Mashup Thoughts: Wednesday, March 30th

Vice’s article titles are…interesting?

Lately I’ve seen several article titles that have made me wonder.  I think the majority have been Vice-related, with the most recent example being Thump’s “How Do We Stop Drug Deaths At Festivals?”.  A lot of these questioning titles seem very…I don’t know if “loaded” is the right word, but it’s like…what are you looking for?  I guess on the surface the answers are obvious so I look at them a bit dismissively, but I realize that also doesn’t contribute to what really are valid conversations.  For the record, having concertgoers thoroughly checked upon entry for drugs is good.  I also agree that “cool down areas” are worth doing, because much like safe injection sites, if it’s gonna happen you might as well help it be as controlled and safe as possible.  Free water should be a given at festivals too, even if that’s built into the cost of tickets.  This has largely been an EDM-driven thing (and Thump is Vice’s electronic site – I saw this from a retweet from Noisey, actually) but it’s applicable to rock and any music festival, and is definitely a good read.

Bryan Stars is…yeah.

I’ve never really understood the appeal of Bryan Stars.  He got famous on YouTube for interviewing alternative acts, and while his style does add often much-needed levity I find it to be asinine, lowest-common-denominator stuff – zero substance.  He’s branched out since, and is even putting out an EP called Follow Your Dreams on Friday.  First single “Shut Up And Kiss Me” is out, and over the past while Stars has taken some heat (including an epic Twitter rant from Pup Fresh, which you need to scroll through beyond that link) for being 25 years old with his look, subject matter and target audience.  Since he started My Digital Escape the criticism has gotten louder.  I mean…the guy’s obviously doing something right and I never want to begrudge people for living their life and doing what makes them happy – we’re all just trying to put food on the table – but I’m with those who aren’t into it.

Taste of Chaos 2016 is like WHAT YEAR IS THIS WOWOW WINNING!

Back in the day the Taste of Chaos was the winter Warped Tour, created by the latter’s founder Kevin Lyman.  Last year it returned after a five-year absence for a one-off show in San Bernardino, California.  This year it’s going on tour again but concurrent with Warped, and the San Bernardino date poster came out and…LOOK:

The Get Up Kids.  The Starting Line.  The Early November.  The Anniversary.  Hot Rod Circuit.  I mean it’s a great lineup period but…WHAT YEAR IS THIS???  Even the bands that are still together aren’t really together.  Taste of Chaos is throwback in itself so it makes sense, but that rules.  Go if you can.  Yowza!

Track Listing: Easter

Today is Good Friday, which marks the start of Easter weekend.  That said, why don’t we enjoy some music that loosely – and I mean the loosest of the loosely – ties into the holiday.  All that we love about Easter, in (sort of) musical form.

New Found Glory – “The Toothpick Song”

Known as “The Toothpick Song”, this offering appears on the band’s 2002 album Sticks and Stones.  It’s a hidden track, so see…like a SCAVENGER HUNT.  You found a song!!!  Coming about 21 minutes (!) after the end of “The Story So Far”, it starts with a scream that was surely meant to scare anyone who left the album on before creepily saying “someone’s in your house” and doing a bunch of weird stuff.  It’s just a goof, but outtakes like this can be enjoyable – especially when you don’t expect them.

What might you find during an Easter scavenger hunt, by the way?  Oh how about…

The 1975 – “Chocolate”

Yep, chocolate!  This song put The 1975 on the map back in (the) 2013.  Call-and-response bass and guitar duel behind Matt Healy’s very prominent, and now almost signature accent.  (It’s interesting how UK singers have kept their accents more and more the past few years.)  “Chocolate” of course doesn’t mean literally chocolate…sweet, tasty Easter chocolate…it means drugs.  It’s Easter though, so chocolate does become the drug of choice for many right???

Ghostbunny – “Static Love”

GhostBUNNY!  This Austin, Texas group can perk your ears up (bunny reference…EARS!) with “Static Love”, a bouncy (bunny reference!?) number with sweet ride cymbal work in the chorus.  There are very subtle jazzy moments within an overall indie rock song.  It’s a nice listen.

