Tag Archives: yellowcard

Five Albums to Watch For in the Fall

by Vasilis

It’s a fact we all hate to address but must inevitably face: summer has come to an end. Although the east coast remains unseasonably warm for early September, Labor Day is behind us and the season of pumpkin-spiced drinks and fall attire is fast-approaching. With that comes one of the busiest times of the year in the music world, as bands prepare for new albums and big tours. Musicians seem to especially love October and November, as these months seem to attract some of the best shows and new music of the season. With so much to look forward to, there are five particular albums that I’m very excited to hear over the last four months of 2014.

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Hostage Calm – Die on Stage (September 16)

Unlike the other four bands who occupy this list, Hostage Calm are young and don’t sport the stature or name-recognition the others do. However, Hostage Calm earned the respect and attention of anyone who listened to their 2012 effort Please Remain Calm. The ambitious album read like a rallying cry for the disenfranchised and marginalized, pleading for patience and for self-preservation in a time of great crisis for so many. The band’s power-pop melodies infused with punk idealism inspired the imagination of a growing audience. Hostage Calm are returning in September with what promises to be an equally-ambitious follow-up for their fourth studio effort; lead single “Your Head/Your Heart” built on the progression they made on their last album with catchy hooks and toe-tapping melodies, while “A Thousand Miles Away From Here” drew more from their hardcore punk roots with fist-pumping urgency. Die on Stage should serve to further push the band forward and continue their steady growth.

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New Found Glory – Resurrection (October 7)

If ever an album title spoke volumes about where the band was at this point in their careers, it would be this one. New Found Glory have toured relentlessly for the past few years in support of new albums and celebrating the anniversaries of their classic work. However, the group was faced with a sex scandal that forced them to kick out rhythm guitarist and primary lyricist Steve Klein last year. While many wondered if this would negatively affect the pop punk legends, the band chose to go forward without Steve and promised to stick together and rely on brotherhood and their fans to get through. Resurrection is the result, and the band has shown no signs of slowing down. Lead single “Selfless” is riff-heavy in the same vein as Catalyst and Not Without a Fight, as the opening lick draws heavily from their hardcore roots. It’s a welcome shift from the enjoyable but ultimately uninspired Radiosurgery, an album which felt like pandering to fans hoping for a pop punk sequel to Sticks and Stones. The new song is heavier than anything on the last album but latches on to the catchiness that has helped this band resonate with generations of fans, which should bode well for Resurrection.

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Yellowcard – Lift a Sail (October 7)

It’s hard to believe 2014 marks Yellowcard’s fifth year back together after reforming from their “indefinite hiatus”; it’s even harder to believe that Lift a Sail marks the band’s ninth studio effort and third since returning (and their first with label Razor & Tie). The band has taken few breaks since 2010, choosing instead to tour non-stop and not keep their fans guessing as to what the future holds. Though both albums were well received (including the 2012 album Southern Air, which is one of the band’s best works to date), their newest effort will be the first that will not feature Longineu Parsons III (LP) on the drums. While the news hit fans hard, the band persevered on (with help from Anberlin drummer Nate Young). I’m intrigued as to what this album will sound like, as the band also promised it would have “less of a pop punk sound, more of a rock sound”. Lead single “One Bedroom” is bold and sincere and fits their description well, sounding like a sequel to their 2011 single “Hang You Up”. It’s hard to gauge exactly what the album will sound like from this song alone, but with the band promising a huge sound there’s a lot of potential for another solid addition to the Yellowcard discography.

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Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright In The End (October 7)

Let me first say that October 7 is shaping up to an incredible day for new music. With that said, the final album from that day to make the list is Weezer’s ninth studio album Everything Will Be Alright in the End, an album that could have made it on here based on its name alone. Since Pinkerton, many (including myself) have found much fault with a lot of the band’s work, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some good there. The band rebounded from what is undoubtedly their most embarrassing effort (Raditude, 2009) with a respectable and enjoyable album (Hurley, 2010). After releasing three records in three years, the band decided to hit the brakes and take their time releasing a follow, which brings with it the possibility of a more thought-out album. Lead single “Back to the Shack” is classic Weezer in all their nerd rock glory, and its riff-heavy opening is a welcome sound to what made Weezer so enjoyable. While it isn’t an instant Weezer classic, it does show that there’s plenty left in the well to draw from and has many excited about the prospects of their newest album.

