Sunday, August 31, 2014

Song Of The Week: 8/31/14

Song: "Across The Universe"

Artist: Seether

Album: "Itunes Originals"

Year: 2008

"Across The Universe" is, of course, a song that was made famous by legendary band The Beatles. It originally appeared on The Beatles classic 1970 album "Let It Be". For my song of the week, I chose Seether's cover version of the song which appeared on the 2008 "Itunes Originals" recording. This recording was exclusive to Itunes and featured interviews with the band, six tracks from their albums, as well as 7 newly recorded songs, one of them being "Across The Universe". The song itself, written by John Lennon, appears to be about the beauty of life, the realness of sorrow, the happiness in joy, the comfort of love and the impact of thought. Basically, it celebrates humanity and the vocalist is at a certain peace with himself, his feelings and his spirituality. Seether formed as a band back in 1999, hailing from South Africa. Originally they were called Saron Gas and they released one album, "Fragile", under that name in 2000. By 2002, the group officially became Seether and they released "Disclaimer". This album featured the singles "Fine Again", "Driven Under" and "Gasoline". In 2004, the band remixed and re-recorded some of the tracks on "Disclaimer" as well as adding eight new tracks and packaged it as "Disclaimer II". One of the newly recorded tracks was "Broken" which featured Amy Lee of Evanescence on vocals. That track would go on to be one of Seether's biggest hit songs. 2005 saw the band release "Karma And Effect". This album would peak at #8 on the Billboard 200 charts and be certified gold in the United States and Canada. The album featured the singles "The Gift", "Truth" and "Remedy", the latter being the band's very first #1 hit. In 2006 Seether recorded an acoustic performance at Grape Street in Philadelphia and packaged it as a cd/dvd called "One Cold Night". During that performance the band covered "Immortality" by Pearl Jam. 2007 saw the band release "Finding Beauty In Negative Spaces". This album sold 57,000 copies in it's first week of sales, reaching #9 on the Billboard 200 charts. Singles from the album included "Fake It" and "Rise Above This", a song that was written by guitarist/vocalist Shaun Morgan as a tribute to his brother who had recently committed suicide. In 2009, Seether released a cover version of cheesy 80's band Wham's "Careless Whisper". In 2011, the band released "Holding Onto Strings Better Left To Fray". This album was produced by legendary and long time Pearl Jam producer, Brendan O'Brien. Thanks in part to the lead single "Country Song", this album peaked at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts, making it the highest charting album of Seether's career. In 2013, Seether released the compilation "Seether: 2002-2013". This album featured the band's greatest hits along with some demos and three new songs, one of which was a cover of Veruca Salt's "Seether", the song which the band is named for. 2014 saw the band release "Isolate And Medicate". The first single of their new album is "Words As Weapons". Currently, Seether is touring in support of "Isolate And Medicate". The band has been one of the more successful rock bands to come out. Their style is post-grunge, melodic, radio friendly rock much like many of the band's they've shared a stage with including Finger Eleven, Staind, Three Days Grace and 3 Doors Down. You can hear direct influences in their music to 90's grunge bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden and Alice In Chains but they have said that along with those bands, they are also inspired by bands like Nine Inch Nails and the Deftones. If you're a fan of straightforward, mainstream rock, then Seether should be a band that is at the top of your list.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Song Of The Week: 8/24/14

Song: "E For Extinction"

Artist: Thousand Foot Krutch

Album: "Live At The Masquerade"

