be a huge success for the band. The re-worked version of "Broken" would appear on the 2004 released "Diclaimer II", which was basically "Disclaimer" with some added songs. In 2005, Seether released "Karma And Effect" which spawned the singles "Remedy", "Truth" and "The Gift". "Remedy" was Seether's very first #1 song of the U.S. Mainstream Rock charts. In 2006, Seether released their very first live cd/dvd entitled "One Cold Night". This concert was an acoustic set performed by the band on February 22, 2006 at Grape St. in Philadelphia. This is the album that Seether covered Pearl Jam's "Immortality". Fitting that they did in that Seether's style is clearly very much influenced by those originally "grunge" bands like Pearl Jam, Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden. 2007 saw the band release "Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces" which continued their streak of having number one singles. One of those singles, "Rise Above This" was written by Seether frontman Shaun Morgan as a tribute to his brother who had committed suicide. The band's latest release, 2011's "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray" reached as high as number two on the Billboard 200 charts. Currently, Seether has been touring in support of "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray". In 2011, they embarked on the Uproar Festival which included bands such as Avenged Sevenfold, Three Days Grace, Bullet For My Valentine and Escape The Fate. From November 2011 to March 2012, Seether supported 3 Doors Down on their European tour. Seether is a band that is quite active and has been largely successful throughout their career.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Song Of The Week: 8/19/12

Song: "Always All Ways (Apologies, Glances and Messed Up Chances)"

Artist: Lostprophets

Album: "Liberation Transmission"

Year: 2006

"Always All Ways (Apologies, Glances and Messed Up Chances)" is your typical break-up song, or should I say, heartbreak song. It's about a relationship where the man figures out too late all the things he did wrong. Even though he can see the error of his ways and even though he is now willing to change and even though there is a piece of her that still loves him, it appears the relationship has run it's course and that's something he has to live with for the rest of his life. Lostprophets formed as a band back in 1997. They are from Wales in the United Kingdom. When Lostprophets released their debut album, 2000's "Thefakesoundofprogress", their style had elements of metal and even incorporated a DJ. They almost had a Linkin Park feel to their music. In fact, Lostprophets would never be a band to get pigeonholed into one style for long. It seemed, in their early years especially, they were really trying to find out who they were as a band. On one hand, they went on the 2002 Deconstruction Tour with punk/ska acts such as The Mighty Mighty Bosstones and The Mad Caddies. Then they toured Ozzfest with various metal acts. Safe to say, they didn't really fit in with either crowds. In 2004, the band released "Start Something". This is where I feel the band really found their niche in the music world. Lostprophets was a band that could create sing-a-long, anthemic songs in arena rock fashion. Hit singles such as "Last Train Home", "Make A Move", "Last Summer" and "Burn Burn" quickly turned Lostprophets from opening band to headliners. In 2006, the band continued to ride the wave of success, releasing their third full length studio album, "Liberation Transmission", which included another chart topping single, "Rooftops (A Liberation Broadcast)". When it came time to write their next album, the band wanted to make their most honest effort to date. This focus led to them creating perhaps their deepest and darkest album, 2010's "The Betrayed". Over the course of Lostprophets career, they attained varying levels of success and their hard work paid off in winning six Kerrang! awards for various things such as "Best Album" and "Best British Band". Also, in 2002, they won a NME award for best metal act, proving that their influence extended to many different genres. I always tended to compare Lostprophets to bands like Incubus and Hoobastank. All of these bands featured some big rock songs. Of the three, however, Lostprophets was the ever changing chameleon of a band. One point being metal, another showing punk elements and then even some hip hop influenced industrial type stuff. Currently, Lostprophets has released their fifth studio album in the spring of 2012, entitled "Weapons". To promote the album, the band took another odd turn, accepting a slot on what is usually the all punk Warped Tour.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Song Of The Week: 8/12/12

Song: "The Missing Frame"

Artist: AFI

Album: "Decemberunderground"

