Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Black Friday... For Those Who Dress In Black

Looking to score some really good deals on Black Friday, but don't feel like getting up at the crack of dawn? Forget the stampedes and cold weather. Sleep in if you want. All the deals you need are online this year. And the best part is they last all day.

Let's call this an excuse to go Christmas shopping for yourself. I mean, we all deserve a new band hoody or a few new CDs right? It's been a long year, so why not treat yourself? Just take a look at some of the online deals you can find in '09.

Be sure to check out the Victory Records website on Black Friday for 25 percent off their entire webstore. That means more reduced vinyl, CDs and merch than
 you'll know what to do with. The sale is actually lasting through the weekend so even if you miss Friday due to a turkey coma or likewise, you'll be okay.

In the mood for some fresh blink gear? Not to worry, the trio are offering some brand new designs by way of hoodies and t-shirts. They're some new takes on classic designs. The six arrow smiley hoody and bunny zip-up are some of the hottest items just released. Plus, if you throw down the code "blackfriday" during check out, you're going to save 20 percent on the whole order. Sweet deal!

If you've been following guitarist Chad Gilbert of New Found Glory on Twitter you'll know that there is something pretty cool coming for those hardcore NFG fans. The band are releasing a special shirt (apparently Gilbert's all-time favorite) on Friday. He's been dropping sneak peeks of it in his tweets the last few days. Head over to newfoundglorystuff.com to snag this obviously limited item on the 27th.

So see, Black Friday isn't all bad. Us punk rockers can finally get in on the action this year. And the best part of all is we can do it from our favorite spot in the entire world - behind the electric glow of our computers. Happy shopping.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Dino Trail Hits Boston

The clock on the Park Street Church had just struck 9 p.m. as I stood patiently waiting alongside the crowd. The bitter cold was ripping through everyone with no regard for fingertips or faces - the only bits of skin exposed by most of the 50 or so scenesters gathered. We all stood in a virtual silence just waiting... watching...  and waiting.

At about quarter past 9 our reason for being showed up in the form of one overly eccentric man carrying a guitar. It was Justin Pierre, lead singer of the pop-punk act Motion City Soundtrack. Screams erupted from the crowd as they rushed to form a tight circle around the medium built performer. His only reaction - "Holy shit! This is too many people."

Pierre is out promoting MCS' upcoming record, My Dinosaur Life, in a way that is entirely new. The "Dino Trail" as its called is just the singer, an acoustic guitar and a list of cities across the country. There are no venues on this tour, just impromptu performances at locations disclosed on Pierre's Twitter account. And thankfully last weekend, we in Boston were lucky enough to witness this bit of music history.

"Attractive Today", the first track from MCS' 2005 release, Commit This To Memory, opened the performance. The crowd seemed awkwardly nervous. Most lipped the words, leaving the singing to the professional at first. But as the half-hour set wore on, the crowd grew louder essentially turning the performance into a 50-person singalong. 

Pierre later took time to plug his new record by playing a stripped down version of his band's infectious new single "Disappear" - a three minute track reminiscent of MCS' earliest work. 

But all was not over for Boston. As promised, we had yet another surprise coming. For what Pierre said would be the last two songs, ex-Matches lead singer Shawn Harris showed up, dressed as the Mad Hatter nonetheless, to help out. With Harris on harmonica, they led the crowd in comically flawed renditions of "Everything Is Alright" and "The Future Freaks Me Out". 

As the set came to its close the crowd called for "Cambridge" to fill the cold November air before Pierre departed. The singer obliged and payed homage to that little slice of Boston that sits just over the river. A fitting way to end any show in this town.

Soon after, the happy crowd dissipated knowing that they had just witnessed a once-in-a-lifetime event. While it was a bitter cold wait, the end result was well worth the near frostbite. I know I'll never look at the Park Street T stop the same way again.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Top 20 Singles From The Decade (1-10)

Last week I let you in on the latter half of my top 20 picks for the decade's best singles from the punk scene. There was some good feedback, so I know you're all just dying to get to number one. So without further adieu, here are the top 10 from Backstage Press.

10. All-American Rejects - "Swing, Swing" The song that paved the way for the Rejects. An instant MTV hit in 2002, "Swing" quickly became the anthem of every lonely high school nerd. Punk suddenly had a new name: emo. Dun, dun, dun... 

9. Brand New - "Jude Law And A Semester Abroad" Off their 2001 release, Your Favorite Weapon, Brand New showed us what a little Long Island angst can do. I can only guess how many times these lyrics popped up in away messages on college campuses. Damn English boys.

8. My Chemical Romance - "Helena" Two parts rock, one part Halloween. Served to a blood thirsty mob of emo enthusiasts back in 2004. Helena's epically choreographed video was proof that death can be artsy, but only if all the guys in the room are wearing make-up of course.

7. Motion City Soundtrack - "Everything Is Alright" It's hard to find a band with an original sound anymore. But it's safe to say MCS' hit off 2005's Commit This To Memory was a brand new blend of pop-punk. I mean, you've got to expect greatness when you've got a moog player, and Mark Hoppus producing you.

