2014 SceneSC Sampler, Vol 5

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It may not be one of the first features you notice about Charleston, but rest assured the local music scene is alive and well here. There’s a little something for everyone, but if you asked for my personal opinion, I’d tell you that most of the music that comes straight out of the heart of Charleston has a distinct folk, sweet-southern charm about it. It makes sense to me as a fellow Charlestonian – it’s the same sound that translates to the smell on Market Street, on the Battery, and going down King Street on an open Sunday.

To give you a good example of what I’m talking about, I’d like to share with you all this little gem: The SceneSC Sampler. The most recent release is Volume 5, released just this month! It’s packed with 24 tracks and each has something different to offer.

Read the rest of this entry

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APPRECIATE YOUR ELDERS!: Led Zeppelin Edition

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I can list the number of people I know my age that know the name “Led Zeppelin” on one hand, much less are familiar with their music (or can name one or three of their songs, as the true test goes). I suppose that isn’t really my generation’s fault, seeing as Led Zeppelin was at their peak decades before our parents even considered us existing. And when you think about it, when it comes to music, everyone pays most of their attention to contemporary artists… it’s only logical. Think about it this way – when you’re finding new tunes to listen to, do you ever go, “Ah, yeah, you know, I think I should check out some music that came out ___ years before [insert band/artist here] did.” Granted some do, but I’m willing to bet that most do not. (Kudos to all you music geeks and historians out there)

Getting back onto the topic at hand, those few fellow Zeppelin fans that I know will immediately agree that their parents were the ones that got them into their music. Which makes me think that anyone born from my generation that listens to oldies or even classic rock most likely is only fond of them because they are bands handed down to them from their parents. Part of me thinks that when it’s a case of music that your parents are into, you sort of grow an appreciation for their musical tastes whether or not you really enjoy listening to it yourself.

Anywho, I wanted to write this post because I wanted to mention to you all how important it is to at least respect your elders! As your parents introduced you to music of their generation, contemporary musicians were inspired to make the music they have by people who have left their mark on the music industry and the countless genres out there today. If you ever find a band/artist who doesn’t claim Led Zeppelin as one of their influences, let me know.

Also can I just make a note and mention that if you look at their discography, Led Zeppelin essentially produced a record every year for seven years. I think that’s pretty impressive considering that I sit on the edge of my seat for cherished bands today to come out with something new every other year. I realize that technology today has completely defiled what the release of an album meant back in Zeppelin’s day, BUT STILL.

I hear them in The Mars Volta’s vocal ranges (yes, I know replication of that has a lot to do with Robert Plant’s vocal range… but let’s not get into a debate on that one just yet), Kings of Leon’s subtle lusty tones, and pretty much all kinds of rhythm guitarists today who dwell in the art rock/experimental genres. Classic rock is known for its more-than-a-minute-long instrumental solos, after all.

So, there’s my little blurb about why you should all educate yourselves on the influences of today’s contemporary music scene. There are tons of other bands that were arguably just as important in making music sound like what it does today, but discovering that much of Zeppelin’s discography is available to listen to fo’ FREE on Spotify inspired this post.

To conclude, I’ll leave you with a little bit of Zeppelin wisdom. Personally I feel that Led Zeppelin is so iconic of a band that it’s quite the feat to try and do a review-style post of their discography and the like. I’m not ready for that today. Instead, I’ll do the cliche thing and post a few of their more well-known songs in case I’ve inspired anyone enough who hasn’t really taken an in-depth look at Led Zeppelin to check out their music.

See if you can listen to these songs and find similarities between Led Zeppelin and music that you’re a fan of today, regardless of genre. It’s a cool little experiment.

