Sunday, May 31, 2015
Song: "Spinning Over The Island"
Artist: Funeral For A Friend
Album: "Welcome Home Armageddon"
Place Of Origin: Bridgend, Wales, United Kingdom
Years Active: 2001-present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
To me, "Spinning Over The Island" appears to be about how some people are just satisfied with being content. Whether that is with their life or in society. These people do not learn from past mistakes and they don't take control of their lives or their surroundings. Their failure to evolve or to change or alter their direction in life leaves a feeling that they have their heads buried in the sand. They are content to drown in their lives instead of doing something to change the status quo.
FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND'S DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2003 - "Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation (Ferret Records)
2005 - "Hours" (Atlantic Records)
2007 - "Tales Don't Tell Themselves" (Atlantic Records)
2008 - "Memory And Humanity" (Join Us Records)
2011 - "Welcome Home Armageddon" (Distiller Records)
2013 - "Conduit" (Distiller Records)
2015 - "Chapter And Verse" (Distiller Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND:
Funeral For A Friend, while doing well in the United States, is a much bigger deal in their home country of the United Kingdom. When you think British post-hardcore, Funeral For A Friend resides at the top. Their debut album, "Casually Dressed & Deep In Conversation", was hailed by fans and critics alike and really set the bar for the band. Their second album and major label debut, "Hours", was probably their most mainstream and successful release of their career. The band shifted styles on many of their albums, from post-hardcore, to shades of emo, to metal influences. Funeral For A Friend cites Iron Maiden, Deftones and The Get Up Kids as their main influences and if you factor the sounds of those bands as well as some of Funeral For A Friend's touring mates, such as Atreyu, Thrice, Hawthorne Heights, The Used, Rise Against and Story Of The Year, you get a sense of the style of rock music that they put forth. This is a very active band. Funeral For A Friend basically releases a new full length album almost every 2 years. They have also released a slew of EP's as well as 3 live albums. Most recently, the band dropped their 7th full length album, "Chapter And Verse", in January of 2015. Look out for this band on tour supporting their new album and giving fans a taste of what British post-hardcore is all about. FFAF is the real deal! An amazing and well respected band.
TEN FUNERAL FOR A FRIEND SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
4. Into Oblivion (Reunion)
5. Kicking And Screaming
6. Front Row Seats To The End Of The World
7. Best Friends And Hospital Beds
8. The Distance
10. Pencil Pusher
Sunday, May 24, 2015
Song: "These Pretty Pleasures"
Artist: Swingin' Utters
Album: "More Scared: The House Of Faith Years"
Place Of Origin: Santa Cruz, California
Years Active: 1987 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"These Pretty Pleasures" appears to be a song about getting away from the every day things in life that seem to drag you down or are just monotonous. These are things that you cannot get away from totally, whether it's your job or your home life or whatever, but just for a moment or just for a few hours, it seems the vocalist wants to get out of his normal everyday and enjoy something that he doesn't always have a chance to do. A guilty pleasure, or a "pretty" pleasure if you will.
SWINGIN' UTTERS' DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1992 - "Scared" (Quality Of Life Records)
1995 - "The Streets Of San Francisco" (New Red Archives Records)
1996 - "More Scared: The House Of Faith Years" (SideOneDummy Records)
1996 - "A Juvenile Product Of The Working Class" (Fat Wreck Chords)
1998 - "Five Lessons Learned" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2000 - "Swingin' Utters" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2003 - "Dead Flowers, Bottles, Bluegrass And Bones" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2004 - "Live In A Dive" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2008 - "Hatest Grits: B-Sides And Bullshit" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2011 - "Here, Under Protest" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2013 - "Poorly Formed" (Fat Wreck Chords)
2014 - "Fistful Of Hollow" (Fat Wreck Chords)
CURRENT STATUS OF SWINGIN' UTTERS:
Vocalist Johnny Peebucks originally formed this band back in 1987. For the first 7 years of the band's existence, they were known as Johnny Peebucks and the Swingin' Utters. It wasn't until 1994 that they just took the name Swingin' Utters. As a band, the Utters were highly influential to the many Celtic punk bands that would form, including the likes of the Dropkick Murphys, The Real McKenzies and Flogging Molly, though the Swingin' Utters don't go with the full on bagpipes and what not. They themselves haved likened their songs to loud, aggressive country and folk songs. In 1996 they established their relationship with a then upstart punk rock label, Fat Wreck Chords. Together with NOFX, Lagwagon and No Use For A Name, the Swingin' Utters represented that "Fat Wreck" sound of skate punk anthems of the mid to late 90's, albeit with a folk/punk style. There wasn't a lot going on with the band during the years between 2004 and 2010. They did release a live album and a compilation album of b-sides and rare tracks but did not enter the studio nor play many, if any live shows. The Swingin' Utters did come back with a vengeance in 2011 however, and dropped three full length albums in a 4 year span. Currently, the Swingin' Utters are on tour with NOFX and Lagwagon as part of Fat Wreck Chords 25th anniversary celebration.
