Sunday, June 29, 2014

Song Of The Week: 6/29/14

Song: "I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together"

Artist: The Horrible Crowes

Album: "Elsie"

Year: 2011

"I Believe Jesus Brought Us Together" is a song that appears to be about two people who's past relationships were nothing but failures, but it's those failures that became their common connection with each other. The scars that they both had from the past prove to be their common ground. It is what makes them perfect for each other. The Horrible Crowes formed as a band in 2011, hailing from New Jersey. The band was formed by Brian Fallon and his guitar tech Ian Perkins. Fallon, of course, is better known as the singer, songwriter and rhythm guitar player for the New Jersey band The Gaslight Anthem, for which he has been playing and releasing music since 2005. But, where The Gaslight Anthem is kind of like Bruce Springsteen with a punk edge to it, The Horrible Crowes is more like Tom Waits. The band itself got it's name from the poem "Twa Corbies" or "two crows". The poem is a reflection of the darker side of life and that is what Fallon was trying to touch upon when forming The Horrible Crowes. He in fact called the songs on the album "hymns for lonely people". On June 21, 2001, the band previewed their first song, "Black Betty And The Moon" on their YouTube channel. About a month later on July 13, 2001, The Horrible Crowes released "Behold The Hurricane" as their very first single. On September 6, 2001, the band released their debut album "Elsie". Along with "Behold The Hurricane", the album also featured the single "Ladykiller". After doing some small scale touring, the band released the live CD/DVD, "Live At The Troubadour" in 2013. This live album featured a stripped down, soulful version of pop star Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream". Currently, The Horrible Crowes have been put on the backburner somewhat. Brian Fallon's baby was and will always be The Gaslight Anthem and that's where his main focus will always lie. They are due for a new album to be released by the end of summer/early fall of 2014 and i'm sure there will be a major tour to support that new album. Fallon also formed a folk band called Molly And The Zombies. Fallon did say that their is definitely a future for The Horrible Crowes however, and that band will definitely see the light of day at some point in the future. If you're a fan of The Gaslight Anthem and Tom Waits then The Horrible Crowes is the band for you. Their music and lyrics can be very dark, but all in all, a great side project from Mr. Fallon.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Song Of The Week: 6/22/14

Song: "Lost Continent"

Artist: Thrice

Album: "MySpace Transmissions" EP

Year: 2008

"Lost Continent" could have many meanings all wrapped into one. The most obvious being it's link with Atlantis, the "lost continent". It was a virtual utopia, just perfect in every way, but it's fate was sealed with the rising waters, basically drowning the island and all it's inhabitants. I think bigger picture, it's a warning to humanity about what could happen if you don't take care of each other and the environment. Life as we know it can be washed away as well, just like Atlantis. Also, if you know that lead singer, Dustin Kensrue, is very spiritual, the Biblical flood also can weigh into this song. "Lost Continent" originally appeared on Thrice's 2007 album "The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II". The version I chose to use is from the 2008 "MySpace Transmissions" EP. This song, plus all the songs on that EP, was recorded live and released exclusively through Itunes. Thrice formed as a band back in 1998, hailing from California. Kensrue and guitarist Teppei Teranishi formed the band when the two were still in high school. In 1999, the band self released "First Impressions", an EP that they basically sold out of the trunks of their cars. In 2000, Thrice released their debut album, "Identity Crisis" through Greenflag Records. In 2001, the band signed with Hopeless Records and released "The Illusion Of Safety" in 2002. This album allowed the band to embark on their very first headlining tour. In 2003, Thrice hooked on with major label, Island Records, and released "The Artist In The Ambulance". This album featured the singles "All That's Left" and "Stare At The Sun" and it's the album that really made the music world take notice of Thrice. In 2004, the band released the CD/DVD "If We Could Only See Us Now". This EP featured live recordings as well as some b-sides, including a ferocious version of The Beatles' "Eleanor Rigby". As 2005 approached, Thrice began to veer away from their early hardcore punk/melodic punk roots and became much more experimental. They released the album "Vheissu" which featured the singles "Image Of The Invisible" and "Red Sky", the latter which was released as an EP and featured live tracks and two unreleased tracks. Kensrue's writing was definitely featuring some Biblical and spiritual themes at this point as well, foreshadowing what was to come later on. 2007 saw Thrice sign with Vagrant Records and release "The Alchemy Index Vols. I & II: Fire & Water". This album debuted at #24 on the Billboard 200 charts. In 2008, the band released "The Alchemy Index Vols. III & IV: Earth & Air". Each volume of these albums focused on a different elements of nature. That very same year Thrice also released their very first live CD/DVD called "Live At The House Of Blues, which was recorded in Anaheim. 2009 saw the band release "Beggars". The band wanted this album to be more energetic and upbeat as they felt their previous few releases had a "sleepy" feeling to them. In 2011, "Major/Minor" was released, their eighth studio album. In 2012, Thrice announced that they were going on a hiatus but before they did they embarked on a farewell tour culminating in the release of "Anthology", which was a double disc live album spanning their entire career. Vocalist Dustin Kensrue began to focus on his spiritual studies and, in fact, became the worship leader at Mars Hill Church in Bellevue, WA, where he and his family moved. He would still release music, but it was worship music. Currently, the good news is that in a 2014 interview, Kensrue not only did not close the door on a Thrice reunion, he, in fact, stated the possiblility is very real. He talked of definite touring with the hope of creating new music as well. This is excellent news for any Thrice fan. Thrice, in my opinion, is one of the most important bands of the 2000's. Their songwriting and style made them stand out from the pack. They are a generous band, who has given proceeds from every one of their releases to various charities. I like a lot of bands, but Thrice may definitely be in my top 10!!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Song Of The Week: 6/15/14

