Sunday, May 28, 2017
Song: "Brandenburg Gate"
Album: "American Spring"
Place Of Origin: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Years Active: 1988 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
According to Anti-Flag band member Chris #2, he wrote "Brandenburg Gate" about the breakup of the most important relationship of his life. When he went to bring the song to the rest of the band, he was nervous because it was so personal to him that the rest of the band might not totally get it. Being a political band, drummer Pat Thetic saw the song as almost a love song for socialism. Certain socialistic views like universal health care and universal education seem so hard to attain in the States, but Pat said that if you look at the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, it used to stand for segregation and conflict where now, it's a symbol of freedom and togetherness. It's a song of hope to him where for Chris #2, it may be more about despair.
ANTI-FLAG DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
1996 - Die For The Government (New Red Archives)
1998 - Their System Doesn't Work For You (A-F Records)
1999 - A New Kind Of Army (Go-Kart Records)
2001 - Underground Network (Fat Wreck Chords)
2002 - Mobilize (A-F Records)
2003 - The Terror State (Fat Wreck Chords)
2006 - For Blood And Empire (RCA Records)
2008 - The Bright Lights Of American (RCA Records)
2009 - The People Or The Gun (SideOneDummy Records)
2012 - The General Strike (SideOneDummy Records)
2015 - American Spring (Spinefarm Records)
2015 - Cease Fires (A-F Records)
2016 - Live Acoustic at 11th Street Records (Spinefarm Recrods)
2017 - Live Vol. 1 (A-F Records)
CURRENT STATUS OF ANTI-FLAG:
Anti-Flag formed as a band back in 1988 by members Justin Sane and Pat Thetic. Early on, the band didn't look like it was going to sustain and actually broke up but in 1992, they reformed and set about their journey to leave their stamp on the punk rock world. In 1996, they released their debut full length album, "Die For The Government". By 1999, the band's line-up that we see to this day was set, featuring Justin Sane (guitar/vocals), Chris #2 (bass/vocals), Chris Head (guitar) and Pat Thetic (drums). In 2001, the band hooked up with legendary punk label Fat Wreck Chords for two releases, 2001's "Underground Network" and 2003's "The Terror State". The latter album really began crossing Anti-Flag over as it is their highest charting album in the United States. This led to the band signing with major label RCA Records for their next two releases, 2006's "For Blood And Empire" and 2008's "The Bright Lights Of America". Even after leaving RCA, Anti-Flag would coninue putting out stellar album after stellar album. 2009's "The People Or The Gun" and 2012's "The General Strike" through SideOneDummy Records. And of course, the band's most recent full length studio album of all original material, 2015's "American Spring". Anti-Flag is a very active band, releasing material pretty much every one to two years, whether that's full lengths, EP's, splits or live albums. They are also on tour constantly. This year, they are planning to release "Live Vol. 2", they have confirmed a spot as a headliner on the Warped Tour and according to Justin Sane, they may even release a brand new studio album before the end of the year. Anti-Flag plays a brand of punk rock that is rooted in political and social issues. They wear their views very much on their sleeves and are not afraid to take a stance against something that they perceive as unjust. Their contemporaries in punk rock are bands such as Strike Anywhere, The Unseen, Rise Against, Propagandhi and Pennywise to name a few. So if that politically charged punk rock is what you seek, look no further than Anti-Flag. This band is definitely a leader in that movement, not a follower. Anti-Flag is the real deal.
TEN ANTI-FLAG SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. This Is The End (For You My Friend)
2. The Press Corpse
4. The Bright Lights Of America
5. Die For The Government
6. Brandenburg Gate
7. Underground Network
8. Broken Bones
9. We Are The One
10. Fabled World
Saturday, May 20, 2017
Artist: Chris Cornell
Album: "Great Expectations" Soundtrack
1964 - 2017
Man… It sucks to get old. For this week’s blog, I’m not going to get into the meaning of the song or do the regular info I give on the band and what they’ve been up to and all that. This is a tough one. Chris Cornell, one of the greatest voices in music history, is dead. Where to start? When I was a teenager, the bands coming out of Seattle had a huge impact on my life. Oddly enough for some reason, I really didn’t get into Soundgarden right away. Then “Superunknown” came out. What a great fuckin’ album! Immediately, I went out and starting getting all of Soundgarden’s albums. What the hell was I thinking? Soundgarden was un-fuckin’-real. Cornell had the voice of a God. Now, anyone who knows me knows that Pearl Jam is my all time favorite band and Eddie Vedder can do no wrong in my eyes. But even I can admit, as good of a vocalist as Eddie is, he is not Chris Cornell. From Soundgarden to Temple Of The Dog to Audioslave and his solo material, thank God Chris left us with so much material that we can lean on just to hear his voice. But it sucks that we’ll never have new material again. Cornell isn’t one of those artists that seemed like they were just hanging on in the latter part of his career. He was still very much relevant in the music world. Just look at the last Soundgarden release “King Animal” and his most recent solo single “The Promise”. It’s pretty fucked up. We lost Kurt. We lost Layne. It seemed that Chris and Eddie were gonna be around for a long time and continue giving us great music for years to come. And now Chris is gone. I’ve been watching a lot of YouTube videos the last few days. Just capturing some of the powerful Cornell performances. Great videos of the recent Temple Of The Dog reunion tour. Great acoustic shows that really capture Chris at his most raw and emotional state. The great songs. “Slaves And Bulldozers”, “Rusty Cage”, “Say Hello 2 Heaven”, “Spoonman”, “Burden In My Hand”, “Cochise”, “Fell On Black Days”, “When I’m Down”, “The Day I Tried To Live”, “The Keeper”, “Sunshower”, “Seasons”, “Black Hole Sun”, “Birth Ritual”, “I Am The Highway”, “Can’t Change Me”, “Outshined”, Jesus, the list goes on and on and on. I’m sad that he’s gone. I’m angry he committed suicide. It seems so selfish. But, maybe I’m the one who’s being selfish because I want more music from him. Unfortunately, what happened happened and all we can do is listen to his music and watch old videos to keep the man’s memory alive. The death of Mr. Cornell has left all of his fans “feeling Minnesota”.