6. Hawthorne Heights - "Ohio Is For Lovers" This wasn't necessarily one you heard on the radio, but to anyone with hair covering at least one eye, this 2004 single was a gateway drug to the scene. I don't care what anyone says, Hawthorne Heights still owns. Punks.

5. Jimmy Eat World - "The Sweetness" Are you listening? You should be, 'cause this 2001 jam has got everything a timeless rock song needs. It's catchy, simple and the perfect singalong - even if you don't know the words. Woah, oh oh oh oh oh!

4. Taking Back Sunday - "Cute Without The 'E' (Cut From The Team)" Although I still don't know what a "clever napkin" is, I've got to give it up to TBS for their 2002 hit off Tell All Your Friends. Any song that can make me mosh by myself in my apartment ranks highly with me. 'Nuff said.

3. Fall Out Boy - "Sugar, We're Going Down" Released in 2005, just after blink-182's
 indefinite hiatus, FOB's "Sugar" gave every hungry, and somewhat lost, pop-punk fan what they needed. The Chicago natives filled the void with this radio-friendly hit. It's what ultimately launched them into punk-rock stardom. Well, that, and those racy photos of Mr. Wentz that hit the internet. Come on, we've all seen 'em (whether we wanted to or not).

2. New Found Glory - "Hit Or Miss" An old-school classic from the Florida-based punks. It's hard not to hear remnants of this 'hit' today with bands like A Day To Remember or Broadway Calls. Just try a YouTube search of this song and you'll see just how many different bands, and crappy new guitarists alike, have covered this beauty. A pop-punk masterpiece.

1. blink-182 - "What's My Age Again?" I may be a bit biased, as blink is my favorite band of all time, but you can't deny the impact that this song has had on culture as a whole. WMAA? is 10 years old this year, and is as timeless as ever. If you saw blink this past summer then you know that when this song was played, the trio were practically drowned out by the masses. When MTV launched this single back in '99 to every tween watching TRL, it was an instant classic. And it's only gotten better with time. I mean, I'm finally 23 and I can see what they were saying. Oh well, at least the song has some new meaning now.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Top 20 Singles From The Decade (11-20)

Alternative Press recently ran a 10-page spread outlining the past decade's 100 best singles from the punk scene. Now, there's no way I'd bore you (or myself) with my top 100, so I knocked it down to 20. And here's your teaser, numbers 11-20. Check back later in the week for Backstage Press' top 10.
20. Paramore - "Pressure" Off the band's 2005 release, All We Know Is Falling, launched Paramore into the ears and hearts of of pop-punk fans across North America. Besides, who couldn't love a girl in a Philadelphia Flyers shirt?

19. Anberlin - "Paperthin Hymn" Christian rock never sounded so good. This anthemic single off Never Take Friendship Personal has been, and will be, the hard rock staple of Anberlin's success. A perfect blend of edge and melody leaves this gem stuck in your head for days.

18. The Used - "All That I've Got" This single off The Used's In Love And Death showed the softer side of the band. Combined with a video profiling a boy getting lost in a creepy old bookstore, "ATIG" proved a successful avenue for a screamo band in a post-screamo world.

17. Sugarcult - "Bouncing Off The Walls" Remember freshman year of college? Yeah, it's blurry for me too, but somehow I remember this song playing a major part in my existence. Though it could have been because "Bouncing" was the anthem to Van Wilder. Hmm.. Either way, this 2001 release is punk having fun, making it worthy of this list.

16. Rise Against - "Ready To Fall" Off the band's 2006 release, The Sufferer And The Witness, this four minute tune managed to pack in a ton of catchy hooks and a little life lesson. Just watch the video. It'll stick with you for years.

15. Bayside - "Devotion And Desire" Though Bayside have yet to have a radio "hit," their 2005 self-titled release propelled them into punk-rock legitimacy by means of "Devotion And Desire". Hardcore fans apply within.

14. Green Day - "American Idiot" Though Green Day owned long before '99, American Idiot 
was the hit single that put them back on the map in '04, and launched a rebirth of the band that will undoubtedly keep them in sold-out arenas for years to come.

13. Bad Religion - "Sorrow" How do you decide which Bad Religion song from the last 10 years should make this list? Well, this was the anti-war anthem of 2002... and it's catchy as Hell. Sold.

12. AFI - "Silver And Cold" From 2003's Sing The Sorrow. It's as dark as it is poetic. The video is hauntingly epic, symbolically penning suicide against friendship. Woah, it's deep. It makes the list.

11. The Starting Line - "Best Of Me" The band's 2002 hit single could easily trick you into thinking love was real or something crazy like that. Listen to it and you'll think that girl from class actually does like you. Don't get ahead of yourself. The song is a great mixture of acoustic and electric guitars paired with a young Kenny Vasoli on vocals. It doesn't get much cuter than that bleach-blonde hair, huh ladies?
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