Category Archives: DIY

The Menzingers – Chamberlain Waits – CD Review

Working class punk rock has never sounded so good thanks to Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers who recently dropped their sophomore release Chamberlain Waits on Red Scare Records.  The foursome are making a name for themselves by escaping from the clutches of The Electric City and sharing their dirty punk rock style with the world.  Named one of of AP Magazine’s 2010 bands to watch, all it takes is one listen to understand how exceptional this young act is.

At first listen it was apparent Chamberlain Waits was a winner to my ears.  The different genres, ranging from a DIY punk feel to hearty rock and roll, made for a unique style so commonly attempted but rarely fine tuned.  Think the likes of The Clash, Against Me!, and even a little Bruce Springsteen added to blatant determination from group of four who were once told they were going no where with their lives.  The result is a start to finish straightforward album that absolutely rocks.

All is took was the opening track, “Who’s Your Partner”, for myself to become an instant fan of this band.  I enjoyed the more rock feel throughout the song as well as lead vocalist’s Tom May’s singing styles.  “I Was Born” continued with the band bordering tastefully on the lines of a punk song and rock song with equal screams and harmony.  “Deep Sleep” easily could have been created by a certain Gainsville, FL act with amazing sing along qualities and likable guitar playing but it was not and regardless of the similarities to other bands the song was one of my favorites to listen to on the album.

The fist pumping “Tasker-Morris Station” showed a heavier more intense side of the band.  The track was really put together well without being overproduced.  “So It Goes” was another great track on the album with insane amounts of sing along opportunities.  As great as all previous songs, “Rivalries” hands down was the winning cut on the album for me.  I loved the opening of the track that soon morphed into a toe tapping rock track with ever so real lyrics regarding failure and accord.  “Come Here Often?” followed and all I could think to myself was how each song seemingly got better and better.  Closing album title track “Chamberlain Waits” started off mildly folky but erupted into an energetic group singing jam that closed out the album perfectly.

I can honestly say that this band has the potential to be the next big thing – Chamberlain Waits is an album I can easily listen to over and over without growing tiresome of.  Fans of Against Me! and The Gaslight Anthem, I would like to introduce you to your newest obsession…The Menzingers.

The Menzingers are actually the the middle of a giant tour right now with heavy hitters NOFX, Tony Sly, and Teenage Bottlerocket as well as will be playing a couple shows with Against Me! and Cheap Girls.  Do yourself a favor and get out to one of their shows if you can and if not I highly suggest you at least check them out and see what they are all about.  I don’t usually get this excited for bands these days but The Menzingers pretty much have taken two genres of music I adore and slammed them into something amazing.

