Weekendcore: Aiden’s End/The Victory Records Heyday

Tomorrow night in London, England is Aiden’s last show ever.  The Seattle goth punks are calling it a day after seven albums and two EPs.  You can actually download their self-titled (and final) album for free on their website, and previously could get them all before Victory Records shut that down.  “Hey how about that segue!” is what I’d say if we weren’t gonna spend another second on Aiden, but since we are let’s talk about how they were influenced by bands like The Misfits and often compared to AFI.  Best of luck to the dudes in Aiden post-band, including frontman Wil Francis’ more electronic project William Control.

HEY HOW ABOUT THA-…ah screw it.

Aiden released all but 2004 debut Our Gangs Dark Oath, the aforementioned self-titled and A Split of Nightmares EP on Victory.  (Our Gangs was ultimately released by Victory for Europe though).  Along with Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, Silverstein and others they had Victory in the spotlight in the early to mid-2000s as, with Vagrant, really the scene’s preeminent label.  Victory Founder Tony Brummel has been a controversial figure, with several acts getting into legal battles and otherwise with the label.  Hawthorne Heights dealt with the hide-the-albums street team letter controversy, Thursday with whoopee cushions, and Aiden themselves apparently didn’t get paid.  More?  A Day To Remember sued and Streetlight Manifesto got sued.  Etc.  Etc.  Alleged unpaid royalties were a common theme, and stories of Brummel’s shady overall tactics ran wild.  The label got into a thing with Spotify last year, too.

These days, Victory still has some cool, notable bands.  ADTR and Streetlight Manifesto are…riding it out (?), plus there’s Counterparts, Comeback Kid, and what have you.  There’s gotta be something to Brummel being a madman with that many different stories and lawsuits, but at the same time everyone has their own experience.  There are no doubt people that would speak well of Brummel and Victory too, and there must be something worth it for artists considering how successful the label is.

So…Aiden are done, Victory isn’t and “Weekendcore” just managed the usual throwback theme while keeping it current!  COSMIC.

Track Listing: Hot ‘N’ Fresh

Just like Pizza Pizza, my favourite fast-food pizza chain!  Mmmm…the songs are all new, they’re new.  As MXC’s Captain Tenneal would say, “llllet’s go!”.

Polaris Rose – “TigerBait”

This Los Angeles alt-rock duo follow-up their 2014 debut full-length Telescopes with Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies in March.  “TigerBait” is a soaring, dreamy tune about things and stuff around us, with lovely in-unison vocals from Peter Anthony and Madelynn Elyse.  I listen to it and picture a video similar to Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud”, where people just dance beautifully throughout.  That’s legit, right?  Polaris Rose always manage to rock and be beautiful, which isn’t easy to do.

Angela Burns – “It’s Sad”

Sticking with Los Angeles artists (’cause that’s hard to do right?  No scene there at all. *shifty eyes*), it’s time for Angela Burns.  “It’s Sad” is off her mixtape So That You Can Feel Better, and the video was released a week ago.  It’s a five-minute crawler with a solid dirty bassline, piano, violin and some neat guitar effects in the final minute.  And it’s – wait for it – a lil’ sad too.  She actually has a really nineties rock vibe overall, it’s cool.

The Unlikely Candidates – “Your Love Could Start A War”

Ready to pick it up?  This Fort Worth, Texas five-piece just released this new single, and its uptempo sound almost defies its subject matter.  Vocalist Kyle Morris and guitarist Brenton Carney were in the midst of the December 2014 New York City protests, after a grand jury decision not to indict an NYPD officer in the death of Eric Garner.  They took in the aftermath first-hand and then wrote about it.  “Your Love Could Start A War” is conducive to hand claps, with an American Authors-like sheen in a boisterous presentation that doesn’t defy the subject matter.  That totally (probably?) makes sense once you listen.

Dark Matter Noise – “Blackwing”

Time to get industrial with Seattle’s Dark Matter Noise.  “Blackwing” is the lead track off the album of the same name, out March 18th.  Frontman Al Tompkins calls the track “a nightmarish-ghostly-witch-crow song”, and with haunting vocals and a wall of sound, that surely works.  My favourite part is actually the first few seconds, which basically sounds like drums that inmates would play if they filed toothbrushes into drumsticks instead of shivs.  (That sounded better in my head than after I wrote it, but what the hell!)

