Tag Archives: CD

Story Of The Year – The Constant – CD Review

St. Louis’ pop/post-hardcore ballad rockers Story Of The Year (SOTY) are back with an all new album entitled The Constant.  Matching the likes of their previous material the CD is heavy on the ballads that so many fans have been accustomed to over the years as well as carries a couple of tracks that are destined for mainstream play.  This is the band’s fourth studio album and has been released on Epitaph Records.

I’ll admit I was not a STOY fan after hearing their first album Page Ave.  The song “Until The Day I Die” was the first and only song I heard by the band  That was just too much for me and of course it was plastered all over the radio and TV so I never checked out the CD.  It was not until the band’s follow-up release that I finally gave them a chance.  In The Wake Of Determination really changed the way I felt about them with their likable post-hardcore tracks.  When I saw them play at the Vans Warped Tour a couple years later I deemed myself a fan.  They were not what I originally pictured them as, they were actually musicians that happened to dish out an instant hit and rocked out especially well live.

The Constant keeps inline with their previous albums with likable tracks as heard in the opening track “The Children Sing”.  The children in the background singing “don’t take this world away from me” instantly reminded me of The Lost Boys but the song itself is catchy as hell and just sounds well written.  “The Ghost Of You And I” follows with heavy intensity and, dare I say, reminded me of something Linkin Park might have done until the chorus fills in.

“I’m Alive” was once of the cuts on the CD that I liked over the others.  It’s a to the point rock ballad, nothing less, nothing more and hints back to the days when those heavy metal hair-bands showed a softer side to life.  “To The Burial” was without a doubt my favorite track on the entire CD with enough energy to incite a circle pit in portions of the song. The guitar solos, the singing, and the drumming on this track all amount to reasons why I am a SOTY fan.

Changing things up was more-so post-hardcore song “The Dream Is Over” but then came “Holding On To You” a track once again showing a softer approach of the quintet. It’s not all rock ballads though as “Won Threw Ate” proved.  This screaming vocal track was perhaps the heaviest on the album and kindly welcomed to my ears.  “Time Goes One” brought a little punk element to the CD as well as some group vocals that I am sure the fans will be singing along to at their live shows.  Ending the CD was another choice track of mine titled “Eye For An Eye”.  I loved the energy of the track throughout with heavier guitar playing and just brutal drumming.

I was honestly hoping for more of a heavier approach though the entire album but still SOTY put out a solid album.  Where as the ballads are welcomed I much prefer SOTY at their angriest and heaviest even though I know they are labeled “post-hardcore”.  As I previously mentioned former fans of this band will enjoy the CD and I am sure once a couple of tracks from The Constant hit the mainstream there will be a slew of new fans.

The band is getting ready to tour in support of The Constant.  If you are looking for a great live show you best check these boys out.  If you need reason why just pier below at some of the videos.

Tour Dates:
Feb 26 – Chicago, IL – Cubby Bear
Mar 25 – Denver, CO – The Marquis Theatre
Mar 26 – Salt Lake City, UT – Murray Theater
Mar 27 – Las Vegas, NV – Desert Breeze Skate Park
Mar 28 – Anaheim, CA – Bamboozle West
Mar 30 – San Francisco, CA – Slim’s
Mar 31 – Orangevale, CA – Boardwalk
Apr 2 – Phoenix, AZ – Clubhouse
Apr 3 – Tucson, AZ – The Rock
Apr 5 – Dallas, TX – The Door/Prophet Bar
Apr 6 – San Antonio, TX – White Rabbit
Apr 7 – Houston, TX – Channel
Apr 9 – St. Petersburg, FL – State Theatre
Apr 10 – Atlanta, GA – Masquerade

The Flatliners Talk About Their New Album

On April 13th Canadian punk rock act The Flatliners will be releasing their all new album entitled Cavalcade on Fat Wreck Chords.

The band had actually thought of a different album title in mind initially and recently talked about it on Fat Wreck Chords’ website:

When we were on tour last March, we met Joey from Full House (aka Dave Coulier) in a bar in Cleveland. I drunkenly slipped him a copy of ‘The Great Awake’ and we began talking about music and Canada. He turned out to be a pretty cool dude, other than ironically wearing a Betty Ford Clinic shirt while drinking red wine. Anyways, after Uncle Joey left the bar that night, the jokes began that we would name our new record ‘Dave Coulier Has Our Last Record.’ Once we sobered up in the morning and realized that was an awful idea, we decided to name our new album ‘CAVALCADE’. And we are beyond stoked to announce that it will be coming out this April on FatWreck of course.