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Foo Fighters – Sonic Highways (November 7)

I am on board with anything that Dave Grohl is a part of. After proclaiming that Foo Fighters would be going on hiatus, a loud sigh of relief escaped the mouths of rock and roll fans everywhere when the band announced they would be releasing a new album in 2014. Sonic Highways will appeal heavily to anybody interested in the number “8”; the album marks the band’s eighth studio effort album, was recorded in eight different cities, includes eight tracks, and features eight different album covers with an infinity sign and a depiction of one of those eight cities. The album brings forth memories of the classic rock days when bands like Led Zeppelin used to release eight-song albums that lasted well over 40 minutes, which may hint at the possible sound and influence the band is going for with their latest effort. Following Wasting Light, one of the band’s most consistent records to date, expectations are high for Sonic Highways. The band will also be premiering an HBO series and lead single on October 17.

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Band Reunions: Is The Craze Here To Stay?

By Vasilis

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As passionate music fans, there are few things we dread more than the announcement that one of our favorite bands is calling it quits. It is a not-so-subtle reminder that nothing lasts forever and a moment that brings both sadness and reflection. Break-ups in the music world, like in real life, come in all shapes and sizes: there are bitter conflict-filled break-ups, friendly mutual break-ups, and some from bands that just agree their music has run its course and decide to go out on top. Some come as a surprise while others blindside the music world. There is usually a message thanking the fans before the band fades out and leaves everyone to ask “what’s next” for the members and this can often lead to discussions of the music’s legacy and place in history.

It’s only natural that music fans tend to experience the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) following a split. Bands can feel like a part of our family and some have profound emotional effects on us. Knowing that you will never get to hear a new song or see that band live is a painful realization that slowly dulls over time. However, the acceptance stage is quickly becoming a thing of the past as more and more bands are turning to reunions. As a result, fans have begun treating a hiatus or a break-up as a mere inconvenience that they will have to endure for a short period of time until the band decides, for whatever reason, to come back. Reunions can come about because of a genuine desire to recapture past glory, a yearning to reconnect with fans, or, more cynically, a desire to cash in on past success and a reemergence of the group’s status with fans. However, fans rarely care and are just happy to have their favorite bands back in their lives again.

The scene has been a hotbed of reunions as of late, as groups like Yellowcard, The Starting Line, The Get Up Kids, The Early November, and countless others have “gotten the band back together” to celebrate the anniversary of a classic album, release new material, or go on a short tour before returning back to the ranks of the broken up. Many of these bands announced their break-ups within the past half-decade, and the term “hiatus” has been used more prevalently to soften the blow and leave the door open for a return. The two biggest reunions belong to Blink-182 and Fall Out Boy, bands many believed were done for good. While not every reunion has been celebrated or met with unbridled enthusiasm, the comebacks have been treated well by fans and have shown other groups that an official break-up announcement doesn’t have to be the end and has only served to encourage bands to reform.

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This year has already seen its fair share of unlikely reunions. Pop punk favorites Midtown announced they would be performing at this year’s Skate & Surf Festival, their first show since calling it quits in 2005. Following the success of Cobra Starship, many figured Gabe Saporta would have no interest in reuniting his old band (in which he played bass and sang). Outkast, the hip hop duo behind the hit song “Hey Ya”, has made their way around various festivals as part of their much-publicized reunion. Strangest of all is the unusual Nirvana Brooklyn performances, in celebration of the group’s 2014 induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which featured Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, Pat Smear, and an assortment of guest vocalists, including Joan Jett and Lorde, stepping in for the late Kurt Cobain.

Then this week, influential emo bands American Football and Mineral announced their respective reunions. American Football released their self-titled EP and LP in 1999, their only recorded pieces of music, but their plans to re-release their music in a 2xLP collection set through Polyvynl Records led the band to announce shows in Chicago and New York City. Following this announcing, Mineral, who released their albums in 1997 and 1998 and have not played a show in 17 years, announced a short tour with emo band Into It. Over It. Their reunions were met with intense interest despite the long time away. These announcements give fans who were not old enough in the 90’s a chance to see a band they never thought they would be able to and can even lead to new songs or old recordings being uncovered and released.

