Liner Notes: Wednesday, April 29th

REFUSED ARE FUCKING BACK (see what I did?).  The legendary Swedes’ are newly touring, and just announced a new album called Freedom, out June 30th, and the single “Elektra”.  These guys though: in 1998 they released The Shape of Punk to Come, actually kind of predicted the future with the name but before they could truly revel in it, broke up.  In the meantime, stuff happened – including frontman Dennis Lyxzen forming The (International) Noise Conspiracy – but now Refused are fucking back.  Uh, let’s go with Rolling Stone’s take for more.

Max Bemis of Say Anything tweeted a typo Alternative Press somehow missed on the June issue’s cover, which changed the band’s name LOL.  Ah it happens, but still…my girlfriend mocks me for how much I proofread TPS posts, but that’s why I do it!

Speaking of AP, we’ll stick with them for details of Senses Fail’s new single “The Importance Of The Moment Of Death”, and album Pull The Thorns From Your Heart.  The latter is out June 30th.

Slightly Stoopid are releasing a new album called Meanwhile…Back at the Lab June 30th.  You can preorder it now and get the song “Life Rolls On” right away.  They’re also going on the Everything Is Awesome tour with Dirty Heads during the summer/fall, so grab the bong and get ready for that one yeah?

Brisbane indie rockers Calais (who probably aren’t named after Calais, Maine but I’d enjoy that for some odd reason) just released their debut EP Silhouette.  The five-piece has a definite eighties vibe and nice, resonant vocals.  Go check ’em out.

3D printed instruments are a thing, and now a band made a music video playing them.  Toronto’s Secret Broadcast just released their video for “One Born Every Minute”, the latest single off last year’s Filthy Souls.   It’s claimed they’re the world’s first band to record with 3D printed instruments, and…how about that?  It’s oddly unnerving.  Technology right!?

The latest Absolute Punk Exclusive features Boston pop-punks Rebuilder’s new song “Look What You’ve Done”.  Their album Rock & Roll in America is out June 2nd.

Stereogum posted “The 10 Best Brand New Songs”, so you can go and see if their subjective list would match your subjective list. “SPOILER” ALERT: “The Quiet Things That No One Ever Knows” and “Seventy Times 7” are on it.

Blur are back, and NME has news of the free show they’re playing Friday at New York City’s Music Hall of Williamsburg.  They’ll be playing their new album The Magic Whip in full as a Converse Rubber Tracks concert.

Finally, who’s jealous that Face to Face’s latest “Triple Crown” shows are in Denver, Colorado and that’s just too far away to take in?  This guy.  Those are this coming weekend, and they’re doing this – three albums in three nights – in New York City later in May.  If you went to Chicago or Dallas, luckyyyyyy.  If you’re going next month, luckyyyyyy.  If you can but you aren’t, do ittttttttt.  Seriously though, Don’t Turn Away, Big Choice and the self-titled in full?  Amazinggggggg.  It makes me type like a fifteen-year-old girl don’tcha know!

Interview: Alexa Melo

 Alexa Melo is just twenty years old, but she’s already an industry veteran.  She spent most of her teens finding herself and dealing with some false starts, and is finally ready to release her self-titled debut June 2nd.  If the dark, frantic tone of first single “Still Right Here” is any indication, Melo is gonna be a very intriguing alt-rock package.  Fresh off a residency at Boardner’s in Hollywood and getting a spin on KROQ, she took some time to chat with TPS.

You’re originally from Dartmouth, Massachusetts but your family moved to Los Angeles a decade ago.  Coincidence, or did your parents do it to further your budding musical ability?

I first started singing and performing in musical theater when I was 6 years old and from the very beginning my family took it very seriously.  It was clear that I wasn’t doing it for attention or something, I genuinely loved performing and wanted to spend every waking moment of my day doing it.  One day we filmed an audition tape of me singing a bunch of power ballads and sent it to LA.  From there I was cast on a star search and America’s Most Talented Kids.  From that experience LA seemed very promising so my mom got me a manager and we all moved out.

