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Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: The Best Rock Albums of 2010

Pop artists like Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars, Ke$ha and Rihanna dominated the charts in 2010. For us rock fans, though, this year was equally huge. There were countless bands reuniting, going out on anniversary tours, playing massive festivals and releasing new material.

In no particular order, here are some of the best rock albums released this year!

My Chemical Romance – Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys

Those of us who are diehard My Chemical Romance fans were awaiting the band’s fifth studio album with nervous excitement and eager anticipation. We hoped it would live up to the all the hype, but we were also completely unsure of what style the band would try on this time around, as each release has been vastly different from the last. Luckily, MCR delivered a beautifully bright, energetic and well-produced record that shows a freshly polished sound that includes everything from punk to disco. Check out our full review of the record here!

Recommended track: “DESTROYA”

Pierce the Veil – Selfish Machines

San Diego post-hardcore group Pierce the Veil released their sophomore LP, Selfish Machines, back in June. In the first moments of opening track “Besitos,” this album grabs your attention with hand claps, guitar picking, layers of harmonizing vocals and a Latin-influenced beat. PTV ramped up everything on this release, from Vic Fuentes’ unmistakable tenor shrieking to heavy breakdowns and impressive guitar solos. But these rockers can pull off the ballads as well, with the slow number “Stay Away from My Friends” being one of the strongest tracks on the record.

Recommended track: “Caraphernelia” (feat. Jeremy McKinnon of A Day to Remember)

Automatic Loveletter – Truth or Dare

Charismatic singer-songwriter Juliet Simms of Automatic Loveletter has not been an overnight success story. As she recounts on the track “Story of My Life,” she moved from Florida to LA at fifteen after being offered a record deal from Epic. As the label struggled, Juliet wasn’t dropped, but wasn’t supported either. Armed with her DIY attitude, Simms sold handmade copies of her record and feather hair clips to help support her band out on tour. All the hard work paid off, and Simms became one of the most sought-after guest vocalists, having provided her instantly recognizable raspy pipes to albums from All Time Low, Secondhand Serenade, Cartel and more . On the band’s major label debut, Juliet’s simple acoustic songwriting is taken to new heights, with stadium-ready choruses and charging electric guitars mixed with soft, piano-based ballads.

Recommended track: “Let it Ride”

Envy On the Coast – Lowcountry

Long Island, NY natives Envy on the Coast released the impressive Lowcountry in March. With creative lyrics, daring and experimental musical choices and stellar vocals from frontman Ryan Hunter, this record stands out among its peers as having some of the most original songwriting of the year. Equal parts Incubus, Circa Survive and The Dear Hunter, Envy on the Coast unfortunately called it quits this year as well. Be on the lookout for Hunter’s and guitarist Brian Byrne’s  new project, North Korea, which also features Dilinger Escape Plan drummer Billy Ryan.

Recommended track: “The Great American T-Shirt Racket”

Chiodos – Illuminaudio

When post-hardcore outfit Chiodos kicked out founding member and frontman Craig Owens, many fans were outraged. With his dynamic voice and inspiring stage presence, Owens was not only the band’s most charismatic and well-known member, but also a staple in the modern rock scene. Thousands were sure that this decision was the nail in Chiodos’ coffin, but the release of Illuminaudio showed that this band could carry on, and release one hell of a record. New vocalist Brandon Bolmer not only matches Owens’ range, but he also shows a flair for the dramatic on his lyrics, which was one of Owens’ strongest facets. The band members stepped up their game as well, adding more technical parts to each instrument and keeping the orchestral touches that made 2007′s Bone Palace Ballet a masterpiece in its own right. The breakdowns are heavy, the instrumentation is tight, the vocals are spot-on, so it’s clear Chiodos aren’t going anywhere.

Recommended track: “Those Who Slay Together, Stay Together

VersaEmerge – Fixed at Zero

Due to the success of Paramore, there are now hundreds of identical young female-fronted pop bands trying to find their place in the spotlight. But make no mistake, that doesn’t include Tampa, Florida natives VersaEmerge. Fronted by the electrifying 20-year-old Sierra Kusterbeck, Versa take pop rock to a new level, adding in complex electronic arrangements (courtesy of guitarist Blake Harnage), tightly layered harmonies and wonderfully honest lyrics about Kusterbeck’s own inner conflicts. The band’s first LP, Fixed at Zero, was released this summer and has catapulted the band to buzzworthy status, aided by a full-episode on MTV’s The World of Jenks and placement on the entire 2010 Vans Warped Tour.

Recommended track: “Fixed at Zero”

The Deftones – Diamond Eyes

When The Deftones‘ bassist Chi Cheng was involved in a horrible car accident that left him in a coma, the band shelved their near-completed album, Eros. A year later, they decided to return to the studio (with Sergio Vega of Quicksand filling in for Chi) and wrote what would become Diamond Eyes. The record is mercilessly heavy, verging on metal at times, but also has some slower numbers that add depth and atmosphere to the record. Vocalist Chino Moreno keeps up with the band’s flawlessly-executed prog rock with his high-intensity screams, which can quickly morph into soft and soulful melodies. If you’re looking for a record to rock out to, Diamond Eyes is definitely a front runner this year.

