Thursday, October 27, 2011

Links for Your Thursday

Struggling through that Thursday lull? Turn on some tunes and surf the internet for a bit.

Start with my friend Meag's blog. She's just start to get settled in California after being a big time lawyer in NYC (yes I realize that the brief overview sounds an awful lot like the plot for a tv series or a movie, but I swear it's her real life).

Read up on going against the grain and doing something for yourself if no one else will on Travis of Ghost Thrower fame's blog for Guitar World on desinging and making his own guitars. (Points if you can guess the owner of the bass he mentions.)

Catch up with John Keefe on twitter. He's traveling with his band Empire Kids and taking photos of small town rural America. It's stunning to see what the rockstar cowboy takes in.

Enjoy your more morbid sense of humor with A Softer World, because aren't we all a little dark on the inside?

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ghost Thrower Presale

As we've been reminded via every social media website I'm on, there's only 6 more days to pre-order your copy of the new Ghost Thrower album! I picked mine up a few days ago and can't wait to get it in the mail. Super excited.

You can check it out at their online store! Go support these guys, they are doing awesome work, really awesome work.

While your at it, grab the new release from The Tower and The Fool and Young Statues. Another collection of great guys doing great work.

I just need a record player. Someone have a suggestion? Or want to give me one?

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Tower and The Fool

The Tower and the Fool

Bryan Donahue said it best as he was cleaning up after the show. "You're starting to make a thing of this aren't you? Coming up every couple months to Boston for a show." It really has become a thing. I hated that it had been almost two months since the last time I'd been to Boston to see my friends or see any of the local bands.

When Bryan informed us that he was going to be playing The Tower and the Fool, I was excited because I'd seen them before when I went to my first Early Morning Blues show and I really love their music. It's very different from Early Morning Blues, but with the wide array of music I like, it still strikes home. As Rana and i started talking about the show, she knew one of the openers, Daybreaker and Travis of Ghost Thrower told us about Born Without Bones, who also sounded great on their EP.

That was it, we were sold. Work managed to not get in the way and I spent my Wednesday in Boston, visiting a few of my favorite places, spending time with Rana and then getting to see the show that evening. It would be a long day, but hopefully one that was worth it.

The morning spent wandering around Newbury Street was great, including a visit to my current favorite clothing line, Johnny Cupcakes. The Newbury store is excellent, set up like an old bakery, complete with shirts in display cases. Not to mention the staff is completely awesome. They chatted me up about the trip into town and they were pretty excited to hear I was in town to see some local bands play. Can't help it, I love the Boston local music scene.

After that I wandered around some more until Rana was done with class and we had dinner. We made one more stop to Johnny Cupcakes so she could get an umbrella and got a fun "welcome back" when walked in the door. She had one more meeting before we headed out so I took care of getting whatever we needed from her place and then waited until she was done. Once it was time to head out we met up with her friend Colleen, whom I hadn't met yet and walked to Great Scott in Allston.

I was, as I've said pretty excited about the line up. I was more excited though to see Travis from Ghost Thrower walk through the door. Thankfully he seemed just as excited to see me and greeted me with a huge hug and asking if I'd seen Bryan yet. Bryan wasn't there yet, but Travis just shrugged and said he was late.

Born Without Bones was up first and they are just as good live as they are on the album. I was really, really please to hear their sound, and touched that their music seems to mean so much to them. They're definitely "one to watch" and I totally recommend picking up their music off their bandcamp page. I'm really looking forward to seeing them again, and I hope I get the chance. Right now they have a few shows around the New England area already scheduled for November.

Young Statues was up next and they aren't from Boston (out of Philadelphia) , but definitely won over the crowd after a song or two. I really enjoyed their sound, very similar to the other bands playing and I think they got a lot of positive attention. Good lyrics, great sound and wow, really great vocals. For someone who seems to hate all things from Philadelphia (okay just the Phillies and the Eagles) I think I might be converted. Well I still can't stand the Phillies or the Eagles, but I can start making some exceptions.

Daybreaker, like Born Without Bones was just as Rana and I guessed, really good. We were both really excited and I had to laugh when Colleen got two songs in and turned to us with a "you two were right they are good" face and nod. They rocked really solidly and have a great live sound. We really enjoyed the set, one of those ones that you can help moving along to.

It was getting late by the time The Tower and The Fool went on but that didn't stop us from being excited (or me at least). There was a moment late when Chris from the band asked how I enjoyed seeing Bryan play with a new band and I realized that this was the third group I've seen him play with live (though at the time I saw Boys Like Girls I was on the "Paul" side of the stage and hadn't been converted to the wonder that is their bass player yet). As always it never disappoints to see him on stage. They put on a great set, playing a lot of their new music as well as some older songs. They even played "Breach" which has always been my favorite song by them and I really loved it. The crowd knew that one and sang it with them, which was really cool to see with a small band.

I managed to score some more time after the show with Bryan, catching up as he made the comment about me coming up being a thing. We chatted Early Morning Blues a little and he says he's working on new music which I can't wait for. He dropped some lyrics on twitter a few weeks ago and it was good stuff, just like before and I'm excited to see what comes of it.