You first signed with a major label as a teenager, but eventually left over creative differences.  Who did the label want you to be?

 Anything – as long as I had accessible, pop radio singles.  They weren’t interested in helping me build a long lasting career for myself nor help me reach the right audience for my material.  They wanted a project that they could just toss onto pop radio and have it instantly stick.  Anything too unique or “challenging” for the listener involves too much risk for them as a business.  Especially for a declining business.

You’ve mentioned Radiohead, Bjork, Portishead, Jack White and Pink Floyd as the biggest influences on your self-titled debut.  Are they your favourites period, or just who you listened to most during the writing process?

Honestly, I picked those bands because those are the obvious influences I hear peaking through when I listen to the music.  There are so many other influences floating around in there.  Led Zeppelin, Queen, Modest Mouse, Joni Mitchell, The Police, The Beatles, PJ Harvey…the list goes on and on.

You can play several instruments: guitar, piano, harmonica, etc.  How many appear on the album?

 Both acoustic and electric guitar, bass, piano, keyboard, omnichord, ukelele…no harmonica though.  There are so many instruments featured on this album though that I CAN’T play – like, sax, trumpet, upright bass and drums…

Talk about the first single “Still Right Here”.  Seems like it’s about someone not accepting the end of a relationship.  Is that a fair interpretation?

Haha yes.  That’s about right.  I wrote it while I had already recovered from a breakup but wanted to finally write an uplifting, more hopeful-sounding track about it.  At that point I had already written so many terribly sad songs about it which are also featured on this album…I finally wanted to write something more positive about the experience – even though the lyrical content is still very sad and almost delusional.

Besides releasing a debut album, what’s on tap for Alexa Melo in 2015?

I think the next course of action is to play as many shows as possible and put out a bunch of music videos.  Everything I can to get the music out there.

Alexa Melo online:

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Album Review: Ultimate Power Duo – …Presents the Adventures of Space Joe: Ad Astra

Sometimes, albums are just albums.  Sometimes, they’re concept albums.  Sometimes, they’re concept albums that have accompanying other media.  Like Coheed and Cambria and others before them, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan’s Ultimate Power Duo – who are actually a trio, those Ben Folds Five-like misleading mofos! – did that with their latest effort.  …Presents the Adventures of Space Joe: Ad Astra serves as the soundtrack to a nearly 100-page comic book of the same name, and with a track listing that hits the twenty-song mark, it’s a beefy one.

 UPD describe themselves as “demolition rock”, and if I were to use one of those ridiculous comparisons you see many publications roll with, I’d describe them as “if The Town Heroes listened to The Ramones and Death From Above 1979 for 24 hours straight while watching Space“.  They incorporate many of my favourite musical things: punk, atmosphere and cool-ass feedback, and are a pretty cool listen.  Space Joe has everything from the five-minute spoken word intro “Noverture” to the 1 1/2-minute “Gyles Servo – Cybernetic Junk Dealer”, and runs the gamut from punk blasts to pulsating epics.  Standout tracks include “Chasing Airwaves”, “Space Joe – Ad Astra”, “Alien Attack” and “Escape to Star Ship Algo”, but there’s not a song on the album I dislike.

As for the comic, each song covers a few pages and tells the story of Space Joe, described as such: “an Air Force army brat who has his first experience with zero gravity in high school, before finally making his full ascension to the stars as an adult.  Once among the regions of space, Space Joe meets an amazing array of characters, discovers a new meaning to his life, and creates a celestial course previously uncharted by any other human being.”  Twelve different artists contributed to the comic, and if you like comics you’ll like this one.  If I can recommend one thing though, it’s don’t read it while you’re listening: I found it hard to follow, and maybe I’m just a typical man who can’t multitask – am I right, ladies? – but if I did it over again I’d do it separately.

