Friday, May 31, 2013

Staten Island alternative rock band Four Nights Gone are trying to take themselves to the next level. Successfully completing a tour and stacking up on their social networks, these guys entered the studio for their second EP, Resilience, which is being released on June 11th.

The EP opens up with "J. Buck," which is definitely the radio single of this record. It just might be the best and most catchy FNG song to date. Damian's vocals shine through on this track and the instrumentals are very solid too. Lots of great layering and little intricacies if you listen closely. The screaming is a good touch as well, and a change of pace.

"Broken Wings," starts off with heavy guitars, yet has a mello feel until the chorus, where it picks up. The chorus has a big feel to it, and fits perfectly within the song. There's a nice little build in the bridge that leads into a solo part before rounding out into a final chorus. That's probably the heaviest FNG gets instrument-wise, well done.

The next track is "The Scars Remain." It starts off slowly with heavily effected guitars before going crunchy at the chorus. The dueling guitar work adds a nice feel to the track, and the softer background vocals add depth to the verses. They released this track as their first single, I feel this more of a secondary single than a lead, but nonetheless, a great track.

"Monster" starts off slow with light instrumentals and very subtle electronic sounds mixed in, giving it a Linkin Park type feel musically before it changes up at the chorus. The standout in this song is the drum work by Lobes. The patterns are tight and consistent and he does a good job keeping rhythm on the toms. The choir hums at the end of the song is a great touch as well.

The last track is "The One Who Knocks." Do I see a "Breaking Bad" reference in this song...which as I type this sentence I hear Damian sing, "Breaking Bad, going mad with all this power he has." Touche FNG, touche. Listen to the words and basically hear the plot of the show. You should send it to AMC before the show ends!

TV references aside, the song is quite good and introduces some more screaming it. There's a major key change at the end that flows seamlessly, and the lyrics are among the best penned for the band.

All in all, Resilience is a major upgrade on their last EP in my opinion. Gone are all the little mistakes, the rookie recording experiments and such, this EP is for real. The sound is better, the quality and music is better, and the lyrics are more mature. Although not much time has passed since the last recording, the results are much better. Vocally, there is a major improvement as well. Everything is on point, and done well. I'm impressed guys. This EP has a much stronger commercial feel to it and is good for anyone who enjoys 3 Days Grace, Breaking Benjamin, and good alternative.

Go fourth and make music!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Paramore 'Pressure' and 'Emergency' (Throwback Thursday)

Hey guys, missed the last two week's, sorry! I have a bigger work load we go!

I feel like these songs are twins that can't be played without the other. 

Paramore's first album, All We Know is Falling, came out in 2005 and I believe Haley Williams was only 16 at the time. The album is so mature and well done for such a young band.

I remember the buzz Paramore had when this album came out. Hayley was like the savior for chicks who liked to rock out, and I guess she still kind of is. Now the group is a little more crowded. I think just about every guy had a crush on her included. 

It wasn't until their next album, 2007's, RIOT!, that they really exploded and became mainstream. However, good on Paramore for never fully going mainstream in the "sell out" way, their music still has an edge to it, and still feels distinctly them. Maybe quite simply it's their aging in the last eight years. Wow, eight years...

Anyway, without further adieu, "Emergency" and "Pressure," my favorite two Paramore songs.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Freestyle Fam Music Video, Omnia Makes a Statement, and Four Nights Gone

First up we have Freestyle Fam, two dudes who just so happen to be good friend's of mine. These two guys, Quest the Wordsmith and Redeemed are just straight up beasts on the microphone. They got together with a few of their buddies and dropped a hot music video for their song "Bar Fights." Watch the video below.

Download the single FREE here:

Freestyle Fam on the web:

Had the privilege of playing with this artist a few years ago. She's very impressive live and even better is the message she portrays in her music. As a Muslim woman, she is standing against some of the more  pressing issues portrayed and some times pushed on the women of that culture. In fact she was interviewed by Fox News about it -  . Read about it at the link to the left. Fair warning, Omnia said on Facebook some of her wording is wrong, and may have portrayed her view negatively. She said the following in a comment on Facebook -

"It's a slight wording issue, but it says that I'm speaking about inequities in my religion - but the problem is much more with the people than with the religion. The people have perverted the religion - and the last thing I'm trying to do is fuel Islamophobia, which we already have enough of."

