Blink-182 and Lil Wayne Co-Headlinging North American Tour

Blink-182 and Lil Wayne have just announced a co-headlining Summer arena tour across North America. The tour kicks off June 27th in Columbus, OH and stretches through September18th in Camden, NJ. Welsh pop-punk group Neck Deep will be in direct support throughout the tour.

Blink-182 and Lil Wayne North American Tour:
06-27 Columbus, OH – Nationwide Arena
06-29 Hartford, CT, XFINITY Theatre
06-30 Atlantic City, NJ – Vans Warped Tour ^
07-01 Saratoga Springs, NY – Saratoga Performing Arts Center
07-03 Indianapolis, IN – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
07-05 Hershey, PA – Hersheypark Stadium
07-06 Burgettstown, PA – KeyBank Pavilion
07-07 Toronto, ON – Budweiser Stage ^
07-09 Holmdel, NJ – P.N.C. Bank Arts Center ^
07-10 Mansfield, MA – Xfinity Center
07-11 Bristow, VA – Jiffy Lube Live
07-13 Bangor, ME – Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion
07-16 Cuyahoga Falls, OH – Blossom Music Center
07-17 Darien Center, NY – Darien Lake Amphitheatre
07-20 Virginia Beach, VA – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
07-21 Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion
07-23 Charlotte, NC – PNC Music Pavilion
07-25 West Palm Beach, FL – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
07-26 Tampa, FL – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
07-27 Atlanta, GA – Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood
07-29 Jacksonville, FL – Daily’s Place
07-31 Houston, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
08-01 Austin, TX – Austin360 Amphitheater
08-02 Dallas, TX – The Dos Equis Pavilion
08-04 El Paso, TX – Don Haskins Center ^
08-05 Phoenix, AZ – Ak-Chin Pavilion
08-07 San Diego, CA – North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
08-08 Los Angeles, CA – The Forum
08-27 Irvine, CA – FivePoint Amphitheatre
08-30 Portland, OR – Sunlight Supply Amphitheater
08-31 Seattle, WA – White River Amphitheatre
09-02 Salt Lake City, UT – USANA Amphitheatre
09-04 Denver, CO – Pepsi Center
09-06 Wichita, KS – Hartman Arena ^
09-07 Council Bluffs, IA – Stir Cove ^
09-08 Kansas City, MO – Providence Medical Center Amphitheater
09-10 Detroit, MI – DTE Energy Music Theatre
09-13 Chicago, IL – Riot Fest ^
09-14 St. Louis, MO – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
09-16 Cincinnati, OH – Riverbend Music Center
^ Blink-182 only

Oliver Withöft (1964-2014) [Co-Owner of Century Media]

Oliver Withöft

Oliver Withöft, co-owner of independent record label Century Media, passed away on January 20, 2014 after falling ill several months ago. He was 49.

Born in Dortmund, Germany in 1964, Withöft studied linguistics, business and history in both Germany and the U.K. Robert Kampf started Century Media Records 25 years ago simply to create a suitable label home for his own band, Despair. He was looking for a trustworthy and strong partner to lead the company with and found this person in his best friend and fellow musician Oliver Withöft, who joined the company eighteen months later, sharing the same love and passion for music, and metal in particular. Since that very day, these two friends developed one of the most important independent record labels on the planet. Today the company has around 100 people on payroll in Dortmund, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Melbourne and the Netherlands. A lot of musical careers were developed over the years: Lacuna Coil, Shadows Fall, Suicide Silence, In This Moment, Otherwise, Iced Earth, Die Broilers, Arch Enemy and Heaven Shall Burn are just a few of them. Century Media became a brand name recognized across the world. Oliver Withöft was always the strategic, legal and financial mind behind the organization. He was not only a strong fighter for the company, but also a very intelligent and forward-thinking leader. When the music industry drastically changed in the ’90s, he was the first to think about new ways to adapt to the needs and challenges of the rapidly-changing market. We have lost a great man with an amazing sense of humor, a warrior, and an overall very human being. Oliver leaves behind a wife, Judith, and their three daughters.

Antje Lange, CEO of Century Media Records: “I learned a lot from him in regards to business, the world and life. He was an extremely smart and visionary business man who cared a lot about the people working for him. He was one of the most open-minded and knowledgeable persons I have ever met. Oliver was responsible for a lot of successful artists’ careers and an impressive amount of albums that had an impact in the music world. It has never been easy  for him, but he was a strong fighter. A great man with an amazing sense of humor whose departure leaves a large gap in our lives.”

