So the one thing I have learned about The Warped Tour is that no matter how ridiculous I think the lineup may be, the few bands I actually want to see make the experience totally worth it. I went into this year's tour knowing exactly who I wanted to see and having already seen a handful of other bands multiple times my day was pretty much planned out.
I worked the night before into the morning of Warped and left Maine at 6am and made it to the Comcast Center around 11am. Needless to say I was exhuasted but I wasn't going to let that hinder me of having a good time. As soon as I went to get my press pass I ran into fellow AP.net staffer, Christian Wagner. Who I had never personally met before, so that was awesome getting to meet another person I work with on a daily basis. After I got in I went over to The Dangerous Summer's tent to see if any of the guys were hanging yet and got to meet up with their tour manager who was an incredibly nice guy. I had to make quick moves to meet up with Soupy and The Wonder Years because their set time was 12:30pm. So I rushed over to the press area to meet up with Soupy who was nice enough to meet up with one of my best-friends who idolizes him and let us catch their performance on stage as a birthday present. Seeing The Wonder Years live for the first time was definitely something I needed to experience. While The Upsides was a moving record for many, it was just a great record to me. As for Suburbia? I'm in love and the guys live show just proved they are the real deal. The crowd was cheering for TWY before The Ready Set was even off the stage. Which just goes to show how far they have come and how real and true their music is and the connection they have with their fans. You can catch their whole set which Alex caught on tape below (you can see me at a few points, I'm wearing a blue and black plaid).
After that I headed off back to The Dangerous Summer's tent where AJ, Tyler and Bryan were hanging out for awhile. I hung out with the guys for awhile and got to talk for a bit. They mentioned that they may be doing another limited pressing of War Paint in the fall. So be sure to keep an eye out for that. After some shenanigans, I headed out to check out some of the other tents. I finally stumbled across the Keep A Breast tent, which I encourage everyone to stop by and at least say hi to my future wife Christina who is working with them all summer for an awesome cause.
After killing some time I ran over to catch Moving Mountains, who I had seen before in MA but things were definitely different this time around. Not that they were bad before, but they absolutely killed it this time around. Greg's screams have become so defined and the band's as tight as ever musically. They are definitely one of the can't miss bands of this year's Warped Tour. After their set I met up with them at their merch booth and talked to Greg for awhile about the band's plans. He mentioned their upcoming fall tour, which I can't say who they will be supporting, but lets just say AP.net will be in love. He also mentioned wanting to put out some new material before the band's next album, so be sure to keep up to date with everything within the MM camp.
I had to run and catch up with Nick Martin of DRUGS who told me to meet up with him and I could catch their set side stage. So I booked it over to the main stage and got to catch about 10 minutes of Less Than Jake's set, which I wish I could have seen more. But as you probably expected, it was great for the short bit I got to see. Finally I got to see my good friend Craig Owens in action. The weather started to get real cloudy right before DRUGS took the stage and you could tell it was going to open up real soon. The band got to play 3 songs before they had to cut their set short and the rain started to pour. I caught a short video of the guys giving it their all in the downpour, but it's kind of hard to see.
After about 15-20 minutes, the band got the okay to go back on for one more song, which they closed with "If You Think This Song Is About You..." leaving the kids wanting more but still satisfied. They definitely had the biggest crowd of the day at that point in time. Out of all the sets I saw, I would say they put on the best show. No gimmicks, just straight in your face rock, which is how Warped should be.
I had some time to kill so I grabbed some food and got to catch a bit of A Day To Remember's set, which was alright. I wasn't blown away, but then again, it could have been these kids that killed it for me.
I ended up not watching much of their set just because of how big the crowd was and how obnoxious the kids around me were so I headed back over to the Nintendo Stage to catch Dance Gavin Dance with their original lineup. Out of the three times I have seen them perform, this was definitely their best performance. Jonny has stepped up to the plate and brought his A-game because he was spot on and even outdoing his recorded self. Jon's screams sounded a lot stronger as well, overall their performance was top notch and showed why they are as big as they are.
DGD was the last band I caught because I was exhausted and we still had to drive 4 hours back home. Overall, I would say this year was more fun than last year's even if I didn't get to catch as many bands. Even though I missed The Dangerous Summer and Bad Rabbits, all I could hear people talk about was how awesome their sets were. So if you get a chance to catch both of them as well, be sure to do so.
Another year down, another good time. I'm excited for next year's tour, I just hope I can take part in it.
Being young, I have missed a lot of things in my life. Like the premiere of “Thriller“, the day the Berlin wall came down and things like crystal Pepsi. But one thing I haven’t missed is the rise of pop-punk music and the shape and form the music scene has taken throughout the past decade or so. Which leads me to Warped Tour. An iconic event that has taken place for over ten years now. Starting out as a punk circus and developing into one of the biggest tours across the States every year. When the lineup was announced for this year’s Warped Tour, I’ll admit, I wasn’t too impressed. Sure, this year there wasn’t the likes of Brokencyde and Millionaires, but there was still a lot of bands that teetered on the edge of being intolerable like those two. But alas, I didn’t think I would end up going, so I wasn’t too bothered about everything. But then the opportunity arose and I jumped at it, seeing how I needed to experience Warped sometime for myself, reading text and watching videos doesn’t do enough justice. This is my first Warped Tour experience and ultimately an unforgettable one.
I would like to think of this Warped Tour as the diamond in the rough tour. You have to sift through a lot of filler bands to really get down to the heart and soul of the tour. Or that is how I felt while I waited outside the gates, patiently standing for the doors to open. Eventually 11am rolled around and the doors opened and kids flew in like a flash flood. I went over to the press tent to get my wrist bands and whatnot and ended up running into a friend I had made from working on AP, Richie Cordaro. He was working the press tent so I got to chat at him for a couple minutes or so and headed off to make my way onto the grounds.