Recommended track: “Rocket Skates”

Ludo – Prepare the Preparations

Few lyricists today have the incredible imagination of Ludo‘s Andrew Volpe. Anyone who needs proof need look no further than 2006′s jaw-dropping five-song rock opera, Broken Bride, which is about a man who mistakenly time travels between the Pre Historic Era and a future apocalypse to save his dead wife. Though Broken Bride is brilliant and beautifully written, it’s going to be tough for Ludo to ever top it. That being said, Prepare the Preparations is an eccentric and quirky pop record, with lyrics that cover everything from robots to dancing skeletons to leprechauns. The songwriting is creative and more experimental than in the past, as Ludo covers everything from acoustic to electronic pop to straight up showtunes.

Recommended track: “Too Tired to Wink”

Foxy Shazam – Foxy Shazam

As we learned in our Q&A with Eric Nally of Foxy Shazam, it’s very difficult to categorize this outrageous and energetic rock group….and that’s the way they like it. Pieces of punk, soul, funk and indie rock make their way into the band’s self-titled record, which dropped in April. This isn’t a record that you’ll listen to and have to wonder if the group is just as fun live, as Foxy are well known for their off-the-wall theatrical performances. They may be an acquired taste, but either way, you have to give Foxy Shazam props for being genuinely original.

Recommended track: “Count Me Out”

Isles & Glaciers-  The Hearts of Lonely People

Since Pierce the Veil and Chiodos were both on our list, it makes sense that a supergroup including PTV’s vocalist Vic Fuentes and his brother, drummer Mike Fuentes, as well as Chiodos bassist Matt Goddard would also be included. Isles & Glaciers also includes (ex-Chiodos, now D.R.U.G.S.) vocalist Craig Owens, Emarosa/Dance Gavin Dance vocalist and solo artist Jonny Craig, Underminded/D.R.U.G.S. guitarist Nick Martin and ex-Boys Night Out/The Receiving End of Sirens‘ Brian Southall on keyboard and guitar. After many months of pushing back the release, their debut EP The Hearts of Lonely People was released in 2010. Different than any of the members’ past or present bands, Hearts is a mash-up of post-hardcore, electronica and pop rock. The three vocalists here, especially Jonny Craig, really steal the show.

Recommended track: “Hills Like White Elephants”

Leave us a comment below and let us know what your favorite rock album of 2010 were…then check back next week for our list of most anticipated rock albums for 2011!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Best Of OurStage 2010

This year was certainly a huge one for rock on OurStage. Our 2010 competitions allowed winning artists to play with incredible acts, such as Bon Jovi, Hanson, the Goo Goo Dolls, Mayday Parade, Anberlin and John Mayer.

Outside of the site, our artists have received national radio airplay, scored festival performance sets and had songs placed in TV shows, commercials and movie trailers. From experimental to pop punk, here are 10 of the best OurStage rock artists from 2010!

The Worsties

The Worsties

It takes a very talented band to be able to reach the Number 1 spot on the Best of Rock Charts, and The Worsties kept that spot for 20 weeks! After having their songs placed on MTV and Oxygen, the band won the coveted opening spot for Bon Jovi and Kid Rock in Chicago. Take a listen to “What’s Her Face” in the player below—we guarantee you’ll be headbanging with this female-fronted rock outfit in no time.

Eclectic Approach

As their name suggests, Seattle’s Eclectic Approach pull from a variety of influences to make funky pop rock that is sure to get you off your feet. Meeting somewhere between Maroon 5 and the Black Eyed Peas, Eclectic Approach have got it all— tight beats, catchy hooks, sweet guitar licks and smooth vocals. This year was a big for these guys thanks to six Top 10 wins, including two in the “Shout It Out with HANSON” Competition (they ended up opening for the trio in Portland, OR). Check out “Cool” in the player below and be sure to add it to your next party playlist!

Again and Again

They’ve played at the Vans Warped Tour, sold over 150,000 records and had their album mixed by top modern rock producer Marc Hudson (Chiodos, Saves the Day). They’re Again and Again from Renton, WA and they’re shaping up to be the next big electronic pop rock act. While competing in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition (they finished in the Top 10 for their region), the bad was out on tour across the US. Listen to “Excuse This Honesty” in the player below and get ready to mark your calendars with future tour dates!

Take One Car live at Bamboozle

Take One Car

Millerton, NY’s experimental rock group Take One Car have had an extremely successful year. Having released their full-length album When the Ceiling Meets The Floor last year, the band set out to tour and promote their effort as much as possible in 2010. Their hard work paid off when they were selected to perform TWICE at New Jersey’s Bamboozle festival in May (once at Hoodwink, covering At The Drive-In, and a daytime set on Saturday, as themselves). The group followed their Bamboozle performances with more touring, competing in Airwalk Unsigned Hero Contest and opening for the likes of VersaEmerge and The Gay Blades. Check out “The Menagerie” in the player below and be sure to stay tuned, because these guys (and girl) will be releasing a new album next year! They’ve also been invited back to Bamboozle for 2011, so don’t miss their set!

Transmit Now

Can you imagine watching the People’s Choice Awards and hearing your song play as Hugh Jackman accepts his award for Best Action Hero? Well, Tampa, Florida’s pop rock group Transmit Now experienced it in 2010. Additionally, they were featured in J-14 Magazine as a weekly “Hot Band” and released their first full-length album, Downtown Merry-Go-Round. Listen to “Let’s Go Out Tonight” in the player below and blast it on your next night out!