Ula Gehret, who handles business affairs for Century Media Records with his company Clandestine: “He had a razor-sharp intellect and keen business acumen, and as a number of people can attest to, he was not someone you wanted to be sitting across from at a negotiating table. After a few years at the label, he introduced me to how legal contracts worked. Eventually, with training, that became my full-time occupation.  It is no exaggeration to say that without his tutelage and patience, I would not be where I am today, doing something I love, and with principle. He was my mentor.”

Oliver was a very special person who touched many people’s lives in a positive and special way. This is a tremendous loss for all who knew him and it will take some time for us to grieve the passing of such a great person.

“Oliver was always a winner, one of those that I somehow thought would live forever. A genius, a friend and the best advisor I’ve ever had. It was all him behind the scenes.”
–Kobi Farhi, Orphaned Land

“Oliver and Robert had the guts, trust and belief to sign us when we were just a bunch of kids trying to play metal. Without these guys, I doubt we would be where we are today. He was not the easiest to work with back in the day, but a very cool guy.”
–Ola Lindgren, Grave

Photographer Ryan Russell to Release “Continental Obscura” on April 8th

NylonMag.com Reveals Cover and Photos From Russell’s New Photography Book

“Ryan is one of the greatest photographers working today.” – Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie)
“Ryan is an exceptional talent.” – Hayley Williams (Paramore)

Celebrated rock photographer Ryan Russell has announced plans to release his first travel photography book, “Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham,” on April 8th via No Sleep Records. Fans are invited to pre-order the limited edition book now from No Sleep at http://bit.ly/1arfNRb.

In anticipation of the upcoming release, NylonMag.com has revealed a selection of photos, which can be viewed here: http://bit.ly/1hPbazM.

Known best for his ability to brilliantly capture timeless photos of some of rock’s biggest acts, from Death Cab For Cutie and Against Me! to Paramore and Blink-182, Russell recently tackled a different subject entirely for “Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham.”  In the summer of 2013 he embarked on a life-changing, cross-country journey, moving from his native city of Birmingham, AL to the Pacific Northwest town of Bellingham, WA.  Russell documented his trip, capturing the back roads, ghost towns, national parks and historical sites of America with stunning photos of everything he saw.

“Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham” will also include an exclusive 7” vinyl record featuring rare unreleased B-sides from Manchester Orchestra and Minus the Bear, two bands that Russell has shot extensively over the last several years.

“Ryan is one of those rare photographers that can truly put you at ease while he takes superb and entirely honest photos,” says Cory Murchy of Minus the Bear.  “A master at capturing the most fleeting and candid of moments, we always look forward to working with him so we were extremely honored to be asked to be apart of this project.”

Follow Russell at http://instagram.com/ryanrussell and continentalobscura.com for more information regarding the release of “Continental Obscura: From Birmingham to Bellingham.”

About Ryan Russell:
Russell was born and raised in the Deep South town of Birmingham, where he found an eye for photography at a young age.  His style embraces predecessors of southern culture like William Eggleston and Ernest Withers as well as personal influences like Glen E. Friedman and Charles Peterson to create a bold new take on classic southern gothic photography.  Russell captures the grit and energy of today’s American music scene much like Lee Friedlander’s work for Atlantic Records in the 50’s and 60’s or Anton Corbijn’s work with U2 and Joy Division in the 80’s.  Today, Russell is a well sought after photographer who has worked with bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Paramore,  Patton Oswalt, My Chemical Romance, Green Day and Blink-182 and his photographs have appeared in such periodicals as Rolling Stone, Spin, Esquire, Playboy and New York Times.

7”  Track List:
1. Manchester Orchestra
Sure Shot (unreleased 2009 track)
2. Minus the Bear
Surf-n-Turf (rare b-side)

Photos: Manbeast Shows Their Fury, Fake Cult Drinks the Punch and War Emblem Ignites Nancy Run Fire Co.

Fake Cult ©2013 Jamie Heim 06

Right out of the gates, Manbeast launched into a frenzy of hardcore powerviolence. Opening the night off with with a set consisting of mostly brand new material, the trio (Eric, Luis & Tyler) played to a still gathering crowd of local enthusiasts.

Fake Cult ©2013 Jamie Heim 03

There were two bands this evening that was calling it quits. Fake Cult was the first one and the guys played their hearts out. The crowd screamed along one last time as they said their goodbyes.

War Emblem ©2013 Jamie Heim 01

Philly’s War Emblem came to the LV and brought with them their brand of brash hardcore.