Wrathrone – “Carnal Lust”

Alright sweetheart, let’s wrap this up with some SCANDINAVIAN METAAALLLLLL.  Laitila, Finland’s Wrathrone released their debut Born Beneath last Friday, as well as the video for “Carnal Lust”.  The juxtaposition is hilarious because the video has them goofing around and air banding, but being a death metal act the song is terrifying.  I will never get over guttural vocals…how do these singers not cough up a lung after one verse?  Good on them.   You know what’s goin’ down here, just put your big-rocker pants on and enjoy it.  In fact, enjoy all these tracks why don’tcha.

Profile: Inverse Records

Scandinavia is known for its metal, and one regional outlet that’s puttin’ it on display is Inverse Records.  The Jyväskylä, Finland-based company also houses Secret Entertainment, and one thing I’ve learned since getting to know the Inverse crew is BRUTALITY.  (It’s Scandinavian metal, what else would you expect?)

Inverse Records’ roster features Finnish bands like Frostland Darkness, Curse Upon A Prayer and Served Dead plus internationals like Russia’s Autopsy Night, Canada’s Barrows and Italy’s I Will Kill You.  It’s definitely chalk-full of heavy darkness, but if you also want some lighter stuff Secret is where those acts are.

This post is (obviously?) the first time Inverse itself has really been on display, but you’ve read about its artists before on TPS.  An Ocean of Void were in a “Track Listing”Somehow Jo! were too and Hautajaisyö were a “Liner Notes” among…possibly others I can’t find right now?  So yeah.  Inverse has been crankin’ out the metal for five years, and as a bonus Joni and the gang there are solid to deal with.  Go check it out and listen to everything by every single associated artist.

Inverse Records online:

Weekendcore: Alkaline Trio – “Until Death Do Us Part”

Ah yes the second edition of “Weekendcore”, TPS’ new weekend throwback feature that’ll happen every Saturday or Sunday.  In this one, we look back at the Alkaline Trio song “Until Death Do Us Part”.

I’ve mentioned like once or twice quite a few times that Alkaline Trio are my favourite band.  For whatever reason, I’ve recently been on a kick about the closing track on 2013’s My Shame Is True.  Before it came out, Matt Skiba said something about writing the “new ‘Radio’“.  “Until Death Do Us Part” fits the bill in the sense that it’s a slower, breakup-themed album closer.  Getting more into the presentations themselves, where “Radio” is bitter “Until Death Do Us Part” is just straight-up sad.  Skiba basically pulled a Dan Andriano by writing an unabashed weepy heartbreaker.  It’s not only a great song on its own, but for Matt to be behind it adds the wow factor.

With Skiba working on blink-182’s new album and Andriano’s side project The Falcon readying their new album, it could be a bit before Alkaline Trio follow up My Shame Is True.  In the meantime, having “Until Death Do Us Part” be the last song we hear chronologically is a great way to leave it.  I will totally teach myself this one on guitar soon (objection: relevance?), and why not enjoy one of Alkaline Trio’s better songs – and that’s not said lightly considering how great their catalogue is.

Alkaline Trio online: 

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It’s Still A Shame Rock Radio Doesn’t Break Artists Like It Used To


Once upon a time you could turn on the radio and not hear as much of a focused loop of tried-and-true artists.  Local and underground music is largely relegated to specialty status these days, and while listening to Local 92.9, the online-only stream from Boston’s Radio 92.9, I figured we should just lament that.

Back in the day many radio stations’ announcers had autonomy, and played what they wanted.  The freeform stations allowed that freedom and made for a truly organic listen.  Granted, this was pre-internet and everything else the medium now competes with, but it must’ve been a pretty fun time (this was well before I and perhaps you were born).  The reality is with said competition and a stronger-than-ever focus on the bottom line, that kind of radio has taken a hit – even with traditionally less chart-based rock stations.

The idea that commercial radio isn’t the place to be for music discovery anymore isn’t new.  This post isn’t breaking news or anything, but I guess as someone who’s always been a fan I still wish there were a good amount of discovery.  An exclusive stream like Radio 92.9’s Local is a great idea, and kudos should be given to them and every station that does have at least some place for local artists to go.  Too many don’t at all anymore.

