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It must really suck to be Four Year Strong right now

February 9, 2010

March can’t come soon enough. Not only does the weather in Chicago change from “absolutely terrible” to “only kind of terrible,” but March also marks the release of one of the most anticipated albums of the year.

Four Year Strong will release Enemy of the World on March 9, 2010. The few songs we have heard from the followup to their 2007 release Rise or Die Trying have blown nearly everyone away.

You can pick up this album March 9

Today, AbsolutePunk.net put up the band’s first single from Enemy of the World. “Wasting Time (Eternal Summer)” can be streamed in it’s entirety right here.

The song is fast and fun, and if the rest of the songs on this album are anything like it, we are in for a fantastic album.

Songs from their 7″ comically titled It’s Not The Size of the 7″…It’s How You Use It, also preview what we can expect from the new album.

“It Must Really Suck to be Four Year Strong Right Now” was the first song that was made public from the new album. This sounds like a classic Four Year Strong song, picking up right where Rise or Die Trying left off. Of course, in standard Four Year Strong fashion, the song is equipped with a poppy breakdown that will please all of the band’s fans.

Enemy of the World is shaping up to be an amazing record, just in time for spring. I can see this album blaring from my car with the windows down all summer.

The only thing that makes me want to tone down my excitement is how pumped I was for Set Your Goals to release This Will be the Death of Us last year. We all know that Four Year Strong and Set Your Goals will always be compared to one another (even though FYS crushes SYG in every aspect). From the first songs I heard from This Will be the Death of Us, it was on its way to the top of my album of the year list, until the album was released. This Will be the Death of Us is one of the cheesiest albums of all time. Nearly every song had a guest appearance as to say “Hey! Look how many friends we have!” The Hayley Williams cameo will go down as one of the worst in history. That album had so much hype behind it, and in my opinion, it went down harder than the Hindenburg.

But, Four Year Strong is a much better band. I think Enemy of the World will be one of the best albums of the year. Upsides by The Wonder Years might have some serious competition at the top of my list.

Check out Four Year Strong on Myspace where you can listen to new songs and pre-order Enemy of the World.

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Motion City Soundtrack plays for Team Coco

February 4, 2010

Motion City Soundtrack played “Her Words Destroyed My Planet” on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” Tuesday night. Unfortunately, the gubernatorial race in Illinois ran super late, so the show didn’t air until like 3:00 a.m. So here it is for all of you folks who didn’t get a chance to see it.

It’s nice to see a band actually having fun on TV. You could tell they were nervous, but it turned out to be a really good performance. I also enjoyed the Jay Leno diss.

My Dinosaur Life debuted at number 15 on the Billboard charts in its first week. I suggest picking it up. You can check out my review here.

You can check out the higher-quality video on Hulu.

Enjoy!

The Bamboozle hits Chicago! Literally, it feels like I just got hit.

February 3, 2010

Rumors have been swirling about a Bamboozle festival in Chicago for months now. Needless to say, I was pretty excited because I have driven to New Jersey twice to see this star-studded show. That’s a twelve-hour drive.

Both the New Jersey and California dates have been shaping up to look pretty decent.

New Jersey gets Weezer, Paramore, fun. Polar Bear Club, The Aquabats, even Hanson!

California gets AFI, Circa Survive, Envy on the Coast, Say Anything, The Bouncing Souls and a Something Corporate reunion.

The excitement has been mounting for the announcement of Chicago’s lineup. Who will it be? They have to be good right?

Well, they were announced today.

And they are:

Drum roll please!

Are you kidding me?

This is what we get?

We’re Chicago. We deserve better than this. We have Lollapalooza. We have The Taste. We have Mike Ditka. Come on!

And what makes it even better is the fact that tickets go on sale this Saturday. You want me to drop money on this? Without announcing anyone else? REALLY?

This place is going to be crawling with jr. high kids in neon skinny jeans rocking Kanye glasses. I bet they will smell too.

