Tag Archives: fireworks

Top 25 Albums of 2014 (As Picked By Vas)

by: Vasilis

Better late than never! I have been making “Best Of” lists since 2008 and it is always one of my favorite parts of the year. I love spending copious amounts of time in November and December combing through the releases I loved, the releases I may have slept on and missed entirely from being too busy, and even the releases I didn’t like at first (two of my top 15 albums this year were records I did not like after the first few listens earlier in the year). With that said, 2014 was a great year for music and, next to 2011 (the best year of music in this decade by a mile), this is probably my single favorite top 10 I’ve put together in terms of pure quality of the releases and the bands doing the releasing. I could even extend this to my top 13 albums, all of which hit me especially hard at one point or another.

As always, this is a personal list and is not meant to reflect the 25 best albums released this year; I do have a very specific and select taste in music and do not pretend otherwise. You will not find Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, or FKA Twigs on this list, as their music does not appeal to me (it doesn’t mean it’s not good, it’s just not my thing). Also, I stand by all 25 albums (and 5 EPs) on this list and would recommend them very highly. Without further adieu, here they are! My 25 top albums of 2014.

5 FAVORITE EPs

05. Four Year Strong – Down In History

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Favorite Track: “What’s in the Box?”

04. Beach Slang – Cheap Thrills on a Dead End Street

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Favorite Track: “American Girls and French Kisses”

03. The Color and Sound – Peace of Mind

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Favorite Track: “Cigarettes”

02. Allison Weiss – Remember When

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Favorite Track: “Remember When”

01. The Front Bottoms – Rose

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Favorite Track: “Jim Bogart”

25 FAVORITE ALBUMS

25. Andrew Jackson Jihad – Christmas Island

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Favorite Track: “Temple Grandin”

24. Rx Bandits – Gemini, Her Majesty

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Favorite Track: “Wide Open”

23. PrawnKingfisher

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Favorite Track: “First as Tragedy, Second as Farce”

22. Somos – Temples of Plenty

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Favorite Track: “Dead Wrong”

21. Tiny Moving Parts – Pleasant Living

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Favorite Track: “Boxcar”

20. Have Mercy – A Place of Our Own

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Favorite Track: “Spacecrafts”

19. Tigers Jaw – Charmer

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Favorite Track: “Nervous Kids”

18. Hostage Calm – Die on Stage

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Favorite Track: “Your Head / Your Heart”

17. Taking Back Sunday – Hapiness Is…

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Favorite Track: “Better Homes and Gardens”

16. The Gaslight Anthem – Get Hurt

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Favorite Track: “Dark Places”

15. Manchester Orchestra – COPE/HOPE

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Favorite Track: “Cope”

14. Say Anything – Hebrews

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Favorite Track: “Kall Me Kubrick”

13. PUPPUP

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Favorite Track: “Reservoir”

12. You Blew It!Keep Doing What You’re Doing

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Favorite Track: “Award of the Year Award”

11. Driver Friendly – Unimagined Bridges

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Favorite Track: “Stand So Tall (ft. Dan Campbell)”

10. Joyce Manor – Never Hungover Again

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If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Joyce Manor’s third album Never Hungover Again follows the mold of short songs but is their best work yet. The songs are fun, fast and strike you immediately and display improved musicianship and songwriting. The band hit home on every emotional note, especially on album highlights “Heart Tattoo” and “Schley”.

Favorite Track: “Heart Tattoo”

09. La Dispute – Rooms of the House

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Warning: Never listen to La Dispute when in a fragile emotional state. The band’s music is saturated with powerful human situations and speak of suffering and pain. Each track is its own story and combines to form the novel that is the band’s third album. Look no further than opener “Hudsonville MI 1956” and “Scenes from Highways 1981-2009” to be brought to the edge of tears.