TEN SWINGIN' UTTERS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Five Lessons Learned
2. The Next In Line
3. Brand New Lungs
4. Windspitting Punk
5. Pills & Smoke
6. The Librarians Are Hiding Something
7. Brazen Head
8. Teenage Genocide
9. Fifteenth And T
Monday, May 18, 2015
Song: "Start Walking"
Artist: Off With Their Heads
Place Of Origin: Minneapolis, Minnesota
Years Active: 2002-present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Start Walking" appears to be about someone who's depression has taken full control of him. He has shut down basically, succumbing to the depression. He no longer feels that he can go back to who he once was and he no longer feels anyone can have love for him as they once did. He talks of the awful feelings he has deep inside that are basically guiding him, perhaps they are leading him to suicide. Perhaps that will take him to a place where he can finally feel comfortable in his own skin. The vocalist in this song seems as though life has defeated him and perhaps the afterlife is his only answer to get out of his depressive situation.
OFF WITH THEIR HEADS' DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2006 - "Hospitals" (Rock Bottom Records)
2007 - "All Things Move Toward Their End" (No Idea Records)
2008 - "From The Bottom" (No Idea Records)
2010 - "In Desolation" (Epitaph Records)
2013 - "Home" (Epitaph Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF OFF WITH THEIR HEADS:
Off With Their Heads is very much the baby of vocalist/guitarist Ryan Young. He is the one constant member of the band and the chief songwriter. Other members, Justin Francis (drums) and Zack Gontard (guitar) no longer tour with the band, but they do still record on the albums. Despite the revolving door of touring musicians, Off With Their Heads continues to try to establish themselves as a punk band to be wreckoned with. The strength of their songs and their high energy live shows earned them a spot on the roster of famed punk rock label, Epitaph Records. Ryan Young's lyrics are often very personal and often peel away the layers to show the open scars of a painful existence. He's not afraid to express himself by any means. Their style is kind of that "gruffy" punk where the vocals are hoarse and scratchy and their songs are energetic and anthemic. Along with their full length releases, the band has also put out a slew of EP's and splits, many of which were released together on the compilation record, "All Things Move Toward Their End". The band wanted to put out a second compilation featuring more of their EP and split songs but did not due to a conflict with their then label No Idea Records. Most recently the band had to cancel several tour dates in Europe due to some issues back home in the States. That being said, look for Off With Their Heads to continue to be Ryan Young's mouthpiece in the years to come. Solid, solid band!
TEN OFF WITH THEIR HEADS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Fuck This, I'm Out
2. Keep Falling Down
4. Clear The Air
6. Seek Advice Elsewhere
7. Start Walking
8. Don't Make Me Go
10. Die Today
Sunday, May 10, 2015
ARTIST: "The Riot Before"
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
The word "warm" in this song appears to be a metaphor for comfort or what is more comfortable. In the song the vocalist talks of a poor man who spends what little money he has on booze instead of food, not because it is better for him, but because he finds comfort in it. It makes him feel warm. Second verse is about a business man who lies and cheats to protect his image. It's the easy way out and the convienient way but not the right way. Third verse is about the vocalist himself, sleeping in someone else's bed. It feels warm, or it's comfortable for him. Warm and cold are metaphors in this song and sometimes what makes you cold and uncomfortable are actually the honest and truthful things or choices to make. Sometimes they are the harder choices but they are the right choices. This is about three people who decided to take the warm/easy way out.
