Thursday, March 28, 2013

'Time & Time Again' Chronic Future (Throwback Thursday

Today's Throwback Thursday is especially meaningful to me because of the impact Chronic Future had on my life as a musician. Although relatively unknown to most, they are my favorite band and their music singlehandedly launched the creation of my band Process of Fusion.

I first heard "Time & Time Again" on the soundtrack for MVP Baseball 2004 of PS2. I immediately went and bought their CD Lines in My Face at Best Buy the next day. I was completely hooked on that album. A few years later when I got a credit card I went and bought all their albums off of Amazon and discovered so much amazing music.

None of their albums sound alike with genres crossing between rap and rock, punk, nu metal, ska, reggae, hardcore, and later on electronic.

At the time of this release (2004), CF had been signed for almost ten years already having been discovered at the young ages of 13. Knowing they were so young inspired me to press on with my music. I had just started rapping myself, so the timing was perfect.

After Lines in My Face and the success of "Time & Time Again" the band never really picked up any more steam. They released two EP's and an album of demo's along with a teaser of a new full length in the works. That album never came, and nothing has been heard from the band sine 2009 on their Myspace. Since then I've only gotten my fix by finding rarities scattered across the web and downloading them.

It appears they are on hiatus and working on their record label Modern Art Records, and that is all I know.

So, if you are a fan of Linkin Park, Rage Against the Machine, Sublime, 311, Flobots, 21 Pilots, or even Process of Fusion, check these guys out!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Backfire EP Review 'Prisoner of War'

Backfire simply put is a rock band, but if you listen deeper and uncover the layers of their music you'll discover hints of classic rock, 80s metal, and new alternative.

Consisting of Vincent Lane (vocals), Andrew Ahne (guitar), John White (guitar), Carl Giacalone (bass/vocals), and Jay Nichols (drums), they just released their first EP, Prisoner of War.

The EP opens up with "Prisoner of War" which calmly transitions into fast paced metal guitars reminiscent of an 80s metal band. Lane is telling a story about not giving up and pushing on. About two and half minutes into the song, a nice instrumental section complete with solo and dueling guitars and a quick drum fill fit nicely into the last chorus.

"One O'Clock"comes in soft then switches to blaring guitars and heavy tones. The effect on the opening vocals are very good and the chorus is tight. Again, more guitar solos and more metal! Solid start so far.

"Regret" is probably the catchiest song on the demo and has my personal favorite chorus. "My regret is what kills me, my regret is undaunted..."as gang vocals chime in. I'm also really digging the harmonic "woah-o's" at the end. It adds a little dynamic and diversity to the music.

The next track, "Trifling Whore," slows things down a bit and is more of a ballad in the beginning. The meaning of the song is pretty self-explanatory and yet has an epic vibe to it. The song shows great maturity in the band as they are able to mesh their signature sound along with something slightly different.

"The Few, the Proud, the Forgotten" sounds like it is the most single worthy track on the EP. It has a little bit of something for everyone and a strong chorus. It has a climatic build towards the end that has Lane belting out the finals words of the song.

Overall the Prisoner of War EP is a solid first effort for the boys of Backfire. They take familiar sounds and make it their own. Lane has a great almost classic type of voice. The guitarists Ahne and White shine most with steady and consistent riff work throughout. Be on the lookout for these guys!

Check out Backfire on Facebook.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Green Mile Movie Review

It's been quite awhile since I wrote on my movie list project, so today I'm bringing it back. Usually I take two movies and compare them, but this movie, is just way too big for all that.

The Green Mile (1999)

Surprisingly, I can't believe I never saw this movie until a few months ago. As a student of film, that is a "no bueno" on my behalf. After seeing the movie I know why everyone is so in love with this movie, it truly is a masterpiece.

The premise of the movie follows the life of Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks) as he leads a crew of misfit guards who are assigned to watch over the inmates of Death Row. However, these Death Row inmates all have their own quirks and eccentricities that really tell the stories of how everyone in Death Row, guards and prisoners, are connected and not much different from each other.