“Your Time Is Gonna Come”, on self-titled “Led Zeppelin”, released 1969:


One of these days
and it won’t be long
You’ll look for me, but, baby
I’ll be gone
~
Don’t care what you say

‘Cause I’m goin’ away to stay
Gonna make you pay for that
Great big hole in my heart

Essentially “karma’s a bitch” before that saying became popular, in much more artistic and poetic terms. I can’t think of another “babe, you had me” song that is… as calm as this one. The melody does not match with its vengeful lyrics. I get that it times were moving into the free spirit of the 1970’s, but the way this song so awesomely puts down a bitch makes it one of my Zeppelin favorites.

“What Is And What Should Never Be”, “Led Zeppelin II”, released 1969


So if you wake up with the sunrise
and all your dreams are still as new
and happiness is what you need so bad,
Girl, the answer lies with you

I’m not sure anyone knows what the lyrics in this song actually mean, but that doesn’t stop it from being an awesome rock n’ roll song in my eyes.

“Ramble On”, “Led Zeppelin II”, released 1969


Ramble on
And now’s the time, the time is now to
sing my song
I’m goin’ ’round the world, I got to find my girl,
on my way

I’ve been this way ten years to the day, I gotta
ramble on, 

I gotta find the queen of all my dreams

I bet you know the chorus to this song, or recognize it at least, even if you never really knew who it was by. And the bleating guitar mini-solo which accompanies each chorus. This song has references to Lord of the Rings… need I say more?

“Stairway to Heaven”, “Led Zeppelin IV”, released 1971


There’s a lady who’s sure all that glitters is gold
And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.
When she gets there she knows, if the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for

The song that gave Led Zeppelin their name, essentially. I think all I can do is present this to you and you’ll probably figure out why this song made the band one of the most popular names in the world. You might not find it all that awesome, but you should at least be able to appreciate it for the artistry of the music, and the fact that these guys were doing this stuff in nineteen seventy-one, spelled out for emphasis. Back when nearly ten minute songs were cool. I read somewhere that this was the most requested song on the radio in the 1970’s (and was never even released as a single here in the US!). Imagine 8 minutes and 2 second-long songs on the radio today. Didn’t think so.
Just for the record, I’m not sure that anyone knows what the story that is “Stairway to Heaven” actually means, either… but everyone seems to think it’s pretty groovy.

Today We Remember…

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ImageThat’s it, folks. There is the official announcement from My Chemical Romance on their official website of their departure from the music scene.

Here’s my little dedication to a band that will always hold a special place in my heart.

Okay, I can’t say that I didn’t see their breakup coming. As the band says, it’s been 12 years, 12 years of excellent music, I don’t care what anyone says. From what I’ve heard the members had a lot of drama circulating in their personal lives recently, and I believe they’re all married with families now. It happens. They lasted a lot longer than a lot of bands do, especially in the genre they pretty much created for themselves.

For me, MCR was one of those bands I grew up with. Their music grew and matured as I got older, and, as they got older, of course. Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge, their sophomore debut, was literally my life in middle school. I remember my grandfather buying the album for me. Guess who played rocked it out in their walkman all day every day? Yep, that was me.

Recently I FINALLY had to throw away my T-shirt from that era… because it was the probably the size of a boy’s youth T-shirt and was becoming a little too ratty to be socially acceptable. I still remember the day that I got it – I was in sixth grade. My mom bought a friend and I tickets to go see Green Day on their American Idiot tour (she’s still awesome, just sayin’). As we were waiting for one of the openers to start, out pops My Chemical Romance out of nowhere. I think “Helena” had just made its debut onto the airwaves, so they had a following, but still had a long way to go before it reached its peak. Anyway, I freaked out because it was completely unannounced. From the way Gerard made it out, it just so happened they were in the right place at the right time and got to play a song or two before Green Day took the stage, but somehow their merch booth was set up like it’d been planned all along. They weren’t on the tickets or any announcements. To this day, the world will never know…

I got a T-shirt out of the concert and got to hear “Helena” live. It was a good night. Oh, yeah, and seeing the legendary Green Day live as well.

If you’re wondering, yes, I still know all the words to that album. Probably know all the words to The Black Parade, too. I have to admit I stopped following the band after that, but like I said, they’ll always hold a special place in my heart.