Tour Dates:
Apr 29 2010 – The Riverside Theater W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, and Tony Sly -Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Apr 30 2010 – The Madison Theater W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Covington, Kentucky
May 1 2010 – Pops Nightclub W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Sauget, Illinois
May 2 2010 – The Beaumont Club W/ NOFX, Teenage Bottlerocket, Tony Sly – Kansas City, Missouri
May 3 2010 – Firehouse Pizza & Pub – Normal, Illinois
May 4 2010 – Rock Island Brewing Company W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Rock Island, Illinois
May 5 2010 – Slowdown W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Omaha, Nebraska
May 6 2010 – The Black Sheep W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Colorado Springs, Colorado
May 7 2010 – Launchpad W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Albuquerque, New Mexico
May 10 2010 – Jakes W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Lubbock, Texas
May 11 2010 – Scoutbar W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – San Antonio, Texas
May 12 2010 – One Eyed Jack’s W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – New Orleans, Louisiana
May 13 2010 – Alabama Music Box W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Mobile, Alabama
May 14 2010 – Sector 7G W/ Against Me! and Dead To Me – Augusta, Georgia
May 15 2010 – Visulite Theatre W/ Against Me! – Charlotte, North Carolina
May 17 2010 – The Hangar W/ Nothington, Spanish Gamble – Greenville, South Carolina
May 18 2010 – The Tipsy W/ The Holy Mess – Greenville, North Carolina
May 20 2010 – 538 Johnson W/ The Holy Mess, Timeshares, 10-4 Eleanor – Brooklyn, New York
May 21 2010 – The Democracy Center W/ The Holy Mess, Choke Up – Cambridge, Massachusetts
May 22 2010 – Cafe Metropolis CD RELEASE SHOW! W/ The Holy Mess – Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania
May 23 2010 – The Fire CD RELEASE SHOW! W/ The Holy Mess – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
May 27 2010 – Most Wanted Fine Art – Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
May 28 2010 – Mickey Finns Pub (All Ages) – Toledo, Ohio
May 29 2010 – Windy City Sound Clash II @ The Subterranean – Chicago, Illinois
May 30 2010 – The Speakeasy (314 S Hamilton St) W/ Cheap Girls – Madison, Wisconsin
May 31 2010 – Triple Rock W/ Cheap Girls – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Jun 2 2010 – Marquis Theatre W/ Cheap Girls – Denver, Colorado
Jun 3 2010 – TBA W/ Cheap Girls – Salt Lake City, Utah
Jun 4 2010 – Red Room W/ Cheap Girls – Boise, Idaho
Jun 5 2010 – The Know W/ Cheap Girls – Portland, Oregon
Jun 6 2010 – Studio Seven W/ Cheap Girls – Seattle, Washington
Jun 7 2010 – TBA W/ Cheap Girls – Redding, California
Jun 8 2010 – Thee Parkside W/ Cheap Girls – San Francisco, California
Jun 9 2010 – The CYC W/ Cheap Girls – Fresno, California
Jun 10 2010 – The Warehouse W/ Cheap Girls – Pomona, California
Jun 11 2010 – Radio Room W/ Cheap Girls – San Diego, California
Jun 12 2010 – Rogue Bar W/ Cheap Girls – Scottsdale, Arizona
Jun 13 2010 – The Underground W/ Soul Control – Mesa, Arizona
Jun 14 2010 – Echo Chamber W/ Soul Control – Portales, New Mexico
Jun 15 2010 – The Maquiladora W/ Soul Control – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Jun 16 2010 – The Ten Eleven W/ Soul Control – San Antonio, Texas
Jun 17 2010 – The Mink W/ Soul Control – Houston, Texas
Jun 18 2010 – The Rabbit Hole W/ Soul Control – Panama City, Florida
Jun 20 2010 – Backbooth W/ Soul Control – Orlando, Florida
Jun 21 2010 – The House Of Hardcore W/ Soul Control – Columbia, South Carolina
Jun 22 2010 – The Camel W/ Soul Control – Richmond, Virginia
Jun 23 2010 – Ava House W/ Soul Control – Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Jun 25 2010 – Insubordination Fest – Baltimore, Maryland
Jun 26 2010 – Insubordination Fest – Baltimore, Maryland

Alkaline Trio – This Addiction – CD Review

Punk rock threesome Alkaline Trio (AK3) recently released their seventh studio album entitled This Addiction on their newly established independent record label properly called Heart & Skull. The label actually is a joint-venture with help from legendary punk record label Epitaph Records. AK3 stated that they took a step back into their punk roots this time while recording This Addiction and have also taken a lot of their personal ventures and incorporated them into this more DIY sounding solid release.

Starting off the album is the title track “This Addiction”, a pop-punk heavy track talking about love being more like an easily addictive drug such as heroin. The track is super catchy and keeps with the AK3 style that they have held over the years.  Following was “Dine, Dine My Darling” a track clearly titled in favor of The Misfits.

Moving along with clearly  somber theme was “Lead Poisoning” that featured an almost NOFX horn style solo that made the song stick out over others.  “Dead On The Floor” was a dreary track speaking of high hoped love falling apart.  Having been in the situation before of a blinded happiness I really took this song in and at the end was actually a little bummed out. Continuing the darker mood was “The American Scream”, a story about sadness and suicide with likable music throughout the track but just chilling to absorb.

Changing things up a tad was “Eating Me Alive” a more upbeat track with interesting synthesizer playing.  “Fine” may have been a slower jam on the album but with lyrics like “it’s ironic that I drink to make my insides stop hurting” it was clear how personable the song about shrugging off the pain was.  “Those Lungs” was a little heavier at the beginning but mellowed out into a tender track guaranteed to make a special someone swoon.

