Vans Warped Tour - Presented by Journeys
Taking Back Sunday, All Time Low, New Found Glory, Street Light Manifesto, Yellowcard, Pierce the Veil, Four Year Strong, Of Mice and Men, We the Kings, Breathe Carolina, Miss May I, Falling in Reverse, Blood On The Dance Floor, Every Time I Die, Mayday Parade, Blessthefall, Chelsea Grin, FOR TODAY, Memphis May Fire, Motionless in White, Rise To Remain, Sleeping With Sirens, The Ghost Inside, Vampires Everywhere!, TITLE FIGHT, Bayside, Senses Fail, Vanna, Polar Bear Club, We Are the In Crowd, Man Overboard, A Loss For Words, Funeral Party, Justina, I Fight Dragons, Machine Gun Kelly, Echo Movement, G-Eazy, Stepdad, The Constellations, Ballyhoo!, Champagne Champagne, T. Mills, Tomorrows Bad Seeds, Mod Sun, The Green, Iwrestledabearonce, Born Of Osiris, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!, Fireworks, Transit, Make Do and Mend, Matt Toka, Tonight Alive, Skip the Foreplay, Sick of Sarah, Mighty Mongo, Captain Capa, I Call Fives, Hostage Calm, The Silver Comet, Twin Atlantic, The Darlings, Dead Sara, A Loss For Words, Koji, Wick-It The Instigator
10475 Little Patuxent Parkway
Columbia, Maryland, 21044
Vans Warped Tour - Presented by Journeys
Vans Warped Tour is a "punk rock summer camp" on wheels where music, athletes and lifestyles co-mingle and thrive in an atmosphere dedicated to music fans of punk, alternative, hip-hop, ska, pop punk, electronica, alternative rock, emo, hardcore and more. Now entering its 19th year, the VWT has become America's longest running festival concert tour and reaches more than 600,000 kids every summer. Warped is also responsible for introducing music fans to such artists as No Doubt, Katy Perry, Blink 182, Papa Roach, Sublime, My Chemical Romance, Eminem and Fall Out Boy, among hundreds of others, as well as creating the blueprint for concert tour sponsorship integration that is now used throughout other tours today.
Taking Back Sunday
“Sometimes it takes some time to remember where you were headed in the first place and the people you intended to go there with…” —Taking Back Sunday
This is the record that a lot of people never thought would happen: A brand new Taking Back Sunday album that features the same line-up as the band’s platinum-selling 2002 debut Tell All Your Friends. Although th...e players here—frontman Adam Lazzara, guitarists and vocalist John Nolan, guitarist Eddie Reyes, drummer Mark O’Connell and bassist Shaun Cooper—are the same, it’s important to point out that this album isn’t a sequel to this band’s debut as much as it is the beginning of a new chapter of innovation and productivity from this celebrated Long Island rock act.
“When I listen to a song like ‘Sad Savior’ or ‘Who Are You Anyway?’ it’s evident that this record isn’t true to any scene or genre,” Lazzara responds when asked what aspect of Taking Back Sunday he’s most proud of. Nolan—who left Taking Back Sunday alongside Cooper in 2003—echoes this sentiment, adding “I can’t imagine us having written this album after Tell All Your Friends,” explains Nolan. “It doesn’t feel like the follow-up up to that album and we definitely wouldn’t have been able to bring these songs to life if we hadn’t gone through all the experiences that we’ve all been through during the past seven years.”
Since the release of Tell All Your Friends, Taking Back Sunday has released three more studio albums, which have sold over two million copies, headlined arenas, toured multiple times in amphitheaters with bands such as Linkin Park, Weezer and Blink-182, and shared Festival Stages with the likes of The Police, The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead and Phoenix. In August of 2011 they will perform on the main stage at Reading and Leeds festivals for the fourth time. Cooper and Nolan, meanwhile, went on to form critically-acclaimed band Straylight Run, who in 2007 released The Needles The Space on Universal Republic Records, headlined Warped Tour and performed on Late Night with Conan O'Brien. However, all of the members admit that there is a certain chemistry that only exists when these five musicians are together in the same room.
What began with the simple idea of all five members coming together at the Sonic Ranch in the border town of Tornillo, Texas (near El Paso), last year quickly resulted in a sonic windfall that saw the band writing nearly a dozen songs—and from there Taking Back Sunday never looked back. “The whole experience of us getting back together was really freeing,” Lazzara explains. “We went into all of this knowing that our music didn’t have to sound a certain way, so we just decided to see what happens and this is what came of it.” Nolan adds, “I think we all knew that we had to take this band to a place where it hadn’t been before for it to really work; it couldn’t all be about nostalgia.”
After two more writing sessions at the Sonic Ranch and a stint in Seattle at the Robert Lang Studios, the band reconvened in Los Angeles with Eric Valentine (who produced their 2006 album Louder Now as well as albums by Queens Of The Stone Age and The All-American Rejects) in late August to begin work on the band’s self-titled album, taking periodic breaks to incorporate the new songs that continued to pour out of their collaborative efforts. “I like to think of Eric as a rocket scientist because he’s so skilled when it comes to production,” Lazzara explains. “He spent so much time making sure everything sounded perfect and each track’s personality really got to shine.”
Undeniably Taking Back Sunday’s most varied record, Taking Back Sunday is also their most ambitious, and it showcases the band’s music in ways that you might not expect judging from their previous efforts. This is stridently evident on the album’s opener “El Paso,” a raging post-hardcore anthem that is by far the heaviest thing Taking Back Sunday have ever put onto tape. “That song came from a riff that Mark had that had gotten the snub in the past, which I’m glad about because I don’t think it would have been as awesome as it is now,” Lazzara explains. “I feel like that song really embodies the mood and environment we were all in when we first when down to the Sonic Ranch.”
Another track Lazzara is especially proud of is the album’s first single “Faith (When I Let You Down),” a song that’s equally as cathartic in a more pop-oriented context. “I tried a lot of new things on this record and the fact that there’s a lot of space in the verses is something we had never done before,” he explains. Ultimately Taking Back Sunday is full of sonic firsts, from the atmospheric album closer “Call Me In The Morning” to the energetic rocker “Best Places To Be A Mom,” but Valentine’s specialty is making sure that the disc exists as a cohesive whole. “Even though times have changed, we haven’t, and none of us are the kind of music listeners who just want to own a few singles,” Nolan explains. “We all like to listen to our favorite albums from start to finish and naturally we wanted to make a record that sounds like that.”
Lyrically Taking Back Sunday sees Lazzara and Nolan exploring relationships, a theme they focused on last time they worked together as well. However, instead of singing about the insular Long Island hardcore scene, that landscape has broadened to include the band members’ respective relationships with their wives, kids and God. “John and I are both teetering on real adulthood, so with this record we both wanted to experiment with how straight-forward we could be lyrically,” Lazzara says. Instead of being cloaked in metaphor, the lyrics on Taking Back Sunday show the band questioning their relationships as much as they embrace them, resulting in the most honest Taking Back Sunday album to date.
Lazzara is also quick to point out that adding Nolan back into the mix helped him expand his own range and gave these songs a life of their own. “I’ve found that I write better when there are two perspectives on the same subject; there are some songs on this record where John was coming from a totally different place than I was but when we put the two things together this whole new idea grew from it,” he explains. “All of our tastes have changed over time but everyone was so trusting during the writing process and I think that allowed us to go certain places we hadn’t visited in the past.”
Let’s face it, it would be simple for Taking Back Sunday to get back together solely in order to embark on an anniversary tour for Tell All Your Friends, but despite their previous successes they are quick to point out this record is a brand new beast that is ushering in a different era for the band. “This album isn’t us trying to be something we’re not,” Lazzara summarizes, “it’s just us and I’m really proud of that.” If you listen to Taking Back Sunday with an open mind, you’ll agree that it is an important record that marks a giant leap forward for a band that truly defies categorization.
All Time Low
All Time Low has emerged as one of the most popular new bands in recent memory, beloved by an increasingly fervent fan following for their fast-paced and fizzy brand of pop-punk. Now, with the hugely anticipated “NOTHING PERSONAL,” the Maryland-based band has exceeded all expectations with a collection of effervescent new songs, marked by unstoppable hookiness and a newly discovered knack for exp...loration and invention. Where other bands might have played it safe by rehashing established hits, All Time Low instead opted to push the envelope by collaborating with a veritable who’s-who of producers, each with their own unique sonic stamp. Unified by singer/guitarist Alex Gaskarth’s clever lyricism, songs like “Weightless” and “Therapy” are marked by a range of diverse musical approaches, all the while retaining the patented All Time Low energy and enthusiasm.
“This record was less about doing what the bands we grew up listening to did,” Gaskarth says. “It was more about knowing what we do, developing that sound, but also stemming out, trying new things, and exploring other veins.”
Gaskarth, guitarist Jack Barakat, drummer Rian Dawson, and bassist Zack Merrick first got together while attending high school in the suburbs of Maryland. In 2005, the band released its debut album, “THE PARTY SCENE,” the success of which led to their signing with Hopeless. The “PUT UP OR SHUT UP” EP arrived in the summer of 2006, mere weeks after the band members’ high school graduation. “SO WRONG, IT’S RIGHT” followed in 2007. Fit to burst with overwhelming singles like “Dear Maria, Count Me In” and “Poppin’ Champagne,” the Matt Squire-produced collection scored major MTV rotation, instantly placing ATL at the forefront of modern pop-punk. The band further sealed its status by touring nearly non-stop, with highlights including multiple Vans Warped Tours, co-headlining the AP Tour 2008, and a series of their own sold-out headline tours, both here and abroad. In December 2008, All Time Low were named “Band of the Year” by Alternative Press, a remarkable achievement that even now feels like something out of a dream.
“It’s still all catching up with us,” Gaskarth says. “It was a sort of seamless transition from being nobody to being a band that people wanted to go see. It happens so quickly that you almost don’t realize that it’s happening, it just becomes a blur. Then when you get home and suddenly you’re being recognized in the mall, it takes you aback, because it’s just not something you’ve come to expect.”
New Found Glory
New found energy, new found purpose: that's what Not Without A Fight is all about. The first New Found Glory album to bear the Epitaph logo brims with fresh promise, showcasing a band comfortable in their own skin and eager to get back to basics and present it all to the world. Not Without A Fight is arguably the strongest addition to an impressive catalog with no less than three gold records and some of the most memorable songs of the past decade.
Album opener "Right Where We Left Off" is an instant reminder of the keen self-awareness that endeared New Found Glory to millions of fans worldwide in the first place. And naming their album Not Without A Fight? That's a nod to that other side of the group Epitaph owner Brett Gurewitz called "the greatest pop-punk band in history," the side that is scrappy, that's from the do-it-yourself scene. The side of a band who probably never should have been lumped in with some of the more teeny-bop friendly fare they've often shared the rock radio and TRL charts with.
Lead single "Listen to Your Friends" flips the script by rocking a verse even catchier than its chorus; "I'll Never Love Again" boasts a killer singalong. "47" has a hooky scream that breaks new ground for the Florida-bred five-some while "Truck Stop Blues" summons the potent urgency of the burgeoning scene that New Found Glory arose from, recalling a bygone era when they shared small stages with their friends in Get Up Kids, Piebald and Saves The Day.
Not Without A Fight packs together the best elements of fan favorite albums like Sticks and Stones (2002) and Catalyst (2004) with a reinvigorated drive making for a declaration that's fresh and timely. There's pop, there's punk, there's crunch, there's those irrepressible melodies and Jordan Pundik's instantly recognizable voice is in fine form.
"Nobody in New Found Glory loves anything as much as this band," says guitarist Chad Gilbert, by way of explanation as to how they have managed to maintain the same lineup - Pundik, Gilbert, Steven Klein (guitar), Ian Grushka (bass) and Cyrus Bolooki (drums) - for over ten years. "You fight with your mom. You don't hang out with her all the time. But you love her! You're never going to hate her. We're family. It might sound cliche, but that's what it is."
Street Light Manifesto
Of all the various compliments Streetlight Manifesto have received from fans over the years, there is one in particular that seems to resonate most with the members of the band. After a show, a kid in torn jeans and a Pantera shirt, sporting ridiculous facial hair, will find one of the Streetlighters outside of the club and say hello, followed by "Man, I don't listen to this kind of music, in fact... I hate most ska bands, but you guys are something else." Or it will be a jazz fan, sitting in the back of the venue during the set, bobbing his head, eyes closed while the band does their thing on stage. Or one of the club's stagehands will comment, while helping break down the lighting rig, that he actually enjoyed a band he was working for for once, despite having heard thousands of bands on the job over the years. And therein lies Streetlight Manifesto's appeal.
Seven guys, seven different musical backgrounds, seven different personalities, one band, one unique and unmistakable voice. Formed four years ago in New Jersey as an ad hoc group intended to put out one album and disappear, one thing lead to another and within a few months of their debut release, Everything Goes Numb, Streetlight Manifesto were officially a full time touring band, traveling the world, spreading their infectious and energetic tunes to all who would listen. One part rock, one part ska, with influences from latin, klezmer, folk, world, funk, jazz and classical thrown in, the band redefined what most people expected from a "ska" band. Three albums later, and after countless worldwide tours, the guys are still at it, still performing live to sold out shows filled with sweat drenched fans, all dancing and singing along at the top of their lungs. And the Streetlight boys wouldn't have it any other way.
ISometimes stepping away from something can remind how much you love it. Yellowcard’s hiatus for the past few years was in no way an ending for the group, but rather a pause that’s revived the band’s passion for their music. Early last year Parsons began approaching his bandmates with the idea of beginning their fifth album—a follow- up to 2007’s Paper Walls. The other members agreed, ready after t...heir temporary break to determine the band’s next step. “I think it was absolutely the best possible choice we could have made as a band,” Key says of the break. “The fact that we had that time to refocus and recharge individually made working together for the first time in 2 years so much more exciting. The possibilities were endless again.”
Getting an opportunity to make an impact by playing music is a dream for many bands. But getting a second chance, according to Yellowcard frontman Ryan Key, is a blessing.
Yellowcard returned to the spotlight in 2011 after a three-year hiatus with the energized When You're Through Thinking, Say Yes. The album was a renaissance of sorts for the Jacksonville natives, as its 10 tracks played out like the band never spent any time apart. A logical progression from 2007's Paper Walls, the group managed to capture elements of its entire discography with the album, which was welcomed by patient fans and praised by critics alike. Say Yes inspired a winding nine months of touring that took the band to over 30 different countries, a world tour that served as a reconnection with old, diehard fans and an instant way to reach new, younger listeners.
"The tours we got to do last year, the bands we got to tour with, were incredible," Key says. "We wanted to stay current and matter to younger fans, because making new fans is important to us, and at the same time, we didn't want to turn our back on our old fans because they're essential to our existence. We couldn't make new fans without our old ones? When you're at a Yellowcard show if you're not a fan, you look at someone who is and think, 'Why am I not a fan of that? Why am I not enjoying this like that person is? I want that.' That's amazing for us."
The extensive touring schedule in support of Say Yes was more inspiring than exhausting. The band that put out the acclaimed Ocean Avenue (2003) nearly a decade ago, and fan favorites Lights and Sounds (2006) and Paper Walls (2007) after that, was still feeling energized and ready to move. "We got back from tour and we were still so excited about doing this," Key says. "We wanted to keep the ball rolling." So Key, violinist Sean Mackin, guitarist Ryan Mendez, new bassist Josh Portman and drummer Longineu Parsons decided to head back into the studio with almost no time off to record a new album.
"We're better at balancing the band and our personal lives than we have ever been before, and part of that comes with being 30 years old and not 20," Key says of the band's desire to keep its momentum going. "We all want to work together more than we ever have, and that's what drove us back together after being away from each other for three years." The decision to get back into the studio so soon brought along some pressure at first, but Key says that was all self-induced. "After a while, we decided, 'This is what we do. We know exactly what we're doing, let's sit down and write some music.'"
The resulting album, titled Southern Air, will be Yellowcard's sixth studio effort and second for Hopeless Records. And according to Key, it was the easiest writing and recording experience of the band's decade-plus long career. He describes a "brotherhood" that he shared with Mendez, Mackin. LP, and long-time producer
Neal Avron during the meat of the recording sessions. "There was this bond, this camaraderie, a positive energy in the room," Key recalls in a hushed tone. "We all got so excited about every part of every song, working with each other on everything." More passionate than ever before, Yellowcard churned out a holistic effort as the self-induced pressure evaporated from the songwriting.
The album's title provides a loose concept for the album, centering around the experience Key had while Yellowcard was on its hiatus. Moving back to Athens, Georgia, to spend more time with his family than he had since his high school years gave Key some perspective into what his priorities are. "I think this record, in a lot of ways, examines how much better that time made my life, how much of a positive influence that had on me," Key says, "and how much I know now that I need that in my life, that southern air."
The rocking title track certainly hits home on that concept, with Key rounding out the album by singing, "This southern air is in my lungs, it's in every word I've sung / It seems the only truth I know, this will always be home." Musically, Yellowcard's pounding pop-punk sound is abundant ("Awakening," "Rivertown Blues"), while of course highlighting the trademark violin, especially in first released song "Always Summer." Southern Air has every essential element of past Yellowcard albums, but at the same time still feels fresh and new. It could very well be the band's best work, and it's because of an intangible feeling you get when you listen to it.
"It's hard to answer that question, which I think is our best," Key says. "But I really think there's something special about this record. And I don't necessarily mean how many copies it's going to sell or anything like that, I just think there's something special here and I hope people see that too."
Not bad for a band trying to make the best out of a second chance.
Pierce the Veil
In the past few years, Equal Vision Records has signed some of the punk underground’s most groundbreaking acts including Circa Survive, Fear Before The March Of Flames and Chiodos. The latest edition to this elite group of artists is San Diego, California’s Pierce The Veil, a progressive post-rock quartet whose debut A Flair For The Dramatic incorporates elements of fractured hardcore, prog-rock and metalcore into a unique amalgam of heavy music that’s bound to turn heads and blow minds.
Pierce The Veil’s debut is a labor of love that the band put every ounce of creativity into. “We basically drove our RV up onto Casey’s front yard and stayed there for two months,” the band’s frontman Vic Fuentes explains with a laugh. “I’m the biggest perfectionist and I’ll do a part over and over a hundred times in the studio before it sounds right to me. I’m just glad that Casey was so patient with me,” he adds. “He brought our record somewhere that I never imagined it could go.”
It’s true. From the jaw-droppingly schizophrenic and striking opener “Chemical Kids And Mechanical Brides” to upbeat melodic rockers like “Drella” and acoustically tinged quasi-ballads like “Falling Asleep On A Stranger,” A Flair For The Dramatic incorporates nearly every style from the rock cannon without that sounding hackneyed or clichéd. This unique album is difficult to compare or reference to any other. Your best bet is to just let the music on A Flair For The Dramatic speak for itself.
“Lyrically, this was a very surprising record for me because I never thought I would write songs about relationships,” Vic explains when asked about the overall theme of the disc. “It just kind of so happened that I had a couple things happen recently relationship-wise that just came out in the writing—and I’m really glad it did because every word in every line feels like it has a lot deeper meaning,” he continues, citing his father as his musical teacher and biggest influence when writing the band's debut disc.
Four Year Strong
A single word can hardly describe the kind of career Four Year Strong have experienced since the release of their 2007 debut album, but "epic" comes pretty close. Alan Day (Vocals/Guitar), Dan O'Conner (Vocals/Guitar), Joe Weiss (Bass), and Jake Massucco (Drums) are Four Year Strong. The band has long since graduated from their closet venue and community center background, selling out 2000-capacity headlining shows with their perfected formula of unrelenting spirit, gut-wrenchingly good music, and no flashy gimmicks. Their unique blend of brutal breakdowns and soaring choruses incites a riot like nothing seen before, leaving live crowds and CD listeners alike simultaneously blown away and fired up.
After a lineup change, sound change and some much needed personal time away from music F.Y.S has reemerged more driven and focused than ever.
The guys headed back into the studio with producer Machine (Enemy of the World/Explains It All) late this winter to start crafting new music that they're really proud of and that fans will be absolutely pumped on.
After a quick spring tour playing to mostly sell out crowds supporting Bayside, the band sets their sights on their FOURTH summer on the Vans Warped Tour.
You can be sure they'll bring their infectious energy back to the Warped stage playing crowd favorites like "Heroes Get Remember, Legends Never Die" and the summer sing a long "Wasting Time".
No matter what shifts or changes in the Four Year Strong universe you can expect one constant. F.Y.S will continue to RISE, OR DIE TRYING...
