Thursday, December 31, 2009

Avenged Sevenfold drummer found dead

By now you probably know that Avenged Sevenfold drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan was found dead in his southern California home on Monday. My heart goes out to his family and friends. Please keep them in your prayers. More info:

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bands to look out for in 2010

Just for kicks, here are a few new-ish bands to look out for in 2010:

Who: Shaman's Harvest
Song: "Dragonfly"
Sound: Straight-ahead hard rock.

Who: Them Crooked Vultures
Song: "New Fang"
Sound: Dave Grohl + Josh Homme + John Paul Jones = yay

Who: Janus
Song: "Eyesore"
Sound: Epic, melodic alternative/neo-prog.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Linkin Park, Green Day, Seether, Killswitch Engage winners in the 2000s

Rock music of the 2000s: A look back

By Anne Erickson (Originally published in NOISE)

Most any music fan would attest to the fact that while the '90s were all about grunge, hip-hop pretty much dominated the '00s. Still, a plethora of rock genres gained fans in the past decade. Grrr!!

Post-grunge proved popular with the mainstream, as Creed, 3 Doors Down, Seether, Nickelback and the Foo Fighters owned rock airwaves. Post-hardcore bands like Silverstein and Senses Fail won the hearts of young, exuberant music fans, while British Invasion groups Muse, Coldplay and Radiohead hit it big with highbrow listeners.

Metal-core found its way to the masses with groups like Avenged Sevenfold, Killswitch Engage and All that Remains. Hardcore punk from A.F.I. and Rise Against flourished. Pop-punkers Green Day, Blink-182, Jimmy Eat World and Weezer stayed influential throughout the decade, while nu-metal, alternative metal and rap-rock came on strong early with Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, Evanescence and Papa Roach.

Emo, no doubt, became massive, via Dashboard Confessional, Taking Back Sunday, Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance, as did New Wave/synthpop from the Killers, Franz Ferdinand and MGMT. Indie and garage rock broke through the major-label cloud with Kings of Leon, Against Me and Death Cab for Cutie.

And what was the best-selling rock album of the decade? Creed's "Human Clay."

Fave album of the 2000s

The 2000s brought many awe-inspiring albums. Here's my favorite. Surprised? Didn't think so.

• Album pick: "Sing the Sorrow," by A.F.I., 2003
• Why: I'll never forget the first time I heard this album. I felt thrust into an alternative reality and I fell in love. "Sing the Sorrow" marked A.F.I.'s transition from indie record label Nitro to the major-label fanfare of DreamWorks, but the band stuck with their punk-hardcore roots, all the while evolving into a darker, Goth-punk sound. Producers Butch Vig (Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins) and Jerry Finn (Rancid, Green Day) surely had something to do with that. Theatrical. Meaningful. Beautiful.

Members of Christian hardcore band Gwen Stacy have taken heat for their beliefs

Christian bands are firmly part of the post-hardcore, post-punk, modern rock world. The presence of popular, Christian-turned-mainstream groups such as Anberlin, Underoath and Flyleaf cements this trend.

Gwen Stacy is one more to add to that list. The Indianapolis-based metal-core band is on a mission to serve Christ. But they're not going to shove it down anyone's throat.

"We believe there's a certain respect everyone deserves, and we don't think less of anyone who thinks differently than us," drummer T.J. Sego said, chatting from a recent gig in Nashville.

"We're not ashamed of our faith and we definitely talk about it, but we share the stage with people who don't always agree with our views.

"Our values are a huge part of why we do what we do, but as far as being pushy, we flat-out think that's wrong."

Of course, not everyone plays the politically-correct card so well, and Gwen Stacy has taken some heat for their beliefs. Hey, nobody ever said standing up for what you believe in is easy.

"We had a tour last year where at half of the shows we were played, we were getting things shouted at us from the crowd," Sego said.

Not that he sweats it.

"As long as people are listening to us, whether they respond positively or negatively, I'd rather have kids saying something bad than nothing at all," he said.

What's a little more frustrating is that some in the Christian community have criticized Gwen Stacy for being too accepting of non-Christians.

Again, that doesn't ruffle the band.

"We've gotten some negative feedback from Christians, but in general, people seem to like that they can go to a show and see a Christian band that isn't going to tell them what to do," Sego said.

"A lot of our message is that even though we're Christians, we can relate to you. What we write is really for everybody, because we write about a lot of different things."

Gwen Stacy is currently headlining the Holiday Havoc 2009 tour. Playing live is everything to them. It's a chance to show off their creative blend of growing vocals, tumultuous guitars and hauntingly dark airs. It's also a chance to earn more fans.

"With bands like us who don't get radio exposure, the only way to get fans is to work for them," Sego said. "You do that through touring."

When Sego, vocalist Geoff Jenkins, guitar player Patrick Meadows and bass player Brent Schindler have any time off, they usually spend it hanging out with their close friends.
And, of course, there's always more work to do.

"I spend a lot of my personal time writing, because if I don't have anything to do for a while, I go crazy," said Sego, who co-writes the band's lyrics with Schindler.

"Our faith and beliefs are the foundation of our band, and that's definitely reflected in our lyrics," he added. "We want people to walk away with a group of different emotions and reactions, and also to walk away clear about what we believe."

By Anne Erickson
(Originally published in NOISE)