Sunday, April 24, 2016

Song Of The Week: 4/24/16

Song: "The Cog In The Machine"

Artist: Lagwagon

Album: "Hang"

Year: 2014

Place Of Origin: Goleta, California

Years Active: 1990-present


"The Cog In The Machine" appears to be about corporate greed and it's hold on it's citizens. The money making machine is so powerful and so monopolistic that it's hard for people to stand against what they sell or what they stand for. It's kind of like a raging river and it's easy to get swept in. But, you can go against the tide if you put your mind to it and you seek alternative choices. Sometimes the hardest path is the most gratifying personally. It's like the David and Goliath story only pitting the consumer citizen against the corporate giants.

LAGWAGON DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1992 - Duh (Fat Wreck Chords)
1994 - Trashed (Fat Wreck Chords)
1995 - Hoss (Fat Wreck Chords)
1997 - Double Plaidinum (Fat Wreck Chords)
1998 - Let's Talk About Feelings (Fat Wreck Chords)
2000 - Let's Talk About Leftovers (My Records)
2003 - Blaze (Fat Wreck Chords)
2005 - Resolve (Fat Wreck Chords)
2005 - Live In A Dive (Fat Wreck Chords)
2008 - I Think My Older Brother Used To Listen To Lagwagon (Fat Wreck Chords)
2014 - Hang (Fat Wreck Chords)


Lagwagon formed as a band back in 1990, hailing from Goleta, California. Bringing a 1990's skate punk sound, Lagwagon was one of the very first and most pivotal bands to come off legendary punk rock label Fat Wreck Chords. After the grunge explosion of the early 90's, a punk rock revival of sorts began to erupt in the mid 90's with bands like The Offspring, Rancid, Bad Religion and Green Day selling millions of albums leading to major label deals. Lagwagon, however, refused to sign with a major label, though they did receive offers, and stayed with Fat Wreck and they still are to this very day. Loyalty means everything and though Lagwagon never really received huge commercial success, they have built a loyal fanbase by lurking in the underground of the punk rock scene. From 1992 to 2005, Lagwagon ripped off 7 studio albums and they were a mainstay on the main stage of several Warped Tours. They along with NOFX, No Use For A Name, Good Riddance and the Swingin' Utters established the Fat Wreck sound and were the roots of that label's legacy in punk rock circles. After 2005, the band went on a bit of a hiatus as vocalist and chief songwriter, Joey Cape began working on several side projects, most notably Bad Astronaut, with original Lagwagon drummer, the late Derrick Plourde, and the punk rock super cover band, Me First & The Gimme Gimmes. Cape also began doing the now popular "punk rock singer goes acoustic" thing, releasing solo albums as well as split releases with No Use For A Name's Tony Sly. By 2012, there was movement in the Lagwagon camp again. After Fat Wreck released a Lagwagon box set called "Putting Music In It's Place", which featured expanded editions of the band's first 5 albums, the band went on a headlining U.S. tour supported by fellow Fat acts Dead To Me, The Flatliners and Useless ID. Most recently, the band released it's latest album, "Hang", in 2014. This album debuted at #95 on the Billboard 200 charts upon it's release. Currently, the band recently finished up a South American tour in early 2016 and are set to appear on the bill of Canada's Amnesia Rockfest in June of 2016. Lagwagon just tops the list when it comes to California skate punk. Their sound is catchy, melodic and at the same time very raw. Though lead vocalist Joey Cape can be quite the jokester on and off stage, Lagwagon's lyrical content can get political at times and Cape is not afraid to speak on various issues he holds personal to him through Lagwagon's music. It's quite good to see Lagwagon, at least lately, becoming the main focus of Cape's time again too. There was a time between 2008 and 2014 when it didn't seem quite sure that the band would re-emerge on the punk rock scene. Thankfully, with the 2014 release of "Hang", Lagwagon has reclaimed it's spot in punk rock music and that is nothing short of a great thing for fans of this type of music.