The Ataris Announce ‘So Long, Astoria’ Reunion Tour

Ataris-logo

For the first time in a decade, the classic lineup of The Ataris will reconvene to perform their million-selling album, So Long, Astoria, in its entirety from start to finish.  For one tour only, Kristopher Roe, Mike Davenport, Chris Knapp and John Collura will share the stage to celebrate their beloved album, performing fan-favorite hits like “So Long, Astoria,” “The Saddest Song” and their iconic version of Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer.”  Support will include: Authority ZeroDrag The RiverVersus The World and Gasoline Heart. Tickets for the upcoming tour will go on sale to the public on December 20th.

In conjunction with today’s tour announcement, The Ataris has released part one of a new mini-documentary about the band’s reunion and the making of So Long, Astoria.  Watch it now, exclusively at Billboard.com:http://bit.ly/1dkWcOE.

Formed in 1996, The Ataris went on to sell hundreds of thousands of albums on small independent label Kung Fu Records before signing to Columbia Records in 2001.  In 2003, the band released their career-defining album, So Long, Astoria, which sold over a million copies and spawned the hits, “In this Diary,” “The Saddest Song” and “Boys of Summer.”

After headlining multiple Warped Tours and selling out major tours of their own, the classic line-up of The Ataris disbanded in 2004, leaving behind a legacy of influence and rock-radio anthems that still live on today.

A decade later, that lineup will reunite for one tour to celebrate So Long, Astoria, an album that helped redefine punk rock in the early 2000’s with vivid confessionals and melodic heartfelt sing-alongs.

“I’m looking forward to going out and bringing these songs to a crowd and really giving it our all, and hopefully bringing some of these fun memories back to our fans,” singer/guitarist Kristopher Roe says.  “I really feel like the most important thing is to be reconnected with three of my old best friends. I’m excited to go out and make music with them again.”

“It’s a lot of nostalgia to come back and do this tour,” guitarist John Collura adds.  “It’s a celebration of what the four of us accomplished as a band.”

“This tour, for me, means more of redemption,” concludes bassist Mike Davenport.  “Us four reunited again, performing what I think is one of our best albums.”

“I haven’t seen these guys in forever,” drummer Chris Knapp says.  “It’s going to be crazy.”

The Ataris’ So Long, Astoria Reunion Tour Dates:
Feb 28 – Scottsdale, AZ – Pub Rock (w/Versus The World)
March 1 – Las Vegas, NV – Backstage Bar (w/Versus The World)
March 2 – Fresno, CA – Strummer’s (w/Versus The World)
March 3 – San Luis Obispo, CA – SLO Brewing Company (w/Versus The World)
March 5 – Los Angeles, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 6 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 7 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 8 – San Francisco, CA – Bottom of the Hill (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 11 – Portland, OR – Hawthorne Theatre (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 12 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox at the Market (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 13 – Boise, ID – Knitting Factory (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 14 – Salt Lake City, UT – In The Venue (Club Sound) (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 15 – Denver, CO – The Summit Music Hall (w/Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 16 – Kansas City, MO – Riot Room (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 18 – St. Louis, MO – Old Rock House (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Versus The World)
March 20 – Minneapolis, MN – Mill City Nights (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 21 – Chicago, IL – House of Blues (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 22 – Indianapolis, IN – The Vogue (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 23 – Detroit, MI – The Shelter (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 24 – Cleveland, OH – Agora Ballroom (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 25 – Pittsburgh, PA – Altar Bar (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 27 – Philadelphia, PA – Theatre of Living Arts (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 28 – Silver Spring, MD – The Fillmore (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 29 – Boston, MA – Brighton Music Hall (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)
March 30 – New York, NY – The Gramercy Theatre (w/Authority Zero, Drag The River, Gasoline Heart)

For More Information:
https://www.facebook.com/theataris
https://twitter.com/theataris (@theataris)

Throwdown Announces New Album: ‘Intolerance’

Throwdown_Logo

Legendary Southern California metal act, THROWDOWN, are set to release “Intolerance” on January 21, 2014. The new LP will be their first since “Deathless” was released back in 2009. Frontman Dave Peters weighs in on the announcement:

“Completing this record felt great in so many respects, most important of which was the opportunity to finally give longtime supporters of the band this music that I’ve had swirling around in my head over the past four years. 

The variety of people from different places and scenes, who have found the band through vastly different avenues over the past 15 or so years, will each get into it for their own unique reasons I think. 

And for those who think it’s junk, it’s only about 28 minutes they have to regret.”

Intolerance” combines the massive production punch of the moody, sludgy and powerfully diverse masterpiece “Deathless” (which spawned the Sirius XM staples “This Continuum” and “The Scythe”) with the focused resolve of the band’s genre-classic-filled back catalog.