Anchor & Braille – “Watch You Burn”

Finally, what else is associated with Easter?  How about religion, d’uh.  And for that, we turn to Anchor & Braille.  The project of former Anberlin frontman Stephen Christian (how appropriate is that last name?) offers up a dream popper from the new album Songs for the Late Night Drive Home.  Despite the title, “Watch You Burn” is actually a pretty positive song about moving forward.  Christian has long been at the forefront of Christian rock, and Anchor & Braille is on like-minded Seattle label Tooth & Nail Records.

Scavenger hunts, chocolate, bunnies, religion…that about covers Easter yeah?  I hope you have a great weekend, and enjoy an assload of Cadbury Creme Eggs because they’re the best (even though the recipe changed).  Come to think of it we could’ve done a dinner-themed example for this post too but…meh.  Turkey dinners = good.  The end!

Interview: Dirty Hollywood

For his one-man rock project, Radley Lane – which is an awesome name itself – is known as Dirty Hollywood.  Lane indeed lives in Wyoming Hollywood so that’s fitting.  Debut EP Killed to Death came out yesterday, and is available on iTunes among elsewhere.  It brings to mind artists like Foo Fighters and Danko Jones, and Lane chatted with TPS about that and more.

You started as a drummer for artists like J*Davey and Ryan Leslie.  When was the moment that you said “I gotta become my own artist”?

I’ve been a drummer since I was about 11 years old and I played in every school band available and started bands with every friend that had an instrument… orchestras, jazz bands, garage bands.. then I got a bachelor’s degree in percussion and played in every performing group available… more orchestra, percussion ensembles, jazz bands, salsa bands, steel drum bands, Brazilian baterias, West African dance troops, weird found object experimental music bands, reggae bands, college rock bands.. and then professionally for major label artists.

A lot of great music happened during this time… but it was never balls out rock and roll and I had a hole in my heart that needed to be filled with distorted guitars and bashing drums.  When someone would direct me to play quieter or with less energy…. I’d do what they asked.. but think to myself “that seems like a mistake”… and “that’s not how I would do it”… and that was fine for their music.. but I just wanted to rock… and no one was letting me rock up to my potential.  At the same time I had already been deep into record producing.  In college I had bought a laptop and Pro Tools and watched YouTube videos to learn how to produce and record.  I constantly needed material to record so I started singing and songwriting as well as playing guitar and bass… piano was already a school requirement so I had a little of that too… I wrote songs so I would have stuff to record.. and as I got better at all of it I realized that I had songs and records that were actually pretty good.  I don’t know that there was a specific moment where I thought “I have to become my own artist” as opposed to “oh. I guess I am my own artist”.  After that happened I wanted to put all my focus and energy into pursuing it.

You recorded most instruments yourself for Killed to Death, but did enlist several guests including Michael Vincze of Mowgli’s fame.  Why did you pick who you did?

Well that was easy I just asked my friends!  HUGE THANKS to Michael Vincze, Andy Tubman, John Armstrong, Terah Gilbertson and Marc Aliana for putting their talents on these recordings.  And another HUGE THANKS to Christian James-Hand who co-produced “Killed to Death” with me and mixed everything.  All these friends are who I’ve played with live and they had come up with some really cool musical bits that I felt absolutely had to be included on the record.  For example, nobody needs or wants to hear me butcher a guitar solo right now.. maybe next year.. but for now I’ll call a friend.

Press for the EP has described Dirty Hollywood’s sound as “radio rock”.  Some people use that term negatively, but what makes you embrace it?

Well I’m a sucker for big hooks and catchy tunes… and all of my favorite bands are played on the radio.  If Arctic Monkeys, Muse, Royal Blood, Kings of Leon, Twenty One Pilots are “radio rock” bands then I want to be in that club… I don’t think that being “radio friendly” means the art has to suffer or its substance has to be watered down.  It just means that a lot of people like it or will like it.  If a band only wants a select few snobby music hipsters to like their music, that’s fine… I just have bigger goals, and a wider audience to entertain.  I feel strongly that all the songs on “Killed to Death” are “single” worthy and ready for any alt-rock or college radio station.  That’s why “Killed to Death” is only 4 songs.. I wanted them all to be able to hold their own on my first release.  I wanted to come out swinging… I don’t have a huge immediate fan base or audience so I need to win people over and the only way I know how to do that is to make the best music I can at the moment.