Song: "Shit Outta Luck"

Artist: The Real McKenzies

Album: "Oot & Aboot"

Year: 2003

"Shit Outta Luck" is a song that appears to be about finding yourself in a situation that you can't get out of. It's a tongue in cheek kind of song about maybe being in a drunken stupor then waking up in the morning and finding yourself in a compromising position. It's a definite, "what the fuck did I do?" type of song where in the end, well, you're "shit outta luck"!! The Real McKenzies formed as a band back in 1992, hailing from Vancouver, Canada. Though the band gets lumped in with fellow celtic punk bands such as the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly, they are, in fact, a Scottish punk band. In 1995, the band dropped their self titled debut album, "The Real McKenzies". This album featured several covers of traditional Scottish songs such as "Loch Lomond", "Skye Boat Song" and "My Bonnie". In 1998, the band released "Clash Of The Tartans" featuring the single "Mainland" as well as Scot cover songs, "Scots Wha' Ha'e" and "Auld Lang Syne". 2001 saw the band release their third album, "Loch'd & Loaded". In 2002, The Real McKenzies released their very first live album entitled "Pissed Tae Th' Gills". In 2003, "Oot & Aboot" was released featuring a cover of the traditional Scot song "Ye Banks And Braes". By 2005, The Real McKenzies signed up with legendary punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords and released "10,000 Shots". This album featured the Scottish cover "Farewell To Nova Scotia" as well as the song "Pour Decisions", one of the band's more popular songs. "Pour Decisions" is based on the same melody line as the famous Monty Python comedy sketch "The Lumberjack Song". In 2008, the band released "Off The Leash" which featured the singles "Chip" and "Drink Some More". 2010 saw The Real McKenzies release their second live album called "Shine Not Burn". This was an acoustic show that was recorded in a pub in Germany. In 2012, The Real McKenzies dropped their latest album, "Westwinds". This album featured the song "The Tempest" and "Barrett's Privateers", the latter which is basically a modern Canadian drinking song. Currently, as of December of 2013, The Real McKenzies have finished recording all the music for a new album and it is ready to be mixed and mastered so most likely, a new album should be on it's way either by the end of summer or the fall of 2014. There is a little misconception out there about The Real McKenzies that they jumped on the coattails of other Celtic punk bands like Flogging Molly and Dropkick Murphys but the fact is that The Real McKenzies were a band some four or five years before those other to bands existed plus, as I said earlier, where the Dropkicks and Flogging Molly celebrate their Irish roots, The Real McKenzies wear their Scottish roots on their sleeves. Either way, if you are looking for a band to set the mood for having a great time, soaking up some brews in a local pub with your friends, well, The Real McKenzies can surely provide that soundtrack for you.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Song Of The Week: 6/8/14

Song: "No Regrets"

Artist: Ignite

Album: "A Place Called Home"

Year: 2000

"No Regrets". I'm not sure if Ignite frontman Zoli Teglas has children, but "No Regrets" seems to be a song about him feeling that he has missed too much, or not given enough of himself to them. He battles with this fact and vows to change. It seems like he doesn't want to have regrets in future years when he could have made the changes to himself which would prevent them from happening. Ignite formed as a band back in 1993, hailing from Orange County, California. The band was initially signed by Lost & Found Records and in 1994 released their debut album, "Scarred For Life". In 1995, the band released the EP "In My Time". This year also saw the band release "Family", which would later be distributed by Conversion Records under the new title, "Call On My Brothers". In 1996, Ignite released a split EP with Good Riddance. A compilation called "Straight Ahead" was also released that year and basically featured all of "In My Time" and select tracks from "Scarred For Life". Later in '96, the band released "Past Our Means", an EP through Revelation Records. 2000 saw Ignite have their biggest breakthrough commercially with the release of "A Place Called Home". Already having a melodic hardcore cult following, this album spread the band's appeal to a wider audience. 2006 saw the band release "Our Darkest Days" through Abacus Recordings. This album featured the single "Bleeding" as well as a cover of U2's "Sunday Bloody Sunday". In the ten years between 2000 and 2010, recording and touring was a bit sporadic for Ignite, having only released two albums in that decade. In 2010, Zoli Teglas agreed to join legendary punk icons Pennywise after their lead singer Jim Lindberg decided to part ways with that band. In May of 2012, Pennywise released "All Or Nothing", the first and only album with Teglas featured on vocals. In the summer of 2012, "Our Darkest Days Live" was released, a DVD featuring live Ignite footage. By October of 2012, back issues were forcing Teglas to miss more and more Pennywise shows and eventually Lindberg rejoined Pennywise leaving Zoli to put his focus back on Ignite. Currently, as of 2014, Ignite is officially in the recording studio working on their long anticipated follow up to "Our Darkest Days". No release date has been released as of yet. If you are a fan of bands like Pennywise, Bad Religion and Good Riddance, then Ignite would be right in your wheelhouse. Much like those three bands, Ignite plays a melodic hardcore brand of punk rock with themes that take on various political and social issues. Looking forward to hearing new music from this solid and talented band.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Song Of The Week: 6/1/14

