Butch Walker, the famous (yet reclusive) southern artist said it best, "if I make up my own “ism” no one can say anything or tell me what I'm doin is wrong.” Making up your own word leads to a self-defying opportunity. End of an Era, the hard rock-techno mash-up from Toms River probably would reject the words I just used to describe them, for lead Drummer Jeff S. Aka “Spags” says their music should be labeled “sex pretzel.” To defend my words, the five-piece band is unique, in that the hard driven guitar riffs and fast drum beats go well with thumps you would usually hear at a rave. Mixing heavy electronics and a hard rock sound is always something the band wanted to do since their formation in the early 2000’s. All of the members including lead singer Jeff Wallace, guitarists Jeff Brogan and Chris Matsinger, and bassist Justin Mazyk had all been in previous bands all over the Jersey Shore, but according to Spags “failed miserably.” What they took was the best part of those bands (themselves), and made a super, better band. Ironically, End of an Era was the start of something new and a name that Spags says “just sounded cool and would look good on a poster.” Their songs get you going from the beginning. In the song “No Tomorrow,” it blasts with crunching guitars and high-pitched key boards. Wallace’s throaty, baritone voice sounds like he should be grouped into the likes of singers such as Seether, Three Days Grace and Staind. Perfect for top 40, but that is not what End of an Era is trying to attain. In their song “Malevolent Nation" the lyrics play out like an ad against America’s obsession with celebrity: “We’re not trying to sell a product/we’re not trying to sell a trend/we are not the American Idols, We don’t live in Laguna Beach.” Lauren Conrad they are not…Spags described the songs meaning: “It basically explains the band in a nutshell. Many people seem to be infatuated with pop culture and we just want them to know from the get-go that we're not the popular kids who realized they all wore the same brand of jeans and decided to start a band. We're basically a freak show. ” The boys seem like they are socially aware of what’s going on in the world and would say that is a factor, however they are doing what any band would do: “We don't consider ourselves a "political" band, per say. However, we do consider our songs to be more of a social commentary. We filter the things we see, hear, and feel in our everyday lives down into our music.” The rigorous lifestyle of playing 8-10 shows a month took its toll on the band and they took a short break in 2010. They found themselves back in a room writing new music with everything falling back into place. The band knew they had unfinished business. The band took home first place in The Jersey Showdown in January and created a self-titled album full of eleven new songs which was released in March. As far as the future they plan to continue to tour and are headed up the east coast in April and in the mid-west in June. You can catch them on April 1st at Station 36 in Waretown, NJ, at the Trocadero Theatre in Philly on April 23rd, Yardley Community Center in Yardley, PA May 7th, and HHVFW in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ on May 21st. They plan to continue to tour and are headed up the east coast in April, mid-west in June and hopefully a full U.S. tour. Check them out at www.endofanera.org
Seattle rock legends Foo Fighters are releasing two albums and a documentary within two weeks of each other in April. On Tuesday April 5th, the documentary Foo Fighters: Back and Forth will screen in select theatres across the country as voted by a website. The screenings will also be followed by a live concert of the band performing their new album Wasting Light in its entirety which releases the following week April 12th. And as if that wasn't enough on Record Store Day- April 16th, Foo Fighters will release Medium Rare, a collection of classic rock covers on vinyl! Included in the tracklisting is a cover of the Ramones' classic "Danny Says". Check it out:
Medium Rare Tracklist: 01. “Band on the Run” (Paul McCartney & Wings) 02. “I Feel Free” (Cream) 03. “Life of Illusion” (Joe Walsh) 04. “Young Man Blues” (Mose Allison) 05. “Bad Reputation” (Thin Lizzy) 06. “Darling Nikki” (Prince) 07. “Down in the Park” (Gary Numan) 08. “Baker Street” (Gerry Rafferty) 09. “Danny Says” (The Ramones) 10. “Have A Cigar” (Pink Floyd) 11. “Never Talking to You Again” (Hüsker Dü) 12. “Gas Chamber” (Angry Samoans) 13. “This Will Be Our Year” (The Zombies)
Patent Pending seem to have a love/hate relationship with the scene they are a part of. Putting out a DVD for “Not Alone,” the band busts out with the lyrics “if this punk rock scene don't be the death of me/ then let this east coast weather kill the rest of me/ cause if these tattoos on my skin don't mean a thing/ then let this beating in my chest cease to believe.” A typical pop punk band they are not. They might sound very poppy and melodic, but they have a very hedonistic attitude about life and the scene. They say on their Myspace that they “have in- your face energy and optimistic views on the American music scene and life in general.” They sing and scream “this beat is in my soul, take this beat and lose control, and in a syncopated rhythm sing “this is a song about the way you make me shake.” If you listen to “The Way You Make Me Shake,” you literally will want to dance for hours. Sure, they talk about missing girls and partying, but these guys don’t display any signs of slacking off. The band toured vigorously on the Vans Warped Tour, eventually going on tour with national acts like Bowling For Soup, Cobra Starship and Gym Class Heroes. Their videos have been played on numerous outlets including MTV, Fuse and Much Music. The band has had two albums “Attack of the Awesome” (09) and their latest “I’m Not Alone.” Matty Lewis from Zebrahead even lent some of his talent to “Not Alone.” Plans for this spring include recording a new EP with producer Jordan Shmidt (All Time Low, Motion City Soundtrack, Sing It Loud), and a cross-country tour with Bowling for Soup.
Patent Pending are playing Friday March 11th at Marlboro Rec Center in Marlboro, NJ.