Year: 2006

"The Missing Frame" appears to be about how the world is just becoming filled with more and more people who have a lack of compassion and just don't care anymore about their fellow man. You get a sense that the vocalist is really getting torn up over this lack of heart from everyone around him. He wonders if the flood of hopelessness will eventually come and wash away the fire inside him, the hope, the compassion. In the end, you get a sense that his fire will burn out and he will fall in line with everyone else, a place where hope, compassion and caring about one another is void. AFI, standing for A Fire Inside, formed as a band back in 1991, hailing from California. Starting out as teenagers, the members could barely play their instruments but they kept at it, eventually releasing several EP's until 1995 when they dropped their first full length studio album, "Answer That And Stay Fashionable". AFI's sound on that album and their next two, 1996's "Very Proud Of Ya" and 1997's "Shut Your Mouth And Open Your Eyes", was definitely not as dark as the band would ultimately become. Their songs were filled with humorous lyrics and had a more light hearted feel to them. In 1999, with the release of "Black Sails In The Sunset", you could see the band shifting it's sound. They began dealing with darker themes and definitely began veering towards horror punk or goth punk, getting influence from bands like The Misfits. On their fifth album, 2000's "The Art Of Drowning", AFI noticed that they were gaining a much bigger following. Enter major label Dreamworks and the elevation to world wide success. On the success of the singles "Girls Not Grey", "Silver And Cold" and "The Leaving Song Pt. 2", AFI's 2003 release, "Sing The Sorrow", reached number five on the Billboard charts and remained on the charts for a staggering 51 weeks. Their 2006 album, "Decemberunderground" debuted at number one on the Billboards, backed by hit singles "Miss Murder" and "Love Like Winter". The band's last release, 2009's "Crash Love" was also a success, peaking at number 12 on the Billboard 200. All in all, after more than twenty years together, AFI dropped eight studio full lengths, ten EP's, one live album and one DVD. In 2010, AFI supported fellow punk act Green Day on their major world tour. In 2011, some confusion about the future of the band was created when a post by AFI frontman, Davey Havok, appeared on the band's forum,, stated that the band had split up. The band's management was quick to point out that this was just a hoax and that AFI are still officially intact. Currently, however, there is no news as to whether or not AFI are working on new material. Davey Havok and fellow AFI band member Jade Puget are currently on tour with their electronic music side project Blaqk Audio and they are also preparing to release a new Blaqk Audio album in 2012 so it doesn't appear that anything is on the AFI plate at this time.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Song Of The Week: 8/5/12

Song: "A Postcard Would Be Nice"

Artist: No Use For A Name

Album: "Making Friends"

Year: 1997

Usually when I do my "Song Of The Week" post, I get into a little bit of what the song is about and then go into a bit of the history of the band and what not. This week's post is different. This week's post is a way to pay homage to No Use For A Name's frontman/guitarist Tony Sly who passed away a few short days ago. "A Postcard Would Be Nice" probably isn't No Use's best song, it's just my favorite song by them. I remember the first time I heard it, it instantly got me fired up!! Just a great skate punk anthem. There's something to be said for the band's you grow up liking say from the age of fifteen to about twenty-five. It's almost like you form some sort of bond with them. Every generation has bands or music that defines it. Yeah, I love the old bands that were before my time like The Who and The Beatles. And I also love newer bands like The Gaslight Anthem. But from 1995 to 2002, No Use For A Name was the band that me and my friends owned. By that, I mean this was OUR music. Our generation. They weren't hugely popular, though they did get a boost during the punk revival of the mid-90's. As we were growing up, going from teenagers to young adults, No Use provided our soundtrack. The four albums they dropped between 1995 and 2002, "Leche Con Carne", "Making Friends", "More Betterness!" and "Hard Rock Bottom", were, in my opinion, punk classics. Some of my favorite songs ever, to this day still. "Soulmate", "The Answer Is Still No", "A Postcard Would Be Nice", "International You Day", "Let Me Down", "Straight From The Jacket" and "Invincible", just to name a few. With the tragic news of Tony Sly's passing, i've definitely been dusting off the band's cd's and thinking back to my youth. Thinking about the good times we had with No Use playing the soundtrack. Thinking about all the times we've seen No Use live in and around the Boston area. Thinking about two shows in particular, one at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston, MA on September 30, 1999 where No Use opened for the Dance Hall Crashers and me and my buddy Tommy actually met Tony outside the club and got to shake hands and shoot the shit with our musical hero. Another was at The Met Cafe in Providence, RI on February 18, 2000. Me and my friend Jay drove from Boston to Providence to see this show during a blizzard!! It took forever to get down there because of the white out conditions, but it was No Use and that's what you do to see your band!! When we finally got to The Met, there were probably about 20 or 30 people there. The three other bands that were supposed to open up either didn't make it or came really late. No problem, No Use just jumped up on stage and played a little longer giving the 30 die hards all the bang for their buck that they wanted. So this brings us to the present. It was a total shock when I found out that Tony Sly died. It just came out of nowhere. It's sad because it was his voice and his songs that got you through the years when you were actually finding yourself as a human being. It almost feels like you lost someone that you grew up with. The beautiful thing about music, is you can always go back and take comfort. His songs will always be there. No Use was also working on a new album since 2010, so hopefully the band and Fat Wreck have enough material to release what would be Tony's final work. So there you have it, my little tribute to a punk rock soldier,

