In August of last year, Chicago’s Still Alive released their latest record, Choices. We recently spoke with singer/guitarist Dan Alfonsi and talked about what recording the album was like. We also discussed some of the record’s lyrics and its general theme. In addition, we conversed about how the band has continued to progress its unique sound, which integrates genres like metal, ska, hardcore and more. While Still Alive may defy easy classifications, they’re certainly a band deserving of increased attention. They’ve got a lot planned for the year ahead, and with any luck their persistent work ethic will result in an expanded audience. Continue Reading…
Jump Start Records – Release Date: 1/27/15
In January of this year, All Eyes West released its second album, called Doomer. While its title might seem somewhat foreboding, the record is anything but. With this release, the band simply builds upon the framework of its first album, further broadening their sound and integrating new influences. Doomer begins with a track called “Lie In Wait,” which features an ascending melody that rises to an urgent chorus. The song spotlights the vocal talents of singer/bassist Justin Miller and also demonstrates the band’s ability to craft songs that are uniquely structured. “Plastic Hearts” is up next and it starts with a hauntingly catchy verse that gives way to a shout-along chorus. It’s easily one of the record’s strongest entries and would be an excellent choice for a first single. It’s followed by “West Thirteenth,” a track that is enjoyably reminiscent of Samiam and showcases a multitude of impressive riffs, courtesy of guitarist Jeff Dean. Further points of interest include the post-punk stomp of “From Under,” the melodic rocker “Make the Morning” and the blistering, rhythm-heavy anthem “Overtime.” All Eyes West has definitely broadened the scope of their ‘90s-influenced rock on Doomer, incorporating a variety of contemporary styles and applying distinctive songwriting. Their sound continues to evolve as they tour and play shows at a frequent pace, taking the music in exciting directions with each step. Check out the album’s second song below, called “Plastic Hearts.”
The Bomb is a long-running Chicago punk band that formed in 1999. Since 2003, their lineup has consisted of singer Jeff Pezzati, (Naked Raygun) guitarist Jeff Dean, (All Eyes West, Dead Ending, Noise By Numbers, etc.) bassist Pete Mittler, (The Methadones) and drummer Mike Soucy, (The Methadones). This fall, The Bomb plans to release a new, yet-to-be-titled EP on No Idea Records and we spoke with Mr. Pezzati about its songs, in terms of both their lyrical content and musical style. We also talked about recording, touring, the band’s relationship with J. Robbins and more. Continue Reading…
On December 11th, Dead Ending will release its second EP, the aptly titled DE II. It was recorded at Million Yen Studios in Chicago, contains a total of five songs and will be available through Alternative Tentacles. The band’s lineup of course consists of singer Vic Bondi, (Articles of Faith) guitarist Jeff Dean, (The Bomb, Noise By Numbers, All Eyes West) bassist Joe Principe, (Rise Against) and drummer Derek Grant, (Alkaline Trio). We’re excited to present an exclusive stream of one of the EP’s songs, called “Ayn Rand Chicken Sandwich.” When asked about the song’s meaning, Bondi said “I was beside myself at the stupidity of the Chick-fil-A nonsense. As though the highest expression of your ‘moral values’ was to buy a chicken sandwich. But it’s always like that with that crowd, dumb on dumb, undergirded by crazed homophobic panic. So the song kind of wrote itself, in about five minutes.” Check out the song below and be sure to catch Dead Ending on the road in 2013.
Jump Start/Bermuda Mohawk Productions – Release Date: 8/23/11
What with the pedigree of the members of newish Chicago band All Eyes West, (Jeff Dean has done time with The Bomb and Justin Miller with indie rockers Hinter) one would be hard-pressed to come into the listening experience without some manner of expectations. Thankfully, the band does not disappoint. All Eyes West serve up eight songs of Foo Fighters-inspired rock on their excellent debut disc, along with nods to bands like Drive Like Jehu and Jawbox for good measure. The songs are impassioned, melodic, driving, mid-tempo anthems that seem like they would translate very well in a small, sweaty club environment. The recording is clean, but not overproduced, (Dean handled the recording and mixing duties himself at Million Yen Studios) and suits the material well. My favorite track is “Help Is on the Way”, (you can check it out below) which features some classic guitar work along with interesting tempo changes and the best example of Justin Miller’s Dave Grohl-inspired vocals. All in all, All Eyes West’s debut is recommended as a good purchase for anyone hungry for melodic ‘90s punk done up right. My only complaint has to do with the CD packaging. The band photos were taken by the awesome Katie Hovland and are way, way too small. But that’s just a small quibble in an otherwise great package. All Eyes West play Metro on August 27th, with reuniting local legends Braid.
– Marc Ruvolo