THE RIOT BEFORE DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2005 - "Horseshoes And Hand Grenades" (Fall Of The West Records)
2009 - "Fists Buried In Pockets" (Say 10 Records)
2010 - "Rebellion" (Paper + Plastick Records)
2011 - "Acoustic" (Gunner Records)
2012 - "2005-2007" (Say 10 Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF THE RIOT BEFORE:
Founder and lead songwriter and vocalist Brett Adams formed The Riot Before back in 2003, hailing from Richmond, Virginia. Through the years, it was difficult to keep a stable line-up, with as many as 13 different band members being in and out of the line-up. This lack of stability eventually led to The Riot Before ultimately calling it quits in 2011. While The Riot Before can be labeled as a punk band, they are not afraid to draw on other genres of influence. They kind of remind me of Polar Bear Club and even The Gaslight Anthem at times. They can be aggressive, but they also show they can handle playing acoustically as well. Their strength is in their songs and lyrics. Adams evokes emotion in his vocals and his lyrics and meanings are strong and passionate. It's really a shame that this band disbanded. They were a very promising band and their musical catalog is strong. Adams does perform acoustically and tours solo at times. Not sure if he has another band in the works or if he is going to do the solo acoustic stuff that so many punk rock singers are doing now. I say he would fit right in on the Revival tours that Hot Water Music's Chuck Ragan embarks on every year. Either way, The Riot Before was a rock solid band who I hope has a change of heart and reunite!
TEN THE RIOT BEFORE SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. The Oregon Trail
2. To Live How We Believe
4. What I've Missed
5. Words Written Over Coffee
6. You Can't Sexy Dance To Punk Rock
7. We Are Wild Stallions
9. Really Good Reasons To Swear
10. Take That, The Government
Sunday, May 3, 2015
Song: "Cross Tie"
Album: "Over The James"
"Cross Tie", to me, appears to be a song about a drifter. Someone who hitches rides on cargo trains to new destinations to basically experience life or the atmosphere of somewhere new. He stays long enough to get a feel for the place then hops the train again to the next random destination. Not sure he's searching for something particular, it seems he's just not content with staying in one place for too long. The themes of railroad tracks, drifting from town to town and being a loner are themes that Avail vocalist Tim Barry would really capture as a solo performer later on. Avail formed as a band back in 1987, hailing from Richmond, Virginia. Originally, the band consisted of Joe Banks, Doug Crosby, Brian Stewart and Mikey Warstler and they recorded two demos. Eventually, only guitarist Joe Banks would remain but he hooked up with LDK's Tim Barry to continue on with Avail. Barry actually played drums on the band's first EP, but shortly moved to lead vocals. In 1992, Avail signed on with Lookout! Records and released their debut album "Satiate". In 1994, "Dixie" was released featuring a cover of John Mellencamp's "Pink Houses". 1996 saw the band release "4AM Friday" which featured one of the band's signature songs, "Simple Song". In 1998, Avail released the album "Over The James". In 2000, Avail hooked on with infamous punk label Fat Wreck Chords who released and distributed the band's 5th album, "One Wrench". Fat Wreck would also release Avail's next album, "Front Porch Step" in 2002. This album featured a music video for the song "West Wye". During the course of 11 years, Avail released 6 full length albums, several EP's and three live albums. The band's catalogue with Lookout! Records was later re-released through Jade Tree Records, featuring bonus content. Currently, although Avail never officially disbanded, their last release was in 2002 and the last time the band performed live was in 2007. Vocalist Tim Barry has focused most of his time on his solo career which is basically acoustic, folksy, roots music and he's released several solo albums. Guitarist Joe Banks has played in a band called The Ghost Run since 2009. Avail is a well respected hardcore punk band and in their hometown of Richmond, Virginia, the band is iconic. They are as blue collar as blue collar can get and they represent the hard workers and the physical laborers of their close knit community.