I’d say “My Name Is Love” is my favourite song on Killed to Death, it has so much swagger and is a fun listen.  What made you choose “Stay Up All Night” as the first single?  (Which is a good song in its own right.)

Thank you so much!  Yes I encourage everyone reading this to go listen to “My Name Is Love” right away!  Don’t even bother with the rest of this interview.. just go listen to it!  (Ed. note: Do both at the same time!)  When I first started playing these recordings for friends and mentors they were equally divided between those two songs as the first single… one reason I chose “My Name Is Love” as the second single is because if someone likes “Stay Up All Night” then they’re gonna like “My Name Is Love” as a follow-up… if someone likes “My Name Is Love” they might like “Stay Up All Night” as much but half the people will say “I like that first song better”.  They’re different styles from each other.. and I’d say they’re on opposite sides of the spectrum of Dirty Hollywood’s “sound”… it’s like.. Dirty Hollywood’s “sound” fits between those two songs.  I hope everyone likes both.

Any touring planned in support of Killed to Death?  What else is planned in Dirty Hollywood’s world for 2016?

More music all the time!  We’re playing shows in Los Angeles and then some West Coast touring this summer.  Hoping to add a lot more shows and get to the East Coast and even break into Canada?!  People of Canada!!!  Where should we play in your beautiful country???!!!  Realistically that may not be until the fall… and I may have to sleep on your couch.. I’m also recording the second EP that should be released later this year.  I wanted to get this first one out into the world so that there was music to point people to and then follow it up with another short but solid second EP.

Dirty Hollywood online:


Album Review: We Are The Movies – Get Busy Living…

March in Columbus, Ohio means Madness with the Buckeyes (still the women anyway…sorry dudes), but this year it also means a new EP from local pop-punk band We Are The Movies.  Get Busy Living… comes out on Saturday, and follows up 2013’s Ending One Moment at a Time.  On it, the five-piece serve up six tracks worth having a pizza party for.  (Haha “serve” and “pizza”…well played right?)

Get Busy Living… starts with “Always the Rule (Never the Exception)”, a 1:27 long effort that reaches the speed you’d think a punk song this short would for the chorus.  It’s quick and dirty, and a fine enough opener.  “The Story So Far” comes next, a song about carving your own path.  It has some great driving bass pedal, which is probably my favourite part.  Then we have “Happy EX-mas (War is Over)” (see what they did?), which has a sick pick scrape and quick picking in the intro, and fast verses that lead into a more mid-tempo chorus.  (Oh, and a lyric video!)  I also really dig the line “December cold fits you well my dear”, and how the tempo changes a little over halfway through with the refrain of “I’ve been waiting for your footprints in the snow on this cold Ohio night/I said I’d stay away, but at night I pray that you’ll find your way to me”.

We move into the second half of Get Busy Living… with “The Best Revenge is Living Well”.  The previously released single starts by fading in a guitar riff before dueling vocals sing an I’m-all-good-to-hell-with-you message – it’s almost a part two for “The Story So Far”.  It ends with the aforementioned riff fading out in a nice bookend, and overall sounds like something Taking Back Sunday might write if they wanted to get a bit heavier.  Finally, the EP wraps up with two slower acoustic-featuring songs.  “Temporary” is a six-minute epic with chords that are stunted and on a deliberate count, and nice gang vocals that echo.  “By a Thread” closes things out by going fully acoustic and putting an emo-tinged, drumless bow on the effort.  I love how it’s different, and of course using it as a closer is exactly what should’ve been done.

Get Busy Living… is a really good listen.  We Are The Movies’ three-guitarist attack finds two of them (lead vocalist Tim Waters and Mike O’Leary) often dueling on the mic, with gang vocals also a staple.  If you’re in the Columbus area, the band are doing a release show Saturday night at the Scarlet and Grey Cafe.  If not, they have other upcoming dates including Road To Warped Tour in Anchorage, Alaska.  No matter, as of this weekend you can get busy listening (get it?) to We Are The Movies’ solid new EP.