Since every record is vaguely conceptual even if you’re not going for the painful uber-concept-record thing like Coheed and Cambria, and since we basically live like homeless people while we’re on tour most of each year, ‘Cavalcade’ has taken on the overall theme of unity through disconnectedness. Happiness in uncertain times. Humanity is flawed but we can all still party, right? That’s what we wrote about, and that’s how we live. We love what we do an couldn’t be happier with the way it has all turned out.

Two things about this… 

  • 1.)  Why did they not keep the name? 
  • 2.)  I missed The Flatliners AND Dave Coulier in Cleveland????  Where was I?

Couple videos for you all…

Fat Wreck Chords – Wrecktrospective – CD Review

If one of your New Year’s resolutions for 2010 was to listen to more punk rock music you are in luck. Recently Fat Wreck Chords put out their first ever anthology full of punk rock goodness — 88 songs to be exact. Wrecktrospective is a three-disc collection of greatest hits, demos, and even limited edition material that spans the 20 years since the label was founded.

Formed by NOFX frontman Fat Mike with little advertising and no commercial help, the independent punk label has issued over 280 releases and is a well known favorite of many Warped Tour fans. The three-CD set contained in the digi-pack is just a sample of all that has been Fat.

The anthology is more or less a musical history of the bands that have put out material over the last 20 years since Fat Mike decided to start the label. Featuring punk bands from the past and present, I can only imagine that it was no easy task to take so many songs from such a span of artists and put them into the compilation, but it was done perfectly.

Throughout the set I was reminded of a slew of bands I stopped listening to over the years and was happy to hear them all over again. When a label has put out over 280 releases, sometimes it’s hard to remember them all.

The first disc is full of non-commercial hit songs also known as “Fattest Hits.” Listening to the first segment was like a blast from the past for me as I have been a Fat Wreck fan since its inception. Featuring familiar tracks by current label mates NOFX, Strung Out, and the Mad Caddies, the CD includes 33 songs by 33 different bands.

The disc also contains tracks from former Fat alumni who either disbanded or went on to bigger and better things over the years such as Against Me!, Less Than Jake, Hi Standard, and others. The first disc alone brought back good memories of amazing bands that I used to rock out to on a daily basis. If I were to make a greatest hits Fat album I might have selected just a handful of other tracks for some of the artists, but all in all they did a good job putting it together.

The demo disc, or disc two, features many tracks that were hidden gems until now. I had heard some of these tracks as well as variations on other Fat compilations before, but having all of them all on one CD is so much more fulfilling. From the Mad Caddies’ “Polyester Khakis” (where they sample Body Count) to the acoustic “Everyone Is Telling Me I’ll Never Win, If I Fall In Love With A Girl From Marin” by Bracket, I really enjoyed the collection.

Perhaps the most exciting feature of this set is the third disc as it contains the limited release Fat Club 7″ series in its entirety. For people like me who missed out on the Fat Club this is a dream come true as it previously was not available on CD. Then again I am sure people who were lucky enough to join the Fat Club will appreciate this as well so they don’t have to figure out how to use the USB record player to transfer their prized collection onto their computers.

I would have loved to have seen a fourth disc in this set including all of NOFX’s 7” of the month club tracks and the joke in its entirety but I’ll take what I can get at this time. At only $15 on the Fat Wreck Chords website this is a steal of a release and even includes a fold-out poster showing every Fat Wreck Chords release ever put out.

My only complaint with this set is the lack of a DVD. I think it would have been fitting to throw in a disc featuring live performances and music videos by an assortment of the bands. Seeing how Fat Wreck Chords strayed away from mainstream overload (aka MTV), I would have thought they would have built up a collection of videos and footage that further helped celebrate the two decades of accomplishment. Who knows, that could be in the works.

Previous Fat fans may not get as much out of this set as a newcomer might mainly because many of the songs on the disc have been on other Fat compilations over the years. Still it’s a nicely put together collection of what makes Fat Wreck Chords.

Upon checking out the music I took a minute to read the insert pertaining to the record label written by Fat Mike himself. It’s really an interesting read as Fat Mike confesses that the record label was all about “putting out punk bands that I really like” and talks about the ups and downs he went through starting his own business.

Knowing how the music business has been going these days, I was not shocked to read that Fat Wreck Chords is basically back where they started with little financial gain but I am so proud of them for doing their best to continue. With so many labels out there that folded over the years due to money issues (i.e. Grand Royal), I really hope to see Fat Wreck Chords last another 20 years and with their roster I have the feeling it will not be that difficult.

To grab a copy of this 3 CD punk gem head over to Fat Wreck Chords and nab it for only $15.

