Review: Good Charlotte – "The Young & the Hopeless"

Sellouts? Fake punks? Prefabricated? I’ve heard it all. Whatever you call Good Charlotte, it doesn’t matter. What does matter is the fact that these 4 guys hit us with what was, in my opinion, one of the best albums of 2002? Of course, we all know what they say about opinions, don’t we? Good Charlotte released their self-titled, major label debut album in 2000. It did quite well, selling Gold with little to no mainstream attention. They had a song, The Click, which was used for an MTV cartoon, The Undergrads. They were also featured on the Not Another Teen Movie soundtrack, as well as the movie itself.

When their sophomore album, The Young and the Hopeless, things were quite different for the guys. Benji and Joel were now hosting an MTV show, called All Things Rock. Thanks to Benji and Joel, people now knew who Good Charlotte was. They even got MTV to play a couple of their old videos(The Little Things, Motivation Proclamation) on the show. Since their first album, the guys lost a member. Their drummer, Aaron, left the band to pursue other options. So they enlisted Josh Freese(Vandals) to play drums on The Young and the Hopeless. The album has since gone Platinum.

The first single, Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, made its debut on TRL. 50 weeks later, after rocking the TRL countdown, the video was retired. The song talks about people who have celebrity status, money, nice houses and cars, but still complain about how hard life is. Basically they say to these whiny bastards, Hey, life could be worse. You could be homeless, living on the streets, and have nothing. I’ll gladly take your lifestyle over that any day. The video featured cameos by Chris Kirkpatrick of Nsync, KG of Tenacious D, and Mike Watt. The song is pretty upbeat and carries a very catchy tune.

The albums leadoff song, A New Beginning, is actually an instrumental introduction. It’s the fastest “song” on the album, as well as the shortest, clocking it at a mere 1:49. It reminds me of MXPX’s style, very fast. This leads us to The Anthem, which was recently released as the albums second single and video. Currently, it’s rocking the TRL countdown, and has taken the number 1 spot the past 5 days in a row. The song is about growing up, and pressure from parents to be somebody, namely to grow up like they did. Do the normal stuff that’s expected of kids, like go to college and get a good job. It’s about being yourself.

My personal favorites on the album would have to be My Bloody Valentine and Emotionless. My Bloody Valentine deals with being in love with a girl who already has someone. He kills her boyfriend then makes plans for the future. “I’ll wash my bloody hands, and we’ll start a new life,” Joel sings as he gives out details of the deed he’s done.

Emotionless is a very sad, almost tear jerking song. “It’s been a long hard road without you by my side. Where were you at all those nights that we cried? You broke my mothers heart you broke your children for life. It’s not okay, but we’re alright. I remember the days you were a hero in my eyes, but those are just a long lost memory of mine. I spent so many years learning how to survive, now I’m writing just to let you know I’m still alive.” The words they write, and the way they get their feelings across, you can’t help but sympathize with the guys for what they’ve been through. Even more so if you’ve been in the situation they’re singing about.

My favorite songs from these guy are Little Things and East Coast Anthem from their first album. While those are still my favorites, I still think The Young and the Hopeless is a better album overall. I’m sure all of the “punk as fuck” purists out there will overlook these guys and their talent. That’s okay, because you’re the one’s who are missing out. But let me ask you a questoin. How can you call yourself punk if all you are worried about is your image and credibility?

I give this album 4 stars.

Spotlight: Wulfgang: Hottest Metal Outfit in Charlotte!