Once on the grounds I could finally relax for a minute after having a 4 hour drive and waiting for an hour on no sleep I was kind of exhausted but still ready for a full day. I made my way through some of the first couple tents like No Sleep Records, which had a bunch of awesome albums and shirts for dirt cheap. Had I brought more money I would of snagged up as much merch as possible from those guys. I made it to the stage grounds and found the times of all the bands and to my surprise The Dillinger Escape Plan had already taken the main stage. Talk about making a run over to catch their set. I bustled my way through kids to catch about half of their set, and I must say, that 15 minutes was all I needed to see. In that 15 minutes the band was all over the stage, jumping off amps throwing things around, kicking their monitors, just using the stage as a battle ground. Few acts can match the intensity and madness of those guys, they are one of the realest bands out there. Talk about having emotion and feeling.
I had a little time to kill so we headed over to the Glamour Kills stage to see The Summer Set perform, but we had got their early so The Cab was playing. Call them a boy band, but they are good at what they do. Alex DeLeon can sing his heart out. They create catchy pop music at it’s best. I’m surprised they haven’t rocked the airwaves yet. After their set, The Summer Set came on. One of, if not my most anticipated pop bands to play that day. People day Brian’s voice is whiney but it’s different than everything else out there. I caught the majority of their set, which was tight, everything sounded great and I had to head back to the other stages where I had to make the most difficult decision of the day.
Once I was back to the grounds, I had to choose between 3 bands that have been near and dear to me. I had to choose between Four Year Strong, Every Time I Die and Polar Bear Club. I ended up picking Four Year Strong based on the side of their crowd and the fact that I had recently seen Polar Bear Club at Skatefest. The Worcester boys brought their A-game for the hometown crowd playing a solid mix of the Enemy of The World and Rise or Die Trying. They also played at the peak of the heat, I believe it was hovering around 90 degrees with a smothering amount of humidity on top of that. Boston kids know how to have a good time, especially when it’s on of their own. Huge circle pits, tons of crowd surfing, and just good vibes all around. Near the end of their set I had to get out of the circle because I was on the verge of passing out from dehydration. I plowed my way through kids and found a cute girl selling Gatorade. Purchased one and headed back to action as soon as possible. On my travels I caught the last song of ETID’s set, which was simply insane. Made me question if I had made the right choice. I worked my way back to FYS’s set and watched as they finished one of the best shows at Warped.
After about dying of heat stroke we went back over to the Glamour Kills stage to catch our hometown boys play, Sparks The Rescue. But before they took the stage, I got to catch Fake Problems which was a pleasant surprise. They put on a completely solid set, just not a lot of kids were really into it, and some were just being down right jerks. But aside from that, they were great. After they finished Sparks came on, repping the 207 the only way they know how to. Out of all the times I have seen Sparks, vocally this was probably their weakest. But it wasn’t that bad, just not up to par as usual. On stage though, the guys were insane, high energy and up tempo for their whole set. So glad to see them finally getting the recognition they deserve. I peaced out a little early to head to the press tent to do my interview with The Summer Set. Once I got there I ended up waiting for a bit and interviewed the guys in After Midnight Project and In Fear and Faith, both just awesome down to earth dudes. Finally Brian and Jess got there and I got to interview them as well. Brian is totally humble and easy to talk to and Jess is a sweetheart. If any pop band deserves your love, it’s these guys (and girl).
I had some time to kill so I decided to check out some of the tents that were around the grounds. Obviously I hit up the Keep A Breast tent and bought a new wrist band to show my love for what they do. To Write Love On Her Arms were there doing great things as always. Other tents I stopped by were Trojan (yay for free condoms), The Wonka tent, Glamour Kills, and various others. One that stood out all day was the Truth truck. Which was always busy and full of people. They were giving out a bunch of free stuff and information for the people who cared to listen. That was definitely a big hit with a ton of kids throughout the day.
After the interviews and tent searches, we headed back on to the grounds to go catch Emarosa. They played a solid set, Jonny Craig hit the majority of his notes and sounded great. I had heard that he is iffy live, but he pulled it off really well. Here comes my second bone to pick with Lyman or whomever picked set times. I had to choose between The Swellers, Set Your Goals and Motion City Soundtrack. How is anyone supposed to pick between all of these bands? You have a scene staple in MCS, A frontier pop-punk band, and the up and comers. Luckily, I picked Set Your Goals and ended up with the best set of the whole day, 100%, hands down. Everyone in the crowd was amped from the second they started playing “Gaia Bleeds” and it never faulted. High energy and in your face, just how I like it. I was helping lift kids every two seconds so they could crowd surf, I was running the circle pit, anything and everything I was all over that area. You probably saw me looking like an idiot freaking out, but that’s what music is supposed to do. Make you feel something you can’t explain. Set Your Goals reminded me of what pop-punk is supposed to be and the interconnection that it creates within fans, even when they don’t know each other. It’s bands like this one that make me realize why I still listen to this music, why it still runs through my veins, and is a part of my every day life. They live to make this music and I live to experience it, and it’s that bond which makes everything so powerful and moving. I hope more artists take notes because that’s what you need to thrive in today’s world.
I was completely dead after the SYG set, so I headed back to the Glamour Kills stage, on my way I ended up running into my buddy PJ from Maine, which was also another pleasant surprise. I made my way to the seats and watched VersaEmerge for the third time this year. With every performance Sierra has gotten increasingly better. She dominates the crowd with great front woman skills, reminiscent of the unavoidable comparison, Hayley Williams. Their set was tighter than ever and the new material sounds like it’s really in their heads now because they pulled it off amicably.