Now, I’m close to this particular subject because I’ve actually worked in radio for ten years.  I’ve seen Music Directors get submissions from local and underground artists and know they have really no shot.  The days of getting played just because someone likes you are basically toast.  There are charts to follow, focus groups to analyze and money.  Commercial radio depends on advertising to survive, and many listeners – remember how many aren’t hardcore music dorks like us – prefer familiar music.  It’s why playlists are so narrow.  It’s today’s reality, and it doesn’t matter how many people like us work at stations.  For terrestrial radio, college and non-commercial are still great for discovery because they’re not as worried about having the local car dealership buy airtime. Santa Monica, California’s  KCRW, Seattle’s KEXP and the like are phenomenal at what they do.  Aside from that, satellite’s commercial-free presentation and multiple subgenre channels are solid.  Internet radio, too.

Make no mistake, the KROQs102.1 The Edges and Radio Xs of the world are still powerhouses that have great influence.  (KROQ has its Locals Only specialty show, actually.)  You get standalone indies like Columbus, Ohio’s CD102.5 who rep as local as possible, and the Radio 92.9 types who have that other channel, a weekend show, host a battle-of-the-bands, whatever that reaches out.  With all the social media, direct-to-fan marketing and everything out there to get your music heard, I guess if it has to be this way with a typical commercial radio station it’s all good.  It’s funny too because, as pointed out in Berklee teacher Mike King’s book Music Marketing: Press, Promotion, Distribution and Retail, doing a radio campaign is hella expensive anyway.

So…yeah.  Thank god for blogs huh!?  ( ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ )  Listen, if I ever get an e-mail saying “Kevin, let’s make a TPS-themed radio show” and that happens, I will get your sweet self on with me there too because you deserve it.  You don’t ever have to stop trying for commercial radio play, just know that it’s unfortunately a very uphill battle in 2016.

Aaron’s Anger Party: How Not To Treat Artists You Play With

Get it????

So I was on the ol’ Twitter on Monday and saw the aftermath of a show Hope Vista played with Aaron Carter (yep, Backstreet Boy Nick’s little brother) Sunday night in Stanhope, NJ.  I guess what happened was Vista retweeted her fans insulting Carter, and then he went off.  Here is some of it:



I really didn’t feel like embedding all that so excuse the smaller screen shots.  Okay, these I’ll embed because it’s not going through like 700 TWEETS (calm the Twitter, Aaron):

 

@hopevista u ever been booed offstage before? you’re not welcome as an opening act on my next show u show up i kick your ass out bye felicia

— Aaron Carter (@aaroncarter) January 18, 2016

 

— Hope Vista (@hopevista) January 18, 2016

So all that (and more) happened.  Here’s the thing: I actually get where Carter is coming from.  As much as people have to flippin’ specify that “RTs aren’t endorsements” in their bios, it would be startling to read your opening act’s feed and see retweets that make fun of you.  But, instead of doing all that he should’ve reached out to Vista on a more personal level.  Phoning would be a start, but at the very least a Twitter DM saying “what’s up with that?” would’ve been better.  If anything needs to be clarified or hashed out, it should be done as privately as possible. That very public display of immaturity does no one any good.  We don’t know exactly what happened or whether there’s more to it, but that’s just over the top.  I also don’t know Hope Vista beyond our interview and Twitter feed/chats, but she’s pretty sweet and harmless and almost certainly doesn’t deserve getting attacked like that.  Aaron Carter’s a bigger name with a family pedigree in the industry, he’s gotta know better.

So…yeah.  If there’s ever friction with an artist you perform with at any time, deal with it personally, respectfully and quietly.  Your concert itself needs an audience, behind-the-scenes drama doesn’t.

Weekendcore: Story of the Year – Page Avenue


In the post-winter-break post I mentioned wanting a regular, time/day-specific feature.  Since TPS isn’t updated every day I wanted to create something with “appointment tuning”, something you could rely on and know when to check for.  (You can also subscribe to the new TPS RSS feed, it’s on the right-hand side with everything else!)  That feature is “Weekendcore”, a throwback-themed post that just remembers something cool – a little light, nostalgic reading for your weekend.  Look for it either Saturday or Sunday each week, and it begins on this Sunday with Story of the Year’s debut album Page Avenue.

