Everyone will soon know all there is to know about the Windy City’s Fall Out Boy, and with good reason too. Having been snatched up by major label Island Records before they launched themselves into the music world with hard working indie label Fueled By Ramen, it is now time for the world to be introduced to Fall Out Boy. These kids are full of talent and this acoustic driven five-track EP / DVD is the ideal introduction to what Fall Out Boy is all about. You can read along to the clever lyrics while the acoustic guitar hooks suck you in, and you can then watch the band in action on the DVD included. The video portion of this EP chronicles the history of the band dating back to 2001, and this is the perfect way for Fall Out Boy to say hello and leave their mark.
The group embodies that innocence and purity of a band just starting out and testing the waters, jamming away in their basement trying to capture that energy and honesty of what good music is all about. Fall Out Boy are a band perched on the edge of hardcore and pop melody driven tunes and this EP is all about the song writing and lyrics.
There is a reason for this entire buzz surrounding these four kids from Chicago. It is because they know how to write great songs and they deliver them to your ears in better fashion. These five acoustic songs all flaunt the dark and sarcastic, suspicious lyrics delivered with passion. Peter Wentz is very creative when putting his lyrics together because his words have a comic and down right callous side, yet there is a certain naturalness built into them as well. The opening track, “My Heart is the Worst Kind of Weapon,” denotes this imaginative lyric writing, “Because I know / that you’re in between arms somewhere / next to heartbeats / where you shouldn’t dare sleep / I’ll teach you a lesson / for keeping secrets from me / take your taste back / peel back your skin / and try to forget how it feels inside / you should try saying no once in a while / and did you hear the news? / I could dissect you and gut you on this stage.”
The pleasant touch on this EP is the DVD disc that is included. It just doesn’t take you on a history lesson of the band; it gives you an insight as to what Fall Out Boy is all about. It has footage from some of the first shows they ever played as well as extras like videos. You also get a first hand glimpse of what seeing them live is all about. It seems like quite an energetic show filled with plenty of on-stage bedlam.
It is easy to see why Fall Out Boy are being much talked about. They have managed to spin off from pop punk so to speak and twist it into something that doesn’t sound like every other band from the genre. The band displays on this EP that they are full of creativity and in many ways have kind of carved out a new genre of their own. And the scary part is that they are just getting started.
(Fueled by Ramen / Island Records)
Crossed Keys – Saviors
Saviors shows the work of well-seasoned musicians finding new energy in old sounds
Philadelphia’s Crossed Keys are an interesting intersection between melodic hardcore and punk, taking an earnest approach to the sound that made its way from the underground in the late 90s and early 2000s. This relatively new outfit is the result of Kid Dynamite and Samiam in a blender- in the best way possible. The Kid Dynamite influence may be a given since Crossed Eyes features KD’s drummer Dave Wagenschutz, but the band’s pedigree also includes members of bands like Zolof the Rock & Roll Destroyer and The Curse, all backing the melancholic vocal work of frontman Joshua Alvarez (Halo of Snakes). So while Crossed Keys are somewhat new, its members have been cutting their teeth within their respective circles for years, and their new EP Saviors shows the work of well-seasoned musicians finding new energy in old sounds.
Saviors is backboned by the furious urgency and energy that Kid Dynamite showed through their history, but while Jason Shevchuk’s vocals were beautifully abrasive, Alvarez takes a more restrained, wistful approach to singing. Songs like the opening “Times of Grace” are musically up-tempo percussions and razor-sharp guitars, but are buoyed by Alvarez’s more melodic vocals. His vocals rest at a good place between Samiam’s Jason Beebout and that NYHC tone exhibited by bands like Token Entry and Grey Area. In songs like “R.J.A” and the closing title track, Crossed Keys find more success with their brand of blistering speed meets harmony- slowing down only for the kind of melancholic punk that made Samiam a noted name. While much of Saviors is built on pace, it wasn’t always this way for the band. In fact, their 2017 EP, I’m Just Happy That You’re Here, leans closer to Samiam than it does to Kid Dynamite (the song “Jeff Pelly vs. The Empire” is particularly fantastic), so there’s been an uptick of urgency with Saviors.
For fans of any of the aforementioned bands here, there is plenty to like with Crossed Keys and plenty to like in Saviors. It’s succinct, to the point, but filled with ample reflection and exploration that gives the EP depth and resonance. Any band that has found influence from Kid Dynamite is most certainly OK by us (this site is named after a KD song after all), but Crossed Keys does more than just tip their cap. This one’s a really good one, and worth your time.
Every last time: Revisiting Gameface’s “How Far Is Goodbye?”
A glorious sound of a time gone by
Southern California’s Gameface were always a band that seemed perfect just below the cusp. Their brand of pop-tinged punk was somewhere in between the melancholy driven emo of the early 1990s to what would become of radio-friendly punk bands evolving from the Jimmy Eat Worlds of the… world.
I loved this band. It was songs like “My Star” and “When You’ve Had Enough” that captured my attention. They didn’t fit in with the punk explosion of the mid-90s and had more melodic chops than those that remained in the underground with bands like Quicksand and Texas is the Reason (the latter being the most musically similar).
To this day, I count their track “How Far Is Goodbye?” as one I can listen to on any given day and still feel the same way about it as I did years ago. It’s a glorious sound of a time gone by, and Jeff Caudill, who has been the backbone of their songwriting since the beginning, has still got the chops his ilk can only dream of. There’s a tinge of melancholy that conjures up a certain sadness, a scene in a movie where the protagonist is making their exit into the distance as the scene closes. Something about the song, the sentiment, and the lyrics that always reminds of driving away while looking at the rear view mirror.
Five years ago Gameface released a new album, Now Is What Matters, an album that perfectly encapsulated their ability to write with emotion, melody, and magnetism that only a select few seem to possess. I interviewed frontman Jeff Caudill before the album came out to chat about the band, an interview I think still holds up. Caudill has been busy since then with a lot of solo material, while the band themselves have been releasing music sporadically (mostly singles) since 2014.
While their catalog is deep, there’s one song I keep coming back to, and that’s “How Far Is Goodbye?”. Originally released on the split 10″ vinyl with Errortype: 11 in 2000, the song received an update in 2018, which you can hear below.
Gameface photo from Gameface facebook page.