Music Review: Bring Me The Horizon: "Sempiternal"

    I was pretty excited to hear this album, after really only being introduced to them last year in my quest to broaden my music listening horizon.  What I loved about this band is that they were fearless in combining brutal metalcore with some really progressive electronics, really setting them apart from other bands.  Their album, “There Is a Hell, Believe Me I’ve Seen It. There Is a Heaven, Let’s Keep It a Secret” was brilliant, bordering on insane.  With that being said, I’ve listened to “Sempiternal” about three times in a row, uninterrupted, and I can’t tell if I like it.  I can’t tell if its a step back, or a huge step forward.  The composition is brilliant as per usual, the music as well, however if the brutal edge was what drew you to this band, this album lacks that element.  Some of the songs almost mirror 30 seconds to Mars….I’m not joking.  Not that it’s a bad thing, its just not what you would expect.  You can hear what I mean in “Sleepwalkers”.  There are even songs where they sound just like Linkin Park.  If you were to play me “Go To Hell For Heaven’s Sake” without me knowing who it was, I’d probably guess it was a new Linkin Park song.  I won’t say the album is terrible because its far from that.  It’s just not something I’d probably seek out.  Definitely worth a listen to.

I’m interested in hearing peoples thoughts/comments on this album. Feel free!

Don’t Forget Your Roots

     It was the legendary hardcore band H20 that wrote “Don’t Forget Your Roots”, a song I hadn’t thought about in probably 15 years but popped into my head last night as I spent my Saturday night catching up with an old friend from my youth.  I used to rock out.  I did.  I had my days of drunken debaucheries and living room gigs.  They were a blast.

Here I am over a decade ago, topless and disgusting.

His band, “The Narcs” were coming to town, playing in the basement of a run down house, which probably had a clueless, out of town landlord that had no idea his property now looked like a shelter in “Mad Max”.   I have to be honest, when I was informed that the show was at this house (which was about 4 blocks down from my house), I was far from excited, in fact I was dreading it.  Don’t get me wrong, I was excited to catch up with one of my two best friends from back in the day, but at 34 years old I was not looking forward to getting THIS old-school.  I still listen to the same music I listened to growing up, only now, instead of living it up punk rock style, I’m planning where to plant my arborvitaes next year.  Instead of blowing weed in a group of dudes, I’m selecting shades of paint at home depot for the next room we’re painting.  To sum it up, I’m in a different place these days.  Last night though, I had a good time.  The best part?  It was kind of like being allowed to go back in time, re-live a moment you at one time enjoyed (minus blowing weed with a group of dudes), and then getting to return to my current life.   It’s a bizarre feeling that I’m not sure everyone can relate to, but I’m trying to explain it the best I can.
     I was supposed to meet him down at that house at around 9pm but hadn’t heard from him until closer to 10.  At that time I was cuddled under a blanket with my dog watching a movie with Nicole.  When the text came in, the reality set in that I had to head down there.  I slapped on a hoodie and a winter hat and drove down.  I easily could have walked, but even though it was only a few blocks down, it was a few blocks down towards a sketchy area, so I preferred driving.  That way if I were to be attacked, I’d be in a car, and I could just run over them.
     When I got to the house, I walked up to the front of it, only because I had seen a group of dudes on the porch, all dressed in their finest bad ass clothing, smoking cigarettes and sipping awful beer.

“How’s it going dudes?” I said, feeling completely ridiculous.

I’m guessing I sounded as ridiculous as I thought only because they smiled and directed me to the back of the house when I had asked where the “doorman” was for the cover charge.  I’m sure all of that was completely ridiculous sounding, but I didn’t care.  At this point I was feeling so insanely stupid, that I was amused at my own discomfort and starting to enjoy myself.  It sounds crazy, but that’s kind of how I am.
     I went into the back yard, which was fenced in (accept for the areas where the fence was destroyed and tipped over).  There wasn’t a light back there but there were packs of dudes smoking in darkness, and the ground was kind of muddy and probably covered in dog shit, but who could tell with no light?  I made my way passed these dudes trying to look casual and avoiding any eye contact.  It’s a weird feeling when you just make your way into someone’s house like this.  Luckily as soon as I opened the door I had recognized another member of the band, a great kid who I had known from back home as well.  We were super excited to see each other after all these years.  All of the anxiety of being at this place was thrown out the window at that instant.  I was going to lighten up, and ride this time warp.
    The bands played in the basement of this old house.  You went down a few concrete steps into this dingy basement, dark, loaded with people, and stinking of B.O.  I was able to see three bands play to a full blown mosh pit in the basement of this old house.  It’s funny how when I was young, none of what I just mentioned sounded weird to me, yet now it seems totally insane while I watch and cringe at kids applauding bands by pounding loudly on the heating ducts. What I had forgotten was how cool everyone was.  Not cool like Fozi,  but more as in “nice”.  No fighting, no trouble really, just people having a great time.

