Archive for April, 2010

Song Shots: Train – Hey, Soul Sister

Posted in Bands, Music In General, Songs on April 28, 2010 by mattstorm

“Just in time, I’m so glad you have a one-track mind like me  You gave my life direction, a game show love connection we can’t deny”

This song is easy to relate to if you’re lucky enough to have found your soul mate.  The above lyric stands out the most to me and is my favorite from the song.  You can feel this song with every beat. The acoustic guitar makes for a beautiful background while the drums lead the way.  Train is an infectious band whose songs always get in your head, but this may be one of my favorites. This song is presented in a more simplistic manner when compared to some of their other work but still shines. I  picked up their album today and didn’t want to wait to show them some love because I can’t get this song out of my head.  I plan on having a full review of the album  “Save Me, San Francisco” up this week.


Dissertation: Politics

Posted in Bands, Music In General on April 28, 2010 by

Music isn’t about how you say it, but what you say.

We Americans were unlucky in the 90’s. Sure, plenty of good music came out of that decade, but it wasn’t really substantial. The radio co-opted main-stream radio. And while I listen to anything, on occasion, they have changed from their roots. Pop sold sex, Rap propagated anger, and Rock said…nothing. The ‘Protest Song’ was lost, and this was a tragedy for Americans.

During the 60’s and 70’s, music was used to change politics. It was a key podium for the American Civil Rights Movement and Feminism. It helped end the Vietnam War and give birth to Rap and Punk. But our society started to change it’s values, and the music reflected this. And like I said, it wasn’t all bad. But it was like ordering skirt steak and get the extra-value meal. We lost the Protest Song and replaced it with Fast-Food Music. Sure, the large fries and Coke filled you up, but it didn’t satisfy the same way. What’s worse, not many seemed to realize our order got mixed up.

Now, at the turn of the millennium, our menu was redesigned. Bruce Springsteen released The Rising in 2002, an album reflecting the events of 9/11. Neil Young followed “The Boss” in 2006 with Living with War, calling it ‘metal folk protest music’, using his music as a weapon against the Bush administration much the same way ‘Ohio’, a CSNY song about the 1970 Kent State University Massacre, was used against Nixon. R.E.M. made a comeback to political music with the release of Around the Sun in 2004, their songs ‘Final Straw’ and ‘I Wanted to be Wrong’ being solemn yet sanguine chastisements of the Iraqi war.

It wasn’t just the experienced protestors of yesteryear who made waves. “Perhaps no musical act has paid a bigger price for speaking out against the war than the Dixie Chicks”[1]. And there’s no better way to put it. Natalie Maines, during a 2003 concert in London, said “Just so you know, we’re on the good side with y’all. We do not want this war, this violence, and we’re ashamed that the President of the United States is from Texas”. And the press had a field day. The band was eventually able to recover from the backlash. President Bush, in an interview by Tom Brokaw, had this to say: “The Dixie Chicks are free to speak their mind. They can say what they want to say … they shouldn’t have their feelings hurt just because some people don’t want to buy their records when they speak out … Freedom is a two-way street”[2].

Eminem’s Encore album, released late in 2004, featured the song ‘Mosh’. Following in the style of political hip hop bands such as Public Enemy, the video was released just prior to the 2004 Presidential elections. The original video features a crowd rushing into a voter registration area, while it’s second incarnation has those voters bursting into the Capital, demanding their voices be heard[3]. Eminem used ‘Mosh” not just to speak out against the Bush administration but also to encourage young voters to make their voices count. Rise Against has gone a slightly different route in the political arena. The groups members are all vegetarians, and are huge supporters of PETA[4]. Their recent video for their single ‘Ready to Fall’ features footage of factory farming, deforestation and sport hunting[5].

One band, though, has certainly stood out amongst the rest. An album with a quarter of a million sales in its first week, five-time platinum in the U.S. alone, it has now resurfaced again in a musical number[6]. Green Day’s American Idiot is a force to be reckoned with. The album is a satire of the U.S. in 2004, commenting on domestic and foreign policy and the propaganda hurtling at us through television and radio. The concert/documentary based on the album, Bullet in a Bible, lead singer Billie Joe Armstrong starts of the song ‘Holiday’ by saying “This song is not anti-American; it’s anti-war”[7]. ‘American Idiot’ tells tells the story of a teen trying to separate himself as an individual in a nation of sheep, trying to fight those who tell him what to do, what to buy, how to think.

There are many more individuals out there that have begun their protest again. Anti-Flag, Flobots, Rage Against the Machine, NOFX, John Mayer, Willie Nelson, the Beastie Boys. Music has been society’s commentator since its inception. Once again it has something to say.


Record Review: Relient K – Forget And Not Slow Down

Posted in Albums, Bands on April 24, 2010 by mattstorm

Relient K is a Christian rock band that started showing up on the radar in the late 90’s.   The band has a sound that continues to evolve with every new album.  They resemble the sound of most emo/new punk bands that are around but the one major difference is the uplifting sound and lyrics of their songs, even if the message behind it is a depressing subject. They always try and put a positive twist on it.