Song: "Setting Forth"

Artist: Eddie Vedder

Album: "Water On The Road" DVD

Year: 2011

"Setting Forth" is a song that appears to be about embarking on a new journey in life. This song originally appeared on the 2011 soundtrack to the movie "Into The Wild". "Setting Forth" is basically the main character deciding to stop living his normal life and to travel the country, basically living off the land. No particular goal, just to soak everything around him in on his journey. It's kind of a liberating song. Eddie Vedder, of course, is most famous as being the lead singer of Seattle's Pearl Jam. About 1984, Eddie began recording demo tapes and really focusing on music. He joined many San Diego scene bands in the mid 80's such as Surf And Destroy, The Butts and Indian Style, which features Brad Wilk of Rage Against The Machine fame on drums. In 1988, Vedder hooked up with Bad Radio as their lead singer. This band featured a funk rock style, much in the same vein as the Red Hot Chili Peppers. 1990 was a whirlwind year for Vedder. He befriended Jack Irons, drummer of the Chili Peppers at the time. Irons of course gave Eddie a demo tape from Stone Gossard, formerly of Mother Love Bone. Eddie recorded vocals over the tracks which would eventually become "Alive", "Footsteps" and "Once" and the rest is musical history! In 1991, before Pearl Jam released their mega hit album "Ten", Vedder collaborated with Temple Of The Dog, which featured Gossard, Jeff Ament, Mike McCready and Chris Cornell and Matt Cameron of Soundgarden. He provided vocals to the grunge mega hit "Hunger Strike". In the early 90's, Pearl Jam was riding high at the top of the musical mountain. The "grunge" explosion out of the Pacific Northwest, which also featured Nirvana, Alice In Chains and Soundgarden was all the rage. With early albums "Ten", "VS" and "Vitalogy", Pearl Jam's popularity was growing out of control, much to the dismay of a band that wanted people to focus on their musical content, not their fashion statement. As the 90's ended and the 2000's began, the grunge movement began losing some steam. But while PJ's counterparts were breaking up or doing other things, Vedder and the boys remained to carry the grunge torch. In fact, they became tighter and tighter as the mid to late 2000's came. Pearl Jam members began to do solo/side projects as the years have gone by. Eddie began to perform solo tours going back to 1999. Vedder was featured on several soundtracks, both as a solo artist and as a member of Pearl Jam. Some of those soundtracks are 1995's "Dead Man Walking" featuring the song "Dead Man", 2001's "I Am Sam" featuring a cover of the Beatles' "You've Got To Hide Your Love Away", 2003's "Big Fish" featuring "Man Of The Hour", 2007's "Body Of War" featuring "No More", 2010's "Reign Over Me" featuring a cover of The Who's "Love, Reign O'er Me" and 2010's "Eat Pray Love" featuring "Better Days". In 2007, director Sean Penn asked Vedder to do the entire soundtrack for his movie "Into The Wild". This turned out to be Eddie's first solo effort basically, featuring the songs "Hard Sun", "Society", "Guaranteed" and "Rise". In 2011, Vedder released "Ukulele Songs". As the title says, all of these songs were recorded with just Ed on vocals and ukulele as the instrumentation. This album featured songs such as "Longing To Belong" and "Without You". The same day that "Ukulele Songs" was released, a live DVD was also released called "Water On The Road". This DVD featured live footage of concerts Eddie performed in Washington D.C. in 2008. This DVD features the version of "Setting Forth" that I chose as my song of the week as well. Throughout his career, whether it be with Pearl Jam or solo, Vedder has shared the stage with a virtual who's who in the music world. The impressive list of musicians Eddie has collaborated with includes The Who, The Ramones, Neil Young, REM, Neil Finn, Bad Religion, Cat Power, Mike Watt, Dave Grohl, The Fastbacks, X, The Strokes, Tom Petty, The Doors, The Stooges, Pete Townsend, Paul McCartney, The Rolling Stones, U2, Bruce Springsteen, Robert Plant, Roger Waters, Flea, Ben Harper, Jack Johnson, Jay Z, Kings Of Leon, Perry Farrell, Beck, Jerry Cantrell, Chris Cornell, Queens Of The Stone Age, Mike Ness, Ace Frehley, Elvis Costello and Glen Hansard. Currently, Eddie has just completed a solo tour of South America and there are upcoming Pearl Jam tours of Europe and the United States to close out the rest of 2014. While there doesn't appear to be any news of a new solo album in the works, Vedder and Pearl Jam released their tenth studio album, "Lightning Bolt" in 2013.