Sunday, July 26, 2015
Song: "Bottoms Up"
Artist: With Honor
Album: "This Is Our Revenge"
Place Of Origin: New London, Connecticut
Years Active: 2002-2006
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
To me, "Bottoms Up" seems like a song where the vocalist is playing the part of heroin. It's as if the heroin is talking to himself and his scars, cuts, bruises and blood are his blanket. It really seems like it's about hitting rock bottom without much hope of getting out of his situation. His sorry state and condition is a lesson to all of what not to do. Perhaps it will help someone else but as for him, it seems like a lost cause.
WITH HONOR'S DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2004 - "Heart Means Everything" (Perfect Victim Records)
2005 - "This Is Our Revenge" (Victory Records)
2006 - "The Journey" (Burning Season Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF WITH HONOR:
With Honor formed as a band back in 2002, a mainstay in the hardcore punk scene in the state of Connecticut. Drawing influences from bands such as Sick Of It All, Face To Face, NOFX, Minor Threat, Strike Anywhere and Comeback Kid, With Honor set out to set their own mark on hardcore punk. In 2004, they released their debut album, "Heart Means Everything", but it was their 2005 album, "This Is Our Revenge" which is perhaps the band's definitive musical statement. The band released a music video for the track "Like Trumpets" off of that album. In 2006, the band released the compilation album, "The Journey". This album basically featured "Heart Means Everything" plus the band's self-titled EP and their songs from a split 7" with the band The Distance. Original vocalist Todd Mackey parted ways with the band in 2006, shortly after the release of "This Is Our Revenge". The band tried to continue with a few other vocalists, but ultimately decided to break up. Currently, With Honor appears to be a band that is no longer a full time venue for any of it's members. Though they have reunited for one off concerts every now and then, new material is an afterthought and there is not much of a future for With Honor. If you like bands like Ignite, Propagandhi, A Wilhelm Scream or Strike Anywhere, then you should give With Honor a listen. "This Is Our Revenge" is a solid hardcore punk album, very underrated and very underground. It's too bad that With Honor didn't get over the hump as a band because they seemed to have a lot to offer. Their music was aggressive and their lyrics were political, social and emotional at times. Solid band just couldn't cross over for any sort of sustained success.
TEN WITH HONOR SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Like Trumpets
2. Plot Two
3. The Mirror
4. With The Wind
6. Bridges And Gaps
8. You Always Said
Sunday, July 19, 2015
Song: "Before Dust"
Artist: Chuck Ragan
Album: "Kindred Spirit" (split EP w/ Rocky Votolato)
Place Of Origin: Gainesville, Florida
Years Active: 1993-present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
It's a bit difficult for me to describe what I think "Before Dust" is about because I can't find the lyrics to the song anywhere on the net. After listening several times, I can pick up a few things. "Before Dust" could be a Biblical reference referring to a time before God created the Earth. Possibly, it could be a reference to life in the Great Plains before the devastating dust storms basically gutted people's crops and destroyed their livelihood between the years 1932 and 1939. Perhaps if I ever stumble across the official lyrics to "Before Dust" I will come back and edit this post with a better idea of what the song may be about.
