Please educate the punkless!

Yes, I’m still having trouble with people who know not of what they speak. I think the problem all stems from calling it punk rock, so people automatically smash the two genres together in their head, and then cannot manage to find a difference. I had to explain to a friend this morning that Flyleaf and Reliant K are not punk bands. The next time someone tells me that Hawk Nelson is the greatest punk band ever (yes, this actually happened) I will have to resist hitting them very hard with a very real and very punk studded object.

So….if you ever hear someone spouting off incorrectly about punk, please take them aside and explain the error of their ways to them. It will save the rest of us a lot of pain and grief!

I came across an interesting issue the other day while listening to several different bands. Is there such a thing as Christian punk?

After much debate and research I came upon an answer….no. Two very important themes to punk music are Anarchy (“Absence of government; a state of lawlessness due to the absence or inefficiency of the supreme power political disorder.” – wikipedia) and Nihilism (total rejection of established laws and institutions, anarchy terrorism or other revolutionary activity, total and absolute destructiveness especially towards the world at large and including oneself, an extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth – dictionary.com). So both of those beliefs/practices go against all standard Christian beliefs, which leads to my answer of no, the two types of music cannot exist together.

In the same way I would also be inclined to believe that while you CAN have Christian metal (Demon Hunter, Underoath, etc), you CANNOT have Christian Black Metal (since it tends to contain satanic beliefs or similar stuff)

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Free Legal Punk Music (What could be better?)

We all know that usually downloading music from the internet is illegal and wrong, right? (please just nod and say yes) However it can be legal if the music is downloaded from a group that has the right to distribute it such as the band itself, the recording company, or maybe a sponsor. Yesterday I was doing some research and found several totally awesome sites where you can get free and COMPLETELY LEGAL music downloads. Many of them are punk, because it seems that most punk artists are a lot less comericialized and a lot more generous than other genres of music. (seriously, it’s true)

So check out these awesome sites! All of them are linked in the sidebar

1.  Altsounds – You have to scroll around to be able to find all the artists, but once you do it is totally worth it! Most of these bands are emo/screamo. Includes Anberlin, Panic! at the Disco, UnderOath, Red Jumpsuit, etc

2. iLike – Most of the downloads from this site are from bands without recording contracts yet, but there are still a few pretty amazing ones! Check out Brokenfall and Superbeing, they totally rock!

3.  GarageBand – Another great site for discovering bands without recording contracts. Also a great site for new musicians to promote their music

4. Fat Wreck Chords – Punk recording label, and they have some pretty great downloads if you are into real  punk. Includes NOFX, Rise Against, No Use For A Name and Propaghandhi

5. Hellcat Records – Punk and Hardcore recording label, and more rockin’ MP3s. Includes Rancid, Nekromantix, and Horrorpops

6. StereoKiller – Umm…Interesting. But they do have several good downloads including a few by Underoath

7. Anti-, just a really cool site with downloads from Greg Graffin (Lead singer of Bad Religion – I love this guy!) and Michael Franti

8.  3hive – It has a few  pretty cool downloads including Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly

9. Mp3.com – Millions upon millions of songs and downloads, but I didn’t recognize even a single artist. However you might be able to find some good stuff in here

10. PureVolume – I love this site! There is a ton of music, and much of it is by popular mainstream artists. I have found free downloads from Demon Hunter, Paramore, Anberlin and other awesome bands. You can find music from pretty much any genre ever created!

A few other sites that I didn’t find worthy enough to put in the sidebar: Stereogum, bt.etree.org, SoundClick, Honc. biz, Jamendo, Epitonic, SubPop records, MTV, and iSound. You might be able to find something good on them, it just takes more effort than I am willing to spend!

You’ve gotta love Ska…

After my last post about Catch 22 I decided that I need to post a little more about Ska in general. The video I posted below is  Ska remix by Reel Big Fish of Aha’s song Take On Me

‘Ska is an odd looking word: short punchy, almost funny. So is the music at times, a light, bouncy, horn infused grandfather of reggae.’ – Niel Strauss8

What do you get when you mix a marching band, reggae and a punk band? Ska. There are considered to be three main “waves” of ska, the first starting in the 1960s and 1970s. It was mainly a combination of reggae with the addition of brass instruments (saxophone, trumpet and trombone) and keyboards. In the second wave (usually known as two-tone after the record label), ska starting combing with punk over in England. Third-wave ska is mainly American bands that began to grow in popularity in the mid 1990s. They were mainly influenced by the two-tone ska, and had more of a punk sound to them than traditional ska. Several bands such as Reel Big Fish, Streetlight Manifesto, and the Mighty Mighty Bosstones became quite well known during this time.