We Are The Movies online:


Weekendcore: Sweet Thing – “Lazy Susan”

Sweet Thing are no longer a band, but one song they put out was really solid.  “Lazy Susan” came off the Toronto rockers’ self-titled 2010 album (their only full-length) and is really one of the slower songs that you’d call catchy.  (I guess slower songs can still be catchy, but you know what I mean: a good hook tends to be more uptempo.)  This mid-tempo jam features a deliberate, chugging bassline (“chugging” might make you think of a heavier song as it does for me, so…half-chugging?  I don’t know, hopefully you get my drift when you listen.) with vocals that stylistically almost go R&B, with beautiful gang falsetto in the chorus.

You might know Sweet Thing from “Change of Seasons” because 1) it was also a single and 2) a demo version was in the Emma Stone movie Easy A, but for my money “Lazy Susan” is the standout.  Feast your ears on how sweet it is (see what happened there?) and surely you’ll agree.

Sweet Thing online: 

Oh why does it matter, they’ve been done for years.

Scene Specific: London, Ontario

 London, Ontario 1) indeed exists, UK TPS readers and 2) is a pretty cool city.  Having a metro area of close to 500,000 people and sitting two hours from Toronto, Detroit and Buffalo, its geography alone is definitely appealing.  It’s also home to a few acts we’ve covered on TPS, and indeed are gonna do again but together – with some extras! – with its own special “Scene Specific”.


These guys are a TPS favourite and truly a bright spot in the local scene.  Redambergreen are alt-rockers who have a solid dose of pop-punk in their sound.  They have two EPs (2012’s Through All The Days and 2013’s No City, which we reviewed) and a couple of singles.  Lineup changes have also been a theme so far, with Kris Rose being their third singer in what’ll be as many releases once No City‘s follow-up comes out.  No matter, they consistently put out good stuff – which contributed to playing the Ernie Ball Stage at Toronto’s Warped Tour date last summer.

Bet Your Life

Punk rock time with this three-piece.  Bet Your Life have three EPs (2012’s Landshark and 2014’s Give No Quarter and Drive Sessions, the former of which we reviewed) and a track called “Oceans” they released last year.  If you’re a Dying Scene reader you’ve probably seen coverage of these guys there too.  A big influence for the band are Hot Water Music, and you’ll be reminded of Chuck Ragan’s gravelly vocals with Bet Your Life.

A Year Dead

So here the whole thing: one band I totally would’ve covered in this post are The Offensive Senses, but they broke up!  However, A Year Dead is TOS’ Aaron VanDuynhoven (vocals/guitar) and Jason Spence (drums) along with Cam Core on bass, who also plays that for Redambergreen (!).  They’re working on their debut EP, so…there’s nothing really to reference right now, but we reviewed (do you see a theme here?) The Offensive Senses’ Random Phrases EP, so…there’s that in the meantime.  Heads-up on A Year Dead though fo’ real!

Safety’s Off

Safety’s Off deserve to make this “Scene Specific” based on their kickass name alone, but they’re also just good.  They do melodic punk rock, and have a self-titled EP from 2014 that you can enjoy.  Not sure about anything new, but certainly when I know I will tell you.

So are you thinking “jeez Kevo, does London do anything but punk-based stuff?”  Well, yeah, but who gives a damn?  I’m kidding, there are lots of good genres there but we’re basically just gonna move on to one more with…


OH BABY, METAL!  Kittie indeed come from London, and are definitely one of the biggest artists to do so.  Remember when they put “Brackish” out in 2000 and people were like “what in the actual????”?  The ladies have gone through several lineup changes, but the constants have been Lander sisters Morgan (vocals/guitar) and Mercedes (drums) – the only original members left.  Kittie haven’t released an album since 2011’s I’ve Failed You, but are working on a 20th anniversary documentary called Kittie: Origins/Evolutions.

So what else do you want?  In the spirit of how punk this “Scene Specific” is we’ll keep it short, sweet and rawkin’.  Unfortunately London has dealt with the recent closure of noted venue APK, but still has Call The Office.  Bet Your Life bassist Jimi James also founded the London Indie Underground podcast, which also has a show on CHRW.  Etc., etc.  I’ve had a note in my phone to feature London for a while, so I’m glad we’re doing this because 1) I can delete that note, lol and 2) it’s a scene that’s shown an embrace of TPS as much as vice versa (as you’ll see in the linked-to reviews and other posts).  Go check it out.