Of Mice and Men
Strength often comes from starting over. In the aftermath of a disruption, calamity, or tragedy, there's a process of restoration. Southern California quintet Of Mice & Men refer to it as Restoring Force. Not only does that serve as the title for the group's third full-length album for Rise Records and follow-up to 2011 breakout The Flood, but it also sums up their unbreakable spirit. Enduring lineup shifts and a constant uphill battle to be heard, the band--Austin Carlile [lead vocals], Alan Ashby [rhythm guitars], Phil Manansala [lead guitar], Aaron Pauley [bass, vocals], and Valentino "Tino" Arteaga [drums]--emerges stronger than ever.
"What happens after a disaster? What happens after The Flood?" asks Carlile. "You return to normal. You find balance again. That's what we felt like we were doing with this album. We officially added Aaron, and this is exactly where we needed to be with our sound. We wanted this record to bring equilibrium back to our band and music. We're letting everyone know that we're here to stay. We're Restoring Force."
Embracing that mindset, they headed to House of Loud Studios in New Jersey to record with producer David Bendeth [Paramore, Breaking Benjamin] at the start of June 2013. Through intense recording sessions, they challenged themselves and expanded their signature style. As a result, they penned pummeling, passionate, and powerful anthems that teeter between searing screams and magnetic melodies.
"David is a character," smiles Carlile. "He brought out the best in us by pushing us to the absolute limit. That's why we wanted to work with him from the beginning. He worked us, shaped us, and molded us. We loved him sometimes, and we hated him others. He helped us reach a new level though."
Part of the group's ascent involved the incorporation of Pauley into every aspect of the creative process. His soaring hooks proved the perfect counterpoint to Carlile's crushing screams.
"It was the first time we had every actually recorded together," Carlile goes on. "He's our brother, and he's an incredible vocalist. I remember one night we were doing pre-production early on, and Aaron had some reservations. He was down on himself, and he didn't know if he was cut out for it. I told him, 'You're the person who delivers that final punch and emotion. You're the one who sends it home for us. Trust yourself'. The next day, he showed me 'Feels Like Forever'."
The track builds from a polyrhythmic riff into an utterly unforgettable refrain. It's artfully heavy and chaotically catchy.
"I saw Aaron's struggle in the studio, and I had the same struggle two weeks later," admits Carlile. "I broke down. I was mentally, physically, and spiritually exhausted. That song takes me back to making this record. When we finished it, I was so reassured. You can always come out of any low point."
Elsewhere on the record, "Bones Exposed" snaps from staggering guitars into a percussive onslaught led by the frontman's inimitable growl and cinematic lyrics.
"This one's heavier," he affirms. "I was bitter, angry, hurt, and wounded. It's about somebody you really don't like at the moment. At the same time, we're all broken. We're all messed up. We're all liars. We're all sinners. We're all flawed. None of us are perfect so you have to let it go at some point. It's like a cut. If you leave it alone, it heals. Otherwise, you scratch it until the bones are exposed."
Meanwhile, "Would You Still Be There?" merges the melodic and metallic seamlessly, and "You're Not Alone" seesaws between an uplifting refrain and guttural verse. The latter touches on a larger theme for Carlile.
"The theme of the record is togetherness, working together, and being a family," he reveals. "I want our listeners to know they're not alone. We're all going through it with them."
The fans won't take his words lightly. The group has become a veritable phenomenon worldwide, selling out shows across North America all the way to Australia, Europe, and beyond. The Flood reached #28 on the Billboard Top 200 and garnered praise from the New York Times, Rock Sound, Alternative Press, and more. With sales surpassing 125,000 and YouTube streams over 16,000,000, The Flood remains one of the most successful releases in 22 years of Rise Records.
In the end though, Restoring Force is a pivotal moment for Of Mice & Men that sees them gain power like never before.
"Of Mice & Men has outgrown all of us," concludes Carlile. "It's bigger than the individuals comprising it. It's bigger than the album. It has become its own thing. It's more than just a rock group. I want this album to get people thinking and talking. It's different. There are no cryptic messages. This is purely meant to move you."
Force has effectively been restored for Of Mice & Men, and they're ready to conquer.
We the Kings
"It was time for a creative change."
So says We the Kings frontman Travis Clark, explaining his band's new album, Somewhere Somehow -- a commercial and artistic triumph that marks, yes, a real creative change.
It's not like the band had to amend their ways. Since forming in high school in Bradenton, FL, We the Kings have rung up a string of top 10 rock albums (2007's We the Kings, 2009's Smile Kid and 2011's Sunshine State of Mind) and Gold/platinum singles ("Check Yes Juliet", "Say You Like Me"). Along the way, they toured the world several times over (including five stints on the Warped Tour) and earned an extraordinarily dedicated fanbase.
But the band -- Clark, Hunter Thomsen, Danny Duncan and (joining in 2011) Coley O'Toole and Charles Trippy -- decided to approach their fourth album differently. They went completely DIY.
"We wanted to make this record completely fan-based," explains Clark.
Which meant leaving their longtime record label. And raising the recording budget on their own.
To this end, the band turned to the crowdfunding site Indiegogo, hoping to reach a modest budget goal within a month.
Thanks to those diehard fans, they got there. In one day.
"The Indiegogo campaign went way beyond what we imagined," happily admits Clark. And thanks to the fans' generous support, the group was able to fund a vinyl release, a physical CD and even offer up some creative rewards, including fan participation in the recording. (The fan-first approach certainly worked: Somewhere Somehow is already the highest charting record in We the Kings history, debuting in the Top 50 during the competitive Christmas season.)
Outside the numbers, Somewhere is also an artistic breakthrough. "This time out, we didn't have anyone breathing down our necks: we only had to impress ourselves," explains Clark. "It allowed us to do something really something different with the sound. If the first album was more guitar-based, the second about interesting instrumentation and the third really acoustic, this one was all about getting a rhythmic feel. There was no 'genre' we were shooting for."
Working with Metro Station's Blake Healy, multi-instrumentalist/producer Steve Shebby and Clark's own brother Taylor ("Bringing family into your career: such a cool thing" says Travis), Somewhere Somehow showcases the band at both their most ambitious and accessible. Piano and strings color tracks like "Queen of Hearts" and "Sad Song," while big harmonies abound on "See You in My Dreams" and "Find You There." It's a startling diverse record, with club bangers like "I Like It" rubbing up against the more punk-defiant chorus of "Any Other Way."
Lyrically, Clark reveals a more personal side, including the first single "Just Keep Breathing," which documents how the singer was bullied as a kid--and, ultimately, persevered. "It's a song about getting to see a better tomorrow," says Clark. "It's a song I wanted to hear as a kid, and I didn't have. I wanted to write that."
This increasingly personal side to We the Kings now extends off the record. Recently, several members of the band started video blogs, documenting their everyday life on YouTube. "It's so people understand why we write the songs we do," says the singer. Of particular note is bass player Charles Trippy, who chronicles his struggles (and triumphs) while battling brain cancer. "His mindset is 'I'm going to make it, and it's going to help inspire others,'" says Clark.
So We the Kings may have changed their style over the years. But their mission remains the same.
"That's been the goal of our band since day one, even from the first album: make the world a happier place," says Clark. "This album just takes it full circle."
Pioneers in the rock scene thanks to their genre-bending fusion of rock and electro-pop, Breathe Carolina catapulted to mainstream attention with their 2011 platinum-selling single "Blackout," which hit the top 15 on Top 40 radio. Charging into 2014 with the release of their fourth full-length studio album SAVAGES this spring, the band are poised to make 2014 their biggest year yet.
The band's pulse-pounding beats have landed placements on MTV Hills and The City, NBC's The Tonight Show, 30 Rock, and Monday Night Football, and have garnered press coverage from USA Today, New York Times, Playboy.com, the band was also selected as one of MTV's P.U.S.H artists, landed a cover of Alternative Press and a performance on The Jimmy Kimmel Show.
Miss May I
Hailing from Dayton, Ohio, Miss May I claims a sound that is mature far beyond their years. With no members over the age of 19, they have been breaking out of the Dayton music scene with a sound that is unbelievably fast paced, heavy, and crushing, yet tastefully melodic and catchy. Currently writing for a full length debut with Rise Records, the band is gearing up for a 2009 release thats looking to propel them to the forefront of their genre.
Falling in Reverse
Falling In Reverse has managed the unthinkable. Already blessed with a Top 20 debut album, fervently passionate fans and positioned firmly atop the world of the Vans Warped Tour and the fast-moving social media landscape, Alternative Press magazine's 2012 "Artist of the Year" could have rested on their victorious accomplishments -- not the least of which is the cinematically gigantic redemption story surrounding the band's vibrant lead singer and founder, Ronnie Radke.
But what have they chosen as an encore? Nothing less than to conquer the world.
After two years worth of touring, over 20 million YouTube views thanks to songs like "I'm Not a Vampire" and "Good Girls Bad Guys" (including one Revolver put in the Top 10 of the year), Falling In Reverse is going after the brass ring, the golden chalice, the hearts and minds of everyone with the unstoppable Fashionably Late.
The swagger of the hair-sprayed 1980's Sunset Strip, the bravado of the most battle-hardened rhyme-slingers, the take-no-prisoners bottom end of the brutal tattooed metalcore crowd and the boundless ship-full-of-pirates revelry of underground parties and EDM have all beautifully converged in this one band and this new album. It's for everyone on Instagram, on Twitter, or anyone with a brain and two ears.
"My dad raised me on metal, but my first serious love was hip-hop," Ronnie explains. "When I heard Dr. Dre's The Chronic, that' when I fell in love. I didn't know what the hell they were talking about, the beats were intertwined, and it came inside of me and took me over. When we added hip-hop elements I was thinking, 'Should I do this? This sounds crazy! Are people going to like this?' Now I've never been so proud of something. The final product, Fashionably Late, is the best work I've ever done."
Falling In Reverse's new music elicits vivid memories and visceral feelings that can only be summoned by warmly familiar elements from all that the best of the music world has offered before, while sounding impossibly fresh, like nothing ever released until now. Fashionably Late is exactly right on time, demonstratively declaring Falling In Reverse's supreme understanding and mastery of modern times and poised for a breakthrough into the pop culture stratosphere. Falling In Reverse have hit upon a brilliantly contemporary zeitgeist, pouring their every artistic whim and fantasy into new songs born decisively from the iPod "shuffle" generation.
The album is postmillennial and classic at the same time - sort of like when Daniel Craig took over the tuxedo as James Bond. "People that didn't know who I was before are going to be like, 'Who the hell is this?' People that hate me are going to be like, 'Dammit!'" laughs Ronnie. "And all of our fans are going to love this album."
Ronnie Radke's vocal performance remains as brash, brazen, self-revelatory and combative as on The Drug in Me is You, the Falling In Reverse album that emerged after the singer's well-publicized troubles with drugs, the law and his former band. Ronnie's story saw him grace multiple magazine covers, nominated as "Hero of the Year" at the Kerrang! Awards (where the band won "Best International Newcomer" the year before) and named one of the 100 Greatest Living Rock Stars by Revolver.
His years of life experience and perspective are all over Fashionably Late, this time delivered in even faster rapid-fire succession and clever wordplay thanks to his full-blown embracing of the hip-hop styles he's always fancied. Yes, Ronnie is rapping all over the new album. And there's nothing "rap metal" or "rap-core" about it. It's authentic, it's credible and it's on top of mind-melting catchy beats, all of which somehow works seamlessly with brutal breakdowns, throaty screams and the type of guitar shredding from Wunderkind Jackie Vincent that could make Eddie Van Halen blush. Radke and the English-born Vincent remain a dynamic duo in the style of Axl and Slash, of Mick and Keith, side-by-side as they embark on this awesomely ambitious creative adventure with rhythm guitarist Derek Jones, bassist Ron Ficarro and drummer Ryan Seaman, the lineup that gelled live over countless headlining tours and brief stints opening for the likes of Guns N' Roses and Hollywood Undead.
The album kicks off with "Champion," a firm reminder that Falling In Reverse has retained their mastery of metal. Taking cues from As I Lay Dying and Metallica as a foundation, with a hugely melodic chorus along the lines of '80s hair-metal, plus a bridge that combines the rhyme style of Eminem with the music of Kanye West. The tongue-in-cheek "Bad Girls Club" is inspired by real events, turning the tables on the idea of guys as pickup artists and exposing the other side when girls sometimes prey upon dudes. "Rolling Stone" has another huge chorus and is another genre-hopping rollercoaster ride that ultimately sounds triumphant and shockingly engaging.
"Fashionably Late" is wrought with multiple meanings. On the one hand, the band has adopted more of a high-fashion look than when they first emerged. On the other hand, Radke feels like this is the type of song and album he should have made years ago, as far back as when he started writing after he made Dying is Your Latest Fashion as the frontman for Escape The Fate. "I get down to the science with words. Everything is always a play on words. I should have made this record before, but I went to prison for two years. Now it's been another two years since the first album. I also like that Fashionably Late sounds timeless, iconic and absolutely modern."
"Born to Lead" represents one of the many pinnacles of Falling In Reverse's new sound, blending big radio beats with moshpit inducing riffage, all while addressing Ronnie's critics head-on. "It's everything I've ever wanted to say to all these Twitter followers that talk shit," he says. "I wanted to shut-up everyone who says we can't do metal. I wanted to let everyone that dedicates their lives to just one genre of music know why they are so unhappy. Some metalheads are really angry at other types of music. We stuck 'Alone' in the middle of the record with one of the greatest solos and breakdowns, just balls to the wall with it, so all the metalheads can get into it."
From there, the album dives headfirst into one of its most adventurous moments, hitting upon the pulse of the past few generations raised on video games new and old with incredibly deft precision. "Game Over" is fueled by classic arcade sounds, with Ronnie singing, "Life is like a video game." "We're all trying to collect our 'coins' and impress the girl, or the 'princess,' by saving her," he explains of the analogy. "There's a lot of obstacles that we face. And we're all trying not to die!"
"It's Over When it's Over" offers one last kiss-off to Radke's former band, tempering the vicious bite of earlier songs like "Tragic Magic" with a newfound peace and contentment, as well as a sense of pride in Ronnie's accomplishments with Falling In Reverse. "I didn't want to be rude or mean on this record. I'm over all of that. I'm just saying, you can't tell me I didn't rise above and surpass them. All of the trials I went through, it's pretty self-explanatory. Now I'm doing better. That's it."
"Self-Destruct Personality" is a nod to the first Falling In Reverse record and Escape The Fate's debut, diving back into the family history Ronnie has detailed before, with a twist. "Daddy told me not to bite my tongue/ I hate my mother because she left me with no love/ so I bottled it up/swept it under the rug." It's acknowledging the past, while moving toward the future. "I throw a curveball by busting some rhymes in the bridge," Ronnie says, laughing. "I love that song a lot, it's crazy. So crazy!"
The first song Ronnie wrote for the album was "Fuck the Rest." The recording features a background "Hey!" from his friend and tour manager Josh Stern, who sadly passed away. "His voice is immortalized in it," Ronnie says. "It's a good song that plays on my old style, too, because we had to keep that feeling. I wanted to pay homage to Josh, who was a really good friend of mine, by having it on the record."
Fashionably Late closes with the direct, to-the-point and appropriately-titled "Keep Holding On." The first verse is about Ronnie's own troubles, the second from the perspective of kids who are bullied. It's a celebratory anthem aimed at empowering kids who are suffering from intimidation to feel better, to persevere, to conquer. Who could be a more credible spokesman for conquering adversity than Ronnie Radke, who has triumphed again and again in recent years with Falling In Reverse?
Not many get to climb the mountain once, let alone twice. His first band's first album brought him notoriety in the underground; Radke's comeback with Falling In Reverse blew down the doors. And now, together with his close friends in his band, Ronnie Radke is about to climb new heights of achievement for a third time, stepping right into the eye of the post-modern/pop-cultural hurricane with all of his angst, humor, confidence, self-examination, wide smile and rad hairstyle intact.
Blood On The Dance Floor
Blood on the Dance Floor is a group from Orlando, Florida. The group currently includes vocalist Dahvie Vanity, ; Christopher Mongillo, who is a member of many other bands including Kthx and Saturday/Thursday, and screamer Garret Ecstasy. Past members include screamer Matty M.
BOTDF have released An Album entitled Let’s Start A Riot, a single called Save The Rave, a second album entitled It’s Hard To Be A Diamond In A Rhinestone World, have released another single entitled Suicide Club, another single called Siq With A “Q” and a radio edit album. They have also released a Scream For My Ice Cream EP.
Every Time I Die
Every Time I Die have never been an easy act to categorize and that’s one of the key reasons why the band’s fans have never turned their back on this innovative act’s unique brand of music. While the band started out in the late ’90s hardcore scene, over the past decade they’ve continued to evolve and push the boundaries of heavy music, a process that’s culminating with their sixth full-length Ex Lives. Recorded by Joe Barresi (Tool, Queens Of The Stone Age) Ex Lives sees the band—vocalist Keith Buckley, guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams, drummer Ryan Leger—coming together to create the most forward-thinking album of their career.
“Everything about this record was new,” Keith explains. “Normally I’m in a comfort zone when I write lyrics because I’m just holed up in my apartment but this time I was finding little corners of clubs in Europe with [side-project] the Damned Things trying to squeeze in a couple of hours of writing and I think that process really affected the way this album came together.”
Keith adds that although Every Time I Die’s party vibe has been well-documented in the past, Ex Lives saw the band approaching the album from a more serious perspective. “There’s no song like ‘We’rewolf’ on this album,” Keith explains. “I was pretty angry when we were writing these songs which isn’t a good spot for a human being but is good if you’re a guy singing in a band,” he continues with a laugh. “I was just really angry and disappointed with a lot of things in my life at the time and I think that definitely comes through on a lot of these songs; I was wondering if it was all karma because I was a horrible person in a past life and that’s where the album title came from.”
From the syncopated chaos of the opening salvo “Underwater Bimbos From Outer Space” to the progressive mosh anthem “A Wild, Shameless Plain” and relentless metal riffage of “The Low Road Has No Exits,” Ex Lives sees Every Time I Die further tempering their aggression while also implementing new instrumentation such as banjo (see the sinister intro of “Partying Is Such Sweet Sorrow”) and, yes, flute (see the end of “Indian Giver”) in order to recontextualize exactly what it means to be a heavy band, which is something that has endeared them to fans for thirteen years.
“I don’t think us doing anything different is a surprise to Every Time I Die fans because one of the main reasons why a lot of people have stuck by us for so long is because they know they can expect the unexpected with each release,” Keith explains, adding that if you listen close enough you’ll take note of plenty of sonic subtleties on Ex Lives. “There are a lot of little weird things that I think people will start noticing more as they listen to the album,” he elaborates. “I’d never added any keyboard or synthesizer elements to an Every Time I Die song before so it was a really cool opportunity to expand the sound on this disc.”
Similarly Ex Lives also sees Keith pushing his limits on songs like “I Suck (Blood),” which proves how versatile the band’s vocalist has become whether he’s cathartically screaming or crooning an upper register melody. “On albums like [2007's] The Big Dirty no one heard my vocals until the album was totally done but on this one everyone had their input on what I was doing vocally and they could give me suggestions to improve them,” Keith says, adding that this disc was more collaborative for the band. “I think I was also more energetic because I was nervous to sing in front of everyone.”
It’s impossible to deny that in an increasingly stagnant musical climate Every Time I Die are still pushing the limits of their own sound—and Ex Lives is aural evidence that after over a decade together they’re anything but complacent. “I had to prove myself 100 percent from the beginning like I did when we put out our first record to show the other guys in Every Time I Die as well as myself that I could do this and I couldn’t be happier with the end result,” Keith summarizes when asked to describe Ex Lives. “This feels like a new band in a way… it’s just its own thing and that feels really, really good.”
For the past seven years, the members of Tallahassee, Florida's Mayday Parade have honed their patented style of catchy, kinetic pop-punk with an outpour of real rock energy. The Florida quintet knows its identity, but it's got more excitement for the future with new album Monsters In The Closet. Their fourth studio album, Monsters In The Closet is a collection of everything the group's fervent fan base loves about Mayday Parade. Evincing evolution in songwriting, the band's growth shines through shimmering soaring hooks throughout the unshakable 12-track collection. The fan-anticipated album hit #10 on the Billboard Top 200, #2 on the Independent Label Chart, and sold over 30,300 copies in the first week, landing the band in their best first week in their career.
Mayday Parade has come a long way since their landmark 2007 debut, A Lesson In Romantics which debuted at #8 on the Billboard Heatseeker's Chart, holding a chart position for seventy weeks and laying the framework for the band's path to success. To date, their album sales have exceeded 600,000 while track sales surpass 3,000,000. Their self-titled third album entered the Billboard Top 200 at #12 in 2011, and the band has been a standout on the Punk Goes... series. Having crossed the globe on countless tours, the band's impressive tour resume includes acts such as Plain White T's, Pierce The Veil, All Time Low, The Maine, We The Kings, We Are The In Crowd, and Set Your Goals. This Florida based five-some stand poised for the biggest and brightest chapter yet.
