There’s just something to be said about hearing an album that brings back great amounts of angst from 20+ years ago.
Sure, we really don’t care to remember when some of the jocks in high school threatened to kick your ass because you were different. We sure as hell don’t want to think about how pissed off it made you and how you held your ground and prepared to fight back only for them to say they were just kidding. That never happens to anyone right?
Fake Blood by Cleveland’s very own Heart Attack Man had no problem digging into my hippocampus and ripping out crippling episodes in life offering for a retrospect on how they shaped me. That right there is exactly what Fake Blood encompassed from start to finish for this listener.
This sophomore album has been on my radar for months now ever since singer / guitarist Eric Egan and drummer extraordinaire Adam Paducah made mention of finishing up recording. Add to the fact that one of the friendliest guys I know, Ty Sickels, is part of this incredible band and one might just called me jaded when it comes to talking about this act. Pals or not, this bad rips and I know I am not the only who thinks that.
With riffs that reach all the way back to the 90s “Fake Blood” started off things off with a fierce, intense track that was catchy as hell. You know you are in for something excellent when the first track immediately gets stuck in your head.
Not trying to sound cliché, but “Blood Blister” brought me back to some awkward teen years of mine when music was my crutch and most folk were my enemy. Egan’s directness complimented my own thoughts when things just didn’t go my way and you bet your ass I never let it go.
“Out For Blood” is a vindictive jam that will instantly take over your good day and put you in a savage mood. The kids are going to love this one, i know it.
“Moths in a Lampshade” strayed away from the others in a good way. This was that kind of track you listen to at 3am when driving in the middle of nowhere trying to just grab ahold of yourself.
Hands down the best track was “Cut My Losses.” It wasn’t a love song and it sure as hell wasn’t a song about moving on peacefully. This track’s raw emotion succeeded most of the ill-will I have ever had for someone that’s ever threatened me. Egan is a total bad ass on this track and when they are ready to do a music video for it, it best be him walking away from an explosion without looking back.
“Sugar Coated” wasn’t nice at all and that’s perfectly fine by me. This track pretty much could have fueled my worst years as a teen all while begging to be sung along with.
Fake Blood easily is going to be one of my favorite releases in 2019. This Cleveland band is beyond talented and I really see big things happening to them especially if they continue to just kick ass and forget names. They have been doing things their way and honestly, I think it’ll work out just fine.
Do not sit on this band. That’s my advice to you. You’ve been warned.
What can be said about Elliott Smith that most people have not said already? You either loved him or did not care for him.
Smith left his legacy suddenly years back in the worst way possible and his music has remained for the world to sulk upon when in need.
In 2003, Smith ended his life after suffering from depression for years. I have no words for his choice on how he bowed out to the world nor will I even go into detail.
The 90s punk me was introduced to Smith’s self-titled album by some of my indie-loving friends years before “Needle In The Hay” was heard in The Royal Tenenbaums. I’ll be honest and tell you that I never appreciated him until after his passing. I remember liking what I heard, but apparently was too much in love with the SoCal punk scene.
The twenty-something-year-old-me back then was not impacted as much as present day me would have been. I hate to admit it, but at the time I was not deprived of Smith’s talent when I learned of his passing. Twelve years later, I have a different way of looking at his loss.
The album, dropping on Ramseur Records, is not a reinvention of Smith’s work, but more of an appreciation for someone they both were fans of.
Produced by Avett and recorded over the last three years at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC as well as at Avett’s and Mayfield’s homes, the album features renditions of twelve Elliott Smith songs.
It was almost haunting to hear Mayfield start out “Between The Bars”. This version sent chills throughout my body. I loved how Avett joined Mayfield but did not dominate the song.
I really enjoyed the piano playing that built up throughout “Baby Britain” and feel Avett nailed it when trying to recreate. It started off slower with acoustic playing but soon jumped into a more upbeat cover. It kills me that this was a more popular song of Smith’s and was all about his addiction, but it really is a great song. (Side note: I enjoyed this cover way more than Bayside’s 2008 version)
“Ballad Of Big Nothing” was just as depressing as the original on Smith’s Either/Or. Not that i was expecting anything different, but the impact that Mayfield’s voice with Avett provided a different dismal angle.
I would have loved to have heard Avett take lead on their version of “Roman Candle”. The distorted guitars were awesome but I really wanted to hear a more close to the original version of the signing to this amazing track. I was rather underwhelmed on this.
