Scene Specific: Halifax, Nova Scotia

Believe it or not, that logo was take three or four for this feature…

Within the music world, certain areas are known for producing certain genres: California and New Jersey are meccas for punk, Seattle for indie rock (and grunge in its heyday), Scandinavia for metal, etc, etc.  “Scene Specific” aims to cover various scenes around the world in recurring fashion, be they cities or regions, and maybe introduce you to some cool acts.  I’ve long been someone who will sooner listen to an artist based on where they’re from, because I know they’ll likely have a sound I’ll enjoy.  I figured we’d debut this with my home scene: Halifax, Nova Scotia.

The thing about Halifax, and the east coast of Canada in general, is the local music scene is very folk-centric: if you like the singer-songwriter thing, you’d be in your glory here.  But, there are definitely some cool rock acts too.  Ahem…

Alert The Medic: This might be my favourite Halifax act.  The four-piece has released two albums – 2006’s Alert The Medic and 2009’s We, The Weapon – and are reminiscent of Brand New, No Motiv (especially Daylight Breaking-era) and the recently disbanded Ten Second Epic.  ATM are in Toronto working on their long-awaited third album The Phantom Moves, with former Our Lady Peace and current Crash Karma guitarist Mike Turner.  That’s a sick combo, and The Phantom Moves will surely be another blast of solid alt-rock.

The Stanfields: The easiest way to describe The Stanfields is probably “the Halifax version of The Dropkick Murphys“: their heavy, punk-inspired sound is drenched in Celtic flavouring.  Jon Landry’s gravelly vocals are a match for the Murphys’ Al Barr, and when you listen to The Stanfields you’re going to have a good time.  They have three albums: 2010’s Vanguard of the Young & Reckless, 2012’s Death & Taxes and last year’s acoustic effort For King and Country.  Over the past couple of years they’ve really become the biggest thing out of the local rock scene, and why not: they’re solid standouts.

The Big Get Even: These guys are pretty new, and have a riff/fill-based indie pop sound that’s pretty strong.  Depending on the day, they’re comprised of three – singer/guitarist Tyler Dempsey, bassist Neil Spence and drummer Josh Noiles – to six members, when you factor in frequent keyboardist Jason Keddy (of The Stogies), and backup singers Giverny Mercier (of Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound) and Jessie Brown.  TBGE has a self-titled EP out and are working on their debut full-length, and I would toss Echosmith in there as a band they’re similar to.

Quiet Parade:  Is this band quiet?  Sometimes, yep.  Nice, acoustic-based indie rock, that you’d likely enjoy if you’re into The Early November, Dashboard Confessional and Secondhand Serenade.  They have two EPs – 2010’s This House Is Haunted and 2013’s Old Haunts – and one full-length, 2012’s Please Come Home (We Hate It Here Without You).

Like A Motorcycle: Ah, punk rock.  When I first saw this all girl three-piece live I thought “now this I dig”.  They’re fast, loud and bitchy, with Hole/Veruca Salt-like vocals belting out over power chords and blitzing drums.  You can check out their Motorpool EP and beyond, and enjoy the vroom-vroom (see because they have “Motorcycle” in the name?  Huh?).

The Scoop Outs – Another punk outfit that makes more use of clean, open chords and a riffy, almost folky tinge at times.  They released their self-titled debut full-length in 2012, so go and “scoop” it out!

And so on, and so on.  I decided to keep this to Halifax-based artists, or I totally would’ve elaborated on other Atlantic Canadian acts like Saint John, New Brunswick’s The Playdates, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island’s Paper Lions and Sydney, Nova Scotia’s Slowcoaster.  So, if I can inappropriately borrow Ontario’s tourism slogan, the Halifax scene, and every scene we cover in this feature, is “yours to discover”.

Liner Notes: Tuesday, February 25th

The latest “Featured Stream” from Absolute Punk features former Drive-Thru Records band Day at the Fair, who’ve released their first new song in nine years.  It’s called “The Brightening”, and will appear on their upcoming album The Epilogue, due out later this year on Broken Heart Records.

Lambgoat reports that As I Lay Dying frontman Tim Lambesis has pleaded guilty to attempting to hire a hitman to kill his wife.  Lambesis could serve nine years in jail, four years of parole afterwards and a $10 000 fine.  Sentencing happens May 2nd.  Does the band continue as is without him, or do they change their name and continue, break up, etc?  It’s a situation I can’t fathom having to deal with, and it sucks for the other members of AILD.

