With a name like Much the Same, it's no coincidence. The young melodic punk quartet were not creating anything new - just keeping a then-fossilized genre alive & well, tending to it like a beautiful war nurse to a wounded veteran. This group of Chicago kids only released three records in 8 years, but found a very loyal and steady following, even well after their demise in 2007. Their 2006 full-length Survive is on par with any solid effort from A Wilhelm Scream or Rise Against, and helped pave the way for modern up-and-comers, such as the Swellers and Transit. Their impact might seem, in retrospect, rather infantile - but it's hard to argue with the measure felt by their aftershocks. Survive was released three years after their full-length debut Quitters Never Win, and one of the seminal releases of that year. Where Quitters was raw, guttural melodic hardcore, Survive was as brash as anything they'd ever written with a new-found sense of optimism and levelheadedness. Nitro Records had a phenomenal year in 2006, seeing the releases of Much the Same, No Trigger and Crime in Stereo - and as a testament to the influence of that label's best (and last?) year, Much the Same still remains a hot commodity, with many punk fans declaring it one of the last decade's seminal punk records. For a nitpicky crowd, that's true definition. After frontman Chris "Gunner" McGrath left the band in the spring of 2007, it was evident the band was better off calling it quits. Sure, Much the Same never got the chance to make a truly enormous impact to more than a core group of people, but the fact still remains that despite breaking up as their star was rising (they were featured on MTV2 a bit), the band were starting something none of us really ever saw coming. 2006 was the rebirth of melodic punk rock music, and Much the Same will forever be tied to revitalizing the genre and having their legacy benefit from the continued buzz of exuberant punk fans everywhere. They were never the Movielife nor were they ever Refused - but listen to any of their albums now and it's like they never went away.
Great pick! Nitro Records was easily the defining record label when I think about my senior year of college - between A Wilhelm Scream's Ruiner in 2005, and the three-way combo of No Trigger, Crime in Stereo, and Much The Same, that label was on a roll.