Sunday, August 25, 2013

Song Of The Week: 8/25/13

Song: "Stop Whining"

Artist: Rufio

Album: "Perhaps, I Suppose"

Year: 2001

Some say that "Stop Whining" is a song that bashes the "emo" scene. It takes offense to the whiney kids who act like they are always depressed and suicidal just to get attention. The vocalist is basically telling this person to grow up and think about the consequences of the things they say. Think about the people you would affect if you really did commit suicide. Think about others for once instead of only thinking about yourself. Rufio is a pop punk band that formed back in 2000. They are from California. The band hooked on with record label The Militia Group early on and in 2001 released their debut album, "Perhaps, I Suppose". In 2003, the band moved on to Nitro Records and released their second album, "MCMLXXXV". This album garnered them their first appearance on the famed Warped Tour. 2005 saw the band release "The Comfort Of Home". This album showed their sound mature a bit from their earlier releases and is my personal favorite of the band. Fractures in the foundation began to appear in Rufio in 2006. The band was forced to pull out of a tour supporting No Use For A Name amid various line-up changes and inner turmoil. In 2007, it was announced via the band's MySpace page that they would play one show on June 1, 2007 at the Glass House in Pomona, California, then embark on a farewell tour through South America. The band did reunite, however, to record and release their fourth full length album, "Anybody Out There", in 2010. This marked a return to The Militia Group for Rufio. Rufio also released "The Loneliest" EP in 2010 as well. After some touring in support of "Anybody Out There", it was decided in 2012 that the band would be no longer as Rufio officially announced their break-up. Currently, most of the band members are focused on other projects and it appears as though Rufio is a done deal. The band never really broke through and got the recognition that similar bands got. It appeared to be an uphill battle for Rufio from the very start of their musical career. They chugged along but could never quite get over the hump.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Song Of The Week: 8/18/13

Song: "We Are Not The World"

Artist: Silverstein

Album: "A Shipwreck In The Sand"

Year: 2009

To understand what "We Are Not The World" is all about is to understand that "A Shipwreck In The Sand" is a concept album. Without explaining too much about the whole album, it's basically about betrayal. The vocalist's partner has been caught cheating on him with his best friend and all he has left is their daughter, the only thing that keeps him going. The betrayal sparks rage in the vocalist, however, and he sets his partner's house ablaze. "We Are Not The World" is basically the scene when he is on trial for arson and when he finds out that they are taking his daughter away from him because of the crime he committed. Silverstein formed as a band back in 2000, hailing from Ontario, Canada. In 2000, they self-released an EP called "Summer's Stellar Gaze". After some line-up changes, the band independently released another EP entitled "When The Shadows Beam" in 2002. It was after this EP that the band signed with Victory Records. 2003 saw the band released their very first full length album, "When Broken Is Easily Fixed". This album featured six songs from their independent EP's that were re-recorded as well as some new material. In 2005, Silverstein appeared to have a more energetic and punky sound with their release of "Discovering The Waterfront". The band started to play some major tours after this album alongside bands such as Aiden, Hawthorne Heights, Bayside and Simple Plan. In 2006 the band released the compilation album "18 Candles: The Early Years". This album featured the band's first two EP's as well as some b-sides, re-recorded songs, acoustic tracks and remixed versions of songs. The band also played on it's very first Warped Tour that year. 2007 saw the release of "Arrivals & Departures". The band toured for nearly a year and a half in support of this album including the band's first stops in Australia and South America. In 2009, Silverstein released "A Shipwreck In The Sand". As I said before, this album was a concept album about betrayal. In 2010, Silverstein filmed and recorded a couple of shows they played in Toronto for a live cd/dvd release. This release would be called "Decade (Live At The El Mocambo)". After this release, the band officially left Victory Records. In 2011, Silverstein signed with Hopeless Records. Their first release with their new label was the EP "Transitions". This EP featured two new songs that were going to be on their upcoming album as well as three b-sides. That upcoming album would turn out to be 2011's "Rescue". Vocalist Shane Told said that this album would feature tons of screaming and musical breakdowns. In 2012, the band released the EP "Short Songs". This album featured songs that basically were no longer than one minute long. The album also featured Silverstein doing some cover songs, most notably a Green Day song and a NOFX song. 2013 saw the band release their sixth full length album entitled "This Is How The Wind Shifts". In support of this album, Silverstein decided to play the entire Warped Tour. In almost 13 years as a band, Silverstein has released six full length albums, one compilation album, one live album and five EP's. They have also toured relentlessly during that time. They have been labeled everything from post-hardcore to emo to punk to screamo. Whatever, they have stood the test of time and have distinguished themselves as a band that is at the front of the pack, not following behind it like so many similar sounding bands. Currently, they are in full support of their new album "This Is How The Wind Shifts" and if they are true to form, they will probably release a new album in 2015, as they have basically put out a new album every two years.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Song Of The Week: 8/11/13

