Post-Hardcore rockers The Blackout may have already turned some heads overseas previously in the U.K. but that was not good enough for them. The band recently recorded their second full length appropriately titled The Best In Town, signed to Epitaph Records, and now plan on invading the U.S. with their infectious music. The Blackout should have no problem doing so with a pretty intense album full of hard rock riffs and dual vocals that are sure to attract a much wider audience in due time.
Track opener “ShutTheF*ckUppercut” immediately has The Blackout declaring they desire attention with sick guitar playing, gut wrenching vocals, and even harmonious signing layered with piano. If the title of the song alone did not capture attention, the song itself surely would. Think hard rock mixed with post-hardcore and even some glam.
“Saves Our Selves (The Warning)” takes more of an emo Taking Back Sunday approach with a good rock feel. With no intentions of boring their listeners, The Blackout keep their first single off the album very interesting throughout proving the band really wants the spotlight fame they crave.
“Top Of The World” continues with a more rock song that many fans, old and new, will be singing along to instantly. “Children Of The Night”, the albums second single, carries on with a harder rock playing and multiple vocals including haunting children signing that could easily could accompany a modern day Lost Boys soundtrack.
“Silent (When We Speak)” slows down things for a moment and begs for lighters to be raised in the air and ignited with this ballad of sorts complete with your trademark guitar solo sure to set the mood right.
Dual vocal battle track “I Love Myself and I Wanna Live” mixed up aggressive rock with more emo type jams for a highly addicting track. Album closer “We’re Going To Hell… So Bring The Sunblock” not only had another hilarious title for a song but also escalated the energy of the band once again for a damn good finish to an album.
When Epitaph Records signs a band to their label there usually has to be a good vibe about that act. The Blackout are full of energy and musical abilities that will easily grab the attention of many and prove that Epitaph was right in adding them to their roster. Fans of post-hardcore bands and emo acts should check out The Best In Town as it is an album that will not disappoint.
I came across an artist the other day named Dallas Green who has a solo project he calls City and Colour. The thing is, I have heard the voice before but could not pinpoint where… After a minute of research I was amazed to find out that Dallas Green is also the lead vocalist for the post-hardcore act Alexisonfire.
Crazy. I am so out of the loop.
I admit it. I am not hip to everything so you can imagine how I felt considering I am a fan of Alexisonfire…a fan that does not necessarily know all the band members by name.
It seems that all of these punk rock / hardcore artists are doing solo albums lately and it appears it might be the new “in” thing to do, but before I continue I need to state that Dallas Green has been doing his solo project for a few years now. Also “in” or not if an artist can pull off an amazing solo album, more power to them.
I have yet to check out the entire album called Bring Me Your Love as well as the rest of Dallas Green’s solo catalog. Funny thing is that I have seen this CD before on the shelf but didn’t even give it a chance. Looks like I was the one missing out. If you like meaningful folk rock material you should check out this CD like I intend to do so…
American screamo teams up with Japanese screamo on the recently released Thursday / Envy split EP on Temporary Residence Limited. The two powerhouse bands contribute songs to this limited release that is being sold strictly CD+LP only (there will not be a sole CD or LP available) and can only be found in independent record stores. There is also a hand printed limited edition version that can be ordered exclusively on their website of on their label’s site. Both bands comprise exceptional tracks and really do a great job in doing so on this release.
Formed in New Jersey around 1997, Thursday has been a staple in the post-hardcore scene. Having released multiple albums, the band has had a very successful career despite ping ponging from record label to record label after mishaps and disputes. Currently the band is signed with Epitaph records for this full length to be released in 2009.
Screamo experimental rock act Envy, hailing from Japan, are unique in their own way with songs sung in their native tongue layered over post hardcore music, as well as a little experimental chill out on some tracks. Well respected all over the world by many and commonly known for their explosions of screaming on songs, I was really looking forward to finally hearing them.
So how did the two come to unite? Truth is Thursday is a huge fan of the experimental Envy. Back in April the Thursday posted news of the release on their site:
“It’s our pleasure to announce a split release with one of our favorite bands in the world. We are currently in the studio recording tracks for a 12” release with Japan’s Envy. For those of you unfamiliar with Envy, they are an experimental, epic, lush post-rock band that’s heavier than just about anything we’ve ever heard. Despite the enormous geographical distances between us, the bands have evolved from the same thrashy underground post-hardcore scene. Honestly, there’s no way to properly describe them.”
The split CD started out with four tracks by Thursday and opens with the impressive “As He Climbed The Dark Mountain”. Geoff Rickly and crew provided a solid track full of the sporadic singing styles I grew accustomed to with their previous releases, layered with some sick guitar playing and insane drumming. I really enjoyed this track a lot and after hearing this I can not wait to hear their next full length.
The dark instrumental “In Silence” was more of something you would hear the Crystal Method crank out. The techno strong song is far from the post-hardcore material the band is known for and I myself loved it. Full of distorted synthesizers, electronic drum beats, and a mellow piano solo, this song really showed a different side to the band usually known for their screamo.
