Thursday, December 30, 2010

Best Music Videos Of 2010

Music videos may or may not be a thing of the past. Regardless, bands are still making them, and 2010 had a few memorable ones that are worth noting. So check out some of the best videos this year has had to offer right here.

Motion City Soundtrack - "A Lifeless Ordinary (Need A Little Help)"
One continuous shot? The swimmer's life flashing before her eyes? Or have Motion City just gone off the deep end? Either way, this single off MCS' My Dinosaur Life is as visually fun as the song is catchy.


D.R.U.G.S. - "If You Think This Song Is About You, It Probably Is"
Interrogation rooms, shallow graves, a cockroach infested motel room and a hint of nudity. What more could you want? If there was one video this year that stands as a snapshot of a band as a whole, it's this one. Get ready for D.R.U.G.S. in 2011, kids.


My Chemical Romance - "Na Na Na"
MCR are known for their epic videos (see, "Helena" & "Welcome To The Black Parade"). So did we expect anything less for their first release in four years? "Na Na Na" is a fun video. It's a comic book come to life - complete with gun battles, fast cars and funny dressed superheroes.


Bring Me The Horizon - "It Never Ends"
This dreamlike account of being chased by bloodthirsty zombies fits perfectly into BMTH's signature style of gore. But you've gotta watch the whole thing to see if Oli makes it out alive.


Anberlin - "Impossible"
Super slow motion with a hint of 80s rock 'n' roll makes this single off Anberlin's latest release, Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place, an irresistible video. Plus, those little lead pellets flying everywhere are as mesmerizing as a lava lamp.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Bands We Said Goodbye To In 2010

While 2010 was loaded with a number of great new records and stellar shows, it was also a year in which the scene lost some of its best and most renown acts. So let's have a look at a few of the bands we had to say goodbye to this year.

Fall Out Boy
In the beginning of the year, the pop-punk megastars called it quits. Having taken a break after their stint as openers on blink-182's '09 reunion tour, FOB came forward and announced their hiatus from the scene. In a February interview with Spin Magazine, lead singer Patrick Stump announced, "I'm not in Fall Out Boy right now." This, in addition to a slew of Tweets by celeb-bassist Pete Wentz, solidified the news that would break car-crash hearts worldwide.

In the meantime, however, each FOB member has embarked on new musical ventures. Wentz is currently keeping his hipster status with his new band, Black Cards. Stump has decided forego a full band, and is working on his solo project. You can listen to his first single, "Spotlight", off his yet-to-be-released album, Soul Punk, here. Drummer Andy Hurley and guitarist Joseph Trohman have joined forces with Scott Ian and Rob Caggiano of Anthrax and Keith Buckley (Every Time I Die) to form the hardcore outfit, The Damned Things.

Envy On The Coast
After dropping one of the best, and most honest, records of the year (Lowcountry), EOTC sent out
shock waves across the underground when they announced their final few shows at the end of August. It seemed that constant turmoil with their record label over the lack of promotions Lowcountry was receiving drove the band to call it quits.

Though their final shows were packed with as much energy as ever, (Backstage Press was at the Boston show), nothing seemed to be able to hold the Long Island outfit together.

However, lead singer Ryan Hunter and guitarist Brian Byrne have already started working on a new musical project. It's still in the early stages, but according to Hunter's blog, the band is named North Korea. Have a look at their latest video/recording here.

From First To Last
Just four months after releasing Throne To The Wolves, a blistering 11-track album, FFTL cashed out of the scene.Their reasoning, following your standard break-up blog post, was simple. Having been on tour for almost eight years was taking its toll on the band. They wanted to try new ventures, and see what else life had in store for them. You know, you've heard this all before.

But, in a stunning and sudden twist of events (literally the day after FFTL's announced hiatus), the band's frontman/guitarist Matt Good announced he would be joining Craig Owens' new band, D.R.U.G.S. (Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows). You can check them out here. No word on what other FFTL members are currently doing.

Crime In Stereo
Another band that fell victim to this summer's slew of breakups. In early August, the New York
natives Tweeted, "Crime In Stereo Is Dead (2002-2010)." Information beyond that was slow coming, but the band finally released a statement almost a month later confirming that the hardcore outfit were in fact breaking up, and would play a handful of final shows in the Northeast.

Their last show was scheduled to be this past November, but some fans weren't let into the venue, leading the band to add one final performance slated for January 14, 2011 in Long Island, New York. For ticket information, click here.

