Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A quiz.

Top 50 Artists Quiz. All based on the top 50 artists that I have scrobbled as of April 27, 2011

1. How did you get into 29 (The Ergs!)? 
I just heard a lot of people talk about them on the internet and decided to check them out.
2. What was the first song you ever heard by 22 (The Gamits)? 
Dotted Lines
3. What's your favorite lyric by 33 (blink-182)? 
"How long can I string you along? How little of myself can I give and still make you believe I care?"
- Fentoozler

4. What is your favorite album by 49 (The World/Inferno Friendship Society)? 
Addicted to Bad Ideas: Peter Lorre's Twentieth Century

5. How many albums by 13 (Mixtapes) do you own?
Technically, they don't have any albums. Just that mini-album and a bunch of EPs and singles. But I've got them all that have been released so far.

6. What is your favorite song by 50 (The Promise Ring)? 
No contest: Make Me a Mixtape
7. Is there a song by 39 (Latterman) that makes you feel sad? 

8. What is your favorite song by 15 (Alkaline Trio)? 
Clavicle or Trouble Breathing or Cop or Nose Over Tail or anything else off of Goddamnit
9. What is your favorite song by 5 (Cheap Girls)? 
No One to Blame
10. Is there a song by 6 (The Get Up Kids) that makes you happy? 
I get pumped when Ten Minutes plays
11. What is your favorite album by 40 (Smoking Popes)?
I was introduced to the band via Born to Quit, so I'm going to say that one.
12. What is your favorite song by 10 (Sum 41)? 
I think I would have to go with Thanks for Nothing. I know that was never a big hit, but I like it a lot.
13. What is a good memory you have involving 30 (Tie: The Steinways/Teenage Bottlerocket)?
This goes for both bands: listening to them (specifically the Steinways' Missed the Boat and TBR's They Came from the Shadows) non-stop during beginning of my senior year of college with a certain someone.
14. What is your favorite song by 38 (The Hold Steady)?
This may be a bit cliché, but I would say Sequestered in Memphis.
15. Is there a song by 19 (The Ataris) that makes you happy? 
Despite the downer lyrics, a bunch of tracks off End Is Forever cheer me up, like If You Really Want to Hear About It or You Need a Hug
16. How many times have you seen 24 (Screeching Weasel) live? 
Zero and I probably won't ever see them live. 
17. What is the first song you ever heard by 23 (The Queers)?
The first song I remember hearing is You're Trippin' but that may or may not be accurate. 
18. What is your favorite album by 11 (Motion City Soundtrack)? 
Although I Am the Movie will always hold a dear place in my heart, My Dinosaur Life kicks incredible amounts of ass.
19. Who is your favorite member of 1 (The Gaslight Anthem)? 
I don't play that game.
20. Have you ever seen 14 (AM Taxi) live?
Nope, but I would not be opposed to it. 
21. What is a good memory involving 27 (The Loved Ones)?
Seeing them play at CBGB for their "record release party" celebrating the release of Keep Your Heart
22. What is your favorite song by 16 (Social Distortion)? 
Yikes... I don't know. My most listened to track is Bad Luck though, so I'll say that one. 
23. What is the first song you ever heard by 47 (Lifetime)?
Whatever the first track on Background is. I think it's called You but I can't say I liked that album much. 
24. What is your favorite album by 18 (The Replacements)?
Toss up between Let It Be and Tim
25. What is your favorite song by 21 (Against Me!)? 
Sink, Florida, Sink. Specifically the electric version. 
26. What is the first song you ever heard by 26 (ALL)?
I can't say that I remember. In all likeliness it was Pretty Little Girl though. 
27. What is your favorite album by 3 (Bad Religion)? 
I'm very fond of Against the Grain, Stranger Than Fiction, and New Maps of Hell. Maybe The Process of Belief or How Could Hell Be Any Worse? too. One of those five. 
28. What is your favorite song by 2 (Descendents)? 
I'm Not a Loser
29. What was the first song you heard by 32 (Weezer)? 
Like most people my age, the first Weezer song I became familiar with was Buddy Holly
30. What is your favorite song by 8 (Fake Problems)? 
I think I'm going to go with Heartless although almost every single track from Real Ghosts Caught on Tape give that song a run for its money. 
31. How many times have you seen 17 (The Dopamines) live? 
None. Thanks for reminding me, jerk. 
32. Is there a song by 44 (Tie: The Lawrence Arms/Broadway Calls) that makes you happy? 
The Lawrence Arms: Boat Less Booze Cruise Part 1 and Warped Summer Extravaganza (Major Excellent)Broadway Calls: most of Good Views, Bad News is happy. 