Silverstein did a Reddit “Ask Me Anything” last night, which includes stuff like this:

slappadamatt 1 point ago
What was the main influence for the somewhat groovy sound on the last album, especially On Brave Mountains? Also you absolutely killed it at warped tour in pittsburgh and I cant wait to see you with blessthefall at the Altar Bar! Easily one of my all time favorite bands.
[–]paulmarcrousseauPaul Rousseau – Lead Guitar 5 points ago

GROOVE IS THE JUICE OF LIFE AND YOU MUST DRINK IT DRINK ALL THE GROOVE SODA”.  What is the word I’m looking for to describe it???  Lots of good stuff in there.

The either wonderfully or nastily* (*TM)-named Perfect Pussy have revealed another track of their upcoming debut Say Yes To Love called “Interference Fits”, and SPIN has a blurb about that upThe Syracuse, NY punkers will have that out for you March 18th via Captured Tracks.

Alternative Press has the video premiere of former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero’s new song “B.F.F.”.  It was co-written and features backup vocals from his daughters, and it’s pretty sweet.  Speaking of ex-MCR guys, AP also has Mikey Way’s new “I Lied” premiere from his new project Electric Century.  And, MCR’s final song is something you can listen to as well.

Speaking of band breakups, Ten Second Epic is calling it quits.  They’ll do a nine-date Canadian tour to wrap things up, with the dates TBA – you gotta figure a hometown Edmonton date is gonna be there though.  These guys are pretty cool, and a band I wish I had gotten into sooner.  Here’s hoping one of those dates is in my home base of Halifax, and of course where you live should you be Canadian.

The new folktastic supergroup Twin Forks, which features my twin-brother-from-another-mother Chris Carrabba of Dashboard Confessional fame, were interviewed by Alter The Press!.  Folk yeah?

Lastly, The Perfect Scene is on the social medias: you can like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.  We’ve already been followed by a few bands, so props to Danville, Illinois’ Cloud Gavin,  Marrietta, Georgia’s Like Mike, and every other artist/whoever that’s on board with TPS.  It’s very much appreciated, and we’ll totally stay in touch and write about you.  Actually, that’s gonna be the case for the Halifax, Nova Scotia acts in the next couple of days as we’ll use them to debut a recurring TPS feature.  Duh duh duuuuuhhhhhh.

Liner Notes: Monday, February 24th

Radio (the site, as I have to specify because if I put “.com” it automatically links to that, and not the article I want) has some court transcripts of testimony from the Tim Lambesis case, where the As I Lay Dying frontman is charged with “soliciting another to commit and join in the commission of the murder”.  The transcripts have details of an employee at Lambesis’ gym being approached by Lambesis about killing his wife, and how the employee played along while bringing in an undercover officer to pose as the hitman.  It really is crazy stuff.

Absolute Punk reports that Say Anything’s new album is mastered.  It’ll be the follow-up to 2012’s Anarchy, My Dear.

PropertyOfZack is streaming a new Ivy League TX song called “Cave”, off their four-way split with Turnover, Such Gold and Maker.  They also have the video of Miss May I’s latest studio update, for their upcoming album Rise Of The Lion. 

The vinyl-loving blog Wax Poetic has Record Store Day releases, including Green Day, Paramore, Death Cab For Cutie, Mae and more.  Record Store Day falls on April 19th this year.

Pretty solid news passed along by Alternative Press: Soundgarden will mark the 20th anniversary of Superunknown by re-releasing it in two deluxe versions.  From the article: “the first deluxe edition will be a 2-disc set featuring the remastered album and a second disc consisting of demos, rehearsals, B-sides and more. The other deluxe edition (The Super Deluxe Edition) will be a 5-disc set featuring the remastered album, additional demos, rehearsals and B-sides and a fifth disc of the album mixed in Blu-ray Audio 5.1 Surround Sound—all packaged in a hardbound book with a lenticular cover, liner notes by David Fricke and newly imagined album art.”  Ballin’.

SPIN has “40 Movie Soundtracks That Changed Alternative Music”.

Over at Chart Attack you can listen to Broken Social Scene frontman Kevin Drew’s new song “Mexican Aftershow Party”.  His new album Darlings is out March 18th via Arts & Crafts.