Here is a funny video:

(please note this is for humor purposes only and if you can not take a joke then you are a jerk…)

Track Listing:
1: NOFX – The Separation of Church and Skate
2: Lagwagon – Violins
3: Propagandhi – Back to the Motor League
4: No Use For a Name – Soulmate
5: Bracket – 2RAK005
6: Strung Out – Too Close to See
7: Face To Face – You’ve Done Nothing
8: Good Riddance – Weight of the World
9: Tilt – War Room
10: Me First – Leaving on a Jet Plane
11: Wizo – Raum der Zeit
12: Frenzal Rhomb – Never Had So Much Fun
13: Hi-Standard – Wait for the Sun
14: Snuff – Martin
15: Goober Patrol – Easy Life
16: Swingin’ Utters – Windspitting Punk
17: Screeching Weasel – Cool Kids
18: Mad Caddies – Mary Melody
19: Consumed – Brutal Truth
20: Sick of It All – The Bland Within
21: Avail – Black and Red
22: Less Than Jake – Gainesville Rock City
23: Anti-Flag – Turncoat
24: Rise Against – Heaven Knows
25: The Real McKenzies – Kings of Fife
26: The Lawrence Arms – Like a Record Player
28: None More Black – Everyday Balloons
29: Against Me! – T.S.R.
30: Descendents – ‘Merican
31: Only Crime – R.J.R.
32: Chixdiggit! – I Remember You
33: Dead To Me – By the Throat
34: Good Riddance – Flies First Class
35: Rise Against – Alive and Well
36: The Flatliners – Eulogy
37: NOFX – It’s My Job to Keep Punk Rock Elite
38: The Lawrence Arms – On With the Show
39: Lagwagon – Bury the Hatchet
40: Western Addiction – The Church of Black Flag
41: The Loved Ones – Living Will (Get You Dead)
42: Star Fucking Hipsters – Immigrants & Hypocrites
43: Bracket – Everyone is Telling Me I’ll Never Win, If I Fall in Love With a Girl From Marin [Acoustic]
44: American Steel – Sons of Avarice
45: Nerf Herder – 5000 Ways to Die
46: Propagandhi – Middle Finger Response
47: None More Black – Slytherin? My Ass!
48: Swingin’ Utters – A Promise to Distinction
49: Against Me! – You Look Like I Need a Drink [Acoustic]
50: The Soviettes – Multiply and Divide
51: Zero Down – No Apologies
52: No Use For a Name – Always Carrie
53: Dead To Me – Writing Letters
54: Strung Out – Alone
55: The Dickies – My Pop the Cop
56: Avail – Done Reckoning
57: Mad Caddies – Polyester Khakis
58: The Sainte Catherines – Hau Weg die Scheisse
59: Epoxies – It’s You
60: Smoke or Fire – Goodbye to Boston
61: Anti-Flag – Underground Network
62: The Vandals – Underground
63: The Vandals – Why Are You Alive
64: American Steel – Middle of the Night
65: American Steel – New Religion Everyday
66: The Real McKenzies – Another Round
67: The Real McKenzies – Loch Lomond
68: MXPX – The Road Less Traveled
69: MXPX – You Hold the Key
70: Strike Anywhere – Antidote
71: Strike Anywhere – Asleep
72: Randy – I’m Stepping Out
73: Randy – Unite
74: Randy – Freedom Song
75: NOFX – Zyklone B Bathouse
76: NOFX – Spaghetti Motel
77: Swingin’ Utters – Black Mountain Rain
78: Swingin’ Utters – Outside Life
79: Strung Out – Dig
80: Strung Out – Lost Motel
81: Enemy You – The Promise Breakers
82: Enemy You – Kind Hearts
83: Enemy You – Emma
84: The Lawrence Arms – Porno and Snuff Films
85: The Lawrence Arms – A Toast
86: The Lawrence Arms – Overheated
87: One Man Army – Victoria
88: One Man Army – She Wants Me Dead

New Bouncing Souls Album In 2010!!!

2009 was the year of the Bouncing Souls.  They took the entire year to celebrate their anniversary as a punk rock band for 20 years by playing tons of live shows and also releasing a song a month available for download on their record label Chunksaah Records.

On January 12th all of those songs will be released on an album titled Ghosts On The Boardwalk for all the fans that never were able to download the tracks or pick up the limited edition 7″ vinyl records that the band pressed quarterly through the year featuring the songs.

I have heard most of the songs already and without going into detail yet I can tell you that they are all amazing.  The band may have two decades behind them now as a band but they have not slowed down one bit.  The tracks on this CD contain catchy anthem tracks that all Bouncing Souls fans can sing along to proudly and loudly.

My friends and I were just talking about the first time we saw the Bounding Souls play in Cleveland.  The foursome played a bill with NOFX and Hi-Standard at the Agora to rowdy crowd.  I believe the year was 1996 and even if the show is still fresh in my memory that was 14 years ago.  Ever since then I became a huge Souls fan and not one of their releases disappointed me.  I am thrilled these guys are still doing what they do.  It makes an aging punk rocker like myself appreciate them even more.