CHUCK RAGAN'S DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2007 - "Feast Or Famine" (SideOneDummy Records)
2007 - "Loz Feliz" (SideOneDummy Records)
2007 - "The Blueprint Sessions" (No Idea Records)
2008 - "Bristle Ridge" w/ Austin Lucas (Hometown Caravan Records)
2009 - "Gold Country" (SideOneDummy Records)
2011 - "Covering Ground" (SideOneDummy Records)
2014 - "Till Midnight" (SideOneDummy Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF CHUCK RAGAN:
Chuck Ragan is probably most known for being one of the frontmen and guitarists for punk rock stalwarts Hot Water Music. Since 1993, Hot Water Music has released 7 full length albums as well as a slew of EP's, splits, live albums and appearances on compilations. In 1998, Ragan got his first taste of playing acoustic, rootsy songs when he and Chris Wollard of Hot Water Music created the side project Rumbleseat, who released one full length album. That project would plant the seeds for what was to become of Ragan's solo career. In 2005, Hot Water Music decided to go on a hiatus giving Ragan a chance to focus on his solo career. From 2007 to the present, Ragan proved to be a tireless worker and performer releasing full lengths, splits, singles and collaborations all while releasing yet another Hot Water Music album, 2012's "Exister", and doing Hot Water tours as well as solo tours. In 2008, in fact, Ragan created The Revival Tour, a tour that goes off almost yearly and features a who's who in the world of punk rock artists who perform stripped down acoustic sets. Those who have been featured on the tours are Ragan, Tim Barry (Avail), Laura Jane Grace (Against Me!), Kevin Seconds (7 Seconds), Frank Turner, Chris McCaughan (The Lawrence Arms), Brian Fallon (The Gaslight Anthem), Dave Hause (The Loved Ones) and Dan Andriano (Alkaline Trio). Ragan's most recent effort was 2014's "Till Midnight". This album still featured Ragan and his acoustic but also more of a full band vibe, complete with shuffle drums, slide electric guitar and stand up bass. His most recent release was 2015's split EP with Lucero's Rocky Votolato called "Kindred Spirit". Chuck Ragan, along with Avail's Tim Barry, is one of the first punk rockers to go the Americana, roots and folk route with his music. Now, there are a slew of punk frontmen who have branched off to do acoustic stuff from No Use For A Name's Tony Sly, to Lagwagon's Joey Cape, to The Briggs' Joey Briggs to Chris Creswell of The Flatliners. Punkers going acoustic seems to be all the rage all of a sudden. But it all started with Chuck Ragan and nobody does it better than him. His personal heartfelt lyrics and passionate, scruffy vocal delivery are a perfect marriage over acoustic guitars.
TEN CHUCK RAGAN SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Meet You In The Middle (featuring Brian Fallon)
2. Ole Diesel
3. The Flame In The Flood
4. For Broken Ears
5. Something May Catch Fire
6. Pretty Good Year (The Loved Ones cover)
7. Bedroll Lullaby
8. Let It Rain
9. For Goodness Sake
10. Wash My Feet In The Waves
Sunday, July 12, 2015
Song: "Taken By The Dark"
Artist: Hawthorne Heights
Place Of Origin: Dayton, Ohio
Years Active: 2001-present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Taken By The Dark" seems to be about an inner struggle with the vocalist between following a path which is unknown or not to. Leaving everything you know behind and starting over is a difficult and major decision. It's basically saying that everything in your life up to that point may have been a lie. It's a sobering thought, one that has affected the vocalist's mental stability. But, sometimes to find the light at the end of the tunnel, you have to travel through the dark in order to find it.
HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS' DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2004 - "The Silence In Black And White" (Victory Records)
2006 - "If Only You Were Lonely" (Victory Records)
2008 - "Fragile Future" (Victory Records)
2010 - "Skeletons" (Wind-Up Records)
2013 - "Zero" (Red Entertainment Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS:
Hawthorne Heights formed as a band back in 2001. Originally called A Day In The Life, the band put out 1 full length album and 1 EP under that moniker before changing their name to Hawthorne Heights. The band's debut album, 2004's "The Silence In Black And White" has achieved platinum status thanks in part to the hit singles "Ohio Is For Lovers" and "Niki FM". Their second album, 2006's "If Only You Were Lonely", was their highest charting album, reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 charts. That time period was the band's most successful as their next 3 albums as well as a few EP's failed to attain as much success as their first two albums. Tragedy befell the band in 2007 as rhythm guitarist and original member Casey Calvert passed away on the band's tour bus. The band would write tribute songs on behalf of their fallen friend such as "Four Become One" and "Bring You Back". Hawthorne Heights' sound is a contrast of styles all lumped into one. Sometimes they are post-hardcore, sometimes they are power pop, sometimes they are emo and sometimes they are just alternate rock. Their sound is similar to bands such as Armor For Sleep, Senses Fail and Taking Back Sunday, although Hawthorne Heights is a little darker than Taking Back Sunday. By 2015, the only original members remaining in the band are vocalist/guitarist JT Woodruff and bassist Matt Ridenour. Original drummer Eron Bucciarelli left the band in 2014 and original lead guitarist Micah Carli left in 2015. Despite the loss of those two members, Woodruff has stated as recently as February of 2015 that the band are in the process of recording new material for a future release.
