Sunday, January 27, 2013

Song Of The Week: 1/27/13

Song: "The Brews"

Artist: Rancid

Album: "BYO Split Series Volume III"

Year: 2002

"The Brews" is a parody type of song about the biggest baddest Hebrew punks around!! The song was originally recorded by NOFX and released on their 1994 classic punk album "Punk In Drublic". For those who don't expect Jewish people to intimidate or get all "punk rock" on you, well look out!! Here comes "The Brews"!!! Rancid covered this song as well as others for a split album with NOFX. NOFX also would cover several Rancid tracks for the same album. Rancid formed as a band back in 1991 out of the ashes of legendary punk/ska band Operation Ivy. Hailing from Berkeley, California, Rancid was formed when former Op. Ivy bandmates Tim Armstrong and Matt Freeman decided to form a new band. They recruited Armstrong's roommate Brett Reed to play drums and Rancid was formed. The band would release their first EP through Lookout Records in 1992. Soon after this release, they signed on with upstart indie punk label Epitaph Records and in 1993, released their self/titled album. In 1994 Rancid dropped their second full length album, "Let's Go". This was the first album to feature new guitarist/vocalist Lars Frederiksen. Thanks to the success of their single "Salvation", Rancid became one of the bands, along with Green Day, Offspring and Bad Religion, to lead the punk revival movement of the mid-90's. In 1995, Rancid dropped their all time classic album, "And Out Come The Wolves". Though the album only reached as high as number 45 on the Billboard 200 charts, it was clearly the band's most successful album, thanks in part to the hit singles "Roots Radicals", "Time Bomb" and "Ruby Soho". More than ever, Rancid began drawing comparisons to The Clash for their meshing of musical styles from hardcore punk to ska/reggae and even some rock-a-billy. 1998's "Life Won't Wait" would draw even more Clash comparisons, many citing that this album is Rancid's "Sandinista". In 1999, Rancid formed their own record label, Hellcat Records, which was a sub-label of Epitaph. Their first release on Hellcat would be 2000's self/titled album, an album that was mainly hardcore influenced. 2002 saw the release of the band's famed split with NOFX and in 2003, Rancid released "Indestructible". Thanks in part to the hit single, "Fall Back Down", "Indestructible" became Rancid's highest charting album, reaching as high as number 15. In 2006, Brett Reed decided to part ways with Rancid and the band recruited Brendan Steineckert, formerly of The Used, to play drums. 2007 saw Rancid release a compilation titled "B Sides And C Sides", which contained several tracks that did not make it on to their full length albums. Steineckert's first album playing drums for Rancid would be 2009's "Let The Dominoes Fall". This album featured the single, "Last One To Die". There was word that Rancid was going to release a live cd/dvd in 2011, not sure if that ever came to light. In 2012, the band released a single called "Fuck You", which was slated to appear on a compilation record. Not only has Rancid been very active as a band, the members have also filled their downtime with various side projects, most of which feature all of Rancid's band members. Most notably of these projects are Devil's Brigade, which Armstrong, Freeman and Reed were a part of. Transplants which featured Armstrong, Blink 182 drummer Travis Barker and Skinhead Rob. Lars Frederiksen and The Bastards, which Armstrong also contributed to. Frederiksen also formed the "oi" band The Old Firm Casuals. Armstrong has also recorded a solo album, and has been releasing songs under the moniker Tim Timebomb and Friends, these songs have also featured Freeman and Frederiksen at times. Currently, Armstrong has said that Rancid will be working on their new album in early 2013 in hopes of releasing it at some point that same year. He has said that most likely the new Rancid record will be released after the new Transplants album.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Song Of The Week: 1/20/13

Song: "Just Another Lie"

Artist: Flaw

Album: "Flaw"

Year: 1998

"Just Another Lie" appears to be a song about just being sick of the lies and untruths that are constantly being told to us, most likely as a society. I feel it's definitely being said about authoritative figures whether it be government, law or something along those lines. You sense the vocalist feels suffocated by the deceit of those who are supposed to have our best interest at heart. This song is a rare one in the Flaw catalogue, appearing on their 1998 independently released self/titled album. Flaw, a nu-metal band from Kentucky, formed back in 1995. After the grunge thing started slowing down a bit, a cast of nu-metal bands began coming out of the woodwork. Bands such as Korn, Staind and the Deftones. These bands definitely had a more metal feel to them than the more alternative sounds of the early 90's grunge movement. Flaw falls into that category. From 1996 to 2000, Flaw released three albums independently, 1996's "American Arrogance", 1998's "Flaw" and 2000's "Drama". Eventually the band caught the ear of Universal/Republic Records who signed the band. 2001's "Through The Eyes" would be Flaw's major label debut and their most successful album to date. The album eventually topped the Billboard Heatseekers Chart thanks in part to the singles "Payback", "Whole" and "Only The Strong". It also won them a spot on the 2002 Ozzfest tour. In 2004, the band released "Endangered Species". Though the album debuted at number 42 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, sales quickly fell off and it was a major disappointment for the band as well as their label, Universal, who wound up dropping the band. It was at this time that the band decided to part ways with each other. The break-up was short lived however, as Flaw reunited in 2006 with all four founding members. In 2007, the band toured for much of the year and intended to begin work on a new album. Internal conflicts began to tear the band apart once again however, and founding members guitarist Jason Daunt and vocalist Chris Volz decided to form a new band. This band was called Foundation, but soon they reclaimed the Flaw name. In 2009, Flaw released a new album "Home Grown Studio Sessions" which was only available as a digital download. 2010 brought more of the same internal strife as many more tour dates had to be cancelled putting the band in a bad spot, especially with their increasingly angry fan base. Volz set out to rekindle the relationships with his Flaw bandmates in hopes of releasing a new album, an EP, a DVD and a new tour in 2012. New tour dates were announced for 2012, but Flaw announced they would be with a new lead singer, Andy Paul. Almost as soon as these tour dates were announced, they were once again cancelled. Currently, the Flaw camp has announced that they are working on an EP which is scheduled to be released sometime in the Spring of 2013. The EP is said to have Andy Paul on vocals which should make the Chris Volz fans unhappy. Although, by now, what fans the band has left have most likely come to the realization that Flaw has been a trainwreck since just after 2004. I personally don't have too much hope for them in the future but they have left some pretty decent albums of post grunge/nu metal songs for listeners to enjoy.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Song Of The Week: 1/13/13