I have seen so many amazing bands at Bamboozle in New Jersey, including:

The Movielife Reunion with Vinnie Caruana

Jimmy Eat World

Weird Al

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones

New Found Glory

Brand New

I Am the Avalanche and a ton more.

I don’t see any bands of that caliber here. 3oh!3? Gross. Cobra Starship? You can have ’em.

Even seeing MC Hammer and Bret Michaels in New Jersey was way better than this.

Bamboozle people, I am very disappointed in you so far. You better come through and announce some awesome bands, or you will not be getting any of my money.

You can see updates on who will be playing the festival at thebamboozle.com

The Safe House

February 2, 2010

In a dark alley in Milwaukee, there is a restaurant that most civilians would easily pass up. However; any good spy knows there is always a Safe House at 779 North Front Street. Or for those without a background in espionage, you could have just seen it on the Food Network. Whatever works.

That is how my friends and I found out about this restaurant. We set a date to make the haul from the Southwest Side of Chicago up to the land of cheese on January 23. Of course, in tradition with every trip to Milwaukee, we got lost. Even with the GPS. Oh technology.

When you walk up to this restaurant, it doesn’t look  like anything you’ve ever seen before. Hidden behind signs that read “International Exports Ltd.” is a small door that leads you into a room that looks like it could be Sherlock Holmes’ study. You are asked if you know the password. I did, but being the ignorant foreigner I am, I blurted it out. Of course, no spy should just go around shouting out passwords. So my girlfriend Gina and I had to pretend we were bunnies on a farm and had to hop around the room before we were granted access. This is embarrassing enough to do in front of a few people, but there is a camera in the room which sends the live feed to TVs around the restaurant, which provides great entertainment while eating your meal. After entering the restaurant, you can see everyone at the bar staring at you.

The walls are decked out with pictures from spy movies and all sorts of memorabilia. The whole restaurant is a maze of rooms and stairs. Supposedly, someone got locked into the restaurant overnight once while in a secret passage. I don’t want to give everything away here, but trust me, it’s the most original restaurant I have ever been in.

There is a wide array of spy-themed drinks and food on the menu. The Mozzarella Wraps were unlike any type of cheese sticks I have ever had. I would highly recommend them as an appetizer. I got the Vegetarian Focaccia Sandwich, which was good, but nothing to write home about. Nearly everyone at the table got a drink that came in a different type of souvenir glass, which comes at a greater price, but the glasses are really cool.

At the end of the night, we explored the restaurant some more. Then all eight of us piled into a phone booth, put in a quarter, and disappeared into the foggy night.

Overall, the food was decent, but the atmosphere was phenomenal. It was a really fun experience that I would recommend to anyone who is in the area. Give yourself some extra time because there can be a wait. Reservations are highly recommended.

Address: 779 North Front Street, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Website

Glassjaw is an enigma

January 29, 2010
tags:

"These jeans are too tiiiiiiight."

Glassjaw is a band that does whatever they want. They talk trash. They act however they want on stage. And a lot of the time, people wonder if they really care about their fans. It’s hard to think of another band that has so much consistent hype behind them, even though they haven’t released an album since 2002.

The band is driven by core members Daryl Palumbo and Justin Beck. They have released two full length albums, 2000’s Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Silence on Roadrunner Records and 2002’s Worship and Tribute on Warner Brothers. Both albums feature an aggressive style which defies a genre. They draw fans from all walks of life, from metal heads to pop-punk kids. And their live show is also one of the best you will ever see.

I remember being excited for a new album when I heard them play “Natural Born Farmer” at Warped Tour in 2003. That excitement was extinguished quickly when rumors started swirling about the band breaking up in 2004. I think everyone pretty much knew that this earth-shattering band was through. It seemed like the rise of Head Automatica would be the final nail in the coffin. Palumbo was no longer a straight edge icon, but a disco king. And Beck was concentrating on running the super-successful online merchandise store, MerchDirect.

