Saturday, December 20, 2008

519 Christmas Music

We (519) are currently recording a new album, which will hopefully be ready pretty soon, and while working on that project we recorded a few Christmas songs. Currently we are giving away cds at Calvary Bible Church in Boulder with these songs and a message from Pastor Tom Shirk. You can listen to them here, and download them if ya (right-click save as). so here ya go:

O Come Emmanuel
Glory to God
Hope Has Come

Leave some feedback

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Guest Review: Death By Stereo by IsaacC

Thursday, December 11th
Death.By.Stereo.

Brian and I went to see this titan of Punk/Metal/Hardcore. Fresh off recording their latest album Death is my only Friend, this 4 piece band played to a small crowd at the Marquis Theater. I was pretty surprised that there weren't more people there. But the last time Bmer and I saw them at the Bluebird Theater about 3 years ago, the crowd was pretty small too. It actually seemed like some people left after Crooked Ways, a local hardcore favorite, finished their set second in the lineup. Brian and I agree, we don't like Crooked Ways. They lack any sort of standout sound. Its kinda like listening to a mashup of Shutdown, Minor Threat and maybe First Blood? They have a heavy sound, reasonably solid vocals and good stage presence. But when you throw it together, the sum is less than the parts. Hard to explain. I hope they don't read this and kick Bmer's ass at the next show.

After the openers played their stuff, Death By Stereo took the stage after a rousing introduction by Maris The Great. They opened with some of their older stuff off of If Looks Could Kill I'd Watch You Die, to kick off the night. There are so many things I like about this band, starting with the fact that they were on stage ripping within about 10 minutes of the previous band finishing. No messing around with long mic checks, perfect monitor placement, big egos or any of that. There were maybe 75 people in the club, and only half of those up front, and lead singer Efrem Shulz makes sure that he makes everyone part of the show. I think I saw him kiss a couple of the chicks, and maybe one of the guys too. Anyone who wants it gets the mic in their face or a bro-hug in the middle of the song. A couple of times he made the rounds in the pit as far as his mic cord would allow.

This band goes nuts on stage but they manage to keep their sound really tight, including awesome crowd pleasing guitar solos. Lead guitar player Dan Palmer brings with him an incredible metal background and an awesome talent for solos. He puts the guitar right in your face and rocks like an 80's hair band. Jeff Clark on Bass is solid and gets into the act with the fans like a pro. By the end of the show, I think the guy had consumed his weight in beer and he was sort of bobbing and weaving at his post. Drummer Chris Daley was…..well he is the drummer, there's not much to say except he drummed well…..

They played quite a bit of older stuff, as they have been without a new album for the last 3 years. They did play a couple of new songs, including the title track from their forthcoming album. Wasted Words was the last song of the night, and I had no voice after that song due to screaming my freakin guts out. It was a rad show, and at $10, a bargain as well. I hope they don't make us wait another 3 years before they come back. Maybe Bmer can add a setlist to this post, as I have already forgotten what they played

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Show Recap: Death By Stereo @ Marquis

Isaac and I went down to the Marquis to catch punk rockers Death By Stereo the other night, us and about 50 other people total. Death By Stereo has never really had a big following, at least nowhere else except their home of SoCal, and every time we see them in Denver there's never a big turnout. This night was the same, especially since the show was only announced a few weeks ago, and there wasn't anything but local bands on the tickets (Killings Kings, Crooked Ways, and Boldtype).

i don't want to spend too much time on the local bands, but they weren't impressive. Crooked Ways seems to have an identity crisis and can't tell what kind of punk band they want to be. not to mention they really have no talent on guitar which makes the music way too predictable and boring. Boldtype is sort of like your non-serious punkers like NOFX, Blink-182 or the Vandals. I don't like those bands, and i don't like Boldtype.

Death By Stereo on the other hand is amazing! I don't know why people don't get into these guys, they're just amazing musicians and very energetic. They have a punk sound, with a big dash of metal thrown in thanks to the finger-tapping of the guitarist. even finger-tapping while having a High Life poured down his throat by lead singer Efrem. impressive.

Anyway, Efrem is one of the best frontmen i've ever seen. not only are his vocals pretty good, he is quite a showman, always running around and making ridiculous faces. He is great at passing the mic, thankfully, and that gave Isaac and I a chance to share our amazing vocals with everyone. He runs around in the pit, mic chord and all, making people have to duck to keep from being decapitated. And he's always pointing at people and making eye contact, which i thought he was only doing with his friends until he gave me the wink the the gun!

They played all of the usual songs and two news, they're currently finished recording in Fort Collins. They also playing Emo Holocaust and mentioned that they had re-recorded the song for the new album. Maris the Great was also on hand, and his introduction was hilarious. the last time DBS played Denver was about 3 years ago, and Maris was understandably upset that they hadn't been back sooner. He announced that he was planning on "killing" DBS the next night before their Colorado Springs show, and that we were the last audience to see them alive. If you don't Maris, he's an old punk rocker, dressed in crazy garb, and he interviews bands before killing them. i don't really know what else to say about that.
Anyway DBS played a longer set than usual, it felt like they played for an hour, but i think that had to do with the fact that 2 separate fights broke out. This is what i love about the punk/hardcore scene, and what most people don't know or understand. While these shows can get pretty crazy, and there are bodies running into each other and people sometimes getting hurt, its almost never with intent and never encouraged, by the band or the fans. As soon as the first fight broke out (i'm assuming the combination of PBR Tall Boys and more room than usual due to a small turnout) Efrem stopped the band immediately and called for the fight to stop. he stated that if you wanted to fight you had to fight JJ the bassist for the band. He made the point that we needed to be united and together we needed to fight "them". After his little speech the band busted right back into the song as if they simply pressed pause.

Probably like 1.5 songs later another little fight broke out a little to the side of the room and Efrem stopped the band again. He asked everyone what the deal was, and stated that they just wanted to have some fun and that there was no reason to be fighting. This is a common view by most punk bands and a lot of hardcore bands. While the music encourages people to run around and go crazy, it doesn't encourage fighting or punching people. if you don't want to be bumped or kicked, you need to move further away from the stage, and if you're looking to throw punches to purposely hurt people, well, you're going to have to answer to the bands, or a lot of the band's friends. If you want to hurt people go to a Slipknot concert, get drunk and high, and get your jock-mosh on.

Anyway, DBS was great. They finished their set and left the stage. Thankfully they didn't play an encore because they are lame these days. Instead the next thing i know Efrem has his arm around me and Isaac and is talking to everyone still left in the pit. We talked to him about their upcoming show with Suicidal Tendencies and why they hadn't played Denver in such a long time. It was pretty cool to get to talk to the band so easily, another great aspect of punk rock and small venues.

I'm sure Death By Stereo will be back in Denver really soon since they'll have a new record out pretty soon and i'm sure they'll tour it for the rest of the year. Here's a song off their live record Death Alive:


Death Alive

Set List (in no particular order):
The Plague
No Cuts, No Buts, No Coconuts
Beyond the Blinders
Looking Out For #1
Forget Regret
This Curse of Days
Sing Along With the Patriotic Punks
Shh, it'll Be Our Little Secret
Let Down and Alone
Emo Holocaust
I Give My Life
Holding $60 on a Burning Bridge
Wasted Words (last song)

2 New songs that i don't know the names of

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Best of 2008

I did this last year, and it was a pretty fun little project, going back through the albums of the year and reviewing/rating them. This year was tough since there were quite a few new albums, and no one album really blew the rest away. I'd love to get some feedback on what others thought were some of the top albums


Best Albums - Top 10

1. Anberlin - New Surrender: The first 6 tracks on this album are amazing, I still don't understand re-recording Feel Good Drag but it's a pretty good song. Anberlin continues to impress and each album gets better and better!

2. Haste the Day - Dreamer: Haste the Day are quickly becoming my favorite band. The songs on this album keep getting better everytime i listen to them. Songs i really like are Sons of a Fallen Nation, 68, and Madmen.

3. Gabe Dixon - Gabe Dixon: Gabe Dixon finally gets to release an album 4 years after signing to a major. Kassie and I have listened to this album so many times since it was released and it never gets old. Songs: Till Youre Gone, Far From Home, and Ever After You.

4. Destroy the Runner - I, Lucifer: Another band who changed lead singers, this is much different than their first release, Saints, and i like the change.

5. Our Last Night - The Ghosts Among Us: I wasn't sure about this album at first, but throughout the year i realized that i was grabbing more and more tracks from it. These guys signed to Epitaph to release this album, and the lead singer is only like 15. It's a pretty nice blend of punk/metalcore.

6. Dave Barnes - Me + You + World: Dave Barnes has a nice blend of simple songs, with a little dance beat thrown in. The opener is undeniable, and the re-recordings of Until You and On A Night Like This are not needed, but don't take away from the album either.

7. Killing the Dream - Fractures: I've been waiting for KTD to release a follow-up to In Place, Apart, and we finally got it. This album is brutal, unrelenting, and very honest.

8. Pennywise - Reason to Believe: I'm very surprised by Pennywise, just when everyone had given up on them, including their label Epitaph, they release their best album since Full Circle. Another plus? They released this on Myspace Records and allowed fans to download it for free for the first 2 weeks!

9. Leeland - Opposite Way: I wish more people would get into Leeland, everything they do is solid, with great lyrics and a solid rock/worship sound.

10. theAudition - Champion: This album is another album that i don't think many people will like, but i love it. these guys are like a cool version of Fall Out Boy, especially without the drama. This album is great all the way through, ever song is fun to sing.

11. Third Day - Revelation: yet another solid from a band that just doesn't stop

12. She & Him - Volume 1: my "indie" favorite of the year. i liked this album as soon as i heard it, but i knew that others wouldn't. Its a fun listen with a feel/sound from 50's pop.

13. Chris Tomlin - Hello Love: good release from Tomlin, i don't know what else to say

14. Charlie Hall - The Bright Saddness: If you're looking to listen to something new after years of Third Day/Crowder and other big worship bands, you've probably already been singing Charlie Hall songs in church. This album is fresh, and a little bit unorthodoxed in its sound.

Best of 2008


Other Notable Albums:
Millencolin - Machine 15
War of Ages - Arise & Conquer
A Skylit Drive - Wires and the Concept of Breathing
Bebo Norman - Bebo Norman
Coldplay - Viva la Vida
Family Force 5 - Dance or Die
Have Hearth - Songs to Scream at the Moon
Jay Nash - The Things You Think You Need
Lincoln Brewster - Today is the Day
Means - To Keep Me From Sinking
Rise Against - Appeal to Reason
This Is Hell - Misfortunes
Marc Broussard - Keep Coming Back
Trace Bundy - Missile Bell

Verse - Aggression
underOATH - Lost in the Sound of Seperation


Best Shows - Top 3

1. Killing the Dream @ the Underground
2. Comeback Kid/Crime in Stereo @ Marquis Theater
3. Gabe Dixon/Jay Nash @ Bluebird

Friday, November 21, 2008

Show Recap: H2O/Bane @ Cervantes

Melodic hardcore legends H2O came through Denver last Tuesday on what some would call a reunion tour. For those of you wondering if i'm referring to the very popular punk bands from back in 90's, yes, its the same band, they disappeared for like 10 years and have decided to get back together for another go!

Earlier this year, H2O released their first record since their flop Go! back in 1999. The new record, Nothing to Prove, is somewhat of a disappointment, full of songs that basically contradict themselves by trying to be open-minded while judging todays punk rock scene as fakes. Although the music is good, and the record is full of big-name supporters from Sick of it All, Madball, and Alkaline Trio, the message is tired and Toby comes off as a little old/cynical.

Well, they decided to tour the album and prove that yes, Toby is in fact old and cynical.

I was so excited about this show, unfortunately fellow punk-rocker Isaac was out of town for the show so i dragged Tahoe along (he's not the biggest fan of east-coast, tough guy hardcore/punk). I wanted to get there early to catch Energy, a band that has been around for awhile in the Boston scene, but only recently signed to a "big" label; Revelation Records. Even though their full album release earlier this year, Invasions of the Mind, was pretty weak, i had read that they put on a good show. I have to so i was not impressed. These guys really don't fit into the punk scene and i get the feeling they're really trying hard to be something they aren't. They played a set that was probably 3 songs too long considering no one really knows who they are, and they covered Halloween by the Misfits, which has already been covered and recorded by AFI. I thought it was poor. They didn't have much energy and the lead singer was pretty lame, his hair was annoying-ly clean and shiny, and their songs lacked any real talent or originality.

The next bands, Cruel Hand and Bane, were alright. You could tell that both bands have been touring for years and knew how to get a crowd riled up. Cruel Hand was a little too hardcore for me, and Bane was a little better. I've never totally gotten into Bane but i have to admit they put on a pretty intense show. The place went nuts!

Finally the band i had been waiting to see again since high school. H20 came out and instantly i noticed that these dudes were old! Rusty, the lead guitarist and backup singer, has very grey hair and looks too be in his 50's. This must be how our parents feel when they see Mick Jagger or Bruce Springsteen or something. I was a little cautious at first but after the first songs, Toby proved that they still had the energy and passion.

After a few songs including Nothing to Prove, Family Tree and Everready, H2o had the entire place dancing (all 100 or so people). This was a nice change since for the first time in a few years we weren't the oldest people in the crowd, in fact, there weren't many young kids at all, just a bunch of 25+ year old punk rockers who were trying to act like they still could hang in the pit.

Everything was going well until H2o decided to play a song off of GO!, i don't know which song it was since i can't stand that album, and apparently some dudes in the pit also couldn't stand it and they decided to start punching each other. Toby saw this and stopped the song. He started to call out the rowdy punkers, asking the guys how they could fight during "h2o's poppiest song that has nothing to do with fighting" I didn't think this was a big deal since i've seen quite a few bands who will stop shows if a fight breaks out, but apparently Toby was showing his age.

After the scuffle the band went into I See It In Us and Thicker Than Water, and then Toby got upset again. This time apparently a drunk dude in the front row was grabbing and punching Toby in the leg. After the song Toby basically put the dude in his place by calling him out and telling him "you don't have to punch me in the leg when you're excited". i think Toby was trying to be funny, but it came off as grouchy, and proved that Toby continues to think he's better than everyone. I was a little put off but his attitude, and after this incident he seemed to skip a few songs, apparently he was done with Denver.

They played the rest of their set which included Still Here, Faster Than The World, One Life One Chance, 1995, 5Yr Plan, Guilty By Association, and What Happened. These songs are so awesome live, especially with the fun intros that H2o has been known to do. They started 5Yr Plan with a Black Sabbath song, and after the song, Rusty did his best Sting impression. After the Sting bit, Toby made sure that we were all keeping our minds open to other music besides hardcore like "U2 and Coldplay. even hip hop". Thanks for the advice Toby.

Another issue with the show, or more the fans, is the song Still Here which is basically a straight-edge song talking about H2o is "straight edge before you were born". This had quite a lot of support from the crowd, which is ironic since almost everyone there was either drinking a beer or smoking a cigarette outside. Straight-edge is a trend/fad to most kids and i find it a little annoying, basically because most of the kids are lying. I was straight-edge for about 3 weeks in high school and i don't act like i'm straight-edge when SE bands come to town.

Besides all of this, the show was amazing. H2O has great sing-along songs and Toby always passes the mic (take note bands). Any guests parts on their albums were sung by the lead singer for Cruel Hand which was awesome. The lead singer for Energy sang the bridge for the Alkaline Trio part on What Happened and once again proved to me that he wasn't really punk rock. They ended the show with What Happened and promptly left the stage. After about 5 minutes of chanting H-2-O the lights came on and it was over. no encore. I think Toby was just pissed and didn't want to be in Denver anymore.

I've seen H2o live quite a few times, and this show was just as good as any, the small crowd was very supportive and was in good voice. there were crowd-surfers and stage-divers even though there wasn't really enough people to support any of these activities. All in all it was one of the better shows i went to this year, especially since H2o has such a good selection of songs. They said that they would be back again soon, somehow i doubt it, but if they do it'll be another good time.

Guilty By Association - H2O

Monday, November 3, 2008

Show Recap: Norma Jean / Haste the Day / Showdown / Oh Sleeper

Well, i got to check out a metal show while on vacation in Minnesota with my boy Alan. This was quite a lineup, Haste the Day and Norma Jean, two heavyweights of the Christian metalcore scene along with Oh Sleeper, theShowdown and My Children My Bride. It was an incredible night, all of the bands played really well, and the venue, Station 4 in St Paul, was great.

We arrived just in time to catch Oh Sleeper's short 5 song set, but it was amazing. These guys are so good, i'm surprised they don't have more of a following. Anyway they totally rocked and the crowd was really into them, it was the first thing i noticed about the Minnesota scene, everyone was packed in front of the stage and rocking out even for the opening band, it was pretty cool. Oh Sleeper opened with Charlatan's Host, followed by Building the Nations and then We Are The Archers. They played We Will Welcome the Reaping and then closed with Vices Like Vipers which everyone in the crowd seemed to know. I wish they would have played Siren's Song, but maybe next time.

Next up was My Children My Bride, i'm not really impressed by them so Alan and I headed over to Quizno's for some food, i don't think we missed much.

Next up was the Showdown. These guys were awesome, i've been listening to them for awhile and i haven't figured out if i actually like the music, or if i just like the novelty of an 80's metal christian band. They have an old-school sound, guitar solo's and heavy vocals, and the singer looks like he hasn't left the basement since 1987. They all have super-long hair which was used for synchronized head-banging and dryer-cycle hair swinging. The lead singer donned a tank top and said things like "This is for all you thrashers out there" and "keep it real, keep it rude. Heavy metal is for life". They were very impressive musically, especially for only having one guitarist, and they had everyone in the place rocking out and doing a motion that could be described as "tickling a baby"; basically put your hands out in front of you and make the motion like you're tickling a baby, now raise those fingers high in the air and now you're summoning the guitar soloing gods.

Speaking of guitars, the guitarist had a V-shaped guitar that had a Confederate flag on it, it was hilarious. Basically just think of every bad stereotype you think of then you think of 80's metal and these guys were it, and it rocked. The songs i recognized were Backbreaker, The Hammer of the Gods, and I Am Vengeance.

After that it was Haste the Day. I've seen these guys 3 times now and each time something is up with the sound/volume. The overall sound was at least 25% less than the Showdown. It was so quiet in fact that i ventured to the front of stage, where it was still quiet. Nonetheless it was still a great set, i just wish it was loud enough to sing/scream along. They played most of the usual songs, with 68 and Mad Man from the new album. They played White Collar, Pressure the Hinges, Minor Prophets, Walk On, Blue 42, American Love and finally, When Everything Falls. The crowd response was great, especially on the sing-alongs parts of American Love and When Everything Falls.

Last up was the "almighty" Norma Jean. I don't really listen to these guys much, so i was open to being convinced of their "almighty" title. They delivered! They came out on the stage to some movie clip, all the lights were off , and you could just feel the energy in the room. I would describe their live show as sensory overload, lights on the stage were flashing the whole time and the volume was easily the loudest thing i've ever heard, ever. It was so loud in fact, that i moved from the main floor to the bar, i was starting to get sick from the volume. From the bar though i could really hear the music and actually get a feel for Norma Jean since i didn't know their songs. They were awesome, 2-3 guitars, broken bass pedals, guest vocals from My Children My Bride and Haste the Day, a kid with a walker in the most-pit, and best of all, they got the plug pulled on them! The lead singer climbed the speaker-stack during the encore, Memphis Laid to Waste, and the security guys turned the power off. It was awesome, the drummer kept playing but you couldn't hear anything else.

Alan, a big fan of Norma Jean, said the show was pretty good, nothing amazing though. He said they played quite a few songs from the newest album, the Anti-mother, and listed off their set including Shotgun Message, Robots 3 Humans 0, Blueprints For Future Homes, Songs Sound Much Sadder, Birth of the Anti-Mother and quite a few others. I have been listening to these guys a lot more since the show, i'm converted!

Anyway, this was a great night, the venue Station 4 was awesome, very intimate and very loud. The crowd was great, summoning the guitar gods and climbing the walls and going crazy. All of the bands played very well, and the show, which started at 530p was over by by 945p which is very early by my standards, but since Alan got lost on the way home we needed the extra time!

here's a playlist of each of the bands that played, and their best song live so check them out:

Minnesota

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Follow up by Bebo on new song "Britney"

Bebo Norman recently did an interview with NewReleaseTuesday.com focusing on his new single "Britney".

I've already blogged about this song, asking for opinions on the song, and the fact that its Bebo's new single and its kind of a change of pace for him. This interview really explains where he was coming from when he wrote the song, and how he almost didn't record it. I think this is a great song in that it really encourages conversation, and it contains some very powerful truth!

"It was a song I was proud to write and honestly, I didn’t know what to do with this song. It was a song that honestly I didn’t play for anyone for 3 months, because who writes a song about Britney Spears?" -Bebo

Please check out the interview, and the song, and the new album!



Britney - Bebo Norman

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Album Review: Haste the Day - Dreamer


Haste the Day have released their anticipated follow-up to 2007's Best Album (as voted by myself) Pressure the Hinges; Dreamer, and man its about time! I know i speak for many HTD and hardcore fans when i say that Pressure the Hinges was an amazing album. It was full of tracks that were great by themselves, or as a complete album. It raised the bar, and we were eager to see if Haste could reach that standard.

After all of the drama Haste the Day have been through, its great to see them persevere and continue to make great music. They've lost two original members, Jimmy Ryan the original vocalist (who just released The Tide Will Swallow Us Whole with his new band, Trenches), and lead guitarist Jason Barnes who only left the band recently, before Dreamer was written. According to HTD, Jason was the primary song writer, so losing him left the band in a hole, but their newest member and lead singer, Stephen Keech stepped up to the plate. Stephen apparently wrote a majority of the album, and you can instantly tell that its really different from Hinges.

After my first few listens to the album i was not impressed. The album was really heavy and brutal, reminding me a little bit of old Haste the Day, Tahoe even said it reminded him of As I Lay Dying. The think the most noticeable difference was the drumming; it was much more technical and varying, straying from the reliable straight-forward fast beats of Hinges. The next huge difference was the catchy sing-along choruses. This is where i'm reminded of underOATH and slightly disappointed. My favorite part of hardcore music is the choruses and breakdowns. Some fans of metal/hardcore hate the catchy-ness of bands, the "pop" choruses because they feel like the band is selling out the what people want instead of writing honest music. I actually love the contrast of a chorus that is "sung" against the harsh vocals of the a verse that has more screaming/yelling. Pressure the Hinges really nailed this and i think it was great for the band because it grew the fan base having such accessible songs.
"We definitely think it is the best thing we've ever done. We've always been a band that combines the heavy music with the melodic side of music and we think that we have kind of combined those in the best way thus far that we think is the heaviest record we've done and it's also the most melodic and catchiest record we've done." -bassist Mike Murphy in HM Magazine interview

When HTD is done, i think you'll look back at their catalog and think that Pressure stands out as the misfit. Even though Dreamer isn't written by the same musicians that wrote Burning Bridges, they have the same feel. tracks like 68 and Babylon are just brutal, whereas tracks like Sons of the Fallen Nation beg you to sing along. I think it will be interesting to find out what tracks really hit live from this album, and speaking of live, they're currently touring with The Showdown, Oh Sleeper, and hardcore veterans Norma Jean.

