Every Time I Die
Wage War, '68, Birthright
124 Market Place
Baltimore, Maryland, 21202
Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM
This event is all ages
Watch & Listen
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."
With over five years of unmatched determination, the culmination of five Florida musicians' effort is ready to be unleashed. Guitarist/vocalist Cody Quistad and guitarist Seth Blake met in high school when they discovered that they shared musical interests, and started jamming soon thereafter. In 2013, the duo encountered vocalist Briton Bond and, shortly after, bassist Chris Gaylord and drummer Stephen Kluesener were incorporated into the mix. The line-up alone of Ocala, Florida's Wage War sheds a more-than-welcome light on the importance of a solid foundation built upon evolving musicianship. Wage War marks their territory with from-the-heart lyrics and thrashing beats that transcend to a community who understands the trials and tribulations of growing up all too well.
In fact, Wage War IS that community, as Quistad explains, "A lot of the themes in our songs are about growing up to be a productive person, and dealing with the real things that can happen in life and coping with circumstances that could be problematic,"says Quested. "The first single we're releasing, 'Alive,' is an anthem to all the naysayers out there that are always talking about our generation being a bunch of losers."
Blueprints, the band's debut album co-produced by A Day To Remember's Jeremy McKinnon along with Andrew Wade, resounds with all of the tension and ingenuity of its creation. The band delivers 11 tracks of uncompromising multi-dimensional metalcore, filled with high-intensity rhythms, battering drums and blazing guitars, tempered with tuneful vocal passages. Crushing breakdowns alongside a combination of roaring and melodic vocals prove powerful enough to level a small village. Yet, Wage War aren't focused solely on destruction.
"The goal of Blueprints was to establish a foundation," Quistad says. "It';s our first record and our first chance to show people what we're about. So we really went all out to deliver the best songs we could possibly write and play them to the best of our ability. I think a lot of people are going to be surprised."
In Humor and Sadness, the debut album from '68, demonstrates the loud beauty of alarming simplicity. A guy bashing his drums, another dude wielding a guitar like a percussive, blunt weapon while howling into a mic somehow manages to sound bigger and brasher than the computerized bombast of every six-piece metal band. A splash of roots, a soulful yearning for mid century Americana and the fiery passion of post punk ferocity rampages over a record of earnestly forceful tracks like a runaway locomotive.
Josh Scogin wasn't out of elementary school when the Flat Duo Jets laid their first album down on two tracks in a garage. But the scrappy band's spirit of raw power, punchy delivery, tried-and-true rhythms and urgent sense of immediacy is alive and well in '68.
Heralded by Alternative Press as one of 2014's Most Anticipated Albums, In Humor and Sadness is a snapshot of a fiery new beginning for one of modern Metalcore's most celebrated frontmen. Produced by longtime Scogin collaborator Matt Goldman (Underoath, Anberlin, The Devil Wears Prada), the first full offering from '68 is a broad reaching slab of ambitious showmanship delivered with few tools and fewer pretensions. The scratchy disharmonic pop of Nirvana's Bleach is in there, for sure. And while many associate the setup with The Black Keys, '68 is more like Black Keys on crack.
"I wanted it to be as loud and obnoxious as it can be," Scogin explains. "I want it to be in-your-face. I want people who hear us live to just be like, 'There's no way this is just two dudes!' That became sort of the subplot to our entire existence. 'How much noise can two guys make?' It's obviously very minimalistic, but in other ways, it's very big. I have as many amps onstage as a five piece band. Michael only has one cymbal and one tom on his kit, but he plays it like it's some kind of big '80s metal drum setup. It's minimalistic, but it's also overkill. We get as much as we can from as little as we can."
Like many pioneers, North Carolina's the Flat Duo Jet's blazed a trail for more commercially successful people. They played rootsy rockabilly but with a punk edge. Band leader Dexter Romweber's solo work was a fist-pounding celebration of audacity and disruption, which influenced the likes of The White Stripes, among other bands.
"I got excited when I thought about the distress, the chaos that this two-piece arrangement would create – one guy having to provide all of these sounds, with a bunch of pedals, with certain chords wigging out and missing notes here and there," he says with excitement. "That alone makes up for the chaos of having five people up there."
That idea of less is more, of building something big from something small, persists today at the top of the charts with The Black Keys, just as it's lived and breathed in the bass-player-less eclectic trio Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, the rule-breaking early '90s destruction of Washington D.C.'s Nation of Ulysses, and in the two man attack of '68.
"Jon Spencer's records always sound like he's kind of winging it and I love that," declares Scogin, letting out an affectionate laugh. "In my last band, that's how we tried to make our last record feel. The excitement and imperfection is something I love to draw from."
Before paring (and pairing) things down with friend and drummer Michael McClellan, Josh Scogin was the voice, founder and agitprop-style provocateur in The Chariot, who laid waste to convention across a brilliantly unhinged and defiantly unpolished catalog of Noisecore triumphs and dissonant art rock rage. Recorded live in the studio, overdub free, The Chariot's first album set the tone for a decade to come, owing more to a band like Unsane than whatever passes for "scene."
Scogin was the original singer for Norma Jean and left an influential imprint on the burgeoning Metalcore of the late 90s that persists today, despite having fronted the band for just one of six albums. Whether it's the genre-defining heft of Norma Jean's first album or the five records and stage destroying shows of The Chariot, there's a single constant at the heart of Josh Scogin's career: a familiarity with the unfamiliar.
A new Metalcore band would be a safe third act for the subculture lifer, but Scogin isn't comfortable unless he's making himself (and his audience) uncomfortable. "I definitely wanted to flip the script a bit," he freely confesses. "I've always wanted to play guitar and sing in a band, ever since I left Norma Jean. I needed the freedom of not having a guitar onstage, but now having done that for several years, I wanted the challenge."
Creative problem solving has long been the name of the game for Scogin, whether he was hand stamping ALL 30,000 CDs for The Chariot's Wars and Rumors of Wars album or figuring out how to pull off his '68 song title concept in the digital age of iTunes. Each song on In Humor and Sadness was to be titled with simply a single letter, which when put together vertically on the back of a vinyl LP or compact disc, would spell out a word. However, it's problematic to name more than one song with the same letter, which would have been necessary to spell out what he intended.
'68 is the forward thinking progress of an artist who finds satisfaction in the expression of dissatisfaction. There's progression in this regression. Tear apart all of the elements that have enveloped a singer's performance, strap a guitar on the guy and set him loose with nothing but a beat behind him? It's a recipe for inventive, fanciful mayhem.
After a raucous debut at South By Southwest, a full US tour supporting Chiodos and many more road gigs on the horizon, Scogin and McClellan are propelled by the excitement that comes along with the knowledge that '68 is truly just getting started.
"We've just broken the tip of the iceberg. We're really just exploring all the different things we can do," Scogin promises. "I'll get more pedals, we're try different auxiliary instruments, whatever – the goal is to challenge ourselves and challenge an audience."
Hailing from the small town of Linthicum, just outside of Baltimore, Birthright consists of five childhood friends with daddy issues who seek nothing more than to validate themselves. Segueing between aggressive bursts of angst-ridden hardcore and uplifting, melodious soundscapes, Birthright weave their own brand of emotional post-hardcore that proves the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
$18 ADV $20 DOS
Box Office is open Wednesday-Saturday 12-6pm and All Show Nights, 410-244-0057. Unless otherwise noted Maryland State's 10% Admissions and Amusement Tax is included in the ticket price.