I sincerely hope that the members go off on solo projects or start new musical endeavors. They’re talented guys who can be accredited for the breakout of “emo” both as a style and a genre of music back around 2006. That’s a big deal, admit it.

This has been my tribute post to My Chemical Romance. Rest in peace.
Maybe they’ll pull a Fall Out Boy and suddenly pull a tour out of nowhere five years from now. Who knows.

Either way, I’ll be watching. (And waiting.)

Until next time.

Show Review – Coheed and Cambria with Between The Buried and Me and Russian Circles

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For those that know me personally, Coheed and Cambria could easily pass as my favorite band for the time being. With that being said, I’ll try my best to keep this review as non-biased as possible.

I should also mention that I spent a majority of the show in the “pit” at The Tabernacle, which will also have an affect on this review.

First off, I want to give a shout out to the venue itself. If any of you find yourselves in Atlanta, Georgia, you should definitely go check this venue out. It’s beautiful, spacious, and perfect for concerts. A balcony surrounds the stage area, two layers with a perfect view of the stage itself. In front of the stage is the “pit” area, also known as the area where crazy kids try to destroy each other in sync to hardcore… I may or may not be one of those kids. Anyway, the floor of the pit declines so that short people like me are given a slight advantage of still being able to see over tall heads under the right circumstances. It was my first time at the venue and I really enjoyed it. It reminds me a lot of the way a House of Blues would be set up. The staff was also very courteous and did a great job of controlling the crowd.   A lot of places don’t even allow moshing anymore, but these guys did their best to make sure no one got injured, and got crowd surfing down to a science. If I had to find something to complain about, it would be the price of their drinks, but that’s a pretty normal thing these days. They can pretty much charge whatever they want, why not make a profit.
Check it out here!

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 Inside the Tabernacle

Let’s get started with the music, shall we? I never really know what to expect of the openers for Coheed and Cambria. The bands always end up seeming kind of random to me, but for whatever reason metal/hardcore bands end up opening for Coheed. I’m pretty sure musicians from every genre have ended up playing with this band. Some people prefer to go to concerts where each band reflects a common musical style, others like something different each time. There’s always something new to expect when it comes to a Coheed tour.

Russian Circles, hailing from Chicago Illinois, started the crowd off which was an experience in itself. There was no mike on the stage, firstly. They started out with one of their more intense songs. I told my friend next to me that I felt like I was almost scared to know what would happen next, it really was a perfect opening song.

Russian Circles played a completely instrumental set. I’ve never seen that happen before. I kind of kept expecting one of the members to say something eventually, but they never did. I’ve also never seen a band fail to introduce themselves or say anything to the crowd at all. But, they did. The only real glimpse of personality the audience saw of these guys was when the drummer started counting off too early and threw off one of the beginning of the songs, causing a cute little “heh heh oops” throughout the band itself and giving the audience a little chuckle, too.

Normally that would have bothered me a little, personally, but with these guys it seemed to fit their music perfectly. I was really impressed by their performance, and by the end of their set, I was convinced that they actually prepared the audience really well for the other two acts. The crowd was moving. I listened to a song or two beforehand and thought they were okay, but even though these guys didn’t interact with the audience at all they had a massive stage presence. The best way I can describe their music is pretty much an ambient type of hardcore, almost like an edgier, rougher version of Explosions in the Sky. All three members are skilled in each of their instruments – guitar, bass, and drums. Who needs lyrics when you can play instruments beautifully together?

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Russian Circles

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Russian Circles

This would be Russian Circle‘s website. I looked around there and two members of the trio are featured in magazine articles. One article describes their music as “… almost filmic compositions”, which actually describes their music perfectly. Seriously guys, go check them out if you can appreciate the beauty of an instrument. As always, tour dates are posted on their website so go check that out too.

