Sunday, June 30, 2013

Song Of The Week: 6/30/13

Song: "Kevin J. O'Toole"

Artist: Street Dogs

Album: "State Of Grace"

Year: 2008

"Kevin J. O'Toole" is an ode or a tribute to Street Dog's lead singer Mike McColgan's uncle. McColgan considered his uncle a huge role model and influence in his life. The song is very much like the song "Fighter", which was a tribute to a fallen friend of McColgan's, and appeared on the band's debut album "Savin Hill". Street Dogs formed as a band back in 2002 and have since become a staple of the Boston punk scene alongside the Dropkick Murphys. In fact, McColgan was the original singer of the Dropkick Murphys before departing that band in 1998 to pursue his lifelong dream of becoming a Boston Firefighter. By 2002, McColgan could not stay away from music and took a leave from firefighting to form the Street Dogs. In 2003, the band released their debut album, "Savin Hill". This album helped the band earn an opening slot for Celtic punk legends Flogging Molly. 2005 saw the band release "Back To The World". This album was a critical success for the Street Dogs who were now opening for such bands as Social Distortion, Bad Religion, Millencolin and the Bouncing Souls. 2005 also saw the band play the Vans Warped Tour for the first time. In 2006, the band dropped their third album, "Fading American Dream". While touring to support this album the band had quite the scare one night in Omaha, Nebraska when bassist Johnny Rioux collapsed on stage due to an apparent seizure. Rioux proved to be ok after this incident, however, and continued on with the tour with no more health issues. In 2008, the Street Dogs signed up with Hellcat Records, an off shoot of Epitaph Records that was founded by Rancid's Tim Armstrong. The band's first release with Hellcat was "State Of Grace". By this time the Street Dogs were now a main stage act on the Warped Tour. 2010 saw the band release the self-titled "Street Dogs". After dropping five albums and touring extensively for almost ten years, McColgan stated that the band was going to take a little break at the beginning of 2013. That break was short lived to say the least as 2013 has already been an active year for the band. The current state of the Street Dogs is as follows. Guitarist Tobe Bean annouced that he would no longer be a touring member of the band. He was replaced by Darkbuster guitarist Lenny Lashley. Johnny Rioux announced that McColgan may release a solo album. Also, Rioux, McColgan and former Dropkick Murphys member Rick Barton formed a band called FM359. The band departed Hellcat Records and have confirmed that all future releases will go through Pirate Press Records. The Street Dogs plan on releasing a few 7" singles as well as a live album and dvd. The band has officially released the single "Crooked Drunken Sons" and the single "Rust Belt Nation". The Street Dogs are a blue collar band and that's who they sing for. They are pro-union, pro-worker and pro-middle class. They also take extreme pride in their community, Boston and more specifically Dorchester. Due to their work ethic, I assume that a new album will probably be in the works soon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Song Of The Week: 6/23/13

Song: "No. 1"

