Liner Notes: Tuesday, April 29th

First off, fantastic stuff from Chart Attack, who spoke with Superchunk, Stephen Malkmus and others for an article called “Come and Join Us In This Punk Rock Tomb: How a generation of indie icons remains relevant at middle age”.  A great read that deals with balancing your musical ideals when you’re growing up, or “getting too old” to do so.

Also at Chart (bonus points to myself for referencing the name of their old magazine) you can check out Fucked Up’s new single “Led By Hand”, from their upcoming record Glass Boys.  The song features J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr, and the album is out June 3rd via Arts & Crafts/Matador.

Absolute Punk can’t call their exclusives feature “ABSOLUTExclusive” anymore because Absolut Vodka has raised a stink about it.  I suppose the all caps stylizing is similar, but beyond that Absolut is kinda splitting hairs.  Nonetheless, the feature will now just be “Exclusives”.  Makes me think about how I wish I could get in the face of this Twitter account and this Facebook account for taking the names I wanted for TPS’ social media, despite not having “The” “Perfect” or “Scene” in their regular name.  They were around before the blog, but still…

The delay with blink-182’s new album is Tom DeLonge’s fault, say Mark Hoppus and Travis Barker according to PropertyOfZack.  In a series of tweets, Hoppus says he’s killing time by starting a new project called Nothing and Nobody.  Angels and Airwaves has been getting most of DeLonge’s attention over the past while – a new album, films, etc.

Justin Bieber appears to have lifted artwork for his new single “We Were Born For This” from Paramore’s album RIOT!  PropertyOfZack has those details too, with each cover for comparison.  Yeah, definitely can’t be a coincidence.

Oh snap, PropertyOfZack ALSO has word of The Get Up Kids being “in the talks” considering new music.  Yes please.

Alternative Press says “No, We Won’t Stop Writing About That Band You Hate”, in a funny assault on internet trolls.  For instance, in response to people saying certain artists deserve coverage while others don’t: “First off: Good on you for liking something. We didn’t know you had it in you, between catapulting homophobic slurs at certain frontmen whose eyeliner you find offensive and telling us every other band on the planet “fucking sucks.” We encourage more of the latter half of this point, because positivity in Facebook comments is damn-near extinct.”  Winning.

Alternative Press also tells us that Brand New and Modest Mouse are doing a stadium show in New York City on August 9th.  They’ll be playing the Forest Hills Tennis Stadium in Queens, and tickets go on sale tomorrow morning at 10 Eastern time. But who cares because they both “fucking suck” right?

Pitchfork is launching “Nightcap” in June, which is a series of late-night shows across the US.  The first one is June 6th at Webster Hall in New York City, featuring Majical Cloudz and Dutch E Germ.

Asbestos Records will be hosting ska festival Apple Stomp 2 May 31st and June 1st at Irving Plaza in New York City.  Five Iron Frenzy, Big D & The Kids Table, The Toasters, High School Football Heroes and more are on the bill.

Frank Turner has put up a video diary of his time in America for Coachella 2014, which also included visiting the Ellen DeGeneres Show and stops in Arizona.  This just in, Coachella’s setting in Indio, California is just the stuff of dreams.  An absolute bucket lister for any music fan, including myself.

Dying Scene passes along free music from Belarus hardcore act Dive To Survive and Russian hardcore act Empty Your Lungs, who are offering up a split that you can either download or pay what you want for.

Also via Dying Scene, Green Day will put their Record Store Day release Demolicious out digitally on May 19th.

Finally, the “emo” revival continues with a 90s stalwart: Mineral are reuniting for some North American shows later this year, and NPR is on it.  They include Gainesville, Florida’s Fest, which features over 250 bands that also include Hot Water Music, Touche Amore, and Modern Baseball.  How about that?

