Review: The Damned Things – High Crimes

Count me as one of the (many? few?) that found great enjoyment in The Damned Thing’s 2010 debut, Ironiclast. That album served as both the most interesting project released during the late aughts Fall Out Boy hiatus and an album that tugged at my hard rock heartstrings, even though some found it (incorrectly) to be too generic. In many ways, it was ahead of its time, laying a foundation for other punk and metalcore acts to explore more accessible sounds in recent years.

You can buy or stream High Crimes on Apple Music.

Nevertheless, as time passed, it began to feel more and more like a fleeting moment that never found its foothold. The band’s members (Every Time I Die’s Keith Buckley, Anthrax’s Scott Ian, and Fall Out Boy’s Joe Trohman and Andy Hurley) all have successful careers and plenty to do aside from scratching a side project itch that a select group of fans quietly clamor for. But here we are nine years later with another album on our hands. And let me tell you, High Crimes is unbelievably good, one-upping its predecessor in almost every way.

The easiest place to find fault in Ironiclast was in its safety. While full of melody and fun, radio rock guitar riffs, the album goes by in a breeze, never really changing pace or taking chances. High Crimes truly feels like the band, now employing Alkaline Trio’s Dan Andriano on bass, just said, “Fuck it. Let’s have some fun.”

Opening track and first single “Cells” capitalizes on the potential a band with this much star power possesses. It’s raw, wild and manic throughout, feeling from its opening moments las if it’s channeling In Utero’s spirit. The track’s best moment comes near the end as Buckley shouts, “Guitar!” just in time for a sick guitar solo. It’s a moment so carefree and silly that it allows you to lower your guard and simply enjoy the ride.

High Crimes succeeds in capturing very distinguishable influences from each of its members – something Ironiclast could never fully execute. Here, there is no pressure to make something specific – just a group of musicians having a great time and bringing their own ideas playfully to the table. The album transitions from fast and dirty hardcore punk tracks like “Carry a Brick” to dark, eerie synth-driven songs like “Storm Chaser” to cheesy rock n’ roll sing-a-long moments like “Something Good”, which opens with a group chant of “Y-E-L-L / All of my friends are going to hell”.

Hearing Trohman and Ian have so much fun on guitar throughout the album is truly a delight. It’s almost as if that metaphorical loosening of the tie allows Buckley to tap into his signature wit and exuberant nature. On “Invincible”, easily the most accessible track on the album, Buckley croons, “And if you’re trying to bring me down / Then you’re the last to know / Once the bullet leaves my brain, it can’t be stopped / You’re in over your heard / I’m invincible!”

Later, on “Young Hearts”, Buckley flexes his voice in new ways, with ghostly back-up vocals added to the mix: “Young hearts don’t come free tonight (come free tonight) / And not one of them is built to save my life (to save my life)”. On grimy rocker “Keep Crawling”, he taps into a dark mood of self-loathing, singing, “I’ve been broken / I’ve been shamed / But I keep crawling back / You keep calling it faith”.

With all of its variety, High Crimes still manages to feel cohesive. There are changes of pace and plenty of moments to catch waning ears, but there’s an easy-going sense of purpose that helps tie things all together. Each member finds moments to shine, but never at the cost of pulling the sound too far in one direction. The band even manages to save one final fastball for closing track, “The Fire is Cold”, unleashing ripping guitar riffs and spastic screaming from Buckley, feeling like one final burst of artistic energy that has pent up over the past nine years.

Since its inception, The Damned Things has been a project full of the kind of potential that could conceivably go toe-to-toe with the legacies of the parts that made it. Unfortunately, super groups often suffer from that very trap, never living up to the expectations that come naturally with so many household names. High Crimes may not sit on the same shelf as some of the best releases from Every Time I Die, Anthrax or Fall Out Boy, but it sure as hell works as the kind of rock record that feels fresh in 2019, which is truly no small feat.