Phoenix, AZ's blessthefall stormed to the forefront of the new evolution of the post-hardcore/metalcore genre with the release of critically-acclaimed second album "Witness", produced by Michael "Elvis" Baskette (Incubus, Escape The Fate, Story Of The Year). Upon release, the album debuted in the Billboard Top 200 at #56 and the Independent Chart at #6. Having played dates in 16 countries in 2010 ...in support of Witness with the likes of As I Lay Dying, Underoath, Atreyu, and August Burns Red, blessthefall stormed into 2011 as part of Soundwave festival in Australia. After returning from the Outback, the band went into writing mode for their third full-length album "Awakening", and started recording in May 2011. The album has already been named by Alternative Press as one of 2011’s Most Anticipated Albums. Trying to win over new fans while appeasing the old may be a difficult task for some bands, but blessthefall accept it eagerly as a challenge that they’ll work toward with their forthcoming tours and releases. “There is a lot more drive since Beau has joined the band,” Lambert said. “We know we have a lot to prove and we are all hungry for it.”
One year in a dog's life equals seven for a human. Dog years are a lot like touring musician years: Being on the road and learning from more seasoned bands, playing music every night, traveling together every day, a lot of growth happens at super-human speed. "For a fulltime musician, a year is a long time; one album is a huge difference. We love the album [Desolation of Eden, Chelsea Grin's debut] but like any musician, old stuff is old stuff, when you get better you want to write different things," Chelsea Grin bassist David Flinn says, revealing, "We all sat down and talked about what we wanted the new album to be--we wanted it to include ideas that date back to our EP but open up to things we listen to now like Thrice, Black Dahlia Murder, and other styles of music. We don't want to put out the typical deathcore album." Chelsea Grin are now finalizing their third full length for Artery Recordings titled Ashes to Ashes. The cd will be available on this summer's Warped Tour 2014 and will showcase the bands most thought out work to date.
Even in the face of seemingly "impossible" odds, there's always a way to muster enough strength to soldier on and cross the finish line victoriously.
That goes for all facets of life. If you're willing to disregard the naysayers, forget the doubters, and defy the odds, you can accomplish anything. The story of Sioux City, IA hardcore and metal outfit For Today remains one of triumph. Breaking out of Iowa is hard enough. When you're playing heavy music with a Christian message, it's even harder. Still, the quintet--Mattie Montgomery [lead vocals], Ryan Leitru [lead guitar, vocals], Brandon Leitru [bass], Sam Penner [rhythm guitar], and David Puckett [drums, percussion]--consistently persevered, and it's all documented on their brand new DVD film and five-song EP, the appropriately titled, Prevailer [Razor & Tie].
In 2012, the group made a collective decision to encapsulate their journey in one cohesive piece. Prevailer pairs intense live footage in front of roaring crowds alongside intimate behind-the-scenes vignettes and honest, heartfelt interviews. In the process, the film paints a powerful portrait of the band's road thus far.
"We felt like we really had a story to tell," explains Montgomery. "In the beginning, everyone told us it'd be impossible to get this band off the ground. We were endlessly turned down by everybody you could think of--from labels to booking agents to promoters. We did things D.IY., and we didn't ever expect anything. We were never rich and famous in the first place, and playing music was never about that. We pursued our dream in spite of everything. We decided to make this DVD to show people who we are and give them a little bit of our history."
That history has proven to be quite remarkable. For Today reached a major milestone last year when their fourth full-length album, Immortal, debuted on the Billboard Top 200 at #15 with 14,700 units sold in merely one week. In addition to appearing on the Van's Warped Tour, they've shared the stage with everyone from The Devil Wears Prada and August Burns Red to We Came As Romans and As I Lay Dying. Prevailer not only reflects on their journey to date, but it opens up the door to the next chapter.
Touting a conceptual arc through the first four songs that mirrors the New Testament gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, the EP teems with cathartic hardcore energy and precise metallic firepower. The group hit The Machine Shop with producer Will Putney [Lamb of God, Suicide Silence, Miss May I] and tracked the effort in merely 10 days, capturing a distinct vibe.
"For the first time in a while, we incorporated elements of our early sound," the vocalist reveals. Our first two albums, Ekklesia and Portraits, had more progressive metal elements that we moved away from over time. I feel like a lot of that came back on Prevailer. It's still catchy, but it's also super heavy. We find a way to play opposing genres of music so they work in conjunction. We don't have a common denominator musically, and that creates a level of diversity."
That dynamic defines these songs. After foreboding church bells, unmitigated brutality courses through the first single "Crown of Thorns" as a death metal-style verse storms into a soaring refrain, "The last will be first to inherit the earth".
"Musically, the song is really dark," the vocalist goes on. "We wrote it in the 6/8 time signature and used a different tuning to convey this darker and more sinister feeling. Fans will immediately get into it."
The bludgeoning subsides on an acoustic rendition of "Fearless" from Immortal. This stripped-down take shows a vitality and vulnerability that resounds as loudly as any distorted breakdown. "We wanted to do something different," affirms Montgomery. "It was Ryan's brainchild. When I first heard it, I got chills. The song became entirely a new entity. It's really special."
Everything about For Today's rise has been special though. The band has built an overwhelmingly supportive following since forming in 2005. They've logged over 1,000 shows on five continents and have cumulatively sold over 115,000 albums in North America to date. Critical endorsements have come from Revolver Magazine, Alternative Press, and more. However, the next chapter commences loudly with Prevailer.
"This is definitely the start of a new season for us," concludes Montgomery. "Prevailer shows how far we've come. At the same time, it's a good introduction to the band. You don't have to be a Christian to enjoy a For Today show or buy an album. This is open to everyone. We're all part of something very big together."
Memphis May Fire
MEMPHIS MAY FIRE have consistently pushed the envelope to redefine both themselves and the various sub-genres they’ve made their mark within. 2009’s “Sleepwalking” full-length yielded no exception as the band ventured into the territory of Post-Hardcore / Southern Rock with no reservations. Their fresh approach to an otherwise stale scene gathered critical acclaim and found “Ghost In The Mirror” f...eatured on the both the Saw VI Soundtrack and DVD/Blu-Ray releases. Subsequent touring with the likes of Asking Alexandria, From First To Last, and Alesana facilitated the delivery of their music to the masses and established a live precedent that the band continues to build on today.
Following well-received releases on both Trustkill & Bullet Tooth, domestic/international touring success (featuring the band’s first visit to Japan) and a tag as one of Revolver Magazine’s “Top 25 Under 25,” we’re left with only one certainty; members Matt Mullins (vocals), Kellen McGregor (guitar), Ryan Bentley (guitar), Cory Elder (bass), and Jake Garland (drums) are headed somewhere fast.
In fact, it’s safe to say that MEMPHIS MAY FIRE are “Sleepwalking” no longer. Their latest effort, “Between The Lies,” boasts an elevated aggression that tastefully combines elements of melodic metal, southern rock, and electronics amidst a platform of carefully crafted songwriting. Existing solely in the digital realm, this EP is clearly an indication of things to come in terms of its unique dynamics & cross-genre experimentation.
Fast forward to 2011 and MEMPHIS MAY FIRE have now partnered with Rise Records as an outlet for their musical creativity. This move continues to broaden the band’s reach and welcomes a new world of possibilities within the scope of their burgeoning career. MMF’s high-octane live show acts as a testament to their ever-increasing identity and always leaves the audience wanting more. Expect their RISE debut to enter your lives later this spring alongside a massive touring cycle that is sure to reach your doorstep. Critics beware; MEMPHIS MAY FIRE are not only here to stay, they’re paving the way.
Motionless in White
Boldness courses through Motionless In White's second full-length album, Infamous [Fearless Records]. Instead of simply sticking to a formula or worrying about anybody else's expectations, the Pennsylvania six-piece challenges not only itself but the entire heavy music scene. A potent amalgam of industrial grind, metallic energy, hardcore spite, and rock 'n' roll bombast, this collection sonically sears, scorches, and soars at all the right moments. It's also a sign of the next phase...
Emerging from an overwhelmingly homogenous musical climate, it would've been easy to follow. However, for Chris Motionless [vocals], Ricky Horror [guitar], Ryan Sitkowski [guitar], Balz [keys], Ghost [bass], and Brandon Richter [drums] joining the proverbial pack wasn't an option.
"We wanted to distance ourselves from any kind of scene," admits Chris. "This is different from what we've done in the past. There's more experimentation, and almost every kind of heavy music is involved. We wanted to explore what inspires us regardless of the genre of music. Lyrically, it's less rooted in fictional stories and more focused on real life events and things people can relate to. This is our view of the world, and this is what we were always meant to sound like."
In order to capture that distinct identity while recording in 2012, the band enlisted the production talents of both Jason Suecof [Black Dahlia Murder, August Burns Red] and Tim Skoeld [Marilyn Manson]. "They were both crucial to the record," Chris continues. "Tim really reinvented me as a musician, an artist, and a human being. Listening to him talk and share his unique take on art helped me realize a lot of what I live by and do."
His poetic perception takes the forefront on the irresistible single and active rock radio hit "AMERICA". Coupling an unshakable chant with an industrialized metal stomp, it's a powerful anthem. The story of excess gone wrong comes to life brutally and brilliantly in the music video by Slipknot mastermind M. Shawn "Clown" Crahan. Instantly, the clip racked up nearly 1 million views on YouTube/VEVO.
About the song, the vocalist reveals, "It's about the many things I see in this country I don't fully support - like saide idol, coked-out actresses and pop princesses that twelve-year-old girls are growing up idolizing. It's pathetic. The same song touches on the fast food industry, religion, politics, and many other various noteworthy topics that you experience living here day to day. For the video, 'Clown' knew exactly what I was talking about and wanted to accomplish. He took it to the next level with this freak show of characters I'm describing in the lyrics."
Motionless In White also assembled quite the cast of characters for the rest of the album. One of Chris's personal idols, Brandan Schieppati of Bleeding Through lends his inimitable scream to the piercing "If It's Dead, We'll Kill It", while Soilwork singer and metal legend Bjoern "Speed" Strid delivers a guttural cameo on "Puppets 2 (The Rain)". Meanwhile, an extra track on the Deluxe Edition of Infamous, "Sick From The Melt", features Trevor Friedrich of Combichrist and The Witch Was Right.
Chris goes on, "The collaborations really rounded out the record. It expands the sound further and allows fans to see who we're influenced by. It was great to have all of those guys involved. It really makes for an experience."
The group has been working towards creating that experience since their breakthrough 2010 full-length debut, Creatures. Since then, they continue reaching incredible milestones. Upon initial release, Infamous debuted at #53 on the Billboard Top 200, #19 on the Top Rock Albums Chart, #9 on the Top Independent Albums Chart, and #5 on the Top Hard Rock Albums Chart. They covered Outburn Magazine, have destroyed stages alongside the likes of Asking Alexandria and Black Veil Brides, and appeared at festivals with Guns N' Roses, Korn, Slipknot, Rammstein, Alice In Chains, and more. 2013 saw them ravage the countryside on the Rockstar Energy Mayhem Festival alongside Rob Zombie, Five Finger Death Punch, Mastodon, and more.
However, Motionless In White have their sights set on much bigger things. "I want people to listen to our records and feel like I did about music when I was growing up," concludes the frontman. "It changed my life. Music really accentuates whatever you're going through. It still does that for me. We're going to continue creating what comes naturally. This is us."
There's no fear only art within Infamous.
Rise To Remain
From its humble beginnings amid the industrial sprawl of Birmingham in the late ‘60s through to its digital age renaissance, British heavy metal has always thrived on regular doses of fresh blood and youthful rejuvenation. Each year new acts emerge screaming to be heard but now, spawned by the ever-vibrant London music scene, Rise To Remain have raised their voices to the sky and have become the l...atest and arguably greatest young metal band of recent times.
Brought together by a mutual desire to create exciting, state-of-the-art heavy music worthy of their passion, these fiery-eyed contenders have outgrown their humble origins as bright-eyed teenagers with dreams of fame and fortune and evolved into one of the most formidable new bands to explode out of the UK in many years.
“For me, the moment when I decided that I wanted to do it was when I walked out of an exam, my last A-level,” laughs frontman Austin Dickinson. “I walked out halfway through and went and did a show that night. It’s become clear over the last few months that we can take this band to the next level, so it was obviously the right decision.”
A year has passed since Rise To Remain unleashed their first significant release, the ‘Bridges Will Burn EP’, which was initially given away free with hallowed UK metal magazine Metal Hammer. That welcome exposure, combined with a rigorous gig schedule, enabled the quintet to gain momentum and add substantially to their rapidly-expanding following. The support of the fans led to Rise To Remain waltzing off with both Metal Hammer’s Best New Band award at the mag’s annual Golden Gods ceremony and the Best British Newcomer award at rock bible Kerrang!’s high profile awards bash.
With expectations high and their reputation soaring, the rest of 2010 passed by in a whirlwind of live performances and feverish songwriting behind the scenes as plans for a full debut album began to fall into place. Sharing stages with everyone from fellow Brit metal crews Bring Me The Horizon and Bullet For My Valentine through to the legendary Iron Maiden, the band have dedicated themselves to paying their dues, learning their trade and grabbing every opportunity with both hands.
The end result of all their hard work and devotion to the cause is that Rise To Remain have now produced a debut album that brims with confidence and intensity, and which deserves to propel the band into the upper echelons of the UK metal scene and beyond. Created with renowned metal producer Colin Richardson manning the controls, ‘City Of Vultures’ is an explosive, assured and extraordinarily diverse first offering that marks Dickinson and his band mates out as extremely talented standard bearers for a new generation of metal bands.
Sleeping With Sirens
Sleeping With Sirens is an American rock band from Orlando, Florida currently residing in Grand Rapids, Michigan, formed in 2009 by members of For All We Know, Broadway and We Are Defiance. The band is currently signed to Rise Records and has released two full-length albums, With Ears To See and Eyes To Hear and Let's Cheers To This. The first album debuted at number 7 on Billboard's Top Heatseekers chart, and at number 36 on Top Independent Albums. Their second album was released on May 10, 2011.
* Gabe Barham - drums (since 2009)
* Justin Hills - bass guitar, backing vocals (since 2009)
* Jesse Lawson - rhythm guitar, backing vocals (since 2010)
* Kellin Quinn - lead vocals, piano, programming (since 2009)
The Ghost Inside
For what do you stand? It may be the most important question one will ever ask.
To put it in The Ghost Inside's parlance: "What do you stand for?" The five men of this California band passionately, feverishly and articulately inject that forceful query into the very foundation of their sound, their vision and their overall presentation. The Ghost Inside stands for authenticity, dedication, perseverance and the most literal adherence to the core values behind their craft.
With an old school focus on meaning and sincerity combined with a modern exploration of sonic connectivity, The Ghost Inside place equal emphasis on deeply personal vocals, urgent riffing and pile-driving breakdowns within the framework of their heavily melodic modern metallic hardcore. It's that attention to detail and a focus on dues- paying roadwork that has garnered the group a fiercely devoted following as they've toured the world alongside bands like Parkway Drive, Bring Me The Horizon, August Burns Red, and Devil Wears Prada.
A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon handled production duties on The Ghost Inside's Epitaph debut, Get What You Give, and the result is nothing short of the band's most dynamic and explosive material thus far. The quintet's two prior releases - the breakthrough album Returners (2010) and their first full-length, Fury and the Fallen Ones (2008) - laid down the promise and potential that has now been fully delivered with Get What You Give.
Tracks like "Dark Horse," "Engine 45" and "Outlive" are anthems that are built for crowd participation in the live environment, where The Ghost Inside takes pride in giving all of themselves over to the crowd.
"I realize now more than ever that if you put everything you've got into something, it's going to pay off," says vocalist and co-founding member Jonathan Vigil. "That's how we've modeled this band. We just push everything we have into this to make it work. And now we have signed to our dream label and we're putting out our best album to date. You have to sacrifice to make things happen."
The Ghost Inside began in El Segundo, California, as a group of friends united by their shared passion for different bands they'd witnessed in the underground scene. Changing their name from A Dying Dream after the release of one EP, their sound and style crystalized as they put together their debut album.
"When we wrote our first record, we had no idea what it was going to sound like," says guitarist and main songwriter Aaron Brooks. "We just wrote songs because it was fun and it was the kind of music we wanted to hear. I want to be able to listen to our records and feel like if I wasn't in the band, it would be my favorite band. And that has happened with all three records thus far."
While The Ghost Inside employs a catchy melodic sensibility, their third album doesn't see them softening their sound one bit, as so many bands have before them. Get What You Give is in fact the group's heaviest work in many ways. "A lot of bands as they go on want to write 'mature,' dumb, artsy music," Brooks says. "I like really heavy music, so that's what I'm going go write. Plenty of people were probably expecting us to come out with something that wasn't as intense as our other records, but that kind of pushed me to write an even heavier album."
The first two albums saw the band writing a batch of material and then hitting the studio. This time around, much of the material was written while sequestered at Wade Studios in Florida. A longtime friend and supporter of The Ghost Inside, McKinnon was there to help offer guidance and outside opinion as they shaped their songs. "We'd write what we thought would sound cool and he would put in his input; he'd sprinkle his magic and make it sound that much better," Vigil says. "Vocally, he would help structure some choruses. He just knew what works."
Brooks enjoyed the collaboration with McKinnon as well as the contributions from drummer Andrew Tkaczyk, who had been a major songwriter in his previous band, For The Fallen Dreams. "Jeremy thinks very similarly to me musically in terms of song structure and stuff like that. It was nice to have someone pushing us. There were just more people bringing ideas to the table. I enjoyed it a lot."
Lyrically, the songs tackle a wide variety of topics, from addiction, to self-sacrifice to battling back the perception many people in the world at large have of guys like The Ghost Inside who have chosen something other than the 9-to-5 grind. "A lot of people look down on you when you're in a touring band for a living," Vigil says. "But the joke
is on them. People may think I'm wasting my life, but I'm seeing the world. I have all of these memories, I have all of these great relationships, and I wouldn't trade that to sit at a desk everyday."
The rest of the guys, which includes bassist Jim Riley and guitarist Zach Johnson, are wholeheartedly in agreement. "Our band has gone through a few members. Everybody in the band now has had the same history with bands. We've all been doing this since we were younger. We don't want to be doing anything else," Brooks points out. "This is exactly what we want to be doing. Every time we get to go to a new place, or make a new record, it's just more motivation to keep doing it. It's just so rewarding. We're not going to stop now."
The most rewarding thing about participating in The Ghost Inside is the relationship they share with each other and with their audience, from both personal interactions and the responses to their artistic output. The Ghost Inside has long established that they like to have a good time onstage, but alongside that fun atmosphere, they've forged a deep connection of shared experience.
"The biggest payoff is when we go around the world and see new places and then we meet people who don't even speak our language very well, and how much our music and lyrics have influenced their lives," Vigil says. "I've had people who come up to us and say we've helped them through the darkest times in their lives. You don't always think about that impact when you're writing a song, but then it hits you when someone comes up to you in tears."
The Ghost Inside has already accomplished more than the guys in the band ever expected and with Get What You Give it's clear that their best days are still ahead. The Ghost Inside is a band who makes music, regardless of trends or careerism, for the simplest and most straightforward of reasons.
"When it's all said and done I just want people to remember The Ghost Inside being an honest band who stayed true to our music and lyrics," Vigil says. "We do this because we love music, we love touring and we love meeting people."
