Sunday, May 27, 2012

Song Of The Week: 5/27/12

Song: "All The Way Live"

Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch

Album: "Set It Off"

Year: 2001

"All The Way Live" appears to be a song about not succumbing to greed. The vocalist seems to be saying that money isn't everything in life. It can't buy you happiness and you can't take it with you when you die. Basically, it's better to be rich in your soul than in your pocket. Thousand Foot Krutch is a Christian rock band from Canada that formed back in 1995. 2001's "Set It Off", which was their first "official" release, saw the band very much influenced by the fusion of rock and hip hop. I don't think it was a style that suited the band, especially the band that T.F.K. is today. They weren't quite as fierce as Rage Against The Machine. They weren't quite as funky as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Maybe if you morphed the Beastie Boys with Incubus, you may get a sound that compared to Thousand Foot Krutch early on in their career. When their next album, 2003's "Phenomenon" came out, T.F.K. was a band in search of a new direction. Their sound began to move away from the rock/rap style and more into a straight ahead rock and roll sound. They began to sound more like the radio friendly rock sound of bands like Finger Eleven and Three Days Grace. T.F.K. remained extremely active during the 2000's, releasing six albums in an eleven year span. 2005 saw the release of "The Art Of Breaking", then in 2007, T.F.K. released "The Flame In All Of Us", followed in 2009 by "Welcome To The Masquerade" and finally in 2012 with "The End Is Where We Begin". As you can see, Thousand Foot Krutch is a band that basically drops new material about every two years. Currently, as I said before, T.F.K. released their latest album, "The End Is Where We Begin" in April of 2012. I'm sure the band will be out on tour to support their latest project.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Song Of The Week: 5/20/12

Song: "Ticks & Leeches"

Artist: Tool

Album: "Lateralus"

Year: 2001

"Ticks & Leeches" appears to be a song about all those people that only hang around you to use you for everything you're worth. They suck you dry like ticks or leeches. They want to feed off your wealth, your talent, your fame and your power. They want to take every last ounce of blood from you, then probably toss you aside when you no longer have the same status. It very well could be about Tool's own battle with their record company, Volcano Records who they were in a bitter dispute with right around the time of the release of 2001's "Lateralus". It could also be about the record industry in general and the way they try to suck everything they can out of their artists until they deem them no longer viable to the company itself. Formed in California back in 1990, Tool has gone on to become one of the most successful metal/progressive rock bands on the scene today. The band has been around for twenty-two years, but has released music rather sporadically with just four full length studio albums released during that time. They basically release new material almost every five years. Perhaps, this is to Tool's advantage. Maybe the more time spent perfecting their albums is the reason why most of their music happens to be nominated for Grammy's and other awards after each release. Their 2001 album "Lateralus" came at a time when Tool, as I said before, was butting heads with their record label. It was also a time when Tool very much stood against the illegal file sharing of music as well. They, along with bands like Metallica, led the fight against music file sharing sites such as Napster. In fact, just to mess with the Napsters of the world, Tool announced a bogus album title, full with fake song titles which made the file sharing sites explode with the bogus material. When the real "Lateralus" finally dropped, it was named Kerrang!'s album of the year. It also won a Grammy Award for Best Metal Performance for their single "Schism". It was odd for a band to have singles that clocked in at more than six minutes, but Tool was never one to conform to record company "standards". They have and always will do things their way, no compromise. When you have the level of success that they have had, that's definitely a luxury for any band. Currently, Tool has recently embarked on their "Tool Winter Tour" which ended in February 2012. The band has confirmed that they have been working on new material for a fifth studio album and are kind of waiting on vocalist, Maynard James Keenan to come in and hammer out some of the lyrics and vocals. As I said before, Tool oftens has a new album every five or six years so they are very much due for some new material being that their last release was 2006's "10,000 Days".