Then, the band came out of retirement. I immediately bought tickets to see them at the Chicago House of Blues in December 2006 for their first show back in the Windy City. More new-album rumors were flying around than ever. Videos were circulating on the internet with the band playing new songs and talking about hitting the studio. Their ever-mysterious Myspace page had clips of drum loops and bass lines, hinting that they were recording, but nothing was set in stone.

So here we are. It’s 2010. Eight years after their last studio release. No one really knows what the band is doing. Reviews of their latest mini-tour with Brand New say their live shows are more like public band practices.

But, if you really think about it, what incentive does Glassjaw have to release a new album? They will always be popular. People will always buy their merchandise. And if they ever go on another tour, they will sell out every single date in every single city.

Beck is doing his own thing with MerchDirect. I mean look at the bands that use the site for their merchandise. Blue Oyster Cult! More cowbell please! Plus he’s married to MTV’s “Real World” alum Melissa Howard. What a life, right? And I’m sure Palumbo has made a ton of money from Head Automatica and he’s wrapped up in a million other projects.

But all hope should not be lost Glassjaw fans! Late last year, bassist Manny Carrero and drummer Durijah Lang left Saves the Day to devote all their concentration to Glassjaw. And yesterday, AbsolutePunk.net posted a video of the band playing a new song called “All Good Junkies Go to Heaven.”

When all is said and done, I will still love these guys, new album or not. They have changed the music scene and inspired thousands of musicians. And their iconic “GJ” logo will live on forever.

So Glassjaw, when you’re ready to make new music, go ahead. The ball is in your court. No pressure.

If you have never heard Glassjaw, you can hear both of their albums on their Myspace.

To end on a high note, here’s a new bootleg courtesy of AbsolutePunk.

Aziz Ansari: Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening

January 28, 2010

In the past few years, there has been a huge influx in comedians who have one thing in common: they are insanely popular, but aren’t funny.

On January 17, Comedy Central aired a special that blew any other recent stand-up special clear out of the water. I knew Aziz Ansari was funny from his days on MTV’s “Human Giant” and his roles on “Parks and Recreation,” Funny People and Observe and Report, so my expectations were high for “Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening.”

This special did what no other comedian on Comedy Central has made me do in years; laugh out loud.

From his experiences at Kanye West’s house to his cousin Harris watching programming on TNT and USA, Ansari delivers a hilarious one-hour special. Who watches “Burn Notice?” Harris watches “Burn Notice.”

Ansari takes on Craigslist, Cold Stone, MTV dating shows, and even people who haven’t seen The Dark Knight.

Now, in this new age we live in with all these fancy word processors and the “internet” with the Tweeters and the Facepages, it’s hard for anyone to gain any success without taking some heat. Everyone isn’t going to love you. That’s expected. But, as I was lurking Ansari’s IMDB page, I stumbled upon a post that someone made on his message board that nearly made my jaw hit the floor.

The title of the thread is “worst comedians…”

So, of course, I must click on it. And it reads as follow:

“1. Dane Cook
2. Carlos Mencia
3. Aziz Ansari
4. George Lopez

What’s your list?”

In the words of Cousin Harris, “WHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT?”

It’s hard for me to understand someone not liking Ansari, let alone putting him at number 3 on your worst comedians list. That’s flat-out insane. Putting him up there with Dane Cook and Carlos Mencia? That’s downright insulting.

IMDB user OJsOtherGlove (Wow, what a funny name. Maybe you should do stand-up!) goes on to add Kat Williams to his worst list. What is wrong with this guy? Must be a big Jeff Dunham fan.

OK, enough with people who have bad taste in comedy.

“Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening” is absolutely hilarious. I’m not saying he’s George Carlin, but he’s one of the best comedians out there today. You can buy this special on both CD and DVD.

There is also special surprise at the end for all of you people who enjoyed his role in Funny People.

It’s RAAAAAAAANDY!

Air Date: January 17, 2010

Channel: Comedy Central

The Wonder Years – The Upsides

January 26, 2010

The Wonder Years have done a lot of growing, and they’re not sad anymore.