Song: "Crowded Elevator"

Artist: Incubus

Album: "When Incubus Attacks Volume 1" EP

Year: 2000

"Crowded Elevator" appears to be about wanting to profess something to someone, perhaps a secret or his love for her, but being in a situation where they are amongst strangers. The two are in a crowded elevator with many people and many floors to go and he's trying to decide if he is just going to blurt out everything he wants to say to her despite all the "unknowing" eyes that would be placed on him, or if he should just wait till they get to the lobby to tell her. Incubus, from California, formed as a band back in 1991. They started out having a funk/trip hop type of sound to their music. In 1995, Incubus released their very first full length album called "Fungus Amongus". As the band was developing a following, they caught the ear of Immortal Records which would go on to become Epic Records. Through Epic, the band released the EP "Enjoy Incubus" then in 1997, released their second album "S.C.I.E.N.C.E.". The band secured an unusual spot on that year's Ozzfest as well as a spot on the Family Values Tour alongside such bands as Korn and Limp Bizkit. Unusual tours in that there was definitely nothing metal about Incubus. 1999 is when I feel that Incubus finally captured the sound they were looking for as a band. While still incorporating a DJ, and having some funk elements, the songs on their next album, "Make Yourself", were much more straight forward rock songs as shown by their hit singles, "Pardon Me", "Stellar", "Drive" and "Privilege". "Drive" would actually be the band's first song to reach number 1 on Billboard's Modern Rock Charts. In 2001, the band continued to ride the roller coaster upwards when they released "Morning View". This album debuted at number two on the Billboard Top 200 charts thanks in part to the hit singles "Wish You Were Here" and "Nice To Know You". In 2004, the band decided to work with famed producer Brendan O'Brien, who worked with such acts as Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots. The band decided to record their new album live instead of working on the guitar, bass and drum tracks seperately. The outcome was a heavier, in your face feel to an album that was "A Crow Left Of The Murder". The lead single "Megalomaniac" definitely had that feel of urgency and chaos to it. Definitely one of the band's heavier tracks. In 2006, Incubus was showing no signs of slowing down. Their next album, "Light Grenades", debuted at number one on the Billboard Top 200 charts. "Anna Molly" was yet another successful single for the band as well. After touring in support of "Light Grenades", Incubus took a bit of a hiatus from writing and performing music together. In 2009, the band released their very first greatest hits compilation called "Monuments And Melodies". The compilation did contain a few new tracks such as "Black Heart Inertia" and "Midnight Swim". Finally, in 2011 Incubus returned to the music scene with new material with the release of "If Not Now, When?". The band spent the rest of 2011 touring in support of the new album. In 2012, however, the band decided to a year long break. Currently, Incubus has put it out there that after their break in 2012, expect new material from the band in 2013.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Song Of The Week: 1/6/13

Song: "Patricide"

Artist: Eighteen Visions

Album: "Lifeless" EP

Year: 1997

"Patricide" appears to come from the mindset of a murderous person. The word itself's meaning is to kill one's father. The vocalist is definitely the killer in this song and his stare is cold and his motives are evil. He actually wants to relish in his victim's demise and watch him die in a pool of his own blood. Eighteen Visions, from Orange County, California, formed as a band back in 1995. When their "Lifeless" EP was released back in 1997, the band was very much a metalcore band, full of heavy metal riffs and gutteral vocals. The band released their first full length studio album in 1999, entitled "Yesterday Is Time Killed". This garnered some interest from upstart label Trustkill Records who went on to sign Eighteen Visions. Their first release with Trustkill was a 7" called "No Time For Love". Then in 2000, the band dropped their second full length, "Until The Ink Runs Out". The band's next move would be to re-record some tracks from their early EP and 7" and package them in an album called "The Best Of Eighteen Visions". It was around this time that the band began to steer towards being more accessible to the masses and their style was less and less metalcore and more and more melodic hardcore. Their 2002 release, "Vanity", definitely began to show signs of the band's stylistic change but it was even more evident in their 2004 album, "Obsession". "Obsession" spawned three singles, "Waiting For The Heavens", "Tower Of Snakes" and "I Let Go", all of which helped Eighteen Visions have their most successful album to date. It would also prove to be their last album with Trustkill Records as the band went on to sign with major label Epic Records. In 2006, using the slick production provided by a major label, Eighteen Visions released their self-titled album. They decided on the heavy rocker, "Victim" to be the album's first single. It was at this stage of their career that they were more often compared to bands such as Avenged Sevenfold and Bullet For My Valentine than some of the metalcore bands that they were associated with in their early years. Epic Records did not really push to promote the band or the album however and they basically wound up falling through the cracks of rock and roll mediocrity. After finishing up a tour of Australia in 2007, Eighteen Visions decided to call it quits as a band. Currently, most members of Eighteen Visions are focused on several different musical projects and the book appears officially closed on Eighteen Visions as a band. Though they lasted for twelve years, which is a long time for any band, they just couldn't quite get over the hump no matter which style they tried to adapt. Perhaps the drastic change in styles was the very reason they didn't find quite the success that they had hoped to attain as a band.