Sunday, March 29, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/29/15

Song: "It's Always Sunny"

Artist: Joey Cape's Bad Loud

Album: "Joey Cape's Bad Loud"

Year: 2011

"It's Always Sunny" is a sarcastic song about how people view the "normal", "perfect" life of those who live in the upscale, "white" suburbs of Sausalito. Joey Cape is saying in the song, tongue in cheek, how it never rains and it's always sunny up there and life's problems don't exist up there, but, even though the city is colder and darker, he feels that is where true creativity is born and maybe even though it appears that everything is better in Sausalito, perhaps their entitled lives are somewhat hollow. Joey Cape has been active in the music industry since 1989, hailing from California. "It's Always Sunny" was originally recorded and released on Cape's 2011 solo album "Doesn't Play Well With Others". In it's original form, it was just an acoustic number featuring Cape and his guitar. The version I chose is from Joey Cape's Bad Loud. Joey Cape decided he wanted to form a band and re-record some songs that he released on his two solo albums, "Bridge" and "Doesn't Play Well With Others". He recruited Carl Raether on bass and Asher Simon on drums and Joey Cape's Bad Loud was formed. The band released one full length album, "Joey Cape's Bad Loud", through BandCamp in 2011. About Joey Cape? Well, Cape is one of the busiest men in the punk rock world these days. He is best known as the front man for influential skate punk band Lagwagon which has been active since 1990, having 10 releases through infamous punk label Fat Wreck Chords, their most recent being "Hang" in 2014. Cape is also a guitarist in the all star punk cover band Me First & The Gimme Gimmes, which also features Fat Mike from NOFX, Chris Shiflett from the Foo Fighters and Spike Slawson of the Swingin' Utters. Their last release took on punk takes of R&B divas on their 2014 release, "Are We Not Men? We Are Diva!". Cape also fronted Bad Astronaut from 2000 to 2006. This was a band that was a little softer and had a garage rock type feel than the straight melodic punk of Lagwagon. The band featured Derrick Plourde, original drummer of Lagwagon. Because of Plourde's 2005 suicide, Cape decided to disband Bad Astronaut, though he did play a few live shows in 2010 as Bad Astronaut. Their last release was 2006's "Twelve Small Steps, One Giant Disappointment". In 2007, Cape had a short lived band called The Playing Favorites with members of Sugarcult and The Rentals. That band released one album, "I Remember When I Was Pretty". Cape's solo acoustic thing started up in 2008, featuring the two albums I mentioned previously, as well as two split albums with No Use For A Name's Tony Sly. Cape and Sly also joined forces with Drag The River's Jon Snodgrass and Brian Wahlstrom to create the band Scorpios. This all acoustic effort produced one album, 2011's "Tour Record". As for Joey Cape's Bad Loud, Cape has recently stated that the band is currently at work on a new album which will feature all original material that is being brought in by all three members. It's amazing how Cape keeps all these projects up and running. Not only is he recording solo stuff as well as working on all the band projects, he is also out on the road and playing shows, whether it's Lagwagon shows, Me First tours or solo gigs. He also is the owner of his own record label, One Week Records. With all these things on his plate, Cape is like the punk rock Energizer bunny! One thing you can always count on is that Mr. Cape will be active and usually whatever he puts his name on becomes an instant punk rock statement!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/22/15

Song: "Forever"

Artist: Aaron Lewis

Album: "The Road"

Year: 2012

"Forever" is a straight forward, but personal song by Aaron Lewis about how his relationship gets strained by his being on the road. He often has to miss special events and kids' birthdays because he is a travelling musician and that's what his job calls for. He often wonders if his relationship has lost it's spark but in the end realizes that when he finally gets home, the fire still burns between he and his wife. Aaron Lewis has been active musically as far back as 1990. Hailing from western Massachusetts, Lewis is most famously known as being the lead singer of hard rock band Staind, but he has been playing solo acoustic shows since he was 17 years old. He was actually in a band pre-Staind called J-CAT. The popular Staind songs "Outside" and "It's Been Awhile" actually date back to his days in J-CAT. From 1995 to the present day, Staind has released seven full length albums and have sold more than 15 million albums worldwide, making them one of the most successful hard rock acts in modern music. During breaks from Staind, Lewis enjoyed playing small acoustic solo shows. There are many videos on YouTube of Lewis performing not only Staind songs, but also covering songs from bands he was influenced by like Pearl Jam, Alice In Chains, Stone Temple Pilots and the Smashing Pumpkins. In 2010, Lewis recorded an EP called "Town Line" which would mark his very first solo release. This album featured the songs "Massachusetts", "Vicious Circles" and "Country Boy", the latter featuring country artist greats George Jones, Charlie Daniels and Chris Young. In 2012, Lewis released his very first solo full length album, "The Road". This album featured the singles "Endless Summer", "Forever" and "Grandaddy's Gun", which is a cover song. Currently, Lewis is working on new material which he hopes will be a brand new solo album to be released in early 2016. While more recognized as the front man for a heavy rock band, Lewis' solo material shows his love for country music, a love he shared with his grandfather who used to play him old country records. Though Staind hasn't had a new album since 2011's "Staind", Lewis has confirmed that the band is very much active and they have not disbanded. In fact, Staind has gotten back together to perform at several music festivals in 2014, though they have not confirmed if they are working on any new material. Whether with Staind or as a solo artist, Lewis has cemented himself as one of the great voices of his generation.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/15/15