Year: 2011

"E For Extinction" appears to be a song about possibly facing an "end of world" scenario. It's the vocalist's faith that makes him feel like he is ready for anything that comes his way. He will continue to fight to hold on to life, but if it is his time, he believes in his faith so much that he is not afraid to die. He knows that after life, there are greater things lying ahead of him under the guise of God. Originally, "E For Extinction" appeared on Thousand Foot Krutch's 2009 album "Welcome To The Masquerade". For my song of the week, I chose the live version taken from the band's 2011 album "Live At The Masquerade". Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Thousand Foot Krutch stepped on the scene in 1995. Originally called Oddball, a project by vocalist Trevor McNevan, an album called "Shutterbug" was self-released and would feature one side of rock tracks and one side of hip hop tracks. By 1997, McNevan decided to call his band Thousand Foot Krutch and in 1998, the band released "That's What People Do". This album featured the single "Rhyme Animal". At this point in TFK's career, they were very much a rap/metal influenced band much along the lines of P.O.D. or Rage Against The Machine, but far less aggressive as the latter band. In 2000, TFK released "Set It Off". Featuring the songs "Puppet", "Supafly" and "Set It Off", the band continued on with it's hip hop/metal style of music. In 2003, the band hooked up with Christian punk label Tooth & Nail and released "Phenomenon". This album marked the first departure in style for Thousand Foot Krutch as most of the music would be considered more nu metal, as shown on the first single "Rawkfist". The album sold over 200,000 units making it one of Tooth & Nail's best selling albums to date. In 2005, the band released "The Art Of Breaking". This album featured the singles "Absolute", "Breathe You In" and "Move", a song that reached #16 on Billboard's Mainstream Rock chart. 2007 saw the band release "The Flame In All Of Us". Featuring songs like "Falls Apart", "What Do We Know", "Favorite Disease" and "The Flame In All Of Us", TFK was definitely showing signs of becoming a more mainstream, modern rock band in the same vein of contemporaries Three Days Grace, Chevelle, 3 Doors Down or Breaking Benjamin. In 2009, the band released "Welcome To The Masquerade" which reached #35 on the Billboard 200 charts, thanks in part to the hit single "Fire It Up". 2011 saw the release of the band's very first live album, "Live At The Masquerade". This was a cd/dvd package of a show the band played at Rexall Place in Edmonton, Canada. In 2012, TFK released "The End Is Where We Begin". This album was released independently by the band as they had ended their longterm partnership with Tooth & Nail Records. The album would peak at number five on Itunes in the United States while reaching #1 in Canada. 2013 saw the band release a "best of" compilation called "Made In Canada: The 1998-2010 Collection". The package featured many of the band's previous hits along with two brand new tracks, "Searchlight" and "Complicate You". Currently, Thousand Foot Krutch is set to release their seventh full length studio album, "Oxygen:Inhale". The album has already spawned two singles, "Born This Way" and "Untraveled Road". Though Thousand Foot Krutch has gone through several line-up changes, as well as style changes, they remain a solid rock band. They're much bigger in their native Canada than they are here in the States, but if you like bands like Finger Eleven, Staind or even Our Lady Peace, one of TFK's bigger influences, then Thousand Foot Krutch could be a band you could be interested in, but, go in knowing that TFK is a band that is a Christian band and they are not shy about their beliefs or using Christianity as the basis of some of their songs.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Song Of The Week: 8/17/14

Song: "Findaway"

Artist: Silverchair

Album: "Frogstomp"

