Sunday, January 25, 2015

Song Of The Week: 1/25/15

Song: "This Song Is Recycled"

Artist: This Is A Standoff

Album: "Be Disappointed"

Year: 2009

"This Song Is Recycled" is a pretty straight forward song. It's basically about trying to protect the Earth and the environment. As the top of the food chain, humans have neglected the Earth and have taking everything it provides us for granted. The vocalist is basically saying that if we start taking care of the environment now, perhaps we can avoid animal distinction, polluted air and waters and the ultimate end of humanity. This Is A Standoff formed as a band back in 2007, hailing from Canada. When the band Belvedere broke up, members Steve Rawles and Graham Churchill decided that they quickly wanted to form a new band and get back out on the road thus, This Is A Standoff was formed. The band offered two demos on their MySpace page then earned an opening slot on a Mad Caddies' European tour. In 2007, the band released their debut album, "Be Excited", through Funtime Records. This album spawned the music video "You Won't Pass". In 2009, This Is A Standoff released their second album, "Be Disappointed". This album featured a music video for the song "Graveyards". 2011 saw the band release the EP "Be Delighted". By 2012, it was announced via the This Is A Standoff Facebook page that the band had decided to call it quits. For a band that started out as little more than a side project for the various members of the band, they wound up playing 322 shows and performed in 25 different countries. They played a brand of melodic hardcore similar to bands like A Wilhelm Scream, Reach The Sky or fellow Canadians Propaganghi. Lead singer/guitarist Steve Rawles apparently is working on a possible solo album currently. He has streamed some material via the internet while bassist Corey Tapp has formed a new band called Torches To Triggers. Other than that, it appears that This Is A Standoff is no longer a factor for any of the band members at this point going forward.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Song Of The Week: 1/18/15

Song: "Tiger Lily"

Artist: Matchbook Romance

Album: "Stories And Alibis"

Year: 2003

"Tiger Lily" appears to be about a night that is so perfect that the vocalist and his girlfriend just don't want it to end. It seems it's early in the relationship, perhaps even a first date, but the vocalist somehow feels that this is as good as it's going to get. He wishes he can just rewind the day to recapture the feelings that he and her both felt on this beautiful day with one another. Matchbook Romance formed as a band back in 1997, hailing from Poughkeepsie, New York. They were quickly signed to the famous punk label Epitaph Records. 2003 was a busy year for Matchbook Romance as they first released an EP called "West For Wishing", then later on in the year released their debut full length album, "Stories And Alibis". That album featured the singles "Promise" and "My Eyes Burn". They also released a split with Motion City Soundtrack which featured acoustic renditions of their songs "Playing For Keeps" and "Transit For You". In 2006, Matchbook Romance wanted to veer away from their emo/pop punk style and become a little darker, musically and lyrically, for their next album, "Voices". The lead single, "Monsters", shows a band that is definitely in a stylistic change. In 2007, Matchbook Romance announce via their MySpace page that they were going on an indefinite hiatus. For the next 7 years, the members of Matchbook Romance went off to do various side projects. Currently, after their long hiatus, it has been announced that Matchbook Romance will indeed reunite to perform on the 2015 Warped Tour. While it's official that they will be performing live together, it is not known if that may lead to the recording of new music together but it's at least a step in the right direction. Matchbook Romance kind of fall in the "watered down" group of punk, if you really want to call them that, bands that began to surface in the late 90's and early 2000's. The Warped Tour is actually a good source to see what type of punk bands are "the it thing" over the years. Mid 90's featured skate punk bands like No Use For A Name and Lagwagon. Late 90's started featuring more emo/pop punk like Matchbook, Taking Back Sunday and The Used, etc, etc. Matchbook Romance is a decent band. I actually prefer their style in the "Voices" era over the more poppy "Stories And Alibis" era. It will be interesting which direction they take their band now, if they do in fact decide to work on new music after their Warped Tour gig.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Song Of The Week: 1/11/15

Song: "Just One" (acoustic)

Artist: Hoobastank

Album: "Is This The Day"