TEN HAWTHORNE HEIGHTS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. New Winter
2. Nervous Breakdown
3. Bring You Back
4. Is This What You Wanted
5. Golden Parachutes
6. Ohio Is For Lovers
7. Niki FM
8. Rescue Me
9. Taken By The Dark
10. Saying Sorry
Sunday, July 5, 2015
Artist: The Ducky Boys
Album: "Dead End Streets"
Place Of Origin: Boston, Massachusetts
Years Active: 1995-present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Disappear" appears to be a break-up song. The vocalist kind of sees this relationship as doomed from the start. They both are from seemingly two different worlds and perhaps he feels she should have not had interest in him right from the start but that's how love works sometimes. I get a sense that there are still feelings for each other underneath but instead of working out their differences, you get a sense that the vocalist thinks she will be better off without him and it's best for her to just erase all of her memories of their time spent together.
THE DUCKY BOYS' DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1997 - "No Getting Out" (GMM Records)
1998 - "Dark Days" (GMM Records)
2004 - "Three Chords And The Truth" (Thorp Records)
2006 - "The War Back Home" (Sailor's Grave Records)
2012 - "Chasing The Ghost" (State Line Records)
2013 - "Dead End Streets" (State Line Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF THE DUCKY BOYS:
The Ducky Boys formed as a band back in 1995, featuring Mark Lind on vocals/bass guitar, Mike Mardsen on vocals/guitar, Mike O'Leary on guitar and Jason Messina on drums. With a sound strongly rooted in Boston street punk, locally The Ducky Boys garnered a strong underground following. Following the release of their second album "Dark Days" in 1998, the band basically broke up. Mark Lind, the band's main songwriter and vocalist, would join a few local side projects, most notably Saints And Sinners and Dirty Water, both of which gained a moderate following in the Boston area. In 2004, Lind, Messina and newly recruited guitarist Douglas Sullivan would reform The Ducky Boys as a trio. The band's next two releases, 2004's "Three Chords And The Truth" and 2006's "The War Back Home", started giving The Ducky Boys some national recognition in punk circles. By 2013's "Dead End Streets", the band went back to a four piece with the addition of guitarist Rich Crimlisk. Currently, The Ducky Boys seem to be operating on a part-time basis. Though all the members have said that the band is still very much together, there hasn't been much action in their camp since their 2013 release "Dead End Streets". In 2014, the band did get together to perform a benefit concert with the Street Dogs and Avoid One Thing to raise money for 2 firefighters who were killed in duty. Lind, Crimlisk and Messina have formed a new band called The Warning Shots, which has a more aggressive edge than The Ducky Boys sound. Along with bands like Street Dogs and Dropkick Murphys, when you think Boston punk, you have to throw The Ducky Boys in there as well. Though their music is rooted in that Boston street punk style, over the years you could hear the influence of rock and roll in their music as well, much like a band like Social Distortion incorporates old rock-a-billy and even blues inspired classic rock like The Rolling Stones. Mark Lind is a busy man, juggling The Ducky Boys with his solo material, as well as his other side projects, Saints And Sinners, Dirty Water and most recently, The Warning Shots. Make no mistake, however, The Ducky Boys are his main project and hopefully, the band will release new material soon.
TEN DUCKY BOYS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Tortured Soul
2. Enough Of My Time
4. I'll Rise Up
6. Boston, USA
7. The Middle Children Of History
8. I Guess I'm Broken
10. A Pretty Bad Year