Next comes Between The Buried And Me. I used to be a pretty big metal/hardcore fan, I still listen to it now and then but definitely not as much as I used to. These guys definitely put on a show. On stage there was a backdrop and lighting props set up around them. Their fans really know their music, it was easy to tell. In the crowd it was like everyone was either really into them or completely over it.

I don’t think I can give a fair review of these guys because I was much more concerned with defending myself in the pit instead of paying attention to their music. I definitely remember there being some pretty great breakdowns, and Tommy Giles Rogers Jr. (vocalist) is excellent live. Their recorded music translates well to a live performance. That’s always a nice treat because I find a lot of vocalists who use guttural techniques never really perform well live, but this guy’s got it down. Previously I really only knew the band’s name and not really any of their music. After that performance, I think I might still go check out their music and see if I want any of it in my library, but I don’t know if I’ll make it a priority.

(I didn’t manage to get any pictures of them because of the pit, bummer.)
If you’d like to check out Between The Buried And Me, here’s their official website which currently has the video for “Astral Body” on the home page for you to listen to, along with their upcoming tour dates if you want to see them for yourselves.

And then the finale, Coheed and Cambria! Even if you’re not a fan of the band I think everyone can agree that this band does their best to entertain whenever they put on shows. They always use lots of stage props in their performances and make the best use of the lighting in venues and whatnot. Their performance started with “Prelethal”, which I was a little surprised about. Having seen them live three times now, I’m used to them starting out with “Second Stage Turbine Blade”. I guess it makes sense though seeing as they just dropped a new album (The Afterman: Descension) last month.

I really just can’t say enough about this band live. They always blow me away. Claudio ([Sanchez] vocalist)’s voice has never been stronger live. Zach ([Cooper] bassist) has definitely found his place in the band, he appeared much more comfortable and confident on stage than he did when I saw them last, last April. I ended up missing a song or two trying to escape from the pit, but other than that I definitely enjoyed their performance overall. The band is interacting more with each other on stage than I’ve ever seen before, and personally I think that’s a really awesome thing to see. Usually they play a good mix of all of their discography, but for this show they only played a song or two from Second Stage Turbine Blade and Good Apollo collectively. They did a lot of promoting their newest albums, which is completely understandable, that’s what they’re on tour for in the first place. I always like seeing how many different instruments this band uses, seeing the techs hand them different guitars throughout the show because so many songs are written in different tunings. This band is not afraid to experiment and that’s one of my favorite elements about Coheed and Cambria. Seeing a recorded song come to life on stage is the breathtaking thing about going to shows, and Coheed fills this delight for me completely. Their fan base is definitely “one among the fence” for the most part, as well. Another amazing thing about live music is seeing people singing along with musicians, it’s like the crowd and the musicians come together as one in this beautiful thing the musicians have created.

Alright, I’ll stop with the cheesy language now.

Of course Coheed always plays an encore, but the songs they play are always a mystery to fans (until the setlist is recorded and posted, of course.) Last night they played “Wake Up”, which is one of my favorite if not my most favorite Coheed song. You can imagine how much I enjoyed that. As far as I know it’s been a few tours since they threw that song into their set, so I’m really glad I finally got to see it live. Ending as they always do with “Welcome Home” and Claudio’s double-necked guitar, I think everyone in the crowd was pleased with their performance.

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Coheed & Cambria

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Claudio Sanchez of Coheed & Cambria “Welcome Home”

If I didn’t sell my favorite band to you, then shame on me, but regardless, this is their official website for all things Coheed-related.

Overall I had a great night, minus a little bit of the crowd itself. With the musicians, though, I can’t complain at all. They all performed at their best tonight and I couldn’t let little inconveniences ruin my enjoyment of that.

Hopefully I stayed true to my promise not to become too biased in this review for you guys! As always, leave rants and raves for me.

Until next time.

Pre-Transmission EP: Terrible Things

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I have to give credit where credit is due, a fellow blogger backtothemusic recently made a post about this EP which led me to check it out. So, thanks!