Bronze Radio Return

Bronze Radio Return won fans over in 2010 with their smooth and sultry indie rock. With a warm acoustic sound, Bronze Radio Return are easily compared to Damien Rice and Coldplay. They won the coveted John Mayer “Side Stage Warfare” Competition for the Boston date and racked up four more Top 10 wins in Acoustic, Indie Rock and Modern Rock Channels. Check out “Digital Love” in the player below by BRR, a band that MySpace Records calls one of the best unsigned groups.

Cedar Avenue

Minneapolis acoustic rock outfit Cedar Avenue had great success on OurStage this year. They opened for Hanson in Milwaukee, had their song placed on ABC’s Cougartown and had eight Top 10 wins on the site, including the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition for their region. Fronted by husband and wife team Derrin and Jesse Mathews, Cedar Avenue has also opened for sold out crowds at Augustana, A Fine Frenzy and Graham Colton concerts. Check out “Up North” in the player below and get ready to rock!

Orange Avenue

Orange Avenue

From one avenue to the next, pop rock group Orange Avenue was named as one of MTV’s newest Buzzworthy bands for 2010. They’ve shared the stage with the All American Rejects, Rihanna, Smash Mouth and more, and had three Top 10 wins on OurStage, including one for their region in the “SUBWAY Fresh Artists” Competition. They also had their music featured on “MLB Tonight” and their video for “Just Refrain” was played at the Winter Olympics. Listen to the track in the player below and be on the lookout for Orange Avenue on MTV and on the radio!

The Appreciation Post

After being named Alternative Press’ Top Unsigned Band in 2009, The Appreciation Post took 2010 by storm. In addition to releasing two EPs, the group also competed in the “Converse Battle of the Bands” Competition and took home the title of champion after opening for Mayday Parade and Anberlin. Check out the synth-heavy “The Beating of a Lifetime” in the player below and check out the band’s webstore for awesome deals and free music!

The Black Rabbits

Indie rock group The Black Rabbits spent 2010 as both the winners of a year’s worth of guitar strings from Ernie Ball and one of our Needle in the Haystack artists. They were subsequently signed to Rock Ridge Music and have been working hard putting together their debut album! Listen to “Emotion” in the player below and stay tuned for new music coming soon!

We’re already looking forward to meeting the next rock stars of 2011! Who were your favorite OS rock artists this year? Let us know in the comments below!

Q&A With Silverstein

In a scene where the “next big thing” seems to be different every day, Silverstein is one of the few bands able to maintain their place among the best in the post-hardcore genre. It’s not hard to see why, either, as they’ve worked tirelessly for a decade, writing, recording and touring non-stop. They’ve released four LPs, two EPs, a live DVD and individual tracks for successful compilations like Punk Goes Acoustic 2 and Punk Goes Pop 2, and toured all over the world, including runs with the Vans Warped Tour, Taste of Chaos and Australia’s Soundwave Festival.

Today, Silverstein releases their brand new EP, Transitions, a collection of B-sides and previously unreleased tracks. The band will be putting out their eagerly-anticipated fifth album in 2011, after touring through their home country of Canada, the US and Australia. We had the pleasure of catching up with vocalist Shane Told to hear his thoughts on today’s modern rock scene, the story behind the new album and what to expect on the next big tour.

OS: You’re currently out on a Canadian tour with The Devil Wears Prada. How have the shows been so far?

ST: They’ve been awesome! We’ve been across the country now and we’re on our way back east. It’s been really good. We’ve known The Devil Wears Prada ever since they were just a local band in Ohio and watched them grow and watched their popularity really skyrocket, so it’s kind of cool now to be doing like a co-headlining tour together and sharing everything and splitting everything 50/50. It’s a cool thing to see a band go from being basically high school kids to a real, legit, serious band. The shows have been awesome, the only thing that’s sucked is the drives! The drives are the worst. We had to drive one time 30 hours straight, in the middle of nowhere where there’s no cell phone service or anything…we ended up buying Monopoly. The only one they had was Disney Monopoly so we ended up playing Disney Monopoly for as long as we could to kill some time on the bus while we were driving (laughs).

OS: You have a brand new EP called Transitions, which includes two tracks from your upcoming album. What made you decide to release these songs in advance?

ST: We kind of wanted to do something to hold our fans over until the record came out. Not only that, but we also just had a lot of songs this time around. We went in the studio and we recorded…I think we were going to record seventeen and we actually decided—I haven’t told anybody about this yet! We had a little extra time in the studio when we recorded the drums and we recorded in a really nice studio and wanted to use all the studio time. So, what we did is, we tried to write a song in one hour. We did it, we filmed it. We haven’t finished tracking all the parts but we wrote it and we recorded all the drums for it. We had a lot of extra stuff so we put this EP together. I’ve always been a fan of EPs, I think it’s because I have the worst attention span. With so many records, I love the first six songs…and then with albums, I’ll be like, “I love that album,” but I won’t even know what track 11 sounds like. I always thought it would be better if a band, instead of putting out a full-length album every two years, they put out an EP every year (laughs). I always liked that more. So we decided to put out an EP because we like EPs, and we had the extra stuff to give our fans a little treat before the holidays.