Monroe Township, New Jersey, most notably home to athletes and a woman who thought she could fly, is finally getting a new shot at rock n’ roll redemption in the form of Blacktop Kids. Comprised of Max (vox), Steve (bass), and twin brothers Sam (guitar/vox) and Dylan (drums), The Blacktop Kids are slowly earning their place in the spotlight. After working on their new album, Right in the Street, produced by Pete Steinkopf (of The Bouncing Souls), it’s no wonder the band is rising in popularity! In a sea of auto-tune, Blacktop Kids give listener’s a break, playing music that will take many back to the days of old-school punk, and drawing in younger listeners with the modern hardcore sounds. “Well I think the sound of punk and hardcore is really a raw and organic sound, as opposed to the kind of digital sound that auto-tune has,” Dylan says. “It would be hard to fit auto-tune into our style.” The rest of the band agrees; punk was made to be raw, basement-like. “It’s like cheating,” says Max. “Why would an artist want to put out something that wasn’t them?” Right in the Street is definitely an example of honest-work. “The recording process was a little unorganized, because we were all in different states, and Pete [Steinkopf] was touring,” Max admits. “The next time we go into the studio, we’re definitely going to be more organized,” Sam says. “But that being said, having the recording process spaced out gave us time to think of things to add and improve the songs.” “Overall, we’re happy with the record, and even happier that it’s out there,” says Steve. They also had a benefit many artists only dream about—going into the studio with an idol. “It was the most surreal experience we’ve ever had,” the band say, in reference to working with Pete Steinkopf. “We’ve looked up to The Bouncing Souls for years.” “[Pete] made the recording process easy, because he knew exactly what it took. He had some cool ideas for certain songs,” says Max. After years of being friends (the band go way back—Junior High), it’s no wonder fans recognize the band by their great stage presence and chemistry. Behind the scenes, the members of Blacktop Kids all have different ways of getting fired up for a show. “I hate the time leading up to a show. You just want to get up there and go nuts, but you have to wait,” admits Max. The twins, Sam and Dylan, are polar opposites. “Dylan always tells me I get really pessimistic right before we play,” says Sam. “You know, just thinking we’re going to sound shitty, but then getting on-stage, and having a blast.” Dylan, however, remains…ice-cold. “I just put on my favorite cut-off shorts and smash ice blocks over my head,” he states. “We just get fired up playing music we love,” Steve says, keeping it simple. “We love playing with each other and for anyone who will listen.” As musicians and concert-goers, The Blacktop Kids have been to their fair share of concerts. “We all love to see fans go nuts, respectfully,” the band says. “We hate seeing people just sitting and not getting into the music.” “We’re doing this for the music,” Max says. “Not to get drunk.” “I think the band and the concert-goers need to have fun,” says Sam. “Energy is infectious.” Unfortunately, due to being so “scattered about,” Blacktop Kids are finding touring difficult. “We’re definitely excited to tour when we can,” they say. “But for now, we’re just getting stoked for our future shows, like playing a basement in The Holy Mess on the fifth of March.” As disappointing as the wait can be, fans can rest easy, knowing this may mean an even more energetic show. “Because we can’t get on-stage often, when we do get on [stage] or even get a band practice in, the anticipation kind of explodes,” they laugh. Blacktop Kids are playing Friday March 11th @ Marlboro Rec Center in Marlboro, NJ. Check out Blacktop Kids on myspace.com/blacktopkidsnj, and on blacktopkidsnj.com, and order their new album, Right in the Street at blacktopkidsnj.bigcartel.com
By Lauren-Olivia "Liv" Simister Though they’re young, Little Rock AR’s own School Boy Humor (comprised of twin brothers Phil and Anthony Evans) know a thing or two about putting everything on the line for their art. Like many musicians, the Evans twins sometimes wonder when money is going to come in, or even when their next meal will be….but they do this all for music, to give their passion all they’ve got, rather than work that nine to five job so many of us try our best to avoid. After a successful EP (Camera Shy But Still a Star), and a wonderfully-done full-length as their Vagrant, the duo have pulled in many a fan with their catchy hooks and melodies. With vibrant lyrics, they’re quick to earn a spot on your mp3 player. Known for their straight-forward, honest lyrics, School Boy Humor are quickly gaining popularity, proving worthy of every bit of attention they get. Despite the difficulties SBH have faced, there’s no stopping them. Check them out on Facebook, or on myspace.com/schoolboyhumor On March 5th, they will be performing at the Freehold VFW in Freehold, NJ with Chase Coy, Jimmy Robbins, Hollander, Call Me Anything, plus more. Get your tickets now on Ticketweb!
Just Surrender, previously known as ‘A Second Chance,’ is headed to Freehold, NJ on February 18th, 2011. Known for having two vocalists who “share the spotlight,” as well as for their catchy, melodic tunes that are sure to please, Just Surrender is a talented group, made up of Jason Maffucci (vocals), Dan Simons (vox/guitar), Steve Miller (drums), and Kyle Shellhammer (bass/vox). Hailing from Poughkeepsie/Dover Plains, NY, Just Surrender have made quite a name for themselves, though it’s no surprise with how much they tour! After the successful 2007 release of “We’re In like Sin,” and a successful tour, Just Surrender went back into the studio, later emerging with “Phoenix” on June 22, 2010. Since then, Just Surrender has toured with The Maine and Hit The Lights on the Zumiez Couch Tour. Now signed with Razor & Tie Records, Just Surrender is fully emerging as a success, even appearing on MTV.com and forums throughout the music scene. Fully embracing that success, Just Surrender is great with fans, before and after performances. Check them out on February 18th, and also on myspace.com/justsurrenderrock Their album, “Phoenix” is out on Itunes and Amazon now.