Year: 1995

"Findaway" is a song that appears to be about someone who was imprisoned on drug charges and he's chomping at the bit to escape. Both his addictions and his negativity are just bringing him down and he wants out. The vocalist is just offering words of encouragement to the man. You'll find a way to get out of this situation just don't give in! Silverchair formed as a band back in 1992, hailing from Australia. The band members started when they were in school under the moniker Innocent Criminals and basically covered songs by Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple. In 1994 the band changed their name to Silverchair and won a national competition in Australia with their song "Tomorrow". Eventually the band signed with Murmur Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music, and in 1995, they released their debut album "Frogstomp". This album featured the singles "Israel's Son", "Pure Massacre" and "Tomorrow", a song which stayed at #1 on the Australian music charts for six weeks. The band members were just 15 years old at the time of the release of "Frogstomp", an album which went double platinum in the U.S. In 1997, the band released their sophmore effort, "Freak Show". featuring the singles "Freak", "Abuse Me", "Cemetery" and "The Door", "Freak Show" wound up selling over 1.5 million copies globally. In 1999, Silverchair's sound started to evolve. While their first two album were mainly grunge efforts, "Neon Ballroom" saw the band expand their sound, offering some softer ballads like "Ana's Song" and "Miss You Love" and the epic, heavily orchestrated "Emotion Sickness". There were still some heavier tracks on the album, like the lead single "Anthem For The Year 2000". Yet another album that hit #1 in Australia, it also charted well internationally, reaching as high as #2 in Canada. The band achieved a career highlight on January 21, 2000 by playing to over 250,000 people at the Rock In Rio festival. After their contract with Sony Music expired, the band hooked up with Atlantic Records and in 2002, they released "Diorama". With singles like "The Greatest View", "Without You" and "After All These Years", the sound and production took another turn for the band. This album was heavy on keyboards, piano, synthesizers and orchestration. At this point, the band's grunge roots were basically non-existent in their music. 2003 saw the band release "Live From Faraway Stables", a two cd/two dvd package that documented the band's "Across The Night" tour. After that tour was completed, the band took a two year hiatus, where the members focused on various side projects. 2007 saw the return of Silverchair with the release of "Young Modern". Songs like "Straight Lines", "Reflections Of A Sound" and "If You Keep Losing Sleep" showed the band further experimenting with their sound. This was not a "guitar heavy" album by any stretch. The songs were very "pop-y". Silverchair became the first artists in Australia to have five #1 albums and they set out on a tour with Powderfinger to promote their new album. This tour would be documented on the DVD, "Across The Great Divide". In 2009, the band began working on what would be their sixth album. Lead singer and guitarist, Daniel Johns, said that this album would only feature guitars on maybe four or five songs, even further experimenting with their sound. The band performed two new songs, "16" and "Machina Collecta", at May's Groovin The Moo Festival. In 2010, the band abruptly halted production on their new album for some reason. 2011 saw the band release a statement that they were in "indefinite hibernation". While the statement didn't say their was tensions within the band, it did offer that when it stopped being fun, that they would no longer continue to do it. In 2012, the band did say they planned to finish up the album that they had been working on and release it. Currently, there has been no news some two years later that this untitled album is going to be released anytime soon. While the band has broken up, there have been rumors that they may reunite for certain benefit shows and stuff like that but as for being a full time band again, that seems unlikely. Silverchair is a band that's hard to peg in a genre. Their first two albums were clearly of a band riding the coattails of the grunge movement, but beginning with their third album, their music became more and more sophisticated with each subsequent release. Perhaps their shifts in sound alienated some fans. I personally prefered their sound somewhere in the middle. "Neon Ballroom" was that perfect mesh of keeping some of their heavy side while showing some softer textures.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Song Of The Week: 8/10/14

Song: "The New Thing"

Artist: Bouncing Souls

Album: "The Gold Record"

Year: 2006

"The New Thing" appears to be a song where the vocalist is reflecting back to when his band was young and hungry. When everything was huge, their first show, their first recording, their first time being away from their home town. As he looks back at his career, he realizes that he and his band don't have to continually search for the "new thing". Their sound is their creation and it's something he is proud of and wants to keep creating. While they still dream and they still believe, they are totally content with what they have created and will continue to create. Staying true!! The Bouncing Souls formed as a band back in 1988, hailing from New Jersey. In their early years, they were very much a part of the underground scene, gaining a following in the college town communities. In 1994, the band released their debut album, "The Good, The Bad & The Argyle" on their very own label, Chunksaah Records. This album featured an ode to 80's new wave with covers of the songs "Candy" and "What Boys Like". In 1996, the band released "Maniacal Laughter". This album caught the attention of famous punk label Epitaph Records who promptly signed the Bouncing Souls and released their self-titled album in 1997. This album featured some classic Souls tracks such as "Cracked", "Kate Is Great" and "East Coast Fuck You". 1998 saw the band release "Hopeless Romantic". With songs such as "Ole" and "Hopeless Romantic", some say that this was the album where the Souls truly started to identify their sound. In 2001, "How I Spent My Summer Vacation" was released, featuring the tracks "True Believers" and "Manthem". 2001 saw the band release the b-sides compilation "The Bad, The Worse And The Out Of Print" as well as a split with Anti-Flag. In 2003, the Bouncing Souls released their sixth album "Anchors Aweigh", featuring punk anthems like "Sing Along Forever" and "Kids And Heroes". The band also released their first DVD that year as well, titled "Do You Remember? 15 Years Of The Bouncing Souls". 2005 saw the band release their very first live album, the double disc "Live". "The Gold Record" was released in 2006 and featured the single "The Pizza Song" as well as a great cover of "Lean On Sheena", originally performed by the band Avoid One Thing. To celebrate the band's 20th anniversary, they began to release a series of four song EP's, sixteen tracks in all. 12 of these songs would be packaged in a full length cd in 2010 called "Ghosts On The Boardwalk". 2010 saw the band release their latest album, Comet. This album was the band's first since "Maniacal Laughter" that was not released through Epitaph Records, instead the band signed with Rise Records. "Comet" features the songs "Coin Toss Girl" and Ship In A Bottle". Currently, though there is no news of the Souls working on new material or releasing anything in the near future, they are a band who is very active, releasing new material almost every other year, so I'm sure it won't be long for some new activity on the Bouncing Souls front. If you are a fan of pop punk or skate punk, then you should appreciate the Bouncing Souls. There are a plethora of bands who say they've been heavily influenced by the Souls and their music. To name a few, Alkaline Trio, Against Me!, The Gaslight Anthem, Lagwagon, No Use For A Name, even a hardcore band like fellow New Jersey natives Thursday have said that the Bouncing Souls were extremely important to their young career. Even now, the Souls have one foot in the underground scene and in punk circles, their respect runs deep.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Song Of The Week: 8/3/14