When it comes to doing this kinda thing period, there’s something else I’d rather see too: not necessarily basing comics off songs, or vice versa.  By doing that, you do have the intrigue factor because you’re familiar with the subject matter and want to see how it’s interpreted.  But, I like when things have their own uniqueness: it lets each thing stand on its own and gives fans a reason to check it all out.  As we covered in a recent post, Matthew Good used to write manifestos that were loosely tied to songs, but stood as a separate entity very well.  I think Gerard Way is a great model for the musician/comic camp, but having one subject tied together with multiple media like Space Joe is still pretty cool overall – don’t get me wrong.

A project like this gets mad points for originality and ambition, and is always intriguing.  It’s not often you see a lesser-known act like Ultimate Power Duo whip this out, but it’s very well done and as a bonus, definitely a way to get noticed.  Who knows if Space Joe will have another chapter, but it’s one I’d read and especially listen to…just not at the same time!

Ultimate Power Duo online:

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Isolated Scenes: Sometimes Gems, Always Problematic

 The other day I read a cool Chart Attack article about the thriving-but-lonely scene in Victoria, British Columbia.  It covered how the music community really sticks together, and how many touring artists don’t visit because of the city’s location.  And you know, it’s true: Victoria’s a beautiful, medium market but it takes a ferry ride to get there and that’s an expensive, inconvenient jaunt for touring bands.  It’s also close enough to Vancouver that tours often – and understandably, being a major market – just hit there.  Through no fault of their own, isolation is something many scenes deal with.

Sometimes, you have a really great scene that gets overlooked because of the location.  That article hit home for me actually, because my own home of Halifax, Nova Scotia is just like Victoria: it’s bigger, but it’s also out of the way and bypassed by many touring artists.  The local scene is vibrant, and definitely genre-dominant (singer-songwriter types, for the most part…decent amount of indie rock too).  You think of the Palm Desert scene in Southern California, led back in the day by Kyuss (featuring a pre-Queens of the Stone Age Josh Homme) and powered – literally, ha – by generators so shows happened in the middle of nowhere.  These scenes are everywhere.

Another thing is, sometimes they aren’t even small: you gotta go back many years, but Seattle was once in this boat.  Sure it’s a big city, but it’s up in the Pacific Northwest and hours from most of the other “key” markets in the States.  Grunge and indie rock became so prominent there because those musicians and fans had each other, and it snowballed.  You take Seattle, Vancouver (BC) and Portland, Oregon and those are three great major markets, but immediately surrounding them is a lot of Anytown, North America.  Now, I say that in a greater context – a geography nerd like me knows there are lots of great northwestern places.  You know how you often hear of “East Coast bias” in sports coverage?  Well, the majority of the population in North America is east of the Mississippi River.  Media outlets are largely based there, and time zones factor in too.  Even considering all the “players” out west, they often take a backseat.

When it comes to isolation though, nowhere we’ve covered gets it handed to them like Perth does.  Think about this: Australia’s big cities – Sydney, Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne – are all on the east coast (EAST COAST BIAS LOL).  Perth, which has over two million people, is on the complete other side of the country.  It takes 40 hours to drive from there to Sydney.  When it comes to touring, Australia’s already hard for many artists to get to, but then pretty much everywhere they’ll play is nowhere near Perth.  The city does get a Big Day Out festival, thankfully.

Finally, isolation in a scene can be as simple as not fitting in.  If you like music that no one local plays, or you play music that no one local likes – or plays, of course – it’s a lonely feeling.  When I first talked with the guys in Hot Springs, Arkansas pop-punk band Falling Awake I asked about how they fit at home, because I figured they stuck out.  They said yep, it’s a lot of southern rock and metal.  You could be in the world’s biggest and best-located place, but if you don’t feel like there are enough like-minded people it’s deflating.

