Sunday, May 26, 2013

Song Of The Week: 5/26/13

Song: "I'm Alive"

Artist: A Change Of Pace

Album: "Prepare The Masses"

Year: 2006

"I'm Alive" appears to be a song about a relationship that was once inseparable, but over time, has grown distant. At first the vocalist, a young performer, is not happy about having to travel and be away from his partner. It feels as though the years has lessened his attachment to this girl. By the end of the song, he just sees the relationship as one more checkmark on a list of things he regrets. A Change Of Pace is a pop punk band from Arizona. They formed as a band back in 2001 when some members were still high school freshmen. By 2003, the band rounded itself out and began playing local shows and jamming. Eventually they caught the ear of Immortal Records who signed the band and released their first EP entitled "Change Is The Only Constant". In 2005, A Change Of Pace released their very first full length studio effort called "An Offer You Can't Refuse". This album helped the band land a spot on that year's Warper Tour. In 2006, the band released their second album, "Prepare The Masses". By 2008, founding member and lead vocalist Torry Jasper parted ways with the band and Micah Bentley joined the band as his replacement. With Bentley on vocals, the band released the EP "Just No Better Way". Not that A Change Of Pace was a heavy band by any stretch of the imagination, with Bentley on vocals, the band's music got even lighter. 2011 saw the band release their third full length album "It Could Be Worse". By March of 2011, however, it was announced through the band's Facebook page that A Change Of Pace was calling it quits as a band. On Christmas Day 2011, the band was approached and asked if they would reunite with original vocalist Jasper and perform at the South By So What festival which was taking place in Dallas, TX on March 17, 2012. A Change Of Pace would perform alongside similar bands like The Early November and Motion City Soundtrack at that festival. The performance also led to several meetings about whether to move forward as a band. Currently, Jasper has agreed to rejoin A Change Of Pace for good and the band is planning on releasing a new album which they hope to have out by the end of 2012.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Song Of The Week: 5/19/13

Song: "Faith And Hope"

Artist: Pennywise

Album: "Reason To Believe"

Year: 2008

"Faith And Hope" is a song that's theme is laced throughout the Pennywise catalogue. It could be about societal flaws, definitely about the band's view on organized religion. Basically, people like to use whatever, faith or material things, as a way to cope. This song is basically saying not to follow what someone or something else tells you to do. Live life your own way. Make your own decisions. Don't fall in the trap of what society wants you to be. Be yourself. Pennywise is a punk rock band from Hermosa Beach, California that formed back in 1988. The band was created by vocalist Jim Lindberg, guitarist Fletcher Dragge, drummer Byron McMackin and bassist Jason Thirsk. In 1989, the band released two EP's, "A Word From The Wise" and "Wildcard". In 1990, Pennywise signed with independent punk label, Epitaph Records. 1991 saw the band release their debut full length, "Pennywise". Following the release of their self-titled album, Lindberg left the band. Pennywise brought in Randy Bradbury to handle bass duties and Thirsk shifted over to vocals. By 1992, Lindberg rejoined the group, Thirsk going back to bass and Bradbury exiting. "Unknown Road" was released that year and the band was gaining a steady underground movement. In 1995, the punk revival was in full swing, thanks to bands like Green Day, Offspring, Rancid and Bad Religion. Pennywise joined the fray with the release of "About Time", which featured the skate punk hit "Same Old Story". In 1996, Thirsk left the band in an attempt to conquer his alcoholism. Though he did well for a while, he relapsed and ultimately committed suicide on July 29, 1996. Following this tough time for the band, Bradbury rejoined and Pennywise decided to carry on, releasing "Full Circle" in 1997. This album featured several odes to their fallen bandmate, including the re-recorded "Bro Hymn Tribute". "Bro Hymn" was featured on the band's first album and was actually written by Thirsk. The band re-worded some lyrics and it became a tribute to their longtime friend and bandmate. The song has closed every Pennywise show to this very day. 1999 saw the band release "Straight Ahead" which reached number 62 on the Billboard Top 200 charts, thanks in part to the hit single "Alien". In 2000, Pennywise released their very first live cd, "Live @ The Key Club". The album definitely captured the ferocity of a live Pennywise show. In 2001, the band released "Land Of The Free?". Reaching number 67 on the Billboard 200, the album featured the anti-social, anti-government anthem "Fuck Authority". In 2003, the band released "From The Ashes". This album turned out to be Pennywise's highest charting album to date. Pennywise kept chugging along in 2005 with the release of "The Fuse". It was around this time that things were not going so well internally amongst the band members and break up rumors began to circulate around the band. Those rumors were dispelled for awhile as the band released "Reason To Believe" in 2008. This album was offered as a free download through MySpace. Though the album was not financially successful, due to being offered as a free download obviously, it did have over 400,000 copies downloaded which is a pretty good number. The album featured the single "The Western World". In 2009, dissentions once again ran rampant amongst band members and Lindberg announced he was leaving the band. Zoli Teglas of the band Ignite began filling in on vocals. With Pennywise continuing on with Teglas as the frontman, Lindberg wrote a book called "Punk Rock Dad: No Rules, Just Real Life". The premise of that book was turned into a documentary called "The Other F Word" which featured Lindberg and Pennywise prominently. Lindberg also formed a band called The Black Pacific. In 2012, Pennywise released their first album without Lindberg on vocals. It was called "All Or Nothing". Though both the "All Or Nothing" and "The Black Pacific" were both great albums, their was definitely something missing. Pennywise is Jim's voice and Fletcher's guitar. Nothing can change that. As Pennywise was touring Europe, Zoli hurt his back requiring surgery and forcing the band to cancel all remaining dates. It was around this time that Teglas began talking to Lindberg and trying to get him to rejoin Pennywise. In October of 2012, Lindberg officially rejoined Pennywise and in January of 2013, the band played it's 25th Anniversary show at the Hollywood Palladium, the first show with Jim back on vocals. Currently, Pennywise is, as it always has been, a very active band, embarking on countless tours and playing several shows. The band also wants to hit the studio and work on a new album as soon as possible. After 25 years and ten albums, Pennywise is still a major cog in the punk rock wheel. Always true to themselves. Always influential. Always punk rock!!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Song Of The Week: 5/12/13