Weekendcore: The Summer Set – “Lightning In A Bottle”

Yesterday I saw the cover for The Summer Set’s new album Stories For Monday, which is coming out April 1st.  (I also pointed out how familiar the cover looks, which again is fine – just sayin’.)  It’s the album that almost didn’t happen because the band almost broke up, but here we are.  It got me thinking about a song off their previous album, and so…here we are (!).

“Lightning In A Bottle” was released as a single off Legendary, which came out in 2013.  I first heard it on Sirius XM’s Hits 1 channel while driving through New England the following summer, and it made for a great driving song.  It’s a solid pop rocker that has a chorus you can’t help but move to, and subject matter that makes you feel equally good.  “Lightning In A Bottle” became one of my go-to songs of 2014, and many other times since.Stories For Monday‘s first single “Figure Me Out” is out so check that…out!  But of course, we’re here for the throwbackness (TM) of “Weekendcore”, so too enjoy “Lightning In A Bottle” – and since many prefer the lyric video over the actual one, we’ll post the former (as we screenshotted for the display pic, whoa).

The Summer Set online: 


Interview: Polaris Rose

Los Angeles alt-rock duo Polaris Rose are set to drop sophomore full-length Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies on March 25th.  It’s a nice, natural progression from 2014 debut Telescopes (which we reviewed) and continues an overall theme that’ll span a few more albums.  You can grab “That Lonely Road” as a free download right now, and learn more about what to expect from the record overall with this lil’ chit-chat with Peter Anthony (vocals/guitar) and Maddie Elyse (vocals/bass).

I find Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies is a little bit more eclectic than Telescopes.  Is that a fair assessment?  What influences went into it?

Yeah, we agree with that.  We wanted Telescopes to be one of those albums that – when a person hears it – they think ‘Oh ok, this is their sound’.  Nothing too jarring.  We wanted it to be a clear declaration of our sound/identity.  For Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies we knew that we wanted the sound to take what we did on Telescopes and show growth.  We allowed ourselves to showcase the dynamics in our songwriting more.  Plus, the lyrics and overall themes of the record get more mature and just a little bit darker.

With your songs all connecting as part of a bigger concept, what part of the story are we in with this new album?

Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies
is part 2 of a 6-part series.  Compared to our last record, OBVS gets a lot more personal and – we think – has a more mature sound to it.  It’s also just a smudge darker.  Our forthcoming records are going to continue to grow down that road.

Not that the video for “TigerBait” isn’t good, but Madelynn told me on Twitter that she – like me – pictured a “Thinking Out Loud” vibe for it.  Peeeettttteerrr why a no-go there???

You hit on a sore subject ha ha.

Peter: Maddie is still mad at me.

Being a duo that shares vocal duties, how does the writing process go?  Do you sing what you write or just collaborate on everything?

We collaborate.  We recorded around 35 ideas for Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies before settling on the 9 that are on the record.  That whole process of demoing and brainstorming goes through a lot of stages and reworks.  It’s a lot of bouncing ideas back and forth.

As you get ready to release the sophomore album, what’s been the coolest thing that’s happened to the band since releasing the debut?

Actually, getting Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies mixed by John Spiker and mastered by Eric Boulanger.  It brought the record to life and it was one of the most thrilling musical experiences of our whole lives.

Besides putting out Ocean Blue, Velvet Skies what does 2016 have in store for Polaris Rose?

Lots of shows. And who knows. We may release another record.

Polaris Rose online: 


Album Review: The Zolas – Swooner

The Zolas are intriguing.  There’s a quirk to what the Vancouver act do that sucks you in, and that’s been expanded on with Swooner.  Their follow-up to last year’s Wino Oracle EP and first full-length since 2012’s Ancient Mars, Swooner came out last Friday and finds The Zolas getting even deeper into the pop sheen of their sound.

