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

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