This basement was pretty packed and stinky.  I was difficult to take pictures because there would only be a light on when the bands were not playing.  

    This night was truly the closest to stepping into a time machine as I will probably ever come.  It was a fun thing to see again, and to be honest, if they come to town again, I’ll probably go (mainly to some old friends).   The best part was that once it ended, I got to return home to my regular life.  I’m not sure if this is a post anyone will find at all interesting, or if I just wrote it to archive this experience, but that was my Friday night.  Now its time to take down the Christmas lights.

New Music

   I rarely post music reviews, mainly because I normally hate anything new coming out.  I come from an era of amazing music so the bar is pretty high.  Over the last few months I’ve made a focused effort to research new bands, listen to new albums in their entirety, and discover numerous “similar artists” along the way.  Like many people, I am a subscriber to Spotify which makes it easy to “star” new music that I like so that I can revisit them.  As of late, there are two bands/albums that have been getting played almost every day for a few weeks now, so I figured I’d write about them.

The first album:

  Heartsounds are freaking awesome.  I can’t stop listening to this cd.  It is pure 90’s Epitaph punk at it’s best and happen to be on the Epitaph label as well.  I find that many times they sound just like “No Use For a Name”.  Great melodic punk loaded with technical riffs speed.  This band is awesome and their video for “Unconditional” off their most recent album “Drifter”, is awesome/hilarious.  

The second album:

The Menzingers are from Scranton, PA and are another Epitaph band.  I actually found both bands together at the same time.  This band is great as well, offering a softer sound with more of an indy touch.  They still have a great punk edge and often remind me of Alkaline Trio.  The most recent album, “On the Impossible Past” is 13 songs total, and maybe 2 songs from being a perfect album.  It’s pretty good.  

Music Spotlight: Billy Talent – Dead Silence

    I may sound old when with a few of these comments that I may utter in this post, but today’s music rarely impresses me.  Sure there are solid albums released on and off by both older artists and new, but I haven’t run into an album that I simply couldn’t stop listening to in some time.
    I grew up listening to punk music in an era where “punk was dead”, but it actually was in a new prime.  My time was not the Ramones/Sex Pistols era, but the flourishing Epitaph years with bands putting out albums in their peak, bands like Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, Rancid, even earlier Offspring.  The bar is always set high for me when it came to newer punk bands, which is why I rarely find anything that impresses me.  Billy Talent has always been amazing.  From their earlier album “Billy Talent” along with “Billy Talent II” and “Billy Talent III”, they have mastered their sound over the years and take it a step further in their newest release, “Dead Silence”.   I have not been able to go more than a few days without putting this album on at least sometime during the day and many of your lovely shirt orders I have processed while rocking out to it.
    The album has a different sound then the previous albums, still blasting you with their power riffs and harmony, but adding darker elements that the previous albums didn’t have.  They also changed up the harmonizing of the vocals, often at times sounding similar to the harmonizing that System of a Down used to do.
   This album is great from start to finish and I highly recommend it, especially if you have thoughts about music similar to mine.

New baby onesie!

    I’m rolling out the last few of the new of items before we shift into holiday mode.  The first of the new items is the new Robert Smith Cure Onesie.  Our Smiths onesie was such a hit that I wanted to take a similar approach with yet another ridiculous onesie using Robert Smith.

Sizes and Styles
Long Sleeve 0-3 Months $11.00 USD Long Sleeve 3-6 Months $11.00 USD Long Sleeve 6-9 Months $11.00 USD Long Sleeve 12 Months $12.00 USD Long Sleeve 18 Months $12.00 USD Short Sleeve 0-3 Months $11.00 USD Short Sleeve 3-6 Months $11.00 USD Short Sleeve 6-9 Months $11.00 USD Short Sleeve 12 Months $11.00 USD Short Sleeve 18 Months $11.00 USD

    I also put out a variant of the design in the form of a Toddler T.  Your kid will look insanely hip rocking this T-shirt at school while the rest of the kids stroll around with Thomas the Tank shirts.