33. What is your favorite album by 12 (Saves the Day)?
Depending on my mood, either Through Being Cool or Stay What You Are. I know, totally original there. 
34. What is the worst song by 45 (Tie: The Lawrence Arms/Broadway Calls)? 
I don't really dislike songs by either band. I guess maybe some weird b-side that I've never heard?

35. What was the first song you ever heard by 34 (Anti-Flag)?
Die for Your Government on some internet radio station and I thought it was awful.  
36. What is your favorite album by 48 (Stephen Egerton)? 
Under his solo name, I'm pretty sure he's only got one, The Seven Degrees of Stephen Egerton. So that one. 
37. How many times have you seen 42 (New Found Glory) live? 
38. What is your favorite song by 36 (OFF!)? Hard to choose just one. I really like the first EP segment on The First Four EPs though. 
39. What was the first song you ever heard by 28 (Off With Their Heads)?
I don't remember for sure, but I think it was I Am You
40. What is your favorite album by 7 (Green Day)? 
On most days, it's Insomniac but sometimes it's 1,039/Smoothed Out Slappy Hours, Dookie or nimrod.
41. Is there a song by 31 (Tie: The Steinways/Teenage Bottlerocket) that makes you feel happy?
42. What is your favorite album by 41 (House Boat)? 
The Delaware Octopus. Partially because it's their only album, but also because it rules. 
43. What is your favorite song by 25 (Beastie Boys) ? 
I don't know if I can pick just one. 
44. What is a good memory you have involving 46 (The Lillingtons)? 
Spending my summer in 2009 listening to almost nothing but Death By Television and finally understanding its genius. 
45. What is your favorite song by 35 (Bruce Springsteen)?
I'm very partial to Atlantic City but I'm also still a newcomer to Bruce so it can change. 
46. Is there a song by 9 (Rise Against) that makes you happy? 
I think their cover of Journey's Any Way You Want It is hilarious.
47. What is your favorite album by 4 (Direct Hit!)? 
48. Who is a favorite member of 37 (Streetlight Manifesto)? 
Again, I don't play that game (but I think they've only got one or two constant members at this point). 
49. What was the first song you ever heard by 43 (Cobra Skulls)? 
Cobra Skullifornia
50. How many albums do you own by 20 (Attica! Attica!) ?
Two. Or, both. 

Well. That was a fun way to kill time. Mostly. 

Friday, April 8, 2011

Folsom Records — Rise Against / Face to Face Split 7"

Folsom Records — Rise Against / Face to Face Split 7"

I think this idea is pretty cool, but at the same time I wish that it was more than just a 2 song cover split. Maybe an original tune or two (even if they're just B-sides). I mean, within a month or so both bands will have released new albums this year (Rise Against's already came out, Face-to-Face will be sometime in May I think), so they're both bound to have some extra material laying around to release on something exactly like this.

I also wish they had picked different songs. Kudos to Rise Against for not picking "Disconnected" but I'm a fan of Big Choice so my preference would have been a track from that (like the title track or I Know You Well). And I'm just biased against The Sufferer and the Witness and very pro-Revolutions Per Minute and Siren Song, so of course I wish that Face-to-Face had picked a song from one of those two albums.

Oh well. Beggars can't be choosers. I learned that from the Bouncing Souls/Hot Water Music split a few months back.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

NO/Bizarro Me

So I've yet to mention that I'm in my own bands. Well, sort of in my own bands. I used to be in a punk band called NO, but then we broke up. And right around the time that NO was breaking up, I joined another band, which ended up being named Bizarro Me. I played guitar in both (because who doesn't play guitar?)

NO was fast, obnoxious punk... in the vein of all those classic '77 punk bands. There was a bit of Ramones and Sex Pistols in the sound, but probably a million other bands who attempted that sound too. Our average song length was about 90 seconds and it was a lot of fun. Since our break up, we've had two reunion shows but it's unlikely that we'd ever really "reunite" or anything.