     When I asked bassist, James Johnson how he described his band, Wulfgang, he replied with them sounding like, “Motley Crue with Joan Jett, with a Kiss pyro show.”
     Wulfgang, the hottest metal band in the Charlotte, North Carolina area, began in 1988 as a band with a bunch of friends, however, once they started getting popular, the band started getting serious in 1991. Along with being serious came changes in the group. The latest lineup consists of Joanna Brooks (Lead Singer), Vee Patrick (Guitarist), James Johnson (Bassist), and Stephen Stixx (Drummer). Speaking of the band, some of the members are influenced by other artists. Such an example is Vee Patrick, who is influenced by Saliva, Soundgarden, and Jimi Hendrix. James Johnson, for one, has been influenced by Kiss, Motley Crue, and John Mellencamp.
     Since 1991, they put out five albums, and are on the verge of releasing their third studio album, “Unleash the Beast,” a follow-up to their 2000 release, “Love Ain’t Easy,” which sold all 1,000 copies in it’s first week.
     “Unleash the Beast” is still in the process of being finished. Some of the tracks include titles, such as, “Forever,” and Vee Patrick’s favorites, “Breeze,” and “Selfish Needs.” When I asked Vee why these were his favorite songs on the album, he said, “They’re good metal songs to bang your head to. They have a great groove to it.”
     The best suggestion to any Wulfgang fan out there is to buy, “Unleash the Beast,” once it comes out, which is slated for March 1rst. Only 1,500 copies will be produced, so reserve your order today. The album will be available at FYE, Amazon.com, Yahoo.com, BarnesAndNoble.com, and CDBaby.com. And if that isn’t enough, the band will be releasing a DVD, entitled, “Unleash the Best,” which will comprise of Wulfgang‘s best performances.
     I highly recommend anyone in the area of Charlotte to check out their live shows. Wulfgang thrives on live shows because they love putting on shows that people would love to see. And seriously, it’s not everyday you get to see a guitarist set himself on fire. And if that’s not enough, they purchased a pyro system that Kiss used once before. There is a lot of excitement at the shows, that’s for sure. Vee Patrick commented that, “If somebody went to our show and hated it, I’d give them back five bucks.”
     Wulfgang will be supporting their new album by playing some shows. The only shows that are confirmed are at Amos’ on February 20th, a venue in Charlotte that Saliva and Coldplay has performed. Also, Bogey’s Bistro will have the band there on March 1st. The group has traveled as far as Texas, so it is more than likely that you will have multiple opportunities to see them live. The band is just having fun, and if you wanna have fun too, check out Wulfgang.
     For more information on Wulfgang, check out their website: Wulfgang.com or call their hotline at 704-723-WULF
I’d just like to say, when I interviewed and hung out with these individuals, they were very polite, very cool, and very real. So I ask everyone here at BaloolaPalooza.com to check out Wulfgang.com and show some respect to the group who welcomed me with open arms. Pics of the band shall be up in a few days. Thank you. – Bear Frazer.

Tales From the Bishop

Word. This is Bryan Bishop, AKA Hawiian Bryan, AKA …er … some other stuff. A lot of you know me already. That’s good! I’m a good person to get to know. What else should you know about me … hmm …

Well, for starters, I’m a college student, majoring in ending up a down-and-out freelance writer. But hey, don’t hold that against me. Somebody has to be a down-and-out freelance writer. I should probably shut up and get to my column before Bear starts yelling at me again. He’s always so abusive when he’s drunk.

Allright, column time. Here we go.

The De-Evolution of Rap as a Cultural Art Form

Don’t be nervous by the big words, this is a rather simple observation. With the exception of a few artists such as Mos Def, Outkast, and Common, rap is slowly turning away from it’s origins as a way of expression of many things (anything from bad food in ‘Rapper’s Delight’ by Sugarhill Gang to Arizona’s decision not to celebrate Martin Luther King day in Public Enemy’s ‘By the Time I get to Arizona’) to a manner of self-glorification. Perhaps the only reason Eminem did not come across as a new incantation of Vanilla Ice was by not coming out draped in platinum and gold. And for such a revolutionary figure, what does he rap about ceaselessly?

Eminem.

It gets annoying after a while, doesn’t it? Turn on your radio. Go to any top fourty station. Listen for the rap or hip-hop in there (avoiding such calamities as Justin Timberlake and ‘Jenny from the Block’). What do you hear? What is being said? Let’s take some choice lyrics out of the collaboration of Ludicris and Mystikal, ‘Move Bitch’.