Toronto’s 102.1 The Edge “didn’t see this coming”: Black Keys frontman Dan Auerbach is producing Lana Del Rey’s new album.  It’s called Ultraviolence, and is due out in May.

Lastly, Pitchfork is hosting a few events at SXSW, and performances at them will include Fucked Up, Speedy Ortiz and many more.

Pussy Riot: Still A Riot Fest

Wait we’re talking Riot Fest????

As I write this, the closing ceremonies of the 2014 Winter Olympics are on in Sochi, Russia.  These games have had their usual wonderful Olympic moments, but have also faced controversy due to poor accommodations and Russia’s laws against gay propaganda.  A newer, smaller story that has come out of the games is the continued tale of Russian punk band Pussy Riot (link is to their Wikipedia, as their apparent official site is in Russian).

To briefly recap: Back in February of 2012,  five members (they have a couple dozen in total!) performed in Moscow’s Cathedral Christ of the Savior.  Before church security stopped it, they made a music video of the performance titled “Punk Prayer – Mother of God, Chase Putin Away!”.  They were protesting the church’s support for the re-election of Vladimir Putin as President.  Three of them, the above pictured Nadezdha Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina and Yekaterina Samutsevich, were arrested for “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred”.  Convicted, they were sentenced to two years in prison, although Samutsevich was freed in October of that year.  The other two were released after amnesty was granted this past December.

Those releases are still pretty fresh, but now the band is back in the news because of their visit to Sochi late last week and “Putin” out a video (heyo!) criticizing the Games and Putin.  While filming it, the Cossack – an auxiliary police force – horsewhipped them, which is really just crazy.  They’ve been “held accountable” according to Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak, and Tolokonnikova and Alyokhina were detained for a few hours while in Sochi as well.

It’s an odd thing, this Pussy Riot scenario.  When you’re that kind of band, obviously your goal is to make noise and get in people’s faces regarding your views.  But, considering just how barbaric things can get in a country like Russia, if you’re a member of Pussy Riot do you ever think to yourself, “I’m going to get killed doing this”?  For me, if my life is in danger, I don’t know that I’m as actively vocal.  Maybe that’s easy to say when you live in a peaceful and free country, but some things just aren’t worth it at the end of the day.  But, the members of Pussy Riot clearly do this because they want to and don’t necessarily fear the consequences, so I guess you just gotta say more power to them.  You just can’t picture Propaghandi or Anti-Flag getting horsewhipped.

Oh, if you’re thinking “well is this group actually any good by the way?” well here’s the aforementioned “Punk Prayer” video and here’s a song called “Putin Lights Up The Fires”, which I think is pretty cool.  Of course they sing in their native tongue, but you could still be “Russian” to be “Putin” on the Riot!

…C’mon though right?  In Soviet Russia, wordplay do you!

Liner Notes: Friday, February 21st

The final weekend of February!  Good: die, winter storm season, die.

Bonnaroo has announced the 2014 lineup “and much more to be announced”.  It’ll be headlined by Elton John, Kanye West, and Lionel Ritchie, and also feature Jack White, Vampire Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, City and Colour, Bouncing Souls, and a million other acts.  The festival goes June 12th-15th in Manchester, TN.  Tickets are on sale tomorrow at noon Eastern.

Speaking of festivals, Warped Tour just announced more acts for this year: Parkway Drive, We The Kings, Vanna (who just signed with Pure Noise Records) and TheCityShakeUp will be heading out on it.  As for the latter band, for some of their online outlets they smash the entire name together as one word, and for others it’s “The City ShakeUp”.  So like, how the hell do you guys wanna spell your name?  If at some point there was an actual change in how it’s written that’s fine, just wondering.  I digress…

Since it’s turning out to be the year of the indie rock reunion in Canada – The Unicorns, The Constantines and Broken Social Scene are all coming back – MuchMusic (which apparently is officially just “Much” now?  I guess that fits, considering their lack of actual music programming) has written about other Canadian bands they’d like to see reunite.  A couple of scene-friendly acts made their list, including Alexisonfire.

So much for The Matches getting back together.  Absolute Punk speculated about that this week when the band’s Twitter account was updated and Instagram account was created, but then said that wasn’t true, and the band was just gonna post old pictures they found.  Man, when I read this I thought back to playing “Sick Little Suicide” on my college radio station back in the day.  More like “sick little song”, am I right!?

