Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Top 10 Punk-Rock Cover Songs

Cover songs. It seems like everybody's done at least one. Of course, there are the good and the bad. But hopefully this list will give you an idea of what's worth your listening time. Oh, and maybe it will answer that age old question, "What would Britney Spears sound like if she were screamo?"

10. What Goes Around... - Alesana (originally by Justin Timberlake)
A radio favorite a few years back, Alesana took the JT pop hit and turned it into a vicious melodic hardcore tune worthy of creating mosh pit pandemonium. What more could you want?

9. Paint it Black - VersaEmerge (originally by The Rolling Stones)
Let's face it, the Stones' original dominates on its own. But get a female lead singer (Sierra Kusterbeck) behind the mic on this one and the song explodes. A must for any classic rock fan... who likes punk music, too.

8. Apologize - Silverstein (originally by One Republic)
Out of any song on this list, Silverstein's version of "Apologize" is probably the closest thing to the original. Lead singer Shane Told keeps his vocals in check for the first two verses and choruses before opening up into his signature screams for the breakdown. Coupled with distorted guitars and a strong bass line, this one's a keeper.

7. I Fought The Law - Green Day (originally by Sonny Curtis & The Crickets, 1959)
Come on, this one is a classic! Just as many people have covered this song as have heard it, and Green Day do it as well as anyone ever has.

6. Since U Been Gone - A Day To Remember (originally by Kelly Clarkson)
If A Day To Remember should have covered any song, this was it. They turned the Kelly Clarkson hit into a hardcore infused pop-punk tune that'll make you wanna destroy your girlfriend's apartment while wearing your Johnny Cupcakes t-shirt.

5. Megan - Bayside (originally by The Smoking Popes)
When half your fans think a cover song is one of your own originals, you know you've done the song justice. Case in point, Bayside.

4. Iris - New Found Glory (originally by The Goo Goo Dolls)
If you didn't think the pop-punk lifers could pull off an alternative rock classic like this, you were wrong. Crunchy guitars, a driving bass line and Jordan Pundik's signature whine finally make it cool to listen to The Goo Goo Dolls. Yes!

3. Roxanne - Fall Out Boy (originally by The Police)
If you think taking a shot every time you heard the name "Roxanne" was tough during the original, your liver is going to hate you during the up-tempo punk-rock FOB version. Impressive vocals, palm muting and blistering drums turn an already awesome song into a pop-punk classic.

2. There is a Light - Anberlin (originally by The Smiths)
If The Smiths recorded this song in 2006, it would sound like this. Coming off Anberlin's 2007 release, Cities, this cover fits perfectly with the mood of the record.

1. Toxic - A Static Lullaby (originally by Britney Spears)
Wow. This song is pure perfection. Take three parts hardcore, two parts screamo and some killer vocal arrangements and this is what you get. This song will rock your face off faster than you ever thought Britney could. Download it... now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Happy Body Slow Brain Interview

Life's been a whirlwind for musician Matt Fazzi over the past year. From releasing New Again with Taking Back Sunday (which debuted at #7 on the Billboard Top 200), to touring the world alongside some of the biggest names in music and then suddenly finding himself without a band this past March, it's safe to say the fresh-faced San Jose native has been chewed up and spit out by the music industry.

But will any of that stop him from giving it another try? Don't count on it.

With his new found freedom, Fazzi and fellow musicians Isaac Bolivar and Eduardo Torres have turned their sites on their newest project, Happy Body Slow Brain. In fact, the trio recently finished recording a new record in Michigan with producer Marc Hudson (Saves The Day).

"It was the most fun I've ever had making an album," said Fazzi via email, "because it was incredibly relaxed, productive and super efficient."

The band spent two and a half weeks with Hudson working a variety of sounds that they refer to as "Prog-R&B." Trying out an incredible number of guitar, bass and keyboard effects, HBSB created an incredibly complex and layered record.

"It was such a blast experimenting with pedals/tones/different guitars while making the record," said Fazzi. "I think we got some really beautiful tones and some really gnarly alien sounding guitars on the record as well."

While this might be a step away from the power-chord rock 'n' roll of TBS, Fazzi said this is exactly where he wants to be.

"Happy Body Slow Brain is just a more pure reflection of the broader overall tastes of Isaac and I," he said. "We prefer to make more challenging music with lots of mixed elements. With TBS, there was an expectation sonically so you couldn't really mess with the formula all that much."

So what can the fans expect to hear? Well, that might be a little of everything explained Fazzi. "We had ideas going all over the place," he said. "It also rained heavily while we were there which had a big influence on the vibe of the record."