Favorite Track: “Hudsonville, MI 1956”

08. Modern BaseballYou’re Gonna Miss It All

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This album, 10 months after its release, is still a ton of fun to listen to. Sung with an almost noticeable goofy grin, the band’s music doesn’t it take itself too seriously (despite being classified as “emo”) with lyrics about iphones, graduating, and watching TV and brainstorming tattoo ideas with your friends. It’s the album written for 20-somethings by 20-somethings, and it’s a real blast from start to finish. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Your Graduation”

07. Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

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This album is important, there’s no other way to say it. Laura Jane Grace sings about her experiences as a transgender woman in a way that is eye-opening and empowering to the LGBTQ community. She shines a light on her pain and problems while also speaking of hope and can be a huge stepping point for the community in the punk scene. It doesn’t hurt that the music is edgy and in-your-face, one of their best albums yet. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Black Me Out”

06. Fireworks – Oh, Common Life

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Dave Mackinder uses Firework’s third album to pay tribute to his late father (who passed away while the band was on tour in 2011), creating a dark, poppy punk record built around heavier use of keyboards and mellower guitar tones. The band’s fun sound isn’t compromised though (as is evident on the upbeat “Play ‘God Only Knows’ at My Funeral” and “Flies on Tape”). This album builds off the band’s incredible sophomore effort Gospel and takes their sound to places it’s never gone before. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Run, Brother, Run”

05. I Am the AvalancheWolverines

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Sporting a ferocious bite (much like the band’s sophomore LP Avalanche United), Long Island’s I Am the Avalanche present a personal and heartfelt punk album. Wolverines is an ode to life, including the good (friends getting married on the feverishly quick “177”) and the bad (becoming addicted to pain killers on punchy “The Shape I’m In”). The band continues to improve with every release and have found their niche. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Young Kerouacs”

04. Bayside – CULT

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CULT is a celebration of everything Bayside have accomplished over their career (the band turns 15 in 2015). The album is a “greatest hits” of sorts, combining elements of each of their five prior studio albums to create a perfect snapshot of the band’s classic sound. Album highlights include the explosive opener “Big Cheese”, the sweet and sincere “Transitive Property” and the introspective “Objectivist on Fire”. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Objectivist On Fire”

03. The Hotelier – Home, Like Noplace Is There

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Sometimes a band comes seemingly out of nowhere and sweeps the scene off their feet. The Hotelier was that band and Home, Like Noplace Is There was that album in 2014. Stunningly sincere, personal, and brilliant musically and lyrically, this album is a masterpiece reminiscent of a veteran band and not a group that is releasing their sophomore album. Home, Like Noplace Is There has the chance to define the “emo revival” genre for years to come. Opener “An Introduction to the Album” and closer “Dendron” are two of the best songs of the year and wonderfully bookmark this album.

Favorite Track: “The Scope of All This Rebuilding”

02. The Menzingers – Rented World

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At this point, no one should be surprised at all at what The Menzingers can do and instead should wonder what can’t the band do? Their fourth album follows their 2012 magnum opus On the Impossible Past and is well-crafted and personal. Opener “I Don’t Wanna Be an Asshole Anymore” and lead single “In Remission” are two of the best songs the band has written, and the acoustic closer “When You Died” is an unexpected wonderful change of pace for the band. Full Review

Favorite Track: “In Remission”

01. Aaron West and the Roaring Twenties – We Don’t Have Each Other

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There’s not much I can say about this album (or Dan Campbell from The Wonder Years) that I haven’t said in my many reviews of his work. His storytelling is impeccable and he continues to push his capabilities further with every album and project. Full Review

Favorite Track: “Carolina Coast”

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2014 Musical Superlatives

Every January the staff at Lyrically Addicted sits down and tries to hash out the top albums from the previous year. We spend house analyzing and dissecting our favorite albums trying to put them in some kind of order that we can be happy with. But what often gets overlooked in such a process is the individual songs themselves. Maybe we fall in love with a b-side that doesn’t make it onto the album proper, or we stumble upon a live version that’s better than the original. The point is these individual tracks often get overlooked in favor of the albums themselves and we don’t think that’s fair. This year we decided to shine a light on some of these lesser known tracks.