The big sound that developed on “Deathless” works magic upon the brutal missives found all over “Intolerance,” nearly all of which clock in around 2 minutes. “Deathless” and “Vendetta” collaborator Zeuss (Hatebreed, Crowbar, Demon Hunter) returned to mix the new record.

A cornerstone of the New Wave of American Heavy Metal, Throwdown have earned hard-fought accolades from the likes of Revolver and Metal Hammer magazines, who likened the stomp of “Venom & Tears” to Pantera. Following Dave Peters switch from guitar to vocals over twelve years ago, the band delivered the songs from “Haymaker,” “Vendetta” and “Venom & Tears” on celebrated tours with Lamb Of God, Killswitch Engage, Machine Head, In Flames, Korn, Fear Factory and Cavalera Conspiracy and at major festivals around the globe, like Download UK.

Drummer Jarrod Alexander (American Nightmare, Suicide File, My Chemical Romance) made his first recorded appearance with Throwdown on “Haymaker,” returning as a session player again for “Deathless” and the brand new album, “Intolerance.”

The new album was recorded at Hurley Recordings in Costa Mesa, California with rising producer Davey Warsop and mixed at Planet Z. “Intolerance” features guitar solo contributions from Dave Nassie (Bleeding Through, No Use For A Name, Infectious Grooves), who joined Throwdown’s recent touring lineup alongside Demon Hunter drummer Tim “Yogi” Watts and “Deathless” era bassist Mark Mitchell.

The Foundation Behind The “I Love Boobies!” Bracelets Launch Non Toxic Campus Club In Schools

keep-a-breast-460x257

The Keep A Breast Foundation (KAB) is taking over schools in an effort to educate young fans about breast cancer prevention. In case you weren’t aware, KAB’s highly successful “I love boobies!” bracelets was recently the subject of a Federal Court case ruling in favor of students rights to wear the bracelets in school. The 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Easton Area School District’s ban on bracelets with the message “I ♥ Boobies! (KAB)” as an unconstitutional restriction on students’ freedom of speech.

TIMPRThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rCircuit has upheld an injunction preventing the Easton Area School District (EASD) from enforcing a ban on our bracelets. The decision today marks the first time a federal court of appeals has ruled that the First Amendment protects student speech that is plausibly understood as commenting on political or social issues.

“The bracelets are intended to be and they can reasonably be viewed as speech designed to raise awareness of breast cancer and to reduce stigma associated with openly discussing breast health.”

Stated in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania Case 5:10-cv-06283-MAM

The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania filed suit in November 2010 on behalf of Kayla Martinez and Brianna Hawk, then seventh and eighth graders, who were suspended for wearing Keep A Breast bracelets on Breast Cancer Awareness Day. “

The First Amendment protects schools as a space where students are free to discuss important issues like breast cancer and talk about their bodies in positive terms,” said Reggie Shuford, executive director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “The court’s decision today is an important reminder to school administrators that they can’t punish students for speaking out just because their speech might be uncomfortable or misunderstood.”

check_your_self

To further education in schools the Keep A Breast created The Non Toxic Revolution Campus Club Program. The program seeks to expand on their mission of educating youth through a youth-based, independent program by bringing our the education of cancer prevention to schools.

Keep A Breast products act as awareness-raising tools, allowing people to engage and start talking about a subject that is scary and taboo and making it positive and upbeat. The merchandise allows people to support KAB and engage in conversation with people that might be going through the same emotions they are feeling, whether that is body image, dealing with the diagnosis of a loved one or their thoughts on cancer.

To build on the love of the awareness bracelets KAB seeked to establish a way to bring together those who want to do more in their schools by truly lowering their risk for cancer by reducing toxins and make positive changes in their communities. The program provides an opportunity for students at any age to be healthy, knowledgeable activists as well as a platform to come together to discuss areas of our schools and local communities that pose potential health risks, educate others about toxins in their environment, and help our communities lower their risk of cancer and disease.

Keep A Breast launched a pilot program at Excel Charter School in Los Angeles. As a team, they created art using trash and taught their school about excessive plastic use, and it’s role in breast cancer initiation. View the video to learn how the club was able to have a tangible impact in their school.

Shirts For A Cure Hopes to Re-release Stealing Time

Shirts For A Cure is campaigning to re-release their founder, Mark Beemer’s photography book, Stealing Time: 23 Years of Punk Images.

“Mark has been a regular fixture on the hardcore and punk scenes for over two decades, and has photographed such renowned bands as Fugazi, The Bouncing Souls, My Chemical Romance, and Rise Against. In addition to being a staple on the punk scene, Mark is also the Founder of the Syrentha J. Savio Endowment (SSE), which provides financial assistance to underprivileged women battling breast cancer. In 2002, SSE launched Shirts For A Cure to give voice to the social concerns of punk bands and their many fans as well as to raise awareness about breast cancer prevention.  Currently, Shirts For A Cure features 150 t-shirts designed by bands including Man Overboard, Motion City Soundtrack, Miss May I, Strike Anywhere, Title Fight, and Yellowcard. All proceeds from the sale of the re-release of Stealing Time will go directly to SSE. We need your help to fund the printing of this incredible collection of images from the past 20 years so that music lovers and breast cancer supporters alike can experience the energetic, spirited images that Mark captured over the span of his celebrated career. Furthermore, sharing these images with the world will allow SSE to continue to reach so many underprivileged women and provide them with the financial resources they need to access life-saving cancer treatments.”

I was lucky enough to pick up a first run copy of this book and it was what inspired me to start shooting shows. I highly recommend grabbing a copy if this does get reprinted (which it can with your help!)

Click here to help donate: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/341561/

“NeoStar Studios” Top 20 Albums of 2012!

As 2012 came to a close, it’s time for us to look back and reflect on what stood out to us musically. There was a bunch that we all agreed on and a few that prompted us to check out each other’s referrals. We’ve each made our lists of our top favorites of the past year. Here we highlight our founder (and the man who pays the bills here) Henry Chung’s top 20 Albums of 2012!

Blaqk Audio - Bright Black Heaven20. Blaqk Audio – Bright Black Heaven

“After the success of their debut Cex Cells, AFI’s Davey Havok and Jade Puget follows up with another album on their BA side project. So how does this measure up compared to the debut? It’s ok. Not the greatest as I was expecting but just alright. The dark lyricism that we’ve come to love from Havok felt a little watered down here. Also it just felt like a collection of songs as compared to Cex Cells which flowed perfectly throughout the album. Overall, there are still a bunch of really good songs on here that I keep coming back to but I just couldn’t listen to the whole thing in one sitting”

Circa Survive - Violent Waves19. Circa Survive – Violent Waves

“The band’s first completely DIY album also happened to be their best!”

 

 

Deftones-Koi-No-Yokan18. Deftones – Koi No Yokan

This release came out fairly late in the year but has managed to make it to my top 20! There’s not a lot of bands that I listen to back in my early teens that I still enjoy today. There’s an even shorter list of ones still relevant in today’s musical climate. The Deftones manages to be one of the few bands who’s music still sounds refreshing and new album after album.”

GDOB2-30CH-001.cdr17. The Bouncing Souls – Comet

“Similar the Deftones, The Bouncing Souls manages to still stay musically relevant nearly twenty-five years later. One of the things these hopeless romantics are really good at is writing really catchy singalong anthems. While most punk bands are busy writing songs about flipping off “the man”, The Souls are all about heart even while facing the end of the world.”

Now, Now - Threads16. Now, Now – Threads

“I first heard of these guys a year ago when my friends in Slingshot Dakota did a tour with them. It’s surprising how much they’ve grown musically and commercially. Definitely NEED to keep watch of these guys!”

 

Lostprophets - Weapons15.  Lostprophets – Weapons

“Though Weapons didn’t really feel as cohesive as a whole, I did find myself constantly coming back to select songs. To be honest, I felt the songs chosen to be the “singles” on the album were weak compared to the others. Considering all the scandalous reports of their frontman (Ian Watkins) in the news, this could possibly even be their last record.”

Make Do And Mend - Everything You Ever Loved14. Make Do And Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

“MDAM is a band that exists somewhere within the punk scene and yet, also on the outside of it. Some of their old-school fans will hate them for Everything You Ever Loved with their modern post-hardcore sound while new listeners will rejoice it. Also, I had the pleasure of talking to frontman James Carroll over the summer at Warped Tour which gave some perspective on the songs off of EYEL.”

Hot Water Music - Exister13. Hot Water Music – Exister

“I didn’t really listen to HWM at all during their hay-day. But JJ convinced us all to give this a try.We weren’t disappointed.”

 

Troubled Coast - Awake & Empty12. Troubled Coast – Awake and Empty

“I normally receive a ton of music online for reviews. I do give a listen to everything I get but most of them are either generic or forgettable. This one stood out! It reminds me of an angrier Saosin/ Thrice.”