Still, it’s fair to ask “is a reunion really necessary”. Can a reunion actually harm a band’s legacy? A failed return with bad songs or weak, uninspired performances can taint the image a band may have previously held. American Football has always been the musical version of “Freaks & Geeks” to me. Their one album, like the cult classic’s beloved lone season, felt like a moment in time that was pure because it never went stale and never overstayed its welcome. Without a second season, Freaks & Geeks never had the opportunity to go downhill or ruin the greatness of its first season. American Football’s legacy has remained pristine because their Self-Titled album has built their legacy and kept it going. The constant fear is that successful shows may lead to new music that will seem more like a cash-grab than a genuine, inspired collection of music.

After so much time apart, it’s also fair to question how much the break has affected the group’s chemistry and how the band’s music has held up. Reunions can serve as a good litmus test to see where the music actually stands. While some choose to look down at reunions and criticize bands who don’t know when to say when, the facts show that reunions are generally pretty successful. Midtown and Outkast’s festival reunions have both been met with positivity, while both American Football and Mineral sold out their shows so quickly they had to resort to adding more. The New York City Saturday show and subsequent Friday show crashed Ticketweb because of the volume of visitors, causing a social media uproar and leading many frustrated fans to lament losing out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The band went on to add a third Webster Hall show that Sunday, meaning that the band will have sold over 4,200 tickets when all is said and done.

The reunion craze has been booming because nostalgia is in such high demand. Now more than ever, we are engulfed by nostalgia, and bands are seizing the opportunity and they themselves are being subjected to these memories of the great times they with their bands. What ultimately attracts us to reunions is that they transport us back in time and elicit powerful memories. By going to see a band like Blink-182 perform, we remember that feeling of listening to them in the early 90’s and early 2000’s (whether you were in middle school, high school, or college) and it brings back these feelings. And this is not unique to the punk scene; classic rock legends like Led Zeppelin and Van Halen reunited in the 2000’s after over 20 years apart to play shows. Boy bands like Backstreet Boys and New Kids on the Block have gone on reunion tours, while N Sync and Destiny’s Child have taken the stage briefly to perform together. With so many groups nobody ever saw getting back together now reuniting, the possibilities are endless. Beloved broken up bands from Jawbreaker to Husker Du to The Replacements to The Smiths (though Morrissey has rejected this notion entirely) may one day perform again.

Reunions are never going to please everybody. For every fan that is thrilled to see their favorite group reform, there’s one that wants to remember the band for what they are and avoid seeing them tarnish their legacy. So the question to be asked is: when is enough enough? Is it okay for a band that has been gone for three or four years to come back? Should a band that’s been gone for more than 10 years stay away to preserve their legacy? In the case of American Football and Mineral, we won’t know the answer until they play their shows. But one thing is for sure: the reunion craze is not going away. For better or for worse, they remain extremely profitable and a big hit among fans. While some remain critical, crowds come out in droves, buy the new and the old albums, and celebrate the return of their favorite band. The great thing is that those who are happy to see the band reunite can embrace it, while the more jaded fan who wishes those bands stayed away can just ignore it and live in ignorant bliss while holding on to their memories. In this scenario, it’s a win-win for everyone, so there’s no harm in a band wanting to take a stroll down memory lane as long as they do it right.

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Ten Photos That Defined my 2013 Concert Experience

by Vasilis

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Shone @ Mercury Lounge (New York, NY), Februrary 7 – After a perfectly orchestrated social media campaign that led to the most commented thread in Absolutepunk.net history, the Shone mystery was finally revealed. Once the shock and mystery wore off, the band, made up of members of Long Island staples Brand New and Robbers, played their first show at Mercury Lounge. Like the social media campaign, the evening was strange, memorable and a little terrifying, with animal sounds, face paint, and spooky music accompanying the newly-formed band.