                                 Best B-Side:
Vas’s pick: Fireworks – “Oh, Common Life”

Cherie’s pick: Frank Turner – “Sweet Albion Blues”

                                 Best Cover:
Vas’s pick: Allison Weiss – “Call Your Girlfriend” (Robyn cover)

Cherie’s pick: Gabrielle Aplin – “A Case of You” (Joni Mitchell cover)

                                 Best Acoustic Version:
Vas’s pick: Manchester Orchestra – “Girl Harbor”

Cherie’s pick: Passenger – “Scare Away the Dark”

                                 Best Music Video:
Vas’s pick: The Front Bottoms – “Backflip”

Cherie’s pick: Bombay Bicycle Club – “Luna”

                                 Best Collaboration:
Vas’s pick: Say Anything featuring Los Campesinos – “Judas Decapitation”

Cherie’s pick: Billy the Kid – “This Sure As Hell Ain’t My Life

                                 Best Single:
Vas’s pick: The Menzingers – “In Remission”

Cherie’s pick: Laura Marling – “Short Movie”

                                 Best Live Version:
Vas’s pick: Koji – “Matches”

Cherie’s pick: Beans on Toast – “I Can’t Get a Gig at Glastonbury”

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The Best from the First Half of 2014

by Vasilis

It seems like just yesterday that we were ringing in the New Year, and yet the calendar has already found July. With the year already half-over, it’s that time to look back at some of the best the music world has had to offer us, and there sure has been a lot of great albums. There are still a number of promising albums anticipated for the months between July and December, but it’s going to be tough to live up to the incredible first half of music we had in 2014.

As always, this list is completely subjective, so you may not like the albums I’ve picked and may not even know who they are. Additionally, there are plenty of great albums that were released outside of the genres I normally listen to, but this list will be fairly contained within my personal favorite genres and artists. Still, I stand by every one of these pieces of music being important and worth your time and attention. So without further delay, I bring you my 10 favorite albums from 2014 (so far).

10) Tigers Jaw – Charmer

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The band’s newest full-length was originally supposed to be their last after their supposed break-up last year, but the indie-emo favorites are not done yet. After such a solid and complete work, that’s good news.

09) Manchester Orchestra – COPE

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            Open the windows up and crank the volume up to eleven on COPE, Manchester Orchestra’s awaited follow-up to Simple Math. Focusing primarily on guitar, this album features some great lyrics and aggressive songs from “Top Notch” straight through the closer, Cope.

08) Say Anything – Hebrews

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            A rock album with no guitars may not sound enticing to many, but the always-inventive Max Bemis makes it work on the unapologetic, insanely brass Hebrews. Max invites his friends and fellow musicians to sing along on this album, which takes risks and features some of the band’s most aggressive and inventive work, as is evident on songs like “Hebrews” and “Kall Me Kubrick”.

07) You Blew It! – Keep Doing What You’re Doing

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            You Blew It! put together one of the best emo albums of the year so far by enlisting the help of Evan Weiss (The Progress, Into It. Over It., Their/They’re/There, Pet Symmetry) as producer. It does wonders, as the sound and vocals are noticeably is crisper and less muddled than on their debut. Songs like “Award of the Year Award” and “Better to Best” are catchy and fun while remaining emotionally heavy and relatable.

06) Modern Baseball – You’re Gonna Miss It All

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You’re Gonna Miss It All is the fun, care-free college-aged emo you grew up with. The band waxes poetic about iPhones and Instagram accounts but still find time to get serious when necessary and think about the future. It’s an entertaining album about growing up from a young band that still has a lot of growing up to do.

05) Fireworks – Oh, Common Life

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Fireworks remain one of the most creative and talented bands in the pop punk scene which is often oversaturated with mediocrity and bands mimicking one another. Oh, Common Lifeis the latest addition to a solid discography and builds on their best album Gospel. Dealing primarily with the death of vocalist Dave Mackinder’s father, the album is a dark look at everyday life built with solid instrumentation and heartfelt lyrics.

04) Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

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Transgender Dysphoria Blueswill not go down as the best album of the year, but it certainly will go down as one of the most important. It’s open and honest in a way we’ve never seen about being transgender, a topic so few know about. Laura Jane Grace’s personal experiences throughout her life build a solid foundation, and the music and lyrics are urgent and in-your face. This album shows the band still has a lot left in the tank and serves as one of the best of their career.

03) I Am the Avalanche – Wolverines

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It was great to only have to wait two and a half year for a new I Am the Avalanche album as opposed to the six-year wait for their sophomore album. Wolverineshas a sharp bite to it, as Vinnie Caruana’s screams are as harsh as ever. The album focuses on what the band does best: blue color punk/hardcore with relatable lyrics and that classic New York style to it. Songs like “177” and “Anna Lee” are some of the best in the band’s catalog.

