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Interview: Warped Tour (Video Interviews)

I went out and talked to a variety of people and bands at Warped Tour this year. I also had some fun with some of the artists and had them respond to YouTube comments and, for fun, sing some public domain songs as well. I’ve broken up all of these interviews for your viewing pleasure.

Regular Interviews

Bands Respond to YouTube Comments

Bands Sing Public Domain Songs

Interview: William Beckett and Frank Zummo (Video Interview)

I had the opportunity to interview a few people at Emo Nite Baltimore last Saturday.

First up is Frank Zummo, drummer of the legendary band Sum 41, and he talks about inspiring young people through the “Drum Tour,” meshing genres in his set at Emo Nite, and new music from Sum 41.

I also spoke with William Beckett, formerly of The Academy Is…, and he talks about his band’s legacy in emo, making new music, and crushing on The Cure.

Interview: Adam Turla of Murder By Death

Murder by Death

Writers, much like normal human beings, have a bucket lists. The difference is, our bucket lists contain people – personalities, creators, and yes, other writers that have inspired, comforted, and confounded us with their talents. Many of them will likely remain names on our lists until the day we type our last words, but occasionally, we’re lucky enough to spend a little time with the artists who have influenced us most.

Murder By Death, the Indiana-based kings and queen of gothic folk-rock, have been on my bucket list since I first discovered their catalog a decade ago. I was 14 then, a freshman in high school stealing his older brother’s CDs  based on album artwork alone, and the idea of an album telling stories about devils and deserts was already inconceivably cool to me; the fact that this same album featured guest vocals from both Gerard Way and Geoff Rickly only cemented its importance in my mind.

Now, nearly 20 years into their career, Murder By Death exist in the kind of vacuum that contains a dedicated fanbase and a fearlessness to tell any tale they can conjur. It was then my great pleasure to speak with frontman Adam Turla about his penchant for Western-influenced storytelling, the band’s songwriting process, and of course, Murder By Death’s eighth, glam-rock inspired space opera (of sorts), The Other Shore.

Mike Herrera of MxPx (Encore Episode 158)

MxPx

As some of you may know, I started AbsolutePunk.net over 15 years ago as an MxPx and Blink-182 fan-page. Those were the first two bands I truly loved. They shaped my entire music taste and starting that website changed my life. I wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for those bands and those albums. Listening to “Doing Time” as a teenager gave me hope. Discovering pop-punk music and the community around it made me feel like I belonged to something special. Small, right outside of the mainstream, but undeniably special. The music was unlike anything I was listening to at the time and hit me right when I needed it most.

Last week MxPx released their new, self-titled, album. It’s their first album since 2012. Today, I’m excited to debut a new episode of Encore featuring lead singer Mike Herrera. This episode is a joint episode with Mike’s podcast, “The Mike Herrera Podcast,” which I also recommend subscribing to and checking out. In this episode we go deep on the new album. We talk about the recording process, the inspiration behind the songs, and then I walk through each song with Mike and get his thoughts on different aspects. I share some thoughts too, but mostly I was trying to get at what made this album feel so fresh, and yet so wholly MxPx, here in 2018.

We also recorded the FaceTime conversation we had doing this podcast and the video is available on the MxPx YouTube channel. I look ridiculous and my cat walks into the office to have lunch a few minutes in, but we thought being able to see each other and read and react to facial expressions would bring a fun vibe to this episode. I think it worked. This is one of my favorite episodes of the podcast I’ve ever done.

Show notes are below, the band’s new album is available on all streaming platforms, and physical copies are available at MxPx.com right now.

July 22nd, 2003

This weekend marked the 15th anniversary of one of my favorite album release dates in my lifetime. On July 22nd, 2003 both Yellowcard’s Ocean Avenue and Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance were released. I was home between my sophomore and junior year of college and both albums imprinted on me like few ever have. Driving around my hometown, seeing old friends, reigniting old flames, these two albums became a part of my summer. AbsolutePunk.net was just becoming something I thought I wanted to do with my life and much of what that website would become was created with these two albums as the soundtrack. I was still very much trying to figure out who I was as a person, and these albums felt like a foothold of hope on the future. Watching Yellowcard’s meteoric rise, a bunch of kids that felt almost like peers, gave me a boost of confidence during a time I needed to think things could get better. The world was changing, my world was changing.

15 years later that summer remains one of the best of my life. The friendships made, the hearts broken, the speakers blown out, it all feels like a moment frozen in time. An idealized summer that probably wasn’t nearly what I’ve made up in my mind all these years later. But I hold it dear nonetheless. And when I put on Ocean Avenue, and hear “Back Home,” I’m transported back 15 years ago when that song meant everything to me. A rallying call for what my life was and a romanticized version for what I wanted it to be. And that feeling of home intersplices with the intensity of Thrice’s The Artist in the Ambulance, an album I used as an outlet for my anger at the world, at the war, at myself and all the chaos that felt just beyond the borders of my hometown. Two sides of me dueling it out through two albums released on the same day, during the same summer.

So, here’s to you July 22nd, 2003. I’ll always remember you fondly.

The Republic of Wolves – “Colored Out” (Video Premiere)

The Republic of Wolves recently filmed a video for an acoustic/alternate version of “Colored Out.” Today, we’re happy to bring it to you. The song comes from the band’s recent album, Shrine, which recently made it onto our top albums of 2018 (so far) list.