Track Listing: Christian Rock

Being the day of the week that it is, I figured we could do a little “Sunday service” (see what I did?) by checking out some solid Christian rock songs.  There are lots of artists you may not even know are Christian: often times they write very typical songs, but they just happen to practice Christian beliefs.  Sure they have overtly religious songs at times, but not all Christian rock is a preachfest, if you’re not into that.  As someone who isn’t religious but doesn’t musically discriminate, I appreciate that.  Let’s get a sound track going with something brand new (Brand New?) from New Empire:

The Australian pop-rockers will be releasing In A Breath on Tuesday in the US and Canada, and it’s already out in their native country.  “Relight The Fire” a nice, soaring song that wouldn’t sound out of place during the closing credits of a movie.  The tempo stays consistent throughout, relying on constant main riff and high-hat fueled drumming.

Next up, one of the best offerings from one of the best of this ilk – Anberlin:

Sadly the Florida band announced they will be disbanding this year, after one more album and some touring (including Warped).  I think singer Stephen Christian – “ha” at the last name, am I right? – is the highlight of this group:  I love his soaring voice and use of layered vocals, although the latter is a production thing.  The main riff in “Paperthin Hymn” is pretty sweet too, from their 2005 effort Never Take Friendship Personal.

Now for the band you might get to sing in yourself one day, Further Seems Forever:

This was where Dashboard Confessional’s Chris Carrabba got his start, as he fronted the Florida band for their first album The Moon Is Down.  Jason Gleason checked in for sophomore effort How To Start A Fire (he was my favourite, and “The Sound” appears on that album), and Jon Bunch, ex of Sense Field, was in for Hide Nothing.  Carrabba has since rejoined the group, and they released Penny Black with him in 2012.  “The Sound” did decently as a single, including making waves on MTV2, and along with “Insincerity As An Artform” is my favourite song on How To Start A Fire.

Now some Can-Rock in the form of Peterborough, Ontario’s Thousand Foot Krutch:

“Move” appeared on The Art Of Breaking, and peaked at number sixteen on Billboard’s Mainstream Rock chart.  Featuring the same guitar part for the verses and chorus – palm-muted in the former, open in the latter – it’s a song that makes you, well, move.  A good one for bobbin’ your head back and forth with a scowl on your face.

I just realized that all of these artists have ties to Tooth & Nail Records, so…they’re welcome?  It’s a good label, my favourite for Christian rock for sure.  Let’s all give thanks for sweet ass music on this fine Sunday!

Former Drive-Thru Records Artists: Where Are They Now?

Back in the early 2000s, “emo” was starting to dominate the underground rock scene, and to a lesser extent the mainstream (they shared that with nu-metal really).  Two labels were front and centre during that time: Vagrant Records – home to The Get Up Kids, Saves The Day, The Anniversary and Dashboard Confessional among others – and Drive-Thru Records.  Vagrant has since reinvented itself as an indie rock staple (I reminisced about them a while back actually) while Drive-Thru called it quits in 2008.  They quit amid allegations of shortchanging their roster, and owners Richard and Stefanie Reines – siblings, not married –  haven’t really been on the radar since.  The other day I randomly got to thinking about the label, and decided to check in on everybody.  Some continue to do their thing elsewhere, and some are gone like the label itself.  Some of these are obvious, but we’ll stick with Drive-Thru’s most notable acts from their heyday:

New Found Glory
: One of the pioneers of pop-punk as we know it, New Found Glory’s 1999 debut Nothing Gold Can Stay was re-released by Drive-Thru after an initial release on Eulogy Recordings, and began the golden era. These Days, NFG is on Epitaph, and notoriously Steve Klein-less.

Midtown
: The New Jersey pop-punkers were the catalysts for Drive-Thru’s controversial last bit of existence, and have since broken up.  Frontman Gabe Saporta is currently in Cobra Starship, but Midtown are playing a reunion set at this year’s Skate and Surf Festival – with a lineup that features New Found Glory in fact – in Asbury Park, New Jersey.  Awesome.

The Early November: Speaking of New Jersey, and Skate and Surf, The Early November are still kicking.  Frontman Ace Enders also does I Can Make A Mess Like Nobody’s Business and Ace Enders & A Million Different People, the latter of which has a song I adore called “Reaction”.

All Time Low: The band that named themselves after a New Found Glory lyric had a major label fling with Interscope Records before their current place on Hopeless Records, a label that has killed it with their last few signings (Taking Back Sunday, Yellowcard, etc).  Also, frontman Alex Gaskarth dated Holly Madison for a while, so…there’s that.

