A Sell Out?

(By Guest Author Kate Hepner)
If you watch Much Music USA or the Fuse, MTV or MTV2, you may see bands appearing that were well known for years in the underground scene. Bands like AFI, The Donnas and even Taking Back Sunday are coming out with music videos and becoming ever so popular . . . But why? AFI, A Fire Inside, as been around for about a decade and now all of a sudden they are getting radio play . . . The same thing with The Donnas, after so many years of playing underground and having guess spots on certain panels, they all of a sudden become a mainstream commodity.

As some of the underground listeners know, AFI and The Donnas have been around for a long time. They have paid their debts to the underground scene. Both have been around for years. Finally, they are getting the recognition they�ve worked for and earned. The Donnas who have been around for years, they�ve played guest spots on movies like Drive Me Crazy. So technically, whatever luck they�ve gotten with the media has been for the best.

The question goes on further for long time fans… Do you think a beloved band you�ve listened to for a long time, sold out? Is all this fame and fortune a result of selling out? Okay, so what exactly is a sellout? Some say selling out is when a person, a group, etc. that buy into the �system� in order to get more money. When one �sells out,� they sometimes lose their artist vision and become another media friendly manufactured product. Most of the fans I have talked to say they are fully behind their favorite bands switching labels and getting more famous. Then again there are longtime fans of bands that feel the opposite when a band signs to a major label.

In the end, only the fan can decide. Many say that along with a label the artist�s credibility is lost. When a band that has been around for some time, being called, a new upcoming band can be pretty annoying. After a decade of making music, a band finally makes it and does a 180. Sometimes makes me feel like they�ve sold out, but on the other hand, I feel they�ve worked for it. It is a double-edged sword.

Review: Evanescence – "Fallen"

(By Guest Author ‘Professor’ Jim)
It’s amazing when two of your songs are featured on the soundtrack of a blockbuster hit movie and yet almost nobody has heard of you or even know how to pronounce your band’s name. But really, Evanescence is a name you should look out for because sooner then later everybody is going to recognize this band’s evident musical talent.
Evanescence started out as a struggling band in Little Rock, Arkansas, trying to make a name for themselves in the local death metal music scene. That’s right, I said death metal from Arkansas. They certainly weren’t death metal and they certainly weren’t country, so finding a spot was tough. By word of mouth and the EPs Amy Lee and guitarist Ben Moody recorded in his basement started to build them a fan base.
But now with two tracks on the Daredevil soundtrack and their debut album Fallen finally released, they are ready to take on the world. They are epic dark rock driven by Amy Lee’s angelic voice and Ben’s simple but effective guitar riffage, backed by strings and piano. It’s a beautiful yet haunting ride from start to finish.
The album opens up with “Going Under”, a hard hitting, melodic almost rock ballad with hints of electronic beats and beautiful piano. Amy’s voice starts out deep, raspy and downright sexy. In fact, let me just get this out of the way now, I have a huge crush on this girl. Her vocal skills can be downright breath taking, shown by this song and the rest of the album. I’d let her “bring me to life” anytime she wanted�if you know what I mean�and I think you do. The chorus is very nice, catchy, but not too poppy and disposable.

Lyrical highlight: “Screaming deceiving and bleeding for you, and you still won’t hear me”. It has nice, solid guitar solo as well, completing the package.

The second song, and one featured on the Daredevil soundtrack is “Bring Me to Life”. Again, great chorus and hook, beautiful piano and some heavy riffs through out. I have mixed feelings for the guest vocals from Paul McCoy from 12 Stones, but I still love this song to no end. Lyrical highlight: “Where I’ve become so numb without a soul, my spirit sleeping somewhere cold”. The album then shifts into “Everybody’s Fool” which as some nice lyrical progressions. Something I love about this band is a lot of times bands like to repeat themselves. They go back to the same set of lyrics again and again. But it seems Evanescence is beyond that, and the verses and chorus’s seem to grow. It’s a nice change from some of the mainstream rock out nowadays.