2T $13.00 USD 3T $13.00 USD 

Both items are available in our Etsy and eBay stores (links to the right of the blog) and will soon be on our main site.  

New products in this week!

    Two new shirts and onesies make their way into the shops this week.  They are currently in our Etsy and eBay shops and will be at in a few days.  I received good feedback from the Thelonious Monk shirt/onesie so I wanted to pay tribute to a few other of my favorite artists, Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.
    The Duke shirt ended up being my favorite.  I wanted to find an old concert flyer to replicate.  I ended up finding an old foreign flyer from the 50’s.  The flyer was in rough shape so I had to recreate it, as close to the original as possible.

I created an Ellington onesie also that I will have pics of later in the week.

Spotify: I Am Legit

    Lets be honest.  Those of us who can navigate the internet and have a love for music have found “alternative” ways to “acquire” music.  Our mass storage devices are loaded with gigabytes, maybe even terabytes, of music.     I was never a slave to iTunes.  I could not wrap my finger around the concept of paying for music files.   At least when you used to pay for albums, weather it be cd or vinyl, you got something for what you paid for.  Something you could read, display, and collect.  I just couldn’t do it. I used to even have a problem buying cd’s.  Back when cd burners were the rage, I remember stores in the mall selling albums on CD for up to $20.00, regular price.  Why on earth would anybody pay for something that they can whip up in seconds on their home computers.  Both sides were to blame for the death of the CD industry, but I’m not blogging this to talk about the death of the record store.  You see, I may not pay for cds, or an mp3/mp4, but there is one thing I will pay for…convenience.
   Even when I “acquired” music online using other methods, you still had to load up the mp3 player, or iPod, or have your folders organized so that accessing your collection via cloud on your phone would be easy.  There was lots of effort involved.  An then (at least for me) I’d be bored of what I had loaded up within days.  Not anymore.  A few weeks back I decided to try “Spotify”.
    On Spotify’s website, you can download their software, which looks similar to iTunes.  After free signup, you get 20 hours a month for free, a trial similar to Pandora.  The difference?  You don’t have to sit around hoping that Spotify will learn what you want to hear.  You simply enter the artist, song, or album you want to listen to and listen.  Its like having all the music you can think of at your fingertips.

It’s not like “Grooveshark” where you have to sort through nonsense to get what you want.  Its that simple and it rules.  At first I was like, “20 hours should be plenty”.  It totally wasn’t.  I listen to music during my work week all day, so I was out of minutes pretty quick.  So for $4.95 a month, you can have unlimited access to Spotify on your computer.  Worth every penny.  For $9.95 you get unlimited access to Spotify on your computer, plus access to the Spotify phone app which allows you unlimited streaming away from your computer.  Unless you are in an area that has no cell coverage, you no longer need to load up an Mp3 player.  I love this service and am proud to be legit.  Highly recommend trying this out.

Lemonheads Coming to Buffalo!

    The memory for me is still clear as day.  8th grade was the year I sort of found out what I was going to be, at least from 8th grade through high school.  I sort of went from a complete awkward disaster to still being awkward but with actual friends.  Looking back on it, I was sort of taken in as an intern with our school’s group of delinquent skateboarders during a time when that sort of thing wasn’t quite as accepted as it is today.  It was a great time and I wouldn’t have had it any other way.  Music played a big part in growing up for me and I remember heading to the mall with my newly made friend Taylor to pick up some new release cassette tapes.  I had picked up Nirvana, “Incesticide” and The Lemonheads, “It’s a Shame About Ray”.  I was familiar with Nirvana at the time, but The Lemonheads were a band I was not familiar with.  To this day I still listen to that album, and for 18 years I have listened to everything this band has put out, and every ounce of solo work Evan Dando has released.  The one thing missing is that I had never once been able to see them live.  On January 14th. 2012 they will be playing here in Buffalo, NY for a special show to perform “It’s a Shame About Ray” and it is going to rule.  Don’t miss it!

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