Bizarro Me is a different story. We're closer to that "orgcore" sound (if there is such a thing). Influences are The Bouncing Souls, None More Black (duh?), Latterman, Against Me!, etc. So yeah, orgcore, I guess. Songs were a bit longer than NO's songs and a bit more in-depth in terms of composition. It's not really the way that I write songs, but I had a lot of fun playing them.

As far as I know, we're (Bizarro Me) just on hiatus. We played a bunch of shows at first, but then the summer happened and our lead guitarist transferred schools. And then the Fall semester began and we all had very busy schedules and it was hard to plan practices or shows. We still would get together and play whenever we could... usually not as a full line up though (so to speak, the four of us remaining anyway).  Back in late January (2011) we played a Farewell/Reunion show. It was a farewell because I graduated and won't be around in New Paltz much as well as our drummer Jordan studying abroad, but it was also a reunion because it was the first show we had played together in months.

Anyway, since this blog is about me writing about music and stuff, I thought it was appropriate to mention that I do play music too, however infrequently it may be. Keep an eye (ear?) out for my upcoming project with former members of NO. We don't have a name yet, but so far the top three contenders for names are Deal With It, Urine Trouble and LBA (Lauren Blair's Army; a reference to JFA).

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Top 5 Live Albums/Bootlegs.

Back again already. Slow day. I've been listening to the new live Green Day album and I can honestly say that I'm impressed with it. I was really excited for Bullet in a Bible back when it was first announced, but then it ended up being pretty much "American Idiot: Live" which would have been fine had that album not just come out. I've heard a lot of Green Day bootlegs from that era and they all suffer from the same problem: they pretty much play songs from American Idiot in the exact same order as they appear on the album, with select singles thrown in at the end with an extended version of either King for a Day or Minority (sometimes their cover of Knowledge) and top it all off with Good Riddance, or Boulevard of Broken Dreams if it hasn't been played yet.

Now, I know I defended American Idiot in an earlier post, but if I listen to a live performance (or go see a live show), I would really like it when there's some variety in the set list. Maybe it's just me, I don't know. Either way, listening to Awesome As Fuck and, like I said, I'm impressed. It starts off a bit 21st Century Breakdown-heavy and by that I mean out of the 17 tracks total (20 on the iTunes edition) there are five songs played from that album. The rest of the album is dedicated to the rest of their discography as well as a new, unreleased track. The variety of it makes it a whole lot more enjoyable than Bullet in a Bible was, even if every single track was taken from a different performance whereas the previous live release was all from two nights.

Anyway, this over-analyzation of this live Green Day album in particular got me thinking about other live albums that I've heard and enjoyed. And then I decided to write up a list of five of my favorite ones. After a lengthy intro, of course.

05. The Gaslight Anthem - Radio City Music Hall
I don't believe I've mentioned that The Gaslight Anthem ranks up with Green Day and the Descendents as one of my favorite bands. That probably comes as no surprise, but it's true. Seeing them at Radio City Music Hall was quite the treat (literally, it was a birthday gift from a very special someone) and the fact that someone recorded it makes it possible for me to re-live that memory. The set was just over 90 minutes long and they played material  from all three of their full lengths and their EP, focusing mostly on The '59 Sound and American Slang.  It was weird to see them in a seated venue and it wasn't quite as intimate the time I saw them at Valentine's or as energetic as when they played Roseland, but it was still an amazing time. And being able to listen to that bootleg whenever I want allows me to remember that moment, which is why it makes the list.

04. Green Day - Woodstock 1994
The only real difference between Green Day's live show today and their live show in 1994 is their set list, and that's only because they've written more songs since then. What's surprising is that they've still got this energy, but back when this bootleg was recorded it's what you would expect from a bunch of kids barely in their 20's.  It's a pretty short set but it's a fun piece of history to listen to, from Billie Joe insulting a kid in the audience to hearing the band start the infamous mud fight. A must have for any fan of Green Day or 90's punk.

03. Brian Fallon - Live at the Court Tavern
An hour long acoustic set with the front man of the Gaslight Anthem, what's not to like about it? In addition to Gaslight songs (this was pre-American Slang), there are some solo songs (Italian Lightning and The Blues, Mary) and a few of covers (including The Bouncing Souls, Bob Dylan and, of course, Bruce). Oh yeah, if that wasn't enough: one of the Gaslight songs that he plays is Boomboxes and Dictionaries. Yes.