CiS' last release was this year's I Was Trying To Describe You To Someone, which was released on Bridge Nine Records.

Paramore
Before we get started, let's just clear the air. Paramore claim to STILL be a band, though earlier this month two of the founding members, Josh and Zac Farro, quit the band leaving only guitarist Taylor York, bassist Jeremy Davis and frontwoman Hayley Williams.

Originally, the remaining members released a statement regarding the split without input from the Farro brothers. Days later, the brothers shot back putting out a statement with a much darker and different side of the story. They cited that the band were more a part of, "Hayley's dream" than anything else. Ultimately, neither Josh or Zac felt comfortable anymore, which led them to calling it quits.

The news was so unexpected that it made waves in the mainstream media, too. Yahoo placed the story on their main page. Ultimately, the future of Paramore remains up in the air at this time as lineups are still to be determined. Be sure to check back here for the latest on the band.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Circa Survive - Band Of The Year 2010

Three days before the release of their third full-length album, Blue Sky Noise, Circa Survive was in Norwood, Massachusetts for a free acoustic performance in celebration of Record Store Day. The venue, a small independent record store, was decked out in Circa's signature artwork, done by artist Esao Andrews. The band seemed obliged to meet and talk with fans, snapping pictures and signing autographs before and after the short set.

This scene would play out countless numbers of times after that, the third weekend in April 2010. Circa spent a good deal of the next eight months on the road touring in support of Blue Sky Noise. From Boston to San Francisco, Canada to the United Kingdom, the Doylestown, Pennsylvania outfit was once again out doing what they do best.

But Circa had been virtually absent since their 2007 release, On Letting Go. After a few tours in support of that record, and a summer solo tour by lead singer Anthony Green, Circa found themselves at a crossroads. Their future was unsure. The writing process for a new record, one they felt they needed to make for themselves, was shaky.

The quintet found themselves living in separate places for the first time in years. Green checked himself into a psychiatric ward after his wife's miscarriage - an incident that happened twice, and eventually found its way onto Blue Sky Noise (Listen to "Spirit Of The Stairwell"). And, above all else, the band questioned whether or not they would continue making music.

But, amongst all the turmoil, Circa regrouped and put together one of the best and most complete records of 2010. Working with producer David Bottrill (Muse, Tool), the band achieved a sound that not only satisfied their thirst for progression, but didn't alienate their cult-like following of fans.

It's almost as if Blue Sky Noise was a rebirth for the band. It peaked at #3 on the Billboard Top Rock Albums. The 12-track record marked some of the band's most literal work to date, allowing listeners a real glance into the soul of the charismatic Green and his counterparts. It was quickly becoming clear, 2010 was the year of Circa Survive.

But, as if writing one record wasn't enough, the band opted to release a follow-up to Blue Sky Noise this year. The five-track EP, Appendage, was put out in late 2010, and featured a tracklisting worthy of being BSN b-sides. Circa's hungry fan base really couldn't ask for more this past year.

Given all this, the pressure to release the best album of their career-to-date, their constant fighting of personal demons and their inexplicable way to overcome the obstacles against them, we at Backstage Press would like to name Circa Survive as Band of the Year 2010.

They made a triumphant return to the scene, taking with them the uphill battles they fought since we last heard from them in '07. They released two albums in one year, toured constantly and reinvented themselves as innovators of the music industry. No other band even came close this year.

Congratulations, gentlemen. You've earned it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Top 10 Albums Of 2010

If there's one thing scenesters love more than skinny jeans, it's nostalgia. There's nothing like sitting down with friends and recalling all the good music from years past. And as 2010 draws to a close, it looks like this year will be one that's regarded as a great musical kickoff to the new decade. Here's your top 10 albums of 2010.

Released in January, The Wonder Years took their mid-20s angst and turned it into what's probably the year's most positive record. The message is simple - look for the upsides in life. Drop that in with solid New Found Glory-esque pop-punk, crunchy guitars and gang vocals, and you've got yourself one of the best and most honest records of 2010.

If there was one record in 2010 that could encapsulate the catchiness of pop-punk choruses with the brutality of hardcore verses it would be ADTR's What Separates Me From You. The record has such a key balance between the two that whether you love the Florida-based rockers for their screaming or their melodies, you're bound to find what you want on this record.

If you're looking for the most mosh-ready, beardcore, Bay State album of the year, look no further than FYS' Enemy. This 11-track record holds some of the best FYS tunage out there. With hits like "Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)", "Find My Way Back" and the record's title track, it's no surprise this album carried the band through countless tours this year. Massachusetts for life, suckas.