Artist: Bombshell Rocks

Album: "Love For The Microphone" EP

Year: 2004

"No. 1" appears to be a song about post 9/11, specifically the war between the United States and Iraq. The song says the war has done nothing but cause mass destruction and leave dead civilians on both sides. It didn't suppress terrorism, in fact, it created even more terror cells. Bombshell Rocks, from Sweden, formed as a band back in 1995. They recorded their very first EP in 1996, entitled "Who's The Real Bastard". In 1997, they released another EP, "Going Up Going Down", through their own label, Noiseline Records. 1998 saw the band sign to small label Sidekick Records and release yet another EP called "Underground Radio". In 1999, the band released their debut full length studio album, "Street Art Gallery". Burning Heart Records, Sweden's biggest punk label, began to take notice of Bombshell Rocks at this point. They liked their street punk sound that was quite similar to Rancid. It was also around this time that Bombshell Rocks began touring with bands such as Millencolin, Dropkick Murphys and U.S. Bombs. In 2001, the band released "Cityrats And Alleycats", winning opening slots on tours with Blink 182, Millencolin and The Offspring. In 2003, the band released "From Here On In". This album was recorded at the famous Tonteknik Studio in Sweden, the very same studio that the band Refused recorded their legendary album, "The Shape Of Punk To Come". Shortly after the release of "From Here On In", original vocalist, Marten Cedergran decided to leave the band and focus on being a tattoo artist. Guitarists Christian Maatta and Richard Andersson decided to take over vocal duties for the band from this point on. In 2004, the first material to feature Maatta and Andersson on vocals would be the EP "Love For The Microphone". 2006 saw the band release their fourth full length album entitled "The Conclusion". During Bombshell Rocks' long career, the band never quite gained the success or the popularity here in the United States that fellow countrymen Millencolin achieved. However, for fans of bands like Rancid, Bombshell Rocks is just a solid punk rock band. Currently, there hasn't been much going on in the Bombshell Rocks camp the last five years or so. The band has not made any announcements that they have broken up or not, but as for new music, there has been none since 2006's "The Conclusion". The band did release a music video for the song "Move Rhythm City" in 2010. That song appeared on "The Conclusion". There social media sites are up and running so I assume it's just a matter of time before the band releases new music.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Song Of The Week: 6/16/13

Song: "To The World"

Artist: Strike Anywhere

Album: "Exit English"

Year: 2003

"To The World" is a song that appears to be about supporting the world's humanity over the rules of a particular nation or government. It definitely calls for the uplifting of human beings, of all walks, races, colors, etc over the rules and laws of one country. It's the support of globalism over nationalism. Strike Anywhere formed as a band back in 1999, hailing from Richmond, Virginia. The band dropped it's first EP called "Chorus Of One" in 2000. The band caught the ear of Jade Tree Records who released the band's first full length album, "Change Is A Sound". In 2003, the band released their second album, "Exit English". Strike Anywhere began to gain a boost in their popularity around this time thanks in part to contributing the songs "Refusal", "Question The Answer" and "The Promise" to three different Tony Hawk video games. In 2005, the band released a rarities compilation called "To Live In Discontent". This album featured several b-sides and unreleased tracks as well as the now out of print "Chorus Of One" EP. Strike Anywhere was also featured in the punk documentary "Wake Up Screaming" which was about the 2005 Vans Warped Tour. In 2006, the band signed with legendary punk label Fat Wreck Chords and released "Dead FM", their third full length album. By 2009, the band parted ways with Fat Wreck and hooked up with Bridge 9 Records for the release of "Iron Front". 2012 saw the band release a live acoustic album, "In Defiance Of Empty Times", which featured recordings from two different shows. Strike Anywhere is a band that likes to perform globally, and in addition to several tours in the U.S., they have also performed shows in Europe, New Zealand, Brazil and Columbia. They perform a brand of punk rock whose lyrical themes focus on several political and social issues including police brutality, anti-capitalism, women's rights, animal rights and globalization. Their sound and style can often be compared to bands such as Rise Against and Anti-Flag and their message is not that dissimilar to either of those bands. Currently, though there has been no word as of yet that Strike Anywhere are working on a new album, the band is a very workman-like band and are constantly touring and playing shows. They are enjoying their time working with Bridge 9 Records, who have also released a few live albums and dvd's to go along with "Iron Front" and "In Defiance Of Empty Times".

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Song Of The Week: 6/9/13

Song: "Beautiful" (acoustic version)

Artist: 10 Years

Album: "Division"