The last set I ended up seeing was none other than Sum 41. One of my favorite bands growing up that had gotten lost along the threads of time. Well they convinced me to give them a second chance with their short but sweet set. They played basically all of their hits in stellar fashion. It probably helped that there was a high octane crowd as well. But the boys brought it and brought it hard. They even did an awesome cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Paint it Black” which wasn’t something I expected. They closed with “Fat Lip” which brought me back to my grade school days and reminded me of how much that music shaped who I would be in the future.
In closing, my first Warped Tour experience was one I will never forget. I went into it being a nay-sayer and ended up becoming a believer. When it comes to festivals like this we tend to focus too much on the negative instead of the positives. Sure, there isn’t a completely stellar lineup, but then again everyone likes something different and they need to conform to everyone. Focus on what is important to you and you will find something you love. Something that means something to you and makes you realize why music is as important as it is in your life. Warped Tour may not be perfect, but it is a getaway, and that’s fine by me.
NOTE: Truth bears no responsibility for content created by third parties.
All photos belong to Future-Breed. Check out their site, they do great work.
Why some bands blow up and others don’t is something I will never understand. Of course, you will always have the people that are willing to sell out to make it big, such as Cobra Starship, and people who spend their whole career struggling to make music they believe in, The Felix Culpa. But, while selling yourself to the industry has its benefit, the struggle that everyone else goes through is worth it. The emotion, passion, pride, and love that is in their craft means so much more to not only them, but their listeners, too. This is why The Felix Culpa has become a local favorite around Chicago. They have been building a steady fan base in the Chicago underground scene for about a decade now but with no real exposure. As the years have passed, the band has progressed into a indie/post-hardcore machine that runs on raw emotion. In the same vein as Brand New or As Cities Burn, The Felix Culpa make dark grasping music that pulls you in and never lets go. If comparisons to those two bands isn’t enough for you, they made Alternative Press’s list of 100 bands you need to know. They also made their list of top 10 songs over 10 minutes. On top of that, their last full length Commitment was dubbed a post-hardcore masterpiece, so it’s understandable to see where all this excitement is coming from. The question is, why aren’t you more excited for Sever Your Roots?
For starters, the album tracks in at over an hour long, which is more than most artists even think of putting out now. Nine out of the fourteen tracks are over four minutes long, which shows how much substance is on this record. You're probably thinking, “Just because a record is long doesn’t mean it’s good,” and while you’re right, that isn’t the case for Sever Your Roots. Every second on this album is carefully thought out and has been crafted to your liking. Trust me when I say this album competes with releases from the bands mentioned earlier.
Sever Your Roots starts out with “New Home Life,” a slow opener that makes you feel like you’re listening to a live broadcast and then comes full force to slap you in the face. But don’t worry, it’s only for a short stint. As the song pushes forward, the storm calms down and comes back with horns and reverbed guitars that caress you until you feel at home once again, just to be slammed again as “Our Holy Ghosts” comes crashing into you. A rumbling bass line, finger snaps, cymbal crashes, and chanting chorus of, “To be in love/With love, is not enough, this time” proves to be infectious and chilling, simultaneously. One song just rolls into another without any chance for air as “The Constant” comes roaring in next. This song sounds like it could have been pulled right from The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, with some fast guitar work and in-your-face scowls. Marky Hladish belts out lines so reminiscent to Jesse Lacey it’s scary. “Roots” being one of the “interludes” if you will, keeps the constant flow going right into “Escape To The Mountain,” which showcases some of the most fancy guitar work on the whole album. With crunchy riffs layered underneath the distinct lead played by Dustin Currier, this song stands out as one of the more impressive numbers on this masterpiece. Oddly enough, the next song, “First One To The Scene of The Accident,” starts off with the words, “Breathe now, If you have the chance” but before you get the chance, the band drowns you in sound, coming at you full force topped with mandolin and violin. “Unwriting Our Songs” is the musical equivalent to a chaser, as it washes down the burning sensation that “First One To The Scene of The Accident” left in your mouth. Slow and smooth, the song passes along like a cold winter breeze transitioning into “Mutiny." Hladish’s croons bleed emotion in every verse, almost Geoff Rickly-like, which goes unseen in the age of pitch perfect performances thanks to auto tune.
After another “interlude” track, “Rum and Cigarettes,” the guys come back into full swing with one of the most fluent tracks on the album, “Because This is How We Speak,” which fades out with yet another haunting piano and violin composition. “Indian Wells,” and “What You Call Thought Control,” pick you up just to slam you down. With the combination of thundering drumming, in your face riffs, and bass lines that shake the room more than when Rush Limbaugh opens his mouth, there isn’t much to complain about here. “An Instrument” is the climax of the album, and is a pinnacle as great as this is, it is rarely seen in music today. A seven minute epic, it starts with spine chilling vocal melodies, guitar work, and chimes of piano sprinkled throughout as it comes to a head and bursts into overpowering rhythms and layers. It smashes your head back and forth until you can barely stand, but pulls you back up just in time to see everything come to a close. “Apologies 1” could possibly be the most well crafted song on the whole album, as it exemplifies everything this record is about; the push and pull of emotions and the overall rollercoaster ride that is Sever Your Roots. The slow number serves almost as an epilogue. There is impressive guitar work that any post-rock band would be proud of and Hladish’s defined vocals cementing the end of a masterpiece. When everything is all said and done, you have a feeling of accomplishment after hearing this album, and that isn’t normal in the age of digital singles.
The Felix Culpa have done it again, and if this isn’t enough to push them into the limelight, I’m not sure what will be. Call them stunning, call them amazing, call them refreshing, but at the end of the day, The Felix Culpa are something original. If Sever Your Roots isn’t your kind of music, you can hopefully at least respect these men for creating something so passionate and moving. In these desperate times, we music fans need to support artists that create things aside from the neon outburst that has taken over the scene, and Sever Your Roots is the perfect storm.