Song: "Morning Sickness" (demo)

Artist: Taking Back Sunday

Album: "Taking Back Sunday" (Limited Edition)

Year: 2011

"Morning Sickness" is a song that appears to be about a young couple who are trying to decide whether to have a baby or not. In fact, she is already pregnant for two months. They have concerns about their age and about their future plans and it is definitely weighing on them heavily whether or not abortion is a choice. You kinda get the sense that she is going in the direction of abortion and he is going in the direction of wanting to keep the baby. "Morning Sickness" is a demo that is featured on the Limited Edition version of Taking Back Sunday's 2011 self-titled album. Taking Back Sunday, from Long Island, New York, formed as a band back in 1999. The band was formed by Eddie Reyes, who was in such bands as Mind Over Matter and The Movielife. Reyes first asked Jesse Lacey to join the band as a vocalist/guitarist but Lacey soon departed to form the band Brand New. Adam Lazzara, who was initially brought in the band to be the bassist would shift over to vocal duties. The band's first recording with Lazzara on vocals was the song "Great Romances Of The 20th Century". In 2002, the band signed with Victory Records and released their debut album, "Tell All Your Friends". This album featured two of the band's biggest songs, "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)" and "You're So Last Summer". In 2003, guitarist/vocalist John Nolan and bassist Shaun Cooper left the band to form Straylight Run. Fred Mascherino (guitar/vocals) and Matt Rubano (bass) were brought in as replacements. 2004 saw the band release "Where You Want To Be". This album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 charts thanks in part to the singles "A Decade Under The Influence" and "This Photograph Is Proof (I Know You Know)". In 2006, Taking Back Sunday signed with major label, Warner Bros. Records, and released "Louder Now". Debuting at #2 on the Billboard 200 charts, "Louder Now" was the band's most successful album including the singles "Liar (It Takes One To Know One)", "Twenty-Twenty Surgery" and "Makedamnsure", perhaps the band's most popular song. The band also released "Louder Now: Part One" that year. This was a DVD documentary about the band. In 2007, to finish off the package, "Louder Now: Part Two" was released, a DVD featuring rare live footage, music videos as well as a bonus cd featuring some b-sides. Fred Mascherino left the band at this time. In 2009, the band released "New Again", featuring the songs "Sink Into Me" and "New Again". The band also released their very first live album, "Live From Bamboozle '09". 2010 saw original band members John Nolan (guitar/vocals) and Shaun Cooper (bass) rejoin the band replacing Matt Rubano and Matthew Fazzi. Taking Back Sunday then released the live acoustic album, "Live From Orensanz", the first album to feature the original "Tell All Your Friends" line-up. In 2011, "Taking Back Sunday" was released. This album reached #17 on the Billboard 200 charts and featured the singles "Faith (When I Let You Down)" and "This Is All Now". 2012 saw the band embark on the "TAYF10 Anniversary Tour". Finally, to celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the release of "Tell All Your Friends", the band released "TAYF10 (Acoustic)", a live acoustic performance of their debut album. Currently, the band released their sixth studio album, "Happiness Is", in 2014. This record was released through Hopeless Records and features the singles "Flicker, Fade" and "Stood A Chance". Proving that Taking Back Sunday is still a very relavent band, their new album debuted at #10 on the Billboard 200 charts. For some 15 years, Taking Back Sunday has been at the forefront of the pop/punk, melodic rock landscape. You could say that they have some emo in them as well but, whatever you want to call their brand of music, there are a whole lot of imitators, but Taking Back Sunday is the real deal.