 

Muse - The 2nd Law11. MuseThe 2nd Law

“I liked how the band went WAY out of their comfort zone and experimented with many different sounds/ styles (“Unsustainable” [dub-step], “Madness” [EDM]) as well as over-the-top production (string quartet/ choir) on this Radiohead-meets-Queen pompous rock outing. Unfortunately, the album as a whole was all over the place but there were a lot of really interesting songs on it.”

Miss May I - At Heart10. Miss May IAt Heart

“Still a very young band, I have seen them progressed throughout the last few years between releases. At Heart definitely stood out amongst all of the other metal releases this year and was thus my soundtrack to the summer.”

 

TBM - Hide And Seek9. The Birthday Massacre – Hide And Seek

“Though Hide And Seek was more or less of the same TBM sound, it did have a lot of really catchy songs. I ended up listening to it nonstop for a month and a half.”

 

Silverstein - Short Songs8. SilversteinShort Songs

“This concept album of 11 songs and 11 covers came as a surprise. As the title suggests, all of the songs were short and most were no longer than 90 seconds. There were a lot of original work here that was refreshing and showed off the best of what the band could do.”

Fact - Burundanga7. FACTburundanga

“FACT is one of Japan’s best kept secrets. I was lucky to be able to score a copy of their debut a few years back when I saw them open for Senses Fail. Unfortunately, all other releases are damn near impossible to get without downloading it. burandanga is a fun pop-punk/ post-hardcore album and probably FACT’s most consistent album to date.”

The Gashlight Anthem - Handwritten6. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

“Since their debut, fans/ critics would draw comparison to fellow NJ dweller, Bruce Springstein. It didn’t help matters much that he’d occasionally join them onstage at shows. But with the help of producer, Brenden O’Brien, they finally honed in their own sound!”

Motionless In White - Infamous5. Motionless In White – Infamous

“Following the success of their Fearless Records debut Creatures, MIW spent years touring the world over and writing their sophomore release. The album sounds like Bleeding Through crossed with Marilyn Manson DNA thanks to Tim Skold.”

Linkin Park - Living Things4. Linkin Park – Living Things

“I have been a fan of LP since finding them online back when they were still known as ‘Hybrid Theory.’ Throughout their career, they have managed to keep progressing each album with a different sound. With Living Things, it sounded like they band took all of their past experiences with experimentation and crafted one of their catchiest albums to date. Also I got to photograph them on the Honda Civic Tour. Go me!”

Thrice - Anthology3. Thrice – Anthology

“This live album was recorded throughout their ‘Farewell Tour.’ According to the band, the audio was left as-is and the the resulting material was one best sounding live album I’ve heard in a while. Also, I got to be a part of this project (even though they ended up NOT using any of my photographs.)”

Anberlin - Vital2. AnberlinVital

“It sounded like the band took the best of their previous works & crafted a perfect album!”

 

Pennywise - All Or Nothing1. PennywiseAll Or Nothing

“After the departure of Jim Lindberg, Ignite frontman Zoli Téglás stepped up sat the new vocalist for Pennywise’s 10th studio release. His contribution was actually quite the breadth of fresh air for the band and gave the ‘self-titled’ release a new sense of urgency.”

 

Continue reading ““NeoStar Studios” Top 20 Albums of 2012!”

“Decent Exposure Radio’s” Favorite 25 Albums of 2012

As 2012 came to a close, it’s time for us to look back and reflect on what stood out to us musically. There was a bunch that we all agreed on and a few that prompted us to check out each other’s referrals. We’ve each made our lists of our top favorites of the past year. Going the extra mile, JJ gave us his top 25 albums of 2012!

Classics Of Love - Classics Of Love25. The Classics of Love – Self Titled

“This was a tricky pick. At various points, a few other albums had occupied the 25th spot until I remembered this album from earlier in the year. An 11th hour listen reminded me how much I liked it. You see, it’s Jesse Michaels from Operation Ivy and a few other fellows. The music sounds like a faster, heavier Op Ivy that spent a good deal of time listening to the Suicide Machines. Right there, that sold me. Plus, how many other singers in their forties can muster this kind of energy?! If you like this kind of music, don’t miss out. 13 tracks in 23 minutes isn’t a huge commitment.”

The Gashlight Anthem - Handwritten24. The Gaslight Anthem – Handwritten

“Once again, growth is the name of the game. This band was always good at what they did, but it was always too close to Bruce Springsteen and other Jersey-boy hero worship to truly be extra special. This is the album where TGA really begin to carve an identity for themselves. It hasn’t fully escaped the sounds of their influences but it is a very strong step toward letting Brian Fallon show his songwriting talents.”