Onto my ranting and raving. Terrible Things is a band that has gone through multiple line-ups, though, most of the members that have come and gone already have other musical talents under their belt. For example, in the Pre-Transmission EP we have here, the line-up consists of Fred Mascherino on vocals (of Taking Back Sunday), Josh Eppard (of Coheed and Cambria) on drums and percussion, and Andy Jackson on guitar and assisting vocals (of Hot Rod Circuit). Three insanely talented musicians. Seriously, put two members of Taking Back Sunday and Coheed and Cambria together and you’ve got my middle school ultimate power duo right there.

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This little diddly consists of five songs, of which I would consider pure rock and roll. Guitar riffs are what you’d expect out of any rock n’ roll tune, soulful vocals, something nice to jam out to on a long ride home, perhaps. Funny to me… the titles of these five songs represent the lyrical content of each song pretty much dead-on. The trend these days seems to be a contest of who can come up with the most ridiculous titles for both bands and songs themselves… so props to these guys for cutting all of that BS. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the trend, you just gotta pat the guys who go against it on the back, you know?)

I can’t hold it back anymore, though. I’m a little disappointed with this EP. I really can’t say that I walked into the EP with any expectations besides perhaps the musical background of each of the musicians… but, I dunno, it’s not really catching my fancy. For me, it’s something I don’t mind listening to, but probably wouldn’t add to my own music library.

With that said, it’s not a bad piece of work! I do like the lyrical content of the EP. It’s the sound that gets me. It’s a little generic, in my opinion. I feel like I’ve heard this EP before.

My favorite track is probably the first on the EP, History. It’s the intro to the album, and has a few seconds of static before jumping right into the music.

“Those who forget the past, are destined to repeat it.
But you can see we never tried,
(I know you did, but in the end)”

The track goes out much like it started. The repetition of the lyrics has a haunting effect, and I dig it. It’s almost like something you’re supposed to keep in mind as you’re listening to the rest of the songs.

Another thing I like about this album is that the musical trademark, if you will, of each member really stands out on this EP. With Mascherino on vocals, it makes me think of every Taking Back Sunday song he ever really shone in, part of what made me fall in love with Taking Back Sunday so long ago anyway. Good to see that his pipes are just as good as they’ve ever been.
On other tracks, Eppard’s drumming skills are honed. I find that a lot of the time drums go unnoticed in songs, a lot like a bass line would. It’d be noticed if it weren’t there, but is more of an accompaniment than anything. Not in Pre-Transmissions. That was something I really liked hearing. Eppard really makes his style known here.

The other thing I thought was pretty clever is that this EP reads like a story. Each track is meant to be listened to in order, because each song is another line of the story. It goes from History, to Confession, Innocent, Last Look, and finally, Hospital. The lyrics tell a nostalgic story all the way through death.

That’s all I’ve got. Maybe you’ll disagree with me, and I hope so! The EP is free to stream on Spotify (as usual), and also on iTunes if you like it enough to buy it for yourself.

Until next time.

Elim Bolt: Nude South

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What makes music romantic? I’d like to consider myself one of those people who always seem to be listening to music, and I think that answer may be the reason why. Music generates that kind of feeling a lot of the time, for me, a feeling of romance and nostalgia. Then again, it can also produce feelings that are quite the opposite of positive… or it can just cause your body to move.

But that’s not what we’re talking about here.

I bring this up because whatever your answer to that question, I think you could find it here in Elim Bolt’s Nude South. All I could think about while listening to this album was how much I felt like I was in some movie taking place fourty or fifty years before my time, perhaps in the mind of someone quite in love with another. Reverting back to the classic swing, ballad, good ol’ rock n’ roll and southern rock seems to be the trend with the hip crowd these days, and Elim Bolt is rocking it.