Fenix TX: The Houston pop-punkers broke up in 2002, got back together for a couple of reunion shows and recordings, and…are still sporadic?  They initially split into two bands – Denver Harbor and Sing The Body Electric – although they’re both done now it appears.  “Phoebe Cates” though, am I right!?

Finch: Straight outta Temecula, California, this post-hardcore act became pretty bloody big with their 2002 release What It Is To Burn.  Their follow-up, 2005’s Say Hello To Sunshine, was much heavier and not as well-received by their fanbase.  After breaking up in 2006, they’ve done reunion shows (including this year’s upcoming Warped Tour), released an EP, tried to record a third full-length and now apparently actually will totally release it this year.

Something Corporate: The Andrew McMahon-led group released an EP and two full-lengths under the Drive-Thru banner, and their song “If You C Jordan” – featured on the Audioboxer EP and Leaving Through The Window – hit number 29 on Billboard’s Alternative chart. Andrew McMahon also had the notable side project Jack’s Mannequin, and now records as a solo artist.  He famously battle leukemia several years ago, but is doing well now.

The Starting Line: The Philadelphia band’s 2002 album Say It Like You Mean It spawned the hit single “The Best Of Me”, and the band was “upstreamed” to Geffen Records afterwards.  That didn’t go terribly well, and they ended up on Virgin for their next album Direction.  They took a hiatus in 2008, and have played together since but aren’t really terribly active.  Frontman Kenny Vasoli currently plays in Vacationer.

We could go on, but those were some of Drive-Thru’s most notable acts.  Dashboard Confessional also spent some time on the label, with the (re) release of debut album The Swiss Army Romance.   It was a pretty cool label, and according to Stefanie Reines might come back, but in the meantime we can remember the good times, follow the artists who are still kicking and enjoy a Buzzfeed article from last summer called “10 Songs That Will Make You Miss Drive-Thru Records”.  Oh they’re good don’tcha know.

Sub-Genres: Do We Really Need As Many As We Have?


Music is a hell of a thing.  The more new music gets introduced, the more names to refer to it come into existence.  We get that rock music has some well-known sub-genres like punk and metal, and further to those come pop-punk, punk rock, hardcore, alternative rock, emo (which got its own post a while back), heavy metal, and indie rock.  But that is not enough, my friend.  The above graph displays it pretty well, but for instance, have a look at Wikipedia’s partial list of rock sub-genres:

See the “complete list” link at the bottom?  Has your head exploded?

It’s kind of a weird thing to write about, because as a music blogger and music nerd I really enjoy knowing as much as I possibly can.  It’s what helps me be an educated fan, and helps you enjoy a decent read when you visit The Perfect Scene.  The other day I happened to catch a Pitchfork album review for a band called Floor, a Miami band that plays “sludge pop”.  What?  They’ve been around for a while, but that’s a new one for me.  You could be checking out music 24/7 and not know everything though…whatever.

It’s almost like every artist that comes out gets a new label attached to them.  It’s like “oh this band is pretty punk rock, but they have an accordion…that’s different!  Let’s call them polka-punk!”  Sub-genres have almost become buzzwords: just a new, interesting way of describing an artist.  I know it sounds like I’m five seconds away from telling the next Matador signing to get off my lawn, but it’s just hard to keep up with sometimes.  I will though, because that’s the way it is.  It’s beneficial for me, the writer, and you, the reader.

Fun fact (I guess?) as we wrap this up: I actually wondered whether the word “alternative” was the right one for the description of this blog.  I used it because I consider anything out of the mainstream to be alternative, plus we cover lots of actual alternative rock acts, plus it’s an alternative to other music outlets and really it was the most all-encompassing term I could think of.  “Rock” didn’t fit as well because I figured people might expect coverage of Hinder or something, and not everyone TPS covers is “underground”, so no go to that.  What I absolutely promise will be a go though, is the most extensive coverage out there of the first indie-pop-punk-metal-glam-sludge-Brit-post-art-dance-revival-rock band to hit the scene.