The St. Louis, Missouri former five-piece (bassist Adam Russell has since left) dropped their first full-length in 2003 on Maverick Records.  Page Avenue’s assault of emo and post-hardcore was well-timed as that type of music was of course killin’ it back then.  Opener “And The Hero Will Drown” starts with a great build before Dan Marsala jumps in with dueling screaming/clean vocals.  Singles “Until The Day I Die” and “Anthem Of Our Dying Day” follow and are obviously solid, and so on and so on.  My two favourite songs on the album are probably “Sidewalks” (which was the final single) and penultimate track “Razorblades”.  Overall though, Page Avenue is a beast of a debut and still one of the better albums I own.

Since Page Avenue, Story of the Year have released three more albums and are working on their fifth.  They left Maverick after sophomore effort In the Wake of Determination and went to Epitaph, having since left that label as well.  They actually released Page Avenue: Ten Years and Counting in 2013, a re-imagining that gives the album a stripped-down, evocative feel.  I put the original on the other day and remembered how awesome it is, so I knew Page Avenue would be the first “Weekendcore” feature.  What a solid effort huh?

Story of the Year online:

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Liner Notes: Friday, January 15th


Tooth & Nail Records
tells you to preorder the new Anchor & Braille (Stephen Christian of Anberlin) album Songs for the Late Night Drive Home.  You can grab “Watch You Burn” now, with the album itself out February 5th.

Absolute Punk has a video message from Billy Talent drummer Aaron Solowoniuk.  He’s battled multiple sclerosis for a long time but it’s really hindered him lately (he calls it a “relapse”).  Alexisonfire’s Jordan Hastings will fill in for him on BT’s new album, which is being recorded.  Get well soon Aaron.

Fuse reviewed Panic! at the Disco’s new album Death of a Bachelor and have their “5 Takeaways” from it.  They include the wide-ranging classic influences and frontman Brendan Urie’s maturity.  The album is out today, so boo-ya.

Speaking of Panic!, they’ll be touring with Weezer this summer as the latter band support their new album.  Dying Scene has more on what’ll be called the “white album”, which of course is because Weezer never ever actually (pretty much) name their albums. Regardless, it’s coming out April 1st – and that’s no jo-*shot*.

Over at NME it’s (understandably) a David Bowie tribute fest, and part of that is people’s thoughts on the icon following his death last weekend.  Included are Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Win Butler of Arcade Fire and a ton of others.

Chart Attack’s latest “Ask A Band” feature asks Frank Turner how to get famous.  The text-to-landline questions really make it, as does Turner’s “fuck the boys at school” quote.  What is the context with that one huh!?  I guess you gotta listen.

Alternative Press passes along news that The Ghost Inside guitarist Zach Johnson is finally out of the hospital after November’s bus accident.  He had eight surgeries, and you can still contribute to a GoFundMe for both band members’ recoveries and the family of Greg Hoke, their driver who sadly was one of two (both respective drivers) who died.

Finally, Settle Your Scores‘ debut full-length The Wilderness is out on the 23rd.  You can preorder now via their Bandcamp and get an instant download of singles “Life: A Fate Worse Than Death” and “Cashing Your Reality Check”.  The Cincinnati, Ohio pop-punkers are a TPS favourite and it should be a solid disc.  You can bone up on them by reading our interview from last year.

A Sampling Of Fabulous Pick Scrapes

For all the pedals and crazy manipulations guitars are capable of, no effect fires me up more than a pick scrape.  I don’t know if it’s the simplicity and accessibility, but I adore them.  Pick scrapes are in a ton of songs, and the following are just some of the coolest ones out there for various reasons.  Let’s celebrate this transitional beauty of a musical thing!

The Get Up Kids – “Shorty”

 

One of the best songs on TGUK’s debut Four Minute Mile, the first of multiple pick scrapes in it leads into the chorus at :36.  The amount of them is the real story, and the dueling two preceding the outro are just dynamite – especially after Matt Pryor yells “I’ll bet you never find ANOTHER FRIEND LIKE MEEEEE”. 

Alkaline Trio – “Cop”

OH MY GOD THE INTRO JUST BEATS THE TAR OUT OF THEM.  This raucous number indeed features an all-out assault that ends with a proper scrape.  Combine that with the siren sound effect and it’s like OHHHHH.  Put it on and enjoy.

Pennywise – “Fuck Authority”

This is another song that features multiple scrapes, and frankly it’s exactly the type of song that should have them.  Punk rock beauty is enhanced by Fletcher Dragge saying “I’m gonna do it into AND out of the chorus” like a total boss.  The one leading into verse two is the best, at 1:20.