1. May 16
2. Violins
3. E Dagger
4. Island Of Shame
5. Know It All
6. Making Friends
7. Heartbreaking Music
8. After You My Friend
9. Alien 8
10. Never Stops

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Song Of The Week: 4/17/16

Song: "Peace Signs"

Artist: Stray Bullets

Album: "Ghost Town Rockers"

Year: 2014

Place Of Origin: Boston, Massachusetts

Years Active: late 90's-present


"Peace Signs" appears to be about how the upper class, local government, and even federal government seem to keep a blind eye to the problems and issues that surround areas of poverty. All these people seem to get is a "peace sign" on a tenement, while guns are all over the street, drugs are ruining people's lives and crime is just infesting the area. People with money and power should be investing in these communities to try to break the vicious cycle of criminal behavior but this does not happen and the situation continues to grow worse and worse.

STRAY BULLETS DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

2004 - The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune (Fork In Hand Records)
2014 - Ghost Town Rockers (Dying Scene Records)


Stray Bullets is a band that got it's start sometime in the late 90's. 2004 saw the band release it's debut album, "The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune". For those familiar with the punk rock scene in Boston, Massachusetts, the name Jon Cauztik may be very familiar. Cauztik, lead singer and guitarist for Stray Bullets, also handles the very same duties for another Boston punk band, The Have Nots. The Have Nots took up most of Cauztik's time from 2006 till 2013 when they went on an un-official hiatus. This led Cauztik to regroup Stray Bullets and the band hooked up with label Dying Scene Records who released the band's latest album, "Ghost Town Rockers". Currently, Stray Bullets are a constant in the Boston local punk scene, playing shows and doing several local benefits. In 2015, it was announced that Stray Bullets and fellow Boston punk band The Warning Shots (featuring Mark Lind of The Ducky Boys) were set to release a split 7" together. Stray Bullets' main influences are The Clash and Operation Ivy. The band is very much a punk band with some ska influence. Think bands like Rancid and Less Than Jake. Their sound is very similar to The Have Nots which is no surprise seeing that Jon Cauztik is the vocalist and chief songwriter for both bands. This is a band to really check out. In fact, Stray Bullets and The Have Nots are must haves in my book.


1. Knife For The Pusherman
2. Peace Signs
3. New Prisons
4. Rocketship
5. The Anchor
6. Ghost Town Rockers
7. Campesino Blood
8. P.C.
9. Whiskey In My Coffee
10. Walls Come Crumbling

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Song Of The Week: 4/10/16

Song: "Too Close"

Artist: Trapt

Album: "The Acoustic Collection"

Year: 2014

Place Of Origin: Los Gatos, California

Years Active: 1995-present


"Too Close" appears to be a song about a relationship where the vocalist wants to take the next step and seriously move forward, but his partner is starting to shy away and back away from the relationship. You get a sense that she just can't handle letting people get too close to her and when they start to, she starts to pull away from them. She has even warned him of this, but he admits to the mistake of wanting something more between them. I think he felt like he could change how she felt and make her feel comfortable getting closer to him but it appears he was wrong. I chose the acoustic version of "Too Close" for my song of the week. You can check out the original version on the band's 2013 album "Reborn".

TRAPT DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1999 - Amalgamation (Self Released)
2002 - Trapt (Warner Bros. Records)
2005 - Someone In Control (Warner Bros. Records)
2007 - Live! (Eleven Seven Music)
2008 - Only Through The Pain (Eleven Seven Music)
2010 - No Apologies (Eleven Seven Music)
2013 - Reborn (Epochal Artist Records)
2014 - The Acoustic Collection (Crash Collide Records)


Trapt began playing music together when the members were in high school in 1995. From the mid to late 90's, the band mostly played local shows, often opening up for the band Papa Roach. Though they self released the album "Amalgamation" in 1999, their big break came when they hooked up with major label Warner Bros. and released 2002's "Trapt". This album put Trapt on the musical map. The singles "Headstrong" and "Still Frame" both reached #1 on the U.S. Mainstream Rock Charts and the album itself has been certified platinum, making it Trapt's most successful effort to date. It would be very hard for Trapt to live up to the success of that self-titled album however. The band's next album was their highest peak position on the charts at #14, but it ultimately couldn't keep up with the sales of the self-titled release. All of Trapt's albums would peak higher than 50 on the charts however, so they are still achieving success. It has definitely earned the right to be a headliner when it comes to touring. Most recently, Trapt has gone through some line-up changes, however this is not affecting their progress. In 2014, the band released "The Acoustic Collection" which features stripped down takes of some of their classic songs. The band also announced that they were working on a brand new studio album that was to be titled "DNA". By November of 2015, the band has already released three singles that are going to be on their upcoming release, "Passenger", "It's Over" and "Human (Like The Rest Of Us)". "DNA" is set to be released in 2016. Trapt is a typical mainstream hard rock band. Their songs are melodic with choruses that inspire sing-a-long chants during live performances. If you enjoy mainstream rock bands like Papa Roach, Trust Company, Thousand Foot Krutch, Chevelle and Three Days Grace, then you would most likely enjoy the music of Trapt. They are a pretty good mainstream band.