Anyway, check out the video for "Grace" below!

The boys in FNG just released their lyric video for their new single "J. Buck." You can pre-order the Resilience EP at

Check out the video!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Backslashes & Bad Ideas with Fred Mascherino (Ex: Taking Back Sunday)

Shout out to the homies in Backslashes & Bad Ideas. They were just featured on Alternative Press for the release of their new song, "Defend Josh's Life Choices." (I know Josh, it's tough do do so... ;)

Not only is AP picking up the story and featuring the song awesome, but having Fred Mascherino on the track is huge! If you don't know who Fred is, he is the former guitarist/back-up singer of Taking Back Sunday, and now is solo in his project, The Color Fred. If you still don't know, he's the one that goes, "I got a bad feeling about this," 100x and makes you think, "Wow this sounds like John Nolan but isn't." I digress....

Go check the song out, listen to the song, and support these dudes from Staten Island.

Keep it coming guys, link below.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

To Write Love on Her Arms: Non-Profit Spreads Message of Hope (INTERVIEW)

"Come to me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke on you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest to your souls" (Matthew 11:28-29).

To Write Love on Her Arms is a organization pushing a message of hope for the downtrodden, a pick me up that goes out offering encouragement to all those suffering with depression, self-abuse, and other issues.

"To Write Love on Her Arms is a non-profit movement dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. TWLOHA exists to encourage, inform, inspire, and also to invest directly into treatment and recovery," read their website.

Chad Moses, a representative of To Write Love on Her Arms, answered a few questions via email about the powerful impact this organization is leaving on the world.

TWLOHA will be at Skate and Surf Music Festival, how does the organization plan to reach people?
Moses: Skate and Surf is perfect because people are going to be there. All of our programs and efforts, since the very beginning, have been geared towards fostering honest conversation and that is only possible when people feel comfortable. Music is a place where a lot of people feel most valued and welcomed. The other attendees and fans may feel like family, and the venue in a way can feel like home.

We don't force hope or a message onto people- we simply show up and hang out and get to know people to whatever level they feel like sharing. Our approach is invitational rather than aggressive. We know that the people walking in through the gates each represent stories in progress, and we just hope to be an audience to those stories.

Since the organization's inception, how many people could you say have been directly affected in a positive way by TWLOHA?
It is impossible to answer. Since 2006, we have been able to read and responded to over 170,000 messages over email and social media platforms and we have been able to give over a million dollars directly to avenues for treatment and recovery. We have 1.3 million followers on Facebook and 257,000 folks keeping track with us on Twitter.

But the most significant number in our minds is One. The One conversation that we may never know happens between someone who is struggling and their trusted friend or counselor. … The One phone call placed to a suicide crisis line that allowed One more person to wake up the next morning.

How did TWLOHA get as big as it did, and why did the music scene gravitate so heavily to you guys?
People are flying our banner in wildly unexpected places. We have high school students supporting us in countries we've never been to before like South Africa. A couple of years ago we received a message from Dubai from some folks who wanted us to speak out there. … It seems like word of mouth has been the greatest tool in spreading this movement.

Music is … just a creative form of word of mouth. Artists from all over the world have surprised us by wearing shirts on stage or speaking honestly about the issues. … Our favorite songs, or albums, or artists likely hold that spot in our hearts because they remind us of something that is true or makes us feel less alone.

What is the group's main goal for 2013 and the future?
Our goal has always been the hope that we can change the numbers. For most attendees of festivals of this market, suicide represents the third highest cause of death, and we know that untreated depression is the leading cause of suicide. But the most alarming statistic that we've encountered is that 2 out of 3 people who struggle with depression never seek help for it. These numbers represent names and faces of people close to us, or they may even represent our own stories.

How widespread is self-abuse and the issues surrounding it?
We have found over the past several years that the principle battle we fight is not against behavior (be it self-injury, or addiction, or thoughts of suicide, or anything else) but more so against the sense of isolation that allows issues like self-injury to thrive. The fight is against stigma and that fear silences conversation.