Genre Preferences By Region: The Maps (Yeah Yeah Yeah!)

 You got the Yeah Yeah Yeahs pun in the title right?  Right?
 As music fans, we have a decent idea of what types of music are more popular in which areas.  Now, online real estate broker Movoto has gathered data from the National Endowment of the Arts, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis and state music preferences from Wikipedia.  From that, they came up with interactive maps of America that break the genres down by popularity.  You can fiddle with the maps at Movoto, or look at the ones that interest us most here courtesy of SPIN.  Areas coloured red show the highest popularity, areas coloured green show the lowest:


Alternative:

As you can see, alternative is immensely popular in the southwestern desert and Puget Sound area of Washington.  It also has good pockets in Texas, New York and elsewhere.  Word.

Indie:

West dominant, with the Los Angeles and San Francisco areas having the highest concentration.

Metal:

The Puget Sound area appears to dominate this chart, which surprises me considering how much of an indie rock mecca Seattle is.  These charts just list where genres are most popular though, not necessarily even the biggest genre there.

Punk:

No surprise here.  The west coast is where punk reigns supreme, and you see the highest concentration in where I think is the absolute mecca for it: Southern California.  A surprisingly strong area for punk appears to be Kentucky/Tennessee, if I’m judging that right.  You’d consider both states to be country favourites (and they are) but that’s neat.  And finally…

Rock:

The overall most popular genre in America according to Movoto’s research, rock reigns supreme on the coasts. It makes total sense that California and New York would lead the way here: musicians largely move to one or the other, and they’re both so big that the law of averages will give the country’s most popular genre strong presence in its two largest states.

These maps are far from an exact science, but they’re pretty cool nonetheless.  Some choices are obvious – in fact I think almost everything under our umbrella is – but it does show some interesting trends.  It also confirms what I always knew about my own musical taste:  I’m a westerner.  I’m actually Canadian – and we could use these maps for Canada and other countries, someone get on that – but I’ve always really gravitated towards the west coast, despite growing up in the Great Lakes region and currently living on the east coast.  Vancouver is my Canadian music city of choice, and California is really my glory scene period – USA or otherwise.  What do you think, does this nail your own tastes?

Liner Notes: Thursday, April 17th

With Easter weekend upon us, let’s go on a “scavenger hunt” (topical comedy!) for some tasty musical tidbits before we all enjoy the Cadbury Creme Eggs (drool) and such.

Over on Journeys’ Facebook page, you can watch the video premiere of Hands Like Houses’ cover of Natalie Imbruglia’s “Torn”, which appears on Punk Goes 90s Vol. 2.  The latest in the Punk Goes compilations from Fearless Records is out now.

Rolling Stone reports that former Queens of the Stone Age bassist Nick Oliveri joined the band onstage for the first time in ten years last night in Portland, Oregon.  Oliveri stepped in for “You Think I Ain’t Worth A Dollar, But I Feel Like A Millionaire” during the encore.  Their story has a fan-shot video of it for you to check out too.  Oliveri was fired from QOTSA in 2004, reportedly for his hard partying ways. Is this the beginning of something more between him and the band?  “No One Knows” (heyo!).

The Black Flag vs. FLAG legal drama is over, according to SPIN.  Black Flag’s Greg Ginn had sued his former bandmates Keith Morris, Bill Stevenson, Chuck Dukowski and Dez Cadena (along with Stephen Egerton) because they started FLAG after not reuniting with Black Flag, but still performed Black Flag songs and supposedly violated the trademark of the name and logo.  Henry Rollins – while not touring with FLAG – was also named.  Last week they settled, and everyone can keep on keeping on.  Okay then.

Also at SPIN, we learn the story of former Nirvana bassist Krist Novoselic buying a tab book so he could re-learn their songs for last week’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony.  It’s funny how that happens in music: when musicians don’t play something for a while, they can forget their own stuff.  I mean, that sounds stupidly obvious to say, but would you think that Krist Novoselic could potentially forget how to play “Smells Like Teen Spirit”?  Seems like it would be like riding a bike, but that’s sometimes why certain artists won’t play certain songs live: they can’t remember how.