Cancer Bats - Dead Set On Living23. Cancer Bats – Dead Set On Living

“More Canadians! Our northern neighbor’s answer to Every Time I Die actually outdid their ‘competition’ this year. The first 3 CB albums all had phenomenal songs and elements but this album seems to pull it all together the best. It’s not a drastic step forward, but a refinement, which is fine.”

Anberlin - Vital22. Anberlin – Vital

“A great band whose last 2 albums had gotten a little too slick. Don’t get me wrong, they each had maybe 2 phenomenal songs, but there was something missing. Perhaps it was a youthful intensity. Well this album has everything that they do well all in one bundle. It also has a LOT of synths which actually isn’t a bad thing in this case. This is another one of those bounceback albums.”

Make Do And Mend - Everything You Ever Loved21. Make Do and Mend – Everything You Ever Loved

“Do you enjoy gruff vocals with a little bit of a twang? I do…sometimes. This album has a ton of great songs and demonstrates real growth from the band. Frontman James Carroll is a really nice guy, so let’s put ’em up here.”

 

Death By Stereo – Black Sheep of the American Dream20. Death By Stereo – Black Sheep of the American Dream

“The surprise factor might be at play here. I had known and liked a few songs from these guys but always thought they were WAY too inconsistent. Singer Efrem Shulz always seemed to oversing which occasionally worked but often really derailed things. Things seemed to be reigned in here vocally but the songs are short, punchy, direct and the guitars have never been tighter. There are some sick solos and harmonies here. Another 28 minute album which means there is no room for weak songs.”

And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Lost Songs19. And You Will Know Us By The Trail of Dead – Lost Songs

“This was a band that I could just never get into. Their songs meandered and while they sometimes had moments of good stuff, they were buried in a mess of overblown noise. It seems that with the prior album ‘Tao of the Dead,’ the band stripped down to a four-piece. This is the album where they trim away all of that fat and just give us a focused collection of music. Who knew they were capable of this? Perhaps it would even be higher on the list if it had come out earlier in the year and I was able to really devote more time to it. Oh well, if a few cursory listens were able to affect me this much, imagine how good the album really is…”

Baroness - Yellow & Green18.Baroness – Yellow and Green

“Another shocker. I loved old ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’ Baroness. Sure, they were dangerously close to being Mastodon, but oh well. This tones things WAY down and has John Baizley utilizing gentler vocals reportedly because of damage from touring on the intense songs from the first two albums and needing to write quiet songs so as not to wake his sleeping newborn child in the next room. This drastic shift in tone is usually the point where I check out but it really works here, revealing a different side to the band. The change gives them limitless room to continue growing. As with all double albums, it could have used some trimming, but the quality parts are undeniable. Way to set yourselves apart, gentlemen.”

Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury17. Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury

“To me, this is by far the best thing RBF has made since ‘Cheer Up’ and that was a long, long time ago. In between, they were churning out turds with a few decent additions to the live show. How did this happen? They even lost another integral member of the band, Scott Klopfenstein prior to this album. Whatever sorcery these guys conjured up, it worked and results in a rather consistent collection of ska songs. It’s not everyday that you can say that.”

Anti Flag – The General Strike16. Anti Flag – The General Strike

“The band produced this themselves and it is by far their shortest full-length at about 28 minutes. Despite all of that, this is a grower and while it might not initially seem like it has a lot of memorable songs, that is far from true. The band has also never been faster and angrier. Plenty of these tracks stand among their finest. See? That whole Occupy movement produced something good!”

Good Old War – Come Back As Rain15. Good Old War – Come Back As Rain

“I usually have to be in the right mood or a big fan of a musician to dig acoustic music. These Philly boys put in their time as Anthony Green’s backing band, put out a very good solo debut, released a completely forgettable sophomore album and this, their mind-blowing third album. Talk about a comeback. If you like harmonized vocals as much as I do, you’ll be a happy camper. This is their most consistent collection and if you are going to check out Good Old War for the first time, I would recommend this album.”

Best Coast - The Only Place14. Best Coast – The Only Place

“Their debut ‘Crazy For You’ had some charm but it was very fuzzy, and willfully lo-fi. This glosses things up and reveals that Bethany Cosentino and company can write a whole album of amazing songs. She also now sings about more substantial subject matter aside from her cat, getting high, not having a boyfriend and California. These are some sunny songs that make me want to buy a plane ticket out to the west coast.”

Propagandhi – Failed States13. PropagandhiFailed States

“While this doesn’t even comes close to ‘Supporting Caste,’ ‘Failed States’ overcomes a slightly slow start to build momentum and demonstrate some growth in the long-running band. They’re old, but still angry and still Canadian. They have influenced a lot of music out there and have proven here that they can still hang with nearly any band out there in terms of intensity.”