Self-injury is nothing new in the spectrum of humanity. It affects individuals all over the world regardless of age, status, geography, faith, gender, or ethnicity. … Organizations like The Self-Injury Foundation have reported that between 14-24 percent of adolescents and young adults have self-injured at some point. Additionally, there [are] an estimated 4 percent of adults who occasionally self-injure.

The numbers suggest that males and females report similar rates. … How people perceive self-injury and how self-injury actually presents itself is rather different. As more conversation arises from those who do struggle or have struggled, we will learn more about who does it and what is effective in treating it.

What kind of services does TWLOHA offer and is there anything the organization shies away from?
To Write Love on Her Arms is not a helpline or counseling agency. We often say that we hope to be a bridge to connect people who are looking for help to that help. … The individual and their safety as well as their sense of dignity and belonging take precedence.

Treatment is always, and most effectively, a choice. Because of that, we make it our goal to lay out options and various avenues for people to seek help. If one method doesn't mesh, then we are here to encourage you to try another route. You can find a list of such resources at our FIND HELP page at

Anything else to add?
We want to say that if you are reading this and it hits close to home, know that you are in good company. Know that your story is one of immense beauty and we are glad that you are here. Don't give up! We want to remind you that hope is real and that help is real. There are people out there who have been where you are and their story is continuing. In the same spirit, there are other people who have dedicated their lives to making sure that you feel safe and valued and heard. You are worth the time it takes to tell your story. If you feel like you have run out of options, please visit us at and take a look at our FIND HELP page.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Process of Fusion and Vinny Jett Release Music Videos, InDisguise News

Process of Fusion
My band Process of Fusion released our first music video on Friday. The song, "Connections," is a long time fan favorite of ours and not for nothing the video looks amazing. The concept and cinematography was done by Dead Dove Creative and Four Walls Productions. If you enjoy horror movies, suspense, and girls being chased my monsters, then this video is for you! Check it out below.

Vinny Jett
From Vinny Jett in his own words, "A video and song that document the events of Hurricane Sandy. The video was shot in the New Dorp Beach area of Staten Island, New York where many homes were leveled and made uninhabitable after the storm. This same area was visited by President Barack Obama in November 2012."



Check out the video below and read my interview with him:


Check out InDisguise and their latest show
They will be opening up for 3 Years Hollow and Another Lost Year, so this is definitely a big opportunity! 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Phil Keaggy Honored with ASCAP Golden Note Award

Wrote an article at my job today that couldn't be published so I decided I would share it with you on here.

Legendary guitarist and singer/songwriter Phil Keaggy was honored for his contributions to music and lifetime achievements by receiving the ASCAP Golden Note Award at the 35th Annual Christian Music Awards on May 6th.

Held at the Franklin Theater in Franklin, Tenn., the musician was praised for his 40 plus years in music, and had a video montage showing pictures of him throughout the years playing in the background.

"The reception at the ASCAP Awards was heartwarming; I am so humbled and honored to be recognized," said Keaggy at the awards show. "My thanks to the many who have shown so much love and support."

Keaggy then took to the stage to perform his classic song, "Salvation Army Band," where he showcased his skills using a number of effects pedals and electric loop machines to create sounds and layers while being a one man band.

The crowd was so impressed ASCAP's Chairman, Paul Williams, had this to say, "From now on my nickname for you will be 'soul catcher,' because you catch our souls. Phil is one of the most admired guitarists in modern history and I am honored to salute him in this honor tonight."

Keaggy has over 50 solo albums under his belt as well as albums with his band glass harp. Alternating between instrumental and vocal albums, he has seven Dove Awards and is widely considered one of the greatest guitarists of all time having been named by Guitar Player Magazine as the best several times through reader polls.

"Phil Keaggy's influence on both the contemporary Christian and mainstream music markets is immeasurable," says ASCAP's Michael Martin through a press release. "We are very proud to honor him with the ASCAP Golden Note Award in recognition of his incredible career."

Other recipients of of the Golden Note Award are: Michael W. Smith, Garth Brooks, and Reba McEntire to name a few.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The Almost 'Fear Outside Our Bones' Album Review (Gerard Ucelli)

The Almost is back after four years with their third release, Fear Outside Our Bones, which will be out June 11th.

The Almost recorded this album in five days in a small room better known as Nashville's Omni Studios were they were going to approach this album in a completely different fashion. 