Year: 2010

"Just One" is a pretty straight forward song. It appears to be about getting that one chance and taking that oppurtunity without hesitation or regret. The vocalist knows what he wants and he is going to go all in for it. This version of "Just One" is an acoustic rendition of the song that came on the Japan only release "Is This The Day". The original version of the song can be found on the Hoobastank album "The Reason". Hoobastank formed as a band back in 1994, hailing from California. After years of playing gigs together, the band self-released their first album, "They Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To" in 1998. In 2000, the band was signed to Island Records. Hoobastank did have an album, "Forward", ready for release but the label did not like the direction of that material so the album was shelved. Some tracks from that album would be re-worked and re-recorded for their major label debut, "Hoobastank", which was released in 2001. Thanks in part to the singles "Crawling In The Dark", "Running Away" and "Remember Me", their self-titled debut reached #25 on the Billboard 200 charts and #1 on the Billboard Heatseeker chart. In 2003, the band released "The Reason" featuring the singles "Out Of Control", "Same Direction" and "The Reason". This album reached #1 on the U.S. and World Modern Rock charts. "The Reason" became the band's biggest single and the album was the band's most successful, reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 charts. 2006 saw the band release "Every Man For Himself". This album debuted at #12 and spawned the singles "If I Were You", "Inside Of You" and "Born To Lead". Though not as successful as their previous album, "Every Man For Himself" was certified gold in the U.S. In 2009, Hoobastank released "For(N)ever" featuring the singles "My Turn", "The Letter" and "So Close, So Far". Later in 2009, the band released a greatest hits compilation, "The Greatest Hits: Don't Touch My Moustache" and a live album which was exclusive to Itunes, "Live At The Wiltern". In 2010, after playing some acoustic shows in Japan, Hoobastank went into a recording studio to re-record some of their classic songs in stripped down, acoustic versions. These recordings made up the album "Is This The Day" which was only released in Japan. The last full length studio album by Hoobastank was released in 2012. The album was called "Fight Or Flight" and featured the singles "This Is Gonna Hurt", "Can You Save Me" and "Incomplete". In 2014, to celebrate having two million "likes" on their Facebook page, Hoobastank released the song "Sing What You Can't Say". Currently, while there has been no word as to whether Hoobastank are recording new material or not, I would assume that a new album by them will probably come in the not so distant future as they usually take 3 or 4 years between releases. Hoobastank are often compared to Incubus in style. Both bands played together often as they were from neighboring California cities. Hoobastank front man Doug Robb and Incubus front man Brandon Boyd have similar vocal styles plus both bands were signed to Island Records. While Incubus incorporated a DJ into their sound, Hoobastank was much more straight forward mainstream rock. Hard to believe Hoobastank has been around for 20 years now!! Their success speaks for itself as the band has sold more than 10 million albums world wide.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Song Of The Week: 1/4/15

Song: "Alison's Disease"

Artist: Joey Cape

Album: "Acoustic Volume Two"

Year: 2012

"Alison's Disease" is a song that appears to be about a girl who is either suffering depression or in a losing battle with drug addiction, maybe a little bit of both. Either way, the vocalist barely recognizes the girl he once knew. The disease is defeating her and there is no hope for her. At the end of the song it's hard to tell if she dies from a drug overdose or if she dies because of suicide. It's not known but the fact is, Alison is gone. This acoustic version of "Alison's Disease" comes off 2012's "Acoustic Volume Two", an album that features Joey Cape, of Lagwagon fame, and Tony Sly, of No Use For A Name, offering stripped down versions of their respective bands' songs. The original version of "Alison's Disease" was recorded by Lagwagon and could be found on the Fat Wreck Chords compilation, "Fat Music Volume 5: Live Fat, Die Young". Joey Cape has been active on the punk rock music since since 1989, hailing from California. Before I get to Cape's solo material, I'll give a brief history of Cape's musical endeavors over the years. Perhaps Joey Cape is most well known as the lead singer of Lagwagon who has been active from 1990 to the present day. With 8 full length studio albums, one EP, one live album and one compilation featuring b-sides and rarities, Lagwagon, along with NOFX and No Use For A Name, has been the face of 90's skate punk featured on the Fat Wreck Chords label. From 1995 till the present day, Cape has also been the guitarist for the punk rock cover band super group Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, which also features fellow Lagwagon member Dave Raun, NOFX's Fat Mike, Swingin' Utters' Spike Slawson and Foo Fighters' Chris Shiflett. Me First has released 8 studio albums to go along with numerous singles. From 2000 till 2006, Cape fronted the band Bad Astronaut. This band released three full length albums plus a split EP with Armchair Martian. Bad Astronaut disbanded when drummer Derrick Plourde committed suicide in 2005. Bad Astronaut did play a few live shows in 2010 but have not created any new music. In 2007, Cape was in another side band called The Playing Favorites, who released one full length album. In 2011, Cape, Tony Sly, Jon Snodgrass, of Drag The River, and Brian Wahlstrom released an acoustic album under the moniker Scorpios. Cape and Snodgrass also released an album together called "Liverbirds", featuring stripped down versions of Lagwagon and Drag The River tunes. Cape got his first taste of the stripped down acoustic sound with his very first album with Tony Sly, 2004's "Acoustic". Much like 2012's "Acoustic Volume Two" with Sly, the first installment of "Acoustic" featured Lagwagon and No Use For A Name songs stripped down. "Acoustic Volume Two" would be the last release by Tony Sly before his untimely death on July 31, 2012. Now for Cape's true solo records. First, there was 2008's "Bridge". Released on Suburban Home Records, this album features 7 original songs as well as five stripped down versions of Lagwagon songs. 2011 saw Cape's second full length release, "Doesn't Play Well With Others". This album spawned two singles, "Going For The Bronze" and "I Always Knew This Was Going To End Badly". In yet another side project, Cape released full band versions of some of the songs from "Bridge" and "Doesn't Play Well With Others" under the moniker Joey Cape's Bad Loud. Joey Cape has got to be one of the hardest working men in the music business! If he's not writing songs, he's in the recording studio. When he's not recording, he could be producing songs, especially for his own label, One Week Records. When he's not producing, you can bet he's on tour, either doing solo acoustic shows, touring with his cover band mates Me First & The Gimme Gimmes or touring with his main interest, Lagwagon, especially on the heels of Lagwagon's new album, 2014's "Hang". The well respected Joey Cape is never in one place for too long. He's constantly moving and thankfully for his fans, seems to constantly be involved in new musical projects.