4/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Wet Shoes, Full Hearts: Riot Fest 2015 – Day 1

RiotFest

In the days leading up to this year’s Riot Fest in Chicago, I kept checking the weather app on my phone. Friday? Rain. Saturday? Rain. I thought maybe the forecast might change and we’d be able to enjoy the festival on dry ground for once. No such luck.

I arrived at Douglas Park early Friday afternoon wearing the black Chucks I bought last year to replace the black Chucks that were ruined in the mud at Riot Fest 2014. Before this year’s festival could even begin, the ground was already sloppy. The good news was that Douglas Park allowed for a much more sensible layout than Humboldt Park. At least if we were going to get covered in mud, we wouldn’t have to walk as far.

For me, the day truly kicked off when Every Time I Die took the Rebel Stage. Last year’s From Parts Unknown was a return to vicious form for the metalcore vets and their set did not disappoint. It’s nearly impossible to take your eyes off of Keith Buckley when he’s commanding the stage with his roar, but the rest of the band can be just as rowdy. The set ended with Jordan Buckley throwing himself through the stacked amps on stage, Kurt Cobain-style. It only seemed appropriate, especially after the band’s performance of Nirvana’s “Tourette’s”.

Against Me! took the Rise Stage immediately after and raged through an energetic set. That the band can still stand after a year of non-stop touring in support of Transgender Dysphoria Blues is nothing short of miraculous. That Laura Jane Grace can take the stage with such energy and emotion is a thing of beauty. The set ended with “I Was a Teenage Anarchist”, but the night continued later as the band played a secret show at Conchord Music Hall.

Although I’ve been listening to Coheed and Cambria on and off since 2003, I had somehow managed to miss the band in concert until Riot Fest. The performance was just as I had imagined it would be, however, with Claudio Sanchez singing in perfect tune from start to finish. I was delighted to hear the band play my three favorite songs of theirs (“A Favor House Atlantic”, “The Camper Velourium III: Al the Killer” and “Blood Red Summer”) all in succession. Clocking in at exactly an hour, the set felt like it passed in a matter of minutes.

The most surprising part of the weekend for me took place that evening as the sun set at the Rock Stage and Faith No More appeared. While I’m not as familiar with their music as I would like to be, my friend was thrilled to see the return of his favorite band. It was a sight to behold as the entire crowd sang along with the incredible Mike Patton, who showed off his vocal range in every way imaginable. The band easily had the most impressively tight set of the weekend, with every note sounding as if it were being played from the record.

Part of what makes Riot Fest so great is seeing newer bands like Real Friends get a chance at the big stage while legends like Faith No More are able to flex their muscles once more in front of giant crowds. I’ve said in the past that Riot Fest is like Warped Tour for grown-ups, but truly, it’s bigger than that. There’s literally something for almost everyone, and it’s impossible to leave disappointed or unimpressed.

At no point was this more obvious to me than when the night closed with Ice Cube at the Rebel Stage. I briefly caught a glimpse of No Doubt before making my way over to watch Cube rock the mic. After four of his solo tracks, he welcomed N.W.A. partners MC Ren and DJ Yella to the stage as the trio performed tracks from their legendary Straight Outta Compton release. By the time the crew launched into “Fuck tha Police”, the crowd collectively lost their minds. It was almost surreal watching the crowd unite for one of our era’s most important songs.

Yes, there is mud. Always. But in exchange for our wet clothes and soaked shoes, we’re given some of the most amazing reunions and performances we could ask for. Our clothes are muddy, our muscles are sore, and our stomachs ache from the disgusting food and copious amounts of alcohol – but our hearts are invariably full.

Read about day 2 here.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

5 Record Store Day Releases We Can’t Live Without

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The time has come once again – Record Store Day 2015 is this Saturday, April 18. If you’re not already aware, Record Store Day was conceived in 2007 as a way for independent record store owners to celebrate vinyl culture and has evolved in to a worldwide event. On Saturday, hit up your local record store to find special vinyl releases made available only to participating independent stores.