02) Bayside – CULT

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“Bayside is a Cult” has been the rallying cry for as long as the band has had their well-established fanbase. On CULT, the band’s sixth studio album, the group draws influences from their whole catalog to create a complete work with a little bit of everything that makes Bayside great. Just another solid release for the boys from Queens, New York.

 

01)  The Menzingers – Rented World 

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            The task of following up an album as impressive and acclaimed as On the Impossible Task is no easy feat, but Philadelphia punk band The Menzingers succeed in proving they’re up to the task with Rented World. Though not as memorable, it improves upon the sound they crafted on the last release and continues their knack for punchy tunes and relatable songwriting. “In Remission” and “Rodent” are two of the best songs I’ve heard so far this year.

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The Wonder Years – The Greatest Generation Tour, April 17 2014

by Vasilis

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New York City… goddamn… is it good to be back”. Wonder Years Vocalist Dan “Soupy” Campbell proclaimed this over a visible grin following the wild and energetic start of the band’s 90 minute set at The Best Buy Theater on Thursday, April 17. The excitement and awe was clear in Dan’s sweat-soaked face and in his voice; just a few short years ago, the band was playing to a handful of kids in basements, VFW halls, and small clubs around the New York City and Long Island areas. On this Thursday night, they were playing in front of 2,000 crazed fans in the heart of Times Square at a show that sold out over two months in advance. To mark this special occasion, the band brought along a veritable “who’s who” of trending and popular bands in the scene, helping the show become one of the most anticipated tours of the spring.

Upstart emo band Modern Baseball took the stage at 6:30, and it was clear this was no ordinary opening slot. Whereas most openers are met with polite applause, head bobbing, and toe tapping, the crowd surged forward when Modern Baseball took the stage and sang along to every word. The band ripped through a 7-song set, which mostly consisted of wacky banter and songs from their stellar new album You’re Gonna Miss It All. The band’s youthful exuberance shined throughout their set and they seemed genuinely enthused to be playing music together. The band has been steadily gaining steam since the release of their 2012 debut album SPORTS, and if this performance is any indication, their stock will only continue to grow.

Setlist:

Tears Over Beers

Broken Cash Machine

Rock Bottom

Charlie Black

Two Good Things

The Weekend

Your Graduation

 

Popular pop punk band Real Friends took the stage next to much fanfare from the young audience. Much like when The Story So Far held the second slot on the last Wonder Years 5-band headlining tour (The 2012 Glamour Kills Tour), Real Friends received the largest reaction next to the headliner. The band’s detractors have criticized their lack of creativity and have labeled them a comical stereotype, but you would not have known the hate existed from the crowd’s intensity. They made the most of their 30-minute set, powering through 9 songs spanning their 3 EPs. Vocalist Dan Lambton even poked fun at pop punk conventions when chants of “pizza!” began, saying the band doesn’t approve of the association between pizza and pop punk. The love they received is especially impressive because they have not released a full-length album, but chances are when their debut drops this fall on Fearless Records, their popularity will increase even more.

 

Setlist:

Floorboards

Alexander Supertramp

Skin Deep

Lost Boy

Anchor Down

Dirty Water

Home For Fall

I’ve Given Up On You

Late Nights In My Car

 

Citizen followed and switched up the pace, performing a heavier, grunge-influenced style of music. Though Citizen began as a pop punk band, they have shed that label with resounding force. Their set consisted of choice cuts from their 2013 debut album Youth along with one older song (“Drown”). While the group may appear out of place on the bill, the crowd loved every minute of their set, and sang along loudly from start to finish, even the slower, moodier songs. The band didn’t say much, only stopping to thank the other bands and the crowd for their support; The group let the music speak for itself, and clearly the crowd was listening and enjoying it.

 

Setlist:

The Night I Drove Alone

Roam the Room

Drown

Sleep

How Does It Feel?

