A Half-Assed Theory on Discovering New Music

Over the last several years, I have been been improving myself mentally. I heard new music but wasn’t listening. Now in a better place, I am revisiting some albums with fresh eyes to see what it means to me now. Cheers.

Finding new music is easy, but loving new music is a chore. When I think of the bands I love the most, it’s because I discovered them during a transition in my life. Going to high school (New Found Glory), first girlfriend (Saves the Day), college and first apartment (Panic! at the Disco, Lucky Boys Confusion), and discovering the real world (The Wonder Years), led to me listening to this music nonstop for decades, as well as other bands that cropped up in the same eras.

However, stagnation and depression hamper the joy in personal growth. In retrospect, it seems obvious that such memorable moments imprint themselves in the music we listen to. But seeing it in action in real time is a special moment everyone should experience. Thus, I have developed a theory!

I recently started a new day job, which is the biggest change to my life in years. It required spending two weeks in Wisconsin by myself for training. I tried to prep music for the trip, but felt bored looking over my usual soundtracks. Instead, I prepped a bunch of music I’ve reviewed for It’s All Dead in years past or bought for my collection and then (for no reason at all) never listened to again: Neck Deep, State Champs, We Are the In Crowd, Superet, Honeyblood, and many more.

There are many ways to connect to music, whether that be a connection with the lyrics or the music filling your veins with energy. Oftentimes, music means so much to us because of the nostalgia and memories we associate with it. My theory on falling in love with music is obvious, but is proposed as such: the most direct appreciation to new music is during a new life experience.

The first nerve-wracking day of my job, I played Neck Deep’s Life’s Not Out to Get You twice throughout the day, as it seemed appropriate for someone who waits for the worst to happen and then adjusts accordingly. Checking into my hotel, “Threat Level Midnight” played as I walked through the halls. As vocalist Ben Barlow sang, “I’ll see your face down here real soon / A welcome home to a swift farewell”, I opened my door and found another family staying in my room. Dirty clothes, pool toys, suitcases and children’s toys were spread across the room, so I panicked and quickly shut the door.

The hotel told me that there was a family refusing to leave and squatting in the room; they had torn the phone from the wall and refused to respond to maintenance knocking on the door as “Can’t Kick Up the Roots” rang through one ear bud (“Yeah this place is a shipwreck / But this shipwreck, it is mine”). Although a misunderstanding all around, it took an hour to get me a room and Neck Deep kept me company at the counter during frenzied calls and panicked looks from the staff in my direction after being told, “Everything is under control.” Ironically, Neck Deep was also playing when the keys to my room didn’t work the second week and the entire staff recognized me as I told them I was locked out (“All eyes on me, but that’s not reality /… claustrophobic in my own skin / From holding it all in” – “The Grand Delusion”; The Peace and the Panic).

There is a massive public pathway that traces the lake in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. My first night there, I found myself alone in the dark, walking a treacherous path with only the moon lighting the lake to my side as I hurried back to the hotel with Superet jamming away in my head (“And when the lights go out / Will you be having fun alone? / I need revolution / It’s you, only you” – “Bone Bag”; How To Work a Room).

I discovered smoking in bars is still acceptable in Wisconsin, as I stepped into a pub and saw 20 locals starring at me with suspicion with We Are The In Crowd blasting away through my phone (“I guess it was wishful to think / I was different from the rest / Now I’m red in the face / I don’t think I’m impressed” – “Better Luck Next Time”; Best Intentions). I fell asleep to State Champs playing quietly, vividly aware that I didn’t have to worry as much about money for a while (“Wash away all the thoughts that come at you like monsters at night / I don’t wanna live this way / Strong enough to break these chains / Broken pieces can mend…This is our time, our time to go” – “Our Time To Go”; Living Proof).