Ska even has its own type of dancing! “Skanking is the style of dancing that goes along with ska music. It has remained popular among ska fans since the beginning, and it’s a relatively easy dance to do. Basically, the legs do “the running man”, bending the knees and running in place to the beat. The arms are bent at the elbows, with hands balled into fists, and punch outward, alternating with the feet (left foot, right hand, etc.).”

Several of the most well known ska bands:

Reel Big Fish

I actually had the unique opportunity to see them in concert last year. They were very entertaining in a strange sort of way, but they did sound good!

Streetlight Manifesto

Discovered these guys when I got a free song from a music sampler, they sound pretty sweet!

Less Than Jake

No clue how I found these guys, although I think I found this song through the radio

Mighty Mighty Bosstones

I think I heard this song in a restaurant somewhere and fell in love with it. As soon as I got home I looked it up on youtube!

Aquabats

Discovered these guys while writing a term paper about punk music!

These are just a few of my favorite ska bands, hope you enjoy them!

Bands That Nobody Has Ever Heard Of (2): Catch 22

Catch 22 is a ska punk band from East Brunswick, New Jersey around 1996. I had never heard of them until I somehow I got a free song from them and put it on my MP3. The song was called “Wine Stained Lips” and turned out to be one of the coolest and most addicting songs ever!

For those who are not familiar with ska it usually sounds like a cross between a marching band and punk rock, with some reggae thrown in for good measure. Depending on the band and the song it can range to both sides of the spectrum.

Amazon Biography – “New Jersey ska-punk combo Catch 22 were formed in the autumn of 1996 by singer/guitarist Tomas Kalnoky, trumpeter Kevin Gunther, and drummer Chris Greer. Recruiting bassist Pat Calpin, trombonist Jamie Egan, and saxophonist Ryan Eldred, the group spent the next two years touring relentlessly, selling out all 2,000 copies of its self-released demo, Rules of the Game. Signing to Victory Records in late 1997, Catch 22 issued Keasbey Nights the following year, quickly becoming one of the best-selling bands in the label’s history. The grind of touring ultimately became too much for Kalnoky, however, and upon his exit from the roster (he would later go on to front ska-punks Streetlight Manifesto), the remaining members of Catch 22 tapped new frontman Jeff Davidson; with Calpin then assuming guitar duties, new bassist Pat Kays was brought aboard for the 1999 EP Washed Up! Alone in a Crowd followed a year later. Davidson departed the band in March 2001, and Catch 22 were still looking for a replacement when November’s Washed Up and Through the Ringer was released. The album was a sort of compilation; it contained the Washed Up! EP and some rare tracks, along with several live cuts and two new songs that found Gunther and Eldred sharing vocals. This vocal dynamic continued for 2003’s Dinosaur Sounds, an album met with mixed fan response. Catch 22 Live appeared in October 2004; an accompanying DVD included bonus features and live footage shot the previous August at the Downtown in Farmingdale, NY. The band continued touring, including a stops at 2006’s Bamboozle and Warped Tour festivals. Catch 22’s next full-length was a concept album that followed the life of Bolshevik revolutionary Leon Trotsky, entitled Permanent Revolution. It was issued in June 2006; the band later headlined a nationwide tour with Voodoo Glow Skulls, Big D & the Kids Table, Suburban Legends, and more in tow. ~ Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide”

If you like this band you might also like: Streetlight Manifesto, Mighty Mighty Bosstones, Reel Big Fish, Less Than Jake

Green Day!

Green Day is really a band you can’t help but like! They’re cute, they have attitude and amazing vocals with intriguing lyrics. While they are one of my favorite bands ever, they are also the source of one of my biggest pet peeves. GREEN DAY IS NOT PUNK! They are pop-punk, and there is a large difference. What it means is they are a pop band with punk themes and undertones on some of their music. When they started out they were more involved with the punk side, while now they are drifting towards “the dark side” (pop music). For example – here is their song Holiday, which has a great punk sound and attitude to it!

But on the other hand, listen to Wake Me When September Ends. It is a clear case of “Pop that wants to be emo”

Please keep in mind that I am not dissing Green Day in any way, shape or form, because I adore them and their music.

Another interesting thing that many people don’t know about them is just how long they have been around.  They started making music in 1987 when Billie Joe Armstrong and Mike Dirnt were 15 under the band name Sweet Children, and switched to the name Green Day in 1989. The name refers to their fondness for marijuana. Over the years they have been continually becoming more well known.

In 2004 they released the controversial (and totally amazing) album American Idiot. There was no middle ground – you either loved it with all your heart, or hated the music and band for it.

And recently they released their newest album Know Your Enemy, song posted above.

If you like this band you might also like: Blink 182, Sum 41

Emotive, Unstable…..