Dying Scene tells us that Geoff Rickly, ex of Thursday, will be playing the band’s songs during Warped Tour’s Acoustic Basement UK tour, since Thursday never did a farewell tour of the UK before calling it quits in 2011.  Sweet.  The tour starts Sunday in Southampton.  Rickly’s latest project Strangelight put out their debut EP 9 Days in October via Sacrament Music.

Dying Scene’s Ben King also has a cool post up called “10 Of The Most Interesting Epitaph Back Catalog Releases You Might Not Be Aware Of”.  It features little-known releases from Bad Religion, 1208 and more from the earlier Epitaph Records days.

Riot Fest has announced the dates: it’ll hit Toronto September 6th and 7th, Chicago September 12th-14th and Denver, Colorado September 19th-21st.  Lineup and ticket info will follow, and if you’re not following the festival on Twitter, you need to.  They’re hilarious, and respond to tweets about them and otherwise.  For example:

Upstairs or downstairs? RT @Punk_Rock101: Debating if I should shave for the Of Mice & Men concert tomorrow or not?
— Riot Fest (@RiotFest) April 17, 2014

Ha, right?

Absolute Punk has the trailer for the Motion City Soundtrack documentary “I Am The Movie: The Movie”, which is about the band’s 2003 debut album.  It’ll be available digitally and on DVD May 13th.  That is a great album, by the way.

AP also mentions the latest entry on Bad Sandwich Chronicles, the blog written by Brendan Kelly of The Lawrence Arms.  In it, Kelly reflects on the last six years of blogging, which started while at home with his newborn son.  I put a previous BSC entry about interview dos and don’ts on blast a few weeks ago, but this entry is pretty awesome.  Kelly’s writing is honest and real, which is really decent.

Washed Up Emo, a blog that longs for the good old days (and hates success, according to its tagline) has posted rare footage of The Get Up Kids performing in Denton, Texas in 1999.  In related news, I rocked their 2011 reunion album There Are Rules the other day for the first time in forever.  1999 was the year their landmark Something To Write Home About came out.  If you enjoy the heyday of “emo” – the popular one – you will enjoy Washed Up Emo.  I love that era, personally – it got me into underground music.

Finally, with Record Store Day on Saturday, Chart Attack has “6 Record Store Day Releases We’ll Probably Never See (But That Would Sell Out Fast)”.  The best one is Chris Cornell’s solo album Scream,  where Chart Attack says “Format: Deluxe edition with track-by-track apology/explanation from Chris Cornell and Timbaland”.  Haha.  Yeah solo Cornell is not exactly Soundgarden, but his Timbo-produced effort was especially panned.

Scene Musicians Who Are NHL Fans


The NHL playoffs begin tonight, and in honour of that I decided to find out which scene musicians have a rooting interest.  Now, lots of celebrities are NHL fans, but when you remove the non-musicians, and then the musicians that don’t really fit what we cover here, the list gets smaller of course.  However, I managed to find a few, so let’s see if you share a team with one!

Dropkick Murphys: Pictured above is Ken Casey from Boston’s favourite Celtic punk sons, and the guys are all avid Boston Bruins fans.  They wrote the song “Time To Go” about them, in fact.  Boston opens their series with the Detroit Red Wings on Friday.

Jonathan Vigil, The Ghost Inside: The frontman for the Los Angeles hardcore band is a diehard Los Angeles Kings fan.  His Twitter is non-stop Kings talk, such as:

Looks like the @LAKings are playing the Sharks in the first round of the playoffs. Sorry norcal friends, but we got this! #GOKINGSGO
— Jonathan Vigil (@JonathanVigil) April 10, 2014

Beyond that, he reps hard.  Although, my SoCal friend, I would like to say GO SHARKS GO.  San Jose fan here!  Honourable mention goes to The Briggs as their song “This Is LA” became the Kings’ theme song.  The Sharks and Kings open their series tomorrow night.

The Misfits: The New York Rangers are the team of choice for these legends, who recorded “I Wanna Be A New York Ranger” for the Fat Wreck compilation Short Music For Short People.  The song was intended to be a promotional one for the Rangers, but they took issue with the word “danger”, for some reason.  The Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers play tomorrow night.