Song: "By Crooked Steps"

Artist: Soundgarden

Album: "King Animal"

Year: 2012

"By Crooked Steps" is a song that appears to be about vengeance in some way. Perhaps it might possibly be about a guy who believes that he is what will make a particular girl whole. Problem is, she may not see it the same way. In fact, she may not even know who this guy is and she is already happily with someone. It definitely sounds like it's coming from someone with a twisted mind. He believes they will be together, no matter what happens to her current mate and he does not seem to mind if he himself is the one to get him out of the picture. One way or another, he will complete her, at least that's what he thinks in his own psychotic mind! Soundgarden formed as a band back in 1984, with Kim Thayil on guitar, Hiro Yamamoto on bass and Chris Cornell on drums and vocals, hailing from Seattle, Washington. In 1985, Scott Sundquist was brought in to play drums to allow Cornell to focus on vocal duties. Soundgarden appeared on the now famous Deep Six compilation, featuring them as well as other underground Seattle bands. In 1986, former drummer of Skin Yard, Matt Cameron joined the band. 1987 saw Soundgarden hook up with Sub Pop Records and release the single/b-side "Hunted Down/Nothing To Say". They also released the "Screaming Life" EP as well as the "Fopp" EP. In 1988, Soundgarden signed up with SST Records and released their full length debut album, "Ultramega OK", featuring the lead single "Flower". In 1989, Soundgarden was signed by major label A&M Records and they released "Louder Than Love", featuring tracks like "Hands All Over", "Big Dumb Sex" and "Loud Love". It was at this time that Yamamoto left the band. Jason Everman, formerly of Nirvana, joined the band for their support tour of "Louder Than Love" but was let go right after the tour finished. In 1991, Ben Shepherd joined the band on bass. Shepherd was like a breath of fresh air for the band because of his songwriting and creativity. It showed as the band released "Badmotorfinger". With singles and concert staples like "Jesus Christ Pose", "Outshined" and "Rusty Cage", "Badmotorfinger" was among the top 100 selling albums of 1992. That same year, Soundgarden joined what would become a now legendary Lollapalooza Tour along with Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Pearl Jam and Ministry. With the Seattle scene exploding by now and "grunge" being the craze, Soundgarden would release their holy grail of music, 1994's "Superunknown". Featuring the singles "Spoonman", "The Day I Tried To Live", "Black Hole Sun", "My Wave" and "Fell On Black Days", "Superunknown" debuted at #1 on the Billboard 200 charts, won two Grammy Awards and has been certified 5X platinum in the United States alone! Trying to live up to that proved to be a daunting task for Soundgarden. "Down On The Upside" was released in 1996, featuring the singles "Pretty Noose", "Burden In My Hand" and "Blow Up The Outside World". Though it was received well critically, it did not live up to "Superunknown". I personally believe it to be a great album, but the band was becoming burnt out and increasing internal tensions were pulling the band apart. In 1997, Soundgarden announced that they were disbanding. As a thank you to fans, they released the greatest hits compilation "A-Sides" which featured an unreleased track from the "Down On The Upside" sessions called "Bleed Together". From 1998 to 2009, the band members all did their own thing. Cornell released solo albums and also fronted the supergroup Audioslave with members of Rage Against The Machine. Cameron worked on his side band Wellwater Conspiracy then joined Pearl Jam as their full time drummer. Shepherd worked with Mark Lanegan while Thayil stayed mostly behind the scenes, working on various artist's material. In 2010, Cornell announced to the world that Soundgarden was back! They played their 1st live show on 4/16/10 at the Showbox in Seattle, the first time they played live in 13 years! "Telephantasm: A Retrospective" was released, basically another greatest hits compilation and featured the unreleased song "Black Rain". In 2012, Soundgarden contributed the song "Live To Rise" to the "Avengers" movie soundtrack. This was the first new song the band recorded since their reunion. 2012 also saw the band release a brand new original album called "King Animal". This album featured the singles "Been Away Too Long", "By Crooked Steps" and "Halfway There". In 2014, the band released "Echo Of Miles: Scattered Tracks Across The Path". This is a three disc set that includes rarities, b-sides, cover songs and live tracks all in one package. Currently, Thayil has mentioned in several interviews that Soundgarden should have a new album out sometime in 2015. What can be said about Soundgarden? This band is bad ass! As one of the bands that was in the forefront of the grunge/Seattle sound of the early 90's, time and longevity has made them so much more than that. In my mind, Soundgarden is one of the best hard rock bands of all time. They were the darker Seattle band, the heavier Seattle band, the most technical Seattle band. If you could take a pot and mix in some Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and underground hardcore, you'd probably come out with something resembling Soundgarden. Their use of odd timings makes their music totally unique and Cornell is arguably one of the top 5 male rock vocalists of all time! Totally bad ass band!!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/8/15