This massive life event has spawned moment after moment that I will never forget, each accompanied by bands I should have been in love with years ago. I can blame depression for hampering my ability to connect to the music before now, but the truth is I should have been listening regardless. The fact that I felt a connection to so many bands the last couple of weeks means I should have enjoyed them before now. Using a life event to listen to them finally feels like a crutch, and I wish I had spent more time loving them on my own. However, I will never forget these bands or the memories I made listening to them during these two weeks that changed my life.

by Kyle Schultz

kyle_catKyle Schultz is the Senior Editor at It’s All Dead and has worked as a gaming journalist at Structure Gaming. He lives in Chicago and just watched a framed picture fall off the wall of his hotel room for no particular reason while writing this. He blames earthquakes for it so that he doesn’t have to think about ghosts before bed. What a fool!

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


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_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


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


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.

It’s All Dead Podcast Episode: 004 – Saosin, Midtown and more!

IAD_Podcast_ImageOn the latest episode of the official It’s All Dead podcast, Kiel Hauck and Kyle Schultz chat about the recent reunion announcements of Saosin and Midtown at this year’s Skate and Surf Fest and the problem of fan entitlement. They also discuss recent releases from We Are the In Crowd, Issues and Bayside and what they’re expecting from the upcoming Chiodos album, DEVIL. Listen in!

Subscribe to our podcast here.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

We Are the In Crowd stream new song “Manners”


We Are the In Crowd have released another new track from their upcoming sophomore album Weird Kids. This one is titled “Manners” and is described by lead singer Taylor Jardine as a post-breakup song. Check it out below:

Weird Kids is set to be released February 18 on Hopeless Records. You can preorder the album on iTunes.

Posted by Kiel Hauck

Most anticipated albums of 2014


Now that all of the end-of-the-year lists are finished (wait, some people are still posting end-of-the-year lists?), we figure it’s time to look ahead to 2014. Surely, 2013 featured an incredible amount of fantastic music, but 2014 is shaping up to be pretty great itself.

Some of the albums on this list are being shrink-wrapped as we speak, while others are in the early-stages of creation or are simply hearsay. This is in no way an exhaustive list of the music to come in 2014, but simply an overview of the music we’re pretty dang excited about.

So go ahead – read on to find out what we’re looking forward to in 2014 and then hit the replies to share your most anticipated music of the new year!

We Are the In Crowd – Weird Kids (February 18, 2014 – Hopeless)

we_are_the_in_crowdWe Are the In Crowd made their mark on the scene in 2011 when they dropped their poppy, infectious debut album, Best Intentions. Since then, the band has toured relentlessly and grown from the new kids on the block to a force to be reckoned with. Weird Kids may prove to be a much more biting and aggressive release than their debut judging from lead single “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”, which is just fine with us. Vocalist Tay Jardine possesses the chops and gusto that may lead to crossover success for this pop punk act. – Kiel Hauck

Blink-182 – Untitled (Sometime 2014 – DGC)

blink_182It’s been a little over a year since Blink 182 has released any new songs, and it seems like we’re due. Neighborhoods was a good return album for the group after their hiatus, but it lacked the charm that Blink is known for. However, the Dogs Eating Dogs EP seemed to have solved most of those issues and gave the band their lifeblood again. With the energy of their recent live shows as any indication, it looks like Blink 182 are finally back to full power, and with any luck, 2014 will be the year of the next great Blink album. – Kyle Schultz

Issues – Issues (February 18, 2014 – Rise)

issuesIssues rise in the metalcore scene has been a particularly quick one. This shouldn’t come as a surprise since the band is composed of well-known names in the scene and features a fresh kick to the nearly worn out genre. Fronted by screamer Michael Bohn and crooner Tyler Carter, Issues offers an alluring vocal back and forth with an added post-hardcore crunch and nu-metal-esque scratches and breakdowns. The band’s debut Black Diamonds EP sounded promising, but their recently released work in lead up to their self-titled debut sounds polished and punishing. – KH

Say Anything – Untitled (Sometime 2014 – Equal Vision)

say_anythingMax Bemis announced quite a while ago that Say Anything’s next album would be out in 2014 after taking a brief break this year. While his newer albums are a bit toned down from the explosive releases early on in the band’s career, any time a new Say Anything album is announced, it’s an exciting event. As Bemis changes his style slightly for each new album, it’s an experience sure to be enraptured in summersault guitar solos, extravagant chord changes and memorable lyrics. – KS

