I talk about Mixtapes all the time on here. They've been recording a second full-length recently and I am really stoked about it. The non-stop barrage of awesome songs keeps coming. You can check out one of those new songs and download it for free too!
Also if you happen to be reading this on March 30th 2011, go here and get the Protagonist album! It fucking rules so much and the band deserves way more attention than they get! The album is free but only for today!
Remember that record label Paper and Plastick I wrote about? It was recently their three year anniversary since starting out. The first thing you should wonder is "Wow! How can label that has only been around for 3 years have put so many incredible records already? That's Amazing!" The second thing you should wonder is "Why should I care about this!"
Well, you should care because they are doing a bunch of awesome things to celebrate.
The first awesome thing is that they are putting up tons of test presses for auction. Test presses are the prototypes of vinyl records, as implied by the name. This makes them very rare. All of the proceeds go towards relief efforts in Japan. So firstly you can score some incredibly rare versions of awesome punk rock albums. Secondly, your purchasing of these albums helps people who are about a step away from turning into the Chrysalids.
The other awesome thing they are doing is giving away a bunch of free record downloads every day! There's about 5 being given away each day this week. Go to this link and you can get more awesome music than you know what to do with. Then do it again tomorrow.
They are a fucking awesome label and put out radical music by great bands on the gnarliest vinyl records you can imagine.
I first started to get into music on my own around the seventh grade. I heard blink-182, Sum 41 and Jimmy Eat World on MuchMusic and was immediately taken by the faster/simpler/melodic "punk" music that was popular at that time. "The Middle" by Jimmy Eat World blew my mind at the time and still does today. It was really the first time I heard a song and really thought "Wow, I really like the way that sounds." It was just after that a whole new world of sounds opened up to. Or at least one that didn't consist of listening to Bat Out Of Hell and Jive Bunny And The Master-Mixer in my mom's Acclaim.
But even though I was (and still am today) endlessly searching for bands that pique my interest in my spare time, the input of others was just as helpful. This ranged from trading new bands with my other three friends who listened to punk at my elementary school to my brother hearing me listening to Sum 41 and telling me to listen to "The Decline" by NoFX instead. (Actually that was a pretty watershed moment in my musical history. They were my favourite band for a long time and were a huge "gateway band" because I discovered so many other new ones through them).
Last sidebar (I promise!): The three bands my brother showed me were NoFX, LagWagon and No Use For A Name. This was in grade 7. I still listen to all of these bands pretty regularly today. I take pride in this. I find that a lot of people just kind of change with the wind and stop supporting a lot of bands. I kind of take solace in the fact that I've been into punk rock for pretty much as long as I've been into music.
Also at this time of discovering bands, my Dad showed me some stuff. He brought me two cds one day; Cream (which I wasn't that into) and My Aim Is True by Elvis Costello. He brought me that one because it came out in 1977 and was when Costello was "most punk" I guess (The first song is only a minute and 24 seconds long!).
I thought it was pretty good at the time and then forgot about it for a while.
Then I watched Sixteen Candles last night and a wave of 80's nostalgia hit me. I've been on a huge Costello kick since. The album really is phenomenal and required listening for anyone.
Even though it's one of his biggest songs, you just can't deny how great it is:
Long story short, my Dad got me Elvis Costello albums and takes me to art galleries. He's probably cooler than your dad.
A bunch of my friends are doing this "30 Day Song Challenge" on facebook. There's a theme for each day and it obviously goes on for 30 days. I figure this is a good way to post something every day and will maybe stimulate my brain to think of things to write.
Anyways, day 1! Your favourite song:
I've posted this a few times before, but it is my favourite song so it's gotta happen I guess. As soon as I hear the opening A chord it always puts me in a good mood. It's a song about liking music, but they write like a love song. It's da best.
The Replacements are definitely one of the quintessential punk bands and this is probably their most well known song, but I'm still lovin' it lately.