“My Immortal” is slow, beautiful song with only Amy Lee’s amazing voice, strings and piano. The second song featured on the Daredevil soundtrack, it’s a beautiful ballad with some great lyrics. “Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams, you voice it chased away all the sanity in me”. Now that’s something that can speak to people in so many levels. After the slow song, it’s usually customary to make the next song a little on the heavier side, and Evanescence doesn’t disappoint. “Haunted” is just like the name suggests, a haunting, heavy song, probably the heaviest on the album. It’s also got some great electronic elements.
“Tourniquet” is lyrically interesting, and you can interpret it either a spiritual or non- spiritual way. Great song over all, and it ends with a beautiful orchestration the transitions into the next song “Imaginary”, a song about escaping from the world into your own. “Don’t say I’m out of touch with this repent chaos�your reality”. “Taking Over Me” is about wanting the old flame, the one who got away. “I’ll give up everything to find you, I have to be with you to live, to breathe, your taking over me.”
“Hello” is another beautiful ballad, and “My Last Breath” is another haunting, heavy rocker again with some great electronic do-dads. Finally there’s “Whisper”, which I think is the worst song on the album. It seems kinda tacked on.
Overall, the only beefs I really have with this band is the guitar is kind of simple and kind of a little too familiar once in a while. Some times the lyrics can get on the cheesy side, but some how they make it work better than most bands. But with the beautiful melodies and Amy’s amazing voice, this is one helluva album. It’s nice to hear a band that’s lyrically honest and not that fake teen angst that you might hear from freaking Avril Lavigne or some other mainstream rock on the radio. I give this git 4 out of 5 stars; one enjoyable, beautiful album.

Interview: Milea

On February 6th 2003 Guest Reporter Cathy Lewis sat down with Chris, the lead singer of Milea, an up in coming hardcore/emocore band from the New York City area:

BP: I don’t know how to start this.
Chris: Umm… What exactly are you asking me about, my band right?
BP: Okay, what is your favorite ice cream?
BP: (yes)
Chris: (laughs) Vanilla with sprinkles.
BP: Alright, now for the real questions. What is the name of your band and what type of music do you guys play?
Chris: We’re called “MILEA.” Um, we’re not sure about our “category” but I’d like to think were on the lines of emocore or screamo. What ever it is it’s your basic scream sing relationship, but we have an original enough sound to differ.
BP: who plays what?
Chris: Dave Paleaz plays bass, Sean George plays guitar, Raphael Morant plays drums, and I’m the lead singer.
BP: How long have you guys been together?
Chris: Not for long, about maybe 10 months. But we’ve accomplished quite a bit for our short time together.
BP: How did you guys get together?
Chris: My band mates were already in the band together and they were looking for a lead singer. I went to one of their rehearsals, I didn’t think they were all that and I was piss drunk so I decided to sing. Surprisingly they enjoyed it. It was fun. And from then on we’ve adapted to each others different tastes in music and styles and molded it into what we make.
BP: Very cool, who are your musical influences? Is there anyone who you would want to be like?
Chris: Well, I have a lot of musical influences. Ranging from Glass Jaw, Mudvayve and The Deftones. And even soul music, old school stuff. My band mates range from death metal to classical music. Very diverse music range, there are a lot of bands that I look up to. And sometimes I find my self mimicking them, but I try not to… I want to have an original “image” or whatever that is. But my favorite band is The Deftones they’re awesome.
BP: I love The Deftones also. Wait, I forgot to ask where are you guys all from?
Chris: (laughs) Manhattan, NY mostly. Dave is from queens Sean from Manhattan I’m from the Bronx but will soon live in freki Yonkers. And Raphael is from uptown Manhattan but he also lives in Jersey
BP: So what’s store for milea in 2003?
Chris: Nervous breakdowns! We’re waiting for the “word” from Epic Records. Matt Pinfield, that dude from MTV, took our demo to Dave McPherson, the head Sony Records. He enjoyed it and now we’re just waiting. Only problem is… We’ve been waiting for about three weeks. But this shit doesn’t happen over night, so ya know.
BP: Do you know when you will get the “word”?
Chris: Well, it depends on when they hold the meeting and get official contracts printed. And then it has to go through lawyers; it’s a bunch of bullshit. We’re just like fish waiting to be caught, but they’re teasing us with a worm and no hook… it blows. In this case we are suicidal fish!
BP: I wish you guys the best of luck! Hey, if people reading this would want to hear some of your music where could they do that?
Chris: Well, I hope they don’t want to hear it yet… but they could go to the website. It has it there. www.milea.xrs.net… we need to put our new demos up though.
BP: Good deal, do you have any up coming shows?
Chris: Not right now unfortunately, we’re working on all new material. We don’t wanna play the same songs. We want to hit CBGCs or Elbow Room or any venue in New York with new songs.
BP: Well, good luck to you Chris and thank you for taking time to chat it up with me. Is there anything you want to say, any random comments?
Chris: Yes. Masturbation is kinda like drugs, It’s all good until you notice your fucking your self. A message to all those drug addicts,
BP: Ok well, Chris…
Chris: Cool.
BP: Thank you and good luck.