Figure You Out

Speaking With a Ghost

The Summer

 

Fireworks were the last band to take the stage before The Wonder Years, having replaced Defeater (who had to drop off before the tour began when their vocalist fell ill). This is the third time Fireworks have toured with The Wonder Years in the past three years, and their close friendship is well documented. Although their sophomore album Gospel is critically acclaimed and their new release Oh, Common Life was a stellar follow-up, they received a disappointingly lukewarm reaction compared to the openers, despite being the most veteran band on the bill next to the headliners. Still, Fireworks seemed genuinely pleased with the kids who sang along and their infectious enthusiasm was notable over the course of their 11-song set. The crowd showed the most energy when the band finished the night with their classic closer “Detroit”.

 

Setlist:

X’s On Trees

Summer

Glowing Crosses

The Wild Bunch

One More Dizzy Creature With Love

Arrows

Teeth

Flies on Tape

Oh, Why Can’t We Start Old and Get Younger

When We Stand On Each Other We Block Out the Sun

Detroit

 

The Wonder Years finally took the stage at 9:50 to deafening applause and screams from sold-out crowd at Best Buy Theater. They opened the set with the hushed whisper of “There, There”, the first track on their fantastic album The Greatest Generation. The crowd sang along as the song reached a crescendo and exploded into the pure, unfettered emotional climax. From there, the intensity never waned over the course of the night as the band charged through a 16-song set equipped with choice tracks from their last three albums. They had the rare opportunity to play some deep cuts like “Me vs. The Highway” and “Dynamite Shovel” and some new songs like “Raindance in Traffic”, “The Devil in My Bloodstream”, and “Cul-de-Sac”. As always, the group squeezed in the fan-favorites, as “Local Man Ruins Everything”, “Washington Square Park”, and “Passing Through a Screen Doors” inspired the entire audience to jump along, crowd surf, and scream at the top of their lungs.

 

Dan’s on-stage presence felt like a mixture between a preacher and a professional wrestler as his emotions took center stage and his voice fell just short of shouting. Dan spoke about how fans have gone to eat at Melrose Diner after the band released the song, despite the fact that the food is horrible and the service is terrible. He later asked fans who had their album Suburbia, I’ve Given You All And Now I’m Nothing and, upon seeing the entire crowd cheer, said “well, shit then, I guess this song is for all of you”. He chose a more serious and surreal tone when discussing how the band struggled mightily to book a New York show in 2006 (before securing a basement show in Bushwick) and now the band’s faces are plastered on a billboard in Times Square for a sold out show. Dan seemed on the verge of joyful tears as he looked out on to the sea of faces smiling and singing back at him, and for a moment you could see the immeasurable happiness this tour has brought every member of the band. When the band took the stage to close out the show with the epic 7-minute “I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral”, which closes out The Greatest Generation, the band left every last bit of energy they had left on the stage, and their fans did the same.

 

The band’s rapid rise in popularity has been a direct result of their sincerity, their tireless work ethic, their down-to-earth demeanor, and most importantly their ability to produce stellar, challenging pop punk music that refuses to conform to conventions and connects deeply with their audience. They have never sounded crisper live, playing through their headlining set with precision and ease. The Wonder Years are still relatively young yet commanded the stage with a veteran presence, and they demonstrated that they are in fact ready for center stage and to take the reins as one of the biggest bands in the scene today. As the American leg of their Greatest Generation tour comes to a close and the band prepares to head to Europe, it’s safe to say that The Wonder Years have a lot left to give.

 

Setlist:

There, There

Passing Through a Screen Door

Local Man Ruins Everything

Woke Up Older

Me vs. The Highway

Melrose Diner

A Raindance in Traffic

Everything I Own Fits In This Backpack

Dynamite Shovel

The Devil in My Bloodstream

Cul-De-Sac

Dismantling Summer

Don’t Let Me Cave In

Washington Square Park

Came Out Swinging

ENCORE:

I Just Want To Sell Out My Funeral

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Five Can’t Miss Spring Tours

by Vasilis

The calendar may read “March”, but much of the country was treated to another dose of snow this past Monday, leading many to dream of springtime. While the vernal equinox is still two weeks away, bands are already packing their gear, picking their setlists, saying their goodbyes to their hometown and making the final preparations for their spring headlining tours. While winter is usually reserved for short tours or hometown shows, spring is where bands travel extensively across the country to support their latest releases. This spring is no different, and while it’s impossible to include every tour worth checking out, I wanted to run through some of the most intriguing tours happening between March and May.