This could make you feel better if the Matches news disappoints you: also at Absolute Punk, their latest “ABSOLUTExclusive” features San Luis Obispo, California’s The Mighty Fine.  From AP: “The band is releasing Brothers and Smugglers on March 4th via Creator-Destructor Records. It was recorded and produced by Kyle Black (Strung Out, Set Your Goals, Comeback Kid) and fans of 90s melodic punk bands like Hot Water Music, Alkaline Trio, and The Lawrence Arms will definitely love this.”  When you mention my favourite band (Alk3), and say they’re continuing the California punk tradition, I’m in.

Emmure’s new album Enternal Enemies will feature a song called “Bring A Gun To School”, and predictably it’s gotten a lot of backlash.  In fact, as Alternative Press reports, former guitarist/co-founder Ben Lionetti released a statement that ripped them, particularly frontman Frankie Palmeri, and threatened to sue the band, their management and Victory Records.  It’s been deleted, but Lambgoat still has it. Here’s an excerpt:

“I feel a little need to speak out. Let’s get this straight … Emmure is MY blood sweat and tears ..MY band born from my thoughts and my hard work and writing (I’m sure you can see the change from early Emmure to now so if they say they wrote it you know it’s a lie; I was actually forced to say it was an even split wether it was money or writing credits) it will never be theirs as much as they can fake it that’s all it is .. fake. To see what Frank [Palmeri] is doing to me and my family’s hard work is absolutely disgusting. I love Mark [Davis], we hang all the time and have always been friends with Mike since the old Recon days and I still love seeing Jesse [Ketive]. But Frank is a disgusting human being and I’m also a little let down that the band members would even let that piece of garbage call a song ‘Bring a gun to school’ not to mention their management, But they just see dollar signs ..and you kids keep buying it, so sad…”.  Yikes.

Jon Stewart of The Daily Show used to bartend at former New Jersey punk club City Gardens.  How about that.  He told Vulture all about it this week.

Lastly, the Pussy Riot situation in Russia is just crazy.  I’m gonna dedicate a whole post to it this weekend.

Top Potential Scene Batting Intros

Few things turn my crank like music does, but one of those things is baseball.  It’s my favourite sport, and I’m super excited that MLB Spring Training is on.  If you’re lucky enough to live in an area with bonus baseball – Spring Training itself, the Arizona Fall League or any winter ball – I’m extremely jealous and might hate you.  It’s not all sunshine and lollipops right now because I wish my beloved Toronto Blue Jays had added a pitcher/fixed the second base problem by now, but 1) it could still happen and 2) I can’t get off the boat, they’re my team for better or worse.

As a diehard baseball fan, I like to fantasize about certain things.  One of them is, what song (s) would I use as I come up to bat?  That led me to this post, pondering some “scene” songs that would work well.  Here are some that I would totally use myself:

1) Alkaline Trio – The Poison

Alk3 is my favourite band, and while this isn’t even one of their better songs, it stands out to me as one that would make a great batting intro.  It’s definitely representative of my musical tastes, let alone just fitting.  I dig that.

2) Valencia – Safe To Say

I actually discovered this song on “MLB ’09: The Show”, so the baseball tie-in was instant.  Perhaps that’s why, but this song would totally be one I’d use too.

3) Amber Pacific – Fall Back Into My Life

I like this one for the tempo and the main riff, and I can almost picture “now batting, the centre fielder, Kevin Bottaro” more over this song than the previous two.

4) Reggie & The Full Effect – Happy V-Day

Like “Fall Back Into My Life”, this song has a perfect batting intro tempo.  That’s the key too, because, to use this very album as an example, I think “Congratulations Smack & Katy” is a better song, but wouldn’t make as good a batting intro.  I just thought of this one yesterday, and yeah it would be awesome.

Those are just some examples.  The great thing about our scene is so many songs would fit: they’re largely up-tempo and good for a pump up.  I’ll probably think of more gooders after this, but those are scene tunes I’d absolutely use to walk up to home plate.

If you’re wondering, my overall top list includes “Fireman” by Lil Wayne, “Hypnotize” by Notorious BIG, “Do It Like A Dude” by Jessie J and the obvious, almost cliche “Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne.  Yeah, I like lots of different genres.

Have you ever thought about this?  Am I just a total nerd?  No matter, I love baseball and I love rock music, so bi-winning!