OS: You’ve said that the new record will not be a concept album, like 2009′s A Shipwreck in the Sand. Can you tell us a bit about the lyrical themes of the new material?

ST: It’s kind of broad to say it, but it really is just about my life. Everything I’ve gone through over the last ten years of being in this band and going through the relationships I’ve gone through and doing what I’ve had to do…the ride that it’s been. I was on stage and we played a new song from the EP, it’s an acoustic song…and I just said like, “This song is about my life.” And it is. This record is way more personal than A Shipwreck in the Sand. It’s way more through my eyes and things that I’ve seen, rather than through a character’s eyes, that I sort of created. It’s a lot different. I loved writing Shipwreck, it was challenging and fun and I’m really proud of it, but with this record, I didn’t want to do that again. I wanted to get some things of my chest and explore a lot of different themes, not just one. I’m sure down the road, we’ll do another concept album…but this time around, I just didn’t want to force it.

OS: Musically, how would you describe the new album?

ST: It’s pretty heavy, I think. There’s a lot of screaming on this record, but at the same time, we really tried to make the choruses pop and make it catchy, as well. There’s quite a few technical parts, parts that aren’t exactly the easiest to play on guitar and drums and stuff. I think we dug deep and really tried to do some things that would challenge us as a band, but at the same time, we still wanted to write good songs and didn’t want to make extraneously long parts that didn’t go anywhere. The songs are relatively short and to the point. It’s sort of more like The Blue Album than it is Pinkerton, in a way. It’s the Blue Album, not The Green Album…if you like my Weezer analogy!

OS: Having been a band for ten years, and with a steady stream of new bands constantly emerging in your genre, do you ever find yourself pressured to stay relevant?

ST: Yeah. I actually had a really great conversation with a guy on the tour in a band called For Today about that. We were just talking about all these bands coming out now that are basically playing to backing tracks. It’s something I’ve never really encountered. We’ve been a band for ten years and I think the only band we ever encountered that had backing tracks that we played with was like, Avril Lavigne’s. It’s just weird to have bands in hardcore doing that. It really sucks because obviously if you play your CD live, it’s going to sound better than having to mic all the instruments and playing them live. So then kids go and see a band and they’re like, “oh, this band sounds awesome!” Well, they sound awesome because it’s not real. That kind of stuff is upsetting. We’ll never play to a backing track, just because of where we come from. Nowadays, I think part of it might be because of the technology that’s in studios now…bands record and it’s not real, either. Bands will record entire songs on guitar, literally recording one note at a time and then placing it all together. When you do that, that comes off in the studio and you start doing stuff like that live, just to try to get a step ahead of the next band. We don’t let it phase us. We don’t want to play to backing tracks, we just want to be real and play the best we can and have fun and write the best songs we can. We’re not trying to be the heaviest band out there or try to out-do anybody. That’s, I think, the whole problem with this genre now. These bands are coming out and they’re tuning lower and lower and trying to be heavier than the next guy and have the “sicker breakdown” or whatever, and to me, that’s just tiring. We just want to write the best songs we can and have a good time. It’s a bit disheartening to me that things have gotten this way now.

OS: In January, you’re hitting the road with Pierce the Veil, Miss May I, The Chariot and Bullet for a Pretty Boy. What can fans expect from this tour?

ST: A lot of great bands, a bit of a diverse lineup. Pierce the Veil is a great band. We’ve been friends and fans of them for a long time so we’re really happy to have them. Miss May I is a younger band that’s blowing up right now, kids are loving them. The Chariot is a super heavy band that we’ve also been big fans of for a long time, so it’s a bit all over the place with the lineup, but I kind of like that. With my influences, they span everything from folk music to death metal, so I love it. I think it’s going to be a really good bill and I think if kids get there early and watch the whole show, there’s going to be something for everybody. It’ll open up people’s minds a little bit to some new music! It’s also good that we’re playing a lot of the smaller cities, they call the “B-Markets”, so it will be cool to bring really great lineups to those smaller cities that might not get a lot of shows. We’re really happy about that. We’ll be touring in the major markets a little bit later in the year and we’re stoked about that too. There will be more details about the tour we’re going to be on later, I think pretty shortly.

OS: In February, you’ll be playing at Soundwave Festival in Australia for the second time. What are you most looking forward to this time around?

ST: Well, Australia’s the best! It’s incredible. We did it two years ago and the lineup was just insane. Our stage, which wasn’t even the main stage, had some of my favorite bands. It was like, Alkaline Trio and Saves the Day and Rival Schools and Face to Face, the list goes on and on. That was just our stage, not to mention Nine Inch Nails was the headliner. It was the coolest thing. I think the only reason they can pull that off is because bands love going to Australia so much. It’s such a beautiful place, so bands are like “Yeah, sure, just fly us over, we’ll go!”  The people are awesome, they have great food, the weather’s awesome, it’s really just a beautiful, clean country. I think that’s why they can put together such a great lineup for Soundwave every single year. I don’t think there’s anywhere else in the world they can pull that off. We’re really excited for that and hanging out with some really great friends of ours, too, on that tour. We’re really looking forward to it!