So I'm back I think? With my weekly write-ups if I can stay somewhat not busy and keep this a priority haha. But anyways, I can't think of a better way to start off the new year with this band so things are good.
Say what you will about Vampire Weekend, but they have become one of the frontier bands of "mainstream indie." They do it without sacrificing any of their merit, too. While some rappers can go and spout off about lifestyles they haven't lived and get praised for it, Vampire Weekend does the same thing and they get bashed for being Ivy League boys whose fame was bought. They write about what they know, and that's all that matters to me, and obviously to them. Their debut album Vampire Weekend made a big splash in the media with the backing of sites like Pitchfork and media networks like MTV. The album contained many different influences that ranged from Paul Simon to African and world music. While their S/T album contained a lot of stand out tracks like "A-Punk" and "Oxford Comma," the album failed to have a flow; it just seemed to jump around from song to song. Not to be mistaken that the bands sound was significantly defined, just not perfected, but as of today and the release of their second album Contra, they have reached that point.
After two years since the release of the last album the guys have been able to do extensive touring and various other things such as electronic side projects (Discovery). But, if anything, you can see how far the band has progressed from the music they initially released way back when. Contra is the final product of a band that has been learning as they wade their way through this ever changing music industry and it's a reassuring thing at that. The album starts off with "Horchata" the first song that was released back last year for free on their website. The song demonstrates a more melodic style from the band, and showcases Ezra Koenig's improved vocal range and control. But while the new is there, the same signature drumming of the last album is still there. "White Sky," and "California English," are perfect examples of how side projects can slowly become a piece of another band. Rostam Batmanglij's excursion Discovery shows its electronic side in multiple places throughout Contra. In most scenarios this would be bad, but here it just adds another dimension and layer to Vampire Weekends melodic joyride. In the latter, Koenig's vocals even have auto tune, which everyone in music usually would frown upon, but here it seems necessary and appropriate. "Holiday" will stand out as a fast paced warm weather jam when the time comes around. Wait until this spring when the sun starts to come out, and this song will be played in everyones car as the rays of light reflect off their tinted shades.
Contra really picks up with the second half of the album with the soothing number, "Taxi Cab," which exemplifies how well Koenig's voice has matured in its lower range. With samples, piano keys dabbled throughout, and the backing of a full string section, "Taxi Cab" really stands out as one of the more calm and mildly relaxing tacks. Following "Taxi Cab" is "Run," one of the stronger tracks on the album. Picked up by some fancy drum work by Christopher Tomson and tied together with one tight bass line, played by Chris Biao, the band plays off each other in an amazing fashion. As Tomson and Biao do their part building a stage, Koenig and Batmanglij both shine as they play off each other throughout the whole track. For every note Koenig hits, Batmanglij has some kind of response with his synthesizer, whether it be a sampled orchestra or just some plain old low end synth notes. The two compete for the limelight but only for the betterment of the song. Next is "Cousins," the first single off the album. While this doesn't have the instant gratification hook of "A-Punk," this is by far the fastest and most marketable track from a mainstream point of view, on the album. Quick, and in your face is what you get here, no synthesizers or string arrangements, Batmanglij picked up the guitar for some fast California surf style guitar work. "Giving Up The Gun" happens to be the best song on the whole album, displaying everything the band has done in the past and perfected in the present. Vampire Weekend's signature guitar work is layered throughout the whole song, with samples, strings, bells, and a sing-along chorus. This is one of the best songs, if not the best song the band has ever written. As a whole, "Giving Up The Gun" shows why this band stands alone about everyone else in the endless pit of musicians and bands.
The album wraps up with the one two punch of "Diplomat's Son," and "I Think Ur a Contra." "Diplomat's Son" uses an M.I.A. sample but takes all of the focus away from the fact that it's actually in the song. The bouncy piano line backed by the electronic bass line and Ezra's soothing vocal delivery makes the sample seem obsolete. Finishing out the album is the ballad, "I Think Ur a Contra" which is the slowest and softest Vampire Weekend song to this day. This is a bittersweet love song about a failed romance that features some of the best songwriting and song composition work that the band has ever done that ends on a quiet, but promising note.
There is no way a band like Vampire Weekend is going to win in the end. With the Vampire phase that is thriving through America they will be bashed for adding to the craze. Hipsters will dismiss them for having too much mainstream appeal, the mainstream kids will say it's not catchy enough to be in their rotation. But for us that can appreciate true and honest music they will thrive because in the end that's what matters, and Contra is just that-- true and honest music.
If you would like a better review of the album check Blakes review here, or if you're too cool for that check out Pitchfork's here.