‘I’m doin’ a hundred on the highway
So if you do the speed limit, get the F*CK outta my way
I’m D.U.I., hardly ever caught sober
and you about to get ran the F*CK over!’

and, a wee bit later, Mystical adds his humble presence to the song.

Young and successful – a sex symbol
The b*tches want me to f*ck – true true
Hold up wait up, shorty
“Oh wazzzupp, get my d*ck sucked, what are yoouu doin’?”
Isn’t that magical?

OLD SCHOOL – I hate that phrase, ‘old school’. But it doesn’t really have any negative connotations, does it? I have yet to see something that totally sucked being described as ‘old school’. Maybe old shit, but not old school. And being old school doesn’t mean your done. Check out ‘The Art of Storytelling’ by Slick Rick and Outkast. Old School meets the best of New School.

When I listen to rap (and even though I’m a southern white guy, I do listen to it) I listen to old school, mostly. Why? Because it’s better, in my opinion. Next time you’re out and about, give some Project Pat a listen. See if your IQ doesn’t drop. Then pop in some Public Enemy. Not only did they sound good, but they had a point. Give NWA’s ‘Express Yourself’ a little listen sometime. I know what you’re thinking. ‘This idiot got all his songs from Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 4.’ And to that I say… well, yeah.

Dammit. Now I look stupid, and it’s only my first column.

A Vain Attempt to Regain My Dignity

Okay, so I don’t know anything about rap or hip-hop. So sue me. You know what I do know about? Eighties music. Not the underground stuff that never made it to the top, or the famous powerballads. Nope. I know about the baby-blue Micheal Mann bubblegum sound. I know that ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ has a whiny girl version done by a whiny girl band called ‘Frente’. And you probably know that too.

Dammit, I’m still looking stupid. Okay.

All I’m saying is I have a passion for those long-lost days when Reagan was president (although I am a staunch independent somewhere left of the Democratic platform), when big hair and sneaker-stealing was in style. I also miss Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird. Was there a better rivalry in the history of the NBA? Although Yao Ming and Shaq looks promising….

I’m off the subject again. Dammit, Bear’s gonna take me to the woodshed.

Allright. So, music. Okay.

I’m from Arkansas. Country ain’t as big as you’d think here. We have shoes. We even have some nice lookin’ broads. We almost never wear straw hats and marry our cousins.

Almost. (sigh)

Well, I think I’ve embarassed myself enough for one column. Next time I’ll go into how ‘Dead or Alive’ re-invented the eyepatch, and I’ll also investigate hidden meanings in songs such as Madonnas ‘Like a Virgin’, Oingo Boingo’s (?) ‘Turning Japanese’, and many others.

Well, that’s it. Bye!

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.

Why BP.com is so Damn Special

There are just a few things I want to say, but first, I would like to give thanks. Ever since BaloolaPalooza opened up, we have gotten a ton of traffic. A lot of people are checkin’ us out, more users on the message board, and above all, it is you, the people who want to be apart of this that have made the first few days of our opening nothing but a success, so all the BP-Heads out there, I just want to say thank you for supporting us all.
I tell all of y’all what though. Since we opened up, somebody asked me, “Hey Bear … let me ask you something. What makes BP.com so different from other sites? What makes BaloolaPalooza so damn special?” Well, I will tell you.
There is something about this site that makes us separate from all other entertainment websites, and that is anyone is welcome to write for the website. Let’s think about it … there aren’t many sites out there that allow individuals to write a story, a review, a column, whatever. Bottom line is that a lot of sites don’t let the people who want to write for their respective sites to join staff. It’s like a lot of sites think they’re too good for people like you and me to write for them, and that severely pisses me off. Ever since day one, I said anyone who wants to be apart of BP.com in any way, shape, or form can join us and have his or her voice heard. That is why BaloolaPalooza is so special because unlike other music web sites, we let anyone who has a passion for this music to be heard.
Not a lot of sites want their fans or users to join their staff. Well, like I said … we ain’t any other site. We’re very special, very different, and very giving. I feel this is a family, no joke. See, it doesn’t matter if you are the best writer in the world, or the worst writer on the planet. If you want to write, I will let you. I want my users to write if they have a desire and I won’t deny anyone that right. I’ll let anyone tryout and if they are good, they are on board, in my eyes. Think about it, there are tons of teenagers, people like you and I, who want to be noticed, appreciated, and have a chance to write for a music entertainment site. I love music and I have no regrets doing BP.com as a matter of fact, my only regret would be not opening this place sooner, because frankly, I always wanted to be a reporter who got to talk about one of the few passions I have, and that’s music.
So everyone, please do me a favor. If you are reading this now and a friend asks why you you’re reading the information on this site or why BaloolaPalooza is so special, then link them to this editorial and open their eyes. In closing, I’m not anyone I’m just an average individual who has the drive and ambition to run a site fan based and fan created.
I’ll end it with Primer 55 … “I ain’t got nothing but love for this crew.”