1. Headstrong
2. Stand Up
3. Who's Going Home With You Tonight
4. Contagious
5. Echo
6. Still Frame
7. Waiting
8. Sound Off
9. Love Hate Relationship
10. Bring It

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Song Of The Week: 4/3/16

Song: "Crawling In The Dark"

Artist: Hoobastank

Album: "Live From The Wiltern"

Year: 2009

Place Of Origin: Agoura Hills, California

Years Active: 1994-present


"Crawling In The Dark" appears to be a song about the vocalist seeking validation, even just for a moment, that the decisions he's making in life are the right ones for him to make. He wants to know if he's going down the right path or are the things he's doing now all for nothing. It's a pivotal moment for someone, especially someone who is full throttle, following their dreams. It would be cool to see into the future and see if your choices have paid off, but reality is, a lot of these choices and decisions have to be made blind to what the future holds. The studio version of "Crawling In The Dark" appears on Hoobastank's 2001 self-titled album.

HOOBASTANK DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):

1998 - The Sure Don't Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To (Self Released)
2001 - Hoobastank (Island Records)
2003 - The Reason (Island Records)
2006 - Every Man For Himself (Island Def Jam Music Group)
2009 - For(N)ever (Island Def Jam Music Group)
2009 - Live From The Wiltern (Island Records)
2010 - Is This The Day? (Universal Music)
2012 - Fight Or Flight (Open E Entertainment)


Hoobastank formed as a band back in 1994. Originally, the band was a kind of funk metal outfit, complete with hip hop vocals. They are often compared to the band Incubus and rightfully so. Both bands' members grew up close to each other and both bands often played together at local gigs. Both bands also were heavily influenced by hip hop and incorporated that in their form of rock music. Eventually, both bands shifted their sound to a more straightforward, melodic, mainstream, hard rock sound as well. Hoobastank's big break was hooking up with Island Records, who would distribute the band's first 5 albums. 2001's "Hoobastank" is the band's first proper release though they did self release and album before this. Singles such as "Crawling In The Dark", "Running Away" and "Remember Me" shot Hoobastank up the charts. But, it was the band's sophmore effort, "The Reason", that established Hoobastank as a major player on the modern rock scene. This album was the band's highest charting effort, reaching #3 on the Billboard 200 charts and the single, "The Reason", reached #1 on the U.S. and World Modern Rock charts. Though the band's next album, 2006's "Every Man For Himself", would peak as high as #12 on the U.S. rock charts, it marked a trend of falling sales numbers which would continue on the band's subsequent releases following that album. The band and Island Records ended their relationship in 2009. In 2010, the band released the all acoustic album, "Is This The Day?" through Universal. The band's most recent release was 2012's "Fight Or Flight". The band released 3 singles off that album and toured in support of the album through the fall of 2012 and into early 2013. Currently, there's not much news on the Hoobastank front. The band could possibly be just taking a break, regrouping and recharging the batteries before they work on new material. It could be the decline in sales possibly as the reason, but Hoobastank is a band that was on a major label for the majority of their career so that tells me their music is still in demand out there. As I said before, the band's biggest comparison in style is that of Incubus. But you can also compare their sound to many melodic rock/mainstream rock bands like Finger Eleven, Seether, Three Days Grace and bands of that ilk. I'm not a crazy fan of Hoobastank, but I consider them a pretty good mainstream band.


1. Crawling In The Dark
2. Running Away
3. Out Of Control
4. Same Direction
5. Inside Of You
6. The Reason
7. So Close, So Far
8. Disappear
9. If I Were You
10. Remember Me