01-12 Los Angeles, CA - Henry Fonda Theater
01-17 New York, NY - United Palace Theater
01-18 New York, NY - Webster Hall
01-19 New York, NY - Bowery Ballroom
02-05 Bexhill, England - De La Warr
02-07 Cambridge, England - Corn Exchange
02-08 Manchester, England - Manchester Apollo
02-09 Leeds, England - Leeds O2 Academy
02-10 Birmingham, England - Birmingham O2 Academy
02-12 Newcastle, England - Newcastle O2 Academy
02-13 Glasgow, Scotland - Barrowlands
02-14 Edinburgh, Scotland - Edinburgh Picture House
02-16 London, England - Brixton O2 Academy
02-17 London, England - Brixton O2 Academy
02-19 Berlin, Germany - Astra
02-20 Cologne, Germany - Gloria
02-21 Hamburg, Germany - Uebel or Gefaehrlich
02-22 Brussels, Belgium - AB
02-24 Amsterdam, Netherlands - Paradiso
02-25 Paris, France - Olympia
02-26 Toulouse, France - Le Bikini
02-27 Barcelona, Spain - Penelope
02-28 Madrid, Spain - Teatro Circo Price
03-14 Edmonton, Alberta - Edmonton Event Centre
03-15 Calgary, Alberta - MacEwan Hall
03-16 Missoula, MT - Wilma Theatre
03-18 Salt Lake City, UT - In the Venue
03-19 Denver, CO - Ogden Theatre
03-20 Aspen, CO - Spring Jam Core Party
03-22 Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
03-23 Milwaukee, WI - Riverside Theatre
03-25 Chicago, IL - Riviera Theatre
03-27 Knoxville, TN - Tennessee Theatre
03-29 Columbus, OH - The LC Pavilion
03-30 Toronto, Ontario - The Sound Academy
04-01 Boston, MA - Orpheum Theatre
04-02 Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
04-03 Washington, DC - DAR Constitution Hall
04-05 Nashville, TN - Ryman Auditorium
04-06 Asheville, NC - Orange Peel
04-08 Atlanta, GA - The Tabernacle
04-09 New Orleans, LA - House of Blues
04-10 Austin, TX - Stubb's BBQ
04-11 Dallas, TX - House of Blues
04-13 Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theatre
04-14 Pomona, CA - Fox Theater
04-19 Oakland, CA - Fox Theater
Well to start off the night I missed the up and coming local favorite Pinsky. Caught the tail end of their last song of the set which sounded great. I'm sure they put on a great show because those boys never ever disappoint in any of the times that I have seen them. Much love to them and hopefully I will get to see them again soon. Next up was Ocean is Theory out of Atlanta, Georgia. They put on a fantastic set mixing post hardcore with indie elements. I really dug their sound as I hadn't really listened to much of them in the past. Surprised that they aren't signed yet, I see a lot of potential in them to make a really solid record in the future.
Next came Gabriel The Marine, probably one of the most up and coming talented bands to grace this scene. Mixing tons of sounds and creating something truly original these guys go unmatched by all. Their sound is like a mix of a pop orientated Manchester Orchestra meets As Tall As Lions meets Anthony Green who also plays violin while he howls. For being so young this band is extremely tight live and played each and every song note for note, even better than studio quality at times. Michael, the singer shows incredible range for someone who is only a year out of high school, something reminiscent of old school Anthony Green. It seems like they have been doing this for years but in all reality they are still learning the ropes but prove to be one band you need to keep your finger on. If you ever get the chance to see these boys any where near you do not think about it twice, they will prove you wrong time and time again. This is one of New Yorks next big bands to break with The Republic of Wolves. Here are some pictures my friend took.
Finally John Nolan played. One of my personal heroes who has wrote music that has been influential to me since I was a young angsty teenager up until now a growing and confused college kid. Let's just get this out of the way and say that Taking Back Sunday died when John Nolan left the band. This man was the reason they released a classic record, and it shows when he plays live. His voice just contains so much raw emotion and passion that it's chilling. I'm glad that he left to pursue the music he wanted to make because it is honestly a 1000 steps up from what he use to do. Even though it was just him on stage with his acoustic guitar he controlled the stage and serenaded a small crowd of about 30 but in a fashion that the number witnessing wasn't important at all. After playing some solo songs, some Straylight Run songs, and an Elliot Smith cover John finished up his set with his first single off of Height with Gabriel The Marine as his backing band and a phenomenal one at that. Everything was spot on and they completely killed it. After the show I talked with John and he was such a nice and humble musician, a true class act. Same to be said for Gabriel The Marine, these kids with the right connections will be on their way to the top. Mark my words and jump on the bandwagon now before it's too late.
Michael, Myself, and John.
All pictures are courtesy of Emma Lichtman, everyone check out her other pictures. She's majoring in photography and would love the support.
Set Your Goals and No Trigger - Mutiny! In the U.K.
Record Label: Eulogy Records
Release Date: February 17th, 2009
he year is 2006 and Californian punk band Set Your Goals has just released their debut album Mutiny!. The fast paced, in-your-face songs are a hit with the punk and pop punk crowd. After two years of nonstop touring, the band released a new song to keep faith in the fans and let them know that they were still alive and planned on releasing a new album. No Trigger on the other hand had also released their debut album in 2006 after relentless touring. Although there hasn’t been much news from the No Trigger camp, the bands announced that they would be going on tour together over in Europe. After the tour was finished, the bands announced that they would be releasing a DVD of their adventures overseas.
After waiting and waiting, we all finally got somewhat of an update from both bands in the form of Mutiny! In The U.K..
While personally I didn’t constantly follow the happenings leading up to the release of the DVD, I purchased it under the false pretenses that I led my self to believe. I thought that I was purchasing a DVD that contained live performances from both bands. While in a sense it does have live performances, the live footage has the studio tracks dubbed over the bands. I don’t mean to be a whiner, but this totally kills the live experience of a DVD, but if any bands were to dub their material I would want it to be these two. Even the studio versions of the songs pack more punch than most bands bring to the stage live anyways. It sucks that you don’t get to hear how the bands would sound if you were to actually see them in person but the hootenanny that takes place on tour makes up for it greatly. Whether it be setting things on fire, fighting with random European assholes, or stealing from shops, the band covers all the bases. I see this DVD as being more of a view at what life on tour with these bands is like compared to live release.
The displeasure with this release is due to myself, and for that, I have no one else to blame. If you buy this DVD hoping for a live show like I did, you will be disappointed. If you buy this DVD hoping to get a few laughs and just watch one of your favorite bands mess around overseas, then you’re in for a good time. I highly suggest going with the latter, as it makes for a better $14.99 well spent.
T.J Cornwall - Hide and Seek EP
Record Label: Unsigned
Release Date: January 1st, 2009
Not too long ago T.J. Cornwall use to play in a band Cloverleaf, a four piece piano rock band. Cloverleaf was a musical outlet for T.J. and his 3 other Penn State buddies. But as graduation came closer it forced the band to really question what they wanted to do with their lives. The 3 other members choose to take a different path as T.J. decided to stick with music. As the band called it quits Cornwall continued to write songs on a more personal level for a solo record.