Alien Ant Farm – “Smooth Criminal”

Yep, that just happened.  AAF’s Michael Jackson cover is great period, but largely for what Terry Corso busts out just before the solo: the reverse pick scrape.  Instead of starting at the body and going down the neck, the scrape starts down the neck and heads up to the body!  That way, it sounds like it’s coming towards you rather than going away, and it’s great.  Actually doing the regular THEN reverse pick scrape consecutively as one circle-of-life scrape is…*drools*.  2:29 in is where you’ll find it.

Matthew Good Band – “Anti-Pop”

I guess it’s only fitting that one of my favourite bands ever (and favourite Canadian band period) has perhaps the single best pick scrape on this list.  After the final chorus there’s a build up full of “do dos” that, before heading into louder “DO DOS”, transition at 4:17 with a terrifying scrape that shows off just how nasty the distortion is in this song.  It’s absolutely epic, and a wonderful treat considering MGB (and now solo Matt Good) didn’t often bust out pick scrapes.

There are certainly hardcore guitar nerds who’ll read this post and think “really, the pick scrape is your favourite effect?”, and that’s fine.  It’s not exactly world-beating – and even a brutal guitarist like me can pull one off – but for me, nothing beats a good pick scrape.  Never skimp on them!

Stay Open For The Kids: Reviving An All-Ages Venue


With the underground rock fanbase having many young people, all-ages venues are essential.  Places like Anaheim, Calfornia’s Chain Reaction are where underage kids can see their favourite artists, who often aren’t big enough for a main arena and have to play bars otherwise.  Here in the home base of TPS, the Halifax Pavilion is that venue.  It’s been inactive since 2014 due to funding cuts, and there’s now a collective called Bring Back Our Pavilion that’s fundraising to re-open it.

What BBOP (pronounced “B-BOP”, like the jazz subgenre and Ninja Turtles character) is doing is shows, and I checked out the first of several planned last night at Oasis.  Runaway Dawson, Electric Spoonful, Background Noise and Kilmore were on the bill, bringin’ the rock and sharing stories of their connections to The Pavilion.  C.J. Hill is the bassist for Electric Spoonful and a member of the Pavilion Student Committee, who are part of BBOP.  This is what he told me about why he got involved with the cause:

“It’s an initiative I started with the Pavilion Student Committee, which I also started.  The Pavilion closed on May 10th, 2014 – that was the last big show that we had there – and there’s no place for youth to see music in the city.  I think it’s a vital part of the music scene here, and if we don’t have a music scene for the youth now, there won’t be one in ten years.  The ones that are going to the bars, they’re gonna be going to The Dome because the only music they can see is at dances.  So if they’re not getting their interest fostered in music now, then there just won’t be anybody interested in music at all.

The reason I wanted to do it is to get the youth out here, but I lived in the (Annapolis) Valley, and there was very little all-ages shows down there.  The only good ones were…Jay Chetywnd would put them on with Smokin’ Entertainment, and there was a couple where they do it at Berwick Town Hall – you know, me and two other dudes in the bands were there.  At The Pavilion there would be a crowd and I would come up, an hour-and-a-half drive to The Pavilion because they’d have good shows, and everyone deserves the opportunity that I had.  We wanna raise as much money as possible and partner with the city, and just move forward and hopefully in about a month and a half we’ll have ‘er open.”

As for the other shows, well…voila:

And whether you can attend or not, why not further check out Talea, Designosaur, Strongboy, Aphazia, Scumgrief, Exiled To Sea, Generation Idiot, Dark Shrine, Crestfallen, Enzo, and Halnova.  It’s not just rock either: the 22nd is the hip-hop show with Fac3valu3, MAJE, J Wheels, Mitchell Bailey, Cunny Ross and Kiddo.

All-ages venues aren’t just good for the kids, but for anyone who lives somewhere where that’s the venue their favourite artists are likely to play.  The Pavilion has hosted Protest The Hero, Silverstein, Ten Second Epic and other non-local acts who’ve played Halifax, and if it re-opens many more we in the TPS universe dig will come.  Sure when you get older the idea of standing around with a bunch of 13-year-olds can be unappealing, but music is something that brings us all together – we go for the same reason.  Today’s kids are tomorrow’s adults, and – as C.J. Hill said above – all-ages venues lay that foundation early.  Let’s get the damn venue open again ASAP.