The band has been working on some new acoustic/alternative versions of other songs from the album that may see a release in the future, and, if you haven’t checked out their new album yet — you should.

Interview: Sherri DuPree-Bemis of Eisley

Eisley

I had the opportunity to interview Sherri DuPree-Bemis from the band Eisley.  We chatted about how she has developed as an artist, her family life on the road, and took a deeper dive into their upcoming acoustic record, I’m Only Dreaming…Of Days Long Past, available everywhere on July 20th via Equal Vision Records.

Underrated 2000’s Pop-Punk Playlist

For many of us in our mid-to-early 30’s, the 2000’s were the heyday of pop-punk music. It felt like new and exciting bands were coming out all the time and the internet was just starting to become the place to discover and talk about this genre. The other day I tossed out a question on Twitter to see what bands people considered the most underrated from those early years.

The responses were great.

I pulled out the ones I saw the most often and created a playlist containing, roughly in order of how often I saw the band mentioned, songs from most of the artists.1 You can find that on Apple Music and Spotify.

If you’ve never heard some of these bands before or just want to drive down nostalgia boulevard, there’s a whole lot of early 2000’s pop-punk goodness here. I’m surprised how much of it actually holds up and I’m not surprised how many of these songs I knew every single word to. I aimed for a combination of the popular songs from the bands but defaulted to my personal favorites in a few places.


  1. Then I repeat some of the artists because I wanted to include more than one song from some of the bands, but didn’t want to double up and ruin the flow. I tried to keep everything in the 1999-2005 range, and keep it in the “underrated” category, as much as possible. Let it be on the record that Blink-182 had one vote.

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The Top Albums of 2018 (So Far)

I think I say this every year but fuck it – the music 2018 has blessed us with in its first six months has been extraordinary. With all the insane shit happening around us and to us in this day and age, it feels like music is the only sane thing we have. So below we have our top 20 favorite releases of the year thus far. If you can’t find something to love on this list then you just aren’t trying hard enough – this is an eclectic list that encompasses multiple genres and styles. I can’t wait to see what the next six months brings to our ears.

Note: You can share your own list in our music forum.

Interview: Late Bloomer

Late Bloomer

Late Bloomer is about to release their third-full length album, Waiting. I caught up with the band — bassist Josh Robbins, guitarist Neil Mauney, and drummer Scott Wishart – to talk about how things changed writing this album, which is out June 29th via 6131 Records, and available for purchase through their webstore.

Interview: Pat DeFrancisci of Tru

I recently had the chance to chat with frontman and guitarist Pat DeFrancisci from a band called Tru, located in New Jersey. The group has recently released an EP called Growing Pains that reminded me a lot of a mix between Weezer’s instrumentation and Stone Temple Pilots’ vocal-approach. In this interview, Pat discusses their approach to songwriting, their key influences, and the story behind the creation of the EP.

Interview: Bonnaroo Festival Video Interviews

Bonnaroo

The 2018 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival did not let weather or controversy damper its spirit. In every great show, a little rain must fall and a little angst must reign. Sunday’s festivities were delayed but not hampered after heavy rains pummeled middle Tennessee all morning. Eminem’s pyrotechnics that sounded like gunshots drew concern. (I personally was quite close, at the main rails, and ducked the first time the sonic blast happened–but not during the other two.) Some critics argued that main acts Eminem, Muse, and The Killers were not enough to pull in fans; another dig since the show was bought by Live Nation, but attendees seemed to disagree. Next year’s festival is slated for June 13-16, 2018 (purposely the weekend after the Country Music Awards).

You’ll find video interviews with a bunch of artists that played the festival below.

Interview: Travis Hawley of Night Riots

Night Riots

Night Riots are an alternative rock band who have toured extensively since the release of their debut album, Love Gloom. The band has also released two EPs prior to the LP, as well as two singles from their sophomore album. Last week, I had the chance to sit down with front-man Travis Hawley (front/center in picture) from the band Night Riots prior to a show on their Dark Violet tour. This interview took place at a small venue in Washington, DC where the band has played several times before, but this was their first official headlining stint. Travis talked about how they prepare for a tour and also their upcoming full length album.

The Death of the Compilation CD: How the Industry Has Changed Since 1996

I’m sure all of us can remember where we were when we either purchased, or were given from a friend, one of the annual Warped Tour compilation soundtracks. It signified the beginning of the Summer concert season, and another year to look forward to the annual Warped Tour. Now that the Warped Tour is on its last legs, with its final installment coming this Summer, one has to wonder about what will happen to the compilation CD that we have been expecting ever year since 1996.

The history of the compilation CD is a complicated one, much like the changing music industry over the past three decades. During the CD “boom” of the 90’s, it seemed like a ton of music buyers were looking for inexpensive ways to find out about new bands, or to sample tracks from their favorite artists’ upcoming album. The compilation CD was a great way to not only save money by not investing fully in a ton of individual albums, but also to discover artists that you may not have ever considered checking out otherwise.

Interview: Angelo Fiaretti of Mighty

Mighty

In a year full of promising debuts, Mighty’s self-titled LP stands out. It captures the gritty energy of the debuts by fellow southern indie rockers All Get Out and Microwave – look no further than lead single “Safe and Sound” – but with a charm all its own. Last week I had the chance to speak to bandleader Angelo Fiaretti about writing this album. The album is out this Friday and if you’re interested you can pre-order it through their label.