At just over forty minutes the album is enjoyable throughout but one would always appreciate more AK3 right?  Luckily for fans who want more such as myself, the band also released a deluxe edition featuring acoustic tracks of “This Addiction”, “Dine, Dine My Darling”, “Dead On The Floor”, and an awesome version of  “Fine” which to me sounds better than the original.  A DVD is also included in the deluxe version showcasing a live performance of AK3 at the House of Blues in Las Vegas.

If you are a fan of AK3 and were not feeling with their last release Agony & Irony you might be surprised what the guys have to offer this time around.  This Addiction is a worthy AK3 release and can easily be played over and over.  With that said I might as well add that the album debuted at #11 on the Billboard Top 200 so obviously I am not the only one who has been digging This Addiction.

AK3 just embarked on a US tour with indie rockers Cursive as well as The Dear & Departed.  Be sure to check them out when they hit a town near you.  I’ll be there tonight in Cleveland and you can say that I am a little excited about being there!

Alkaline Trio Tour Dates:
03/03/10 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall
03/04/10 – Cleveland, OH – House of Blues
03/05/10 – Pittsburgh, PA – Club Zoo
03/06/10 – Toronto, CAN – The Phoenix Concert Theater
03/08/10 – Clifton Park, NY – Northern Lights
03/09/10 – Hartford, CT – The Webster Theater
03/11/10 – Philadelphia, PA – Trocadero SOLD OUT
03/12/10 – New York, NY – Nokia Theatre Times Square SOLD OUT
03/13/10 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom
03/14/10 – Providence, RI – Lupos Heartbreak Hotel
03/16/10 – Towson, MD – Rocher Theatre
03/17/10 – Charlotte, NC – Amos’ Southend
03/18/10 – Charleston, SC – Music Farm
03/19/10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade
03/20/10 – Jacksonville Beach, FL – Freebird Live
03/22/10 – Orlando, FL – House of Blues
03/23/10 – Fort Lauderdale, FL – Revolution
03/25/20 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues
03/26/10 – Houston, TX – Warehouse Live
03/27/10 – Dallas, TX – The Palladium Ballroom
03/28/10 – Austin, TX – Emo’s
03/30/10 – Tempe, AZ – The Marquee Theater
04/01/10 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues
04/02/10 – West Hollywood, CA – House of Blues
04/03/10 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues

Clothing giants Hurley just released some special edition AK3 apparel.  Check it out by clicking HERE.

Here are some of my favorite AK3 music videos:

Uniform Motion Unique

It’s not typical that I start out a video on my posts but this one was too unique to not showcase immediately.  Above was the flash music video for Uniform Motion‘s “Back Up Your Soul”.  If you watched it with a careful eye you might have seen something a little different – I customized it.

The duo (1 part music and 1 part visual effect) has developed a combination of social media, flash animation, and music to create a customizable greeting card music video featuring the band performing along with a personalized message that appears on their backdrop.  Not only is the idea of the video cool but so is the band’s music and style.

The flash video actually emulates the duo with one half on the instruments and the other behind an electronic sketch pad. Dreary and dreamy folk music is what this band does best and I can not get enough.  It is like chill-out folk music that puts me in a trance on more than one sensory level.

Uniform Motion just dropped their second album on February 9th entitled Life.  Defined as an Anglo-French Illustrated Indie Folk band the act combines music with visual arts. Their latest CD carries 8 tracks and a collection of 9 canvas arts for you to get lost in as you absorb their material.

Head over to their website to check out more of the tunes as well as customize your own video.

Sans Label: Brooklyn’s Monogold

I have a new feature I will periodically post here about up and coming artists and I call it simply Sans Label.  I was trying to think of a wittier name for this category but apparently I am suffering from brain-melt.  I just can not think of something clever regarding independent unsigned artists.

How often I post Sans Label entries will depend on the alignment of the sun and the moon or simply whenever I am wowed by an independent or underground act.  I will be sure to post a little something something up on this here site along with a MP3 to share with the band’s permission of course.

I am doing this out of the love for all music out there.  I receive so many emails from folk asking me to check out their work.  I feel this will be my thank you to all of the acts out there that spend day after day self-promoting their band.  These bands are unsigned acts trying to get their name out there with a D.I.Y. attitude.  I respect all genres of music so expect to see a variety of acts posted.