When all is said and done, this album might not reach the high standard that Haste the Day have set with their previous albums, but in a year of disappointing releases from Christian metalcore bands like Means and underOATH, this album easily stands up and take claim of one of the top spots for 2008.



Haunting - Haste the Day

Break Up: Here I Come Falling


Christian metalcore/hardcore group Here I Come Falling have called it quits. These guys were only a band from 2006-2008, putting out one pretty good record called Oh Grave, Where Is Thy Victory.


"We have been having lineup changes and other troubles since about 4 months ago. We were left in a position by some members that we just couldn't tough our way out of. We have no other choice, and we feel like it is the right thing at this time to end our band."


They are apparently having a "huge" closeout merch sale in the next coming weeks so get on that while you still can, and check out their best track "A Ghost Town for a Graveyard" if you get the chance.


A Ghost Town for a Graveyard - here i come falling

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Show Recap: Gabe Dixon/Jay Nash/Justin Nozuka @ Bluebird

On Wednesday Kassie and I went down to the Bluebird to catch one of our favorites artists; the Gabe Dixon Band. We stumbled upon Gabe Dixon a few years ago on a preview for a new TV show, Conviction or something like that. His song, All Will Be Well was the theme-song for the first season. After finding some of his music we realized that he was a very small-time artist and really hadn't established himself yet.

Last year we went to see the Dave Barnes/Matt Wertz show in Boulder and it just happened that Gabe Dixon was the opener. He might have been the best act of the night! He plays piano and his music is like piano-rock/jazz/ben folds style that gets your toes tapping. I did more research and found out that Gabe used to play in some Christian bands and Younglife camps and had a really positive message, but had struck-out with recording companies. he just recently signed a new deal and put a new record last month, and its great!

Anyway, for the show. We had never heard of Jay Nash, and didn't know very much about Justin Nozuka. Jay Nash opened the night, a tall singer/songwriter with his electric guitar and his Danish drummer on a jazz kit with brushes. Jay grabbed our attention instantly with his voice, so controlled and powerful, almost twangy at times. His songs were simple but his sound was very full and captivating.

Most of his set was just him and a drummer, but in the middle of the set Gabe Dixon and his bass player came out to play a few full band songs. We were very impressed, tapping our toes and nodding along with the beats, but in the end Jay's voice was the most impressive part of his set. I would totally pay money to see him again.

After Jay Nash was Gabe Dixon. He played as a 3 piece, piano drums bass. He played most of his notable songs, opening with 5 More Hours, and dedicating All Will Be Well to "beautiful people of Colorado". His songs have such good driving beats and Gabe is so passionate when he plays. He has a hard timing keeping his own butt on the piano bench, standing up to sing choruses while keeping his hands going pounding out the music. All of this while drinking Northern California's finest beer Sierra Nevada Pale Ale!

After playing 5-6 songs, Gabe played And The World Turned by himself with no band. After this he announced that he had a special surprise for Denver, since he doesn't come here too often. He did a cover of Bob Marley's Is This Love? while he played a wind piano , the bassist played a guitar and the drummer played what he a "shi-tar", basically a guitar with strings attached to it and played more like a hand drum. they all gathered around a single mic and did a front-porch rendition of the Bob Marley song, it was incredible!

After that they played a few more songs, Gabe was great all night, he's not very comfortable on the mic talking to the crowd, but he almost seems effortless when he's singing and playing piano. For the closer Til You're Gone, Gabe brought out Jay Nash to play guitar, and his Danish drummer to play tambourine. I've never seen anyone play tambourine with so much joy, he just smiled the whole time, apparently loving the tambourine. What a great set by the band, be on the lookout for these guys!

5 More Hours
Sirens
Disappear
All Will Be Well
Further the Sky (with no Mindy Smith unfortunately)
Til Your Gone (amazing!)
Far From Home
The World Turned
Find My Way
Is This Love (Bob Marley cover)

We stuck around for a few Justin Nozuka songs, but weren't really impressed too much. Justin's singing is a little over-the-top and isn't really all that unique, his band was pretty weak compared to the previous bands, and his songs all sound somewhat the same. He opened with Down In A Cold Dirty Well which was pretty good. After that he seemed to be more show than substance so we took off, we'd seen who we wanted to see.


Here's Jay Nash from my camera:
video

Dixon/Nozuka

Show Recap: Anberlin @ Ogden

I've decided after writing a terrible review of the Anberlin show (terrible referring to my writing, not Anberlin) that this blog is going to be more of a place to just type out my thoughts, rather than try to be a professional music writer or whatever. I'm just not a good writer, but i have a lot of thoughts pertaining to music.

Anyway...Kassie, Travis and I went down to Denver on Tuesday night and caught the Anberlin show at the Ogden Theater. First i'd like to say that i really like the Ogden, i always have, its a small venue so the shows are really intimate. The sounds is usually pretty good, very loud and i like that a lot. For this show however the vocals were not mixed very well at all, you couldn't hear Stephen's (from Anberlin) vocals really at all, especially when he was singing low.

Anberlin always brings it, they are so solid live. Once again they played a set that was dominated by their more energetic songs, songs like Dismantle.Repair, Godspeed, Never Take Friendship Personal. They write and record great slower songs, but rarely play many of them live besides Unwinding Cable Car for which they switched to acoustic guitars for.

They also neglected to play any song off of Blueprints for the Black Market, their first album. I don't count Feel Good Drag because they re-released that track on their latest album New Surrender and its their single right now. Usually they play Readyfuels but not this time.

Everyone has the sense that Stephen basically makes this band, and that's true. While the band is very solid, Stephen is just amazing live. He sings so well, very strong at times and then very soft but powerful. He doesn't strain to hit the high notes, night after night. He seemed a little distracted by something this night which took away from his usually over-the-top energy, but even then he owned the show.

Another great part of Anberlin's live show is that they don't waste much time between songs. Stephen rarely spends time explaining the songs or lyrics (which might be nice once in awhile, but he already explains a lot on his blog) and even though there appeared to be some technical difficulties, Anberlin continued to keep the flow going. the "encore" break was short, probably just to set up the track for the closer, *fin, which was amazing.

The setlist included songs mainly from Cities, 2.5 from the new album New Surrender and the rest from Never Take Friendship Personal. Here's the set from what i remember:

Adelaide
Feel Good Drag
Unwinding Cable Car
Resilience
A Day Late
Godspeed
Dismantle Repair
Hello Alone
Paperthin Hymn
Breaking
Disappear
-encore-
*fin

As for the other bands, Streetlight Manifesto was terrible. Scary Kids Scaring Kids was basically scary and lacked any real highlights. their sound was way too loud and the keyboardist, who never really played the keys, was dancing all over the stage like a tool. They lacked any creative interesting sound, which was enough for Kassie to take a nap during their set, no seriously, she fell asleep numerous times.
This was my third time seeing these guys live, it might not have been the best show i've seen, but still one of the best band to see live, no question.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Bebo and Britney



I just received my copy of the new Bebo Norman cd in the mail last week and i've been listening to it all weekend. I've been a fan of Bebo's since college, i love his honest music and he's really good live. I've met him a few times and he's a very sincere and genuine person, so for me to complain about his music is unusual.