Music changes lives, and there is one band that single handedly changed mine – Anberlin. My blog name (Unwindingcablecar) is named after their song Unwinding Cable Car, which is a beautiful and inspiring song.

Stephen Christian’s vocals soar, and contain so much raw emotion it’s impossible to make it through an entire cd without digging deep into your own feelings. Surprisingly enough, they are not well known, which somehow makes their discovery a rare and precious surprise. In a culture of trashy, unrefined, and boringly repetitive music, a band like Anberlin is rare indeed. While they aren’t the typical style of music I usually listent to, they have remained my favorite band consistantly!

Here is a link to their site, I would highly encourage you to read the biography. I would have posted it, but the site wouldn’t let me! Anberlin‘s site

One of the other amazing things is that no two of their Cds are alike, each has it’s own style and themes. They range from screaming (The original Feel Good Drag), to very indie sounding acoustics (acoustic A Day Late). Yet another spectacular thing is that they do “doubles” of some of their songs, meaning they have both a original version, and an acoustic or new version.  Most of the songs off of “Lost Songs” are different versions, and they recently remade “Feel Good Drag” off of one of their other Cds!

Reviews from Amazon:

Never Take Friendship Personal (2005) – There’s only one word that comes immediately to mind when describing Anberlin’s Never Take Friendship Personal release. The word? Amazing. This is one of those truly remarkable releases that is so refreshing, so defining, and so well done, you will feel a need to let every know about it. Much like Switchfoot’s The Beautiful Letdown and D.C. Talk’s Jesus Freak, Anberlin’s second release captures the musical styles of the day but recasts them in a unique and exciting way. Much credit up front should go to producer Aaron Sprinkle, who never lets the music overshadow Steven Christian’s emotive alto vocals. Joseph Milligan’s guitar work is nothing short of phenomenal and propels such blistering tracks like “Paperthin Hymn,” “Runaways,” and “Feel Good Drag.” Let’s not forget the rock-steady rhythm from drummer Nathan Young and bassist Deon Rexroat that continually lays down a concrete foundation. Also worthy of note is the intelligent songwriting that prevails throughout the release, showing that Christian-based bands don’t always check their brains at the studio door. Moody at times, exhilarating at others, this is a giant leap forward for a relative newcomer in Christian music. It’s also a release worthy of widespread acclaim and a breath of fresh air in a genre that is sadly growing all too predictable

Cities (2007) – Unlike most emo bands that merely offer a laundry list of personal hardships over the sound of loud guitars, the members of Anberlin know that they can seek salvation in a higher power, so the songs on Cities aren’t so much about self-pity as self-preservation. It’s a refreshing twist on the formula, especially when paired with the industrial-strength hooks the spiritual Florida band knocks out on tracks like “Dismantle. Repair.” and “Godspeed.” On the latter, the group’s frontman Stephen Christian lashes out against the bad habits of his secular counterparts: “Tell them who you were, who you really were/Kill yourself slowly over time, fashion statement suicide.”

Other Cds include New Surrender (2009), Lost Songs (2007), and Blueprints for the Black Market (2003)

About the Artist

In today’s instantly downloadable and quickly consumed culture, bands like Anberlin are a dying breed. Over the course of six years and four full-lengths (including last year’s B-side compilation Lost Songs), the band have established themselves as one of alternative rock’s most exciting acts and as a band who refuse to limit themselves to one specific scene or sound… and it’s paid off. If the band reinvented themselves with last year’s sprawling album Cities–which debuted in the Billboard Top 20 and sold 34,000 copies its first week of release–they’ve transcended that sound with New Surrender. In fact, their latest album that shows the band reconciling all of their seemingly disparate moods into a cohesive blend of music that will lull you to sleep with gentle harmonies one minute and shake you to the core via raw, distortion-drenched rock riffage the next.This control of dynamics has embodied Anberlin’s music since their 2003 debut Blueprints For The Black Market which instantly caught on with fans of emotional music who didn’t want to be fed the same musical clichés–oh, and touring alongside acts like Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance to support that album didn’t hurt either. After playing literally hundreds of shows and growing as both musicians and people the band released their sophomore album Never Take Friendship Personal in 2005. Markedly more mature both musically and lyrically, that album established Anberlin as more than another underground sensation and showed that there was no limit to what the band could achieve. This same trend was evident with last year’s mainstream breakthrough Cities, which showed the band progressing even more and expanding their musical vision exponentially.