Review: Paul Oakenfold – "Bunkka"

Paul Oakenfold has been a world known DJ for over 15 years. He has spent his career mixing other people�s songs into grade A mix CDs that are sought after by many walks of life. His newest CD, however, is something a little different. Something new from Oakenfold. His new CD, Bunkka, (Maverick) is the first CD he has ever released made entirely of his own music.
The 11-song album is not mixed, like Oakenfold�s normal class of music, but instead contains an eclectic bunch of songs ranging from rap to early 90�s-esque soft rock, and everything in between. It has something to appeal to almost any taste in music.
Bunkka starts with a song that Oakenfold would have been most likely to spin when he was mixing in Ibiza, Spain- Acid Techno. The vocals of �Ready, Steady, Go� are done by Asher D. That song is followed by a much more ambient-sounding �Southern Sun,� vocals by Carla Werner. The relaxed, laid-back style of this song seems like something the Eurhythmics would have done alongside �Sweet Dreams.� �Southern Sun� is followed by a somewhat faster �Time of Your Life� (vocals Perry Farrell.) This song has a significantly faster bpm, or beats per minute, but still manages to maintain a strong hold on the ambience left behind by the last song. After �Hypnotised� (vocals Tiff Lacey) comes �Zoo York,� which some may recognize as the main background tune to Requiem for a Dream.
Skipping ahead a few songs, we come upon �Starry-eyed Surprise,� which is my personal favorite song on the album. It has a clubby funk to it, and vocals by Shifty Shellshock. It also happens to be the first single off the album, and has been a hit on a variety of formats of radio. Adult contemporary, modern hits, dance, etc, all took an interest in this up-beat song impossible not to move to.
Immediately after �Starry Eyed Surprise� is �Get �Em Up,� vocals by Ice Cube. This may be the bridging of the gap in the album. With a rapper such as this one behind a DJ as talented as Oakenfold, a union of genres attract even more people to this CD, and open others up to genres previously judged.
Next is �Motion� and the final song of the album is �The Harder They Come� with vocals by Nelly Furtado and Tricky. This song makes a great end to an already great CD. It�s calming enough to provide a conclusion, but not so that interest is lost. It keeps your attention while tapering the CD off.
I give this album a 4 out of 5 stars- well done, a great first LP for Oakenfold, but with only 11 songs, the end seems to come too soon. Currently, Oakenfold is not touring, although another worldwide tour is expected by mid to late summer.