Last year, we wrote about the importance of Record Store Day and why you should get involved. This year, we’ve decided to share some of our most anticipated releases and why we’re excited to snag them on Saturday. Want the full list? Take a look here. Check out our list below and share some of your most anticipated RSD releases in the replies!

brand_new_dejaBrand New – Déjà Entendu

This is the one we’ve all been waiting for. At long last, Déjà Entendu will be getting a repress, much to the delight of their rabid fan base. This 2 x 12″ vinyl is pressed by Triple Crown Records and comes served in a paper bag sleeve. Pretty sweet. Get there early or you’re sure to miss out.

Yellowcard_a_perfect_skyYellowcard – A Perfect Sky

If you loved Yellowcard’s 2014 release Lift a Sail as much as we did, you’ve got to be stoked for this 10″ pressing of three previously unreleased acoustic versions of songs from the album. Also, the cover art looks incredible, and that counts for something.

south_of_the_cityThe Devil Wears Prada – South of the City

This 7″ colored vinyl release features one brand new song from The Devil Wears Prada called “South of the City”. The vinyl features the single on side A and an etching on side B. You’ll also get a digital download of this unreleased track.

echosmith_acoustic_dreamsEchosmith – Acoustic Dreams

Echosmith exploded into the mainstream last year with their hit single “Cool Kids”. On Record Store Day, the band will be releasing a 12″ colored vinyl titled Acoustic Dreams, featuring four tracks from Talking Dreams, including their hit song.

every_time_i_die_salemEvery Time I Die – Salem

Every Time I Die are following up their furious 2014 album From Parts Unknown with the Salem EP, a 7″ brown/red/clear swirl vinyl. The EP will feature four tracks, including two unreleased songs and a cover of Nirvana’s song “Tourettes”.

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Top 10 Albums of 2014

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Look, we don’t like this any more than you do. These end-of-the-year lists are tedious, obnoxious, self-indulgent…

Aw, who are we kidding – we love it! Even though it’s technically impossible to subjectively rank this year’s best albums, we took our best stab at it. This year was chock full of fantastic releases, many of which won’t be mentioned here because there simply isn’t enough room (or time) to spotlight all of them.

Nevertheless, senior editor Kyle Schultz and I put our heads together and came up with 10 worthy suitors to be a part of our second-annual Top 10 Albums of the Year list. Take a gander, then let us know what your favorite records of the year were in the replies!

every_time_i_die10Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown

From Keith Buckley’s repeated opening shrieks of, “Blow your fucking brains out!” on “The Great Secret” to his final desperate cries of, “All I want is for everyone to go to hell / It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself” during the final crushing breakdown on “Idiot”, From Parts Unknown is unforgiving and unrelenting. Who knew a band 16 years into its career could craft what may be their most punishing and challenging album? With From Parts Unknown, Every Time I Die don’t just want to carve their name into the stone temple of metalcore lore, they want to burn the whole damn thing to the ground. – Kiel Hauck

fireworks9Fireworks – Oh, Common Life

Oh, Common Life is the type of album that reminds you of an intimate conversation with a close friend. Fireworks’ distinct pop punk style is softened to allow for more melody while vocalist David Mackinder sings a hypnotic tale of maturation that comes with the bigger life changes during your twenties and the isolation that the world can impose on you.  While it starts off very poppy, the album slowly branches and touches on styles of playing that Fireworks have never tackled before as the lyrics grow more somber and accepting of life (“The Hotbed of Life”). It’s hard to say that Oh, Common Life was what fans of the band were expecting, but it’s what they deserved. – Kyle Schultz

copeland8Copeland – Ixora

Parting was sweet sorrow for fans of indie rock act Copeland, who closed up shop in 2010. Their surprising return is more than a mere nostalgia trip, it’s a return to rare form with their new album Ixora. The band is more playful than ever, sending listeners into a dream-like trance throughout the album’s 10 tracks that include haunting electronics, prancing pianos, and even a saxophone solo. Frontman Aaron Marsh is still on top of his game, adding to his vocal repertoire during the silky-smooth chorus of “Like a Lie”. From front to back, Ixora finds Copeland better than ever – here’s hoping there’s more where this came from. – KH