I've getting into Against Me! pretty hard lately (as you can probably tell by that last post). Somewhat related to the last song, I think their last album sounds like The Replacements but with Tom singing, which is pretty much why I like it so much. This isn't off that album, but I think it's up there as their best and is definitely the best number of New Wave. I also think that this is a fucking great live video of them and shows how great they are live. Girl behind the drummer gets an F for not paying attention to the rock.
The first thing is that I made my facebook status "white crosses is a fucking rad album. haters gonna hate." This is in reference to Against Me!'s album White Crosses that was released last year.
Probably more so than any other band in recent memory, Against Me! has had a very polarized fan base. The bands earlier albums have more of a folk-punk tendency and the lyrics are heavily critical of the American government, even leaning towards anarchist views. For their fourth album the band signed to Sire Records, a division of Warner Brothers, and released an album that moved more towards pop/rock than their old stuff. People began to shit all over the band instantly, accusing them of selling out and abandoning their values and panned on their album New Wave when it came out.
So when I posted this status my friends commented with contrasting opinions. It seems like half (probably less than that) of Against Me! fans stand with the band, like the direction that the band has taken and think White Crosses is a good album. The other faction thinks that Against Me! have never been worse and are hypocrites for making songs that apparently contrast with their earlier material. Personally it doesn't bother me very much because I've never been a giant fan of the band the way some people are, but do really enjoy their records. I'm that way with many other bands, but not this one.
The other thing was the thread of comments on this story. Namely how everyone was giving the band hell for wanting to "make it big" and play Warped Tour.
And I think this is all pretty bullshit.
In the case of Against Me!, their first EP was released in 1997, when Tom was 17. Their first album was released when he was 22 and in those five years they released 4 EPs. That is a shitload of music written, recorded and released while he was at a young and very impressionable age. Given that he's 30 now, he's obviously a very different person. As a response, Against Me! included the song "I Was A Teenage Anarchist" on their new album as a sort of retort to all the people that criticize them and people still don't give it a rest.
When I was 17 I listened to Anti-Flag and actually thought they made good political songs. Even just a year later I realized how over the top and dumb their songs can be. Opinions can always change. It's not like Tom wrote Vivada Vis and turned around and recorded White Crosses at the same time. Their change in sound has been a long and pretty gradual process. You call me a bigot saying the word "faggot" when I was 15, but wouldn't use it now.
In regards to The Braces, I think calling them posers for wanting to make their band bigger is fucking ridiculous. It's not like they're striving to sign with Universal and put out a Kid Rock record, they just want to get bigger and play a prominent punk festival (albeit a pretty shitty one at that).
I can say without any shred of doubt that probably every kid in every band wants their band to get bigger. Most probably imagine themselves on stage at a decently sized venue with kids singing along, but I mean growing their band. Kids want to write songs and record those songs. An have lots of people hear and hopefully like those songs. This seems like it is the general pattern for creating music.
It's one thing for a band to change their sound and values in the name of mainstream success, but people chastising a band just because they're getting bigger gets under my skin.
If you didn't already know, I still listen to ska. The cat's out of the bag.
A great ska label around right now is Community Records. They support a bunch of really good bands and host tons of downloads for free.
There's a tour being put on by Ska Is Dead called the Young Guns tour. Typically the Ska Is Dead feature a lineup that gathers three or four of ska's bigger bands and throw them out on the road together. I went to Ska Is Dead 3 in Toronto at which the lineup was The Planet Smashers, Mustard Plug, The Toasters, The Know How and The Flatliners (this was just after they got signed to Stomp! Just after Destroy To Create came out), it was lots and lots of fun. This one instead features a bunch of up-comers in the genre, including We Are The Union! And a Fad reunion on some dates!
You can get a free sampler that has songs from all the bands right here!
Yesterday I was having a terrible day for some reason. I was hungry, tired, felt like shit and didn't want to do anything, even though I a ton of work to do. Whereas I used to wallow in these moods, now I know better and know they'll pass in a few hours or so.