Review: Dope – "Felons and Revolutionaries"

Dope, a five piece metal group, released this, their first album, in 1999. Metal fans are going to be pleased, I’m sure. Edsel Dope screams his lungs out and sounds great doing it, the guitars are wicked, and the bass on some of the songs is fantastic. Crank “Debonaire” or “Sick” with the bass up and you’ll see what I mean. Although a lot of the songs deal with the same subjects(violence, relationships, drugs, and combinations of the aforementioned three), they are all distinctly different.
Every album has its great tracks and “Felons and Revolutionaries” is no different. The singles, “Debonaire” and “Everything Sucks” are both powerhouses in their own right, but there are several other gems. “Kimberly’s Ghost”, “One Fix”, “Pig Societyl”, and “You Spin Me Right Round” – a wicked Dead or Alive cover that proves that pop music can be salvaged – are among said gems.
“Everything Sucks”, which was released as a single, is about coming to terms with not really caring about the people you’re around. “I never cared that much/And I never kept in touch/But most of all what really sucks/Is everything and all of us” is the chorus of the song, and very fitting. The verses comprise a pair of situations in which plastic friendships are common. People telling you about their friends that you don’t know or care about, and saying that you’ll be back to visit just as soon as you can with no intention of doing so. The guitars on “Everything Sucks” are insane. If you listen closely, you can discern several smaller riffs played in the background the main parts of the song.
“Sick” is an excellent pissed off track. A bad day in heavy metal form, the anger builds over a pulsing bassline that explodes into a violent crescendo with the chorus, “Bang, bang, bang, in your head fucker/Bang, bang, bang, and your dead fucker”.

“Debonaire”, also released as a single, has a hate the rich attitude about it. The verses satirize your average millionaires, listing various things that they might find essential to life, but that most are just fine without. Diamond rings, limousines, top hats, designer names, and “bonny dames without a brain” are among the things that Edsel mentions. This is the most recognizable track on the album.
“You Spin Me Right Round” is a cover of the 80’s track by Dead or Alive. The poppy strains of the original are replaced with the hard driving riffs found elsewhere on the CD, and Edsel Dope’s voice is a helluva lot more appealing than the original singer’s(I don’t have a clue what his name is). I must tip my hat to Mr. Dope for taking an alright-at-best song and reworking it into a fantastic track. As a side note, it gets even better if you turn up the bass.
Special mention must go to the hidden track, “Fuck the Police”, due to the fact that on the back of the disc, as well as on the track listing on the disc itself, it is left out. On the listing it skips from track 7 to 9, since I don’t think any police officers would take kindly to seeing a disc with that track on it sold in stores. It’s really too bad though, because musically this song is on par with the rest of the album, but doesn’t even get mentioned. A shame, really.
“Felons and Revolutionaries” is an adrenaline driving metal disc that lives up to, and exceeds, my expectations. A round of applause to the boys in Dope for an excellent first outing.
Walrus gives “Felons and Revolutionaries” a 3.5/5.

Review: Chevelle – Wonder What's Next

Chevelle hits the mainstream with their second big release entitled “Wonder What’s Next”. Brothers Pete, Joe and Sam Loeffler offer up an excellent follow-up to their 1999 release entitled “Point #1”. The trio of brothers hail from Chicago, Ill and take after their family name, by which they are also mechanics and musicians. As of now the band is on Epic and has been on Epic since they entered rock music’s scene back in ’99. So far, Chevelle has released only “Point #1” but we can expect greater things from this band, as their two hits “The Red” and “Send the Pain Below” are ripping up radio stations across America. As of recently, “Wonder What’s Next” was just deemed Gold and has peaked at # 14 on the Billboard.

The first track is entitled “Family System”. This song is absolutely rocking. It starts off with a few simple strums of guitars, then explodes into the song. The vocals and sound make this song one of the highlights of the cd. Inspiration for “The Red” was quite obvious after seeing an interview with the band(extra features on cd). They came up with the idea, after having all this pent up anger and eventually making a fictional character that gets so anger ridden that he sees red. My personal favorite is “Comfortable Liar” and “Send the Pain Below”, both melodic songs, but then Joe’s vocals kick in and rip the song in two. As of now, I think the choices in released songs have been wise and I personally wouldn’t want to see another song get released.

In closing, the cd on a whole is very good and should platinum with the growing success of “The Red” and the newly released “Send the Pain Below”. The cd really shows how anger can build up in certain people and in just one instant be released onto everyone. My rating gives it three stars. The cd is a hard rocking, anger releasing and melodic combo. As of now, Chevelle are on tour in Europe supporting Audioslave and eventually will be touring once again here in the US on Disturbed’s Music As A Weapon tour.