new_found_glory7New Found Glory – Resurrection

Resurrection is the first New Found Glory album in several years to sound like a classic. The new four-piece rebuild their sound to be more succinct and brutal, mixing their signature pop with much heavier guitars and a thundering bass. Each member pushes their musicianship to their limits with lyricism and themes that are significantly angrier than past work. While the songs are undeniably catchy and easy to sing along to (“Selfless”), they can make the listener uncomfortable (“The Worst Person”), which may have been the point given how much the band went through in the last year. As a longtime listener of the band though, it’s easy to see how much passion and energy went into creating a record that would rise above the trials that hit them all at once. – KS

emarosa6Emarosa – Versus 

The loss of lead vocalist Jonny Craig appeared to spell disaster for Emarosa after the band released their stellar self-titled record in 2010. Not so fast. Emarosa roared back in 2014 with Bradley Walden at the mic, releasing the best album of the band’s career. Versus is rife with conflict, but it’s a struggle that produces something beautiful. When Walden flips the script just over a minute into opening track “People Like Me, We Just Don’t Play”, it feels like the sort of sonic shift that not only changes the course of the band’s trajectory, but one that slams the door shut on the past. – KH

weezer5Weezer – Everything Will Be Alright in the End

Say what you will about Weezer, there’s no denying that when they feel like it, they can put out a masterpiece of an album. The aptly titled Everything Will Be Alright In the End is the band’s answer to years of criticism regarding their constantly evolving sound. The new album sounds like a lovechild between Blue, Green, and Maladroit, blending the respective sounds of fuzzed guitars, catchy pop songs and thrashing rock. Rivers Cuomo tagged the album as a ‘classic’ in the press leading up to its release, and he couldn’t have been more correct. It’s the first release from the band that doesn’t necessarily break new ground for their sound, but it recaptures the magic that made the band an international mainstay. – KS

against_me4Against Me! – Transgender Dysphoria Blues

Gender confusion and transgender identity are topics that have been at the front of people’s minds this year, which makes it all the more appropriate that Transgender Dysphoria Blues arrived just a couple weeks into the New Year. Not only is it Against Me!’s best rock album, it’s one of the most daring in that it follows the story of a transgender prostitute that mimics Tom Gabel’s transformation into Laura Jane Grace. The album is a tight series of fist-pumping songs that are just as heartbreaking as they are catchy. In the opening title track, Grace sings, “Your tells are so obvious / Shoulders too broad for a girl / Helps you remember where you come from / You want them to notice the ragged ends of your summer dress / You want them to see you like they see any other girl / They just see a faggot”. The album is a powerful and ferociously angry statement about transgender issues in this country, as well as the struggle for people dealing with them. – KS

yellowcard3Yellowcard – Lift a Sail

Born from a tragic skiing accident that left vocalist/guitarist Ryan Key’s fiancé paralyzed from the waist down, Lift a Sail is a painful song of triumph. The band drops what was left of their pop punk roots and forges ahead with powerful, anthemic rock tracks and explosive piano ballads. Violinist Sean Mackin has never sounded better, adding texture and layers to the songs that don’t overpower, but instead compliment the entirety of the band’s new sound. Lift a Sail is encouraging as it is aching, as determined as it is vulnerable. Just when you thought it couldn’t be done, Yellowcard has topped themselves once again. – KH

aaron_west2Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties – We Don’t Have Each Other

Aaron West & The Roaring Twenties is more than just another side project. It’s one of the few concept albums to not only have a tangible story, but a character that garners genuine sympathy. The acoustic songs mix enough new elements to sound unique, and enough of The Wonder Years’ brash style to show the versatility of their music. Dan Campbell weaves a vibrantly real, dark and heartbreaking story that never feels cliché or forced. As Aaron cracks more and more with each song, Campbell’s vocals are pushed to their limit as he jumps from soft whispers, to screams, and then singing the words of a conversation, sounding as though he’s on the brink of tears. The range of themes and universal fears crammed into the album are absolutely awe-inspiring. It’s easily one of the most emotional pieces I’ve heard in years and is unlike most anything else out there. There is little doubt that he is on a level of lyricism his peers can only hope to achieve. – KS