Song: "Moment Of Surrender"

Artist: U2

Album: "No Line On The Horizon"

Year: 2009

"Moment Of Surrender" is a song about a drug addict undergoing a crisis of faith. The term "moment of surrender" is a common phrase that addicts refer to when they finally reach a point that they come to terms with the fact that they are an addict and that they need help. Those who go through addiction often wind up questioning their faith, whether that be faith in God or faith in humanity or even moreso, faith in themselves. U2 formed as a band back in 1976. The band members, vocalist Bono, guitarist The Edge, bassist Adam Clayton and drummer Larry Mullen Jr. were all classmates in a school in Dublin, Ireland when they formed the band. Though the band's influences were rooted in punk rock such as The Clash, The Jam and the Buzzcocks, their early sound was more in line with the British new wave movement. In 1979, the band released the EP "Three", which was only released in Ireland. By 1980, the band signed a contract with Island Records and released their first full length album, "Boy". This album would feature the band's first U.S. hit single, "I Will Follow". In 1981, the band released "October". Bono, The Edge and Mullen almost left the band at this time due to a conflict with their spirituality and them being rock stars. Luckily, the band felt that they can continue being in a rock band and still maintain their spiritual beliefs. In 1983, the band featured a harder edged sound with their album "War". This was especially true on their hit single "Sunday Bloody Sunday". The band also recorded a live album and video called "Under A Blood Red Sky" at this time. 1984's "The Unforgettable Fire" was the band's attempt to get more ambient and experimental. The album featured the single "Pride (In The Name Of Love)" which became the first single to chart in the U.S. Top 40. In 1985, U2 performed at Live Aid which was a huge benefit concert to aid in the Ethiopian famine relief effort. 1997 was a pivotal moment for the band. "The Joshua Tree" was released and topped the Billboard 200 charts for nine straight weeks. "With Or Without You" and "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" were the band's first #1 singles and the album went on to win two Grammy Awards. "The Joshua Tree" was very much inspired by American culture and especially American music, most notably rhythm and blues and soul. In 1998, as a coninued homage to American music, the band released "Rattle And Hum". This album would feature live material as well as some studio tracks, some recorded in Memphis' famous Sun Studios, where Elvis Presley's early recordings were made. In 1991 the band released "Achtung Baby". This album marked one of the most trying times for the band. Internal conflicts about musical direction nearly split the band apart. It wasn't until the band got together in the studio to work on the landmark song "One" that the tensions began to dissipate and unity amongst the band members was once again apparent. "One" literally saved the band. In 1992 and 1993, U2 embarked on the ambitious "ZooTV" tour. The tour represented the sensory overload that is the digital age. In 1993, the band released "Zooropa". The band had mixed feelings about this album and felt it was more of an interlude rather than a proper album. 1995 saw the release of "Passengers". This album received poor reviews, the only highlight being "Miss Sarajevo" which featured Pavarotti on vocals. In 1997, the band released "Pop", an album which focused on tape loops, electronic programming and samples. This album felt like it was hurried and some felt it was a disappointment. The band did play a show in Sarajevo after the Bosnian War was over however. This proved to be a real highlight for the band. In 2000, the band finally decided to get back to their roots and make a great rock and roll record. This album would be "All That You Can't Leave Behind". This album debuted at #1 in 22 different countries. Thanks to hit singles like "Beautiful Day" and "Elevation", the album won three Grammy's. In 2002, U2's performance at halftime of SuperBowl XXXVI was an epic performance and touching tribute to the victims of 9/11. It is considered the greatest halftime show in SuperBowl history. In 2004, the band released "How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb". This album doubled the record sales in one week of it's previous album setting a record. In 2005, U2 was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame. In 2009, the band released "No Line On The Horizon". The sales for this album were low by U2's standards and it was really their only album which didn't feature a hit single. To promote the album, the band embarked on their "U2 360" tour. Lasting two years, this was the highest grossing tour ever. For over 30 years, U2 has been one of the biggest bands in the world. Though at times, their drastic stylistic changes turned off some fans at times, they eventually always seem to get back to their roots and make some great songs and albums. The band is not afraid to wear their activism on their sleeves, or their spirituality, and their fame has allowed them to support several causes that they hold dear to them. Currently, it has been said that they are at work on a new album which they hope to have released some time in 2013.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Song Of The Week: 8/4/13

