Sunday, April 26, 2009

An Indie Christmas

Hello avid reader. I am back from my month long hiatus. I took some time to reevaluate the alternative scene, and tried to find something positive. Luckily, I did - and it came at a 30 percent discount.

I'm talking about this year's Record Store Day, of course. It's the one day a year where all of us indie kids
can celebrate our holiday. This year marked the third annual RSD, where over 700 independently owned record stores across the country came together to give us music nerds some huge discounts.

I was lucky enough to hit up two Newbury Comics here north of Boston, and found some awesome deals. They were offering a 30 percent discount on all used CDs, and 20 percent off all vinyl. To feed my newly found hunger for rare music memorabilia I headed over to the Burlington store with one of my favorite readers of this blog (also my drummer).

Inside we found some awesome stuff. We were able to score a whole bunch of free vinyl, including a Kings Of Leon 7-inch. They were also giving away tons of free stickers, buttons and even pint glasses.

We did some shopping, too. I snagged three old blink-182 single CDs, which each came with a few live songs. Taking Back Sunday released a special vinyl with a few songs off their upcoming CD, which my partner-in-crime picked up. I was also able to grab AFI's Love Like Winter on 7-inch, as well as New Found Glory's Listen To Your Friends on blue vinyl. Sweat deal.

We left the Burlington Newbury Comics totally pumped about our small vinyl collection and bag full of free stuff. That's when we decided that hitting the Peabody store would pay off, too. Twenty minutes up 128 and we were there. 

It was a quick trip, and within minutes we were out the door with a used copy of The Mark, Tom, and Travis Show, which was snagged for a mere $14 (I dare you to find a better deal anywhere...or a copy of it for that matter), as well as a 12-inch My Chemical Romance vinyl. And once again, bags of free stuff including Duffy and the Hollywood Undead on vinyl. Go ahead, laugh.

It was a great day. The stores were packed, and the vibe was totally relaxed in that chill-indie-kid-mood sort of way. 

Be on the look out for next year's RSD, sometime in April as usual. We didn't stick around until the afternoon, but many stores opt for in-store performances later in the day from bands ranging from local musicians to Disturbed. Remember them? Yeah, they were in Maine this year at a Bull Moose. Weird.

And on an unrelated note, I hit NC this past weekend for a post-RSD shopping spree and picked myself up a blue 7-inch vinyl of blink-182's They Came To Conquer...Uranus. Yeah, that's right, an original copy released in 1995 featuring the songs Wrecked Him, Waggy and Zulu. The back cover has even got photos of Mark, Tom and Scott (yep, Scott Raynor, blink's original drummer). It's okay to be jealous.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Side Projects - Love 'em or Leave 'em

Side projects. They're taking over our scene. Everyone and their mother seems to have some sort of "other band" to play with while their main venture is on hiatus. Whether it's in the popular electronic movement, or something a bit more acoustic, side projects are forming, reforming and disappearing quick. So to help you out, I've decided to give you a list of who to check out and who to down right ignore.

Check out:
Cinematic Sunrise
Ahh, the first side project from Mr. Craig Owens of Chiodos. With a catchy back-to-basics punk 
rock feel, CS leaves you a little less weathered than a normal Chiodos record does. No insane screaming and no off key vocal stretches give CS a sound reminiscent of The Academy Is... or Jimmy Eat World. Mixed with keys and dual guitars you've got a recipe for great music. Be sure to check them out, as well as Owens newest side project, Isles & Glaciers.

The Almost
Any fans of Underoath might be surprised to see the softer side of their drummer Aaron Gillespie with The Almost. No worries though, Gillespie's new band deliver the goods. Citing their Christian faith as their main influence, The Almost rocketed onto the scene a few years back with their hit "Say This Sooner." Since then they've put out an EP entitled "No Gift To Bring," and hit a few tours including one with Paramore and the Warped Tour. Catchy, heavy, soft and awesome sum these guys up. Give them a listen.

William Control
The solo side project from Wil Francis of Aiden is an electric whirlwind of murder, sex and the London underground. It's dark and pessimistic and leaves you a bit pissed off at your ex. The beat does get you tapping your foot though. I wouldn't suggest listening to this while going to sleep, seeing as the end of the record is an actual 911 call from an old woman getting murdered. Yikes! But overall, WC is worth a listen if you're in a horror movie sort of mood.

Plus 44, Angels and Airwaves, Transplants, Boxcar Racer
I grouped these all together because as we all know, they're the side projects from our blink boys. All well worth a listen. Plus and Boxcar give you that real punk/blink feel. AVA takes you on an electronic ride through space, and the Transplants are about as close to the LA hardcore scene as you want to get. Eclectic is the best way to describe these bands. Check them out if you haven't already. 

Forget About:
The Color Fred
Let's just say this side project is probably why we haven't heard anything from Taking Back Sunday in ages. Guitarist Fred Mascherino started this band after leaving TBS a few years back. Though catchy and pop filled, the music is not on par with TBS stuff. Mascherino is better suited as a back up singer than a lead. They're worth a quick listen, but don't waste your money on the album. It's kind of funny though, TCF is on tour right now with Craig Owens. Oh, side projects. How silly.

Person L
We all loved The Starting Line, and then they had to go and break up in the height of their career. Lead singer Kenny Vasoli decided, at 23, to start a side project called Person L. Coming in a lot more mellow, and a lot more acoustic, Person L can easily be forgotten about while playing on your itunes or at a show. Trust me, I saw them once. Cool, but nothing too memorable. 

Sonny Moore is finally back from hiding. Ever since he left From First To Last, the music world has been awaiting his return via his self-titled project. He's on tour right now, but not really worth checking out. Don't count on anything remotely close to FFTL from Sonny. His new work is completely electronic with virtually no singing at all. The music sounds more like a club beat rather than punk rock. It's very disappointing. Heck no to techno kids.

Enjoy the music.
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