Vampires Everywhere! … This story is set in Los Angeles, Calif., circa 2009. The night hit the windows with the fervor of a tormented 6-year-old faced with the idea of sharing his prized, new gift. It was probably seventy degrees outside, and yet the house was frozen. I was entertaining several murderous ideas that were swimming around my mind and my brain was certainly feeling the brunt of that strain. I attempted to clear my thoughts and focus on something that gave way to a crooked smile on my face. A smile I hadn’t seen since my youth, compelled by our generation’s explanation of our condition, set to sound: motion pictures. One feature, in particular, has haunted me since I was of age to pronounce blood: “The Lost Boys.” Like the characters, I have also always considered myself lost and trapped within a world that only embraces its own. This movie embodies everything I stand for: anarchy, vampires, youth, love & revenge. Since revenge fueled and fulfilled me, this movie fit like a glove and I began to drift off to a place comprised with everything that made me happy and pure. I was a step closer to discovering myself, my purpose. In order to bridge such a beautiful gap, I was forced out into creation to find those damned souls, like me, who found pieces of themselves in misery, loathing and self-destruction.My own coven of darkness. These individuals embraced their potential insanity, and we found comfort in one another’s uncertainty. The Los Angeles lost souls, Aaron Graves and Zak Night, brought their free spirits and aggressive musical style into my new coven. They created the background of sound that fueled the fire within me. J Killa, unfulfilled by Pittsburgh blood, joined my army, bringing his venomous keyboard tones and synth-driven vocals that proved to be the amplification our brotherhood needed. He provided the coveted pop I thirsted for in my destruction. Alex & David Hernandez completed the group during our brief stint in Florida. The blood brothers added the bass & percussion to complete the sound of Vampires Everywhere! The crew was hungry with an insatiable thirst capable of destroying an unforgiving crowd. My vision of darkness had found completion in this group oh loving, hating, hungry and undeniably talented, loyal followers. The mood was now set for a revolution in music. It is now time to take the scene’s clean-cut, “Disney” image and shed some blood on it … my way. The world will discover a new savior in our sound and we all shall use a new name to provide humor in anarchy: Vampires Everywhere! Inspired by the comic book in The Lost Boys movie. The concept and revolution has begun … and love it or hate it, its here to stay. I was undead before the trend & shall remain so forever.
Musical trends come and go, but the bands who stick around are the ones who eschew whatever's popular in favor of playing the music that's in their hearts—and Kingston, Pennsylvania's Title Fight are a perfect example of this. Originally formed in 2003 by guitarist/vocalist Jamie Rhoden and the twin brother duo of vocalist/bassist Ned Russin and drummer Ben Russin when the trio were barely teenagers, Title Fight started as a way for these young kids to explore their burgeoning love of hardcore. But after adding guitarist Shane Moran in 2005, something funny happened: Their tireless practicing eventually transformed them into one of the most exciting hardcore acts in recent memory.
After releasing a handful of EPs and 7-inches as well as performing shows all over the world, Title Fight began attracting attention from fans and labels who were captivated by the way the band managed to put a modern spin on the melodic hardcore sound pioneered by acts like Gorilla Biscuits and Lifetime—and in 2010 the members of Title Fight dropped out of college in order to tour full-time with acts such as New Found Glory, Four Year Strong and H20. It was also around this time that the band entered the studio with Gorilla Biscuits/Quicksand guitarist Walter Schreifels who agreed to produce the band and promptly drove down to Northeastern Pennsylvania to help them prepare to record their highly anticipated full-length debut Shed.
"The cool thing about Walter is that when we came to him he told us he doesn't produce a lot of records because he's a full-time musician himself, so he only works with bands he really likes and hearing that was a huge compliment because he's one of our biggest inspirations," Ned Russin explains. "We were really up front about the fact that we wanted to feel in control with our music so he really just let us do our thing but came up with some helpful suggestions without trying to transform us into something we aren't," he continues when asked about Schreifels' role in the process. "He came down and stayed at Ned and Ben's parents' house and we just hashed it all out in Jamie's parents' basement."
From there the band headed to Philadelphia to record Shed over a grueling two-week period at the legendary Studio 4. However all those long nights paid off as Shed sees the band implementing various subgenres that range from old-school hardcore to aggressive punk rock that make these twelve energetic anthems instant classics for a new generation of listeners searching for music that inspires them as much as Title Fight were inspired by their heroes. "We wrote the last record when we were in high school and since then
we've dropped out of school, seen the world and had life experiences that are all reflected here," Ned Russin explains when asked what it's been like to sacrifice everything to make Shed a reality.
From the Hot Water Music-esque power of "27" to the old-school feel of "You Can't Say Kingston Doesn't Love You," Shed is also a remarkably varied record that proves hardcore doesn't need to be formulaic in order to be powerful. "The most important thing is that this is a Title Fight record," Ned Russin summarizes, "we're not trying to pose and be anything we're not." Moran concurs adding, "we're not a surface level band, we're the kind of act who likes to dig a little deeper and we're really interested in learning about the history of punk and hardcore to find the stuff that really speaks to us on a personal level."
Speaking of personal, Shed also features some of the band's most heartfelt lyrics to date—a fact that is largely due to the life-changing experiences the band have endured, both good and band since their previous recordings. "This album was a lot more collaborative from a lyrical perspective and instead of being about girls, it's about real life situations," Ned Russin says. "Throughout the past few years my grandmother passed away and my dad had reconstructive heart surgery so a lot has been on my mind and Title Fight has always been a great release for me to get out what's bottled up inside," he continues. "We just tried to be as sincere as we possibly could and write songs about what was important to us at the time."
Ultimately this sentiment has always remained at the core of Title Fight and it's one of the reasons why so many fans have gravitated toward the band's music despite the fact that they don't have any fancy costumes or onstage gimmicks. "I think we have a unique dynamic because we can always play a hardcore show with our friends in a basement but we can also play a show with more commercial bands on a larger scale and be accepted in both situations," Moran explains.
"We've been a band for seven years and this is the first time we've had a recording that's longer than seven minutes long," Ned Russin adds. "The last year has been a crazy ride but the whole time we've always stayed true to the fact that we're not trying to be anything we're not," he summarizes. "We're four friends that play in a band together and we would still be doing this whether we were playing to five people or five hundred of them."
Bayside fans don't call their relationship with the band a "Cult" for nothing. After a string of much-adored releases, Bayside has one of the most dedicated fan bases in rock, and the group steadfastly rewards those devotees with the musical salvation they seek. Six albums and more than a decade later, Bayside has never lost touch with that mission and, in fact, they've only grown bigger. While veteran bands take breaks and regroup, Bayside haven't taken that route and instead, soldiered on, building up and growing more and more into themselves... to the point in which they are the most "Bayside" that they have ever been. The fact that their audience has grown is testament to that.
Now continuing that legacy is the band's latest creation, an explosive 11-track collection that captures Bayside in prime form, combining classic elements from throughout their career. Guaranteed to rock the faithful, the new release is appropriately entitled Cult.
"When we were done with the record we were like, 'This is every Bayside record,'" explains singer/guitarist Anthony Raneri. "It has the honesty and rawness that we've had since Sirens And Condolences, and those risks: those weird key and time signature changes, and the different styles of music we explore. The Bayside 'Cult' is something our fans have been talking about for a long time, and it seemed like a good name for a greatest hits album, which is kind of what this is: a Bayside discography. On the cover, there are even little symbols to signify each album."
That's a lot of history for an album cover. The band--which also includes lead guitarist Jack O'Shea, bassist Nick Ghanbarian and drummer Chris Guglielmo--formed in the winter of 2000 in Queens, NY, undergoing numerous lineup changes in the early years. At first through Raneri's sheer persistence and dedication Bayside progressed, eventually cutting two embryonic EPs with Dying Wish Records. Those efforts bore fruit, leading to a contract with Victory Records in 2003, resulting in the band's 2004 full-length debut, Sirens & Condolences. But it was just the beginning, and the group released three more quintessential LPs with Victory, cementing their place as one of the most important bands in the modern underground music scene--Self-Titled (2005), The Walking Wounded (2007) and Shudder (2008)--then briefly moved on to Wind-Up Records in 2010 for Killing Time (2011), their most widely visible album to date. After that record cycle Bayside opened another exciting new chapter in their career, signing with punk powerhouse Hopeless Records in 2013. Cult marks the band's first Hopeless release.
For latest effort Cult, Bayside spent roughly two years writing new material, then returned to producer Shep Goodman (who'd previously helmed two of Bayside's most beloved releases, Self-Titled and Walking Wounded), as well as Goodman's production partner, Aaron Accetta. Raneri says Goodman was a catalyst for the band's obvious progression from debut Sirens to sophomore album Self-Titled, and this latest collaboration sought to rekindle that spark.
"Shep was very instrumental in teaching me about songwriting. He taught me a lot about drawing a listener in and getting inside the mind of the listener, and not just sitting down with a guitar and playing whatever comes to mind," says Raneri. "He's sort of my mentor as far as songwriting goes. I loved working with Gil Norton on the last record [Killing Time]--he's a legend, and it was an amazing process--but with this record, I really wanted to get back and hone in, try to get better at my songwriting again. I knew that working with Shep has always done that for me."
Sonically, Cult is perhaps the band's most confident and resonant work to date, featuring turbocharged rhythms and the consistently blistering guitar work of six-string whiz O'Shea. But as much as the album is a return to the band's musical sweet spot, on the other hand Cult's lyrical content breaks new thematic ground, showcasing Raneri's ongoing personal growth as both the man and the songwriter. Instead of dwelling on past romantic failings, this time the lyricist points his pen at the hard matters of life and death, having recently lost his grandfather, stepfather and stepbrother.
"[Cult] is pretty different because it's not about broken relationships as much as other records; on a personal level, my relationship has been great, my marriage is good and I've started a family. Instead a lot of this record deals with mortality, without it being morbid," says Raneri. "I lost a lot of people who were close to me, and it really just started making me think a lot about what my legacy was going to be. What am I going to leave behind and what is my entire generation going to leave behind? What are they going to be saying at funerals 40 years from now? It's wondering if life is about leaving a legacy. Is that what we're all here for: living a life worth remembering?"
Raneri channels these universal existential questions into personal inspiration on tracks like first single "Time Has Come," which finds the singer challenging himself to rise to the occasion over intricately interwoven guitar lines. "It's meant to be more of an uplifting thing," says Raneri. "If I want to make something of myself, build a legacy, accomplish something, then I've got to just go do it. The time is now to do something if you ever plan on it."
Other tracks like "Stuttering" and "Bear With Me" put the music business under the microscope, as well as Bayside's place within it. "["Bear"] has a lot to do with my career and my legacy as a musician. You look at bands like mine, and it's hard to ignore that a lot of pop-punk or mid-2000s emo bands just sort of disappeared," says Raneri, who's instead had the good fortune of seeing Bayside's popularity continually grow. "Fortunately for us our band has been able to make it through a lot of that. There are definitely days when I feel like I'm a novelty, but like the line in the song, I think I'm twice the man I used to be."
Even when Raneri does return to issues of the heart, he does so with a newfound perspective. A prime example is the song "Transitive Property," which Raneri wrote during Warped Tour 2012 for his girlfriend--now his wife--as a heartfelt apology, as the couple was on the verge of a breakup. Although never intended for public ears, when bandmates heard the song they insisted it be included on the new album.
"That's the most personal song I've ever written. It's like sharing a letter to the world; sharing my actual diary that I didn't think anybody would see," Raneri says. "I always write a song with the intention of sharing it, but that lyrically was the first song I wrote that was so personal because I thought nobody would ever hear it. I think it's a great song; one of the best songs I ever wrote."
Bayside has already toured the world many times over, sharing stages with a virtual "who's who" of like-minded artists and enjoying regular main-stage spots at major festivals like Warped Tour, but the band's plans for the coming year are no less ambitious. After Cult drops in February, Bayside will head out on a U.S. headlining tour, then travel to Europe with Alkaline Trio in the spring. From there Bayside will likely play still more high-profile North American dates during the summer of 2014.
"I'm excited about the tour, because it's sort of a combination of underplayed and big shows," says Raneri. "We're in certain cities playing bigger venues than we've ever played, and in some cities we're playing in smaller venues."
Now six full-lengths into their career, making the setlist each night gets tougher than ever. Raneri says the band is cautious of including too much new material live, for risking of disappointing fans awaiting the classics, but once listeners have Cult in their hands it'll be easier to gauge which new tracks to perform. Inevitably though, Cult will stand up well next to past material. If there's one thing immediately clear, it's that Cult is as classic Bayside as it comes.
"We don't play anything we don't want, but at the same time, we listen to our fans, and we know what makes Bayside, Bayside. We try to grab all those things that we all love about Bayside and try to do more of them," says Raneri. "People's lives change. You go from high school to college to adulthood to parenthood, and everything in your life changes, except there's always going to be a new Bayside record, and you can always go home."
Listening to a new Senses Fail album is a lot like reconnecting with an old friend—although there’s a comforting, indefinable familiarity within all of the New Jersey-based post-hardcore quintet’s records, each new creation is a fleeting snapshot of the lives of its makers, indelibly capturing the things that meant the most during your mutual time apart. The band’s third full-length release, Life ...Is Not A Waiting Room, is no exception. Having the unenviable task of following 2006’s crushing Still Searching, the album showcases the face-melting musicianship and soul-baring lyricism that define Senses Fail. Once again produced by helmsman Brian McTernan (Thrice, Circa Survive) and recorded in Baltimore, MD, at his Salad Days studio, Life boasts a towering sound akin to a roundhouse kick to the skull. “This is the most fun we’ve ever had as a band,” says singer James “Buddy” Nielsen. “I think we were feeling a lot less pressure this time around, but you’ve always got to do your best.” The New Jersey-based group formed six years ago and released their debut EP, From the Depths of Dreams, in 2002. 2004's Let It Enfold You—their first full-length—was followed by Still Searching, which debuted at 15 on the Billboard Top 200 chart. To date, Senses Fail have performed multiple worldwide tours and their catalog sales have reached over 850,000, yet the band continue to evolve. Although in many ways Life picks up seamlessly where Searching left off, the new album has very distinct, unique qualities, most notably its lyrical content. While Searching wrestled with issues regarding religion and depression, Life is centered squarely on a crumbling relationship, and the desire to see meaningful change. “A lot of this record is written about the recent break up I had with a long-time girlfriend, the first person I have ever been in love with, and someone I spent a lot of time and shared my transition from kid to adult,” explains Nielsen. “The other elements of the record consist of regrets and how they can leave a burning hole in your soul; how the past is something you can’t change….There are also bright moments where I find myself coming to terms with those very facts, and in knowing the problem you can then be proactive and change.” Life also marks the addition of new bassist Jason Black (formerly of Hot Water Music), who replaces the departed Mike Glita. Meanwhile, guitarists Garrett Zablocki and Heath Saraceno (formerly of Midtown) have grown into one of the most scorching six-string tandems around; Life features more of the nimble harmonies showcased on Searching, but this time the duo took it one step further, with some truly shred-a-riffic leads, such as those heard on “Lungs Like Gallows” and “Garden State.” Another rocker, “Wolves At The Door,” was so intense that it even garnered a coveted spot within the soundtrack for the best-selling Madden NFL ‘09 video game. Kicking off with the rich, moody “Fireworks At Dawn,” Life roars and pummels its way through the album’s 12 tracks without the slightest pause for filler, delivering an absolute haymaker just four tracks in with “Family Tradition,” which features the band’s signature blend of dark and melodic. Nielsen’s words are as insightful as they are meaningful. “I find myself at times doing things to live up to other peoples’ expectations, or cutting myself down because I assume that will make me look more humble to the world,” says Nielsen. “So this song is one part a reaction to that, and also about following the footsteps of a family member you don't really know, but who has had a huge influence on you.” Perhaps the most heart-wrenching moments of all come via the two-part song cycle of “Yellow Angels” and “Four Years,” which were inspired by a terminally ill fan named Marcel, who befriended Nielsen at an SF show in Dallas, TX. Nielsen remained in contact with the 18-year-old, who was stricken with cancer of the soft tissue of his face, and endured many painful surgeries and treatments in order to attempt to fend off tumors that were growing in vital areas such as his eyes, nose and throat. When Marcel’s mother notified Nielsen of her son’s worsening condition, the singer flew to Texas, where he spent a great deal of time with this incredibly courageous young man, during the final days of his tragically short life. “It was one of the most intense and stirring times in my life. The sheer pain this 18-year-old boy was in was mind blowing, yet his optimistic outlook and sense of humor was steadfast,” Nielsen recalls. “This kid changed my life and although he is no longer with us, he lives on everyday in the pictures I took with him, to remind myself that life is never as bad as you think it is. So ‘Yellow Angels’ is my reaction to meeting Marcel and how I needed to live in the moment and love myself and life. ‘Four Years,’ on the other hand, is about being influenced by such a life-changing [experience] and having to make new decisions about my relationship and what it really was.” The album’s title is a succinct, encapsulating statement as to its thematic thrust. Life Is Not A Waiting Room is just as much revelation as it is reflection; the sum total of every ounce of pain, fear, hope and joy that the record exudes. “I felt I had been living as if I was waiting for something to happen, but I know that is the wrong way to live—it just doesn't promote any sort of happiness,” Nielsen concludes. “The title sums up the direction I want to go in, and what I want to get away from, and it’s a cry to everyone else to stop living like I have.” Just like the rest of us, Nielsen’s struggle is far from over. But one thing is certain: SF have once again delivered their message with both passion and fury. All one has to do is listen with their ears and heart open—just as an old friend would.
Sometimes, the road can actually feel like home for a band. It's only natural as the bulk of a musician's time is spent traversing the globe and playing countless cities in something of a whirlwind. Within that flurry, you'll come across some genuine characters. In turn, they become a part of your story, enriching it with their own quirks and nuances. Vanna singer Davey Muise likes to think of those folks as The Few and the Far Between.
In addition to serving as the title for the group's fourth album and sophomore full-length for Artery Recordings/Razor & Tie, the phrase holds very a special significance for the vocalist.
"All of those people who have affected our lives on the road are The Few and the Far Between," he explains. "They make us who we are. We joke around that we wish we could compile all of them in one city and live there forever."
Instead of building a colony together, those denizens of the road served as a thematic inspiration for the Vanna's latest album. In the midst of 2012's marathon tour cycle, the band began laying down ideas for what would eventually become their next offering. Adding a mobile rig to their bus, the quintet--Muise, Joel Pastuszak [lead guitar, clean vocals], Nick Lambert [guitar], Shawn Marquis [bass], and Eric "Rabbit" Gross [drums]--tirelessly wrote and demoed while touring.
Coming back home to Boston in November, they retreated to a vacation house in sleepy Cape Cod Massachusetts to spend a week on pre-production in isolation.
"We got a bunch of groceries and locked ourselves away in this house," he recalls. "The beach was pretty much abandoned because everybody had left after summer. The album was born on the road, and we really fine-tuned everything during that one week."
Armed with an arsenal of songs, they recorded at Boston's Getaway Studios with producer Jay Maas, who helmed their first release for Artery Recordings, 2010's The Honest Hearts EP. In less than a month, The Few and the Far Between had come to life with claws out and teeth sharpened.
Fusing together bloodthirsty vocal delivery with succinct and striking riffing, Vanna temper post-hardcore intensity with a rock 'n' roll gallop, charging down their own lane. The first single, "Year of the Rat", volleys between Muise's lyrical reflection and volatile rhythms. It's the best way to meet The Few and the Far Between.
"That song is about feeling like you have no direction," he reveals. "I was really confused during my early twenties. As you get older, things start to make a little more sense. I'm 28 now. I got married last year, and things really came together for me. I feel like I know who I am, but it took years of being incomplete. There's an idea that people die every five years. This is about the year I died and was reborn. In 2012, I became a completely different person and changed for the better."
Heavy music is rarely this ponderous. Elsewhere, "A Thin Place" rails against religion with a pummeling groove and vitriolic lyrics like, "Hey God, it's me again. What have you done? Where the fuck have you been?"
Meanwhile, "Please Stay" ruminates on being away from home with a choir of voices including hometown friends Rachel Quarell and Adam Toomey. Former Scars of Tomorrow singer Mike Milford adds a bit of brutality to "The Dreamer/The Thief/The Relic" and Ethan Harrison of Great American Ghost lends his voice to "I Said I'm Fine".
Still, this is very much Vanna at their most unbridled and unrestrained. "It's definitely a throwback to what started this whole thing," Muise continues. "It's fast, heavy, and fun. It's the record I feel like we've been trying to write for years. If you're going to get into Vanna on any album, this is the one. We're five guys who believe in this wholeheartedly."
That "belief" has been evident since day one though. In 2011, they unleashed the concept-driven And They Came Baring Bones. The record debuted at #8 on the Billboard New Artist Chart and #22 on the Hard Music Chart. Critical praise poured in from the likes of Alternative Press and AbsolutePunk. To date, they've sold in excess of 60,000 albums and performed on Warped Tour and alongside the likes of Every Time I Die.
Ultimately, everyone is welcome to be a part of The Few and the Far Between. "We don't have fans," concludes Muise. "We have friends. We love what we do and want people to experience it with us. We're all struggling going through the same shit together. No one is truly alone."
Polar Bear Club
Polar Bear Club is an American post-hardcore/indie rock band from Syracuse, upstate New York. Formed in 2005, the band currently consists of vocalist Jimmy Stadt, lead guitarist Chris Browne, rhythm guitarist Nate Morris, bass guitarist Erik Michael "Goose" Henning and drummer Emmett Menke.
We Are the In Crowd
Until now, We Are The In Crowd has been an up-and-comer. A promising young band. A group full of potential. The new kids on an already crowded block.
Weird Kids is here to change that.