Review: Snoop Dogg – "Paid Tha Cost To Be Da Bo$$"

(By Guest Author Josh McFly)
He’s given up weed, weapons, and his overall distaste for white people. He’s a husband, and a father of two. He’s an owner of his own label, and recently put out his own clothing line. The beats on his album are now done himself (for the most part); our little Snoop Dogg is all grown up.
So who thinks it’s about time he comes out with an album that expresses his growth as an artist as well as a human being (much like pop peers christina aguilera and britney timberlake.. smells like sarcasm)? I don’t.
“right now the way you lookin bitch you fly as fuck
I don’t even know if I done had too much
You play too much, I had to fuck
Cuddled you up and put my hands on your butt
Rubbin your stuff and now your pants full of nut”
-track 6, ‘Lollipop’
Although Snoop’s undying love for the bitches is clearly displayed on this record, he doesn’t ignore the fact that he indeed has a wife. ‘Beautiful’ and ‘I Believe in You’ are some of the songs where Snoop shows his softside for his significant other, a side not often showed on his past efforts. You can also expect to hear other rappers like, Ludacris, Jay-Z, Nate Dogg, Redman, as well as everyones favorite tone deaf cameo, Pharrell (member of the extremely overrated Neptunes).
Overall, this album is much of what you could expect from Snoop. It’s got a beat, and you can dance to it. Unless you can’t dance; then just relax and listen how to mack it to the white bitches. Maybe you’ll learn something, bitch.

Rating – 3/5 Stars

Review: Bad Astronaut – "Houston, We Have A Drinking Problem"

(By Guest Author Josh McFly)
members of lagwagon, ataris, sugarcult
Honest Don’s

4 tamales out of 5 tamales

Houston We Have a Drinking problem, the third effort (2001 – Acrophobe, 2001 – War of the Worlds/Armchair Martian split) from the Santa Barbara born Bad Astronaut, mixes the flawless precision of Lagwagon, the pop appeal of Sugarcult, and the emotionally driven pace of the Ataris together perfectly (the band includes members of all three); thanks to the unblemished production run by the well respected Angus Cooke. Because of the success of 2001’s Acrophobe, this 14 track record was long awaited, being put off for months at a time.

The album starts with a short buildup, introducing Joey Cape’s (lagwagon) hook laden, but suprisingly dismal vocals, “Houston we don’t understand.. the rescues launched are incomplete..”, setting the overall musical and lyrical tone for the rest of the 13 tracks ahead. The second track ‘Clear Cutting’ clears the dark clouds left from the powerful 4 minutes of the first track (these days), than moving along to the third track’s (Single) upbeat synth-driven pop, with the noticeable influence of the members’ punk rock pasts. Each song on the record moves along in relation to the others while still keeping their own unique sound, put together creating a tasty, tasty treat.

Overall, it’s everything an album should be. For those who aren’t tickled pretty by clean, digitally recorded and produced music, this may not be the album for you (in all respect), but for others, its undeniably good produced and written music, inside and out.