You know, thank God the world is a much smaller place than it was a couple of decades ago.  I mean that in a community sense, because the internet can give you so much and let you connect with people you want to connect with.  It can’t bring tours or make the locals like the same music you do, but it really helps us be who we are and sometimes live vicariously.  Isolated scenes do create a great, proud sense of community, and that’s a good thing.  But, we all need to cure cabin fever every now and again too.

Track Listing: Up Tha Punx!!!1!1

There are an absolute ton of genres out there: the longtime staples, and the ones that develop every day as music evolves.  Sometimes there’s a specific one you get in the mood for, and for me that’s usually punk.  Pop-punk, punk rock, whatever.  Even just yesterday I rocked Face To Face’s Laugh Now, Laugh Later in the car – which by the way was a kickass comeback album, one of their best.  Are you too in a punk mood?  If you’re a regular TPS reader I’ll guess yes, so let’s enjoy some and possibly stick it to the man (ed. note: probably not gonna be any system fucking in this one, actually).

All Time Low – “Kids In The Dark”

The Towson, Maryland boys’ new album Future Hearts has topped Billboard and UK charts, so we gotta give some “big ups” to these longtime pop-punk favourites.  “Kids In The Dark” features copious hi-hat rocking and simple-but-effective riffing, and is a catchy jam.  As the band’s crossover appeal continues to grow, their success is at an…all time high! (see what I did?)

Sugarmen – “Dirt”

This four-piece from Liverpool – a city that’s given us no successful musicians, right? – released their debut single this week, which is this very tune.  Produced by The Clash’s Mick Jones, “Dirt” lives on riffs more than chords, and starts slow before bursting into a gang vocals chorus and verses that live on ride cymbal and bass.  The song has a great snotty vibe too, and it’ll be cool to hear more from these guys.  XFM named it one of their “5 Best Songs of the Week” this week, so check it out.

Jonathan Boulet – “Set It Off”

Sydney’s Jonathan Boulet needed a change back in 2013.  He moved to Europe, found some new bandmates and began a wall of dirty garage-punk.  You can check out the video for “Hold It Down”, but I wanted to highlight “Set It Off” because it’s the most punk song on the newly-released Gubba: a minute and a half of fast, grimy noise and interestingly-effected vocals.  He sure did “set it off” on this one.

New Politicians – “Are We The Dining Dead?”

New Jersey is not a state that’s short on awesome artists.  New Politicians – who really should tour with New Politics yeah? – are described as “post-punk/alternative”, and have a new EP called Remission coming out on Tuesday, the 21st.  Have a listen to “The Idealist” off that, but we’re going back to 2013’s Drag a City EP for “Are We The Dining Dead?”, which sounds a lot like fellow Tri-State area boys Interpol.  The bridge is my favourite part, featuring some good feedback and hi-hattin’.

Autopilot Off – “Lining Them Up”

Yeah yeah, I know we just featured them and then did a little “Throwback Thursday” on the social media but C’MON NOW.  These most excellent New Yorkers just released this song, and eventually will follow up 2004’s Make A Sound with an album now that they’re back.  C’mon though.

Punk music right!?

The Band Came Back: Autopilot Off

I am so happy that Autopilot Off are back with new music.  We’ve highlighted their spectacular debut-ish album Make A Sound before, which sadly was their last before they went – as so many bands do – on an indefinite hiatus.  A couple of years ago they popped up on social media, then finally released two new songs last year and one a few days ago.  That’s basically all we know right now, but that’s great.

When I first heard this Orange County, NEW YORK – how did that treat you!?  Did that blow your mind!? – band, I loved how they didn’t sound like the usual pop-punk type acts (which is no slight, as I obviously love pop-punk).  They were more diverse lyrically, and Chris Johnson’s vocals were more resonant.  Make A Sound was just balls-to-the-wall rock, and became one of my favourite albums.  To go on hiatus not terribly long after the steam they gained from that disc was like “whhhaaaaattttttt”.