Album Review: Have It All – Changes EP

Basically right after The Perfect Scene went live, I got an e-mail from a gentleman named Marco Marconi, who plays guitar in a Padova, Italy-based hardcore band called Have It All.  Marco introduced himself and sent along the band’s debut EP Changes, which was released earlier this winter.  And now, I present to you the first album review on TPS!

Before we get into it, I’ll say writing a review can be hard: music is very subjective, and your description of it can either make someone say “hell yeah!” “nope!” or “what is he talking about?”.  So, just know that I simply write these as a fan of music, interpreted as I experience it.  I’m sure everyone does that, but this isn’t The Definitive* (*TM) or anything.
has six songs that basically don’t stop punching you in the face.  They’re fast and heavy, and entirely screamy: aside from the gang vocals, there’s not really regular singing to be found.  One thing I found interesting right off the bat was the guitar sound: Have It All make use of almost garage-sounding chords, very lightly distorted.  Now, when the songs get going they’re full out crank-the-gain-to-ten, but I like that because you don’t always hear that sound in hardcore bands.

Another thing I liked was the band’s use of audio drops.  “Side By Side” and “Changes” feature them, and I think it’s an interesting move to break the routine and toss in a little “oh yeah” type thing.

Changes is chock full of themes like reflection, forgiveness, anger, despair, liberation, and perseverance.  Life is a volatile thing, and this EP chronicles the journey nicely.  As the title and closing track says, “I won’t fail – I will try to find my way” – sometimes you just gotta roll with the punches.

According to the liner notes, Have It All encourage you to listen to bands like Every Stranger Looks Like You, Empty Veins, Ashes of Many, Striking Justice and more.  So, let those be a further guide to what you’d get with these guys.  Also, their Reverbnation page drops Refused, Gallows and Propaghandi as bands they sound like.  Have a listen to Have It All’s Changes EP, plus get it, at their Bandcamp page.  Thanks again to Marco for reaching out!

If you want your music reviewed by TPS, get in touch anytime via e-mail (found in the profile info on the right-hand side of the page).

Skate and Surf 2014: Reunions and Stuff!

It had been pondered if Midtown’s cryptic tweet on Friday hinted at a reunion, perhaps at their home state of New Jersey’s Skate and Surf Festival.  Well, when the 2014 lineup was announced today, that was confirmed.  So, you can “Forget What You Know” (meuh!) about Midtown’s breakup, they are playing Skate and Surf.  Fantastic.

Midtown isn’t even the only reunion at Skate and Surf this year: Saosin is returning to the stage with original vocalist Anthony Green, in honour of the just passed tenth anniversary of their debut EP Translating The Name.  Green left the band when they signed with Capitol Records, and Cove Reber took over.  Anthony’s Circa Survive will also play the festival this year, on day two.  May 17th will featured the aforementioned reunions of Midtown and Saosin, plus The Early November (so that was obviously their Twitter tease on Friday was about too) and more.  May 18th again features Midtown, the also newly-reunited Hidden In Plain View (seriously, is Drive-Thru Records gonna set up shop again next!?), a to-be-announced special guest and….DMX!?  Really?  Umm….amazing.  DMX is my favourite rapper, so I would watch that with bells on!

You can click the above link to see all the acts announced so far. Weekend passes go on sale tomorrow too.  I can’t get down for Skate and Surf this year sadly, but man it would be so good.  This year’s edition takes place in Middletown, which isn’t Asbury Park, but it’s still Monmouth County on the Jersey Shore so…there’s that.  I just think Asbury Park is really cool.

When you hit the Skate and Surf site, you can see the flash graphic they have that turns the name Middletown into a certain band that’s playing this year….you’ll see what they did.

Liner Notes: Sunday, February 16th

102.1 The Edge in Toronto is asking listeners to submit pictures of their band-related tattoos via Twitter, with Brand New, Jack’s Mannequin and Coheed and Cambria among the inspirations.  Personally I would never get any tattoos, but if I got a band-related one maybe I’d put “your coffin or mine?” – from Alkaline Trio’s “Blue In The Face” – or something.  Or, something Matthew Good wrote because he’s the best lyricist ever in my opinion.

The Early November is doing something on Twitter tomorrow, and when Absolute Punk wondered if it was related to their new album this happened:

*Sad tuba*.  I guess we’ll see.

Speaking of Twitter teasing, is Midtown doing that?  Is it Skate and Surf related?  We’ll know that tomorrow too mayhaps, as the festival will begin to announce its 2014 lineup.  See because both are New Jersey-based.