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Song Of The Week: 5/13/12

Song: "The Project For A New American Century"

Artist: Anti-Flag

Album: "For Blood And Empire"

Year: 2006

"The Project For A New American Century" appears to be a song about the neoconservative plan for global domination, especially through military means. They look to profit financially off of war. They also seek to topple any government that is not appealing to them, i.e. Iraq. Anti-Flag is a left wing political punk band from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Formed by guitarist/singer Justin Sane and drummer Pat Thetic, they originally formed in 1988 but disbanded shortly after they formed. In 1993, the two decided to resurrect Anti-Flag and they have never looked back. The band as we know them today was officially rounded out with the addition of second guitarist Chris Head in 1997 and bassist/singer Chris #2 in 1999. In a seventeen year span from 1995 to 2012, Anti-Flag would release a total of nine studio albums, one compilation album, four EP's, eight splits and one video album. That just goes to show how very active Anti-Flag has been as a band during their career. To say Anti-Flag is a political band would be a huge understatement as well. They deal with several issues, both social and political, on all of their albums. Many of their views would be considered left wing. They often challenge conservative views in their songs. While opposing wars, corporate greed and governmental attacks on civil liberties, the band also are staunch supporters of groups like PETA and Amnesty International as well as being on the ground and amongst the masses of the Occupy Wall Street Movement. Anti-Flag did receive a little bit of heat following the release of "For Blood And Empire" due to the fact it was their first album that was released through a major label (RCA). Some have criticized the band for taking such a strong stand against corporate America, then jumping on a major label. The band looked at it as just a way to get their message across to a wider fanbase. Currently, the band has recently released their ninth studio album entitled "The General Strike" which dropped in March of 2012. The band is embarking on a tour with The Flatliners and the Have Nots to support their new release.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Song Of The Week: 5/6/12

Song: "Third Eye"

Artist: Tool

Album: "Aenima"

Year: 1996

"Third Eye" appears to be a song that is somewhat dedicated to comedian and satirist Bill Hicks, whom the bandmembers of Tool felt a very strong connection to. Both Hicks and the band felt that the meaning of existence was very much connected to seeing things through your own third eye. The third eye was a concept which has it's beginnings in Hinduism and it really implies of having a spiritual presence or being in a deep state of awareness or consciousness. Hicks and the band felt that hallucinogenic drugs only enhanced this state, Hicks calling psilocybe mushrooms the "squeegee" to keep one's third eye clean. Tool formed as a band in Los Angeles, California back in 1990. They were a band that appealed to both the metal scene as well as the alternative rock scene. In fact, they were also very progressive with their brand of metal and also very much known for their use of visual arts both in their music videos as well as their live performances. Tool first broke on the scene with the release of their 1992 EP "Opiate", considered some of the band's heaviest recordings to date. 1993 saw the band release their very first full length album, "Undertow", which featured one of the band's biggest hits of their career, "Sober". In 1996, Tool achieved major success in the form of Grammy Award winning album "Aenima". Between 1996 and 2001 would also be the very first time that Tool would take a little break between albums. This was a time when the band members would begin also working on other projects most notably Tool frontman, Maynard James Keenan and Tool guitar tech, Billy Howerdel forming the band A Perfect Circle. 2001 saw the return of Tool and yet another Grammy Award winning album, "Lateralus". With the help of the popular single "Schism", "Lateralus" debuted at number one on the Billboard charts. Again, there would be a five year break between albums until the band returned in 2006 for their "10,000 Days" album, also number one on the Billboards. A very dark and brooding band, Tool may like to stay in the shadows but there is no questioning their success over the years. By putting extreme focus on the music, rather than themselves, they have garnered a level of respect amongst rock circles and are clearly one of the major players in the metal and alternative rock scenes today. Since their last release in 2006, Keenan has been working on a new project called Puscifer, but the remaining members of Tool have been writing material for the next Tool project. The band has also committed to several tours during this time as well. Currently, it seems imminent that Tool will soon get together and create yet another masterpiece!