All this brings us to New Surrender. Although the album retains the Anberlin sound that fans have grown to love, in many ways it’s also an album of firsts that marks the next chapter in the band’s illustrious history. For example, after working for years exclusively with longtime producer/friend Aaron Sprinkle this time around the band decided to enlist legendary producer Neal Avron (Fall Out Boy, Yellowcard, New Found Glory) to capture their sound. Additionally, after selling 435,000 albums on the well-respected indie label Tooth And Nail, with New Surrender the band decided it was finally time for them to step up to a major label–and although they had been courted by various majors for years, the band decided to go with Universal Republic. “At Tooth And Nail there was a glass ceiling and there was no way to get our music out to all the people we wanted to reach,” Christian explains when asked about the band’s decision to change labels. “To us, Universal Republic represents a sense of stability in this turbulent

era for music: The staff is going nowhere, the label is here to stay and they have proven time and time again that they can take bands to the people–and that is where we belong… among the people.”

“The whole album is conceptualized around the theme of a new surrender in the sense that everyone in their lives has something they know they have to give up,” responds Christian when asked about the title of the band’s latest opus. “There’s something that’s holding each of us back from who we could become, so I think each song kind of tackles that theme of surrendering parts of life whether it’s a person or a vice.” In order to capture this idea, the band–which also features guitarist Joseph Milligan, bassist Deon Rexroat, drummer Nathan Young and new addition and former Acceptance guitarist Christian McAlhaney–spent three months in the studio with Avron carefully crafting their most fully realized effort to date.

In fact, from the equally cathartic and melodic track “Breaking” to the soon-to-be summertime anthem “Haight Street” and acoustic ballad “Younglife,” New Surrender is the most varied album of the band’s career–something they credit largely to the new addition of McAlhaney, who has solidified the band’s lineup and become an integral part of the songwriting process. “I think it just felt right,” McAlhaney responds when asked when it was like to be thrown into a songwriting team of Christian and Milligan, who have been writing together for nearly thirteen years. “There was no trial period, we just went for it,” he continues. “It definitely helped having someone else to bounce ideas off of,” Milligan concurs, adding that he’s confident that New Surrender is undoubtedly the band’s strongest album to date.

Although both of the band’s guitarists have completely different styles, they perfectly complement each both rhythmically and melodically on New Surrender–and this sonic interaction has added a new level of depth to Anberlin’s already powerful sound. Additionally, this renewed sense of enthusiasm doesn’t just apply to the guitars but also carries over to Stephen’s vocals, which manage to achieve almost religious levels of grandeur on the falsetto-fueled “Retrace” or soaring, operatic ballad “Breathe.” “Neal [Avron] did not let me get away with anything,” Christian explains, noting that every vocal part on the album is sung individually without relying on studio trickery such as auto-tuning. While this unorthodox approach required additional work on the band’s part, the result is a vocal performance that shows Christian extending his already impressive range and solidifying him as one of the strongest frontman in the genre.

New Surrender is also the first Anberlin album to work the band’s well-documented humanitarian efforts into the lyrics, which have included going to Kenya to teach about AIDS prevention or traveling to Calcutta, India, to educate the masses about the danger of human trafficking. “I live in Los Angeles now, so

I wrote a song [Disappear] about homelessness because that’s something that’s so prevalent in my life,” Christian elaborates. “There’s also about another song [Burn Out Brighter (Northern Lights)] about living unselfishly and the lyrics say, “‘I want to live and die for someone else / the more I live, I see this life’s not about me,'” he adds. “I’m really excited that we’ve got to the level lyrically where our fans don’t listen to Anberlin for just the basic, `Oh girl, I want to hold your hand,” he says, noting that the supportive nature of Anberlin’s fans gave him artistic license to challenge himself and take his own writing to the next level this time around.

However, the band are quick to stress the fact that New Surrender is ultimately an album that’s made to be listened to instead of analyzed–and songs like “Feel Good Drag” are so infectious that it’s likely that listeners will be too wrapped up in the majesty of the music to waste their time worrying about how to pigeonhole Anberlin’s sound. “In some ways I don’t think we have that much emotional attachment to music nowadays,” Christian says, noting that music seems to be such a ubiquitous part of our daily lives that it’s easy to forget the passion that initially drew most of us to it the first place. “I want people to feel like they belong to this record; it’s their record and I want them to treat it like that,” he explains. “Hopefully New Surrender doesn’t just have one single that everyone attaches himself or herself to,” he summarizes, “I really want all twelve songs to be a part of their lives.”

  • More Favorite Albums

    Fallen

    Fallen by Evanescence

  • American Idiot

    American Idiot

  • Comatose

    Comatose by Skillet

  • Innocence & Instinct

    Innocence & Instinct by Red

  • Dear Agony

    Dear Agony by Breaking Benjamin

  • Never Take Friendship Personal

    Never Take Friendship Personal by Anberlin

  • Storm the Gates of Hell

    Storm the Gates of Hell by Demon Hunter

  • Scars & Souvenirs

    Scars & Souvenirs by Theory of a Deadman

  • Phobia

    Phobia by Breaking Benjamin