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Frank Turner @ Blackheart Bar (Austin, TX), SXSW 2013, March 15 – The defining moment of my life as a music fan was getting to work and attend SXSW this year. On Friday night, I ran to catch Frank Turner’s 1am set following a long work day, and it was well worth it. I would end up seeing Frank 3 times during the last 24 hours of the incredible SXSW 2013 festival.

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Green Day @ The Barclays Center (Brooklyn, NY), April 7 – Green Day is my favorite band their live show is unmatched. When I was lucky enough to score 2 general admission spots to their headlining show I knew it would be a night to remember. As always, the performance the band put on was nothing short of perfect and is one of the best shows I went to all year.

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Fall Out Boy @ Terminal 5 (New York, NY), May 29 – One of the biggest music stories of 2013 for me was the reemergence of Fall Out Boy. Following their four-year hiatus, the pop/rock group recorded their new album and planned an entire tour without any news leaking. The album was a huge success, and their small-market headlining tour sold out instantly. Their New York set showcased their improved live act while demonstrating their high level of energy and fun.

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Mumford & Sons @ Forest Hills Stadium (Queens, NY), August 28 – Having the opportunity to see a band I really like perform on my home borough of Queens, New York was easily one of the coolest concert experiences I’ve ever had. Between some annoying crowd members and flaws in the stadium’s design, the show definitely had downsides; however, that did not stop this from being an extremely enjoyable concert by an incredible live band 10 minutes from my home.

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Yellowcard @ Irving Plaza (New York, NY), September 9, 2013 – Yellowcard put a fun twist on the 10-year craze, instead releasing an acoustic rendition of their classic decade-old Ocean Avenue and performing an acoustic tour. The experience, equipped with a full electric encore of their hits, was beautifully nostalgic and reminded me of how much this band means to me.

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The Front Bottoms @ The Music Hall of Williamsburg (Brooklyn, NY), November 13 – Not many bands can take a tour in which they’re the supporting act and make it their own. The Front Bottoms did just that while opening for Manchester Orchestra. The quirky New Jersey indie-dance-punk band worked the crowd into a frenzy with the help of their infectious music and their wacky arm-waving friends, who made an appearance during the catchy tune “The Beers”.

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Streetlight Manifesto @ Starland Ballroom (Sayreville, NJ), November 16 – I said everything I need to say about the band that made me fall in love with live music on my farewell post to them. Still, this picture remains one of the most memorable I have ever taken from their last show in NJ and serves as a fitting farewell (or “see you later”) for the Jersey ska-punk band.

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The Wonder Years @ 89 North (Patchogue, NY), December 15 – Realist pop-punk band The Wonder Years have been growing at a rapid pace over the years and are now headlining 1000-2000 cap venues. This made their holiday-themed acoustic tour, which closed out its four-show run on Long Island, even more special. Playing in front of 450 people (the show sold out in mere hours), the band threw in some amazing surprise cuts in their set. The venue was decorated with trees and snowflakes and fans dressed up in ugly Christmas sweaters to receive free cookies and hot chocolate. As far as holiday acoustic shows go, this one was incredibly fun night.

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Brand New @ The Paramount (Huntington, NY), December 20 – Though show should go down as one of the best I have ever seen, it’s the issues around it that may define it. The band announced small-venue discography shows where they would play their four albums, resulting in scalping issues when tickets sold out in seconds. At the Long Island hometown show, when fans expect earlier classic records Your Favorite Weapon and Deja Entendu, the band threw a curveball and played their latter two (incredibly stellar) records, much to some people’s disappointment. When Daisy was played instead of Deja Entendu, some booed and even walked out, taking to social media to voice displeasure. Being cryptic and unpredictable has always led to Brand New being placed on a sort of pedestal and examined closely through a microscope, but the performance was still breath-taking and their experience of seeing those records was perfect.

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Some of Our Favorite Christmas Songs

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by Vasilis and Cherie

Vasilis: I’m no fan of Christmas music honestly, especially the very cliché, religious-based sappy music; that is why I love when punk bands either put their own spin on Christmas classics or invent their own off-beat, humorous take on the holidays through their songs. The only songs that really go off that recipe are the Pogues and Run DMC (two classic songs!). My list is just a small sample of my favorite holiday tunes from some of my favorite bands. If you like this list, one of my favorite comps, (No Sleep Till Christmas) is available for free download through the label’s website. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go listen to sad Christmas songs and rock out.