HBSB are currently label-less, yet they hope to put out their new record as soon as possible. The band said to keep a close eye on their websites as some new music should be uploaded in the coming weeks. Also, if things can come together, look for HBSB to be doing some West Coast touring by August.

Technicalities aside though, Fazzi said he loves what he's doing.

"We made EXACTLY [the record] we wanted to make, and I can easily say it's the best music I've ever been a part of to date. We can't wait to share it with everyone."

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Hawthorne Heights - Skeletons Review

It's been almost two years since we last heard from Hawthorne Heights, but the Dayton, Ohio quartet are back with a powerful new record and the support of their major label, Wind-up Records.

Skeletons, HH's fourth full-length studio album, is a shot at regaining the emo-rock sound that escaped them on their 2008 release, Fragile Future. Diehard fans will find that though Skeletons isn't necessarily what made them fall in love with HH, the record is hard and dark enough to satisfy their emo sweet tooth.

The album opens with a few hard hitting pieces including "End Of The Underground," a catchy bass driven track complete with signature screamo parts during the breakdown. Though HH vowed never to replace guitarist/screamer Casey Calvert after his death in 2007, the band subtly brought back his vocal approach here - an aspect that was severely lacking on Future.

But Skeletons isn't all hard rock. There are numerous pop elements that show the band aren't necessarily stuck making the same record over and over again. "Drive" opens with a synth beat while "Hollywood & Vine" is easily the most toe-tapping song on the album.

The heart, or rather the ribcage, of Skeletons provides a taste of what the band do best. Finally, it seems as though the passion they lost after Calvert's passing is back.

"Broken Man" is the emo infused song the band needed to reestablish themselves in the scene. With lyrical elements reminiscent of their earliest work, this three-minute piece will remind listeners what HH are capable of. "I know my days are numbered now/Just a few more months to go/I'll say my last goodbyes, farewell/And kiss the one I love the most"

What's important to note on this record is how HH managed to recapture the technicality and hard rock guitar elements that were lost after Calvert passed. Now, down to only two guitarists, with one taking on vocals as well, the band have made up for Calvert's absence.

Though they may never be what they once were, Hawthorne Heights are here to stay. So whether you're a new fan, or a diehard left over from the start, Skeletons is an album you must have. It does not disappoint.

Songs to Download: Broken Man, Last Few Words, Hollywood & Vine

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thank You!

Backstage Press was started back in February of 2009 as a weekly assignment for my Interactive News class. For some time beforehand I had been wanting to start a blog where I could talk about my biggest passion in life - punk rock music. Of course I had no idea what I was doing or even how to properly "blog."

But this all changed when I met my professor, Mark Leccese, a new media guru with more knowledge about this emerging online world than anyone I've ever known. It wasn't long before he whipped me into shape for online writing and blogging.

Soon enough the class was over and I was left with a handful of decent posts
and this weird desire to keep working on my assignment long after grades had already been posted. Sixteen months later and what do you have? What you're reading now.

As many of you know, I just finished up my graduate studies last month at Emerson College in Boston. That meant I received an expensive piece of paper that said I was a Master in Journalism. Oh, Mr. Fancy Pants! A lot of my talented classmates started asking me if I would keep Backstage Press up and running post-grad. And that got me thinking...

In a little over a year I've made so much headway with writing. Plus, I've had more opportunities and more fun with this little web page than I could have ever imagined.

I've been to more shows than I can remember since February '09. I've been privileged enough to interview members of Rise Against, The Used, Envy On The Coast, Motion City Soundtrack and Anberlin. Some of these dudes have become my friends through the process, and we have some pretty awesome hang sessions when their bands roll through town.

I've been approached by various media companies and record labels through email, and receive weekly press releases on stuff happening in the scene. I was even offered to do some guest interviewing for Blast Magazine this spring which brought me backstage at the House of Blues in Boston.

As cheesy as it sounds, it's been a dream come true. And I owe much of it to you, my readers. Whether I know you or not, whether we were friends back in the day or even if you're just stalking me, I want to say thank you.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for giving me a reason to write. Thank you to anyone who has ever voted in a poll, left a comment, emailed me or caught me on some social networking site to tell me your thoughts about the blog. It means the world to me.

So, while my career at Emerson is over, rest assured that I'm here to stay at Backstage Press. I'm still going to do my best to interview our favorite bands, write reviews and keep you posted on all the news I can.

It's been a wild ride, but I couldn't have done it without you! Thank you so much...
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...