Be sure to pick up Silverstein’s new EP, Transitions, on iTunes now, and don’t miss Silverstein on tour this winter. Check out the tour stops below!

December 8, 2010 – Saskatoon, SK @ Louis Pub
December 9, 2010 – Fargo, ND @ The Venue
December 10, 2010 – Milwaukee, WI @ Rave
December 11, 2010 – Toronto, ON @ Kool Haus
January 7, 2011 – Clifton Park, NY @ Northern Lights
January 8, 2011 – Allentown, PA @ Crocodile Rock
January 9, 2011 – Poughkeepsie, NY @ The Chance
January 11, 2011 – Toledo, OH @ Headliners
January 12, 2011 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
January 13, 2011 – Palatine, IL @ Durty Nellie’s
January 14, 2011 – Iowa City, IA @ Blue Moose Tap House
January 15, 2011 – Springfield, MO @ Remmingtons Downtown
January 16, 2011 – Tulsa, OK @ The Marquee Theatre
January 18, 2011 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
January 19, 2011 – Tucson, AZ @ The Rock
January 20, 2011 – Las Vegas, NV @ Hard Rock Cafe
January 21, 2011 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
January 22, 2011 – Orangevale, CA @ The Boardwalk
January 23, 2011 – Reno, NV @ Knitting Factory
January 25, 2011 – Colorado Springs, CO @ Black Sheep
January 26, 2011 – Kansas City, MO @ Beaumont Club
January 27, 2011 – St. Louis, MO @ Pops Nite Club
January 28, 2011 – Lansing, MI @ The Loft
January 29, 2011 – Buffalo, NY @ Xtreme Wheelz

January 30, 2011 – Baltimore, MD @ Sonar
February 26, 2011 – Brisbane, AU @ Soundwave Festival
February 27, 2011 – Sydney, AU @ Soundwave Festival
March 4, 2011 – Melbourne, AU @ Soundwave Festival
March 5, 2011 – Adelaide, AU @ Soundwave Festival
March 7, 2011 – Perth, AU @ Soundwave Festival

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: The Lives of Famous Men

Their name is The Lives of Famous Men, and if their career thus far is any indication, they will probably know exactly what those lives are like.

Hailing from Anchorage, Alaska, this five-piece eventually moved to New York City, where they now claim residency at Arlene’s Grocery and at Philadelphia’s North Star Bar.

Vocalist Daniel Hall has a soothing yet expressive tone, channeling a mix between Head Automatica‘s Daryl Palumbo and The Spill Canvas‘ Nick Thomas. The group behind Hall writes with a strong indie pop sensibility (similar to Steel Train and The Format) as showcased on their latest record, Marigold Maxixe. The record is an evolution from the group’s past material, which was more upbeat and jazzy, but shows that the group is both maturing and unafraid to experiment with new sounds.

Like Meg & Dia, the group opted for a more toned-down approach for their new release, which features airy guitars, steady drum beats, vocal harmonies and charming acoustic guitars. Charging electric guitars have been traded in for bells and tambourines, but the change is both refreshing and well-executed.

After performing at SXSW, Warped Tour, MTVU’s Campus Invasion and on Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Lives of Famous Men are more than ready to take on the indie scene. Produced by Paul Kolderie (Radiohead, The Pixies), Marigold Maxixe is now available for streaming and download on the band’s Bandcamp page.

Click here to check out The Lives of Famous Men’s performance on Jimmy Kimmel and hear some of their older material in the player below!

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Broomfiller

Having already offered up successful rock groups like Sum 41, Billy Talent, Finger Eleven and Alexisonfire, Canada is now bringing us punk group Broomfiller.

With energetic guitars and quick, straight-forward drum beats, Broomfiller’s sound is reminiscent of bands like Anti-Flag, Alkaline Trio and MXPX. The vocals, provided by frontman Richard Leko, are characteristically punk: a style in which casual yelling is preferred over technically “correct” singing. But if you can’t get behind that, you’ll be happy to know that Broomfiller are not one-trick ponies. Their slower numbers, such as “One Last Time” and “I Won’t Leave You There” from their 2006 album Enter the Storm, are closer in style to Nirvana and Staind. Leko’s vocals are deeper and much more focused on these tracks, which are still strong even when up against the more complex structure of the group’s fast punk songs.

After one listen to the intro of “Windsor Bukkake,” you’ll definitely begin to wonder what Broomfiller’s live show must be like. One thing’s for sure, these guys are no strangers to the road. They have toured extensively across Canada and the US since 2002, including spots on the Vans Warped Tour and performances at the International Pop Overthrow Festival and Canadian Music Week Festival.

In addition to touring and recording two albums, Broomfiller have been racking up awards in both Canada and America. They took home “Best International Artist” at both the Empire Music Awards and the Orange County Music Awards and were nominated for the same title at the Southern California Music Awards. They’ve also been nominated for “Best Punk/Alternative Group” at the South Bay Music Awards and “Best Independent Album” at the Toronto Independent Music Awards in addition to reaching the Top 10 of the Punk Charts three times and the Best of Rock Chart here on OurStage, where they stayed for fourteen weeks!

Get your air guitars ready and check out Broomfiller in the player below!