How is it?
While Cloverleaf had a strong piano pop sound, Cornwall's solo work is very stripped down. Kept to the basics of soft acoustics and calming piano melodies. At times Cornwall's shrews can be a little gritting but nothing over the top. With a little more time and experience I don't see this being an issue at all. Even though Cornewall stated these new songs were more personal, that information could be obtained just from listening to the songs. It's tough to give a fair judgement with only three songs, but the EP closes with a strong piano ballad "Stranger, Please" which musically sounds like it could have been pulled off the newest Fray album. Cornwall sings "I'm not Picasso, but I thought we were a masterpiece" delving into his personal pain of a breakup. While T.J. Cornwall doesn't really reinvent the wheel, he gives us something fresh and new to watch out for. While the talent is there, we still haven't really seen the full potential of Cornwall, but I think with his upcoming album all of that will change.
All The Day Holiday - The Things We’ve Grown To Love
Label - Linc Star
Release Date: August 4th, 2009
When you saw that this review was posted, the first thing that probably went through your head was, “Oh, great. Another mediocre, lame, pop punk band that does nothing to separate themselves from the ever-growing scene.” Like your mother probably always told you, don’t judge a book by it’s cover. While All The Day Holiday isn’t the greatest band name, they will probably sway your opinion of them quite quickly, when it comes to music. If that wasn’t persuasive enough for you, what would you think if I told you that they are signed to the same label as Lydia before they were signed to Universal Motown?
All The Day Holiday is a four piece hailing from Cincinnati, Ohio. The band sparked a lot of interest when they self released their We’ll Be Walking On Air EP. In fact, they sparked just enough interest to get them signed by Linc Star in 2008.
So, I bet you’re wondering how the album is, and I have to say it’s nothing far from stellar. The feeling I get when listen to this band is the same feeling I got when I listened to Copeland for the very first time although the big difference between the two, in my opinion, is that Copeland’s music is made to enhance Aaron Marsh’s vocals, in contrast to All The Day Holiday’s Daniel Simmons vocals which somehow take the back seat and makes the instrumental aspect of the band even more incredible than it already is.
[i]The Things We’ve Grown To Love[i] starts out with the barn burner “Autumn,” which showcases Simmons’ odd but likeable vocal style, backed by a fast paced drum beat and delayed guitars that quickly changes the pace for the chorus. The soft chorus is chased by the powerful lines of, “I promise you, we will make it out alive/ I promise you, we will see a brand new light,” where Simmons pushes his voice to the highest degree. “Real Time” follows “Autumn,” completely leaving the Copeland comparison in the dust with thundering drumming, racing vocals, and quirky electronics in the mix of things. It’s funny how a song can come from a simple statement like, “The grass is always greener on the other side,” but the guys make work with “Greener.” This song is a prime example of what the band is fully capable of creating, going from the relaxing melodies of Simmons’ voice to the full blown body of sound as the band backs him as he belts out, “Get out of this trend, get out of the wind/ Run away from your reflection, it goes in one direction.” “Cities” is a personal favorite off the album, as the song carries an overall happy feeling that can pick me up from whatever is being a burden or hassle. One of the few blunders on the album is the title track itself. While it’s still a decent song, it doesn’t pick up until the latter half until Simmons breaks through a monstrous drum roll to deliver some of the smoothest and fullest croons to this day. The final highlight comes in the form of “Mountains.” This song easily could have brought the album to a close as it reprises the emotions from earlier in the album and brings them to full circle astonishingly.
The band couldn’t have stated it any better then they do in “Mountains” when they sing, “I’m so excited, I’m so excited for what’s to come.” That’s exactly how I feel about this band. They possess the talent to touch so many music fans of music all around the world. They have truly created something special with The Things We’ve Grown To Love, a record that bleeds emotion and optimism from such a young and promising group. While All The Day Holiday may have grown to love their surrounding and a hope for a better and more self fulfilling future, I have grown to love this album, and I dare you to try and not do the same.
Bibio - Ambivalence Avenue
Record Label: Warp Records
Release Date: June 22nd, 2009
Bibio isn’t a name that gets tossed around much in America. Why? I’m not exactly sure. Maybe for the same reason that other foreign artists don’t get enough recognition. But trying to pin point a reason isn’t helping the cause, so let’s get to the goods.
Bibio is the artist name of a British producer named Stephen Wilkinson. Taking influences from bands like Boarders of Canada, Bibio released a handful of albums on Mush Records. Now being a newly acquired Warp Records artist, Bibio has decided to expand on the past and delve further into the folk/electronic spectrum with his new record Ambivalence Avenue.
Many music fans like to pinpoint and pick and poke artists to death by trying to label them more than a marked down clearance at Sears. But in all fairness this can’t be done with Bibio. Call it what you will, there are too many elements to name in this record. The title track “Ambivalance Avenue” starts the record off by showcasing the heavy distant island drum beat that continues throughout the song. While it dominates the various vocal harmonies, the upbeat instrumentation backs the flow through and through. “Jealous Of Roses” sounds as if it could have been pulled off a Ryksopp record as the 70’s style sample holds throughout the song. One of my personal favorite songs, “Fire Ant”, showcases Wilkinson’s talent in the sampling field and creates an insanely dope beat that I can see being used in the near future by an MC, that has a eclectic taste of music (hello P.O.S.). “Sugarette” starts off nice and slow lives up to the name of the album, but quickly turns into electronic madness in the vein of Crystal Castles. Another stand out track on the album is “Lovers’ Carvings”, that essentially is a short little guitar ditty that comes full circle with claps and gentle vocals making this the finest example of Bibio’s folk side.