The band’s lyrics have changed from random rhymes about Cap’n Crunch and Cosmonauts to intelligent prose about not letting life get you down. Overall, The Upsides is about taking whatever comes to you and making the best of it.

If anyone was turned off by the production of The Wonder Years’ first full length album Get Stoked on It!, throw all of those notions out the window. The Upsides sounds flawless. This album has a much deeper sound than their first album, which really showcases what the band is capable of musically. The band has changed for the better in every facet.

When you remove the CD from its case, it reveals a passage about the album written by vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell.

“More than anything else, The Upsides is a record about fighting back. I felt like the past year left me and all of my friends defeated. Our early-twenties had beaten us down. We listened to sad songs and we watched sad movies and we talked about sad shit. It was like everyone looked at the rest of their lives and decided that now was the time to start being miserable.”

“I had given up, and this was going to be a record about just that, and then, one day, I was riding my bike down 19th Street on the way to work and from the top of Callowhill, I could see that the fountain at Logan Circle had been turned on. Something clicked in my head and I guess it was because this meant it was Spring, or maybe it was just because it reminded me of happier times, but I decided then that it wasn’t okay to be this defeated at twenty-three.”

Well, the quintet from Philadelphia moved into Campbell’s apartment in the early part of the summer of 2009, and wrote an amazingly positive pop-punk record.

The album opens with the anthemic “My Last Semester,” which appropriately starts off with Campbell singing “I’m not sad anymore/I’m just tired of this place.” This track is the ultimate song about not fitting in, which is another theme carried throughout the record.

But, The Wonder Years haven’t totally ditched their comical lyrics. “Logan Circle” talks about drowning your sorrows in Lucky Charms and soy milk and “New Years with Carl Weathers” drops a sexting reference along with a shout out to the friends they’ve made at Steak and Shake.

“Dynamite Shovel” takes a hard shot at racism and bigotry while talking about the scumbags the band saw congregating at a rest stop in Tennessee. Campbell sings that their small town minds stay small, but the world has evolved. He ends by saying someone should burn the place to the ground.

This album is full of positive pop-punk anthems, but one track that really stands out is the ukulele ballad “Hey Thanks” featuring Rachel Minton of Zolof the Rock and Roll Destroyer. The track is told from the perspective of a guy who is thanking his girlfriend for putting up with all of his crap. Campbell really showcases how much his voice has improved since their first full length album. Their voices blend together beautifully to create an amazing song. “Hey Thanks” also features Matt Belanger from We Are The Union on trombone.

The album concludes perfectly with the coming-of-age track “All My Friends are in Bar Bands.” The Wonder Years enlisted even more pop-punk stars for this track including Shane Henderson of Valencia, Dave Mackinder of Fireworks, Matty Arsenault of A Loss For Words, Jamie Rhoden of Title Fight and Nik Bruzzese of Man Overboard. All of these guys take turns reciting the albums opening line “I’m not sad anymore/I’m just tired of this place,” to create a perfect conclusion to The Upsides.

The Wonder Years have created their masterpiece, and anyone who is into pop-punk should pick this album up immediately. Small bands like this need your support.

I know it’s early, but it will be hard for another band to top The Upsides for album of the year.

“The whole world wants you to be miserable. It wants you to put your head down, sigh to yourself and give up on being happy, and I know just as well as anyone that sometimes, giving up seems like the only option, but if you take one thing from this record, I hope it’s this: Don’t give [them] an inch. Stand your ground every chance you get because everybody deserves a chance to be happy.”

-Dan “Soupy” Campbell

Release Date: January 26, 2010

Label: No Sleep

Myspace

Track Listing:
1. My Last Semester
2. Logan Circle
3. Everything I Own Fits in This Backpack
4. Dynamite Shovel
5. New Years with Carl Weathers
6. It’s Never Sunny in South Philadelphia
7. Hostels and Brothels
8. Melrose Diner
9. This Party Sucks
10. Hey Thanks
11. Washington Square Park
12. All My Friends are in Bar Bands