Punk On The Rocks: On The Run

If you’re in the mood for some alt-rock/pop-punk that packs a punch, look no further that East Freedom, PA’s On The Run. On The Run has shared the stage with the likes of Bayside, The Ataris, This Providence, JT Woodruff of Hawthorne Heights, Mark Rose of Spitalfield and Pittsburgh heroes Punchline. Steve Soboslai of Punchline even recorded the band’s 2008 debut EP Keep Me Here.

On The Run

The band’s sound is versatile, ranging from the pure pop-punk sound of “Examine This” to the modern rock build of “Keep Me Here.” In April of this year, the band released the three- song Don’t Flatter Yourself single. This newer material sees them keeping the catchy hooks but exploring a more theatrical rock sound, like Panic At The Disco or Coheed and Cambria. Their growing fanbase seems to dig the new sound as well. On The Run were voted the one of the winners of the Vans Warped Tour Ernie Ball Battle of the Bands this year and performed on the Ernie Ball stage at this year’s Pittsburgh Warped Tour stop. It seems like On The Run will be up and running for a long time to come.

Check out “Lessons Learned” from On The Run’s Don’t Flatter Yourself single in the playlist below! Dig their sound? Catch On The Run live October 9th at Punk’n Fest in Mount Joy, PA.

Rock ‘n’ Roll Call: Q&A with Motion City Soundtrack

For pop-rockers Motion City Soundtrack, 2010 has been—and will continue to be—a busy and successful year. The band released their fourth album, My Dinosaur Life, in January and followed up with performances at Bamboozle and the first half of Warped Tour. OurStage’s Jay Schneider caught up with vocalist Justin Pierre to talk about recording with Mark Hoppus, pushing the boundaries of pop rock and Motion City’s post-Warped Tour plans.

OS: So how’s the Warped Tour going for you guys?

JP: So far so good. We’re on the homestretch for us. We have six more shows including today and then we’re done. Just half of the tour.

OS: Some bands, after being on tour for so long, get excited to wear a t-shirt or something they haven’t seen in months when they finally get home. Are there any plans like that for you?

JP: Not necessarily the t-shirt, but I tend to keep myself very busy by doing many different projects. So I have like two weeks worth of projects that I’ve got planned, and we’ll see if I pull them off. They may involve a video shoot, some recording of stuff, some movie things and some hangout sessions with some friends.

OS: Yeah, that’s always good.

JP: Yeah, maybe some Red Dead Redemption. I just started playing it before I came out on tour, so I think I’ve forgotten how to do all the things. I can’t really ride a horse very well.

OS: I’m sure it’ll come back to you. It’s just like riding a bike.

JP: Actually it’s not like riding a bike, because I was in Japan a few years ago riding a bike for the first time in 10 years, and I fell off and totally sliced up my arm. So whoever said “It’s just like riding a bike” is full of shit.

OS: You just released a new album this year. It was produced by Mark Hoppus. What was that studio environment like?

Motion City mastermind Justin Pierre at Warped Tour

JP: It was pretty relaxed. This time we used his studio—the one he and Travis own and run. It was very interesting because, they had Blink rehearsals for their tour. So it was a very weird schedule. We were shuffling around between the main studio and the “B” studio. I don’t know. It was really relaxed more than anything—very easy. I think that’s what’s great about Mark. He just creates an environment in which you totally feel comfortable. As opposed to some people, who shall remain nameless…not “people” but “person”…Anyway, it’s a long story. There’re other experiences where it’s more stressful, where things are just chaotic.  Mark’s good at keeping it relaxed.

OS: It seems, for the new album, that you were pushing the boundaries a little in terms of your sound—maybe a little bit heavier than some previous releases. Was this a conscious effort?

JP: I think the only thing we were aware of was that we wanted it to be more of a “rock” record, as opposed to a “pop” record. I feel like the last record we did was very pop-oriented, and for this one, we wanted to just put a little more energy in. I feel like it was a success in that regard.

There’s a song called “Pulp Fiction” which is totally the brainchild of our bass player Matt Taylor. He tends to write these songs with just like keyboards and drumbeats. It started out as an electronic song. He sent it to me while I was actually in Japan, when I had the bike incident. It was so fun and easy for me to write lyrics, I wrote the entire first verse and chorus within minutes and sent it back. We ended up turning it into a real song, as opposed to an electronic/techno thing, where it started. So I would say that that was different. I think another one, like “Disappear” is very dark and a lot more aggressive. So, yeah I would say that that is a fair assessment.

OS: During Warped Tour and shows in general, it seems that you guys in particular like to mingle and hang out with the people who came out to the show- before/after the set, like at the merch booth for example. Why is that?

JP: I think when we do our tours, it’s really easy. It just kind of makes sense to go hang out with people. It’s only like 30 minutes or an hour out of your day. When we do longer tours, I tend to lose my voice, so I usually don’t talk. But on Warped Tour I’m talking all the time. My voice actually is going right now. It’s kind of on its last legs this week. Hopefully, it’ll hold together. I like actually talking and hanging out with people, and I don’t really get to do it that much. I guess that’s why—for selfish reasons. Most of the time I spend in my bunk, I spend it reading or watching X-files or something, and not talking with people. When I’m around people I tend to not stop. I just keep going and then I lose my voice.