But, slowly but surely Autopilot Off are back!  Let’s talk about the new stuff shall we?  We’ll go back to last year’s first, starting with “When I Was Young”:

This song has a definite Rancid/Green Day vibe, and would’ve stood out on the last record.  Another song they released last year was “Alcologic”:

See what they did with the title?  This one would’ve fit on Make A Sound.  I totally dig the breakdown here, which is drums/vocals dominant.  Alright, now for the newly-released track: this is “Lining Them Up”:

I love chords ringing out, and the verses here have that.  This song actually reminds me a lot of “Raise Your Rifles”, which appeared on the Japanese version of Make A Sound and the Daredevil soundtrack.

It’s always interesting to see what an artist sounds like when they go many years between releases, and Autopilot Off almost haven’t missed a beat from the pre-hiatus days.  That’s not a bad thing: they are so damn good.  Do you ever hear a song that’s just so cool you wish you’d written it?  For me, Autopilot Off are so cool I almost wish I were in the band.  Just a solid, solid group.   Hopefully we’ll get a new album this year, but I’m not gonna complain about periodic song releases in the meantime.  If you’ll excuse me, it’s now time to go back and listen to some of their old tracks…you should totally join me.

Profile: Matthew Good

You know where I do some of my best thinking?  The shower.  That’s the case for a lot of people, and I’m pretty sure I once read that our featured artist in this post does too.  And, since it was in this morning’s shower where I thought “hey let’s profile Matt Good”, it all comes together.  I suppose it was even…fated! (See because Good has a song called “Fated”, which if you’re not new to him is making you ROFL right!?)  I digress, ahem….

When I was younger and hadn’t yet discovered the underground, it was mostly the radio that turned me on to new music.  Alt-rock’s heyday was the nineties, and in the Canadian scene Matthew Good was one of the driving forces as the frontman of Matthew Good Band.

Hailing from Vancouver – which we’ve talked about as Canada’s pound-for-pound best rock city – Matthew Good rose to prominence with the aforementioned MGB.  The band released four full-lengths – 1995’s Last Of The Ghetto Astronauts, 1997’s Underdogs, 1999’s Beautiful Midnight and 2001’s The Audio Of Being – as well as three EPs before breaking up in 2002.  As a solo artist Good has six albums: 2003’s Avalanche, 2004’s White Light Rock And Roll Review, 2007’s Hospital Music, 2009’s Vancouver, 2011’s Lights Of Endangered Species and 2013’s Arrows Of Desire.  Musically, the band stuff is more straight-ahead alt-rock and the solo stuff got a little more experimental: more orchestral arrangements, lots of epics, soundbites and other weirdness.  MGB had a fair amount of that – especially on Beautiful Midnight and The Audio Of Being – but it’s really evolved in the solo career.

While Beautiful Midnight was really the breakthrough album, Last Of The Ghetto Astronauts and Underdogs are awesome and notable for their own reasons.  The hidden track on the former, “Omissions of the Omen” is credited with popularizing the phrase “first world problems”.  Sadly (because it’s the hidden track) it’s one of the album’s best songs, and Good himself has said it’s really the only song he likes from it.  Despite being the album before the breakthrough, Underdogs has MGB’s breakthrough single: my favourite song of all-time, “Apparitions”.

Things weren’t always cordial in the MGB camp, and Matt holed up in a hotel alone to write what would be their final album.  The Audio Of Being is the heaviest of MGB albums, an atmospheric wall of sound that was sadly buried in the band’s turmoil and eventual breakup.  It sucks too, because they might have finally broken internationally: second single “Anti-Pop” got airplay on MTV’s Total Request Live, and the video featured Dale Earnhardt Jr.  Right after that though, boom, the end.  But, breaking in the US or elsewhere was never really something Matthew Good Band or current solo Matt ever pushed for.  That’s surely part of why it hasn’t really happened, but it’s a shame because there’s soooo much great music there.