R.I.P. Tony Sly (1970-2012)

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Song Of The Week: 7/29/12

Song: "The First Of Me"

Artist: Hoobastank

Album: "Every Man For Himself"

Year: 2006

"The First Of Me" appears to be a song about not selling out. It's about staying true to who you are and staying true in your art. It's about not conforming to what other people want or expect of you, it's about creating something that you are proud of and something that you stand by, whether that something is profitable or not. Better to be the first of you than be the next someone else. Be original. Hoobastank formed as a band back in 1994. They are from California. As a young band, Hoobastank shared the stage often with fellow band Incubus, perhaps this is why the two bands are often sited as having a similar sound. In 1998, Hoobastank self-released the album "They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To". This album garnered the band interest from Island Records who would eventually sign them. Hoobastank's major label debut, 2001's "Hoobastank" would prove to be a very successful album, thanks to hit singles like "Crawling In The Dark" and "Running Away". This album would reach #25 on the Billboard 200 album chart as well as hitting #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart. In 2003, the band released "The Reason". The title track of this album would prove to be Hoobastank's most successful single, peaking at #2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. At this stage of their career, Hoobastank was big enough to be headliners on most of their tours. Success would elude the band rather abruptly however. Their 2006 album, "Every Man For Himself" was considered a failure for the band. None of the singles really charted at all and the band clearly found themselves at a crossroad. Though the band really focused on making their next album, 2009's "For(N)ever", their most creative to date, The downward trend would continue for the band. They went from "The Reason" going double platinum, to "Every Man From Himself" going gold, to "For(N)ever" not even achieving gold at this time. The band would have to continue on relying on it's die hard fan base, which still rally around the band whether at shows or supporting their music. In 2010, Hoobastank released an acoustic album entitled "Is This The Day". This album, oddly enough, was only released in Japan with no date given for release in the U.S. as of yet. Currently, the band has released a new single called "This Is Gonna Hurt" in May of 2012. This is to be the very first single off Hoobastank's new album entitled "Fight Or Flight" which is scheduled to be released in August of 2012.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Song Of The Week: 7/22/12

Song: "One For The Razorbacks"

Artist: Green Day

Album: "Kerplunk"

Year: 1992

"One For The Razorbacks" appears to be a song about trying to win the heart and hand of a girl who has just come off a painful break-up with someone else. He knows he's not perfect or anything like that, but he's trying hard to win her over. She's just finding it too hard to get over the lies and mistrust of her previous relationship. Green Day formed as a band back in 1987, hailing from Berkeley, California. The band started out on small label Lookout Records, which released their first album, 1990's "39/Smooth" as well as their second album, 1992's "Kerplunk". While the band was formed by vocalist/guitarist Billie Joe Armstrong and bassist Mike Dirnt, it was on "Kerplunk" that the band rounded out it's line-up adding drummer Tre Cool. In 1994, Green Day caught the wave of the punk revival movement, signed to a major label, Reprise Records and released the hugely successful album "Dookie". "Dookie" was a monstrous success for Green Day, selling more than ten million albums in the U.S. alone. Suddenly, the music world began having major interest in the Green Days, Offsprings, Rancids and Bad Religions. Punk was once again vital. Green Day's next two albums, 1995's "Insomniac" and 1997's "Nimrod" weren't nearly as successful as "Dookie" but still achieved double platinum status. 2000's "Warning" had people wondering if Green Day had finally run it's course as a band. It had it's moments, but continued a downward trend of record sales for Green Day. In 2003, Green Day were preparing to record an album which was titled "Cigarettes & Valentines" but all the master recordings were stolen leaving the band wondering if they should scrap the entire project. The stolen recordings actually turned out to be a blessing in disguise for Green Day however, as the band would begin to work on their most ambitious project to date, 2004's "American Idiot". "American Idiot" gave Green Day a whole new audience of younger fans as well as bringing back the older ones. The album was a rock opera. Green Day was becoming a band closer resembling The Who than when they used to be more like The Ramones. "American Idiot" would sell more than five million records in the U.S. In 2009, Green Day released their eighth studio album, yet another ambitious concept project called "21st Century Breakdown". Where Green Day started out kind of snotty, slacker punks, now they were writing songs which were geared towards social and political issues. All in all, Green Day has sold more than 65 million records worldwide, making them one of the biggest rock and roll bands out there today. Their success has also earned them five Grammy Awards as well. Currently, Green Day is about to release three albums in a span of five months. "Uno!" will be released in September of 2012, "Dos!" will be released in November of 2012 and "Tre!" will be released in January of 2013.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Song Of The Week: 7/15/12