After listening to this album, I was pleasantly surprised. A lot of the songs off this release are very slow. It may take a little getting used to for fans that were very big into their previous albums, Monster, Monster (2009) and Southern Weather (2007), which have a generally more upbeat vibe. One of my favorite aspects about this release is that they generally went for something different. In my personal opinion, it’s very commendable when musicians challenge themselves and don’t end up being a one trick pony.

For those who pick up this album in June, you will instantly be able to tell after listening to the first few songs that some of the inspirations come from blues and southern rock. Being that I’m more attracted to upbeat tempos and intricate drum patterns, “I Won’t Let Go” is my favorite song off this release. Aaron Gillespie sings with so much soul and passion on that particular track. It was actually the only song that I played more than three times while going through the album.  The title track “Fear Inside Our Bones” also stands out to me. It possesses such a vintage vibe especially in the intro leading up in the chorus. I love how it picks up in the chorus. The patterns throughout the song flow exceptionally. I feel the point of any song is to be able to sing along and the chorus combine with the message is very strong.

My final thoughts to the fans of The Almost, it’s worth listening to Fear Outside Our Bones from beginning to end. You’ll be able to appreciate how the album starts off very bluesy and becomes more progressive. The element of southern rock is contained in every song, but it’s expressed in so many varieties that it’s enjoyable.

Monday, May 6, 2013

New Hope Release's 'Just Like Yesterday'

New Hope is a punk band from Staten Island comprised of Cedric Brice (guitar/vocals), Justin Alpert (guitar/vocals), Rosario Panarelli (bass/vocals), and Dino Casalino (drums). They are hoping to release their new EP, Unlucky 17, this spring and recently released their first single, "Just Like Yesterday."

"Just Like Yesterday" is a slower song chalk full of punk guitar tones, drum patterns, and vocal work. They mix it up by throwing in a piano part, and musical solo/bridge part.

The chorus is catchy, and the singer's voice goes well with the song. I like the background vocals and harmonies and the "oh-oh's" in the first chorus.

Be sure to give this band a listen if you like 90s punk like MxPx, Slick Shoes, and old Green Day.

Download the track for FREE below

Thursday, May 2, 2013

'Ocean Avenue' Yellowcard (Throwback Thursday)

Hey everyone, sorry for the little break, I kinda got married and yeah, back to our regularly scheduled programming.

Not only is this blog post number 250, but it is also Throwback Thursday! Today we will be taking a look back at Yellowcard's "Ocean Avenue."

To me "Ocean Avenue" represents some of the better times in my life. I was a sophomore in high school and this song came out as the school year was closing and served to be the perfect backdrop to a great year with friends. In fact, the whole Ocean Avenue is a perfect summer album, if that makes sense. If I drove back then I'd surely have my windows down bumping this record.

Unfortunately, like most of the bands I like and most of the bands on Throwback Thursday, their popularity has greatly diminished the last couple of years. Yellowcard never went away though, and are on their 6th record I believe. The two releases after Ocean Avenue; Lights and Sounds, and Paper Walls were great albums as well. They unlike other great bands of the early and mid 90s never really lost their consistency and as music writers but still managed to wane out...a shame.

Yellowcard had a great run from 2002-2005 where they were one of the most popular bands out. It helped that they were in the period of maximum emo/pop-punk glory with New Found Glory, Simple Plan, and Yellowcard. Oh yeah, and they had a violin player, awesome.

Other great tracks off of Ocean Avenue, are "Way Away," "Empty Apartment," and "Only One," but really everything on it is a gem.

Also, as far as I know, it's still cool to like Yellowcard and won't get the "joke" treatment like a Limp Bizkit or Creed. So play away, enjoy!

What Makes Someone a True New Yorker?

Looking for a little writing inspiration so I went back into my journalism archives to find this commentary I did about NYC. In my opinion it's one of the best things I've written, and one of my favorite college memories. Check it out, let me know what you think!

What Makes Someone a True New Yorker?

The journey began at the Eltingville train station on Staten Island. Waiting for the train in the chilly morning air is always enough to fully awaken even the groggiest morning person. On the train were a collaboration of business suits and the bright uniformed sweaters of Monsignor Farrell students. The faces and the atmosphere told the story of monotony, as the train was quiet except with the sounds of newspaper pages turning. The operator came on after a delay and announced, “Due to fallen leaves on the tracks we are forced to ride slower today. We may still make the nine o’clock ferry.” The train became filled with the concerned and panicked moans of the patrons on board worried about being late for their obligations.