When you finish listening to Ambivalence Avenue you’re not exactly sure what to think. You feel like you have heard most of this before, but in the end it’s still something refreshing. I wouldn’t chalk this up for much more then that, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. At the pace Bibio produces music and changes the sound within in his music, you must take notice. The talent located in this man’s pinky surpasses many band’s combined. The least you can do is give him your time, as this is shaping up to be one of the sleeper records of the year.
No matter where you travel throughout the world, there is one thing that people love; something that is so great that there are no words to fully describe the feeling it gives you when you have it. If you were to guess what it was, some may say love, because that is what everyone searches for in life. Sadly, that isn't what I'm talking about. Others may say money, because money can buy happiness, but not love (lasting love, that is), but no, it isn't money either. What I'm talking about is ice cream, frozen yogurt, custard, or whatever you choose to call it. This is the one item on this earth that brings smiles to every living thing from coast to coast. Its sweet and tasty flavor and creamy texture is almost too much to handle at times. The way it melts in your mouth is more orgasmic than M&M's (which do melt in your hands). On top of everything that has already been said, you can fix your ice cream to fit whatever need you may be craving, whether it be chocolate chips, peanut butter cups, caramel, anything you can imagine.
Why is this even remotely related to Four Year Strong and their cover album Explains it All? I see the original songs being the ice cream of the situation. No matter how much time passes, they will always have a place in your heart for nostalgic reasons, and for that, you will go back to them and find reasons to enjoy them. Four Year Strong's take on the songs are the candy and goodies that you can add to your ice cream. Deep down they are the same songs that you know and love, they just have a different twist on them -- some that may be more fitted to your liking, and some not so much. But when everything is said and done it's all about having a good time and enjoying life.
Four Year Strong aren't going to beat around the bush; you know what you are going to get when you first put the album in. Well, maybe that's a lie. I mean, they do start this album out with beach boy style harmonies that sound better than any northern Massachusetts church choir has ever done, though that ends quite abruptly, and the same Four Year Strong that everyone loves comes out to play. "Absolutely (Story Of a Girl)", the first track released off the album, is one of the standout songs on the album as the three part vocal layout and harmonies fit perfect with the upbeat song structure. They keep things rolling with "Ironic", the Allanis Morrisette classic, which ironically happens to be my favorite track on the whole album. The band's fast and in-your-face style fits her songwriting and pissed off style of music. Out of all the tracks on the album, I was pleasantly surprised on how this turned out seeing how I never really found myself to be a big Morrisette fan when I was younger, although everyone else seemed to love her. "Semi Charmed Life" is the other highlight off of Explains It All, and they do Third Eye Blind complete justice with their rendition. Of course, with the good there are the bad, which "Spiderwebs" falls under. The guys try to recreate the sounds of early Gwen Stefani and, even with the help of a few horns; there is no help for this song. While "Spiderwebs" can be tolerated, "Fly" is hard to get through and ends up being the equivalent to freezer burn on a good batch of songs. The biggest reason for this is Travis McCoy's (Gym Class Heroes) endless banter and annoying commentary. Musically and vocally the song just lacks the punch that the rest of the songs have. Finally, the album closes on a high note with "She's So High", which is immensely better than the original, thanks to the addition of the synth.
No matter what the band does, there will always be someone that complains. They had a good time putting together this record, and if you can get paid to have a good time then you are living the good life. For everyone that complained about the lack of new material: it's on the way. At least enjoy these songs for the rest of the summer heat. I promise they won't melt.
The Format - Live at The Mayan Theatre[DVD]
Label: The Vanity Label
Release Date: November 13th, 2007
The Format have finally released a DVD so everyone can see what long time fans have been talking about for so long.
Of course when this DVD was originally released people had no clue that the band would later go on an “Indefinite Hiatus,” but looking back now I can’t think of a better way to tie together the loose ends. After releasing an instant classic “Dog Problems,” The Format was up against the impossible, creating something better. But to tide people over until the next album they released Live At The Mayan Theatre. For any die hard Format fans this is a dream. A full concert that contains a twenty one song set list with “Dog Problems” played in it’s entirety.
In the beginning, the boys walk out dressed to impress in their suits and vests. Throw in a horn and string section with a couple friends (Reuben’s Accomplice, Robb Maclean and Patrick Carrie of Limbeck, Jack Antonoff of Steel Train, and Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World) and you are ready for an amazing night. The band starts the night off by playing Dog Problems from front to back. While this may not be ideal for fans of the first album, it hits the spot for me. “Dog Problems” is just one of those albums that that you fall in love with once you hear it. Ruess’s distinct voice and melodies are so catchy that even the casual music fan can appreciate The Format. This album just has some magic way of staying with you now matter what musical changes you go through in life. I find that the more I grow and the more complex my life becomes I find myself turning to “Dog Problems” for support. It’s not every day that an indie pop classic like this comes out, so for those of you that have slept on it, it’s time to get on the ball. The entire show projects a bigger image than just the band. It’s hard to put into words, but the performance is so much more than just an ordinary performance. It has every base covered for a complete show and experience that is indescribable. The most reasonable comparison that comes to mind is seeing a play that leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction. That’s the feeling that I am left with after watching this DVD. When “Dog Problems” is finished, the band plays a few older fan favorites to finish off the seemingly perfect night. Maybe it’s just the mix of the guest artists, setting, and current time and place that makes this is truly something special. It’s an actual musical performance that strikes emotions that only certain life events could. When you’re watching the DVD, you can’t help but smile and feel joy, but at the same time feel upset when you remember the current state of the band. I dare to compare this to any graduation from school in the terms of emotions that are provoked. While you’re sad to move on and go through new life experiences you can’t help but be excited for what’s to come in the future.
