Category Archives: Punk

2014, It’s Been a Good Run

Well, here we are! It’s the end of 2014, and so starts another year. I’ll admit, I’m very proud of myself for making it this far with the blog. I honestly didn’t expect to find myself still blogging at this point. With that being said though, I would like to take a moment to talk about some changes for 2015!

This year, I’m going to be a full-time student, teaching swim lessons twice a week or maybe more, and training for a triathlon. My weeks might be getting pretty busy from this point forward and I MIGHT end up switching my update day — just a heads up so you can watch for that. I also have made some changes to my page. I’m really going to try to post a playlist on the sidebar at some point.

But I also want to talk about 2014 (I was going to update on Christmas Eve, but we had no internet *surprise surprise*, so I think a New Year’s post is appropriate).

In 2014, I went to a total of thirteen concerts. Not bad, if I do say so myself. That comes out to about one a month (which Alexandra and I were totally doing for almost six months). But which concert was the best? Here is my definitive ranking of the top 5:

5) Frank Turner

ft2

So, I sort of had a hard time with this one. I was going to say The 1975, because it was totally sick and Matty Healy is Matty Healy and I’m not afraid to fangirl about it, but then I remembered White Arrows/The NBHD. That was just an amazing show. The energy at that show was amazing and I discovered a really awesome band called White Arrows. But then I remembered Frank Turner. I was going to go with The NBHD anyway, but I ultimately decided on Frank Turner for one reason: he really cares.

Frank Turner 2At one point in the show there were a few kids who wouldn’t leave him alone or start heckling and he went off and had them thrown out. Ultimately, it kind of seems like a jackass move (sorry for the sketchy language, Mrs. Clupper), but after the show it almost seemed like he felt bad about it. But in the moment, he wanted to share his thoughts and his feelings that he pours into his music with the audience and these kids weren’t very respectful of that. Also, at the end, during “Four Simple Words,” he brought three kids from the audience on to the stage and gave them tambourines. So yeah, Turner wins.

 

4) Local Natives

Local Natives 1 Local Natives 2

 

 

 

 

 

I have no words. I wish I had words. But I don’t. I still can’t listen to Local Natives without being overcome with PCD. The emotion and excitement of the concert are still so alive, and I saw them in April. I mean, forget about that group of kids that stood in a circle at the front and talked the entire time. The rest of us were so involved in the music and the atmosphere and the lights and the emotion. It went from upbeat to slow and emotional to excited and everything in between. I highly recommend.

 

3) DMB (That’s Dave Matthews Band for anyone not in the loop)

This picture 100% belongs to the band's instagram page.... I was WAY too far away.
This picture 100% belongs to the band’s instagram page…. I was WAY too far away.

DMB will always make the list. They can go out there and not sing a single word and still make the list. The music is what matters at a Dave show. You make so many friends, and Dave fans are pretty die-hard. Dave shows unite thousands of people, the music is always good, you can dance like no one is watching, and the energy of the band really translates to the crowd. There’s nothing like yelling “YEAH” at the top of your lungs during “#41” with hundreds of other people. So really. Even if it isn’t a good show, it’s a great show. Everyone who can go see DMB should go see DMB.

 

 

 

2) JT

JT1JT2 JT3Honestly, I haven’t been to a show like JT’s before. Like, holy crap does this guy have talent. And the setup — I mean the stage FREAKING MOVED. I don’t even want to know how much that costs. Regardless, it’s really refreshing to see a pop artists with real instruments to accompany him. Plus, he brought out Garth Brooks at our show so we were basically winning as an audience. Would I go again? Probably. Could I afford it? Hell no.