Now, not every scene musician gets to celebrate their team being in the playoffs this year.  So, we’ll make them feel better by acknowledging that they care:

Darkest Hour:  The Washington, DC-based metalheads wrote “Lets Go Caps!” for their beloved Washington Capitals, who missed the playoffs this year because their best player, Alex Ovechkin, can’t clone himself twenty times.  I heard that when they were eliminated, they considered it the “darkest hour” in their team’s history.

Darrin Pfeiffer, Goldfinger:  Pfeiffer is a diehard Buffalo Sabres fan (poor bastard), and if you want to hear him talk about what lengths he goes to watch hockey, check out this West Coast Bias episode on NHL Network Radio.  Goldfinger also has the song “Wayne Gretzky”, which is a hidden track on 2002’s Open Your Eyes and is sung by Pfeiffer.  It’s about having sex with Wayne Gretzky (this was before his daughter Paulina was a thing).

I’m sure I missed a bunch of people, but that’s who I could find in my research.  If you have a team in the NHL playoffs this year, good luck to them – especially if they’re the San Jose Sharks.  Neil Young and Metallica are fans of them anyway, so…there’s that.

Album Review: Bet Your Life – Give No Quarter EP

I really have to thank and give props to the London, Ontario scene for their interest in this blog so far.  I’ve previously done reviews for “Forest City” punk bands Redambergreen and The Offensive Senses, and now we keep the London punk vibe going with the sophomore EP from Bet Your Life, Give No Quarter.  I’ve been reading about these guys on Dying Scene quite a bit lately, and now the scene turns perfect (see what I did?) as I’ve had the chance to exchange e-mails with guitarist/vocalist Scott Blinch, who got in touch a couple of weeks ago.

The follow-up to their 2012 debut EP Landshark, Give No Quarter continues the melodic punk rock this pirate loving three-piece has become known for.  They list The Flatliners, Hot Water Music and Against Me! among their influences, and you can definitely hear them in the gravelly vocals and open guitar chords.  The EP’s five songs touch on a few different themes, but they’re all real and heavy – there’s no fluff here.  Opener “Deadlights” appears to deal with mental illness – be it depression, bi-polar disorder or whatever – and contains my favourite lyric on the EP: “It’s completely pointless/like shouting insight at the television”.  “Hold Them Under” touches on oppression and falling in line, “Tom Bombadil” speaks ill of a figurehead, I believe in reference to God.  Lyrics like “What else goes on inside that head/is there much room for more than self-centered embellishments?” really speak to the leader of a group, building an army of his or her own followers.  “Brittle Bones” is totally about skeletons in the closet, and is my favourite song on the EP.  Closer “S Club” – which sadly is not an S Club 7 cover –  talks about how there ain’t no party like a Bet Your Life party  trying, then failing, gives way to doubt and loss of faith in what you believe.

Clocking in around thirteen minutes, Give No Quarter is a quick, raucous blast of heavier subject matter meshing with catchy choruses.  Beyond the aforementioned artists – both their listed influences and fellow London bands – if you’re into The Stanfields, The Living End, and Rancid you’ll enjoy Bet Your Life.  You can…wait for it…”bet your life” on that!

Oh shut up, it was right there!

Want to have an album reviewed by TPS?  Send an e-mail!

Interview (s!): Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound/The Big Get Even

Yesterday I checked out a house concert at Codapop Studios in Halifax, Nova Scotia featuring local acts Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound and The Big Get Even.  The concert was awesome, and beforehand I chatted with both acts about new music, odd concert stories, and more.  Thanks to my friend Debbie Mercier, we did it on video!  First up was Roxy Mercier and Matt Gallant of Roxy & The Underground Soul Sound, who are basically an updated, indie version of old school funk, R&B and Motown:

Next up was Neil Spence, Josh Noiles and Tyler Dempsey of The Big Get Even, who do pop-sensible indie rock:

Big thanks to not only the bands for chatting, but the aforementioned Debbie Mercier for filming and Doug Taylor from Codapop for giving us some space to chat.  I must say, the deck was a good call.  Spring!