Worry turned into ease as the train arrived with five minutes to spare. The once flustered crowd settled into their standing room spots until the ferry doors opened. Then like before, it all turned into chaos as everyone rushed on board like there were no seats left. People disperse and the tourists stand on the outside in hopes of capturing a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. They then line up to take a photograph of the incoming skyline of a noticeably empty Twin Towers. To the average person the skyline becomes routine, but perhaps for the true New Yorker it’s an act of trying to not bring back memories of that fateful day.

Pulling into the Manhattan terminal was like déjà vu. The boat empties, and there goes the rush of people moving with no regard to life except for their own to make the bus or train. Out the doors a few people stop to grab some fresh fruit or pastry from the little market upstairs. Beyond the fruit stands and escalators is a whole new world right through those doors. All around is a city of skyscrapers that descend up forever. To think just eight years ago, in what seems like an eternity and yesterday at the same time, these very streets were filled with confusion, destruction, and death. Not more than a few blocks away are the former sites of the World Trade Center. 

Known to the average person as ground zero, most considered it a piece of their home. Sadly at this juncture in time not much progress has been made to restore it back to its former glory. What was once filled with the hustle and bustle of workers, and the ca-ching of money being made through firms and businesses is now filled with the sounds of passing trucks and construction work. Cranes and caution tape cover a fence put up to obstruct any view of the crater that once was the World Trade Center. At the corner next to the tribute museum is a Burger King. In such a historic place the only scent is that of Whoppers and the dust of construction. The sacredness of the once thriving business capital of the world is gone. At least there is a consolation of hope in being between Liberty and Church Street, but what’s really in a name.

A trip on the Subway brings you to a new city. Gone are the monstrous buildings and traffic infested streets. Walking around W165th Street feels more like a quiet part of Brooklyn or even a small city in California. The people are classy looking and dressed casually sharp. Local eateries and fancy restaurants and cafés dominate the lining of the streets. In the middle of it all is Columbia University. Walking inside is kind of like walking into the European charter schools you see in the movies. The architecture resembles London with the high arching ceilings and old rustic textures of the buildings. Even the libraries look like grand churches or law buildings. Oddly enough walking the grounds is a bohemian and Cali kid population. Students are wearing flip-flops and shorts, and almost all but absent is a baseball cap. The girls are wearing hoodies, and most aren’t socializing but just trying to get to class. Passing through from one side of campus to the other transports you back to the quiet city experienced before. This stays intact until the East Side.

This is Harlem. From Columbia to Harlem is a rapid change of scenery. Harlem looks like a more built up Flushing Queens, but nevertheless is mostly run down. Graffiti infests the buildings, and the stores alternate between barely living, and brand-new. The air is filled with the chatter of what looks to be an active community with people everywhere doing something. Boom boxes are blaring old school rap, while even the old men walking by are dancing to the beat. The hip-hop scene is clearly evident in the Latino and African-American minority made majority in Harlem. While many of the brownstones were in shambles they still looked beautiful. A sense of pride for some residents was seen with fresh coats of paint and a manicured garden. These few bright spots provided a stark comparison between houses. 

The smells of culture ran loose from block to block. One moment you could smell chicken or fish being cooked, while the next moment you breathe in lamb or heavy incense. The streets seem to get progressively better looking as the Apollo Theater grew closer in radius. On one of the buildings surrounding the Apollo, was a huge mural expanding over two walls. The mural expressed the importance of themes like: love, self image, respect, and hope. This makes for a wonderful motif for Harlem. Better times are coming, keep persevering. 

The day was coming to a close, and yet in this small sampling of culture it’s not hard to see the ecliptic group of people calling this same place home. Though the lifestyles may vary, we are all New Yorkers in the same. What does it mean to be from New York? It means living your life the best way you can in an environment that caters to nearly every person imaginable. It means looking past stereotypes and being able to walk in the shoes of someone else and understand they are just like you in some way. It’s a privilege to be able to say, “I’m proud to be from New York.”