It was all up in the air for Chiodos' first post-Craig Owens release, but the band, featuring new vocalist Brandon Bolmer, put together one of the year's most cohesive and hard-hitting records. Bolmer's vocal range, including his screams, fit perfectly with the band's mix of heavy and melodic. It's true what they say, you know. Those who slay together, stay together.

The pressure was on for Senses Fail to put together a record that wouldn't have their fans crying "sellouts!" Their answer was The Fire, and it certainly proved that the New Jersey natives mean business when it comes to the rock game. The album holds some of the heaviest work Senses Fail have ever put together. One listen and it's clear that they didn't compromise on their sound - a hard attribute to find in a band with a discography as large as theirs.

The supergroup, comprised from members of Taking Back Sunday, Coheed & Cambria and Hot Rod Circuit, put together what's probably the most straight forward rock 'n' roll record of the year. The self-titled album is a concept record of sorts, with many songs relating to a series of fires that destroyed lead singer Fred Mascherino's hometown. This debut record from Terrible Things lends itself nicely for live performances as well. A must have for anyone looking to outgrow the "scene." Check out our interview with Terrible Things here.

The album that would eventually force EOTC to disband this past summer, Lowcountry was probably the most honest shot at forcing rock 'n' roll to progress in 2010. Loaded with vicious tracks including "The Devil's Tongue" and "The Great American T-Shirt Racket", it would seem that Lowcountry should have taken off. But, with EOTC's record label claiming the album lacked a single, little money was sunk into promotions and eventually cost the band and fans alike a chance to see any progression. Regardless, Lowcountry owned in 2010. Check out our interview with EOTC here.

After a lackluster showing from their last album, 2007's Even If It Kills Me, MCS came back full-force on My Dinosaur Life. With blink-182's own Mark Hoppus taking over producing duties, the band put together one of the year's best pop-rock albums. Tracks like "A Lifeless Ordinary" and "Stand Too Close" have an amazing ability to stay stuck in your head for days, as do most other songs on the record. Take a look at the interview we did with MCS here.

Having developed a cult-like following, Circa Survive came out swinging in 2010 with their spring release of Blue Sky Noise. Their first single, "Get Out", was a pre-release sensation, and only added to the hype surrounding the album. And Circa didn't disappoint. The album flowed seamlessly through other tracks including "Imaginary Enemy" and "I Felt Free". Blue Sky's success led to a non-stop touring schedule, a number of magazine cover spots and countless feature stories done on the band. Easily one of the most influential albums of the year.

Challenging Cities for the best album in their discography, Anberlin's Dark Is The Way, Light Is A Place
marked a step back toward the sound that Anberlin fans loved. A fluid mixture of fast and slow songs coupled with the band's signature melodies made for the most complete record of 2010. The quintet also tried some new tricks in their instrumentation including a computerized intro on "Art of War" and a Latin-esque guitar riff on "Down". The album transitions neatly between 80s, punk and modern rock influences thus making it one of the most eclectic records of the year. Check out our interview with Anberlin here.

2010 albums of honorable mention:
My Chemical Romance - Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys
Underoath - Disambiguation
Happy Body Slow Brain - Dreams Of Water
Alkaline Trio - This Addiction
Bring Me The Horizon - There Is a Hell, Believe Me I've Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let's Keep It A Secret

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Your Christmas Punk Rock Playlist

With Christmas only a few weeks away, there seems to be no escaping the same old recycled tunes about everything from reindeer taking out your grandmother to that creepy fat guy that sneaks into house and eats your cookies. Needless to say, it can get old. So where do you turn when you need some decent punk music for the holidays? Well, look no further than the following playlist to get your season kicked off in style (complete with skinny jeans and a beanie).

In typical NFG form, "Ex' Miss" is a song about girls and heartbreak. So what sets it apart? Well, the chorus is holiday themed. "This holiday is overrated" exclaims lead singer Jordan Pundik. And honestly, he's right. On top of sarcastic Christmas lyrics, you might even hear Jingle Bells
being played on an electric guitar. Hell, that's sweeter than eggnog.

This quick little tune should be the anthem for anyone who has spent a Christmas alone (and that sucks). The lyrics are as cold as an icicle, wrestling with concepts of love lost, loneliness and everything else emo that could fit into a holiday song. On the good side, "Icicles" has enough snare drum and palm mutes to keep even the saddest of you audiophiles happy.