"I don't know that I've felt this way about our other records," says frontwoman Tay Jardine. "I've been proud of our band for finishing past albums. I was happy we got them done. But I'm proud of this record."
The Poughkeepsie, NY quintet - consisting of lead vocalist Tay Jardine, vocalist/guitarist Jordan Eckes, guitarist Cameron Hurley, bassist Mike Ferri and drummer Rob Chianelli - is finally taking its time after four whirlwind years together. Born only in 2009, the band released its debut EP, Guaranteed To Disagree, in 2010 before pumping out its debut full-length, Best Intentions, in 2011.
They've been touring heavily during that entire timeframe, sharing the stage with All Time Low, Mayday Parade, Yellowcard, Never Shout Never and many more - turning first-time listeners into diehard fans with the aid of Jardine's infectious attitude and spunky, quick-witted personality. She's got the type of stage presence that drives guys crazy (in a good way) while making girls want to emulate her...but expended all that energy can exhaust a girl and her bandmates.
"We got burnt out - a lot," Jardine admits. "Two years for a record cycle is pretty long these days. There were days where - you know, sometimes you just stress yourself out."
Constant life on the road has been tough on the five 20-somethings. Breakdowns are common in a van full of people trying to perform their best on a night-to-night basis while also trying to figure out who they are. But it's also brought WATIC - who were already as tight-knit a family as you could find - even closer together.
Jardine explains, "There's been a lot of learning, a lot of growing up together. We still fight like children, but we lean on each other to overcome tough situations. This record has a lot to do with what we've learned; there are songs about us and who we want to be and how we want to be identified as people."
The February 18th release of Weird Kids comes with the pressure of following up a highly successful debut album. Sophomore records come with their own voodoo - the dreaded "sophomore slump" always in the back of a band's head - and Best Intentions ups that ante a bit. The album took WATIC to high places, debuting at No. 122 on the Billboard Top 200 and launching the band into worldwide exposure - they rocked the covers of Alternative Press and Kerrang! Magazine, played huge festivals like Reading and Leeds, garnered over 3 million YouTube views for their "Never Be What You Want (Acoustic)" music video and even received a prestigious Kerrang! Awards nomination for Best International Newcomer in 2011.
While some bands might be content to rest on the laurels of newfound success, WATIC had no such interest, heading into the studio with more determination than ever. And, finally armed with the opportunity to take their time and focus on creating the exact album they wanted to create, the band felt no pressure at all.
"We've been rushed in the past, trying to get music out there at the right times," Jardine says. "With Weird Kids, we wanted to make sure we had enough time to do it right."
That first meant taking a break from a non-stop touring schedule. When WATIC finally got a break in early 2013 and throughout the summer, they took advantage of it. Writing Weird Kids occupied over four months spread across the year, but even that wasn't enough. Heading into the studio with the legendary John Feldmann in September, they were still writing songs...in fact, they were writing until the day before Weird Kids was finished.
"John pushed us harder than we've ever been pushed - and we knew we needed that," Jardine recalls. She remembers a specific moment that made her realize WATIC was on the right path. Feldmann took her to a coffee shop after a frustrating and unproductive creative session, "and he asked me, 'Who are you?' And I said, "Excuse me?" No one's really ever asked me that before, I didn't know how to answer it. He said, 'Start with when you were born.' And I just took off. We talked forever. He ended up knowing everything about me."
Taken out of her comfort zone and opening up to someone she had just met resulted in Jardine writing the most personal lyrics of her life. There's plenty of wit here - the insane catchiness of "The Best Thing (That Never Happened)" is accompanied by Jardine's snarky take on a "shitty breakup" - but there's also more depth than WATIC has ever offered its fans. The moody opener "Long Live The Kids" is "an emotional roller-coaster of a song," according to Jardine, where the band displays its versatility. It's We Are The In Crowd's most dynamic song to date, something the band focused its energy on while working more closely together than ever before. All the while, Jardine and Eckes continue their gender-blending tradeoffs in the vocal department.
"Windows In Heaven" sees Jardine at her most vulnerable, singing a ballad about her late father. "My dad was a musician," she says, "and he's always in my head when we're out reaching these milestones in our band's career. When we got signed, when we play a big show, I always wish I could call him and tell him about it. We played the main stage at Reading and Leeds and I remember looking up and thinking, 'Would you be proud of me?' I wish I knew what he felt about me doing all this."
With Eckes, Hurley, Ferri, Chianelli and Jardine meshing their talents together in what Jardine calls an "all-time high" of creativity for the group, the results speak for themselves. Some songs started sounding like smooth R&B tracks - others were characterized by funky basslines early on. That's not what they sound like in their final form on Weird Kids, but the end result is certainly WATIC's most diverse record to date.
"I'm really bad at acting super confident," Jardine says, honestly, when asked if Weird Kids is the album that will enable We Are The In Crowd to take the next step forward in its career. "But I think it is. I'm absolutely as happy with it as I could possibly be."
Consider pop punk defended. Man Overboard, the four-piece outfit out of New Jersey, have made a statement with their debut full length Real Talk that is much harder, faster, and louder than a catchy, often-quoted band mantra. While the band's previous material has been extremely enjoyable, climbing to the most coveted parts of my iTunes play counts, their latest offering is their first real spoonful of pop punk. Dual vocalists Zac Eiestenstein and Nik Bruzzese are more aggressive on Real Talk, and their vocals are paced by dirtier-sounding guitars, contributing to a more punk-influenced style. As an overwhelming initial wave of support shows, I'm in the same boat of thinking as most Man Overboard fans when I welcome the new style. It's the exact direction I was hoping this band would take, and the direction that they needed to take to back up their mantra. It's safe to say that Man Overboard have not only defended the genre, but have exceeded all expectations in the process.
A Loss For Words
In a world where some bands are handed everything on a silver platter, there's also a place where there's still some hardworking folks left. Boston's own pop-punk outfit, A Loss For Words are at the top of that list. Having released 3 EPs and their full length "The Kids Can't Lose" since 2005, they are a group with unstoppable dedication, hard work, and creativity. A Loss For Words have been regarded by members of Bayside, Four Year Strong and Bane as the hardest working band out there right now. Some people are going to ask what being a hardworking band even means anymore, and those questions are warranted. In a world where Myspace plays have somehow become more important than heart, the line that separates the real from the manufactured has become more than a little blurry. A Loss For Words know where they stand in this sea of blurred lines. A Loss For Words are out there on the road touring ten months out of every year. Not only are they out there playing shows, but are watching younger bands, pushing CD's in the parking lot, shaking hands and putting on one of the most sweat-soaked and honest sets you can find. A Loss For Words sees the wall that stands between them and success and they're not stupid. They know that maybe with some cool haircuts and electric drums there might be an easier way around it, but they've picked the path they've always known, breaking away at the concrete with their bare hands and it shows. I challenge you to find another unsigned band with these achievements: toured with Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals and Polar Bear Club, sold 6000 copies of a record that no one helped them put out, and that went to Japan on a 100% DIY agenda. With A Loss For Words, the guarantee is that no matter what town you live in, these guys will be there this year ready to shake your hand, hang out, rock out and have a good time.
Funeral Party is a five-piece band that formed late one night in a park. Hardcore bands and metal bands dominated the local music scene at the time in Whittier, California, an East Los Angeles suburb comprised of mostly working-class enclaves. In the East Los Angeles neighborhoods adjacent to Whittier however, a post-punk dance-craze revival was emerging and Funeral Party began gigging every weekend.
The band quickly developed a following and a D.I.Y. ethos that encapsulated East Los Angeles' rich musical history. Initially, the band didn't even own equipment and had to borrow it from bands they played with at East Los Angeles backyard parties and warehouses. Funeral Party quickly achieved a mythic stature in the Los Angeles underground. Lars Stalfors, engineer for Mars Volta, invited the band to record in Volta's studio in East L.A. The sessions yielded "Chalice", which immediately became East L.A.'s theme song and could be heard bumping on iPods throughout Southern California. What is unique about Funeral Party is the band's universal appeal; there exist numerous infusions in their music. This band is crucially important as they have created a visceral music that encapsulates the experiences of contemporary youth.
Funeral Party's sound is shaped by disparate realities, manifested in the band's musical approach.For booking information, contact Creative Artists Agency.
Born and raised in Passaic County, New Jersey, Justina grew up surrounded by music. Justina's hip hop infused pop music is clearly a voice for the rebellious youth and her distinctive, raspy tone is hard to miss. Her strong and sometimes abrasive character, along with her fun-loving personality, is evident in tracks like the JR Rotem and Shy Boogs produced "Gangsta" and the Mr. Lee produced "Gloves Off". An avid supporter of writing her own music, Justina is a breath of fresh air in an industry where an artist's point of view is sometimes hidden. Justina's original composition, "Gotta Make a Change", was selected for ShopRite's Partners in Caring 'Expressions of Hunger' national contest and she was featured on the back of General Mill's Cheerios box in September 2010.She has performed at numerous venues including The Market America International Conventions in Miami, FL and Greensboro, NC (for crowds of 30k), The Susan G. Komen for the Cure 'Babes Burnin' Rubber' breast cancer benefit at Motorsports Park Millville, NJ, The China Club, 40/40, and the Atlantic City's Pepsi Car Show. Justina's music has also been featured on popular television shows such as NBC'S Steven Spielberg directed "Smash", VH1's "Mob Wives", Oxygen Network's "Runnin Russell Simmons", and MTV's "True Life". Her video, 'Hard to the Body', recently appeared on Spike TV's "Top 100 YouTube Videos". Fresh off of signing her deal with SRC/Universal, she is about to release her upcoming mixtape, "Route 80", produced by Shy Boogs, Skitzo & Ryan & Smitty.
I Fight Dragons
I Fight Dragons is a band with a plan.
The trouble is, it's a secret plan, and no one has told them what it is yet.
They assume that it's really cool and involves traveling through time and space, or possibly battling alien invaders, or at the very least that it involves some sort of big musical number at the end.
In fact, one might think of their 4 national tours, 3 CDs, and $115,000 kickstarter campaign as all being elements of preparation for the big mind-blowing musical finale that comes as the climax of the secret plan (to which they are not yet privy).
Of course, there'd be no way of knowing for sure.
Here are a few elements of the plan they have been able to definitively nail down so far:
-They are from Chicago.
-They are probably not robots (except the one guy).
-They have been doing this since 2009CE.
-They were on Atlantic Records for 3 of those years (don't ask).
-Nintendo funded and produced a high tech music video for them that premiered on the 3DS.
-No you cannot borrow their 3DS.
-Seriously, you always borrow their stuff and you never give it back, so this time I'm just saying no.
-What do you mean, name one time? Dude, there's tons of... you know what, fine, whatever, you can borrow it.
-They wrote and performed the theme song for ABC's The Goldbergs
-Despite that fact, they haven't met Hayley Orrantia and Chad's pretty upset about it.
-They had a #1 song on KTCL, Denver's top alternative radio station
-Yet, their label was for some reason reticent to do any sort of radio campaign for a geeky chiptune rock band.
-If you ask them, spending the big bucks bringing geeky chiptune rock to radio nationwide would totally have been a smart move financially.
-You can see why they wouldn't be very good at running a label.
-Did we mention they raised $115,000 on kickstarter to fund their next album? Look up Project Atma.
-They did the ending credits song for the Magic: The Gathering Duels of The Planeswalkers 2014 game.
-They are DEFINITELY NOT secret agent super-spies. DEFINITELY NOT. So don't ask.
Beyond that, they're pretty sure the plan involves some sort of platypus (duck-billed or otherwise) and a slightly weaponized version of an omnichord. Not weaponized enough to break the skin, but definitely weaponized enough to sting, and possibly to leave a mark. Not a bad mark though, you know just like a little mark where if you push on it the skin turns white but then goes back after you take your finger away. That kind of mark.
Long story short, there is definitely a totally-not-made-up plan, I Fight Dragons has it, and now they have to go get busy executing it.
Machine Gun Kelly
Despite a year where new youngsters took over, there was only one who could be named MTV's "Hottest Breakthrough MC of 2011." That emcee is ... Bad Boy signee, Machine Gun Kelly.
Since dropping his 2010 mixtape Lace Up, the Cleveland-bred rapper has built a cult-following that eventually helped him attract all the major labels, all of which were courting MGK. In the end, it was Diddy and Bad Boy that landed the buzzing young artist.
MGK beat out the likes of Lil Twist and Mac Miller, as well as A$AP Rocky, Future, French Montana, Freddie Gibbs, Kendrick Lamar, Meek Mill and Roscoe Dash.
"He has just such a movement, just hundreds and thousands of loyal fans that came from the place he came from, in different parts of the country," Diddy gushed during a "RapFix Live" appearance. "He wasn't always the coolest kid in school, and just the process of growing up and the problems that they all encounter, they relate to him in such a way."
MTV said that Lil Twist, who finished in the #2 spot with 39 percent of the vote, was MGK's most formidable competition, thanks to his die-hard fans, Young Money team and best friend Justin Bieber, who all tweeted in support.
After earning the honor, MGK Skyped with MTV, graciously accepting the title.
"I can't explain how grateful I am for all those kids who sat there and got in voting circles and sat there for hours and hours and did votes upon votes," MGK said of his fans, who voted for him in the week-long poll. "I know that we have probably the least amount of fans, but like I told my fans: Heart is always gonna prevail over connections and who these people know and who tweets what."
Next thing on MGK's list is his upcoming Lace Up album, which has yet to receive a release date. For more info, keep it locked to MGKLaceUp.com.
The Echo Generation: children of the Baby Boomers. "Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue." -Plato
Echo Movement is about love. It's about a passion to learn, communicate and appreciate life's opportunities. It's a recognition of the ability to choose your level of involvement in humanity. It's respect for the earth and our global community and an honor to the pursuit of happiness. It's a shrine to the human range of emotions. It's an expression of music, culture and freedom. Echo Movement is about love, and that is all you need.
Brothers Steve and Dave grew Echo Movement from their Jersey Shore roots. They merged local beach culture with island and world music to create a unique blend they call "surf, reggae, soca." They set out to represent the rapidly-growing global mindset of the current "Echo Generation" from which they took their name.
Echo Movement proves the new generation is built on independent accomplishments. Their songs are often about the integrity of the individual and their ability to take on any challenge while still remaining a part of the community. With fans across the world, Echo Movement stands as a living, breathing manifestation of its own honor.
The music is packed with energy, the lyrics are universal and the hooks are infectious. iTunes hails Echo Movement as "a cohesive blend of roots reggae and pop songwriting smarts."
G-Eazy has an agenda. For the last couple of years he's been trying to finish school while building up a grassroots fan-base across the US. Schooled in the bay, tested in New Orleans, G isn't a stranger to paying dues. His live shows have turned heads from the smallest of Midwest clubs all the way up to arenas on dates with Lil Wayne, Big Sean, and Drake, among others.
Without label support G ha...s trekked across the US on multiple tours breaking hearts with his James Dean meets hip-hop vibe and unforgettable live shows. It's not hype. It's not a hit. It's not an image. It's all of the above, the product of diligence that only a true fan understands; G reinterprets what he loves, not what everyone wants to hear, but in 2011 its looking like those two paths are starting to merge.
G’s been a fixture on the local New Orleans rap scene for a few years and more recently in the music blogosphere, but in the last few months his popularity has surged and as his national profile has grown exponentially. His latest mixtape, The Endless Summer, produced Runaround Sue, who's sun stroked throwback video garnered over 100,000 plays on Youtube in less than a week. But it all comes back to the live show, one New Orleans music blogger summed it up with, “the young crowd was reaching the levels of mass hysteria reserved for the 50s and 60s rock ‘n’ roll legends to whom G-Eazy has been paying so much homage...”
Stepdad is an Electronic Pop band based in Grand Rapids, MI. Originally a duo, they formed in the summer of 2009 when roommates, ultramark and Ryan McCarthy, began writing songs together in their Chicago apartment. In 2010 they released their debut EP "Ordinaire" which spawned 2 singles, Jungles and My Leather, My Fur, My Nails. They recently recorded their debut album with producer Chris Zane who is known for his work with Passion Pit, Mumford and Sons, & The Walkmen.
The Constellations could have called their debut album After Hours. Sure, Martin Scorsese already used that name for his 1985 black comedy, but the two works share much in common. Both are wide screen spectacles rife with seedy scenes and eccentric personalities, propelled by a manic energy that hustles the audience deeper into the unexpected. But Southern Gothic was a better choice. Because The C...onstellations stomping ground is Atlanta, GA, and in the wee small hours of the morning, A-Town can get awfully bizarre.
The record is all about what happens in Atlanta from 2 AM until noon. Your tour guide on this madcap adventure is the magnetic frontman and vocalist Elijah Jones, the ringleader of the twisted circus that is The Constellations, who spent two years writing and recording the album with producer Ben H. Allen (Animal Collective, Gnarls Barkley), along with some storied cronies from the local scene. Not that they set out with specific intentions. Far from it. “All of us wanted to do a record about Atlanta, but we never said it in words,” recalls Jones. “But the deeper we got into it, the more we realized we were writing a concept album.”
Atlanta has been providing the backdrop and soundtrack for Jones life since childhood. Now he wanted to share his hometown’s underbelly with the rest of the world. “Atlanta is a huge city, but it still has a small town feel to it,” explains the singer. “Everybody knows everybody, you run into the same people at the same bars every week. So it’s still kind of Mayberry, but with all the yummy stuff that comes along with being a big city—and all the bad stuff, too.”
“Atlanta is strange,” he adds, “because we’re all basically pushed together.” The hip-hop heads, punk rockers, and indie kids all rub shoulders and mix it up. Southern Gothic reflects that inclusive diversity in its far-reaching sound. “The record was designed to sound lyrically and melodically very thought out, and sonically very disorganized,” comments Allen. One expects nothing less from a singer who cites Tom Waits and Cee-Lo of Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley as his musical heroes, working with a producer who name-checks Fela Kuti and Gorillaz among their record’s key influences.
Check out the centerpiece, “Step Right Up (A Tribute To Tom Waits).” The foundation of this delirious nine-minutes-and-change comes from a cut on Waits’ 1976 classic Small Change. But it mutated along the way, with customized lyrics about the ATL. In this cavalcade of neon lights and shady characters, no names have been changed, because no one is innocent. Jones beckons the listener to keep up as he lurches from the Clermont Lounge to the Drunken Unicorn and beyond, his carnival bark underpinned with dizzy disco whorls and eddies, and anchored by a soulful chorus of irresistible exhortations. The extended percussion jam that caps the track calls down an ecstatic abandon on par with LCD Soundsystem. More cowbell? You don’t have to ask twice.
Yet there are many twists and turns ahead of “Step Right Up.” The eleven-song set kicks off with “Setback,” a psychedelic freak-out of wiggling synthesizers and vintage organ, shot through with a nasal drawl reminiscent of Beastie Boys, and a wordless chorus that won’t let go. For the salacious funk number “Felicia,” Jones drew inspiration from the laidback ‘70s vignettes of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed. “December” opens with a baroque snippet a la some lost minuet, but detours into ‘60s folk rock harmonies as it picks up momentum.
The band’s name refers to the myriad musicians from the regional scene who either contributed to making Southern Gothic, or have since played in The Constellations live band. One luminary who drops in is Cee-Lo, whose verse on the electro-rocker “Love Is A Murder” prompted a completely overhaul the track underneath.
Another guest is suburban rapper Asher Roth, lending his playful rhymes to “We’re Here To Save The Day,” among the disc’s most insidious moments. On the one hand, this ditty’s sound is pure sing-along bliss, with a gleeful chorus delivered by Elijah’s niece and nephew. Yet at the same time, Jones and Roth drop rhymes that lampoon commercial top 40 hip-hop and chest-thumping poseurs.
Because Southern Gothic was created on the artists’ own time and own dime, as an experimental studio project, no thought was initially given to recreating the songs live. No, that only came after it turned out there was plenty of demand for The Constellations to do exactly that. “We’d put in fifty billion handclaps and shakers, all kinds of crazy stuff,” admits Jones. “That’s why we have eight band members.” Although the line-up would go through numerous changes, today its stable core finds Jones accompanied by a five-piece combo and the non-stop shimmy, shout and wail of two female back-up singers.
Well before The Constellations had settled into its current incarnation, their explosive shows were selling out all over the city. Wes Hoffman had been putting on parties at Atlanta hot spot Star Bar, and booked one the earliest Constellations gigs. “The first thing I noticed was the freshness of the music,” he remembers. Lyrics about Atlanta made things more appealing. But the key was seeing how fired up the crowd got. “I knew this band was on to something from how people responded.” When the group told him they couldn’t play a subsequent gig because their bassist was unavailable, Hoffman stepped in and learned the bass parts himself. He’s been part on the team ever since.
