If you have heard of SR-71 at all (the band, not the aircraft), it’s probably because of their 2000’s hit single Right Now, which got a lot of airplay back then. It was their only hit from their underrated debut album, Now You See Inside, but I consider it to be barely the fourth best song on that record. The band from Baltimore, Maryland, went on to release two additional studio albums before calling it quits in 2004 (they had a brief reunion playing some shows together around 2009) and SR-71‘s frontman, Mitch Allan, is still active today as a pretty successful music producer. While they never had another hit as big as Right Now, it could be argued that one track from their last studio album was even bigger because the version of 1985 played by Bowling For Soup became a huge hit without most people even being aware that it was a cover.
Anyway, going back to SR-71’s debut album, the song I tend to play again and again is usually Last Man On The Moon. I love those drums and the overall melody of the track, as well as the way the bridge transitions back into the chorus. The lyrics are enjoyable although not as good as the lyrics for another track in that album: Alive, but I will leave that for another post. Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry as much as I do.
Formed in 1999, Rise Against has been one of the most revered and influential #punkrock bands of the last 20 or so years, often singing about political injustice, animal rights, environmentalism and other social issues. That being said, I got to admit that I’ve never been a big fan of their music. It is usually too hardcore for me. This is why the fact that I liked their latest single –and first since 2017–, Nowhere Generation, so much actually means something. I guess longtime fans of the band will consider it too mellow or ‘mainstream’ for their liking, but one person’s loss is another person’s gain.
Don’t get me wrong though, Nowhere Generation got plenty of oomph. From the moment frontman’s Tim McIlrath starts singing the overture to the moment the full band starts playing, the song’s energy level is never too low. The track is a tribute to the current generation, which despite technological prowess , does not have the same opportunities previous generations had for achieving the ‘American dream’. The combination of the song’s message with the catchy melody results in a powerful track well worth a listen. Perhaps even on repeat mode.
Ryan Sizemore and Derek Gilreath from Winston-Salem, North Carolina –also known as “The Camel City”–with a shared love for punk rock and having a good time. This prompted them to form their own band in 2015, The Camel City Blackouts, with their debut album being published in late 2019. This year, they released an EP titled 13 that consists of 2 tracks: Angels and Another Night, plus an acoustic version of the latter. All in all, this EP showcases what The Camel City Blackouts are about.
Another Night is a fun and energetic punk song about being addicted to something (alcohol, in particular) and not being able to keep it under control. The Camel City Blackouts grab your attention from the start with this track and never let it go. What I really like about Another Night is that the band found the right balance between a vibrant rhythm and noise (which is something many punk songs don’t achieve), and the result is quite an enjoyable rock song delivered flawlessly. In addition to that, as you can perceive in their self-made music video below, it is evident that they have lots of fun playing music and that has a positive impact over what they do. Also, is it just me or there is a hint of The Strokes in this song? Anyway, don’t sleep on this fun band.
To me, there are two sides to Sum 41: a lighter, punk-rock embracing one and a darker, guitar-heavy, metal-flirting side. They used to oscillate from one side to another with each album but after switching to the darker side on the album that followed 2009’s excellent Underclass Hero, they seem to have decided to stay there. This coincides with the return of lead guitarist and founding member Dave Baksh to the band in 2013, after a 9-year break. They have released a handful of songs that I like during this time, but the above mentioned Underclass Hero was their last album I truly loved. What can I say? I don’t enjoy metal that much.
That record includes several standout tracks but I’ve decided to feature today one that I didn’t love right away. I don’t know why though, because With Me is truly a great song. As with a few other tracks from Underclass Hero, it’s likely based on frontman’s Deryck Whibley failing relationship with Avril Lavigne, his wife at the time. Besides Deryck’s ability to transmit his raw emotions, what sets this song apart is the great drum part from former band member Steve Jocz. It’s really hard to get those drums out of your head.
Anyway, here’s this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry: With Me by Sum 41.
Pop-punk is far less popular today than 15 years ago but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t young artists exploring that genre. We have featured a few here already and today’s artist is another example. Mystery Rose is a 17-year-old indie artists from L.A who writes and records her own music, which ranges from Amy Winehouse-style blues ballads to the genre mentioned earlier. Unlike most teenagers in the music business today, she is not interested in fame, which is why she chose the Mystery Rose moniker. She can show her face from time to time but, for the most part, she prefers to remain largely a mystery.