Based on the novel by Stephen King, the movie is a flashback in the form of a story told by a very elderly Paul to a friend as he reflects back on his life.

Paul is a man of integrity and character and despite the nature of his work, he is very committed to his job. He is always the go to guy, and pretty much runs the prison. He never complains of his work, even as he began suffering from some sort of crippling prostate/bladder problem.

Even though he worked with convicted killers and rapists, he managed to treat the prisoners with some soft of decency and dignity. His life radically changed upon the arrival of one inmate in particular, John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan).

First impressions say Mr. Coffey is an intimidating scary killer. He is a hulk of man, probably around 6'5 and undoubtedly over 300 pounds with giant hands. Without giving too much away, John, was convicted of a crime he didn't commit. This becomes clearly evident as you see him grow as a character throughout the film. He has a young childish mentality that is reminiscent of Lenny from Of Mice and Men.

As time passes John starts performing healing miracles and displaying powers of sorts. Once the guards start experiencing John's amazing power they realize him being in that prison was a grave mistake. All he ever wanted to do was help people.

Throughout the film we see a range of human emotions and thought provoking intense soul searching. The value and worth of life and whether a person's soul is evil or pure is a big theme in the movie. There's a powerful scene that shows John removing evil from one person to another. Honestly, you just have to watch it to truly understand.

By the end of The Green Mile you begin to see the similarities between the prisoners and the guards. All of them have their good and bad tendencies and despite their flaws they function and are aware of these traits. Also, it paints a picture of prison being both a place to cage up criminals and a place to hold captive the people who work there. It's just as dangerous to the staff as it is to the convicts, and aside from sleeping at home they spend all of their time there. The mundanity of life comes into to focus as something that becomes a burden.

The acting in the film is incredible and features a great ensemble cast. Everyone is believable, everyone is sincere in their role. The script and story are superb. But perhaps the best part of the movie, is watching the genuine chemistry between Tom Hanks and Michael Clarke Duncan as the movie unfolds. Although the film is roughly three hours, you wish their was more. This is indeed a classic.

IMDB - 8.5/10
TheSIBandGuy - 5/5

Thursday, March 14, 2013

'Swing Swing' The All American Rejects (Throwback Thursday)

Today's Throwback Thursday is "Swing Swing" by The All American Rejects from way back in 2002.  This song holds a special place in my heart for being the first song I ever learned on the drums and the first cover I played with my first band, For Lack of a Better Word (a lot of firsts I know).

Just looking back and realizing that the Rejects dropped their debut album 11 years ago is blowing my mind. In 2002 I was a Freshman in High School and just beginning my musical career. It's good to know these guys are still around but in my opinion nothing tops this first self-titled album. All the songs were catchy and well written with the perfect amount of pop and rock. Everything else afterward has seemed too forced or mainstream.

My band For Lack of a Better Word lasted until I was about 16 or 17 and unfortunately we never played a show in that time. We were just high schooler's have fun. Who knew that all these years I'd be a rapper/vocalist completely ceasing to play drums and abandoning my punk and pop-punk roots (sorry guys, I still have love for you!)

So now my faithful readers, I ask you to take a look back to what you were doing 11 years ago. How different were you? Do have the same music tastes? Did you play? Leave your comments below!

P.S. - Shout out to the original line For Lack of a Better Word lineup from 2001.

Steve Keely - Guitar/Vocals
Justin Sarachik - Drums/Vocals
Joe Frisina - Bass
Mike Testa - Guitar

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Diet Review for New Single 'Knee Brace'

Having never heard Diet's music before, I went into this not knowing what to expect after I got a message from vocalist/guitarist Thom Kinnear. With that being said, I absolutely loved their up coming single "Knee Brace."

Diet has a punk sound so familiar and yet so unique at the same time. They are a mixture of the Offspring, Blink 182, New Found Glory, and Nirvana, with the later comparison occurring toward the midway break point of "Knee Brace."