02. Descendents - Liveage!/Hallraker/Live Plus One
I couldn't pick one over the other two. Liveage! and Hallraker both capture the Descendents in their prime, playing all the best songs from their (at the time) four albums without a single song being repeated (minus the four second "ALL"). They're both fine additions to any Descendents collection.
And then there's Live Plus One, the second disc to the split release with ALL. This collection is just as fast and fun to listen to, also adding songs from their fifth album to the tracklist. Hope, M-16, Silly Girl, Myage, Van, Cheer... even a cover of the ALL song Original Me are all found on this disc. It does miss a few, like I'm Not a Loser and Christmas Vacation, but that's what Liveage! and Hallraker are for.

01. Reel Big Fish - Our Live Album Is Better Than Your Live Album
In high school, I loved Reel Big Fish (doesn't every snot-nosed punk?). Their songs were so fun and catchy even though they were downright miserable. Then in 2005 I saw them live in NYC. I was worried because my friend said he saw them in 2003 and told me that it seemed as if they were kind of bored. I guess the line up change that they went through between those two years made a huge difference because the show I was at blew their studio recordings out of the water. It was single handedly the most fun I had ever had at a show. I saw them again that same summer in California. Then again the next summer in 2006. Again in 2007. And in 2008. In 2009 they actually played at my school. If I could afford it, I would've followed them around the country like a Deadhead (err... Fishhead?). I enjoy them live so much* I can't listen to their studio output anymore. That's why I'm glad they came out with their two disc live album. Whenever I want to listen to Reel Big Fish these days, this is the only album by them I'll put on. That's how much I love it. No, really.

*It should be noted that I am aware that Scott Klopfenstein has left the band and I am worried about how that affects their performances. Maybe I'll read some reviews or something before going to another show, or maybe I'll just wing it and see what happens. 

Well, that was fun. Makes me want to go to more shows though. I wish I had money.

ALL - Allroy for Prez...

I think I've mentioned before that I'm a big Descendents fan. Yeah, I'm pretty sure I have.

Anyway, this post is not about the Descendents. This is about the post-Milo band, ALL. To sum them up briefly,  ALL is the 1987 line up of the Descendents with a different singer. ALL (the band) continued to move in the same direction that ALL (the Descendents album) was heading toward musically. ALL is also not nearly as recognized as the Descendents, which is rather unfortunate.

I am guilty of preferring the Descendents to ALL. That said, there are a lot of ALL songs that I like, they're just spread out through their albums and sometimes even have different singers on them (ALL has had a total of three singers). I think the different vocalists sometimes plays into why they aren't as recognized; it's harder to get a feel for their sound. That's a little unfair and biased toward vocals in terms of what really makes a band's sound unique, but that happens to bands all the time. Each member gets equal opportunity in song contribution, from what I know, so the vocalist thing shouldn't matter too much, but I still think it plays a big roll.

Anywho, one of ALL's earliest works is their Allroy for Prez... EP. It was their second release and final studio output with their first singer Dave Smalley. I think it serves as a good introduction to what the band's earlier works sound like because both Dave and second singer, Scott Reynolds, were softer in their delivery than Chad Price (side note: apparently both Scott and Chad are currently lead singers, just not playing the same shows together). Not that Chad's vocals are "harsh" per se, but he's got a much different sound than the first two singers.

That said, this EP has all the basics for what nearly every ALL album features: short songs that are 2-3 minutes in length, lyrics cover common subjects like love (or the lack of it) and intricate instrumental work throughout. My absolute favorite ALL song is featured as the opening track: a re-recording of Just Perfect from the band's debut, Allroy Sez. Other standouts include the melodic Wishing Well and the bittersweet Skin Deep. There's also the latter day Black Flag-esque instrumental Son-O-Qua.

I do not think this is the "definitive" ALL release, but I do think that it is an important piece of their history and anyone interested in becoming more familiar with ALL's work should check this one out.

01. Just Perfect
02. Skin Deep
03. Wrong Again
04. I Hate to Love
05. Wishing Well
06. Son-O-Qua
07. Postage
08. Daveage