Year: 2008

"Beautiful" is a song that appears to be about a woman who tries to make herself beautiful on the outside, whether it be cosmetically or even surgically. However, her exterior beauty is just a mask that hides a pitiful human being on the inside. Once you get past her good looks, you find that she is ugly on the inside. This is the reason for her failures at remaining in any type of stable, or long relationship. This acoustic version of the song "Beautiful" was available as a download for those who purchased the "Division" cd at the retail chain F.Y.E. 10 Years formed as a band back in 1999, hailing from Knoxville, Tennessee. In 2001, they independently released their debut album called "Into The Half Moon". In 2002, lead singer Mike Underdown left the band and Jesse Hasek was brought in to take over vocal duties, a position he holds to the present day. 2004 saw the band release "Killing All The Holds You". This album was also an independent release. In 2005, the band was signed by major label Universal Records and they released "The Autumn Effect". This album featured the singles "Through The Iris" and "Wasteland". "Wasteland" spent over twelve months on the rock charts and in February of 2006, it reached number one on the Billboard Alternative Song chart. The band, at this time, was also sharing the stage with several successful acts including Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, Smile Empty Soul, Sevendust, Korn and the Deftones. They also played with Tool who was a major influence musically for the band. In fact, Hasek's vocals sound very much like Tool frontman Maynard James Keenan. 2006 also saw the band release the "Acoustic" EP. This featured many songs from "The Autumn Effect" stripped down to an acoustic setting. 2008 saw the band release "Division", which featured the hit single "Beautiful". The band also earned a spot on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution tour after the release of "Division". In 2010, 10 Years released their fifth full length effort entitled "Feeding The Wolves", an album that included the singles "Shoot It Out" and "Fix Me". After fulfilling their obligations to Universal, 10 Years formed their own independent label called Palehorse Records. Their 2012 album "Minus The Machine" was released on this label and features the songs "Backlash" and "Dancing With The Dead". Currently, the band has been touring in support of "Minus The Machine". They seem to release new material almost every other year so I would assume you may see a new album from the band sometime in 2014.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Song Of The Week: 6/2/13

Song: "Wake The Sun"

Artist: The Matches

Album: "A Band In Hope"

Year: 2008

"Wake The Sun" reminds me of the start of a new day. The first birds you hear chirping in the morning. The sight of the sun rising, lighting everything up and the sound of all the people out and about, ready to start their days, whether on the streets or in the train stations. Kind of reminds me of the beginning of the work day in New York. That's the vibe I get when I listen to the song. The vocalist definitely seems to be taking in the atmosphere of a new day beginning. The Matches formed as a band back in 1997. They are from Oakland, California. The band formed when all the members were still in high school. They were originally called The Locals and they played a ska style of music. Gradually, they shifted towards a pop punk/alternative sound. The band gained some notoriety in the years between 1997 and 2002 for showing up with their acoustic guitars at various music venues and performing acoustic sets as the shows let out. It was also around this time that the band was forced to change their names as a copyright infringement lawsuit was brought to them by Yvonne Doll, frontwoman of a Chicago band called The Locals. The band changed their name to The Matches to avoid the lawsuit. In 2004 the band released their first album entitled "E Von Dahl Killed The Locals". The title, of course, is a playful slap at Yvonne Doll of the Chicago Locals band and her lawsuit. The Matches were soon signed by independent punk label Epitaph Records who re-released "E Von Dahl Killed The Locals" but with a slightly different track listing. The album spawned the singles "Chain Me Free" and "Audio Blood". In 2006, The Matches released their second album, "Decomposer". This album showed the band's musical style become much more experimental as shown with the singles "Papercut Skin" and "Salty Eyes". 2007 saw the band join their very first Vans Warped Tour and in 2008, The Matches played on the Soundwave Tour in Australia. Shortly after their first appearance in Australia, the band released their third album, "A Band In Hope". This album continued on the road of experimental pop and featured singles "Wake The Sun" and "Yankee In A Chip Shop". On July 9, 2009, it was announced that The Matches were officially on hiatus. On August 12, 2009, the band released a rarities album called "The Matches Album 4, Unreleased; Graphics? Title? or Not Needed?". This album featured all the leftovers from the band's musical career. All of the band members went on to focus on various other projects in the years from 2009 to the present. Currently, their doesn't appear to be any signs that The Matches will reunite any time soon and the book is probably all but closed on what was a very unique and eclectic band.