Song: "A Lotta Nerve"

Artist: Allister

Album: "Before The Blackout"

Year: 2005

"A Lotta Nerve" is yet another song about a relationship that has run it's course. In fact, to the vocalist, it has come to an abrupt end, that perhaps, he didn't quite see coming. To the girl however, she basically reeled him in with lies, took his heart through dishonesty, used him for whatever she wanted to take from him, then left him like a bad dream!! You can sense his attitude is like, wow, you gotta lotta nerve to treat me this way bitch!!! Allister is a pop punk band from Chicago, Illinois that formed as a band back in 1996. Their style reminds me of bands such as Sugarcult or the Riddlin' Kids. They're punk, but with a pop flare. Allister was one of the first bands to sign with the now popular punk label, Drive-Thru Records. In 1999, they released their debut album, "Dead Ends And Girlfriends". It was the band's second release however, 2002's "Last Stop Suburbia", that sprung the band from the underground and began to garner some success. With radio friendly singles "Radio Player" and "Somewhere On Fullerton", "Last Stop Suburbia" actually reached #9 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart. In 2005, Allister released their third album, "Before The Blackout" which included a cover of a Japanese pop song called "Shima Uta" which was released on the Japan version of the album. The band sang the song in Japanese. This song, along with a few other covers of Japanese songs which appeared on the 2006 EP "Guily Pleasures" led to Allister becoming extremely popular in Japan. This would lead to several tours in Japan and that country really became like a second home for the band. In 2007, Allister decided to go on a bit of a hiatus due to the fact that vocalist/guitarist Tim Rogner and his wife just had a baby and he wanted to stay close to his family. Allister would reunite in 2010 however. They signed a new record deal with Universal Japan and released their fourth studio album, "Countdown To Nowhere". Along with the band's four full length studio albums, they also put out five EP's during their sixteen year career so far. Currently, as of March 2012, Allister began working on what will be their fifth studio album. In May of 2012, Rogner stated that the new album with be called "Life Behind Machines" and it will be tentatively released by the end of summer in 2012.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Song Of The Week: 7/8/12

Song: "Clavicle"

Artist: Alkaline Trio

Album: "Damnesia"

Year: 2011

"Clavicle" appears to be a "love at first sight" type of song. From the very first second the vocalist laid eyes on this girl, he was totally taken by her. He was also almost afraid to approach her. When he finally got up the nerve to talk to her, he found that she was very much interested in him as well. Just a total punk rock love song!! The original version of "Clavicle" could be found on Alkaline Trio's debut full length album, 1998's "Goddamnit". The version I chose was released on 2011's "Damnesia", which was a collection of Alkaline Trio favorites re-recorded acoustically. The album was released to celebrate the band's fifteen year anniversary. Alkaline Trio was very much at the forefront of the Chicago punk scene when they formed back in 1996. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Skiba formed the band and a year later, bassist/vocalist Dan Andriano would join the band, giving them their distinct two vocalist sound. It was really in 2001, with the release of their third album, "From Here To Infirmary", that the band started creating a real buzz, thanks in part to the hit singles, "Stupid Kid" and "Private Eye". In the years following, Alkaline Trio would build on that success with each album thereafter beginning with 2003's "Good Mourning", 2005's "Crimson", 2008's "Agony & Irony", which would reach as high as #13 on the Billboard charts and 2010's "This Addiction", the band's highest charting album to date, at #11. Alkaline Trio's style is kind of a skate punk, but definitely has a lot of gothic elements to it. Their lyrics could be very dark almost inspired by death, blood, heartbreak and addictions. The bandmembers are also very active, whether recording and touring with Alkaline Trio or with one of the many side projects that they are in. Dan Andriano formed The Falcon with fellow Chicago punker Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms. He also recently just completed a solo album under the moniker Dan Andriano In The Emergency Room. Matt Skiba, along with recording and releasing solo material, also formed side projects like Heavens, which released the album "Patent Pending". Heavens featured more of the electronica side of Skiba. Skiba also just recently recorded an album with Hunter Burgan of AFI and Jarrod Alexander of My Chemical Romance. That band is call Matt Skiba And The Sekrets and their style is very similar to that of Alkaline Trio. Currently, the band and it's members are just continuing to be very active. With the release of "Damnesia", Alkaline Trio also went on a tour celebrating fifteen years as a band. Plus, the solo projects continue to keep all members very busy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Song Of The Week: 7/1/12