So without further delay here is the first Sans Label post:

A few weeks ago a Brooklyn based band named Monogold reached out to me via a simple email asking me to visit their MySpace page to check out their music.  Always looking for something new I clicking on the link in the email and checked out a song titled “Feel Animal”.  I was completely floored by how great it was.  The upbeat dramatic indie rock song was such a pleasant track to hear.

In fact just listen to it for yourself.

DOWNLOAD THIS! – Monogold – “Feel Animal”

The song alone in my opinion is proof this band is going to be going places. Of course I don’t want to jinx them but imagine my surprise of hearing such a track and instantly loving it.  I immediately asked the band for more.

The band kindly sent the rest of the EP to me titled We Animals.  Just as I had hoped the other six tracks that were self recorded, self produced, and self released  by the three members have a very likable feel to them.  The harmonous singing and catchy guitar playing is perfect for a soundtrack to a warm summer evening drive.  Trust me, I speak from personal experience.

The fact that this band is only a three piece amazes me.  Honestly when you hear their sound in the rest of the EP you would like it would take more than a trio to perform such tunes. I thought so highly of this band I decided that I wanted to take their music a step further to help them get their music heard.

Recently I was appointed by my good friends over at Sexy Photo Trip (SPT) as their music director.  I decided that I wanted to use one of Monogold’s songs for an episode of SPT.  Monogold was thrilled I asked them to use their song in the video and honestly so was I.  It fit perfectly.

You can see that episode by clicking HERE (warning all SPT material is NSFW so view at your own 18+ risk).

Look for Monogold to release the amazing We Animals EP next month.  I am hoping they are able to tour as well in support of this sure to be a hit release.

Here’s a video from an earlier track titled “Leaves”:

One a side note, I plan on continuing this trend of using unsigned bands  here in the Sans Label posts as well as in future episodes of SPT so if you know of anyone out there that is unsigned or independent and listenworthy, send them my way.  I would love to hear them and maybe even get one of their hard worked songs into a fun episode on SPT.

MC Chris Putting On The Brakes???

I saw this yesterday on one of MC Chris‘s daily bulletins on MySpace (click the picture to go to his MySpace profile):

Time for a break MC Chris???
Time for a break MC Chris???

 Looks like the one man show is going to be taking a break.  Rightfully so, the guy has been touring mad crazy ever since I have first heard about him.  In the last 3 years I have seen him 3 times and was supposed to see him just a few weeks ago but could not get off of work. 

MC Chris
MC Chris

Are you wondering who I am talking about?  The best way to describe MC Chris is nerdcore even though the artist tries his hardest to stay away from that scene.  Nerdcore is hip hop beats with nerdy lyrics.  Imagine a sweet beat layed with rhymes about Star Wars or robot dogs and you have a hint of nerdcore.  Mind you not all of MC Chris’ songs are in fact nerdcore, but still many associate him with it.  Aside from songs MC Chris also likes to throw in a few little comedy skits and trust me some of it is hilarious.  It’s hit or miss, you love it or hate it, and of course I love it.

The one thing I admire about the man is that he has done it all by himself.  He used to work on the Adult Swim show Sealab 2021 as well as on Aqua Teen Hunger Force and opted to leave to persue his own passion, music.  He tours with just a merch guy and handles everything himself.  One man show indeed.

He has released 6 CDs since 2001 and not one has been on a record label.  He is an internet addict posting blogs daily and is very personal with his fans.  I love reading his blogs as he just talks about random things from dates he went on to the newest Xbox 360 game he got sucked in to.  He is real and does not act like a rock star at all.  Yet another reason why I like this guy so much.

Hearing he is taking a break is good and bad at the same time.  It’s good because I know he was at one time was trying to have his own show of sorts on Adult Swim.  Details about his project are unclear but I know it will be entertaining as his music.

Also if you are wondering what Black Friday 2 is, it is MC Chris’ sale of the year for his merch on his very own website.  Head over to if you want to buy some gear at pretty good prices.

Here’s a bad quality video I took at him at one of the shows I was at (WARNING: Cussing Will Happen):

To clarify what was going on in the video:  There was a drunk kid who was being drunk and dumb and MC Chris asked the kid to come up on stage and stand in the corner.  When said drunk kid kept dancing and mocking the main act, MC Chris helped the kid exit the building.  The quality of the video was crap, but it should give you a small taste of the sold out show that night…