Buuuuuuuuuut, whenever I get in these moods one of the first songs I always put on is "King Of Minneapolis Parts III & IV" by Bomb The Music Industry! It always helps. 100% of the time. The song is about the singer of the "band" trying to drink himself to death and then waking up and realizing that life isn't so bad. He crashed at a guy's house and then the next day got a tattoo of his face after meeting him one time. I guess you could say the first half is the negative (night before) half. I like it because he doesn't skimp on heavy and depressing lyrics. Then it builds into a pretty crazy catharsis in the second half that will probably always move me.
The part at the end where it's just the bass and him singing "I know I'm not dead because I just threw up in my own mouth" is just fucking incredible. Everybody probably has "those songs" that they rely on and this is definitely one of those for me. If you listen here I think you should really open up the lyrics, because they're just incredible.
This is still one of my favourite things ever. Take one of my favourite indie bands (including a singer who has a distinctive, but absolutely dynamite voice) and have them cover my favourite Cure song.
Once you get a positive state of mind, the good days just start rolling in. Today especially ruled. Here's why:
I listened to Enema of the State on the way to school. blink-182 has been one of my favourite bands since elementary school and I still feel awesome every time I listen to the band. "Going Away To College" is my favourite song by them.
At the University of Guelph there is a large veterinary program. A result (or at least this is what I'm assuming, I have no idea really) is that people train seeing-eye dogs on campus. Because of this there was a tiny brown lab puppy looking at me for my whole bus ride to school. I love dogs.
My earliest class, Romanticism and Realism in French Literature, was mostly about Realist painting. I sounded like I knew what I was talking about for once.
The prof for my next and most work-intensive class was absent. We got out early.
In my next class I got back a paper and did better than I thought I did.
Somewhere in the midst of this I put on The Wonder Years.
I had Taco Bell for dinner.
Soon I'm going out and getting pretty drunk with a bunch of my good friends.
Head above water this year boys.
I know it sounds pretty lame to say this stuff, but that band makes me feel like I can take on the world every time I listen to them. Fuck yeah.
It's been two years and change since Living With Lions put out their last album. Since then they signed to Adeline Records, which is owned by Billie Joe Armstrong. This is good because it'll get them some much needed attention in the states. Then over this summer they lost their singer. They filled the role with Stu Ross, who used to play guitar in Misery Signals and also sings/plays guitar in Lowtalker. This presented me with some problems. How will a new/pretty different sounding singer change the sound of the band? Will Lowtalker keep going? Are they still going to have awesomely ripping songs about girls?
The answer to all these questions came yesterday when the band posted a song from their upcoming album. Stu definitely sounds different from their old singer, but doesn't use the throaty voice/hardcore yell that's used for Lowtalker tracks. So that's the first problem solved.
Then at the start of February Lowtalker announced that they were recording a new 7". Stu played some solo shows, so I thought that the band would maybe become a solo/acoustic project (Lowtalker is 4 guys; Stu as well as 2 dudes from Comeback Kid, so they wouldn't have shortage of things to do/shows to play/albums to record if the band became one dude). But by the sounds of it, it's a full band affair and I am fucking stoked.
And the new song is about an ex-girlfriend, so I'm the happiest clam in the sea.
The new Smoking Popes album is streaming! I'll admit, I only own Born To Lose,but I do really love that album. I was pretty wary about new material, but turned out to be pleasantly surprised. It's a concept album about a kid in high-school, which gives a 39 year-old man, with a track record of writing great love songs, an excuse to write teenaged love songs. SCORE. The album rules.
It's been awhile since I've written anything in this blog, so please bear with me.
I know I've said this already a few times, but unless I'm the habit of writing every (or almost every) day, I find it very hard to think of things to write. Obviously this is a vicious cycle because that only adds to the blogless streak that I'm already on. This sucks for two reasons: Firstly, I feel accomplished when I write a lot, so not putting anything up makes me feel pretty lazy. Secondly, these long streaks of nothing eventually lead to a blog about writer's block/having nothing to say and writing an entry about it like this one. And I may be mistaken, but reading about this sucks.
But it's necessary, you know?
I dunno, Wayfarer's a rad band. Here's a new song by them. It rules.