Articles

Noah Gundersen Live in Grand Rapids

Noah Gundersen

Last Friday night I saw Noah Gundersen do something I’ve seen very few artists do: walk out onstage alone, with no backing band and no opening act, sit down in a chair, pick up an acoustic guitar, and start playing. He’d interact with the audience more—and make a surprising number of jokes—later in the show, but for now, he wanted to get right to the point: the music.

There’s something to be said for a concert with high production values. There’s something to be said for light shows and setlists where every moment has been meticulously planned — right down to the dialogue between songs. But there’s also something to be said for a show where an artist just comes out and acts like he’s playing songs in his living room. As someone who just made an entire album in his living room, that was something I appreciated about Noah’s show on Friday.

Moonlighting: The Get Up Kids

By their nature, musicians are creative. Just because they find success doesn’t mean they don’t like to explore new genres or shake things up. Sometimes their new music doesn’t gel with their current band. Sometimes a band goes on a Ross and Rachel type of break, but the music has to keep flowing. Moonlighting is all about the side projects, the passion projects, the weird and wacky that branch out from the original act.

The Get Up Kids are your older brother’s emo. In their early years, the band members looked like they walked on stage immediately after bagging groceries or tutoring middle school kids. This was long before emo became associated with Hot Topic or bangs. Matt Pryor certainly has some growl to his vocals, but overall the band’s music is approachable, agreeable, heart-on-your-sleeve rock. This is music you wouldn’t be afraid to play in front of your mom. With a catalog featuring grainy distortion (“Coming Clean”), acoustic sing-alongs (“Campfire Kansas”), and new-wavey exploration (“Shatter Your Lungs”), it’s clear The Get Up Kids have never been worried about creating one type of music. The other projects from these members reflect that versatility.

To Write Love on Her Arms 10th Anniversary Concert

Ten years ago, 19-year-old Renee Yohe was just another addict struggling with her pain. As fate would have it, a journalist, Jamie Tworkowski, caught wind of her plight and offered his support. That encounter would eventually pave the way for the Florida-based nonprofit To Write Love On Her Arms (TWLOHA). In a decade, the organization has offered help to nearly 200,000 people and raised more than $1 million towards counseling and professional solace for those battling depression, self-injury, suicide and more.

Earlier this month at Orlando’s House of Blues at Disney Springs, a sold-out crowd helped fete TWLOHA and its founder Jamie Tworkowski as part of its 10th anniversary Heavy and Light celebration. With a headlining set by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and support from Arizona’s The Summer Set, Nashville’s Matt Wertz and Renee Yohe herself, the event proved to be a rousing success.

Preparing for Record Store Day

This weekend is Record Store Day. A time for vinyl nerds to rejoice in a weekend dedicated to their passion, or wax poetic about how it was so much better before it got so popular. Thomas and I discuss this on the podcast this week, but, in preparation for the big day, I asked our friend William Angelos from Creep Records in Philadelphia to put together a write-up of the releases he’s most looking forward to and what to be on the lookout for as you make your way to your local shop.

One Week in the Books

Chorus.fm

I wanted to title this, “It’s been one week …,” but the moment I even think that sentence I’ve got Barenaked Ladies stuck in my head the rest of the day. You’re welcome for that. However, now that it’s the weekend, it means we have officially gone through our first week on the new website. I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone for the incredible response we’ve seen over the past seven or so days. I’ve been blown away by the outpouring of support, kind words, and all the amazing write-ups and tweets I’ve read remembering AbsolutePunk. I’ve compiled some of the articles from current and former staffers alike into a little round-up below, and put together some first week stats on the site as well.

A Hello, A Goodbye

I started writing online by uploading HTML files to some free server in 1996. Angelfire? Geocities? Something like that. I was playing around with this relatively new thing called “the internet” and had no idea what I was doing. I created a little “about me” page that talked about how much I loved Blink-182, MxPx, and the comic Foxtrot. I’ve been doing some variation of this for over 20 years. When I first picked the name “AbsolutePunk.net,” it was because I saw a vodka magazine ad, I thought it would show up first in an alphabetized Yahoo! directory, and my adolescent brain thought I was a little punker. At the time I had no idea that this would end up being my career or that I’d gradually shift the website into an online alternative music publication that would cover thousands of artists, have hundreds of contributors, and be read by millions. The growing pains were tough. The servers couldn’t handle the traffic we were seeing, the overhead cost of running this website from my parents’ basement or my dorm room became almost unsustainable, and a little band called Fall Out Boy exploded into the mainstream and brought millions more searching for the exact kind of music we were talking about in our little corner of the internet. Searching for answers and help, I ended up selling the business I had created in my teens.

I think it’s safe to say that didn’t quite play out as I thought it would. However, the love for the music outweighed it all. In many ways running the website became the very job I had tried to avoid. Stress. Anger. Depression. A frustration brought on by the feeling of a constant cycle of defeat. But, so many of you still read my quirky sarcasm in the news. People still talked with the staff about music, life, and pop-culture. You’ve still read our features, read our incredible reviewers, pored over our articles, and listened to Drew, and Thomas, and I talk on podcasts. People still wanted to know what Jesse Lacey had for dinner. I had started my first business, AbsolutePunk, LLC, as a teenager with cargo shorts and puka shells. I started my second, Chorus, LLC, in my early thirties — an online consulting business that included running that very same website I had started when we all wanted to look like Kenny Vasoli. Today I’m writing to announce that my second company is buying back my first.

The Best of 2015

The Best of 2015

2015 will go down as a memorable one for me. The music we got this year was fantastic and the memories it soundtracked will stay with me for a lifetime. As we move into the new year I want to wish everyone a happy and healthy year. I think what’s in front of us is always more exciting, and far scarier, than what’s in our past. I think the future’s bright. I think it’s exciting. Let’s not let it scare us.

The Best of 2014

The Best of 2014

2014 ended up being one of my favorite years for music in a long while. It just seemed like every few weeks there was a new album to dive into and experience. There were times where it felt overwhelming, as if there was so much to listen to I felt ashamed I couldn’t give each album the time it deserved. But, here we are at the end of the year, and here we are tasked with trying to put numbers to the madness. I’ve done my best to put my favorite albums of the year in some kind of order … I hope you find as much to enjoy here as I have.

The Best of 2012

The Best of 2012

Well, 2012 was an interesting year.

But now it’s come to a close and I have to figure out how to rank everything from the past year and get a list together. I’ve been procrastinating on this one for a while, but, alas – here we go … in reverse order.

The Best of 2011

The Best of 2011

Ok .. ok … now it’s time to try and figure out just how the hell to rank all the albums from the past year. This is where I do my best to remember everything I love. Inevitably leave something out. And then read comments about how stupid I am.