“An Absurd And Unrealistic Dream Of Peace” had it’s moments with more of an emo feel throughout the song and really did not do much for me. “Appeared And Was Gone”, another instrumental track, continued the dark trend and was remixed by Anthony Molina of the 90’s alt rock band Mercury Rev. The track once again is more of a techno experiment that had a God Lives Underwater feel, but was just amazing. Lyrics added to this track might have enhanced the song a little further.
Envy really impressed me with “An Umbrella Fallen Into Fiction”, having not heard any of their material before. The song started out slow and really reminded me of The Cure for some reason but with a Japanese spoken word behind it. Think slow Dir En Gray, that is until you hit just after the 4 minute mark and the song completely explodes with lead singer Tetsuya Fukagawa’s dishing out some insane screaming over a faster tempo. The song was quite beautiful throughout although my lack of understanding the Japanese language wished to be informed.
“Isolation Of A Light Source” had enough screaming to push you to the ground. Again, I had not the faintest idea of what was going on, but I enjoyed the severity of the screams added along with the heavy music. The final track on the other hand,“Pure Birth And Loneliness,” was a gentler track than the previous two Envy songs… that is until about the four minute mark again. Surprising screaming snuck its way into the mostly mellow song and you could tell how full of emotion it was.
This really is one of the best split CDs I have heard in a while. Being happily introduced to Envy on this split may have added to some of the charisma but I have been listening to the whole CD over and over and so far have not grown bored with either party contained.
Thursday’s instrumentals on the track were the winners as it was something unexpected yet appealing. I almost wish there were more tracks on the CD as I was left with a craving for more. That’s ok though because I can now get more involved with Envy’s catalog and no longer wonder why they were so enthralling to Thursday.
Want to hear? I found the following songs on the Temporary Residence Limited website:
One of the cool things about having a blog site is just the total randomness. I posted a blog a couple weeks ago about post-hardcore now defunct band Stompbox in my new Times Of Yore posts.
Apparently one of the former band members happened to come across my post and shot me an email asking if I wanted some elaboration on what really happened. The band member was Patrick, the former bassist of Stompbox.
Well of course I did. So I interviewed him…
I sent him back an email asking what really happened to the band and what he and the rest of the band members were up to these days. Here are his responses collectively as I’ve mixed up the few emails we exchanged and categorized them with Patrick’s approval of course.
The reason Stompbox called it quits, what happened to the lead singer Erich, and what direction did the band members took:
The reason Erich left the band is that we asked him to. There are/were rumors flying around that drugs had a lot to do with our breakup, but that’s all blown way out of proportion. Sure, Erich was doing drugs, (as were most of the rest of us) but it didn’t bother any of us much. Erich was (and still is) kind of a dick. By “kind of a dick” I mean a real a–hole. In addition to that, he was… …uh, let’s just say he was an inconsistent singer. When he was on, he was great, but a lot of times he was off. Way off. There’s some live recordings that Jeff has that are just brutal. Also, we had some very fundamental differences in what we wanted to do musically.
Erich was in favor (and in hindsight, he was probably right) of “giving the people what they want”. All the kids that came to our shows really wanted the “big riff” so they could get sick in the pit and hurt each other, and (except for the part about hurting each other…we were very “Fugazi” about that and stopped a lot of shows when fights broke out etc…) he (Erich) was perfectly happy with that.
The rest of us wanted to be “artists” and “express ourselves musically”. Again, hindsight (or maybe cynicism) tells me that we were probably foolish.
So, we gave him the boot and changed the name of the band to Slower. We wrote a bunch of new tunes and did a couple more tours. We added a second bass player (Mikey Welch, who later was in Weezer for an album) and I took over vocals. I wish I had some good recordings of that band, but there just isn’t much around. I’ve got some abysmal recordings from a show we did in Seattle, but it was straight off the board, so pretty much all you can hear is the drums and vocals. It’s brutally bad. There’s a tape from a live radio show that I have, but it’s in pretty crappy condition, much of it is all garbled up. Zephan’s ex-girlfriend supposedly has a ton of live Slower video, but they didn’t exactly break up on very good terms. I guess when your boyfriend breaks up with you by telling you he married somebody else, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. Go figure. Zephan is a phenomenal drummer, but he’s a bit on the self centered side!
We did one tour billed as Stompbox still, and used that to introduce the “new sound” to people who were into Stompbox. Some people liked it more, some liked in less. (On one of those tours we played with Jesus Lizard at Peabody’s in Cleveland…David Yow drank me under the table and then went out and played their show. I guess he’s got what’s called an “iron constitution”…Ha! I was so tanked I had to pass out in our van after about two Jesus Lizard songs. Good times!)
After those two tours, we just sort of imploded.
Zephan and Mikey Welch [went on to] play with Juliana Hatfield on her attempt at rocking out called “Juliana’s Pony”. Jeff is [currently] the musical director for the Blue Man Group in NYC now.
Jeff and Zeph were also in a band called Milligram for a while. The CD called This is Class War is absolutely amazing if you can find it. [Milligram] had Jonah the singer from Only Living Witness and Darryl from Slapshot/Roadsaw playing guitar. That cd is so good it STILL makes me jealous! You can download the whole Milligram albumThis is Class War for free, which is a pretty sweet deal! That website has that whole album, plus the EP they did AND a bunch of punk rock covers.