Song: "Emitter"

Artist: Reverse The Curse

Album: "Hither & Yon"

Year: 2011

"Emitter" is a song that appears to be about how when you were younger, you tried to change yourself and who you were. Now, as you've grown older, your taking most of your time trying to find out who the person it is that you once were. It's kind of the irony in thinking that you have to be something or someone you're not, changing yourself to be that way and then realizing, you really didn't need to change at all and you wish you can go back and just be yourself. Reverse The Curse formed as a band as far back as 2002, hailing from Hiram, Ohio. While the band's roots date back to 2002, it wasn't until 2009 that they released any music, being the EP "Paths" on Lock And Key Collective Records. In 2011, the band hooked on with Paper + Plastick Records and released their debut full length studio album, "Hither & Yon". This album featured the singles "To Dig A Whole" and "Emitter". 2013 saw the band release their second album, "Existent". This album was released through Escapist Records and featured the singles "Carer", "Deliverance" and "Holding Water". The band also released a video of an acoustic version of "Carer" that was not on the album. Currently, Reverse The Curse is doing the touring thing, trying to promote their band and get their name out there to build an audience. There is no current news as to any new material on the horizon, it seems that being on the road is the band's current state. Though they have been featured on a punk rock label like Paper + Plastick Records, Reverse The Curse isn't exactly what I'd call a punk band, maybe progressive punk or indie punk and toss in a little post-hardcore for good measure. I'd say if you meshed bands like Hot Water Music, Thrice and Cave In, you might get a band that sounds a bit like Reverse The Curse. They do seem to be a band that is not afraid to experiment with their sound and to evolve musically in whatever direction their creativity will take them. Could be a band to take notice of in the next few years.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Song Of The Week: 3/1/15

Song: "Man Of The Hour"

Artist: 98 Mute

Album: "After The Fall"

Year: 2002

"Man Of The Hour" is a song that appears to be about being cautious when it comes to those who you put complete faith in, total trust in or blind admiration towards because some of these people you deem as heroes are actually full of deception and are just using you for their own financial gains. Not everyone is exactly what they seem to be so it's important to use caution before you trust and to know that those you idolize are human and have flaws. 98 Mute formed as a band back in 1993, hailing from Hermosa Beach, California. They have an obvious connection to another Hermosa Beach punk band, Pennywise, in that 98 Mute's drummer is Justin Thirsk, younger brother of the late Jason Matthew Thirsk, original bass player and founding member of Pennywise. In 1995 the band signed on with Theologian Records and in 1996 they released their debut album "98 Mute", which featured the song "Another Boring Day". 1997 saw the band tour with Pennywise and Blink 182 and in 1998, they dropped "Class Of '98", featuring tracks like "Breakdown" and "Picture This". In 2000, 98 Mute hooked up with Epitaph Records and released "Slow Motion Riot", featuring the song "Slow Motion Riot". 2002 saw the band release "After The Fall", featuring the songs "Bullet For You" and "M.A.D.". This would prove to be 98 Mute's last record as the band broke up soon after it's release. Currently, 98 Mute is no longer an active band and hasn't been for more than 10 years. Justin Thirsk is seen quite often at Pennywise shows and often comes out on stage with the band during their closing anthem, "Bro Hymn" which has been transformed into a tribute for Justin's late brother Jason. 98 Mute is most often compared to Pennywise. Both bands hailing from Hermosa Beach. Both bands playing a hardcore, skate punk style of music. Both bands featuring political and social themed lyrics. Also, Pennywise guitarist Fletcher Dragge has co-produced all four of 98 Mute's albums. Some would consider 98 Mute to be Pennywise's little brother. In the end, 98 Mute was not the band that Pennywise was, both musically and lyrically, so while they did have similarities, Pennywise was in another league while 98 Mute eventually dissolved under the pressures of trying to stay afloat in a music industry that tended to swallow struggling acts.