Thom has a great tone and quality to his voice. It's almost like if you mixed Mark Hoppus' and Tom Delonge's voice together, essentially Blink 182 with one vocalist.

At first I wasn't so keen on the mix and levels for the vocals and upon further questioning, Thom told me it was on purpose saying, "The vibe of this song was really personal so we wanted the vocals kinda low to make it really like unsure of what I'm saying but still hearing the melody and some words. I kinda wanted it to sound like mumbling and me being nervous for some reason; the low vocals were definitely on purpose for this one song."

The song has multiple parts alternating between really fast and slow, melodic and more pulsing. Overall, if every Diet track sounds as good as this first one, then I'm a fan. Great, creative instrumentals with a unique blending of punk sounds and good vocals.

One more thing...I CAN"T show you all the song! But if you want to hear it live and have it made available to you, come on out to the Arts Cypher in Staten Island March 23rd along with Figurehead, my band - Process of Fusion, and others! Info here.

Listen to some other demos on their Facebook page!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Link Drop - A Wake in Providence, Sweet Lucy, & A Vegas Marriage Videos

A Wake in Providence
Staten Island hardcore/metal pros, A Wake in Providence just released their first music video for, "Through the Eyes of a Traitor."The video was filmed at Warehouse last month. Check it out below.

Sweet Lucy
Sweet Lucy took their bluesy/jazzy rock to the Trash Bar in Brooklyn. Watch the video to see them perform "In Another World" and "Can't Catch a Break."

A Vegas Marriage
These S.I. locals ventured out to New Jersey to play the Crossroads. Watch them as they perform "The Outside" and "Something to See" live.

Process of Fusion
My band POF has been experimenting with a weekly show called Fusion Friday's. Our last episode featured Chris Taranto of Figurehead. Check it out!

Friday, March 8, 2013

When It Counts Album Review for 'The Same Old Story'

When It Counts is a local Staten Island pop/punk band consisting of Will Gallagher (vocals), Nick Trivolis (guitar/vocals), Jonathan Cutrona (guitar/vocals), Andrew Maino (bass/vocals), and Mike Maldarelli (drums).

Formerly known as Falling With Style, they released their debut EP, The Same Old Story in February of this year.

Listen to the EP below:

The EP kicks off with "Moving Up." Right away I know the sound, pop-punk, fast bass/snare hits, with quick guitar work mixed with some chugging. It picks up a little toward the end with a quick gang vocal and a slight breakdown. Good start!

"Hey Lance" uses more gang vocals and has a singlesque feel to it. I can envision a behind the scenes/live footage type music video where you see the band through various stages of playing and creating music. 

"Ignorance" is a little heavier as far as guitar tone, but has the same punky speed as the other songs. I like the small musical break about 1:10 in. It acts as a place holder to change pace in the song. The song flows as one continual piece of music with no distinct chorus, verse, or bridge. It's a nice feel in a short burst.

The longest song on the EP, "Late to Your Own Bonfire" really showcases what the band has to offer as far as diversity. The track features great harmonies and back and fourth vocals. The build toward the end where it slows down and then builds again is nicely done.

Closing out the album is "Take a Breath." This is probably the most musically dynamic track on the EP. It has a couple of instrumental parts that serve well between vocal parts. I love the almost classic music drop, gang vocal fade out to close. It was executed perfectly.

Overall When It Counts does a good job in their debut. They take a style that is well worn and add something fresh while reminding the listener of the early 2000s with bands like New Found Glory, MxPx, and early Brand New. Look at for these guys, the punk scene just got more crowded.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Link Drop - Jolly, POF, Antonio Yhap, Joe Josh

NYC prog band Jolly is embarking on a European tour today. In honor of them, check out their recent appearance on the Artie Lange show.

Process of Fusion sing's the Pokemon song...yeah, unfortunately true...

One of the most skilled rappers on the Island. He kills it again.

JoeJosh Beats
This Brooklyn native has been punching out beats rapid fire. Check out his newest one and listen to the others on the channel.