The only bonus feature on the disc is a short documentary called If Work Permits, which is about the making of “Dog Problems” and where the band got their inspiration for the album. The members of the band discuss everything from where the album title came from, the recording process, being dropped from a major label, and how grateful they are for their fans and their diehard support.
In all reality, this DVD can be for new and old fans alike. It truly is a release that anyone can appreciate. Like I said before, if this is the band’s final release, I can honestly say I would be satisfied. Although it wasn’t a long and drawn out career, the music they made touched people and still stays strong ‘til this day.
Mooncake - Lagrange Points
Label - Cavity Records
Release Date - May 10th, 2008
Mooncake is a Russian post rock band consisting of two guitars, a bass, cello/keyboard, and drums. The band started back in 2006, but has quickly gained recognition in the post rock scene and has even played shows with big timers of the genre such as Explosions in the Sky and Russian Circles. Lagrange Points is the band’s first full length album, and it leaves you with a refreshing faith in an oversaturated, watered down music scene.
How is it?
Lagrange Points starts off very slow and melodic which is enticing to listen to. Eventually, the rising guitar tones add more and more intensity giving the overall sound a lot of depth. The cello mixes in great as it blends the instruments together, making the albums flow perfectly. This album is one you just have to listen to for yourself. Every track is full of emotion and is bound to take you on one hell of a ride. Although lots of songs have a slow and mellow tempo, they are packed with ringing guitar tones and delays. After listening to it multiple times, I can’t find much wrong with album. If you find Explosions in the Sky to be a little too laid back for you then this is for you. If you find Russian Circles to be a little too extreme for your liking, this album is for you. I haven’t heard a great post-rock album by an up and coming band in quite some time. It seems like the post-rock standbys always release top notch records, such as Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and Sigur Ros, but you hardly ever hear of a band that comes out of left field and surprises everyone. This is that band and this is their coming out album. I would rank this album somewhere close to Moving Mountains “Pneumonia“. Even if you have tried post-rock before I suggest purchasing this album, turning off the lights, laying in bed, and losing yourself in its atmospheric vibes.
Paper Route - Absence
Record Label: Universal
Release Date: April 28th, 2009
It’s tough to not sound like a pretentious music elitist when you are discussing something you feel very passionate about. So if I come across as one right now, I apologize right off the bat. If you can’t find something to like in Paper Route, then you don’t appreciate good music. It’s even tough for me to try and translate my thoughts on this album when I can’t even fully comprehend how complex it is.
Paper Route is a four piece band from Nashville Tennessee. The band was formed in 2004 after several other bands had disassembled. As of late the band has been touring with the heavyweights of the music scene today such as Paramore, Jack’s Mannequin, and Copeland. Audiences and fans alike have been thoroughly impressed and have had nothing but great things to say about the band, mostly because they have only been touring on a couple EP’s and haven’t had a lot of material to work with, which brings us to the present place and time, April 28th 2009. Paper Route’s debut album Absence is officially available. So how does it stack up? Let’s just say that it’s one of the best albums of 2009 so far.
Now, when I heard that Paper Route was going on tour with Paramore I gave them a listen and it was impressive. They had well written songs, but nothing really stood out to me, so going into Absence, I had no real basis to go by which made the album so amazing. It’s was one of those experiences when you discover a band for the first time and are completely blown away and that overwhelming feeling of joy and adrenaline takes control of you. It is really unexplainable unless you have had it, but that’s what music does to people.
Absence starts out with the a slow opener called “Enemy Among Us,” which I probably wouldn’t have picked as the starting track but its smooth melodies draw you in for more. “Wish” chases the slow opening track with more intensity and a better example of what the band is all about. Daly lays down the soft lines “The memories of losing you, you’re like a ghost/ Tracing where I said to you/ I wish you would listen to get through it,” over the mix of synth, samples, and catchy piano lines. “Carousel,” the first single off the album probably has the most market ability for the band. Again, Daly sings about a relationship where things continue to go on until its gone too far. The chorus, as simple as it is, just seems to work, “On and on and on we go/ Just like a carousel that’s lost control/ We don’t know why, we don’t know why/ We go, we go, we go in circles.” While the song isn’t too over the top, its pretty fast for their slow and melodic style. “Good Intentions” is probably my least favorite track on the album. Although it is filled with heavy lyrics, the background female vocals remind me of some backing track you would hear back in the 90’s. “Tiger Teeth” contains a simple beat that almost has an oriental touch to it, but it isn’t over done. The way the band blends their vocals, samples, and instrumentation is just pure genius. They seem to do things where you wouldn’t expect them and it ends up working out for the best. “No Sudden Revelations” shows another one of the bands multiple personalities, displaying their style of post rock to the fullest; it starts off with soothing instrumentation and shows how Daly uses his voice as an instrument. As the song progresses, more layers are added with the various voices and chorus effect to boot. This ends quite abruptly as “Gutter” storms in with a heavy beat that sounds like The Wu-Tang Clan is about to drop some killer verses. Although they do not, it’s quite alright as Paper Route demonstrate how to take a song with heavy synth and make it completely original and creative unlike other artists. To close, the album is “Dance On Our Graves” and it does so on a high note. Daly’s repetition of the chorus “I need you now/ I need you now more than ever before” gets stronger as the song progresses. The album comes to a close with the final lines, “When we see the light when we’re going home/ We’ll dance on our graves with our bodies below/ We’ll sing glory hallelujah,” leaving you moved and wanting more.
I can see this record being the Illuminate of 2009 if people give it the chance. It hold the same credentials and value as that record and deserved to be heard. This is one of the most beautiful pieces of music I have heard in some time and it has been stuck in my head since I heard it. This band is definitely worth your time, so don’t think twice about picking this up. With 2009 holding a lot of promises as far as music goes, this album will definitely live up to its expectations.