If you've ever been to a Christmas church service, you've probably had to sing this song (though there was no way it was this cool). Bayside just released this track for the 2010 holiday, and it's about as upbeat as this playlist gets. You'd never think four punks complete with neck and knuckle tattoos could make the story of Jesus' birth sound so badass. A guaranteed hit at any holiday get together this year.

A little crazy, a bit self-centered and a pinch of holiday humor are the ingredients that make this Matches tune perfect to bump when you've got an attitude at the Christmas Eve family party. As lead singer Shawn Harris states, December isn't actually celebrating anything, but rather about getting high on art supplies, ordering take-out and just plain being great.

The title alone, ripped from the famous line in A Christmas Story, should tell you all you need to know about this FOB B-Side. It's as misogynistic as anything from their discography, catchy as a baseball glove and as anti-Christmas as any song on this list. Plus we love the clever play on words. Yule/You'll. Get it? Genius.

Lactation, ugly sweaters and Danny Bonaduce make up this YouTube sensation from Fred Mascherino-era TBS. Mascherino, along with lead singer Adam Lazzara, sing what's probably the funniest tune on this list. A spoof on everyone's favorite "12 Days," this animated rendition will have you laughing 'til Christmas morning.


Okay, this might actually be tied for funniest song on the list. This track is packed with that signature blink humor (ie - "And even though the jail didn't have a tree, Christmas came a night early 'cause a guy named Bubba unwrapped my package"). What's even better though, is that the music rocks. Palm muted guitar riffs, drum rolls and a bass solo - you've got the best of blink here.

It's a sad song, people. It's slow, it's lonely, it's Something Corporate. If you've ever been dumped around the holidays, this is your ballad for a broken heart. By throwing a bit of piano into the standard mix of guitar, bass and drums, SC found a way to tug at your inner emo kid with "Forget December." Throw this tune on and you're bound to reminisce about lost love.

You want a punk-rock Christmas? MxPx have got it for you, wrapped up with a pretty pink bow and sitting under your tree. What's more punk than killing zombies on Christmas? It's way more badass than spending the day with your family. This short, two-minute and twenty-two-second tune is loaded with three-finger power chords, gang vocals and grotesque lyrics about slaying zombies on the holiest of all days. Respect it, kids.

Christmas is all about traditions, right? Well, in that case you need one of those classic songs to round out your holiday playlist. And what better than a crunchy, early-2000s era punk version to get the job done. It's fun, it's fast, it's lively and you already know all the words. Perfect!

And there you have it, kids. When the holidays get you down, just hit the play button and get back into the spirit. Merry Christmas.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Terrible Things Interview

Is rock 'n' roll still alive? It's a question Terrible Things have been asking every night on tour to crowds across the country.

It seems fitting, too, as the "supergroup" trio comprised of Fred Mascherino (Taking Back Sunday, The Color Fred), Josh Eppard (Coheed & Cambria) and Andy Jackson (Hot Rod Circuit) put out what's probably the scene's most honest rock 'n' roll record of the year in late August.

Backstage Press caught up with lead singer Fred Mascherino last Saturday in Hartford, Connecticut to see just what life is like in the infant stages of Terrible Things.

"This is like my dream band," said Mascherino. "And it's turned into this thing that kind of gets us away from writing about boyfriends, and girlfriends and broken hearts and more about something that means something to me, and ultimately to all of us."

Terrible Things is certainly a step toward a more mature direction for all three members. With the scene that Mascherino, Eppard and Jackson helped develop in their previous bands all but dead and moved out of their parents' house, it was time to recreate themselves musically. Terrible Things was their answer.


The self-titled, 11-track record is a call to arms of sorts. While it's main theme deals mostly with a series of fires in Mascherino's hometown of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, he explained that parts of the record also address the will to get up and make a change in the world around you.

"Jason Elgin, who produced the record, was really good at keeping us not so specific to Coatesville, but to make it something that could still be relatable to everyone," said Mascherino. "For example, 'Revolution', to me, is the anthem for Coatesville, but it's also got a message to it that anyone can jump into."

"It's about making a change when you see something you don't like about your life or the world," he continued "Don't just sit there and watch more TV, you know? Go out and make those changes you've always wanted to do."

Making a change is certainly something Mascherino and his bandmates know well. All three left behind the bands that helped them peak their musical careers for something a little more meaningful. And though the battle to win those fans over to Terrible Things might be a steep uphill, don't count these guys out.