 

 

 

 

 

1) Fleetwood Mac

FM2

I saved the best for last. I truly mean it was the best. You know how you see these bands that were super cool in the 70s and 80s, but now they’re just sad and they should probably stop (*cough*KISS*cough*)? Fleetwood Mac is not one of those bands. They haven’t lost anything. And let me tell you, Christine McVie KILLED it. Like, she sounds exactly like she did in the 70s. It’s amazing. And despite the fact that Lindsey Buckingham takes himself way too seriously, he’s super talented. They all are. I won’t even lie about it, I totally cried when they came out and started playing. I have nFM1ever been so overwhelmed by greatness. I have never been in the same room with such greatness. It was the most amazing moment of my life. I’m seriously considering going by myself to the show in Knoxville, despite the fact that it will more than likely empty my checking account. It was that good.

 

 

So there you have it. These were my top five, and if you get the chance to see them, I highly recommend it. What were your top five concerts on 2014? Let me know in the comments here, on Facebook, or on Twitter! You can also follow me at @notreallyindie on Twitter for updates on the music scene!

As always, keep listening 🙂

Also, if the picture placement is odd, I apologize.

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Make Yourself (update your blog)

Well last week was a disaster. I think that’s the first week I can officially say I didn’t post anything. I kinda feel like I failed. I didn’t post a playlist. I didn’t post anything else. I just didn’t post. I even started to post and then didn’t. I wasn’t even LATE, I just didn’t post. I officially suck at life, but hey, there’s a first time for everything, right? I still don’t have any Jimmy Eat World for you, so I kinda feel like it’s not going to happen and it’s honestly out of pure laziness. And not to mention, I’m a day late on this week. But whatever. I have something good for you. You’re welcome.

Album: Make Yourself                                                             Artist: Incubus

Wow, I just noticed that that's like a robot thing up in the corner.... SWEET.
Wow, I just noticed that that’s like a robot thing up in the corner…. SWEET.

There are a lot of good albums I could have pulled from Incubus, but I chose this one for a reason. You see, it might be arrogant of me, but I like to be able to say a band’s name and have someone I know with questionable taste in music be like “Who?” because then I can say, “Trust me you’ve heard them.” And I’m usually right because believe it or not, the music I like was what all the cool kids listened to at some point. Anyway, here we have Make Yourself, with quite possibly the biggest song of the late 90s/early 2000s with “Drive.” Look it up. Told you you’ve heard them. You may have been four or five, but you know you did.

But on to the album, right? I think what I like most about Incubus is that they do kind of encompass the spirit of the late 90s/early 2000s to me. And they managed to do all that stuff that mainstream rock was doing all at once and they made it work, and they didn’t sell out. Plus they have a DJ who does that scratching thing that people of my generation have only seen in movies. It’s like the best of mainstream 2000 combined with ultimate stoner rock.

Make Yourself was put out in October of 1999. It was Incubus’ third album, and it was a little different than Fungus Amongus and S.C.I.E.N.C.E. Make Yourself was slightly more… I guess the word I’m looking for is “subtle,” even though that’s not a word that’s entirely appropriate for the album, but it best conveys my meaning. What I’m getting at is that the band added some variety. Instead of all out raging all the time (don’t get me wrong, cause it rocks hardcore), songs like “The Warmth” and “Stellar” bring in a (for lack of a better word) mellower aspect before the rock n roll really hits. It’s a pretty good way to keep the album moving. It settles into a groove, it builds, and it slips right back into the groove. It’s a good change up, because it keeps the listeners on their toes and appeals to those who prefer raging Incubus and those who prefer mellow Incubus.

Now, what’s unique about Incubus is that they’ve managed to put out a lot of albums, always tweak their sound, and never lose their fanbase (until MAYBE their last album, but I’m holding out for a really good release next year). Make Yourself is a good example of this talent, especially since they dropped DJ Lyfe for DJ Kilmore. Maybe this didn’t have a huge impact on their sound change, but it sure seemed to. I find Kilmore’s sound more prominent than Lyfe’s was and Kilmore’s sound gives the record kind of a mystical feel, apparent on one of the albums singles “Pardon Me.”

I think it’s pretty apparent that this album wasn’t exactly industry changing, and as Tyler Fischer of Sputnik Music puts it, it wasn’t technically challenging either (his review is here). But despite these facts, it’s a great album. It takes you from the hit single “Drive” (which is actually fairly unrepresentative of the album as a whole) to the groove “Battlestar Scralatchtica” to the more familiar roll and toil of “When It Comes” and “Out From Under.” Brandon Boyd’s vocals and lyrics improved in my opinion too. He’s depressingly hopeful (total oxymoron there) in “The Warmth,” an easy groove with silky vocals and a bass that doesn’t quit. The chorus, which urges the listener “Don’t let the world bring you down” and “Remember why you came here and while you’re alive/experience the warmth before you grow old,” really resonates with the listener.

My final words for this album are “experience the warmth,” and really appreciate what Make Yourself has to offer. Not only does it rock your socks off, but its got a great message that Boyd manages to keep from being cheesy. I think Dirk Lance is one of the better bassists to come out of the 90s, Mike Einziger has mastered the art of switching up his style on the fly, and Incubus is a band that has a lot of chemistry. Brandon Boyd really expanded as a vocalist with this album and I really do find the addition of DJ Kilmore did a lot for the band — if you’re looking for an experience thats about as 90s/2000s as it gets, “Battlestar Scralatchtica” is your jam. I think this album marks a major growth for the band and might make my top list for the early 2000s.

So that’s what I have for you. I really encourage you to go listen to this album because just about everyone I’ve met who has given Incubus a shot hasn’t had regret. Until next week, and I really do mean next week and not the week after, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: Drive (so help me God you had better know this one already), Stellar, Pardon Me, Privilege, The Warmth, and last but not least Battlestar Scralatchtica

Stay Crooked, Guys

Well, my favorite month is here! And now it’s time for one of my favorite albums, so straight to the music shall we?

Album: Them Crooked Vultures                                   Artist: Them Crooked Vultures

TCV

Them Crooked Vultures is what we refer to as a “supergroup.” Comprised of Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Dave Grohl of basically anything amazing (and by that I mean Nirvana and The Foo Fighters), and John Paul Jones of this little band you may have heard of called Led Zeppelin, they really just can’t go wrong.

Them Crooked Vultures started in 2009 in Los Angeles. I don’t know exactly what made these three rock gods get together and be like, “Hey, let’s do something amazing,” but it obviously happened at some point. The group was selling out concerts before their debut even dropped.

Them Crooked Vultures (said self-titled debut) opens with “No One Loves Me & Niether Do I,” and I think it’s one of the best demonstrations of what the album is all about. It starts out really heavy on a Led Zepp kinda grove paired with some always tight drumming from Dave Grohl and then switches to the dirty rock n’ roll of Queens of the Stone Age. Admittedly, I wouldn’t say the album is more awesome than any of it’s parts; I find it to be a little drawn out sometimes. However, I would say it is just as awesome as it’s parts. Josh Homme is a really talented guitarist, Dave Grohl is basically the epitome of everything a drummer should be, and well, JPJ manages to play just about everything else. Like seriously, I’m pretty sure he plays about half this album.

One of my favorite things about Them Crooked Vultures is the grove of it. These guys just lock in together and really bust it out. The perfect example of this is “Gunman;’ it’s the kind of song that makes you bob your head while JPJ and Grohl just go. Homme manages to pull it back though; his slower vocals sync in perfect balance and his later guitar solo pushes it right back up. But grove isn’t everything. The weirdness is just as important. For example, “Interlude With Ludes,” reminds listeners that sometimes thinking outside the box is just what rock n’ roll needs. It’s very Led Zepplin/Queens of the Stone Age-esque.

Apparently I’m not the only one that cares about the Vultures though. Their first single “New Fang” (again heavy on the Led Zepp) won a Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance (which is honestly the only award I care about anymore). It’s honestly almost everything you could hope a Foo/Queens/Led Zepp mashup could be. Almost.

In closing, there have been a lot of supergroups to do it right (Traveling Wilburys, for example) and even a lot to do it wrong (I mean, too many egos in one place doesn’t always go as planned). I personally think that Them Crooked Vultures managed to get it right on this one. I won’t lie, I was a little disappointed when we didn’t get a new Vultures album this past year like supposed rumor had it, and I can only hope that these guys get together again. They’re all obviously having fun, and it translates: this is a fun album to listen to.

Any suggestions? I won’t lie, I’m not promising anything of any quality for next week so I would really appreciate some help! Until next week, keep listening!

Honorable Song Mentions: No One Loves Me & Neither Do I, Mind Eraser No Chaser, New Fang, Scumbag Blues, Bandoliers, Gunman, Spinning In Daffodils

Also, sidenote: my good internet friend and fellow music writer Sam has an album listening club if you’d like to check it out. I’m thinking about joining myself! You can find the link to his page over in the sidebar.

On The Road Again

Well this post is kind of last minute, and quite honestly, thought of in five minutes. I was thinking about doing The Neighbourhood’s I Love You, but I’m seeing them tomorrow and decided to save it for next week (so that I can post pictures). And since it’s my birthday, I didn’t really want to spend it writing a long post (as much as I love doing that) because I had other exciting activities planned.

So with that little intro, and with the tidbit of knowledge that I’ll be driving for four hours tomorrow, I give you the ultimate travel playlist (partly brought to you by my co-pilot Alexandra Gates). I’ll give you an update on how she does next week.

  • Midnight City — M83
  • A Little Help From My Friends — The Beatles
  • Breakers — Local Natives
  • Mr. Brightside — The Killers
  • Killer Queen — Queen
  • Chelsea Dagger — The Fratellis
  • Recovery — Frank Turner
  • She’s A Rebel — Green Day
  • Last Night — The Strokes
  • Santaria — Sublime
  • Shake It Out — Florence + The Machine
  • Sun Hands — Local Natives
  • Breakfast In America — Supertramp
  • West Coast — The Neighbourhood
  • When You Were Young — The Killers
  • Ants Marching — Dave Matthews Band
  • Fluorescent Adolescence — Arctic Monkeys
  • Dig — Incubus
  • Do I Wanna Know? — Arctic Monkeys
  • Salty Sweet — MS MR
  • Thriller — Michael Jackson
  • Girls — The 1975
  • Bennie And The Jets — Elton John
  • Longview — Green Day
  • Go With The Flow — Queens of the Stone Age

What’s your favorite travel music? Leave comments here, twitter, or Facebook. Until next week, keep listening!

car

Another Gem From The 90s

Well it’s been another crazy week. I promise you, I have a list of suggestions on my phone, and I plan on getting to each and every one of them at some point in time. However, this week was another one of those “Crap! It’s Monday and I still don’t know what I’m writing about this week” weeks and so I picked something easy by one of my favorite bands. And so I begin to impose this week’s music on you.

Album: Dookie                                                                                       Artist: Green Day

Dookie

Boy, do I love Green Day. I love Green Day for a lot of reasons. For one, their frontman’s anniversary is on my birthday (so that basically makes me his family’s new best friend, even if they don’t know that), they have a side project called Foxboro Hot Tubs which they play secret shows under, they’re great with fans, and their bass player supposedly has the best Instagram account ever, according to the Huffington Post. Really, I can go on all day with fun facts about Green Day just as a band, but I guess my job is to post about an album, right?

I chose Dookie as my first Green Day post because (besides the obvious “it’s awesome”) it was their first studio album released by a major record label. Now Dookie wasn’t their first album; 39/Smooth and Kerplunk! came first, but neither of those albums were produced with Reprise Records. In fact, it’s pretty common knowledge that Green Day took a lot of heat from the punk scene for “selling out” by signing with such a major label.