Sunday, May 14, 2017
Song: "Bad Reputation"
Artist: The Rabble
Album: "No Clue, No Future"
Place Of Origin: Auckland, New Zealand
Years Active: 2001 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"Bad Reputation" appears to be about wondering if the life you lead and the mistakes you've made will ultimately be your downfall. The vocalist is basically praying to God for help or guidance because he's been to the bottom. He wants to know that when his life is over that he makes it to the other side despite his past regressions. The first time you listen to the song, it clearly reminds you of Social Distortion's "I Was Wrong". No surprise as Social D. influenced The Rabble greatly.
THE RABBLE DISCOGRAPHY (Full length albums only):
2006 - No Clue, No Future (Self-Released)
2007 - The Battle's Almost Over (Filthy Lucre Enterprises)
2011 - Life's A Journey (Self-Released)
CURRENT STATUS OF THE RABBLE:
The Rabble was formed back in 2001 by brothers Chazz Rabble and Rupe Rabble. It took five years for this New Zealand outfit to hone their sound before the world got a taste of their music. 2006 saw the debut album by The Rabble, the self-released "No Clue, No Future". The band's second release, "The Battle's Almost Over", featured a collaboration with Mark Unseen of the band The Unseen on the track "The World Is Dead". Mark Unseen really took to the band and almost joined the members of The Rabble to form a new band which never came to fruition. The band, at this time, had it's first tour of Europe. The band's latest release would be 2011's "Life's A Journey". Frontman Chazz Rabble really saw this release as an evolution for the band. Many of his fans however began accusing the band of selling out, especially in his native New Zealand. The Rabble announced they were going on a hiatus in 2013. Chazz would not rule out the band getting back together but that all the members have been focused on other projects, most notably Chazz's other band, "Flirting With Disaster". The Rabble are a band who tends to go all over the place when it comes to style. At one moment they could be hardcore punk, then they can be pop punk. Sometimes celtic punk and every now and again a touch of ska/punk. Chazz has stated that his favorite band is Green Day, so it's easy to see why the band began shifting their sound to a more melodic brand of punk as the years went on. That was most likely the wedge that began turning off some of their core fans as well. As for similar bands to The Rabble? I would say if you enjoy bands like The Unseen, The Briggs, Bombshell Rocks, Far From Finished and Anti-Flag, then you would probably enjoy The Rabble's music. I look at The Rabble as a good band, not great. For me, they change styles even on one album so much that you wonder if you're listening to a multi-band mix cd sometimes. It's great that they're not pidgeonholed into one specific sound but at the same time, it seems to hurt their continuity as a band.
TEN THE RABBLE SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. The Journey
2. The Coast Song
3. Carry On
4. Shot Down
6. Addicted To The Bone
7. This World Is Dead
8. Can't Relate To You
10. Police & Thieves (The Clash cover)
Sunday, May 7, 2017
Song: "80 Cents A Day"
Artist: Stray Bullets
Album: "The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune"
Place Of Origin: Boston, Massachusetts
Years Active: 2003 - present
WHAT I THINK THE SONG IS ABOUT:
"80 Cents A Day" appears to be a song about poverty in the U.S.A. They show commercials on television about charities for the starving of other countries but nothing to help our own poor people. The vocalist sees the poor and the hungry in his own neighborhood while jobs are being sold to foreign labor for 80 cents a day. Definitely shining a light on domestic poverty issues.
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)
CURRENT STATUS OF STRAY BULLETS:
Stray Bullets got it's start as a band back in 2003. Headed by vocalist/guitarist Jon Cauztik, the band's first exposure to the local Boston punk rock scene was their debut album, "The Slings And Arrows Of Outrageous Fortune" in 2004. Almost as quick as the band formed, Cauztik moved on to another venture, punk/ska outfit the Have Nots. It took ten years for the Stray Bullets to release their sophmore album, 2014's "Ghost Town Rockers" through Dying Scene Records. Nowadays, Stray Bullets is officially Cauztik's main focus as the members of the Have Nots are currently involved with other projects. Most recently, the Stray Bullets released a split with Duck And Cover, The Warning Shots and Blood Stained Brindle in 2017. Stray Bullets play a brand of punk rock that's has some ska and reggae influences much like their idols The Clash. If you're a fan of bands like the Have Nots, Rancid, OC45, The Warning Shots and Operation Ivy, then the Stray Bullets would be a band that would most likely interest you as there are elements of all of those band's styles in Stray Bullets music. I kinda look at both the Stray Bullets and the Have Nots as pretty much the same band with different members other than the constant vocals and guitar of Jon Cauztik. In my mind, both are awesome bands. I'm not a huge punk/ska guy, but Stray Bullets do the genre right!
TEN STRAY BULLETS SONGS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT:
1. Knife For The Pusherman
3. The Anchor
4. Already Dead
7. Peace Signs
9. Boy In The Bubble
10. New Prisons