Motion City Soundtrack are performing at the Leeds and Reading Festivals this year in the UK as well as Bumbershoot in Seattle, WA in addition to their own fall tour.

8/26-The Underworld, London, UK

8/28- Leeds Festival,Wetherby, UK

8/29- Reading Festival, Reading, UK

9/5- Bumbershoot Festival, Seattle, WA

10/14- Soma, San Diego, CA

10/15- Avalon, Los Angeles, CA

10/16- House of Blues, Anaheim, CA

10/17-The Regency Ballroom, San Francisco, CA

10/20- Portland, OR, Crystal Ballroom

10/22- Salt Lake City, UT, Avalon

Punk On The Rocks: Q&A with Andrew W.K.

Another summer comes to an end, and so does another Vans Warped Tour. This summer’s tour featured one of the better lineups of recent years, including Alkaline Trio, Bouncing Souls, Dropkick Murphys, Riverboat Gamblers, Reel Big Fish, Me Talk Pretty, The Mighty Regis and more. While there are those who argue that Warped has lost its edge, the tour has found itself a champion in the prince of partying, Andrew W.K. OurStage’s Jay Schneider sat down with AWK to talk about why the Warped Tour is a great experience for both artists and fans and what we can expect from him in 2011 (hint: it involves partying).

When Andrew W.K. speaks, we listen

OS: It’s been years since you’ve been on the tour, right?

AWK: Seven years. The last we did every date on the tour was 2003.

OS: So what’s it like getting back into the Warped “vibe”?

AWK: Well it’s just fantastic to be on a tour that has this much impact; that has this much reach across North America. It has a legacy and a tradition of high quality vibes. Really it’s the mood of this place that’s its biggest achievement. Not only does this entire team of people do this every day in each town, but more than just putting up the stages and organizing the port-a-potties and all the day-to-day work, they are manifesting an attitude; an atmosphere of good vibes, literally, through their mood. That is the most powerful and important contribution that Warped Tour has made to American touring, or just touring in general.

People are open-minded. They’re friendly. They’re kind. They’re hard-working. They don’t complain. It’s just an incredible example of a leader, the creator Kevin Lyman, having such powerful leadership skills, that his mindset of “suck it up, enjoy yourself, work hard and let’s make the most of this day” has carried over even to the audience, the local crew (even the people that don’t work with him every day). Everyone feels that atmosphere. That’s the most delicate and difficult, yet powerful accomplishment to have in any project you’re working on.

OS: Going along with that same concept, bands always talk about the “community” aspect of Warped Tour. It seems to be a “summer camp” of sorts. How has that experience been for you behind the scenes?

First of all, that’s absolutely true. There is a fantastic sense of friendship and kindness backstage, beyond a doubt: a sense of trust, a sense of loyalty. Not to the bands themselves, but to the cause of spreading joy on this tour. Beyond that, your comparison to a summer camp is very, very good actually. I was always terrified of summer camp. If someone said, “Here are some different ways you can spend your time: Going to summer camp, drawing in your room or running around outside,” summer camp probably would have been the last thing on my list.

Interacting with people has always been very intense for me. That’s why I decided to start partying professionally, because it would give me a reason to go out and do something that otherwise I was overwhelmed about or scared of…that idea of hanging out with a bunch of people casually—I never could do it…

It’s not social anxiety. There are people that have that. That’s a real serious condition—agoraphobia, fear of crowds, fear of meeting new people, things like that. No, I’ve just had a general shyness. I just always follow my instincts and try to do what feels right. Standing around and talking with people I haven’t met has always been very strange for me…But, this a great place for me to face those fears.

OS: You have a following of “Andrew W.K.” fans that follow your whole “party” mentality. You’ve set up the “Party House Tent” this year on the tour.

AWK: Yes.

OS: So what kind of interactions have you been getting with kids coming out to that tent?

AWK: This goes exactly back to what we were talking about in terms of that social interaction. In the old days, I was terrified to meet any one person. I would never try to hang out with more than my closest friends, because I was just terrified of the world around me. So I had to find a “cause” that would force me out of my comfort zone, force me to have a motivation. Something to work for, something to go after. So, this idea of “partying” is really what happened. So, any place that I can just create that “official”, designated spot, and really push forward this idea of celebration and partying helps me, and helps the cause.

The“Party House”, which is our tent, is a 20×20 ft tent or 40×20 ft tent, depending on how much room we have. It’s a massive space to come and hang out. The one thing I learned from the last time at the Warped Tour—and this goes back to what you were asking earlier—hanging out backstage is a very fun and very valid way to spend your day.  Since we only play for 35-40 minutes, the rest of the day really is open. Now, we can do interviews like this, which are fantastic. That is why I’m here. This is a fantastic opportunity to meet you and say hello to folks that are interested in having a chat. Other than that, to me the most valuable thing is to go out and spend time with the people who came this one day to be a part of this festival. This festival is a celebration. This is a party. So if I can have a spot to go and meet folks and thank them for being part of this and supporting this cause of fun, celebration and joy. When you join our mission of “partying”, I owe you my thanks. That’s what it’s about. So to me, that’s the atmosphere that I’m most excited about with Warped Tour. That’s the thing that makes it so fantastic. They’ve created such a place where you can meet people and have fun with them.