Song: "Drastic"

Artist: The Loved Ones

Album: "The Loved Ones" EP

Year: 2005

"Drastic" appears to be a song about how the powers that be aren't really focused on what is best for us. It's kind of a scathing commentary on our political leaders and our government. Not only do they not have our best interests at heart, it seems they don't even know what our best interests are. They rule by fear. They respond with wars. We are just trying to get by with the day to day problems that the average citizen has to deal with, making sure the bills are paid, dealing with health issues, etc. The Loved Ones formed as a band back in 2003. They are from Philadelphia. Vocalist/guitarist and chief songwriter, Dave Hause's former band The Curse had just broken up. At the time he formed The Loved Ones, Hause was still playing guitar for the band Paint It Black. By 2004, Hause departed Paint It Black to focus all his time and energy on The Loved Ones. The band self released a four song demo that year as well. In 2005, the band released "The Loved Ones" EP through Jade Tree Records. At that time, Hause was working as a roadie for the band The Bouncing Souls. In return, the Bouncing Souls gave Hause and The Loved Ones the opportunity to open for them on their tour. Also, while opening up for NOFX, The Loved Ones caught the ear of Fat Mike who went on to sign the band on his Fat Wreck Chords label. In 2006, The Loved Ones released their first full length studio album through Fat Wreck called "Keep Your Heart". This album featured the anthemic "100K". It was around this time that Chris Gonzalez and David Walsh, both formerly of the punk band The Explosion, joined The Loved Ones. In 2008, the band released their second album, "Build & Burn" and in 2009, they released the "Distractions" EP which featured three brand new songs as well as three cover songs of Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bragg and Joe Strummer respectively. 2010 saw The Loved Ones embark on their very first tour of Australia. In 2011, Dave Hause released his very first solo album entitled "Resolutions". He has since been a fixture on The Revival Tours, which are the brainchild of Hot Water Music frontman Chuck Ragan. Currently, The Loved Ones appear to be on Hause's back burner at the moment. He seems to be gearing most of his focus on his solo career at this time. He has stated in several interviews that it isn't very likely that The Loved Ones will be working on new material any time soon. Though he didn't flat out say that the band has broken up, he didn't make it seem that the future was looking too bright for the band. If indeed the band is done, that would be very unfortunate because The Loved Ones are a very solid band who I feel still has much to offer the music world.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Song Of The Week: 5/5/13

Song: "Straight Up"

Artist: Halifax

Album: "Punk Goes 80's"

Year: 2005

"Straight Up" is a cover song. It was originally a pop/r&b hit for 1980's singer Paula Abdul and released on her 1988 album "Forever Your Girl". The "Punk Goes 80's" album features not only Halifax's cover of this song, but several songs made popular in the 80's covered by several different punk bands. The song itself appears to be about wanting some kind of truth and honesty in the particular relationship. She wants to know if the relationship is true and if it's going to last or is it just short term fun and then it's over. Halifax formed as a band back in 2003, hailing from California. Starting off as little more than a hobby amongst friends, it gradually drifted into something they took more serious. The creative core of the band, vocalist Mike Hunau and guitarist Chris Brandt would eventually dump the rest of the band in search of more focused musicians. In 2003, the band self produced and self funded their first album, "Start Back At Start". Their sound was reminiscent of bands such as Taking Back Sunday at this time. In 2004, they once again self produced the EP "A Writer's Reference" which featured the song "Sydney". This EP caught the ear of label Drive-Thru Records who promptly signed the band. In 2005, Drive-Thru re-released "A Writer's Reference" with an added bonus track. Drive-Thru helped better distribute the band's material. 2005 also saw the band appear on MTV's Real World: Austin. While the band was not happy how the show depicted them, they were happy at the free exposure they received due to their appearance on the show. In 2006, the band released "The Inevitability Of A Strange World", their first release to feature a producer other than themselves. The album featured a more "metal" feel on some of the tracks, especially on the single "Our Revolution". The album would also debut at number one on the Billboard Top Heatseekers chart. Halifax would also win MTV's Dew Circuit Breakout which basically was a battle of the bands that was sponsored by Mountain Dew and broadcast on MTV. By 2008, vocalist Mike Hunau decided to part ways with Halifax. Guitarist Chris Brandt decided to perform vocals from here on out for the band. It was also around this time that Halifax left Drive-Thru Records. After shopping some new material around to different labels, the band finally signed with Rocket Science Records and in 2010, released a six track EP entitled "Align", which featured the single "Breathe". Currently, there doesn't seem to be much going on in the Halifax camp since the release of the "Align" EP, but there hasn't been any word of a break-up either. They have had a difficult time of keeping a steady line-up intact for long periods of time so it remains to be seen if they continue on as a band or not.