architects1Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

How did a modern metalcore album land our number one spot for 2014? By rattling the well-worn conventions of the genre and spitting at the notion that the music is beyond redemption. Lost Forever // Lost Together is the best album Architects have crafted, surpassing even 2009’s mammoth of a record, Hollow Crown. Vocalist Sam Carter is full of fire from the outset, roaring across tracks of technical guitar riffs and skull-rattling breakdowns. The album is angry, sure, but you can hear the band searching for something more – something deeper. Lost Forever // Lost Together is a metalcore album that makes you think, challenges the scene’s apathy, and forges a new path for any heavy band that dare follow. When Carter bellows, “You said we’ll never make a difference / Maybe this battle is to fight indifference” on “Naysayer”, you feel the sentiment pouring from every fiber of his being. – KH

Honorable Mention:

PVRIS – White Noise

Merriment – Sway

I Can Make a Mess – Growing In

Anberlin – Lowborn

Taylor Swift – 1989

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Review: Every Time I Die – From Parts Unknown

every_time_i_die_new

This shouldn’t be happening. This is the point in a band’s career where things should be tailing off, the edge should be dulling, the fire should be dwindling. This is the time where we begin saying our goodbyes and living off the nostalgia. Right?

Now 16 years into their career, and seven albums deep, hardcore heavyweights Every Time I Die may have just released the most frantic, punishing, explosive album of their career.

From Parts Unknown is certainly the most rabid and angry release from the band since 2003’s Hot Damn!, which is truly saying something. Whereas their last outing, Ex Lives, was an experimental look at the band’s potential future path, From Parts Unknown is a shockingly explosive return to the dark, dirty, filthy rock and roll that put Every Time I Die at the top of the heavy music pack.

Over half of the songs on the new album clock in at around or under two and a half minutes, creating an urgency not found in most bands ten years their junior. Opener “The Great Secret” bursts down the door with its thrashing guitars, while “Pelican of the Desert” transitions to a hardcore punk/post-hardcore hybrid akin to Underoath in their heyday.

They’ve always been one of the best duos in the scene, but guitarists Jordan Buckley and Andy Williams push themselves further than ever on this new release. Relief comes in the form of sludgy passages on tracks like “Moor”, before the break-neck pace is restored on songs like “If There is Room to Move, Things Move”. This isn’t shredding for shredding’s sake – this is an artful display of technical talent, conveying every measure with purpose, even if it causes your head to spin.

Likewise, vocalist Keith Buckley turns in a performance for the ages. Long considered one of the best screamers around, Buckley’s work on From Parts Unknown is downright legendary. It would be easy to believe that many of his vocals were completed in one take – it can’t be easy churning up this kind of emotion for hours on end.

Buckley’s screams and shouts seem to come from a place of deep pain and anger, and as goofy as Every Time I Die tends to be in their live performance and on-camera demeanor, his lyrics sound the opposite – full of despair and frustration.

From his repeated opening cries of “Blow your fucking brains out” to his chilling lines of “And girl, you know I want to tie up a rope and crack my crooked spine” on “Decayin With the Boys” and “All I want is for everyone to go to hell / It’s the last place I was seen before I lost myself” on album closer “Idiot”, it’s clear that this isn’t the faux-angry metalcore angst that plagues much of the genre.

Like Architects’ stellar release Lost Forever // Lost Together earlier this year, From Parts Unknown digs to that uncomfortable, sometimes scary nerve with its blunt dose of painful reality. That blend of unstable emotion and a knack for crafting otherworldly crushing tracks to convey it makes for a toxic brew – one that’s much needed in a genre thirsty for something authentic.

Every Time I Die seem to defy logic. Not only has the band yet to release a forgettable album, they’ve continued to push themselves and their peers with every move they make. No one would fault the band if they began to fade away – everyone does eventually, no matter how great. If From Parts Unknown is any indication, Every Time I Die have no intention of releasing their iron grip on the scene any time soon.