Bayside – Angels We Have Heard on High

Blink-182 – I Won’t Be Home For Christmas

Fall Out Boy – Yule Shoot Your Eye Out

Into It. Over It. – Jingle Bell Broke

MxPx – Christmas Night of Zombies

New Found Glory – Ex-Miss

Run DMC – Christmas in Hollis

The Mighty Mighty Bosstones – This Time of Year

The Pogues – Fairytale of New York

The Wonder Years – Christmas at 22

Cherie: I have to agree with Vas, I’m not a huge fan of traditional Christmas music as such. But when my favorite bands put out a Christmas song, even if its just a remake of an old song, I’ll give it a listen. There’s no rhyme or reason to what I end up liking; sometimes it annoys me when bands don’t change anything in their versions but other times I think they change too much. The best, though, are usually new songs all together (the exception being Baysides version of Angels We Have Heard on High which is the best thing ever). Here’s my top ten favorite Christmas songs!

Tegan and Sara – The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)

fun. – Believe in Me

Laura Marling – Silent Night

The Killers – Don’t Shoot Me Santa

Dropkick Murphies – The Season’s Upon Us

Emmy the Great & Tim Wheeler – Home for the Holidays

Frank Turner – Last Christmas

The Killers – Great Big Sled

Yellowcard – Christmas Lights

Bright Eyes – Blue Christmas

You can check out a playlist containing some of the songs by clicking here.

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Top Five Music Stories That Defined 2013 For Me

by Vasilis

5. The Return of Justin Timberlake

I am not much of a fan of Justin Timberlake’s music, although he is hilarious and I appreciate how talented he is. However, to deny how big his return to music was would be extremely naïve. After stepping away from the music game to focus on his acting, the pop star returned with no warning and defined the pop music landscape by releasing two albums that set the bar high in terms of sale and performance. Additionally, his song “Suit & Tie” was everywhere, from beer commercials to sporting events to late night shows, and “Mirrors” followed suit with big-time radio play. To top it off, his collaboration with hip hop mogul Jay-Z “Suit & Tie” and “Holy Grail” and their collaboration on their summer stadium tour made waves and sold incredibly well, even selling out two Yankee Stadium shows. The subsequent solo headlining tour he embarked was also a huge success, and with another headlining tour taking place early next year, it’s safe to say Justin Timberlake’s return to music is nowhere near finished.

4. Fall Out Boy Reunite to “Save Rock and Roll”

While Justin Timberlake’s return was flashier, Fall Out Boy’s meant more to me. After attending their “final” show at Madison Square Garden supporting Blink-182 in 2009, I was not sure I’d ever see them back together again. Whispers began early on that the band should and would reunite to honor the 10-year anniversary of their beloved pop punk masterpiece Take This To Your Grave, but the band’s members vehemently denied any plans, even up to a day before the announcement. Then, with one simple post, the pop punk world turned upside down: Not only was Fall Out Boy back, but they already had a new album recorded, a new single to release, three small club shows planned for Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles, and a small venue tour set for the spring. The most startling aspect of the return was the band doing everything under complete cover of darkness; no news leaked during the process, making the announcement that much more startling. With their new album Save Rock and Roll and the image of the band burning Take This To Your Grave, it was clear they had no interest of returning to their pop punk roots to appease fans, instead recording the album they wanted to. Their first single “My Songs Know What You Did In the Dark (Light ‘Em Up)” was hugely successful and led to various television and festival performances, showing the group’s propensity for writing hook-soaked pop/rock tunes had only improved and their name was bigger than ever. 2013 was a year of returns and exits in music, but the biggest for me was the re-emergence of Fall Out Boy.

3. Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

With every happy return came a sad goodbye in 2013, which featured some of my favorite members leaving or being forced out of some of my favorite bands. Tony Thaxton, citing the need to step away from life on the road, quit his role as Motion City Soundtrack drummer after being with the band since their debut 2003 album I Am the Movie. Even more startling was the announcement that founding Sum 41 member and drummer Steve Jocz was departing after 17 years, leaving vocalist Deryck Whibley the only remaining founding member. While people have speculated that Deryck’s potential substance abuse problems and the constant show cancellations were the cause, Jocz gave no further reason. Rounding out the drummers was the announcement that Say Anything drummer Coby Linder was departing, leaving singer-songwriter Max Bemis as the group’s only non-live member (I’m cheating a bit on this one, as Coby made the announcement on December 29, 2012). On the ska side, trombonist Dan Regan left Reel Big Fish after a startling 20 years with the band, leaving singer/guitarist and group founder Aaron Barrett as the only member who has been with the band since the ‘90s. Finally, the news recently came out that New Found Glory had essentially kicked out backing guitarist and primary lyricist Steve Klein, sending ripples through the pop punk community and causing people to question the band’s motives and wonder about any potential schism between them. The band was known as a tight-knit group of friends, having had the same lineup since forming in 1997. This, paired with the fact that the split did not seem mutual, make this the most shocking of all.

2. The Fall of Ian Watkins

Cherie and I have said all we could about this story in our post, but this story completely changed the face of the rock world in 2013. The details were so horrifying, so disturbing that it made people wonder aloud how any man could think these actions up and caused people to completely discard the entire band’s catalog. The world of music is full of heroes and villains, but Ian Watkins arose as the most universally hated figure; people cursed his existence and wished him hell in his jail cell. In a strange way, the story united many music fans from all over in their contempt and hate for Ian Watkins. While the story has recently begun winding down with his guilty plea, the shock of this story has still not completely worn off.

1. Happy Ten-iversary!

Strangely enough, the thing I will remember most about 2013 was how incredible 2003 was. No year defined “the scene” (meaning the world of pop punk, emo, alternative, pop/rock, etc.) more than 2003; the sheer amount of ground-breaking, life-changing albums that came out that year is unrivaled, and the bands showed their appreciation by going on a run of 10-year anniversary tours. Yellowcard paid homage to Ocean Avenue with a recorded rendition of the album and an acoustic tour, Story of the Year honored Page Avenue by performing it in its entirety on the “Scream it Like You Mean It” tour, Finch toured for What It Is To Burn, The Early November announced two special December shows in Philadelphia and New York to perform The Room’s Too Cold, Death Cab For Cutie played Transatlanticism on a short run of dates earlier this year and Blink-182 performed Blink-182 at a 5-show Los Angeles residency. Well-known Long Island recluses Brand New even shocked fans by performing the genre-defining Deja Entendu on a short run of dates earlier this year. On top of that, both New Found Glory and Taking Back Sunday continued their 2012 run of ten-year tours for Sticks and Stones and Tell All Your Friends, respectively. All that nostalgic firepower doesn’t even include Thrice (The Artist in the Ambulance), Thursday (War all the Time), AFI (Sing the Sorrow), Fall Out Boy (Take This To Your Grave), The Format (Interventions and Lullabies), Matchbook Romance (Stories and Alibis), Something Corporate (North), Coheed and Cambria (In Keeping Secrets…), The Ataris (So Long Astoria), MxPx (Before Everything and After), Less than Jake (Anthem), The Postal Service (Give Up), Saves the Day (In Reverie), and… well, you get the picture. I even ended up leaving a bunch of albums off this list that also came from the scene. Looking back at 2003 through the nostalgia-filled 2013 glasses, I came to realize how many bands helped shape the current genre that I love, and even though at the time I didn’t pay attention it made me that much more grateful that these bands and albums exist.

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Yellowcard & Fans Celebrate 10 Years of Ocean Avenue in Style

by Vasilis

 

In September 2007, Yellowcard embarked on a co-headlining tour with The Blue October that hit up New York’s Nokia Theater (currently Best Buy Theater). Cherie and I planned to attend that show but plans fell through and we never did. I remember that show very vividly because Yellowcard went on hiatus the following year and I was never able to see them live. I was devastated because they were a band that was instrumental in shaping my musical taste, and it all started with Ocean Avenue. Luckily, Yellowcard returned in 2010, and have since released two of their best albums to date.