Chiodos – Untitled (March 2014 – Razor & Tie)

ChiodosBelieve it or not, it’s been nearly two years since Craig Owens announced his return to Chiodos. The promise of new music has hovered since then, and recent tours have given very little indication into what we can expect from the post-hardcore act’s fourth studio album. Surely the addition of guitarist Thomas Erak is an exciting one that should add a new flash and power to the band’s recordings, but little has been revealed about what the final product will sound like. One way or the other, we’re excited to hear what the band drops in March. – KH

The Early November – Untitled (Sometime 2014 – Hopeless)

the_early_novemberThe Early November have announced that they will have a new album out in the spring, which was an amazing early Christmas present. Marking the second release since the band reunited, this follow-up to last year’s In Currents will be a tough sell, but each release by the group has been able to top itself, so we have reason to be excited. With the recent debut of new song “Better That Way”, it looks like The Early November are not only sticking to their original musical style, but perfecting it. – KS

Frank Ocean – Untitled (Sometime 2014 – Def Jam)

frank_oceanAccording to Frank Ocean, he’s already hard at work on new songs to be included on his next album. It will be hard to top Channel Orange, but if there’s anyone out there that can keep our expectations high, it’s Ocean. His creative process is a mysterious one, leaving the possibility that we may not receive a new album this year, or even the next. With any luck, we won’t have to wait long to see what he has in store. In the meantime, we’ll throw on Channel Orange, which sounds just as fresh and captivating as it did upon its release. – KH

The Gaslight Anthem – Untitled (Sometime 2014 – Mercury)

the-gaslight-anthemThe Gaslight Anthem are busy as usual. They not only plan to keep pace in releasing a new record every two years, but they also just released the Here Comes My Man EP and are prepping for a B-side album this month. Keeping this busy though, each record the band has put out has been better than the last and has helped create a unique sound all their own; a healthy mix of Bruce Springsteen and punk rock. After the beauty of last year’s Handwritten, whatever Gaslight puts out is worthy of adoration and sure to be another entry in an already incredibly impressive discography. – KS

Kanye West and Jay Z – Watch the Throne 2 (Sometime 2014 – Def Jam)

kanye-jayzThe word was that once Ye and Jay dropped their solo albums, a follow-up to 2011’s Watch the Throne would be in store. Rumblings suggest that this may very well be the case, but when the album will emerge is a mystery. Regardless, we know well enough that Kanye’s Yeezus was one of the most impressive and unsettling albums of 2013, while Jay Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail was…well, underwhelming. However, these two seem to bring out the best in each other and we all eagerly await their next offering. – KH

Noel Gallagher – Untitled (Late 2014 – Sour Mash)

Noel-GallagherNoel Gallagher is sadly underappreciated in this country, as is his current band The High Flying Birds. But the former Oasis writer and guitarist is not only reported as writing a new record, but has claimed that it includes some of the best songs he’s ever written. As the genius behind most of Oasis’s legendary hits (“Don’t Look Back In Anger”, “Wonderwall”) that’s not only a big claim, but a battle cry to outdo his stellar debut solo album. It’s currently unknown whether it will maintain the orchestral acoustic ballads of the original album or revert to Gallagher’s trademark guitar rock, but it honestly doesn’t matter: his songs are just that good. – KS

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.

We Are the In Crowd premiere “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” music video


We Are the In Crowd has released the music video for their new song “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)”. Check it out below.

The song is from their upcoming album titled Weird Kids, which is set to release on February 18 on Hopeless Records. You can purchase the new single on iTunes.

We Are the In Crowd announce new album “Weird Kids”


We Are the In Crowd has announced their new album, titled Weird Kids, which will release on February 18 on Hopeless Records. The album is a follow-up to their 2011 debut Best Intentions. You can check out a new song titled “The Best Thing (That Never Happened)” below.

Want more? Take a look at the track list for Weird Kids and the album artwork!

1. Long Live The Kids
2. The Best Thing (That Never Happened)
3. Manners
4. Come Back Home
5. Attention
6. Dreaming Out Loud
7. Remember (To Forget You)
8. Don’t Worry
9. Windows In Heaven
10. Reflections