You don’t need an in-depth knowledge of the 404 to appreciate Southern Gothic. One of The Constellations’ biggest markets outside Georgia is Milwaukee. Their songs may reference specific sites, but the appeal is universal. Perhaps because we all know characters like these. And Jones, who grew up singing in the church and whose father was a Baptist deacon, recognizes how to exploit the tension between dark and light in everyone’s life. “People ask me, ‘How can you be into this weird after hours scene, coming from a Christian background?’ But you can’t just write about the good in life. There’s some bad shit in the human heart, and that part of it is just a little more interesting to me.”
Throw rock, reggae, punk, and pop into a blender, power it up and you get Ballyhoo!, acclaimed by fans to be "America's-Favorite-Feel-Good-Party-Band." It's hard to argue with the masses, but these road-warriors have tirelessly toured to bring their music to the people. Between the road and the studio, Ballyhoo! has crafted a sound distinctly their own; fresh, fun, and embodied by the soul of the party lifestyle. Lead singer and guitarist, Howi Spangler, has a reputation for mixing slick lyrics with his smooth but powerful voice. Drummer Donald "Big D" Spangler lays out the hard-hitting beats, which are underlined by JR Gregory's funky and witty bass lines. Scott Vandrey (aka DJ Blaze) rounds it out on the turntables and keys.
BALLYHOO!'s unique sound, hardcore devotion to the road and their fans has pitched them into snowballing success. After concluding the Last Calls and Liabilities tour with respected contemporaries, Pepper, they were honored with being included on the ever-popular 2011 Hollister Holiday Playlist. Ballyhoo! has toured with a myriad of the genre's biggest names; Authority Zero, The Expendables, 311, and The Supervillains. In Jan 2011, they got a well-deserved nod from LAW Records and were signed to the Hawaii-based independent record label. Yesod Williams of the dub rock music mega-sensation PEPPER and owner of LAW Records says of his newest addition, "Having BALLYHOO! join the LAW Records family is a perfect fit. They are an incredibly talented band with a really catchy style". 2011 has been a paramount year for Ballyhoo! as they wrap up the year with a few holiday bashes.
Champagne Champagne- Seattle’s own punk-rap-shoegazers, backroom brown hornets, vibrate higher in their magnetic blackness. Two MC’s: Pearl Dragon, lifer-a smoke-breathing hood Jim Morrison- and Sir Thomas Gray, the hyperactivated game-gifted trouble man. One producer/multi-instrumentalist DJ Gajamagic (AKA Mark Gadjahar, drummer/founding member of defunct Seattle posthardcore institution The Blo...od Brothers, current backbone to Past Lives and Weekend) – master of dark arts, road-trip Macgyver, and sound systems savage. Together they “outrap and outparty everyone” (via Seattle Weekly), drink greenrooms dry, and smash packed clubs and sweaty basements alike with their afrofuturist afterparty music- rejecting easy classifications, broke groupies, and bammer weed. Just picture The Cure, Cody ChesnuTT and Cannibal Ox at a Pabst-soaked jam in a haunted mansion. Now picture The ‘Pagne burning it the fuck down. Yeah, you got it.
Riverside, CA native hip-pop artist T. Mills announces the Leaving Home EP available December 13th on Columbia Records via all digital retailers. The 6 track EP includes the playeriffic new single "Van's On", the infectious new track "The Boom", and production by J Hawk, Colin Munroe and The Stereotypes. "T. Mills is a true testament to the 'Playlist Generation' unbound by genre", Ruddy from iHipHop.com states "This kid right here is what I think the evolution of hip hop is & a perfect example of #LetDatYoungBoyCook." DJ Z from DJBooth.net agrees "T. Mills has the crossover capabilities to become a household name, his sound and style have universal appeal and his material is pure ear candy. If you're not familiar with his name or his music yet, that will soon change." Following recent sold-out shows at NYC's Highline Ballroom and Webster Hall, Mills will headline LA's The Roxy for the Leaving Home EP release show on December 15th. The event will be streamed live on www.tmillsmusic.com that evening. The music video for "Vans On" directed by Bernard Gourley (M.I.A, Cassie, Taio Cruz, Clipse ft. Kanye West) shoots later this month and will premiere in January. Fans can stream the new song "The Boom" from the Leaving Home EP on AOL.com starting today.Fans who purchase the Leaving Home EP from T. Mills official website www.tmillsmusic.com will also receive additional songs with their download.T. Mills is currently in the studio finishing up his full-length album to be released on Columbia Records in early 2012.Leaving Home EP tracklist is as follows: 1. Vans On 2. Leaving Home 3. The Boom 4. LA It Down 5. Can't Take Ur Eyes Off Me 6. Hollywood
Tomorrows Bad Seeds
Tomorrows Bad Seeds, "leaders of the new school" is a five piece American band from Hermosa Beach, California formed in 2004. Their Southern California influences helped yield their unparalleled sound. A coalition of rock and reggae, punk and blues, beats and riffs. From break dancing to spinning tracks these boys emerged into multi-cultural musical phenomenon with a cause. Tomorrows Bad Seeds aims to be a fundamental development in the reproduction of conscious music worldwide! Meet the Seeds: Moises Juarez (lead vocals), Sean Chapman (vocals/guitar), Mathew McEwan (vocals/guitar), Patrick Salmon (drums), and Andre Davis (bass).January of 2011 began with an ignited fire. TBS started the year off by filming a music video for their fan loved song "Reflect". Days later on January 12 they filmed their first national TV appearance for The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson which aired March 3, 2011. By the end of January TBS headed out for a four week tour with the legendary Wailers. Within days of the tour ending they teamed up with Katchafire and stayed on the road. Tomorrows Bad Seeds live shows provides a high-energy mix of rock, soul, pop, punk, reggae and hip hop guaranteed to move and inspire your soul. Since the band's inception, they have shared the stage with the likes of UB40, 311, Slightly Stoopid, Pennywise, Pepper, The Wailers, Steel Pulse, Half Pint, The Expendables, Hed(pe), Eek-A-Mouse, Pato Banton, John Brown's Body, The Aggrolites and Fishbone, just to name a few.Tomorrows Bad Seeds continue to tour extensively amassing a large and loyal grassroots following which is rapidly gaining momentum. If you pay attention to their tour ethic, you will see their dedication to their music and fans. Following a sold out performance at the world famous Roxy Theatre on Sunset Blvd, the band went on the road with The Expendables touring in April 2010. In July the band showcased at the 2010 Warped Tour. With much anticipated buzz surrounding Tomorrows Bad Seeds, they shut down the 2010 Sunset Music Festival in August headlined by the Smashing Pumpkins. By October the band was back on the road for a co-headlining tour with Passafire. On November 18th, 2010 Tomorrows Bad Seeds received the "Commercial Success Award" at the Los Angeles Music Awards for having more than 150,000 downloads for 2010. This number continues to grow! On December 2nd, 2010 Tomorrows Bad Seeds headlined their very intimate "Holidaze Acoustic Tour" to promote their upcoming acoustic album to be released in 2011.In this increasingly uncertain economical and political world we live in, Tomorrows Bad Seeds prove to be extremely talented musicians, vocalists and entertainers as a whole, using their music to spread conscious lyrics for the conscious mind. In 2007 Tomorrows Bad Seeds signed with Urbantone Records as a vehicle to spread their seed, the band released their debut album "Early Prayers" in June 2007, featuring the singles Rhyme & Reason, Vices, Warrior Poet and Love Street. (Love street hit # 3 on the Hawaiian charts.) Tomorrows Bad Seeds released their sophomore record entitled "Sacred For Sale" on May 25th, 2010 with UrbanTone Records, distributed by MRI a subsidiary of Sony/RED. You can find Tomorrows Bad Seeds music online on Itunes, Amazon, CDbaby, etc. and some retail stores. Our fans can reach us on top social media sites such as Myspace, Facebook, Twitter and on our official web page. "We're so versatile because we come from such a melting pot of music here in the South Bay," Moises said. "...We all grew up on punk, and then hip hop kinda came and took over, but we all loved oldies back in the day...we all surf too...it's really just a blend of everything."
MOD SUN's mission statement is very clear, choose to be happy. He refers to his genre of music as "Hippy Hop" and describes his sound as an audible smile. "Movement on dreams stand under none, even my name stands for something," says 24-year-old MOD SUN. This independent artist, whose motto is "no fans, just friends," has truly solidified his name in the hip-hop scene over the past three years.Mod drastically turned heads in 2011 when he was chosen by Rolling Stone magazine as 1 of the top 16 unsigned artists in the world. He was than entered into a contest to become the first unsigned artist to ever appear on the coveted cover of the magazine. That year Mod's music video for his song, "Same Way", exploded on YouTube earning more than 350,000 views. Mod has shared the stage with a dozens of national acts including Shwayze, Chiodos, Breathe Carolina and even rap legends Wu Tang Clan.Growing up in Bloomington, Minnesota he was never a stranger to the music business. Mod began touring nationally at 17 and by age 21 he had already toured the world playing drums for two successful rock bands, Scary Kids Scaring Kids and Four Letter Lie. In the peak of these bands success, Mod decided to pursue a career as a fulltime emcee. In a span of 3 years MOD SUN has released over 100 songs and all but 10 of them for free. His latest mixtape "Blazed By The Bell" hosted by DJ ill Will & DJ Rock Star received over 40,000 downloads in its first month of release. The project featured artists such as The Ready Set, Nipsey Hussle, ScHoolBoy Q, & even an appearance by the real "Mr. Belding" Dennis Haskins. MOD SUN is a walking talking affirmation to the power of positive thinking. Right now he is somewhere smiling and he wants the same for you.
Four extraordinary talents, one scene-shaking reggae band.That's The Green, four boys hailing from Hawaii who burst out last year with their self-titled debut album. Amazingly for a new band, the disc rocketed onto Billboard's 2010 Year-End Top 10 Reggae Chart, was honored as iTunes' Reggae Album of the Year, won Best Reggae Album at Hawaii's 2011 Na Hoku Hanohano Awards, and has sold over 20,000 copies. Now the promise of The Green's youth-infused roots reggae revival is set to be fulfilled with their sophomore disc, Ways & Means, scheduled for an October 25, 2011 release on Easy Star Records, the pioneering indie reggae label. The startling speed with which the band has built up its strong and loyal following can only accelerate from here.The four members of The Green take pride in the pop-burnished roots reggae style they've cooked up--edgy enough to make tastemakers sit up and take notice, yet accessible to all ages "from little tiny kids, to people who just want to rock, to grandmas and grandpas who just love music," says guitarist-singer Zion Thompson. Four distinct voices, four sharp songwriting talents, masterful musicianship, and monster grooves add up to one exceptional band with an unforgettable sound and a powerful story.Each of The Green's four core singer-songwriters could be a solo artist in his own right, yet they're a tight, down-to-earth unit. Caleb Keolanui and JP Kennedy are first cousins who played together in a band called Next Generation. Caleb, The Green's soulful, golden-voiced singer and charismatic front man, had already performed on Hawaii's biggest stages by the time he was 16, with hit songs on heavy rotation on Hawaii radio. His pop/dancehall sensibilities show up strongly on the new album, to which he contributes songs like the sophisticated yet irresistibly catchy "Decisions" and the perpetual-motion "Love & Affection" with its warm but unexpectedly sly lyrics.Meanwhile singer-guitarist JP Kennedy was honing his own writing skills and blues-and-soul-inspired musical chops while studying engineering and putting together a home recording studio, which remains invaluable to the band as its pre-production headquarters. His songwriting pushes the boundaries of reggae, while still resonating closely with reggae traditions. The contemplative and intensely emotional "That's The Way" and the soul-suffused "Good Vibration" are both forward-thinking, introspective pop songs, while "Jah Love" and "Travlah" evoke the classic sounds of Third World and Steel Pulse respectively. The other two core members, singer-keyboardist Ikaika Antone and Zion Thompson, had worked together in the band Stir Crazy. When that group split up, the four musical brethren of The Green knew the time had come to make the new band truly flower. Ikaika, with a strong Hawaiian music background, feels a special connection to the land--when the band gigs locally, his whole clan comes out, bringing a real sense of ohana (family) to the shows; his anthemic "Gotta Be" perfectly expresses this side of The Green. Zion, who had previously spent time touring with other bands, recalls that "I missed home, missed my music" when on the road with other musicians; "All I could think about was I want to be [touring] with the boys!" His song "Ways & Means" strongly demonstrates Zion's ability to play with form - jumping from a slower reggae groove to a sped-up ska chorus and back - while still serving up a poignant love song with a soulful delivery.Righteousness--pono in Hawaiian--is everywhere in The Green's music and its message, and has been since the beginning, when they released the hit single "Love I" from their debut album. The Pier called it "a brilliantly constructed gem of modern reggae music, combining heavy drum and bass with smooth vocal melodies and enchanting lyricism," while Maui Time said the disc "shines like the Honolulu city lights that decorate it."Why the name "The Green?" As JP explains, "We wanted a name that didn't really point you in any direction. It's just a color, it makes you figure out what you want it to mean." The same can go for the music, according to Zion: "It's OK if it just makes you move, or maybe it's something new for the ear--it's a good challenge to try and get people to open their minds a little." The band's dominant modern reggae sound has a distinct Hawaiian undercurrent, especially in the lyrics, says Zion. "Even people who don't know Hawaii will realize that we're taking about a beautiful place you can relate to." At the same time, the band reflects a more realistic and modern vision of the Islands, not just the usual Island paradise vibe. The band proudly pushes broader themes of Hawaiian culture and history, while still writing about the day-to-day life they know. They are not afraid to shine a light on reality, as in "That's The Way": "Honolulu, it makes me sick / I never thought that I would say it..." With songs contributed by all four core members, a strong shot of assistance from touring bassist/producer Brad Watanabe and touring drummer/producer Leslie Ludiazo, and the mixing skills of Danny Kalb (Ben Harper), Michael Goldwasser (Easy Star All-Stars), Jim Fox (Rebelution, SOJA, Israel Vibration), and Matthew Honda, the message of Ways & Means boils down to bringing people together and respecting all people for who they are, whether it's through a love song like the title track, a spiritual like "Jah Love," or a paean to perseverance like "Keep On" on which all four songwriters collaborated.On Ways & Means the band also interjects doses of R&B, Soul, and Pop, making them an accessible listen to fans outside of reggae circles without diluting their roots. Though The Green is an important player in the new wave of homegrown reggae artists, they stand out with their ability to play both classic roots and modern dancehall, their vocal harmonies recalling reggae's golden age, and their four distinct songwriting and singing voices. With their upcoming extensive US tour kicking off around release date, The Green is poised to break out on a national level.
Existing at the point where metal collides with all other genres, Iwrestledabearonce are an example of the bold experimentation that has been keeping metal fresh and exciting. The Shreveport, LA, group, consisting of Krysta Cameron (vocals), Stephen Bradley (guitar), John Ganey (guitar), Mical Montgomery (drums), and Dave Branch (bass), combines the spastic fury of the Locust, the math wizardry of the Dillinger Escape Plan, and the metal-electro experimentation of Genghis Tron into one easy to swallow tablet. In 2007 the group released its bedroom-recorded self-titled EP. After extensive touring, Iwrestledabearonce signed with Century Media and released their debut full-length, It's All Happening, in 2009. ~ Gregory Heaney, All Music Guide
Born Of Osiris
Some bands roll with the tide, while others generate it. Exhuming technically proficient and progressive metal, BORN OF OSIRIS exerted a seismic impact on heavy music with its trend-setting 2007 debut The New Reign only to shake things up even more on The Discovery in 2011. However, once again, the critically acclaimed Chicago six-piece set a new paradigm with its highly acclaimed fourth full-length album, Tomorrow We Die Alive, for Sumerian Records, which debuted at #27 on the Billboard Top 200 charts.
Teaming up with acclaimed producers Joey Sturgis [The Devil Wears Prada, Emmure] and Nick Sampson, the group is primed to explode like never before, manipulating 6-string and 7-string guitars on the same recording diversifying their writing and pushing their boundaries further than ever before.
Lee McKinney (guitars) states: "We were more focused for the writing of this record than any of our previous efforts. We've had 2+ years to write, critique, adjust and learn these songs, which is just something we haven't had in the past with our intense touring schedule. All of us living together and constantly feeding off eachother's energy made for the best and most focused BORN OF OSIRIS album to date.
BORN OF OSIRIS are mature well beyond their years and this dynamic progressive juggernaut has now perfectly honed all of their collective talents to create what will soon be a pinnacle release for the metal genre. They'll be showcasing their talents to the masses at the Vans Warped Tour all summer long, reaching yet another plateau in their already stellar career.
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk!
It's clear from that basic introduction that Chunk! No, Captain Chunk are looking to shake things up a little, infusing some levity into the pop-punk and post-hardcore scenes with a good time, party vibe. Some bands hit the scene, looking to be dangerous and living by a cliched credo of sex, drugs and rock 'n' roll. C!NCC aren't going that route. Instead, they're here for a good time, all of the time and they aren't afraid to be silly. As a result, they've created a different kind of party rock.
Music is supposed to be fun, and C!NCC, who formed in 2007, have wholly embraced that ethos and aesthetic. Even their name is an homage to the wonder of their childhoods and that time in your life when everything was easy and fun, even if you weren't cognizant of that fact at the time.
The musically bipolar C!NCC love nothing more than hopping in their van, cruising all over the U.S., drinking, getting naked and rocking the hell out, winning over fans in every city in which they play. But when it comes time to take the stage, they are in the zone. It's a potent combo, one that is sure to lure even more new fans to their lair as they unleash their second effort, the game changing Pardon My French, the new album which they announced via a video clip, wearing white hotel robes while sipping wine.
If you don't have a laugh at their antics --or worse!!- don't find your head involuntarily bobbing along to the potent melodies or feel a rush of pure adrenaline coursing through your veins, thanks to their sonic punch and their moshable aggression, then you, dear friend, don't have a pulse!
Chunk! No Captain Chunk's music vacillates between two different extremes, folding high octane, crazy catchy pop punk melodies into pummeling and potent hardcore. It's popcore (or easycore, as the critics like to say) at its finest.
The band has followed up its debut, 2010's Something for Nothing, with Pardon My French, the title of which finds their tongues tucked firmly into cheek. After spending all of 2011 and 2012 on tour, stagebombing the U.S. and commandeering a slot on the entire 2012 Vans Warped Tour, an honor reserved for a select set of bands, and hitting the road with A Day to Remember, C!NCC are ready to take it to the next level.
Singer Bertrand Poncet admits that the band's music is a roller coaster of dynamics, and that it satisfies their personal tastes. Dropping crushing metallic moments in the midst of a flurry of melodics only serves to show just how heavy and how melodic the band can be. The sonic twists and turns invite the listener to ride sidecar for one helluva thrill ride.
"We all liked pop punk bands, and our musical tastes changed with the times, and after one year of playing, we turned a bit more metal," he said. "We wanted to mix all of our influences in one band. The roller coaster vibe is us and that represents all of our personalities in the band. We are not bipolar people, but we can turn completely crazy. We want to create that in our music."
The band's intent was to get poppier and heavier in one fell swoop. That mission was accomplished on Pardon My French.
"When it comes to writing songs, we wanted to take the poppiest choruses, which have groove, but then we added a huge, nasty breakdown after it. It's very contrasted, but it has to fit." Indeed, the songs don't scrimp on the dynamics, and on Pardon My French, they are smooth and seamless.
Poncet acknowledged the party, Blink-182-like vibe the band puts forth, saying, "It has been our trademark since the beginning, the pop punk side of the music. The fact is, we can go very heavy, but we're not serious. We're here to have fun."
However, when it came time to lay down this new record, the band switched gears for a minute. "We took the songwriting and recording very seriously. We wanted to do that perfectly," the singer said. "We focused on the details to make it perfect, and that process was interesting for me, since it was my first time in a real studio."
The last record was recorded in a bedroom, so Pardon My French was a step up on many levels for C!NCC as a whole. They spent time in a legit studio, captured the attention of an American label in indie juggernaut Fearless Records and they wanted to get it right.
Poncet, who comes from a classical piano background, wasn't kidding about focusing on key details. He was tireless in his efforts to perfect his pronunciation this time out, since he didn't want his accent to the be the only thing listeners heard. "I wanted to sound very...international on this record, " he said. Since English is his second language, he put in the time and effort to make his words decipherable.
Songs like "Restart" and "Haters Gonna Hate" are emblematic of what C!NCC are doing with their unique brand of pop-punk with moshability. "Restart" opens the record with a purpose; it's the "get it out of the way" song that is designed to let you know the band means business and where they stand. "We wanted to go straight up and show the direction of the band and the song defines the new direction for this album," Poncet said. "There's no hidden story in it. It's about the new sound, and showcasing that."