4.5/5

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

10 must-see bands on this summer’s Warped Tour

Warped_14

We’re creeping closer and closer to this summer’s Vans Warped Tour, which kicks off on June 13 in Houston, Texas. As usual, the lineup is massive, likely leaving you with touch choices to make on the day of the tour as to which bands to watch. What happens when two or more bands you want to see are taking the stage at nearly the same time?

Lucky for you, we’re spotlighting ten must see bands at this year’s tour, making your selection process just a tad simpler. Take a look below to see a few of the bands we think you should watch for and let us know which bands you’re looking forward to seeing in the replies!

Anberlin

anberlin_newAs if being one of the most important emo/alt-rock bands of the past decade wasn’t already enough of a reason see Anberlin on this year’s Warped Tour, the band is calling it quits this year, meaning this may be your last chance to see them. Vocalist Stephen Christian is one of the best true performers in the scene and the band has a monstrous back catalogue with too many incredible jams to fit them all into one set. Anberlin will be releasing their final album, Lowborn, on June 23, so be sure to pick up a copy at their merch table after catching their set! – Kiel Hauck

Saves The Day

saves_the_dayRegardless of your stance on the band, Saves the Day are staples to the pop punk genre. Chris Conley’s massive and legendary arsenal of songs were designed to play loud during hot summer days. Warped Tour is the ideal venue for the band, as it’s a massive mash up of newer and old-school fans watching a band born from the influences of the early days of Warped Tour. Saves the Day are pretty stationary on stage, but with sing-a-longs as immortal as theirs, it doesn’t even matter; the crowd will do the hard work for them. – Kyle Schultz

Every Time I Die

every_time_i_dieEvery Time I Die is becoming something of a Warped staple, making their sixth trek on the tour this summer. The metalcore giants always put on an insanely entertaining show and will be dropping a new album, From Parts Unknown, later this summer. If the first song, “Thirst”, is any indication, the band is sure to be shredding the Monster Energy Stage with some thunderous new tracks. Frontman Keith Buckley is one of the best live screamers around and the rest of his band mates know how to put on a show. If you see one heavy band on this year’s tour, make sure it’s Every Time I Die. – KH

Real Friends

real_friendsThis is a pivotal year for Real Friends: Their debut album Maybe This Place Is The Same and We’re Just Changing releases in July, midway through their first full run of the tour. After playing a good portion of the tour last year, they’re returning as veterans with the same energetic performances that got them there in the first place. Real Friends provide a fork in the road for pop punk, as their melodies are harsh, beautiful and poetic, but it manages to find a way to sound like the unrefined classic punk that forged the genre. – KS

Issues

issuesIssues made their first Warped Tour appearance last year on the Kevin Says Stage. They’ve upgraded to the Journeys Stage this year and will be playing jams from their self-titled full length debut throughout the summer. The tradeoff vocals between Michael Bohn and crooner Tyler Carter, coupled with their metalcore/nu-metal hybrid make this an intriguing band to watch. Not only are they one of the fastest rising bands in the scene, they put on an extremely fun set, complete with a live DJ. Don’t let the scene police fool you – Issues have something to prove this summer and are sure to be main stage material in the very near future. – KH

One OK Rock

One OK RockRepresenting one of the few JRock bands to extensively tour the US, One OK Rock is an experiment of blended cultures and one of the few non-European bands to attempt to break into the scene. Blending the pop of Fall Out Boy with the heavy metal  chords of early Linkin Park, the bands links the sounds together with strong pop punk to keep their sound diverse, edgy and nostalgic. Though they mostly sing in Japanese, there are a few songs in English to help them attract new fans. They might seem slightly out of place amidst the young punk acts, but it’s just another battleground for a band that wants to prove themselves at every possible challenge. – KS