Review: Thursday – Five Stories Falling EP

Thursday comes out with another amazing cd, this one entitled Five Stories Falling. Thursday is a five peiece set from New Brunswick, New Jersey. The members of the band are Geoff Rickly on vocals, Tom Keely and Steve Pedulla on guitars, Tim Payne on bass and Tucker Rule on drums. Thursday originated in 1998 and had known each other for years and finally formed in ’98. Thursday were first part of New York’s own Eyeball Records where their first cd Waiting, came out in 1999. Then came the big break through, Full Collapse came out in 2001 and includes both “Understanding in a Car Crash” and “Cross Out the Eyes” off Victory Records.

This five song cd includes four live tracks and the ever rare “Jet Black New Year”. The cd contains “Autobiography of A Nation”, “Understanding in A Car Crash”, “Standing on the Edge of Summer” and “Paris in Flames” as live tracks. The main focus of the cd is “Jet Black New Year”, the brand new song. So far no video plans are in the works for any of the songs off Five Stories Falling. Personally, I’d like to see “Jet Black New Year” on the radio, “Cross out the Eyes” and “Understanding in a Car Crash” are just too old and Thursday need a new song to keep the people satisfied.

In closing, I feel this cd should get 2 3/4 stars. The recording quality isn’t that bad, but the screaming of back up lead singer can get quite irritating. Thursday’s live show is amazing, but this recording takes away from their overall presence and sound. “Jet Black New Year” really shows how Thursday are good recorded in the studio. As of now Thursday are back in the studio writing for another LP and follow-up to Full Collapse.

This cd was recorded on this past year’s Vans Warped Tour @ Randall’s Island in New York City(I think) .

Grand Opening

Ladies and Gentlemen, I would like to formally welcome each and everyone of you to BaloolaPalooza.com. As you all may have or may not have been aware of, the forums have been open since my birthday, on October the 26th, 2002. So, without further a dui, I have been waiting to say this … FINALLY, BALOOLAPALOOZA HAS COME TO YOUR COMPUTER!!!
Ok, I know I’m not the Rock, but it’s cool just to say this. BP.com is your number one source for entertainment. We plan on making this one of the most free-spirited, most fun, funkiest, and coolest places around. We plan on starting of slowly with just music news because music is one big industry to cover. If we get more popularity and more of a staff, then phase two of our plan will kick in, which will be introducing video games, and then movies, and so forth.
The BaloolaPalooza Mission is quite simple … the point of this existence is to make a fun environment where individuals such as you reading this can learn more about the bands you like, what’s going on in the music scene, and how you can support your favorite musicians. This experience is about helping out artists succeed in their dream of being stars and at the same hand, help you, the individual reading this, be more experienced in what’s going on out there.
This place has started out of just a community of friends, talking about the most influence in their lives … music. Look at us now … we’ve grown into a full operating site.
To any band supporter, to any aspiring guitarist, to any idealist, heck, to any groupie … basically, what I am saying is this. To any music fan out there that never felt like they could be apart of a site and make a damn impact, I’m giving you the chance to make an impact of your own. Join me … join J … join the BaloolaPalooza Family. If you want to write, we’ll give you the outlet, just put the plug in. If you want to interact, we got the message board where you can voice your mind. We have a message board and everyone is a friendly person, just looking to have a good time. I just want you all to realize … this community, this place rather is made up of music lovers like you and I. We are the people that go to the concerts, the people that visit artist’s websites, and the people who aspire to learn what’s out there. This is all about people. If you find something out, please tell us. If you wanna join us, please ask us. If you wanna help us out in anyway you can, please help us. If there is something you would like to say or do, then voice it. That means anyone, meaning any music fan reading this right now, all the way to the artist. Please, join BaloolaPalooza and please, help us make an impact.
-Bear Frazer
Co-Owner of BaloolaPalooza.com