Matt Good has long had a reputation as being difficult, standoffish, subversive, and opinionated.  It largely broke the band up, in fact.  Some of that is just him, some of it is due to something that wasn’t diagnosed until around a decade ago: bi-polar disorder.  Good’s battle reached a head after he and his first wife separated, and while recovering from an Ativan overdose and stint in a psych ward, he wrote Hospital Music.  It still might be his most personal and dark album, and that’s saying something.  Good said his diagnosis was like putting the final pieces of the puzzle together, and his demeanour has appeared to largely improve since.  He’s remarried and has kids, and they have surely softened him too.  I caught a show in Halifax when he toured behind Arrows Of Desire when it came out, and he actually seemed happy.  Anyone who’s followed Good for a while knows that’s kinda weird.  The meds, getting older and the family have visibly changed him for the better.  The music is still the furthest thing from sunshine and rainbows though, and that’s – as mean as this sounds? – great.

Matthew Good is my favourite Canadian artist, but lyrically he’s my favourite period – from anywhere.  They’ve always been dark and cryptic, and in my opinion there’s not a better kind of lyric.  Think Alkaline Trio but with less beer and love talk…and even darker, I guess.  Going back to “Omissions of the Omen”, you can’t sit here and tell me that “man makes God so God can make man/man makes the devil so that he can understand/why it is that every day/everything always turns out this way” isn’t chilling and brilliant.  Pick a song, man.  Just killer stuff.

Besides music, Good has long been a writer and activist.  He used to write crazy blog entries that were just random stories, and in fact published a book of manifestos called “At Last There Is Nothing Left To Say”.  He’s big on politics, and writes often about foreign policy and human rights among other things.  Amnesty International is a cause he’s especially behind.

For the past several months, Good has been posting new demos.  They’re all inactive now sadly, but they’re for a follow-up to Arrows Of Desire.  That album was a return to more straightforward rock after Lights Of Endangered Species, Good’s most experimental album ever.  What will the new disc hold?  I wish I could shed more light but I’m way behind on the demos myself!  No matter, because it’s Matthew Good and Matthew Good is the fucking man.  If you like your music intelligent, subversive and cryptic and you don’t already know this guy, do yourself a favour and check him out.  He’s….can’t think of a word to describe him but it’s a pleasing listen.

Matthew Good online:

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TPS Responds: Front Porch Step’s Sexual Harassment Statement

The first big story of 2015 in our world was the alleged sexual harassment of underage girls by Jake McElfresh, aka Front Porch Step.  After staying quiet for months, he finally responded on Friday with a statement on his Facebook page.  So, let’s have a gander at this shall we?  As always, certain parts aren’t quoted here for redundancy’s sake so see the preceding link for the full statement.

“When I was younger, I had a lot of dreams, and my reality was that they were just that….’dreams’, until by the grace of god, someone saw me playing my music and made my dreams my new reality.  My life was about to change in ways I couldn’t comprehend for better and for worse.  Growing up wasn’t easy.  I lacked a lot of self-confidence and had body image issues, things that aren’t just specific to women or girls.  I didn’t have a solid family foundation, I didn’t have a lot of friends, at times I felt socially alone, and I certainly wasn’t much of a ladies man.”
You might be able to guess the tone of this statement by that paragraph, and you’re probably right.  And yeah, we all have our trials and there’s nothing wrong with that: it’s part of growing up.  So then…

“All of a sudden, I gained some confidence.  My music was making people happy, I had a group of online ‘friends’ who felt the same feelings as me – I wasn’t alone anymore and for the first time I started to feel like I mattered.  I made it a point to always be available to my fans, they are the reason I was now playing shows for a live audience.  I was receiving messages from all over the world, from people who felt like me.  It was nice to know in the world of the Internet – I could never be alone again.  Soon, all of a sudden the guy that thinks he is the ugliest dude in the world is being called ‘hot’ and ‘sexy’ by a bunch of women, people who I had never met in person and frankly I was not prepared for it.

