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.
Usually when you hear an obscure band name it could be perceived the band members just made it up on the spot. The meaning behind Safety Word Orange has a sentimental story. Guitarist Robbie Rusbuldt explained that lead singer James Mason “had hit a low point living in L.A. and his friends had joked if things ever got really bad, the safety word would be orange. Years later, when he was no longer in a rut, his friend sent him a package with Safety Word Orange on the front. I guess it stuck with hm because it is now our name. We think of it as something there to remind us of where we have been and where we are headed.”
That humble attitude had brought the boys from Virginia very far. Recording their self-titled in 2007 the band has seen much success, even being featured in AP. Rusbuldt was more than ecstatic: "AMAZED! Haha it was crazy to think that a nationally recognized magazine that we have all grown up reading wanted anything to do with us. It was a dream come true."
When you listen SWO it sounds like something that isn’t on the scene right now. Yes, they are pop-punk, but have a hard rock sound. The way that Mason’s words have a certain syncopation, reminisces sounds reggae-less 311. This year they released two EP’S. An acoustic record and their amplified mix “On Your Mark, Get Set.” Rusbuldt explained there was a vast difference: There was a pretty big difference. When working on, On Your Mark, Get Set... our music was stripped to the bone. Every chord, riff, lyric was put under a microscope. haha It was a huge learning experience. On the other hand, when we were working on our acoustic EP we weren't as concerned with putting things under too much of a microscope. We just wanted to put out some good songs that people would like. It was interesting to see how Andrew and Bryan work. Both have different ways of going about the production/recording process.”
Expect to see SWO out on tour and a release of another EP. And exemplifying that humble attitude, SWO couldn’t be more excited to tour: “our favorite part about being on the road comes from playing to a different group of kids every night. It's cool to meet so many people and bands. Not to mention we get to see parts of the US that we would normally not get to see. One of the coolest parts of going out on the road is when we all begin to think of the van as home. We all have lives outside the band, but when we go out it really brings us together and reinforces why we are playing music at all.”
Safety Word Orange will be performing on February 11th at the Marlboro Rec Center in Marlboro, NJ.
If J.J. Abrams were to pick a band to represent his obsession with time and space, New England’s Love Via Dance Machine might as well have gotten stuck on an island or come from a parallel universe. With lyrics like “I was thinking everything was fine, until I heard you were lost in time,” and “the futures wastin, only the few survive,” you wonder if these guys loved “Star Wars” growing up or simply wanted to understand time, hoping their current status as rock stars doesn’t end anytime soon.
The futuristic pop-punkers formation is in the eyes of the beholder. If you are already a fan of the band you have been through time as a “time traveler.” They say they are from the years 2050 and are saving humanity from “the modern day pop trash that relentlessly burrows itself into your ears on a daily basis.” If you are a bit of a skeptic, the back-story of lead singer Eric Grava and guitarist Alex Badanes bonding over tight pants and Saves The Day at Berklee college might be more believable.
After recording their EP “All Is Fair In Love And Dance" in April 09, they toured relentlessly, and this year released their latest single produced by Rob Freeman, former guitarist of Hidden in Plain View. When asked how it was working with him the band said: “working with Rob Freeman was awesome. Personally, we were huge fans of Hidden In Plain View and it was awesome to work with someone that wrote a lot of our favorite songs. He did a great job with the song and got it done real quick which was awesome.”
The boys also decided to put out a documentary, capturing life on the road: “We wanted to put out a video to represent what kind of guys we are and funny things we do when we are on tour. This documentary definitely will show some of our time travelers what we are really like outside of playing shows and it’s also got some great live footage. We are super proud of it.”
So what do these boys from the future have planned for the future? Expect a tour and a cameo on Fringe…well maybe no J.J. Abrams show, but a tour is planned to have you dancing all the way into 2050.
Love Via Dance Machine are playing on February 11th at the Marlboro Rec Center in Marlboro, NJ.
After recently winning the Alternative Press Hometown Hero competition, Farewell Fighter makes their Danny Says debut. Hailing from Nashville, Tennessee, the headquarters of gospel and country, Farewell Fighter, a powerpop/rock ensemble, comprised of Kenny Fleetwood (vox/guitar), Lee Morton (guitar/vox), Matt Hooper (drums), and David Jahns (bass), has made their name known throughout the United States with their win. Like many bands today, this bro-mance began on Craigslist, an act of serendipity many listeners fully appreciate. “We received an e-mail from the editor of Alternative Press about a month before the issue hit the shelves informing us that we made it into the Top 10 Hometown Heroes,” says Fleetwood. “The catch, however, was that they didn't inform us of where we ranked in the top 10.” “We had to wait until the issue came out,” laughs Jahns. “Needless to say, it was a very intense month for us.” An intense month largely worth the wait. “We were all in our respective hometowns when we found out. It was Christmas Eve, and Hooper saw a tweet from a fan on Twitter saying that they got the issue early and that we were the #1 band” says Morton happily. “He relayed the message immediately and we all freaked out pretty hard. It was a very exciting and proud moment for us, and we couldn't have asked for a better Christmas present!” On January 18th, Farewell Fighter released their EP, “The Way We Learn.” An EP that they claim “didn’t have a set writing process.” This means all the energy put into the songs is raw, real, and perfect for that summer road-trip all listeners are craving. This raw energy translates well into live performances, with a lot of fan-interaction. “We love to get the crowd singing in key parts. That's how we get fired up on stage,” says Fleetwood. Obviously, this works for Farwell Fighter, because fans cannot say enough about how fantastic their performances are. (If you have an opportunity to see them live, go for it!) “[By getting the crowd involved] it makes the show more fun and personal,” agrees Hooper. Before a gig with another band, Farewell Fighter also likes to get familiar with the other bands’ music, which is a contributing factor as to why the band is so popular amongst listeners and musicians. After being in the studio for months, Farewell Fighter is more than ready to try out their new material. “It’s exciting and very refreshing,” admits Morton. “We have a larger selection of songs to choose from,” says Hooper. “It makes it easier for us to fill out our tour set.” Starting out on the right foot (they played the anniversary show for Rocketown, a premier venue in Nashville), and continuing to shine, Farewell Fighter is a must-watch band. They’ll be in Freehold, New Jersey on February 4th, so save your cash kiddies! And head to myspace.com/farewellfighter or purevolume.com/farewellfighter to stream their EP, “The Way We Learn.” “The Way We Learn” is available on Itunes and Amazon---check it out now!