Mystery Rose‘s debut album, the cleverly titled Socially Distant, will be released this year and its first official single is Stability. A catchy tune about feeling vulnerable after a break-up, it reminisces early ‘00s indie rock tracks, While it doesn’t get bonus points for innovation, it delivers way more than enough in terms of quality rock music. Definitely, check this young artist out.
Accurately self-described as genre-fluid, 30 is a versatile singer/songwriter from Massachusetts with over 220k monthly listeners on Spotify. In his latest EP, The Introspects Of A Psycho, which is a philosophical introspection into the life of a girl spiralling out of control who is important to the narrator, the artist moves swiftly from rap and hip-hop to alternative rock. While the former genres aren’t really my cup of tea, I certainly dig 30‘s rocker side, such as in the appealing Lost In Colorado.
This tune is a stripped down, guitar-based track with metaphorical lyrics and an engaging melody. The chorus, in particular, is one of those that keeps playing in your head long after the song has ended. It is obvious that 30 got a creative mind that will push him to explore different styles. Hopefully, he will keep a balanced approach and continue embracing his alternative side from time to time.
If you’re a fan of The Gaslight Anthem, chances are you will like Kaleiders too. Although not specifically from Manchester, this four-piece band hails from nearby Warrington and aims to bridge the gap between melodic punk and indie rock, resulting in a sound not that different from the popular American band mentioned above. Alright, in particular, which was the first song the band ever recorded in 2016 but have now remastered to give it new life and a cleaner sound, gives me that vibe. This new version is part of the band’s brand new debut full length album: Melancholy Undertones.
A guitar-driven song, Alright is high in energy and riffs while also having an optimistic flavor. It’s evident that we have a talented band in Kaleiders, the question is whether or not they can be consistently good. Only time can tell but I like their odds. So far, so good.
Today is Thanksgiving Day in the US, which is why I thought it appropriate to feature a little known gem called Thanks as this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry. This concise but sweet song is just 74 seconds long and was the last track on the fifth studio album, Matters (2004) of California-based punk rock band: Pulley. This band released 5 albums between 1996 and 2004 and only one since then until now, and whereas they never reached the popularity of other punk rock bands from that time, they garnered a loyal following.Something curious about them is that Pulley‘s lead singer, Scott Radinsky, was a major league pitcher and a pitching coach after he retired.
Most punk-rock albums feature one or two acoustic tracks and Thanks was that song on Matters. It is a tune to reminisce about the past and appreciating your old friends.
To those of you celebrating it today, Happy Thanksgiving!
If you are looking for alternative rock music that can cheer you up, Dirt Royal is just the band for you. This three-piece band from Brighton, UK, merges garage rock and punk to produce energetic music that is catchy and fun, including satirical lyrics commenting on serious socio-political issues. After starting in 2013 and releasing a debut album in 2014, they worked on a number of singles and EPs over the years, but hadn’t released another full album until last month, when they dropped Great Expectations, an upbeat album that is on-brand with the band’s style of infectious melodies and chanty choruses, while discussing themes like unrealized potential and nostalgia.
Lose Our Way is the last song on the record and also its second single. It’s a perfect example of everything I said above. Check it out below and pay attention to Dirt Royal. They are here to stay.
To be honest, the first couple of times I heard Hellogoodbye‘s Here (In Your Arms), I didn’t like it. I couldn’t deny the extremely infectious chorus, but everything else about the tune seemed odd to me. It was a classic example of a song that grows on you the more times you listen to it. And listening to this song I did. A lot. Because my then girlfriend (now wife) loved it from the first time, to the point that it was her ringtone for a good while (back when that was still a thing). It’s hard to believe it’s been so long already.
Here (In Your Arms) was the lead single from Hellogoodbye‘s debut album, Zombies! Aliens! Vampires! Dinosaurs!, released in 2006. It peaked a number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was certified platinum in the US. I don’t think the Californian band has been able to replicate that level of success since then, but they’re still around, with a few lineup changes but still led by lead singer Forrest Kline.
I hope you like this catchy song, because it is this week’s #ThrowbackThursday entry.