OS: In terms of your career and this professional “persona” you’ve created to party, where are you going from here? What are the plans moving forward?

AWK: In a way, it feels like a new beginning. In 2005 for a lot of business and personal reasons, things in my life just turned around in strange ways. But, I would not have it any other way at this point. So many new opportunities opened up from 2005 until now. The beautiful thing is that all the issues, all the complications that we were dealing with for those 5 years have now resolved. 2010 was the year of resolution. The universe aligned itself. We’re back and the party is stronger than ever. I feel like it’s a new beginning, a comeback of sorts for the cause, the idea of “enjoying your life”. The positive power of partying is here and it’s getting bigger.

I’ll continue with my full band—my full band is back together after 5 years—doing nationwide tours. We’re going to continue doing that into 2011. New album in 2011, we hope to start recording that as soon as we get off of Warped Tour. I’m also working on a book. I’ve been working on a book for quite some time, but now it seems like it’s the time to do it. We’ve got all these contracts in place. It’s really about contracts. Once you get contracts aligned, really you can do whatever you want. But, if the contracts aren’t there then you can’t really do much. So that’s where we stand.

So come by the Party House Tent. New album, the book, Andrewwk.com has got it all laid out. We actually have a new store there. We’ve got party gear, party wear. The point of this all is to spread joy, and if you can do that in your life then you’re already partying. Spread joy to other people, starting with yourself most importantly. Just party hard! Have fun!

Check out Andrew W.K. website to stay tuned for the new album and his new book. Be sure to catch Warped Tour next year to experience the party for yourself.

Get Warped: Top Tips For Warped Tour

It’s that time of year again. I’ve got my pair of Vans and my aviator sunglasses, and I’m all set to make my way to my local date of the Warped Tour. Based in the Boston area, I’ve frequented the MA date of this summer staple for years. Who wouldn’t? Where else can you see upwards of 50 bands for under $35? That’s the motto of Warped though. Once you’ve bought your ticket, you’re free to catch any of the bands’ sets, check out the extensive amount of merch/swag stands and experience the true “community” feel of Warped Tour.

Of course, it’s tough to prioritize to make sure you don’t miss that set you really wanted to check out, and still get back in time for that meet-and-greet. So, I’ve put together a list of bands to check out and then some general tips for maximizing your day.

Big Names:

First, I want to run through a few of the big names that I will be sure not to miss. Warped has a roster of bands, a few of which always come back from previous years. This year, there are a few veterans that you really can’t miss if you’re making it out to the show.

Alkaline Trio: These Chicago punk-rockers have always been in my Top 5 list of favorite bands. While they’ve been through a lot of labels and a bunch of songwriting changes, they’re still one the best examples of a band that supports its same fan base and puts on a stellar show.

The Bouncing Souls: These guys are the very definition of Jersey punk. Their optimistic, uplifting lyrics make for a breath of fresh air among some of the gloomier, angrier lyrics of other heavy bands. They just released a new album this year, so head out and check out the new material onstage.

Sum 41: I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Sum 41, the essence of Canadian pop-punk. It’s been a while since these guys have been on the tour, so make sure to catch them this time.

Andrew W.K.: To me, AWK represents the whole “Party Hard” vibe of Warped Tour. He hasn’t toured with the full band for several years, and who knows how long it’ll be ‘til he comes back to grace the Warped stage, so pencil this guy in.

Newcomers:

I’ve got a quick list of newcomers and non-main stagers that I will personally make a point to fit into my viewing schedule. Be sure to catch Emarosa, Attack Attack! and Anarbor for an eclectic mix of bands that can really rock live.

Finally, before heading through those gates, be sure of a couple things. First, head straight to the set-time board as soon as you get there. They determine set times day-of, so get there early and write them down so you don’t miss anyone. Also, be sure to check out all of the booths throughout the day. For me, some of the best music discoveries have been made collecting a free CD sampler or meeting the lead singer of some band I haven’t heard. You’ll make some friends, hear some great music and walk out of there with plenty Warped-inspired swag.

Also, be sure to check the full set of tour dates on Warped’s Web site. There are plenty of bands on the tour that don’t make it out to every date. Some of the great bands who won’t be at the MA date are: Bad Religion, Pennywise, Anti-Flag, Big D & the Kids Table and Dropkick Murphys. Oh well, maybe next year

Download of the Week: Fast Forward Romance

Four years ago, the musical affair between rocker Kyle Archer and Natalie Distler began in a NYC elevator. The duo soon began to write and record tracks together and the rest, they say, is history. Skipping ahead to today, the pair—better known as Fast Forward Romance— is this week’s Needle in the Haystack pick.  The band has recently been highlighted on BMI’s Indie Spotlight and has been trying to earn a spot on the Warped Tour’s Carson California stop. Currently, the band is working with GRAMMY-nominated producer Ron Aniello who has collaborated with many major hit-makers including Lifehouse, Guster and Matt Nathanson. For all you FX fans, you may recognize Distler as Denis Leary’s daughter for the last 6 seasons on the hit show Rescue Me (watch for her in the new season which premiers on June 29th).

Download the duo’s free track Dirty Laundry” and just push play. Keep an eye out for more from Fast Forward Romance in the coming days.

 


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