"Haters Gonna Hate" was drafted to address the keyboard ninjas that populate the scene, hiding behind a WiFi connection and an anonymous AIM handle. "It's just catchier and heavier," Poncet said. "It's contrasted and the lyrics are about...haters! Every band deals with haters for this style of music." Speaking of their particular experience, Poncet admitted, "When we started, we were one of the first French bands to get signed to an American label, we had broken English. It was hard to make our way in the States, so we got some haters. This song is about all those people who just talk shit and don't even listen to the music. They just want to hate on something."
"Taking Chances" was the final piece of the puzzle, as it was the last song Poncet penned. "The lyrics are about taking the chance for our band to break in America," he said. The song mixes the djent style with an assertive pop punk rhythm and differs from much of what's on the album. Then there's "I Am Nothing Like You," which is the heaviest track on the record -- it gets the red out.
Armed with a solid, thriller of a record in the form of Pardon My French and a well-earned reputation for shaking the rafters at the venues in which they play, Chunk! No, Captain Chunk are able to spread their lively energy to all who listen.
You may as well get on board this runaway train now before you get run over! There's good times ahead, courtesy of Chunk! No, Captain Chunk.
The life of a touring musician isn't always all it's cracked up to be. The endless miles separating one from friends, family and a warm bed, and the alienation that rift creates, becomes a trial of endurance that quickly disintegrates all but the truly dedicated. For Fireworks, the answer is to find strength together, as one; five friends creating music, and in the end, their own brand of Gospel.Thus Gospel, the Detroit-based quintet's second full-length and follow-up to 2009's All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion, finds the band at a crucial crossroads, both creatively and personally. Their rookie growing pains behind them, on the new record the band penned their most powerful and captivating music to date, orbiting a central theme of inspiration amid sacrifice. Fortunately it only takes a matter of seconds to hear that the group's efforts have hardly been in vain. "This record just makes so much more sense with us, and I think it shows," says guitarist and frequent lyricist Chris Mojan. "We basically all went into the studio and fed off each other. I think once people hear this record, they'll be like, 'This is the record I expected you guys to put out one day. This is totally you guys.' It doesn't sound like anything else."Fireworks--which also includes vocalist Dave Mackinder, bassist Kyle O'Neil, guitarist Brett Jones and drummer Tymm Rengers--formed in Detroit in 2005, and released their first EP, We Are Everywhere, on Run For Cover Records in 2006. Those early recordings and some serious DIY touring eventually attracted the attention of esteemed indie Triple Crown Records, which signed the band in 2008 and re-released We Are Everywhere, before quickly sending the band into the studio to cut a full-length debut. Fireworks teamed with producer/New Found Glory guitarist Chad Gilbert and in 2009 dropped All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion, instantly staking their place among the leaders of the present melodic punk revival. Several high-profile tours followed, including stints with NFG, Set Your Goals, Four Year Strong and Saves The Day.But despite All I Have To Offer Is My Own Confusion's many charms, the band knew they could do better, especially with more time and budget. So for a follow-up Fireworks tapped iconic producer Brian McTernan (Thrice, Circa Survive, The Movielife) to helm the sessions, sequestering themselves for a month at McTernan's cozy Salad Days studio, in Baltimore, Md.'s vibrant Fell's Point neighborhood. What they emerged with is sure to completely blow away fans, while also exhibiting obvious growth since their last release."We just went on a very different dynamic than our last record," says O'Neil. "We've grown a ton; it shows a lot of maturity, I feel, as far as songwriting goes and sound, but it still has the catchiness of the last record and traditional Fireworks. This one is like everything that we grew up listening to, and wanted to be."Indeed, there's a prevailing sound and vibe on Gospel that harkens to earlier, golden days, when bands like Saves The Day and New Found Glory were redefining pop-punk, yet there's an unmistakable modernity to Gospel as well, sprinkled with the band's own particular nuances. The sum total is a record that sounds like everything fans of the genre adore, while also being fresh, unique and artistically challenging."I honestly think it's just a record that we really wanted to make; it's just a cool, driving rock/pop record," says Mojan. "There are some surf-y vibes to it, some Costello-type vibes, and some harder, traditional Fireworks-type vibes on it, too. It's just all over the place, in a good way. It has definitely some of our most chill material, but at the same time, it has some of the fastest, most aggressive songs we've written."Lyrically speaking, the band spends much of Gospel wrestling with a life spent largely on the road; a situation that has only intensified in recent years with each new milestone Fireworks achieve. Rather than coming across as complaining though, it's more akin to guilt-tinged confession and friendly confiding. "We're obviously in a different mindset since we recorded the last record, as far as life goes, but it's still very personal," explains O'Neil. "I feel this one's even a little more personal, because now we're all a little older, but we're not much more established as people in the real world. Different personal events have happened in people's lives, and being gone a lot has definitely hindered some relationships, as it always will in that situation.""We're all coming to the age when everyone we grew up just kind of moved on and started really living a normal-type life. It isn't a bad thing, but we're just kind of dealing with falling behind," adds Mojan. "It's definitely way more honest than the last record. It mainly deals with the struggles of being home, and being caught in-between being a touring band who does well and plays shows, or just being some idiot trying, who doesn't have time to go to school or do anything else because of this."However out of those tribulations, Fireworks found a new strength in one another, collaborating closer than ever on an album that they can be proud of for years to come. Opening track "Arrows," with its soaring verses and frenetic changes, the intensifying churn of "Summer," or the moody, STD-reminiscent "Teeth," go so far beyond merely honoring the group's influences; they deserve inclusion among the genre's most essential listening. Sensing that their latest release encapsulated more than just songs, but rather, their entire collective salvation, the group dubbed the record Gospel, reflecting not just solidarity, but redemption amid adversity."People sing gospels that help them. To us, this is our version of our gospel, like our expression, and our way out of the annoyances of life," explains Mojan. "It rang really well. It was basically words we wanted to live by, and to us, there's no better way to describe it. The basis of the album is kind of negative, but it's definitely sparked with positivity and more of an uplifting theme, out of a darker setting."As the title conveys, one listen to Gospel and it's clear there is light at the end of the tunnel. Coming up indie can be hard on a young band, but when said group responds with a work as unforgettable as Firework's latest, the fruits of such labor can't be far behind. The band plans to hit the road hard this spring in anticipation of the album's May 24 release, including a three-week run with like-minded punkers the Wonder Years, before the summer calendar gets fully underway. More than anything, the band is anxious to share their triumphant Gospel, so for Fireworks fans, 2011 promises to be nothing short of incendiary."We really are excited for the next couple years, and this record, and everything else to come afterward, and to really see where it takes us as a band," says Mojan. "Right now, we're very much in a 'bring it on' state of mind."
"I know you're good at keeping secrets.
Well I'm better at wearing them out for the world to see."
"Music is about connecting with people, and that's what we focus on more than anything else," says Transit's vocalist Joe Boynton. Hailing from north shore Boston, Transit is a band that expresses an arresting degree of honesty and individuality in their music. While clearly drawing inspiration from seminal groups such as Saves The Day, as well as the Northeast US pop-punk scenes that all five members grew up in, Transit has swiftly evolved into a group with a more alternative, indie rock sound. "We all grew up listening to a wide variety of music, but bands like Archers of Loaf, Braid, Osker and American Football demonstrated to us that there are always refreshing ways to create a new style and feel," explains guitarist Tim Landers. Illustrating Transit's artistic evolution from one release to the next, early descriptions of the group compared them to Taking Back Sunday and Brand New, and now, more recently, to bands like Death Cab For Cutie and Modest Mouse.
The band's prolific output is also impressive by any measure, having put out seven releases over the last four years. Transit's highly acclaimed LP, "Keep This To Yourself", released in August 2010 on Run For Cover Records, inspired ABSOLUTEPUNK to rave: "Good luck keeping Transit's passionate and infectious tunes a secret. Once you hear the first chords of opener "Dear Anyone," you'll immediately go out and tell all your friends about the best pop-punk album of 2010." Transit also released an acoustic EP, "Something Left Behind" in February and a limited edition Record Store Day 7", "Promise Nothing", was released this past spring and sold out in advance. ALTERNATIVE PRESS, in a glowing review of "Promise Nothing", praised the band's meteoric creative growth, comparing them to Jimmy Eat World and Moneen.
Named one of the "Bands To Watch in 2011" by ALTERNATIVE PRESS, Transit has played throughout North America and overseas alongside Four Year Strong, The Wonder Years, Less Than Jake, Bayside, Man Overboard, Senses Fail and many others. The band—whose members also include Torre Cioffi (guitars), PJ Jefferson (bass) and Daniel Frazier (drums)—has just finished tracking its first full-length on Rise Records, LISTEN & FORGIVE. The album, which ALTERNATIVE PRESS just named as one of the "Top 20 Must-Hear Fall 2011 Releases", is set to drop in the US and around the world in early October.
To mark the release of LISTEN & FORGIVE, Transit will be touring this Fall around the US with Saves The Day, Bayside and I Am The Avalanche, before heading to the UK and Europe in December with Title Fight and Balance and Composure. From that point onwards, fans can expect to see the band touring extensively around the globe throughout 2012 and beyond.
Make Do and Mend
Adamantly earnest and unwaveringly driven, New England's Make Do and Mend has spent the past four years gaining footholds and garnering attention in every corner of today's music landscape. Building off the steam of two previous E.P. releases, a widely acclaimed split 7" with Los Angeles' Touche Amore, and years of relentless touring, the four piece raised the bar for melodic post-hardcore with the 2010 release of their debut LP "End Measured Mile." The follow up to their well-received EPs We're All Just Living and Bodies Of Water, End Measured Mile finds Make Do And Mend building on their gruff brand of punk rock, blending passion and intensity with melody and sincerity. Heralded as one of the best punk records of the year, End Measured Mile has been racking in critical praise, with Alternative Press commenting, "Frontman James Carroll, bearing a gruff bark... guides the band through catchy, texturally dynamic romps," while the band's hometown paper the Hartford Courant says the album "is a collection of volatile songs stuffed full of serrated power chords, battering ram drums and leathery bellowing from singer James Carroll... The mood on End Measured Mile rarely feels less than life-or-death intense."A driving cohesive accomplishment from band that has earned a solid following through rigorous touring and an honest approach to their music and fans, End Measured Mile has only just begun to turn heads. Out of all of the fan fare,Punknews sums it up best: "Simply put,(End Measured Mile is) the most impressive debut full-length of the year."2011 will see MDAM continuing to tour full force, sharing a passionate and unyielding live show, honed in sweaty basements, and proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that hard work and passion are far from dead in music today.
My name is Matt Toka.
Music saved me from a dysfunctional life in Youngstown, Ohio. I was raised in a house where physical, substance and mental abuse were the norm. When I was young, my parents fought constantly, so I would slam my bedroom door and play Green Day's Dookie as loud as I could, singing those songs over and over to myself.
I knew then that music would be my escape.
I started playing guitar when I was 12 and started playing in a couple bands that were pretty popular in the local scene even though I couldn't wait to get the hell out of Ohio. After graduating high school, I started a group called Cherry Monroe and I worked my ass off to get us heard. There wasn't a place I didn't pass out our CD — malls, schools, gas stations, you name it — and all the hard work seemed to pay off when we earned a huge following and got signed by Universal Records.
I thought snagging a record deal meant I'd be given bags of money and life would be one big party. I didn't take my career seriously at all and the band was dropped a year later. My life was spiraling out of control: I lost my full-time gig, my parents got divorced and both my mom and grandfather got locked up in prison. Why would I stay and rot in Youngstown?
I had nothing left to lose so I said fuck it, put my whole life in my shitty Honda Civic and drove out to Los Angeles. Talk about a reality check. I went from performing to thousands of people to playing an acoustic guitar next to weirdos dressed up as Batman and SpongeBob SquarePants on Hollywood Blvd. I may've escaped all my family bullshit, but I was still completely depressed by the wrong turns my life had taken.
Inspired by the storytelling of Bob Dylan, Oasis' Noel Gallagher and, of course, Billie Joe Armstrong, I locked myself in my one-room studio apartment and started writing about all the fucked-up stuff I'd gone through. I wouldn't shower or go outside for days. I was so angry and frustrated but found out that when I was able to harness my emotions, I was beginning to find myself—— and my voice as a songwriter.
I took shitty temp jobs to keep the lights on, but I was determined to make it with my music. Once I built my confidence back up, I started posting all my songs—both covers and originals—on YouTube. People seemed to really dig it and it wasn't long until I landed my second record deal. This time, though, I swore not to take a goddamn thing for granted.
When producer Rob Cavallo (Green Day, My Chemical Romance) agreed to produce my first album, I cried like a fucking baby. I just pictured being that little kid in his bedroom, listening to Dookie and dreaming of this moment. I can't wait to share all the songs onStraight To Hell with my fans. The record is all about how hard life can be but you can't let the small stuff bring you down. There's a lot of shit you can't change, so make an effort to enjoy every minute. You can turn any kind of energy into something positive. If life gives you lemons, make a fucking drink.
It's an unlikely tale. Rising from the fevered hotbed of Sydney, Australia's underground hardcore scene, boy meets girl. Or rather, two boys meet girl to make kick-ass rock music.Try to keep up - the story goes something like this...Guitarist Whakaio Taahi and his compadre bass player, Cameron Adler, needed a frontman for a rock project. Scrap that. Frontwoman. Enter ingenue-with-attitude, Jenna McDougall - as soon as the sixteen-year-old songstress' soaring contralto and sweet strains took the mic to their songs, something clicked. Already onboard, rhythm axeman Jake Hardy and new recruit, drummer Matt Best - a childhood buddy of Whakaio's. One jam later, the writing was on the wall. Tonight Alive were up and running, pedal to the metal.The band stepped up, and fast. Songs honed, stagecraft already a dead cert, they entered Sydney's subterranean circuit of metalcore and heavy bands, playing their own brand of catchy-as-all-hell pop-punk... and promptly took the scene by storm, developing a rabid young fanbase in thrall to the band's ebullient, fist-pumping anthemery, arena-sized hooks and high-voltage live performances. Right from word-go, it was clear Tonight Alive were going somewhere.A year on, courted by labels and management secured, with two stellar EPs ('All Shapes & Disguises' and 'Consider This') under their belts, a demo of Tonight Alive's new material landed on producer-extraordinaire Mark Trombino's (Blink 182, Jimmy Eat World, The Starting Line) desk. He rang the band immediately, wanting in."For him to contact us, and say he was interested, was a big deal," says Jenna, now 19. "We couldn't believe he'd put himself out like that. He's amazing. Mark created the albums we all grew up listening to - the albums that launched the careers of all these great bands.Whakaio weighs in. "Yeah, it felt right that he do our first album, that he be the one to kick-start us off. As soon as we got over there, we found Mark felt the same."Recorded at LA's infamous NRG Studios over two months, Trombino's personal interest in the project played out in other fortuitous ways. "Nothing was left to editing or over Pro-Tooling," notes Whakaio. "Jenna sang every line until it was right. I played every guitar part. The drum sound is natural and not heavily sampled. There was no copy-pasting. That was really important to us, as well as Mark. That it sound real. Natural.""It was great because it made us really step up as musicians," says Jenna. "I know I definitely came back from the experience a better singer."What you're listening to now is the inspired result of that auspicious partnership between a bunch of Aussie kids and an auteur with a canon of classic records already to his name. What Are You So Scared Of? is one more album to add to that list.As the charging powerchords, chiming verseline and rattlesnake high-hats of Breaking & Entering kick off proceedings, Tonight Alive make their intent known with this instant torch song. Like serving up straight red cordial shots to a bunch of Ritalin-deprived delinquents. Like scooping up a surging circle-pit and slamdunking into a kids' jumping castle. Like a surly prom queen setting her school afire as the So-Cal styled band plays on, What Are You So Scared Of? is a veritable barnstormer of a debut album. Bouncey, infectious and thrilling.Cue the mosh-happy shout-a-long of Starlight, the sheer infectious fun of Sure as Hell and the sugar-rush of songs like To Die For and the title track. Lending both cred and sporting their influences on their sleeve.But there's also gravitas to match Tonight Alive's gusto and good time - the balls-out heaviness of Listening, the acoustic-shaded power ballad Safe and Sound, and one of the album's best tracks, Let It Land, all showcase a band with serious songwriting chutzpah. Meanwhile, the moving closer, Amelia, is Jenna's paean to a girlhood friend who passed away aged 16, and packs one powerful emotional punch.What really lifts Tonight Alive above another female-fronted pop-rock band is their muscular musicality, a deft sense of dynamic, a way of shifting seamlessly from the big riffs and breakdowns, to allow space and the sensibility of Jenna's sweetly sung melodies to shine through. The hardcore heritage has set them in good stead - these kids have some bad-ass chops. Underpinned by Best's impassioned, athletic drumming, the mercurial undertow of Adler's tasteful basswork and Hardy's meat'n' potato riffery, Whakaio lays down the sort of colour, texture and zinging, adrenalizing leadlines that sing like a wire fenceline being drawn taut.When it comes to fronting Tonight Alive, Jenna is all heart and zero artifice - plus, this gal's got one helluva set of lungs on her. Equal parts sugar and spit, honey and husk, vamp, vitriol and vulnerability, she belts it out, hell for leather. "The weird thing is, even though as a band, we all grew up on bands like Thrice, Sum 41 and Something Corporate, I think what influenced me most, vocally, was stuff as diverse as Frank Sinatra, Missy Higgins, Avril Lavrigne and Fall Out Boy," says Jenna. "Plus I listen to tons of metal, where there's a lot of screaming. I really dig the aggression."Already with a cult following Stateside, key to the band's burgeoning profile has been the inclusion of songs off their last EP on reality TV show The Hills. Ironic, considering the band are from Sydney's Hills District. "Yeah," laughs Whakaio. "We're the Aussie Hills!""We're hoping it'll help us out in the girl department," quips Matt, "That we'll get invited to some Hills launch party in Hollywood. Sadly, it hasn't happened yet."Perhaps a song on Jersey Shore might tip things in their favour? "God," drawls Jenna. "We hope not."The band's grounded approach has added to their groundswell appeal. "We started off playing youth centre's," says Whakaio. "And so we all feel like we have a personal connection to so many people who come to our shows. I know that sounds cliched, but it's true - it's almost like we're friends with all of them. We make a point of going out after a gig, making contact with the fans, thanking them, keeping them informed."So, why the title What Are You So Scared Of? "It's the only question I can ever ask myself where I'll always have an answer," explains Jenna. "Asking myself, 'what are you so scared of?' has always helped me pass through any personal fear or doubt. And it's summed up the last year for us as a band - we've broken new boundaries, stepped up into another league."What Are You So Scared Of? is our mission statement, if you like - we're moving forward, dissolving old barriers or blocks."She's no blonde bombshell, that's for sure, but Jenna and her band may very well be the bomb: Tonight Alive are gonna blow up big-time. Prepare yourself, people. Tonight Alive are here, and they're on fire.
Skip the Foreplay
Epitaph Records is thrilled to announce the signing of Skip The Foreplay. Known for their distinct musical style, which mashes up elements of dubstep and house with pop and metal-core, the ground-breaking Montreal - based band has been electrifying audiences with their intoxicating blend of hardcore heaviness and dance floor energy since 2010. Skip The Foreplay will be releasing their anticipated full length Epitaph debut this spring."Aside from having one of the greatest names in history, Skip The Foreplay are simply Satan's delivery system for music of mass destruction," offers Epitaph founder and President Brett Gurewitz.Skip The Foreplay made a serious impression on audiences while appearing with the likes of Hollywood Undead, Lamb Of God, NOFX, Alesana and more. The band will be joining up with rock n' roll heavy hitter Ronnie Radke and Falling In Reverse for a tour this January and February before spending the summer on the road.Skip The Foreplay singer Marc-Andre Fillion proclaims, "We're extremely happy to now be a part of the Epitaph family. Our first record is finally done! We can't wait to share it with you guys and will keep you posted on the release date. We've also just been confirmed on our first US tour with Falling In Reverse in January/February 2012. So come hang out and join the party!"The band recently created an internet sensation with their stunning and delightfully seditious cover of the song "Champagne Showers" by the popular electro pop duo LMFAO. The new version retains all the seductive dance floor hooks of the track, while adding some serious heaviness that includes massive bass drops, breakdowns, and cerebral electronic remixes.