On his latest album there is a track titled Britney. The first few times i heard it i didn't really like it, i guess i don't like songs about specific people, they just don't leave much room for the listener to have original interpretations. Also, i have a hard time separating the name "Britney" from Britney Spears, someone who i'd rather not think about all that often. I was talking to Kassie about the track yesterday and was complaining about how this Britney song was track 4, why would Bebo feature such a lame track, usually tracks 3/4 are your features, your singles.





Well come to find out this morning, the song really is about Britney Spears. I can't believe Bebo would write a song about Britney Spears, actually include it on an album with only 10 tracks, and then make it his single. i don't get it. doesn't anyone else care?





Lyrics:


Britney im sorry for the lies we told
we took you into our arms and then left you cold
britney im sorry for this cruel cruel world
we sell the beauty but destroy the girl
britney im sorry for your broken heart
we stood aside and watched you fall apart
im sorry we told you fame would fill you up
and money moves the man so drink the cup

i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
you never see it coming back
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back
but i can see it coming back for you
yes coming back for you

britney im sorry for the stones we throw
we tear you down just so we can watch the show
britney im sorry for the words we say
we point the finger as you fall from grace

yeah britney i do believe that love has come
here for the broken
here for the ones like us

i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back you never see it coming back
and i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back but i can see it coming back
i know love goes around the world we know
and you never see it coming back you never see it coming back
i can see it coming back for you its coming back for you... yeah



Britney - Bebo Norman

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Christian Worship Bands Coming Thru Denver

There are quite a few Christian Worship bands coming through Denver in the next few months including Bebo Norman, Third Day, Jars of Clay, Robbie Seay Band and Chris Tomlin. If you're into the worship music scene than these are can't miss shows.

The Bebo Norman show has been rescheduled for November 2nd, but a place and time are still to be announced. This tour he is currently doing will be supporting his new self-titled release which was released last week.

The Third Day show is at the Broomfield Events Center in Broomfield, and features Jars of Clay on the bill. Third Day is currently supporting their new record Revelation which is their first release since 2005.

The Robbie Seay Band is targeting a November 15th date in Colorado, a venue is TBA but should be announced soon. This should be a unique tour since they are touring with Robbie's brother Chris who is a speaker. Sounds like a powerful night!

Lastly, the Chris Tomlin show isn't until Feburary. Chris Tomlin recently released Hello Love.

Other Christian artists coming through Denver that you should check out and support: Matt Wertz, Anberlin, Gabe Dixon Band, Trace Bundy, Haste the Day, underOATH, Emery, and 519 (ha! selfish plug).

Check the side-bar for more information on each of these shows. hit me up if you're going, i'm already set to go on a few of these!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Breakup: Means

One of my favorite Christian metalcore/hardcore bands Means have decided to call it quits. I think we could feel this one coming, as Means just couldn't seem to get any momentum. They're last tour saw them opening up for another recent break-up; Life In Your Way on a very small time tour. Means have announced on last tour through Canada and parts of the Midwest before the end of the year, which will be their last.

I really like the simplicity of Means and their writing, their sound is very straightforward and heavy. Their first full length album, Sending You Strength was great, very heavy yea melodic and catchy in parts. Earlier this year they released their second full-length To Keep Me From Sinking to mixed reviews, myself included. The album just wasn't as well done, you could sense that the writing was forced and that maybe Means was running out of creativity.

If you get the chance to catch these guys before their done you should, otherwise check out Sending You Strength for some really good metalcore/hardcore positive music.

Video of Connected - Sending You Strength

Connected - Means

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Show Recap: Killing the Dream

wow

What a great show. Killing the Dream have really improved their live show since last time they came through denver (2006?). Everything that was bad about the last time they came through was so much better this time.

i was going to write a long in-depth review but hey, i'll just say that it was amazing, very responsive crowd, great setlist, and even an encore which is pretty unusual for a hardcore show. KTD played January 2nd after chants of "One more song, one more song".

even a fight broke out after the show, between 2 girls over myspace comments (i'm not lying, ask Tahoe or Isaac!). i got punched in the face, not by the girls, but i recovered well. here are some pics:

Set:
picking up the pieces
where the heart is
we're all dead-ends
fractures
part II (motel art)
thirtyfourseconds
rough draft
before you fall asleep
everything but everything
four years too late

encore:
january 2nd

so good

I'm wearing a red shirt:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Killing the Dream @ the Underground - Monday

My boys Killing the Dream, from NorCal, are playing this coming Monday at the Underground in Lakewood. If you're looking for something to do i recommend being there.

























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Now playing: Killing The Dream - Picking Up the Pieces
via FoxyTunes

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Show Recap: Haste the Day @ HeavenFest

















Well i feel a lot older today



Last Saturday night my homie Tahoe and I stayed up past our bedtimes and saw Haste the Day play on the Garage Stage at HeavenFest. it was great!

Let me start by saying that HeavenFest appeared to be a success, lots of people, good bands, good sponsors and good parking (for band members!). Unfortunately of all the bands that played the H'Fest (jeremy camp, skillet, seventh slumber...) there was only one band i wanted to see; Haste the Day!

HTD was slotted to be the last band of the night on the Garage Stage, performing after K-Max of DC Talk fame, and therefore TAhoe got a glimpse of a few things lame on the evening. Apparently K-Max is like spoken word type stuff, and we only lasted about 2 minutes before heading back outside to wait for HTD. As K-Max wrapped up a mass of youth group kids took over the garage. The MC warned people to be safe, and that they were expecting a large number of people for the show. she was right, it was packed.

For those of you who might remember the Jesus Freak tour by DC Talk back in the day, you know, where Christian teenagers found a chance to "mosh" to what amounted to heavy alternative rock back then. this show wasn't much different, a ton of sub-16 year olds crashed the stage, and there was Tahoe and I, old dudes, arms crossed, serious faces, ready to destroy any kid that came into the Radius Of Doom that is often created by Tahoe!

HTD finally took the stage about 15 minutes late since the sound guy had no idea what was going on. the crowd was very anxious due to the +100 degree room and some live rap music by some random hip-hop group (who brings up a rap group to perform for a bunch of metal-heads?) anyway, HTD took the stage, opening with Pressure the Hinges which was amazing. the plugged through a few of the hits off their latest album including Minor Prophets and Needles and the place was going nuts. these new songs have such heavy outro's you could help but head-band (thing of wiping your chin on your left shoulder, repeat to the beat of the drums).

The first song almost resulted in the death of 10 teenagers when Tahoe slipped on some water and went down in the pit, almost losing his glasses, and if that happens you can be sure to see a Hulk-Smash moment!

Haste the Day is amazing live, and they haven't missed a beat since replacing longtime guitarist Jason. His replacement didn't miss a note all night! and Jimmy Ryan's replacement, Stephen is amazing live, his growling voice is less harsh than Jimmy's but it mesh's quite well with the great melody/harmony lines usually found in the chorus on HTD songs. Everyone seems to be in good voice on the night

After playing the newest songs, HTD switched back to play some oldies like Walk On which was solid. Next up they played Blue 42 and American Love. At this point you could start to see who really knew Haste the Day and who was there to 'mosh' and be tool. I also noticed something else at this point; the crowd was dominated by girls, probably a 2-1 ratio. this might be good news if you're a 15 yr old trying to decide what you'd rather look at more, the girls in their tank-tops or the band. Tahoe and I aren't 15 anymore and to be honest, that many girls in the pit makes things a little awkward. We stood our ground as mobs of 15 yr old girls pogo-sticked around us, luckily nobody messes with Tahoe, so i just stand next to him so i don't sucked into a circle pit made of a bunch of little kids and hurt somebody, yea thats right, i spared the kids that night.