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The Great American Cult Tour” is a long time coming for Bayside. Although they have maintained a steady, cult-like level of popularity over their career, the band has not done a full solo headlining tour since their 2008 album Shudder. It’s hard to believe their brilliant 2011 release Killing Time only resulted in co-headliners (with Saves the Day, Silverstein, and Senses Fail) and supporting spots (with Taking Back Sunday and Alkaline Trio). Finally, Bayside have the chance to put together a longer setlist to properly do justice to their six-album catalog; look for some rare, deep cuts thrown into their set. Also worth noting is the presence of Four Year Strong, who have remained relatively inactive since their divisive 2011 effort In Some Way, Shape, Or Form. It will be interesting to see how the lack of shows has affected the band and if they will stick to mostly old songs on this run. Daylight and Mixtapes round out the tour, adding some variety and making this one of the “can’t miss” shows of the spring. The tour kicks off on March 5 in Cleveland and winds down on April 5 in Worchester.

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This is the tour I am most excited for. After releasing the fantastic conclusion to their coming-of-age conceptual trilogy, The Wonder Years are taking some friends on the road in support of The Greatest Generation. While many may complain that it’s a predictable line-up, the tour contains some interesting, rapidly growing bands. Boston hardcore band Defeater had to drop the tour due to vocalist Derek Archambault’s health problems, resulting in Fireworks, Michigan pop punk band and long-time friends of The Wonder Years, stepping in to fill the supporting slot. Additionally, Citizen and Real Friends, two bands that have become darlings of the pop punk scene, are sure to bring along their own dedicated following. Opening the bill is up-and-coming emo band Modern Baseball, fresh off the release of their stellar sophomore album You’re Gonna Miss It All. The Wonder Years should be playing the longest set of their careers and are playing in front of the largest crowds of their career, which includes an already sold-out show at the 2,000 plus capacity Best Buy Theater in New York City. This fast-selling tour begins on March 5 in Clifton Park NY and concludes on April 18 in New Jersey.

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In what is sure to be the most emotionally-charged tour of the spring, La Dispute is taking out Pianos Become The Teeth and Mansions on a month-long tour to support their third album Rooms of the House. These shows will feature three bands that offer a mix of hardcore, indie, and emo to create dark, tortured emotional music, which will require a box of tissues and a well-rested set of lungs in order to scream along to. La Dispute’s following has increased tremendously since their 2011 sophomore effort Wildlife, and teaming up with Pianos Become the Teeth is a logical move. Mansions are sure to get some good exposure opening for this tour and their dark, brooding style is sure to appeal to La Dispute fans. This tour, which already boasts an impressive number of sold-out shows, begins on March 14 in North Carolina and winds down on April 14 in Cleveland.

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It’s hard to ignore a tour that sold out two New York City shows within a day of their release and had to add a third show due to “overwhelming demand”. Who knew Taking Back Sunday and The Used would still have so much pull in 2014? The two giants, who played together in support of Blink-182 in 2004, team up 10 years later for a monstrous headlining tour. Both bands have tasted mainstream success, attained gold and platinum album status, and signed with major record labels, but the bands are each set to release their respective albums in the Spring on indie powerhouse Hopeless Records. The move should be a good litmus test for each band, demonstrating how successful the bands still are and can be in a smaller label than they are accustomed to. Joining the bill is female-fronted Australian pop punk band Tonight Alive and new Spencer Chamberlain (ex-Underoath) project Sleepwave. The tour begins on March 14 in Dallas and concludes on April 27 in Orlando.

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I like to call this the “Friends of Brand New” tour. While this line-up would have been perfect opening for the Long Island recluses, it’s exciting to see Manchester Orchestra embark on a nice, long tour with a couple friends. For lack of a better term, this tour is going to be “heavy” (musically and emotionally) in the best possible way as Manchester Orchestra support their long-awaited fourth album Cope. Coming along for the ride are the always incredible Balance & Composure, who put on one of the best live shows in music today, and the likable Kevin Devine & The Goddamn Band, who is fresh off his highly successful crowd funded double album and whose live show continues to grow. This has a chance to be one of the most impressive “under-the-radar” tours of the spring, but with three stellar live bands, it’s one not to be missed. The tour kicks off on April 17 in Tampa and winds down on May 31 in Nashville.