 

Like many bands, Yellowcard have ridden the wave of nostalgia through a 10-year anniversary tour, but the band also added another element: a re-worked acoustic version of their breakthrough album Ocean Avenue. It proved to be a wonderful treat for the fans and demonstrated the band’s maturity and versatility with improved vocals from Ryan Key and picture perfect precision from each member. The band decided to use the twist in their tour, where they performed the album acoustically before performing an elongated encore with several of their most popular songs from their four most recent studio albums. The tour hit Irving Plaza in New York City for two straight nights of nostalgic beauty, and I was lucky enough to attend the first of the two sold-out shows.

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Yellowcard tabbed Geoff Rickley, frontman of seminal Victory Records post-hardcore band Thursday, to open the show, joking during their set that having the guy from Thursday open for them makes them sound cooler than they are. Since Thursday’s break-up in 2011, Geoff has been releasing free solo mixtapes for fans while touring every now and again. He played a mix of solo songs and Thursday songs, including “Standing on the Edge of Summer” off their legendary 2001 album Full Collapse. He waxed nostalgic about 2003, performing covers by The Flaming Lips (“Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Pt. 1”) and Long Island legends Brand New (“The Boy Who Blocked His Own Shot”) before going into “This Song Has Been Brought To You By A Falling Bomb” off Thursday’s breakthrough album War All The Time.  Geoff’s set was often strange, awkward, and uncomfortable, but he definitely added more nostalgia to the night.

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Yellowcard followed and you could tell the crowd came prepared. Ryan Key warned everyone that Boston’s audience raised the bar, and the fans met the challenge from the first note of “Way Away” belting louder than even the band could believe at times. The hour-long acoustic Ocean Avenue set was stunning, a true celebration of the band’s hard work and the legacy the milestone record has left behind. “Ocean Avenue” and “Only One” inspired crowd surfers, even in an acoustic setting, while “Life of a Salesman” brought out the mosh pit. When Ryan Key was struggling with his vocals during the first verse of “Ocean Avenue”, the fans picked him up, singing loud enough to give him time to recover for the chorus. Every Sean Mackin violin solo or Ryan Mendez guitar solo brought out wild cheers and applause from the crowd.

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The real treat was getting to see some deep cuts played live for the first time, including some favorites like “Miles Apart”, “One Year, Six Months” and “The View From Heaven”, which they dedicated to a long-time Yellowcard fan Tiesha who attended every Yellowcard NYC show but sadly passed away last month. The band closed out the set with a beautiful rendition of “Back Home” before coming back out ten minutes later, electric guitars in hand. The band brought out some more surprises, opening with Paper Walls deep cuts “Paper Walls” and “The Takedown” to the crowd’s delight. The band tore through the second set, equipped with Yellowcard classics “Rough Landing Holly”, “Always Summer”, “Here I Am Alive”, and “With You Around” along with other great cuts like “Be The Young” and “Awakening”. The band closed out the set with “Lights and Sounds”, which included a drum solo from LP and the ending from Ocean Avenue played again electrically. Even with their set over, fans were not ready for the show to end, still chanting for an encore. It was an emotional end to what turned out to be a truly special night for the band and their fans. Sean Mackin and Ryan Key were speechless, proclaiming this as perhaps the best Yellowcard show of all time, and by the expression on their face you could tell they weren’t just saying it. They opened the show by raising the bar, and the crowd met the challenge.

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There are many things we take for granted in our everyday lives. Certain things are always there for us and as a result we don’t even think about them.  When Yellowcard went on hiatus in 2008, I was so sad that I had never gotten the chance to see such an integral band in my life live. Five years later, I can’t believe I’ve seen them six times (all post-hiatus) and even got the chance to meet them at Warped Tour 2012, where I learned that in addition to being fantastic musicians they are fantastic people as well. Yellowcard is a band I won’t take for granted any more, and that’s why every time they drop by New York I will make it a point to do my best to see them live. This show became another great memory that the band has provided me, and I am always grateful for it.

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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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