Song: "Princeton Review"

Artist: Team Sleep

Album: "Team Sleep"

Year: 2005

"Princeton Review" is a song that appears to be about a relationship that is frozen. It just isn't going anywhere. This is mostly because of things that happened in the past that they seem to not want to bring up and argue over, but those things are inevitable and they keep coming to the forefront. Whatever indiscretions or any sort of broken trust stands out in the relationship like an elephant in the room. It will never cease to be in the past, therefore the relationship is stuck in a rut. Team Sleep formed as an official band in 2000, hailing from Sacramento, California. The band is a side project and creation of Chino Moreno, who is the lead singer of the rock band Deftones. Moreno, along with his friend Todd Wilkinson, would often get together and dabble in working on some music, even before Team Sleep was officially a band. In fact, the two had no intentions at first to release any music or even perform live, they just enjoyed playing music together. The two men began working with DJ Crook, who performed on the Deftones song "Teenager" which appeared on the band's "White Pony" album. DJ Crook provided Moreno and Wilkinson the beats for which Team Sleep would perform over. Unlike the Deftones chugging guitar sound and hard driven rock edge, Team Sleep was much more based in atmospheric, electronica, almost like trip-hop, vastly different from Moreno's rock roots. The band would feature several artists who perform on various songs, including Rob Crow who provided vocals along with Moreno on "Princeton Review". Their debut self-titled album was originally slated to be released in 2003, but the project was scrapped due to Moreno being unhappy that most of their demos were leaked on the internet before the release. The band would re-work most of the material, changing most of it for what would finally be released in 2005 to the public. In 2007, Team Sleep was said to be working on new material for their second album. Moreno went on to say that new material would not see the light of day until 2010, he also stated that the band may possibly release free EP's of songs that the band would promote on their MySpace page. To this date, none of this material has been released. Currently, according to a 2012 interview with Moreno, though Team Sleep has not worked together for some time, they are, in fact, still very much alive. Right now it's just hard finding time for the band between his commitments to the Deftones as well as his newer side project called Crosses.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Song Of The Week: 6/24/12

Song: "Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An"

Artist: Propagandhi

Album: "Today's Empires, Tomorrow's Ashes"

Year: 2001

"Mate Ka Moris Ukun Rasik An" is a revolutionary cry of the East Timorese people that basically means "Live or die - we want independence". The song is inspired by the real life story of Bella Gahlos, a young East Timorese woman who saw the Indonesian government basically do a hostile military take over of East Timor, with support from both the U.S. and Canadian governments. It's the story of how the Indonesian government would basically torture, rape and murder the East Timorese people, specifically how the Indonesian military brutally beat to death Gahlos two young brothers as well as put her father in prison. The young East Timorese women would often be raped by the Indonesian military. The girls were also injected with birth control as a way to basically shut down the reproduction of East Timorese people. Gahlos would defect East Timor years later and now lives in Canada. She is very much an activist trying to gain support to free East Timor from Indonesian control. She uses the atrocities that she saw first hand to try to sway support for her cause. Propagandhi are a punk band from Manitoba, Canada who formed back in 1986. Vocalist/guitarist Chris Hannah and drummer Jord Samolesky are the founding members of the band and are still with the band to the present day. Propagandhi's style incorporates some skate punk with touches of metal influence. Lyrically, Propagandhi is a band that wears it's radical left wing views on it's sleeve. The band is known to take strong stances against human rights violations, sexism, racism, homophobia, imperialism, capitalism and organized religion. They also support animal rights and are all vegans. After touring in support of their debut album, 1993's "How To Clean Everything", with NOFX, Fat Mike, bassist and vocalist for NOFX, decided to sign Propagandhi to his punk label Fat Wreck Chords. In their twenty-six year career as a band, Propagandhi has released five full length albums, three EP's, three splits, two live albums, three demo tapes and a compilation album. In 1997, Todd Kowalski became their full time bass player and still is to this day. In 2006, the band officially became a four piece, adding second guitarist David Guillas. Currently, as of June 2012, the band has stated that they have finished recording and producing what will be their sixth full length album which has a tentative release date around late summer or early fall of 2012.