I was in another band for a while called Placer. Noisy arty stuff. We did one CD called Summer on Dopamine Records, a teeny indie label out of Boston. You can find the Placer album on iTunes. Even if you don’t want to buy it, you can hear little samples of the songs. I played steel guitar in that band. Oddly enough, when I quit that band, Jeff (guitarist of Stompbox) too over my spot on steel.
If you want to hear what Slower sounded like, Jeff’s got a homemade video up on YouTube. The sound is from a radio show we did, and you get to hear me totally flub the second line of the song. Slower was in many ways the opposite of Stompbox. Stompbox was music that made us laugh with words that were brooding and self indulgent, while Slower was words that made us laugh with music that was self indulgent! Jeff also did a pretty cool video for “Jake Song” with the original demo track we did. It [can be found] on YouTube too.
These days Erich’s living in Los Angeles. I don’t really know what he’s doing for sure, I think he runs sound in clubs.
I had pretty much dropped out of the music biz after Slower dissolved. I decided that maybe it would be fun to find out what it was like to have money to live on. As it turns out, it’s pretty cool!
I live in Toledo now, and am a stay at home dad. In fact, until about a year ago, we were living in Lakewood, not too far from were you are, I guess. I used to go to My Minds Eye a lot. Cool record store. Bent Crayon too. I wasn’t a huge fan of Cleveland in general, but I REALLY liked Lakewood. In fact I kind of miss it, which I didn’t think I would when we moved.
The real story about the departure from the record label:
The deal with Columbia was that our A&R person left and went to Maverick. That left us at Columbia with nobody who really cared much about us, so we were sort of in limbo. Finally, we asked them (Columbia) if they’d let us (Stompbox) go with no strings attached, and they said “Sure!” Mary (the A&R person from Columbia who went to Maverick) wanted us to come over to Maverick with her, but this was all happening at the same time as we were getting ready to kick Erich out of the band. After we booted him, she kind of took it personally and said “Oh, well f— you too” and signed the Deftones. (as it turns out, that was a good move…in fact, I still have to say that they were a pretty cool band. I don’t know if they are STILL a cool band, cause that sort of thing can change over time…)
That MySpace thing is pretty funny. I don’t know who started it, but it’s pretty crazy that so many people even remember us. On the list of Stompbox’s friends, we (the individual former members of the band) are the top four friends. It makes me feel important. (har har)
So there you have it. That was a greatly appreciated dose of information from the source itself. Patrick, props to you for offering to tell your side of the story.
So this is my first of a series of posts about bands from the past or as I like to call it “Times Of Yore”. Recently I have been digging deep into my collection and found some real great acts from the past and have decided that people need to know about them or at least need to be reminded of their existence. I already have a few in mind and will continue to look. Most of the bands I have discovered were from the 90’s when I was buying everything I could get my hands on.
So let’s kick thinks off shall we?
In the day and age when Soundgarden was more grunge metal than adult contemporary and Helmet was still united there was a band that I found at Disc Den called Stompbox. The CD was called Stress and it might have been the best blind purchase I ever made in 1994.
Already being a huge fan of Helmet, this band was right up my alley. They had a port-hardcore grunge sound that may have been replicated by many bands at the time, but they sounded so good with their hard striking chords and heavy riffs. The lead singer’s voice, sounding like Page Hamilton (Helmet) mixed with Neil Fallon (Clutch),was even tolerable throughout the entire CD. It’s too bad that the band did not continue after their first release.
Not much can be found on the internet about why they disbanded. Formed in 1991 the band hailed from Boston. From what I have gathered they were picked up Sony/Columbia and then dropped after the release. They just didn’t catch on like other bands did and it is a shame.
The lead singer of the band went on to pursue other projects and the remaining members stayed together and changed their band name to Slower (which I am still looking for). I am still trying to confirm this, but there is a possibility that some of the members even helped out The Blue Man Group and even Juliana Hatfield. I can not find any proof though…
There is no band website, no Wiki even. There are some reviews out there from fans and everything is thumbs up. I just wish I could find out a little more about what the members have been up to these days.
I do remember this band having a lot of promotional material for a debut release. There were posters and fliers all over the place after I bought the CD. I was also handed a couple of sampler cassettes to give out to my friends as well as a square 2 song record…and I still am kicking myself for doing whatever I did with it. I wonder if the over-the-top-promotion resulted in this band’s dismay. I know that kind of happened to Sponge and they were out around the same time as Stompbox….hmmmm….
It’s sad nothing else ever came from Stompbox. You look at bands like STP and Soundgarden who got their start around the same time and look at how they have progressed. I can only wonder what would have happened to Stompbox if they would have continued.
This was one band I never got to see live during their heyday. Luckily YouTube exists.
The CD is long out of print but you can find it for $5.00 or less at a used music shop if you look hard enough. I myself saw quite a few come in to The Exchange when I happily worked here (sarcasm at it’s finest). It is worth dishing out the cash if you are looking to hear a straight forward rock album.
Here’s a couple of videos I found of the band. Boy do these bring back memories.