Monday, January 31, 2011

Album Of The Week: RED's 'Until We Have Faces' No. 1 On iTunes Rock Chart

Red makes fierce hard rock, with a silver lining

The guys of hard rock band RED drop their new album, “Until We Have Faces,” Tuesday, Feb. 1, and the buzz is heavy. In fact, the album just hit No. 1 on the iTunes Rock Chart, for all genres of rock.

The follow-up to their Grammy-nominated “End of Silence” and “Innocence & Instinct” albums, the new album, produced by Rob Graves, pulls no punches and shows a much heavier, more mature Red.

RED first got together in Nashville in the mid-2000s. After taking a few years to write and record a demo, the band generated enough fans and online hype to get label interest and inked to Sony.

At the heart of RED’s music is a deep, guttural faith. Band members are Christians, but it’s hard to tell from the heavy, fierce tracks, packed with lurching riffs and angst-fueled vocals.

Themes are universal: fear, anger, loneliness.

"Until We Have Faces" touches on "finding your identity." Still, the guys keep it ambiguous.

“Keeping certain things ambiguous is always a priority for us,” guitarist Jasen Rauch said, chatting with Audio Ink Radio. “Not that we want to mask what we are talking about, but we want the songs to allow room for growth in the listener.

“People come up to us and say our song ‘Pieces’ got them out of depression or stopped them from killing themselves. But then, someone else will say they wanted that song played at their wedding. Those are two very different perspectives.”

In the end, camp RED --- which includes Rauch, Michael Barnes (vocals) and brothers Randy (bass, piano) and Anthony (guitar) Armstrong --- is all about staying connected with the fans.

“Being close to our fans is something we always wanted,” Rauch said.

Here's a teaser for the new album, via Youtube:

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Video: Foo Fighters Debut New Songs

Finally! No more 28-second teasers from Dave Grohl and the guys. The Foo Fighters played a surprise show at the 300-capacity Velvet Jones nightclub in Santa Barbara last night (announced last-minute on Twitter) and played their entire forthcoming album- all 11 tracks.

Check out the video and set list from the Foo Fighters' show, below.


(New tracks)

Bridge Burning
Dear Rosemary
White Limo
These Days
Back & Forth
Matter of Time
Miss the Misery
I Shoulda Know

(The rest of the set)

All My Life
Times Like These
My Hero
Learn to Fly
Up in Arms
Big Me
Enough Space
Hey JP
I’ll Stick Around
This is a Call

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Interview: John Cooper of hard rocker Skillet sticks to his roots

Skillet set to play first annual Avalanche Tour with Stone Sour, Theory of a Deadman, more

In the song, "Hero," Skillet vocalist and bass player John Cooper croons about losing faith in the muddied world.

"Every time I turn on the TV, it's like, 'Really? Another sex scandal?'" he said. "This is absurd, from wars to violence going on all the time. It's a scary time to be alive, and it's an easy time to lose your faith."

Skillet makes no secret of its faith. It's rare when a Christian rock band can cross over to the mainstream, but Skillet has done just that: charted on rock radio without denying the roots that got it there in the first place.

The Grammy-nominated rocker band is on the first annual Avalanache Tour, which kicks off in kicks off March 24 in Chicago and wraps up May 8 in Jacksonville.
Cooper was kind enough to chat with Audio Ink about the band's No. 2-selling album and how Skillet's song landed on WWE.

AUDIO INK: Is it true music was forbidden in your house growing up?

Cooper: Not all music, but anything with drums. Drums and guitar were the devil's instruments. My mom was a piano teacher and voice teacher, so she loved music, just a certain kind. Classical, hymns and opera were okay. When I first heard Christian music, I felt vindicated, like, "It's not the drums that's evil."

AUDIO INK: You guys are huge in both the mainstream and faith-based scene.

Cooper: Thanks. I think I'm so adamant about not wanting to get rid of my Christian stance because it helped me so much in my early life. I'm not embarrassed about it, and I'm not silent about it in interviews. If people ask, "Are you a Christian band?" my response is, "Yeah. I love it."

AUDIO INK: Your latest full-length, "Awake," debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Why do you think so many fans relate to this album?

Cooper: I think it's because Skillet has a lot more fans than just Christian music fans. We are a Christian band, but we work very hard at writing songs about issues that, in my mind, everyone can relate to: atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims. I see that in bands like U2 and Switchfoot. Those bands have done a good job of having positive and hopeful messages, without alienating certain people.

AUDIO INK: What's it like being in a band with your wife Korey (keyboard, guitar)?

Cooper: It's awesome. She's my go-to person to lean on when it comes to making the set flow and making songs sound better. She'll do keyboard programming and songs will come to life. Personally, it's nice on the road, because it makes the whole band feel more stable. We have our kids on the road, and it feels like a big family traveling and loving each other and having fun.

AUDIO INK: Your song, "Monster," was No. 4 on the active rock chart last year and featured on WWE wrestling. How awesome was that?

Cooper: It was awesome. "Monster" is a song a lot of stations said they would never play because it came from a Christian band. But the song kept doing better and better, and eventually, most of those people ended up playing the record.

~Anne Erickson, Gannett/LSJ/NOISE

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Alt-rock band hits 20 years, new record

By Anne Erickson

Coming up on its 20th anniversary, alternative rock group Cake will drop its sixth studio album, "Showroom of Compassion," on Jan. 11. It's the guys' first release since 2004's "Pressure Chief" and will come out on their own indie label, Upbeat Records. Produced and engineered by the band at their own solar-powered studio in Sacramento, Calif., the disc already has a Top 10 alternative hit in "Sick of You."

NOISE caught up with Vince DiFiore (trumpet/euphonium/keyboards) - who along with John McCrea (vocals), Xan McCurdy (guitar/synthesizer) and Gabriel Nelson (bass/guitar/rheem/bandalero) make up Cake - to talk about the group's new album.

NOISE: You're coming up on the 20th anniversary of Cake. Is that crazy to you?

DiFiore: It is. We started in the fall of '91. It seems about right, but it does go by fast, no matter what age you are. It makes certain things better. With this album coming out, I feel so much more cognizant of the process. I'm been through it before, so I'm much more aware of what it really means and how not to take it for granted.

NOISE: You have a new album coming out on Jan. 11, "Showroom of Compassion." Were you guys writing and recording during the 7-year break between albums?

DiFiore: We really never stopped being a band. We toured two and a half years on "Pressure Chief," and then after that, we slowed down our touring, got off our label and put out a b-sides and rarities record on our own. Then, we started making this album, and from the very first time we were introduced to these songs three years ago, they felt like they were something of value that deserved that sort of nurturing.

NOISE: The album's first single, "Sick of You," cracked the Top 10 in alternative almost immediately. Surprised?

DiFiore: I guess we had all hoped for that, and it was something we had seen in the past with songs like "Never There," "The Distance" and "Short Skirt, Long Jacket." We didn't assume that could happen again; but low and behold, it did. As the reality unfolds, it always seems a little surreal.

NOISE: What's the concept behind the album?

DiFiore: Ultimately, it's a collection of different songs, and it's an examination of what thrills and captivates us in real life. It's about the common experience in these exciting and marvelous times we're living in.

NOISE: Going back to, "Short Skirt, Long Jacket," did you ever think that song would become so legendary?

DiFiore: No. I guess it is, though. It's really had a resurgence, with it being on the Nano commercial and the theme for TV show, "Chuck." It was a great surprise.
Originally published by Gannett Media