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Ten Albums I am Looking Forward to in 2014

by Vasilis

My favorite thing about the new year is the promise of new music, which is always unpredictable and exciting. Any given band can put out the album of their career (The Wonder Years in 2013), but any given band can also release the biggest dud and make fans question “what happened?” (Transit in 2013). Cherie and I posted our favorite albums from 2013, but now I want to take a look at some albums I’m very excited for.

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You Blew ItKeep Doing What You’re Doing – January 14

I’m cheating a bit on this one because I’ve already heard the stream on Pitchfork, but even before that I was highly anticipating this one knowing that Evan Weiss (Into It. Over It.) would be producing it. Their first album was enjoyable, easily relatable angsty emo but having a pro like Evan in the mix is a sure-fire way to get the best out of their sound; it comes as no surprise that this album sounds huge and purposeful, easily surpassing and building on their debut album Grow Up, Dude.

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Against Me! Transgender Dysphoria Blues – January 21

This album may go down as the most important album of the year, not only because of the singer but because of the important message behind it. Laura Jane Grace made waves after she came out as transgender in 2012 (she was formerly Tom Gabel). After struggling with the decision, this album provided a sense of liberation, promising to be a deep self-examination that can also serve as a huge point of relief and empowerment, both for Laura and for any fans struggling with the same issues.

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Modern Baseball You’re Gonna Miss It All – February 11

Modern Baseball certainly are not for everyone. Their emo sound can often come off as sloppy and uninviting but when they click, they click. SPORTS was an enjoyably quirky and heartfelt debut that gained the band a decent following and a spot on several tours. The first couple songs they’ve released on this album have already shown improvement in songwriting, leading the way for a potentially huge sophomore effort.

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Bayside CULT – February 18

Bayside are one of my three favorite bands, so this should come as no surprise. Signing to Hopeless Records (Yellowcard, Taking Back Sunday, The Wonder Years) should finally provide them the support they need after Victory and Wind-Up did very little for the band. “Pigsty” and “Hate Me” continue to display the consistently stellar heart-pounding punk sound with angst-ridden lyrics that made Killing Time the band’s best work.

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I Am the AvalancheWolverines – March 18

Between label and personal troubles, it took I Am the Avalanche six years to follow up their debut album I Am the Avalanche with the incredible Avalanche United; this time it is only taking a little over two years. As one of Long Island’s most well-known frontmen, I must say the more Vinnie Caruana we get, the better. This album should be just as fast and furious as their sophomore release, which was my third favorite record from 2011.

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La Dispute Rooms of the House – March 18

La Dispute’s last album Wildlife was an emotionally taxing experience that kept you on the edge of your seat like a Hollywood thriller. Clocking in at a little under one hour, both their previous albums can best be described as unforgettable. With their sound only improving and growing over time, Rooms of the House should be memorable.

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Manchester OrchestraCope – April 1(Tentative)

This album has been a long time coming. Though Simple Math fell far short of expectations for many fans and myself, it had its share of epic tracks (“Virgin”, “Pensacola”) and the band is not far removed from Mean Everything to Nothing, one of my personal favorite albums. If the album is anything like the two songs they played live on their last headlining tour, this will be a good one.

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Blink-182 TBA – TBA

I don’t care that it’s 2014 and I’m turning 25, a new Blink-182 album is always welcome, especially after their hiatus. Though not nearly as memorable as their prior albums, Neighborhoods was a solid listen and displayed some of their best songs (“Wishing Well”, Kaleidoscope”, “Natives”). Mark Hoppus promises more risks and says the band record this album together in the same room; collaboration is where this band writes their absolute best music. The band promises a new album by late summer.

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Brand New TBA – TBA

This, by its very nature, is an extremely dangerous thing to write down. Brand New has topped my list (and almost everyone’s list, it seems) since 2011, yet not so much as one new song has come out since Daisy came out in 2009. I may be jinxing it, but I really do have a feeling this is the year; call it a hunch. The band announced at their last show of 2013 that they are finally getting back to the studio this year and will be touring more like a normal band this year. All I can say is, “I hope so.”