The first song begins with a few lonely notes on guitar, and then this voice that couldn’t have come from anyone other than a man who had to have somehow hung out with Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley at some point during his life. The band actually consists of more than the male and female voice you hear on the album. Johnnie Matthews, Jordan Hicks, Christian Chidester, Amber Joyner, Dan McCurry, and “Wolfgang” Zimmerman have all come together to produce an album that makes me proud to represent Charleston’s music scene. The two vocalists, Johnnie and Amber, have voices that combine to make a flawless impact here with the mood Elim Bolt were trying to create.

Johnnie Matthews is also a member of Sequoyah Prep School, a local favorite in Charleston. Another confession: I honestly think this may have something to do with why I enjoyed this album so much. Johnnie plays bass in Sequoyah, while he takes a main role here in Elim Bolt. Quite frankly, who knew this guy had a voice! I never would have expected it, but I’m so glad he decided to experiment on the side.
EDIT: I stand corrected. Johnnie Matthews was ONCE a member of SPS, but quit about a year ago, and now Elim Bolt is his main musical focus. Sorry about that!

If you couldn’t tell already, this band has impressed me quite a bit. I think through listening to the album that it was obvious this band had a creative mission of the sound they wanted to create and accomplished that throughout every element of the album, the opposite sexes’ duet, the vocalists’ blues-y voices, instrumental sounds, even down to the feel of how the music was created serves that missions’ purpose.

Really, the only thing I can think to criticize would be that all of the tracks on the album do have a similar sound. Some people are very particular about that, but then again, it goes back to the artist’s purpose. It’s all very well to have an album flow as it does, but some people judge a musician’s value by how effectively they experiment with different sounds on one album. However, Nude South consists of seven tracks, so you don’t really get a chance to get sick of anything.

If I had to pick one track that was my favorite, it would probably be “Myers Farm”. The dreamy element of the album comes out full force on this song, and the simple guitar work on the song fits it really well. There’s not much that can be said about it without just going to listen to it yourself.

Speaking of- go forth and enlighten yourselves.

Elim Bolt’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/elimbolt

Buy Nude South here: http://elimbolt.bandcamp.com/ (you can also stream it, and it’s available on Spotify!)

Until next time.

Updates

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So, if you ever cared to read my little blurb that is the introduction of myself, you would know that I’m a freshman at College of Charleston. I just finished up the school year, and finals left me with pretty much no time for myself.

So so so so sorry for the lack of updates. I promise I’ll have more time to focus on this blog over the summer.

As for what’s going on music wise, tomorrow I shall be attending a Coheed and Cambria show! I’m stoked. I can’t wait to tell you all about the performance. I won’t be taking my camera because it’s too risky in a pit, but if I get any after the show or whatnot I’ll be sure to share.

What might be even more exciting is that I managed to score an internship with a local radio station! So I attended RockFest in order to help the crew out. I would give you guys a review of the show but since I’m an intern, I didn’t get to do a lot of watching the bands. I did, however, work the autograph booth, which was a totally awesome experience. Each band had promo posters that they signed (and whatever fans brought) to give out. I was there to make sure the posters were handed out, sharpies weren’t dead, people weren’t doing anything stupid/anything they weren’t supposed to be doing, answered questions, basically just made the process as smooth as possible. It’s always really cool to me to see bands interact with their fans. Some of the bands featured were Trivium, Sevendust, Lacuna Coil, Adelita’s Way, and Halestorm, among others. All of them were really awesome people. One of the guys from Lacuna Coil pinched my cheek for being so helpful – that’s how awesome it was.

I went to an acoustic recording for Scene SC the other weekend and grabbed a bunch of awesome pictures of some local artists that I’ll add to my photography album soon.

Also, my mom picked up this little number for me…

I’m not a diehard fan of the Chili Peppers, but they’ve been my mom’s favorite band for a long time, so I grew up listening to them. And I do like the band. This should be an interesting read, so I’ll do a little review of it when I’m done since it has to do with Red Hot Chili Peppers anyway.

That’s it for now! Thanks for bearing with me.

Until next time.