As for the music, Haste just plugged away, smiling at each other as they rocked out. Stephen even took a moment to thank God for His grace and mercy, which was awesome to hear, even if it was to Christian crowd at HeavenFest and not a "secular" venue. the best musical note of the night probably came during American Love, the outro is a slow sing along and the whole crowd was singing along "Never should have let you, promise me, You'll stay with me forever" and then the places went crazy (at least who was still left).

Haste the Day is so reliable live, they play their songs really well and even through a handful of technical difficulties they just kept going. They play most of their hits though i'd like to hear Perfect Night, Stitches or White Collar live, and maybe we would have if there weren't so many problems during sound-check.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Spend Money On Music!

it seems like i can't talk about music with anyone without somehow getting into a debate about downloading music, free or not. I don't particularly like this argument since i usually lose, but i do learn a lot about how different people think about the music industry and how "illegal" downloading is effecting it. Now that itunes is the largest retailer of music, i think i should try it out.

I personally download a lot of music, i won't deny it. i also think the record companies and bands are going to have to get creative with how they make money because downloading isn't going away (not that this makes it right!). but thats another post.

This post is about a plan i have. Sometimes i feel overwhelmed with trying to help so many small bands get noticed or succeed. i'd love to buy a shirt and a cd from every small band out there to help them out but i can't. i go to a lot of shows, i think more than most people, and not just big venue shows, but a lot of very small venue shows helping out bands that need every dollar (especially with gas prices!). i want to make a pledge to go beyond just going to shows and buying the occasional shirt. i'm going to try and purchase at least $15-$20 worth of band merch (cds, dvds, shirts, vinyl...) every month.

Some of you probably already do this and more, but i don't. i've never bought a song off itunes, but i plan to now. i think i'm more likely to order the cds and stuff from the bands official webpages since that gives you something physical to have and hold for your money rather than just a file from itunes.

i've already started this, purchasing the pre-order package from Means (shirt+cd) 2 months ago and then ordering a shirt from Life In Your Way (RIP) this last month. this month i plan on buying a shirt from Haste the Day when i see them at Heavenfest (as long as they have a cool one!).

This little $20 isn't going to change really anything, except help those small bands. playing in a small-time band myself i know that $20 can actually really help, i don't know if people really realize that, but just buying one cd can really help offset the debt for a lot of bands (hint hint buy our cd!)

What do you think? do you already buy songs off itunes? are you a freeloader like myself? are you going to try and put some money back into the arts!?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

News: Wertz, Edwin, Haste, 519...

So i've been lazy lately and therefore have neglected to update here. there have been a few news items that i think are worthy of posting, so i just start blasting through them;

Starting with new music

-Matt Wertz is releasing an album titled Under the Summer Sun. it has 12 songs, including some acoustic one's Matt recorded as well as some old and new songs. check it out, there are a bunch of pre-order specials at his site

-Edwin McCain just released his 103rd album titled Nobody's Fault But Mine. this one isn't original songs, but a compilation of covers of Edwin's childhood idols like Al Greene, Aretha Franklin and Marvin Gaye. it's pretty good, though it's nothing really like Edwin's regular albums.

-As I Lay Dying's front-man Tim Lebasis has a side project named Austrian Death Machine that can be bluntly described as a metal band tribute Arnold Schwarzenagger. The album is called Total Brutal, and it's just that. It's pretty epic if you're down for an adventure, so far Tahoe gives it 2 thumbs-up.

-Third Day just released Revelation. If you like older more rock-style Third Day then you'll really like this album. its nothing crazy but it's very solid, good southern rock, and lots of energy!

-other new albums released recently include: Killing the Dream - Fractures, Means - To Keep Me From Sinking, and Street Dog - State of Grace.

and other news;

-For fans of Haste the Day's old lead singer Jimmy Ryan, he's in a new band called Trenches. They're planning on releasing their first album later this year.

-Apparently since gas is super-expensive, no bands are really touring this summer. there's a random show here and there but nothing huge to post except:

HEAVENFEST!

Come see our band, 519, play at Heavenfest along with other great bands like Trace Bundy, Haste the Day, the Brian Davis Band, Jeremy Camp, Kevin Max, and a ton of hip-hop acts. its going to be epic and i'm sure there's music for just about everyone that goes.

here's some Trace Bundy:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Album Review: Killing the Dream - Fractures

"you ask if there's an end in sight...i wish i had an answer. you should have asked me back when i was young. because i've had everything and all i want is more" -Everything but Everything

easily my most anticipated album release of the year and it's definitely worth the wait!

Killing the Dream has taken their sweet time releasing their second full length record after their debut album In Place, Apart. The west coast hardcore act has done it again recording a brutal collection of tracks full of raw passion, breakdowns, fact-paced and straight to the point lyrics that will get your blood pumping.

The first thing you notice when you throw on Fractures is the production quality (or lack of). KTD has kept it real with a sound that comes across like a 50 watt amp turned up to 11. with an overwhelming amount of mediocre bands releasing albums that are over-produced cliche fuzz distortion, KTD is just raw, but clean in the sense that they had a direction and went for it.

Eli's voice is awesome once again, he never apologizes for the strain he throws down telling us "i try to sing and this is how it sounds". it's obvious from the writing on this album the Eli is unleashing his emotions on the listener, holding little to nothing back and you get the sense very quickly that someone has done him wrong when he sings "i've never said it before, i've never meant it more F#%k you, F$%k all of you".

There are quite a few notable tracks starting with the opener Part II. the gang vocals at the end singing Resolution are impactful. Fractures (the track) has a great opening riff that i could listen to on repeat, its kind of light-hearted and sets up the song great. ThirtyFour Seconds has a breakdown that is going to be epic live "the music's getting louder, the feeling so familiar..." and the end of the track really allows you to connect with the energy and passion of the band.



There is a ton of experimentation on this album, especially for a hardcore act, when band are putting out album of 12 songs, 2:00 long, verse-chorus-breakdown-chorus-outro, KTD mix it up more than most. Isaac is so creative on the drums, changing pace and beats with ease, with a mix of faster punk rock beats from back in the 90's to the locomotive hardcore beats with a twist, he never plays the beats simple, there is always something more going on (just ask the drummers who audition to play with KTD on the tours that Isaac can't do).

DJDJ has really become quite the guitar player as well, i believe he was a bass player before playing with KTD fulltime and he has really brought a lot to the table on this album, the high-point being the closer Resolution.

Other random great points would be the guest vocals by good friend Rob from Ruiner on You're All Welcome and the great intro to Hang the Jury with a slow buildup followed by eli informing us that "the dead are f$%cking dead!!" follow by an explosion of crazy hardcore.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Album Review: Means - To Keep Me From Sinking


man, i just don't know about this one

I have been anxiously waiting for this album to come out, hoping for a great follow-up to Sending You Strength. its not everything i hoped for, but i'm not disappointed (at least i don't think i am).

i really really like Means, i can't find anyone else who does though. they are built in the image of Comeback Kid meets underOATH meets As I Lay Dying meets Life In Your Way. its a great mix and they fit right in on Facedown Records, homes to Christian heavy heroes No Innocent Victim.

As for the album, i just don't know. i want to like it. as a whole product i love it, i can listen to it over and over (which i have) and i never get sick of it. but even after listening to it 100 times i still can't recall individual songs or choruses. unlike Sending You Strength where you would go right to the songs you loved, this album doesn't really have those star tracks. i could easily rate each song as above average, nothing special, nothing terrible.

The first thing i notice is that the drumming and guitar work is much better than the last album. much more technical and diverse riffs really help this album survive. but after that the lyrics and melodies have fallen off a little. i'm left stuck in the middle of whether or not i put more weight in lyrics/choruses or music.