The original version of “Memory Lane” always reminded me of something the Beatles might have done. Hearing Avett slow it down a bit with a stings section made me think of the Beatles even more. This was a great version of the original.
The collaboration of Avett and Mayfield only made sense seeing how they have been pals for years now. For them to cover Elliott Smith songs was nothing next to brilliant. The best part is how they chose what material to cover and how they each took turns taking the lead. They reached all over Smith’s catalog including some hits and more obscure tracks.
This is the part where I encourage those who never cared for Smith to take a listen and hear his brilliance in a different dynamic. Love him or hate him, Smith was an incredible songwriter. This covers album proved that so well.
If you’re lucky, you can even catch them live throughout March: March
10 McGlohon Theatre, Charlotte, NC
11 The Birchmere, Alexandria, VA
12 Town Hall Theatre, New York, NY
14 Keswick Theatre, Glenside, PA (Philadelphia)
17 James K. Polk Theatre/TPAC, Nashville, TN
18 Southern Theatre, Columbus, OH
20 Athenaeum Theatre, Chicago, IL
22 Fitzgerald Theatre, St. Paul, MN
24 Boulder Theatre, Boulder, CO
26 Neptune Theatre, Seattle, WA
27 Crystal Ballroom, Portland, OR
29 Palace of Fine Arts, San Francisco, CA
31 Wilshire Ebell Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
Side note: This powerful scene with Richie in The Royal Tenenbaums is beyond horrifying even more so when you think about what happened just a couple years later… I am glad Avett and Mayfield did not cover this track.
It just occurred to me this evening that I have not once talked about a band that I adore. This is one of those bands I feel everyone should have heard about by now, and for all I know, you have. I was introduced to them a few years back and pretty much have adored them since. The band I speak so highly of (I know the anticipation is killing you) is none other than Philadelphia’s post-punk indie rock outfit Restorations. Seriously, how in the hell did I NOT review these guys before?
Yes, I am a wee bit late on this one, but you know what? Screw it. So what if their self-titled debut album dropped in 2011 on Tiny Engines and was repressed on vinyl last summer because so many vinyl junkies ate it up? I feel the need to share this amazing group in hopes that they score one more fan per my recommendation and I am pretty certain that will be happening.
The moment “Nonlocality” started with the laid back intro, I just knew I was in for something good. The gritty, raw opener brought a certain country folk feel to my ears and then everything changed for the better when the singing started and the hypnotizing guitar solo floated in the background. With just one song in, I was sitting there pointing to it as my favorite. “West River” followed carrying that same intensity that impressed me from the get go. The songs really reminded me what would happen if Goo Goo Dolls and Hot Water Music collaborated, yeah I know, weird.
“Canadian Club” had an Against Me! feel to it at the start but soon mellowed into a great jam. I really loved vocalist Jon Loudon’s raspy singing style on this song but have the feeling that this track was intended to be heard live by all. “Sideways House” leaned more towards a 90s alt-rock that was welcomed to my ears. “Broken Vacuum”, I feel, showcased the band as musicians well. Hearing the distorted bass at the beginning joined with the drums and guitars just moments later sounded so good. So many songs these days are written so quickly that you sometimes miss hearing a well put together track. The same goes for the closing track “When You’re Older”. It was not just an end song, it was a crowning achievement by the band and any listener will be able to hear that.
Restorations combines the right bunch of genres of music including rock, country, and punk making for one hell of a listen. You say like Elliot Brood? Listen to Restorations. Lucero? Listen to Restorations. Gaslight Anthem? Yeah, listen to them, I seriously doubt you will regret it and if you do, sorry. I am surprised this album is not bigger than it already is and I can not wait to hear what they come out with next. I am predicting something amazing.
Earlier this year, I threw a record on my turntable by a band I had never heard of. I did it out of morbid curiosity and honestly was not too sure I was going to even get through the first side. Of course I judged a band by its cover and had no right in doing so, because that record ruled. The band is called The Fake Boys and I made sure I did a proper review on them clearly pointing out that they reach back to the 90s and should never have been considered a pop punk band.
I do not know honestly why I was hesitant in spinning that record. Maybe I need to just cut that crap off.
Anyways, I am glad I introduced myself to The Fake Boys. If you were lucky enough to have grown up in the 90s and fed off the music scene, chances are you will love this band. They recall alternative rock, grunge rock, and true punk rock in their style making for a style this music listener really appreciated.