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FireworksTBA – TBA

Though not an enviable position, Fireworks probably hold the title of most underrated pop punk. Their last album Gospel was seen by many as groundbreaking for the genre, yet they hardly toured for it and never mustered the buzz and support bands like The Wonder Years and The Story So Far get. My heart goes out to these guys; they’re hard-working and very talented. I hope this album gets them the support they deserve.

There is also talk or confirmation of new albums coming from several great bands (Foo Fighters, Motion City Soundtrack, Say Anything Taking Back Sunday, The Early November, The Gaslight Anthem, Yellowcard) and, as always, there is the chance of a surprise release from a newcomer or unknown band that turns into a pleasant surprise. With all these bands and more putting out new music, 2014 promises to be just as good as 2013.

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Favorite Spring Albums

By Vasilis, contributing writer

Spring is a great time of year. It’s the time where it starts warming up, everything is in bloom, and you can finally go out again and enjoy yourself without bundling up. It’s also one of the best times to listen to music. I like to have music designated for every season, but spring and summer are definitely the most fun for me. Summer for me is all about pop punk like Yellowcard and New Found Glory and songs about going to the beach and the sun, but spring for me is all about chaotic music that is as wild as the season. Here’s some great music I love to listen to when the spring season comes calling.

Honorable Mentions:

10. The Ataris – So Long, Astoria

Choice spring tracks: “So Long, Astoria”, “In This Diary”, & “The Hero Dies In This One”

9. Taking Back Sunday – Where You Want To Be

Choice spring tracks: “Set Phasers to Stun”, “One-Eighty By Summer”, & “Little Devotional”

8. Yellowcard – Ocean Avenue

Choice spring tracks: “Way Away”, “Ocean Avenue”, & “Back Home”

7. Say Anything – …Is a Real Boy

Choice spring tracks: “Belt”, “Alive With The Glory Of Love”, & “The Writing South”

6. Fireworks – Gospel

Choice spring tracks: “Arrows”, “Xs on Trees”, and “The Wild Bunch”

5. Motion City Soundtrack – I am the Movie

While Commit This to Memory and Even If It Kills Me are the wintry MCS album, I am the Movie is definitely better for warmer weather. This album is simply wild and so fun to sing-a-long to Justin Pierre’s anxiety-ridden, sarcastic, and emotional lyrics.

Choice spring tracks: “Capital H”, “The Future Freaks Me Out” & “Boombox Generation”

4. Transit – Listen & Forgive

The album’s cover represents a picture-perfect spring image: A tree beside a serene lake with a sunset in the backdrop. This album is much less agressive than the band’s earlier work but is no less fun to sing-a-long to. This would be ideal for a nice relaxing listen sitting on a bench in a park when you just need to calm down after a tough day at work.

Choice spring tracks: “Skipping Stone”, “Long Lost Friends”, & “1978”

3. The Dangerous Summer – Reach For the Sun

You can just tell from the title why this fits perfectly for spring. There are few albums that just deliver the emotional punch of this album, helped immensely by A.J. Perdomo’s soaring vocals. This album just cries out for a rain-soaked April day or sun-splashed May afternoon.

Choice spring tracks: “Where I Want to Be”, “Surfaced”, & “The Permanent Rain”

2. Green Day – Dookie

“I declare I don’t care no more”, this epic album’s opening line, is all anyone wants to shout when spring arrives and work/school/responsibilities become a chore. This album has been with me longer than any on this list and is still a top choice for long car rides with the windows rolled down. Billie Joe Armstrong captures every chaotic emotion that comes along with the season.

Choice spring tracks: “Burnout”, “Welcome to Paradise”, and “Longview”

1. The Wonder Years – The Upsides

This album is centered around the fountain being turned on at Logan Circle in Philadelphia, a spring event that literally represents the weather getting warmer but lyricist Soupy uses to metaphorically describe a feeling of hope he felt when he witnessed this moment. And spring is very much about hope blooming with the trees and warmer days ahead. To me, this is the ideal spring album that I love to crank out and listen to. It’s ideally cathartic and appropriate.

Choice spring tracks: “Logan Circle”, “Washington Square Park”, & “This Party Sucks”

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