As I start working on my next compilation to hand out to the masses i'm looking for a track or two from this album to take away, which is tough, tracks like Breaking In, Refuge and Of Dread and Dreams seems to be the keepers. the guitar work on Refuge is really good as well as Of Dread...

And speaking of confused, i'm not sure Means knows what they want to be as well, with recent shows with Comeback Kid and With Honor in contrast with their last tour supporting Life In Your Way. This is one album and band that i'd love to get more feedback on from my friends. even searching the web you get such mixed results. check out the album, let me know what you think.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Show Recap: theAlmost/Emery 6/8/08

Last night Tahoe and I headed down to Cervantes Ballroom in Denver to catch a show. I didn't realize that 93.3 was promoting the show, as well as giving theAlmost some radio play, but nonetheless the place wasn't packed. the crowd could easily be described as high school / young college Christians. i would say that at least 75% of the crowd was christian. on top of that there were at least 5 moms there with their kids, as young as 12 by my estimate. Tahoe and I felt very old to say the least.

There were four bands on the the ticket; Army of Me, Envy on the Coast, Emery, and theAlmost. We knew the show wouldn't be intense, more of a rock show than anything, so with that in mind i wasn't holding my breath for the first 2 bands to be any good.

First up Army of Me was, to be kind, terrible! the sound was totally 'alternative' like a mix between Everclear and Wallflowers. the singer was trying to act like Eddie Vedder and looked like Kurt Cobain. the music was boring and unoriginal and i think i fell asleep standing up. I realize that the comparisons here are pretty good comparisons, well maybe in 1994, but this is 2008, that sound is old and boring now.

Next up was Envy on the Coast. i had never heard of these guys and once again i was not excited. the lead singer was rocking a rasta hat and dreads which i wasn't totally in to. but i would be proven wrong. these guys had the most energy of the night and the heaviest sound. The lead guitar player was switching between keys and guitar at a frantic pace and it worked. they sound like a heavy version of theAudition, some nice poppy vocals mixed with some heavy screams/yells, very loose sound with tons of energy. the music focused on energy before polish, even though their sound was great. The drummer was particularly good, as was the bass player, every song (5 in total) had very diverse and unique parts, but nothing seemed over-done. they played 5 songs, but the second song "Sugar Skulls" was easily the best one, the driving beat was impossible to resist. I'll be following these guys from now on.

Third up was Emery. at the beginning of the night i would say Emery was the band i was most excited to see. Tahoe and I moved from our bar perch to the crowd for Emery, expecting some chaos but that didn't happen. Emery were solid, playing mostly from their latest release More Than A Man and almost ignoring The Question (which was our favorite album unfortunately). I'm never sure what to expect from this band, sometimes they sound very heavy and intense and other times they are very poppy and easy-listening. We got the easy-listening version last night so it was good, but nothing spectacular. some songs i remember them playing: Party Song, Rock-N-Rule, Can't Stop the Killer, Don't Bore Us, and ending with Studying Politics.

Last up was theAlmost. Aaron from underOath started a side project with his homies from Dead Poetic and others and well, it exploded into a very successful rock band. with only one album out we kinda knew what to expect. The played almost the entire album and unfortunately with all the energy they brought, these songs are just simple rock songs and sometimes they lack energy. we were not disappointed though, Aaron is a great front man, his vocals were remarkable. i was expecting his voice to be raspy and worn out from touring but it wasn't, it was perfect and he was confident hitting every note all while hiding behind his ridiculously long red hair (reminded me of seeing Megadeath back in the day). I was wondering how they would handle the topic of Jesus in the set, and i was soon answered when Aaron spoke between songs giving credit to Jesus and offering to talk to anyone who was interested. The high point of the set was after covering Coldplays' Yellow they moved into Amazing Because It Is. during the chorus of Amazing Grace, the band completely dropped out and it was just the crowd singing, totally powerful!

All in all it was a fun night, nothing too crazy though. Probably the funniest moment of the night would have been when Envy on the Coast front man dropped the F-Bomb. it was dead quiet after that. all of the Christians were in shock, and the mother's as well. i thought it was hilarious. good times.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

My Interview with Eli from Killing the Dream



I recently interviewed Eli, lead singer for Killing the Dream, over email regarding their new record, Fractures, and some other good stuff:

So first question; who's gonna win the NBA finals this year?

man, good question. the way it's looking right now, i guess i'd have to go with the lakers...but honestly, all four teams left are pretty much on the same level, so it wouldn't surprise me if any of them won. but for the sake of not being an indecisive loser, i'll go with the lakers. lamar odom rules.



Speaking of basketball, you're quite the street baller, do you and Chris (bass player) hustle people for money while you're out on the road?

i wish...haha we try to play whenever we can, but we really don't have too much time when we're on tour. we haven't stepped up to playing for money yet, but maybe we should...me and chris are a pretty formidable duo. he plays the defense and hustles, i talk the trash and get buckets.

also, you'll be happy to know that chris recently got his first street ball alias when we were playing at sutter middle school in downtown sacramento- he was killing dudes on the boards, and one of the dudes on the other team started giving his boy shit. to quote him- 'c'mon mang...how you gon' let the leprechaun do you like that?'

i tweaked it a little bit, but chris is now known as 'lep in da hood.' i think it's classy while maintaining street cred.



I remember back in the day when Chris lost a tooth diving for a loose ball in a basketball game, do you guys ever get injured during your shows?

not too bad, outside of the usual cuts/scrapes/bruises. there's been some pretty interesting injuries i suppose, but most of the time it's because we're running into eachother. i've had to get stitches in my face two or three times now, and i'm still missing the nail on my pinky finger from back in january, when my hand and dj's guitar decided they didn't like each other and needed to get in a fight. other than that though, we've managed to stay injury-free.


The new record, Fractures, is about to drop and everyone has been waiting for new music from you guys for like 3 years, why the long wait?

haha tell me about it man...it's been a long time! there were a lot of things that happened that contributed to the time between releases, but we pushed through it and we can't wait to get fractures out. in order to save you from a real long answer, i'll give you the quick summary- joel and bart quit and it took a while for us to find new guitarists (dj and phil); 'in place apart' had just come out and we focused on promoting that for about a year; started writing new songs, but had to really figure out who we were again with the new members; lost phil in december 2006, had to find a new guitarist (patches); finally got some songs together, recorded them in may 2007; right after that, i started having some problems with my voice, and between tours and everything else, i didn't get the vocals finished until january 2008; after that, it had to get mixed/mastered/artwork had to be done/etc...and here we are.


What should we expect from Fractures? any surprises?

nah. nothing big. it's a different record for sure, and we definitely took some chances and mixed it up, but it's not like we're doing dave matthews band covers or getting 16 bars from dmx (i actually tried to make this happen, but my man was having some problems with the law haha). so yeah. no real surprises.


In a recent interview you were asked about your sound, how it sounds angry, are you angry?

i think you know me well enough to know that i'm not angry at all. i guess i can understand people saying in sound angry, but i haven't written too many angry songs...it's just how my voice sounds, you know? it's hardcore. hardcore has screaming. there's an urgency there, for sure...but it's not coming from anger. it's just what comes out when i open my mouth.