With a powerful rock album already under their belt, a slew of tour dates set and the drive to build an empire from the ashes, it seems that rock 'n' roll is still alive and well.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

A Day To Remember - What Separates Me From You Review

Haters gonna hate. If there's one band that knows this, it's A Day To Remember. They've been at the forefront of the old "sellout" debate for some time. It seems that success in the scene today can turn people against you. And, as ADTR have come to learn, melding pop-punk with hardcore can leave fans split - while most love their catchier work, diehards will almost always claim, "the new stuff isn't heavy enough."

But with this week's release of What Separates Me From You, the Ocala, Florida quintet are looking to not only give ADTR fans what they expect, but maybe even win back some of those "haters."

Separates opens with the punishing "Sticks & Bricks" where lead singer Jeremy McKinnon boldly exclaims "I am fueled by all forms of failure./I paid the price, so I'll take what's mine." The crunchy, palm-muted metal riffs of the verse lead way to one of the catchiest choruses on the record, proving yet again that ADTR reign supreme in fitting pop into the hardest of hardcore.

The mix of heavy and light on Separates goes together better than the Half & Half creamer you put in your morning coffee. With an array of solid rock songs like "Better Off This Way", "All Signs Point to Lauderdale" and "Out of Time", this record will please the masses. For those (haters) seeking something heavier, look no further than "2nd Sucks" and "You Be Tails, I'll Be Sonic". Your ears will bleed like they did during the For Those Who Have Heart days.


Separates, as with any ADTR record, is about staying true to yourself and your roots. And that's why McKinnon and crew went back to Andrew Wade and his Florida studio for the record's producing efforts. Lending a helping hand in the process was New Found Glory's Chad Gilbert.

What was set to be a make-or-break record for ADTR certainly seems to come across as a win. It's a natural progression from Homesick, but won't have you holding down the fast-forward button. Separates hones in on what makes ADTR who they are. The heavy, the pop, the gang vocals and the screams are all accounted for without hesitation.

Separates certainly packs the punch ADTR fans were looking for. And though the 10 tracks are loaded with enough testosterone and adrenaline to make even the most skeptical audiophile want to mosh, one fact remains - haters gonna hate.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A Hit Of D.R.U.G.S.

It's been just over a year since Craig Owens was booted from Chiodos. But, as promised, Craigery is back full-force with a new band who are ready to take the scene by storm.

D.R.U.G.S., the moniker meaning Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows, consists of Owens on lead vocals, guitarists Matt Good (From First To Last) and Nick Martin (Isles & Glaciers, Underminded), bassist Adam Russell (Story Of The Year) and drummer Aaron Stern (Matchbook Romance).

The band, whose lineup was released one by one, spent the majority of the summer recording with producer John Feldmann. According to a Tweet by Owens, recording was finished by mid-October and the band were moving on to the mixing stage. No word has been given on a release date of the record, though it will be released through Decaydance Records.

But that doesn't mean fans can't get a chance to hear the supergroup before a full CD is released. D.R.U.G.S. will be setting out on the Rise From The Ashes tour at the end of this month alongside Eyes Set To Kill and New Medicine.

They recently posted a teaser video (see below), alongside a number of studio updates, that outline the band as a whole, the recording process and offer a first chance to hear some unreleased tracks.


D.R.U.G.S. will be on tour through mid-December. Check below for tour dates and cities near you.

Rise From The Ashes Tour

Nov. 28 - Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room
Nov. 29 - Pontiac, MI - The Pike Room
Dec. 3 - West Hollywood, CA - The Key Club
Dec. 4 - Bakersfield, CA - Jerry's Pizza
Dec. 5 - San Luis Obispo, CA - Downtown Brew
Dec. 8 - Lawrence, KS - Bottleneck
Dec. 9 - Des Moines, IA - Vaudeview Mews
Dec. 10 - Indianapolis, IN - Emerson Theater
Dec. 11 - West Dundee, Il - Clearwater Theatre
Dec. 12 - Lansing, MI - Mac's Bar
Dec. 14 - New York, NY - Studio at Webster Hall
Dec. 15 - Providence, RI - The Met Cafe
Dec. 16 - Burlington, VT - Higher Ground
Dec. 17 - Albany, NY - Valentine's
Dec. 18 - Lancaster, PA - The Chameleon Club
Dec. 19 - Altoona, PA - Archway Center
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