Recently I was able to catch up with signer/guitarist Jim Domenici of The Fake Boys post-Fest. It’s a little bit of a read, but let me tell you, this may be my favorite interview I have done to date. Jim’s mind rolls just like mine does in ways and it was just fun shooting the breeze with him. Check it out:
BHP: So, tell me, since I once again missed out on it…how was The Fest?
JD: We had a great time [and] got to see all our friends from around the country in one stop. I tucked myself away at a bro bar and watched football for the majority of my time. Overall, Fest exceeded my expectations and we couldn’t have been happier
Football huh? College or pro? What teams are you a fan of? I’ll always be a Browns fan for life.
Pro. I’m a New England Patriots guy through and through though I would like to see them get away from this pussy pass shit and get back to defense. The Buffalo Bills are also my guilty pleasure. I know they are in my division, but I love the dirty culture. Other then that, I can get behind the Browns, Niners, and Chiefs.
Nice. So were you able to check out a lot of bands you wanted to see?
Luckily, we got to enjoy all of the bands we wanted to see. Negative Approach was great; most brutal.
More importantly, how was your set?
Anyone there who means anything to us was in the room singing along and headbanging the whole time. Probably the best show we’ve ever played. I realized how lucky we are to do what we do.
Seriously, what feelings do you have when you play your heart out to a crowd and see them all singing along with you?
I can’t even explain. I’m just a regular dude who tries to be as selfless as possible so the shit I write about really floors me. To see people connect or even just appreciate my art enough to apply my songs to their own lives is the only reason I’m alive. I’m a lucky guy.
Who else did you guys get to play with that night?
House Boat, Pretty Boy Thorson, and Vacation all destroyed Nelly’s. We were all lucky to play such a solid venue to such a dope crowd.
So, let’s talk about the Fake Boys. Is there any special meaning behind your band’s name?
Our band is an open book. The name, lyrics, melodies, song structures, album art, and even Facebook posts are all meant to be ripped apart so i don’t want to give away too much, but anyone who knows us personally knows we don’t front. In a scene that blows it’s load over anyone and anything made of paper or plastic, we are definitely the odd men out but that’s ok. We want the listener to figure things out for themselves and apply what they dig up to their own lives.
Can you give me a little history on how The Fake Boys became?
We all played in hardcore bands for years and as we got older we really missed melody. We combine the ethos and aggression of hardcore with our love for song writing and crafting melody.
Nice way to formulate what you are now musically. So was it always just Jim, Joe, and Jay? That’s a lot of J’s.
No, we’ve had a few drummer, but this is the first time we’ve felt like we’re all on the same page.
What was it like growing up in Lowell, MA?
We all actually grew up in different parts of Massachusetts and moved the band to Lowell to write the This Is Where Our Songs Live LP. It’s a great city and reflects the working class values we believe and has always been a vibrant art community. That being said, because of it’s mix of culture, it’s a wonderful place to create for good, honest, hard working people.
It is so easy for me to hear 90s alt rock in your sound. Who are some of your influences? I am sure that is a very open ended question…
Well, I’m 30 so what do you expect? For us the 90s sound is not a trend, it’s something what we grew up on. Unlike the fake punk boom of 1994 that destroyed music as we know it, the explosion that came before it was the first and last time we saw real people getting their due for making real music in our lifetime, besides a few important bands who broke through i.e. rage against the machine and Against Me!. The early 90s explosion was driven by that hardcore ethos that lives within us, it’s something innate that we just can’t shake. It’s not so much about a sound but about a way of thinking. The bands that really do it for us are Nirvana, The Fastbacks, Superdrag, Negative Approach, Ramones, Black Flag, Poison Idea, The Beatles, and Dinosaur Jr.
I’m 35. I hear ya about your preference in sound. I’ve been listening to more bands than ever that I grew up with like Hum, Promise Ring, Quicksand, and Dino Jr. just to rifle off a couple. Do you really need to just blame all the fake 94 punk acts? What about all the new bands or even the old bands thatjust keep trying to stay alive and really have no business doing so like dare I say Green Day and sadly Jane’s Addiction?
Ha ha, I don’t mean for shit like that to be taken too seriously as most of the time I’m just trying to entertain myself while putting my true feelings on the table. The differences between people’s taste is important and keeps music from getting boring. I don’t know why people seem to get bummed when I write about how I don’t like a band. Just because I’m not a fan doesn’t mean that I think others shouldn’t be. I grew up on bands like Nirvana and the Ramones who hid nothing. Kurt liked Eddie but was pretty vocal about how he thought Pearl Jam was terrible! The Ramones hated the Sex Pistols and Johnny was a proud Republican. These bands were powerful because they kept it real and didn’t play the game for the sake of doing better.