If you’ve heard Wino Oracle, you’ll recognize opener “Molotov Girls” as one of three songs from it that appear on Swooner.  The song itself is synth-tastic with great hi-hat work – the latter being a staple of the album.  The title track is next, a bass-driven number with some great phase.  “Get Dark” comes after and is a song that was out prior to the album’s release.  In fact, since we included it in the most recent “Track Listing” let’s just see how it was described there!  I called it “a light, nice indie pop jam with a falsetto chorus that features the awesome lines “down for getting dark, cause the dark gets me/all the other lovers make it so heavy”.  Good assessment. (*pats self on back*)  “Fell In Love With New York” is another one that appeared on Wino Oracle, and we’ll highlight lyrics from: “you’re always surrounded/you’re always alone/I fell in love with New York ’cause I wanna atone”.  That’s in the chorus, and the song almost has a reggae vibe to it – it has that bouncy feel.  Up next is “CV Dazzle”, which is one of my favourites on the album.  It kicks things up a bit, and actually feels a lot like “Invisible”, which was released as a standalone single back in 2013.  So I thought that to myself and then…

…LOL, the very next song on Swooner is “Invisible”!!!  WHAT!  So it finally found a proper release home on this album, and it really basically feels like “CV Dazzle” but with even more rock.  The songs were surely written a while apart so that’s clearly not intentional (plus every artist has songs that sound similar because it’s the same people writing), but regardless I don’t mean that insultingly: it’s a sick one-two punch.  “Invisible” is indeed my favourite song on this album.  Moving on though, “Freida On The Mountain” has a snappy quality to it.  By that I mean you could totally snap your fingers to it, and the keys really shine in typical, evocative piano-style.  “Male Gaze” follows and is the final offering that was on Wino Oracle.  It’s really a connect-with-another song that solidly features what I’m pretty sure is some cowbell (it might just be regular snare mixed with some harmonic palm muting?).  The penultimate track is “This Changes Everything”, which has a bassline that sounds a lot like “Stand By Me” (or to keep the reference newer, “Beautiful Girls”!).  Overall I find it has the most 80s vibe on the album.  Finally, “Why Do I Wait (When I Know You’ve Got A Lover)” ends the album.  It’s a straight-up ballad, and a nice closer because 1) it’s nice (YEAH) and 2) it’s a different sound that really lets you chill, enjoy and reflect on the entire experience.

Swooner sees The Zolas go really indie pop.  It’s not at all a weird transition from what they’ve done though, in fact it’s quite natural.  Indie pop lends itself well to quirk, and as mentioned the band have that element.  Swooner is out now, so ya gots ta go listen and be like *swoon*. (Get it?)

The Zolas online: 


Weekendcore: Face To Face – Don’t Turn Away

Face To Face
 released their new album Protection on Friday, which marked their return to Fat Wreck Chords.  The band hadn’t released anything on that label since 1992 debut Don’t Turn Away, and in celebration of the reunion “Weekendcore” is gonna look back at that very album.

Face To Face began in Victorville, California as a three-piece with Trever Keith (vocals/guitar), Matt Riddle (bass/vocals) and Rob Kurth (drums).  Today Keith is the only original member left, and the band are now a four-piece with Scott Shiflett (bass/vocals), Dennis Hill (guitar/vocals) and Danny Thompson (drums/vocals).  But, back to Don’t Turn Away…I wasn’t into the band yet when it came out, but upon becoming a fan and listening to this I was obviously like *\m/*.

When I was getting into underground music in the early 2000s (basically the Vagrant roster, as mentioned), the first song I listened to of Face To Face’s was “You’ve Got A Problem”.  As you can tell by the super high-quality go-phone-go display picture of this post, that’s on Don’t Turn Away.  The original version of “Disconnected” is too, and yeah it’s probably the album’s best song (although I like the Big Choice version better).  Other personal highlights include “You’ve Done Nothing”, “Everything is Everything” (which I accidentally/awesomely learned how to play on guitar while screwing around one day) and “Pastel”, which has some of the most intense ride cymbal I’ve ever heard.

I haven’t even listened to Protection as of this writing (!), but since Face To Face are in probably my top three favourite bands (and the best skate punk band period) I’m obviously getting on that.  The throwback nature of the new album is by design, and if it’s similar to Don’t Turn Away well…it’s gonna rock pretty hard.  If you’ve heard the new one but haven’t heard what put Face To Face on the map, you listen to Don’t Turn Away immediately. That’s an order. *shakes fist*

Face To Face online: