Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Dubbies

I get excited about the Grammies every year 'cause I'm a music geek like that. I get disappointed about the Grammies every year. So, I decided why not make my own, with a bit of my own personal flair and music taste. 

I called them the Dubbies not 'cause of dub music, but because of my initials CFW. I don't expect anyone to agree with my choices for nominees or the winners, but I'm using this as a musical litmus test with my friends to see how close or far I am to another person's musical taste.

So here goes nothing...this is the first time I'm doing awards based on my personal taste rather than just ranking them.

The first category is:
Christian Rock Album of the Year.
Christian Rock has become more secular in reach than ever before. I'll admit, I'm not the most religious person in the world, but some of the stories of the songs from these albums always inspire me to become a better person of faith. That being said here are the nominees.

Flyleaf-Memento Mori
Thousand Foot Krutch-Welcome to the Masquerade
Red-Innocence and Instinct
Decyfer Down-Crash

The winner of the Christian Rock Album of the Year is: Flyleaf-Memento Mori.

Flyleaf's Memento Mori is a great record about faith. I listened to the stories about the songs such as Treasure and Arise and even though it was released late in the year, the messages of faith reflect so strong on this record. If you read the liner, it gives you a "story within a story" of why those songs were written. If you haven't heard the record, I suggest you do whether you are of faith or not.

The next award goes to EP of the Year.
EP's are a bite-sized record. They may not have enough material to feed your hunger, but they'll give you just enough to where you want more. That being said, here are the nominees.

David Hodges-The Rising
Deepfield-Limited Release E.P.
Fireflight-Unbroken & Unplugged
The Letter Black-Breaking the Silence
Skindred-Shark Bites & Dog Fights

The winner of the EP of the Year goes to David Hodges for The Rising.

David Hodges, the oft-forgotten former member of Evanescence has been making a name for himself in recent years, songwriting for artists such as Kelly Clarkson, Daughtry, and David Archuleta. After an unfortunate end to the Trading Yesterday project, Hodges found himself back on his feet and back on a record label putting out his first new music in 3 years. Even with only 3 songs and 1 instrumental, his material proved strong and I am personally waiting with baited breath for the next group of songs.

Our next one is Music Video of the Year.
Music videos are being considered a "dead art" as music videos barely get play on Viacom's network of music channels (MTV, VH1, BET, CMT). However, watching these 5 music videos this year have made me realize that while they may not be shown on those channels, great music videos still get made and judging by these 5, they are diverse in theme and mood.

The nominees for Music Video of the Year are:

Framing Hanley-Hear Me Now (2nd version)
Seether-Careless Whisper
Alice in Chains-A Looking in View
Rise Against-Hero of War
Lacuna Coil-I Like It

The winner of the Music Video of the Year is Alice in Chains for A Looking in View.

Alice in Chains marked their comeback with this nearly eight minute video that is about as disturbing as the first time I saw the movie Requiem for a Dream. It is equivalent to that movie in music video form. Each person in the video has an issue and finds different ways to deal with them and not always in the most positive way. That's a part of what draws you into this video from the very beginning.

The next award goes to Ballad of the Year.
Based on my musical tastes, the last thing you may hear out of my mouth is the very word "ballad". However, there is plenty of music that is as intense as it is beautiful and I would ask that you seek to listen to these songs as they are amongst the most beautiful songs I've heard this year.

The nominees for the Ballad of the Year are:

Alice in Chains-Black Gives Way to Blue
Hana Pestle-Need
Red-Never Be the Same
Breaking Benjamin-Anthem of the Angels
The Leo Project-A Perfect World

The winner of the Ballad of the Year goes to Hana Pestle's Need.

Throughout 2009, the independent artist attempted to rally the troops to get her song onto the now platinum certified Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack. While the actual attempt was unsuccessful, Need garnered over 2 million streams this year. Mission accomplished. As a result, Hana has gained enough of a name to tour the country throughout this year, which is difficult for an independent artist in and of its self.

The next award goes to a song that doesn't end. Yes, it goes on and on my friends. It's the Epic of the Year, awarding the best song that clocks in at over 5 minutes.

The nominees are:
Alice in Chains-A Looking in View
Green Day-21 Guns
30 Seconds to Mars-Kings & Queens
Red-Nothing and Everything

The award goes to Muse for Uprising.

Muse is the most underrated mainstream rock act in the United States of the decade and this song and many others are the very reason why Muse not only deserves to be played here, but headlining stadium shows as they have in their home land. For being over five minutes, this song is extremely catchy and actually danceable unlike a lot of songs of its length.

The next award is for the Best Remixed Song.
The nominees are

Paramore-Where the Lines Overlap (Acoustic Version)
Red-Nothing and Everything (Fight Inside)
Lacuna Coil-I Like It (Das Basslaster Mix)
Fireflight-Unbreakable (Unbroken & Unplugged) (Acoustic Version)
Chris Cornell-Long Gone (Howard Benson Remix)

The award goes to Red for Nothing and Everything.

The song "Fight Inside" was stripped down, slowed down and turned into this amazingly beautiful ballady track to give it a more dramatic flair. It's truly a different song when you hear the original "Fight Inside" on the album.

The next award is meant to celebrate the best covers of the past year.

The nominees are:
Chris Daughtry-Poker Face (Lady Gaga)
Paramore-Use Somebody (Kings of Leon)
Seether-Careless Whisper (Wham!)
Framing Hanley-Lollipop (Lil' Wayne)
The Leo Project-Broken Wings (Mister Mister)
In This Moment-Call Me (Blondie)

The award for cover of the year goes to Framing Hanley for Lollipop. The actual cover was released last year, but didn't get put onto the re-released album until this year. Anyway, Lil' Wayne is probably my least favorite rapper. I just can't get into his music, even if I tried. Framing Hanley took the song, made it their own by implementing a taste of their signature single "Hear Me Now", and somehow stayed true to the original.

The next award is for Solo of the Year.

The nominees are:
Five Finger Death Punch-Hard to See
The Leo Project-Half as Good
Orianthi-According to You
Pop Evil-Hero

The winner of the Solo of the Year award goes to Orianthi for According to You.

You wouldn't believe it, but a pop song has a better guitar solo in my opinion than all of the hard rock songs that I put on this list. Orianthi is also the only female on this list, proving that it doesn't matter what sex you are, you can excel as a musician with any instrument. The simple fact that this lady is making waves because of the fact that she plays guitar as unbelievably as she does is why she gets this award.

The next award goes to the other part of musical DNA, the riff.

The nominees for Riff of the Year are:

Flyleaf-Beautiful Bride
Three Days Grace-Break

The winner of the award goes to Creed for Overcome. When Creed came back together, I was extremely skeptical that they would ever come back and regain the hard rock fans that they'd alienated with Human Clay and Weathered. This song made a fool out of me thankfully and I'm glad that I can finally have a Creed song to listen to without feeling like a wimp.

And now we're getting to the biggest awards of the night.

The first award goes to Female Vocalist of the Year

The nominees are:
Angelina DelCarmen-Charetta
Lacey Mosley-Flyleaf
Hayley Williams-Paramore
Sierra Kusterbeck-VersaEmerge
Hana Pestle

The winner of the Female Vocalist of the Year goes to Hayley Williams of Paramore. Hayley has evolved in a mere four years, starting off as a talented teenager and is now a seasoned veteran. In that same amount of time, the band went from playing in small clubs to headlining shows in select arenas. The future of Paramore is hopefully bright, much like their bubbly, yet thought-provoking music.

The next award is for Male Vocalist of the Year.

The nominees are:
J. Loren Wince-Hurt
Tyler Lyon-The Leo Project
Ben Burnley-Breaking Benjamin
Michael Barnes-Red
Chris Daughtry-Daughtry

The winner of Male Vocalist of the Year goes to Michael Barnes of Red. This band does get a bit of respect, but not quite enough in my personal opinion. Michael Barnes' vocals on Innocence & Instinct are another I-word: impeccable.

And now for the Big Four. These are the most important awards, just as the regular Grammies.

The first of the Big Four to be given out is Best New Artist

The nominees for Best New Artist are:

Don't Wake Aislin
The Leo Project
Adelitas Way
Papercut Massacre

The winner of the Best New Artist is The Leo Project. It's hard to be unsigned, but don't tell The Leo Project that. They spent the better part of the past year playing shows with bands like Flyleaf, 10 Years and fellow new artist nominees Adelitas Way. They also opened the ginormous Rock on the Range festival. If you still don't know who they are, you've got all of 2010 to start. They're going to be huge.

The next award goes to Record of the Year.
I spun these songs more than any song over the last year and they are ingrained in my head perpetually.

The nominees for Record of the Year are:
Alice in Chains-Check My Brain
Sick Puppies-You're Going Down
Breaking Benjamin-I Will Not Bow

The winner of the Record of the Year is Hurt for Wars. It is a song that is as powerful as it is beautiful. As unfortunate as it was that Hurt got dropped from Capitol, their music has been better and more diverse than it has ever been. For a hard rock band to have so many influences in their sound and even in this song (from the classic rock riff to the classical cello to even country storytelling at points), it speaks volumes that this song is my Record of the Year. Now crank it to 11!

We now go to Song of the Year, an award that goes to the best written song...lyrics, music, etc.

The nominees are:

Ben Moody-10/22
Dredg-I Don't Know
Red-Never Be the Same
David Hodges-When It All Goes Away

The winner of the Song of the Year goes to 10/22 from Ben Moody. October 22nd, 2003 marks the end of the Ben Moody-era of Evanescence. This song damns himself and the world around him and we're all the better for having heard it. Many people have been waiting 4 years to hear this song and while it's different from what everyone expected, it is also better than anyone could have imagined.

The last award is the big one. The Album of the Year.
In a world where the album is also considered a dying art, it's nice to know that these five albums keep the art of making an album alive.

The nominees for Album of the Year are
Ben Moody-All For This
Ben Moody's album appeared as shockingly as he left Evanescence six years ago. Few could have imagined his album to sound as it did but many were pleasantly surprised that he did something as different as it turned out.

Breaking Benjamin-Dear Agony
Breaking Benjamin's fourth album proves that less is more sometimes. They didn't reinvent the wheel, but they sure as hell made it run better. The sound didn't change overall, but with help from Jasen Rauch of Red and the songs fueled by Burnley's private battle with alcoholism and the loss of his grandfather, this new set of songs gave them the popularity in the rock world they so richly deserve by giving them the highest sales week of their career.

Hurt-Goodbye to the Machine
When a band gets dropped from a major record label, a band tends to change for the worst or end outright. Hurt turned around and put out their best album to date. This is an album that, as I've mentioned in an earlier blog post, could be played seamlessly with the greatest grunge-era albums of our time.

The Leo Project-Every Song Reminds Me...
The Leo Project's new record proves that unsigned artists can put forth works that are just as good or better as signed artists. You couldn't tell they're unsigned on the basis that they toured the country for about half of the year and this record proves that they're growing and can even improve on this with time.

Red-Innocence & Instinct
Tradition and technology collided when this album dropped in February. An album that was loosely based on the epic Dante's Inferno, Innocence & Instinct lived up to the viral hype that surrounded it. This album proved that there's no such thing as a sophomore curse.

And the winner for the 2009 Album of the Year is Red for Innocence & Instinct.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Live Review: The Senate (10/21/09)

I haven't really had the luck of seeing a band that I've featured on here live more than once aside from Charetta and this group.

I hadn't seen The Senate in over a year and it was very different from what I'd seen the first time.

This show took place from the world famous S.O.B.'s. It was an interesting experience.

Whereas most of the shows I go to feature hard rock, this one was more of an r-and-b, nu-soul, gospel event.

For those who aren't into urban music, you're in for a real treat if you had the opportunity to go there. It features live music, which should erase the stereotype of urban music largely containing effects and samples. No matter what genre you listen to, there is nothing that can beat live music with live instruments.

That being said, let's fast-forward to about midnight that night. The Senate came on to a modest crowd playing tracks from Return to Democracy, an EP that largely deals with the concept of social change.

The first time I'd seen The Senate, it was a bit more raw.

This time, it was more refined and polished probably due to playing more live shows.

Instead of more than one vocalist, it was clear that Michael "Kellz" Coppola was the lead this time around. "Kellz" was schizophrenic, switching between Gerard Way vocals on "The Legend of Franquoix" (their single) to Jay-Z on "Madison Square" to Pharrell on "Changes". Much like N.E.R.D., The Senate was somehow able to switch genres from song to song (and sometimes within the song) seamlessly.

The part that struck me the most about this show didn't feature any notes. It was when Coppola went on stage and mentioned that his grandfather had passed away. He flew to Florida and back to New York City before the show started. They could have easily cancelled the show, but they soldiered on and the show went on as scheduled. It's a testament to their dedication for their fans and their craft. You have to respect that.

Friday, October 2, 2009

An idea for female-fronted bands...

A couple of months ago, I made a superlist of female-fronted bands and this just crossed my mind.

Keep in mind, this may not be a completely new idea, but read on anyway.

As you guys are well aware, there's a Rock on the Range festival every May in Columbus, Ohio.

I was thinking of having something similar, but just for female-fronted or even all-female bands. Kind of like Lilith Fair, but a little more badass.

It would be held in October and it would either be a one-day two stage event or a two day event. Proceeds from the concert would go and benefit Breast Cancer research.

For argument's sake, let's make it a one-day two stage event...

1st stage: Evanescence, Paramore, Flyleaf, Halestorm, In This Moment
2nd stage: Lacuna Coil, Hey Monday, Fireflight, The Letter Black, VersaEmerge
and perhaps a surprise guest or something like that.

I don't even know what you would call it. I jokingly said the Ovarian Woodstock, but I'm sure there's something better and I figure it'd be a great idea. If it got even more popular, perhaps a CD/DVD of the event with the proceeds again going to Breast Cancer research.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Hey guys, what happened last night? (A.K.A. The Death of MTV Part Deux)

This entry is going to be quite long, so pack your patience! 

In part because of what I blogged about below, I made sure to miss the MTV Video Music Awards. It has nothing to do with the artists. 

I just feel that MTV is not the "be all end all" for music videos anymore as they only show about 3-5 hours of actual music video programming a day. Don't worry, none of the other video music stations are any better at this point.

I didn't bother to watch. 

Last night, I'm between watching the Bears and Packers and online when I see a slew of comments about Kanye West. "Fuck Kanye West", "Kanye West is an asshole" and the like.

Within a half hour of the show's start time, Taylor Swift went on stage to accept her Video Music Award for Best Female Video for "You Belong With Me" and Kanye did...this.

3 million hits later, it's been the only thing people have been talking about relating to the VMA's and it got me to thinking.

Could this have been staged? I originally thought I was crazy, too. However, there's a lot more to this story than meets the eye.

Kanye West has showboated his way through awards shows since at least 2004 when he was up for Grammies as an artist for the first time. Nothing has changed in those five years. He has badmouthed MTV and the artists that play on MTV year after endless year and they keep inviting him to awards shows. Why? Because he likes the attention and MTV wants that attention.

My personal feeling is that Kanye probably did it because the producers asked him to do something crazy and spontaneous. Why else would they have let him on stage? He wasn't up for that award. Had it been any random person, they would have been escorted out before they even had a chance to finish. Security would have been there. But, he's Kanye and MTV loves Kanye.

Why do I think the producers did it? There are many reasons actually.

1. Look at the reality programming on MTV. The Real World, The Hills, and the like all exist for drama. Everything is edited in such a way to paint a picture and tell a story, because nobody wants to see a bunch of 20 somethings scratching their asses and doing nothing...they want to see drunkenness, sex, and fighting!

2. Something like this happens at MTV awards shows all the time to give people something to talk about. Just think about the Eminem/Sasha Baron Cohen situation. But MTV would never just fake something, right? Jerry Springer was a part of MTV's Spring Break way back when to promote his new movie Ringmaster when a fight broke out on his show. Days after it aired, Newsday posted an article with the party in question admitting that they put on a staged act.

3. Kanye gave The Insider something to put on their show the next day. Listen to the people that are there going about their business.

4. Beyonce's being seen as a classy lady. I totally believe that she is. She's the queen in shining armor for Taylor Swift and everybody was applauding what she did. However, she's worked in the business long enough to know how Kanye is and she probably has the bargaining power to work with who she wants why is it that she's re-releasing I Am...Sasha Fierce with one of the singles off of it featuring Kanye West? I don't know. Maybe, I'm selfish. Badumbumchhhh...

Jay-Z knows how Kanye is and how he acted last night, embarrassing his wife and yet...he still let 'ye perform on The Jay Leno Show.

Still far-fetched? OK, maybe it isn't staged, but MTV allowed it to happen.

Kanye West has continued to do this at every single awards show, many of them related to MTV. Why keep inviting him when you know he's going to do this? It's MTV and they want the attention. If they don't have that "coffee talk moment" the next morning, it's perceived as a failure. 

Personally, I see it as a failure that they can't do an awards show on the credibility of the artists that they play.

A one liner history lesson of the last decade of VMAs:

1999: Lil' Kim's boobylicious dress.
2000: Tim Commerford's climb to the rafters.
2001: Britney dancing with a snake.
2002: Eminem and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog.
2003: "The kiss."
2004: Welcome to Miami...booooooring.
2005: Fat Joe and G-Unit.
2006: Panic at the...fuck was that?
2007: The worst comeback of all time!
2008: The best comeback to the worst comeback of all time...and purity rings!

In just about every year, you wind up seeing at least one thing that you'll wind up talking about that may actually have nothing to do with the music at all.

It's the #1 show they have every year because of this and...big surprise, their ratings increased this year by 17%.

MTV has plenty to gain from this and from what I've seen...they already have.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Death of MTV (no, really this time)

For 12 years, MTV lived at the center of the world...Times Square.

At the end of this year though, MTV's time has run out.

MTV had an iconic brand name when it moved into Times Square.

They built a couple of shows around it at the beginning such as MTV Live and MTV News 1515.

Then, they got a little edgy. They started to host New Year's shows from Times Square and a tradition was born.

Then came Total Request Live. Even if you hated it, you couldn't deny the impact it had on the bubblegum pop era of '98-'04.

It broke Britney, Christina, Backstreet, N*Sync, Hanson, LFO, and O-Town (for Christ sake).

But they also had their fair share of artists that broke the top 10 that didn't quite fit the norm from artists such as Incubus, P.O.D., Deftones, and AFI.

Ever since 1992, MTV had been considered a pioneer for groundbreaking reality television with The Real World. They'd been good at it, so why stop there, right?

Well, 17 years later, reality has killed the video star. All those dating shows, all those shows about yo' momma, and all of those shows about do-nothing, know-nothing 20 somethings took over the very thing that defined MTV. Music videos were shoved to late nights for insomniacs.

Not only that, but the era of the Internet has brought on the I-Pod and Youtube and has effectively made MTV less and less of a tastemaker because there are so many other avenues to watch your favorite music videos.

Digital television has also allowed people to see music videos whenever they want to on demand.

The only time this year that MTV really made music videos its focus was after the death of Michael Jackson.

I used to be excited for every MTV VMA's. I don't remember anything from the last three.

Maybe I'm just getting old and past the MTV age, but it's disconcerting to see a channel that I used to go to music for become almost completely musically irrelevant. 10-15 years ago if you didn't have a video you didn't matter as an artist.

In some ways, it's actually gotten better to become noticed, but I can't help but get those nostalgic feelings that go back to that age.

You can't tell me that in this age that people all own a music player and download music all over the Internet that people aren't passionate about music. If anything, they want more.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Top Albums of the first half of the year.

Even though we've only gone through six months, this year has already turned out to be a more competitive and diverse year than all of last year's.

Top Albums:
13. Charetta-Defying the Inevitable: At only 9 songs, this is the shortest of all of the albums to make the list. It's a small package, but it packs a powerful punch (that's what she said).
Listen to: The Truth is Out, Stop the Cycle
12. Nine Lashes-Escape: Produced by Travis Wyrick (10 Years, Pillar) this young band has the potential to be a future Cornerstone favorite. 
Listen to: Words of Red, Escape
11. No Love Lost-No Love Lost: Just outside of the top 10 is this kick ass band from K-Town, Tennessee. Travis Wyrick also produced this solid record.
Listen to: The Silence, Break Me Now
10. Decyfer Down-Crash: When Caleb Oliver, the original lead singer, left the band last year after putting out the EP for Crash, I'd been skeptical that the band was going to jump the shark. Enter TJ Harris. He far exceeded everyone's expectations of how the record was going to sound and the band has remained among the top Christian rock acts in the country.
Listen to: Crash, Fading
9. The Veer Union-Against the Grain: For those of us who know their independent record from a couple of years ago, we were waiting for this to deliver and it did. It's a solid work from this band who's going to be touring with the top radio acts throughout the rest of the year.
Listen to: Seasons, What Have We Done
8. Dredg-The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion: This album that largely deals with agnosticism is Dredg at their absolute best. It's heavy, it's funky, it's groovy and it flat out rocks.
Listen to: Saviour, I Don't Know
7. Halestorm-Halestorm: Lzzy Hale turns the tables on the guys and becomes the most talked about girl rocker of the year so far.
Listen to: I Get Off, Familiar Taste of Poison
6. The Leo Project-Every Song Reminds Me...: This band should have a major record deal right now, it's ridiculous. This album got them on Rock on the Range and has taken them on tours with bands like 10 Years, Adelitas Way, and Tesla.
Listen to: Without the Sunshine, Half as Good
5. Karnivool-Sound Awake: The only band here that won't see an American release of their album until 2010. It's a shame, too because the songs on this record rank from amazing to fucking amazing. 
Listen to: Set Fire to the Hive, New Day
4. Nural-Entitlement: This is one of my favorite albums ever produced by David Bendeth. It is basically the male counterpart to Paramore's Riot!, which still hasn't left my player.
Listen to: The Hits Keep Coming, Me or the Music
3. Ben Moody-All For This: As an Evanescence fan, this was an album that I'd been waiting for since 2005. It's a completely unexpected effort, but all the more appreciated.
Listen to: 10/22, Nothing Left of Me
2. Hurt-Goodbye to the Machine: It is not very often when a band's material improves after getting dumped by a major label. Not only is this one of those times, but this is my favorite record of theirs to date.
Listen to: Wars, Well
1. Red-Innocence and Instinct: I really liked End of Silence, but they really stepped their game up big time on Innocence and Instinct. A lot of bands tend to suffer the sophomore curse and Red avoided it in a big way. They built up the hype of the record in a way that I had not seen   from many other bands and they delivered with their material.
Listen to: Shadows, Never Be the Same

Music Videos...

In the wake of Michael Jackson's death, I was going to discuss what has happened to music videos and why it appears that they're dying when all of the sudden, really good music videos have recently emerged.

Music videos used to make or break an artist. Throughout the 80s, 90s and early 2000s, many were these flashy productions that normally cost endless amounts of money.

Nowadays, the event that used to be the music video is not anymore. Many videos nowadays are simply performance videos. I want to go back to a time when music videos were creative and groundbreaking all of the time.

That being said, there are three videos that I've seen recently that still give me hope that music videos are still alive and well.

Seether's Careless Whisper (directed by Tony Petrossian)-Tony Petrossian is one of my favorite directors currently. He's directed videos such as Stone Sour's Through Glass, Rise Against's Prayer of the Refugee, and Serj Tankian's Empty Walls. He may be very political, but the way that he's done it is always creative. In this particular case, he uses the 80s and tries to tie it in with what's going on in the world today through an Atari-esque video game featuring the band.

Framing Hanley's Hear Me Now (directed by Mason Dixon)-Mason Dixon has directed all of Framing Hanley's music videos and this is the second version of Hear Me Now. I like that this video takes more of a literal approach to the first one. It's dark, but very sexy. You could say that this video's built for sin (HA!). Jimmy Swaggart never sinned this badly.

Alice in Chains' A Looking in View (directed by Stephen Schuster)-Easily my favorite video of the year thus far and it has nothing to do with the nudity. This conjures up bad memories of the Tool videos I watched when I was younger. Except, whereas those videos were more sublime, there was a realness that made this particular video more disturbing. It kind of reminded me of the movie Requiem for a Dream. There was simulated child abuse, simulated rape, an implied suicide attempt, and a simulated drowning all within seven minutes. As crazy as it may sound, this is what music videos are all about. That video set the tone of the song and vice versa. I guarantee you won't be seeing that video anywhere near television anytime soon. 

Thursday, June 25, 2009

The Death of Michael Jackson: My thoughts and personal memories.

I haven't blogged on here in about a month and it's sad that it took this tragedy to get me to come back, but I had to get my thoughts out and make sense of the whole thing.

He was our Beatles. He was our Elvis.

I was born in 1983, at the height of the Thriller era, almost 26 years ago.

You can play that record today and it will be as relevant as it was back then.

Michael Jackson, however, was more than just a song. More than just an album. He was a movement.

He was known to be an extremely shy person and yet, through the music he put out, he let his voice and dancing shine through and he got other shy people like him to do it, too. Perhaps it was why he was so influential to so many artists.

He was not overly political apart from maybe this or this, but his music got people who would normally be apathetic to take action.

Michael's professionalism as a musician, performer, and entertainer not only made people want to work for him, but made those around him better. Better dancers, better collaborators, better producers, and better entertainers. Michael was a better artist and performer because of it.

Above all of that though, the music that has come out of four decades as a performer has brought people of all cultures, all creeds, and fans of all musical genres together.

I remember when HIStory came out and "Scream" was all the rage. I was at a summer day camp in the suburbs at the time and met this huge MJ fan who was my age. He was a white Jewish kid and for someone like me who grew up in mostly racially homogenized communities (whether black or white, HA get it?), it was both interesting and wonderful to see that this kid looked past any of his differences and appreciated his music for what it was.

As Videostatic so eloquently put it, Michael was and still is inarguably the greatest music video artist of all time.

They weren't just music videos, they were events. I remember the time (again, HA get it?) I watched his music videos when they premiered on Fox. Even Eddie Murphy got in on that shit.

25 years after the Thriller video came out, after a quarter of a century's worth of technological advancements in how music videos are produced, the Thriller video is still considered to be one of the greatest music videos ever made. It is old, but has not aged.

In this era of music videos, there are very few if any music videos that can hold a candle to it.

So many artists twittered (or is that tweeted) about his death. Rappers, rockers, pop stars, and metalheads alike are saddened and are probably reminiscing back to a day when they saw Michael moonwalk across a stage and decided that that was the day that they wanted to do what he did.

Whether he was covered or parodied, one thing is clear, his music and legacy will never be forgotten. Thanks for the music, MJ.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Superlist: Female-Fronted Bands

I love women who can sing. I love women who can scream. I love female-fronted bands. Ever since Evanescence's meteoric rise in 2003, I've been captivated by bands that have the influence of a woman in a rock band. In what is generally considered a male-dominant formats of Active and Alternative Rock, there have been many bands that have charted with songs and have been touring the States.

I'll mention most of the bigger bands that I like before I get to a list of the small, up and coming bands that I've been listening to for years. If you haven't heard from some bands, take a listen.

The Main Eventers:

The Up and Comers (not in particular order):
13. Renfue
21. Estrum
25. Eowyn
35. Valora
36. UnSun
38. Ardor
43. Dilana
49. Lunic


If you have any decent female-fronted bands that sound anything like these bands, I'm all ears.

You'd better like some of them, I've worked on this list for close to two hours now.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

An Analysis of American Idol: Season 8

In less than two hours from this post, history will be made yet again as America crowns its American Idol for the eighth time.

I figured it'd be appropriate to talk about it. But wait, this IS a rock music blog is it?

Sure it is, but that doesn't mean I don't follow anything else.

This is the first season I've watched pretty much in full since Season 2. I really only like a few Idols that have won, so why should I care?

Because quite simply, I like the competition. And in times as they are, it serves as a nice escape.

Now onto the analysis.

This season can be best be summed up in two words: Adam Lambert.

Whether people love him, hate him, or are indifferent, this season has been defined by his performances.

People weeks in advance have crowned him as the next American Idol and that may indeed be so.

But the true test will come after. If he does win, what's his sound going to be like? I can't imagine what it would be like, but I'm pretty sure it's not going to be that of a typical pop star.

Is he going to be marketable past Idol or is he going to become the next Taylor Hicks? I would hate to say it, but it would seem that way. As shallow as it sounds, music is a business first.

I'm not knocking Adam for his singing talent (he has incredible range, but is generally not my kind of singer), however, I feel that his marketability will be the life and death of him. 

Kris Allen may be considered by critics to be boring and just another guy, but I honestly think that he's more marketable than Adam. At least with Kris, he pretty much knows who his audience is.

If 30 million people are watching the show every week for 12 weeks and you can't sell at least 500,000 copies of your debut record, you'd better believe you're not going to be on that label anymore.

Remember that this is a singing contest, but it is much more. It's a popularity contest. Alison Iraheta may have very well deserved to be in the top 3 and perhaps even in the final after the performance she gave. 

This season can also be summed up with two more words: Kara Dioguardi (I was waiting for this.).

The new judge has been met with mixed reviews...actually most people would rather have her gone. Say what you want about the woman, but when it comes to talent, she knows what she's talking about. She's a talented songwriter, no matter what you think of "No Boundaries", and is a hell of a singer.

This season has had its good points and bad points, but I think overall this show has actually become stronger. A part of it is because the Idols actually do more with the music. They now play instruments, they now re-interpret classic songs. Some for the better, some for the worse.

One thing I wish they'd do more of though is use more current songs.

Chris Daughtry used Shinedown's "I Dare You" and it became their most popular single at the time.

Chris Sligh used Mutemath's "Typical" and it became their most popular single to date.

American Idol needs to exploit its place in the music industry to promote what's going on now.

They already do some of that by bringing artists onto their shows, but I think they can do more if they used more current songs.

Well played, AI. Well played.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Favorite Songs (5/17/09)

It was safe to say that I was going to do this at some point. I don't want to make a habit of it, but this is a snapshot of what would be my favorite songs of the moment.

1. Sick Puppies-You're Going Down: Ever since this song leaked a couple of days ago, I've had the song on repeat. I haven't played a song this much in a row since Breaking Benjamin's Diary of Jane.

2. The Veer Union-Seasons: Catchy, heavy, and flat out great stuff. And we just found out that Sick Puppies and The Veer Union will be on a tour together with Hurt.

3. Hurt-Pandora: And speaking of Hurt...I decided not to put the lead single up here because that would have been the easy thing to do. I LOVE this song, the frantic verses and the beautiful piano outro. It's sex in song form.

4. Halestorm-Innocence: Another non-single here. This song was co-written with CFW blog favorite Ben Moody. It's part of the reason that it's my favorite song on the album...or maybe all of it.

5. Dredg-I Don't Know: Well, as I said before, it's kind of weird for me as a Christian to gravitate to this song because of its skeptical view on religion. However, I feel that I can relate to the song because of its hook.

6. Dredg-Saviour: Might as well add another one.

7. People in Planes-Mayday (M'aidez): This song's been out for a while but the video just came out for it and I fell in love with the song again.

8. Ra-Supernova: This band can do no wrong, releasing song after song of goodness. Most underrated band ever. Seriously.

9. Nural-Stop Me When You've Had Enough: How this band is not raping rock radio is absolutely shocking. This album is like a male version of Paramore's Riot!

10. Madina Lake-Never Take Us Alive: See Nural.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Favorite riffs.

Riffs are a rock song's DNA. 90% of the time, they make the song what it is. Of course, there are so many songs to choose from, but I'm going to give you just a sample of some of my personal favorites. Some of them are no-brainers and some of them are relatively new. All of them are awesome.

1. Alice in Chains-Man in the Box: And speaking of no brainers...

2. Deftones-My Own Summer (Shove It): This song has such a great riff to groove to. Easily one of the most recognizable riffs of the last 15 years.

3. Muse-Stockholm Syndrome: This is my favorite Muse song just for the riff. 

4. Sevendust-Inner City Blues: I could theoretically add any Sevendust song I want on this list, but I added this one because of how they made it their own and somehow made it sound close enough to the original without losing it.

5. Ra-Do You Call My Name: I love how this song incorporates a Middle Eastern vibe and then kills you with the beat.

6. Black Water Rising-Brother Go On: The song is only a year old, but having heard it, it really sticks in your head. This song was one of my favorites of all of last year.

7. Seether-Remedy: Probably the only Seether song that I could ever dance to. The song is a catchy party song that's not really a party song at all!

8. Three Days Grace-Animal I Have Become: Howard Benson's producing peak right here. This is the song I feel he'll be most remembered for producing because of the riff, the catchy lyrics, and the danciest drum beat this side of Paralyzer.

9. Red-Shadows: This song ought to be the next single for Innocence and Instinct. It just has to happen!

Submit a band!

I told you guys to stay tuned!

This is your forum. If you guys have a band or artist I should feature and you think they're good enough, reply to this message. I can't promise that I'll promote the band right away, but I promise that I'll at the very least listen to them.

I feel myself starting to run out of good bands to promote and I don't want to do that so that I stop writing entries. 

A band a day...The Fleeting Moment

Pennsylvania is really starting to become a hotbed for great rock bands. I've mentioned Halestorm, Breaking the Silence, and of course there's always Breaking Benjamin.

Could The Fleeting Moment be next in line?

The Fleeting Moment is:
Jordan Barmore (Vocals/Guitar)
Brad Kramer (Guitar/Vocals/Keys)
Jon Covert (Bass/Vocals/Keys)
Drew Kramer (Drums)

The Fleeting Moment kind of reminds me of some of the early 2000's pop-rock bands that were exploding onto the scene such as Vertical Horizon and Nine Days based on the song "Six Billion Pieces". Their demos seem to be moving in somewhat of a heavier direction though.

By the way, I'd like to thank the user Flyfreak on Tunelab Music who recommended them, making this band the first featured band to have actually been recommended by someone else on this blog.

If you have any bands that you'd like to recommend, you know what to do...or actually...I have a better plan. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A band a day...Damone

Sometimes failing can be a good thing.

Let me explain. Damone has jumped from label to label before finally self-releasing their third album and with each release, they have gotten better and better.

Damone is:
Noelle LeBlanc (Vocals/Guitar)
Mike Woods (Lead Guitar/Vocals)
Vazquez (Bass)
Dustin Hengst (Drums)

Damone started in 2002 on RCA Records when they released From the Attic. Their deal fell through and then they got signed in 2006 by Island who released Out Here All Night. They left Island in 2008 and then without any warning released Roll the Dice late last year.

I'm not a big fan of classic rock. I just can't get into it.
I'm not a big fan of pop-punk. I just can't get into it.

However, this band has elements of both in their sound. And I LOVE them. They can shred and they know how to write a hook.

Somehow, this band always seems to wind up getting a raw deal.

I think they could theoretically be added to the Hidden Classics list with their last two records that I've purchased.

Noelle's style may remind you of a Joan Jett, but her voice is more reminiscent of Karen O. from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

This band has perfect party music if you don't feel like dancing. 

Here's a live video for "What We Came Here For" from Out Here All Night.

If you don't feel like going on I-Tunes, you can grab their newest album, Roll the Dice, from Amie Street for a little over $2.

Bargain album of the year for me.

We now interrupt this music program to bring you this special report.

I got on TV!

Well, Roger Clark of New York 1 News approached me to get interviewed and he was a nice guy. I don't normally just draw attention to myself so I kind of forced it.

I've got to find a way to get over my shyness and while I was visibly nervous, I think I made my points clear enough. Thanks New York 1 and thanks Roger Clark!

This has been Christopher Fuentes-Woods, reporter for the CFW Rocks Music Blog. We now return you to kickass music already in progress.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Favorite Music DVD's

Music DVD's come in so many different forms: As part of the special edition of an album, as a visual companion to the album, or perhaps it simply stands alone.

This list was not easy as I think I have enough music DVD's to make my own cable music network (Hey, I can always dream...)

12. People in Planes-Beyond the Horizon Live DVD: Aside from the album being brilliant, the live companion of this album is also great. In some instances, it's a completely different experience to listen to those songs live.

11. Thrice-Live at the House of Blues: Very simple live DVD that features the very best Thrice songs in about two live hours of music. The set is every bit as diverse as the music found on The Alchemy Index , ranging from screams in "The Messenger" to the bluesy "Come All You Weary".

10. Sevendust-Retrospective: I'm actually a relatively new Sevendust fan as I didn't start getting into them until I got the greatest hits set back in 2004, which is around the same time that Corey Lowery left. This pre-Animosity retrospective goes through performances, music videos and interviews, including the still fresh accident that killed Snot frontman James Lynn Strait.

9. Flyleaf-Beneath the Surface: Consider this DVD an unofficial, official release. It's not a typical DVD, which is in part why I put it up here. If you ever wanted to switch places with a rockstar for a day, this is your chance to see what it would be like without having to sneak into their bushes.

8. Evans Blue-Unplugged Melody: This DVD came as a Best Buy exclusive to those who bought The Pursuit Begins When This Portrayal of Life Ends. Aside from the cover of Possession, every song from the first record was redone acoustically with sexy results.

7. Godsmack-Greatest Hits Acoustic DVD: This DVD, much like the other one is an acoustic record, but it's not completely unexpected as they also released The Other Side. It's just so well done though. They even managed to do an acoustic version of fan-favorite "Batalla de los Tambores (Battle of the Drums)"

6. Finger Eleven-Then vs. Us. vs. Now: This is the ultimate retrospective for any fan. Aside from having a CD full of demos and rare tracks, the DVD contains video material from every album they've released and somehow including two mini live sets bringing the DVD to almost three hours in length. I can describe how good the retrospective is in three words: Rainbow Butt Monkeys.

5. Seether-One Cold Night: Yes, it's yet another acoustic DVD. The great part about this DVD is that it features a song in their catalog that they'd never done before and a cover that they'd only done a number of times before performing it on this official release. But the most surprising part of this DVD was an in-depth interview with WMMR's Pierre Robert that actually got bassist Dale Stewart to talk!

4. Alice in Chains-MTV Unplugged: This is the classic MTV show at its best (when MTV actually stood for its name) with one of the last shows ever featuring frontman Layne Staley. You could tell that he was a bit distant, but he was still very much there if that makes any sense to you.

3. Demon Hunter-45 Days: This is one of my personal favorite DVD's ever. I actually don't include their live DVD, even though that's included in the 3 disc package. However, this is actually a feature length documentary that covers a tour from last year with Living Sacrifice. The cinematography in this DVD is just so stunning. It's completely done in black and white and it feels more like a movie than your traditional DVD. Even if you don't like the band, I think you can appreciate what is done on this DVD. My personal favorite part of the movie is when you hear all of the fan stories about the connections to the music. I wish every artist would have a DVD like this one.

2. Killswitch Engage-(Set This) World Ablaze: This is one of my favorite DVD's because a part from being a home show, it was filled with music videos and hilarious interviews featuring band members and members of other bands. Plus Adam D. is just ridiculous. This is the funniest music DVD I've ever seen.

1. Muse-H.A.A.R.P.:Epic doesn't even begin to describe this. It's a live performance and only a live performance, but just calling it that would seem like an insult when you watch this. This is a home show by one of the greatest live bands in the world. Watching this DVD isn't just a live performance, it's an experience. The way it's shot, you feel as if you're a part of the 70,000 that watched that day. They're not the heaviest band in the world, but they are every bit as intense.

Musical Elitism

This blog entry is inspired by a couple of reviews from a website that shall remain nameless so as to not give this person any credibility. I can rule one site out immediately: Tunelab Music.

This person seems to make it a point to bash artists. Every sentence more virulent than the last, but much like the reviews, don't seem to go anywhere. It's even worse than when Maxim had the Black Crowes fiasco.

I used to do CD reviews of my own back when I had the Rockturtle blog, but then I thought to myself "Well, I'm not a musician and I don't know what plays good, I just think I know what sounds good."

So that's what I set out this blog to do. Rather than focus on the artists or artists that I don't like, I make it a habit to promote the artists that I like in the hopes that those checking this blog out listen to them.

I don't claim to be a know it all and I'm definitely not holier than thou.

I hope you keep checking it out and keep listening. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hidden Classics

There are plenty of albums that I've mentioned on this site that are very much well-known. However, for every really great album that gets noticed, there's always a diamond in the rough. I spent a little time digging in the crates, looking for lesser known artists that never quite get their due.

1. Acceptance-Phantoms (2005): This pop-rock band put out this amazing record in 2005. I thought of the record as a fresher sounding Coldplay. "Different", the first single, was just the tip of the iceberg. It's a beautifully crafted record and it's just a shame that it didn't have more commercial success. The band broke up the very next year. Members have gone on to form bands such as Search/Rescue. One of the members went on to become part of Universal act Anberlin.

2. Big Wreck-In Loving Memory Of (1997): Before I was completely into rock like I am now, I remember watching Big Wreck's video for "The Oaf" on Muchmusic Canada and I remember I actually liked it and would watch the video anytime it was on their top 30 Countdown. I was lucky enough to pick this record up from a bargain CD store last year and love this record. The Canadian band released one more record before the band broke up. Ian Thornley went on to form the band Thornley, who released their second record Tiny Pictures earlier this year.

3. The Receiving End of Sirens-Between the Heart and the Synapse (2005): Great band with an atypical sound and lyrical approach. This is one of those albums you actually have to read the lyrics to because they really sound as if you're reading a poem. Just take a listen to "Planning a Prison Break". They'd go on to release The Earth Sings Mi Fa Mi before ending in 2007. I think VersaEmerge's sound is influenced by this band.

4. Revis-Places for Breathing (2003): This album is very well known among my friends and fellow fans of this music. As good as this record was though, it was a "one and done" record. "Seven" is one of my favorite songs ever. Justin Holman went on to play for the band Aujalyn. Two other members went on to form The Yelling.

5. Parmalee-Inside (2004): For the record, the link I posted of Inside is just three songs from the record since they didn't have the whole thing on Myspace. Also for the record, this record is great. It's a straight up hard-rock album that always fills you up and never lets you down (sorry for the copyright infringement, Bud Light). I remember seeing these guys the first time I went to the Crash Mansion with Rev(elation) Theory. The album is a nice straight listen. Unlike most of the bands on this list, this one is actually still together. Most recently, they've opened for Hinder, 3 Doors Down, and Theory of a Deadman.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Child Prodigies

I am a humongous drums fan. Drums are my favorite instrument and if I could play, I would.

For those of you who visit Youtube, you guys may have seen a video of a young 12 year old Tony Royster Jr. going nuts on a drum solo. I was still playing with my WWE action figures at 12 years old. How this kid did what he did is astounding enough. He's gone on to drum in a band called Lazyeye and he also has drummed for Jay-Z.

This week, I found myself at a loss for words at a four year old that has essentially killed my desire to ever play drums. The kid is not perfect. Yeah, I know. Shut the hell up. Give him two years, he'll be throwing sticks in the air like he's Ray Luzier. Most drummers when they play wear band shirts or just play shirtless. This kid's wearing Shrek like a little bad-ass.

But drums aren't the only instrument that little kids can own.

They play guitar and boy, do they!

I mean, at 8 years old, I barely had enough hand-eye coordination to tie my God damned shoes. These little kids play guitar like freakin' Mark Tremonti.

Kids are getting better at doing this younger. Drive A, Crooked X, and Black Tide have played with Avenged Sevenfold, Disturbed, Trivium and other great bands.

I haven't even picked up an instrument and I quit!

A Band A Day...Uriah

Knock knock?

Who's there?

Uriah who?

Keep Uriah on the ball!

It was a joke, come on!

But this band certainly isn't.

Uriah is:
Lucas Carbajal (Vocals)
Philip Beer (Guitar)
Chris Breedlove (Bass)
Ryan Wade (Piano)
Ralf Muegler (Drums)

My last blog entry focused on an artist that plays the piano. This band also uses the piano, but in this case, it's like Mozart Metalcore.

Anybody that knows the type of stuff I listen to knows that I'm a sucker for strings and pianos. Their 2007 album Letters in Blood mixes piano with Killswitch Engage-esque intensity. It's as awesome as it sounds.

Sure, you have symphonic metal bands out there, but none of them have the slick production or commercial appeal that Uriah appears to have with their music.

Hollywood will never be the same.

Here's a promo vid for a new song called S.O.S.

Buuuuuuuut wait, there's MORE.

Two members of this band (Breedlove and Beer) also play in the same area for a band called Mission:Black with Chris Collier (Vocals) and Dan Stone (Drums).

They've got a great heavy modern rock sound that is undeniably catchy.

Both bands have a really great sound and it's just a matter of time before one of them or both of them break out.

Here's a live cover of Eleanor Rigby.

As an added bonus, you can actually download their song "We Collide" on Purevolume.

A uh...Artist A Day...Eric Lewis

I normally pimp metal bands and hard rock groups on this site...but during this week, I went on Absolute Punk and found a video of this guy performing.

I couldn't believe my eyes or my ears.

This guy was playing both the inside and the outside of the piano. 

Not to mention, he put a dark, but brilliant spin on a song from my favorite band.

Not to knock Vitamin's String and Piano tributes to bands, but it's not what Lewis covers that makes the music sound great, it's how he covers it that makes it sound great.

His influences range from Coltrane to Mudvayne. As weird as that may sound, you may actually hear a little bit of both in the way that he plays the piano.

According to a poster on Absolute Punk, his band ELEW intends to record a full length album of covers from bands like Thursday, Taking Back Sunday, and Thrice.

Epic would not even begin to describe that.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who makes Steve Guttenberg...A STAR?!?

For those of you who don't know, I'm a major Simpsons buff and the Stonecutters song is one of my favorites on that show.

However, I'm not referring to that Steve Guttenberg, I'm referring to the one that made this article.

In the article, he talks about how the current industry is going to falter in three years and how the filters that separated us from the music industry have disappeared with the growth of the Internet and implied that it's hurt the business.

Which leads me to these questions:

Has the era of Myspace hurt the music business?

Have the multitude of bands to listen to actually negatively impacted the way you listen to music?

Has music become disposable?

Are you willing to pay for music? If not, why not?

Is too much music, too much?

For an audiophile like me, it's really hard to believe, but it sounds like a legitimate argument.

A band a day...Lovers and Liars

I've heard of this band for a couple of years, but I can't believe I've yet to give them any props.

Lovers and Liars is:
Stacy Hogan
Adam Nagel
Jason Stout
Stephen Taylor

A band from the bustling music scene of Nashville, Tennessee, this band has played for many national acts such as Seether, Shinedown, 10 Years, Theory of a Deadman, and more.

Their blend of rock may be very much different from the bands that they play with, but it is every bit as intense.

They are most influenced by and sound similar to Blue October

Last year, they put out a concept dual EP called Before & After the Awakening that deals with introspective struggle and cathartic release.

It's so good, even Jesus likes it. Jesus...Chad Kroeger...I get the two confused from time to time. How do you explain all of that radio play?

Anyway, Lovers and Liars is definitely a band worth checking out.

If they don't rock your socks off yet, perhaps you should check out performances of Nothing Left to Burn and a cover of Peter Gabriel's Digging in the Dirt.

If you're convinced you can buy their dual EP on Amie St. for less than $2 provided you don't wait too long.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Sexiest Songs...

My lists are going to be a little bit different. I don't want to post round numbers all the time. It makes things a bit easier to qualify and a bit more interesting.

1. Nine Inch Nails-Closer: OMG, duhhhh. You can't have a list like this and not expect this song to be on it. It's just not possible. While I'm at it, I'd like to add 2. "La Mer", 3. "Even Deeper", 4."The Hand That Feeds", 5. "All the Love in the World", 6."Me, I'm Not", and 7. "Discipline" (if you're into that sort of thing).

8. Deftones-Digital Bath: Even though NIN is #'s 1-7, I think that the Deftones' Digital Bath is perhaps sexier than those. 

9. Deftones-Change (in the House of Flies): I'd heard this song covered at a Seether song a few years ago, turned around and saw two people basically dry humping. It works.

10. Finger Eleven-Paralyzer: You may think this is a surprising choice, but this is like the rock version of "Jizz In My Pants".

11. The Lonely Island-Jizz In My Pants: That's right I said it.

12. Flyleaf-All Around Me: This song is less about being closer to God and more about being closer to God...

13. Hoobastank-Inside of You: Notice how most of the songs on this list are danceable. You can't have a sexy song without being close to someone.

14. Hurt-Pandora: A recent song off of their new album Goodbye to the Machine. It's less tongue in cheek and more tongue in somewhere else.