We Are the In Crowd

we_are_the_in_crowd_2014Hopeless Records pop punk act We Are the In Crowd will be making their third appearance on Warped Tour this summer and look primed to explode. The band’s recent sophomore release Weird Kids is a true testament to the band’s growth as songwriters. Weird Kids is an eclectic collection of songs that pack a lot of heart – many of which beg to be heard at high volume in the summer heat. Lead vocalist Tay Jardine has a knack for commanding the stage and the charisma to draw increasingly large Warped crowds. Don’t be surprised to see these guys storm the main stage very soon. – KH

Teenage Bottlerocket

Teenage_bottlerocketPerhaps one of the most ‘classic’ bands of the tour, Teenage Bottlerocket is the band that punk was made for. Their songs are fast, simple and incredibly catchy. They sound similar to The Ramones, but only because it’s the perfect formula for songwriting when all you want to do is make noise. With the heat of Warped Tour to give them energy, Teenage Bottlerocket are sure to pump the crowd into an absolute frenzy. There is no other band as straightforward as that. – KS

Secrets

secretsSan Diego post-hardcore band Secrets made a short appearance on Warped Tour last year, but will be making the full trek in 2014. On the heels of last year’s sophomore album Fragile Figures, Secrets is certainly on the rise. The back and forth vocals between Aaron Melzer and Richard Rogers put many other metalcore acts to shame, while the band’s ability to transition between heavy and light has caught the ear of many. Expect the band’s set on the Journey Stage to attract a slew of new fans and feature plenty of breakdowns and sing-a-longs. – KH

Bowling For Soup

bowling_for_soupDespite being a successful band for twenty years, you don’t hear from Bowling For Soup too often. However, they’re a band that grew up with the early players of Warped Tour and have kept on after many of their peers fell apart. With their perfect hooks and dedicated choruses that never take themselves seriously, they’ll absolutely crush the stage. BFS are a band dedicated to enjoying themselves and entertaining anyone willing to listen. As the old pros of the tour, I can’t wait to see what they have in store compared to so many younger bands still trying to make a name for themselves. – KS

by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

Every Time I Die release music video for “Thirst”

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Post-hardcore act Every Time I Die are set to release their new album From Parts Unknown on July 1. Can’t wait to hear some new tunes? You’re in luck – the band has released a new music video for a new song titled “Thirst”. The track is short, but packs a punch. You can view the video below:

You can also check out the artwork and track listing for the new album here:

from_parts_unkown

1. The Great Secret
2. Pelican Of The Desert
3. Decayin’ With The Boys
4. Overstayer
5. If There Is Room To Move, Things Move
6. Moor
7. Exometrium
8. Thirst
9. Old Light
10. All Structures Are Unstable
11. El Dorado
12. Idiot

Like what you hear? You can preorder From Parts Unknown in the band’s webstore.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

letlive. release rendition of “27 Club” featuring Keith Buckley

letlive

If you’re like us and couldn’t get enough of letlive.’s stellar 2013 release The Blackest Beautiful, you’re in luck. The band is giving the songs from their album an overhaul as part of their Renditions series, in which they give guest vocalists an opportunity to sing over a part of one of their songs. Lead vocalist Jason Aalon Butler explained:

We presented them one song off of our latest album and asked them what they would do with a certain section if I (Jason Aalon) never sang in said section. We asked them to explore with free reign utilizing their particular style and prose. The point of this was not only to share our gratitude and adoration for other bands/artists, but to work with other artists we appreciate in new methods of collaboration and provide listeners with an exciting approach. In doing this you will hear the same song with different artists providing their artistic signature in the same section. The contrast, we believe, will not negate any single performance, but enhance all of them.

The first rendition features Keith Buckley of Every Time I Die singing over the bridge of “27 Club” – check it out below:

You can buy The Blackest Beautiful on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Every Time I Die and letlive. keep hope alive on current tour

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Within these drab walls, above these grimy floors, under these dim stage lights, the music still lives. Entering the Emerson Theater in Indianapolis is like traveling back in time. If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of some of the most intimate, raucous and noteworthy punk rock shows to come through the Midwest over the past few decades.

On this night, it gains another story to tell. Every Time I Die, letlive. and Code Orange Kids have arrived amidst the cold and snow to unleash a night of pummeling music that breathes hope and life into the crowd, but also speaks to the creativity and power that is still churning within the genre.