Recently the band played a Daytrotter session (that I was unaware of) and the songs they played are available for free download.  I love the version of Anchors Away” they bust out.  Good stuff.  Click HERE to check out their session on Daytrotter.

Here are a couple tracks that will be appearing on Ghosts On The Boardwalk.  Support this amazing band and buy their CD when it comes out!

“Airport Security”

“Ghosts On The Boardwalk”

Blakroc – Blakroc – CD Review

It’s the day after Thanksgiving and I am still full from an amazing array of good eats and excited.  Of course we all know that today is supposed to be the busiest shopping day of the year and there is not one part of me that wishes to engage in that stupid retail disaster.  I have no interest in waking up early and saving $20 on a junk TV or getting DVDs for $2.  I don’t wish to wait outside in the cold for the chance at getting a deal.  I’ll just surf the internet for my shopping needs when the Jesus Day comes a little close.

Black Friday can kiss my ass.

So if I am so bitter at this tragedy of a day what am I so excited about you ask?  That’s easy, Blakroc‘s debut self-titled album was released today.  What?  You have no idea what I am talking about?  Well of course I am going to explain a little more about this album that I have been anticipating for quite some time.

Blakroc is a project featuring Akron, Ohio’s blues/rock heroes The Black Keys plus hip-hop artists including Ludacris, Mos Def, the late-great Ol’ Dirty Bastard and other well known artists.  The combination of the music of Dan Auerbach and  Patrick Carney’s provided beats layered with the rap lyrics is just unbelievable.  To add to the exhilaration, The Black Key’s frontman Auerbach provides some of his own signing on a couple of tracks making for a truly matchless sound. 

So how exactly did The Black Keys get mixed up with hip hop?  Well apparently Damon Dash, co-founder of Roc-A-Fella Records is a huge fan of the Keys and wanted to do something involving the duo and Jim Jones.  During that initial session Mos Def interrupted and wound up recording as well and Blakroc was formulated (Black Keys + Roc-A-Fella = Blakroc).  In eleven days there were eleven tracks recorded thus creating an album that could be compared to a Gorillaz-like jam sans the electronics and cartoon fantasyland idea.

Finally after hearing about this project for months it the hit shelves today (CD & LP) and I could not resist but grabbing a copy for myself.  After all I am a huge fan of The Black Keys and everything they do as well as have a high appreciation for hip hop so it’s easy to say I was excited.  Once I put that album on though I was in my own little glory just like the first time I heart the Judgment Night soundtrack.  It was something new and something unmarked in it’s own kind.  Blues/rock and rap?  Nice.
The first track “Coochie” floored me not just because it sounded so great but because my number one favorite rap artist Ol’ Dirty Bastard was rapping in his glory (still can’t believe it’s been five years since his passing).  Thanks to ODB being affiliated with Roc-A-Fella Records prior to his death there was some of his work readily available for Damon Dash and he put it to good use.  Featuring the ever easy to listen to Ludacris and ODB slinging out rhymes about one of their loves in life, this song set the bar high for my expectations for the rest of the album.

“On The Vista” followed with the same knockout as the first track thanks to the smooth flow of Mos Def and Auerbach’s amazing guitar playing.  NOE dominated on “Hard Times” with some nice R&B like back-up singing as well as the Keys doing their thing.  “Why Can’t I Forget” was a nice somber R&B turn featuring Nicole Wray.

As soon as Mos Def and Auerbach shared the mic on “Ain’t Nothing Like You (Hoochie Coo)” I was just astounded.  It was my favorite track on the album thanks to the high appeal of hearing Auerbach’s distinguished singing followed by sick flows from Mos Def as well as a few lines by Jim Jones.

“Hope Your Happy” was another highlight on the album to me with Nicole Wray providing more soul signing beside the infamous Q-Tip and Billy Danze.  Nicole Wray returns once again with NOE, almost sounding like Jay-Z, on the final track titled “Done Did It”.  I am really glad the album included her as she made some of the songs that much better to listen to.

My only complaint with this album was the lack of Mr. Roc-A-Fella himself – Jay-Z.  It’s not like he’s never done something like this before (anyone remember Linkin Park/Jay-Z).  Based upon what I heard on this album though I would not be shocked in the least bit if another album was already in the works.

You will like this album if you like things done different from the norm but with substance.  It’s a fresh new sound that was brought together with near perfection.  If you are a fan of hip-hop you will dig this album as well, but I can honestly say if you are only about the music The Black Keys push out on average this may not be your cup of tea.  It’s a blues rock experimental album in a sense but more so a hip-hop heavy project that completely did wonders to my ears.