Album Review: The Fake Boys – Pig Factory

Massachusetts threesome The Fake Boys have somehow taken 90s indie rock and mashed it up with a little DIY pop punk as well as post-hardcore in a good good way on their debut album Pig Factory.

Released by Animal Style Records, Pig Factory was recorded by the great Jay Maas (Title Fight, Transit, Polar Bear Club) and pretty much kicked ass from start to finish.  I will admit, I was super hesitant before listening to this album, but am stoked I checked it out.

“This Is Our Band” opened up the album with the lead vocalist having a very Billy Corrigan singing style (as well as a Ravishing Ride Rude resemblance), but not that “despite of my rage I’m still just a rat in my cage” annoyance.  “This Is Our Sound” followed making this listener think back to the alternative / grunge days, especially with that J. Mascus-like guitar playing.

The sound kept consistent through and didn’t get old at all.  “Don’t Live” might have had some deep lyrics that I could not crack, but the song was great.  “You’re A Loser” followed with a perfect grunge to post-hardcore ratio making for an impressive listen.

“Best Post” had this Five Man Electrical Band sound at first that was completely off from the rest of the tracks.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a good listen with acoustic guitars and such, but that only lasted a moment as the rest of the band kicked in making for a good ol’ 90s alt-rock listen.  I found myself really digging that track a lot.

I really enjoyed the 90s alt-rock-heavy “Hi Friend”.  There’s nothing quite like a fun, friendly song that   just makes you gently rock your head.  Hands down, this was my favorite cut off the release, well at least I thought it was until the next track came on…  Just wait till that distorted bass kicks in, and you will most likely agree with me – “Realist World” ruled.  Lots of emo and post-hardcore going on the track.  I’m sold.

The Fake Boys sounded like a punk rock Smashing Pumpkins with a gracious nod to 90s rock.  I caught hints of Jawbreaker, Briad, and even Texas Is The Reason as well  as Dinosaur Jr.  Spite what I think they sound like, the truth is, this band knows how to deliver their own style and the result is a pretty solid listen.  There’s nothing fake about these guys at all and I am sure they are fully aware of that.  Do you like 90s rock?  Yes?  Go listen to The Fake Boys now.

Greek Fire Release Video For “If This is the End (The Sound of Belief)” To Raise Awareness

Growing up, one of my best friend’s little sister was diagnosed with Leukemia.  I don’t need to get into exact detail, but I will say she recovered and is living a good life.  She was young when she had to go through all the horror of finding out what she had and kept strong while going through treatment.  It was an event I will never forget for as long as I live.

St. Louis act Greek Fire is pretty much experiencing the same thing I did years ago.  Their drummer, Johnny Venus, was diagnosed with Leukemia.  At this moment, he is still fighting to overcome it.

Greek Fire was formed in 2008 by members from Story of the Year and  Maybe Today.  If I had to describe their sound, I would have to say they resemble Muse and Thirty Seconds to Mars.

Once the band found out their drummer was diagnosed, they stepped up as any family would and devised a way to help pay for the treatment.  Recently, the band made a video for their song “If This is the End (The Sound of Belief)” with all proceeds from the track going directly to Johnny’s medical bills.  The song is full of hope and not only was created to help fund treatment, but to raise awareness to all who view it.

Over the past four years, Greek Fire has built a wide fan base through word of mouth that has been spreading rapidly in the past few months.  The band recently kicked off a tour, with Story of the Year singer Dan Marsala filling in drums for Johnny, to support their  album Deus Ex Machina.

From Greek Fire (as found on Johnny’s Tumblr page):

In February 2012, shortly after an amazing tour of Japan, GREEK FIRE drummer and longtime STORY OF THE YEAR drum tech Johnny Venus was diagnosed with Leukemia. As anyone can imagine, this devastating news came as a complete shock and rocked the entire camp to the core. Johnny is fighting the battle of his life, and even in these darkest of times his incredible courage and strength inspired Johnny’s fellow band mates to write a song about this profoundly difficult and emotional journey.

The song, “If this is the End (The Sound of Belief) was utilized for a video GREEK FIRE released via YouTube on May 15th, 2012. The video was made for zero dollars by a group of amazing and selfless individuals that donated their time and talents with no thought of reward or payment, and the result is a heartfelt and emotional offering of hope and support for anyone, anywhere who has experience with cancer. Greek Fire is releasing this video in hopes that it can help people find the courage and strength to fight with all of their heart, and that there are people everywhere in the world fighting with them. That is the mission: HOPE. Please share this video with as many people as you can. Nothing will make Johnny Venus and the band more proud than if it can help someone, somewhere, in some way.

Take a moment to watch the video about the song that surrounds the idea of believing. The ending is sad as hell, but is so real. Trust me on that.  Share it too if you so desire.

If you would like to follow Johnny’s progress or end find out how to help, head over to his Tumblr page.

I hope Johnny’s is able to kick this illness and get back behind the drums to continue his dreams.