It’s amazing watching this lineup – truly spanning a generation, yet speaking to listeners of any age. At one point during Every Time I Die’s set, singer Keith Buckley notes that their next song was written when the members of Code Orange Kids were six years old. Don’t let their youth fool you. The Pittsburgh hardcore act is a powerhouse of hardcore punk and metal, fronted by Reba Meyers’ growl and furious guitar.

It’s refreshing to see such a young band hold their own on a tour like this – one that is anchored by one of the most storied and notorious metalcore acts and topped off by a band that has taken the post-hardcore world by storm in a matter of only a few years. Make no mistake – letlive. and Every Time I Die are the main draws tonight, but Code Orange Kids have certainly staked their claim to the rights of hardcore’s future.

Enter letlive. The Los Angeles post-hardcore act has been growing at a slow burn for the past two years since the release of Fake History, an album that introduced them to a larger audience through its 2011 re-release on Epitaph Records. This year, the band dropped one of the best albums of the year in The Blackest Beautiful.

It’s not just that letlive. is making great music and breathing fire back into the post-hardcore scene, it’s that they’re doing it with such furor and passion, marked by the cutting lyrics of Jason Aalon Butler. While they certainly have gained attention for their wild live performance, there’s a method to the madness. The Blackest Beautiful is a furious ride through the heart of Butler, and certainly fans the flame of their on-stage antics.

Butler takes the stage this night with an arm in a sling from a recent injury. No matter. He’ll soon be atop a stack of speakers, flying through the air and writhing on the ground. For Butler, this isn’t just for show, it’s because his passion runs deep as he sings and screams of race, inner demons, family disarray and political failings. The Blackest Beautiful winds back and forth between Butler’s own frustrations with self and his dismay at the world around him before crashing in on itself during the breathtaking “27 Club”, a song that sets the Emerson ablaze.

It’s certainly a sight to behold, seeing the crowd react and move with letlive.’s music – not only because they’re worthy of such an affirmative response, but because the words hold meaning and create a connection between artist and band in a way that runs much deeper than surface level. Letlive. is a force to be reckoned with and with any luck, will be sharing the experience with an even larger audience in years to come.

Yet before the night ends, the bookends of post-hardcore are capped off with the always-manic performance of Every Time I Die. The Buffalo, N.Y., rockers have stood the test of time, outlasting many of their peers while showing no signs of slowing down. Last year’s Ex Lives added to the storied history of the band and has solidified their stay atop the scene.

While their long-standing presence is certainly due to their musical abilities (the band absolutely shreds – still), there’s always been a quirkiness and humor that set the band apart. Buckley is the definition of a frontman, commanding the crowd, demanding your attention and performing the band’s catalogue with such ease that it almost seems too simple.

No one would blame Every Time I Die for wearing down. Instead, the band looks as solid, passionate and tight as ever, performing tracks from 2003’s Hot Damn! as if they had just written them days before. It’s clear that the chemistry amidst this band’s members has aided their longevity and spurred the band to remain as energetic, witty and poignant as ever.

The beauty of this night lies within the acceptance and support of those in attendance and the bands themselves. There’s nothing to prove here, no pissing contests and no room for division. The night is marked by a mutual respect between the bands, regardless of age and seniority, that speaks volumes to the solidity of the core of this scene.

Inside the Emerson, bands still come to play, people still come to listen and there is still hope alive in this underground music scene. We would all be wise to listen, support and keep sharing excellent music. If we’re lucky, these bands and many others following in their footsteps will still be rocking these storied walls for years to come.

-by Kiel Hauck

kiel_hauckKiel Hauck is the editor in chief at It’s All Dead. Over the past decade, he has been a contributor for multiple online and print publications and was most recently an editor at PopMatters. Kiel currently resides in Indianapolis, IN with his wife and their imaginary pet, Hand Dog. You can follow him on Twitter.

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Every Time I Die

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Every Time I Die

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Code Orange Kids

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Code Orange Kids