You know who can get really tiny royalty cheques?  Musicians.  AUX has an article up called 7 Royalty Cheques That’ll Make You Lose Your Faith In The Music Industry.  Among the featured artists are Darkest Hour, who probably had one after seeing their cheque.

Also at AUX, The Constantines are getting back together.  Before breaking up a couple of years ago, they were one of the stalwarts of the Toronto indie scene. Click the link for a brief refresher, plus the band’s statement.

Finally, Everyone Dies In Utah have covered Katy Perry’s “Unconditionally”, and they made a video for it.  My girlfriend, who doesn’t like screaming, says it shouldn’t exist, but it does so enjoy!

Vagrant Records: Then and Now

In December 2001 I picked up the January 2002 issue of SPINU2 was on the cover as “Rock’s Unbreakable Heart” following the 9/11 attacks, and another feature talked about the return of Weezer, who five years after Pinkerton finally followed it up with another (bloody hell) self-titled album known as “The Green Album”.  At that time I was on a Weezer kick, and when the story also talked about bands that were inspired by them –  can’t entirely remember, but the term “emo” might have been used – I decided to check them out.  Apparently the label that was cornering the market on this was Santa Monica, California-based Vagrant Records, who had broken out two years earlier with the success of Something To Write Home About from The Get Up Kids.  Beyond them, the article mentioned other big, not-necessarily-inspired-by-Weezer acts like Alkaline Trio and Face to Face.  I checked them out too, and I was hooked.

The funny thing was, for the longest time I figured underground acts were ones that simply weren’t good enough to be mainstream.  If I didn’t hear it on the radio, they probably weren’t worth it.  Obviously that’s an incredibly ignorant viewpoint, but back then I was seventeen and got all my music from either MuchMusic (when they actually aired music videos) and the modern rock radio station 102.1 The Edge in Toronto.  Eventually channels like MTV2 (when they actually aired music videos?) and Fuse became available in my house, so I discovered lots of great music that was basically a casualty of the Canadian Radio-Television Telecommunications Commission’s Canadian Content regulations.  Mostly though, I turned to Vagrant.

Back then, the Vagrant roster was a who’s-who of my favourite artists: the aforementioned Get Up Kids, Alkaline Trio and Face to Face were basically my top three.  Complement them with Dashboard Confessional, Saves The Day, No Motiv, Hey Mercedes, The Anniversary, etc, etc….you had a pretty strong roster.  When I ordered myself a Get Up Kids t-shirt, I also grabbed a Vagrant one – that’s the one pictured above, which I had to dig out of the “shirts I’ve had since high school that finally don’t fit anymore” pile.  Gradually, those bands either broke up or left the label, and when it came to the genre it was almost attrition for Vagrant.  The label eventually dove into some heavier bands like From Autumn To Ashes and Murder By Death, and started diversifying from their punk-based start.

A while ago I went to Vagrant’s website to check out the current roster, as it had been a while since I really knew what was up.  Boy, was I behind: the roots of the label were gone and replaced with a ton of indie rock.  Vagrant had always had a form of it – The Get Up Kids, Hot Rod Circuit, Audio Learning Center and others could be called that – but these days it’s mostly full-on hipster stuff. Now, I don’t mean that in derisive fashion: it just fits.

In recent times Vagrant has landed some pretty decent names in PJ Harvey, City & Colour (they previously had Dallas Green’s Alexisonfire too of course), Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Pete Yorn and EELS.  They’ve become a player worldwide, and with those bigger names a new wave (wait they do New Wave? Heyo!) of acts from all over have come board, not just North America.  A couple that stood out to me were Reptar – if you name yourselves after a Rugrats character, you’re fairly awesome – and California Wives, who are actually possible husbands from Illinois.  The latter band is one I would consider a personal fave of modern day Vagrant: I dig their sound quite a bit.

Sometimes when something you love changes, and not for your better, it can be hard.  Vagrant Records singlehandedly got me into underground music, but there’s no one left on the label from those days.  Does Vagrant hold the same spot in my heart as it did a few years ago?  Nope.  That said, it’s still a great label.  Be it the personal tastes of the people who work there, recognizing the current trends in independent music or a combo of both, the label has evolved and adapted nicely.  Sure it’s great when your preferred status quo is maintained, but change is a good thing too.  Many of my former Vagrant faves still exist on other labels, and now I (and you) can discover a whole other set of artists.  2014, you guys!