I’m not a little bitch, so I’m not going to lie about my taste to sell records or make friends. Anyone offended needs to lose their ego. It’s just for me personally, the 94′ explosion never did anything. When I look at it, I see a departure from the independent nature of the early 90s and the start of “we will do whatever you want, just pay us.” It just sucks that the culture that bent over for business is what people commonly refer to as punk. That’s just not punk to me, so I guess maybe I’m not punk. To be honest, I try my best not to mention Green Day in this mess ever. I think they’ve written some really great songs. I’m a fan up until Warning, and besides that “Minority” song, I think Warning has some of their best material. I also do not dislike music just because it’s a specific genre or from a certain time period, I dislike music when I get a feel that the song writing is dishonest. I don’t write because I want to, I do it because I have to, so maybe I’m a tough sell. I like any band who I think writes good songs. I think of music from a next level perspective, I’ve learned to ignore all genres. We are a band and when we go on tour we play with other bands and I take them for what they are with no influence from public opinion. With that being said, there are a lot of great bands in this country and they know that I’m not talking about them. I think Lipstick Homicide should be the biggest band in the world and they’re going to be; they could save rock and roll.
Damn dude…well said on many levels. Moving on, Pig Factory was a killer release by you all. When can we expect a follow up?
Aas soon as we wrap up this trip, we are going to demo some new jams. We’ve actually been playing a new one called “Red, White, and Bouge” on this current tour.
I have seen a lot of people label you guys as pop-punk including someone at punknews.org, but that is far from the truth. What do you have to say to those who are quick to label your sound in one genre?
I mean, people can only speak about what they think they understand. The fact is, I grew up on bands, not specific types of bands. The Beatles were a fucking band, The Ramones were a fucking band, as bands grew you wanted to grow with them because you liked the fucking band! For me, the best part about rock and roll was wondering what a band was going to do next. With the pop punk scene, you don’t seem to see that as much because most people within the scene aren’t intelligent enough to do so It’s insecurity that scares people from thinking outside the box. We come from the strongest hardcore scene in the country and shit is real, so we honestly don’t give a fuck about pop punk scene.
So, what is up with the cover for Pig Factory?
I want people to put the record on, read the lyrics, examine the cover and figure it out for themselves. Like I said, this band is an open book.
I did that exactly with Pig Factory. I felt like a teen all over again examining everything from the vinyl itself to the lyrics. I wish more bands would do that. iTunes really ruined that experience if you ask me.
I agree. People I went to school with in the 90s who don’t go to shows or know anything about punk have emailed me and said things like “I haven’t gave a shit about music since high school and i just want you to know that you’re record brought back feelings i thought i would never feel again” and that’s what it’s all about.
I love that you have no problem vocalizing your thoughts over certain social networking sites. From salt intake to being of age when In Utero originally released, I am always entertained and intrigued by what I read. One of the posts I found interesting was pertaining to how you were once a 22 year old brainwashed Republican. What happened to you that broke the chains of self-closure within the comfort zone you were trapped in?
I took a principles of logic class and it fucked my life up for good in the best way possible. I realized that the choices I’d been making weren’t logically sound and were in no way reflective of who I really was as a person. I realized that being happy was the only goal worth having and that it was easier to achieve than people think or don’t think. When I examined my life choices up to that point, I realized that the driving force behind them was insecurity, status, and money. I was completely brainwashed. It’s hard to think back on my life without getting upset, I was such a miserable person. I wanted to die but was too much of a fucking pussy to do anything about it because I was caught in that comfortable, corporate net. In the end, I have no one to blame but myself, but with the help of logic, philosophy, hardcore, and a good friend, I was able to figure out who I really am and how to live my life to it’s fullest potential.
I’m glad you got there, but I don’t think you should blame yourself at all man. You came to terms and moved to where you want to be. Honestly, I’m still hoping to find that niche that takes me to a new level where I can honestly say I’m living life to the fullest.
Right, life moves. We gotta move with it and to think that where we are today is where we will be tomorrow is absolutely illogical.
So I know you are going to be wrapping up a tour, but what is next for The Fake Boys?
Just going to spend the holidays with my friends and family, get back to busting my ass at a job that i truly love with all my heart, and i’m going to write the greatest rock and roll record of all time… again.
Tell me why people should listen to your band.
Anything you would like to mention?
Save the country, buy American, and lose your ego.