Another whirlwind trip that had me coming back to Atlanta the next morning, but it was completely worth it as always. I'm already looking to see if there's a chance to go back in early December (maybe to see The Maine on their tour or Anamanaguchi or maybe EMB?) and I can't doubt that I won't be there. Even if their is snow.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Q&A: Anchors

I got a chance to do a quick Q&A with the guys from Anchors (I reviewed their EP here). I've said it before, but they are a really great trio of guys on top of being very talented.

Every band has a story, how they got to be a band, how they went from playing in marching band or basements to being who they are now. What's your story?

Brian - Rob and I took a class together at Northeastern University in the summer of 2010, and we immediately got along and talked about playing music together. We met Zach through some mutual friends pretty soon afterward, and the three of us started collaborating. It took a little while for us to find our footing with our musical style; we spent about seven months writing before releasing any music with our names on it. We needed to make sure that our first impression was a good one, and we all feel really good about the first steps we've taken as a group.

Where did each of you getting your start in music?

Zach - The first few bands I played in were very much in the vein of some of the earlier Tooth & Nail Records and Drive-Thru Records bands like The Early November, Dead Poetic and Something Corporate.

Rob - When I was six I took piano lessons and began learning the fundamentals of classical and branched out into jazz. I played for about 5 years until I moved from Toronto, Canada to Hartford, Connecticut. Unfortunately, I stopped playing because of the lack of owning a piano then. Around 8th grade, I took up guitar and drums (both self taught) and began performing with local garage bands in the Hartford County. In High School I played in a few different projects, those in the realm of pop punk (drums/vocals), screamo/hardcore (guitar/vocals), indie rock (vocals/piano) and had the opportunity to tour regionally. As High School ended, I branched out into different genres and projects as well as toured extensively. So the groundwork was built over many years, which will lend fuel for my story to continue.

Brian - I started playing piano when I was five, picked up guitar when I was eleven, so I've been around music for almost my whole life. Music has always been my favorite art form, if for nothing else other than the intimate, interactive nature of it. The feeling you get at a live show, that amazing sense of community, the connection between a room full of people united to sing along to their favorite songs; it just made sense to me to start playing in bands, so that I could contribute to that community that has given so much to me.

Who were your biggest influences music-wise?

Rob - Growing up in a European household, I was exposed to a lot of different styles of music; mostly that of pop and rock. Some of the greatest influences in my lifetime were bands and artists such as Queen, Yes, Pink Floyd, The Band, B.B. King, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and the list goes on. However, the one person who shaped my creativity and dreams was Freddie Mercury. The way he saw and portrayed music always fascinated me, giving me the aspiration to hopefully one day be able to move someone the way he moved me.

Zach - Like Rob I grew up on old school art-rock bands like Genesis, Yes and Pink Floyd they continue to be a huge influence. That being said I have been heavily influenced by the music I discovered during high school: Thursday, The Early November, Converge.

Brian - My Chemical Romance has always been a really big influence for me as a musician. Their music and their live performances are so theatrical, it's amazing to watch them because you can see their blood, sweat and tears come out in their performance. They’re always challenging themselves, pushing to create a better, more developed sound, and I admire that about them. There’s no playing it safe, and I really respect that about any artist. Whenever I listen to them, I can feel their raw emotion, and I think all the best music has that quality in common.

Why the alternative genre? What drove you to make the music you make?

Brian Our style of music makes sense to us because it blurs the lines of a bunch of things that we love that don't necessarily fit together on their own. We've basically broken down all the music we love into its most basic particles, taking our favorite elements, and smashing them together. The sound we've begun creating makes us happy for two reasons. The first is that we feel like we've successfully achieved what we set out to do with the first songs we've written together, which was to carve our own path and not directly emulate anyone in particular. The second is that we've given ourselves a bar to clear, a specific expectation to exceed, and tons of space to evolve even further. I think that’s good for us, because it pushes us to challenge ourselves as writers so that we can make the best music we can possibly make together in the future.

What's your favorite thing about being in the music business?

Rob - The most rewarding and best part in my opinion is the fact that I am apart of such a great project and have the opportunity to share our music with people. As well, meeting new, interesting people and listening to their stories is what I love about what this business has to offer.

Zach - All the people we get to meet and friends we make along the way. To connect with someone through music is a huge inspiration for us to keep on trekking.

Brian - My favorite thing about being in the music business is playing music. I didn’t start playing music when I was six for any reason other than my love for the art. I agree with Zach, the connections people can make to each other through music is just amazing.

If you were going to switch places with a character in an 80s movie who would it be?

Zach - I would have to choose Atreju from The Never Ending Story; one of my favorite films when I was a kid.

Brian - If I could switch places with a character in an 80's movie, it would have to be Ferris Bueller. Dude had the car, the day off, and the girl. What's not to like?

Rob Hands down I would trade places with Michael J. Fox as Scott Howard, also known as Teen Wolf. He was an outcast, but when people saw how cool it was to hang out with a werewolf… well come on, the rest is history.

Follow the guys on twitter: @AnchorsMA, @BrianStaples, @robert_parks, @HollywoodZach
And check them out on facebook.

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