Their newest record Forget And Not Slow Down is no exception to this.  This is the band’s 7th studio album and their best to date.  This album definitely reflects a more mature soundtrack but with still the same Relient K flair.  The band also takes a strange but fantastic turn with this album.  Most artist have intros and outros to their songs that are usually included within the songs; Relient K, however, decided to take this and make them individual tracks on the album. They blend so well with the songs they’re attached to, you can barely tell they are separate tracks unless you’re staring at your Ipod or CD player.   This album has a wonderful mix of tempo changes that is never boring and always enjoyable.

My personal favorite song on the album is track 3: “Candlelight”.  It’s a wonderfully touching declaration to the brightest and most  important  person in ones life.  I’m sucker for a cute love song and this one fits the bill.  My favorite lyric in the song is “She’s like an ancient artifact, Something you’re lucky to have found, She’ll pinch the nerves in all the necks, When she turns those heads around, Those heads around…" If you have someone in you life that you care about with every ounce of your being (like I do) this song is very quick and easy to identify with.

All in all, Forget And Not Slow Down gets the Crash Chords stamp of approval. I don’t believe in arbitrary rating systems like stars or percentages because people read too much into them and disregard the actual review. I say it’s definitely worth buying especially if you have loved their work in the past.

Check out the band here and Matthew Thiessen’s twitter is here.

Road Review: Pick Up the Phone Tour

Posted in Bands, Music In General, Tours and Live Shows on April 12, 2010 by mattstorm

On Sunday, April 10th 2010,  I had a chance to go see the Pick Up The Phone Tour Featuring Hurricane Bells, Stars of Track and Field, and Blue October.   This tour is a collaboration of these bands as well as To Write Love on Her Arms, PostSecret and 1-800-Suicide National Hopeline Network to raise suicide awareness.  It is a brilliant way to raise suicide awareness and bring to light a problem that too often goes unnoticed.  This tour was designed to help people suffering from mental health issues and show them that they have somewhere to turn for help.

The first band to perform was Hurricane Bells.  This band consisted of two people a male guitarist/singer and a female back up singer.  Their sound was more or less a modern folk sound.  The band showcased some minor talent but unfortunately didn’t have too much to grab the attention of the audience.  The guitar work was simple at best and the singing wasn’t much more than wailing.  There was some effort showcased but these artists could have benefited from being backed by a full band.  They played for a solid 30 minutes or so.

The second band up was Stars of Track and Field.  Their sound was very reminiscent of a sort of fusion of Coldplay and The Killers.   They had a solid sound and stage presences featuring loads of lighting effects and color changes.  The lead guitarist showed of a little with some fancy solo work which was impressive.  All in all they were very talented but were a little too mellow and failed to get the crowd behind them. They’re set was about 30 minutes as well.

The headliner of the tour was Blue October.  Blue October’s sound I have always felt resemble  a lighter version of Collective Soul very much an alternative rock kind of sound.  The band hit the stage strong opening with Come In Closer from the album History For Sale.    The show consisted of the a beautiful combination of sounds, lights and smoke.  Their lead singer/guitarist Justin Furstenfeld puts his heart in every lyric he sings.  He pours an emotionality that you can feel in the music.  The band works as a well oiled machine moving from song to song.  About half way through the show Justin stops to talk a little bit about the cause the tour is sponsoring and makes a joke about how the crowd probably just wants him to shut up and let the band play.  He of course couldn’t be more wrong as the crowd listened quietly captivated to his important message about suicide prevention and awareness.  After that the band continued to play on.   They did the concert standard of leaving for a brief period to prepare for the encore.  During this time the band’s violinist and keyboard player Ryan Delahoussaye come back out and played an incredible and beautiful violin solo.  Afterward  Justin comes back to the stage to play an acoustic piece before being joined by the rest of the band.   The band closed their setlist with their most recent single Should be Loved.

Blue October’s Setlist: (I’m missing one or two songs simply because i don’t know their names)

  1. Come In Closer
  2. Say It
  3. She’s My Ride Home
  4. Been Down
  5. Dirt Room
  6. Razorblade
  7. Picking Up The Pieces
  8. Congratulations
  9. Into The Ocean
  10. X Amount Of Words
  11. Jump Rope
  12. Violin Solo
  13. Acoustic Piece
  14. Hate Me
  15. Should Be Loved

The website’s for the causes  involved in the Pick Up The Phone Tour are:

Error 404: Music Not Found

Posted in Uncategorized on April 9, 2010 by mattstorm

Hey all I know I kind of fell off the map for a bit.  I was in the middle of moving and had no internet until now.  I’m seeing Blue October this Saturday so you can expect a post about the show that night or the following morning!