Over the course of time I found myself involved in text based relationships with a handful of women.  We met via the Internet and our pseudo-relationship lived online.  I liked the new attention and the conversation, I like that these people were interested in me and what I had to say.  For a guy who didn’t think he was cool enough or attractive enough to have a girlfriend, l suddenly had a handful of ‘online girlfriends’ one text away.  Something that was a blessing and a curse.”

Anytime we experience something new – let alone something as startling and favourable as being a successful musician – it can really throw you for a loop.  Sometimes, we react in ways that aren’t the best, and perhaps don’t even make sense.  That thought in itself is understandable, but you still have to use your best judgement and really tread as carefully as possible.  Jake McElfresh is known for being accessible to his fans, and that really is a good thing: they want to get to know him, and maybe even feel like they do through his music.  But, fans are just that: fans, not friends.  They certainly can be, but generally they aren’t and there needs to be barriers.  In McElfresh’s case, he’s learning that the hard way.  It’s okay to be guarded when you have a public job and deal with a lot of people all the time.

“To be honest, this whole thing is so confusing because never once was there physical interaction, only online correspondence between consenting individuals.  Are there women that thought they were the only ones I was texting with – yes, but that doesn’t warrant people the ability to bully ANYONE online and make potentially life altering accusations on a forum that spreads like wildfire, (which I am learning is an epidemic all on its own and a bigger social issue we all need to pay attention to.)”

No one is mad at McElfresh for doing physical things with the girls in question, because they know that’s never been an accusation.  But if those screenshots and online accounts from those girls are all true, that’s not good.  First, no one – underage or not – deserves to be treated that way.  Secondly, being the early twenties dude that he is, talking sexual with people that young is always inappropriate, regardless of whether anything illegal is taking place.  Sure they may have been okay with it, but they’re young and impressionable and McElfresh needs to know better.  That is what people are upset about, and you can’t exactly find fault in that.

“Am I responsible for my part of the conversations – yes, and for that I have learned a terrible lesson.  As for the Allegations, they are just that – allegations and not charges.  To be associated with words like child molester, pedophile, and rapist – are disgusting and deplorable and I am neither and NEVER will be.  To be lumped in to that category is just gross.”

That’s true: those are very strong words and inappropriate to use in this situation, regardless of how (understandably) upset you are by the whole thing.

“Texting is a two way street.  Numbers have to be exchanged, correspondence has to be reciprocated.  Any online private conversations that have now become public are not as one sided as they’ve appeared.  As a touring singer song writer who had access to just about anything, I was happy.  I was content.  I never once sought out the attention from fans, but was happy to know that I had an online forum of adoring women who thought I was great.  Sexual or otherwise, I only had text interactions with willing participants.”

Texting is indeed a two-way street, but again, YOU Jake McElfresh have to be the adult here and know better.  I get wanting to be there for your fans and be nice and such, but all this turned into something very different and wrong.  We can’t say whether there was a moment when he thought “hey this is getting out of hand”, but if there was one he should’ve shut it down.  Barriers, man.  They’re necessary.  I’d almost rather there not have been that “wait a second..” moment, because then at least McElfresh could claim ignorance and not be someone who knew it was wrong but rolled with it until he got outed.  I guess we’ll never know.  The statement ends with this:

“For all the haters, you can keep hating, I will no longer be paying attention to your negative energy.  With that said, to any woman who expected me to be your prince charming and found out that I am not perfect, I’m sorry from the bottom of my heart.  I am just getting back into what love most and playing music again, and I hope to see you this summer.”

