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)