Singer/songwriter Sharon Van Etten originally of Hampton, NJ will be touring this year with The National as well as collaborating with Aaron Dessner of the band for “more intimately heart-wrenching songs". A few years ago Sharon could be seen at places like Red Bank, NJ's now defunct Internet Cafe now you can catch her on one of these dates:
Sharon Van Etten 2011 Tour Dates: 01/19 – New Haven, CT @ BAR 01/20 – Philadelphia, PA @ Johnny Brenda’s % 01/21 – Columbus, OH @ Wexner Center at Ohio State % 01/22 – Nashville, TN @ The 5 Spot % 01/23 – Asheville, NC @ Broadways % 02/13 – London, UK @ Hoxton Square Bar and Kitchen 02/15 – Brussels, BE @ Forest National * 02/17 – Utrecht, NL @ Netherlands Cross-Linx Fest 02/18 – Eindhoven, NL @ Netherlands Cross-Linx Fest 02/19 – Groningen, NL @ Netherlands Cross-Linx Fest 02/20 – Rotterdam, NL @ Netherlands Cross-Linx Fest 02/22 – Krakow, PL – Studio * 02/24 – Warsaw PL – Stodola * 02/25 – Berlin, DE @ C-Halle * 02/26 – Aarhus, DK @ SCC * 02/28 – Lund, SE @ Färs & Frosta * 03/01 – Stockholm, SE @ Cirkus * 03/03 – Helsinki, FI @ The House of Culture * 03/04 – Helsinki, FI @ The House of Culture * 03/10 – Baltimore, MD @ Metro Gallery 03/11 – Raleigh, NC @ Kings Barcade 03/12 – Atlanta, GA @ 529 03/17 – Austin, TX @ SXSW 03/18 – Austin, TX @ SXSW 03/19 – Austin, TX @ SXSW 03/22 – Tucson, AZ @ Solar Culture ^ 03/23 – Phoenix, AZ @ Rhythm Room ^ 03/24 – San Diego, CA @ Soda Bar ^ 03/25 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Satellite ^ 03/26 – Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar ^ 03/27 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom of the Hill ^ 03/29 – Vancouver, BC @ Media Club ^ 03/30 – Portland, OR @ Doug Fir ^ 04/01 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux ^ 04/02 – Salt Lake City, UT @ State Room ^ 04/03 – Denver, CO @ Walnut Room ^ 04/04 – Omaha, NE @ Slowdown ^ 04/06 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center ^ 04/07 – Milwaukee, WI @ Pabst Theater ^ 04/08 – Madison, WI @ University of Wisconsin ^ 04/09 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall ^ 04/10 – Cleveland, OH @ Beachland Tavern ^ 04/12 – Toronto, ON @ Drake Hotel ^ 04/13 – Montreal, QC @ Casa Del Popolo ^ 04/14 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall ^ 04/17 – Washington, DC @ Red Palace ^
* = w/ The National # = w/ War On Drugs, Sebastian Blanck % = w/ Julianna Barwick ^ = w/ Little Scream
10. The Wolfman- A Horror movie done the old fashioned way for the most part. This was more stylized than any horror movie I've seen of recent and just for that it's made my top list. 9. Babies- This documentary was both strange and funny. There is no dialouge, just footage of babies! 8. Death At A Funeral- This remake of the Frank Oz film from just a few years ago took the best parts of the original and added some new jokes to it. This is one of those comedys where seeing it in a big audience in a theater is better than watching it at home. 7. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid- This is not just a kids movie, it's meant for the adults to remember funny memories of their childhood. 6. Cyrus- This indie film was not the typical indie artsy fartsy fair, nor was it the typical Jonah Hill fart joke movie. 5. Oceans- One of the best uses of 3D was for this film where you actually feel like you're in the ocean. This pre-BP spill film also spent a small amount of time on conservation which is more important now than ever. 4. Tangled- Part Disney, part Shrek, both elements together equal something entirely better than either of those elements on their own. 3. The Social Network- This is the film which will define 2010, when we look back years from now and remember just how popular Facebook was as we can now look back on the former popularity of Myspace. 2. Dinner For Schmucks- The funniest comedy I've seen since 2009's Bruno. 1. Alice In Wonderland- Combining Alice In Wonderland, Disney, Tim Burton, Johnny Depp, Danny Elfman, and 3D? Instant Classic.