15. Melissa Auf Der Maur-Taste You: I don't know what's sexier...this song...or this song in French.

16. A Perfect Circle-Thinking of You: This may very well be my favorite music video ever. It's violent, it's sexy...exactly what masturbation should be about!

17. Psychostick-Orgasm = Love: This song is pretty. This song is disturbing. This song is pretty disturbing.

18. Red-Lost: Not so much an obvious choice, but listen to the words and I think and hope you'd agree.

19. Skratch n'Sniff-Addicted to Lollipops: Who knew that a remix would ever make this list? A mashup of Saving Abel's "Addicted" and Lil' Wayne's "Lollipop"'s as if the songs themselves had sex and made a baby with facial tattoos.

20. Framing Hanley-Lollipop: While we're on far as videos go, this was the sexiest one of all of last year. Unlike the porn I'm accustomed to, this one actually had dialogue! Well, that and strip poker.

21. Korn-A.D.I.D.A.S.: This is not a song about footwear, unless you're referring to fuck me pumps.

22. The Urgency-Fingertips: Because subtlety is overrated.


Friday, May 1, 2009

CFW Rocks Live: Summer Music Preview (Part I: May and June)

Just as today begins the summer season for movies with the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, I'd like to use today as the beginning of the summer season for music and with that...there are some big releases coming up.

Starts with Decyfer Down on May 5th with new lead singer TJ Harris formerly of Fighting Instinct.

At first, I didn't know how I'd react to TJ Harris being the replacement for Caleb. However, TJ is the real deal live. No question.

Decyfer Down:

May keeps it going with Green Day's 21st Century Breakdown on May 15th (yes, that's a Friday).

Green Day:

June starts off with Taking Back Sunday's New Again

Taking Back Sunday:

Scooter Ward's alt-rock project The Killer and the Star will be putting out their self-titled debut and the first album for Sonicstar Records/Universal/Fontana in June.

The Killer and the Star:

Dredg puts out The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion on June 9th.


Evans Blue will be releasing their third album, a self-titled and their first with new lead singer Dan Chandler.

Evans Blue:

Finally, Killswitch Engage will be putting out a self-titled new album on June 30th.

Killswitch Engage:

All of these songs are brand new and are something to look for in the coming months.

May = List Month.

I've decided that the month of May will be mostly dedicated to lists of songs or artists.

Could be as simple as what I like right now, but I'm going through a kind of lull as far as bands are concerned which is why I haven't posted as much.

Hey, why all the Christian bands?

I don't know if you people have noticed or not, but throughout the blog, I've posted a lot of bands that would probably classify themselves as Christian artists.

It's not intentional, but it's just so you know. I don't mean to offend, but I guess it's that some of these bands just have great messages in their songs...some subtle...some, perhaps not so subtle.

I think of a Billboard article that I stumbled upon from big-time modern rock producer Howard Benson. At the time, he was producing Third Day's new record at the time, Revelation, which featured huge crossover artists such as Robert Randolph, Lacey Mosley, and Chris Daughtry.

Benson said this in Billboard:

I personally like Christian artists because they believe in something. As a producer, a lot of times what you're trying to do is find something that the artists believe in or something to be confident in. With a Christian artist, you know what that thing is.

I don't know if I'd go that far, but just look at his past history with artists like P.O.D., Flyleaf, and his most recent work with Skillet. Clearly, he's onto something.

*goes on tangent*

Metal: A Headbanger's Journey is a great documentary that discusses the history of metal, debunks stereotypes, and plays to stereotypes. The film, in part, discussed satanism's connections with metal. 

However, I'd actually like to see something that discusses modern Christian metal bands such as Demon Hunter and Underoath. You can't have one side of the story without the other and I think it'd make for an interesting spiritual debate when you consider that these artists could be influenced by the same artists but in completely different ways.

I guess a part of why I made this entry is because I don't want people to think that I would only listen to Christian artists. I don't want people to think that I'm any particular type of musical elitist.

Heck, I even listen to Dredg, who's upcoming album in June The Pariah, The Parrot, The Delusion seems to be inspired by themes of atheism and agnosticism.

I was born and raised a Christian, but I suppose we're all entitled to question or be inspired by our own spirituality from time to time.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

A Band a Day...Even Heroes

And speaking of great bands from Arkansas, here's a group with a great sound and hopefully a great future.

Even Heroes is:
Nathan Schroyer (Vocals)
Bruce Curtis (Guitar)
Thomas Doss (Guitar)
Billy Law (Bass)
Matt Chapko (Drums)

Originally known as Lifter, Even Heroes hails from the Fort Smith/Fayetteville area of Arkansas.

I'd first heard of them through the Shallow Bay, Breaking Benjamin's board, about a year ago. You can hear a bit of Breaking Benjamin and Alter Bridge in their music.

Throughout the year they'll be playing throughout the region of Arkansas and Tennessee, but their polished sound could take them much further than that.

If I had to pick a couple of songs to listen to first and foremost on their page, definitely "The Highway" and "Stellar" to give you an idea of their range in sound.

They haven't been around for long, but they've got some great music ahead of them.

In the meantime, here are some live songs...

There are more really good songs on their Youtube page.

CFW Rocks Live: Evanescence (Before They Were Stars)

Before I begin, let me say that I apologize for not updating the blog sooner and that should hopefully change in the coming weeks.

Those of you who know me off of this blog know how big a fan of this band that I am.

Many of you may know that they hit it big in 2003 with the Paul McCoy featured rap-rock anthem Bring Me to Life.

But what many may not know is how they got to that point.

The band started in the mid 90s as just Amy Lee and Ben Moody when they were young teenagers. They started writing songs together and released their self-titled EP in 1998, which included My Immortal, a song that would be all over top-40 radio 6 years later.

Ben Moody, who wrote most of the song as a tribute to his late grandfather, wrote it at the tender age of 15.

I think a big reason why I liked them so much is because for their ages at the time of their popularity, their writing was so if they lived a lifetime before they've really lived.

Although I'd only really known Fallen, I'd eventually learned of their prior works which made them all the more attractive to listen to.

Sometime in 2004, there was a poor quality video that surfaced of Evanescence performing a Live cover of The Dolphins Cry. Ever since that time, there'd been no actual video of them performing before the Fallen era.

That was until two weeks ago when a video from 1999 surfaced on Ebay. These videos ranged from $25 - $105 as far as being sold and I was lucky to get a copy for the low end to which I did this...sorry, I had to.

The video is priceless because it shows a very young band of Amy, Ben, and background singer Stephanie Pierce (who later sang on songs such as Lies and Understanding).

I'm going to give you an idea of how some of the songs sounded live back then, how they sound like now and how the song has evolved...first of all thanks to user CloudStar86 for the Vino's videos.

I'll start with Whisper...


I've said it on other boards, but who knew that the band you see in 1999 would be the band that you see in 2003?

It's living proof that if you like an artist enough and support them enough that they could be the next big thing.

It's a part of what this blog is all about...finding the next big thing and drumming up support for them. 

Even if you may not be into this band, I think it's very cool that you can take a trip back to what they were like as a local artist with less than 100 people probably watching them live as opposed to seeing them in front of thousands. It certainly makes me appreciate video more that's for sure.