Saves The Day

#164.2 – May 2010


AFI, Saves The Day, the Distillers, Dashboard Confessional, Moth, the Pattern, Nonpoint, the Juliana Theory and 92 other bands are going to make your trips to the music store more fulfilling than ever before. You should hear what you’re missing. 


(Davey) Havok, (AFI frontman), opens another door, this time to his private suite. And it‘s packed to the rafters with the coolest creepy-crawling collectibles imaginable-Princess Mononoke dolls, stuffed Maurice Sendak Wild Things, Sleepy Hollow paraphernalia, an entire shrine to The Nightmare Before Christmas, and a rare four-statue tribute to General Mills‘ Monster Cereals-Booberry, Frankenberry, Count Chocula and the long-forgotten werewolf, Fruit Brute. 


The first time I saw Saves The Day was three years ago in the basement of a run-down bar outside of Cleveland. They were touring in support of their first record, Can’t Slow Down, and as a joke, the local opening band played a cover of “Turnpike Gates,” a song by the New Jersey punk outfit Lifetime, a band whose influence Saves The Day wore on their collective sleeve, early on. 


Moth offer new kicks to bored denizens of Alt-rock Nation, emocore scenesters and people who like their rock a bit more elevated than it’s been lately. When told that his band were described to this writer as “a prog-rock Weezer,” (Brad) Stenz was impressed. “Wow, that’s pretty ambitious,” he says. 


While Hoobastank may be mentioned in the same breath as such bands as Incubus, Sum 41 and 311, don’t label them as a TRL-today, gone tomorrow kind of band. The band made their live debut back in 1995 at L.A.’s Roxy and after subsequent years of playing various gigs up and down Southern California, Hoobastank was discovered by Island/Def Jam just as their debut independent release They Sure Don’t Make Basketball Shorts Like They Used To started to generate a nationwide buzz in the underground rock scene. 


There are a few caveats for anyone going to see a Dashboard Confessional show for the first time. One: get there early because space is limited. Two: study up because there will be an oral test during the show. Three: prepare to leave with strained vocal chords and ringing eardrums. 


“I‘d rather be feared than loved. I‘m really happy with that,” sneers blustery punk bombshell Brody Armstrong, adjusting her lower-lip ring with a sinewy, dragon-tattooed forearm. She then mentions the previous night‘s nightclub donnybrook, wherein “I beat up five bouncers, because I don‘t fight like a girl-I punch, I hit, I hurt.” The same could be said for Sing Sing Death House, her latest larynx-scraping shriek fest with her hyperchord outfit the Distillers. One spin, through, and you‘re pummeled senseless. And if this sophomore salvo sounds a bit like Rancid, well, hell, the girl just happens to be married to Rancid‘s Tim Armstrong. 


(singer Vinnie Caruana talks about his gambling problem): “It’s kinda not a joke [laughs]. We’ve been touring since March, and pretty much every time we see a casino or know there’s a casino somewhere, we’re there. We’re always able to make time. It’s like, “Oh, we’re late for a show? Well, we could stop in [the casino] and maybe get lunch.” It’s not so much of a problem now because we don’t have lots of money, but if there ever comes a time when we do, then it’s gonna be a huge problem-for me anyway.” 


Since the release of Statement (so named for the first part of a musical sonata), Nonpoint have toured continuously, accepting jaunts with Disturbed, Kittie, Staind, Fuel and many others, and selling close to 200,000 copies of their album. For the past several months, the band have been writing by the warmth of a Pro Tools rig in their tour bus, hammering out the 10 or so songs that’ll comprise Development (due May 25), which, of course, is named for the second part of a musical sonata. 


Two years after the 1998 dissolution of thePeeChees, bratty rawker Christopher Appelgren recruited somelike-minded East Bay firebrands from St. James Infirmary and Black Fork, making for somewhat of a punk-revivalist supergroup. “I really want there to be something unique and interesting and fresh about what we do,” says Appelgren. “We are definitely influenced by great rock and roll that‘s preceded us, but we‘re not trying to recreate anything. We want to do something that‘s reflective of our own experience and bring the spirit of rock and roll into the future as opposed to riding a time machine backwards.”


In an interview with the A.P. News Desk last year, producer/nü-metal turncoat Ross Robinson said, “I get down on my knees and thank God every day for being able to work with a band like Vex Red.” After reading in a British music mag that Robinson was looking for new English bands, the quintet- singer Terry Abbot, drummer Ben Calvert, guitarist Nick Goulding, guitarist Ant Forbes and bassist/sampler Keith Lambert-sent Robinson a CD-R of demo tracks encapsulating their brand of psychedelic art-metal. 


On VNV’s forthcoming Metropolis disc, Futureperfect, (due in March), Harris has expanded his scope by exploring the electronic-music subgenres. His desire to wrest free of I-rock’s narrow parameters has made for an album that sounds just as good outside of a dance club. “The songs are deeper, definitely more mature,” says (Ronan) Harris. “It’s all about songwriting with soul and meaning. I hate this notion of the ‘dark, chemical future cliché’, the dated late-’80s cyber-scene that so many bands stick to and still carry with them. Our message is for the deeper-thinking, deeper-feeling person.” 


Formed in the tiny hamlet of Fagersta, Sweden in 1993, the Hives are currently running a buzzsaw through audiences worldwide with their kinetic blend of ’50s rock, ’60s garage, ’70s punk, ’80s new wave and good old fashioned attitude. vocalist Niklas “Howlin’ Pelle” Almqvist says the Hives transcend the pigeonholes others would seek to drop the band into. “There are too many bands committing themselves to music who don’t know the first or last thing about it, and therefore should not be mentioned in the same sentence as the Hives and music, unless it refers to separate the good from the bad.” Did we mention they were modest?





Korn’s Jonathan Davis scores with Anne Rice; You can’t roll tape around Blink-182’s Mark Hoppus; we dare to associate with Remy Zero; mixing and matching copyright infractions with Girls On Top, plus more gossip, innuendo, hate-vibes and practical soundtracks for Valentine’s Day. 


Help kick-start our flagging economy with some out-of-control spending. 


Now Showing looks at the newest stuff on the silver screen, as well as fresh DVDs; Close-Up checks in with Marisa Coughlan and her very short shorts. 


Reviews this issue of new releases by Bad Religion, Elbow, Daniel Ash, Fu Manchu, N.E.R.D., …And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Cracker, :wumpscut:, If I Was Prince compilation and many more; Self-Analysis gets an earful from legendary former A Tribe Called Quest MC Q-Tip and Macha leader Josh McKay’s new project, Seaworthy. 


With their creative core reunited and some new blood added, now is the time to follow BAD RELIGION. Brett Gurewitz passed his six years apart from Bad Religion shepherding his Epitaph label to platinum greatness (see the Offspring and Rancid) while following heroin‘s black path to hell (see Layne Staley and Scott Weiland). In his absence, co-songwriter Greg Graffin was left to helm a listing ship through three major-label efforts, the uneven results of which showed Yin sorely missing Yang. Flash forward: Irish Spring-clean and eager to poli-punk rock, Gurewitz rejoins the band… 


A.P. turns up 10 of the sounds that are influencing the new school of punk, for better or worse.