The statement was honest, you gotta give it that.  But, it also was really just excuses and apology-free.  I’m not sure whether to commend Jake McElfresh for waiting a while before responding: it definitely allowed time to really think about what he wanted to say and not be reactionary, but sometimes it’s better to immediately address it so things don’t fester and grow.  Aside from that almost smart-ass “Prince Charming” comment at the end, McElfresh didn’t apologize to these girls for treating them the way he did.  Didn’t apologize for the verbal abuse and for taking advantage of them.  They, regardless of how big a role they played in the relationships, deserve a “sorry”.  Almost forget the rest of the fans and music industry and others who first heard of Front Porch Step because of this controversy, and just think of them.

Will Jake McElfresh and Front Porch Step ultimately come out of this and prosper?  Time heals all wounds, and it will tell.  There are no charges, nothing illegal from what we know, just a guy who’s made some bad choices and is dealing with the consequences.  At the very least, you gotta hope everyone involved heals and learns from this.  We all make mistakes, some are worse than others and we all need to be accountable.  I hope Jake McElfresh gets that, because after that statement, a lot of people aren’t too sure he does.

Liner Notes: Thursday, April 2nd

The 2nd Annual Alternative Press Music Awards are July 22nd, and you can vote for your favourite nominees now.  Jack Barakat and Alex Gaskarth of All Time Low are hosting, and my favourite APMAs-related thing so far has been this tweet from Saves The Day regarding Arun Bali being up for Best Guitarist.

Speaking of the hosts’ band, All Time Low’s new album Future Hearts is out on Tuesday.  Is that why they’re hosting, is that a topical tie-in!? (Answer: yes, of course.)

So you know about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Act?  Well, a bunch of state indie labels, including Secretly Canadian and Joyful Noise, have signed a petition against it.  Eric Alper has details.  Just today lawmakers actually scaled it back a bit, at least.

Knoxville, Tennessee punks The Harakiris have released their debut album Yourself Betrayed.  Check it out on their Bandcamp.

Panic! At The Disco drummer Spencer Smith has left the band, and posted a statement on their website.  Smith took some time off a couple of years ago when he battled drug addiction, and he touched on how his bandmates stuck by him and welcomed him back when he got sober.  This is probably my favourite part: “I’m going to miss the good interviews, the bad interviews, and the interview in Germany when we were asked ‘your new album doesn’t seem to be as good as your last…why?’. Or being in rural China where I’m almost positive we were served horse, but we ate it anyway so we wouldn’t offend the women who spent all day cooking for us, and you know what, it was pretty good.”  Good luck with whatever’s next Mr. Smith.

Absolute Punk passes along Tom DeLonge’s new video for “New World”.  The song’s pretty strong, got a good alt-rock feel to it.

Chart Attack has a brand new “Liner Notes” up, and…..WAIT.  WAIT JUST A GODDAMN MINUTE.  THEY STOLE OUR FEATURE’S NAME FOR THEIRS!  BASTARDS!  Hold on, let’s see how far it goes back…IT ONLY GOES BACK UNTIL JANUARY!?  CHART KNOWS ABOUT THIS FEATURE!  YOU CHEEKY THIEVES!  Oh I’m kidding, I don’t actually care.  “Liner Notes” is a well-known music term and as they say, great minds think alike.  Could be a coincidence.  But if I see anything called “The Perfect Scene” on that site, it’s obviously ON LIKE DONKEY KONG!!!

PropertyOfZack has details about Four Year Strong’s newly-announced self-titled album, to be out June 2nd.  Its closing track is actually “Go Down In History”, from their recent EP of the same name.

Finally, we’ll stick with POZ for news about the Wrecking Ball festival, happening in Atlanta in August.  The lineup includes Coheed and Cambria, Thrice, The Get Up Kids, Glassjaw, and The Movielife?  That’s pretty awesome.  It’s at The Masquerade, which is putting the festival on in honour of its 25th anniversary.  It actually starts with some punk rock karaoke featuring Greg Hetson of Bad Religion among others.  That’s just cool.  Tickets go on sale Monday morning at 10am Eastern.