I know you and Chris have been unlucky in love with the ladies, does that fuel your energy and/or writing?

i think if you would have asked me this question when i was 18, or even 20 or so, i would have said yes. but honestly it's not much of a factor. i've been as lucky or unlucky as most people in their lives to this point. i've had a few relationships, some good, and some not so good...but it's not something that is on my mind all the time. i have written a lot of songs about relationships and things of that nature, but that's just because it was something that was going on in my life. anyone knows me knows that when i'm in a relationship, i'm in a relationship, and it's something i put my all into. relationships are really sort of an all or nothing thing with me, and it's really hard to find someone worth that sort of effort. i've really come to just enjoy life outside of relationships and not worry about finding something...sure, it would be nice, but it's not something i'm going to drive myself crazy over or force.

it's funny you mention chris in this question...i actually wrote the song 'if it rains' for him. it's basically just about being unsure about yourself and trying to find someone. after a certain point of being alone, you kind of build up your expectations for what you are looking for because you have gotten used to being by yourself, and it gets even harder to feel comfortable with someone. and you start to question yourself a lot...wondering if you are just being too picky or if you should be trying harder, or even what you are looking for at all. it's like you know exactly what you want, but you really wonder if you will be able to recognize it when you see it. it was a cool song for me to write, because when i wrote it, i was in a long-term relationship but i knew exactly how chris felt because i had been there for 20+ years of my life. and now, over three years later, i'm there again haha


I see you guys are heading to Japan again this summer, i think this is your 2nd or 3rd time touring over there right? What does Japan offer that the mid-west doesn't?

nice guilt trip. dude it's not a matter of one place offering more or less, at all. we've been through different parts of the midwest a few times, and we have loved every part of it. but this country is so damn big, and it's hard to hit everywhere. honestly i think it's more just a case of unfortunate circumstances...it's hard for us to get out to the middle of the country. it's easier for us to fly out, do a string of east coast dates, and fly back home. or, fly out to japan for ten days and fly back home. because we only have so much time to tour, we can't do those big month-long tours that a lot of bands do...and that's where the midwest really gets screwed. really, it's not something we try to do, trust me.

for what it's worth, we'll be in denver in august though. so brush up on your ktd lyrics so you can make another cameo during our set :)

Besides your hometown of Sacramento/Folsom, where are some of your favorite towns/places to play?

this might sound like a cop out, but i really can't choose one over the others. it's always nice to play places where we have old friends, just because it's so great to see them. but shows wise, everywhere has been great. the chain reaction has always been really good to us. gilman st. in berkeley has always been great. seriously, i can't choose one of two over the others. we have been really lucky as a band.

Speaking of Sacramento, if i were to head out there, where would be the most likely place to run into you guys during the day?

probably our jobs. but besides that, anywhere pizza is served. dj could probably be found at a skate park taunting aspiring tony hawks. isaac would be perusing the fine polyester rags at banana republic. patches is dude's night out seven nights a week, and the only reason he's crying is because of the adrenaline. chris is probably doing a chris farley impression or hanging out with his dog jacob. i'm usually eating ice cream at my house, or playing basketball, or trying to learn the dance from bell biv devoe's 'poison' video. we're a pretty wild bunch.


Which hometown band are you more proud of; Papa Roach or 7seconds?

lance briggs.


It seems like you guys have a different set of guitar players for each record you do, whats up with that? does that make it difficult to write music having a different group every time?

it just happens man...when you do a band, sometimes things change and things don't quite work out. it sucks, and i love all three of the dudes that have been with us, but i don't know if it's realistic to expect a hardcore band's lineup to stay the same from start to finish. it complicates the writing process, but as long as your core group is staying the same, you learn to work through it.


I know most of you guys were listening to punk rock growing up, and you can hear that influence on your sound. But your vocals and your breakdowns have a serious hardcore feel, do you feel like you guys have a unique sound?

i don't know. i guess so? vocally at least, it's not something i'm really trying to do, it's just what my voice sounds like. musically, i guess we sort of combine all our other influences, and hopefully that comes through. we've always just tried to make honest music that hopefully could express some sort of emotion people could identify with. the rest just kind of falls into place after that.


what are some bands out there, maybe on the Deathwish label, that people should check out?

there are so many awesome bands on deathwish right now. BLACKLISTED just put out a new full length called 'heavier than heaven, lonelier than god' and it is great. THE CARRIER is about to come out with a new 7" right around the time our lp comes out. TRAP THEM has a new record, and of course our dude andy rice's band MELTDOWN, if you are into that old nyhc style. i also have to mention our northern california bros LIFE LONG TRAGEDY...check out their record 'runaways' if you like hope conspiracy (another great dw band) or modern life is war (also put a record out on deathwish).



what about your ipod, what are some artists on there that might surprise people?

man, A LOT. i don't even want to get started. i like every kind of music. i guess just check it out for yourself-

http://www.last.fm/user/garthxalgar



speaking of ipods, what are your feelings about P2P file sharing?

it's good and it's bad...i mean on one hand you can't deny that it's easier and more convenient to just download a record rather than go out to the record store and buy it, or order it online and have to wait for it. and i'm not going to act like i've never downloaded a record without paying for it. on the other hand, it is way cooler to have the album as it is supposed to be- with the layout and the artwork, and the jewel case and all that. it makes for a much cooler 'experience' i guess. in some cases, where it's a band or record that means a lot to me, i really want to have the real disc/record. in others, it's just more about casually listening or trying the band out, so i'll take it any way i can get it.

as a band, it's the same. on one hand, any exposure is good- the more people who hear your band, whether they paid for the record or not, the better. and i think that a lot of times, if a kid downloads your album and likes it, then they'll end up essentially repaying the same money they would have spent on the record had they bought it- by coming out to a show or buying the vinyl version or a hoodie, or even just telling friends about you and getting them hyped on your music. the problem, though, is that it hurts the label that put money/time/sweat/work into producing the album. in the case of major labels, i could honestly care less, but for labels like deathwish, or rivalry, or bridge 9 (amongst other independent labels), they can't absorb that kind of blow and if enough people stop buying records, they could go under. i can't tell you how important labels like the ones i just mentioned are to hardcore/independent music. they are the ones who make it possible for bands like us to tour, make records, and be heard.

i guess what i'm saying is, if you like a band or a label, support them. buy records, buy shirts, go to shows, bring friends. especially to ktd shows :)




You said recently that if you weren't fronting Killing the Dream you'd be rapping, what kind of style can we hope for Common, Dre, Kanye...?

haha that was really more of a joke just because i like a lot of hip hop and stuff. i can't rap to save my life, but if i ever tried, i would definitely be trying to emulate dudes like jay-z, rakim, biggie, even common...you know, guys that were more smooth with their flow. i feel like those kind of mcs are less restricted by the beat than most- they don't let it confine them, they make it theirs. i'd also get a bunch of dogs like dmx.


What advice would you give for someone who has never seen you live? What can one expect from experiencing you guys live?

not sure about advice...haha probably 'don't expect too much.' really though, i guess you can just expect to see five dudes doing something they love and something that is important to them. i hope that comes through when we play. also- if you know the words, come up front and sing along! it's more fun than standing in the back watching, trust me.

What are your current touring plans?

world domination! haha we go out east for a little over a week june 14-21. then we have our sacramento release for fractures june 28th at the vfw. japan is july 4-13, and we do a two week us tour august 15-31. check www.myspace.com/killingthedream, www.deathwishinc.com/tours/, or www.killingthedream.com for more details and updates.


On your last US tour you guys were killing time with Super Strikers on gamecube right? Do you know how you will be killing time on this tour?

making fun of patches, probably. haha if we are lucky enough to have a tv again, hopefully we'll have a new video game to wear out. but i doubt it. so we will probably have to resort to the usual van banter, which is always highly intelligent, informative, and enlightening.


Any chance of making a music video for a song on the new record, maybe get on MTV2 like Comeback Kid?

our joint for 'fractures' is gonna debut on sucka free sunday sometime in july, followed by my sucka-free freestyle that i uploaded on my webcam.

no.


Well, we're all excited for the next record, the new tracks i've heard so far sound awesome, any last words?


eat pizza. have fun. do something nice for someone today.

thanks for the interview man...come back to sacramento sometime! we miss you.