Song: "Where We Breathe"

Artist: Boys Night Out

Album: "Broken Bones And Bloody Kisses"

Year: 2002

Some say "Where We Breathe" is based on a book titled "Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer". The song follows a relationship where the girl's worst day is better than the vocalist's best day. Though he tries to show that this doesn't grate on him, it is, in fact, eating him on the inside. He's at the point where he's ready to veer off the road and watch her die in the cold November water. Clearly, the vocalist is murderous. Boys Night Out formed as a band back in 2001, hailing from Ontario, Canada. In the early days of the band, as shown from my song of the week "Where We Breathe", the band kind of fit into the post-hardcore scene, with screaming vocals and a bit heavier sound. They released an independent demo called "You Are My Canvas" in 2001. This got the band signed to One Day Savior Records and in 2002, the band released the EP "Broken Bones And Bloody Kisses". Interest in the band began spreading rapidly and eventually they signed with Ferret Records. In 2003, the band released their full length debut album "Make Yourself Sick". The band's sound was notably lighter and more pop orientated with the release of this album. The album did, however, garner the band a supporting slot on My Chemical Romance's tour. It also marked the first time the band was invited to play the Warped Tour. Boys Night Out was also featured on the Nintendo Fusion tour around this time with fellow bands Motion City Soundtrack and The Starting Line. In 2005, the band released an ambitious concept album entitled "Trainwreck". The album follows a story of a man who loses his sanity, murders his wife and chops his hands off so that he can't murder again. The album is like a conversation between the man and his doctor. In 2007, the band released their self titled "Boys Night Out" album. This album featured the single "Up With Me". Thoughout their career as a band, Boys Night Out has been kind of a revolving door of band members. They never seemed to be able to keep a consistent line-up through the years. In 2009, after almost two years of not playing live shows or releasing any new material, the original five members of Boys Night Out played a one off show on October 24th in Toronto. They played "Broken Bones And Bloody Kisses" and "Make Yourself Sick" in their entirety at this show. Shorly after this performance, a message was left on the band's Facebook page stating that they are currently label free and they are enjoying the freedom of not having to be forced to have material done by a certain date. They are expectation free. Though they did not mention a break up, they did hint at a bit of a hiatus from playing live or recording any material at the time. In 2013, Boys Night Out lead singer, Conner Lovat-Fraser stated that he didn't believe the band would be getting back together. Fans got a glimmer of hope when it was announced on the band's Twitter account that the band had indeed just finished recording a brand new album. Two days after this tweet, however, the band said that their Twitter account was hi-jacked and they shot down any hopes of a new album. They also declared that the band has officially broken up. Currently, nothing more to really write about the band. They have broken up. Sometimes, it seems that some bands struggle to find their musical identity. I put Boys Night Out in this category. Do they want to be screamo or do they want to be melodic pop? I know bands want to grow and change and explore new territory, but it seemed with every release, Boys Night Out was changing their style dramatically. Hard to gain a solid fan base following when your sound is all over the place. I personally thought the band's highlight was "Trainwreck". Loved the concept and storyline of that album but still, Boys Night Out was just one in the pack. They never really stepped to the front of that pack, they just fell in line.