Sick of Sarah
Female-fronted pop/rock band from Minneapolis, MN. Coming off some dates with Joan Jett and The Bangles, the quintet sounds a lot like early Tegan & Sara. "The women ... bow at the alter of riot grrl days gone by while simultaneously thumbing their noses at scowling rock-chick cliches. The songs are as bracing as they are familiar." --Spin
Mighty Mongo will rock the socks back on to your feet. We are a four-piece Rock/Punk/Ska band with a flippin' keytar, and we're stoked to be a part of this year's Warped Tour! If you wanna know more about us, just send us a message on facebook/ twitter - we'd love to meet you! And for those of you who actually read this a if you plan on coming to Warped Tour, come visit our Merch Table and say the following secret word for FREE and AWESOME Merch from Mighty Mongo: cowabunga.
Hannes Naumann and Maik Biermann have known each other for a very long time, battling through the adventures of Thuringian forest-provinces, before they magically became Captain Capa. Born in beautiful smalltown Bad Frankenhausen, they grew up between videogame and garagepunk, before entering the world of electronic music, discovering a love for big melodies on flashy beats.As they decide to rob their piggybanks to gain the power of sequencers and synthesizers, to create a stunning EP of sci-fi-tech and emo-pop, they both knew, that neither big city lights nor a bright skyline would be necessary to create electronic popmusic."These Fights Are Never Over" is released on small-scale DIY Label "Cobretti Records" and acclaimed as an insider's tip of german, independent dance music. In May 2009 it's time for their first longplayer. Mixed, cleaned up and made dirty again by Norman Kolodziej, master of electro-bam of bands Der Tante Renate and Bratze, "Tonight Is The Constant" is acclaimed as catchy highspeed-pop by critics and indie-kids. The album lights a spark with ingredients of nurave, emotional electro-escapades and a glimmering voice, unable to decide if it's from a US emocore band of the early 2000s or abductet from some brit-pop-hero.Having a powerful debut-album and the sound of thousand angsty teenage-souls in their backs, Captain Capa travel through time and space, where they share their stages with children of big family Audiolith. The colleagues of Egotronic, Bratze, Frittenbude or Juri Gagarin become friends: supporting, remixing, collaborating. Supershirt, the big brothers in spirit, even decide to produce a split-EP called "Tote Tiere" in october 2010, including a furious title-track feature burning through the clubs. A few months later, the band itself is invited to be a part of the label-insanity called AUDIOLITH RECORDS. Releasing "Saved My Life", Captain Capa throw out a consequently over-pumped pop-record, lacking all subtlety - showing even clearer which influences burn in their hearts, willing to burst out at any time.Even if the big, wide world drips out of Captain Capas verses, with choruses smelling strangely like city lights, the boys still live in Bad Frankenhausen, beneath the most skewed steeple worldwide, right in the most colorful house of the country. So fuck skylines!
I Call Fives
I Call Fives has covered a lot of ground since getting their 2006 start in Washinton Township, NJ. From countless basement shows and DIY tours to supporting national acts and the Vans Warped Tour, the band has stayed grounded. I Call Fives has built their fan base on one constant: hard work. Having released an EP in 2010 and a split 7" in 2011, the band is set to go to work on their debut full length in February (produced by Paul Levitt) with plans to release the LP in June of 2012. Expect to see I Call Fives all summer long on this years Vans Warped Tour and through the end of the year supporting their band new record.
Displaying an in-depth understanding of Silent Majority, Turning Point and Quicksand, Hostage Calm's well- received 2008 debut, Lens, was a comprehensive lesson in what punk and hardcore should sound like. Jagged-yet- infectious melodies effortlessly merged with beefy power chords and politically charged battle cries while fiery anthems formed amidst uncommon song structures. With that creative momentum and the positive response from fans and critics alike, the band took a year to write and a year to record its Self-Titled follow-up for Boston's Run for Cover Records. It's safe to say that the quintet's knack for composing intelligent, passionate tunes is matched only by that of its musical ambition. While Hostage Calm continues to hint at those Dag Nasty arpeggios and the skipping Descendents-esque beats, these new songs are pushed in unclassifiable directions, cradled by lush layers of jangling acoustic guitars, quick tambourine hits and resonating piano accompaniments. Sonically, a good point of reference starts at The Smith's The Queen Is Dead, with its blending of styles into one cohesive and all encompassing indie / pop album. Hostage Calm never compromises its energy, but touches lightly on everything from doo wop ( "Rebel Fatigues" ) and new wave ( "Ballots / Stones" ) to Latin ( "Wither On The Vine" ) and power pop ( "War On A Feeling" ). Vocalist Chris Martin's suave melodies are chosen with the utmost care; they have a particularly relaxed quality that reveals a less excessive rendition of the 1980's. And while he's just about as political as ever, he doesn't hesitate to delve into more personal narratives, yet spares us of any cringe-worthy melodramatics. Don't be intimidated - "pop" isn't a four-letter word. In context with the substance-less drivel that excretes from the radio waves these days, it's sometimes easy to forget. But Hostage Calm executes an infectious effort with actual lyrical and musical purpose. Truly a singular effort, there's a bit of something for every notch in the music-fan spectrum. Still, Hostage Calm never completely strays from the scene responsible for its inception. If you like music - regardless of genre - you should be paying attention. - Michael French Hostage Calm's Self-Titled full-length was recorded and produced by Greg Thomas at Silver Bullet Studios (Ambitions, Shai Hulud, Life In Your Way) in Burlington, CT and was mastered by Alan Douches at West West Side. Run For Cover will be releasing the record on July 20th, 2010 on 12" vinyl ( 300 black, 200 clear / blue ), CD and digital formats. For more info go to www.beartrappr.com/hostage-calm
The Silver Comet
Having only been established for just over a year, The Silver Comet has already booked shows with the likes of 3OH!3, Chiodos, I See Stars, and Breathe Carolina. They have frequented Atlanta's top venues such as Smiths Olde Bar, The Masquerade, The Vinyl at Center Stage and most recently Vans Warped Tour 2012; their first ever tour. The vocally centered Alternative Rock 5 piece has successfully won over audiences with their rare spin on today's rock music and thrilling live display. With the influences of Incubus, Foo Fighters, and Kings of Leon; 'The Silver Comet sound' has been loosely depicted as catchy, honest, and aesthetic to the ears of casual music listeners as well as seasoned musicians.Having self released their first EP in early 2011 and releasing their second EP entitled "My Fear of Flying" only 11 months later, The Silver Comet is building upon their rightly earned momentum and contiuing to expand their loyal fanbase.
When Glasgow's Twin Atlantic released their 2009 mini-album, Vivarium, it immediately found an awestruck audience. The reviews were uniformly ecstatic. Grand, sweeping and eloquent, it was a collection of songs with a heart and soul, crafted by passion and informed by staunch lyrical and musical frankness. It set Twin Atlantic on a rollercoaster - one that has led, now, to the release of their full debut, Free, on Red Bull Records, an inspiring collection of songs full of ambition, pain, belief and soul. In a world of music dominated by talent show winners, mass-marketed bands and meaningless music, here, finally, is a band in which to invest your heart.Formed in 2007 in Glasgow, and infusing their music with their Scottish heritage, Twin Atlantic found themselves caught in a whirlwind in the months that followed Vivarium's release. Support slots with the great and the good - from blink-182 to My Chemical Romance and The Gaslight Anthem - followed tours the length and breadth of Britain, Europe and America. Interviews, photo-shoots, magazine articles and newspaper pieces amounted to a blur of excitement and hype. "We had three years where we've had this barrage of dream scenarios which we grasped with two hands," says frontman Sam McTrusty.But, in the grasping, Twin Atlantic worried they had strayed from the ethos and ideals with which they had started their band. "We suddenly thought, 'What are we doing?'" adds McTrusty. In that moment of realisation, Twin Atlantic did what only the best bands do. They rediscovered their love for music and for pouring themselves, their feelings, fears, hopes and dreams into it. The results are their brilliant new album. "This band was meant to be based on integrity," says McTrusty. "We wanted there to be a brutal honesty in the lyrics. I think we've done that."The quest to deliver authenticity in their music led them to the influential producer Gil Norton ("a fucking dude-and-a-half," according to guitarist and cellist Barry McKenna) with who they teamed up in the Red Bull Studios in Santa Monica, California at the end of 2010. "We really trusted that he could help us make an honest record because he's already achieved that with other bands like Pixies and Foo Fighters early in their careers. You can hear the genuineness in the bands he's worked with."And with Norton, they set about crafting an exceptional album. "I was unbelievably excited to be working with Gil - he's been at the helm of a handful of my favourite records, including The Colour And The Shape which single-handedly made me decide that I needed to play in a band," says drummer Craig Kneale. "When we got in the studio with him, it was just a complete dream. We're so confident in each of the songs, and there must have been about 100 points in the studio where we would listen back to something and all get goosebumps."And throughout, that all-important sincerity was there. "We can hold our heads high and say we did exactly what we wanted, and exactly how we wanted. At no point have we compromised as a band, as musicians or as people," says McKenna. "I think all great music has to be truthful and we have certainly achieved that, to one another and collectively outwards."Free is an album of experiences. Having had their horizons broadened by touring the UK, Europe and America, McTrusty, in particular, spent time gazing from aeroplane and van windows fearing the world he was seeing was becoming a more uniform place. "We haven't written a political record," he says, "but there are issues in there like globalisation because that's something that freaks me out. Perhaps that's come from touring and feeling that everything sometimes seems the same."It was a train of thought that unfurls masterfully throughout the record. "There are songs about how the media and big corporations manipulate and mould your opinions," he says. "You end up becoming a lesser version of yourself as a result." But if this is a record that takes a more worldly view than before, it is still one that remains steadfastly personal too - yet it's one that could be personal to all their fans. "Sam discusses a lot of issues not only personal to him, or even the four of us, but to the modern generation," says McKenna. "Many people will be able to relate to these songs, and hopefully they will." "Lyrically these are not my stories," adds bassist Ross McNae, "but I do feel more of an attachment to some of the messages within certain songs. I can personally associate more with the lyrical content of these songs."Musically, too, they were ambitious. Forging on from Vivarium's expressiveness, Twin Atlantic wanted to make an album that was both vast and encompassing. "There are love songs and relationship songs, there are some with a party vibe, there are some that are weird, heavy and grungey pop songs," says McTrusty. Hence Free's stunning vision, one built on intricate songwriting aimed at the emotional core of its listeners. In each track, in each guitar line or beat, each lyric or phrase, it's an album in which the band's hearts beat and their souls shimmer. You can hear such personality in even the simplest things: the fact that McTrusty's Scottish accent shines through is just one. "Why," asks McTrusty, "would you tell a personal story in anyone else's voice but your own?"But, most of all, the album has an emotional honesty that speaks straight from the heart. In all its twists and turns it embodies its creators. "I don't know if we could live with ourselves if we were to make a song that didn't have the four of us in the music," says McTrusty, before McKenna adds: "Personally the only thing I wanted to achieve from this whole process is an album the four of us could stand by and invest ourselves in. We have done that."And it's because of music like this that the sense of expectation around Twin Atlantic is developing rapidly. This brilliant record, one of the most anticipated of the year, has been tipped by tastemakers and fans alike. If Vivarium left the band poised for greatness, 2011 will be the year in which they attain it."Music's been dumbed down and homogenised. There are lots of people who don't believe in it anymore. But we've made a record with substance," says McTrusty finally. "We're giving people something to believe in again."
LA rockers The Darlings have come a long way since their inception in 2005. After beating out hundreds of bands to win Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands 13, the Darlings had their song "What Lies Below" picked up by the Anaheim Ducks, who used the track for their 09/10 season promo spots on Prime Ticket. The band's song "Broken Heart Still Beating" has also been in steady rotation on influential LA modern rock station KROQ's Locals Only show for months. In addition to hitting the road on tours with Face To Face, Strung Out, Pennywise and sharing the stage with Sum 41, Bad Religion, and Social Distortion last year, they also picked up endorsements from Ernie Ball, Fxck Cancer Foundation, and Supernatural Cymbals. The Darlings don't show any signs of slowing as they were just showcased at the NAMM Show 2012 in Anaheim, CA and are releasing their next single "Hypnotize" off their debut full length album, 'The New Escape' on Gadsen Records (UMG) this Spring.
Music history is rich with rock bands fronted by dynamic duos. Looking to carry on this yin and yang tradition are two talented young women, singer Emily Armstrong and guitarist Siouxsie Medley, who front Los Angeles' Dead Sara -- an electrifying four-piece rock band whose supercharged music is propelled by Medley's exhilarating, monster guitar riffs and Armstrong's powerful, wailing vocals. The two musicians are a study in contrast onstage: Medley remains rooted in place -- a solid, steady anchor for Armstrong's almost unhinged performance style. A skilled vocal stylist who can handle blues, soul, and folk-rock with equal aplomb, Armstrong can unleash a guttural howl one minute and trill as pretty as a songbird the next. (When asked by the Wall Street Journal recently which female rock singers she admired, legendary Jefferson Airplane singer Grace Slick namechecked Armstrong, citing her "strong, urgent sound.") Dead Sara, which also includes bassist Chris Null and drummer Sean Friday, has attracted major buzz for the ferocious spectacle of its high-octane live performances. Of a January show at The Troubadour, L.A.'s indie-rock tastemaker website Picksysticks.com raved: "You almost forgot you were watching a rock show in the 450-capacity Troubadour and not in a venue like Staples Center that holds thousands when Dead Sara launched into their soon-to-be mega hit 'Weatherman.'" OC Weekly has praised the band for its "blazing, impassioned classic rock, punk/indie jams, catchy guitar melodies, and songs about not backing down," while Buzzbands.la noted that Dead Sara's "strain of primal rock is loud enough to awaken the ghosts in both the indie and metal underworlds, and maybe even get them to dance a bit."Having spent much of last year in the studio, Dead Sara are gearing up to unleash the fruits of their labors with a three-song digital release, due February 7th and featuring the explosive first single "Weatherman," emotionally resonant ballad "Sorry For It All," and an exclusive acoustic version of "Test My Patience." Their highly anticipated self-titled debut album is slated to be released on April 10th via the band's own label, Pocket Kid Records through Fontana/Universal. Produced by Noah Shain, the music veers effortlessly from melodic, soaring tunes such as "We Are What You Say" and "Whispers & Ashes," to bruised, power ballads like "Dear Love" and "Face to Face," to fierce, blaring tracks "Timed Blues," "Test My Patience," and "Weatherman." "That diversity is what's honest and real to us," Medley says. "We love classic rock, blues, folk, metal, punk, gospel, all of it, so we didn't want to put restrictions on ourselves genre-wise. We just knew we wanted the music to sound really raw and primal, even a bit unsettling." Lyrically, many of Dead Sara's songs are survival anthems informed by their struggle to stay true to their vision of being a powerful, uncompromising female-fronted rock band. "It was difficult to deal with people's ideas about what we should be doing," Armstrong says. "I ended up shutting myself off from everyone and feeling really crushed. I didn't really come out of it until some of my close friends and fans of the band expressed concern, saying 'What the hell are you doing? You can't give up.'"Good thing Dead Sara kept at it. "Weatherman" is poised to sink its teeth into Modern Rock and Active Rock radio on February 14th and has already scored early adds from WCCC FM in Hartford, CT, (where it is the No. 2 most requested song) and 99x FM in Atlanta. In addition, look for Dead Sara as a featured artist on the Vans Warped Tour 2012, which kicks off June 16th in Salt Lake City.
A Loss For Words
In a world where some bands are handed everything on a silver platter, there's also a place where there's still some hardworking folks left. Boston's own pop-punk outfit, A Loss For Words are at the top of that list. Having released 3 EPs and their full length "The Kids Can't Lose" since 2005, they are a group with unstoppable dedication, hard work, and creativity. A Loss For Words have been regarded by members of Bayside, Four Year Strong and Bane as the hardest working band out there right now. Some people are going to ask what being a hardworking band even means anymore, and those questions are warranted. In a world where Myspace plays have somehow become more important than heart, the line that separates the real from the manufactured has become more than a little blurry. A Loss For Words know where they stand in this sea of blurred lines. A Loss For Words are out there on the road touring ten months out of every year. Not only are they out there playing shows, but are watching younger bands, pushing CD's in the parking lot, shaking hands and putting on one of the most sweat-soaked and honest sets you can find. A Loss For Words sees the wall that stands between them and success and they're not stupid. They know that maybe with some cool haircuts and electric drums there might be an easier way around it, but they've picked the path they've always known, breaking away at the concrete with their bare hands and it shows. I challenge you to find another unsigned band with these achievements: toured with Four Year Strong, Set Your Goals and Polar Bear Club, sold 6000 copies of a record that no one helped them put out, and that went to Japan on a 100% DIY agenda. With A Loss For Words, the guarantee is that no matter what town you live in, these guys will be there this year ready to shake your hand, hang out, rock out and have a good time.
"I think the good in people is never lost," Koji said. "And it's never gone from music. Music is an art form that celebrates potential. If you're looking for it, you're going to find it." - February 20, 2012 interview with Gaining Ground Media.Andrew Koji Shiraki is an American artist and activist from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. He can be seen advocating with organizations such as Resolve and Invisible Children on behalf of the child soldiers being used by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in central and east Africa as well as Humility Now to help raise awareness about the homeless right here in the United States. His concerts feature a combination of music, storytelling, media and visual art, all aimed at empowering youth to create positive, lasting change and build community.In 2010, Koji released 4 records, each a unique effort. Seaside Sessions was a raw demo tape that came together in one day with producer Gabe Liberti at Seaside Lounge in Brooklyn. That spring, he hit the road with his demo in tow and almost immediately after upon returning home, Koji landed a deal with Run For Cover Records. In August, RFC released Spring Song Vol. 1 - a full-length live record tracked at intimate house shows on Koji's spring tour, followed by Some Small Way - Koji's first full band release. In October, No Sleep Records released a full-length 12" vinyl split with Chicago's Into It. Over It., entitled IIOI/KOJI, which was lauded by the Associated Press as one of 2010's Most Overlooked Albums, alongside artists like Mumford and Sons, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Gucci Mane.Last year, Koji was named one of Alternative Press magazine's "100 Bands To Know in 2011," and word of his talent is spreading fast. His latest release is his 12" vinyl-only split with long time friends, La Dispute, entitled Never Come Undone, which came out via No Sleep Records. The record was released amidst Koji's "Resolve Tour," where he performed in addition to sharing video and photography, collecting petition signatures and letters to congress seeking funding for the endangered LRA Strategy (it was eventually funded because of the youth advocacy community), and conducting community round table discussions to drive further into the issue of the LRA in central Africa, America's role in creating peace, and the power of an individual's voice to make change on this and any issue. His side of Never Come Undone features the song "Peacemaker" as well as Koji's take on Ted Leo's Biomusicology and was dedicated to fellow activist, Nate Henn, who was killed in 2010's World Cup bombing in Uganda.Koji's journey continues and 2012 is destined up to be a landmark year as he works tirelessly on two new studio efforts while also traveling for tapings of intimate DIY shows for a second installment of the Spring Song series. His concert tours and advocacy projects will take him all around the world several times over this year. And it remains Koji's commitment to his craft and his community that continue to drive the fervent support for his work in both music and activism.
Wick-It The Instigator
Ask anyone who's seen him live and they'll tell you that Wick-it puts on one of the most high-energy, original and entertaining live shows you've ever seen. With successful headlining shows everywhere from California to Alabama, it is clear that the rest of the nation is taking note as well.What makes Wick-it so special begins in the studio. Starting in 2010 with his groundbreaking Big Boi vs. Black Keys mashup album The Brothers of Chico Dusty, Wick-it's thoughtfully fresh remixes have earned him a reputation amongst listeners as a producer that only puts out the highest quality of tracks. His ability to deliver in a multitude of styles earned him recent support slots for acts like:Pretty Lights, Ghostland Observatory, Big Boi, Skrillex, Porter Robinson, MiM0SA, Three 6 Mafia, Yelawolf, PANTyRAiD, Girl Talk, SKisM, Borgore, Zoogma, Perpetual Groove, NiT GriT, Zeds Dead, CaspaOne of the secrets behind his fan base's rabid loyalty is that, although a handful of his tracks have recently been released under labels (and charted on Beatport), the majority of his music is available for free download on his SoundCloud page. With almost 2,000,000 plays and 500,000 downloads, it is clear people simply can't get enough Wick-it. His musical approach is tough to pinpoint given that his roots are in hip-hop, but elements of dubstep, rock and house music have all made their way into his repertoire.Wick-it's most recent full-length release, Grindhouse Basterds, is a Quentin Tarantino themed hip hop, mashup, dubstep, electronic extravaganza. It features remixes of Apathy, Celph Titled, Bun B, Yelawolf, Aesop Rock, Murs, Slug, Notorious B.I.G., KRS ONE, RZA, Ghostface, and more.With acts like Bassnectar, Z-Trip & MiMOSA now beginning to catch on (They've been using Wick-its original remixes as part of their current tours), it's only a matter of time before Wick-it is propelled to the top ranks of his craft.