It was a good move, if you ask me.

Dookie was released in 1994 and produced by Rob Cavallo, who later went on to produce a lot of really good albums including a few more by Green Day, and even some by bands such as Dave Matthews Band (Big Whiskey and the Groo Grux King), Fleetwood Mac (Say You Will), and The Goo Goo Dolls. I must like this guy or something, cause he’s produced a lot of my favorite artists.

But on to the music. To the average listener, the lyrics may not seem overly important and the sound might seem like a lot of guitars and drums and punk, but really. Dookie is so much more than that. You see, a lot of really good things came out of the 90’s. Musically, I mean. We can leave the overalls back in the 90’s. But what I’m getting at is you know that rock was the top genre when you watch a show like Buffy and the theme song is good old fashioned rock n’ roll. Or rather, grunge, if you want to get technical. I’ve gotten way off track, but basically my point to all of that was Dookie was one of those really good things. The album did a lot for the punk genre, despite the “purists” that accused the band of selling out. And that’s pretty common. Green Day still faces those “punk” criticisms from people who call Green Day a terrible band purely because they’ve embraced their own punk-pop sound. Seriously, go check YouTube for some evidence. But Green Day is actually very talented.

I think one of the reasons I like Green Day so much is because everyone in the band is very good at what they do. Armstrong is an excellent vocalist (which honestly might not be your first impression if you’re new to the band), and Mike Dirnt and Tre Cool are very good at what they play. I think the best demonstration of each members’ talent from this album would be the single “Longview,” which might have one of the best baselines ever written (fun fact: Mike Dirnt wrote the walking bass while tripping on acid). Between that and Tre Cool’s drumming, you’ve got one awesome song.

Now upon first listen, Dookie seems a little crazy. Or at least it might to people of my generation who were more familiar with tracks like “Boulevard of Broken Dreams” and “Wake Me Up When September Ends,” but that’s what I like about it. It’s got a lot of catchy hooks and tight melodies, and Billie Joe sings his lines in a way that I personally find to be unique. The rough punk sound is what makes the album. There’s never an unexciting or down-beat moment.

And while listening to someone whine about how bored they are might sound like a terrible experience, Green Day actually makes it quite fun, and Billie Joe gets pretty clever with his lyrics. His opening “I declare I don’t care no more,” is certainly a slap in the face to the “purists” and the album closes with a great track called “F.O.D.,” which basically was a pretty way of telling the haters to go to hell (the track stands for f*** off and die). There’s contrast, too, as Armstrong sings about his panic disorder and bisexuality.

And the best part about the album? Green Day has always been a band to go over the top and manage to not take themselves too seriously. This amazing quality is perfectly demonstrated in the album’s hidden track “All By Myself” (written and sung by drummer Tre Cool). If you can manage to make it through the minute and a half or so of silence after “F.O.D.,” then you’ll come across this wonderfully creepy and ultimately hilarious track, which you can hear the band members giggle all the way through.

To close, I will admit that while I really enjoy listening to Dookie, it isn’t my favorite album from the band (don’t hate me for it). I’m not saying that it was the defining moment for the 90s either. However, you can’t deny the effect the album had on the genre. That’s probably why it made #30 on Rolling Stone’s 100 Best Albums of the 90’s. If you’re looking for a good rock music from a band that brings a lot to the table, Dookie is your album.

Because this album has so many singles and I feel quite strongly about 90s music, my “Honorable Song Mentions” is going to be a bit different this week. As always, comments, suggestions, and even snide remarks can be left here, Facebook, or Twitter!

Songs You Should Recognize: Longview, Welcome To Paradise, Basket Case, When I Come Around (listen to some of these if you don’t — they’re like staples to a proper music diet)

Songs You Should Listen To That Aren’t On The Above List: Having A Blast, Pulling Teeth, She, F.O.D. (and All By Myself)