Minus The Bear - Infinity Overhead12. Minus The Bear – Infinity Overhead

“I really like everything this band does. ‘Menos El Oso’ will always be my favorite album of theirs but this combines a lot of that with the electronic experimentation of their newer stuff and a little prog that was ‘Planet of Ice.’ It runs through a little of everything that they do well. Oh and Dave Knudson dusts off his wicked guitar solos. Hallelujah.”

Circa Survive - Violent Waves11.  Circa Survive – Violent Waves

“This had to grow on me a little bit. I love all of their stuff but this album is a little more ambient and less-focused at times. After seeing some of the songs live and really sticking with it, this has revealed itself to be a very, very good album. I’ll always be partial to ‘On Letting Go’ but this is a fine direction to go. It’s also the first release that they put out themselves…so if you like them, support them!”

Silverstein - Short Songs10. SilversteinShort Songs

“These Canucks have flirted with hardcore before but they really dive in this time. At under 20 minutes, it’s a very digestible little collection of tunes that doesn’t overstay its welcome. Some of the covers are absolutely fantastic, far better than the original versions. This was one chance that really paid off.”

Further Seems Forever – Penny Black9. Further Seems ForeverPenny Black

“Yep. Another reunion album. This one came out of nowhere for me because I only heard one of the non-Chris Carrabba FSF albums and I don’t like Dashboard Confessional. Why would I like this album? I still can’t really explain it, but something about it really works for me. Sure, it’s not perfect, but I can’t seem to get enough of it.”

Nada Surf - The Stars Are Indifferent to Astronomy8. Nada SurfThe Stars Are Indifferent To Astronomy

“Another ’90s relic that has hung on. Here is another wonderful album from them (their 2000’s output has been criminally underrated). Considering that this came out in the first quarter of 2012 and has managed to stay this high on the list is a testament to how great the album is.”

Bob Mould - Silver Age7. Bob Mould – Silver Age

“Out of nowhere, Bob has recaptured his Sugar magic. Featuring a simple setup: electric guitar, bass, and drums, the great songwriter gets back to what he does best, writing great rock songs. Sometimes, it’s alright to pretend that it’s still the ’90s.”

Screaming Females - Ugly6. The Screaming Females – Ugly

“Working with Steve Albini has given ‘The Screamales’ a slightly beefier sound which suits them just fine. Also, the band is getting stronger and more consistent in the songwriting department. Since this is also easily their longest album, that only means more great songs. I always compare this band to Dinosaur Jr. and considering I like this album much more than the new Dino offering, it is a huge score for them, whether they realize it or not.”

The Mars Volta - Noctorniquet5. The Mars Volta – Noctourniquet

“The band’s most stripped-down album in terms of personnel has so much going on in it, you might be surprised. This album is more synth-heavy and weird but it’s a real grower even if you don’t love it at first. Cedric’s vocals just keep getting better, stranger and more beautiful.”

Converge - All We Love We Leave Behind4. ConvergeAll We Love We Leave Behind

“While it eschews the collaborations that made up ‘Axe To Fall,’ the latest from these guys is still one of the most varied albums of this band’s career. There are brutal songs, beautiful songs and songs that defy definition.”

 

Deftones-Koi-No-Yokan3. DeftonesKoi No Yokan

“How do you follow up ‘Diamond Eyes’? By recapturing the magic and making an album that, while perhaps not exceeding that one, equaling it. Not an easy task. This is a little of everything that you would want from the band which is alright by me. There is a reason why The Deftones are the only band that was lumped into the nu-metal pack who are still around and relevant. They were always the best of the bunch.”

Rush - Clockwork Angels2. RushClockwork Angels

“A band that has been around this long has no right to make an album this energetic, upbeat and technical. They are just supposed to coast along, writing another album with a few good tracks to add to the performances at the county fair and loads of filler. That’s not what Rush did, though. They made their best album since ‘Moving Pictures’ and a concept album, to boot. The band has never been heavier. If you have ever liked anything by them, check this out.”

Hot Water Music - Exister1. Hot Water MusicExister

“The long-awaited new album from my favorite band. HWM has never been recorded as gorgeously (thanks Bill Stevenson!) as it has been here and the songs are just incredible. The performances, especially Chuck Ragan’s vocals, are so passionate, it’s chilling. I liked this right off the bat but it just kept growing on me which makes it that much more gratifying. I will fight anyone who didn’t like this album. Welcome back Hot Water Music. Please don’t break up ever again.”

Continue reading ““Decent Exposure Radio’s” Favorite 25 Albums of 2012″