Stream the new Greek Fire album below:

Greek Fire – Deus Ex Machina by SecretServicePublicity3

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo – “Fields of June” featuring Frank Turner

Once upon a time some guy named Frank Turner met songwriter Emily Barker.  They just so happened to share a stage in 2006 and soon became great friends.  The two musicians soon toured together in the UK after Turner asked Barker to join him.  On that tour, Turner and Barker first performed the amazing duet “Fields Of June.”  I know I was not there to see it and honestly, I never knew who Emily Barker was until today when I heard “Fields Of June” for the first time and fell in love with it.

I am thrilled they decided to do this.  This was the surprise song of the day for this music lover.

I am not sure I have heard such a great duet since I was a little kid.  Turner and Barker both take on strong roles on the song that really is a heart-breaker to absorb.  Seriously, this is no love song.

As an added bonus, a silent movie inspired music video was made for the song.  Check it out:

Emily Barker & The Red Clay Halo are an amazing act to listen to and I am shocked I have been left in the dark about them for so long.  I will be looking to check them out in serious detail.  This song is available for download and on a 7″ through Xtra Mile Recordings.  I am so tempted to order this vinyl as I know it will not be available for much longer.

Interview: Jeff & Loren of Signals Midwest

It’s no lie.  I miss Cleveland.  I miss Akron.  I miss you Ohio.

I can not tell you how excited I was last night once my Cleveland homies Signals Midwest dropped by for a quick visit.

The boys had a night off of their current tour and I told them they could crash at my pad if they wanted.  They took me up on my offer and decided that we should all go see that new Batman movie too.

I was more than fine with that.

After the movie (amazing btw) and many beers later I felt like interviewing them for kicks and giggles.  Jeff and Loren were the troopers of the night and not only stayed up late, but were all about a drunken impromptu interview.

BHP:  So, what did you think about the movie?

Jeff Russell:  There was about 7 scenes that was tied to to my favorite and they all included Anne Hathaway and I was all like me likey likey.

Loren Shumaker-Chupp: Oh Batman… I don’t know.  The Restorations flasks were pulling it up.  John Blake was getting promoted to detective was epic.  I hit a certain point in the movie where I didn’t know what was going on.  Bruce Wayne making it out of the pit was it.

BHP: Bane was a little heavy on the Vader.

JR:  Ummmmm….I think as a trilogy it ended perfectly and I loved how Christopher Nolan had an all-star cast.  If he was a basketball coach, he would have had a dream team.  But LeBron James would have been in the new Spiderman movie.

LS: The pit that Wayne was stuck in was easy to get to get out of  in New Jersey.

JR:  Commissioner Gordon moved to Cleveland.

BHP:  Ha ha, and I moved away.  Do you feel the movie lacked in anything?

JR:  I would have loved to see Mr. Freeze and what he would have brought to the table.  I would have loved to have seen his take on global warning.  What if Al Gore played Mr. Freeze?

LS: I just think that I have a better memory of Danny DeVito carrying around that umbrella.  I just say that because you can’t use the Penguin anymore because he killed it.  Jack Nicholson killed it.  He warned Heath Ledger to not play the Joker.

BHP:  How’s the tour going?

LS:  Going great.  Played a lot of shows we did not know what we were getting into but had a good turnout.  We like playing new places not knowing what were were going into and having a good reaction.

JR:  The people that travel to see us is mind-blowing.  It sounds conceded, but we made some solid friends in cities that we could  not have played in due to cramming in so many shows as possible in a month and not going to as many cities as we wanted to.

LS:  This tour is great as we get to see a lot of cities, but not as many as we wanted to.  It is great to see so many people thought.

JR:  I will say it’s crazy being 2 weeks being Luther and 4 days ahead of Hold Tight!.  Having kids still come out to our shows is pretty awesome.  It’s tour season.

BHP:  What is next for you guys?

JR: We start a week long tour with French Exit.

LS:  We will be out with them for 6 days and have the cost.

JR:  We ge tho play at our favorite venue called VLHS. Does anybody need a beer?

BHP:  Yes.

LS:  Vince Lombardi high school. Yeah.

JR:  Also stoked to see Sleeping Weather, cause that band shreds.  I think they are just a three piece.

BHP:  What do you guys think of Las Cruces?

JR:  It is not that hot.

LS:  I heard some coyotes earlier.

JR:  No scorpions.  We went and saw Dark Night Crisis with our home girl Brian.

LS:  Las Cruces is awesome because you can buy liquor at Walgreens.  In Cleveland you have go to a liquor store.  Wave Falls, what is that Wallgreens beer?

And that was it.  The interview ended and we all went to bed.  It was well past 3am and we were all exhausted and maybe a little drunk too.  Even though Max and Steve passed out early (Steve, I hope you are feeling better man), it was still great to see the guys.  I only wish it could have lasted a little longer.  Sadly I had to go to work…really hungover, but I made it and wet on with my good self while Village Inn made breakfast for Signals Midwest.  Man I was jealous about that…

Happy touring fellas. Thanks for the great hang.